Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Century of Progress at the Chicago World's Fair

My quilt history group met last Thursday and we had a terrific discussion of the World's Fair and Century of Progress Quilt Contest they had back in 1933. We looked over pictures of many of the quilt entries including Emma Andrass of Prescott, Arizona's. The winning quilt was sent to Eleanor Roosevelt, but because of the controversy (of the winner not actually being a quiltmaker) the quilt seems to have disappeared! There were around 24,000 different quilts entered in the contest and they all had a special label with the logo on them on the back. In 1933 all the quilts were sent home but then when the fair was held over for a second year they asked for them back and redisplayed those that came back. Ida Mae Stow

had complained about her original quilt just getting honorable mention and in the second showing hers was front and center. This quilt was later bought at an antique dealer's and it was discovered to have the quilt label on the back though it was covered up with a hankie! Many quilts were made after the fair that were sometimes mistakenly thought to have been at the fair originally. One such situation was the "Pillow Outfit" design 2590...this was apparently a kit sold at the fair with embroidery...many people made these kits and at individual state documenting sites they kept being discovered and eventually the story was figured out!

Everything you could ever want was made and sold with the fair's logo on it. They even sell needle books from the fair on ebay for around 10 bucks now and then. The ice cream cone was invented at the fair as well. There was even a special label put on Singer Featherweight machines that were sold at the fair. How I wish one of my grandmothers had bought one of them. I still have three living grandparents (around age 80) and I plan to find out if any of them were at the fair or have personal stories about it. There are tons of websites with more information on the Century of Progress--even the original catalogs are online at this includes patterns from quilts entered at the fair. The shooting star pattern there is the one we are doing for our block this month. We also discussed that the HBO special "The Making of Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" as a good 1930's era film worth seeing. So that is on my list of movies to see.

I started reading this book last night and it is all about the World's Fair so definately in theme. I am excited to increase my knowledge of the event! I got an interpreting job for two nights a week in June and am signed up to take a knitting class and crochet class and a couponing class too! My youngest son Mac will be here on the 5th and we plan to drag him around to see some sights and hope to visit the ocean while he is here too! Summer is looking good!

**edit**My dad's cousin Wes Neff wrote that "my dad, Ben Neff...was at the 33 worlds fair, A CENTURY OF PROGRESS, and on my desk i have a thermometer, from the fair, showing the logo and the year ....if you like I'll try and take a picture of it and send it along, it was a prized possession of his and one of the few things I kept." I also found the coinpurse, I had given it to my older son (and a polished rock collection to my younger son) and it says "New York World's Fair 1939" on it so it is from a few years later, different fair. But still! I talked to my Grandma Nan today (6/21) and she told me the story of my Grandpa Len and the 1933 World's I will retell it here. It seems my Grandfather quit school in Chesapeake and moved to Florida with his family. He didn't go to high school there but worked on the farm. He and his brother Lewis and another friend got a crazy idea that they would ride their bikes from Florida to the Chicago World's Fair! The group set out to do so but the buddy's bike broke down or something and they wound up in Anderson, Indiana where his two aunts lived. They did make it to the fair and then returned to his aunts' and the brothers were made to stay and my grandfather to finish high school in Anderson. One of the aunts was Ester (called Aunt Eck). After he graduated high school it being the depression he had no money to go to college so he joined the GM Tech where he worked and studied and got his engineering degree. (second edit) My cousin Flo just sent me a message (8/14/2012) and told me that my grandfather worked in Anderson Indiana at Guide Lamp in the 1930's.  He attended college in Flint, MI and graduated in 1938 with a degree in Industrial Engineering and was a member of what is now known as Lambda Alpha Chi fraternity.  He was part of the same graduating class as Ann Romney's dad (wife of Mitt Romney the current presidential candidate).  My grandfather worked at Presto for many years in Eau Claire, WI as an engineer so thanks apparently go to Aunt Eck and company! I asked Grandma about the 1939 New York World's Fair and she didn't recall any story about that, but was sure he did go. Grandpa Len liked to travel and that would have been just prior to his marriage in 1940 to Florence.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Colonial History Block and a Visit to June's

