Retirement begins: Reality bites

October 1, 2014

May 30 was my last day of gainful employment. When I decided to retire at the end of May, I had fantasized about a lazy summer filled of comfortable temperatures and humidity, working in my sewing room enjoying the wonderful weather, having lunch on my new bench/half picnic table, having friends stop by to lunch with me or join me in sewing. You get the idea. My rational mind knew this was fantasy but, at the time, I couldn’t imagine how that dream would be crushed by the rocks of reality. Therein lies a tale. Don’t worry – there is a happy ending and some quilty content.

In August 2013, my brother’s appendix perforated. His doctors wanted to wait until the infection was gone before they did the surgery to remove it. They finally took it out in November. In December when he went for his post-surgery check, they told him the appendix was cancerous. Appendix cancer is rare. Fortunately, he didn’t have the worst type. They did more tests and told him it hadn’t spread and scheduled him for precautionary surgery to remove the portion of the colon where the appendix attaches.

When he went for the surgery in Jan 2014, they made the incision, looked around and said “never mind”. Told him the cancer had spread to the peritoneum so he was stage 4. They also told him this type of cancer can’t be surgically removed and doesn’t show up on tests. The only treatment they offered him was systemic chemo every 2 weeks indefinitely with periodic scans to see if cancer showed up anywhere else. Maybe he’d have 2-3 years; they didn’t really know because there aren’t any statistics.

I told him to ask if there were treatments or studies at other centers that he should consider. They told him about HIPEC (heated intra-peritoneal chemotherapy) with cytoreductive surgery. I said he should go for it. I recommended he go to MD Anderson in Houston since they were rated the #1 cancer center at the time.

They accepted him as a patient. Did you know that you can’t just make an appointment at the major cancer centers? MD Anderson turned down my aunt in 2010 because her cancer (another rare one) was too far advanced by the time it was detected. He was scheduled for the surgery in June. In the meantime, he had the chemo at his home medical center. Instead of my idyllic summer at home, I now had to spend 6 weeks or so away from home with my brother during the surgery and initial recovery period.

Window at MD Anderson. Reminds me of a lot of the chunck quilts I’ve seen a lot of lately.

The surgeon removed everything that looked like it could possibly be tumor or that could hide tumor, including, of all things, the belly button. When we told my brother about that, he said “I guess that means my modelling career is over.” All of the pathology came back as no tumor found. So, the chemo seems to have done the trick although there was no way to know that without the surgery. His doctors were shocked. His chemo oncologist said he was unusally responsive to chemotherapy.

The happy ending – going from stage 4 in January to cancer-free in June. If he hadn’t gone to Houston for the surgery, he would be having chemo that he didn’t need. The lesson I learned is if you have a cancer that your medical center doesn’t see a lot of, go somewhere that does.

The entry hall floor in my brother’s house.

How do you pack to be away for 4-6 weeks or longer? Fortunately, I was able to do all my flights on Southwest. They allow 2 checked bags without a fee. Plus you can change your flight without a fee if needed. I don’t know how this happened but I was TSP pre-check for all 3 flights. Much quicker trip through security – no long lines.

I made sure I had plenty of hand sewing to work on. I worked on 3 different hexagon projects. I didn’t do as much as I could/should have because the light wasn’t bright enough, especially at my brother’s house. He only has mood lighting.

A couple days before I left, I met up with a friend and we took the Chicago river and lake cruise.

Portion of Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan.

Chicago flag. The 4 stars represent major events in the city’s history. They say that a 5th star will be added if the Cubs ever win the World Series again.

Sidewalk in front of an historic building in the Loop.

Decoration over entrance to building.

I did a little hand sewing while I was gone.

A pile of hexagon flowers.

A pile of hexagon flowers.

Some hexagon border units for a sidelined project.

Some hexagon border units for a sidelined project.

I worked on Hex on the Beach. I’m not entirely happy doing English paper piecing with the 1″ pieces. I’ve used 3 different techniques on these 4 rows – some basted through the paper, some basted only through the fabric and some glue basted to the paper. This project is on hiatus until I figure out how to proceed from here.

The first 4 rows of Tula Pink's Hex on the Beach.

The first 4 rows of Tula Pink’s Hex on the Beach.

2014 Stash Update

February 17, 2014

I know this sort of post is boring but it’s primarily for me. I decided that this year I would start keeping track of what’s coming in and what’s going out to see whether I’m adding to or reducing my vast fabric collection. Counting what’s coming in is reasonably easy to do by yardage but that’s not very workable for measuring what’s used.

