Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Retiring minds want to know...

Quite awhile since my last post. I mentioned there'd been some changes in my household, and it's true. I was able to take early retirement from my University job of nearly 13 years to pursue freelance full time.

It was with much trepidation that I made the decision, but was extraordinarily pleased that the week before my retirement I got a wonderful assignnment that has kept me busy ever since. Just turned the last bit of it in yesterday and I'm taking a breather. Freelancing is a feast or famine business for sure, and although I've been doing it part time for five-plus years, there was always the constancy of my "day job." Now achieving balance will be the challenge. I have trouble with permitting myself to play on a day when I don't have an imminent deadline—good for my editors, not always so good for me.

My just-completed job found me writing weekends and until 10:30 p.m. many nights. Watching out for that kind of creep is critical, as is remembering some of the things I hoped to accomplish by retiring, such as making our lives more sane and having time for more creative work. Still, I sure do like to write, especially about creative people.

These photos? Just before my retirement I went to an estate sale with my neighbor Maeve. There I found "My Quilting Box" filled with hand-stitched stars. There is a sticker on the bottom from JC Penney that says it cost 29 cents, but I'm thinking that may have been stuck on later. Inside the box were a few pieces of stray fabric and a section of a newsletter called The Workbasket with a Double Wedding Ring quilt template, instructions for a crocheted Grandmother's Medallion coverlet, and tips that include "Rub a bit of furniture wax on a soft cloth and pass it lightly over the writing on the package you must take in the rain to mail. Address will not blur." and "If your sewing machine doesn't have a light, just hook the electric bed lamp over the arm of the sewing machine, and you'll never be in the dark."

The newsletter also included this tiny ad for 2 pounds of quilt pieces for $1.00 from Petelle's, 1610 S. Third, Maywood, IL. TWO POUNDS of hand-stitched stars for one dollar! Imagine what the poor women were paid who stitched them for the Petelle's.

I'm going to share this information with a new quilt historian friend and see whether she can help me learn about this—she told me that quilting kits are nothing new. I'm amazed!!!! And although I will never create the set-in seams necessary to include these stars in a quilt, I simply couldn't let it go. I think I paid about three or four dollars. Well worth it, just to sort through the fabrics in the stars.

Anyone out there have any information about this box?


beth said...

wow! What an interesting little box full of wonderful treasure!! How fun!!

Darlene Harris said...

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful item, I have never seen anything like this

Don said...

Were you able to find any more information on the "My Quilting Box" you purchased? Last night my wife's grandfather gave us a box that looks nearly identical, except the blocks were small octagons instead of stars. The box had belonged to my wife's grandmother and at some point she had completed about half the quilt, but it looks like it hadn't been touched in years. We would be very interested I'm any additional information you may have found.

Thanks in advance.

Linzee said...

Hi Don:

I have not found out anything yet about the box, but your note reminds me that I need to remember to ask the person I know who is knowledgable about quilt history. When I do learn something, I'll let you know.

I love that your box has a personal connection!