I went to an online quilting friend's house (June) and another online friend (B.J.) did too. It is the second time we have met and it is like we have known each other for years. Another not online friend of June's (Mindy) was there for awhile too and June's hubby checked in with us on and off. I traced out and did the bluework on this whole block while we gabbed. I think every time I look at this block I will think about our relaxing day!
Other than that haven't done much sewing...I have some stuff I need to get to so I hope to get motivated soon!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Gift of a Quilt in 2006

So in June of 2006 I spent the day with my Grandma Nan in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin (my father's adopted mother) cleaning all of her closets, dressers, etc. in preparation of her move Aug. 1st. I am the organizer in the family and the always willing to help one, so I was nominated for the job. I have much fun with Grandma Nan though so I wasn't even dreading it and it turned out to be an amazing day!

While sorting through all of the stuff that has accumulated in her apartment the past 24 years, we came across two quilts in her cedar chest drawer (dressers are not made like that nowadays!) and she told me a few stories that I want to record here. The first quilt we came across was a crib size tiny hexagon quilt which was all hand stitched and hand quilted (hours and hours of work) and had been given by my great grandma Annan (real name Eva Maude Lottridge) to her only daughter Florence's firstborn son in 1944 (my uncle Lewis who incidentally built the house I sold to move to Arizona and he died in 1998 of ALS). Somehow when my grandma Florence died Annan wound up with the quilt and later when Grandma Nan married my Grandpa Len and had my uncle Rick, Annan gave it to her for Rick to use since she had no descendants except the boys Nan was raising (Lewis, my uncle Jim and my dad Al). Grandma Nan said she used it with Rick and later with the grandkids, most recently Rick's daughter Lindy (my youngest cousin on the Neff side).

A little deeper in the drawer we came across a double bed size quilt that looks like a large star in the middle and is surrounded by a larger star. It is pastel colored with pink backing. It is also hand stitched and quilted and is in fabulous shape! It has most likely been in Grandma's drawer with little use these past years. Grandma said that Annan had it made (she thinks) by a friend for Nan and Len to have on their bed after they got married. While I oohed and aahed and couldn't believe that Grandma had never showed it to me since we quilt together on occasion (and in fact most recently made a similar star quilt at her place--though mine is triangles made to look like parallelograms, and this one is actual parallelograms) Grandma just stared at me! I mentioned to her that we should refold it differently so as to lessen the fold damage and she said she didn't know about that and wished she had somewhere to display it...while I started refolding the quilt an idea came to me and I said.....Grandma I just bought a wooden quilt stand ($6.50 at a thrift sale!) and it would look great displayed in my living room...thinking someday...and Grandma said you want it, you take it!!!!! I don't know that I have too many more valuable gifts in my house because I feel like I was given a piece of history and a connection to my Dad's grandmother that I never met and then...

A few drawers later we found a Grandma's brag book with long ago pictures of me, my sister Tina and my cousins Carla and Tricia. I found a picture of me asleep on Grandma's floor and believe it or not, the very quilt my grandmother had just gifted to me was pulled up over me while I slept soundly at about 4 months of age!!!!

Well I just felt like it was meant to be...I don't recall the quilt from my childhood and yet there it was with me (none of the other three babies were with it in any of the pictures) like it had been made for me!

I just had to share my luck and happiness at getting this gift from not one Grandma, but two!
I typed this story up right after it happened so that I would not forget the details. I wish I knew who had made this quilt! Tonight my quilt history group met and we were talking about the Century of Progress and the World's Fair and all that...that made me remember that on this same day we were cleaning out grandma's apartment she found my grandfather's World's Fair change holder. I should have taken a photo of it before gifting it to my youngest son but one day I will get a picture. I think it is in storage now! If I remember right it was brown leather and a circle shape which opened up like coin purses had a gold image and said World's Fair on it. I did a google search looking for a picture of what I remember and didn't find one. Anyhow thinking of the coin purse made me think of this quilt and story...I thought I had already blogged it, but in digging through I didn't see it (so if you have already read this sorry!) so I updated the story a bit and here it is. This is one of my most cherished possessions and I hope one day to have a granddaughter to pass the quilt on to!

Pincushion Exchange...

