Saturday, December 28, 2013

Celtic Solstice, week 5

This week we incorporated the tiny squares we'd make a couple of weeks ago into a larger unit, with more triangles. I'm getting the feeling that Bonnie really loves working with tiny triangles...or at least she loves having her mystery quilters work with tiny triangles!
So far, so good. More next week.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

American Folk Art Museum, New York City

I really enjoyed seeing quilts made from recycled paper and envelopes by Stephen Sollins, a Brooklyn-based artist, as part of an exibition of art quilts at the American Folk Art Museum at Lincoln Center. Pictured above is a log-cabin variation, based on a quilt in the museum's permanent collection by Mary Jane Smith. Pictured below is another paper quilt, made using the traditional tumbling blocks pattern. The exhibition runs through Jan. 5.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Week 4

We're making 4-patches this week. I've made them hundreds of times before, but I think I still learned something new from Bonnie's detailed directions about how to press them and insure that they're accurate. The Christmas colors really come through this appropriate!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Celtic Solstice Mystery, Week 3

We're making tiny pinwheels this week. Since I'm making the small version of the quilt, I'll need to make 25 pinwheels, and make an extra 100 units for some other use in quilt. So far, so good. More next week!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Stripes for December's Block Lotto

I took a break from the tiny pieces in Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice mystery to pop out 4 very simple but lovely blocks for this month's Block Lotto drawing. I think these blocks could make a terrific child's quilt, which my quilt guild is always collecting, so I'm glad I jumped in. Thanks Sophie!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week 2, Celtic Solstice

Here are a few units for week 2---my colors are light/bright green, gold and neutral. These are fun---I can't wait to see how they're going work in the final quilt design. The mystery deepens!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery

I thought I'd made up my mind NOT to make Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt this year....too busy, need to finish the medallion quilt I'd started for a show in the spring, blah, blah, blah.....but in the end I couldn't resist. This will be my 3rd Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt.  I've had such a great time making the others that I figured, why not? Life's short. Grab the fun when you can.
She's calling it the Celtic Solstice Mystery---if you want to check out the directions click on the button to the right.
Since I hadn't collected fabric in advance, I had to move fast yesterday when the first clue came out. After a quick look at my stash and a trip to Quilter's Attic in Pine Bush, NY I had what I needed to get started on a new Christmas quilt. It's always a little risky to deviate from the colors Bonnie has chosen, but I think I'm on pretty safe ground here with Christmas colors. We'll see!
While I was at the quilt shop yesterday I also purchased the Tri Recs rulers Bonnie's using for this project. I'm so glad I did. It's really speeding up the process, and I feel like my units are coming out much truer to size than they have in the past. The technology and methodology that have been developed to help quilters is pretty incredible when you think about it.
That's all for now. More next week.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oak leaves for block lotto

I dragged my sewing machine to the dining room today to put together these blocks for Block Lotto. Isn't this a great pattern? I love batiks, and I have a big collection of them, so it was an easy block for me.
The leaves aren't really turning yet where I live, in NYC---maybe because the temperature has been 80 degrees the past few days? I'm sure it will happen soon. I love fall, and I love these blocks!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My "Home" quilt project.

Towards the end of last season, my quilt guild put out a summer challenge for members to make small quilts---20 in by 20 in---designed around the theme "home." I'd recently picked up a book about tile quilting, which involves making blocks that look like tiles, AND I'd lost my sewing room and put my machine away, so I decided to make a tile-style quilt by hand.

 Here's the pattern I drew for it, on typing paper. I extrapolated some of it from the tile quilting book, and some of it from another book on making bird quilts, and some of it I made up myself. The birdhouse is a prominent part of the design---I think it will be pretty clear that I was thinking about a home for birds.

 So the blocks are coming together. I've finished 3 of the panels, and have gotten a good start on the last one, on the bottom right. When they're done I'll join them and then back it and quilt it in some minimal way. It's due in 2 weeks, so I am trying to put in some extra time these days.

I did manage to take a couple of hours to make these three little Boomers for this month's Block Lotto drawing. Aren't they cute? I'd love to win these, so I am going to try to make a few more by the end of the month to increase my chances.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Block Lotto stars and family

I am sorry I haven't posted for such a long time. I haven't been doing as much quilting as usual, but I'm planning to get back into the swing of things in the coming weeks.

