Saturday, October 30, 2010

At Market 1 - Schoolhouse

As retailers set up their booths the day before market, shop owners arrive and attend a day of presentations called Schoolhouse. They are very serious about learning all they can, here they are gathering their things and checking the schedule for what's next as they leave Maggie Bonanomi's presentation.

At some markets I have helped with these and several times I have made a presentation. This year I was happy to study the schedule and see what I could see.

Some presenters have good ideas, clever tips about marketing this or creating that. You see products that will help you work. You hear about new books. I wandered in to the presentation about a new C&T book, Quilts Made Modern. I loved the quilts, you will too. Bill Kerr has a great color sense and a plan to follow for making some of the improvised quilts we love. And good quilt names.The one behind him left is Big Dots, the other behind right is Beach Glass. I didn't get the name of the one he's holding up, we'll just have to get the book. He mentioned using strip piecing and cutting, being efficient.

I seldom stay at schoolhouse all day but yesterday the last session included a presentation by several quilters from Gee's Bend, Alabama - Loretta Bennett and Louisiana Bendolf. Windham fabrics will offer kits for several quilts they designed. I'm looking forward to stopping by to see them at the booth this morning.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mobile Craft Area

Here it is, the mobile craft area in all it's glory, gleaming in the morning sun.

We have a quilt to bind. We have scraps to stitch together. We have strips of fabric to be worked into toothbrush rugs. We have beads and buttons to string onto telephone wire! We have oil pastel pencils for drawing.

We do note that the food area is threatening to overwhelm the craft area. And that better craft item containers could be employed NEXT time. Today we hope to stop at antique shops along the way, another threat to the craft area space......

Tomorrow - market schoolhouse presentations begin. The craft area will likely move inside a local holiday inn.....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My take-along scraps

As I've packed for trips recently, I've also packed bags o' scraps. It is a comfort to have them along, I can continue to play with fabric and stitch pieces together whenever I get a chance.

I color coordinate the scraps. For the last trip, I took a bag of fall colors. In less than 2 weeks, I had a 27" square piece finished (I am quilting it now). I didn't worry about getting big parts done on the road, I just stitched lots of little pieces together. When I got home, I stitched those sections together by machine (it went faster, which I was ready for at that point).

I spotted a jogger the other morning wearing a tomato red t-shirt and chartreuse shorts. Oooh la la - THOSE are the colors of my next scrap quilt, I decided on the spot. I was shopping that day, I noted those colors are hot at Crate and Barrel (that is their cute holiday dishtowel right).

Those colors are pulled from the scrap box and packed. I'm heading to quilt market in Houston this week. Believe it or not, we plan a craft area in the backseat of the car. If we are crazy enough, we might show you.......
I will try to show you what I see at market, it is always creative nirvana.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Overcoats and couches

This is one of the things I DID bring home with me from the antique mall last week.

At dinner tonight my family was admiring it on the wall. They said it made them think of overcoats and wool couches.....I brought it home because of the warm fall colors. That and I find it a little impulsive, with the skewed plaids and the casually put together blocks. I like looking at how it was put together. It seems to have been assembled in rows of four-patches and two- patches, all about 3 - 4 1/2" square.  It is sturdily machine pieced, with dark yarn ties in the middle of each block. The binding is from the 1930s, the back is a soft striped flannel.

The quilt measures 64" x 72". I note there are about 6 wools used - one plain beige piece, and just 5 bright red blocks.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Block Scrapbook=Carnival!

I LOVE this quilt top. I found it in Manhattan, Kansas a few years ago. It was truly love at first sight.

This top has travelled to many guild presentations with me. An older woman in our guild told me tops like this used to be made often in quilt groups. Everyone in the group would give a leftover block to one quilter and she would put them all together. The quilt historian kind of confirms that. She said what is interesting about this top is how many fabrics are from the same era (1920s - 1930s).

It measures 62" x 66". Most of the blocks are about 12 1/2" square. Besides being visually over the top, what is great about this top is that every piece was pieced on a foundation (there is understandably a combination of hand and machine piecing). Finding it unquilted makes that easier to study.

Thanks to Sujata for the name! You are good at naming quilts!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ambitious friends

I am a right-brain person. Visual clues are the ones that click for me. I tend to blur out when it comes to seeing the big picture (but so appreciate those who do).

I have been fortunate to befriend many good thinkers in my life. They think and analyze and have a plan. Some of these thinkers organized a photo shoot recently for our quilts. Four of us brought quilts and tops. We had lights and a wonderful flannel covered design wall, sheets to bounce light, cameras and tripods. I shot 143 photos that afternoon. I was pretty tired that evening.

But thanks to that afternoon, I'll be able to show you several of my wackiest wildest quilt tops. One tantalizing detail is shown above. Tops and their descriptions (in my visual manner) to come.......

