Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you're enjoying some turkey and family time this weekend. We're celebrating with our usual "Waltz Across Texas" to visit lots of family. So fun to catch up and see what's new at their houses.

The US has the latest Thanksgiving day. I wish ours coincided with Canada's. Friendlier, more uniform and perhaps we wouldn't feels so rushed. Kaja and I have discussed Christmas preparations for a while. We both like desserts; mince and Christmas cakes are her favorites while sweet potato and quince pies are mine. However, cornbread dressing is my absolutely favorite item. We serve it at both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Despite dressing being a national dish {if America can ever be said to have one} recipes vary wildly from one region to the next: white or yellow cornbread, white bread, wild rice. People can get into heated arguments which is best. Like O. Henry's story, A Cosmopolitan in a Cafe, we're very worldly until dressing is on the table. I prefer yellow cornbread with sausage, mushrooms, and apples - so much so that I don't even serve potatoes until leftovers roll around so there's more room for dressing.

Double Vision - Circular Anomaly
Here are the pinks I pulled for Circular Anomaly, the quilt I started in Louisa Smith's class last month. I folded fabrics into smaller squares to see what they look like...

Pink and red fabric hugs and kisses on Circular Anomaly quilts. Double Vision quilts
Foreground fabrics chosen for Circular Anomaly

and then cut many of them into kisses rather than hugs. Now that most are cut I moved the rest to the side so I can plan the intersection of these x's and o's.

Pink and red fabric hugs and kisses on Circular Anomaly quilts. Double Vision quilts.
Continuing foreground placement of Circular Anomaly

In the top left, one background blue has a large pink rose. Do you think it looks better with hugs or kisses?
Hugs or kisses for Circular Anomaly quilt block. Double Vision quilt.
Should the foreground of this block be hugs or kisses?

Wherever you are I hope you spend some time with family and friends - in person or by phone. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Beading the Christmas Stockings

Our family's stockings are gaudy, loud, and out-of-style but they are the ones we grew up with. Most children like shiny and colorful with jingles; we were no exception. My mother told us not to put them on our feet. Of course we did... and found they didn't fit. It took me years to realize the lining is a simple tube; it doesn't reach to the toe at all, only to the heel. Thank goodness or we'd have ruined them.

Many wonderful patterns for quilted stockings have been published over the years. Almost every family I know has a set of their own. Whatever they look like, it's a joy of the season to group them on the mantel annually. QS made two pair for her in-laws: one to keep at their house and the other pair if they visit hers. Subtle and tasteful.

String quilted Christmas stockings  with holly applique.
Christmas stockings for the in-laws

But they aren't "ours." So back to bright and bling-y. Or loud and brash. Whatever.

Decisions for the first stocking include the Bethlehem star, the New Horizon satellite flying by Pluto, a Christmas tree, a butterfly, a sailboat, and his Yorkie. This one should have been finished last year but it's only getting started now. Bad Santa!

Beads and sequins on velveteen Christmas stockings.
Starting the 2016 Christmas stocking

Each object takes me two or three days to bead. I'm not fast... and sometimes I'm not too good either. For example, the mainsail looks okay but I'll be replacing the jib.

Beads and sequins on red velveteen Christmas stockings.
Partially beaded Christmas stocking
On the other hand, the bunny is delightful and the tree's ornaments swing freely. I beaded the Yorkie's hair so some of the beads stand up, mimicking his rough coat. Pretty good.

Friends told me to use Nymo thread, made for beading. Check. If there was any doubt, you can tell I'm not a regular beader. That needle was straight just a while ago. Any advice about how I should be holding it would be appreciated.

Nymo thread with a bent beading needle
Nymo thread and a bent beading needle

Two more ornaments to go {plus the jib.} It will be complete once the name is beaded across the top, the parts are sewn together, and bells are added. Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. I'd better get busy.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

What do the Fairmont and my Christmas Stocking Have in Common?

I toured the Fairmont with San Francisco Walking Tours and enjoyed learning the history of this hotel. Sitting atop Nob Hill, the Fairmont has wonderful views of both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. Barely finished, the Fairmont burned during the 1906 earthquake but reopened a year later to become a city hub.

Golden Gate and Bay bridges from Fairmont Hotel
Golden Gate and Bay Bridges from Fairmont

The United Nations formed here in 1945; its charter was drafted in the Garden Room. A few years later Dorothy Draper remodelled the hotel using flamboyant colors and luxury fabrics. Her Modern Baroque style was "the opposite of minimalism."

