Monday, March 24, 2014

Quilt Auction!

  I read early last week that there was going to be an estate sale in a nearby town. The list included lots of antiques and large collections that the man had acquired over several decades. What caught my eye was the listing for "over 100 antique quilts"! Besides a quilt show, I've never seen a hundred quilts all at once. I planned all week to go to this auction Saturday morning. Randy declined to go, so I had the day to myself. I really thought I wouldn't be able to afford to buy any of them, but I sure wanted to see them and take pictures.

  I was up bright and early, showered, dressed, and on my way. I got there an hour before the auction started and I still had to stand in a line with about 50 people waiting outside to register and get their bidding numbers. Uh-oh, not a good sign. I would have plenty of competition. Once inside, I was further dismayed to see that the wagon piled high with quilts was totally surrounded by people already. I finally got my turn to get a closeup view of them and took some pictures.

   I bought this 1880's "Cross" or "X" quilt. The black fabric is a "seaweed" print and the X's are a small red print shirting. The back is an unusual light-colored paisley print.

   I bought this Civil War Era 4 block applique quilt (I believe it is the Whig Rose pattern) with 1/4" diagonal quilting in the open areas. Tiny stitches! The turkey red is bad, but the poison green and the cheddar fabric are in very good condition.

  This is "the one that got away". The baskets were only about 4" to 5". It was spread out on another wagon under a ton of boxes. That's no way to treat a grand old lady. I bid it up, but a dealer bought it. She at least let me take these pictures and assured me I could buy it from her shop!

  Isn't it wonderful? I'm thinking it is c1880's . It had nice quilting and in very good condition. I just wish it had come home with me too. :(

  I promised last post that I would show some of my recent doll quilt purchases. These all came to me the latter part of February.

     A  c1880-90 burgundy 9-Patch & Snowball...

   A  c1900 blue One Patch, wonderful shirting prints...

   A  c1930's cutey, Bowties...

A  c1950's, Rail Fence? Very "loud" print  for the backing.
A  c1980 mini, probably for a doll house. I recognize some of those calicoes as ones I bought in the early 1980's.

  I am participating in the doll quilt swap hosted by Lori on her blog, Humble Quilts. She partnered us up this weekend. We know who we're making one for, but not who is making ours. They have to be made in Civil War repros and be 24" x 24" or smaller. I made the top yesterday with lots of early CW repro prints from my collection. I have to have it quilted and sent by Easter. I can't wait to receive mine and see what my partner thinks of the one I made for her. What fun. I've never participated in a swap except for blocks or a round robin quilt. I'll post a picture of the one I made and the one I get when the swap is over. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise in case she is a reader of my blog.

  I'd better close and get in some quality time in my studio tonight. Keep stitching.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

"Hello, Winter! I'm Home." Ugh

   All good things must come to an end, they say. My 84 degree days in Naples, Florida ended Sunday when I got off the plane in Moline, IL in 22 degree weather! It only got worse from there as it got colder this week ending with 6" of new snow yesterday and blowing conditions overnight and 1 degree above this morning. I am SOooo over this winter! Go away, please.

   Enough whining. I had a great time in Florida and met some very nice quilters. Everyday I had a new "chauffer" who took me to and from my classes, out to eat, and seeing the sights. I visited 2 quilt shops, one in Naples (Flash) which is spacious, offering brights, modern prints, & batiks and hosts  lots of classes in a humongous classroom; the other was in Ft. Myers (Quilter's Hangout), featured in an 2011 issue of Quilt Sampler. It was also large and had about every type of fabric, but best of all...a large selection of Civil War repros. (Yes, I bought yardage!)

   I had a wonderful audience at my presentation Thursday night, including quilters from Scotland, England, and Canada, besides all the northerners representing many states "snowbirding" there as well. It was the largest audience (over 200) I've had at a single program, very exciting.

   Introducing the Christian Staffinger quilt...

