Friday, June 29, 2012

alphabet e,f, and g

Following along with Quilts by Cheri's alphabet blocks.
I have started to sketch out how I think the block will be made. Then, I await Cheri's instructions, and decide whether to make it her way or mine.
Or don't wait. I couldn't resist making the g.

coming to Chicago?

Here is a list of places I like to visit here in Chicago.
I encourage readers to post a list of their home-town favorites on their blogs.

Timeless Toys
4749 North Lincoln Avenue
WONDERFUL selection of toys--my kids loved this place. Last week I was able to go back to purchase a toy for my new grand-niece.

1220 West Webster Street
Great tea, great pastries. They use local ingredients, and had a quiche made with ramps that was so good this spring.

Julius Meinl at any of their locations, I usually go to the one at Montrose and Lincoln
4363 North Lincoln
I am not a coffee drinker, but the tea and hot chocolate are great here too. I love their breakfasts.

Fishman's Fabrics
1101 South DesPlaines Street
Not a quilt shop--hang out here and see the clothing and interior designers at work. Beautiful suitings. You can find fabric for suitable for quilting as they have a nice selection of lawns and shirtings. I bought tulle here to make a wedding veil for my nephew's bride. I bought my Bernina here.

Textile Discount Outlet
2121 West 21st Street
The store with the BEST ADDRESS EVER (meaning, I can remember it). It is a warehouse a block long. A very odd place with wonderful fabrics and trims. Lots of theater and costume designers come here; our Bible Story Theater costume design group shops here every year. Make sure you check out the basement.  Closed on Saturdays.

Patio Theater
6008 West Irving Park Road
Shows films 3-6 weeks after release. Well worth the wait to see a movie in a 1927 theater with velvet seats, floating clouds and twinkling stars on the ceiling, and great popcorn, all for $5 a ticket.

The Portage Theater
4050 North Milwaukee
A revival and special events/theme theater. Has an organist before the feature. I love the silent movie series.

Grant Park Music Festival
at Millennium Park
Bring a blanket and a picnic. Beautiful, just beautiful.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

a trip to the loop

Eve has an internship at City Hall this summer (now she knows a guy) and I joined her for breakfast this morning. I love this view down Clark Street towards the Board of Trade.
Here I am in at the Clark and Lake stop of the blue line. People are dressed for the 100 degree temperature today.
I have several choices of how to get home. Today, I get off at the Irving Park station.
The exit gate always make me feel like a boiled egg ready to be sliced.
I await the #80 bus under the L tracks and the expressway.
And come home to my lovely block.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

getting out of town

We took a few days away by traveling up to Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee Art Museum has two exhibits that are well worth the trip.
Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries is there until September.
The use of color and lettering on these delightful posters is fun. I love this insight into advertising of a hundred years ago. Naked women selling bicycles and lamp oil...

Face Jugs: Art and Ritual in 19th-Century South Carolina is there until August.
Wonderful to see these up close and learn how historians are teasing out how and why they were made. The current theory of an influx of slaves to the region bringing their cultural references is really interesting. They are much smaller than I thought they would be.

We also made a visit to the Domes where Andy took the above photograph of the delightful Pachystachys lutea (yellow shrimp plant).

And, of course, food.
Milwaukee has great restaurants of which we especially enjoyed Jake's Deli, Sobelman's, Meritage, and, a bit out of the city, Kopp's where I had the best Frozen Custard Strawberry Shortcake imaginable. I am going to dream about it! (And, possibly about their somewhat scary line of cows.)

mom's scraps--part six

I loved this print as a child--I couldn't wait for Janna to outgrow the dress mom used it for so that I could have it as a hand-me-down.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

alphabet c d

Following Quilts by Cheri's sew-a-long.
I altered the C a bit.

women to emulate

Last night I attended a reunion of a group of students the great Marykutty Mathews and I had the pleasure of teaching three years ago. This was a review class for nurses who had been out of patient care for a while and wanted re-enter the workforce.
I share this photograph with their permission--each has a wonderful story to tell and compassion to share. Nursing is all the better for these women in the profession and we are grateful to have them!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

a Sunday afternoon with 11 Meerdink men (and a dog)

