Thursday, January 16, 2014

The quilt exhibit at Gallery 65 was a big success. I was nervous and stumbled over words but the ground didn't open and swallow me up so life is good. I had a big smile on my face as I drove home because 1.) I had a good time and 2.) I was laughing at myself. It's funny how often in the last year my encounters with friends, acquaintances and strangers turn to farm animals. And it isn't always me that turns the conversation that way.  I know I've mentioned before that I want to live in an old farmhouse and have chickens and sheep. I don't understand why people find this to be an odd dream for a 52 year old suburbanite ; c ) Anyway, one of the gals shared a quilt of appliqued hens and roosters. Not one of those comical ones but very elegant and finely done. The husband of the gallery owner told me he really liked that one. He'd raised chickens as a kid and from there we talked about chickens, goats and sheep. I'm now a little wired - up past my bedtime so I thought I'd share what I've been up to in the sewing room.

I was a bit disappointed with the first few lines of curved stitching - just a bit too wobbly. I continued stitching and once the circles started to form I became happy with how it looks. I think in many creative endeavors there is that feeling of dread like - @#$%, I've ruined it! I find stepping back or taking a break from it often (though not always) makes whatever I'm doing look much better. In this case I just had to continue on for the complete pattern to form.

Ages ago I won a Collections for a Cause Comfort Charm Pack from Janet O. of Rogue Quilter. I'd made this tote bag before as a gift and liked how it turned out so decided to use this charm pack to make another. Thanks, Janet!

I took this photo a couple weeks ago. We've had some really cold weather here and these little pansies are doing great. I have two pots of them on my front porch. These blooms are gone now - they stuck around a few weeks and then we had single digit temps which did them in. As I clipped the old blooms I noticed there are lots of buds waiting their turn to open.

I hope to be back soon to share a finished quilt.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Gallery 65

I have a small completed project to share but I think I'll hold that for my next post and tell you about some exciting news (for me anyway). I've been asked along with nine other quilters to exhibit at Gallery 65 in McLean, Virginia next Thursday evening.  I'm to share three reproduction quilts "for non-quilters to see that traditional quilts are not only still popular to make but show where we came from as quilters and have the same design elements found in modern ones." We are to say something "about each in terms of what they represent to your specific genre". My genre being traditional/reproduction quilts. I've been thinking about what I want to say and would appreciate any observations you have about these quilts and in my quilts in general. I'm not the best public speaker and even in the best circumstances I can forget to say the obvious. I only have to talk for 5 minutes so it's not like I have to say a whole bunch.

I based this triangle quilt on a 1898 quilt in the Smithsonian collection (below). I used calicoes from the 1970's-1990's along with current day plaids, stripes and dots. I named it Concord, Cranston and Peter Pan.

I started making these hexagon flowers in the late 1990's. It was my take along project for a long time. After many years I wanted to start doing something with them but didn't know how to stitch them together into a grandmother's flower garden quilt. This was before the current hexie rage. It didn't occur to me that all I needed to do was a little bending of the hexagons so I decided to applique them onto a background. I was inspired by a 1930's quilt in a Mary Mashuta book (Cotton Candy Quilts, I think) that had big yo yo's appliqued to background squares and sashed.

These star blocks sat in a drawer for a good dozen years because I thought they were too puckered to do anything with them. I've relaxed my standards a bit and found that some things do quilt out. The double sashing idea came from a Quilterie blog post. I think that first quilt in the post is late 19th century. What do you think? Many but not all of the fabrics in this quilt are 19th century repros. At the time I made these stars I didn't really know the difference. The quilt was made for a challenge - we had to use at least 250 half-square triangles. I think there are something like 347 one-inch hst's in this quilt.

In writing this it occurs to me that all these quilts have elements that had to wait - the fabric in the triangle quilt, the hexagon flowers in the 30's repro quilt and the stars in the challenge quilt. Not necessarily something I would bring up at the exhibit, just an observation - probably more a function of where I am in my quilting life.

Thanks for your concern about my carpal tunnel. Which is actually, according to a doctor, tendonitis. I was doing better but once I started spending more time on the computer and doing some hand stitching it started bothering me again. I start physical therapy at the end of the month.

More good news for me - my daughter returns to the U.S. on February 1. Unfortunately, she lands in Los Angeles and my sister will get to see her first. I can wait though - she's been traveling since September of 2012 - so a little longer won't hurt me. She and her French boyfriend who she met in New Zealand have traveled to Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam and are now in Japan. It has yet to be determined how they will make their way across the U.S. so I don't know when exactly she will arrive home.

Hope you all have had a good start to the new year. I've enjoyed seeing so many new and old projects presented on blogs the past couple of weeks. Happy Stitching!