Sunday, January 20, 2013

An Old Passion Awakened

   Our weather has sure been fickle this week. Cold with 3" snow on the ground the first of the week, jacket weather and snow melted on Friday, no-coat weather Saturday, and today...cold and 2" fresh snow! I'm really not a fan of cold and/or snow. The only time I enjoy it is when I don't have to leave home and can spend the time creating in my sewing room. What can I say? I live in IOWA!

   Sometime before Thanksgiving, my friend, Jane, asked me if I would consider getting together on a regular basis to work on Dear Jane quilts. She knew I had worked on it in the past and she wanted to begin a DJ herself. I agreed and we decided to begin after the first of the year. She came to my house last Saturday and we jumped in. I had a 50 block head start on her, but she was enthusiastic and determined to catch up when she could. I was embarrassed to see that my blocks had all been made in 2007! I can't believe I've let it sit idle for that long, but the proof is in my own writing. In my DJ book, I penciled in the date of completion by each block. Enough dilly dallying now, I'm determined to begin anew. The old passion for a Dear Jane quilt has been awakened. I'm in love with her again. I made 5 blocks this week, 3 of which I took pictures of and will share.

The three together...


 A-9...

A-10... (don't look too closely to my not- so- great- applique)
A-12...

    Dear Jane is very challenging and not for the faint of heart. I have the book and the software and it is still very intimidating to work on these 4 1/2" (finished) blocks. Jane Stickles was either a very gifted seamstress or a raving lunatic (maybe both) to have created this much loved and imitated sampler quilt. I consider it a "rite of passage" quilt and decided if I was ever going to make this quilt before I die, I'd better get started now. I'm sure it will take years to complete. The thought of those triangular pieced border blocks has me quaking in my boots (or at present, bedroom slippers.) Working on this with a friend will be inspirational. Jane and I will need all the help we can get. She didn't work this week and got 8 blocks done!!! Way to go, Jane! She is sewing her DJ all in William Morris fabrics, very much her trademark look. I've mentioned before, she lived abroad for years and all her quilts have an "English" look to them. Mine, of course, will all be Civil War reproduction fabrics.

   Yesterday was Breakfast Club at Inspirations. The owner, Nancy Lackender, announced that her shop will be featured in the upcoming issue of  Quilt Sampler magazine!!! I'm not surprised as her shop has become a favorite for quilters in about a 200 mile radius of the tiny town of Hills, Iowa. Be sure to get a copy, out May 1st, to see why it's featured.

   Here's Nancy telling the Breakfast Clubbers the exciting news...

   Here are a few quilts shown at show 'n' tell... a sampler by Sandy...
 
   Sandy's finished Farmer's Wife...

    Hunter's Star, which will be an offered class next month...

    I took two little quilts I made over Christmas break to show...


    Christmas 4-Patch, 16" x 21 1/2"...
     I used a Christmas toile I only had a yard of for the backing. I signed the back with a new Pigma pen labeled (BR). It looks like calligraphy without even trying. I love it.

  This is my Civil War Square in a Square, 12 1/2" x 12 1/2", quilted and bound...

 Closeup...

 I love the gray patriotic block...

   After getting home from Hills, I had to hurry to Dallas City, IL to take my Mom to Carthage for her prescription before the pharmacy closed at 2 PM. I think I set a new record for the time it takes to get from MP to Carthage via Dc, a 75 mile trip. We got there with 20 minutes to spare. Randy's mother lives in Carthage so Mom and I visited with her while there. Several years ago Mom Wright bought one raffle ticket with a dollar she borrowed from a granddaughter, for the HCHC Auxiliary quilt. I made a quilt annually for years before the government told the auxiliary that to continue the raffle, they'd have to pay for a gambling license. They no longer hold the raffle, a shame since it raised money for nursing scholarships. I was surprised when they asked me to pull a ticket and I drew her name. It was the last time I agreed to be the one to draw the winning ticket. I had drawn a good friend's name the year before! I didn't want people to think it was "rigged." Here's a picture I took yesterday of the quilt on her bed. (If you're familiar with my patterns, you may see the center of this medallion quilt resembles my Freedom Road pattern.) She told me her oldest daughter had given her new red sheets for Christmas that matched the quilt perfectly. Mom W lives in a very nice Senior Citizen Apartment Complex and loves it. She is 88 years old and still drives and enjoys life.


