Sunday, July 31, 2011

Jacob has a ladder!

I really like how my Jacob's ladder top turned out...unfortunately it was finished while listening/watching marathon house and senate "debates" so I will always remember the debt crisis when I see this quilt. Too bad since otherwise it is such a happy quilt. Oh well, that is what I get for being a new addict...This started as a "let's play" comment/challenge from Bonnie Hunter after she found a yellow and floral Jacob's ladder at an antique mall. I don't have a lot of floral in my stash but found an amazing amount of red, pink and green. There is a lot of Moda, some Kaffe Fasset, some modern, and a bit of repro from the late 1800's and 1930's. A good exercise in stash-mashing.

I even pulled fabric for a backing. This plaid is very soft and will make a comfy back. And added bonus - it came from stash! I have a large basket that I keep pieces I buy on sale specifically for backings. I found a great blue fabric in there for the M.O. quilt I am working on too...Took a break early this morning to sit on the deck with the pets. We had to retreat after being buzzed by a particularly aggressive hummingbird! It was getting too hot anyways....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quiet days...

Thanks for all the input on my border option post...I'm putting together my Jacob's Ladder quilttop today and will post photos this weekend. The other quilt may wait a bit longer. I am giving it as a gift and decided to let them have the final decision on the border (I like both borders so.....)

While I was making up my mind I changed out a few small quilts on the wall...(my friend rachel made the button flowers!)

and pulled some reds for a new quilt....

and folded lots of fabrics to clear a walking path through the sewing-room....when I am pulling fabrics it is like bride dress sale day in the old Filene's basement, fabric is flying!

Goldie, Brownie and Dobby...

And here is a rare photo of all three of my cats together! I was outside trying to get a photo of the woodpecker who lives in the hollow tree in my backyard. I was in the kitchen when I saw him for the first time this summer (we hear him all the time!) The cats obviously thought something exciting was going to happen so they all followed...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bordering on a decision...

The shoulder was feeling good this morning so I decided to put aside the Halloween quilt for a day and get back to putting borders on a couple of quilt-tops that were soooo close to being finished.
Now I don't know about you but borders are a huge decision point for me...and for decision point read "repeatedly pull fabric from the stash, audition in various rooms, go get coffee, take a photo, drink more coffee, email a friend, drink coffee, call friend who hasn't responded to email, when call goes to messaging get more coffee and decide to move onto next quilttop." Oh dear is right!
I think Borders are major design elements of a quilt. Unfortunately the decision I make when the quilt is in the planning stage and what I end up doing are usually two very different things. I have put some "I just want this quilt to be finished" borders on before and regretted it so now I take it seriously...even if it means right now there is a "almost" quilt top on the dining-room table, the kitchen table, the ironing board and the couch. Ya, I have a lot of decisions to make....
Quilt number one is from a Material Obsession book (I've loaned them to a friend so I don't know which one, sorry!) Anyway, I've put on the red paisley and a blue stripe (stripe not in photo above!) Like it so far...
Originally I was going to use this green, blue and pink large floral. Now I'm not so sure. (This whole quilt has been way outside my comfort zone! good for me but lots of coffee and chocolate and fingernails....)
I've auditioned lots from the fabric stash and am now leaning towards this I coping out and going back to my comfortable place?

The second almost quilt-top is my Jacob's Ladder. (BTW last time I worked on this the History Channel ran a story on the history of Jacob's Ladder! And who says you can't learn anything from TV!) Back to this quilt....I pieced some triangles for the boarder and picked out a fabric with roses for the outer border. Good so far. For this I am now struggling with four options...

#1 Green inner-border with green to red triangles
#2 Green inner-border with red to green triangles

#3 Cream inner border with green to red triangles.
#4 Cream inner border, red and green triangles.

This is all becoming a bit tiring...maybe I'll get in touch with my inner Southern lady and "think about it tomorrow..."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Herding HST's

I've been working steadily on my Halloween quilt...must be dreaming of cooler weather! There is something about passing the halfway point that just spurs me on to finish a quilt-top. There is also something about wrestling piles of fabric on the cutting table and herding HST's from * the cutting board to the sewing machine to the ironing board and then repeat from * that spurs me on as well!This is a fun quilt though. The pattern is from Blackbird Designs. I'm following about 80% of the layout...mainly I am changing up fabric choices, some of the applique and the border.

