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.