Tuesday, December 18, 2012

zig-zag progress

I am enjoying these--plan to make it 9 by 8 blocks, to measure 81" by 72".

Friday, December 07, 2012

zig zag

I love streak of lightning quilts, and the zig-zag I've seen on several blogs has been on my list, but it was seeing Jan's on "What a load of Scrap" (a favorite blog name of mine), and the one she was motivated by, Sujata's on "the Root Connection" that made me sweep away all other projects and get started.

I made one each of the two blocks and stack my sewn half square triangles on top of these two sample blocks to keep myself in order.

The blocks sew up quickly and look fabulous.
Of course, made with thrifted plaid shirts.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

tip #25--"the mom stays in the picture"

Allison Tate wrote a wonderful piece in her blog encouraging mothers to get into their family photographs. http://allisonslatertate.com/

My sisters and I are going through photographs with our mother, and are grateful that both she and my father enjoyed taking pictures, with dad mainly taking colored slides, and mom taking black and white photographs. So, they both show up relatively frequently.

I have tried over the years to have an annual photograph of our family for Christmas cards. I have them together in one book, documenting us aging over 25 years.
I always enjoy getting photographs that include my friends, and not just their children.

When I visited Andy's mother this summer she gave me photographs of Andy as a child and of her parents.
I do wish we had pictures of Andy's father with his family. There are none. Andy's parents divorced and what photographs there were are no more.
I do not blame my mother-in-law. They may have been painful to look at. She may have given them to Andy's father. They may have been lost in a move.
What I do encourage is for aunts and uncles to step in when there is a divorce and offer to store these photographs that may be too difficult in the immediate, but may be valued years later. I saved Andy's sister's wedding snapshots (the ones we took) after her divorce should her daughter want them someday. I offered to take in the formal portraits, wedding dress and wedding rings, but that was declined.

So, moms, get in the picture. And aunties of a divorcing family, set aside a drawer for memories that may be wanted later.

precious dolls

The Volendam Dutch dolls (composite, articulated) were sent by my father to my mother when he was stationed in Germany in 1953.
The baby doll (china, articulated) was purchased by my mother at the drug store where she worked in Columbia, South Carolina when my father was stationed at Fort Jackson in 1952.

These three dolls were the most precious in our house when we were growing up. They lived in the China Cupboard and were taken out for special occasions.
We were able to hold the baby doll when we were sick.
We each were able to bring the Dutch dolls to school once for show-and-tell.

dolls-behaving in church

Because there were so many duplicates of the Raggedy Ann and Andy and of the Cabbage Patch dolls, Janna just lined them up in some pews.

 My mom made many, many Raggedy Anns and Andys for church and school fundraisers over the years. Included in the display are two of her dolls (numbers 5 and 8 from the left) and lots of fabric and yarn and doll parts ready for more!

There was a crabby gentleman at the display, saying it was sacrilegious having these dolls in church. I said to him, "I think a lot of these dolls have been to church many times over the years. And, think of how these dolls taught their owners to be good parents." He sighed, and said he could maybe see that. He still wasn't happy, but I gave him something to think about.

doll clothes

All of our dolls had many clothes made by our mother out of leftover yardage from her sewing her and our clothing.
The pictured dolls are models--not ours--we never had a real Barbie Doll. We had three of the knock-off ones.
From what I remember, Mom and our neighbor, Joyce Dykstra, made a huge pile of duplicate outfits for their daughters and nieces.All of my cousins' doll clothes got snaps and hooks & eyes, but ours never got them.
Janna thought she could talk mom into doing that about 48 years later, but Mom didn't go for it. She did wash and iron them, and a bit of mending here and there.
Alas, still no snaps or hooks & eyes.

Janna has an ingenious way of having these shows at her church--table leaves are placed over the bench backs, or card tables are placed standing on the pews. It makes a sturdy surface for display.
Past shows using this method have been for Baptism Gowns and for Military uniforms and memorabilia.  Next year will be farm toys.

doll quilts--and a sneak peak!

