Friday, January 22, 2010

Sewing in Springfield

This is just a note to anyone in the Springfield, MO area. I have added a link for The Round Bobbin Expo in the Creative Places section to the left of this page. I was approached about teaching at this event a few months ago. I am looking forward to this as I have spent the majority of my career teaching in quilt shops, for quilt guilds and quilt conferences. This will be new for me and I am looking forward to to the experience. Look and let me know what you think. I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Crazy Quilt Embroidery

This is a detail of a small quilt I made about fifteen years ago For a long time , I thought I would make a large Crazy quilt , but this little quilt convinced me otherwise. It took more am month to complete. So I decided to be satisfied with confining my self to small when it comes to Crazy quilts.
This little quilt did win a best in Class for miniatures in the Marin Quilt and Needlework Show in San Raphael CA. I was pretty happy but there was more to come. I was contacted by a representative of Hallmark cards and they commissioned to make an even smaller quilt. About 12 inches square. It was to be part of a group of Victorian collectibles. Yay! On the upside, I was paid very well, on the downside, well, this was a time when our country was in a recession and the whole project was scrapped. Nevertheless, I was excited almost be a part of a fun project!

I went on a few years later to make a larger, but still small Crazy quilt. I challenged myself to use only silk for the embroidery.

I used silk ribbon.

Silk twist.

Silk embroidery floss.

The stitches were lazy daisy, bullion knots, Palestrina knots, herringbone, french and colonial knots, stem stitch, feather stitch and more.
There are also quite a few beads tacking down ribbon streamers, etc. I love this quilt despite the fact that it does not hang well due to a miscalculation on my part. Apparently I made the borders a little too long and did not pick up on this until all the edge feather stitching was complete and I had layered an bound the edges. Bummer! I agonized over this for awhile and decided to let well enough alone.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

American Quilts In The Modern Age

Every year in December, my husband and son always want a Christmas list and I often fill it in with my new book choices. A couple of years ago my husband bought every book on the list. I felt I was receiving my own library! This year, my list was shorter, but I still received them all! But the difference is that I have decided I am so fortunate to have a husband who knows my love of reading and wants me to have what I want. So in addition to the new Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Diana Gabaldon, American Quilts In The Modern Age, and Massachussets Quilts. Last September, during the time I was teaching at Baltimore on the Prairie in Omaha, Nebraska, I had the opportunity to tour The International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln. I saw some of the quilts in the collection there, including a wonderful Baltimore Album, up close and personal. The work being done at the center is important to the world of quilts and this book is ground breaking. Even if you simply want to look at the pictures, it is worth looking into. I hope you will share your favorite books with me, Nadine

My friend is a wonderful artist

When I received an email from Karen this afternoon, this image was in the letter. She recently encouraged me to take an online photo shop elements class that she was also interested in taking We both thought it would be fun to do together. She in CA, me in MO. Long story short, my operating system was not up to it and frankly, I am not sure I would have been either. In any case when I wrote to compliment her on this great design, she wrote back and gave me permission to share with all of you. The quilter is her grandmother. How cool is that? if you want to see more, click on Vintage Findings in the left column. You will not be sorry.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Just Sharing A few of My Quilts

When I promised to share some of my quilts on this blog, I was not sure just where to begin. I decided to start with this red work quilt because it reflects my early beginnings , before I knew about quilting, let alone applique. I grew up the oldest of ten children and in the days when i could go to the dime store and buy a kit for making baby clothes, aprons, and needlework, all of which required some or a lot of embroidery. I was my mother's right hand girl. From standing on an orange crate to do dishes to cradling a small baby brother or sister, I was schooled in home arts and everyday responsibility. I miss her sitting beside me, teaching me to do lazy daisy stitches, feather stitches and so much more. I remember as if it were yesterday, the day her new Kenmore sewing machine was delivered. it was in a beautiful cabinet, and it had cams! Cams meant we could embellish Easter dresses for myself and my three sisters, quickly patch the knees in all the pants we were constantly sliding on to make second base. We made countless dresses, shirts and aprons on that machine, but early days were always with me and I am still embellishing with the embroidery I learned from my mother, her sister and anyone who would sit down for five minutes and show me how to do a Palestrina knot.

This image of a handful of pansies was a pretty common image during the red work faze in embroidery history. from the 1860's through the depression, a person, often a little girl could go to a store and purchase a small square of muslin with a printed design for a penny. So.... these became known as penny squares. There was a lot of interest in this because it was pretty affordable as well as manageable. It was also a learning project with simple stitches.

This young girl shows up over and over in vintage red work patterns. So, of course I needed to have my own curly haired young lady in my quilt.

