Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A New Project

I have not made a single quilting or applique stitch since early October 2010. goodness knows I have a few unfinished projects that would possibly benefit from my close attention. However, when Gail Chalker invited me to join a small group of women, both American and Australian who were planning to reproduce a lovely vintage quilt made by Aunty Green I simply could not say no. The plan is to gather next year at Baltimore on the Prairie in Omaha NE. with a finished quilt. It was probably a foolish decision considering my families current situation, but nevertheless I said yes. Why not? The first thing I did was to head for Kinkos as I am the American distributor of the pattern copies which arrive by mail. I make full size copies for the group here. For myself, I make a copy thirty percent smaller than the original. I am trying to wean myself off making large quilts. I have so many quilts I want to make. The above quilt is a reproduction of the original.

I have a feeling that you are wondering why there is a photo of a platter right in the middle of a discussion about quilt making. Well, I just wanted to share that if, like me, you sometimes have issues with drawing the perfect patterns,there is almost always a way. I spend a lot of time entering through the back door. I have to come up with ways to make something work. In this case I needed to have an oval, so I decided to draft my own. Well, that did not work. I tried several approaches to no avail. So..., I woke one morning thinking about the various platters I own. I should come clean here and share that there is a several generation gene related to the collecting of dishes, old and new. So when I could not make an oval I was proud of without help, I thought of the platters I own. Some were too big some too small. I chose this one, too tall but exactly right width wise. So traced around each end and joined the ends by extending the lines. The other problem was in drawing and placement of the leaves on that oval. I finally realized that if I divided the oval into four sections, it would be easier to space elements. I do want to point out that there are 96 leaves.

This is my drawing. As you can see in the photograph above this is only the beginning of the quilt. I am already worrying about the next inside border. I am not sure I will be able to draft that chain. Ideas? I would love it if you would share some of your own solutions to problems that you have encountered. In the meantime, I will begin my applique journey with this great quilt.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Valentine's Day

First for Star. In answer to your question about the quilt I used as a back drop for my Houston purchases. If I understand what you are asking, the answer is that the applique shapes were achieved with needle turn applique. The quilt is vintage and the pattern is Lancaster Rose, though the name varies usually depending on the region of the quilter. If this does not answer your concerns, ask again.

The beautiful bouquet above was a Valentine from my husband. I carried a bouquet of white roses in on our wedding day. Now almost fifty years later, he still remembers. Always on our anniversary and often on other important days. I estimate having received more than one bouquet 100 flower gifts over the years. The candy is not a new thing either though the boxes have changed. Remember Whitman's samplers? Over the years many of those. We went on to See's candies, still on the list of very good chocolate. About fifteen years ago I had my first box of Godiva and have not looked back. He knows and always comes through. Of course I make sure he has his dark chocolate turtles as well. It's a balance that works.

So many of you have asked about Dale. I am so fortunate to have you in my life. Many times I have been at a loss because I simply don't know. However, things are better so decided to tell you what is going on. It is beginning to look like the peg will be gone when he returns home. He is eating three meals a day and some snacks. He gets weighed three times a week. yesterday was the first day to show a gain instead of a loss. He has gained a pound. A ways to go, to get to the 165 he weighed before the stroke that sent him down this long road, but for now I will take it. Two days of being awake most of the day, he went to to a country music social yesterday, even singing along! Make no mistake the road is still long, but things are brighter. Five minutes ago he accepted a cup of sherbet, the first evening snack since we arrived here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Enter Carefully

I say enter carefully because this is a rather long post. In early November I attended Quilt festival in Houston, Texas as I have for more than twenty years. I don't buy as much as I used to but never fear, I always find something. This year was no different. However this last time I was to accompany my daughter to Orlando shortly after my return from Texas. She would attend a writing conference and I would attend Disney world. On the very day of our trip our lives were to change forever. As I have shared before, my husband had a stroke and he is still not home. In December I decided to put up a tree and keep it until he comes home. Not yet. In any case, I did not unpack my bags until sometime after Christmas. That is when I found my Festival purchases. To keep everything together until I could deal with it, I looked around and found the above box. It is not much bigger than a legal size paper, but it holds everything I bought. Last year my sister "wrapped" my gifts in boxes like this one. Lucky me, I have three different such boxes. I will not share. Sorry.

Just a taste. I will get into the details as I go.

Sometimes, it seems I am easily satisfied and this may seem to be one of those times. I love, love these needles, or more precisely their presentation. It is not to say that I have no use for the needles themselves, because I work in wool and with silk ribbon often. I do like looking at this card with it photo of a wool penny rug and needles pinned into a nice square of wool.

This sampler pattern caught my eye because of the definite folk are design as well as the simplicity of the base. Three wooden plaques found easily at Hobby lobby or Michaels. Remember the rick-rack trim.

