Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cool ties in progress

I have started another group of cool ties
 for servicemen and servicewomen in Afghanistan and Iraq
 for the American Legion Auxiliary. 
I should have started sooner....
as summer is already here, but better late than never.
I start with 17 yards of 45" wide 
cotton unbleached woven Moda 200 
which I dye with Tan Rit dye to a safer sand-colored one. 
All 17 yards are ironed and ready for cutting. 
Seven cuts 5" wide from selvedge to selvedge yield 7 Hugs.

Two 6 1/2" cuts from selvedge to selvedge
 (and then cut into 14 - 6 1/2" squares) 
become 7 Kisses. 
Using scissors I round off the corners of the 160 - 6 1/2" squares.

Sew the Hugs along the long side from one end to the other. 
Then at one open end roll the seam into the middle
 and sew across it using a 1/4" seam allowance. 
Using the piece of PVC pipe and dowel, 
I turned the 80 Hugs inside out 
and then pressed over the 1/4" seam allowance at the open end 
and crimped folds 10" from the two ends. 
The crimps are where I will sew 
after the 1/2" teaspoon of Watersorb has been added.

I matched up two circles (Kisses),
 sewed them together using a 1/4" seam allowance
 but leaving a 1" opening for turning,
turned them inside out and pressed them 
while tucking in the 1/4" seam allowances.
 After adding 1/4 teaspoon of Watersorb, 
I sew across the 1" opening to sew them shut. 
They're done.

A Hug,
 a Kiss, 
instructions for soaking
and a Thank You for Your Service 
are slipped into each snack baggie. 

They are all ready for mailing.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tonight I got on a wild hare...

Tonight instead of playing another game or two
of Freecell, Spider Solitaire,
Bridge Baron 19 or Internet Scrabble
while avoiding going to bed,
I decided to create a quilt on Electric Quilt 6.

I view Electric Quilt as a "computer game"
without the violence and with a useful and often lovely outcome.

Tonight I chose this antique quilt
which was made in 1896
and is currently hanging in the Quilt Room
of the Nodaway Valley Histoical Museum
 in Clarinda, Iowa where I am a Board member.

When I looked at my photo, I thought,
 "What a pitiful photo of this quilt!" 

While I worked on it, 
I decided the most appealing aspect of it
 in this photo is the aged antique look. 
It certainly is not the slightly unique, 
but not particularly interesting, blocks. 
But I was not to be deterred, so here it is.

How boring!
So that got me searching for 
and coloring a more interesting block 
and then choosing another nine patch alternate block to complement it. 

After I colored them a couple blues and white, 
I used the "Swap All Colors" tool 
and came up with this color scheme.
I have named this 100" x 100" quilt which has 81 - 9" blocks,
"Clearly you have made your point".

I think it is much more interesting. 
Don't you?

Never one to give up the fight easily and retire to bed,
I decided to reduce the number of blocks
 from 81 to 49 by removing the outside row of blocks, 
revising some of the coloring
 in the alternate blocks along the sides, 
inserting a middle border, 
and enlarging the outer border to 15" 
to keep the quilt at 100" square 
and allow the center 
to fit on the top of my queen-sized mattress 
and only the borders to drop over.

Hmmm, which do you prefer?

I'm glad I skipped my other computer games 
and went for "Electric Quilt."
I always feel more productive. 

If I do decide to make this quilt, 
I can use EQ6 to print off my rotary cutting directions,
 yardages and a printed drawing to select fabrics to match...
or I desire.

I hope you dream of quilts tonight, too.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Can there ever be too many green quilts?

On April 10th my friend Barbara Mills and I 
attended the Iowa Illinois Quilt Study Group 
which met in Kalona, Iowa. 
The focus of the daylong program was 
"Depression Quilts" 
and each of the 60 attendees
 was encouraged to bring two quilts to share with the group.
 I took this photo of two of the antique quilts 
draped over a quilt stand. 

A comment on the caliber of the attendees: 
These women are well-schooled 
and have gathered many quilts in their travels. 
Each time a show of hands was asked for--
"How many of you have a double wedding ring quilt 
at home that you did not bring?"...the tally was at least 23. 
This is coming from 60 ladies. 
This is in addition to the 120+ quilts they brought that day 
which we all oohed and aahed over. 

The attendees were asked the question over and over--
with a change of pattern name--
trip around the world, Sunbonnet Sue or Overall Bill, 
postage stamp, etc. 

I just wanted to rave about this group
 and share a green quilt and as Forrest Gump would say,
 "That is all I am going to say about that."

My friend Lisa Christensen admired this quilt entitled "Maddox".
Now just tell me the green doesn't make it pop!

I just found this next quilt photo 
on the 2010 International Quilt Festival/Chicago 
(actually Rosemont, Illinois) website 
in the SPECIAL EXHIBITS section. 

