Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jean's Pine Burr Christmas

I just visited a lovely quilt retreat south of Lawrence. It's a peaceful place called Walkabout Retreat and History Center. You can reserve it for quilt retreats. There is room to sew, room to sleep, a kitchen...Jean Ayres co directs the retreat with property owner Judy Long O'Neal.....

You might remember Jean as the owner of the spectacular pine burr quilt that got us all going in May.

Guess what Jean has made now? Yup, holiday pine burrs. This potholder sized one...

And another larger one, below. That is Jean holding it, inside the retreat. She's crazy for pine burrs..

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our book tree

Visions of a holiday book tree have been dancing in our collective heads this year ...

Sylvie, a fellow Friend of the Library, started it. She saw a book tree, recruited several friends to help create it, and started saving books from our reject pile.

Her husband Glenn wisely devised a different way to stack the books so the tree could be transported. He was the main creator behind this tree - the rest of us helped apply some paint, hang lights, cover the base ...

The books are also cleverly arranged by title, so they make little stories, like this:

You can view this and many other beautiful holiday trees this week at the Festival of the Trees, a benefit for our community Shelter.

It's at Liberty Hall in downtown Lawrence. The trees will be auctioned tonight, but will remain on display through Thursday. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Quilt Sale at Final Friday

Big Lettuce, inspired by a Ruth McDowell workshop
Save some shopping money for the upcoming Final Friday art walk in downtown Lawrence!

Our esteemed Georgann Eglinski is divesting herself of a backlog of her quilts. She is a prolific and enormously talented quilter. She does not keep track of the many quilts she makes, but there are few more productive quilters than Georgann. Her work has appeared in numerous galleries and books over the years. It is one of Lawrence's best kept secrets. Best of all - she almost single-handedly funds several worthy organizations in Lawrence with the proceeds.

At Last a Lotus, pattern by Miriam Nathan Roberts
So be there on Friday November 30, 5-9 p.m. You'll find her a collection of her small quilt "Soft Art" work at the Art Party in the Hobbs-Taylor Loft space in the 700 block of New Hampshire.

Small quilts make excellent holiday presents and all these are one-of-a-kind quilts. Complete originals!

African Market II. a large version of this is in Carol Jones' and Bobbie Finley's new book, Fresh Perspectives.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ah, garage sales!

Friday finds - pre washing
I love garage sales, estate sales, and thrift shops. I know many of you do too.

There was a wonderful piece in the New York Times about a super garage sale in New York City last weekend at the Museum of Modern Art. It would have been wonderful to see. I loved how Randy Kennedy described Martha Rosler, the creator and proprietor of the garage sale:

Her fascination with garage sales — as portraits, through possessions, of the people who hold them; as economic end runs engineered mostly by women; as suburban sacrament and social gathering — goes back to seeing them for the first time after moving to California in the 1970s. 

“I grew up in Crown Heights, and nobody would have ever thought of putting their things in front of their houses to sell,” said Ms. Rosler, 69. “Your neighbors would have thought you were crazy. It would have been deeply embarrassing.” Stoop sales, now common in New York, are what she calls a “back-formation.”

So! Another good thing left by the recession, thrift continues to be IN.

I had a wonderful day Friday, hitting my favorite thrift shop in Kansas City (Grandview) and an estate sale here in Lawrence. I picked up a box all wrapped in saran wrap. Masking tape on the top said $1.50. Inside were:
4 silk scarves, 2 penguin dishtowels, a very goofy bit of trim, 2 odd textiles from Romania, and these beautiful placemats. WOW.

Box contents
I also got the Indian textile pictured above and a wonderful men's shirt. A note: I take a deep breath and toss them all in the washer. If they are going to fall apart, it might as well be now. I can happily report they all came out intact, ready to wear and use.

If you're in Lawrence today or tomorrow, be sure to stop by our guild's annual garage sale, tonight at 7 and tomorrow morning at 9:30. Guild members have tables full of goods at bargain prices. We all sell and buy and hope we bring home less than we brought in. It's a fun event - at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vermont. See you there!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sunflower Rug

We belong to a group that tours modern style homes. Last weekend, we toured a beautiful modern home - and look what I found in the downstairs kitchen.

It's a polyester sunflower rug in the pine-burr style we've all been admiring. That is my shadow in the lower left corner, it's in lovely shape.

The owner, Sue Givens, said she bought it in northern Iowa. There is a gift shop upstairs in the Welcome Center just before you leave the state heading north on I-35. She said 15 years ago, she found one-of-a-kind rugs in this style there. One of a kind because you can only find so much polyester fabric like this, right? Sue says it seems that local craft folk of this area are quite active with many nice things brought in on consignment.  Quilted items too!  So if you're traveling north on I-35, you really will want to plan a stop there.

