Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sewing on Paper

I've been sewing these eyelashes onto paper the last two days. This kind of precision work is so out of character for me. But I do love the look of these blocks. Eventually, they'll all be set on a red background.

Thank goodness for some 15 minutes play time too!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Visions of the 1970's

I found this groovy quilt yesterday at Goodwill. It's completely made of polyester double knit, that is, all but the avocado drapery fabric back and yarn ties. In one corner, the maker embroidered "74." I'm going to assume that was the year it was made, which was the year after I graduated from high school.

This morning I noticed how this quilt is weirdly similar. When I made it a few years ago in a Kaffe Fassett class, I didn't know why I was choosing these colors. The greenish brown was especially odd for me. But the look felt familiar in some way. Kaffe commented that this quilt had "a sense of history to it."

My sister-in-law, Bonnie, has talked about how the things we see in our childhood have a profound influence on our creative vision.

Hmm. Maybe this is proof of that!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Solstice!

The holidays are a lot fun. But I love to celebrate the Winter Solstice. At last, the days will be getting longer. Here's to visions of the coming spring!

I made this quilt a few years ago with inspiration from the cover of Georgia Quilts by Anita Zeleski Weinraub. The original quilt was made by Annie Parham Howard in 1960.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

First Red Quilt

I made this quilt a few years ago in a class with Kaffe Fassett. The pattern is called Square Clamshell. The instructions are in his book, Museum Quilts. He directed us to cut a lot of squares and put them up on the design wall as quickly as we could. This helped us use our intuition, rather than thinking too much.

The Rebels helped me figure out what to do for sashing and borders. I was amazed at how many colors it takes to make a red quilt!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Scarves for the Homeless

Want a quick and easy charity project? I make these polar fleece scarves for the homeless each year. No sewing! Just cut the fleece across the width, about 8" wide. Then make slices for fringe. This is a great use for old rotary blades. The polar fleece dulls them pretty quickly.

Then take the scraps and tie them in knots to make great doggie toys!

Friday, December 10, 2010

'Tis the Season for Red!

I made this quilt last year, with a home dec remnant from Goodwill and some 4-patches made from charm packs a few years prior. It's probably the easiest quilt I ever made, and one of my favorites. Have you figured out that I love red?

I think it looks great with this felt pillow that my grandmother made.

She also made this stocking when I was born.

I love all the fun sequins. I wonder if you can find those any more.

These felt stockings must have been popular in the 1950's. My husband's mother made him one too. Were there patterns for these in the ladies magazines?

Digging out these sentimental treasures is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. What treasures do you bring out for the holidays?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tonya's Book is Here!

Tonya, the "Unruly Quilter," has a brand new book, Word Play Quilts!! I've been itching for months to get my hands on a copy and make a quilt with words all over it. At last, it's available today!

Surely most of you already know and love Tonya. She calls her blog, "Lazy Gal Quilting," but she is anything but lazy. She's the ring leader of us gals who chuckle at the quilt police, yet her quilts are tastful, whimsical and beautifully made. Somehow she gets around to supporting and encouraging all of us as we push our creative limits. Best of all, she makes us laugh.

I'm posting this quilt today in honor of Tonya. It's my version of a quilt inspired by an African American quilt maker named Anna Williams. Tonya was leading the charge to try to get a book of Anna's quilts published. I don't know what happened to that goal, but it was a brilliant and courageous effort.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Quilt Blog Girls Rock!

You are all so amazing! Last night I panicked, asked for help, and so many of you immediately came through with advice, encouragement and good humor. Thanks to you, I can now make curved seams without holding my breath, hunching my shoulders and furling my brow. They're not perfect, but by the fourth one, I actually said to myself, "Hey, this is fun!" Thank you!!!

Oh, and that black fabric in the corners that you're all drooling over? That's from Victoria.

News just in! Janet at Quiltsalott in Australia has the most wonderful tutorials on curved piecing, using this very pattern. I hope you'll look them up, mate!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Eye Lash Progress

I actually sewed this block together today, curved seams and all. Whoo! This is heading into advanced territory for me.

I also made more paper foundation lashes. Yipes! There are lots more curved seams to sew. Does anyone know any tricks for these? Thanks!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Red Lightning

Look what the busy bees over at 15 minutes play made!! November was my month to receive blocks from these wonderful gals. What a bunch of creativity and generosity entered my mailbox all month! Some are bold, some intricate. The combination is just perfect. Thank you to all!!

After all that excitement, I felt like making something with a pattern. I love this quilt on the cover of Kaffe's Quilt Romance. He calls it Pickle Dish. I call it Eye Lashes. I've often said I'd never do paper piecing. Never say never!