To measure outgoing I will be weighing items that are ready to be quilted. I have a hand-held luggage scale that may work for this purpose. I remember an appraiser saying a pound of cotton quilting fabric is about 4 yards. I need to weigh a known amount of fabric to calibrate my measurements because I don’t think it’s very accurate, especially at low weights. … 15 yards weighed 4.6 pounds according to this scale. But, when I weighed about that much of batiks, it never registered over 1.6. What??? Does that make any sense? That’s what it said when I weighed 8 yards of batiks and why I don’t trust this scale. Maybe I need to try my food scale. Another day.

Added:

These were my last purchase from Seminole Sampler before the store closed forever. The pink is just because it’s beautiful. The giraffe because I love animal prints. The purple is intended to be binding for a project I inherited from Amy with a little extra for stash.

6.5 yds pink, 1 yd purple and giraffe

6.5 yds pink, 1 yd purple and giraffe

I bought some AccuQuilt Go dies from Mountain Lake Quilting and they included an unexpected gift of 8 wonderful black and white fat quarters. The blue piece is so I can finish the 2012 Saturday Sampler star quilt from Seminole Sampler.

8 unexpected FQs and 2 yards to finish a work in progress.

8 unexpected FQs and 2 yards to finish a work in progress.

Birthday goodies! The top 2 were used as wrapping for gifts. The cat fabrics on the bottom were the gift.

2 FQs and 4 half-yards

2 FQs and 4 half-yards of cat fabrics

Yesterday at Sew and Tell Sharon gave me a plastic grocery bag full of strips. I forgot all about figuring out how much I was adding. I just dumped it into my string bin and started sewing. The stuff in the bin has been thoroughly stirred up so there is no way to extract the new stuff. I may have to make up a number to account for some of it.

Used:

At the end of January I took Colette’s quilt to the quilter. The top and backing fabric weighed 4.8-5 pounds. That should be about 19-20 yards. The backing fabric was a little heavier so I’m going with 20.

In: 15 yards    Out: 20 yards     2014 total: -5 yards

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Remembering Bob and Nancy Murdock

January 21, 2014
102_0225

Nancy Murdock in 2004.

The quilts in this post were gifted to me for various birthdays or Christmas.

I met Nancy Murdock in the late 1980s through a mutual friend. All 3 of us worked at Social Security Headquarters. We started meeting for lunch once a week and working on needlework projects. For reasons I don’t remember I stopped joining them. Over time others joined the group and I rejoined. Nancy named the group “Sew and Tell”. My male co-workers called it “Stitch and Bitch”. Eventually we stopped meeting at work because of difficulty coordinating our schedules. As people retired, we needed some way to meet away from work. We started meeting once a month at Seminole Sampler (closed as of 1/18/2014).

Barbara's Birthday Butterfly, 2004

Barbara’s Birthday Butterfly, 2004
Made by Nancy Murdock

One of the major events at our meeting each month is gathering around the table to eat. Nancy’s husband, Bob, always made deviled eggs for us. They were our favorite food each month. For his 80th birthday Beth made a small piece with the number 80 on it and used deviled eggs making the numbers. I wish I could find a picture of it. It was perfect! Beth is so inventive.

Aurora Borealis 2002 Made by Nancy Murdock

Aurora Borealis 2002
Made by Nancy Murdock

I owe a lot of my stash to Nancy. Every year our guild does a shopping trip to Lancaster county. Nancy and I went together for several years and encouraged each other into excessive stash enhancement. At Sauders, she would commandeer one of the large carts the staff use at the cutting tables to hold the bolts that need to go back to the shelves for us to pile our bolts on. While standing in line to be cut, we often shopped from other people’s piles. Too much fun, as Eleanor Burns says.

Nancy was the first one I ever knew who went on a “fabric diet”, only allowed to buy borders, binding and backing. I belong to the Stashbusters group on Yahoo! where many members do the same fabric diet.

End of Summer Garden, 2009 Made by Nancy Murdock

End of Summer Garden, 2009
Made by Nancy Murdock

In 1999 a group of us from guild decided to do a mystery quilt. The pattern called for a light, medium, and dark of one color and some other stuff. Nancy showed up with the most boring set of fabric I’d ever seen. Definitely not Nancy choices. She thought it over and decided to dispense with the pattern requirements and just went with multi-color prints that read light, medium and dark. It was beautiful. Much more interesting than the boring fabrics she started with. And, pretty as my fabrics were, her quilt was much more appealing.