 At left are 4 stars I made for the block lotto drawing this month. Aren't they great? I'd never think to make scrappy stars with a red background, but I think they really look sharp, and will make a fun quilt. That's why I love the Block Lotto; our fearless leader Sophie always comes up with block patterns I wish I'd thought of myself.

The main reason I haven't been sewing much lately is that my father died at the end of July. He's been suffering with Alzheimer's for about 8 years, but recently started to have problems with his balance and died about a week after a fall in which he broke his hip. He's with my mom in this photo---she's still doing great, but of course we all miss him very much.
The photo below is of my husband's extended family, who gathered over the weekend for a family reunion. I like every single one of them, so it was a lot of fun. I'm the one smack in the center of the photo in the back with the glasses on. The really good looking ones in the front row are my nephews and their significant others.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Vespa table runner

My sister bought me three small pieces of Japanese fabric in San Francisco when she was there on a recent trip, and I wanted to make something with at least one of them before she came to my house for a visit this weekend.  I went to the local quilt store--- Quilter's Attic----to look for ideas and found a table runner pattern on sale. Doesn't the end result look cute on my kitchen table?

I've always had a thing for Vespas (maybe it was that semester of college I spent in Italy?) so I was really happy to get this fabric, even it was only a small piece.  Here's a close-up of the pattern....and the best thing is that my Vespa looks a lot like this one, cream colored with a dark seat. ;-)
Aren't sisters the best?

Monday, June 10, 2013

A quick quilt for my Dad

I used my block lotto winnings to make this lap quilt for my dear father, who unfortunately has Alzheimer's and lives in an assisted living facility in New Jersey. I gave the quilt to him yesterday when I went to visit. I'm not sure that he understood that I'd made it (with a lot of help from the Block Lotto quilters) or even that the quilt was his to keep, but I hope that one in awhile when he sees it he'll know it was made for him with love.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Velda Newman at the Shelburne Museum

I snuck a few hours for myself at the Shelburne Museum while I was in Vermont for my oldest son's college graduation last weekend (hurrah!) and saw this fantastic exhibit of quilts by the California-based quilt-artist Velda Newman. Until then, I was not familiar with her work, but I'm a huge fan: the exhibit was really memorable. Here's the blurb about her from the museum's website:

"An internationally recognized contemporary textile artist, Velda Newman’s award-winning  quilts have a three-dimensional quality to them. The Californian artist works in vivid colors and close-up detail of her subjects – shells, flowers, fruit are a few examples – creating stunning works of textile art.
Many of the works are on loan from the artist’s private collection."

It was a little tricky to get good photos in the exhibition space, but here's what I was able to come up with:

The quilt to the left is called Hydrangea.

This one is called Catch of the Day, and was made for the owners of a restaurant. The name of the restaurant is embroidered in the cream-colored background of the quilt near the top.

This quilt, called Wings, looked better in person than in my photo. I loved the butterfly's wing hanging below the edge of the quilt.

Bass: In Your Dreams, was made from a combination of fabric and paint. Again, the end result was really stunning in person.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Letter from a friend

This letter really touched me, and I'm sharing it with permission (although I'm leaving off my friend's name). The reason I thought my blog readers might like to read it is that it seems rare for a quilter to learn how a quilt they make for someone is actually used, and if it really means anything to them. We all send quilts off here, there, and everywhere and usually get a quick "thanks" but it's rare to get a note like this one:

"This morning I was changing my bed sheets and smoothing out the blankets and the quilt. And as I ran my hands over the quilt I was thinking about how much I love it. And then the Third Street apartment popped into my head and I remember those horrible days and nights after my husband left and how that quilt was at the bottom of my bed and it brought me so much comfort because I thought of you and all the support you have given me over the years and I thought of Nova Scotia. And I was thinking that that quilt is the one item that I strongly identify with Third Street that transferred back to Fourth Street and held, throughout, its good karma. And I thought about how much I loved it and how amazing it was that you made it for me. I feel like the quilt took care of me. I feel like it is a security blanket.
Thank you."

