Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Scrappy Thing

You might remember a quilt we made this fall, the Crossroads quilt that went to the local AIDS project auction.....

Well, thoughtful stitcher A scooped up all the silky tie scraps after we finished putting the blocks together and put them in a bag for me to take home. You might remember I love scraps and proclaim there are no scraps too small to save.

I like to make little gifts for my friends this time of year. I stitched together the scraps and made a coaster for everyone in our stitch group, so we would have a little remembrance of a very good quilt.

I will give them out today - here is one I am keeping. It measures 5" square and is backed with a bit of upholstery fabric.

Ho Ho HO!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Just in time for the holidays.....

If you have an extra quilt top laying around, you still have time to complete this gift for someone special for the holidays.

Make your quilt into a cozy robe. I found this one several years ago at an antique shop in Texas. Notice the simple kimono style. The front closure can be completed quickly too - just take a snap closure off an old robe and stitch it in place. Do some blanket stitching to finish the seams and voila! You have a dandy one-of-a-kind present. Mine is lined with a nice white sheet.

You probably will not believe that I had this out at several of my garage sale this year and it did not sell. I will admit I had a bit of a high garage sale price on it if someone really wanted it.

I think I wanted to keep it. It is a thing I truly love.

Friday, December 16, 2011

One More Thing

I LOVE this thing. I love how folky it is, how unique it is and how incredibly thrifty it is.

It is a Christmas decoration, a tiny tree only 9" tall. A cardboard back is the base. Bottle caps were carefully arranged and glued to the back, then little ornaments are glued in the center of each of those.

I found it at an antique shop in Missouri, in a backroom filled with heaps of junk. It looked like one could find something wonderful there - and I did. I remember the clerk gave me a bit of a quizzical look (like do you really want that?) and charged me 25 WAS a bit more bedraggled then, several ornaments were broken and the cardboard truck was bent - easily fixed! Martha Stewart will be all over this one, don't you think?!

Merry merry!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thing #3

Cats from Yvonne's Noah's Ark quilt

The work of Yvonne Wells = and anyone's whose work vibrates with creativity and energy.

Check out this quick video of her speaking at the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln last month:

The thing I like most is her quote:
"I get energy from disarray."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thing #2

My newest face potholder! I love these wierd little potholders and they are small enough that my collection can grow forever.

This one was a surprise, a gift from someone who saw my display of these potholders at Do's Deluxe in January. It was passed on from an anonymous woman named Mary and isn't it wonderful. A lot of stitching went into making this one - I especially love the french knots and little stars in the bonnet. And she has naturally curly hair, like me.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Things I Love......a series to entertain you

For me, so much of 2011 has been about THINGS.
as in

How did I get so many things?

Why is it so hard for me to throw out things?


What things do I want to keep enough to move to a new spot?

Right now I'm at the tail end of getting rid of all the extraneous things.

I still have plenty, don't worry. I thought I'd show you some of the things I love. Series style, on successive days.....

Here is #1. Looks like a battered tin box from our Germany days, right? It is. The contents are the things I love. I have kept photographs, many that came with Christmas cards over the years in this box. 18 years plus. Now it is full and the memories are one of my favorite parts of Christmas. Many very hilarious photos, and sweet ones like this from 20 years ago....

My Betsy and Kate in Germany, 20 years ago

Friday, December 2, 2011

In Cuba, Missouri

Alert stringer Kathe noticed this wonderful quilt in an antique shop in Cuba, Missouri. Isn't it thrift at its best! I'll show you several views of it - this one is the top of the quilt.....

Kathe thoughtfully got a photo of the quilt's left side that was peeking out from behind everything. Good thing I was not along or furniture would have been moved and we could have gotten into trouble.....

Here's a detail shot of the ties. They look like string. And they look very close together. They are definitely a design element of this comforter.

One more detail shot - it's not perfect, right? And that is why we love it.......

