Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas 1959

Christmas in the Little House, Henny, Lynn, Janna, Leroy.
Farm north of Hull, Iowa, 1959.
Note the most wonderful curtains ever, this time in color!
We still have the tin barn.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Janna, Lynn, and Beth, 1962

Mom made the hounds tooth skirts and vests--they were reversible to solid grey wool.
Note the most wonderful curtains ever.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

neighbor gifts

One delight of living on LeClaire are the neighbor gifts--little somethings special we treat each other to for Christmas. This year we are giving these cute jars of Inglehoffer mustard.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Attempt 3 for a holiday photo. This is the best of 4. Why do I even try?
Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bowties and Spools at the Chicago Botanic Garden

I submitted two quilts to the Fine Art of Fiber exhibit at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
They were hung together at my request, because they are both made with scraps from my own and my mother's fabric collections.
There are fabrics of well over 80 years of sewing for 6 generations of our family.

Each quilt has 672 three inch blocks. Spools uses Kona Rich Red for the constant. Bowties uses Moda Bella Gold.
They were quilted by Sue DiVarco using wool batts.

There is planning in each quilt. Units for each were pieced into blocks of 4; the Spools had a pink spool in each block and the Bowties had a red bowtie in each block.

Both quilts were made in response to scrap challenges on Bonnie Hunter's blog.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Henrietta was a hipster

That is my mother on the left. She rocked red lipstick.
About 1947.

from the archives--Great Aunt Hattie and her daughter Jennie

Hendrika Scholten and Jennie about 1920.

I'm in Iowa with my mother. Watch for more from the archives.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

a sixteen year old learns to drive

When I learned how to drive car (I had been driving tractor since age 7) the confusion of that additional third pedal lead to driving practice in the alfalfa field with only gopher holes to beware of.

In the city, parents take their kids to the cemeteries. My favorite is the beautiful and peaceful Bohemian National.  Nothing to dodge but obelisks and other cars with parents and 16 year olds. And the occasional soldier monument.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

an evening at home on the farm, 1961

Leroy with his daughters. Janna at the piano, Beth with the toy basket, Lynn with the sewing cards, Leroy reading the Sioux City Journal. Photographed by Henrietta. Scraps of the dress Janna is wearing are in the quilts I've been making from my mother's fabrics.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

a selfie from Beth

I told her she was blocking the quilt.

Monday, August 05, 2013

plaid cats

The cats were sample blocks for a class and the pinwheels were just playing with plaids. I kept adding parts till the top came together.
For my niece, Emilee.

60" by 82" Quilted by Suzette Fisher

Saturday, July 27, 2013


This was made for my dear friend, neighbor, and quilting partner Sharon Sliter Johnson.
We try to have tea together weekly. And, since we both have July birthdays, we celebrate the whole month.
The teapot block was in a McCalls magazine several years ago.
I found this cute tea party print for the backing.
Beautifully quilted by Suzette Fisher.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

storms. central Iowa

I drove in sunshine with the sky nearly perfectly bifurcated between fluffy white clouded skies and, to the north, intense storms.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sunday, July 07, 2013

urban planning--completed

A useful part of having this blog is I can look back to see when I worked on projects.
The top of this quilt was made in February 2009, was quilted at some point, and I finally finished the binding an hour ago.
Made with shirt plaids, alternating lights and darks rectangles cut 2 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches.
Sashing random lengths of lights cut 2 1/2 inches.
Borders random lengths of lights cut 6 1/2 inches.
It is bound with three different greens--leftover from earlier projects.
I love this humble quilt.
My design--use at your  pleasure.

I used up two different ladybug prints for the back!

Quilted by Suzette Fisher.

S is for Seth

Blocks finish 7 1/2 inches. Was originally a Kaffe Fassett design.
The block is made from 2 inch cut strips.
After making the H quilt for my mother, Henrietta, from Wanda Hanson's idea, Seth asked for a S quilt for himself.
Are there P and E quilts in my future for Paul and Eve?
Quilted by Suzette Fisher.

Friday, July 05, 2013

unit blocks--planned randomness

In making a scrap quilt, there is planning done at the beginning, then messing with that plan and adding other rules as I go along.
When cutting down of scraps, one size I cut is 1 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches and finish 1 by 2 inches. This is the proportion of the unit blocks used in preschools.
Tonya Ricucci has a wonderful quilt "Ellis Island" using lots of odd prints. I loved the look of her quilt and used that as inspiration for this one. I stayed with her 1 1/2 inch width, but kept my length at 2 1/2 inches to use up some of the many, many pieces in my bins.
This quilt took 1920 of those patches-- 240 are red solids.
Each 4 inch block uses 8 of the unit patches.
I wanted the block to be not quite symmetrical visually, so I chose a setting (top) that had the red center off center.
After making a few blocks, I realized that in a layout the reds would spin in a predictable way (which I did not want) so I made a second block (bottom) where the center is in a different configuration. The red solid was always kept to the interior of the block.
Then, I made the 240 blocks.
I pieced the blocks into pairs first, with every other block set at a quarter turn.
This made for fewer seams to match.
I put them together in various configurations of the two blocks, making the red rectangles very random in their orientation.
Then, the pairs were pieced into quads, 8s, 16s, and 32s.
I added the piano key border (1 1 /2 by 4 1/2. also out of bins) when the top was still at the 32 block stage. I find this makes less distortion with piano keys. Also, I did not press the piano keys until they were sewed to the blocks--this way I could stay stitch the edges of the keys in the directions that made them nest into the blocks.
 After the keys were attached to the blocks and stay stitched, I pressed them and put them back on the board.
By working in sections, I had just one long seam at the end.
The fabric choices--I kept out most reds from the scraps--there are a few--because I wanted the solid reds to shine. The scraps are prints and plaids (lots of shirt parts), lights and mediums and darks.  I made sure each block had some of each.
This is my design. Let me know if you use this idea and where it takes you!

56" by 88"
Top completed July 4, 2013