Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snowed in, and happy!

It snowed all day yesterday. We have around 10" of snow with ice on top. It was gray, cold and nasty. Perfect to dye fabric! My son had 2 t-shirts for me to dye so I roped him in to assist. I dyed his shirts as well as about 7 yards of fabric. Part of the fabric is a really nice, soft, fine muslin; the other was an old cotton bed sheet. The results! Oh yeah, LOVE IT !

Today the sun is out and the snow is bright and great to show my colors. I do need to dye some greens, just didn't have enough jars to do that yesterday.

This is my most favorite piece from yesterday:
I love how the red and yellow blended and it looks alive and happy!

I also really like this piece. I just used my brown and golden yellow dyes, wadded up the fabric and let the magic happen!

These pieces have inspired me. I have sketched my next 2 art quilts and now just need to get them done. I have started one of my Christmas quilts, so I will get it pieced first.

As info, I dyed all these by the method for low-water immersion dyeing in "Color By Accident" by Ann Johnston. I didn't use her color color recipes, but did use her process.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The view from my front door...

Well, the weather forecasters got it right this week!

They called for the winter storm to make its way to us, and it did! Looks like we have around 6" with something cold and fine still falling. It started about 7 last night while we were at our opening reception. since it had been forecast, we did not have high hopes for many people to come, but we were pleasantly surprised and had about 20 hardy, quilt-loving souls that came. We really enjoyed talking to all these people and I actually sold a wall-quilt! I do have to give a special shout-out to these loving friendly people of Stokes County, they have been so very warm and welcoming since my husband started working there a year ago, and it seems to me, we are all just getting closer and building such wonderful relationships! It is so great to feel wanted!

An update on my Dad, he sees the cardiologist on Tuesday for a Stress Test (as if he weren't under enough stress as it is!). We are praying that they can then reschedule the brain surgery to remove his tumor very quickly. His vision is blurring more and we have noticed the timbre of his voice changing, but that could be the result of the ringing in his ears affecting the way he hears himself. We really do appreciate your prayers and thoughts for him.

On to quilting stuff! since I haven't been in the studio much, I thought I could tell you what I learned from this first exhibit experience! Here it is: sew your sleeves in the back (there are so many tutorials on that here in blogland, just Google "quilt sleeves" and you will get great advice!); we used i" x 2" furring strips from the local lumber store, we cut them to fit each quilt. These strips are pine and come in lengths of 6 ft, 8 ft, etc. We then placed an eye-bolt (available on the hardware aisle) into each end. We used the ones that were about and inch long. You do not need a super large size, they will not fit on the museum hooks. I would also advise taking a bag of stuff with you "just in case"! 
This should include:
Extra eye-hooks, masking tape, scissors, needle and thread, straight pins (for the ID and/or price tags), wire and wire cutters (in case your eye hooks won't fit), a pen and your business cards. I took most of these items (except the eye hooks, wire and wire cutters, guess what we needed?) and we ended up using all of them!

We committed to another show next year, so I need to get busy! Piece On!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hangin' Quilts

So January has been jam-packed for my family and me. I taught my first Free-motion class, so I had to prepare; my husband put on a first-ever multi-business event which I assisted; our son has had a full battery of allergy tests and is allergic to everything (well, duh); my father is facing surgery for a brain tumor, which had to be postponed today due to a newly-discovered heart problem (no stress or worrying here, folks!); my mom and I are having our very first ever joint quilt show, which we hung today. Yes, it has been quite tense in my little part of the world. I haven't gotten in as much sewing as I would have liked, but I have been involved in related activities! And now, our quilt show is hung, the opening reception is scheduled for Friday night (if we do not get snowed out), my father's surgery is in limbo, and my son is going on allergy therapy. But, one thing at a time, one day at a time (to borrow a sports cliche). The quilts look fabulous and I am so excited for this opportunity. Here is your own, private personal tour: 

As you walk in the door, you see my quilts "Wonder", then "Sunset Rendezvous". On the back wall is my mom's hand-quilted and appliqued "Anna's Blue Baskets":

Turn to the right and see my "Bali Masks", "Citron View" and mom's "Kelly's New York Beauty" (yep, she made this one for me!) Mom is good!

Then on the large wall, you will see (from right to left) mom's "Radiant Sunset", my "Perception Supernova" and mom's "Starlight Starbright" (I told you my mom is good!)

On the back wall of this section you see the rest of mom's "Starlight Starbright" and my "Perception Change".