This is a sack of felted wool balls. My friend Karen and I each bought a different color way and split them between us. We both had a plan to make a Thanksgiving centerpiece with an oak branch using the acorn caps filled with these really cool balls. Karen has some trees she thought would be just right. Not to be. Though the balls are small, they are too big for he caps. I could not
find anything and anyway things changed before I could really pursue the project.

I just thought this was a really sweet holiday pattern. maybe next Christmas.

Of course I bought fabric, though every time I swear I won't. This packet has 76 five inch squares and the fabric line is Hot For Chocolate by Blue Hill. I bought it from Primitive Gatherings. Yummy.

This packet contains two each of thirty prints, all pink and wonderful to look at. Also offered by Primitive Gatherings.

Remember the cross stitch? Well of course I needed to find the rick rack for the trim. Three yards of both the gold and the brown. Never mind that I only need eight inches of one color. The blue ribbon with the chocolate dots was nearby and just a pretty bonus.

These two fat quarters simply called and I responded. They have a nice checkered background with fun ads and labels printed over. No plans yet.

The packet on the right was interesting. Seven metal rings, one-half inch to four inches and reported to be really useful in making wool penny rugs. Cut your circles with a rotary cutter. In retrospect, " NOT! " The width of these rings is only 1/4" The backs are non-skid, but I know myself very well. This is simply a recipe for cut fingers. However, the circles will be very useful, but the tool will be a pencil. The pattern? Just love the flowers and this I will actually get to it in the future.

I love these fabrics. I know they will show up in my work when I can feel creative once again.

The above flosses are hand dyed by The Gentle Art and Valdani. Remember the sweet little penny rug pattern above? These are the threads used in the applique.

This is the first of three border prints I fell in love with. This one is three and a half inches wide and seven yards long. Don't you love it? Borders precisely cut and ready to frame your work. This one is by Andover.Border Prints.

This one is from a collection called Williamsburg Explorations Border. It is also three and a half inches wide , five yards long. The next time I feel patriotic, this will be perfect.

This one is called 1800's Reproduction Border. It is the smallest of the three but I was really attracted to both the cable and little flowers. I have 87 inches and will use every inch. I hope. Well, if I need it, I will find it, I swear.

This packet is a collection of reproduction fabrics cut into ten inch squares, eleven pieces, all shades of brown. I confess that once again I was seduced by the presentation. The picture above shows all eleven in one by three inch strips. Nice.

So, if you are still here, you can see that all of this did indeed fit in my small beautiful box. It is all going back because I am not finished enjoying my treasures. At least I will remember where it is. If you are a quilter, a seamstress, or have a different view of creativity, please comment. I would love to know more about what you do to feed your soul.

The sun is shining today

The sun is shining today so I think I will share some of my favorite things. This pillow for instance is one of my most recent favorites. My plans to refurbish some of the items in my living room came to a screeching halt last November. I am seldom home and almost never during the day. I began looking through the multitude of catalogs I always receive before Christmas. My first purchase was this great pillow. Looks like an applique design and makes me smile when I catch sight of it as I walk by the great black and tan chair it now lives in.There is a vintage quality I always admire.

This fellow now sits in the same chair for photography purposes. As you can probably see, I may be introducing too many textures, what with the pillows, the chair the rug. However, for now it works for me. I will perhaps rethink some of this, just not now. The rabbit reminds me that there are a couple of bunny families residing in the yard somewhere. If there is another such pillow in the collection, I will probably add that to the small collection I now have. I could use some inspiration, so perhaps you will share your current weakness? Dare you!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Finished, done, complete. You probably already know that I am a little fanatical about unfinished projects. I have no problem with going public. I know I am not alone in this. I have been teaching quilting, specifically applique for more than twenty years and as a teacher I found that keeping up with class loads required being really fast. Some of you are really fast. I am not so I would make tops or small samples of technique based projects, blocks, and more. It actually worked pretty well for teaching but not so much for that desire to have shelves of quilts, walls covered with cross stitch samplers.

I have shared with you all that my husband is very ill. I spend most days with him and decided a month or so ago that I needed something to do while at the same time keeping watch over him. Cross stitch seemed the best choice. I have to confess that I am not my usual self these days, hence the picking up of an unfinished project always meant for my daughter. Otherwise, I would have had second thoughts about 18 count aida cloth. What was I thinking? The light was not the best and my eyes are aging. Some days I picked out more stitches than I put in. How is that possible? I would find mistakes from the day before! Don't you hate that?

However, I did finish! Two days before I gifted it to the teacher I admire the most, my daughter. She is blessed with compassion, good judgement, a wonderful sense of humor for the young and a passion for learning. Happy Birthday Kelly. I love you more.