Have you ever noticed how many towns in Missouri have odd names? Here are a few I love: California, Peculiar, a quick web search found these (and it doesn't include Weaubleau, one of the best):
Anutt, MO
Arab, MO
Archie, MO
Ark, MO
Bacon, MO
Beulah, MO
Blackjack, MO
Bland, MO
Blue Eye, MO
Boss, MO
Butts, MO
Chamois, MO
Clever, MO
Climax Springs, MO
Competition, MO
Conception, MO
Cuba, MO
Dagonia, MO
Dent Ford, MO
Dissen, MO
Doe Run, MO
Elmo, MO
Enough, MO
Fair Play, MO
Fairdealing, MO
Folk, MO
Gipsy, MO
Gobler, MO
Green Castle, MO
Grubville, MO
Gumbo, MO
Half Way, MO
Humansville, MO
Ink, MO
Jack, MO
Japan, MO
Knob Lick, MO
Knob Noster, MO
Liberal, MO
Licking, MO
Limberlost, MO
Lone Jack, MO
Loose Creek, MO
Low Wassle, MO
Moody, MO
Neck City, MO
Nile, MO
Novelty, MO
Oscar, MO
Peculiar, MO
Plato, MO
Polo, MO
Pumpkin Center, MO Roach, MO
Sarcoxie, MO
Service, MO
Shibboleth, MO
Shook, MO
Skidmore, MO
Solo, MO
Strain, MO
Success, MO
Tea, MO
Tiff, MO
Tightwad, MO
Triplett, MO
Turtle, MO
Village of Four, MO
Vulcan, MO
Wolf Island, MO

Many thanks to KatheD, one of the best that Missouri has produced.......

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cat and Mice

Here's another quilt that is more striking when I hang it to photograph.

Brackman's Encyclopedia* shows this block twice with the center being a square, not strips. Names for it include Beggar's Blocks and Cat and Mice (Finley), and Spool and Bobbin (Nancy Cabot 1936). It's also called the Roman Square by Wooster. I like Cat and Mouse so we'll go by that.

The quilt is almost square, measuring 68" x 72". The blocks are not consistent sizes. Some are 12" x 13", others are 12" x 12" and some are smaller. The sashing makes it all work...

It's such a simple pattern - and so strikingly different when it is shaded differently.

This quilt is machine quilted in long straight rows. There are some ties on it too, for some reason.

The cheery backing fabric is brought to the front to bind the quilt. I'm pretty sure I got this one in a mega shop (meaning I got carried away and bought several quilts at once) in Peabody, Kansas at a dream-like antique shop that is no longer there. Dream-like meaning heaps of stuff all over the place, run by an older gentleman who blended in with it all and sold fresh eggs too....

* Did you see Barbara's post about the Encyclopedia no longer being in print with AQS? I predict that situation will not last long, how could the Bible not be in print? Check out the prices on this book on right now, it will knock your socks off! IF ONLY we had a BOX of these right now......

Saturday, November 26, 2011


This is one of the first quilts I collected. I found it in Camdenton, Missouri - I recall the maker had quilts on her clothes line and I bought the top. I also recall I took it to my quilting class and was heartily laughed at. The turtles are pieced in calicos and some dress fabric and a little pajama fabric. The background is sheet fabric. The hand pieced quilt measures 65" x 78", the turtle blocks are 13" square.

But I loved this quilt so much I paid to have it hand quilted. and that is a wonderful story too. My friend Pat Kyser knew of Rita Pierce in Winchester, Tennessee, not far from where I lived at the time in Huntsville, Alabama. Rita did hand quilting. She had a big frame that she could raise to the ceiling of her living room, and lower when she wanted to quilt. I remember she quilted standing up and her kids played under the quilt. I remember her husband was a truck driver and she liked having quilts there so she had something to do. I also remember she charged so little that everyone paid her more, they couldn't stand to giver her so little for all that work. She offered to embroider the information about the quilt on it....

 It says pieced by Myrtle Layman of Camdenton, Missouri, 1978. Quilted by Rita Pierce, Winchester, Tenn, 1980.

I dug it out to photograph after seeing the calicos for Barbara's new fabric line. They sure look familiar, don't they?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I am thankful for.....

This blog! It amazes me how sweet it is to be in touch with other like-minded creative folks. It is an outlet I truly appreciate. I have used it less the past few months as I went through the boring drudgery job of moving/downsizing. Who wants to hear about that?