It is a neat space, the building used to be a bank! The show is at the Stokes County Arts Council's "Apple Gallery" at 300 Main Street in Danbury, NC and runs from now through February 23. The gallery is open Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm. 

Please keep my dad in your thoughts and prayers. Thanks!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Design Wall Monday

It rained here so much yesterday and last night, that we started looking for an ark! We had 4" of rain! It was dull. drab and gray all day, but the deluge geared up after dark. So what was I to do? Quilt, of course! Or in this case, piece! Since I had finished Penumbra, I wanted to do something a little smaller and quicker. And I had ordered fabric from Connecting Threads and it had arrived Saturday, so I had a new collection of FQs to play with. This was the first time I had ordered from them and I was very pleased! The fabric has a great hand, the colors are bright and the collection I purchased, Cheep Talk" is just too cute! So I began a baby quilt. (soory it is blurry, I will take a better shot once it it complete!)

I have a friend who expecting this summer. She doesn't know the sex, and wants to wait, so I thought this group would be fun for either boy or girl!
I love the little birds:

I also ordered several 4 yard cuts to use for backings. They have a group of fabrics on sale for $2.96/yd! Plus free shipping on orders over $50. I ordered Monday afternoon and received on Saturday! Nice to discover a new source. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Completion of 2010

Feels good to have a completion! I started this on December 26, and just finished the binding today! I call it: Penumbra.

This is my first "circle" quilt and 1 I can check off my 2010 goals list. I received the templates for this block from my quilting professor friend, Layne. She gave me the 7" and the 3 1/2" templates. It was challenging, I did quite a bit of unsewing, but I learned a lot and I am thrilled with the results! This quilt measures 62" x 68", most of the fabrics are from the Arcadia collection from Moda, but I did use a hand dye (the solid turquoise) and my favorite Amy Butler Orange Dots. The back is dark brown with white polka dots that I found on sale.

I used this as my demo piece in my Free-motion class last weekend. I stitched it in an undulating Asian-inspired design. This stitch pattern seems easier than the stipple to me and my students thought so as well. I used YLI machine quilting thread in "Sticks and Stones". This is my second quilt with this color, I love it, it is a great blend of light, medium and dark neutrals that complements a variety of colors.

I am keeping this one!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Very Happy Winner!

My sweet husband hosted a business event last night. Our son and I helped give out the door prizes. I had also donated one of my quilts as a door prize. This very nice lady, Ann, was thrilled to be the lucky winner of this quilt:

Other prizes included an ipod, digital cameras, git certificates and a flat screen TV. Ann squealed with delight at winning my quilt! Can't get a better reaction than that!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

bits and pieces

Seems like I have a lot going on right now, almost too much to quilt! And the busy-ness is exhausting, which saps not only energy but creativity as well. I have gone into my studio and noodled around. I created this first strike off of a pot-holder that I am pitching to a friend who runs her family "general store":

I transferred the logo by scanning the image and printing it on PFD (on Freezer paper) with my printer. I then heat set it with my iron, just like I do with my labels as I shared here. I have been using my little old Singer, which does a fabulous job piecing, but lacks at quilting! I should get my Viking back tomorrow, then I can throw myself back into free-motion quilting my "Penumbra", that's what I am calling my 1/4 circles pieced quilt. I started it and used it as my demo-project in the class Saturday and now I am itching to finish.

I like to finish, especially when I am this far along, a quilt before I plunge into a new project. Next up is an applique I am working on for a local humane society fund-raiser. I have been gathering my fabrics and as soon as Penumbra is complete, then "Best Buddies" can begin!

And for a little peak, here is what was on my Mom's design wall Saturday:

Its a cute jelly roll block! She is making it for one of my cousins. I had to take a picture to add it to my "want to do" list!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

hit the wall

Seems like I am a bit tired. The class yesterday went well. I had 4 students with more signed up for the February class. A little issue was the fact that 2 of the students had new machines and didn't know how to use them yet. Fortunately, Teresa (one of the shop owners) was there to help them set their machines correctly. I also had a lady come into the class to see what we were doing and she was interested in taking the February class along with some of her friends. That was very encouraging! 

I had to leave my machine again for a minor tweaking. I am going to try piecing with my old Singer, just for relaxation this week.

I have committed to making a quilt for the Stokes County Humane Society to raffle for funds. I am excited about this and already have a pattern for the center. I just need to shead this blah feeling, rest a bit, and then plunge in.