Nancy was an art quilter and a painter. She was never afraid to experiment with a technique. She often worked with fabric that she hand-dyed. I have several pieces of her hand-dyed fabric in my stash.

Nightflower 2002-2004 Hand painted by Nancy Murdock

Nightflower 2002-2004
Hand painted by Nancy Murdock

Nancy was a few years younger than my mother. Once while talking to Mom about something she asked, “Why are you hanging around with someone that old.” When I told Nancy what she said, Nancy laughed so hard I was afraid she’d fall down and hurt herself.

A few years back, probably longer ago than I realize, Nancy and Bob moved away to be near their son who, in Nancy’s word, “will take care of us in our gaga years.” Bob died 12/27/2013. Eleven days later Nancy died on 1/7/2014.

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

January 21, 2014

For the last several years on holidays, my friend Linda and I have a tradition of getting together for a sewing day in the classroom of her quilt shop. This year we sewed for 2 days, Dec 31 and Jan 1.

I always take more projects than I can work on just so I don’t run out. The one project I had promised to work on required more effort than I felt up to first thing in the morning. I decided to start with some mindless sewing. “Mindless” meaning everything was ready to go and I didn’t have to make decisions – just sew. It was the 2012 Saturday Sampler from Linda’s shop. I had to sew the corners onto the 12 blocks. Everything was going along swimmingly until I realized that I’d sewn the 4th corner on eight of the blocks with no bobbin thread. Bummer! After I finished sewing the corners, we arranged the blocks and I sewed them together.

The 12 blocks assembled.

2012 Saturday Sampler assembled.

The border on the shop sample was a Jinny Beyer border print and looked just fine. When we put it up on the wall next to my quilt, it just didn’t look quite right. I didn’t get a picture of that. I came up with an alternate idea but it required more of this fabric which no longer existed in the store:

Starry fabric

That small amount is all I had. The only hint on the selvedge was “rfabrics.com”. What company was it? Luck was with me. Later I was pressing a fabric for a different project and noticed that the selvedge said “www.andoverfabrics.com”. Yeah! A place to start looking. I discovered that it was a fabric from The Very Collection and I found someone who had some for sale. Now I have 2 yards to play with. That’s for another day.

Now it was time to suck it up and work on the borders for Colette’s quilt. It had stalled because I needed just the right shade of fuchsia/hot pink for a flange. That was harder to find. I had 3 candidates (again, didn’t think to take a picture). We decided on one and I got busy.

On the design wall with the borders pinned next to the quilt.

A closeup of the borders.

A closeup of the borders.

There are 3 pices to the border: the white strip, the pink flange and the black outer border. I had just a little more fabric than I needed but not enough to make another mistake. While cutting the black borders, I cut one too narrow, so there is no more black. The last time I cut borders for a big quilt, they came out too short – twice! I was paranoid about doing that on this one since I didn’t have enough fabric to recover from something like that. So, this one went in the box for another day when I was ready to tackle that.

The third project I worked on was my triplets from a class taught by Norma Campbell. One set of 9 half-yards yields 3 baby Trip around the World quilts. I chose animal prints which were lots of fun. I thought everything was in the box but I was missing the flange fabric that both Linda and I remember selecting at a prior get-together. I went home  and searched the night of the 31st but the fabric I though was the one turned out to not be it. So, I went out into the shop to see if there was anything left (the store was going out of business) that would work. I found this fabric which worked very well:

Kind of ugly and hard on the eyes.

Kind of ugly and hard on the eyes.

Here’s what it looks like with the other border fabrics.

Auditioning the borders.

Auditioning the borders.

That was a good 2 days work. I was raring to go for a third day (I’m sure I could have convinced Linda to go for it) but I had to go back to work on Thursday, Jan 2. On Jan 3, my brother was diagnosed with incurable but “manageble” (for a while), stage 4 cancer. Between the 2, I lost my momentum and didn’t sew at all for 2 weeks.

Sunday, Jan 19, was Sew and Tell day so I needed to figure out something to work on. Monday was Martin Luther King Day which is a federal holiday and that meant no work so Linda and I planned to sew again.

Again, I decided to start with mindless sewing for Sunday. I want to get my scraps down to a manageable amount so I decided that I will sew 6″ string blocks at our meetings this year. I sew the strips to patty paper – the small sheets of parchment paper they use to separate deli meat and cheeses. I got 13 blocks made. That’s pretty good for 4 hours considering the amount of time we spend looking at what everyone else is doing, chatting, eating and this month, remembering a former member and her husband who both recently died.

