Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More LQF Photos and then I gotta get outside!

Okay, so I probably should have put all of these quilts together on flicker or something but I promise this will be the last post of my photos from the Images Show (well there might be one or two more sometime in the future).

Gerald Roy, collector, appraiser and dealer had a collection of 19th century antique quilts on display. I took a couple of photos of his Blazing Star Quilts because this is a quilt pattern that has been at or near the very top of my quilting wish list since I began quilting in the 80's. These lone stars always stop me in my tracks when I see them. These two were exceptional examples. Just look at the color intensity of the quilt on the left!

And so I don't ever forget...I want to share with you the "Lost Heroes Art Quilt".
This quilt is very large and was displayed at the entrance to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium where "Images 2010" was held. It was created by artist, Julie Feingold to commemorate the sons and daughters of America's 50 states who while serving in the military have lost their lives since 9/11.

Fifty black and white childhood photos represent each soldier's future potential that is now lost to all of us. The sashings around each block are stenciled with their hopes, ambitions and what they loved most as well as their rank and branch of service.

And now, I have got to get OUTSIDE! Have a great day wherever you live!

OH and don't forget THE WORLD QUILT SHOW - New England, August 19th through the 22nd in Manchester, NH.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

OHD And More LQF

Phew....I'm glad Old Home Day is over. I was pretty tired after, but that was because I stayed up till the wee hours Friday night machine quilting "Garden Song" and Saturday morning at 7:30 am I still hadn't finished the binding so instead of hanging it in our booth, we had to fold it so that the raw edges did not show. I did get it bound yesterday and today I finished the sleeve, and label and now it can go to it's new owner with my blessings and hopefully bless them too.

OHD All in all it was a great day and we received a lot of positive comments about our free raffles and plant give away. Our booth was very popular and we had a few inquiries from people who were interested in joining the garden club and signed up one new member!

I have more pictures to post from "Images" . Take a look at this hexagon quilt (above and right). There are over 11,000 pieces in it and it took sixteen months to complete. It's called " My Formal English Garden" and was made by Donna C. Stout of Pennsylvania. The hexagons are 3/4 of an inch. If you look at the close up picture you can see that neutral background isn't a solid piece of fabric but is actually made up of small hexagons in different neutrals.

Here's another Blue and White Quilt from the Museum's collection. This one is called "Rising Sun (or Sunflower) with Eagle Border" and it was made around 1870 to 1880. I just love blue and white quilts and never tire of seeing them. I have some blue and white "Storm At Sea" blocks that were made by my Thursday night quilt group about fifteen years ago. Seeing these antique quilts has inspired me to pull them out and work on them again.

And here's a Guild Challenge quilt (right) that was made by the Northern Start Quilt Guild. Doesn't it just say "LOBSTAH"

I really liked the way the show organizers set up the space. All of the quilts were displayed on the lower level or what you'd call the orchestra section of the auditorium and vendors were set up around the perimeter of the mezzanine which ran around the entire building in a circle. There were plenty of vendors too but I was surprised, after talking to several that they have gone "virtual". Two of the show vendors who told me they no longer have "physical" shops and now do only shows and internet sales. Interesting, huh?

Faye Labonaris was there with her beautiful ribbons, books, patterns and notions for applique. I bought 0ne of her pretty little clip on scissor keepers with a ladybug on the top to keep me in touch my with "inner gardener" while I'm quilting, LOL. Faye also had a special exhibit of her 50 state flower wall hangings that will be featured in her new book, by the same name, I think she said that the book will be released in the next few months. Show attendees were asked by Faye to vote on their favorite three blocks.

Back in the 90's I took a Baltimore Album class from Faye with a friend. I never made an entire "Baltimore" quilt but I still have a the applique blocks I made in her class. Can you see the appliqued wall quilt behind Faye? It's completely covered with silk ribbon roses and ruched flowers. If you're wondering whether I succumbed to all of the bounty of the vendors--don't because I did, though I didn't go as crazy as I would've a few years ago. I think my eyes are finally starting to sync with my pocketbook!

Here are my purchases for the day. I stopped at Walmart on the way home to pick up a new memory card for my camera---I only have 64 mb of storage so I ran out of space before I ran out of things to take pictures of. I can't tell you how frustrating that is. I had to delete some pictures in order to take others. Unfortunately the sales associate sold me a card that doesn't fit in my camera. I'm hoping I can get one at Best Buy or Staples, but the chances aren't good. My Fuji Finepix is already a dinosaur at just six years old and uses "old" technology cards.

While I was at Walmart, I browsed the fabric dept. and found some fabric for the binding and back of the Garden Song Quilt. It seemd like I had to wait forever for the clerk who was having problems with her barcode reader to cut the fabric but for just $2.97 a yard, it was worth it.