Here is my string quilt on my design wall. It is going together so easily!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Current Projects

I hope you have enjoyed my "Old Quilts" show. I certainly have and I have enjoyed your wonderful comments. I have noticed that quilters love old quilts and the stories that go with them. I have also renewed my affection for the old feed sack quilts. I really love that an object of necessity (covering for warmth and protection from the elements) is born from frugality (using materials at hand) and an innate talent (QUILTS). I feel I am so lucky to be able to chose from so many beautiful fabrics, and I hope the love I have for my art comes through in every stitch, much the way I feel the love from the artists who created my old quilts.

Enough, what have I been doing as I have shown my collection? Well, things are quite crazy for me in my studio. I did get my machine back from service but it is going back in for a tweaking. I have cleaned, organized and rearranged my studio and I am really happy with the layout. What I did discover is (believe it or not!) I really do not have much of a stash. Oh the horror! I have tried to be efficient about my fabric purchases, but I really need to add some basic yard goods to my stash. I really need several yards of light neutrals and perhaps some solids for projects that spring from inspiration. And I need to buy these since I do not live near a LQS that I can visit easily. Sounds like a good reason for some shopping. I just need some time!

(my little stash, the top shelf is all fat-quarters, the stack on the bottom shelf is a mix of 1/2 yds, 1 yds, and 2 yds, the big bin is scraps and the small bin is apparel fabric I bought in China)

This Saturday (Jan 16) I am teaching my very first class in Free-motion Quilting. Now, I am nowhere near the skill of Leah, but I have been developing my skills and have done some decent work, so Wannita at Sewingly Yours contacted me and asked if I would lead a class, and I agreed. I have been working on my lesson plan and samples and I am excited about this opportunity. I am also quite humbled that enough people signed up to make the class, because I know that this will also be a learning experience for me! This follows on the tradition I started when I turned 40 of doing something every year that I have never done before. When 40 came up, I decided to try snowboarding and it was fun! I just want to explore and try things and live with no fear, forcing myself out of my comfort zone has made me braver and more creative. 

Quilt wise I have 2 flimsies (unquilted tops) done. One is a black/white/yellow disappearing 9-patch, and the other is a quarter-circle block (1 of my quilt goals!). The quarter-circle quilt is pinned and I have begun stitching as I am using this for my demonstration quilt in the class. I started stitching it just to establish my direction and had to force myself to stop since it was flowing easily and I could finish before class!

Wish me luck with the class!

The other big event on my horizon is the exhibit of my Mom's and my quilts. We hang the show Jan 27 and the opening reception is the 29th. I have been sewing hanging sleeves and selecting quilts for this. This is compounded by the fact my Dad has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and will be in surgery on the 27th as well. No, I am not being too cavalier about this, the tumor is on his pituitary gland, and while large, it is most likely benign. It has to be removed to prevent it from damaging his sight. While we are concerned about this, we have confidence in the team of doctors handling it and Dad feels great going in to this. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Please also keep the people of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers. The devastation there is horrific. I am contributing to the American Red Cross since I know they are already there and will use my donation well. Please find and donate to a reputable organization to help Haiti.

Old quilts "Scrappy 9 Patch"

Another treasure from Granny Joyner (she was a hard-core quilter!) is this Scrappy 9 Patch.

These fabrics all seem to be clothing scraps. The light blue is chambray. What makes this one really neat is the scrap-pieced back.

It's 2 quilts in one! Seriously, what a legacy in quilts and what a lesson in frugality. No scrap was too small, and every thing was used. Again, this one was quilted in her favorite fan shape, using the tobacco twine, completely hand made.

The colors are soft, but since she washed with an old wringer washer, I have no idea if any of these used to be more intense colors.

As for the 2 sides with added border, my MIL explained that they would always slide their beds into a corner up against a wall. The 2 outside edges were usually more detailed since they were seen.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Old quilts "Scrappy Star" (Granny Joyner)

This quilt (Scrappy Star) was actually in the garbage bag at Pa and Granny Joyner's. I rescued it! The points of the stars are scrappy pieced and much of the fabric in the quilt (front and back) are feed sacks. I love how the coarse appearance of the feed sacks is softened both by the age of the cotton and the cheery, naive prints.

Isn't the little horse with cross stitch cute? 