The mindless sewing on Sunday set me up for the harder tasks on Monday. The first thing I did was finish sewing the binding onto the front of Easy Street. All that was left was connecting the ends. I ran out of time at the December meeting and left the last little bit for another time.

Then I tackled sewing the borders on Colette’s quilt, shown above. Linda was confused when she wrote that I did the binding. I talked about making the binding but decided to leave that for another time. I need to get this quilt to the quilter so I can finish it for our guild show at the beginning of May.

After that I put the borders on the Triplet 1 quilt.

Top complete!

Top complete!

I made some rookie mistakes while sewing yesterday (I’m NOT a rookie). Apparently I’ve successfully overcome my perfectionist tendencies because I didn’t feel the need to fix them. As someone said to me years ago, “You’re not making a $15,000 quilt”. If anyone looks closely enough to find these small issues, they deserve to find something.

Celtic Solstice: choosing fabrics

December 30, 2013

I have way more fabric than any 3 quilters could use in a lifetime. I took to heart the advice of Margaret Miller which was something along the lines of, “Five fabrics clash but a hundred will work.” I’ve always liked to use as many different fabrics in a project as I can. On the other hand, I also like ones with only 2 fabrics.

I’ve been collecting fabrics since the mid to late ’90s. It takes a lot less time to shop for fabric than to use it. For a few years in the late ’90s-early ’00s, I stopped at Mary Jo’s in Gastonia, NC on my way to Jinny Beyer’s Hilton Head seminar. I shopped at the rate of $100 an hour. That’s when their fabric was around $5 yard or so. For the last few years I’ve been cutting down and trying to only buy when I need something for a project or I have a purpose for the new fabric.

I’ve often said I was buying for my retirement when I might not be able to afford fabric. My local quilt shop is going out of business right now (so sad) so I won’t be exposed to as many buying opportunities as I was in the past. And, I’m retiring in 2014 so I should be able to start getting more done than I have in the past.

Last year was my first Bonnie Hunter mystery and I decided to stick with Bonnie’s colors for Easy Street. I like the colors but I didn’t like that my quilt looks like so many others. I said that this year I wouldn’t do Bonnie’s colors so mine would not look like everyone else’s. When I saw the colors she chose, I said, “Darn it all, anyway. I have to use her colors.” The reason is that the colors I have most of are blue, green and orange. I have a good bit of yellow but not the excess that I have of the others. So, despite what I said last year, I’m using the same colors as Bonnie so I can thin the herd a little.

The first thing I do is pull the stacks of colors off the shelf and sort out the ones I think will work for the current project. Then I sort them by value. Some might be out of place, but close enough to see which fabrics might not go.

Green fabrics sorted by value.

Green fabrics sorted by value.

In the picture above you can see the other color piles behind the green. See what I mean about too much fabric? This isn’t all my greens, just the ones I thought I wanted to use this time. I have so much green because I applique. Using a variety of greens for leaves makes the blocks more interensting to look at.

After I have them sorted by color I pull out the ones that don’t fit my vision.

Top group is out, bottom group is in.

Top group is out, bottom group is in, so far.

The bottom group above is what remained after I culled the pile. The ones in the top were too grey, too dark or just not the shade of green I was going for.

Yellow fabrics sorted by value.

Yellow fabrics sorted by value.

Keep on the left, rejects on the right.

Keepers on the left, rejects on the right.

Some of the rejects are too light to contrast with the neutrals. Some are too far on the orange side or too brown or just not what I wanted to use.

There were too many oranges and blues to lay out like that so I’m culling them as we work on the clues. Some of the greens and yellows that are in the first culling might get eliminated as we go. Who knows, some of the rejected fabrics might make it back in. I like to use as many fabrics as possible.

I’ve been out of town for the past week, got home last night, so I’m behind. I can’t work on clue 5 until I do some clue 3 bits. That’s not looking good for this week. I should get some cutting done but I don’t expect to do any sewing on Celtic Solstice. See what everyone else is up to this week at Bonnie’s link-up.

Celtic Solstice, clue 3: Missing in action

December 23, 2013

Last week clue 3 was released. Half-square triangles. No way anything on Celtic Solstice was going to happen that weekend. Second saturday of every month except November is Jinny Beyer club. Officially, club lasts 1 hour. But, it’s an hour drive for me each way. Stop somewhere to get lunch, factor in some shopping and visiting time and at least half the day is gone.