Today however I need to put the borders on this quilt. I've had the fabrics out for months and need to finally put them away. (Imagine what my cutting table looks like with all the Kaffe, 1930's and Halloween colors...scarey no?!) For both of these quilts I have an amazing number of leftover squares, triangles and other "pieces." One disadvantage of sporadic piecing is I don't follow directions or even my own plans very well....
On another topic...last week the tickets for the Atlanta Antiques Roadshow came. A couple of my quilting buddies also put in for tickets but didn't get them. I also put in for them, got them, but then realized it is the same weekend as my nephew's weeding up in Boston. Oh well, at least folks that really want to go will get them!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lost Quilts

First a public service announcement. Check out the posting at on Missing quilts. Three quilts went missing at Spring Market and they are trying to spread the word. One of those quilts is in the photo below.
I saw a couple of her quilts at Paducha and they are really beautiful. Hopefully this one will find its way back to her.

If you are going to ship or show your quilt you should get an appraisal. If you don't want to do that at a minimum make sure you have a label on the quilt with enough information that if is is found they can find you. Finally, take a good quality photo of the quilt...even better keep the photo with samples of the fabric and measurements of the quilt.
When I lived in Baltimore my house was broken into. They took a quilt..most likely to help carry some of the other things they stole. Anyway, I had a photo of the quilt along with sample of the fabric and all the measurements. The police officer looked at me like I was a bit crazy...I wanted him to take the photo and all he wanted to do was list "quilt" on the sheet. Anyway it must have made an impression because late that evening I got a phone call from one of the crime scene techs who had overheard the conversation - he was in a bar not far from my house and there had just been a man there trying to sell some CD's and inside the bag the tech noticed a quilt! The tech offered him $5 for it. I was so happy to get my quilt back! (Later they did arrest the man who broke in my house but that is a long story.....)

So morale of the story...document, document, document. (And if you ever are broken into make sure and be nice to the crime scene folks...he also remembered I gave them chocolate chip cookies and coffee!)

Some other quilt-y stuff...yesterday I went out to a quilt bee off the backroads of South Carolina. Really nice quilters, really nice quilts, and a really, really hot church. The first convenience store I stopped and bought a T-shirt so I could get out of the soaking wet one I was shivering in! The purpose of the trip was to find vintage quilts made from scraps from the local textile mills or "salesman samples."

Of course since this was the first time they met me they all brought their best quilts (for that read several wedding rings, a couple of sunbonnet sues, several around the world and a poppy kit quilts) that we have talked about the old mills and drank lots of very sweet tea I hope they will show me the others....I think of these old scrap or utility quilts as a type of lost quilt too - people only want to show their "best."

I did learn a new southern phrase the other day..."moonshine kin." It is someone you are related to by marriage. The photo below is from a cell phone so not that clear but it is a great old quilt. It has wool bat and lots of woven plaids. There are at least 6-8 different double-pinks in the corners. The maker may not have had fancy fabrics to work with but she pieced perfectly!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Scrap Attack

I know I've vowed off starting any new quilts this summer but yesterday I had no choice...I was attacked by scraps in the quilt cave.

I had only entered their territory to find some fabric to back a quilt with. Within moments a box of blue and white shirt fabrics leaps from the bookcase hitting me on the shoulder (yes, the bad shoulder!)

Piecing finished - now for some applique....

Since I was slightly injured I retreated dragging the vicious box of strips with me...they must be tamed. So, a couple of hours at the sewing machine and I have a domesticated quilt top...maybe I'll name it "when good scraps go bad..."
Also at the machine...I finished one more civil war block...since it is an Irish Chain I thought I had to use some green!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quilt Cave Report

In the heat of the summer I find myself hiding in my quilt cave or in the family room doing lots of sewing. It was a bit of a mis-mash this weekend - some hand-quilting, lots of piecing, and even hemming pants (but we're not going to talk about that!)First, I finished quilting a little alphabet doll quilt. It is based on a small quilt shown in the photo below that I bought in Paducha a couple years ago. The letters are quilted not embroidered...I thought that was interesting so tried it myself. I quickly learned that it was easier if I quilted from the top down so I could slip the embroidery floss under the was way too difficult to bury an embroidery floss knot through the quilt top. I used a larger quilt stitch to match up with the stitches in the letters.I need to block the quilt before I bind it. This should also wash out the marker I used for the letters. I think it is fun how they placed the letters to include the entire alphabet - the Q is in a cornerstone and the I and J are combined in one block!

Hopefully today I will catch up on my Civil War block of the week project. This is this weeks block - Railroad Crossing. I love using indigo and cheddar together in blocks. I think this block would make up a really nice scrap I need another project!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Jump, Jive and quilt....