The rug measures about 30" round. You'll notice the maker pinked all the polyester edges very nicely.

This shot of the rug back helps us see how it was constructed too. It seems to me that the maker used triangles of fabric, not squares like many pine-burrs we have seen.

It is a wonderful rug. Maybe someone will know the name of the person who made this a few years back ... I suspect this rug will never wear out. Thank you, Sue for letting us all admire your rug.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Quilt for Torin

Maybe you do this too. I LOVE to start quilts. I started this one more than a year ago, to celebrate the birth of our friends' first grandchild, Torin. He was born on November 6, 2011. Isn't he cute?

Luckily, we get to see him for his first birthday this week. Sometimes things work out: this year my life is much more calm and I finished the quilt. Here it is. It measures 34" x 48". It's machine stitched and quilted so it will hopefully hold up for many washings over the years.

It's made of blues and greens and shirtings I had on hand. 

I gave a presentation about quilt labels this week, which got me thinking about how to label this quilt. I decided to cut out the number 1 shape and sign that. I stitched it on by machine too. I think I'll go over it again to darken up the words...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pine Burr Style Rug

Eagle-eyed Maggie Bonanomi spotted this rug at market.

It was in an antique booth - Cindy's Antique Quilts of Clinton, OK. Cindy was kind enough to let me photograph it.

It's made in a reverse kind of pine-burr style - it is worked from the outside to the center. The final raw edges in the center are covered with some piecing. Cindy thought it dated to the 1920s, although some of the fabrics are older than that. You can see from the detail that some wonderful quirky fabrics were used - shirtings, plaids, clarets, indigos ... you name it. It is in pristine, gorgeous condition. I didn't measure it but I'd guess it is about 2' x 4'.

The back is original. It's rough burlap with black stitching showing through.

Cindy is online at

Someone should buy this!! Someone who loves pine burrs!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

More Market

A few more shots of things I liked:

I love the name of this quilt: What's for Breakfast by Karen Anderson-Abraham. Karen is influenced by modernist painters of the 20th century, most specifically the Bauhaus movement.

This one has a wonderful name too: The 48 Pound Quilt by Tanya Finken. There are 42 pound symbols on the front, six more hiding on the back!

Pojagi-influenced Hearths Aglow by Katrina Walker is absolutely beautiful.

Amy's Barickman's outfit - love the fabric.

Victoria's Quilt with Friends: Exquisite Journey. Six friends made panels that link with a road, foreground and sky elements...the artists are Leslie Rucker Jenison, Frances Holliday Alford, Kathy York, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Michele Muska and Hoodie Crescent.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Market was not Spooky

A pre-Halloween and especially a pre-Presidential election quilt market can be spooky. I didn't sense those jitters from years before this year.It was upbeat, bright and far from gloomy. Then again, it's fabric world, full of things we all love. And I left before all the storm jitters started...

What did I like?

A wall o' fabric by Marcia Derse. AH! Several of us confessed to collecting fabric by Marcia but being unable to cut it up, we love it so much...

The fabric designer who wore a skirt. Thomas Knauer for Andover. That was different. He loves fabric!

Modern quilts on display. This one is called Cutting Edge Conglomerate. It was made by Earamichia Brown and the NYC Metro Mod Quilters, quilted by Jackie Kunkel.

And the best Treat YO Self books I saw:

Inspired Art Quilting by Jean Wells. Her work continues to be pure inspiration for me.

15 Minutes Play by Victoria Findlay Wolfe. Wow! Victoria has taken our beloved scrappy style and made some very clever and exciting quilts. I was really impressed with them and can't wait to get a copy of the book!

There's more - I will continue with another blog - soon...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Be sure to VOTE!

My friend Barbara Brackman some created political fabric. She took a photo of one of the candidates and dropped it into some historic fabric, courtesy of her Photoshop skills.

She gave me a sample and I of course started adding little scraps of fabric all around the main character. I added a calming inner border, then finished with a border of more scraps. I've long admired the Pearlies and thought a message with shell buttons would add just the right message in a rather subtle way.

We are lucky - we CAN vote freely in the coming election. So no matter what, be sure to

My little quilt measures 24" x 27". Check out the link to Barbara's blog above - her fabric is available for all...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Message from my Grandma

I am still letting go of stuff. Last night I sorted through boxes of old photos.
I found some great photos I had forgotten about. Some were framed. I was taking them out of frames, scanning them, and putting them in a folder for safekeeping.

The frames are piled nearby, ready for the antique mall booth. The cardboard and paper that went with them were in the recycle pile. I carried it out to the bin this morning. One piece of cardboard turned over and I recognized my grandma's handwriting. Here's what it said:

I had forgotten that. The frame is wonderful, "antiqued" in the popular 1970s style.

