Monday, June 29, 2009

not plaids (well, there are a few)

Yes, I can use non plaid fabric. I have a nice collection of Japanese fabrics. We were in Tokyo in 1989 and I still have some I bought then at a department store. Paul was 15 months old, a beautiful blonde child who got me access to places regular tourists might not have gotten--a bride was choosing her wedding kimono and she let me sit and watch her being dressed.

I love the old Momen House prints of the late 1980s/early 90s. I would search quilt shops for the narrower boards that would hold these wonderful fabrics. I picked up a few Mrs. March/Lecien at the quilt expo here this March and decided to use all of these, plus a few American, French, and Italian taupe type fabrics and lots of shirt parts in Bonnie Hunter's Chunky Churndashes.

It is a great, simple pattern, reminds me of the Shinto lanterns or gates. I used a beige/blue vermicelli and a great tomato red/beige reproduction print that had been on my shelves for quite a while for the hour glass blocks.
And, I had the delight of meeting Bonnie in person at a meeting she lectured in Lake Bluff.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

cape cod

We are just back from a week on Cape Cod, where Andy vacationed many summers in his childhood.
Andy and Eve flew because of work/school time constraints. The boys and I drove out...

In a note to my sisters I wrote upon arrival:
I started out from Chicago Friday at 0700. We stopped twice for breaks, stopped by some friends on Lake Chautauqua for a hour and a half, stopped at 10pm to sleep some place in the Fingerlakes District, were back on the road by 0730, stopped for two breaks and a grocery buying venture, and got to Cape Cod at 730 pm to find...Michigan.
Yes, 36 hours of travel to get to a place that looks just like Michigan.
The only differences I've found are there is salt in the water and there are tides.

Those two things better make the extra 34 hours worth it.

Andy is like a little boy (in a good way) so the rest of us are going to make the best of this.

But, from now on, Benton Harbor here we come.

My mood improved over the week. There were dark skies and rain most of the time, but Andy was able to take them sailing one day.

Seth loved the tidal flats. Here the tide comes in on their castle.

We went ocean side one afternoon--beautiful day.

And, had a wonderful sunset the last night.

But, I am just back from the return drive and coming by the exits to Michigan at the end of the journey made me even more weary.
Why do I always need a vacation after my vacations?

Friday, June 12, 2009


Dish Cloths--How I make them.
One 3 ounce skein of Lily's Sugar 'n Cream variegated cotton yarn will yield 2 dish cloths. You can make these any size you wish, my mom likes me to make them bigger for her, but with this size I know I will get two out of the skein.
Cast on 4 stitches.
Knit 2-3 rows, knitting up the tail of the cast on as I go.
I always slip the first stitch of a row over onto the needle making a smoother edge. I count this as my first knit stitch. There may be knitters language that explains it, but I don't know it.
So, back to the cast on and initial rows.
Knit two, yarn over, knit to the end of the row.
Keep doing this until there are 53 stitches on your needle.
Knit one, knit two together, yarn over, knit two together, knit to the end of the row.
When you are down to 6 stitches, knit one, knit two together, knit two together, knit one.
Now you will have four stitches on the needle.
Knit 2-3 rows, bind off, weave in just one end because you knit in the first end at the beginning.
I am all for efficiency.
I especially like to knit up the leftovers for our use.

Friday, June 05, 2009

home again

I had these three quilts hanging at the arts center. I enjoy getting reacquainted with quilts I haven't seen for a while.
I think all were made in 2001.
This was a mystery on the web. A rare example of a quilt of mine not made with many fabrics. I do like it.

A little quilt, part of a guild challenge so the fabrics were selected by someone else--I added a few. I named it Toba for the place in Japan we saw many seahorses. Quilted with close parallel curved lines with variegated rayon thread.

I took a workshop with Margaret Miller. Quilted in random intersecting squiggle lines with variegated rayon thread. And, it has a great Senegal fabric of chickens for the back.

a major influence

Jennifer LaCivita started the Portage Park Center for the Arts here in our neighborhood of Chicago in 1999. It was a pilot program of introducing neighborhood based arts support and the city bought an old church for the center to use. The center was wonderful to have in the neighborhood. I was home with 3 small children and quilting, teaching a few friends once a week at my house.
I went to Jennifer in 2000 and asked if she would be interested in a fiber arts addition to her programming. She welcomed me in and I started with two students. We developed a once a week evening class and monthly Saturday workshop. The classes were very popular and I am proud of the work I did there.
It was also a great place for my family--the kids all took arts classes there, and I was right in the neighborhood when I taught.
The arts center is closing now (building is in need of major repairs that the city is not going to make, leading to unsafe conditions) and funding for arts is no longer a priority in the city budget. PPCA was a treasure for the neighborhood for a decade, and it's ripples will continue.
My teaching there gave me work experience that helped me going back into nursing, and on to teaching nursing.
Thank you, Jennifer.