Fairmont Hotel lobby
Fairmont lobby 

The Carousel Bar once incorporated a working antique one. That is gone but delightful murals still decorate the walls.

Carousel Bar, Fairmont Hotel
Murals of circus performers decorate the Fairmont's Carousel Bar

Like Dior's New Look, these exotic fabrics and colors celebrated the end of the war and rationing! After the tour I realized my family's Christmas stockings came from this same era. Bright red velveteen with green apple taffeta lining. Beading, sequins, and bells. More is more indeed.

Velveteen Christmas stocking with beads, sequins, jingle bells.
My Christmas stocking

A family friend made the first one. Then my mother {had to} sew others as the rest of us appeared. They always look merry and bright strung along the mantle. For years I never saw these stockings anywhere else. A family from my home state moved to town. Surprise. Their stockings are twins to ours. I wonder if the original pattern was in a local newspaper or magazine.

When it was time to make stockings for my children I wanted to update them somehow. Halley's comet appeared soon after my eldest so that was beaded on her stocking below. {It looks more like a paramecium.} Then I added a rocket for the many shuttle flights. Thus began began the Heavenly Additions.

Velveteen Christmas stocking with beads, sequins, jingle bells,.and Space events.
Daughter and SIL's Christmas stockings

The Voyager 2 flyby of Neptune is commemorated on one; the Ulysses boost past Jupiter on another. Neither SIL nor DIL had a stocking. His (above) highlights Discovery's spacewalk by astronaut Dale Gardner to retrieve the Westar VI satellite. Hers depicts the Rosetta landing on Comet 67P. That's the purple mass on the righthand stocking below... in case you can't tell. Over the years, my abilities have dropped off and it looks as odd as Halley's comet.  Or perhaps I can only bead planets, not comets. {I also cheated a bit; this is the year they married, not the year she was born.}

Velveteen Christmas stockings with beads, sequins, bells and Space events.
Christmas stockings celebrating space mission highlights: Ulysses, Voyager2, and Rosetta

DIL's still has a blank spot where I plan to add her wedding bouquet. I'm just a bit chicken about ruining the ribbons. Their names (covered in the photos) are written with beads and sequins across the white felt cuff.

With the arrival of grandchildren I'm busy making more. One should have been finished a year ago. Oops. The new velveteen is cardinal red rather than the former deep blue/red but the lining is still bright green. Although I drafted a paper pattern long ago, now I just use one sample as a guide.

Cutting Christmas stockings from velveteen
Cutting new Christmas stockings from velveteen

They all need a Christmas tree and then it's time to let loose: snowmen, reindeer, stars, butterflies, bells. Here are the events I'm considering.
  • For 2015: Discovery of Kepler-452b (possible Earth 2) by Kepler or New Horizons flyby of Pluto
  • For 2017: Total Solar eclipse or Cassini-Huygens satellite entering Saturn's atmosphere
Two yards each of the velveteen and lining will make six stockings. More than enough. I cut all six; they can lay flat at the bottom of the stocking box. The velveteen won't crease and I'll know where to find them... perhaps. {I have become a champion squirrel-er-away.}

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Circular Anomaly on the Last Day of Class

One of the problems with taking a class {or attending a retreat} is which fabrics to take. And how much of each. I'm not sure which bothers me more: running out or "wasting" fabric by pre-cutting the wrong amount. In consequence I bring laundry baskets of fabric. But this time especially I'm determined to try something different.

Deciding a little waste beats a lot of fabric hauling, I precut both the reds and the blues into squares. It was only during the class I determined to fuse the foreground. {It's not my favorite method but makes the most sense in this case.}

As another change from my usual practice, I chose her Circular Anomaly design. {It's the fifth image on CT's page.} This should allow me to delve more deeply into her process and circumvent technical issues. Usually I try to branch into my own design during the class. According to Louisa's plan the background is squares or rectangles. {No waste there. ;-) } It is layered with what she calls hugs and kisses.

In both her book and her class Louisa shows several construction methods including piecing and applique with and without fusing. Intended use informs your sewing choice. I'm cutting the centers out of the fusible to minimize stiffness. Even the best fusibles make quilts quite rigid and this only needs to hold until it's sewn. {I did consider glue basting, something Louisa didn't mention. I forgot to ask her why.}

Progress by end of class.

