Saturday, December 27, 2014

A No-Scrap-Too-Small Sighting

We were in Guthrie, Oklahoma last week - new territory for me. There was only time for one antique shop stop but look what I found! An exquisite little no-scrap-too-small piece. I would estimate this measures 12" x 16" so you know what that means - many of these pieces are just fingertip size.

This piece probably deserved a rescue - it was encased in a cheap frame so taking a few photos was not easy, the glass added a bit of glare. But you get the picture (pardon the pun) ...

And I am newly inspired to do more hand piecing of tiny scraps. I like how it is edged with rick-rack. I'd estimate these fabrics mostly come from the 1930s, wouldn't you? I sure wish I could stitch a while alongside the person who pieced this. I think we would have a very good time together!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Very Modern Wreath

When Georgann Eglinski was appliqueing this wreath, she made two and presented one to me. She thought it would look good in our modern house and it does! The light comes in just right and highlights the exquisite quilting Linda Frost did to complete it. And yes, that is Oreo the cat moving through the scene ... as usual.

Georgann's other wreath went to support a good cause, our community Shelter (via the Festival of Trees).

Georgann finished this one with a slick technique that is more like facing than binding. It was quilted by Kris Barlow - she quilted the words to a holiday song in the middle. It was fun to watch people bend over and read the words when it was on display ...

A Holly Jolly Christmas

Have a holly, jolly Christmas;
It's the best time of the year
I don't know if there'll be snow
but have a cup of cheer
Have a holly, jolly Christmas;
And when you walk down the street
Say Hello to friends you know
and everyone you meet

Oh ho

the mistletoe
hung where you can see;
Somebody waits for you;
Kiss her once for me
Have a holly jolly Christmas
and in case you didn't hear
Oh by golly
have a holly
jolly Christmas this year

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Current Take-Along

I think a lot of us like to keep our hands busy. I hate to just sit around. So I'm always on the scout for a project that stays in a bag, ready to take-along.

This project came to me last summer as the quilt historian cleared out her old house. It's an antique top that was harvested, with squares removed to go to the fabric company to be reproduced in modern fabric lines.

The way these squares are stitched together is a total pain in the neck. Some are hand stitched, which is not too bad to remove. The machine stitched sections use the smallest stitch length imaginable so removing the stitching is tedious. As a result, some squares were just cut away earlier ...

Some might think this project is just too tedious. I think the fabrics will make it all worthwhile in the end. They are in excellent condition, quite varied and fun to examine as I carefully pull stitches away. Some of the cottons are so stiff and brittle, while some of the flannels are totally soft and lush. I imagine what garments these scraps came from.

Progress on this will be slow, but worth it. Look, here's what I've got to work with - it's like a jigsaw puzzle of ~2" squares. This could entertain me for a while ...

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Robots Tree Skirt

Another wonderful sight at our Festival of Trees was this tree - with a skirt made by Linda Frost. If you have her Robots book, you can make this too - most of the applique shapes are in the book. Don't you love the ball fringe she used around the edges ... and the sequins ...

Friday, December 5, 2014


Update: word is our quilt sold for $2,500! It was item 20 in the bidding the other night - none of the crew that made it was present. But isn't that wonderful notion - that our enjoyable work could benefit the Shelter so magnificently. Many thanks to our tasteful winner! This is a view of the entire Festival of Trees - you will see our quilt way in the back, right of center.

FYI - we used a pattern by Twiddletails to make our quilt and it's available here. They offer a pattern pdf on etsy so you can get started RIGHT AWAY.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Festival of the Trees

Trees under construction last summer.
Every year we look forward to the Festival of the Trees, held right after Thanksgiving weekend downtown in Liberty Hall. It's a fundraiser for The Shelter, a local organization that provides emergency services for youth and families.

Our small group made a quilt for their auction, which will happen tonight - items go to the winners after the show ends. Georgann Eglinski spearheaded the project - selecting the pattern and colors (with a bit of input from the group). Some people helped stitch blocks, we all helped assemble the quilt. Linda Frost quilted it in a spectacular way.