   I taught a class on my pattern, Hardtack & coffee to a small group on Friday. There was a retreat going on at the same time that prevented some ladies from taking my class. We were small, but mighty and had lots of fun!

   Getting started...

My new Scottish friend, Carol, is hard at work...

Carol's Hardtack & Coffee blocks...


 Blocks ready to square up...

   A lady brought her c. 1833 quilt for me to admire. What a treasure it was! It had trapunto initials and the date in the quilting .

The date, 1833..., the initials BS, and YS. Maybe a wedding quilt?

     On Saturday, I taught Reap the Whirlwind to a larger group including 3 ladies from the first day's class Most chose the full-size version of the quilt, but 3 chose to make the paper-pieced mini. There was a wide selection of fabrics used. I always have fun seeing the fabric choices of other quilters and spying Civil War prints that I don't have. (Yes, there are a few I haven't bought.) One lady had some CW's by Margo Krager that I've never seen before. She graciously let me cut a 2" strip from each one! More than enough to add to my 2 Courthouse Steps quilts I'm working on, one 6" blocks, and the other 4".

Here I'm showing Susan, who had never paper-pieced before, how to trim her seams between steps.

    This is Susan's first finished mini block...

Some other's  finished blocks...

    Carol, says her bright colors will bring her sunshine during the gloomy days in Scotland...

A mini in purple, black, green, and yellow...

    Someone's favorite color is purple...

        A happy group of quilters at the end of class #2...

   I have to include an "oops" block of Linda's, (the guild president, 2nd from left). We hurried her to finish a block for a picture and when we had taken the picture, something wasn't quite right. She took the good-natured ribbing we gave her well...

  It happens to the best of us, doesn't it? Linda assured us she'd fix it later. Poor girl, she had to get up at 4 AM the next morning, (Sunday) to drive Michelle and I to the airport in Punta Gorda for our 7 AM flight home. I'll bet she fixed that block as soon as she got home at 6 AM! : )

  As always, the best part of speaking and teaching classes is the feeling that I've made some new quilting friends. I've thought of them often this week and not just about how they are enjoying the sunshine and 80+ degree weather while I suffered through yet another snowstorm! It was a pleasure to entertain you and get to know you all! Maybe we'll meet again somewhere in quilt land. I received invitations to speak in 2 Michigan locations and one in Pennsylvania as a result of this trip, so I'll see some of you again for sure.

  I've been sewing Courthouse Steps blocks every evening this week. The pile is growing. I'll share photos of them next time along with my newest acquisitions to my doll quilt collection. (I've been a real bad girl!) Heehee. Until next time, keep stitching! I'm heading to my studio now.


Monday, February 17, 2014

I'm Sayin' "Bye,bye" to Winter Weather!

   I have been looking forward to a speaking engagement in Naples, Florida for almost 2 years now. The time has finally arrived. I'm flying down Wednesday morning for a 5 day stay with the Naples Quilter's Guild. I'm speaking Thursday evening and teaching classes on Friday and Saturday. My friend, Michelle, is going along for a mini vacation. She's not a quilter, but she has helped me at several of my engagements and is excited to go to Florida and leave the snowy midwest behind.

  Preparing for this trip was quite different than usual. Since I'm flying, I had to ship most of my display ahead of time and am still packing 2 suitcases of display items to take. I was very nervous about shipping my quilts, but I hear the boxes all arrived safely. Hopefully the return shipping goes smoothly too. You hear horror stories every once in awhile about lost quilts.  The feature quilt for my presentation, the Christian Staffinger quilt, is safely packed into my carry-on bag. I don't let it out of my sight. I'd never be able to find another quilt made by a Civil War soldier to replace it if lost or stolen. I can't even think about that!

   Anyway, I'm all packed, shipped, and ready to go. Michelle is coming to spend the night tomorrow night and Isaah is coming home to take us to the Cedar Rapids Airport early Wednesday morning for our flight. We'll have about half a day to enjoy when we get there and most of the day Thursday. The guild has plans to take me to see the sights (which, I hope includes a quilt shop) and out to eat before my presentation. I've never been to Florida, so this will be a treat, especially this winter.