Circular Anomaly quilt in progress
Top layer arrangement of my Circular Anomaly quilt
Why isn't the lower left covered with reds? Well... They simply didn't work. The blues run from white to navy but the reds only ran to medium pink. There wasn't enough contrast at that end. Louisa and I placed those pink circles on the dark blues and it just looked lost/washed out. By moving them to different areas, I realized where they looked best. That's fine but means I will be digging out more fabric when I get home. {Perhaps I should have brought it all.}

No. I wouldn't have gotten further with more fabric. I'd have spent all my time picking and choosing colors. Made that mistake last class with her. Time to move on to a "new mistake." Ha. This way I concentrated on color placement of what was here. And there's quite enough - over one hundred squares. Including the backs, that's more than enough choices to make during one day.

BTW, Louisa doesn't overlay her foregrounds as squares. It was my own idea to make the single color flow across the quilt. This idea is another coping mechanism from Strips 'n Curves where I used way too much fabric. It sounds great; after all, who doesn't love more fabric. But in reality, the colors didn't segue quickly enough. Templates ended up covering only a single value when they could have ranged much further.

I pulled some pink fabrics at home that evening. Some don't seem quite right but it's late and the color is way off in this photo. The blue tints into white. Should the reds range into a white background Should there be more medium pinks? Things to consider.

Here's the final shot of the evening. Watching the grid emerge in the top right is quite exciting.

Top layer choices for Circular Anomaly quilt
Top layer choices for Circular Anomaly quilt

The Double Vision book is quite thorough on its own. Louisa covers an amazing number of variations on the theme of optical illusions. She makes these complicated patterns doable. When instructions repeat, she refers the reader to another section. Some readers didn't like this but I found it more honest than pretending each quilt is entirely disconnected from the others.

Louisa also discusses fabric, color, construction, and thread in her book. You could learn her technique without a class but you'd miss her upbeat personality, her hands-on attention to each student and her contagious enthusiasm for quilting. If you have the opportunity, take her class, too.

Reading blogs about everyday life in various parts of the world is one of my secret treats. Bookreader blogs are also a delight although most don't last that long. I like to think they've gotten lost in their books.

More recently I've found a couple that share poetry. I'm so well-trained by book reading that I often read cover-to-cover in one sitting. Reading one poem a day in a blog post causes me to stop and think more. Threadcatcher posted Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye. What do you think? Can we only become kind after sorrow? Are older people kinder? Why do some people choose kindness while others choose hatred? How do we make the kind choice?

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

First Day of Double Vision Class

Today is Election Day in the US. I voted. Have you?
Democracy doesn't work without everyone's input.

"It is the duty of every citizen to vote on Election Day."

Lots of fun with Louisa and my classmates. One of the best things about classes is seeing the variety of fabrics and ideas each participant brings.

Boy, I'm glad I pre-cut my fabrics. Here's my final layout for a background. Of course it took several iterations: take photos, move squares, repeat. Digital cameras are so helpful in this process.

Blue fabric squares shading from white to navy make Double Vision quilt background.
Arranging background for a Double Vision quilt

Two rows sewed by lunchtime. After a short break we returned to our machines and the background sewing was completed by the end of the day. The colors in this shot are so much truer than the previous photo.

Blue fabric squares shading from white to navy form the background of a Double Vision quilt
Background for my Double Vision quilt sewn

Environmental Progress That Caught my Eye

For years I've known willows are good choices for wastewater remediation. Anyone on septic systems probably knows this, too. Here are some links to articles from countries around the world. {Unfortunately most links are not https but you can at least get a feel for the research depth.}

However, I didn't know about newer research involving poplars. These trees naturally remediate groundwater but often at the expense of their own health. John Freeman, a plant physiologist at NASA, conducted an experiment at a Superfund site in the Bay Area. He fortified half the poplars planted with bacteria from healthy poplars at a TCE-contaminated site in the Midwest. Results show the trees reduced TCE to undetectable levels, pulled out other contaminants, and actually resulted in healthier trees. A better way to clean up some toxic wastes. Good news indeed.

