Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Sew-a-long with Cecile and Corinne

 I am once again participating in Cecile (Patchwork Inspirations) and Corinne’s annual sew-a-long. This year’s theme is “Sampler Quilts”. The rules are that it has to be 50% pieced and 50% appliqued and you need to make a minimum of 16 blocks.

Now the first thing that comes to mind when I hear “sampler” is of course, “Whitman’s Sampler”. In fact, most things in my life relate to food of come sort and especially chocolate! I researched the boxes and found that I was in pretty good company! 

 I started playing around and found that the appliqued blocks would be simple florals based on the flowers on the sampler boxes. The pieced blocks posed more of a challenge. I fiddled around for days trying to get my pieced blocks to look like cross stitch. Since I wanted my blocks to be small (5” finished), I couldn’t settle on anything that would look right with the appliques.

So... my pieced blocks will be different baskets.

Sort of like a basket of candy. Well, that was my thought anyway. I've only pieced a few but I think they will work out fine – if I don’t eat them first, that yellow is so delicious! It is a vintage feedsack and I have just enough for 8 pieced and 8 appliqued blocks. I haven't decided on orientation or layout yet. At any rate, I am having fun and that is what it is all about!

 You can visit their Facebook page (here) to see all the wonderful creations. People are so clever!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Up close and Personal


I’ve had some requests for more closeups of certain quilts from my visit to “Fabric of a Nation”. We had such a fabulous day! I still feel like I was dreaming. 

Sensational "Crazy City" quilt
Extremely talented quilter here! 
I can't imagine the math it took to create that border.

My favorite wool quilt. The workmanship in this one is beyond my comprehension. Remember this is all wool and made around 1830!

The Rowley - Century of Progress quilt. This one has always intrigued me. It was great to see it in person.

This was my favorite block of Harriet Powers. It probably spoke to me because of all those appliqued circles, but I just loved it. I knew her quilts were machine appliqued, but to see them close up was eye opening. She was a remarkable woman.

I'm not much for Victorian crazy quilts, but this is one of my favorites. It is really a pictorial crazy quilt and it was fabulous. I think this was Fotini's favorite.

I didn't even post this glorious Baltimore style quilt yesterday. There are so many Baltimore types in museums, but I have to admit this was one of the best. The workmanship floored me. This was hanging next to my "wool" quilt so I didn't give it the attention it deserved.

I tried to capture this whitework spread, but couldn't get a good overall shot. The quilting in this was described as 20 stitches to the inch. I couldn't get close enough to verify this, but I'm not going to doubt it! The relief look is achieved by double line quilting with a cord inserted from the back running in the channel. Remarkably done!

And that concludes our "up close and personal" portion of the program. Hope you get a chance to work on your own masterpiece today! 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

A Most Excellent Adventure

 Usually when the forecast is for 6” to 8” of snow, I get excited for a nice quiet sew day. But I had finally arranged to see the exhibition, “Fabric of a Nation” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and since it closes on Monday, I couldn’t let a little snow stop me.

 My wonderful husband drove my friend, Fotini and I to the train so we wouldn’t have to clean off the car on the way back. There must have been lots of closings because we had the whole train car to ourselves down and back. We made our “timed entry” to the exhibition with time to spare.

 I cannot describe my delight in seeing these quilts. Many of these gems have been on my “must see” list for many years. And, I was reacquainted with my favorite wool quilt of all time. Cyndi Black (Busy Thimble) and I documented this quilt around 20 years ago here in Maine and I was delighted to see it again in person. The detail in this is just remarkable. 

From Solon, Maine c1830

 The exhibition was much more than a collection of quilts. There was an emphasis on quilts in context with life’s triumphs and struggles. It was very moving. And, of course seeing both of Harriet Powers’ quilts was beyond my wildest expectations. 
close up 

 I won’t fill the post with the hundreds of photos that I took, but here are a few of my favorites: 

An Ed Larsen quilt made by Fran Soika
Molly Upton's "Watchtower"
One of my favorite "Florence Peto" quilts 
Close up 
I have loved this quilt for a long time, but I've always felt it should hang the other way. Partly because of the crossed flags and because if I go to the effort to applique my name on a quilt I want people to be able to read it!
close up - the quilting is amazing!
ON a funny note, if you enlarge this photo you can see a piece of thread sitting on the blue fabric. It was all I could do to not pick it off! Just goes to show you - threads are everywhere!

I know how fortunate I was to be able to see this in person. It was a fabulous day. I highly recommend the catalog. You can get it on the MFA website (here).

Be sure to keep an eye on the young woman, Bisa Butler, who made the quilt on the cover. She is a shining star and we will assuredly be seeing a lot of her.

 Thanks for riding along with us. I hope you find an adventure soon too.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

What will we do in 2022?

 I’m not going to choose a “word” for the coming year as I have done in the past. This year needs far more love and understanding than one word could muster. I’m not making any resolutions either. I just don’t want to set myself up for any further failures. 

 They say what you do on New Year’s Day sets the tone for the rest of the year. That works for me since I spent the day planning the borders on “Bird’s Nest Soup”. My initial plan was to applique little toile vignettes onto this lovely Marcus “aged muslin”. I spent many hours making a huge mess before deciding that this was not going to work for me! 

My creative mess 

On to Plan B. 

 I kept the aged muslin and tried adding little stones of color to it instead. There are actually two borders here and I will cut them apart after I quilt them.

Not perfect I’m learning to like it. And, “drum roll please”, I even tried something new.