Often I am asked "how do you know how old a quilt is?" How often I wished the answer was as easy as putting the serial number into the search line of a data base and "bing" you know when the quilt was made (sort of like looking up your featherweight sewing machine...)

Usually there are lots of things to consider however yesterday I got a quilt top in the mail that made me think of Indiana Jones and his comment (I paraphrase) "archeology is a science...there is no hidden treasure, there are no maps and x never marks the spot." Well, in this quilt top I may not have found treasure but it is sort of a map and there is an X to help date it.
The map...well the pattern is one of my favorites "Trip around the world" which was published in the early 1930's. I don't know much about the quilt's past other than it came to me from Southern Georgia. I do know whoever put the quilt together had a great sense of color and pattern. The quilter put stripes, checks, solids, and florals ranging from maroon to pink with bits of black, green and yellow.

The "X" however was this fabric. First I noticed "hi-de-ho" printed on the blue fabrics with lots of musical instruments. That rang a bell! The squares are only 2-inches finished so I had to look at lots of these blue squares before I found on that gave me the full name - Cab Calloway (b. 1907-1994)!

Some of you may remember him as the great band leader and blues/jazz singer. (He was introduced to the "scat" style by Louis Armstrong.) Even if you aren't a jazz fan you probably remember the concert scene in "The Blues Brothers" (1980)...well that was Cab Calloway.

He and his music was really popular from 1930 to the late 40's. "Hi-De-Ho" was in a short film in 1934. The rest of the fabrics and the quilt style all fit with that time period as well.
So this may not be the most amazing quilt top, it has some holes, some wear, and a few frayed edges but it is certainly a piece of American Pop Culture and it certainly will make me smile and "jump and jive" a bit whenever I think of it! Thanks to San at Gypsy quilts and her friend for sending this quilt-top my way!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lightweight quilting....

I made it out to my evening quilt guild meeting last night. Since I know there are lots of Bonnie Hunter fans I figured I had to share this photo of a completed Roll Roll Cotton Boll...and no it is not mine. (Mine is sitting patiently in a nice acid free box waiting for me to get my groove on....)My shoulder is healing up. I still can't lift anything heavy (including the iron...definitely need to shop for a small/lightweight iron - any recommendations out there?) I did get some applique done. I've had the Blackbird designs pattern Halloween 1904 for several months and had even pulled the fabrics from my stash. This seemed like a good time to start... Brownie seems to think she should be part of this quilt and has made a bed in the box emptied of the Halloween fabrics....

I decided to stop the Jacob's Ladder quilt top with 30 blocks. I have a fun border planned to make this a single bed size quilt. Even at this size though I have to delay putting the blocks together...maybe next week. The pink and green make it a very fun summery quilt and I do want to finish it this summer!

Friday, July 08, 2011

This and that...

Summer seems to be a slow time for bloggers...certainly has been for me!
I do have an excuse this time - a car accident. My Dh was driving my car which we park on the sloped driveway. He rarely drives my car and forgot to put on the parking break so as I was getting out the car lurched forward sending me flying onto the lawn (graceful I'm not!) Anyway, nothing broken but my right shoulder/back is really painful making typing or sewing or just about anything a bit of pain (except maybe a "Murder She Wrote" marathon...can't believe I had never seen the first episode!)

So not much happening here so I went through the last months photo files and found several things I had planned to post but never got around to the top of this post is a small doll quilt randomly pieced that I am going to had quilt this summer. I have a huge bag of randomly pieced blocks that I hope to put together but this piece wants to be on its own...
Isn't this quilt blocks sketch book fun! My friend Paula gave it to me for my birthday. So far it has sat on my living-room shelf - too pretty to write in!

This is a card made for me by my friend Maggie. It has all the quilters who stay in the cabin together at Hickory Knob each year...I am the second from the left. Isn't is nice how young she made us all look!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

4th of July weekend

Settling in for the holiday weekend. Lots of project lined up both in the quilting room and in the kitchen.
Found this cute Uncle Sam at She posts lots of free graphics each week. Great for quick projects or just some silliness...I used Uncle Same for some Cupcake Picks...he worked well with the flags.

A few days ago I posted a photo of my guilds next donation quilt. I forgot to post that the quilt is from this book.
Not only does this book has some great patriotic projects in it but it is also full of interesting stories about women who served in a wide variety of jobs during WWII. My Mom served over in Europe during WWII with the Red Cross and I think it is important we remember all the folks who support the airman, sailors, marines, and soldiers.