Found in sites worldwide and now linked to cancers and Parkinson's, TCE was used as an industrial solvent and degreaser. It mixes with groundwater and is easily volatilized. That means it gets into the air. If your house is well insulated, concentrations build. In that respect, it reminds me of radon. People who live on granite understand.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Prepping for Louisa Smith Workshop

The next US Election Day is November 7. Go vote.
At Ellis Island I saw a photo of citizenship classes with this instruction on the chalkboard:

"It is the duty of every citizen to vote on Election Day."

There is always talk of our rights but very little mention of responsibilities. I wish everyone would heed this message.

Double Vision Workshop
Louisa Smith spoke to my guild last month about her new book, Double Vision Quilts, and showed examples of her gorgeous work. She has such a wonderful sense of color and is always interested in curved piecing, especially Drunkard's Path variations.

Book cover of Double Vision Quilts by Louisa Smith
Double Vision Quilts by Louisa Smith

You can see the relationship between these quilts and her earlier series, Strips 'n Curves. We were the first group to hear her newest lecture, What If? That phrase inspired her to develop ideas into quilts and turn a series of quilts into a book.

Book cover of Strips 'n Curves by Louisa Smith
Strips 'n Curves by Louisa Smith
During Louisa's Strips 'n Curves class, I made a safari quilt for my sister but had lots of "made yardage" left. Her upcoming visit spurred me to finally finish the leftovers from her Strips 'n Curves class.

Now I'm ready to cut up more fabric for a new class. And somehow my stash never seems to decrease. I think it multiplies like Tribbles.  The two colors occupying the most space in my stash are sky blue and cherry red into pink. No idea how this will turn out but, "No fabric was purchased for the production of this quilt." With this King's X: friend Gayle gave me several bits from her stash. They aren't reducing my stash but at least I didn't purchase them. Perhaps they're helping reduce her stash. How altruistic of me. ;-)

Fabric pull of blues and reds for Circular Anomaly quilt
My fabric pull for Double Vision class

Last time I took all my fabric to cut during class. I won't make that mistake this time. I'm pre-cutting everything into squares. It's a lot less weight to lug around.

If It's October, It Must be Time for a Cold
As seems to happen every fall, I'm again fighting a lingering cold. The older I get, the more these drag me down. We have lots of supplies on hand, just need a minion to make and serve them. Ha.

My mother made tiny dishes of soup, jello, fruit, and sherbet when we children were sick. She brought them to our bedside on a lovely tray. Only three or four bites of each, then more medicine and back to sleep. What a tender memory.

Once when my sons were in grade school I woke from a fever to find they'd left a note for me under a small silver bell. It was so touching to think they were channeling their grandmother and me. Nope. The message read, "We took your TV. Ring the bell if you want it back."

Enjoy the day, Ann

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Kaleidoscope of Butterflies 22, Pillow Progress, and Natural History Museum

How's that for an all-inclusive title?

Although I've seen butterflies here, they've been too quick or shy for photos. My daughter had much better luck at her house where she found thirty or forty Painted Ladies enjoying the daisies. They look like monarchs or frittaries, don't they?

Orange and black Painted Lady butterflies feed on white and yellow shasta daisies
Painted Lady butterflies feeding on daisies

Lots of beauty everywhere. I started more butterfly blocks but trimmed them incorrectly. Fortunately only a few were lost. Unfortunately the parts I lost are the green background which, of course, is the critical path. When it runs out the size of the quilt is set.

Quilt block units as leaders or enders
Butterfly wing blocks
Until my trimming mistake I'd developed a good rhythm using these as leaders and enders. Obviously I need to pay much more attention before cutting anything. Words to live by.

Enough have been sewn that I'm beginning to have design ideas. The blocks will will take a while to finish. Perhaps they will be done by springtime when their real counterparts reappear.

Our bee continued working on the improv pillows. Because it's so small I straight pinned the layers. So much easier than safety pins! The batting is patched together and the backing is the ugliest plaid. Additionally it's a very rough, coarse weave. Yuck. Inside a pillow is the perfect place for it.

Improv pillow top of nine six-inch blocks made of three vintage men's shirts.
Pillow top pinned

The afternoon passed with wide-ranging discussions while I quilted narrow matchstick lines.

Quilting improv pillow top. Blocks made of three vintage men's shirts.
Quilting narrow channels on the improv pillow top

Here's the finished pillow top.

Improv pillow top of nine six-inch blocks made of three vintage men's shirts.
Improv pillow top of three vintage shirts finished with channel quilting in tan.