Added to that is the fact that I’m not an early riser. I dragged myself out of bed at the crack of 10 am, watched the latest episode of The Quilt Show, showered, dressed and left for lunch and on to club. Club ran overtime this month because Jinny had a lot to talk about.

Sunday (Dec 15) was Sew and Tell, holiday edition. That meant wrapping 10 gifts and getting something ready to work on – binding for Easy Street which I’ll post another day. Preparing for that was my Friday evening and Sunday morning.

I did cut a few pieces but no sewing occurred.

Celtic Solstice Clue 4: I knew I should have pressed them open

December 23, 2013

Ever since I saw the Billie Lauder video in this post, I’ve wanted to try this technique. Doesn’t it look like fun? This clue was the perfect time. For this technique for clue 4, start with 4″ squares. Each 4″ square is the equivalent of 4 2″ squares so divide the number of 2″ squares needed by 4 and that’s how many 4″ squares you need. I was cutting 4 layers at a time so I ended up with 32 squares of each color but only need 30. I’ll just put the leftovers in the extra parts bin.

First I pulled a few squares from scraps to test the technique. Those are the ones in the center. My Celtic Solstice squares are on the sides.

Celtic Solstice 010

First I sewed twosies, making sure that the 2 squares had contrasting textures.

My string of twosies

My string of twosies

Then I sewed foursies.

Foursies

Foursies

You get the idea. Keep sewing things together until you have a long chain. Then sew the two ends of the chain together.

The big loop of squares all sewn together, ready to press.

The big loop of squares all sewn together, ready to press.

Now you have to decide how to press. My instinct was to press them open as I prefer to do these days. I didn’t do that with Easy Street and I kept having seems on the same side rather than opposing. But, I let “do what Bonnie says” prevail and I pressed to the green. If you press the seams to one side, half of the 4-patches will have seams swirling one way and half swirling the other way. Ask me how I know. I should have figured that out from my test but I didn’t think to check.

Because I pressed to the side, I did the cutting from the front. First we measure the distance from one seam to the next. That’s 3.5″ which makes sense because that’s the size of our finished units.

Celtic Solstice 014

We want to cut halfway between the seams. In this case, that is 1 3/4″.

Celtic Solstice 015

We want to end up with a lot of these:

Celtic Solstice 016

The next step is to sew these together short end to short end.

Celtic Solstice 017

If you want maximum scrappy, be careful what you put next to each other. Everywhere the 4 fabrics touch will end up as a 4-patch. I wouldn’t put the 3 units above together as they’re shown. The bottom 2 oranges are the same fabric and would be in the same 4-patch. The next picture shows a better choice.

Celtic Solstice 018

Sew all the units together. When you are putting your twosies through the machine make sure they go through with the same orientation. It doesn’t matter which way, just so you’re consistent. Otherwise you end up with this situation:

Celtic Solstice 019

One of these things is not like the other. These units can’t be sewn together in the same chain.

I did not pay attention so I ended up with two piles of incompatible units. Fortunately, I did enough each way to get a decent length of chain for each version.

One pile has orange on the top left, the other has green.

One pile has orange on the top left, the other has green.

Keep sewing the units together until you have a long chain and then connect the ends, just like we did in the first step. If you’re pressing the seams open, do that now. Otherwise, wait until after the cut because you can’t do the spiral until then. Just like the first cut, we want to cut halfway between the seams which, again, is 1 3/4″.

We have 4-patches!

We have 4-patches!

You can see in the picture above that in the 4-patch on the right the greens are in the upper right and lower left corners and in the opposite positions in the piece to the left. That’s why they spiral in different directions.

Oops. These aren't the same.

Oops. These aren’t the same.

Now I have the scrappiest 4-patches possible for me without a lot of fussing and figuring out who went with what where.

4-patches

4-patches for clue 4

See what everyone else is doing on Celtic Solstice.

Celtic Solstice: Clue 2, a day late and way too short

December 10, 2013

This was the view from my sewing room on Sunday:

celtic solstice 002

We got more snow than this picture shows. All I got done on the weekend was cutting most of clue 2. I still need 40 or so greens. I think I cut enough white and yellow. It’s taking me a long time to do the cutting because I’m using Mary Ellen’s Best Press on the fabrics before cutting. The ironing takes a lot of time. But, I like the stiffness it adds because it helps me be more accurate.

celtic solstice 003

Last week the orange and blue made me think of my college (University of Illinois) school songs. This week it’s high school. The Mattoon Green Wave colors are green and gold.

