Monday, May 25, 2009

Quilts of Gee's Bend & a Double Wedding Ring

The Quilts of Gee's Bend are on display here in Jacksonville, FL, at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens until August 2.
This is one of the largest survey collections shown... there is a different grouping of the quilts each time a museum or group sponsors the exhibit.
My guild was invited to do a demo for the two Members' Openings (Sunday evening and Monday afternoon) and again on Family Night (June 2) when there will be 700+ people coming through the museum!

Here are a few of us around the frame:

When I took this picture, I was warned not to be taking any photos of the I didn't. But I can't help it if a few sneaked into the shot!

What a treat to be located right in the center of the gallery amidst all those quilts!
Of course, it is museum gallery lighting, not intended for doing handwork. We were there to talk with people, though, not actually accomplish anything.

Some of the quilters brought their own hand project, as they did not want to quit on a frame!

One of the most-asked questions was "When will this quilt be finished?"
The answer: probably never.
It's purpose is to be on the frame all the time, so whenever a demo is needed, all I do is carry it in (the legs come off the frame so it is totally portable).

Anybody who wants to stitch on it is welcome, and it has been worked on by people of all ages, from many walks of life, male and female.

Even non-quilters recognize it as a Double Wedding Ring.
It is a very fine 1930's vintage top that was given to me by Vergie Greene when she closed up her house to move to a nursing home. I found a backing that is appropriate to the fabrics and basted it, then loaded it into the frame about 18 years ago.
Except for a brief time when I took it off, thinking I could just go ahead and finish it, because no one had called for a demo in a long time, suddenly it was needed! I put it back on the frame and there it has stayed, ready to come out and "go quilting" whenever wanted.

For all you Double Wedding Ring fans out there, I'd like to point out a few things about this quilt.
1) Note that the fabrics really are different from the reproduction prints sold as "30's fabrics". They are true scraps, and it's fun to see the parts of different ones all over the top!
2) The pink and Nile green four-patch sections are about as classic 30's colors as you can find!
3) Those same sections are a kite shaped or curved diamond, and that allows the rings to be perfect circles. Sometimes this is made with a regular 4-patch where the rings come together, and that makes them flatten out, like a square with curved sides. The beautiful round rings were considered a sign of "better" workmanship.
A funny thing about this top is that most of it is handstitched, but some was done by machine!

If you have an old quilt top in good condition, and it's not a very old antique or some way associated with a historic person or event, then it may be a good idea to quilt it. A finished quilt is usually better cared for than a top, especially when you are no longer around to enjoy it!
If you have the quilting done on a long arm machine, be sure to research the kind of quilting that would have been done in the top's time, and plan for a design that respects the original stitcher.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Artful Bras raise money & laughter!

When BRAS was announced as the guild's annual challenge this year, there were some raised eyebrows! There were some mumbled comments along the lines of, "Oh, my Lord!"
The Board wanted to make sure that QUILTING had to be obvious in the finished projects.
Then there was a torrent of hilarious jokes and puns....
and we were off and running!
The ultimate goal was to have a good time and raise some money for a local charity that helps women who are dealing with breast cancer.
When the bras were shown this month, each one truly was a work of art. I am sorry not to have a photo of each one...but time is tight when you're the guild Prez!

"Making Mountains Out of Molehills"

Each one had a thoughtful title on a decorative card, and was displayed on a padded hanger.
They ranged in inspirations from "Proud of Those Puppies", with brown fur faces, through "Flat As A Pancake", featuring fabric forks as the straps.
Votes were made with $1 bills, so you could be quite generous with the appreciation and spread your votes around!
Over $175 was raised for the Donna Hicken Foundation.

Here's the #1 Viewers' Choice:

If you'd like to see more Art Bras, I suggest you just do a search on Google for "art quilt bras" and you will find several projects in different states.
I'm not sure what will happen to this collection, but we are hoping to have a special exhibit at QuiltFest this September.

Personal note:
Sorry to be so far behind in my posts...I have been writing new content for the state-wide guild's newly re-designed website! It's looking good, and I will let you know when it finally goes "live". Meanwhile all the regular pages are still running for now, in case you need the plan your trip to the Sunshine State.
Shayla fans will be glad to hear that she is getting braver every day, though she is still a shy. Her favorite toy is the peacock feather she was given at her well-kitty visit to the vet.
She has not been behind the bathtube in a long time!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Scrapping in St. Augustine

Today the Scrap Basket went to visit the St. Augustine Piecemakers, and we had a wonderful time!
This guild has been sponsoring great classes, turning out charity quilts and holding small local displays for many years. They have a good mix of year-round residents and "snowbirds", and several award winning quilters in the membership. I am dieing to see their raffle quilt for this year, but it was out being quilted! (imagine!) I hear it has appliqued birds and butterflies.
Instead of a website, the Piecemakers have a Yahoo group (many guilds are doing that now) so I can't give you a link to peek in on the wonderful quilts they make!
But just wait until
QuiltFest this Fall...I'll have pictures then!

