Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wrap Up

I've been doing a little reflecting on my 'quilt year'.  The highlight for me this year was the NYC trip for the Red and White Exhibit.  Thanks, Jan, for being my traveling buddy!  I'm so glad to have visited the American Folk Art Museum before the closing of the main facility.  I've picked a few pictures from the trip to share. 

This Whig Rose (circa 1838) was exhibited at the main AFAM facility.


This Cactus Rose block (circa 1855 - 1865) was exhibited in the Lincoln Center AFAM facility.  This piece was the gift of Irwin Nelson in honor of Robert Bishop
And the Red and White - what an amazing display!

So, snuggle in and rest up to meet the New Year. 

AFAM Doll Quilts - gifts of Frances Rasmussen in memory of her daughter, Cathyann.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Cheer!

Here are a few projects from Christmas' past.

The poinsettia felted wool pincushion was a gift from a sewing buddy.

This tree was my fabric rendition of a paper foldout made by my daughter, Amy in first grade. I traced around it onto the green fabric, and placed the decorations where she had. Her ornaments were of paper, and her garland was drawn on. I embroidered the garland, and used buttons and little fabric berries.

Poor Frosty hasn't found a home here for the past few years. I just get him out and look at him!

I've made a bit of progress on my Irish Chain, but not much!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Old Friends

Cinderella has always been my favorite Disney film.  I've shared Christmas with Gus and Jaq for many years - they were a 'fun meal' treat one Christmas season when my kids were small.  We were shopping one evening and stopped at McDonald's for a quick dinner.  After all these years, I still remember that evening - the teenage server let me have one of each ornament even though they were supposed to be dispersed on alternate weeks.  I was grateful that he bent the rules for me (and I still am)!  I've passed many of our family ornaments to my kids (with families of their own), but the Cinderella mice stay with me.  They always coax a smile when I unpack them from the ornament box (and I'm a little sad to wrap them up on New Year's Day).  

We took a road trip to Austin over Thanksgiving - it's a longggg trip.  Hubby was a good sport and stopped at Common Threads on the way home (even though we still had 20 hours of road time ahead).  They were having a great sale - lots of bolts at 50% off.  I had too much fun!

And to add to the damage, I placed on on-line order just before we left.  I've noticed a change in my fabric buying lately - I'm adding more lights to the stash.  I tend to gravitate to mediums and darks. 

The top fabric is the butterscotch version of the fabric I purchased about a month ago in a faded rose color (Jo Morton Complements by Andover).  I had a hard time deciding between the two colors in the quilt shop.  Lucky me!  I found the butterscotch on sale on the web.

There is some sewing going on at my house (between holiday prep and my 'day job') - sewing the binding on a bed quilt and working on the Twinkling Pinwheels (think I've settled on a game plan for this one).

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year!  I know it's a little early, but 'just in cases' (Love Actually).  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Forgotten Quilts

While going through the linen closet for holiday quilts, I came across this top, and thought that I would give it a quick look. It was my original design, and the top was sewn in the mid-1990's.

Perhaps I wouldn't choose these exact fabrics today, but I do like the effect. This one just may go in the to-be-quilted pile. The plaid backing fabric was folded up next to the top, and it measures out to be enough. Maybe I will look into a strippy backing for this instead, although I don't think I would have a use for the plaid elsewhere.

Anna's Choice is a flannel quilt that is also of the same vintage. It is even tied! There had been another flannel quilt on this sofa, but Murray, who longed to be in this post, as you can see, nested a bit too much into that quilt. It developed a hole, and then another, and soon there just wasn't enough quilt left to use. Here is the culprit, and my companion, Murray. He doesn't photograph too well because of being so dark. Althought, at seven, he is developing white hair, and his chin is quite gray. He is the best dog I have ever had, and has been quite patiently awaiting his introduction on the blogosphere. His photo was taken in my sewing room, and, yes, being a toy poodle, he is not afraid of his feminine side, and loves his pink quilt - which I did not make. This one has sustained no damage; of course!

Again, while pulling out seasonal items, this time in the coat closet, I came across this, one and only, crocheted item that I ever completed. It was made from some yarn that I found in Colorado while visiting my brother, probably twenty years ago. Just the most basic crochet stitch was used, and I don't think that I even remember how to do that now!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Estonian Lace Intermission

The Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles in Berkeley, CA is featuring an exhibit of 'Knitted Lace of Estonia' (slideshow).  Haapsalu, Estonia (a tiny Baltic nation) became a popular health resort in the mid 1820's drawing wealthy vacationers who recognized the value of local needleworkers.  By mid century the shawls were available in major European and Russian cities.  Shawl knitting became a major source of additional income for many families.   The nupp stitch (bobble) is a trademark of the Estonian shawl.  The price of the shawl was determined by its weight; the nupp increased the weight and, therefore, the price.

