Sunday, December 13, 2015

Happy Birthday Barkley

Time flies. I made this quilt 10 years ago. It will always be one of my favorites.

Our stitch group had a custom of making blocks for each other. We would pick the block and specify colors then everyone would make a few. All the different stashes really enlivened the end result. Those blocks are the center of this quilt.

The quilt historian prodded me to finish it by suggesting the border. She pulled the bird designs from antique quilts and I added the funky vine. We named it Barkley's Birds because he always loved to bark at birds.

The pattern is in a swell book, Cranberry Collection by Barbara Brackman and Karla Menaugh. Published in 2005, it is out of print but you can still find a copy on Etsy.

Little Barkley is now 13 years old - his birthday is this month.  It is always hard to believe it when your pets age. He has entertained us so nicely over the years.

He survived kooky Lucy, his companion when he was little.

He modeled hats.

He posed for a holiday card in 2009.

He even pretended to visit Las Vegas.

The secret to Barkley's longevity may be that he knows a good chair to relax on when he sees one.

Happy Birthday Barkley! And thanks to the quilt historian for mentioning our fine boy on this blogpost.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Merry #1

We got to Lincoln, Nebraska last weekend - just in time for the Red, White & Green All Over Show. It's at the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery from now through February 5 and if you are anywhere nearby, it's well worth the trip. The gallery is small, located on the second floor of the Home Ec Building near 35th and Holdrege Streets but this show is knock-your-socks-off wonderful. You can read more about it at here.

I'll post photos of a few of my favorites. LOOK at these tiny stitches!

Here's the entire quilt. It's a Rose of Sharon pattern from 1850-1870. The maker is unknown and it was made in the US. It measures 84" x 84" and is hand appliqued and hand quilted.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

It's December Already!??

It does not seem possible that it is December already, although I have been making some very December-ish looking things.

I just hung a mosaic wreath by my front door. My mosaic buddy planted that seed (what about a holiday wreath?) in my head one day while we shopped and I found a nice baking tin for the base. I also found the nice already mosaic center, a little coaster. And the strings of beads seemed like something festive to add too. Mostly it is made of broken dishes along with a few tiny commercial tiles AND one old ornament from our days in Germany ...

I'm on a roll with these same colors. A recent quilt posted by Nifty inspired me so much I am trying my own version. These are 14" blocks, very exciting to put together! Thanks, Nifty! I've got 10 blocks done so far ... now to find a wild tablecloth for the border ...

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Second Rug Heads South

Another rug is heading south today, leaving icy Kansas for warm and sunny Austin.

A yellow rug was requested, with gray highlights. The gray turned somewhat blue and I think it works. I used a thicker decorator fabric for the base and lots of yellow sheets throughout. The final size is about 4' x 3'- just right for the grandcats.

We had a lovely holiday - hope you did too!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Holy Seminoley

It's done. My finished quilt measures 19.5" x 25". I quilted it mostly in the ditch.

Marge can give you an idea of the size too. 

I sure like the colors of Marge's little blocks. It was a fun color project. And a good reminder to save your scraps! Pass them on to someone who will enjoy them.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Close to the Edge

I've been playing with some small bits this week. In the back of the room where our quilt guild meets, there is a very popular couch  - we deposit fabric we no longer need there. I found a bag of leftovers from our resident Seminole quilting artist, Marge Banks. I loved the colors and decided to challenge myself to make them into a small quilt.

I pulled out several of the shirts I've collected and went to town. To give you an idea of scale, Marge's original pieced bits measure 1 1/2" square and smaller.

It's nearly together - here it is this morning. My plan is to finish it today and have it quilted and ready to show to Marge at guild next week:

A belated happy birthday to one of my favorite humans, Kurt Vonnegut:

I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center. 
-Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., writer (11 Nov 1922-2007)

Friday, November 6, 2015

First Rug for the Austin Girls

My kids in Austin just bought their first house together and they wanted a rug - one to match the colors in their bathroom. It has lots of the colors of nature ... rock floor in the shower ...

Voila! Off to the rug fabric pile I went, and here is the result. It measures almost 5' x 4'.

My friend Kathe supplied me with the base fabric. She spotted sale tablecloths while shopping one day and they were so thrifty, she could not resist buying me a few! I think thicker fabrics make the best base - they make the rug just a bit more sturdy.

Here is a peek of it in its new home:

I am working on a second rug for the girls now - I hope to have it ready by Thanksgiving. I'll share it with you soon.