Every time I set it up, the quilts, etc. for the lecture look different.
But this time, Perky Old Men is front & center on the new rack my husband made. It was almost a waste to put one quilt on it....I think I should have had several folded on the rungs, and the whole rack on top of the table. Then I could pull off the ones I wanted to talk about.

The Piecemakers were the first to be exposed to.... er, I mean, the first to see the Polyester Quilt Top Found in a Bag Of Fabric!

Don't be afraid....I do NOT have a photo of it here. If I do write about it in the future, I will warn you!
I could have used this display as a photo op, but I had to keep the top hidden inside a bag until it was time to reveal....I might have lost the whole audience if they'd had a look at it too soon!
And it's very large. I was suprized when VZ jumped up off the front row to help me hold it up....frankly, I think most people there would have been appalled to touch it!

In other local quilt news, the Quilts of Gee's Bend are on exhibit at an art museum, and my guild was invited to show some hand quilting on a frame.
I'll be telling you all about that tomorrow!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.....

Shayla continues to get braver and take over more of the house.
For all her fans (gosh, she'll be ending up with her own blog soon!), here is Shayla, now guarding my office supplies:
Nobody's getting inside that box!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Little Quilts & Quiche

My quilt guild held a different sort of event this week: Little Quilts & Quiche!

Inspired by a similar event at her former guild, our education chair put together a lovely quiche luncheon and display of small quilts. She enjoys making things look nice, and another member, who is also a magician with making something beautiful out items on hand, volunteered to help.
Correction! This event was an original idea...and, I may add, VZ baked all the delicious quiches, too!
There were about 50 people attending. Each table sat 6 people, and was beautifully draped with a quilt:

These quilts have all been washed at some time, so spilling was not a big concern.

Another member, who fixes a lovely refreshment table for the guild to enjoy before the meeting, made some very pretty napkins.

It's almost a shame to cover this kooky quilt with anything!

It's things like the mirrors with the tea candles that I like....because I am far too lazy to have done this myself!

If you are not going to use them on the bed, you might as well use them for something!

Too bad I did not have my camera when the quiches came out of the oven!
They were delicious!

But I was completely taken with the color of these fruit cups!

Ah, just like at the garden department...all those flowers look fantastic in huge numbers!

And yes...there were little quilts, too!

The Holiday Group! Quilters just love that green & red combo.

It was quite a task for the members who had to figure out how to display all the little quilts contributed for this pre-luncheon show.
Using an assortment of frames, racks and hanging devices, they managed to get everything hung so each piece could be examined, oooo'ed and ahh'd over!
Just about every quilting technique is here somewhere!

In the past few years a couple of our annual challenges were small quilts, and it was good to have a chance to see some of them again.

Art quilts work well in a small format. Here are some of Cheezdoodle's! (visit her's on the sidebar under Links I Like).

I don't make many small quilts, but I had a few older ones to share. Peter's Dream was there (you saw that for my Easter blog), and an Amish Trip Around the World hand quilted with black thread!
But my favorite is this one, Lamentable Logs:

They are just fused down, and have lots of spaces between them.
I had not looked at this for a long time...actually, I don't think the logs are all that lamentable!

Well, I promised you a recipe. The BGPC tried it today, and I did not get any pictures!
It may be the only recipe you'll ever see on this blog!
Don't worry about the lack of an ingredients'll get the idea!


Brown some ground beef (I used turkey)
Mix in one packet of taco seasoning per directions
Take a small bag of Doritos or Fritos (we all liked the Fritos better) and squeeze it to crush the chips.
Open the bag...
Put in a couple spoonsful of meat
Add some shredded lettuce, cheese, salsa and sour cream
Mix it up some with a fork and eat...right out of the bag!

This is as much cooking as I want to do, it tastes great, and would be a fun outdoor party meal. Maybe you could make a "taco bar" and let each person put anything they want onto their chips.

I got this from Cheezdoodle, who got it from somebody's looked like it had been forwarded around quite a bit!

OK...back to quilting now!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A bit of Weird Fabric & Misc.

I wanted to share a piece of weird fabric with you!
Have you ever been shopping, something catches your eye, and when you go over to check it out, it is totally strange?

I was looking for polka dots when I saw this:

Williamsburg, the Providence Collection from Windham Fabrics (though I could not find this on their website)

When I got up closer, I saw it looked like this:

Those are not supposed to be eyeballs, but they sure do have that effect! Very 3-D!
Of course, I immediately bought a fat quarter, just to have it.
Don't you think it would make a great eyeglasses case?