   Well, I don't want to miss Downton Abbey, so I'd better wrap this post up. I hope you are all enjoying life too, no matter what your age. And keep stitching!

Becky



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fun on Christmas Break

  A little late, but Happy New Year everyone! We survived the near miss of the "end of the world" and the fall from the fiscal cliff. Don't we feel lucky? I really wasn't worried about either one, were you? Life is too short to worry about things that are out of our control and not likely to happen anyway.

  We had a great Christmas. Isaah was home for five days and Randy took vacation all week, so there was lots of family time. I managed to sew while the "boys" watched sports or movies without me. Here's my latest mini I'm quilting on...

    Those Square in a Square blocks  are a petite 2". Aren't they cute? I used the smallest of my Civil War repro scraps to make them. "Waste not, want not!"

   The Friday after Christmas, Randy and I took a day trip to the Figge Museum in Davenport, Iowa. They have an exhibition of "27 priceless quilts from the celebrated collection of the American Folk Art Museum, New York." It runs through February 3, 2013. OMG!!! It was fantastic. If you are anywhere near, go see these quilts.You won't be disappointed. You can only take photos of the few displayed on the ground floor, darn! The bulk of the display is on the fourth floor. I spent nearly 2 hours studying 27 quilts. I stood with tears in my eyes studying and trying to memorize every detail of an 1853 applique quilt in cheddar, red, poison green, and chrome yellow that was simply amazing. I would nearly give anything to own it. It killed me to walk away without taking a picture of it, but I really didn't want to be arrested or escorted out by museum guards. To appease myself, I bought the book  "Quilts: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum" by Elizabeth V. Warren, which is a pictorial guide for this collection. It was worth every penny of the $75 price tag, once I saw that "my teary-eyed amazing wonder" was in it! Each quilt is shown full page size with wonderful captions telling about when, where, and who made them if known. The one I fell in love with is on page 116 and 117. The caption reads, "Sarah Ann Garges Applique Bedcover : Sarah Ann Garges (c. 1834-1887) Doylestown, Pennsylvania, dated 1853." It is a pimitive folkart style with pieced blocks and applique scenes depicting farm life in mid 19th century America.

  Here are photos of another primitive applique quilt on the 1st floor called, "Sacret Bibel" Quilt Top made by Susan Arrowood, date unknown for her, but the quilt is estimated to have been made between 1875-1895. The stitches aren't perfect, but the quilt is very whimsically appealing and spirit-filled.
The whole quilt...

 
                                                              Jesus in the garden...

                                                                
                                                               John baptizing Jesus...


                                                                      The "Saints"....


                                                                          The Choir...


                                                                       Church folk...


                                                                            Noah's Ark...


                                                                    The Preacher...

                                                                Ladies going to church...

 
The Twelve Disciples...


                       I love and collect antique doll quilts. I was happy to see they had 3 on display...

                                                                   
                                                 An 1880's 9-Patch on a vintage metal bed...

                                                                An 1890-1920 Amish doll quilt...
                                 My favorite! An 1860's 4-patch with applique hearts and stars...
                                                                            A closer look....

  After the museum we drove to LeClaire to the Expressions in Thread quilt shop, very nice. Of course, I bought some Civil War repros I didn't already have. Pamela, the owner bought my patterns for her shop and scheduled a weekend in May for my presentation and a full day workshop featuring my pattern, Hardtack and Coffee. I didn't get photos of her shop, but I will when I speak and teach there in May.

  There was a business in the block behind the quilt shop that Randy and I both were interested in...
   Do you recognize it? It's Antique Archaeology from the The History Channel's show "American Pickers."
If you watch the show, you'll probably recognize some of these antiques on display inside. None of which is for sale!) And, Mike and Frank were not there, darn it!



    It was a very enjoyable trip! In fact, the whole Christmas break was fun. Randy returned to work on his birthday, Jan. 2nd and I was back in school on the 3rd. Oh well!
    I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed a happy and safe New Year's Day. May 2013 be filled with friends, fabric, quilts, and quilting for us all. Keep stitching!

Becky