I sewed a few units on Monday evening after work.

We had a re-run of Sunday’s storm on Tuesday. I was supposed to testify in a state hearing but both that and work were cancelled so I got to sew some more. A lot of people who don’t live here think we’re wimps because things close down for fairly minor store. But, they don’t understand how difficult it can be to forecast these storms. We also usually get ice before or after snow. This one turned out to not be as bad as expected because the temperatures ended up a little higher than predicted. People here drive like idiots at the best of time and they drive way too fast in the snow. The powers that be prefer that everyone who can stay off the roads. If today’s storm had come during the night, it would have been fine but it came during rush hour through early afternoon which can be a recipe for disaster. So, they err on the side of caution for safety’s sake.

Last year with Easy Street I was able to keep up until the clue before Christmas. I spend a week with my elderly parents in Illinois around Christmas so I was 2 clues behind when I got back. Then the fast finish sealed the deal and I was way behind.

This year I’m behind from the get go. I only got 31 of each of the clue 1 units done. All I have to show so far this week is:

celtic solstice 007

In this configuration, they make a whirligig design. As I was looking at the units, I wondered if we might be getting some other units that fit with these to make an interwoven celtic-style design. We’ll just have to wait and see.

I used a new tool – the Strip Stick – for the first time when pressing the last seam open in these units. The jury’s still out on this one.

I did get some other pieces sewn with the white portions.

celtic solstice 006

Go to Bonnie’s blog to see what everyone else is doing.

Celtic Soltice: Calling all Illini

December 2, 2013

This clue is orange and blue. Any Illini out there? Join me in song as we cut and sew the first clue to Celtic Soltice.

For cutting, the Alma Mater, with a little change in words, is perfect.

Hail to the Orange,

orange

Hail to the Blue,

blue

Hail Bonnie Hunter,
Ever so true!
We love no other
So let our motto be
Mystery, Bonnie H! Mystery!

For sewing, we need something a little more lively. Illinois Loyalty fits the bill perfectly. Original words and music by T.H. Guild, 1907, modified by me. Sing along as we sew . . .

clue1

We’re loyal to you, Bonnie H,
We’re “Orange and Blue,” Bonnie H,
We’ll back you to stand ‘gainst the best in the land,
For we know you make quilts, Bonnie H, Rah! Rah!

So crack out the clues, Bonnie H,
We’re following you, Bonnie H,
Our seam guide is our protector,
On! girls, for we all have a mystery from our Bonnie H!

Che-he! Che-ha! Che-ha-ha-ha! Go Bonnie, Go!
Che-he! Che-ha! Che-ha-ha-ha! Go Bonnie, Go!
Bonnie H! Bonnie H! Bonnie H!

Create that dear old clue of Orange and Blue,
Lead on our sons and daughters quilting with you;
Like quilts of old, on our scraps placing reliance, shouting defiance,
Oskee-Wow-Wow!

Amid the broad green fields that nourish our land,
For honest Labor and for Quilting we stand,
And unto thee we pledge our heart and hand,
Dear Mystery Maker, Bonnie H!

And, for a victory dance after finishing the clue, enjoy Chief Illiniwek’s final performance. As a student at Illinois, I was always thrilled to see the Chief dance. Frankly, I don’t see any difference between what he did and the fancy dances at pow-wows, except that the student portraying the chief is not native American. I was very sad when the NCAA forced Illinois to eliminate him. The chief was a symbol rather than a mascot. During half-time, he came out, did his dance, and left, as you see in the video. That was it. He did not lead cheers on the sidelines and pump up the crowd like mascots at other schools do.

The NCAA also tried to eliminate the name, “The Fighting Illini”. They eventually accepted the fact that the use of the name “Fighting Illini” pre-dates the Chief Illiniwek symbol and was bestowed upon the team in honor of Illinoisans who fought in World War I; the use of the name “Illini” dates to the 19th century.

See what everyone else is doing on Celtic Soltice.

November 2013 Sew and Tell – A miracle occurred

November 24, 2013

Last Sunday was Sew and Tell (my bee) day. I got to the store early because they opened at 12 instead of the usual 1:00 pm because it was Quilter’s Quest. I was in the back room sewing by myself. I got to the end of a seam and my bobbin and spool both ran out of thread. What are the chances of that happening?


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