Thursday, September 30, 2010

A thrifty book sale

I help price books donated to our library for a bi-annual book sale. I love this volunteer job because I get to do the biographies. I love biographies. It is also fun because I work with other people who love books. These are the fruits of my labor, all ready for the sale. There are 6 shelf sections in this row, each with 6 shelves of about 30 books. That is more than 1,000 biographies!

The sale starts tonight. People saved places near the entrance early in the day, by 5pm there will be a line of eager buyers. It's estimated there are about 100,000 books. Most are priced at 75 cents for a paperback, $1.50 for a hardback. We make about $40,000 each sale for our library.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wool wonder

Here's a newly acquired quilt. It reminded me of Sujata's solid squares quilt so I took it home with me. It was made to be used. It's wool. There is some order to it, and then again, there's not. I think that is why I like it.

The oatmeal-color wool has a lot of texture. Notice that the embroidery floss tie colors vary. Some are red and some are white.

And what about the surprise border! It's red and light green.

This quilt measures  65" x  72". The rows are  ~3" wide. The backing is a great homespun.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Brian's Quilt

 I've been working at this quilt for a while and now it is done and home with my friend Brian. I had such a good time making it, again it is inspired by the work of Anna Williams. Brian has lots of color in his home so I felt safe using bright colors. Most of the fabrics are from my plaids/stripes scraps. There are a few shirts too, along with a few strips of orange silk. The finished quilt measures 36" x 36" but notice it's not exactly square. I did that deliberately. Most of the center blocks measure roughly 5" x 6". Lori Kukuk quilting this for me using a wonderful ziggy pattern that works just right.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A quilt for the Humane Society

Tonight is our Humane Society's annual fundraiser. I made this little quilt as a donation. My sewing group made a larger improvised quilt for another fundraiser - these are the scraps.

I named it Sneaky Kitty. It measures 14” x 27”. The border came from a child's shirt. It is machine pieced and machine quilted.

 The vintage embroidered cat head came along with some blocks I found in an antique shop a while back. I thought it fit well here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How much fabric is in a 4x shirt?

I like buying shirts - mens shirts especially - at thrift shops. I use the fabric in my quilts.

I found this one last week. I liked the color - the orange has a red plaid moving through it that seems like it will work well. THEN I noticed the size - it is a 4x shirt.

I photographed it to show you the shirt before I cut it up. I wondered how much fabric it would yield.
Here are the results:
The back (the biggest piece) measures 26" x 30" (=~1/2 yard).
The fronts are each 27" x 15"(=~3/8 yard).
The short sleeves yield 20" x 3" each.
So you can see I will get nearly a yard of fabric from that shirt.

Look how I've been collecting them. I cut the pieces apart and trim off the seams. Of course, I save the buttons and the labels for some future project. Then I roll them up and use a trimmed seam scrap to tie it. As many of you know, this is addictive.....

Monday, September 13, 2010

Aunt Irese's basement

I visited a group of quilters at a retreat the other day. Loosely organized by Julie Kiffin, they have stitched together every fall for 13 years. I judged items they made for a challenge using charm packs donated by Andover fabrics. 20 creative items were entered and they were all wonderful.

Luckily, I didn't know anything about their stories when judged because the one below would have won my heart.

Later Kay Beach of Kirksville, Missouri disclosed that her quilt was decorated with vintage buttons and battenburg lace from her Aunt Irese Burnett's collection. Aunt Irese passed away in June in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Today would have been her 99th birthday.

Aunt Irese was a collector. She went to auctions and bought boxes of textile items. Kay said her basement was full of all sorts of treasures. Kay got the battenburg lace, she said there were boxes of it. And there was an original receipt for everything there too.

What I would have liked to have seen most was what Aunt Irese did with quilts. She stitched strips of fabric to the edges and staped the quilts to her basement ceiling! The ceiling was covered with quilts! What a lovely vision that is.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Weaubleau Stars

Here is another stars quilt, one of my favorites. The colors are so bold, and again, it comes with a story. I bought this circa 1950 quilt at an antique shop in Weaubleau, Missouri in 2005. It measures 67" x 92" and is in great shape. The stars are large and strip borders fun down each long side. There are embroidered signatures in some block centers.

The block is #424.8 in the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman:
Boutonniere-KC Star 9/26/1931
Star Bouquet-Capper's Famous Features

The backing is muslin. It is both hand and machine pieced and machine quilted with an overall design. The shop owner recognized the names of the women who signed the quilt and said many were buried in small cemeteries in the area. Names on the quilt include:

Marie (or Macie) Nelson

Emma Allen

Icle Gerster

Betty Wheeler

Ellen Parks

Nettie Allen

Debra Todd

Ruby King

Here's the mystery of this quilt - one signature is half cut off! There are plenty of centers with no signature so there was room for it. I show this to quilt guilds and we speculate. Did she run off with someone else's boyfriend or husband? Was there a falling out? We can only wonder.............

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A naive riverboat

I'm visiting Yankton, South Dakota. They have a new antique shop, a rarity in these recession days. As I parked to go inside, I noticed this folk art painting on a corrugated tin wall near 4th and Douglas Streets downtown. I asked the shop (4th Street Antiques & Collectables) owner, Larry Gleich, if he knew anything about the painted wall. He did. Yankton celebrates Riverboat Days every August and Larry said a local high school student did that painting several summers ago. He couldn't remember the artist's name and when I asked if she was still around he said she is no longer in the country.

Do you notice what I notice in the foreground? I see a couple sitting on a quilt.

Another reminder for us to sign our work! Just in case we leave the country.....