Stop by to view the entries if you can - it oozes creativity and really puts you in the holiday spirit. It's open daily through Thursday for viewing.

Read more about it here.

A peek of the show - that's our quilt in the background. Photo by Linda Frost.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gotta Go

On the farm near Lincoln, Illinois c. 1953
I am a real sucker for old photographs. My cousin sent me this recently because that is my Dad, posing with a family member. Well, that is nice but what I really enjoy are several other details in this photo.

1. The little girl was captured in the classic "gotta go" pose. You know the one, you notice kids doing that when they are playing and don't want to stop but they clearly need to stop and go to the bathroom ...

2. Notice the dog in the background with the leash extending up into space. Aha! I know from experience that leash is attached to a clothes line. Dad used to do that with a wild little pup we had when I was little.

Enjoy this week of Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Who's Holding Up Those Quilts?

Welcome to the Blog Party for Optical Illusions, a newly released KC Star Quilts Modern book.

We shot the location photos for this book in the downtown alleys of my beloved hometown, Lawrence, Kansas. My husband and I scouted the scenes one summer evening, took photos of possible shot sites and ran them by our book team. They liked what they saw.

Look carefully just above the ladder - notice the feet? Surprise!
Larry Billings, the antique mall owner, opened the door as this shot happened.

Sara Kirpes 
The day of the photo shoot, we had some lovely surprises. Some locals came upon the shoot on their way to a nearby coffee shop, The Bourgeois Pig. They loved the quilts. We invited them to be in some shots - you'll find them on pages 28, 36, and 72. If you happen by the Pig, you might find Ryan and Alicia behind the counter ...

Old editors don't like to call too much attention to themselves but that is me holding up the quilt in the photo above (that shot is on page 22). I'm also holding up the quilt on page 66. How fun is that.

The other model - dare we call him the cover guy? - also lives in Lawrence now. Abe Dick is now a freshman at KU. He also holds up quilts on pages 16  and 50.

I'd just like to mention what total fun it was to work with this talented group of designers. Their energy and excitement are contagious. We are really enjoying putting together these collaboration books for modern audiences. When a book this fun happens, all you can think is LET'S DO IT AGAIN.

Because this is on a blog tour, you can get a free book. Comment about Optical Illusions and I'll pick a winner. Runnerup wins a Moda Layer Cake of Union Blues, classic reproduction fabrics by Barbara Brackman (aka, the neighbor).
Comment away!

and be sure to follow all the fun of this blog tour, check out these posts in upcoming days (or peek now if you can't wait ...):

Nov. 3
My Stars – Kick Off (book)
Deb Rowden (BB FQ bundle)

Nov. 4
Angela Walters (Athena bundle)

Nov. 5
Penny Layman (book)

Nov. 6
My Stars  (book)
Melissa Corry (Oakshott FQ Bundle)
Lily’s Quilts (3 - 5" Oakshott charm pack)
Fat Quarter Shop (Naptime Bella FQ bundle)

Nov. 7
My Stars on behalf of Mary Kay Fosnacht/Karen Hansen (book AND Kona color card)

Nov. 10
My Stars (book)
Jamie David (3 packs of charm squares from RK)

Nov. 11
Elizabeth Timmons (3 packs of skinny rolls from Robert Kaufman)
Tammie Schaffer (book)

Nov. 12
Katie Larson (book)

Nov. 13
Jenifer Dick (book)
Trisch Price (Kona color card)

Nov. 14
Jacquie Gering (Kona color card)
Shea Henderson  (A large and small Kaleido-Ruler set by Marti Michell)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hunting for Witch Windows

It all started on Facebook ... when my friend Marti, who lives in Maine, asked if anyone knew about this: Particularly around the state of Vermont, many 19th century farmhouses were built with slanted "witch windows," due to the commonly-held belief that witches could not fly their brooms into a tilted opening.

Oh boy! We had something to hunt for on our last day in Vermont. We hiked in a national park near Woodstock and as we neared the Visitor's Center, I saw THIS:

Notice the slanted window - this is a coachman's cottage, built in 1870. I asked two park rangers about it. One lives in New Hampshire and he said he sees windows like this in both states. The other agreed. He thought they were added so the rooms would be more light-filled.

