Friday, December 30, 2011

Get off the quilts!

This year I decided to enjoy the red and green quilts so I stacked them up on a trunk near our Christmas tree for all the world to see. I try not to be fussy about "things" with my family but was compelled to mention to the gaggle of twenty-somethings (aka, my children and their significant others) that they were to steer clear of mom's "old" quilts. I even mentioned that some were over 150 years old and if they wanted to live to see a fraction of those years then nothing bad better befall the quilts. DS#1 was MIA and didn't get the memo. I found him SITTING right on top of the pile, beverage in hand, holding court with the girls. It is enough to say that mom went a little nuts. See the title of this post and repeat about 10 times, quickly and loudly. After that, no one approached the quilts.

Another new project??? Yes...but. It is a guilt free project. I always wanted to attempt a tumbling blocks quilt so I did. All the fabrics are from my scrap box which is filled to the top. It is so much fun digging through the box and I've only scratched the surface. I plan on hand piecing and am stockpiling the pieces for a time in mid-January when I will be forced to be away from the sewing machine, with time on my hands and in need of something to take my mind off "things." More on that later.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Giveaway winners!!

I so wish I could send something to every one of you who took the time to send me such nice comments. I do appreciate all who take the time to read the blog and share your love of quilting with me. The lucky four winners are:

Kate - Empty Field blog - gets the Red and Green quilts book
Sue - I Sew Quilts blog - gets the red and white tote bag
Cathi - Shakerwood Quilts blog - gets the Next Door Neighbor kit
Ruth - Country Log Cabin blog - gets the Prairie Huswyfe kit

No, you didn't need to have a blog to win. I had one of Santa's elves (aka, my son) pull names out of a basket and that's just the way it worked out. They are some great blogs, though, so click on the names and pay them a visit if you haven't already.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Post Number 100 - Giveaway!

It's been three years but I finally hit post number 100. I've planned for this and collected a few giveaways - 4 in fact - just waiting for this moment. Now, all you have to do is choose which you hope to win and leave me a comment. You can choose more than one but leave a single comment for each one. I will choose the winners on Tuesday night (December 20) so I can get them in the mail on Wednesday. I will ship anywhere, even international. So, I hope you leave a comment and help me celebrate.

This is my copy of the new Red and Green Quilts book by Kay Triplett. The winner's book is still wrapped in its plastic. I bought it from the Quiltmania booth in Houston. It is full of eye candy for red and green quilt lovers like me.

If you went to the fabulous red and white quilt show last March, you might have seen these great tote bags. But, they sold out before the first day was over. Fortunately, I visited the Folk Art Museum again a few months later and they were back in stock. So, I got one for this giveaway.

This is the back of the tote bag.

This photo doesn't do this quilt kit justice. The pattern is from the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle and is called "Next Door Neighbor." All the fabrics for the top are included. I got the kit from Temecula Quilt Company.

Finally, here is another kit and pattern from Prairie Women's Sewing Circle. This pattern is called Prairie Huswyfe. Again, it's from Temecula Quilt Company and all the fabrics for the top are included.

So, if you want to play, leave a comment with your choice from the four part giveaway and good luck!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kindness of Quilters

I've been under the weather most of November. I won't bore you with details or my downer attitude but, for a bit, I'd even lost my quilter mojo. At one point, I toyed with the thought of downsizing the stash. See? It was serious. Then, this past weekend I was having a bowl of soup and pondering life when I started studying the beautiful little quilt pictured above. It is a RAK I received in October from Kathie. Anyway, I was looking at the fabrics and thinking how much I like them and admiring the quilting pattern and the blocks and, presto!, it all came back. So, thanks Kathie, your gift is a miracle worker.

I knew there was a problem when I had to force myself to make one measly little nine-patch block and it took over an hour! Sorry for the blurry picture.

Usually, I break the quilting funk by starting a new project. This time, though, inspiration eluded me. Then I saw Lori's nearly finished Dear Jane quilt and decided that each of those blocks is like a little project in itself. I can't tell you how many blogs I've commented on saying, "I need to get my Dear Jane project out again." I started mine around 2002 and don't have very many blocks done. At last, I tracked everything down, took a day to remember how to sew, and started K-12 with fabric from my scrap box. $%#&! I ran out of fabric two pieces from completion! Was something conspiring to keep me from quilting?

After a good night's sleep and another peek at my little red and brown quilt I re-started and finished K-12 AND F-7. I decided to go with the brighter blocks for now. Don't want to take any chances with dark colors.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A quilter's wish list

I went to the Baltimore Applique Society meeting last Wednesday and did a little shopping for myself. I thought I would share my goodies with you because they would be great to add to a personal Christmas list or make good gifts for the quilters in your life. BAS has reprint the Elizabeth MacCullough Hervey quilt pattern (above). For those who do not know about BAS patterns, the organization has made patterns from numerous antique Baltimore Album quilts. Some are used as BAS fundraisers and others are donated to a museum or historical society as a fundraiser for that organization - the Mary Mannakee quilt is one of these. The "Hervey" pattern is one of the most elaborate album quilts and was out of print for some time. Now is the time to get yours before it is gone again. Oh, forgot to mention, it includes a CD with excellent photos of each of the original quilt's blocks. You can view the pattern on the BAS website here.

