Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sewing kit giveaway WINNER and new (old) quilt

Thank you to everyone who left such nice comments on my Lemoyne Star post. I wish I could send all of you the little sewing kit but I only have one (for now!) and I did the random number generator thingy and it came up with number 16, which is the comment from Gayle from The Middle Sister blog. Congratulations Gayle and send me an email with your address.

I had so much fun that I ordered more boxes from Tupperware and when I get more needle keepers I am going to do this one again.

Today I want to share a log cabin quilt that I just got. It is actually polluting the air in my office and I cannot wait to get it home and send it for a swim in some Oxy Clean. Whew! Someone was a smoker. Despite the malodorous aspects, the shirting fabrics are wonderful and the reason I could not resist this quilt.

I am also impressed by the neat, even hand stitches that the quilter used in her foundation piecing method for this quilt. She hand stitched the logs to the foundation and then machine pieced the blocks together, BUT, then hand whip stitched the seams closed on the back with a tiny french seam. It's hard to describe and also hard to photograph the muslin backing but I gave it a try above.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sully Historic Site Quilt Show and Sale is September 12!

(photo courtesy Sully Historic Site)

September in the Washington, DC area brings some of the best weather of the year and one way to really enjoy it is to see brightly colored quilts waving in the breeze at the Sully Historic Site's Annual Quilt Show and Sale. This year's show is scheduled for Sunday, September 12 from 10am to 4:30pm and I highly recommend you go if you are in the area. This is the largest outdoor quilt show in the East and merchants from all over will be there with antique and new American quilts, antique linens, baskets and more.

(photo courtesy Sully Historic Site)

Above is a snapshot of some of the antique quilts available for purchase. How I wish I had that house quilt!! Also at the show, you can see early examples of quilts in the historic house's period rooms. These quilts belong to private collectors and reflect the theme: Great American Quilt Designers, 1830-1930. A big bonus (in my humble opinion) is the chance to have an appraiser evaluate your heirloom quilts for $10 per quilt (limit two). There are also living history interpreters who will be demonstrating spinning, weaving and hand sewing as it was done in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The photo above is a detail of an antique quilt I bought at Sully around 2004 or 2005. I loved the lush quilting on it and always appreciate precision pieced diamonds! If it uploaded the way I want, you can click on it for a closer view of the quilting.

(photo courtesy Bellwether Dry Goods)

When I go to the Sully Show, the first booth I head to is Bellwether Dry Goods! That booth is a quilt show in itself and I spend a lot of time there just taking in the beautiful quilts, admiring the workmanship of their quilters and just generally getting inspired and motivated to improve my quilting. As you can see, their style is traditional, which I love.
(photo courtesy Bellwether Dry Goods)
If you are not familiar with Bellwether, they sell completed quilts (some are made from vintage fabrics) and also offer a hand quilting service. The quilt below is one of mine that was quilted by them. I apologize for the wrinkles. It looks like I need to refold this one and get it out from the bottom of the pile for awhile.
I hope you get a chance to visit Sully this year! I'll be there checking out all the antique quilts and getting inspired to make reproductions of my own.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Touch the Stars

And a giveaway (read to the bottom to see what that is)! Despite the fact that I haven't sat in front of my sewing machine yet this summer, I found a project that lets me enjoy the creative outlet and relaxation that stitching allows me. I am hand piecing 3.25" Lemoyne Stars. My goal is 1 per day and I have barely missed a day since I started in late July. Of course, my project requires 299 star blocks so check back with me next summer and see if I am ready to put the top together.

I like the precision I am able to achieve with the hand piecing and it is interesting to fussy cut the pieces and see how they turn out.

I still need to work on getting those even hand stitches. I have the same problem when hand quilting.

