Saturday, May 29, 2010

Two Strange Sue items

Sunbonnet Sue has long carried an air of scandal for me. After all, fanatic Sue quilt lovers in our guild did provoke upstarts to craft the infamous Sunbonnet Sue quilt made in 1979. So when a Sue quilt would appear at our guild in the aftermath, you would hear gasps of dismay that the controversy might be rekindled.

I won't take these goodies to show at guild as I don't want to be provocative. But I can show them to you here. Both are kitchen items. The round potholder above appears to be Sues in a trance, somnambulist Sues perhaps, following each other to who knows where. It was given to me by one of the creators of the infamous quilt.....

Oddly enough, another one of those upstarts passed on the Sue alone to me. What is the meaning of this one? After all, her bounteous skirt shelters 2 potholders. Could this be pregnant Sue? Mother of twins Sue?

You decide.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memory Quilts for Mary's Daughters

The smiling Sherman girls received these quilts last weekend. That's Becca on the left and Maggie on the right, with their stepmom Joan, maker of the quilts, in the middle.

Their mom, Mary Sherman, died of bladder cancer in her early 50s in 2006.  Her daughters are Maggie, then 22 and in college at KU and Becca, then 16 at Shawnee Mission West.  Mary wasn't a collector of things but loved to dress nicely.  She was a pharmacist. Her husband Steve held on to her clothing for a long time as it seemed to symbolize Mary  - he just didn't know how to give the clothes to the girls in a meaningful way.  
Joan entered the picture in  2007 as a friend and at some point suggested that he have quilts made for the girls out of her clothing.  "The more I got to know all of them and the more I thought about it, I decided I had to be the one to make the quilts," Joan wrote.  "So I suggested this and off we went."

Joan had the girls pick out their mother's clothing that meant the most to them. She wrote:
"That gave us a collection of nightgowns, blouses, dresses, skirts.  You can imagine the variety of fabrics!!  I nixed all sweatshirts and tshirts.  Then I left with a bag full of clothing and had no idea how I was going to incorporate this mishmosh of color and fabric.  I contemplated this for 6 months and looked at all sorts of patterns and then, bless Shirley Lewis, my colleague at Harper's (fabric and quilt company in Overland Park, Kansas), she created "Chopsticks" for one of the Strip Club quilt projects.  Although a very different concept with her beautiful batiks to give it an oriental feel -- the more I looked at her quilt, I realized I could achieve what I wanted which was to get all those fabrics in a quilt that each girl could wrap herself in.

The girls' went along with my concept, except I turned the quilts into a throw size.  I cut up the clothing, stabilized each piece and cut strips.  The girls picked out their fabric strips to make each of their blocks.  They picked out their solid block color with me in addition to backing and border fabric.  Becca wanted the chopsticks in hers, Maggie did not.  So since the day they built their fabric blocks, neither has seen their quilt. My friend, Debby Muther, did the beautiful machine quilting incorporating the background flowers of their individual backing fabrics in the quilting of the solid blocks. Their birthdays are May 11 and May 21.  

They opened their quilt box presents from me together last weekend. They loved them.  I also gave each a book with photos of their Mom and each girl wearing many of the clothes we used plus photos of each garment and the final quilt.  It was a great day!!!! I wanted you to see what was created and thank you for talking with me about this early on."

Isn't this a great story? By the way, Joan and Steve were married September 18, 2009. Ah.........

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I took some fabrics along with me on the road last week. I had stocked up with men's shirts at my favorite thrift shop - here is some of my haul along with a few nice fat quarters......

In Minneapolis, I noticed the convention center is decorated with housetop designs. Who knew!??

I stitched this block. It contains new fabrics along with some older wovens and a few wonderful old shirts too.
And today I remembered a quilt I couldn't leave behind a while back. I don't think this is the quilt as it was first made. There is new binding on both sides and none on the top and bottom of the quilt. Those edges show wear and there are a few mouse holes in this too. But isn't it wonderful, with the bold solids. Now it's up on my dining room wall.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Concert Review

What good is having your personal newspaper if you can't run your own concert review? I promise we'll get back to quilts soon.