The back is made of pieced feed sacks and Granny Joyner used tobacco twine to quilt in in her fan design, and as with all her quilts, completely hand-made.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Old Quilts, continued (Trip Around the World)

I bought this "Trip Around the World" at auction about 21 years ago. It was part of a lot that included a couple of scraps and another quilt. I resold the other quilt, but kept this one. The back is heavy feed-sack, but the front is a cotton sateen. Hand pieced and quilted with thick twine.


This one is in excellent shape.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Granny Joyner Quilts part 3 (Random Fans)

Today's Granny Joyner quilt came to me from my MIL, Mary Wood. She gave it to us when we got married, as an extra quilt to keep us warm. This is a pieced fan block, made from clothing scraps. The sashing was feed sack cotton. Parts of this quilt have worn away so you can see the old cotton batting inside. The back is a rough burgundy feed sack and she quilted it in here fan pattern with a coarse cotton twine called "tobacco twine". It was primarily used for tying the tobacco leaves together but also used as utility thread as needed.

All the Granny Joyner quilts are completely hand sewn. She was a tiny little woman who would speak her mind. She was stooped over in later years from osteoporosis, but would sit either in her living room or on their poarch and sew.

This is one of the good things about blogging: I am getting these quilts and their stories documented for my son!

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Old Quilts, Granny Joyner part 2 (Sailboats)

Today's Granny Joyner quilt is so cute! It was onee I found in her attic. It had never been used, she had made it and put it away for future use. I call it (obviously) "Sailboats".

The colors are still as bright as they were when she made it. Being packed away in the attic kept it from fading. The bright blocks of color look very current. Granny made the top wonky, I have no idea why.

Several of these fabrics were shirtings and dress fabrics.

There are some places where the fugitive dyes have migrated to adjacent colors. Granny quilted this in a fan pattern, which she used as her standard quilting design.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Old Quilts, still digging them out of storage! (Bow Tie)

A while back someone asked me how many old quilts I have. I answered "I don't know"; after this exercise of photographing and blogging them, I will have a count! 

Today I am showing another "Granny Joyner Quilt", it had been on my husband's bed before we got married, so the quilt came with him!

This is a "Bow-Tie" made mostly from wool scraps. And let me tell you, it will keep you warm.

These scraps seem to look like they came from old coats, possible old upholstery. There are also several pieces of velvet used. Complete hand-pieced and quilted with tobacco twine.

This quilt is extra crinkly, having been machine washed and dried. 

It is going back to school with my son. The high yesterday in Boone (he's at ASU) was 12 degrees. I believe it will be a welcome addition for him!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My old quilts, continued (Velvet Strips)

I hope you are enjoying seeing these. I am enjoying it! I had packed them away so it is nice to air them out and fondle them again. Additionally, quilts need to be refolded so the fabric will be evenly stressed. I am washing these as well. We still need to sell our house so, I will have to pack them back up, but at tleast they will have been loved this week! I fully intend to have them out in our new place.

This quilt is one of several I have that came from my husband's maternal grandmother, Granny Joyner. (I love how they call the grandparents "granny" and "pa"!) Her name was Ruth Joyner nad she lived on a farm in Iredell County NC. I was fortunate to know Granny and Pa Joyner. They were lifelong farmers who had made it through the depression, raising my MIL, Meme (Mary) and her brother, Harold. Pa and Granny raised tobacco to sell and all there own food. Granny taught me how to chop and make saurkraut. I never liked saurkraut that came from the store, but homemade kraut is delicious!

Granny made quilts for warmth, but she also enjoyed the handwork aspect. She would quilt with any materials that came her way (as you will see!). I acquired most of my Granny Joyner quilts after helping to clean and organize their tiny house when their health began to fail. Granny had quilts packed in the attic and mice were beginning to eat away at them. Granny knew I loved them and gave me the pick. Other quilts were given to other family members as well.

This is my very favorite Granny Joyner quilt. I call it "Velvet Strips". It is made from various scrap velvets, handsewn together, back with a rough feedsack fabric and tied instead of quilted. I think it looks quite contemporary!

Some of the velvets have worn away, but that adds to the vintage charm!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

My old quilts pt 3 (Farm house)

I call this one my "Farm House Quilt." 

I bought it at auction 25 years ago for $20. I love the blocks with the blue striped shirting, as well as the fact the quilter arranged like blocks in rows. 

My favorite part of this quilt is the back. It is made of feed sacks! 

