Friday, December 27, 2019

End of Year Giveaway

In scrolling through my postings for 2019 I noticed I neglected to include this one. The American QuiltStudy Group hosts a biennial “quilt Study” which is revealed at the annual seminar in the Fall. You can read about it and view many of the past participant’s creations on the AQSG website (here). I participated in 2012 when the theme was “The Colonial Revival”. That book is still available at a good price on Amazon (here).

In 2018 the theme was “200 years of Solid Color Quilts” and my friend Laurie and I decided to give it a shot. For the inspiration quilt we chose a fabulous early (pre-1840) wool quilt with the typical Maine shape (to accommodate the 4-poster bed) from the collection of the Maine State Museum where Laurie is “Chief Curator of History and Decorative Arts”. Laurie had reproduced this quilt (her first quilt in fact!) before as a part of an exhibition that my friend Cyndi (Busy Thimble) and I had curated a few years ago. It is .

One of the requirements of the quilt study is that the quilt be made expressly for the study and that it not be shown in public before the reveal at seminar. So, Laurie suggested that we create it again as a team. I made the quilt using Laurie’s quilting design from her first project and Laurie did all the research and writing (her specialty!). We had a lot of fun and it was fun to see it finally in print.

I think I forgot to blog about it because I was so happy to see fellow bloggers post about their quilts – Barb’s (Fun with Barb) was a really fun interpretation of her inspiration quilt.
And Cynthia’s (Wabi-Sabi Quilts) quilt was fabulous and I was so excited to see it on the cover!
Or maybe I forgot to post it because they spelled my name wrong (it is "Caton" not "Canton") - nah, I'm not that petty, besides this happens a lot.

So… long story for the giveaway… but I realized I had an extra copy and thought it would make a fun end of year gift to one of my readers. Leave me a comment about your favorite quilting project this year and I will pick a lucky winner on the 31st when I post my last mini quilt for 2019.

If you are not the winner and would like a copy, you can order this one and many of the past years as well on Amazon (here)

Monday, December 16, 2019

The age old question

Warning – this is a wordy post, but the subject has always intrigued me.

Frances O’Roark Dowell of Quilters Alliance posed an interesting question on The Quilter’s Alliance Story Circle Facebook page today (here). Her question was “Is quilting an art or a craft?”

I had written an article many years back about this very subject and since it is far too wordy for a Facebook post, I will publish it here. Grab a cup of tea (or two!) and if you make it all the way to the end, let me know what you think about the subject.

I wrote this in 2004 in response to a lecture on “art quilts” that I had recently attended. I was most assuredly one of the only (if not the only) traditional quilter in the room. The only “traditional” quilters named were African Americans whose fame has sky rocketed in the last few years with the Gees Bend exhibition. Amish quilts were noted as being the quintessential art form with their simple designs and striking colors. Very little was said about today’s traditional quilter and how we are struggling to keep traditions alive. The focus was more on the statements that today’s art quilters are making.

Artist or Quilter?
By Wendy Caton Reed

It finally happened to me! Someone asked me one of the most intriguing and perhaps complex questions posed to today’s quiltmakers; “Do you consider yourself an artist?”

I’ve always considered myself to be a quilter. My mother’s an artist and although I’ve often thought some of her talent should have rubbed off onto me, I can’t sketch a rock with a kindergarten crayon. So maybe there is more to it than just the ability to draw. I decided to seek help from my local library. I picked up the largest dictionary I could carry (c 1910) and this is what I found:

Art n. 1.a. The use of imagination and skill to create beautiful things. b. Works, as paintings, which result from this creativity. 2. A field of artistic activity, as literature, music, or dance. 3. A nonscientific branch of learning, esp. one of humanities. 4. A craft or trade and the methods employed in it. 5. A practical skill or knack. 6. The quality of being cunning: artfulness.

Quilt n. A padded bed cover. - quilt v. – quilting n.

Being the highly analytical person that I am, I took it step by step to see which word described me best.

We’ll start with “Art” (since it comes first alphabetically).