You'll notice I didn't blog about what I saw at quilt market. That's because I hurried home Friday for a concert, tickets a gift from my dear Betsy and Snow. James Taylor and Carole King!! James Taylor is my favorite. I was in the audience long ago when he played at the University of Kansas. And Carole King's Tapestry and incredible body of work have enriched my life.

So I wondered how this concert would be, so many years later. After all, they played at the Troubadour (the name of this reunion tour) in 1970. Would I be disappointed? Would they still be as great as they were then?

Well they were. At first you winced a little at the differences. Many things for sale in the lobby. A mega stage that rotated (very slowly) as they performed. A cast of characters along. Big screens all over, fancy lights. A far cry from that Allen Fieldhouse concert of James only with his guitar.

Their voices were as wonderful as we remembered. The cast of characters turned out to be (mostly) the crew that has produced work with James all along (Kootch! Lee Sklar and Russ Kunkel!) - with some new faces that threatened to upstage then at one point (the awesome Arnold).

What will stay with me is the joy with which they sang.  King was radiant and such a treat AND she looks marvelous. James clearly still loves his work. The big screens let us all see them clearly. The sound was awesome. They sang so many classics it all blurred together. They finished with You've got a Friend. And we called for more. It couldn't get better. but it did. Next they did Up on the Roof (holy cow!). And they closed with such a sentimental favorite. I do think James ended that 1970 KU concert with the same song. "You can Close your Eyes." Just he and the guitar and Carole King harmony.

There's a great review of the concert in the Star. We'd estimate there were 20,000 people there. We've read these tours are today's income for musicians, as record sales lag. We were fascinated to note semi trucks filling the block by the arena, likely how they haul the stage around. The tour was in Kansas City Friday night and Nashville the next. Their schedule is daunting.

You can hear a little here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I like Minneapolis

Sometimes when you're in a quilt frame of mind, you see quilt patterns everywhere. As I've explored Minneapolis this week, I've noticed quilt designs all over the place. Look at this ceiling in a downtown shopping center.

The same pattern is echoed in the windows of this high rise. There is a nice blend of old and new buildings downtown.

Sometimes you see the reflections of the old buildings in the windows of the new buildings. The numerous skywalks remind you that the weather is not always as warm as it is this week.

There is a mall-like street that runs into the convention center. It's been full of people eating outside in the warm weather and lots just hanging out, like this sax player.

People have been friendly and nice. And the transit system is great! Efficient and dependable.....I need to come back in the winter to see what it's like then.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Going to Market

I'll be on the way to quilt market tomorrow but I am traveling with an alias this time. On Thursday, if you look for Barbara Brackman at her schoolhouse, you'll find ME describing her new fabrics and book....

Barbara will be staying home, waiting with her best boyfriend who is #1 on the liver transplant list at KUMC. She wants to be with him in case the call comes that a new liver has arrived.

I've always planned to be an organ donor. Last month was Organ Donor Month so I visited an exhibit of quilts commemorating organ donors at our hospital.

On display were blocks made in memory of donors, grouped onto quilts. It reminded me of the AIDS quilt. Most blocks were made by non quilters - many included pictures, written messages, mementos of the donor's life.

A few were stitched. I liked this one of Tom's truck. And of course I think those are Allen's shirts in the block below.

Several donor recipients were on hand to tell their stories. One gentleman there from Kansas City thought he spotted a block for his possible donor on one of the quilts.

I learned that it is good to have your donor wishes on your drivers license. Even better, tell your family that you'd like to donate your organs. And best yet, register online. Here's how.

And keep your fingers crossed that a liver arrives soon for Numero Uno.....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Joyful Day

Your youngest graduates - priceless!

Kate Rowden, BSN, RN. Washburn University, 2010. (*Kate is in the middle of the photo, looking at us)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We think it's underwear

I found this little quilted piece in Missouri last month. When I got it, it had pillowcase-style purple backing. But when I held it up in light, I could see letters showing through.

Off came the back! Sure enough, I discovered that the piecing was done on a foundation of a flour sack. I went to my local fabric store for some fabric to bind the edges so the back would show.

Sarah the shop owner looked at it and opined that the pieces were all underwear. The light pastel colors of slips, probably from the 1930s or 1940s.

How's that for thrift? Or a new idea for a memory quilt!!