At the next meeting I'll work on the back.

I spent my final day in NYC at the Natural History Museum, location of the first Night at the Museum movie.  Teddy Roosevelt is still hanging around the front entrance - inside and out.

Two statues of Teddy Roosevelt at the American Museum of Natural History
Two statues of Teddy Roosevelt, American Museum of Natural History, NYC
I've been before and knew it could be a multi-day visit so this time I headed straight to the Mineralogy rooms. They are dark; photos don't do the exhibits justice.

There were several cases of gold including fabulous leaf golds. The large one, from the Harvard Mine in Tuolumne County CA, is called the Sonoran Sun and weighs 2539.2g (81.65 Troy oz.) As you'd expect these beautiful examples are worth more than their weight.

Leaf gold ore samples at American Museum of Natural History
Crystallized leaf gold in quartz, American Museum of Natural History, NYC

Gerhard Becker of Sierra County, CA, carved this Bison from gold in quartz matrix.

Bison. Carved by Gerhard Becker. Gold in quartz matrix. American Museum of Natural History
Bison, gold in quartz matrix by Gerhard Becker
Not nearly as showy are the evaporites. These minerals form in alkali lakes of the Great Basin region. Who remembers the old TV show Death Valley Days sponsored by 20-Mule Team Borax and partly hosted by Ronald Reagan? Borax is third from the left on the top row.

White and grey Evaporite samples at the American Museum of Natural History
Evaporite samples at the American Museum of Natural History

On my way out I saw this ventifact from Antarctica, a rock carved by wind...

Ventifact from Antarctica at the American Museum of Natural History
Ventifact, a wind-carved rock from Antarctica
and hung out with the barosaurus in the rotunda. Paleontologists are still arguing whether or not she could have reared on her hind legs like this {although it makes a dramatic display}; however, they all agree her young one is actually a kaatedocus. {Kaate- is a Crow Indian diminutive. So her name means "cute little diplodocus relative." Who says paleontologists don't have a sense of humor?}

Barosaurus with kaatedocus, American Natural History Museum, NYC
Barosaurus with kaatedocus, American Natural History Museum, NYC

We left NYC before the latest incident. My prayers go out to the New Yorkers hurt in lower Manhattan yesterday.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Scrappy Trip Quilt Gifted and Lady Liberty

The orange peel quilting is finished and the binding is on so this little quilt was washed, dried, and delivered to the Boy Who Likes Green.

Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt in greens with red diagonals
Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt

Three pieces of green fabric were used on the back.

Three green fabrics make the back of this toddler quilt
Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt back
Gayle gifted me the green for the binding. She was tired of it; there was just enough for this small quilt.

Binding is a medium green print on this Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt
Detail of binding on Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt

Here's a closeup of the quilting. Not bad.

Orange peel curved free motion quilting on Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt
Detail of Orange peel quilting

Quilt Details
Size: 43"" x 43"
Design: Scrappy Trip Around the World
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon100% cotton
Thread: grey Aurifil cotton 50/2 thread
Quilting: Orange peel with walking foot

Personally, Mountain Mist is one of my favorites but the batt does shrink with the first wash. {About two-inches in this case but it's been as much as four inches.} I like the crinkled effect on the quilting, the very light weight, and prefer these 100% cotton batts.

Previous posts:
The other Scrappy Trip was mailed, too, but in the rush to get to the post office I forgot to take a photo. Here's the top. These quilts were made sequentially so have similar fabrics although this second one has more pinks. The back is pink, too.

Green Scrappy Trip quilt with pinks and reds on the main diagonal
The second Scrappy Trip has pinks and reds on the main diagonal

Until the previous post went live I didn't realize it was all about "man" quilts - either for men or made by men. War and Pieced is at the American Folk Art Museum in NYC until January 7. It moves to the International Study Center at the University of Lincoln-Nebraska on May 25 and runs till September 16, 2018. Hopefully you will be able to see it at one of these museums.

Lady Liberty
I was finally able to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Tickets to these sites sell out well in advance; there was only one left when we found out we were going to NYC. I took it and planned everything else around it. The overcast day made great photos.

Statue of Liberty lit by low angle sun shining through clouds
The Statue of Liberty

Sculpted by Frederic Bartholdi, the statue is a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States. I knew the pedestal was built by the people of the US but didn't know the statue languished in storage for eight years until Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian immigrant, created a unique fundraising concept. Every person who donated at least a penny had their name published on the front page of his paper. He raised $100,000 in five months from 125,000 Americans and new arrivals. An immigrant with a newspaper.