You want to hear about a perfect name I noted in the NY Times:

 Hans Shan
(A protester at Occupy NY)
You want to see this odd little business title:

I only know one of these people....the other just wanted to be in the picture.

I am grateful for all your inspiration and for your encouragement! It is great fun to be in touch with so many of you - all over the world! Thanks for being there. I intend to be HERE much more in months to come.....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy 11-11-11

Today is the big day - Hail the Wale.

I knew I wanted my corduroy quilt to be impulsive and scrappy. I remembered this quilt by Anna Williams that Barbara noted was at the Brooklyn Museum. 

I made a black and white copy of the quilt detail and commenced working. I made one paper pattern for the triangle shape. I cut out triangles and strips like Anna does, with scissors. And I made sure to ignore the nap so there would be variety with the wales.

In Deb Rowden style, it is not finished. But close! Close, and today I should have time to stitch the final seams of this start....

Hail the Wale. Enjoy the day, take a few moments to reflect at 11:11.......and many thanks to Nifty for taking the ball and running with this idea!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

11-11-11 excitement builds

You can probably feel the excitement building as 11-11-11 nears.
It's being noted in the media, although I'm not sure they are on to our challenge yet......

MSNBC is reporting the Corduroy Appreciation Day activities.
The Guardian notes 11-11-11 is a palindrome, something we watch for eagerly at basketball games (look! 24-42, palindrome!! high five!!).

To date, they have not reported on our nationwide preparations. Many stitchers are slicing apart strings of the nappy fabric to reassemble them into quilts for ringleader LeeAnn to display on the big day.

In the meantime, we are planning a hail the wale food gathering. We will snack on long foods: shoestring potatoes, celery sticks, strings of licorice, pretzels, long cookies. Fortifying ourselves as we stitch.....

I'm also noting quilts with corduroy in them. I stumbled onto the one above the other day. The description read: The fabrics are both cottons and wool, including corduroy, houndstooth, and plaid.

Note: Thanks to Sheryl for sending me the MSNBC news......

Friday, November 4, 2011


Our stitch group has made a quilt for the Douglas County Aids Project annual art auction for the past few years. Here's our donation this year. It might look familiar to you, it's based on an antique quilt we admired this summer.

We pieced the blocks in one afternoon. We worked assembly-line style: some people made the muslin foundations, some cut strings from a pile of silk tie remnants donated by Carol. Some of us stitched, others pressed. It was amazingly efficient for our loosely organized group. Someone donated the just-right red silk for the centers, someone else quilted, someone else bound it and added the perfect label. The Little Red Hen would have been proud.....

The auction is tomorrow night.We're hoping it brings big bucks for this organization that does such vital work in our community.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Overstimulation continues......

We are missing quilt market, a ritual most years. Barbara, aka the one who seldom runs out of ideas, dreamed up a virtual booth for us.....note fellow Sunflower Cooperative members Karla Menaugh, Barbara Brackman and I frollicking in front of god-knows-what southern mansion, sans several ribs each.....we do have fun, even when we miss market.

Georgann, Mary Lyn, Deb, Linda Frost
Look what we did instead. We took part in Final Friday, an art show scattered all over Lawrence's downtown. Another one who never runs out of ideas, Georgann Eglinski, dreamed this one up. She made this dandy SOFT ART sign outside our Social Service League Thrift Shop (where we find so many useful things).

We were excited to see Mary Lyn Farwell's work. She has been stitching up a variety of items from Natalie Chanin's 2008 Alabama Stitch Book (projects and stories celebrating hand-sewing, quilting and embroidery for contemporary sustainable style). Note the scarf she is wearing, skirts and bag - all are handstitched from t-shirt fabric.

Here's a detail of one skirt - I predict a run on large t-shirts at local thrift shops:

Linda Frost showed several projects,
including this bag made out of plastic newspaper bags:

I showed some quilts and rugs:

Thanks to Georgann for getting this all together and to Jean Ann Pike, for sharing your space and being so supportive to the arts.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

One of Those Weeks....