 Back in May, Barb Vedder (FunWith Barb) and Randy Danto (Barrister’s Block) and I spent a lovely weekend on Plum Island in Newburyport, MA. Randy showed us how she stitches her incredible wool pieces and Barb demonstrated her glue applique technique. She even gave each of us a special bottle of her glue.  I had just finished basting circles onto blocks I was working on so I put the bottle on my sewing table to try later… much later! My friend Gladi (GladiQuilts) posted about how much she enjoyed it when she tried it, and still it sat on my table. (She doesn't sell her glue by mail because it is liquid, but I do hope you will get a chance to take a workshop from her. We are lucky that she is coming to our show in Maine this summer!)

 So… when it came time to baste my little stones onto my borders, I grabbed the bottle. Wow! What a time saver! As they used to say on TV, a little dab will do you. I tapped out a few drops on each piece and pressed with hot iron to set and voila!

There is no stiffness at all so it does not need to be soaked out. I guess old dogs can learn new tricks. Thanks so much Barb! I highly recommend it even for us die hard traditionalists.

 And, just a tiny plug for our dear Barb… She will be a featured artist at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA from January 18 through April 9. I can’t wait to see these beauties in person! Click (here) for more information.

 I also replaced the block with the duplicate bird. You can see where the hole is, the yellow underneath is the back of a quilt this one is resting on.

New bird 

In fact, there are about 40 quilts on this bed (smaller quilts are stored elsewhere). It is in my sewing room annex and it is great for storing quilts - no fold lines! Of course, it means that I don’t have a guest room, but we have lots of hotels nearby – wink! 

 I also spent a few minutes playing with ideas for this year’s sew-a-long with Cecile (PatchworkInspirations) and Corinne. This year’s theme is “sampler quilts”. They are to be 50% pieced and 50% appliqued. Still ruminating!

I hope you all spent New Year’s Day doing what you like. We are all looking forward to a happier and healthier New Year!


Friday, December 31, 2021

December Monthly Mini


Twas the 30th of December, and while feeling quite wilted,

She suddenly realized there was no “mini” quilted!

 She ran to her sewing room and picked up the cutter,

And threw down some scraps and started to mutter.

 How could she possibly make it in time?

She’d but a few hours to make this sublime.

 She’d never before stitched so wonderfully snappy.

Sublime it is not but it’s done and she’s happy.

 And, I heard her exclaim as she turned out the light,

“Happy New Year to all, and to all a Good Night!” 


 I know this is a pretty pathetic end to a wonderful year of monthly minis, but as I said, "it's done"! I found two tiny blocks leftover from our c1880 sew-a-long with Pam Buda (here) and with the leftover strips I made seven more. I pieced them all together, added a border and, voila! Since this micro mini shares its birthday today with our son, Nick, (and for the other obvious reason) I am calling it “Nick of Time”.

 Thanks for another great year of mini merriment! I’ve been asked about continuing for another year. Since it seems that some months, the mini is all I can muster, I would hate to give it up just yet. And, we did pick up a few new followers this year so I would hate to leave you stranded (wink). So, on to 2022. I hope you all have had much fun as I have looking at all these little gems.

 For those already on board and for any newcomers; as always, there are NO RULES and NO pressure. I post on the last day of the month and you can jump in anytime. If you don’t have a blog, but enjoy following along, simply e-mail me a photo and description of your mini and I will post it. 

I do wish you all a very Happy New Year. I thought this vintage postcard was just weird enough to fit the bill for 2021.

We all felt a bit batty in 2021. Let's ring out the old loud enough to say "bring on a better 2022 for all"! 

 Let’s see what our fellow elves have accomplished in this busy holiday month.

 Quilting Babcia (Amity Quilter)

Randy (Barrister’s Block)

Cyndi (Busy Thimble)

Grace (City Mouse Quilter)

Barb (Fun with Barb)

Gladi (Gladi’s Quilts)

Shasta (High Road Quilter)

Julie (Julie K Quilts)

Kathy (Kathy’s Quilts)

Katy (Katy Quilts)

Sandy (My Material Creations)

Angie (Quilting on the Crescent)

Barbara (Quilts, Gravestones and Elusive Ancestors)

Janet (Rogue Quilts)

Kyle (Timeless Reflections)

Cynthia (Wabi-Sabi Quilts)

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

One Bird Too Many


Yup, I did it again! This time, I waited until it was completely stitched together before I realized my mistake. I wanted all of the birds in the center of the blocks to be different. Some are the same, just a different colorway. But this one was exactly the same and it was the very last block I made! (Insert very frustrated face here). 

Bye bye birdie! 

All I could think of after my discovery was the song from the animated Rudolph from the ‘60’s. “Why am I such a misfit, I am not just a nitwit, you can’t fire me, I quit…”

 Since it was completely finished, I couldn’t just applique a new bird on as it wouldn’t fit the quilting pattern. So, this poor partridge/pheasant will go into my next pot luck quilt and will be replaced by another as soon as a new one flies into my sewing room. 

 Which reminds me of another song from “Rudolph”, “There’s always tomorrow for dreams to come true!”

 Enjoy your day!

Monday, December 6, 2021

Bird's Nest Soup

 I laid all of the blocks on the floor over the weekend. Some are still not finished, but you get the idea. 


Now on to the borders and corner blocks. Still in the design stage, but should get a start on them before Christmas. Nothing else to do right?

 After looking at them all, this little guy really stuck out as being kind of creepy.

Not sure if it was his eye or just the blah color of his head, but I couldn’t live with him amongst all those other pretty birds. So… off with his head and on with a more colorful and cheerful noggin.

I won’t be afraid to sleep under it now!