Google witch windows for more information about this. Wikipedia says the name "appears to come from a superstition that witches cannot fly their broomsticks through the tilted windows." They are also known as coffin windows, Vermont windows, sideways or lazy windows.

I liked what writer Kathryn Eddy wrote about them in the Montplier/BarreTimes Argus a while back:

Primarily found in Vermont — and generally in the central and northern areas — as well as some of our neighboring states, the Vermont window is a full-sized, often double-hung window placed at 45 degrees on the gable end of a house, squeezed between two rooflines.

The sideways window was generally the window that had to be sacrificed from the old wall and simply reused. Add it to the extensive list of reasons why Vermonters deserve their practical reputation and were going “green” — recycling and repurposing — long before it was the trend to do so.

Just more proof that Vermont is NOT like Kansas ...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Shelburne Museum Report

I've been to lots of museums to see quilts but I was totally caught off guard by my reaction to the quilt exhibit Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts and Context in the Civil War at the Shelburne Museum. I cried! I was overwhelmed by the very first quilt I saw: it was SO beautiful, so exquisite, it had provenance, it was in perfect condition - things you rarely see all in one quilt together.

The tears continued as I continued through the exhibit. Quilt after quilt just overwhelmed me - they were so fantastic and so, so heart-wrenching, such personal testimony of the horrible sorrow of the war.

I felt a bit justified at my reaction when I read about the exhibit online: Each object represents a deeply moving and insightful personal story, from the noose reportedly used to hang abolitionist John Brown, to a quilt made by a wounded soldier from hospital blankets, as well as Confederate gray and Union blue uniform fabrics.

Photography wasn't allowed so these photos are courtesy of the Shelburne - but there is a book for sale here. There's a facebook page about it too with more info. These quilts will be on display at the Shelburne until January 4. good news for us - it will be in Lincoln, NE next February.

The Shelburne also had recent work by Nancy Crow on display. She's making monoprints, her artist statement read in part: Loosening up. Feeling the thrill ... Seeking beauty. Believing. Self portraits of who I am. 

I loved it. The Shelburne has so much to see but that was all I could take in one afternoon ...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Go, Sujata!

Many of you are aware of the wonderful creative work of Sujata Shah. We "met" though our respective blogs and have admired each other's work for years.

TODAY Sujata is presenting her first schoolhouse at market in Houston for her first book, Cultural Fusion. I am often at quilt market but sadly, I will not be there today to cheer her on. IF you are there, you need to check the schoolhouse schedule and stop by her talk. You will not be disappointed.

I did have the pleasure of editing her book and it's a GREAT book! Hurry, Hurry to get your copy! You can savor the creative ways that Sujata works, her incredible quilts, and the wonderful cultural fusion that is involved - from her native India, to Gee's Bend and beyond.

Best of luck today, Sujata - enjoy the experience!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We are NOT in Kansas anymore

Photo by Ray Rowden

Windsor, Vermont is far from my home in Kansas - about 1,400 miles, to be exact. I have never been in this state before so it's a treat to be here. You see things like this that remind you you are NOT in Kansas anymore.

We visited the longest wooden bridge in America (it's also the longest two-span covered bridge in the world. The Cornish-Windsor Bridge was built in 1866 (this is the fourth bridge at the site).

For years, it was a toll bridge, as evidenced by the sign that remains at one end of the bridge.

The state of New Hampshire bought it in 1936 and made it toll-free in 1943.

You can drive across - on one side you are in Vermont and on the other you are in New Hampshire.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Grandpa was Right

This may be the only picture there is of my grandpa, Homer Ivan Poore, playing baseball.

He played when he was young. On minor league teams. During the roaring '20s. Out west somewhere. I've always thought the teams must have been like the one in the movie Field of Dreams ...

Grandpa and other ghosts of baseball are surely beaming down on Kansas City today. The home team, the Kansas City Royals, is in the World Series.