At the vendor booths, I saw a lot of redwork and embroidered quilts in the vendor booths at the embroidery. I'm not very fond of embroidery but the quilts I saw were very reminiscent of vintage quilts and I'd like to try doing a redwork project for a surprise Christmas project! I was looking for a teapot embroidery design or transfer but couldn't find anything at the show. One vendor did have some machine-made embroidered blocks for sale but they were a little pricey at $10.00 for 6 squares especially since I only need one or two. I also bought two colored fabric markers and a new needle threader (needle threader's are going to be a future post).

The FQ in the upper left of the above picture is an African batik that I bought from the vendor's, right. They came all the way from Seattle for the show. Their batiks were amazing. The larger art pieces were stiff and heavy because the wax had not been removed yet. The beautiful batik FQ's were only $2.00. I'm so sorry now that I did not buy more.

Last and not least, I bought that tiny pair of scissors in the above picture, called "gems" that are supposed to be "airline approved"? I'm not sure what that means. The vendor who sold them to me assured me I could bring them on an airplane and not be stopped by security, but I'm thinking they're still pretty sharp and pointy, even if they are tiny.

More later.....

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I know it's late, but I just couldn't wait to share my afternoon at "Images 2010" with you. Talk about sensory overload! I doubt I could get all the pictures in this one blog so I'll be posting more over the next few days but suffice it to say that after seeing some of these gorgeous quilts, I'm starting to question my right as a quilter to take up space on the planet! Good thing I have a green thumb.

There certainly was a good representation of beautiful Baltimore-style applique quilts. I zeroed in on "Cape Cod Baltimore" by Alison Lescher because it featured a lot of familiar motifs from one of my favorite places. Also on display was a wonderful selection of the NEQM's antique blue and white quilts! My very favorite was an antique Hawaiian Applique Quilt from 1920.

I'm not normally a big fan of wall quilts but this quilt by Lenore Crawford of Midland, MI was captivating and received a lot of attention from the public as well as the judges. Standing in front of it was like having a "looking glass" experience. You felt like you could almost step into the picture and ride off on one of the bicycles. It was deservedly awarded two ribbons: a blue ribbon for first place in it's category and a green ribbon for overall exemplary design. Machine quilted, fabric fused, and fabric painted it was created from a photograph taken by the artist in the south of France. Amazing!

Raffle Quilt Update & More

It's been a few days since my last post. I got home late Tuesday afternoon and was pretty tired from the drive (and being up with Calvin the previous night) but before I left home Sunday, I scheduled an appointment for late Tuesday with an elderly couple who want me to do a fall clean up of their garden and maybe again in spring too. They have some pretty extensive plantings including two ponds and have asked for a flat rate so I've been working up an estimate this morning which I'll drop off tomorrow. They want the work done after they leave for Florida on or around October 15th, which works well with my schedule too.

I worked on the raffle quilt most of yesterday after squeezing in a much-needed haircut and finally gave up on the pinwheel idea for the top and bottom borders. I just couldn't make the math work and can't afford to take any more time to figure it out and sew the extra pinwheels I'd need. It has to be quilted and bound by Saturday. So instead I'm going with a scrappy saw tooth border around the whole quilt and I'm liking how it looks.

I'm off to the Lowell Quilt Festival later this morning and "Images 2010" after I make a stop at a fellow garden club member's house to trim her weeping cherry's "cowlick"! More later.

P.S. Here's the link for the Lowell Quilt Festival which is running through Saturday, the 14th. www.lowellquiltfestival.org

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Garden Song

I really have to hop to it this week. I'm babysitting for Calvin on Monday. It's his Mommy and Daddy's first day back to work after their parental leave and I still have a few things to do for the Garden Club's booth at Old Home Days like making a poster, signs, labels and picking up a donation from Freshwater Farms. I also have to finish up the "Garden Song" quilt for our raffle and I'm a little stymied on what to do with the last border. I'd like to make it a little longer. I found a whole bunch of hst's( half square triangles) that I can't remember making along with some pinwheels which just might solve my border problem and add a little pizzaz. I'd like to finish it off at about 50 inches, just in case the winner doesn't want to use it as a wall hanging they can use it as a porch throw.

Tonight when I was lighting the grill I startled a sleepy little grey tree frog which wasn't quite ready to wake up so I picked him up and placed him in the pot of herbs where he settled down for a nap until dinner time.

If you've never seen grey tree frogs they are quite amazing little amphibians. About two inches in length, their mottled skin blends in so well with lichen-covered tree bark that you would never spot one unless it moved or jumped, and they can jump quite high with their oversized suction cup toes. I'm always amazed where I find them resting. I once found one in a hanging flower pot that I couldn't water without using a step stool!
Though there are several species of tree frogs living in the woods around my home, my favorite is the grey tree frog. At night they "chirp" instead of "croak", sounding more like a songbird than a frog. For a long time I was puzzled by this nocturnal chirping until I learned the source of the unusual serenade.

So tonight, if your able to where you live, open your bedroom windows before you go to bed and listen to the night music playing in your own garden. I can tell you that it's not the work of fairies playing tiny musical instruments, but it is magical all the same.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday Is Errand Day & FQ Day Too!

