Monday, April 28, 2014

Renay's Tie Quilt is now a pattern

My friend Renay made a tie quilt for a friend in 2010. I thought it was wonderful and she let me photograph it for the blog.

That random post is THE MOST POPULAR ever on my blog. The photo is all over Pinterest. I even saw it on a blog from Russia.

So I've been telling Renay she should make a pattern. Renay writes the best, most complete instructions of anyone I know. She's been making purses and purse patterns for the past 10 years - you can see them here. I edit the patterns for her - we have had a blast working together. You can order the pattern on the website or contact Renay directly at

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fireball Coincidence

Karen Hansen brought this vintage quilt to guild and we went nuts. It was so bright and exciting! She was seeking advice about washing it - we begged her to show it at our quilt show.

So she did. Isn't it wonderful? It was made in the 1940s by Hazel Eisenhart Baker, Karen's husband's grandmother. She lived in Spokane, Washington.

By coincidence, I happened to read an article about string quilts written by my friend Pat Kyser published in Quilt World magazine, March/April 1979. It had a picture of a similar quilt made by a woman in Tennessee. Pat wrote: "In their area, this quilt has two names. If the round piece is white, it is called "Snowball," and if it is red, it is called "Fireball." Pat described it as as a string-pieced square with a bite taken off two of the corners. The size of the bite determines whether an oval or a circle results when four pieces are placed together.

The circles in Karen's quilt are not pieced, which makes us think they were appliqued on.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sue Breaks Bad

A while back, my friend Marla gave me a small Sunbonnet Sue quilt. She said the memories she associated with it were not good and she didn't care what I did with it. I was careful to ask her, "You don't care what we do with it?" NO, she assured me. "Do you KNOW what we do with Sunbonnet Sue quilts?" She said she really didn't care, whatever we did would not bother her.

So we've done it again. This one has become Sue Breaks Bad. We showed it at our recent quilt show. As usual, some viewers said nothing (which meant they might have been following the old adage of if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all ... ). Others were loudly enthusiastic, admiring what Sue has been up to lately. There were 12 golden opportunities for Sue to go bad. Swearing Sue, Tattoo Sue, a Phelps family Sue ... Here are some of my favorites:

Poledancer Sue, with a dollar tucked into her bonnet

Tea Party Sue

Tagger Sue
Zombie Sue (her skirt didn't get shorter, her legs got longer)

Got a Sue quilt you are tired of? We still have ideas, send it our way ... Blocks were enhanced by: Linda Frost, Kathe Dougherty, Barbara Brackman, Georgann Eglinski, Carol Jones, Sara Chappell, and myself. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring in Kansas

I took photos of the wild sky as we drove west into a front over Lawrence on April 13. We Kansans love a good storm! This one was brief but a good show. Within 24 hours, we had warm sun, rain, snow, wind ...

Here are some daffodils from my yard. Happy spring!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dustin's Version

What a coincidence. My quilting buddy Dustin sent this, he has been working in black/white and red too. He writes: "I have tried to make baby quilts with their names in them for a while... also, if the name is on it, it's inspirational to actually finish it before the baby gets too big." Look closely - this one actually says Naomi Rose Nichols.

Dustin is on to something here. I usually start baby quilts when the baby is about born, then they have been known to languish on the quilt room shelf for a while (year or so) until I finish them up!  I've made baby quilts and put the child's initials on the back but i really like this. I think it will inspire me for future quilts. Check out these links for other amazing baby quilts Dustin has made: one for Jack Wesley Jordan, and another Dustin calls a personal favorite, for the very lucky LUCY.

Several of us in Lawrence are big fans of Dustin's work. He lives in Kentucky. Look at his Flicker pages for more of his amazing work.

The background for this quilt is an old shirt. THANKS to Dustin for sharing!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Black and White and Read All Over

Here it is - as promised, a pic of the entire quilt. It measures 89" x 90" and amply covers our queen size bed. Note where the names are - and the (partial) palindrome at the bottom. Sandy Morgan Cockrum quilted it allover with a fabulous design.

I really had a good time putting it together. I still have pieced sections left so I'm making pillow shams with them now.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Big Quilt

THIS won't happen again soon but this year, I finished TWO large quilts for our show.I got this photo of one of them the other day - I'll post the other one soon.

This quilt happened with the help and inspiration of several people. Several years ago, Karen Hansen cleaned out her sewing room andgave me a pile of 140 vintage 4-patch blocks, all containing a green gingham-like fabric.  Karen believes they were made by Ida Nussbaum Watkins of Kansas City, Kansas - a longtime friend of her mother-in-law. Karen said Ida passed away in 1950 but her mother-in-law is 91 (and still driving!).

Carol Jones saw those and recalled a quilt on a 2004 East Bay Heritage Quilt Show postcard.  The quilt is Starry Night by our friend, Mabry Benson! We liked the ziggy-zaggy effect of the colors running along her stars.

Carol helped me pull fabrics and colors for the quilt, shared fabric from her stash, and helped me figure out the design. She also helped me select the outer border fabric, a Kaffe Fassett print that I am not sure I would have been wide or bold enough to select on my own but we all agree it makes a perfect finish for this quilt. She also helped me pick the binding, a Kaffe stripe that is just right.

The brave Kelly Cline quilted it perfectly. She knew I planned to use it so she used a sturdy allover design to quilt the center and groovy circles for the border.

So! thanks to Ida, Karen, Carol, Mabry and Kelly, we will enjoy using this quilt for years to come! Isn't this what quilting is all about.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Making Minis

Our quilt guild show starts tomorrow. One of my favorite parts is the mini-quilt silent auction. It's fun to make minis, it's fun to buy minis, and it's fun to see what everyone else created. I started this one a year ago and got waylaid so it was satisfying to finish it up this week. I was binding it while visiting with friends the other night and someone said, "I like the spoons." Someone else said, "Name it Dinner Party." So I did. I hadn't seen spoons in the red center blocks of Marcia Derse fabric before but they did. I used a linen-like fabric to surround the blocks, which are comprised of shirtings and BB's reproduction prints (around the center).

It measures 20'' x 22''. Proceeds from the sale of this quilt will benefit the Douglas County Aids Project, a non-profit dear to my heart. Last year sales of minis totaled $2,388 - with all proceeds benefiting local non-profit agencies. Come enjoy the show Saturday 10-5 and Sunday noon-5 - bidding for the minis will wrap up about an hour or so before the show closes Sunday!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Finished for the Quilt Show

A calm winter on the personal front and a rough winter weather-wise combined to let me complete some quilts for our annual guild quilt show. Our show will be this coming weekend. It will be at the Crown Toyota showroom at 3430 Iowa Street. Hours are Saturday 10-5 and Sunday noon-5.

I finished my black and white and red all over quilt. It was inspired by a red/white/blue postage stamp quilt I saw in California made by Mike MacNamara and friends. I loved their quilt and then it occurred to me that I could personalize my version by making it black and white and "red read all over" as we used to say about newspapers. I began my career working on newspapers and that is how I met my husband, a dashing fellow reporter. We still love newspapers and news even though neither of us is in the daily business anymore. I personalized the quilt with our names, the year (2013) and the years we've been married (31).

I started making this quilt as one big totally scrappy improv piece but it was too too much. My eye just raced all over and could not stop. I decided to break the quilt into sections - you will see that in the total quilt photo I will get this coming weekend.

In the meantime, I will entertain you with some detail shots. This quilt has been on our bed for the past month and I like it more every day. Some different section catches my eye and I really enjoy how the improvised patterns work ... I'll get a shot of the entire quilt at the show.