Another little stocking stuffer or secret santa idea is these cards. The quilts pictured are past BAS raffle quilts. Each package has 4 cards of the same picture.

My favorite goodie is the 2008 Baltimre Album Quilt Calendar. I know, it is nearly 2012 but I didn't buy it for the dates. I got it for the pictures. It is a must-have for admirers of Baltimore Album Quilts! The spiral-bound appointment calendar book contains full photographs of twenty six antique Baltimore Album Quilts - many of which have never been previously photographed, displayed or published. This is more than just a calendar as it compares similar blocks, gives detailed descriptions and history based on current research of the twenty six quilts. You can order it here. Quantities are very limited.

I am just a member of BAS and lover of album quilts. I have no personal interest in promoting their products.

Monday, November 7, 2011


This is an antique quilt I bought fairly recently. I bought it from photos but the dealer is excellent so when she says something is impressive, I believe her. I may have mentioned my affinity for Lemoyne Stars once or twice (or more) before so you can see why this quilt appealed to me despite the sorry state of its fabrics. That star block on top of the quilt? It is 3-1/2" unfinished and will finish to 3". The little stars in this quilt? They are a tiny 2"! Well, sort of 2". Some are 2" x 2-1/2" or combinations like that but I am not criticising the fact that they are not exactly square everywhere. They are tiny! I was gushing about the stars in this quilt on display at the American Folk Art Museum last year and they were a (relatively) whopping 2.5".

You can see the weakness in the red fabrics in this photo and the worst fading of the fabrics is in the blocks on that right side of the quilt. But, if you had made this would you have been able to hide it away? Me neither!

Okay, here's the photo where you can really get an idea of the scale. For those unfamiliar with American quarters, they are about an inch in diameter.

Of course, I love that this quilt has cheddar fabric and that's one of the few fabrics that stood the test of time.

Here's another detail shot to show you the pink because I love pink, too.

And, finally, I like the way the two stars with indigo fabrics just pop right out at you. How I wish I could have seen this quilt when its colors were new, don't you? The cheddar, pink, indigo and red triangle border makes me think the whole thing must have been quite bright and vibrant.

This last little beauty is made by my friend Alice Tignor and was in the recent International Quilt Festival in Houston. I just love it and had to include it here when I am talking about tiny quilts. Those little blocks are only 3" and don't you love the precision of her flying geese border? She doesn't do paper piecing! I noticed that many of the award winning quilts (large and small) in the show were machine pieced. Clearly, the judges didn't share my bias toward hand quilting.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quilt Study and Houston bound

I heard an interesting story when I showed this quilt at the most recent meeting of the Virginia Quilt Dating Club and someone spotted the lone gold square. See photo below.

She related a theory that women, who could not vote at the time, included a single gold square in their 1880's/1890's quilt as a political statement about dropping the Gold Standard as the U.S. monetary system. I am wondering if any of you who research quilt history can shed any more light (and quilt examples) for me?

Also, I am headed to the Houston quilt show (yes, I am so excited!!) on Thursday and Friday and would love to meet as many blog friends as I can. Let me know if you will be there.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Just can't let it go

I cannot let go of the red and white quilt bug. That show back in March made such an impression on me. This is a photo of the antique red and white quilt I just bought. When I don't have time to sew (and I haven't for ages) I gravitate to antique quilt shopping instead. After all, I started quilting to reproduce the antiques I loved so much.

Here is a bit of a close up of the quilt. Did I mention I also love baskets quilts? Actually, I think these would be called Cake Stand. Who doesn't love cake?

Quilting makes the quilt and good quilting really makes me want the quilt. I like the double rows of quilting in this one. I must put that extra effort into my own projects.

One of the reasons I don't have time to quilt is work has taken me to great places like the Pacific Northwest. We don't have vistas like these on the east coast! (Squint to see the BIG mountain).

And, I treat myself to visiting great quilt shops like the Wild Rose Quilt Shop in Orting, Washington. The two best benefits to this shop? The wall of repros at the back of the shop and the uber friendly owners. Boy, did they ever make me happy to be there! Don't you love visiting a shop where the owners and employees actually act like they LIKE their customers?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Take along applique kit

I love pretty storage. I guess that's because I have a lot of stuff and if it isn't stored well it is difficult to appreciate and enjoy that stuff. I found the perfect storage solution for my "sprigs" applique project at the Vera Bradley store. This is their Mini Hanging Organizer and it is just the right size to carry everything I need to take an applique block in progress with me everywhere. My silk thread, scissors, needle threader, a couple needles, my basting thread and some little applique pins are neatly stashed in the handy compartments. Then I can fold up the block in progress and put it on top and zip it closed.

It fits right into my purse and is ready for stitching no matter where I am. How do you like to organize your projects? I would love to see pictures.

I finished two more blocks while I was on the road the last couple of weeks. This red, yellow and green one is my favorite. That's because I am partial to those wonderful mid-19th century applique quilts in the same colors.