Grandpa had a lifelong love of the game. Year after year, we went to the games with him, first cheering the Athletics in municipal stadium, later the Royals at Kaufman Stadium. He listened to every game, often on the radio, sitting on the back porch. My little brother would ride his bike over and listen with him (but he had to be home by dark, he reminded me recently). Grandpa taught all of us to love the game.

Grandpa didn't talk much, but every year when we lost, the refrain was the same as he shook his head: "Pitchers. We need a good pitcher."

Grandpa, we got one. Tonight, Big Game James Shields is our starting pitcher. He's supported by a stellar bullpen. We're in the World Series.

We'll watch Buck O'Neill sing the song. We'll get teary-eyed. Go Royals!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

QuiltMania Visits Next Door

Linda's silk quilt looked perfect. 
This was an exciting week - a team from French magazine Quiltmania was coming next door to visit the new neighbor.

We were invited to be part of the mania. BB welcomed our quilts into her much larger new digs. We hung out quilts, new group projects were on hand to show. What would the editorial team want to see?

Of course, they wanted to see quilts from BB's collection, the older, the better. Off to the closet they went ...

Quilts were flying as Carol Veillon and Barbara looked through a storage closet. That entire pile on the top ended up on the floor during the hunt.

Then the quilt show began. Luckily, Linda brought a quilt stand. Our photo shoot skills came in handy as one quilt after another went on the stand for photography.
Living room photo studio

I snapped a photo of the lovely team at the end of the session. Left to right: Guy the photographer, Barbara, and publication director Carol holding Dottie Barker. It was a lovely day - we'll be eager to see the resulting article in Quiltmania in 2015.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nifty Nailed It

Enough of these silly men in coats - we all know we want to read about our beloved thrifty sewing!

One of the true joys of writing a blog like this is connecting with like-minded people, and I've found a wonderful community with all of you. There is a group in Seattle that really knocks my socks off. I don't blog nearly as often as they do and I am not nearly as prolific as they are, but their inspiration and kindred-spirited-ness is truly wonderful.

Check out Nifty's recent post about Falling in Love with sewing.

Oddly, I've been doing the same thing recently. With little time to prepare a project, i've just been carrying around a bag of small small scraps and playing. I take along pins and pin them together. When I get a few minutes, I run to the sewing machine and stitch together a pile of the little pieced parts. I scratch my head and wonder what the heck I am doing, where am i going with them. I'm not sure. But in the meantime, i'm having so much fun!

I've added a few photos of them (under construction) here. None of them is larger than 5" square. You'll find a little bit of everything in these blocks: shared current fabrics, vintage pieces, and of course some from old shirts.

I just stumbled onto one of my favorite quotes of all time, which sums this up nicely:

To be nobody but myself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting. -E.E. Cummings, poet (1894-1962)


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Wiggs Fashion Trend Redux

You might recall I commented on Andrew Wiggin's suit choice at the NBA draft last summer. Well, sure enough, he started a fashion trend.

Photo by Nick Krug, Lawrence Journal World

Look! Coach Bill Self copied the look at last night's Late Night in the Phog celebration at Allen Fieldhouse! And best of all, Self reported the jacket came from a THRIFT SHOP:

“We went to the thrift shop, and they only had one jacket. We had to make it one-size-fits-two. Basically, we got it together. I’m going to send it back to him,” Self said jokingly of Wiggins.
Read more about it in a piece by Gary Bedore in today's Lawrence Journal World.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Big-time for the Big Tomato

I am not sure if I have showed you this quilt before.

Let's just call it the Big Tomato. The block pattern is from my 2003 book (with my dear friend Frances Kite), Quilting a Poem.

It was my first book and I still love it. Frances drew the designs, I wrote instructions and made sure they would work for quilters (Frances is an artist, but not a quilter). I like to imagine being locked away with some of those designs for a while - I would be well-entertained. This design was originally made to be a grape, to illustrate Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem, Feast. I always thought it would make a nice tomato too. I added the border myself (meaning it's not in the book). This is a small quilt, 25" x 24".

I got to meet with a group of modern quilters recently and it seems they like the idea of taking patterns and making them modern. Woa! What would this look like larger, in modern fabrics and colors .... my head spins.

