Friday, February 29, 2008

Calgon take me away

Please tell me I'm not the only one who remembers that commercial. The woman in the lovely bubble filled tub who is blissfully soaking while images of all the other stuff going crazy around her float around her head? I want that Calgon moment (without having to use calgon actually, nothing wrong with it, just kind of makes my skin itch). I especially want it since my day, which was all planned out, has so not gone as I wanted it to today.

I had a whole list of things that needed to get done today. Bank. Library. Post office. Grocery store. Job applications (time to look for employment for the fall if you are a teacher, which is what I have been doing all week). All so that I could be done with that list by sometime around 2:00 which would have given me time to tackle my sewing area. It's a disaster. If I was quick, I would even have had time to, gasp, sew today. Oh bliss.

And for those of you who don't believe me when I say how awful my sewing area currently is? (gwen, Nan, you know who you are) Um, let me show you JUST how bad it is. You see, I went out of town for five (only five really) days. My sewing "room" is also the eat-in dining room/kitchen. Now I did leave in a hurry and there were a few (just a few mind you) things piled here when I left. But, well, I came back to this. And -- in the just over a week and 1/2 since I've been back? Um -- I may have added just a bit to it (just a little mind you). But -- well, hey -- I've had a sick kid, a job fair, etc. going on.

Oh yeah, and I've had to work on digging out the REST of the house (trust me folks, those photos I'm scared to take -- the health department may just come and threaten to take Miss Tink away for her own safety). Now, some of this mess is mine, I will admit. But -- um, I don't remember putting the stuffed fish in my chair. Or the Olivia books hanging out there either. Hmmn...I wonder who thought that would be a good place for those things to hang out? I'm thinking she's adorable and about 3 feet tall, but still...

And just for yucks, how about a photo from the other side? If you squint really hard and look closely enough you MIGHT be able to see some fabric hanging out there. Maybe. I know there's a cutting mat somewhere under there as well -- somewhere. Where? I'm not entirely certain -- oh wait, I do see a small corner of it peeking out. Ah, good, it does still exist. I was beginning to wonder.

And Libby's challenge to show our ironing boards on our blogs? Yeah -- I was thinking about that one -- and then realized that THIS is the state of my ironing board. I'll cop to the Target bags (thanks Suzanne for telling me about them -- reusable and a whole $.99 each -- wooo hooo). But, um, -- while I like Tinkerbell (the fairy as opposed to Miss Tinkerbell whom I love to pieces) -- the purse so does NOT match my ensemble. Any of my ensembles. Again, I wonder who it could belong to?

Though, since I was taking pictures I did manage to shove aside move a few things to take a photo of the actual state of the pressing surface. It's not too bad really, then again -- this is just the wear since December when I replaced the darned cover. I go through about one new cover ever six months or so. I usually stick with the plain duck cloth covered ones because -- well, I destroy them. The last one went to ironing board cover heaven because of the holes I had burned through it. Yep -- I do love me some steam, but, well, um, it does take its toll.

So -- why am I here asking for a Calgon moment rather than working on the huge honking mess that used to be my sewing area? Or better yet -- done with the decontamination clean-up and blissfully sewing away? Miss Tinkerbell herself. I've spent the better part of my day at one Dr.'s office or another trying to have them find one of these. No, not the penny. The green thing. It's one of my knitting stitch markers. Lovely little things, soft, simple. Great. I love it for marking stitches for my knitting.

So where were Dr.'s looking for it? Um, yeah, that would be up Miss Tink's nose. Go ahead. Laugh. I know I've been doing a lot of it today. There is a point at which things are so absurd you have to laugh. Right before leaving for daycare this morning she announced that she had shoved it up her nose. My husband looked, I looked, couldn't see it. Ok, off to convenient care. Um, yeah, you remember that place right? Only this time, since I had a 2 year old to entertain, no knitting. UGH. And then, the convenient care Dr. couldn't find it either. Referral to the ear, nose throat specialist. Nope, not seeing it. So, a lovely scope (which I explained to Tink as a camera up her nose). All the while folks are asking -- are you sure she did it? And bad mother that I am -- "um, sure, I guess so" I'm taking the word of a 2 yo here folks. While the nose stuffing was occurring, I was upstairs throwing on my jeans and getting ready to drop her off at daycare -- I wasn't actually present. My husband was with her. On the plus side for the toddler's story -- she's pretty specific (pointed to which nostril and very sure about what color it was) oh, yeah, and my husband totally believed her so -- I'm going with it. When she's making up things -- usually it's NOT something she's going to get in trouble for. So, nothing on the scope either. Best guess is that she sniffed it back to her throat and has since swallowed it. Ok, so we get to (oh yuck) keep on eye on the poop situation and see if it comes out the other end. Fun. (we also get to keep an eye on her "booger" production and make sure it didn't go into her lungs and start an infection -- again -- joy oh joy).

On the plus side -- Miss Tinkerbell is a trooper and every single doctor and nurse was amazed at how cheerful (she gleefully told them it was a 'geen stich mawker' up her nose while pointing to her left nostril -- little scamp) and well behaved she was. Not a lick of complaint, even when they were shoving things up her nose and/or squirting liquids up there so they could get a better look. She was even polite and said "thank you" to the Dr.'s. ALMOST enough for me to forgive her for shoving it up there in the first place. Almost.