I do love strange fabric!

There's not much time today because I have to clean house...the BGPC is coming over and that's a good excuse to scrape off the top layer of dust & debris.
Mostly it means moving the many projects my husband & I have going all around the house. Do you live with someone who is a woodworker/woodturner or has other "productive hobbies"? (that's as opposed to playing golf...I am not sure if fishing is "productive" or not. Quilting is!).

Several people have found my tutorial for Mile-A-Minute! I do appreciate your kind words and am glad I was able to get you started on it.
Shayla O'Puss has also found my studio to be a good "cat place". Here she is guarding my box of Mile-A-Minute demo pieces.
Good kitty!

Stay tuned...tomorrow after we have the Siete de Mayo celebration (BGPC is always running a bit late....) I'll have a "recipe" for you. By then it will be quilters-tested!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dos Quilts for Cinco de Mayo

Late as usual! If I can get this post done in 50 minutes I might still make it for Cinco de Mayo!
Then again, it really doesn't matter for all my friends over on the other side of the's already tomorrow!

Here are a couple quilts I made awhile back, but they are perfect for celebrating Mexico's liberation.
The first one is often confused for a Halloween quilt:

But a closer inspection reveals that indeed it is made of Mexican food fabric!

That little red piece in the center (with the blue shape on it) is from the very first challenge my guild did...19 years ago!
Before this small quilt was made there was The Spicy Quilt!
It was the Mystery Quilt for the SSQA Symposium several years ago when the theme was "Variety Is the Spice of Life".
You may well wonder when I will stop using this sofa to stage photos!
It's a variation on the Mexican Cross block (a pattern that goes by many names!).

What would you put on the back of The Spicy Quilt?

Mexican food fabric, of course! And since there wasn't enough, I was fortunate to have some nice Margarita green batik.
This is why you must buy fabric when it catches your eye....there is just no telling when you will need it!
I hope you enjoyed a good Cinco de Mayo....freedom is always worthy of celebration!

NOTE: 5/ 28/ 10
A request for a picture from this post made me realize I had not given credit to M'Liss Rae Hawley's "Quilt Interrupted" pattern from her book, Phenominal Fat Quarters. My apolgies! The Mexican Food quilt, which has since been purchased, was a sample for a class using her book.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Space Coast Quilters' "Stars of the Quilt Show"

I had a wonderful time last month with the Space Coast Quilters in Titusville, FL!
This was the first Mystery Quilt for almost everyone in the class, but they did a good job with fabric selection, which can be quite a task with an unknown pattern!
They got their first clue and went right to work.
It's always fun to see how people get their next they march triumphantly up front? Or do they quietly edge to the clue baskets, not wanting anyone to know they are getting ahead of the group?
It doesn't matter in my class, because there is No Competition!
Everyone gets a prize, and there is a nice bowl of chocolates and mints right by the clues...a little reward or incentive, if you need one.
Candy is in a fabric bowl, of course! Made from a home-dec fabric I had for years, just awaiting the right project!
Organization is the key to "mystery quilting"! The fabrics have to be labeled (it could be easy to mistake B for D!), all the sewn parts need to be pinned together until needed again, and the clues are best kept in order, too.
It is delightful to see the fabric choices, and strips cut before class really help to speed things up.
This pattern needed only 5" and 2.5" strips.
In the process of designing a personalized Mystery Quilt, I go through a lot of options...thank goodness for EQ6! It does not do the designing, but it does let me look at a lot of different value and setting combinations, after I have the basic pattern idea.
For the class, I often choose based on what will be easier to get done, but I love to share all the variations that the pattern can be made into!
Get those creative juices flowing!
Her's the finished quilt, along with lots of variations printed out and posted:
Even slanting the diagonal design to the left or right can be an important choice!
Because I know many quilters don't care to invest in a lot of fabric for something they have not seen, and everyone likes to feel their work is amounting to something sooner than later, I have started adding a wall-hanging size to my Personalized Mystery Quilt classes
It's like getting an extra pattern, because the wall hanging is the same block(s) but often in a different arrangement.
Just because the EQ6 block shows a seam, it doesn't mean it ends up in the final design! This is why good instructions are a must for any pattern.
In fact, I even had several variations on the wall hanging! I just don't know when to stop, and so I bring it all along to share.
There is a simple "secret" to art and creativity:
The more you look, the more you can see.
The more you can see, the more you can do!
Yes, the "doing" part is where things often bog down, but if you can see it in your mind, you can find a way to make it happen. Don't be afraid to ask for help! That's what teachers are for...and all your many friends, both nearby and connected by the wonderful World Wide Web!