Monday, January 23, 2012

Tree sleeves

I was parking my car yesterday at the south end of the Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn and noticed that someone had knitted sleeves for some of the trees on one side of the street. I thought they looked especially great with a little dusting of snow on them!

This red one was fancy, with cables and handsome buttons.

This mustard-colored one was more streamlined.

This orange looked especially great because of the coating of snow.

So I can't help but wonder about the identity of the knitter. What's motivating her or him to create these wonderful sleeves for trees?I'll have to check back when the weather gets warmer and see if the knitter gives the trees a new look for spring.

Friday, January 20, 2012

American Schoolgirl Embroideries

I had a chance to go today to a fantastic exhibit of embroidery done by young women during the late 1700s and early 1800s at Sotheby's in Manhattan.  I was invited to see the exhibit by by friend Tania, who's very knowledgeable on the subject (and who would have known just how much there is to know about the art of embroidery in American history!!) and I was extremely impressed. The pieces that are up for auction had been collected by Betty Ring, who's apparently one of the best-known and respected collectors of this type of embroidery. 
I came away from the exhibit with a new appreciation for embroidery, which is something I've never tried. The stitches were so tiny, and many of the gorgeous pieces on display had been created by children who were only 10 or 12 years old. It was impressive, to say the least.
The auction is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 22 at noon. The sampler pictured here, made by Susannah Saunders of Salem Massachusetts in 1766, was one of the most valuable in the show----is estimated to be sold for between $60,000 and $80,000. That's a little out of my price range, I'm afraid, but as a quilter I'm gratified to see something handmade by a woman valued so highly.
We were especially interested in the many mourning pictures included in the show. This one, described as a "rare embroidered and painted silk mourning picture"was so beautiful, and was filled with amazing detail. It was made in South Hadley, Mass. in 1809. Estimated cost at auction: between $15,000 and $20,000.

NOTE: The results of the auction have been posted on Sotheby's website.  The piece in the top photo went for $314,000 (substantially above the estimate of $60.000 to $80,000!) and the mourning picture sold for  $18,750 (it's estimated value was between $15,000 and $25,000.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Slow progress

Here's my mystery quilt as it currently stands on my design wall. I like to work by doing a little cutting, a little sewing, a little pressing, and little more I think it takes me longer to finish something than it might take another quilter. Oh well. I know I'd be better off if I did all the cutting at once, but doing it this way keeps me interested. So expect more posts that show my gradual progress before I've got the whole quilt finished!

Monday, January 16, 2012

I'm really not a cat person....

My dog Tye is hands down my favorite non-human member of my family, but I couldn't resist snapping this photo of our cat Oreo relaxing in the box of yellow and orange scraps I'd put together for my Orca Bay Mystery quilt. Anyone who's got a cat knows they love to put themselves in the center of the action whenever they can. I always make sure wash my quilts carefully before I give them away to rid them of any unwanted hair left behind by Oreo or her sister Midnight!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Orca Bay, so far

Here is a small version of the Orca Bay mystery quilt that I assembled on my design wall so I could see the pattern, which Bonnie Hunter published on New Years Day. This project has been so much fun! I am tempted to scale down this quilt and make it a little smaller (which I did the last time I attempted a complicated mystery quilt like this one) so that I can finish it faster----I'll see how much time I can give it in the next few weeks.
Either way, it's going to be an interesting quilt. I love the colors---I feel like I got lucky when I picked the yellow/orange, as you never know what it will look like when you make a change. Can't wait to see what everyone else has done!