Saturday, January 31, 2009

Books here, books there

Last May, we finally completed the Office/Workway/Sewing Room project. There were books that did not get put away.

A few! Books here, books there…. Some beside the bed, some piled in corners, some under tables. We were going to get around to sorting them soon. Here it is 2009 and we still have not found a place to put them. We don’t have any room for new bookcases.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

This grandmother's puzzle

I’ve been fiddling around for years and years trying to do a paper foundation pieced Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern by machine. The usual method is to join the hexagons by hand using the English paper piecing method, but I keep thinking there must be a way to foundation piece (paper piece) the design.
Click on the photo to see the whole quilt from the University of Wisconsin’s collection.

Several quilters have devised methods of sewing the hexagons by machine. Quilters’ Cache has a method using strips, and Sharon Schamber has figured out how to machine sew the hexagons.

These honeycomb or mosaic quilts have been around for well over 100 years. I suppose quilters have been trying to figure out new methods to create them for a long time too. It’s rather like those unsolvable mathematical problems (The Goldbach conjecture, The Riemann hypothesis, The twin prime conjecture) that mathematicians have been working on for years.

I want to do the hexagons on foundations in circles. So far I’ve had many failures. Ideas come to me during the middle of the night, but when I try them out the next day they just don’t work.

Yesterday, I came close to a method that might work. See this picture:

I still have to tackle the outer circle edge, but it’s looking promising. So I’ll settle back down at my machine and keep on trying.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lincoln said it

I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father's child has.
Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the U.S.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

First Ladies' gowns

I am fascinated by First Ladies. I’ve read many books about and by our country’s First Ladies – Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford, Abigail Adams, Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush etc. I've read presidential biographies too, but reading about presidential wives gives me a different perspective on their terms.

With only a few days to go until the inauguration of a new president I’m thinking about First Ladies’ gowns. I’ve been searching the web for pictures of inaugural gowns. Two memorable ones stood out:
Mamie Eisenhower’s pink full skirted gown with 3456 pearls (or sequins), and Jackie Kennedy’s sleek satin dress.

Many top notch fashion designers have submitted sketches of gowns they think would look good on the next first lady – Michelle Obama. I decided to play the game too. I had some fun making some small quilted sample gowns for Mrs. Obama.

I wonder if her inaugural gown will look anything like one of these.

If you want to play a fun game: “match historical gowns to First Ladies” click on the pictures below.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

I'm having so much fun, again

I'm cutting and sewing. I'll show you the results soon.


Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday Flashback -- Touching history

My granddad, Fremont Chapin, was born July 1, 1854 in Oneida, New York. He was the youngest of 12 children. He lived a long time. He was 91 when he died in 1945.
Granddad and me 1943

He was six years old in 1861 when Abraham Lincoln’s Inaugural train went through Oneida on its way to Washington, D.C. Two of his brothers fought in the Civil War – Frank and Earl. I have this picture of Earl.
And, I have a letter from Frank addressed to “Dear Brother Fremont” written from Hilton Head, South Carolina on August 16th, 1864. The letter admonishes Fremont to be a good boy and learn all he can. Frank told his little brother that he was on John’s Island on July 4th “celebrating with the Rebels, throwing big shells at each other…Then we had fire works in the night.”

One event in his life made a big impression on Fremont and he told us the story many times. He said he climbed up in a tree to see Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train, which stopped in Oneida in 1865. Fremont was 10 years old. I’ve read an account of the day the train pulled in and it talked about canons being fired and the picture of Lincoln affixed to the cowcatcher on the engine. No wonder he remembered it so vividly.

This close connection to our country’s history makes me realize how precious our democracy is. And how important it is for all of us to “ask what you can do for your country,” as President John Kennedy said at his inauguration in 1961. Let’s give our new president our full support as he starts his work on January 20, 2009.

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