"Immigrants. We get the job done."

I also didn't know Gustav Eiffel built the infrastructure of the statue. A wrought iron central pylon with a framework for cross-braced iron angle bar looks a bit like the Eiffel Tower. Flat iron bars connect the skin support system to the frame and act like springs allowing the skin to adjust to temperature and wind changes. Spectacular.

Statue of Liberty cutaway model shows interior framework designed by Gustav Eiffel
Model cutaway of the Statue of Liberty showing the framework

The pedestal sits on Fort Wood, an eleven-point star fort built in 1808. The design came from French engineers so, of course, it reminds me of Fort Ticonderoga (which you remember was built by the French.)

Low angle sun highlights the Statue of Liberty on Fort Wood base
The Statue of Liberty
New Yorkers are the kindest people. They helped with my large bag on the subway and stopped to give directions. I so appreciated their friendly help. Thanks, New York!

Linking with Oh, Scrap and Finish it up Friday. Check the lovely quilts there.

Enjoy the day,

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Phillies Baseball Quilt, Soldier Quilts and AHIQ 26

Perfect timing. The World Series starts tonight between the Houston Astros and LA Dodgers. Neither FO’s Phillies nor my Giants made post-season appearances but his quilt is bound, washed, and gifted. This is the final quilt for the Great Debaters. Remember those adorable friends of my youngest who wrangled over who should have received a graduation quilt?

I alternated left- and right-handed ball players. On my first attempt I turned the templates over but between front and back of fabrics and templates got myself turned around. It was easier to make two template sets: one for lefties and the other for righties.

The gloves were originally drawn with curves but I quickly found that unnecessary. Simpler is better. Sashing color seemed a difficult choice since the team colors were covered by the red shoes and blue caps. Happily this two fabric choice worked wonders. The true whites strengthen the quilt by pushing the value range. The outer border might be a bit wide. I simply cut the fabric into four equal lengths and didn’t want to trim it off in the end. After all, FO is a grown man. He needs the size.

Making the field of different greens added life to the top. Still, this quilt uses far fewer fabrics than most of mine.

What fun to design and sew! But... I've created a bit of a monster: every guy in my family wants one celebrating his team and several people have written asking for the pattern. There aren't many patterns of guys. Mostly we buy camping fabric or plaids and call it a guy quilt. Not that hearts and flowers are only for girls but this one has struck a chord with many people. I'm going to try to write up a pattern formally. After the holidays. Stay tuned. And thanks for the encouragement. :-)

Nine Phillies ballplayers stand on fields of green with gloves in hand, ready to play ball.
Phillies Baseball quilt 

DH thought team patches would be the cherry on the top. He insisted until I agreed he could buy one. He bought four. Plus four more for the Giants quilt he wants. {Someone doesn't want me to forget my promise.} One is the Philly Fanatic, probably the best mascot in all sports. He alone is worth the trip to a Phillies home game. Another celebrates their 2008 World Championship.

FO's name is behind the red-bordered box. Next is his university and graduation year. {Yep, this has been in the works for quite a while but he says it was worth the wait.} My son came up with the third line. Philadelphia is home to the Liberty Bell so the screen flashes, "Ring the Bell!" after home game home runs. The final four lines are a quote by Aaron Rowand.

The white and beige background fabrics include stripes, plaids, spiders, power poles and lines, and boat building plans.

Ring the Bell for Phillies home runs.
Phillies Baseball quilt back, owner's name whited out in photo

Detailed quilting might have showcased each section with a different designs but this quilt will be used heavily and {hopefully} washed frequently. After stitching in the ditch along the sashing, a curving, allover design will be the sturdiest choice.

The Baptist Fans come courtesy of Quilt Diva Julie who generously shared pointers. I couldn't have done it without her help. The only other time I sewed fans they were a disaster - misshapen, missized, mistaken. With Julie's encouragement and advice these worked so well I used them on the border as well as the players. {Why miss another place to practice?}

Phillies Baseball quilt, quilting details from back

Quilt Details
Size: 86" x 92"
Pattern: Original design
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: YLI nylon monofilament with white Gutermann and Presencia 50 wt grey cotton 
Quilting: Walking foot straight line and free motion Baptist Fans

There are quite a few previous posts about this quilt:
  1. An idea to celebrate baseball
  2. Field of Dreams
  3. Appliqueing Phillies in cursive
  4. Free-hand piecing letters for the back
  5. Making sentences
  6. Applique numbers
  7. Sewing the back together
  8. Baptist fan quilting

DH had an unexpected meeting in NYC. Guess who tagged along? So many things to see and places to go. First up.