Willow leaf was one of my favorites -


Below is a comparison of Estonian and Orenburg lace shawls (Estonian on left and Orenburg on right).  Orenburg shawls are made from the hair of Ural Mountain goats.  These shawls have the reputation of being able to pass through a wedding ring.

More lace

The exhibit included a small display of Estonian mittens

The Lacis Textile Center and Retail Store is an amazing resource for all textile arts - tatting, beading, knitting, hat making...  My souvenir was a curved abalone crochet hook!  Take a peek -

Monday, November 21, 2011

Antique Triangle Quilt

This fabulous triangle quilt was brought in to Needle & Thread, the quilt store that is oh-so-handily just down the street from my house.

It just needed a few minor repairs, and Marlene, the store's proprietress, offers that service to customers.

Isn't it just wonderful? Great fabrics, and a simple, effective quilting design. Love it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In Defense of Stash

I've been collecting fabric for a long time.  During some of my fabric buying years, there wasn't time in my schedule for sewing.  Didn't stop me; I continued to add to stash.  Quilting has become a higher priority for me - family demands are lighter and the years aren't slowing down.  At times I've felt guilty about the size of my stash, but not anymore.  My stash is one of my favorite things!

Anne (Blue House Quilting) did a quick turn-around on Lexie's quilt.  Picking binding fabric was a challenge - finding a fabric that worked with both the quilt front and back was difficult.  I just kept digging thru the bins until I found a fabric I was happy with (close-up at left).  The binding is complete and the quilt has run thru washer/dryer.    

Pinwheels close-up 
Quilt back (sorry for the shading)  

Toile close-up

Back binding 

With Lexie's quilt complete, I focused on Jared's during the sew-in.  First step was to pick a design.  Windy Sister by Country Threads was the winner.  I wanted to cut the pieces from leftover strips (lots of pinwheels and 4 patches), but I never have enough lights.  So, back to the stash to find four complementary lights.  I've made good progress, but there are alot of blocks.  A 4 patch is turned wrong in the pic - no worries, just stuck up on the design wall.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Retreat Report

Vicki and I had a retreat at her beautiful house this past weekend. This is all that I accomplished - about 100 4patchs for the blue irish chain variation that I wrote about in my last post. We had a great time out in the country, watching Cranford (Masterpiece Theater), drinking tea, and sewing.
The blocks will need to go on my design wall, so these hourglass blocks that I made from swatches will have to come down. They were made quite a while ago, and I just wanted to see how they were looking. Today, I played catch-up around the house, but tomorrow, I hope to get back to the "blues".

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ta and Da

Next weekend Jan and I are having a sew-in at my house.  We've got plenty of firewood and good movies, but we were missing a design wall.  So, after a trip to Jo-Ann's for batting (50% off coupon - Woo Hoo) and the big-box store for insulation board, we now have two 4x8 walls hanging down my hall!  As my hubby says, 'Ta and Da!'  What a treat - hoping I'm motivated to finish some projects that have been languishing in boxes (like the two in the pic at right).

Jan and I took a trip to the quilter's yesterday for drop-off/pick-up.  We stopped at two great IL quilt shops - Quilt Merchant in Winfield and Prairie Stitches in Oswego.  Prairie Stitches is a featured shop in the current Quilt Sampler.  Their quilt is on the cover - what a beauty in person! 

Docia from Quilt Merchant graciously allowed the following pics to share on the blog:  
Halloween fun


Geoff's Mom Pattern Co - The Storyteller

Jan and I both loved this doll quilt - looks old, but is new

Never say never!  Over lunch I mentioned to Jan that I don't buy fabric for a particular project - always adding to stash.  Within an hour, I added a new project and purchased 4 yds of the following Jo Morton fabric for background.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Progress Report/Birthday Blocks for Bev

Well, as expected, I just couldn't strip piece these light blues for the irish chain. It may not take much longer to piece as individual squares, and will probably follow the piecing plan from the Atkinson pattern. This is just a preview to see if I liked how it was looking, and you can see the odd choice for the chain. The colors here are quite accurate, so don't blame your computer! It is a browney-green, and I quite like the unexpected look of it, and am ready to start sewing!
These are birthday blocks for our quilting buddy Bev. You may remember that we piece blocks for each other when a birthday ends in zero. This will be the last time that we make blocks since we all have received them - with ages ranging from 40 to 60! This time Pat chose this block for Bev, and asked that we use three fabrics per block, including a lightish background. We all like reproduction fabrics, and Bev is partial to florals so they were added into the mix.