My online group NewQuiltingClub is having a fourth year anniversary party in June and we are trading up homemade pincushions, fat quarters and doing a mystery wall hanging together to celebrate. They are a fun group! So I made a few flying geese of which will be exchanged. I had trouble getting good pictures...I think I was too close or something...but it wasn't for lack of trying!

I also made up the block for my quilt history group that meets tonight. I hated the block before I started and hated it even more when it was done. LOL. It is a french log cabin block designed by Anne Champe Orr. It is lopsided looking to me and I barely make out the flower that is supposed to be there. HAHA! But mostly I love the blocks and it was fun to try this one...the perfectionist in me wants to do it again, but nah...I hated it! We meet again tonight to discuss the Chicago World's Fair and the Sears Competition...that should be fun!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Zoe and More!

I finally stopped over at Michelle's and delivered the babies quilts..this is the second one finally done. She was happy with them and Diamond liked hers...Destiny is only one so she didn't say too much, lol.
Here is another quilt history blue work block. Finished this the other night and am caught up until I get another pattern or two at this week's Quilt History class. This one still needs ironed!

Kathy's nephew Buck graduated from Dobson High School this past week. We are SUPER PROUD of him! This is him with his parents on the left and favorite aunt Kathy, sister Megan and niece Ayla. You can see the quilt Kathy and I made for her sister proudly hanging in their front room too. This is Buck's sweet and gorgeous girlfriend Jen. She is wrapped in my car quilt to keep warm in the rain. Did I mention it rained for the whole time at the outdoor graduation? We didn't care--at least it wasn't 110!
Here is more of the drenched group.

Buck is planning on going to college for Pharmacy Tech...we are so glad! He is a good kid with a great future ahead of him.
We also got a new Zoe is about six months old. She was returned to the pound by someone and now she is home with us! She is chiuahuahua mix (maybe with Jack Russell?) and has lots of energy. She gets along well with the crew here and likes all of us and the outside. I left her downstairs (gated off the stairs) to run up and take a quick shower this morning and before I even got IN the shower, she had figured her way up the stairs to hang with me. She isn't completely potty trained. She learned the dog door in a hurry and only had one accident yesterday in the house, but still alot of effort on our part to remind her to go out and such. I don't think it will take long though. She likes my shoes...drags them out the dog door with her which is only slightly hilarious! So far she hasn't chewed on them, just lugged them around.
I am finally done with my teaching job and what a feeling that is! I have been cleaning around the house and even did my purse this morning. It gets so heavy and half the stuff in it doesn't need to be so now it is lighter.
We went and saw Star Trek the night before was really good! I even picked up a new DVD set of Star Trek shows gone by for my step dad for Father's Day. He always liked that show and he is HARD to buy for! Not much sewing or crafting happening, but I did print out Bonnie K. Hunter's Bricks and Stones pattern and am thinking about making a few small dog quilts with that pattern!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Projects Accomplished, but Not Lots of Sewing!

Today was a day of projects...Randy put together the new grill (and we had steak for dinner!) it is partially in progress. These suckers take awhile to come together and it involved one trip to the hardware store for nuts or something since they shorted us two!
I finally painted up the bench Kathy made me. It is this pretty salmon color since that was in the garage and I liked it. I hope she makes more of these for Christmas would remind us all of my great grandpa Tony who made them originally for everyone. You can see the grill stuff in progress in the background there.
And the biggest and best project of all this weekend was my new bookshelf in my quilting studio! Kathy didn't follow the rule of measure twice, cut once and somehow this sucker was too long for the space we wanted it in.
So after shortening it and lightly staining it, here it is!
Jade kitty had to get in there and inspect it too! And here it is with a bunch of stuff relocated on it! I want to organize the magazines better but for now it is nice to have an extra shelf and it is wider than the old Wal-Mart one I had there (that was relocated to the bedroom and has picture albums on it now).
Last night we had Randy's Spinach and Strawberry is a pic of it. One of the best salads ever. Super easy too!
On the sewing front, I tied my Pay it Forward quilt number two and pinned the binding. In a few minutes I will work on hand binding it. I cut the batting for the two NYE mystery quilts that Kathy made baby size (with the circus fabric) so they are set for tying or quilting too. I mostly putzed I guess, but it was fun.
At my tablerunner class last Tuesday Barb taught me how to do the applique stitch with my new machine. I finished one side of the butterfly tablerunner. It looks okay, not as good as I hope the second side will look. We aren't meeting in June at this point, so I have until July to finish it.
Only one more week of teaching! I can't believe I can count the days on one hand. I have been bringing my stuff home for the past month or so and I am ready for the end. Feel like I am jumping ship, but the boat is sinking anyway..and I can swim!