This frame is staying, along with Grandma's note. Is this not the best example ever of the importance of labeling your work - whether it is a treasured frame or a quilt? She's been gone for years but I know she would be delighted that her reminder worked.

Thelma Iris Tunison Poore, 1941
Thanks, Grandma. I miss you.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Woven Ticking Rug

I'm travelling today. I found this woven ticking rug at an antique shop in Iowa and thought wow! I've not seen a rug like this before. And the thrifty price was so good I decided to take it home and try to follow it to make one of my own.

It measures 22" across. The torn ticking strips vary in width - 1/2" to 3/4".  The center seems to start with strips laid across each other, then the weaving begins.

As the rug gets larger, extra strips are added (see left). The strip is folded at a space where there is room (so 2 strips extend outward), then the weaving continues.

This view shows 2 points where strips were added - one just outside the center, the other about 7 woven strips later.

The maker finished the rug by zig-zagging the edges on the sewing machine.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fresh Perspectives

We can all use them, can't we.
And if they come in the form of a new, exciting quilt book, even better!

I love this book, Fresh Perspectives, just released by C&T Publishing. My friends Bobbi Finley and Carol Jones are the authors. They did some very exciting work, interpreting some traditional quilts in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska and remaking them in a contemporary way.

Carol and I both fell in love with the same quilt there. A little Amish quilt, circa  1910 - 1930. And we both made interpretations of it. They included mine in the book:

I've wanted to show it to you for a long time, but waited for the book to come out. The center squares are batiks, the rest are from my stash: some quilt prints, some shirts, some indigos. It was great fun to make!

I'm also finding the book a great help as I work with some vintage blocks passed on to me by a friend cleaning out her sewing room. It's going to be a great reference for some of us who try to use old blocks in contemporary ways. I've already recommended it to a friend wanting to use some nine-patches in a quilt. Stay tuned, you will hear more about ways I'm using this book.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Other Side of the Skirt

Here is side 2.

Skirt Side2

And a favorite block - I love these shapes:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What a skirt!

Skirt side1

I am recuperating and doing well, slowly but surely. A friend knew just the tonic I needed - she hauled me to a tag sale. In the garage, hidden by mounds of polyester fabrics, I found this skirt.

Ok, a high fashion item - it is NOT. But it is a little goldmine of fabric blocks from the 1960s and a bit past (you'll note a few '50s pieces). It's in mint condition: if it was worn, it was only a careful time or two. The blocks are mostly 3 1/2" square. The maker went to the same home ec class I did - notice how carefully she pinked all the edges (so they would not ravel) and pressed them open. The hem is finished with hem tape. And the price was just right for thrifty Deb: $1.

I'll post photos the other side and a favorite block in a few days. If you see other blocks you'd like to see a closeup view of, let me know. The fabrics are fabulous! I notice Denyse Schmidt's new fabric line is homage to the 1970s (the Monkees, etc.). THIS ONE is pure Laugh In! (Watch this and you'll see why we thought throwing water at people was so acceptable ... )

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Visions are Dancing in my Head

Sometimes life just takes over.
And we have to go with it right?

That is how my life has been for the past weeks.
Our girls moved to Austin! I am so excited for them, it helps me not miss them so bad. After all, today we can text, and skype and tweet!

NOW I am having some surgery. I've been slowed up lately, this will help me get my energy back. Fingers crossed.
I am going into it with wonderful ideas of quilts to come.

One with custom Barack Obama fabric. Yes! details to come.

Another, a reproduction of a Frank Lloyd Wright window. Here's a peek at it.....would this make a great quilt or what!

And then there is the improv work. It continues, even if I haven't had time to get it on the blog for you.
But I will.
I'll be back soon!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Very Big Rug

We recently stayed in a cabin in La Veta, Colorado for a week. There are endearing things all over the cabin like little notes about where to leave the trash in town, where to hike, how to fix certain things….

The living room is dominated by this big handmade rug. It is similar to the toothbrush rugs I make, but this one is crocheted and is very thick. It is circular and measures about 7’ across.

When we arrived, we noticed a big stain on the rug. Looks like someone spilled a cup of coffee on it. I decided our cabin improvement project would be removing the stain.

We hauled it out onto the wood deck, a great place to clean a rug in the summer. First we shook it. Then I got some detergent and scrubbed the stains. Then we took water and doused the entire rug to freshen it up and remove the soap..

Being so large – and in a canyon with limited sunlight - it took several days to dry.

I’m checking with the family to see if they know who made this spectacular rug. It makes the living room very homey and comfortable.