1.     a. The use of imagination and skill to create beautiful things. I don’t want to “toot my own horn”, but I think I do create some beautiful quilts and I have one of the most active imaginations of anyone I know, so I guess we can put a check by this one!
b. Works, as paintings, which result from this creativity. Even though I don’t see the word “quilt” in this definition, I certainly have plenty of “works” around the place (in one stage or another), so this is a check too.

2.     A field of artistic activity, as literature, music, or dance. Wow, this is
      a weird one! They don’t even mention painting, let alone quilting.
      Maybe they just ran out of room or they figured 3 examples were
   enough and people could draw their own conclusions, so we’ll put a
   check by this one as well.

3.     A nonscientific branch of learning, esp. one of humanities. This could be a tricky one because although there are thousands of people out there teaching “quilting” and even a few institutions of higher learning that have quilts and quilt history as part of their curriculum (usually lumped in with women’s studies or material culture studies), there usually is some math involved. I don’t think there is enough math involved to take it out of the humanities column, but I’m going to leave this one blank anyway.

4.     A craft or trade and the methods employed in it. Gee, I think this fits best of all. I spend more time quilting than I do anything else. When I don’t have a needle in my hand, I have visions of the next quilt dancing around my brain (even in my sleep!). There are hundreds of new ideas each year in our “trade or craft”, and although I have learned a new trick or two over time, my “methods employed” haven’t changed much in my 50+ years of quiltmaking. This is a definite check.

5.     A practical skill or knack. Can’t get much more practical than something to cover the bed and keep you warm on those cold Maine nights and some people say I have a natural knack for it. Check again.

6.     The quality of being cunning: artfulness. I don’t think this one has anything to do with the subject here, but I don’t want to leave anything out so I’ll answer it anyway. My father used to say I was cunnin’, but that is Maine for “cute” (or at least that’s what I was always lead to believe). However, since it really doesn’t have anything to do with art or quilts, I guess we’ll have to leave it blank.

Now, we’ll go on to the word “Quilt”:

1)    A padded bed covering. Granted this dictionary was dated 1910 and things in the quilt world have certainly changed since then, but I just can’t believe that “art” gets 7 full definitions (don’t forget #1 had an a. and b.) and this is all they can find to describe “quilt”?

If I had to choose a title based on a dictionary’s literal definitions, I would be a fool not to pick the more substantial and far more romantic “Artist” (heck, “Quilter” isn’t even a word in this dusty old book).

So, I think I would have to say that I am an artist who creates quilts. I make them because it makes me happy. I love the whole process; designing, color choice, fabric shopping, pattern play, piecing, appliqué and quilting. I love giving my quilts to friends, relatives and people in need. My grandfather used to say that wood warms you twice: once when you chop it and again when you burn it! That is the way I feel about my quilts.

And as far as quilter vs artist, who says you can’t be both!

So, what do you think? How far have we really come? How far do we want to go? My feeling is there is just as strong a gap between “traditional artist” and “art quilter” as there is between “art quilter” and “traditional quilter”.

Have a very quilty day!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Just in time for the shower!

My daughter is expecting her 2nd (our 3rd grandson) in a few weeks and I finished this little quilt the day before the shower.
I guess I really do work best under pressure. She is an interior designer and is particularly fond of the ROYGBIV rainbow spectrum. I didn’t think she paid that much attention for my penchant for “charm” quilts so I was very proud when she asked “are all the fabrics different?”. (And, yes, they are!) I bought this fabric to make something for my Mom, but I think she was happy that I used it on the back instead. 

I also took a few minutes to make this little kennel quilt for my local quilt group.
We are also doing a name tag swap and I picked Shyla’s name. Our meeting is on Thursday – I hope she likes it! 

Lori (Humble Quilts) is hosting a “Holiday Favorites” blog hop. Head on over to her blog (here) and visit all the great blogs. I hope to glean a little holiday decorating inspiration.

I have but one thing on my Christmas wish list this year. Hey Santa – I want an extra quilting day each week in 2020!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Vintage Patchwork finale - Pride and Prejudice

This is the 12th and final project from my yearlong challenge to make every project in Pam Buda’s “Vintage Patchwork” book. It has been a lot of fun.
The book is designed so that all 12 of these projects can be made from forty 10” squares. I picked out 40 of my favorite fabrics and followed Pam’s clear and concise directions for cutting all 12 projects out at once. Each month’s quilt was neatly packed into a tiny bag and ready for stitching.