My sister Janna organized a doll show at her church. I'll have some photographs soon of that. Here in the choir loft she displayed doll quilts made or used by five generations of our family.
In the background is the quilt of children, An Extravagant Welcome! My mother helped me finish the binding.
I will post photographs of it once I have a good weather day along with willing and cooperative quilt holders. By the behavior of those I live with, this may be a while.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

more of mom's scraps

I made some more spools with my mother's scraps. Some of our childhood clothing in this group. Also, some feedsacks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

grandmother's choice--flag, schoolhouse, corn and beans, northwind

I see there are several others of you out there substituting blocks for those where Barbara Brackman uses sadistically odd measures.
I made my own schoolhouse block, and, in honor of our corn harvest and preparing for a soybean crop, chose a Corn and Beans variation. With the Ken Burns' Dust Bowl series on tv this week, I chose a Northwind block. Mom pointed out to us several places along the fencerows of the farm where the dust that built up in the mid 1930s remains and where volunteer trees grew to now large ones. She said at times the dust was red from land in Kansas and Oklahoma, so unlike the black dirt of Iowa.

Here is my mother as a schoolgirl in pigtails, about 1940.

Her memories of the Dust Bowl years:
 I remember Papa talking about the government ordering all those cattle and hogs to be killed.  It seemed such a waste to do that while many people were going hungry.  Some of the dust that came to Iowa was the red dust from Kansas and Oklahoma.  The Milwaukee railroad went through our land, after the dust storms there were big banks of dirt and dust, just like snow banks.  Those banks are still there the little saplings we saw in the thirties and forties are large trees now.  There were a lot of prairie flowers along the tracks too.  

It was dry and dusty here too, but not as bad as in Oklahoma.  Later the grasshoppers came and ate the grain.  I think it was in the thirties that they started planting all those big windbreaks in South Dakota to prevent erosion.  Hubert Humphrey was a big advocate of that and it did help.  Now in the last twenty or thirty years a lot of those windbreaks were destroyed.  We saw that in Alaska too, some of the windbreaks were not taken care of and just gone wild.  
In North Dakota where they first started mining coal, they did not clean up the area after they removed the coal and that land is full of hills with trees and bushes.  But now when the mine is finished, they level the land and plant crops on it.  We belonged to the Lyon County REC and our electricity came from those coal mine areas in North Dakota.  Dad and I took a couple of bus trips to that area several years ago.  It reminded me of the polders in Holland.

 The Farmers’ Holiday Association’, it was a movement in 1932 – 1934 that got kind of rough in the LeMars and Sioux City area.  They even put a noose around a judge’s neck, he was ordering foreclosures on a lot of farmers.   I remember hearing about dumping the milk.  The Depression was a difficult time.  Some people got very desperate.  A lot of anxiety in those days.  We were poor, and so was everyone else.   We felt sorry for the city people.  The farmers had cattle, hogs, and chickens to butcher, we canned the meat, because we did not have electricity and freezers.  We also had big gardens so we canned a lot of vegetables and applesauce.  I remember Mama used a kerosene stove in the summer time to do her canning, cooking and baking.  The big stove that used cobs and wood would make the house too hot in the summer.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

making a tree--with apologies to Joyce Kilmer

This block finishes 16 inches. I developed this pattern, adapting several antique blocks. Use at your pleasure.
I used a Timeless Treasures red--this was on the label:
Timeless Treasures 239930 Tonga red B9390
Here is the thing with red--always buy a fabulous red. And lots of it. I bought the bolt. (14.7 yards)
I used about 7 different green batiks. In the quilt I put one lighter green in a different place on the left side of every tree.
(I use the EZ angle in cutting my triangles and will put those measures in parenthesis.)
3 triangles cut from two 6 7/8 squares, cut once diagonally--one left over (cut from 6 1/2 inch strip) I see that two triangles didn't make the picture. They will show up later.
24 triangles cut from twelve 2 7/8 inch squares, cut once diagonally (cut from 2 1/2 inch strips)
3 squares cut 2 1/2 inches
2 rectangles cut 4 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches
30 triangles cut from fifteen 2 7/8 inch squares, cut once diagonally (cut from 2 1/2 inch strips)
4 squares cut 2 1/2 inches
1 triangle cut from one  6 7/8 squares, cut once diagonally--one left over (cut from 6 1/2 inch strip)
One 4 1/2 inch square

Piece 24 squares with the smaller triangles
Piece one square with the large tree and one of the large background triangles
Use the small tree squares to make sew-and-flip triangles on the 4 1/2 inch sides of the two background rectangles.
Lay out the large pieced square, the 4 1/2 inch tree square, and the two backgrounds with the flipped triangles out to make the trunk.
Lay out the tree, watching placement and directions of the triangles.
Piece the rows, put the rows together, and put the large background triangles onto the rows.
Assemble and press and admire!
I used this block for a pillow to be presented to the Schuenemann family. I added 2 1/2 inch strips on each side before quilting, trimming it all to about 20 inches after quilting then making a lap-back pillow.