The prints are so cheery with happy little farm animals and flowers. This quilt was well-used before I got it and we have continued to use it since.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another special quilt by Aunt Minnie (Teddy Bears)

This is a very special "Aunt Minnie" quilt as she made this for me when I was expecting my son. This is a little crib quilt, approximately 38" square. Aunt Minnie bound the edges by squaring up the backing and folding it over the front. I love the vintage ginghams and the embroidered faces! What is especially neat is that we didn't know I was carrying a boy!

Yes, those are stains, but I did use this quilt!

In other news, I am making serious progress on the redesign of my sewing studio. My son helped me move the bookcase around to another wall, we moved a larger table in and I have been cleaning out. Next up: stash management! I have been keeping my fabrics in a variety of plastic boxes, but the lids are hard for me to remove. So I am toying with the idea of just folding the fabrics and laying on the shelves (this is how my Mom has most of her fabrics.) Well, I will try it and see how I like it. I can always change it if I don't! Any advice from anyone on stash organization? All ideas are welcome!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

my old quilts (hearts and flowers)

I am in an in-between place right now quilt-wise. I have 1 top ready to quilt, another top on my design wall (the blocks are complete, I just need to sew them together), my machine is in the shop for its yearly service and I need to work on my lesson plan for my upcoming free-motion class. I am also going to work on rearranging my sewing studio/sweatshop while the machine is away, but I don't want my blog-buddies to forget about me! So I am going to post my quilt collection.

I am starting with a quilt given to my husband and me as a wedding gift by his Great-Aunt Minnie. Aunt Minnie passed on about 4 years ago, but she was a strong personality and an avid quilter and definitely not forgotten! This block pattern she called "Hearts and Flowers". She hand-appliqued each block, machine stitched them together and hand-quilted it on her quilt frame that would be suspended from the ceiling in her living room. I love the colors. We have been married 26 years, so this quilt is close to 27 years old. There are parts where the navy floral are a little faded, but we have used this quilt! It is large enough to serve as a spread for a full bed, and as a bed-quilt on a queen. I like knowing that her strong hands blanket-stitched each applique piece, and took each even quilting stitch. 

A detail shot:

Beautiful work and a family treasure!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Some pet love

I just found this on Quilt Hollow and had to share!

Dear Dogs and Cats: The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.
The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.
I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. However, dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.
For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years - canine/feline attendance is not required.
The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.
Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door:
(1) They live here. You don't.
(2) If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That's why they call it 'fur'-niture.
(3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
(4) To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don't speak clearly...
Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they
(1) eat less
(2) don't ask for money all the time
(3) are easier to train
(4) normally come when called
(5) never ask to drive the car
(6) don't hang out with drug-using people
(7) don't smoke or drink
(8) don't want to wear your clothes
(9) don't have to buy the latest fashions
(10) don't need a gazillion dollars for college
(11) if they get pregnant, you can sell their children

This is a hoot! If you know who actually wrote it, please tell! I would love to credit and thank them!

You may  have guessed we have 3 big dogs who are truly part of our family.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Quilting Goals

AACK! It is scary to put this list up here, but, here I go! Here is what I am going to try to accomplish in 2010:

1. Christmas quilts for my king-size bed and for our full-size guest bed (2 quilts)
2. Finish the string quilt for our king-size bed. (1 quilt)
3. Sew curves! Currently working on a quilt that incorporates them. (1 quilt)
4. Make one of these cute circle quilts using my scraps. (1 quilt)
5. Enter quilting shows. The only way I'm going to get better is to pursue some critique! I have 2 entries ready to mail tomorrow for the AQS show in Paducah. I know, I am reaching for the stars, but you never know... I also have forms for 2 other shows, but they do not have to be mailed until April.
6. Teach what I know. I am lined up to teach 2 free-motion classes (if enough people sign up!). It is scary, but I know I will have fun, meet new friends and continue to improve.
7. Compile and publish a quilt pattern. I love to do my own thing, but why not share?
8. If what I am making/sewing/quilting is not fun, I am not going to do it. This is supposed to be a fun hobby, not work!
9. Find a quilting group/guild. I really need it!
10. Dye more fabric. I love thate process and the colors I end up with inspire me to do more intuitive piecing, which makes me more creative.

Whew, there is my list. As for 2009, I completed 22 quilts, 9 bags and 10 table runners. I can get a lot of sewing done since my only child is now 20 and in college. And since February of 2009 my husband is living with my parents during the week and I stay here in our house (til it sells). I really want it to sell. Being alone during the week is not easy, but at least we both still have jobs, we are healthy and quite blessed. So, sewing and quilting keeps me busy instead of lonely. Okay, lets make 2010 a great year!