I've been smiling ever since I received it!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mini-quilt Swap

I received this terrific little quilt today from my secret partner in the Quilting Blogger's Spring mini-quilt swap:

Isn't it great? It was made by Heather Ferris, a quilter and blues singer from British Columbia.
She also included a copy of a CD her family band recorded---Ties That Bind---that's excellent. I know my DH, who's a bluegrass fan, is going to be very happy to hear it.

Here's a photo of the back of the quilt:
Instead of the usual label, Heather added a tiny pocket with a Velcro closure that contained a tiny card inscribed with our names. How cute is that? I love it!

Monday, May 6, 2013

My most fabulous quilt retreat

I had a grea time at the Brooklyn Quilters' Guild retreat in Connecticut over the weekend. There's nothing like a weekend away with good friends and being waited on hand-and-foot so all you need to do is sew, sew, sew!
Here's what I accomplished:

I made the small bird quilt above from the bird blocks I'd made for the Block Lotto drawing and was supposed to send away to the lucky lottery winner.  But I needed a small quilt for a spring-themed quilt secret swap I'd signed up for, and what could be more perfect than birds and flowers? I made 3 more bird blocks afterwards to send off to the lucky Block Lotto winner.

I also assembled and started machine quilting the mug blocks I'd won earlier in the year in Block Lotto. Aren't these mugs great? This quilt was one of the hits of the retreat---lots of quilters stopped by to admire the great variety of quirky mugs I'd won. It was fun to be able to show it off, and maybe get a few new recruits for the block lotto?

Hmmm....I think I've got a theme going here. The quilt top pictured above, which I also assembled over the weekend, is made from Block Lotto blocks I won last month. I love the modern look of it. This one is lap-sized, and I'm going to finish it and give it to my dear Dad, who's got Alzheimer's. I think he's going to love it.

This photo show the only dark part of the weekend, which occurred when I sewed through my finger while I was free-motion quilting the mug quilt. Ouch! It was a first for me, but several other quilters told me they'd done the same thing at some point during their quilting careers. I was lucky to have done it while I was in a room full of quilters---three of whom happened to be nurses. The finger was impaled on the needle, and stuck in the machine, but they rushed to my rescue and had me bandaged and sewing again in no time. I'm sure it's going to look pretty nasty for awhile, but since it doesn't hurt much, and it's bandaged up pretty well, I've decided to keep it wrapped and not look at it until I have to.
TMI? I hope not!

Friday, April 5, 2013

"Workt by Hand": Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts" at the Brooklyn Museum

No, that's not a typo in the title of this post, that's really the name of a new exhibit of 35 American and European quilts from the the museum's own collection on display through Sept. 15.
Here are some of the highlights, in photos of course!

This red-and white quilt, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, is from 1850 and looked to be in near-perfect condition. Really striking.

This Album Quilt, left, was also finished around 1850. The colors were so vivid that it looked like a contemporary quilt to me.
The quilt below, called "Baskets Quilt," dates to 1860. I was impressed by its condition, and by the terrific flowers that had been appliqued into each of the baskets.

The quilt to the left is called Touching Stars, also from 1850. Don't the colors look modern?

The quilt below, called Star of Bethlehem Quilt, is from 1830. The flowers on the quilt were fussy-cut and appliqued onto the white background around the star.

The crazy quilt below, which was totally amazing, was made by an American, Mary Stinson, and finished in 1880. The photo below is from the museum website, but the detail photo below is mine. I wanted to remember some of the amazing embroidery she'd done....all of the flowers were different, and she'd used different colors of thread to create shading. It was really impressive.


This photo is from the museum website. The quilt is simply labled "Pictorial Quilt" and it's from 1795 and is made of linen. The photo doesn't do it justice: up close, the little figures are wonderful, full of detail and life.

Monday, April 1, 2013

East Street quilted and bound

I'm so happy to be able to report that I just finished binding my Easy Street quilt and gave it its first wash. Hurrah! There was nobody home to help me hold it so I could take a decent vertical photo of it, so I put it on the floor and stood on a table to take this photo. It give you the idea, anyway.
I think I'm going to give this quilt to my husband Mac, who'd a huge sports car fan, because he says it reminds him of the famous (according to him ) "hippie Porche." Here's a photo of the car----I guess I can see a resemblance:
So this quilt will stay in the family. Now I have to cross my fingers that Mac doesn't try to buy the car to go with it.
I got some great news today, that I am pretty sure is not an April fool's joke. I was one of the winners in the March Block Lotto drawing, and I've won a bunch of really handsome 3-color rectangular blocks. Hurrah again! I think these will make a perfect quilt for my father, who'd got Alzheimers disease and is living in a care facility. I can't wait to put it together and give it to him.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Vacation quilting---Utah edition