Too bad the World Series is over - I got a lot done during those LONG games!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Design Inspiration

I took a class to learn to mosaic. It is something I've always wanted to try. What has surprised me is that it seems to help my creativity, just trying something new. I've enjoyed sewing more!

I've made a few frames, like the one on the right. It's made from dishes - both new and vintage. That's what takes the most time, collecting dishes and other fun things to use in mosaics. I included a few marbles and beads in this one too.

A friend who works in ceramics told me that there are discarded pots when a kiln is emptied. I collected a few of those last week and got going on this pot.

I haven't applied grout yet so it will look different when it's finished ... I'll finish it up this week.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

This Might Be Done

On my design wall today. It might be done. That's the fun of improvising - I get to decide! Your thoughts are welcome ...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Much to tell

I took a break from blogging. I've been recharging my batteries and looking for new creative challenges. I've been transitioning from work for others to work to please myself. Its a welcome trade. I've been dabbling with making mosaic and find that it is inspiring my stitching. Who knew!

Other recent sources of inspiration:

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood. I took it along to the mountains and studied it. It offers a fresh approach for making quilts. I like it. The work above is inspired by her rhythmic grid score.

Surprisingly, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying (the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing) by Marie Kondo has also helped with my creativity. Her suggestion that we only keep things that spark joy is helping in my sewing room.

Last but not least, I've been following the work of Mandy Patullo on her Thread and Thrift blog. Check it out. It is really inspiring for me.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Linda's Leftovers

A very pleasant part of having talented friends is that occasionally you admire their latest project and they say, "You like it? Here, it's yours!" And that is just what happened with this lovely little quilt that I am calling Linda's Leftovers.

Linda Frost is a wonderful artist who also has the very good habit of finishing things! She said she found these little half-square triangles leftover from a project so she put them together. Each square measures 1" - the entire quilt measures 12" x 12".

Look at this detail of how she quilted it - simply but effectively:

Linda said the fabric is by Fabri-Quilt of Kansas City, from a line they created several years ago. We all admired this red!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Betsy's T-Shirt Quilt

I went to Austin to get this photo - here's Betsy's quilt of her favorite high school / college t-shirts.

It's made in the same way I made Kate's quilt, adding pieced strips around the t-shirts so they would all fit together. Sometimes I added a strip of solid fabric too.

I ended all the madness with a solid stop border and then added the larger border. Lori Kukuk did the quilting on this one too - an allover pattern that is perfect for the use this lap quilt will get.

A lot of their t-shirts had little designs on the back and sleeves - I liked fitting them into the entire quilt design.

I took the leftover t-shirt pieces and stitched them inside a pillow case and took them to our local humane society. They use those for pet beds. That felt like a good use for those scraps! Here's the back - I embroidered our names and the year on the sunflower block.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

What a Show!

Kudos to everyone who came together to create the first Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival. I was there yesterday and it was a resounding success! The exhibits were great, the vendors were awesome, guild participation was exciting in the hallway of amazing opportunity quilts. There were lectures, classes, celebrities ... and crowds! I arrived early Friday to witness long lines of folks waiting to get in, full parking lots!

There are so many inspiring quilts to see - I love this one by Emily Coffey in the Best of Quilt Con exhibit. The juried quilts are truly wonderful, as are the guild entries.

So go! It runs today and tomorrow and there is something for everyone. And remember, you can always go home with a photo of yourself as Sunbonnet Sue - just stop by the Kaw Valley booth right outside the exhibit hall entry. Who could resist that?

Thanks to Nancy Wakefield (right) - the show was her idea!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Farewell, Linda Brannock

A sewing idol of mine has passed away. Word arrived that Linda Brannock died on May 20. She was 76.

Linda was part of the talented team that produced so many wonderful Red Wagon books back in the 1980s. I collected them all and dreamed of making fanciful designs like theirs.

I jumped at the chance to work with her several years ago when she agreed to publish her final book with the Kansas City Star. "Miss Jump's Farewell" was the result. It was such an exciting project for me as I got to visit Linda in her home and studio in Independence, Missouri and also be involved in a photo shoot there. And I got to know kind, fun Linda as we worked together on her book.

She leaves behind a devoted husband Robert. They had a dog Sugar that they both adored - I hope she survives to keep Bob company.

