Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Recent Aquisition...

*NOTE* Please click on the pics to get the BIG PICTURE!!

Several weeks ago I was contacted by a lady in Florida who was friends with an older gentleman who was looking for a purchaser for a couple of family quilts that had been passed down.

How she found me, I have no idea, but she put us in touch with each other and sent pictures of these quilts which blew me away!

I want to share this one with you today, saving the other one for another time because I think there are too many pictures to cram all into one post!

I emailed Richard on the quilt history, trying to gather as much info as I could to keep with the quilts, and this is what he sent:

I'll tell you all I know, which is very little. They were kept in the cedar chest and seldom saw the light of day. Being of the male gender I couldn't care less. When both parents passed away the cedar chest went to N.J./N.C./ and finally Fla. I think they were made in early 1900's in Washington County. 24 miles from Pittsburgh,PA. Probably in an area called Mingo Creek which is now called Finleyville or Crookham. The main family involved was ADAMS. The McFeelys may have been involved. (My mothers maiden name.) That's about all I have. If any thing else comes to my mind I'll let you know.

Well....Richard could be about 50 years off or more. They are second half of 1800s by what we can gather from the style and the type of quilting used on them. And wait til you see the NEXT one! (How's that for a teaser?!?)

These quilts showed up on my door step the day before I left for Pennsylvania and it was VERY FUN to be teaching in the same area that these quilts originated. I brought the quilts with me hoping to get some information from other quilt historian friends at the Hershey show....My breakfast partner just happened to be Pepper Cory, and she ended up using these as examples in her Quilt Marking class! So it was a double win, she helped me with some info...and her excitement over the quilts intensified my own, letting me know that I had really stumbled upon some treasures.

We are not sure if the quilts are made by the same maker...the stitches in the "Other" quilt I'll show you in a future post are a bit smaller, but it could have been made earlier in the quilter's life. Also, the batting in THIS one is thicker, which can account for stitches not being as small, right? the binding on this one....could have been a replacement binding. It's quite wide, and doesn't fill to the edge of the binding..it's not showing the quality of workmanship that was evident in both the applique and the hand quilting...why would a quilter who was THIS skilled put on a sloppy binding? So maybe....we'll never know! But it is fun to wonder!

This Appliqued "Peony" for lack of a better word has 9 blocks, and the green fabric was most likely a blue over dyed with yellow....the yellow has faded away leaving a teal color that is crocking a bit. If you look on the back of the quilt, you can see where the yellow dye settled around the applique motifs on the backside, nearly outlining them in pale yellow in the stitching lines.

The quilting in the blocks is executed in triple rows followed by a negative space, then another group of triple rows...the borders and wide sashings are crosshatched.

I just can't stop looking at these and running my hands over them! I was also able to show them to my friend Mary Koval (She came to the show on Saturday with her grandson...what a cutie pie!)and she also confirmed that they were definitely PA quilts (or made by someone from that area who quilted in that style) so again, I was thrilled with the confirmation that indeed, these were a treasure and I was so lucky to have them!

Little by little life is getting "back to normal" around here. I returned home on Wednesday evening as you know...Thursday I had some extensive dental work, so that day was pretty much a wash out. Yesterday was mostly an office work day, getting caught up on book orders and updating my calendar and taking care of piles of stuff that had accumulated over 10 days gone.

Last night I finished the last hanging sleeve on the quilts to ship out to Kansas City Star for photography! They are boxed up and ready to go to Fed Ex today, tomorrow, monday...doesn't matter, I'm ahead of the game at this point!

I'm headed to the Kansas City Area on the 8th! Whoot! on the 13th....we'll be doing the photo shoot for the next book and I get to BE THERE! This has me so pumped because it's always been a "ship and wait" kind of thing..and now I'll get the experience of being there, being a part of it...this will rock!

My laptop quit on me while I was in PA....so...I'm doing the win7 upgrade hoping it will fix everything. I saved all the photo files and all the documents to my external drive, and I'm hoping this upgrade will get me a couple years more use out of this poor laptop. I hate that technology is so disposable anymore...we need a new cell phone every how often? (this one is 1.5 years old..so I'm keeping it til it dies) and how often do we need a new computer, a new tv, a new EVERYTHING?!?

