24 June, 2016

No Time

I just finished this book. To be perfectly honest, I now will feel guilty whenever I DO have time on my hands! Originally published in 1963 when the subject was eighty years of age, this is the autobiography of an amazing woman, Grace McCance Snyder, who grew up as part of a homesteading family in the high plains of Nebraska in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Grace was one of nine children.  The stories are written and chronicled by her daughter, Nellie, as dictated by her mother.   Grace, from a child of seven years, old dreamed three dreams and wished three wishes: "I wished that I might grow up to make the most beautiful quilts in the world, to marry a cowboy and  to look down on the top of a cloud."
Suffice it to say, as noted by the photograph on the cover of the book, at least one of Grace's wishes did come true! Grace's Petit Point quilt (above) drew wide acclaim at national expositions in the 1940s. About this quilt, composed of 87,789 pieces, Grace explains: "I pieced the Petit Point quilt during the second World War, from a lovely flower basket design I found on a china plate. I made it of triangle shaped pieces so small that eight of them, sewed together, made a "block" no larger than a two cent postage stamp.  The effect is more like needlepoint embroidery than patchwork quilt piecing. I was sixteen months making the quilt, and I used 5,400 yards of thread in the sewing."  The International Quilt Study Center and Museum at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln featured her quilts in an exhibition back in 2009, the gallery can be viewed here.

"At the Nebraska State Fair in Lincoln, one September, I had the pleasure of seeing eighteen of my quilts hung in a long row in the Fine Arts building. (The nineteenth, an original grapevine design, was in a showcase under the purple sweepstakes ribbon.)  A card at the head of the line explained that all eighteen had been made by one woman. Men and women read the card, then shook their heads and asked, "How did one woman ever find time to make them all?"

While there is so much to be learned about and from Grace's quilts, the book spends precious little time on the quilts and their significance; they really only are mentioned near the end of the book. This is a story of survival; of the trials, hardships and ultimate victories encountered along life's way as witnessed, and experienced by a young girl born in Nebraska in 1882. The historical perspective alone makes this book a treasure; but I loved it for so many more reasons, if you haven't read it I highly recommend it, Grace's life story is a compelling one.

"One man was looking at the "Pilgrim" block in the United States History quilt when his wife asked the usual question. "Because she  started in 1620, I guess," he told her. Others decided it was because "she didn't have anything else to do."  At the time I made all my quilts in that display, I was still living on the ranch, baking our bread, churning our butter, making my own soap, and raising a big garden every summer, not to mention all the time I spent plowing our roads every time I left our ranch."

You may never regard "time on your hands" in the same way again.
I know that I won't.
Life is Good!

19 June, 2016

Cool Like That

I had a big weekend. First there was the hair extension; this was followed by a new jewelry acquisition. Yeah, I'm cool like that.  How was your weekend?

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there, especially mine; he's always been cool.
It has to be genetic~
Life is Good!

18 June, 2016

The Begats

You know the "begats"--  long lists of unpronounceable names in the Bible of who begat who; the genealogical lists that seemingly never end. Those begats happened in the old testament. There are currently begats happening right now in my sewing space too! Let's start with "Out of the Blue". You may remember this quilt (prepared for binding, left) yielded a leftover box of background triangles, lots of them, when all was said and done.
"Out of the Blue" may have been nineteen years in the making but, even in completion, we're still not done; oh, no. "Out of the Blue" begat "Summer Breeze".
Those all-too-familiar pinwheel blocks are multiplying (leader-ender style) and coming into their own. "Summer Breeze" will be sashed, as shown in the layout above, with a tawny gold linen fabric to become a lap quilt measuring 50" X 66". But, the begats don't end there.  The recently completed "Jackstones" flimsy was also prolific, it begat this:
There are piles upon piles of leftover nine degree wedges. What else is a quiltmaker to do? If this isn't "The Circle of Life" for a quilter I don't know what is; quilt geneaology is being written, my work is cut out for me. Offspring just happen; then and now.
Life is Good!

17 June, 2016

Coming Clean

My husband is taking apart a 1950  Farmall tractor and restoring it; piece by piece. The laundry challenges produced by 60+ year old dirt and grease are daunting. I had never tried Fels-Naptha before. From here on in it will be my go-to product. It's no wonder that it's been around since 1894, this simple bar works, as advertised. My laundry room is now fully equipped.
Life is Good!

14 June, 2016

Jackstones

"Jackstones" ~ 63" X 73.5"
Jackstones has finally, officially, made it to the "flimsy" stage. Hooray! 

Begun a year ago and promptly back-burnered, it was inspired by this magazine cover from 2013
and this tutorial (pictured below) from the same quiltmaker.
My version, however, is not paper pieced. My wedges are a bit slimmer, I used a 9 degree wedge ruler and, constructing my own template*, stacked my square background pieces and cut them after marking the cutting line, as illustrated below.
I cut the background squares 6.5" and, after inserting the wedges and the subsequent trim down, (below) ended up with blocks cut at 5.75"; sort of a weird size, but it was all an experiment; one that I loved so much that I simply kept going with it as it was!
It hardly made a dent in my low volume stash and, as usual, have been putting together something else as I pieced this one. I have lots to report, stay tuned. In the meantime I am dreaming of how I will quilt up Jackstones to fully show off the pieced alternate border solid color to its advantage.

*If anyone is interested in a printout of the (albeit sketchy) directions including the template I created, let me know and I will email you a copy.
Life is Good!

13 June, 2016

LOVE

My Mom and Dad went on a little get-away in Maine last week. A town square see-saw there provided this too-tough-to-ignore temptation. I understand that Mom was the instigator for this quick trip back to the joyful playground days of their childhood.  There simply aren't enough heart emojis or love buttons to fully communicate how much I adore this photo. I dare you not to smile along with me.
Life is Good!

01 June, 2016

Little Tumbler

We traveled to the Capital City yesterday to surprise our oldest grandson and have lunch with him at his school. We enjoyed every minute and I believe that he did too. After that we went to his house to visit with his sister and watch her end-of-year tumbling exhibition. She gave us a preview of her strength before we left home for the gym by climbing the door frame in the kitchen!

The exhibition that followed was every bit as impressive. She's strong, she's feisty, she's adorable! She can do full-on push ups, lots of them, and she doesn't balk or complain.
I told her mother while watching her flip and tumble that it's so hard to think that this is the one, born four weeks before her due date, that worried us all to pieces because she refused to eat back then. We prayed, we begged: "Please, Lucy Ann, just 1/2 an ounce-- you need to grow, you need to thrive". If only we'd had a crystal ball.
Congratulations, little tumbler, Super Job indeed!!
Life is Good!