Here is Linda's own story about her work:

“This all started when I wanted a quilt. In 1974, there were not many for sale and not any that I could afford. So I knew I would have to make one. Finally, I found a class and began this great journey.
“I started teaching in 1980, to a group of friends in my basement. After practicing on friends, I taught at eight different places and traveled 200 miles a week.
“I created patterns for local businesses: Quilt Country, then Evening Star Farm, Red Wagon and now for Quilter’s Station. I have loved the last 27 years – many joys and stresses. I've enjoyed traveling, teaching, attending quilt markets all over the U.S., and designing fabric for Moda.
“I started my own pattern business, the Star Quilt Company, in 1993 and loved it for 10 years.
“What am I going to do now? PLAY…”
I admired the small quilt above - it was in LInda's studio - and she gave it to me. The square measure about 1 1/2" - the total quilt is 13" x 14". It's tied in the middle of each square with embroidery floss. The back is shown below ...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

$3 Fabric Bag Sale

Woe is me. I have PLENTY of fabric but still cannot resist the temptation of acquiring more, especially when I can get a bag full for $3.

All of us who love thrift shops have our favorites. One of mine is a little Catholic charity shop in Nebraska City. We were driving near there yesterday and made a stop. In the shop window was a sign "Clothing Bag for $3."

Oh dear. My resolve went right out the window and I headed for the clothing racks. At that point, it becomes pure fabric shopping for me. I look for cottons on the men's, women's and children's racks.

The sales staff encourages stuffing the bag as full as possible (mine is a bit over-full). My count reveals I have 11 new fabrics to play with. Several are men's XL shirts, which we all know yield considerable fabric. There are also 2 items I might wear a while first.

Better commence with the cutting and sewing ...

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sue Obsession Continues

2015 Opportunity Quilt and its talented creators
First and foremost, be sure to attend the upcoming Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival, coming up June 19-21 at the Overland Park Convention Center. It truly promises to be exciting - with exhibits, workshops, lecturers. Read all about it here.

Local guilds will be present to show their work and also to promote guild membership. Our Kaw Valley Quilters Guild will be there and they are letting our sewing group run the booth. Well, what were they thinking when they allowed THAT! We'll display our amazing 2015 Opportunity Quilt. Hmmm, now how to sell tickets? How to stand out among a bevy of amazing opportunity quilts?

Sue to the rescue! Our longstanding obsession with Sunbonnet Sue continues. We created this Sue photo booth - when you purchase an opportunity quilt ticket, you get to snap a photo of yourself as you-know-who - a lasting memento of this first ever regional quilt festival that you will always treasure!

The quilt historian also wrote about this today - check there for more information. She also cleverly showed how celebrities you might recognize would look here - you'll look great too!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kate's T-shirt Quilt

I made t-shirt quilts for both my girls recently. Here is Kate with hers. Over the years, I saved their sports t-shirts, along with a few others. I let both girls pick the t-shirts they wanted on their quilts.

I trimmed t-shirts they chose close to the logos and backed them with knit interfacing. I'd been preparing to make these quilts by stitching together scraps and trimming them into strips. Having that done ahead of time helped these quilts go together quickly.

Both quilts are large lap size, ready for a quick nap. I had visions of continuing the scrappy strips in the border but decided:
a. that might be too much and
b. I was ready to be finished with these!

Here's the back ... leftover yardage pieced together with a sunflower in the middle. I stitched our names and the year on with embroidery thread. Lori Kukuk did the allover quilting. Hopefully I'll get a photo of Betsy's quilt soon.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mom's Hearts

My mom made some heart blocks. Mom has moved to assisted living and when I cleaned out her sewing room, I found them. I thought they weren't my style so I put them in our guild fabric exchange.

My friend came to the rescue: Barbara rescued them. Georgann decided they would make a nice little quilt and Roseann insisted on adding just the right sashing, even cornerstones! Georgann quilted it and made a label too so we won't forget the significance of this little quilt.

Today I will take this little quilt to Mom and hang it in her room. I think she'll remember the blocks. She has dementia now, but we get little gifts of her remembering things from time to time. At Easter dinner, she looked me in the eye and said, "It will be all right."

And look at her here, greeting granddaughter Kate at her recent wedding.

Now that is a gift! As are friends who help create a memory like this.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Polyester Seen at Garage Sale

I spotted this polyester quilt at a recent garage sale. I asked the young host if this quilt was for sale and she proudly said, oh no, my grandma made that! It was HUGE, probably at least queen size. She said there was a tub of poly quilts left behind by her grandma there too.

Like the other polyester quilt we saw recently, this one is exciting because of the bright colors used. It's a classic one-patch quilt, and we know it will never wear out!