Don't get me wrong, I love technology...I love the advancements. I just hate the waste of the stuff that is obsolete.

And I've rambled on long enough....if you made it this far, thanks for listening in! I appreciate the comments on yesterday's post about the Canadian border issues. It's a hard decision to make. It has nothing to do with my love for the Canadian quilters, some who have become very close friends! It does have everything to do with bureaucracy, incompetence of officers on BOTH sides and the hassle factor that needs to be minimized in my life. At some point...I need to draw the line where jumping through flaming hoops is concerned.

The jury is still out, but I'm waiting anxiously on the sidelines to see what other designers and quilting instructors are doing to combat the insanity.

Friday, July 30, 2010

With Sad Heart....

It is with deep regret that I feel compelled to cancel my visits to Canada in 2012

I am not sure if you are aware of the recent troubles with bringing quilts for show across US/Canadian borders. This past spring, a Canadian designer was forced to deface her quilts by writing "SAMPLE" across the front of all her quilts on the way to quilt market. The quilt world is in upheaval. If I were that quilter, I would have turned around and gone home rather than deface my quilts. Please see here: http://daphnegreig.blogspot.com/2010/05/quilt-market-report.html

The last time I traveled to Canada, I had a tough time getting 2 bags of quilts back OUT of the country at the airport on my way back to the US.

My heart is sick, I was really looking forward to these trips, but at this time, I can't risk the hassles that have been coming from border customs.

The trunk show is too valuable to me to ship it ahead of time and most of the time I don't have the convenience of enough time between guild dates to have it out of my hands...I go from one to the other without enough time to ship in between. Not to mention that shipping 100lbs of quilts would be of great cost to the guilds involved.

I regret that I am leaving Canadian guilds with big holes in their 2012 calendars. I hope that my letting you know NOW instead of later will enable you to find someone to fill these spots. And I hope in the future, if things ease up on quilters, that I'll be able to visit you again!

I've sent email to all the guild chairs involved, but I wanted any guild members who hear of my cancellation to know WHY...and to understand from my end too.

In Stitches---

PS...I also want it understood that it was a US TSA Agent who enforced the defacing of the quilts in Daphne's case. My previous trouble returning from Winnepeg last year was with Canadian officials at the airport.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I made it home in 8 hours, door to door from Kathie's house in Pittsburgh, PA to my own home in Wallburg, NC....I thought it would take longer! But then I didn't stop anywhere other than to fill up with gas and visit the facilities...just couldn't make myself even pull over for an antique mall or a gorge view overlook photo op in West Virginia....just...KEEP ON DRIVING!

I've got a week before I teach in Asheboro NC, and I am so excited to be visiting local quilters! That's only an hour down the road and I love those ladies down there!

This week's goal is to get the next book quilts ALL LABELED and ready to ship to Kansas City for the photo shoot on Aug 13th. They need to be shipped ahead of time because I can't carry those AND the trunk show on the plane with I go there on the 8th.

I've been thinking a lot about labels....and while computer generated looks great...more and more as I study antique quilts I am leaning to grabbing a micron pigma pen and just writing on the back of the quilt....it can't be removed that way....it will have MY handwriting on it to tell the story.

I just think that over time we will lose the intimate connection to a person's signature if everything is printed out in computer font all the time.

My mom still writes letters. She writes hand written notes and letters to all of her 8 kids, and all the grand kids in turn...I have stacks of her letters and I love seeing her handwriting on an envelope. I also know that inside that envelope there will be cartoons cut out of magazines she knows will bring a smile to my face, and there will be a stick of gum wrapped in a dollar bill. And I am always so excited to see it come!

So here we are in the information age, and we are great on communication by email, by text, by phone calls,by internet chat.....but all of our contacts are electronic and gone with a click of the delete button.