You may want to check out these 11 special exhibits. 
This quilt which appears in the "Celebrate Spring! 2010" exhibit 
is entitled "Blazing His Own Trail" by Ann Crowl Meyer. 
In addition to being named the Viewer's Choice, 
it was one of the quilts detailed in the VIDEOS section 
(Celebrate Spring exhibit) 
where closer photos 
and interviews of featured quiltmakers were recorded. 
I just love to look at it.
 Don't you?

But to be honest...
not all green quilts are created equal.
I hope my examples have proven that.

If you are not sold yet,
you WILL BE after seeing the next quilt
I made many years ago.

I found the coleus printed fabric
and purchased solid-colored pink and green to go with it.
Mistake #1.

I decided to "fussy cut" a coleus plant for the center
and border it with the green and pink "delectable mountain" blocks.
Mistake #2.

Admittedly this did give me a chance to practice
 the "delectable mountain" blocks which I do like, this a pretty quilt....I don't think so.

The center square looks more like a human heart than a lovely flower.
Hence the name, "Pepto Bismol Beating Heart."

And the border just doesn't do anything for the quilt...
really...what does do anything for the quilt.

So, this is an example of an ugly quilt...
and yet, a quilt which does serve a purpose...
as a warning to others...


So there CAN be too many green quilts!
Learn from my mistakes.
But, of course, we must all make our own mistakes.

 If you have, don't let it break you.
It didn't break me.

I must have made another 30 or 40 quilts since this one.
And almost every one is MUCH better.
Laugh at your mistakes and plan a better quilt.

Until next time,

Monday, May 3, 2010

Going green...

I design all the quilts I want to make on Electric Quilt
before I purchase fabric and begin construction.
Here are drawings of two 100" x 100" green quilts
 I am currently working on.

This one features "deviled eggs on a tray".
So far I have hand appliqued a golden orange yolk
onto each of the 23 egg whites
(made from Kona white cotton).

(Two eggs are missing because...
when have you ever gotten the deviled egg tray 
to the table with all the eggs on it? 
People are always grabbing one off
 as you approach the serving table.)

Now I need to applique the egg whites
onto the large piece of "hostas" background.
Isn't this "hosta" fabric (for the tray) excellent!

My current dilemna is to find a way to keep the hostas
from showing through the egg white fabric.

When this quilt top is completed,
I had planned to stencil "paprika" on the yolks.
Someone recently suggested "pepper" instead,
so now I am considering a second quilt featuring fried eggs on a tray
which I might have to name "Over Easy".
If I do make it,

I would probably have to use some brown/tan striped fabric
and add some 3D rippled bacon strips.
(And yes, I do sleep under all my quilts.)

The next quilt I am prepping for is the sheep in the pasture below.
The sheep will be foundation pieced and sashed
so that they can constantly graze on a lush green grass background.

I hope you are going green, too!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

You just never know...


On March 20, 2010 I was speaking about my quilts
 to a group of women who were visiting Clarinda 
for the National Minneapolis-Moline Collectors Convention. 
In addition to sharing stories about more than thirty other quilts, 
I also chose to set up my 96" x 124" quilt named
 "Holocaust: A Hate Movement" 
in the main area of the Nodaway Valley Historical Museum.
 Since men and women were expected at the Museum that day, 
I thought its message could reach a large group. 
As it turned out, we did have 102 visitors that Saturday.

I shared the messages which are built into the quilt
 through blocks, fabrics, text, dimension, texture and quilting. 
Seventy blocks, chosen for their names 
from The Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns compiled by Barbara Brachman,
tell the story of the Holocaust in chronological order. 

The Nazi swastika block was drafted from a photograph. 
Bright colored prints first released in the 1920's and 1930's 
are featured in the beginning of the quilt. 
At the time when life became precarious, 
only solid-colored fabrics were used. 
The chosen colors were black (hate), red (death), orange (fear), 
brown (Nazi uniforms), dark blue (U.S., British and French flag color) 
and light blue (Israeli flag color). 
The four gray border fabrics represent everyday "normal life" (left), 
ashes blowing in the wind (top), 
ashes in the furnaces (bottom) 
and tendrils of hope growing from the ashes (right).

Blocks pieced with their seam allowances 
on the surface (instead of inside) 
reverse the meaning of the original block name. 
For example, the reversed block "Peace and Plenty" 
depicts the lack of peace and plenty at that time. 
Text such as "Where is God" and "Men to the left, Women to the right" 
documents both memories and agonizing concerns. 
Overall hand quilting in three-inch intervals 
represents the barbed wire fences 
surrounding the extermination and work camps.