Thanks Pam, for a wonderful year of mini projects!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Fun with Barb - star block swap

I was fortunate enough to get in on this year’s “Fun With Barb” block swap. Barb does two swaps, one for modern fabrics and one for reproductions. Both swaps filled the day she announced them. Way to go Barb!

She chose stars this year so how could I say no? I had a ball making these 6” gems. I challenged myself to use fabrics from my scrap bins only. Turns out it was no challenge at all. In fact, after making 40 six inch blocks, I didn’t make a dent!

I see a scrap giveaway in my near future. Stay tuned!  

Friday, November 29, 2019

Barbara Brackman's Hospital Sketches finale

I have enjoyed many of Barbara’s sew-a-longs, but I have to say that this (Hospital Sketches) has been my favorite so far. Please visit the Facebook page to see all the incredibly creativity. I was so anxious to take the photo, I forgot to press it first. I'll try for a better photo if we ever have another sunny day! 
When I decided to make mine in the potholder method, I wasn’t sure what I would do for the borders. Thanks to my friend Cyndi (Busy Thimble) who had just enough of this wonderful Barbara Brackman print to complete the border panels.
It is from the Old Cambridge Pike line and it works perfectly with my pea green background fabric. And, when I say “just enough”, I mean it. After I cut my last piece of binding, this is all I had left! (Please pardon my filthy ironing board cover!)

The appliqued blocks are all hand quilted, but since I wanted to finish this before the end of the year, I decided to machine quilt the borders.
This is so much easier for me in the potholder method as the pieces fly right through the machine! Here's a close up of the corner blocks front and back. 

Since I like to give my potholder quilts names with some reference to cooking, I am calling this one “Pea Soup”. It seems fitting for the background color and I’m quite sure that pea soup would have been served in hospitals during the Civil War.

Once again, with a potholder quilt, the back can be as much fun as the front!

Thanks Barbara for another great sew-a-long!

November mini and a funny story

I just love a “strippy” setting! For my November mini I took a stack of mini 4-patches I had lying around, paired them with this super fabric and voila! It practically made itself. The backing fabric reminded me of turkey feathers. Perfect for November! 

I have many things to be thankful for this holiday season. One of those things is the fact that there are so many of you out there keeping blogging alive. I so enjoy reading about all your fabulous quilts and journeys. Despite this busy holiday month, I have lots of cohorts in this mini madness.  Barb (Fun with Barb) made an adorable modern mini (here). Barbara's (Quilts, Gravestones and Elusive Ancestors) is extremely clever (here). Kyle (Timeless Reflections) finished her "Cinnamon Toast" (here) just before the snow started!  Sandy's (My Material Creations) mini is adorable (here), Randy's (Barrister's Block) serves two purposes as it will be for her new grandson! (here) And, Janet's (Rogue Quilter) is fabulous as always too (here). Thanks for sharing all your wonderful minis! If I have missed you, let me know and I will link you in. 

And, for the funny story… I had an episode this summer which prompted a visit to a cardiologist and his eventual decision to implant a traveling heart monitor (I believe they call it loop recorder in the profession) in my chest. There were 7 people in the operating room for the 10 minute procedure - no wonder health costs are outrageous! The sales rep handed me a box with the sending unit and instruction book. I got home, and started reading the mile long of things to keep clear of the monitor. Most were of no interest to me, but my husband came running as I shouted out “you’ve got to be kidding me”!!
We had a good laugh at the fact that although I do put my heart into the quilts I make, I rarely get closer than 6” to the machine! 

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving! We had a record number this year at 44 (yes, 44!). I am so thankful for our wonderful (and large) family!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

C1880 Quilt Club update

I have been diligently working on my little c1880 blocks.
As I have mentioned before, I traded blocks with the creator of this club, Pam Buda, and my friends, Cyndi (Busy Thimble) and Janet (Rogue Quilter). It was like Christmas to open each package as it arrived. 

 Imagine my surprise when I opened a recent package from Janet and found these little gems! Janet has added a few “Rogue” blocks to her C1880 quilt and has shared these little treasures with me. Those little centers boggle my mind! So, now I cannot wait to start piecing my quilt together so I can find a special place for these babies. 

