Monday, March 29, 2010

It's spring, it's springI

Someone I worked with wrote this headline years ago. We mocked him. Then I married him.

Here's a happy spring string quilt. I bought it in the spring, many years ago, when I lived in what felt like a very foreign place, the South. For a midwestern girl, it was not home. Strange accents. Strange ideas. Kinda scary.

I bought this quilt along the roadside in South Carolina. I was going to visit my a college buddy who had landed in a strange place too. South Carolina, with a husband studying to be a chiropractor.

This quilt was hanging on a clothesline. I couldn't have paid much for it, as I didn't have much money to spare then. It measures 70" x 64". The string-pieced bowtie blocks are 7 1/2" x 8" square, with string pieced bowties. The predominant striped fabric is seersucker. It's machine pieced and hand quilted with wonderful rough stitches. The very white seller told me his 90-year-old grandma made it.

It hung on our apartment wall in Zirndorf, Germany when we were first married. It looked so swell with our landlord's gold couch beneath it and light streaming in from the windows. How about those sawtooths along one edge. Isn't it the best!

Friday, March 26, 2010

An amazing memory quilt

It would be hard for me to pick a favorite quilt at the Fractured Fabric Society Show in Lenexa (still up for a few more days) but this one was especially amazing for me.

"Color by Mary - Mood by Me" was stitched by Sandra Fos. It is one of the best memory quilts ever. Sandra wrote this about her quilt:

"After my Mother's passing, I packed her fabrics and clothing and knew one day the inspiration for a quilt would come.  Her favorite colors were chartreuse and purple together.  Still sad, I needed the somber darks.  Know she would like this piece since she was learning from me in the later years."

Sandra said she constructed this starting with a foundation of the heavier, more colorful fabrics.  "I did no traditional seaming but instead hand-turned the chunks of fabric as I went along.  A stash of pearl buttons seemed like punctuation marks in a life.  The thin strips stitched over the foundation were also hand-turned for a softer look.  More organic.  Since Mother was not a quilter but an A-class seamtress, she was taking a look at new techniques."

It is rich and absolutely lovely. Thanks, Sandra, for allowing me to post photos of this wonderful quilt. 

Here's information about the show, on display until March 31.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy 35th, QGoGKC!

The Quilters Guild of Greater Kansas City is celebrating its' 35th 
anniversary. They are celebrating in several lovely ways. Former presidents will speak at the April meeting. Members entered a creative quilt challenge celebrating the occasion.

They've opened up the celebration for all of us. Internationally known quilters (and twin sisters) Roberta Horton and Mary Mashuta will be here, with lectures and workshops, in the days leading up to a bang-up May 1 all-day celebration. Read all about it on the Guild website,  There is plenty of space to attend the May 1 lecture, and most workshops still have room.

All quilters in the Kansas City area are invited to participate.

Pictured are challenge quilts, waiting to be judged. I was invited to judge and was delighted by the many creative entries. The challenge quilts will be on display at the May 1 celebration.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lady Face Potholder

There are some fringe benefits to editing quilt books. Namely gifts from fun authors.

Edie McGinnis noticed this lady potholder when she was shopping in Iowa and brought her back to me. She is so demure and pretty: made of felted wool and perfectly stitched.

When I put her to the rest of the collection, I found a similar one already there. This one is also well stitched but just a little jarringly wrong. Maybe it's the avatar-like eye placement or the unfortunate line that leads from eye to mouth. Or the shinier face fabric, making a glow no lady would want (powder please). Her bonnet is stitched from a somewhat slinky dress fabric too.

And now a very special treat. I shared another face potholder here last October.  Today I heard from the amazing Laura, she has recreated that one in her own very excellent style. I love it.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Be sure to see the Fractured Fabric Society Show

A creative quilting group has been meeting at Harper's Fabric & Quilt Company in downtown Overland Park several times a year for the past few years. Guided by the wonderfully creative Rosemary Cromer, it's called the Fractured Fabric Society.

A show featuring members' work is now up at the Lenexa (Kansas) City Hall, on 87th Street, several blocks west of the I-35 exit. I visited it last week and was bowled over by the creative work being produced by members of this group.  There is clothing. There are free-form quilts. There are postcards and quilts with bluejay feathers on them and chopped up embroidery....I could go on and on.

It's up through the end of March so you have a little more than one more week to see it. Don't miss it -  read all about it in this release.

Rosemary's quilt, Muddy Pond in the Spring, is shown above and right. She was inspired by a similar quilt in Kaffe Fassett's book, Quilt Romance. Rosemary liked the way the use of stripes caused so much movement and that the technique was quite simple.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy National Quilter's Day

I have noticed today is National Quilter's Day. I thought who says? How does there get to be something like a National Quilter's Day?