My father with his dad, brothers, uncles, and cousins--the Meerdink Men.
Left to Right 1-My grandfather, Jurrien Dykstra (husband to Cynthia Meerdink), 2-uncle, Joel Dykstra, 3-great uncle Henry DeWild (husband to Dena Meerdink), 4-Robert Meerdink with dog, 5-great uncle Ben Meerdink, 6-uncle Donald Dykstra, 7-with the cigar great uncle George Meerdink, holding his son 8-George "Buddy", 9-Evert VanVeldhuisen, 10-great uncle Art VanVeldhuisen (husband to Jen Meerdink, and 11-my father, Leroy Dykstra.
(My grandmother's brother great uncle Henry "Hank" Meerdink is not pictured.)
about 1937
Remembering my father and grandfathers today with love.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Over at the blog Quilts by Cheri, she is sharing her method of making alphabet blocks.
She plans to post two a week.
I am using Kona Cotton and some other red solids (in several shades, scraps from other projects) for my background, and plaid shirts for the letters.
They are on a 1 inch scale, so these letters measure 7 inches finished with sashing (7 1/2 inches unfinished). You could scale up if desired.
Thanks, Cheri!

mom's scraps--part five

More bow ties from my mother's scraps. They include fabrics from her mother and mother-in-law, including true feedsack from which they fed the chickens!
It is interesting the variety of textures in cotton fabrics of the 1950s and 1960s. The weaves, slubs, thread changes all add to the interest.
When I touched the top right fabric of the second picture, there came a flood of memories of lying with my face on her lap in church.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

how to make a tree block--part three, sashings

Finished sashed block size is 8" by 9" (8 1/2 inches by 9 1/2 inches unfinished).
(Both blocks in the photograph are the same size--they don't look so partly because of my pressing, but also, there is an optical illusion caused by the colors.)

I make a block A and a block B so that when I put them together, there is no matching of seams between blocks.
Block A
Cut two pieces 2 inches by 6 1/2 inches to sew to sides.
Cut two pieces 2 inches by 8 1/2 inches to sew to top and bottom.
Press towards sashings.
Block B
Cut two pieces 2 inches by 5 1/2 inches to sew to top and bottom.
Cut two pieces 2 inches by 9 1/2 inches to sew to sides.
Press towards sashings.

Make half of the blocks A and half B, alternate them.

Next time: blocks of four.

how to make a tree block--part two, sewing


Tree top
Sew one of the 3 inch cut EZ angles to each side of the goose. Note the position of the pieces.
Press towards tree.
(I show some with dog ears on and some with removed--you may find your piecing more accurate with one way or the other--whichever way you choose, make sure you remove the dog ears before the last step to reduce bulk.)

Lower branches
Sew one of the 2 1/2 inch EZ angles to each side of the decapitated triangle.
Press towards tree.

Sew a 2 1/2 inch square to each side.
Press towards trunk

Sew tree together. Press treetop towards lower branches, and lower branches towards trunk.
It should measure 5 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches at this point.

Next time: Sashings

how to make a tree block--part one, cutting

There are lots of tree blocks out there. This simple, primitive tree is based on one that I saw about 25 years ago on a Ladies Circle Patchwork Quilts magazine. What a wonderful magazine that was.

I use the EZ angle and the Companion Angle rulers by Sharon Hultgren. When I have a choice when drafting a block, I try to get the geometry to work with these rulers. These are very useful rulers that are well worth the investment (and re-investment as I lose them in my sewing room...)


Cut a strip 2 1/2 inches by about 12 inches long.
Cut from left to right, one EZ angle at 2 1/2, one Companion angle at 2 1/2, one Companion angle at 3, and one final EZ angle.
Let's look closer at that second Companion angle patch. The first one was a goose, but the second is a decapitated triangle.

(The two EZ angle triangles are set aside. They are not part of the block, but I may choose to use them in the border. If not, they are ready to go for another project. By starting and ending your cutting with the EZ angle around the cutting for the Companion angles, you have two half square triangles of a usable size, and no waste.)

Trimming dog ears:
use the EZ angle to trim the dog ears off of the goose and decapitated triangle pieces.
(You may find your piecing more accurate with or without the dog ears in place--whichever way you choose, make sure you remove the dog ears before the last step to reduce bulk.)

Cut a strip 2 1/2 inches by about 17 inches long.
Cut two EZ angles at 3, two EZ angles at 2 1/2, two squares at 2 1/2.

 Let us look closer at those cut at 3.

Trimming dog ears: (not shown)
use the EZ angle to trim the dog ears off of the triangle pieces if desired.

Trunk fabric:
Cut strip 2 1/2 inch. Cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces for trunks.

two Wellesley women

Eve, class of 2014 and her grandmother, class of 1950.

