Thursday, August 27, 2015

Trimming Blocks

This post is for the non-quilting readers who asked how I was going to sew the zig zag edges of the Granny Square blocks that I've started making with scraps in June. Earlier posts can be seen here.
Granny Square blocks

I put the blocks together like a jigsaw puzzle to photograph them, but I doubt ANY quilter would ever attempt to sew the blocks together without squaring them, which is what I did once I had enough blocks for a complete quilt.


First, I measured 1/4 inch from the tips of the colored squares. The 1/4 inch is needed for seam allowance.


Once the seam allowance was determined, I cut off the edge, rotated the block and measured the other sides - making sure the entire block was square.


These blocks were trimmed to 9 inches and with the seam will finish at 8.5 inches.

Trimmed block
Now, that the blocks are square and are all the same size, putting them together into a quilt top will be easy.

trimmed Granny Square blocks
ready for sashing and a border

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cathedral of the Plains

The Basilica of St. Fidelis
"The Cathedral of the Plains"
Victoria, Kansas
August 2015
One of the highlights of the trip for me was visiting this gorgeous church. It towers above the small town (population 1,214 in the 2010 census) and has an amazing history. It is 220 feet long, 110 feet wide at the transepts, and 75 feet wide at the nave. The ceiling is 44 feet above the ground and the towers rise 141 feet. The seating capacity of 1,100 made it, at the time of its dedication, the largest church west of the Mississippi.

Construction of the Cathedral began in 1908 and was completed in 1911. The exterior is constructed of native limestone, quarried seven miles south of Victoria. Besides collectively contributing $132,000 for the building, each parishioner was required to haul 6 wagonloads of stone, so large families easily hauled 70 to 80 loads of stone to meet their obligation. Each stone weighed 50 to 100 pounds and engineers estimate that the people hauled and dressed more than 125,000 cubic feet of rock. The stones were placed by hand, assisted only by block and tackle.

the altar viewed from the nave
The fourteen granite pillars in the nave came from Vermont. When they first arrived, however, they were unloaded by the railroad 3/4 mile from the construction site. After an attempt to transport the pillars using a strong farm wagon failed, a threshing machine was prepared with beams. It took eight horses, to pull the five-ton to seven-ton pillars and 40 men to lift them.

In addition to the native limestone and the granite pillars from Vermont, a great quantity of Bedford stone was imported from Indiana for the doorways and the bases and capitals of the pillars.

rose window above the front door, facing west
The stained glass in this church is breath-taking. I photographed a few favorites, but you can click on the link photos of all of the windows. The rose window at the end of the church was amazing.

rose window above the west entrance
In 2013, the church contracted with Widenborg Stained Glass Restoration to remove the old storm covering on the stained glass windows and refurbish the windows and wood frames. Quarter-inch clear tempered glass was installed as a new storm covering. This restoration alone cost $155,000.

(Historical information included in this post was taken from the brochure available at the church. The church website is www.stfidelischurch.com)

If you find yourself on Interstate 70 in western Kansas, please take the time to stop in Victoria to see this gorgeous church.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Prairie Museum of Art and History

button display
Prairie Museum of Art and History
Colby, Kansas
August 2015
Colby, Kansas has one of the most impressive museums that I've ever seen: the Prairie Museum of Art and History. We could have spent a day or more looking at the various exhibits in the 21,500 square foot building as well as the display buildings outside the main museum. The museum covers 24 acres, and the displays are varied and extensive.

Items inside the main building were displayed in glass cases, and under the cases were drawers with could be pulled out to reveal even more items related to that particular display. For example, the buttons shown in the photo were in the glass case, and beneath the case were ten or more wide and long drawers with buttons mounted on cards. There were similar displays for stamps, coins, tools, etc.

From the museum literature, we discovered that the items in the museum are the collection of Joe and Nellie Kuska. I took a lot of photos and will be posting them randomly.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Windshield Time

Nine scrap sock yarn baby hats
August 2015
I finished nine baby hats while on vacation - most were knit while on the road and some knit in my downtime. The hats are already out of my house and on their way to Public Health for the visiting nurses to distribute. It feels good to use the scraps and to help keep little ones warm.


There is a tiny bit left, and it is currently on the needles. I will probably run out of the self-striping yarn before the hat is finished, so this hat may have a black top.

What "windshield time" activities do you do when you aren't driving?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Foreign Friday

One of many kilns at the Chinese Pottery Factory
Taipei, Taiwan
December 1979


Remember all the photos I posted of the Pottery Factory in Taiwan?  This is one of many kilns used to fire the pottery. They were massive.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Eye on the Sky

Short-term weather prediction radar
National Weather Service Forecast Office
Goodland, Kansas
August 2015
The first stop on our itinerary was at the National Weather Service Weather Station (NOAA) in Goodland, Kansas. We asked for a tour of the facility and Jessica, a young meteorologist, showed us the various radar screens and answered all of our questions about how the weather in that area is predicted. She also explained how the alerts that are broadcast on weather alert radios initiate from their office.


There is a NOAA station in Riverton, Wyoming, too, but I've never been inside the building.

I am thankful that these weather stations throughout the country are manned by individuals that keep an "eye on the sky" so we can be better prepared for severe storms.

Brenda did a lot of research to find potential places to visit on our trip. She picked some fascinating things for us to see that I'll be sharing for the next week or two.

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