What about that stack of love letters? Remember those, the ones you saved? (if you did) Do kids save anything now? How personal can it be when it isn't written by that person's hand? How can we reflect back to it if we just reply and delete, reply and delete..poof, it's gone? That is....unless it is on twitter, then it goes into the library of congress? O_o

This is just something I've been thinking about as I face labeling these 12 quilts ready for the next book. Hand writing. Personal signatures. That connection with that person from years ago long gone. The stories that quilts and letters and personal memoirs leave behind for those who come after......what do our own signatures and handwriting tell about who we are?

Or doesn't it matter any more??

Monday, July 26, 2010

In between gigs....

It has been a go go go go go kind of week! Hard to believe it's Monday and I left Tuesday, and I haven't had one minute to post an update! How can that be?

Well, Tuesday I was on the road all day. And
I do LOVE being on the road all day.....Sites to see, places to go! And heading toward these mountains? Bliss!

I take some back roads to get me on 220 up toward Roanoke, VA. I get so excited when I start seeing the Blue Ridge appear in front of me!

Roanoke is one of my favorite small cities. It has a vibrant downtown district, unique shops, great restaurants, and I was hankering to visit a place that I went to on a past trip, maybe 8 years ago. EIGHT YEARS? Would it still be there?

I parked here...just below the historic Hotel Roanoke, and went up into the walkway that goes across the train yards:

There is my little car viewed from the walkway windows...

and on down the escalators to the other side! It was about 150 degrees in that walkway...it was a HOT DAY!

And on to the streets!

And the place I remembered, the place I was hankering for....was still there!

Back in the car.....a couple more hours up the road, and tom tom took me up to Harrisonburg, VA and to the Virginia Quilt Museum!

Even the logo had my palms sweating! I couldn't wait to get inside and see the collection.

I couldn't take pics inside, but I will tell you that it was well worth the drive and the visit to see the beautiful antique quilts. I've got two books of Virginia quilts, and to see these in person was just such a thrill.

The museum was open til 5...and I pushed the limits on my welcome I am sure! From then on....I drove on up to Lancaster, found a place to stay for $45. Yes. $45.

Now this is funny. It said breakfast included...which to me meant maybe cereal, yogurt, fruit. In fact, it was a loaf of white bread and a toaster!! No kidding! Breakfast? well...for $45 a night, I could afford to wait until I got to the Amish Bakery and really make it worth my while (There was no jam for the bread either, just butter...lol!!)

I'll continue on later...this was just my travels for Day 1!

Remember to set your watches for Pat's radio show today!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Live...from Pennsylvania!

It's the Pat Sloan Show!!

And you can listen in! Every Monday at 4pm EST she broadcasts her Creative Talk radio show.

I'll be the featured guest of the SECOND HALF of the show on Monday, July 26th! You won't want to miss it!

After it is taped, the show will be on her page at the radio station FOR-EVER! You can listen online or download it when you have time (which I HOPE is right away!).

I'll also link to the show archive here on my blog and on my website so if you miss it (wrong time zone or life just got in the way, we know how it goes..)you'll be able to listen in.

Be sure to go to Pat's Blog on the July 26th post....

Leave a comment telling her your favorite part of my interview!

Stay tuned for more info!

I left the Hershey show this morning, and will be teaching in Pittsburgh this week. It's been SUPER hot, but super fun as well! I know this is a short post, but I wanted to get the radio show info up here so that you'd be sure to listen in!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fixing The Train Wreck...

Sunday, while quilting "Welcome Home"....I had a bit of an accident - - a TRAIN WRECK of an accident! And I was commiserating this fact (While keeping any "cursing like a sailor" type adjectives out of my posts)on the Quiltville Friends Page on facebook.

What happened? Weeeeeeeeeeeellll...best as I can tell, the machine was humming along while I watched, and it hit a thick spot. The needle snapped, but the machine keeps going, and that broken needle shaft just kept poking holes in the quilt, breaking the fabric threads and making a general mess of things while I fumbled for the OFF button and got the machine to come to a full stop. It doesn't just instantly stop...it's got some momentum going, you know? And whammo. TRAIN WRECK.

This prompted a whole discussion on how I was going to fix the train wreck. Applique something? Well...there really isn't any way to do a "recognizable" something that close to the edge, but I could add a strip and wonky that area up as if it was originally pieced that way.