Saturday, May 9, 2009

My New Machine and Second A is for Adaminaby

I finished up my second A is for Adaminaby which replaced the one I had. The first one went to the quilt auction at camp (since the second one wasn't quite done) and a very nice gal there took it home. The back of that one wasn't great, the second one is MUCH better as I tied it instead of making little x's on it. Blogger won't let me move the pictures around so I moved the text from the end to here. Strange! So the pieced back is the first pic.

I forgot to mention that I arrived at quilt camp a few weeks ago and within four or five hours my Janome machine did its usual fit and stopped working. It seems about four times a year to stop pulling up the threads from underneath. I had just had it in in December or January and I was not happy! I decide to go out and buy an inexpensive machine because the last one I had (a JCPenney 10 or 12 stitch) worked with little or no problems for more than a decade. Though granted I didn't sew near as much. So here is my new baby and it works great.

I need to spend some time today figuring out how to do applique on it because my tablerunner "homework" needs to be done by Tuesday night and I don't know how to make that stitch on this machine. I did use it to zig zag binding together and it worked great for that!

In other news, I have been missing my favorite little pair of scissors for more than a year I think and the other day when I dumped out all my tying thread (variegated DMC floss) there they were! I have used the floss a half dozen times but they were buried in there and I never found them. They aren't the ones in the picture above, they are the geese like ones, gold and expensive too! Happy to have them back!

I heard that Bonnie Hunter has a new mystery quilt pattern coming out in the next issue of Quiltmaker. I can't wait to see the first clue, I am sure I will be joining in even if only to make a small one. Her quilts are among my absolute favorites! Anyone else planning on doing that mystery?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

One Down and One to Go!

I just finished the tying and binding on this quilt, one more to go but have to pick up batting first!
I am happy with this. The pattern was Streak of Sunshine from Bonnie Hunter at

It was a great afternoon here...I worked on this and we cooked Kathy's mom's meatloaf, potatoes and peas and Randy made a Lemon something or other for dessert. We also watched an entire day of a past season of Hell's Kitchen. What a great day!

A Little Bit of Everything!

My nephew, my sister, my brother and his girlfriend at Chuck E. Cheese yesterday. We had a good time!
Tomatoes and Peppers are growing...can't wait to be eating them!

I got the border on the second of these two Pay it Forward quilts for two little girls who are in foster care that I sort of know. I then pieced the batting for one from scraps--for the first time zig zagging them butted up went very well and didn't leave the bump I usually get! I also pieced the backing for both from a fabric that came with a grab bag type thing I ordered because I liked a different fabric that came with it. There was only a little left over, and since it was mostly pink and green it worked out really well with this! So the one in this picture is all tied and ready for binding...the second one needs batting, tying and then binding. Getting there!
I read Weeks Ringle's blog (of funquilts) and she posted a simple baby quilt pattern that I really like and I may have used that for these two quilts if I had seen the pattern a few weeks ago! Anyways it looks great and I will use that one in the future. Here it is if you haven't seen it! Her blog:

Eight Colonial History Quilt Blocks working on the ninth one. A sign Kathy made for me!

Finally have my computer back so I can blog and all. I have a fan pad underneath it so that it doesn't overheat. I think having it on the tablerunner blocks some of the cooling ability and messed up the fan. I don't want to wreck my antique table though!
Only three more weeks of work...can't wait to be done with that job...I got an email to interview teaching ASL at a with any luck that will happen or I will just freelance full time. At this point I am just happy my high school teaching career is coming to an end. It was not at all like teaching high school Upward Bound kids (they rock!) and I don't feel it is my niche! If you are a high school teacher my hat is off to you!

A Little Bit of This and a Lotta Snow!

Barb and I got our A Quilting Life BOM made right away this month.   Bekcy completed her "Ruby" Jubilee!  LOVE IT! I just got the ...