Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What is this!

I stopped by an antique store in St. Joseph, Missouri yesterday. I found this. I can be swayed by low, low prices. The price was only $1 and I could tell it was vintage fabric. So I bought it, before really examining it. Now the big question is: What is it?

I'll describe it. It is about 2 feet long, with what seems to be a cardboard tube inside. Look how neatly the ends are finished, the fabric corners are held in place with snaps.

Unfurled, it is about a yard long. The tube is completely covered by fabric.

My first guess is that this is some sort of privacy shade. But I've never seen anything like it before. Have you?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Canton Stars

This quilt has a good story.
Some years ago, I was at the huge First Monday sale in Canton, Texas. There were great quilts, there was a little of everything.

I noticed a lot of textiles spread out on a bedspread. I lingered there and a man bellowed, "I'll give you all that for $20." I scanned, scanned the pile. I could see a number of quilt blocks. It was starting to rain and we were out in a field. The man swooped it all up in the bedspread and thrust it into my arms. I gave him a twenty.

These blocks were PART of that haul. I gave them to my mom. She put them into this quilt. She machine quilted it herself and gave it to me for Christmas a while back.

The quilt measures 64" x 76". The blocks are 9 1/2" square. Mom used reproduction fabrics to sash and border it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Start throwing elbows

I'm pumped.
I spoke at a local guild Tuesday night and there were young quilters in the crowd. They did show and tell (with great quilts). They bought my book (yes!).
What is going on? I do think it's the influence of quilts by Denyse Schmidt. And the hot new fabrics by Amy Butler, Tula Pink and more.

Check this out, I hope you can see the link on the NY Times. It's the story of a Seattle quilter named Boo Davis. She quit her day job to pull together a quilt book called "Dare To Be Square Quilting" published this month by Potter Craft. There is a video about it on YouTube. I like it.
Sounds like they toned her down for the book a little. But Boo's sentiments would make any quilter swoon. She bemoans the low prices wonderful quilts go for on ebay. Her last quote is my favorite: "I think the quilt makers of the world need to rise up and start throwing elbows."
You go Boo.

More excitement: there is a new guild generating a lot of buzz in Kansas City, the Modern Quilt Guild. It hasn't been together long and already has 80 members, I am told. Check out the web site, chapters are popping up all over........

p.s. this information was shared with me by Joanne Tolkoff, check out her web site and blog. She'll have cool greeting cards available for us to buy soon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Garage Sale Finds

The treasure hunt for creative raw materials lands many of us at garage sales. My husband and I like to climb on our bikes and ride until we find the next one every Saturday morning. We rationalize. It's good exercise. It's a good way to shake off stress of the work week. But mostly, I think, we like the hunt.

What will you find? I'm always looking for textiles of every kind. My garage sale buddy Sue in California wonders if we find different things here.

This blog is for Sue. Look what I found Saturday. The remnants of an estate sale, we were told. I always enjoy finding these delicately stitched linens. They aren't perfect: they've got spots and holes. Which will make them easier to use (i.e. cut into pieces) for quilts.

And then there is the major find. Doesn't everyone need a rhinestone encrusted throne ashtray? (Sue, that cost 25 cents.)

Check out this blog, it will bring comfort to those of us who like to collect. It's a great story about a collector's legacy.........We can keep collecting! Thanks to Sue for sharing that blog.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Inspiration from Sujata

I get a great deal of inspiration from other blogs. Sujata Shah's work is a source of delight for me.
When I asked how do you work? Sujata pondered that and made a quilt. Check it out on her blog.
It happened during my unplugged vacation week.

I had a bag of scraps with me. I dumped them into a tin wash basin I found in the cabin (along with a book I was reading). I thought about what Sujata said, that she was just going to pull scraps out of the bag and stitch them together.
I decided I needed to do a little presorting. Colorwise, for sure.

I sorted as I stitched. I found I liked mingling vintage and new fabrics. I think I've got the beginnings of several pieces here.

Thanks to Sujata and all of you who wrote about how you worked. Your thoughts inspired me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I was on vacation the first 2 weeks of this month.  We went to a canyon in Colorado where there was no cell phone reception and no internet. We were unplugged. I wondered what it would be like to be without my daily methods of communication. I was a little nervous. But apparently it worked. I think a really good vacation is when you get away and relax, then come back to your life refreshed. I came back very relaxed!

But I have not blogged since. I am surprised, as I enjoy this very much.

I will blame this on the dread disease of inertia, a favorite topic of my grandpa Harry J. Gehlbach. He loved to tell a story. And he loved to announce to us kids that he had inertia. "A body at rest will stay at rest," he would solemnly explain as his eyes twinkled. "A body in motion will stay in motion." Grandpa would know I've had inertia. I will try to do better.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Everyday fabrics from long ago

I am working with blocks I got at an auction because no one else wanted them.

They were imprisoned in a quilt top put together in the 1970s. The 32 sorta-four-patch blocks are made of scraps of clothing from the late 1800s, still rich and vibrant. Some are a bit impulsive, with little sashing strips added to make the blocks the same size (6” x 6”). Just my style.  The inferior 70s sashing had already faded badly and was so brittle it tore easily. So off it came.

The blocks waited in a pile. A new line of reproduction fabric will coax them back to life. The line is Barbara Brackman’s latest William Morris line, coming to stores soon. What is fascinating is how well the colors work with the vintage blocks.

The first part of this project is tedious.  Not only were the poor blocks sashed in the awful 70s fabric, it was machine stitched on with the smallest possible stitch.  Some of it had to be trimmed away, some could be gently removed. I’m adding strips of the Morris fabric. I’m halfway through. I plan to stitch them all together in an improvisational way, adding some plaid strips too.