Sunday, November 19, 2023

Weekly update: a finish, the WIP, and a reading trio

 A string of sunny days called for afternoon walks!  

Right:  the heron was intent on the frog it was eating so I could get a close-up photo.  

On a clear day you can see the Chicago skyline from Illinois Beach State Park.  

 I cropped and enlarged the photo and it may be a little blurry.   The dredger is for the shoreline restoration project. Look to the left of it to see the skyscrapers.

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Sparkling Triangles is finished.  

I made a zipper insert for the back.  I learned the technique from Mary Ellen Hopkins and I use it often.  It's interesting to note that people have looked for an actual zipper.  When I posted the photos on two FB groups the back got many comments ("most beautiful back ever!" "that's fabulous!").  

Here is the WIP I hinted at last week.  

Someone on a FB group posted a photo of a quilt in this design.  I promptly charted it out.  

I made 3.5" (unfinished) black/white/gray hourglass units, the same as the inspiration photo, until I used up all the gray.  I was aiming for 72 units and got 83.  It's good to have some extras. 

All the center units will point the same direction eventually.  

I cut 5" x 10" rectangles of the light and dark prints and cut them diagonally.  

A partial seam is involved. I start with the top piece and work to the right. (For the left block: light, green, light, green.)

 There's a lot of trimming required.   I could have cut the light and dark rectangles smaller but I didn't bother to figure out the math.

The blocks are 7.5" unfinished.

All 72 blocks will make a quilt 56" x 63".   When it's assembled I'll decide if I want to add a border. 

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Julie Otsuka spoke at the ALA conference this summer when she received an award for her latest novel, The Swimmers.  I read the copy I got at that program and enjoyed it.   A couple of months later Ann (Fret Not Yourself) recommended Otsuka's second novel The Buddha in the Attic.  I decided to read her first novel, When the Emperor Was Divine, and then the second.    

Emperor is about Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps, told from the first-person points of view of each member of one family: the mother who is holding it together, the daughter who is both gregarious and protective, the son whose effort to find his place in the world is turned upside-down, and the father who is sent away to a military camp.  What struck me is how "everyday" their lives were before--and the story ends before the "after."   

Buddha is thirty years before when mail-order brides sailed from Japan to their new, never-met husbands in California.  Some matches were successful.  Many were not.  The women tell their stories together:  "We were farmers, we were maids, we were mothers," echoing the way that history books lump people together. Later in the story they regain their own names.    

The Swimmers is contemporary, again  told from an unusual point of view -- "you" is at first one of a group of avid swimmers who regularly work out at a pool "far underground." When the pool is closed for maintenance the common tie is broken and the group disperses. For Alice the routine was a tether. Without the pool her dementia worsens and she moves to a care facility. Alice's daughter is the "you" in the second part of her book, an observer and recaller of Alice's life.  Otsuka's own mother's story forms part of her prize-winning book.

Otsuka's style is crisp, tight, polished.  The stories are wonderful and thought-provoking.

Linking up with Oh Scrap!   Sew and Tell  Design Wall Monday  


  1. again i say i love sparkling triangles and the new flimsy is eye catching both!

  2. That green really makes your sparkling triangles sparkle! Your DrEAMI project is very eye-catching, too.

  3. Sparkling triangles turned out beautifully. That zippered back is really fun. A great way to combine two prints into a back. The books sound interesting. Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving. Hopefully the weather allows for some nice walks this week.

  4. Whoa--partial seams--i am impressed--I've never ventured into that unknown;;;yours came out looking beautiful--great color combo on this one--nice work...I am interested in "The Swimmers" will look it up--thanks for the book suggestions--I hope your thanksgiving is wonderful hugs, Julierose

  5. Yep, faint view of the Chicago skyline. I'm impressed at how often you get out and walk. And you do a great job of snapping pics of things around you. That's a great block. I like the "slanted" look but don't do it very often. By the seat of pants math works for me too. Looking forward to seeing the finished quilt.

  6. Love this HST quilt. AND, that Chicago skyline-what a blessing to be near that shoreline and be able to see it in clear skies. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Sparkling triangles really does sparkle. A good pattern for all of the nondescript fabrics cut into triangles.

  8. I like the new quilt with the framed hourglass blocks. And the zipper back is a great idea. I should file that away for a future project... And thanks for the book recommendations - I might have added a few more to my want to read list!

  9. I love that zipper backing on Sparkling Triangles! I've seen you share that before and need to remember it - it's such a fun way to piece a back. The front is a beauty, too! :) Thanks, as always, for the book recommendations!

  10. I've never seen a zipper back although I have heard of it. It's always fun to have something unexpected on the back. I learned that back when I took a few folk art classes and the teacher advised always putting some little thing on the back because people pretty much always turn things over and they deserve to be rewarded.

  11. I am very intrigued by your current project with the hourglass centers and the partial seams. Looks very 3 dimensional. I've been trying to get back into reading more, and I appreciate your book review.

  12. That new block is very similar to Ruby Short McKim’s Arabic Lattice block. Hers had a four-patch center, while yours has an hourglass. Dot in NC

  13. Oh, Nann...what an awesome use of those itty bitty triangles. And I'm glad you mentioned the zipper backings again. I have several tops for kids that are a little bit wider than a width of fabric and a zipper back will be perfect for them. So much more fun than just adding 4 inch wide or so length of fabric. I'm going to give zipper backs a try!


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