Friday, February 27, 2009

Oh nerts

My great idea isn’t working too well.
I’ll go get my hair done, and then tackle the hearts when I can find a stronger pair of glasses.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Design wall needed

Somehow in our great flurry of re-doing the workway-hallroom/office/sewing room I didn’t include a design wall. Quilters use design walls to arrange their quilt blocks and pieces so they can see how they all fit together. The walls are usually white or gray and are made with flannel or batting stretched over a rigid, yet soft surface. Fabric blocks will stick on the furry surface, or can be pinned to a design wall as the quilt progresses.
I need a design wall because Robert, for some unfathomable reason, is not willing to stand around for hours holding up fabric for me to study.

He did hold up the two strips of hearts I’ve been working on, but had to leave on an important errand before I’d finished my contemplating.

I think I’ve figured out how to join the heart strips without “Y-seams” so I’ll try it out today. If it works, I’ll only have 16 more strips to make for the complete heart quilt top.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Socks out

This is what I am wearing today in honor of Socks.
I read his obituary in the LA Times. It noted, “Socks relinquished the public spotlight in 2001 due to term limits and spent his retirement living in Maryland where he expected regular home cooking and was particularly fond of chicken…No memorial plans were announced. A private cremation was planned. Survivors are unknown.”

I seem to be posting a lot about clothes recently. I hope to have some quilting pictures very soon.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Flashback Friday -- Mrs. Sage's coat

This coat belonged to Margaret Olivia Sage. She rarely used her first name and was known as Olivia Sage or Mrs. Russell Sage.

Russell Sage was a miserly man. He amassed a fortune of $75 million (equivalent to about $1.53 billion in today’s money) and left it to his wife Olivia in 1906. She spent her fortune in ways Russell would not have approved. She set up the Russell Sage Foundation which was (and still is) dedicated to good works and social causes and research.

Mr. Russell Sage left his sister, Fanny Sage Chapin, $10,000 in his will. Mr. Sage did leave his nephews and nieces $25,000 each. One of his nephews was my granddad, Fremont Chapin. Fremont was considered a wealthy man when he inherited this money. In the 1930s, Fremont lost all his money in a Ponzi scheme, just like the recent Bernard Madoff investment fraud.

At least we have a coat and a few antiques as reminders of that great fortune.
I just purchased the book, Mrs. Russell Sage by Ruth Crocker. I’m reading it to learn more about my great, great aunt Olivia.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Quilting fabric, not just for quilts

Today’s Kona Bay newsletter trumpeted “The First Lady Wears Kona Bay!!" Kona Bay is a fabric manufacturer that sells exclusively to quilt stores, not chain fabric stores. The newsletter had a photo of Mrs. Obama wearing a full-skirted dress (designed by Tracy Feith) at a prayer breakfast. The fabric was from Kona Bay’s Emperor’s Collection. Perhaps the First Lady and designer Feith are just following my lead. I used some lovely quilt fabric called Imperial Garden by Michael Miller for a long skirt last year.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidential fabric

I bought this fabric a few years ago. It has all the U.S. presidents on it up through George W. Bush.
I want to make a simple wall hanging featuring our new president. (I would have featured John McCain if he had won the election.) I think it will be a memory of the times to be passed down to my great grandchildren. They can say, “Look at this old thing. She lived way back when Barack Obama was president.”

I am searching for a good image of Obama for the quilt. I found this one, but I will have to write to the Wall Street Journal and ask permission to use it.

Every year on Presidents’ Day I feel guilty. I vividly remember the time I cheated in school. I was a goody two shoes and never copied or did anything wrong at school. But, when I was in the eighth grade we had to memorize all the presidents. We were told we would be held back if we did not pass the test. I tried and tried and flunked two tests. My parents were really upset.

I decided to cheat. I wrote the presidents names on the part of my blouse that tucked into my skirt. We wore “full skirts” in those days – two or more yards of fabric gathered at the waist. My skirt had a snap closure instead of a zipper down the back. On test day, I pulled the waistband around so the closure was on my left side and opened the snaps. I copied the president’s names off my blouse. I knew I would pass.

When I arrived home, I told my mother that I was sure I’d finally passed the test. She said we should celebrate by going shopping. We went into the store dressing room so I could try on some clothes. I took off my skirt and there on the blouse were the names. She stared at them, but she didn’t say anything. My cheating was exposed. She bought me a new outfit and we never ever talked about the incident. I think she was relieved that I didn’t have to repeat eighth grade. A conspiracy of silence. It has haunted me all these years.

I found an article about memorizing president’s names in The Washington Post today. Kids have even more names to memorize than I did. I hope they don’t cheat.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Flashback Friday -- What they wore

Sitting here in my jeans and T-shirt, I ponder the clothes women used to wear.
I wonder if they could ever relax and kick back. Perhaps when they pulled off their corsets with stays and put on a nightgown for bed they could slump a little.
I ran across this fashion spread whilst sorting through some stuff. It was badly water damaged and has a touch of mildew. I sent it off to Newbie Richardson, a restorer. Perhaps she can use it for reference material as she preserves and reconstructs old garments.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Appliqué in the news

It is not often that appliqué work makes front page news. Yesterday, Mrs. Obama visited the Department of the Interior to meet with employees. They presented the First Lady with a traditional American Indian woman’s shawl with an appliqué horse pattern-- a mark of respect to honor women of high achievements and distinction. Nedra Darling, Director of Public Affairs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, presented the shawl, which was made by Marian Hansson, curator of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Darling is a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, while Hansson is a member of the Kiowa Nation.

Photo from the Department of Interior
Isn’t it beautiful?

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Harder than I thought

Here is a sketch of my heart quilt (circa 2001).

Copyright Christine Thresh

I’ve been working on sample hearts for several days now. I make one or two, then go back and redesign the block foundations and try again. So far, I’ve figured out how to eliminate the set-in seams for constructing vertical rows. But I’ll be darned if I can see a way around hundreds of “Y” seams for putting the rows together side by side.

I’ll work a few more days. I hope to have a solution by Valentine’s Day.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Bouncing ideas around

I’ve got an idea bouncing around my head for a heart quilt (not a round quilt). I designed it way back in 2001, but I’ve not been able to figure out how to piece it. I made one block today. I’m afraid it is going to require hundreds of set-in seams (“Y” seams or “V” seams). I don’t think I could publish and sell a pattern that’s too tedious.

I’ll work on it some more tomorrow and report back.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Grandmother's vegetable garden

Last Sunday, I was trying to figure out how to foundation piece a grandmother’s flower garden circle. I’ve been trying for years to figure out a way to sew this classic quilt module on my machine. This week I finally did it.
I can cross that project off my to-do list. I’ve concluded that machine piecing is probably just as much work as hand piecing the hexagons using the traditional English paper piecing method.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Halloween Scare

I was just blogging around this morning when I visited Life at Black Bear Cabin. Lisa Jo posted a scary Halloween video. Click on the photo below. Funny, but I wonder if her daughter will want to go out trick or treating this year.

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