This is one of those weeks when I am in textile over-stimulation mode.

I can hardly settle down to work after seeing the new exhibit at the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln. The work of Yvonne Wells is being shown.

A photo of  her Going Home quilt has been my laptop screen saver for years. Here's a detail shot.

I loved the faces in her quilts. Aren't they marvelous?

from Ugly Faces, 1990
Me, Masked II, 1993

Read more about it. Go see if if you can, it's heavenly....there until Feb. 26, 2012....

Oh yes, here's one more face - Michael Jackson's. Love the little musical notes:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Prepare for 11-11-11

LeeAnn has prodded me out of my move/sort/move/sort mode. Thank goodness.

Yesterday I dug out the corduroy pieces I've been saving. It's time to put them together for the upcoming Corduroy Appreciation Day on 11-11-11.

I've got some shirts too.

I checked my inspiration quilt.
Look at how those wails go every which way. It's a home ec teacher's nightmare.

Now THAT is something to emulate. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Behind the scenes - Quilt Retro

I was so pleased to be part of the team for this book - Quilt Retro by Jenifer Dick. This project was a happy convergence in several ways. I worked with Jenifer on her first book in 2005, Grapefruit Juice and Sugar, a tribute to her grandma, with plenty of memories from Jenifer's childhood: Lawrence Welk, grandma's garden and her lye soap, a sewing machine from Montgomery Wards, strings of bubblegum....

Jenifer designed wonderful bold quilts for that book. So when the Modern Quilt Guild came to town, her work had a home at last. Jenifer's latest work is bold and exciting. She incorporates the solid fabrics embraced by modern quilters, along with big prints too.

Many of her quilts draw design inspiration from classic patterns. But they are so fresh. Green Iced Tea is one of my favorites - especially the back! I love piecing together leftover fabrics for my quilt backs - this one gives me new ideas, to make them more improvisational.

I notice people love the Fried Egg Potholders in Jenifer's book - are they cute or what? Jenifer is hosting a book tour on her blog - you are reading one stop here.

She's giving away two potholders to lucky readers. To win one, add your comment below - tell me your favorite way to improvise with your quilts. Here are a few of her very fun potholders.....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dragged and bragged

I talked about my beloved thrift shop quilts at the Miami County Quilters Guild show yesterday - appropriately titled the Drag and Brag quilt show. What a fun show it was, with a little bit of everything: great new quilts, a few antique ones, vendors, lunch and finding a few old friends too. Here are a few quilts that made me think, "I'd like to try that."

Buttons on yo-yos, I need to make one of these. This is from a Christmas quilt made by  Ruth Fladung and Dorothy Franzen.

We all have some doilies stashed away - look at the bold way Ruth Fladung used them in this quilt she made with her granddaughter Leslie Franzen.

More bold vintage big stitch! This quilt was worked on a silky whole cloth in 1971 by Marilyn Davies. Her daughter-in-law Sarah Davies showed the quilt, in her memory....

I was pleased to find a memory quilt with a good story. Annarose Hart made this quilt for her brother Gus - from jeans, including some worn by their father when he was in a roping accident (good news, he survived.....).

I promised the Drag and Brag crowd a bibliography of my talk:

International Quilt Study Center collections:
Robert Cargo essay about African American quilts:
Denyse Schmidt:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bought to copy #2

We rescue quilts like this because we want to study them a bit. I've so enjoyed this raggedy piece. How I would have loved to have seen it in it's pre-washed and bleached-to-death prime.

Let's examine the structure of it. It is a medallion quilt - and the piecing is fairly regular, despite the profusion of fabrics used. Although even those blend together in an amazing way, thanks to a common colors used: lots of white, red and blue - mainly Hawaiian fruity style.

The center is a mix of nine-patches and 4" blocks. A 1 1/2" inch border surrounds it. Next comes a 5" pieced strip, then a wider border. That pattern continues. There are 2 pieced strips, and then a border of all the same fabric - the design is just so choppy you think it is more piecing. It works.

I love the bright bright colors. it measures 63" x 86". It is hand pieced and machine quilted.