I could then quilt OVER the added area just as if it had always been there from the start. And that's what I did.

First, I went back and finished quilting the whole quilt. Took it out of the machine, and squared it up.

I found a 3.5" scrap strip of red that was just the ticket. I left myself a bit of raw edge, so that after stitching (yes through the whole quilt, the hanging sleeve was going to cover everything anyway)I could turn the raw edge right where the seam between the two blocks was.

After the strip was sewn, flipped, pressed and the raw edge turned and pinned, I simply appliqued that one turned edge in place along the block seam.

After removing the pins and pressing again, I took the quilt to the mat and trimmed off the excess strip even with the quilt edge.

Load Bernina with the fuscia thread, snap on the free motion quilting foot, and fill in the newly added area with stitching to blend in with the previous quilting. This was a challenge! My home machine skills are not as even as my compuquilter!! Good thing it was in an area where my herky-jerky stitching will not be THAT visible. Besides..the quilt now has a STORY right?

I already had my binding picked out...a black with a tealy-blue vine stripe. Cool. Put the binding on the quilt, going right over the train wreck area to further disguise it!

Apply Hanging Sleeve...which does a perfect job of hiding where the broken needle shaft had pushed pokies of batting through the broken thread holes. Yep...Hanging Sleeve to the rescue! (Isn't this a cool batik too? It's been in the stash forever. It has kind of a rough texture, so I'm glad to find it a home!)

Shot of quilting detail! I love this panto! This is "Paisley" by Darlene Epp. I had just finished quilting the LAST quilt for the book with this pattern and loved it so much I couldn't wait to use it again on the "Welcome Home" quilt. It is quilted with Fuscia...yes Fuscia...which blends into the reds well, and travels through the other colors quite nicely too!

I love looking at my life through fabric! Because of this train wreck, I was able to get up close and personal to what I had put in this quilt clear back in October...

I made this spacer section out of leader/ender 4 patches..and look what is in here! That pink calico that shows up every once in a while in my bins of precut squares and pieces. I made a DRESS out of this for my 2nd date with my hubby back in May of 1981. When I got married, the scraps came with me. You've come a long way baby!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Update on Baskets!

Some several someones have stated that Alex Anderson has a book with these kinds of baskets that finish at 4.5"

Hapsew Writes:
Hi Bonnie:
Your border looks great! It is perfect! How clever to use half square triangle blocks in the corners!

I started making baskets like those a number of years ago and the pattern was called Postage Stamp from Alex Anderson's book "Quilts for Fabric Lovers". The baskets are 4 1/2".
So there ya go folks! I think if you want to make some, there is a source for you. Oh, the lunch hours I spent in massage school appliqueing all those basket handles. Oh, the funny looks I got from other "much younger than me" students who thought I was fit for the looney bin!

Great memories, each and every one.

I just finished writing the LAST pattern for the book. I'm breathing a sigh of relief here! I'm packing and getting ready to leave for Hershey..I'm still unsure if I'm leaving tomorrow morning to give myself an extra day up around Lancaster...(oh, I am so sorely tempted!!!) or if I'm going to get up at the bum-crack of dawn on Wednesday and do it all in one shot. It's so nice to be home, I'm a bit reluctant to leave!

Basket Border DONE!

I did end up keeping the inner border. It did reflect the gold baskets in the center, and there was not a whole awful lot of gold in the pieced piano key border....I didn't want something that stood out too much on its own, but was distinct enough from the brown to float the center a bit.

In the mornings, the best place for a photo shoot is off the 2nd story deck at the back of the house! Shade trees prevent too much light from coming in, and colors just look really great when I take pics out there. I ended up cutting half square triangles from the left over lengths of border, sewing them into 1/2 square triangle corners, and inserting them as a mitred border. It took less border length to do it this way than the traditional way which can leave a lot of waste. I didn't want to have to piece MORE border just to get those corners mitered the other way, you know?

Several have asked for the pattern for this quilt. I don't have it. What I had from lucy was a piece of paper with the size of pieces to cut and a little plastic template thing to use as a guide for drawing the line on the background for handle placement. Oct 2004? That's about 6 years ago folks. I have moved since then, I don't know where it is, but I know there are lots of mini basket patterns out there.

