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".