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I went to a huge antique mall today, in Wichita, Kansas. I looked in every booth and found a few great things that you will see eventually.  What I'm most proud about today was my restraint. I saw a few very odd things and I did NOT bring them home with me. What helped was having my camera along - I decided to photograph them to show you instead.

I lingered a long time by this tortured piece. It's a handmade knife block, made to be hung up on the wall. I'm drawn to figures and faces and really wanted this but check out the hands. Those are cuphooks on the hands, yes! One must ask what were they thinking? hooks for hands? Just too creepy to have around, I decided.

Soon after that, I found this little doll PINCUSHION. Again, what were they thinking? Did they not know about voodoo dolls? And look at her face. She seems resigned to her fate. Again, I just had to pass.

As I turned around, guess who was lurking there? A framed Sunbonnet Sue. ARGH!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

At last!

At last this quilt is on my dining room wall. I bought the top at our downtown antique mall about 10 years ago - it was a Christmas present to myself. Earlier this year I dug it out, repaired the seams that had unraveled, and asked Eula Lang to machine quilt it. She gamely accepted and did a wonderful job. She did make the necessary comments:
1. The edges are not straight but I'm assuming you know that.
2. Not everything could quilt out.

How I love being able to look at it on the wall. What kind of fabric diary was this? Just when I think I see some pattern or order, it goes away. There are nine-patches! There are 12 patches and everything in between.... Some fabrics reappear all over but there is one section that was definitely added at a different time with very different fabrics - the lower right corner. Most of the squares are 1 1/2" square but they get larger in that corner. And notice that lone long strip in the upper right corner.

My dad likes to count things. As I was binding this the other night, he whipped out a yardstick and counted blocks in one corner. He estimates there are more than 1,600 squares in this quilt. I'm not going to count and confirm that right now but I can tell you it measures about 70" x 78".

If you want to see a little more about my quilts, see a nice blog BB wrote about me on our guild web site.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Katherine's quilt

I started thinking about making a quilt for my friends' daughter Katherine before she was born a year ago. I bought sock monkey fabric then and waited for inspiration to strike - and to see what Katherine would be like. Turns out, she IS a little monkey!

And a few months ago, a bag of vintage squares turned up at our guild exchange spot. They were colorful and all very different, just what I imagined a little girl would like to look at as she fell asleep at naptime. I set the 2" squares together in rows of 2, separated by rows of the sock monkeys. I added borders. I liked it.

I've been admiring pieced letters so I tried that. I liked that too but it didn't seem to go with the squares and monkeys, so that became the back.

The finished quilt measures 38" x 43". Lori Kukuk machine quilted it with hearts on the monkeys and x's on the squares, with round squiggles in the orange border.

I showed it at our guild retreat and found out that Sherry Lux brought in the squares to share.

Here is little Katharine napping with her quilt.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A new fall rug

You might remember I make toothbrush rugs. I have one going almost all the time, I enjoy the mindless work and playing with color.

This is a truly thrifty one. The base of it is a sofa slipcover we used for years. It is a heavier weight so it makes the rug nice and sturdy. It's the first round one I have made - usually they are oval.

If you google toothbrush rugs, you can learn a lot about how to make these. It is a great way to use up fabrics - they all look better in rugs! Have fun!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Orderly top, disorderly border

Here's a top I turned into a quilt. The top came from Sue Breeding's (mom's cousin) antique shop in Marysville, Kansas. Notice it is very orderly nine-patch blocks on point, machine pieced. Sue also had a pile of feedsacks for sale so I went home with those too (they became the quilt back). I decided to have the quilt quilted so I used strips of those feedsacks for the border, in a random fashion, of course.

If you do this, do not show it to a quilt historian. Her eyes will google around in her eye sockets and she will start murmuring "orderly center, improvised border, orderly center, disorderly border....." and you will have to confess that you caused that, not the long ago top maker.

This quilt measures 79" x 82". The little nine-patch squares are 1" square. Rosie Mayhew patiently did the machine quilting - I learned a lesson about attaching borders to a bias top with this. I had it quilted so I could use it, it is going on my bed now! Here's the back............

......and here's a detail shot of my favorite fabric on the back.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Make postcards!

The brave women of the Starlight Guild tackled postcards the other night. I led the charge.

They were so lucky - someone donated boxes and boxes of fused fabric to use. The remarkable Donna Di Natale lugged them in and we commenced to create.

Some participants thought of the upcoming holidays for their card theme - Halloween, Christmas. Others followed their muse (right).


The youngest participant, Sydney, posed proudly with her creation.

I had time to choose some fabric and made this card for my sister-in-law Shirley, who celebrates a birthday later this week. It's in the mail already. Happy Birthday dear Shirley!!