If you know someone that has EQ..you can easily print a basket block or draw one..in any size you like.

I set these baskets 12 X 15...so there are 180 baskets in this little ditty that turned out not so little! I think it is going to be too big to fly with, but it could go on driving trips with me....just need to get it backed and basted!

Right now I'm typing on my knees because someone has stolen my chair and won't give it back! Oscar has never been one to play with cat toys...you try to get him to play and he just looks at you like "WHHATTT!?" But a length of ribbon..he goes nuts!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

More from Sisters!

This is your usual disclaimer! When at a show, I take pics of what catches my eye. It might not be what catches YOUR eye! And it might not be the whole quilt..just bits and parts of a border, an alternate block, a color combo, some quilting detail...it might not make a lot of sense to ANYONE but me on why I have these photos! *LOL*

(Kind of like trying to explain why you have that "ONE SONG" on your ipod that needs explaining.. :c| For me that would be a song from the "Wedding Singer" soundtrack..LOL!)

Sisters Oregon 2010-2

There were LOVELY quilts at the show, and I really enjoy walking through the teachers tent area and seeing that up close and personal.

As usual too..I think I have more photos in the album than you can do in one slide show, so the slide show is incomplete..you need to click through to the actual album to see them all..and it's worth it :c)

The best thing for me....one of the reasons I truly love going to Sisters, besides the absolutely most obvious reason, the fabulous women I quilt with, who ARE like Sisters to me...is that the Sisters show is completely and totally UN-JUDGED. There are no prizes. It's just quilts for the love of quilting..plain and simple. And you do see quilts from plain and simple all the way up to fantabulously outrageous...and everything in between. It's a breath of fresh air with no pretension.

Okay, and it's the smell of kettle corn in the air and all the other goodies too!

So I hope you enjoy the pics, get a feel for what it's all about, and make a promise to yourself that you will make it to Sisters, Oregon...always the 2nd Saturday in July. It's never rained on that day, you know? Not EVER! Not in the 30 years they've been having this show. That is the wonder of central Oregon in mid July. Hot and dry and wonderful.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Back in October...

There was THIS POST!


And I think it's time to put it on the machine. It's ripe! :cD I've pulled some batiks and funkies from the stash to piece a back...

But wait! What about the piano keys? Well...once I get the "Welcome Home" quilt stitching away, I can multi task and put on the piano key borders on the basket quilt, and then write some pattern instructions....followed by binding....

You see, I've got it all planned out, and if I'm not doing at least 4 things at once, I'm not happy. LOL!!!

I'm toying with either fuscia or orange thread for the houses...hmmm!

Oh yes, and webshots (isn't it funny how when I type that, it typos into websh!ts? AUUGH!)is busily uploading the rest of the pics from Sisters...it's taking its own sweet time, so that is probably another post for another day.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Lots of responses! I didn't think I'd wake up to so many!

I guess when it comes to things like this, everyone has an opinion. Most loved the piano keys, some did not.

Some thought the border was too scrappy for the baskets which were more formal (that never bothered me! *LOL* Lots of the baskets are from recycled shirt fabrics!)

The baskets finish at 3.5". SO using these baskets in the corners would cause a drafting issue...I don't have extra baskets, and I don't want to make more.

Some thought the border was too wide? I don't do skinny borders unless the quilt is very small. I tend to go with a border that finishes between 4" & 6" Which is neither too narrow or too wide for "most" quilts..occasionally I will go wider if the quilt is really big and I have something I am doing with the corners. This border is cut 5". Remember, the border has not been sewn to the quilt yet. I'm going to lose 1/4" in that seam, and another 3/8" hidden under the binding...and it will shrink up a bit in quilting. It will finish at a bit under 4.5" wide. I don't think that is too wide at all.

I'm not crazy with the baskets in the corners idea. I think it is far too "designed" for the look I'm going for...

4.5" finished blocks brings my mind instantly to all those Dear Jane blocks...that's the size they finish. But I don't know if I WANT blocks in the corners. Again...very symmetrical, very planned.