For more information on the c1880 Club visit the Facebook page (here). Pam's quilt is amazing and there are many other quilters who have finished theirs as well. These little blocks are addicting and I don’t think I will be able to stop making them after my quilt is done!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Barbara Brackman's Hospital Sketches sew-a-long update

All 9 blocks in BarbaraBrackman’s Hospital Sketches sew-a-long are now quilted and bound. The patterns call for an 18” block, but I downsized a bit to finish at 17”.
Now I just need to stitch them together and add the borders and corner blocks.

This is the design I came up with for the corner blocks.
 It looked more than a little naked to me so I added leaves and I like it much better! 

 Once again, I am having trouble capturing this wonderful yellowish green background. These were taken on the same day in different light. The top photo is closest to the true color, but still not perfect. It really is a yummy color!

One of the great things about the potholder method is that the back can be as much fun as the front! 

I hope to have it all pieced together by Christmas. Do visit the Hospital Sketches Facebook Page (here) for all the fabulous variations. I am always amazed at the creativity of quilters! What fun!

Pam Buda's Vintage Patchwork - "Jane"

How cute is this little quilt? This month’s Vintage Patchwork (by Pam Buda) quilt is the smallest yet. Named “Jane” for Charlotte Bronte’s, Jane Eyre, this little piece was so much fun to make. 

 It is interesting how these tiny little pieces seem so distorted before the rows are stitched together. 

To get you copy of Pam’s book visit her blog (here).

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

October mini UPDATE

We finally have power and internet back so I am reposting with many mini additions at the end. You will want to visit them ALL!

I tried to capture the colors of Autumn in an outdoor shot among the leaves. I really need to take a photography class! I found myself humming along with the Munchkins as I stitched, so I am calling it “Fall-O-the Yellow Brick Road”. 

I used one of my favorite “cheater” prints on the back. I believe this was a Mary Koval print from a long time ago. 

I'm posting a day early as I will be "unplugged" tomorrow. Check out the fabulous Fall creations of Kyle and Barbara below and come back to see any possible additions (it is a busy time of year).  You don’t have to be a regular to follow along so if you have made a mini quilt or table runner or even mug rug, let me know and I will link you in.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Barbara Brackman's Hospital Sketches update

This is the 9th and final block in Barbara’s Hospital Sketches sew-a-long. I loved every one of these. Star of the East. 

It will come as no surprise that I have decided to make mine in the “potholder” method.
I hesitated at first as they are large blocks (18”) and I wasn’t sure how I would make my borders. I’m still ironing out the details, but I think I will use a “Barbara Brackman” print for a simple border and add separate appliqued corner blocks. Guess you’ll just have to stay tuned – wink!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Humble Quilts Sting-a-long

Better late than never seems to be my motto lately. However, I am happy to say I have finished my HumbleQuilts string-a-long in just 9 short (ha,ha) months.
This was a big experiment for me. I’ve made over 20 quilts in the potholder method, but this was the first one that is 100% machine made.

The binding was a challenge for me, but I like the overall outcome and it will make a great comfort quilt for the grandkids. Visit Lori's Humble Quilts (here) to see all the great sting flings! Thanks Lori or another fun sew-a-long!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

A wonderful visit and Pam Buda's Vintage Patchwork - October

Vintage Patchwork (by PamBuda) project #10, Gody’s Lady’s Pin Keep. 
This little gem practically made itself! So simple, yet so sweet. I have some great pin cushions from friends that I love. I love this one too, but I am running out of space so I donated it to my group and it was part of the “Quilter’s Walk” raffle at our show. Get your copy of Pam's book 

And, on another note… I had a fantastic day on Saturday with my friend Gladi (Gladi Quilts) shopping and talking quilts at Busy Thimble. Much to my surprise, another friend, Sue Watters was visiting all the way from England!
What a treat to see her! And, she gave me a copy of her new pattern book to make the day even more special.
You can get a copy of Sue’s pattern from Quiltmania (here).

Gladi and I were having so much fun I neglected to take any photos. That is often what happens when I get so wrapped up in the fun! We returned to my house to find that our husband’s (who just met that day) had a great time together too. What a win win day!