I turned to Google and voila! here's the answer:

"NQA began sponsoring National Quilting Day with a resolution passed by members attending the 22nd Annual Show in Lincoln, Nebraska, in June 1991. The third Saturday in March is officially designated as National Quilting Day, but quilters are flexible and we love a celebration — especially when fabric is involved! So over the years, observance of National Quilting Day has unofficially been expanded to the whole month of March."

Check out their web site, they have some lovely ideas about how to spend this day. My day will be both arduous and glorious. Arduous: we have to shovel the driveway AGAIN, as significant snow fell again here last night. Glorious, as there are basketball games to watch later today - KU and KSU. Ah, heavenly.

I do have a little quilting surprise to share today. A while back, a young woman wrote to me asking how to hand piece and quilt. She wanted to have a handwork project to work on, as the demands of little ones filled most of her time. So I thought about handwork then and made a few suggestions. I thought of Jo Morton and how she always carries a little patchwork project to hand piece everywhere she travels.

At sewing the other night, I just picked up some scraps and started stitching them together. I've kept it up as I watched several basketball games this week. I'm not sure where I'm going with this but I'm enjoying it, and isn't that what quilting is all about.

We do so many good things for our communities with our quilting. We meet such interesting people. So Happy NATIONAL Quilters Day to you!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Ultimate Scraps Too Small

My very smallest scraps, the ones I clip off edges as I sew, go into a big shell that my grandma bought on a long ago vacation. It sits on the shelf right by my sewing machine.

I save them to stitch onto cards I make - greeting type cards.

The very smallest scraps go onto my business cards. I purchased some of the business cards you can print on your computer. I position all the information on the right side of the card. That leaves room to decorate the left side with colorful fabric scraps. I just stitch them in place with my sewing machine.

It's thrifty - and people notice your cards. Here's a sample....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Who knew?

Here's the back of the Crazy Teacups quilt.

I've never photographed this quilt, so who knew how graphic it would be?

I knew it had the odd turtle blocks in the middle. And I knew it had some great fabric. But until I got it on the wall to photograph, I had no idea how bold it was. I love the other side but now I love this side too.

Photographing your quilts adds a whole new dimension to  this craft.

The detail shots show some of my favorite fabrics. What wordsmith would not love the commas fabric?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In praise of collectors

I visited an exhibit at a nearby junior college the other day.

Featured were batiks collected by Ann Dunham, a Kansas native who also was the mother of our president.

The batiks were great. But what I liked most was learning that Dunham was a collector. Her daughter reported she had a rice paddy hat collection, a basket collection and a batik collection among others....

This is good news for all of us who collect. Keep up the good work, and if anyone gives you grief about it, you can explain that you are doing this  in case one of your children is president one day. Then all the world can share your collection too.

The exhibit is sponsored by the Indonesian embassy and Maya Soetoro Ng's family. They are on display at Johnson County Community College until March 12. The batiks will eventually return to Dunhams children's private collections.

check out the quilt Kathie posted today on her blog. She made a little quilt from the cut-offs of coin quilts made over the years. The entire quilt measures 14 1/2" x 22". i love it!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Crazy Teacups

The utter madness of this quilt makes it another of my favorites.

I found it at the huge flea market at Canton, Texas  a few years ago. I was so happy with it and the woman selling it said,"Sometimes the quilts just come to you."

That clinched the deal.

The blocks often measure 8" square and the entire quilt measures 72" x 81". The cups are appliqued on with machine stitching. Isn't it so fun to look at, you can't tell there are cups on many of the blocks as there is such a riot going on with the fabric. You'll all be able to pick out old feedsack cloth from the rest. Notice how there is a border on the left side and the bottom but there are cut-off cups on the right side. Crazy!

There is an old tattered quilt inside this one, which makes it very heavy. Keep watching: soon, I'll show you the surprising back of this two-sided quilt...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sweet Button Quilts

Inspired by a photo on Barbara's blog, I made this sweet little quilt. I used lots of reproduction fabrics, all pulled from my scrap piles. The squares were cut 2" x 2" so the final quilt measures ~10 1/2" x 22 1/2". I had a jar of lovely old shell buttons so I stitched them on the darker alternate squares to quilt this. Look closely and you'll see a tiny shell I found in California stitched to the center of one square....

I liked it so much (and had cut so many squares) that I made another of these for our guild's upcoming mini-quilt auction. Then I made a slightly larger one for my Mom.

This project was well underway when I noticed how similar it is to a sweet little quilt Linda Brannock gave me a few years ago. Those squares are slightly larger than mine and the quilter tied this one in every square to quilt it. It measures about 12" x 14". And look at the back!