The organizing system that mades it easy to take the hand sewing along everywhere I go is something I learned from Jo Morton when I took her workshop (on piecing Lemoyne Stars) back in February. The plastic box is the "Sandwich Keeper" by Tupperware. It is just great because it is all one piece so you can keep everything right in your lap while stitching (no lid to misplace). The boxes come in sets of two so you can have multiple kits or share with a friend (yes, the giveaway is coming). The other part of the kit is the Wool Needle Keeper from Cindy Blackberg. Fill it up with your thread, pins and needle, tuck it into the box with your fabric pieces and scissors and it all fits right into your purse or computer bag.

Finally, the giveaway. I ordered an extra Wool Needle Keeper and box so that I can share this excellent portable hand piecing kit with one of you. Just leave a comment on this post between this evening and Tuesday, August 24. I'll use the random number generator to draw the winner's name on the 25th. See below for photos of what might be YOUR hand piecing kit.

Monday, August 16, 2010

She's back

Just a quick post today to share a few photos from DD's trip to Ethiopia. The photos above and below are the reason she made the trip...she loves children and hopes to be a pediatrician one day. Much of the trip was devoted to helping with the children in a couple of orphanages as well as bringing 4,000 books to stock two libraries and helping with construction of a library in a village about an hour outside Addis Ababa.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Blue and White quilts

I love blue and white quilts--especially those that are hand quilted. A few posts ago I showed my start on an smallish Ohio Star I am making out of indigo and white. I made a little progress (at last!) but my camera is currently on a trip to Africa (see last post). Instead, I am browsing my quilt photos and thought I'd try a Picasa collage to spice things up and highlight my blue and white color theme. And I'll share some of my blue, white, plus a splash of color quilts. The Hole in the Barn Door (some may say Churn Dash) quilt below is what is affectionately called "a country quilt" which means it isn't too well stitched or quilted. I always find it charming when things aren't matchy-matchy like the piecing in the detail in the second picture below.

The blue basket quilt below is an example of finer workmanship and yes that is hand quilting you see in the detail although the basket handles are machine stitched onto the background.

This is another old-ish blue and white quilt in my collection. A simple pattern (is it Shoo-fly?) but excellent hand quilting.

Finally, who can resist blue, white and RED. This is actually a quilt I made. It's from a Black Mountain Quilts pattern. At least, I am pretty sure that is what the pattern was. I am a very naughty quilt documenter and rarely put labels on my quilts. I learned and perfected the back-basting applique method when I did the 100+ stars on this one. It was machine quilted by a local lady named Linda Newsom. I think she did a fabulous job on the quilting. I just love machine stippling.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hi! from Africa

No, not me, but my DD is participating in an awesome experience in Ethiopia this month. She is part of a literacy mission organized by the Davis Moon Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to building and supplying free children's libraries in Ethiopia and to bringing a small measure of hope to its children. You can read more about the DMP and its goals at their website. One of the 2010 mission group's members, Heather, started a blog about the mission so I am sure we'll be seeing some pictures soon. I just heard from my DD today and I wanted to share her message:

Hi mom! I miss you loads!! I hope your week is going well and you and dad aren't missing me tooooo much. Its been a great trip so far, but it's so heartbreaking to see the kids like this. The first day we went to the orphanage and that was pretty much how I expected it to be. The kids were very small for their age and so understimulated but they were really sweet and obviously really enjoyed being played with. Yesterday and today we went about an hour out of the city to Dahley where the kids live in huts and have very little if anything to eat. Some of the kids didn't even have clothes and some of the ones that did their clothes were so ripped it didn't make much difference. A lot of them didn't have shoes and had to walk in mud and stand on rocks. It poured so badly yesterday we almost couldn't get back across the river we walked across to get to where they're building the library. We helped make a stone pathway yesterday and today and planted the kids helped us and it was so sweet. I have some pictures but everyone has been taking so many plus the camera crew I've kind of stopped bothering with it just so I can focus on spending time with the kids. I have lots of stories though and there will be lots of pictures for you to see. Thanks so much for making sure I got this opporunity. Love you lots and I'll talk to you soon.
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