In 1991 I was inspired by God 
to make this quilt after visiting Yad Vashem
The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority 
near Jerusalem, Israel. 
Yad Vashem was founded in 1953 by the State of Israel 
to recognize those killed and harmed during the Holocaust 
and to acknowledge those who worked to rescue the survivors.

The software programs Electric Quilt and Blockbase 
were used to design the quilt layout and print templates 
for cutting out the pieces of the blocks. 

The names of the 77 quilt blocks 
are listed in alphabetical order as follows:

American Homes
At the Depot
At the Square
Attic Window
A Victory Quilt
Boxcar Patch
Broken Windows
Brown World
Children Israel
Church Steps
Day and Night
Danger Signal
Father's Choice
Follow the Leader
Ghost Walk
Hide & Seek
Home Again
Hour Glass
Lost Children
Memory Block (seven - each containing one of the texts below)
..."Men to the left, women to the right"
..."Work will make you free"
..."Break the body, break the spirit, break the heart"
..."Where is God"
..."Whatsoever you do to the least of these my brethren, you do unto me"
..."I was only following orders"
..."Never again"
Next Door Neighbor
Nothing Wasted
Our Country
Path Thru the Woods
Peace and Plenty (backwards)
Peaceful Hours (backwards)
President Roosevelt
Prosperity (backwards)
Railroad Crossing
Road to Paris
Rob Peter to Pay Paul
Salute to Loyalty
Secret Drawer
Star of David
The Stockade
Trial and Troubles
Underground Railroad

I am drawn to tell stories about my quilts. 
This one has been the most difficult so far. 
In addition I have found that remembering history
opens my eyes to the current lack of justice and peace
in so many areas of our world.

 Keep your eyes open. 
Be courageous and speak up. 
You just never know when you might make a difference. 

Do you know of a venue which would welcome 
a short term display of this eye-opening quilt with a serious message?


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Surfing in new waters

This week while surfing, I discovered Rocky Mountain Quilts
(which is located in Maine) which sells spectacular antique quilts.

I have included a few, but they have dozens and dozens....
maybe hundreds...of eye-popping quilts grouped by centuries and types such as
Amish, Crazy, African American, Blue and White Quilts, Silk Quilts, 20th Century Quilts, etc.
If you are wishing to be inspired, consider surfing, too!

Surfing in new waters

I created this 100" x 100" quilt
(with slightly different inner borders)
after viewing a photo of an antique quilt online.
As you can see, green is a powerful draw for me yet.
What would you use to make the 378 half square triangles--
Triangle Paper, Wonder Ruler or traditional methods?

Also I discovered two more websites of interesting quilts.
On the BBC website I found information about England's
Victoria and Albert Museum current show of quilts from 1700-2010.
Check out the hexagon quilt probably made by a sailor.

Below is the website where you can view the winners of the
Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2010 and 2009.

You know I loved the quilt entitled "Variations of Green" by Chinami Terai
which appeared with the 2009 winners.

Keep quilting--in your style and with your favorite colored fabrics--or not.
Whatever you choose, I hope you have a lovely spring!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jacob's Extension Ladder

Perhaps you know by now that I like to find quilts that interest me and recreate them on Electric Quilt. Check out this 1870-1890 Jacob's Ladder quilt on the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.

What intrigued me about the antique quilt was there were four Jacob's Ladder blocks in "the" block. First I recreated the quilt up to 100" square in pretty much the colors of the original. However, notice that I did not use half blocks in the top and bottom rows.

 I found this drawing pretty boring. It was hard to appreciate the block. 
 It had popped in the antique quilt, but not in the drawing. 
 When I look back at the original and this drawing, I don't find much different. 
 I think I thought the original quilt's blocks popped because I zoomed in on them.
 But meanwhile, I decided to spice up the colors.

Actually I still don't like it. 
 As it is now, I wouldn't be willing to make it.
What is wrong? 
 Leave a comment if you know what I should do differently. 
 We can all use help. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I believe a skunk just cozied up to my basement window

There is an amazing "skunk" stench wafting through my basement window. Definitely time to go to bed. Sadly, my bedroom windows are directly above this basement window.

Here is one more quilt from the International Quilt Study Center website circa 1900-1920.

Isn't this a lovely two-color quilt? I hope you see beauty this week...and don't have a skunk near your basement window!


Interesting border with Union Star

I found another interesting quilt on the International Quilt Study Center and Museum website dated from 1875-1895.

I think it is interesting because the "unknown" quilter chose not to predictably have a sashing border. Instead "he or she" chose to allow the blocks to float on the outer white border.

I enjoy a quilt that shows someone chose not to take the typical path, but instead to try something new.

Courage always catches my eye. I hope you or someone you see this week chooses to stretch artistically.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Treasure trove of quilts to inspire you

I was surfing on the International Quilt Study Center and Museum website and found this quilt in their amazing collection.