Trying to decide what display items to take was tough... 

                                     My costume and Christian Staffinger family pictures all had to fit in this suitcase...
                                  The mid-size suitcase is the only one with my personal items in it...

    We got another batch of bad weather early this morning. It was freezing rain till 11AM followed by 2" of snow. We had a snow day from school! I didn't mind that one bit. I packaged 28 charm packs to replenish all I had packed to take to Florida. Since I was all finished packing,  I was able to spend the day sewing. I made 9 Courthouse Steps blocks.  I'm using scraps from cutting all those Civil War charms.

  I think I have enough time before bed to sew a couple more. I'll post about my Naples adventure when I get back next Sunday. I hope you get to escape winter too, but if you can't, keep stitching.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Confession and a Quilt Show.

    I know I've told you before that I'm "technology challenged". Do you remember me recently complaining that all my photos taken in this new house with caramel colored walls making the photos turn out dark and have a golden look? Guess's NOT my new house or the fault of the paint colors I chose. It is ME and my poor photography skills. I noticed a tiny icon on my camera that looked like a camera. I turned the knob to that and took a picture. ****OMG, it was not dark or golden! That setting makes it auto adjust the exposure. Problem solved and didn't I feel like a moron! I don't know why that knob had ever gotten changed. By accident I'm sure, since I'm not one to experiment with different settings on anything electronic or technical. Boy, am I a happy camper again. I can take pictures I'm not embarrassed to share! So here goes.

  This is a quilt I made in 2001 (?) after buying the pattern at the Chicago Quilt Expo. Sorry, I couldn't find the pattern to give credit to the designer here. I hung this on the wall in the guest bedroom and took my first "miracle" picture to test the camera in the proper setting. See! NO GOLDEN GLOW!!!

  In my last post, I showed the scrumptious poison green wool pincushion that Ann Sweet sent me. I mentioned that she makes "Country Mouse" pincushions to sell. I ordered one from her and even though she was cleaning up from a flood due to broken pipes, she made and sent one to me within a week. She is amazing. My "Miss Mouse" as I have named her is sooo customized to suit me, it's unbelievable. I  adore her. She proudly declares a sign for my pattern business....

  A closeup shows other details that remind me of the header on my blog...

  On her left she has a mini of quilt of my pattern, Eulalie's Doll Quilt, scissors, thread, bolts of fabric, and a cup of tea on her shoulder. (I'm a huge tea drinker!)

  On her right side she has an assortment of Civil War books which I avidly read.

And look under her chin! That's a tiny cut out of a picture of me at one of my presentations!
  I took Miss Mouse to Breakfast Club at Inspirations Quilt Shop last Saturday and she was a hit. She was passed from table to table and thoroughly examined. Why, some ladies even looked under her skirt! I told Ann, if I'd known that would happen, I'd have given her panties. After all that attention Miss Mouse expects special treatment. I'm hoping she soon settles into the everyday quiet life here though. :)

  This past month, Inspirations has featured the quilts of Ashley Myers, the young quilting friend I've mentioned before. She is very talented and prolific. These are only a few of her quilts. She admitted that she's made approximately 40 quilts. She said the darker colored ones all are predominately sewn from the scraps I've given her!

  That's 6 quilts I could have made from my scraps!!! I'm so happy to give them to someone who creates such beautiful quilts. I should mention that all her quilts are for sale. Here are the ones she made without my scraps.

  Isn't her work impressive? She's not quite 26 yrs.old and to have created such beauty already. Just think what she can do in a lifetime!

  It's below zero out and I'm in for the night. I have an evening of sewing ahead of me. Yippee! I'm still sewing those paper-pieced Court House Step blocks and I still haven't found  the big stack of the ones I sewed before moving. Grrrrr. Someday, when I least expect it, I'll open a box or tote looking for something totally different, and there they'll be... I hope it's someday soon!

Keep stitching!