I suspect that the vast numbers of sunflower's showed up, not only in the red work quilts, but in crazy quilts because of the huge popularity of Oscar Wilde who often lectured on the the effects of art and culture in a families surroundings. Did I mention that he was very handsome and often wore one of these sun flowers in his lapel. Some things never change, do they?

I love my redwork quilt for many reasons. The embroidery, of course. The slam dunk ease of making these blocks. Your supplies being design transferred to a square, an embroidery needle, thread, scissors, and a hoop. I could not be easier. Most of all, however, I love this quilt for the memories it evokes for me. This month, twelve years ago i flew from CA to spend a few weeks with my daughter who was in the last weeks of her pregnancy. We had so much fun. The baby shower, shopping for baby clothes, ( we knew it was a girl with a tiny turned up nose). The check-up where I finally got to hear that heart-beat! CA was a long way away. Then the day we found out the baby was going to be induced the next day, my daughter drove through the McDonald's on the way home. When the bag of fries came through the window, the baby began kicking like crazy. Kelly was convinced that he little girl was responding to the smell of french fries. Miss Libby does not like potatoes, let alone french fies. Go figure. In any case, back to business, almost all of these blocks were made during that special time. Ahhhh....

Moving on to "The Way We Were" I chose this name because I grew up in the time when women had particular days set aside for doing chores. Mom and I actually washed on Monday, sprinkled the starched clothing and stored in the fridge, ironed on Tuesday, etc. With our large family it was necessary to have order. So this quilt was designed with the thirties and forties days of the week dishtowels. of course there are only seven days in the week so I had to design two extra squares and even these have roots in the same time period.

It was so much fun to combine my love of embroidery and applique in this quilt. I started this in a retreat in Asilomar CA. Great place. A run on the beach, early in the morning and after breakfast a full day and into the evening working on any project you wanted. Mostly quilters.

The embroidery on this quilt is all done with one strand of DMC floss. I love one-strand embroidery.

Remember that baby girl I referred to earlier in this post? Well, this is the quilt I carried onto the plane to gift to my daughter at her baby shower. I would like to point out that the squares are each three inches in size. This detail is pretty sweet.

This is another detail. I saw the original quilt in the Shelburne museum in Vermont. You could not take pictures and my drawing skills, well let's not even go there. What I did know was that the quilt was made by Florence Peto, a great patron of the museum.

A few years later, Celia Oliver, one of the museum curators came to The San Jose Quilt Museum in CA to give a lecture about the Shelburne's quilt collection.. It was so interesting and she introduced a new book called Enduring Grace. I bought my copy and thumbed through right away to see if my favorite quilt was there. yes!!! In addition it was one of a few that was patterned. Never mind that I still had to enlarge those very small squares. Then I waited. When I was told I would be a grandmother, I was ready. The original was appliqued with fabrics that were vintage in the fifties by Florence. Since I was making a baby quilt, I decided to use those sweet thirties fabrics. Florence' quilt is called Calico garden.

My version is called "For love of Libby" her given name is Elizabeth Evelyn. (Libby) Elizabeth is a name that goes back four generations in my family and my middle name. Evelyn was her other grandma's name.

I believe this quilt, perhaps more than others I have made makes a point I have subscribed to for as long as I have been a quilter. Quilts are personal. I often say with conviction that I always feel the connection with the quilters who came before me. I hope you do too.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This is what I learned today

I did resolve to learn how to post a clip art image on my blog and here it is. No class, just a directive from my daughter to ctrl, click, save page as, and it was ready to transfer to this message. Most of you are probably thinking, " What's the big deal? That's okay. I am excited and think the possibilities are endless.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My New Years Resolutions

When I woke up this morning I looked through the living room window to find snow on the ground. Not unexpected, though the forecast was for one to three inches and frankly there was already an accumulation of three inches and still falling. It did not stop until three o'clock. beautiful! I had a fair amount of quiet time today though Libby and Grace and Aubrey did come in the afternoon to sled in the ditch beside our house. They had fun and I had fun watching them. Time to speculate over the New Years Resolutions I made a few days ago. I blithely made some comment about getting back into my studio and also said to myself that I would add to that a promise to blog more and to share my studio as well as many quilts I could photograph and post. I am getting fairly competent with posting pictures and commentary, but the truth is not much more. I rely on my daughter to help me with the stat counter, which I love, teach me to add links etc. Thank you Kelly.

This is a picture of my home. I love the snow falling as well as the touches of red shining out in a black and white world. However, this picture is on my blog because I cannot figure out how to
post a great piece of vintage New Years Eve clip art. So, another resolution will be to take a couple of computer classes. So, Happy New Year to you. I hope your resolutions are attainable and that you come back to check on mine.