So I went to my Electric Quilt 6 program and recreated the quilt and resized it to 101.5" square. What an attractive quilt with my favorite details....triangles and flying geese blocks. I think I am going to have to make this one!

This week I hope you find an inspiration that you choose to dream about.


Saturday, February 27, 2010


I found some leftovers in My Pictures and had to share them with you because they are related to the last two blogs. The colors chosen are more edgy.

I think the pumpkin and white is very peaceful.
Hmmmm, all I can think about is pumpkin pie with Cool Whip. Guess I am hungry.

Onto the green and pink quilt which is saying "Look at me!!!" Those large stars in the corners are quite demanding.

It is hard to believe both quilt drawings (on Electric Quilt) are sized to 100" square.
They each have such a different feel.

These are crazy quilts and I am a crazy quilter. It is almost 3:30 a.m. I must go to bed.
Hope you are more prudent.


Inspiration redirected

If you read the last blog, you saw a quilt in five different color settings.

Now you are seeing that quilt revised into a circle of stars around a center double star.

I ended up making the white and red "Stars in a Circle" shown below. The 100" x 100" quilt contains only 17 blocks (18 of you count the "center" of the center star.)

I think this is a wonderful quilt for a gift. To me it represents family gathered around in a celebratory mood for a wedding, anniversary, graduation, whatever.

I hope you have the courage to revamp a quilt design to tell your story. It makes the quilt "yours" in every sense of the word.

Variations on a theme...Stars in a circle

In 2007 (I believe) I went to the Machine Quilting Symposium in Overland Park, Kansas. The winning quilt looked something like this one...white with yellow stars. It was, of course, quilted beautifully, but it was the star layout that really caught my eye.

I went to my computer and using Electric Quilt I designed it in several colors. Here is periwinkle and white.

White with pink stars.

White with green and then green with white.
Which is your favorite?
I must confess that each one is special, but the darker ones really interest me the most.
Whether it is the stars, the moon or the sun (and its sunshine)--I hope you see something outdoors that sparks your imagination and appreciation today.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Quilt inspiration from the movie "Baby Boom"

Do you remember the art work behind Diane Keaton when she was sitting in her New York apartment in the movie "Baby Boom"? I have been trying to think of a quilt I could make to display on my living room wall. It has to be compact and more modern (definition: less traditional) and this "quilt idea" came to mind.

I have changed the background to blue and green, kept the same bright colors and tweaked the borders. That gives me more to think about. I want to use quilts in my home, but haven't found the "right" mix yet in the traditional floorplan.

I hope you can find just the right quilt to make next.

Say cheese!

For some reason I am totally into orange lately. Maybe it is all the gray skies here in Iowa. Maybe it is the lack of it in the colors of our clothing. Whatever the reason it is speaking to me.

So I went into Electric Quilt 6 and designed and colored a two color quilt with white and orange....and then orange and white.

Which do you prefer? Doesn't it remind you of "Dreamsickles"? Perhaps you knew of them as "Pushups"--vanilla ice cream coated with orange sherbet (or as we said..sherbert).

Hmmm...would these quilts keep you warm or cause you to shiver as you slept under them....not sure.

Perhaps this pink one would warm you up more.
That is what I love about quilting....the emotional connection to color and design.
I hope you have a warm quilt on your bed tonight. Sleep well and dream of the colors in your life.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Not a baaaaad quilt idea

This is my latest quilt idea. I keep thinking of the movie "Babe" and "Baa-ram-ewe! Baa-ram-ewe! To your breed, your fleece, your clan be true. Sheep be true! Baa-ram-ewe!" which I quoted on the NSQG bus to Paducah when we watched the DVD.
Each of the sheep has 17 pieces in the block. I'm not sure if I will paper piece or use templates. The ear and tail will be sewn, turned inside out and slipped into a seam line. The eye will be a button.
Doesn't it make you feel peaceful? It would be ANOTHER 100" x 100" quilt. I'm sure I would have sweet dreams.
I hope you have sweet dreams tonight, too.
Night, night,

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A tisket, a tasket, white with blue basket

Here is a photo of a lovely full sized Depression era basket quilt which I took at the quilt show at the Shenandoah Historical Museum in September, 2009. I drafted a queen/king on Electric Quilt 6 and added a inner border to float the blocks more. In addition I changed the setting from alternate white blocks to white sashing. I have to make more blocks, but I chose that method.

Then I flipped the basket colors and actually like the white baskets on blue, too. I am a sucker for two color quilts. How about you?

Then I got to thinking...why didn't I like the plain alternate blocks? So I reworked the quilt a bit more and here it is in white with blue baskets and then blue with white baskets. Leave a comment if you have a preference.

I love to give my opinion. Don't you?