Check out a nice entry about this and other quilts today on the My Stars blog.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

You Need Robots

You know I have the best job ever. I get to work with quilts, I get to work with words. You get to work with very fun people.

One of the very coolest books I've worked on lately is Robots in Space!, a Kansas City Star Quilt book out just a few months ago.

The very talented Linda Frost created the robot designs for our local guild block-of-the-month. Guild members loved them and made a pile of robots quilts, mostly for their grandsons. Some of their quilts are featured in the book.

Linda just donated this cool quilt to our quilts-for-kids program. Some lucky kid in Lawrence gets these robots to nap with ...

I say buy this book. It has cool designs, wild photos of robots, great instruction.

You can keep up with Linda's work on her blog. She is one of those people who never stops creating.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Her Husband Thought She was Crazy


Proof that Denniele is a good listener in class.

I taught a class a while back, about improvised quilts. One  lesson was "No Scraps Too Small." To prove our point, myself and my teaching cohort saved the scraps from everyone's projects - we all worked with them to improvise.

Denniele Bohannon was in the class. Since that class, she made a quilt that became a book, "Where Poppies Grow." It's the Kansas City Star block-of-the-month quilt book for 2014, a great achievement. What that means is that Denniele's blocks and the stories about her quilt, which honors the memory of her great-grandfather who fought and died in World War I, were featured in the paper once a month all this year.

The book is now out. It contains patterns for all the blocks. Recently, Denniele sent me a bag of scraps:

She saved ALL HER SCRAPS FOR ME. Does that explain why her husband thought she was crazy? Yep, every single scrap, I can tell. large ones right down to shards.

Well of course, i am delighted! I will make all kinds of things out of these scraps. Some will go immediately into two small improvised quilts in progress. Even smaller ones will go on cards I make and my business cards:

Ruler added for scale.
I must admit, the shards are too small for even me ... check out Denniele's excellent book, written with co-author Janice Britz, when you can. I love the stories about her great-grandpa.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pure Thrift

I like to blog! But somehow I've been distracted for the past month ... however, blogworthy events have continued to happen to me, so look out, I have some things to show you.

Gotta start with this - a hot pad acquired at a local garage sale. We've had a fine time garage sale-ing lately. We stopped at one and found a woman who made crocheted dishcloths. I like to have those on hand so I chose several and complemented her on her color choices and lovely work. For some reason, the woman said I have something to show you and dashed back into her house. She emerged with THIS and explained that she used to work at the local cleaners. When they sent package of clothes, they would be tied up with white string and she hated to see it go to waste so she saved it. This is one of the hotpads she made from the string.

You'll notice from the detail that she had to tie string together to keep going. Oh how i love this. it is very soft and so dear to me. Isn't it wonderful? She GAVE it to me, it has a good home.

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Trip into The Attic

I have heard (horror) stories about the quilt historian's basement and attic for YEARS. Much stored there, not visited for years, memories, (shudder) WORK clearing it ...

Well, the quilt historian is moving. Actually, she already moved - next door to me! Yes, they are our new neighbors and we are enjoying their fine company.

A moving sale is in the works at her old place at 500 Louisiana. I was invited to see the attic and basement and jumped at the chance. The basement is already cleared so it looks nothing like I imagined. It is actually a pretty decent space (now that it is cleared and swept out).

The attic is entered through a drop staircase in the kitchen of the house. It was just as I had imagined, a bit of a time capsule, full of fascinating things covered with dust and cobwebs.

Because it's a 1885 Victorian cottage, there are cute windows on three sides:

Standing up straight is only possible occasionally. We decided to remove all the salvageable fabric stored there. Our method: boxes dropped into the room below. Voila!

We sorted fabric into the responsible piles: some to discard, some for the garage sale, a bit to keep ... I got vintage scraps. BB recalled that she used to find them neatly wrapped up at garage sales.

There will be a sale Sept. 5-6, here's the flyer:

It will be truly exciting! Be there or be square, there really is a tremendous amount of wonderful stuff for any quilter or collector. Here is something else we found in the attic:

p.s. the HOUSE is for sale too, I have a flyer about it if you know anyone who is interested.