I like the way this brown fabric worked as stems in these two blocks. It's another Judie Rothermel fabric.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Who's cruising now?

Me, that's who! I complained in my last post about how I felt like I was all thumbs stitching on my little sprigs applique blocks. When I mentioned to Janet (Quiltsalott) that I thought part of the problem was the silk thread I was using, she directed me to a Youtube video on how to knot the thread in your needle. What a difference a couple of minutes instruction makes!

Silk thread is excellent for applique because it virtually disappears and you only need a small range of neutral colors instead of the rainbow of cotton thread necessary to match every fabric you are using. But, it is barely bigger than an human hair and slippery Stitching with it is a bit like running in flip flops. It's awkward and you keep slipping out of them. Because the thread is so very fine, you can put a knot right at the eye of the needle and it doesn't affect the needle going through the fabric at all. Once I was freed from worrying about the thread sliding out of the needle after every stitch I could zoom along just like I was using cotton. Janet has posted the video on the Glorious Applique blog. You can find it here.

I am also finally feeling comfortable with my sewing machine again. As I mentioned previously, it was feeling its 20 years and needed refurbishing to work again. After spending the summer at the sewing machine spa, it's back and humming along beautifully. Above are star blocks 7 and 8.

When I was searching for a quilt with a plain back to use as a background to photograph my blocks, I happened upon this little doll quilt I bought a couple of years ago. I think it is sweet and clearly has been cuddled by some dolls.

I have my next two Sprigs blocks prepped and ready for stitching. Now that I am a wiz with the silk thread I expect to finish at least one of them this weekend.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Applique is NOT like riding a bike...

At least it isn't for me. I haven't ridden a bike in a couple of years but I could hop on one right now and cruise like a pro. Not so with applique. It's only been several weeks since I last appliqued but I was all thumbs when I picked up my first "sprigs" block. I prepped this block last weekend and had the presence of mind to stick it in my purse before we headed off to a family wedding on Saturday. When we ran into an hour long traffic jam I pulled out Sprigs 1 and stitched down the stems. Did I mention I was the passenger, not the driver? Anyway, it was a very relaxing (and productive!) way to pass the time. But, I am a s-l-o-w stitcher.

I also put together a couple more stars blocks today. After looking at the six I've done so far, I can see it's time to stop using pink.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Nervously riding out Irene

I am trying to distract myself from the ferocious wind and rain outside tonight. These are my first four star blocks in the Stars and Sprigs quilt I mentioned in my last post. I would like to do an applique block but I am a bit too tense for that.

I am grateful we don't have it as bad as other locations and we still have power. But, I sure do wish this storm will just blow out to sea.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Giveaway winner and new project

I did the random number generator thing on Friday morning and Annette is the lucky winner of the kit. I always felt like I was at a disadvantage if I was the first commentor on a giveaway but Annette's win proves that fear baseless. She was the first to leave a comment and she now gets the kit. For the rest of you, look for another kit giveaway soon.

"Stars and Sprigs" by Kim McLean

Today I was sorely tempted to order yet another block of the month program. Fortunately, that little voice in my head asked, "What? Are you nuts?" There is a U.S. shop that stocks a great variety of reproduction fabrics but is notorious for their high prices on block of the month programs. The "Stars and Sprigs" pattern by Kim McLean is so appealing in 19th century reproduction fabrics and the siren song of fabrics for six blocks/month was strong. At least until the 'little voice' slapped me around a bit and I saw the $18.95/month (for 18 months!!) price tag. The little voice also boldly pointed out that my stash contains plenty of such fabrics and if I wanted a block of the month I could make my own with fabric on-hand. So, that's what I am going to do. I ordered the pattern today and am headed to the stash to start pulling some of the boldest repros I own.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Look what came in the mail!! (and giveaway)

I was so excited to open a squishy envelope and find this great needlekeeper from Teresa W. I have to confess something, though. She sent it about 3 months ago and I only just opened the mail. I've been receiving several block of the month, mini of the month and a quarterly (or something) shipment for the Prairie Women Sewing Circle. Since the summer has been super busy (and the sewing machine's been in the shop) I've been piling the envelopes up to be opened at a later date. Well...this morning I decided to attack the pile of mail and I found my little treasure.

I have long wanted to make one of these little cuties myself. But, if I don't have time to open the mail then you can imagine I am not getting any projects finished, either. Besides, as all of you who continually make things for others, it is always such a pleasure to be the recipient of another's handwork. So, thank you, thank you to Teresa W!

Another thing I discovered today is that I have too many kits piled up. I am now unsubscribed from any and all monthly kit mailings and am giving the one pictured above away this week. It is from the current Prairie Women's Sewing Circle series and is called "The Quilting Gathering." The kit includes a bit of history, instructions and all the fabrics to make the top. Oh, there is a photo of the finished top, too. You might have to squint to get a good look at it. If you want a chance at taking on this project, leave a comment and I'll pick the winner Thursday evening. Be sure that I have a way to contact you if you leave a comment.

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