Here it is on our new white sofa--are we crazy soon-to-be empty nesters or what?
The quilt has 9 blocks, with 4 alternating plain blocks plus setting triangles. I used an 8 inch border and used the red in the binding. It measures about 82 inches square.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

morgenrot (red sky at morning) 2012

Morgenrot (Red Sky at Morning) is a quilt commemorating the Schuenemann family and their contributions to the City of Chicago and to St Pauls Church. They sailed the Christmas tree ship on Lake Michigan for many years. The Rouse Simmons went down in 1912 and all aboard were lost.

St Pauls is having a Shuenemann festival this month and asked me to make a quilt to help raise funds for a plaque honoring the family and the ship on the 100th anniversary of the loss. The plaque will be placed on the Clark Street bridge.

Quilt is about 82" by 82".  Block is 16 inches finished.
Quilted by Suzette Fisher.
It was a joy to make.
I'll post soon with block instructions.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

sewing in church

I was asked to make a stole for the congregation to present to our new senior pastor upon his installation this afternoon.
I've been working a lot lately and did not budget enough time to finish it.
I got the machine work completed at about midnight and put out the call to several friends to sit with me in the balcony and work on the binding during this morning's service.
We sewed through the hymns.
We sewed through the sermon.
We sewed through the offertory.
(We put our needles down during the prayers.)
We sewed through the postlude and well after the service.
Finished it 28 minutes before the installation service.

Thank you to Bobbi, Nancy, and Jennifer for keeping me calm and getting it done!

Monday, October 15, 2012

pink spools

I needed some variety in my pinks for my spool quilt, and my small group came through with giving me a nice assortment of 10 inch strips to make these.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

grandmother's choice--Alice's flag, Aunt Eliza's star, New Jersey

Getting caught up on Barbara Brackman's Grandmother Choice sampler with blocks celebrating votes for women. Still need to applique a star on the striped block.
Andy's grandmother, Catherine Sorace Cervasio, about 1930.
Born in New York City. She gave me Italian cooking lessons by mail when Andy and I were newlyweds.

Friday, October 12, 2012

tip # 24 threading the binding

When pressing binding, I thread it up through the grate at the end of my ironing board. This helps keep it untangled as I pull it up to press. On the other end, the pressed binding puddles on the floor.

Monday, October 08, 2012

hanging chads

Just back from my quilter, Suzette Fisher. The block is scaled down from one Judy Laquidara posted on her Patchwork Times blog.

Made from deconstructed shirt parts.
My blocks finish 4 inches square.
Darks, two 2 1/2 inch squares and two 1 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch rectangles.
Lights, two 1 1/2 inch by 2 1/2 inch rectangles. Named for the effect of the notorious ballots.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

mood! swatch!!

Alas, no Tim Gunn.
I was in New York last week and made a stop at Mood.
It was fun to see the shopping haunts of Project Runway, and of course, the dog Swatch.

I picked up two pieces of fabric that I will share with my neighbor, Sharon.
I already used bits of them in these spool blocks.
Make it work!

Friday, October 05, 2012

tip #23 speed pressing

Along with chain piecing and cutting, there is also chain pressing.
I press patches one over the other,
I off set each patch by about 1/2 inches so the seams don't pile up.
Place patch and open with left hand, press with iron in right hand.
Pick up next patch, place about 1/2 inch to left, and press.
Over, and over, and over.
You get a motion and a rhythm going that makes the pressing go very quickly.

Think about what all happens with pressing.
The hot iron relaxes the fibers then dries them under pressure to smooth.
I usually set the seam, pressing the patch as it was sewn. This embeds the sewing thread into the fabric.
But, I find that when I speed or chain press, the warmth of the previous patch relaxes the next patch enough that I can press without setting the seam.

I also do a count as I press to give myself a running total.
In this photograph I was working in sets of 10 for the boatload of half square triangles I needed to make a bunch of trees.
The block (on point) is 16 inches finished. I use old flat plate (no steam) irons so there are no holes for the corners of the patches to catch in.