Andy with the women in his life (sister, daughter, mother).  (I'm taking the picture.)

tip #21 stay stitching

When you look at quilt tops for sale, you find there is deterioration of the seams at the edges, and sometimes fraying of the edges.
My mother taught me to stay stitch along all edges in garment sewing, and it is good to do with quilt tops too.
I sew about 1/8 inch from the edge of the entire quilt top before my final pressing.
It stabilizes the edge until the top gets quilted. I do this even with quilts that are going straight to quilting, as it keeps everything in order at the edge of the top.
One important thing is to check the tension of your threads by tugging the edge a bit after sewing about 18 inches. If it pops, or if there is ruffling, you know you need to address your tension.
The top shown is the Extravagant Welcome--off this week to the quilter!


On Friday, November 22, 1912, the Rouse Simmons, heavily laden with 3,000–5,000 Christmas trees filling its cargo hold and covering its deck, left the dock at Thompson, Michigan. Some eyewitnesses to the Rouse Simmons's departure claimed the ship looked like a floating forest. Schuenemann's departure, however, coincided with the beginnings of a tremendous winter storm on the lake that sent several other ships to the bottom, including the South Shore, Three Sisters, and Two Brothers.
Each year in early December, the final voyage of Captain Schuenemann and the Rouse Simmons is commemorated by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, which makes the journey from northern Michigan to deliver a symbolic load of Christmas trees to Chicago's disadvantaged. Captain Schuenemann and the crew of the Rouse Simmons would be proud.


The Schuenmann family were members of St Pauls and we are having a festival in November commemorating the voyages of the Christmas Tree Ship and the centennial of its loss.
We had a similar festival in 2004 and I made this quilt for the event.

The committee has asked me to make a quilt again, and I have decided to make a more playful quilt this time, based on this little quilt I made years ago. My original quilt had the tree blocks about 4 by 4 1/2 before sashings. The new blocks will be 5 by 6 before sashings.

My mom had some beautiful solids in her stash that I claimed; I also have some nice Kona cottons. I will keep you posted on my progress.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

wonderful clothing details--Scholten photographs

Scholten cousins of my grandfather
 A friend of my Great Aunt Hattie (Hendreka) Scholten.
Front--cousins of my grandfather Jan Scholten. Back--some of their friends.
My grandparents, Jurrien "Jerry" and Cynthia (Meerdink) Dykstra
I love pictures of cold weather clothing. This is grandpa and grandma leaving for church.
They did smile in real life, just not for photographs. About 1950.

tip #20--cutting long borders

Several tips together here on how I cut long borders.

I first cut yardage from the length of grain, or piece segments from whatever I have, to a length a bit longer than I know I will need. I prepare two pieces, one for each side.
I cut two at once to ensure the quilt will be square.
Because I am pretty accurate with my sewing, I calculate what the border should measure. I add up the block measurements and sashings if included (this works with straight sets, not diagonal sets). I take this measure and divide by two. And I circle this final number.
So, if my math shows that the quilt border should be 107"
I divide by two and get 53.5.
My mat is 36", so I take a ruler, extend left from the 0 by 17.5 inches.
Fold the cut border in half, and place the fold at the end of the ruler.
Place a pin in the fold of each border.
Smooth it carefully until the ends fall beyond the mat.
Then place another ruler at the 36 inch mark.
I get the quilt, fold it in half, and lay it along the border. (The border might shrink a bit from the time I was smoothing--this is ok. Just make sure the left ruler remains in place.)
In this step, I fold the quilt at several places--the sides, middle, maybe one or two more. I watch to see that it measures close to what I want to cut it. I can always ease a bit.
This step ensures that my calculations are correct--I have several times discovered I was off by an inch or so, often by forgetting to calculate a first border correctly.
Also, I may find that the quilt top measures consistently larger or smaller than calculations predict--in which case, my sewing WASN'T as precise as I thought, and I know I need to cut my border a bit longer or shorter.
Once I am satisfied, I make the cut.
Then take the pin in the fold and place this on the center edge of the quilt.
Pin the start and end, and let the quilt tell me where I need to do some easing, pinning well.
Soon, how to put on a border with no pins!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

liturgical pieces

The first series, a pastor's stole, was made about 8 years ago for the ordination of Jeff Carlson.
The second, is for the music director, Kurt Hansen, in celebration of his 20 years at St Pauls.
I used Michael Miller's Fairy Frost fabrics for most of the materials. Technique--machine appliqué.