War and Pieced: Quilts from Military Fabrics at the American Folk Art Museum showcases Soldier Quilts created 19th century British soldiers who served in Crimea, India, and South Africa. Calling them quilts is a courtesy classification as these are only one layer and frequently intended as wallhangings or gaming boards.

One of the soldier quilts from the exhibit War and Pieced at the American Folk Art Museum, NYC.
Soldier quilt with elaborate borders, India c. 1855-1875

British military uniforms were made from milled wool broadcloth which was also felted to produce a raised nap. Since the fabric could be cut without fraying, tailors and soldiers could cut it into complex pieces without seam allowances and hide the overstitching in the nap. Except for the embellishments on the front, they look the same from the front or the back. It's believed the fancy-cut fabrics were ejected from buttonhole punches or created with special die.

One of the soldier quilts from the exhibit War and Pieced at the American Folk Art Museum, NYC.
Detail of the elaborate border. Fabric may have been ejected from buttonhole punches.

Facings were dyed in regimental colors which included black, white, blue, buff, green, purple, and orange. Although many of the soldier-makers remain unknown, the theater they served in can be identified by the colors used in their quilts. For example, the mid-blues in the quilt above were only used by British regiments in India.

Did you know that different dyes were used for different ranks? The uniforms of common soldiers were dyed with madder and could turn purple or pink over time. NCOs, sergeants, and volunteer corps got "mock scarlet" created from a variety of dyes while true scarlet from cochineal dyes was reserved for officers.

One of the soldier quilts from the exhibit War and Pieced at the American Folk Art Museum, NYC.
Bright fabrics from military uniform facings
With longer periods of inactivity during Indian service, soldier quilts from that continent were brighter, more complex, and - inspired by that ancient Indian art - often included beading. Several are thought to have been made by orderlies who were frequently Indian tailors.

Quilting was promoted as a healthy antidote to the "canteen culture" of war and to provide employment to wounded soldiers. Who knew quilting keeps alcoholism at bay?

The simpler construction and limited color palette of the quilt below suggest it was made by a convalescing soldier. The four crosses at the bottom may mark graves of fallen comrades.

One of the soldier quilts from the exhibit War and Pieced at the American Folk Art Museum, NYC.
Soldier's Quilt: Square within a Square; Crimea, India or UK; c. 1850-1880
The final two photos below reminded me of Fort Ticonderoga. The blue design on the left looks like a star fort to me. On the right, the visible white threads are exactly what the soldier-guied used to sew uniforms at the Fort. I noticed all the threads that showed or mended these quilts were white.

Details of two of the soldier quilts from the exhibit War and Pieced at the American Folk Art Museum, NYC.
Two examples of the Soldier Quilt exhibit that reminded me of Fort Ticonderoga

The book Wartime Quilts: Appliqued and Geometric Masterpieces from Military Fabrics accompanies the exhibit and includes many more quilts. I had it shipped home to save luggage space. The Magazine Antiques posted an article last month explaining current understanding of these masterpieces. It has great photos, too.

Fourth Quarter AHIQ Invitation
We've all been busy. At first I thought it was summer vacation, then back-to-school but now realize we are all overcommitted for the year. Hardly anyone has time to comment. Perhaps we are disheartened by world politics which seem to focus on war and rumors of war. Fortunately, this vacation as it helped me realize I need to slow down, breathe, and reevaluate.

We considered another invitation but decided now is not a good time. Check Kaja's post for details. It's just what we all need.

What have you quilted this month? We could use something pretty to look at with details to enlighten.

Enjoy the day, Ann
An InLinkz Link-up

EDIT: Linking to Linda's Sew, Stitch, Snap, Share and to Finish it up Friday.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Quilting Baseball

We're one game away from the World Series so today's the day to start quilting the Phillies! First things first. Some stitch-in-the-ditch along the sashing just to keep areas a bit more enclosed. For about one-millisecond I considered quilting individual areas: the uniform, glove, background, etc. Nope. Too crazy. This is not a wall- or art-quilt. It will get heavy use by someone who will love it but perhaps not take perfect care of it. Let's go for sturdy instead.