Some liked the inner border, some did not! Again, It's a personal preference thing. I've laid lots of things over that inner border, and there is NOTHING that sings against that brown...NOTHING! I thought of a light shirting because the block backgrounds are light..but it disappeared into the piano keys.

And it is to the point of "how much work" do I want to put into this thing......I may as well de-construct the whole thing and get rid of that BROWN at this point! That is probably the only thing that would make me totally happy, but I'm not willing to do that.

SO....My mind goes back to all those wonderful antiques I saw at the Sisters show. How many people would have said "too brown" or "too blue" or "too red" to those wonderful quilts?

That is probably why that wonderful quilt with the bright solid cheddar background was STILL THERE this year....is there such a thing as too much cheddar?! (No, i think it had to do with the price!)

How many of us would have said "oh, I would remove that border, not crazy about it, it's the wrong width"..or instead, like me...would we just enjoy them for the quirky vintage quilts they were, intrigued at the choices the unknown maker used in putting her quilt together?

These are the things going through my mind. I'm not looking for something that is perfect for someone else....I'm looking for something that is perfect for me :c)

And I DO love these mini baskets. I DO love the memories from when Lucy and I were trading the little cut out pieces....stuffed envelopes in the mail! I loved how when she came to visit me that first time, we sat at my kitchen table and sewed and sewed.

Up Late....

But only by East Coast standards? If I'm still on Pacific time it's only 9:22pm! Yeah..I'm still struggling with this time zone thing!

So......how many of you have been hanging around with me since the "EARLY" days? Do you remember when I started massage therapy school?

Do you remember when Lucy and I exchanged cut out pieces for these baskets for THIS quilt?!?

I spent tonight taking off the outer brown border. It never sat right with me. I'm not crazy about the inner gold border...but I think it can stay. It was just WAYYYYYY too brown for me, and I still feel that way. Don't get me wrong. I like brown. But it was Brown Over Kill. I'm a color girl! I like things quirky and colorful, and too much brown was just too much.

I toyed with the idea of what to do...do I want to do half square triangles? No, that actually means CUTTING and SEWING something.

Did I want to do just a different color border? Nope...still too blah for all the scrappiness going on with these adorable baskets.

Then it hit me.....there is a rather LARGE suitcase still sitting in my living room, as of yet unpacked. :c/ I ran up there and dug out the extra long length of piano key border that was left over from the Sister's Oregon quilt top I finished last week....

TADA!! What do you think? Does it add enough spark, enough color to the outside edge of this boring brown thing?! Please say yes, but please MEAN IT!

Because right now I'm too tired to think of anything else. I just want this to be right. Maybe I can do some kind of corner block? Something Something?

I'm going to leave it lay here over night and go dream on it some more. I'd love to start the hand quilting on this....Maybe it will look better by morning light!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Feel Like THIS!

LOL! This is the little guy that was passed out next to me on one of my flights home. I know just how he felt! Red eye flights home always make me feel weird for a couple of days, but I'm doing better today.

I arrived in Charlotte around 6:45 am, and then had to drive home from there, about 100 miles. I was listening to a book on MP3 to keep me awake, but you know what? I can't remember what was going on in the story! I even left the bags in the car, and just came in, kicked off my shoes, peeled off my clothes, slid between the sheets with two kitties purring, one on either side, and slept for another 5 hours.

Needless to say, no uploading or editing got done between the show and yesterday's early morning arrival home. So I spent some time today uploading the shots from my favorite part of the Sister's show...the antique vendors area!

sisters oregon antiques 2010

There are a ton more pics than would fit in the slide show, so be sure to click through to the album and view them there. SO MUCH INSPIRATION! As much as I love the show, and I do...nothing compares to the viewing and handling of the antique quilts. NOTHING. It's just where my heart is at.

This quilt top just had to come home with me:

It is wonderfully wonky, and the fabrics in it are just terrific!

And THIS little goodie!

He was just too cute to pass up....just jumped right into my shopping bag (after paying for him of course!) What's one more vintage toy machine? It's a vice...I know..we all have them...but I like these guys! He needs a little mini quilt, don't you think?