I've been in Park City, Utah, right outside Salt Lake City, for the past few days on a ski vacation with my husband and youngest son. We took one day off from skiing to go into Salt Lake City so my husband could visit a client, and I grabbed the chance to visit a quilt shop I found on the internet called Pipers Quilts & Comforts. It was adorable! Here's a photo of the shop:

One of the most charming things about it was that they'd hung quilts outside in front of the store, and inside the store's front porch. Here are photos of a couple of them that I really loved.

 I only had a few minutes to shop, as I had to drive back to pick up my husband from his meeting, but I spotted a fantastic book that I've already found really useful. It's called Tile Quilt Revival, by Carol Gilham Jones and Bobbi Finley. Here's a photo:

 I think I may try to make one of the quilts from this book during a quilting retreat I'm going on in May. It's all applique, which I'm struggling to get better at. I'm working on the Dear Jane quilt, which requires a fair amount of applique, and mine always looks pretty lame. (But I know, better done than perfect!)
Anyway, this book also had clear and good instructions on how to applique, so I've been studying it. I tried to use what I learned while making these two Dear Jane blocks when I was not out skiing. Here's a photo:
For you Dear Jane followers, these blocks are B8 and G1. These aren't perfect either, but they are a bit better than the earlier ones. They'll look better too when they're trimmed and well-pressed.
That's all for now. I'm heading home to Brooklyn tomorrow---I'll be glad to see my other son and my dog, but I'll miss having time to relax, ski and sew.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cheerful log cabin blocks

I made these bright log cabins for a member of  String Thing Along, the blog where string quilters can show their stuff. Once in awhile we make blocks for a charity quilt that one of the members is pulling together, and this time the request was for l2-inch log cabin blocks with a yellow corner. I've only finished these 2 so far, but I'd love to make a few more if I can squeeze it in. These are easy and fun to make and great stash-busters!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Block Lotto: March

I love these blocks! Whoever wins them will be able to make a smashing quilt!
As always, I hope it's me, but as I just won a heap of mug blocks it's a little selfish to be hankering after these as well. ;-)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Big bag completed!

This is my new "Mondo Bag." I bought the pattern for it at a quilt shop in Vermont last year, and had put it away for some time in the future.....but at my last guild meeting I couldn't resist buying a package of coordinated batik strips that I thought would be perfect for the project and presto! Here it is.
The pattern comes with printed interfacing that you fuse the squares onto, and then you sew it afterwards, so it's less work than it looks. But it took me a long time, because I kept making mistakes that I had to rip out. I actually sewed the entire bag together incorrectly, and when I saw that what I'd made was not a bag at all but more like a crooked sculpture I had to take out EVERY seam and start again. In retrospect I think all the mistakes were my fault---I just didn't really read the directions carefully enough, and the bag construction was not what I expected. I think I could make a second one in about 1/3 the time it took me to make this one.
Now I feel like a real quilter, with a big quilted bag of my own to take to guild meetings. I can't wait to show it off at the March meeting.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sandy Quilt

I was excited to see this photo online posted by Nancy Rogers who put together a Sandy Quilt that I made some blocks for. Here it is:
I can see some of my blocks in there---they were fun and easy to make. Nancy did a great job!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Easy Street Back

I just finished piecing a back for my Easy Street quilt, and managed to use up almost all of the extra pieces I'd sewn for the front that had gone unused! I guess I ended up with so many extra geese and checkerboards because I changed the orientation of the blocks in the quilt: mine are straight set while Bonnie's are on point. All the rest of the pieces of fabric are from my stash, including a couple that a friend had given me when her mother (a quilter) had died. It feels great to finally use up some of my  stash that's been lurking around for years, and of course it makes room for the new fabric.

The front of the quilt looks pretty much the same as the last time I posted, but I've added a couple of slim borders. Sorry the photo is not better---I am still using my cell phone. Maybe today will be the day I finally take that camera in to see if the charger can be repaired! Then again, it's only 20 degrees, so maybe not.