QuiltDivaJulie made Zinderella recently with Baptist Fans. Oh, how beautiful. I've tried them before, not very successfully. She kindly sent me some pointers and I gave it another try.

On this first ballplayer I kept forgetting the design and made headbands instead of fans. Oh, well. There are eight more players.

Quilting the first baseball player
The second block worked out much better. Neither the lighting nor my eyesight is perfect so I overshot the eighth-inch gap I imagined before each fan blade. Mine go right up to the fan and travel over to the next spot. Sometimes I miscounted the number of blades in the fan but overall, it looks good. Thanks so much for the advice, Julie!

Phillies ballplayers in their home pinstripe uniforms stand of fields of green, ready to play ball.
Better Baptist Fan quilting on the second baseball player

I chose Presencia grey cotton thread for all the free motion and am very pleased with the thread and the color. Grey blends well with all these colors. Presencia is truly a long-staple Egyptian cotton: strong and low-lint. Over the years I've found that if thread does not explicitly state long-staple Egyptian, it creates more lint than I want.

Last week DH and I visited Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York. We deliberately planned the ferry crossing. Interestingly both captain and crew were women. There was a basket of local apples for sale on the honor system so we both enjoyed one. New England apples are a treat to all the senses. Tart, crispy, aromatic. Nothing tops locally grown.

Larabees-Ticonderoga ferry landing

Hotels and taverns formerly existed at the landing but have been burned or destroyed over the years. This building still stands, made from stones taken from Fort Ticonderoga across the lake. It may be a home now but still has the pulley to lift cargo to the top floor.

Larabee's Point Lakehouse

Originally built by the French, Fort Ticonderoga's star-shaped walls are typical defensive structures.  Due to the north-south mountain ranges and lakes, the fort occupies the strategic location between Canada and Boston/NYC. It's at the three-mile portage between Lakes Champlain and George. Unfortunately it could be bombarded from several mountains, a fact which the British used to capture it twice - once during the French and Indian Wars (aka the Seven Years War) and again in 1777.

Fort Ticonderoga appears as a small white line on the left peninsula in this panoramic view from the top of Mount Defiance

Panoramic view of Lake Champlain and Ft. Ticonderoga from Mount Defiance
Ethan Allen's Green Mountain Boys captured the fort in a surprise attack in May 1775. The cannon were shipped overland to break the siege of Boston forcing a British retreat - an early and major American victory.

While Americans hoped to encourage or coerce Canadians to join the Revolution, they used the fort as a staging point. British also used this passage to transport soldiers and materiel until General Burgoyne, trying to end the war by splitting the American forces, was surrounded at Saratoga when his troops from the south and west didn't arrive. His surrender, later commemorated in the Burgoyne Surrounded quilt pattern, marked the fort's decline as there were no more British troops to ferry south.

In 1820, the property was acquired by William Pell. His great-grandson, Stephen Pell, restored it and founded the non-profit association that runs it today.

Outside view of enlisted barracks at Ft. Ticonderoga

Each year the Fort highlights a different year from history down to the clothing, food, armaments, and occupants. Once past the gates, it became 1758 when the French held off a far superior British attack. The staff cast a four-pound cannon, built the carriage, and set it off daily - in French with an docent adding explanations in English.

Every guide seemed to hold a Master's degree in history or languages. Details flowed. As we walked around the Fort, they expounded on the socio-political realities and ramifications of events here and in France. I spent half an hour with the soldier guide above this barracks (four men to each mattress) while he made a new pair of breeches for a comrade. He used white thread to sew the blue and red boiled wool uniform. No matching thread in this era. The uniforms must have been hot in summer although he said the linen underclothes helped wick away sweat. {Hmm. Not sure that would be enough for me.}

Bunks in the enlisted barracks, Ft. Ticonderoga, NY
The 2018 season opens in May with a two-day reenactment of Ethan Allen's attack. Visitors can watch from Mount Defiance and other strategic points. I'd love to be there, wouldn't you?

The next AHIQ linkup is this Tuesday. Kaja has a clever idea for year's end. Check it out and link up your utility/improv work.

Enjoy the day, Ann