I'm just heading out to get the oil in my car changed. I can't believe that I drove down to my daughter's house last weekend (near the RI border) and forgot to put the oil fill cap back on after checking and adding oil. My daughter noticed that the front of the car has slathered with oil, so I opened up the hood and there was the cap sitting precariously on the edge of the battery! How it managed to hold on and not fall out of the engine compartment onto the road is beyond me. I drive at a pretty good clip on the highways and Rte 495 is pretty rough in spots from ongoing construction. I'm lucky there was enough left in the engine to get me there and back, of course I checked and added a half quart when I got home but it's definitely time for an oil change.

I'm also planning a stop at Pine Tree Quilt Shop. Today is the first Thursday of the month and their FQ's are usually on sale for $1.50. I may swing by the Sewing Diva's too and see what new goodies she's gotten in recently.

Tonight is our Garden Club meeting. I have to make up an agenda but the majority of the meeting will be devoted to finalizing plans for OHD on the 14th. I really need to step up my production and finish the raffle quilt that I'm making. It's a panel print by Nancy Halvorsen, entitled "Garden Song". I spotted it early last spring at the Sewing Diva's and thought it would make a great garden club raffle quilt. I need to add something to the bottom to make it longer. I do have some pinwheel blocks that I made up which I could add. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Beauty and The Beast

Sunday, returning from a visit with my daughter and son-in-law, I made a side trip to the New England Quilt Museum to see their broderie perse exhibit entitled "An Elegant Revival" which runs through October 17th. The last time I'd been to NEQM was fifteen years ago. Since then the museum outgrew their original space and moved into a larger two-story building on Shattuck St. that houses a museum shop on the first floor as well as classrooms and exhibit space on the second floor.

The exhibit includes 35 contemporary and antique beauties--quilts made with the broderie perse technique, also called cut-out chintz applique. The technique was popular in the late 18th century and continued through the 1840's eventually dying out when the industrial revolution made printed fabrics more available and less costly. Many well-known applique quilt artists were represented. Quilts by Barbara W. Barber, Judy Severson and Bettina Havig's were among those on loan to the museum.

Marjorie Haight Lydecker's quilt, titled "Somewhere In Time" featured magnificent piecing, embroidery, applique and quilting all hand done. Having done crewel embroidery myself many years ago, I was fascinated to learn that this beautiful quilt, which took seven years to complete, was partly inpired by 18th century crewel embroidery bedhangings at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Another magnificent quilt in the exhibit is an 1825 Lone Star of Bethlehem attributed to Margaret Young of Stransbury, MD. It too is hand-pieced, appliqued and quilted. Some of the fabrics in the quilt actually date from 1820 but you would never know it to look at them. The colors are still vibrant and dazzling. It is part of the museum's permanent collection.
Well, have I tantalized you into planning a trip to the NEQM? If not, here's an added incentive: From August 12th through the 14th, the historic City of Lowell, Massachusetts (where NEQM is located) will host the Lowell Quilt Festival (a city-wide celebration of quilts) and "Images 2010" the bi-annual Quilt Show of the New England Quilter's Guild. For more information about the museum or show click on the following link. http://www.nequiltmuseum.org/
The BEAST part of this blog, or as I affectionately sometimes call it, "old ugly" is my very first quilt-- a queen-sized, strip-pieced double Irish chain made from large child-like blocks of green calico and muslin. I no longer like the fabrics or the big blocks but I do feel sentimental about the battle scars on this quilt and the memories, some pleasant some sad, that are evoked whenever I work on it. It's been neglected for a long time, sitting on the counter in my basement sewing room, all together ignored except by Ernie, my cat, who finds a nice safe, warm nest in its folds.
When I lost my job last year and realized that I had time to complete some projects and chores around the house, Old Ugly was one of the first that came to mind. When I pulled it out, it was hard not to notice the 20 plus years of stains from snuggling, handling, accidental spills, finger pricks and the yellow residue from masking tape that wasn't removed soon enough. The quilting stiches on Old Ugly have no bragging rights either but I love that they are not just my stitches. At some point while she was still living at home and while I was working, my dear daughter marked and stitched the borders in her non-conventional running stitch. Sometimes late at night I would find her on the sofa asleep underneath it. We each of us had our turns snuggling under that quilt while reading or watching TV, it did it's job of keeping us warm on winter nights in the cold and drafty living room.
I'm determined that it will get finished this summer of 2010 which will be Old Ugly's 24th birthday! I've found the original binding fabric, which thankfully I didn't purge during one of my obsessive decluttering episodes, and don't ask me why, but for some reason, I've added 104 small quilted shamrock motifs around the edge of the 13 celtic knot designs that I originally quilted in the large squares. I only have eight more shamrocks to go, then I'll check to make sure there are no areas left unquilted, remove the big clumsy basting stitches and apply the binding. And then maybe Old Ugly will have a new name--"Finished."