This is just the beginning. There are 30 more "eyes" to make. The red background idea came from a beautiful quilt pictured on Ann Champion's blog.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Friendship Basket

After seeing Victoria this weekend, I was so inspired I just had to make a quilt! Sujata had sent me this lovely little basket block, along with some scraps. So I combined these with other scraps I'd received from several of you wonderful blogger friends, including Tonya, Buffy, Mary and Helen, along with some of my own.

Those churn dash blocks are 4". I've never made a block that small in my life!

I don't know what got into me, but I really enjoyed working with small pieces. So I made hot pads with the scraps of the scraps. Those little triangles are about 1/2"!

As I count my blessings, I am so grateful to all of you for this whole new world of friends in blog land! Thank you!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Today's Goodwill Finds

The day after Thanksgiving, most of the thrift stores around here have their 50% off sales on just about everything. Of course I just HAD to go shopping.

Look at this dress! Can't you just see Twiggy wearing it! I actually paid full price for this one, $7.99. I love late 1960's and early 1970's prints. What can I say? Those were my teenage years.

My grandmother had an apron like this, only without the skunks. I can't remember what the style was called. Does anyone know? I've found a few, and I always buy them, in honor of her.

This one is not my favorite, but the print was so cute and ugly at the same time, I couldn't resist.

Throw in a few half-price shirts,

a few cloth napkins and some taxi cab yellow--in honor of Victoria, and it looks like a quilt to me!

Speaking of Victoria, the Rebels and I got to spend Wednesday with her! She's even more beautiful and inspiring in person than she is on the web.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Harvest Baskets

Snowflakes are falling outside my window, so it's time to put another lap quilt on the couch. I made this one at Gwen Marston's Beaver Island Retreat in 2008. It's inspired by a small crib or doll quilt from the late 1800's. Buffy was with me at the retreat. Thanks to her, there are a few pieces of corduroy included.

Don't miss her corduroy quilt at the Rebels! blog. Speaking of corduroy, check out Deb Rowden's post on 11/11/11 as National Corduroy Day.

This was my first experiment in hand-quilting. I used wool batting, which is a dream to stitch through.

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm about to jump out of my skin, I'm so excited. A certain blogger friend from NYC is visiting this weekend, and I'll get to spend a day with her!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wall Quilts

Since I haven't sewn much over the last few weeks, I thought I'd show you a few quilts that I look at every day. They hang around the walls of my house. I used to think that quilts on walls were silly. Aren't quilts made for warmth and comfort? Well, these do warm and comfort me!

This one hangs above the fireplace. It's made of mostly home decorator fabric samples. Everything but the sashing is from thrift stores. The border was the ugliest fabric you can imagine, but it worked on this quilt.

This one greets me at the front door. It includes buttons that I played with as a little girl at my grandmother's house. Before I made quilts, I stitched needlepoint pillows.

This one hangs in the living room, and reminds me that life should not be taken too seriously. It's inspired by Gwen Marston. I also made dolls years ago. This one is about the experience of caring for my baby son. Remember "diaper brain?"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Seeing Red!

Here's what's up on my wall today, with many thanks to Victoria and the wonderful gals over at 15 minutes play. Every few days, I receive a few of these lovely red blocks in the mail, as part of the 15 minutes quilting bee. The quilt is inspired by one in the book, Freddy and Gwen Collaborate Again, by Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran.

Meanwhile, I've been painting the kitchen. It's been several years since I got out my painting overalls. I was looking at them today, thinking they might make a good inspiration for a quilt.

Before I started making quilts, I used to think a lot about paint colors. It's amazing how you can change a room with a gallon of paint.

These overalls have been with me for 40 years! See the lazy daisies at the top? I embroidered those one night in 1970, when I was waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up. There are more on the legs, but they're covered with paint.

Back to painting. It's almost finished!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gone Dotty!

Barbara Brackman recently posted about how polka dots have been used over the years. Modern, stylish women were using polka dots way back in the late 19th century. There was even a Polka Dot Club!

It got me thinking about the quilts I've made with polka dots, and some of the teachers who've shared my love of the nifty little shape.

I made this quilt in a workshop with Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably a few years ago.
They taught me how to focus on the colors and combine them in a pleasing way.

Dots come in more than one shape!

Last fall, I got to take a workshop with Freddy Moran. She taught me that any colors go together, the more the better. This is the Liberated Wedding Ring pattern in her book with Gwen Marston, Freddy and Gwen Collaborate Again.

Anything goes!

I made this one with the Gee's Bend gals in 2009. They taught me how to choose fabrics by using my intuition. And put away that rotary cutter!

They all loved this black and white dot, cut from an old dress.

Last summer, I made this quilt in a class with Denyse Schmidt. I chose the red dot as my focus fabric. She taught me how to use scraps in an improvisational way.

Dots go with everything!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Look who appeared amongst my scraps this weekend! I think she'll make a good companion for my sewing room.