So, what did I get done today? Bank? If I hurry maybe. Food? Looks like we're going out to eat tonight. Library? What's one more day of late fees? Applications? They're online -- I can work on them tonight. Post office? Luckily open tomorrow -- sorry Sharon and Aunt L. One more day. Sewing table? Um...yeah, pretty much the same state as in the photos. And, given the day I've had -- the applications may wait for tomorrow with the sewing table getting attention tonight. I NEED some fabric therapy. And hey, if I can get in some fabric therapy -- I may have a third package to send off tomorrow. Woo Hoo!

So -- Calgon? Nah -- I don't have any (though I do have some absolutely yummy vanilla sugar scrub and salts). I think tonight's stress relievers of choice will be some fabric play and some lovely hot chocolate. With homemade marshmallows. (note -- the marshmallows are already made. And pink. Tinkerbell helped :0) ) And if a little bit of the Irish manages to find its way into my mug? Yeah, just about perfect.

Oh, yes, I'm also going to be hiding all of my knitting supplies. ALL of them. I mean, this time it was a stitch marker. I don't want to KNOW where she would think of putting my bamboo double pointed needles. *shudder* Or my Addi's -- um, yeah. Lesson learned for Mom too -- don't leave ANY crafting supplies out where small one can get to them. Maybe a touch more of the Irish will be needed?!?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Goodies, goodies, and a few wips

I knew the song lyric thing had to end sometime -- looks like this post is it. I do still have some older projects to share, but all this nostalgia is reminding me that I need to show you the new stuff I bought and am working on.

First up, the goodies I purchased while I was in New Mexico. Mom isn't a quilter, but she does knit. Given my recent knitting jag, I had to hit the local yarn shop, Unravel. They've got some absolutely lovely yarns and super friendly service. In addition to yarns and other knitting goodies, they also have some embroidery and other needlecraft supplies. Since I had limited space in my suitcase, and wallet, I was good. Just these two skeins of cotton/alpaca mix yarns and some stitchery transfers/patterns. I do love those Sublime Stitching patterns -- one is just words and an alphabet, but the other has cobwebs, and gravestones. I'm thinking Halloween here folks. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm thinking my husband would get a real kick out of something from these. In fact, his birthday is coming up....

I also picked these up at the same shop. Two Shashiko (Japanese quilting design) kits and thread. I actually had managed to walk out of the shop without these lovelies -- then I couldn't stop talking about them to my mother. Yeah, I went back. I had to. One is a set of fans, and the other is dragonflies. I really can't wait to try these out, though, the instructions are in Japanese. Hmmnnn...I also can't decide whether or not to do it with a backing or just treat it as a single layer embroidery...I'll figure it out eventually. (Unravel doesn't have an online ordering site -- but, I did find the same kits online here, not that I would try and convince others to join in my madness).

And wouldn't you just know, there is a quilt shop right across the courtyard from the knit shop? Don't you hate it when that happens? Organ Mountain Quilt Shop has a lovely selection of fabrics, notions, books and patterns. I was drooling over their wall 'o Batiks as well as some of the full collections from Moda and Robert Kaufman they carry. Oh my. But, again, I was soooooo good. I only walked out with one little quilt book (on sale for 20% off!) and one little 1/2 yard of fabric. I know, I wasn't sick -- just, well, I knew how much room I left myself in my suitcase. And how many projects I currently have going at home (which I think has more to do with it). I actually have a book review planned for this book (but, hey, it came home with me so that tells you something right there) so I'm not going to say much about it now.

While I was at Mom's I did get some work done. When I was packing, my biggest worry was what to bring on the plane with me to work on. Yeah, I know, I should have been thinking about clothes and stuff -- but, well, I knew I'd have some serious waiting around time. There was the three hour flight, surgery, hanging around at home while Mom was sleeping off anesthesia, etc. Unfortunately, I didn't have any quilting/embroidery handwork prepped, but oh my, I did take some knitting. I already showed you the mitt I finished (which still needs its mate), but I did do some other stuff. I brought Miss Tinkerbell's pink and purple with me and all of the knitting is done. I still need to seam up the other side, get some ribbons for the ties and make the skirt, but, hey, it's for her birthday. I have time.

I also may have raided, borrowed, looked through Mom's yarn stash and got permission to take some lovely cotton yarn she had. I may have also had a look through her patterns and found one that would be perfect for said yarn. And, since I happened to have the right sized needles with me, I may have cast on a sweater for my daughter. And well, since it's easy and fun, I may have gotten a whole lot done on said sweater. Like, darned near 1/2 of it. It's a fun little wrap sweater from this book. It's the pattern on the cover. The pattern is actually for a 12 month size, but Miss Tinkerbell is so skinny, the width fits. So, I'm just making it a bit longer in the length. Since coming home I've finished one of the sleeves and I should have the other one done this week. I'm thinking this one is going to be a lovely little lightweight Easter sweater. I'm being optimistic that the weather will allow for a lightweight sweater for Easter (but I'm not gonna hold my breath).

I also got some great mail while I was gone. This was waiting for me when I got home. A lovely mini quilt from the Calico Cat. This is part of a private swap we're doing -- I still need to get hers out in the mail but it will be done this week. Oh yes. It will be done. (points for the movie reference for this one). I love the bright colors and the cat print in the border :0).

She also sent along a bunch of goodies including some star blocks that didn't make the cut and this little tin full of Moda Cinnamon Stars charms. I'm thinking the mini-quilt pattern in the tin is just about perfect and I feel another mini quilt coming on. Thanks so much!!!

And there was some fabric included to make her a mini-messenger bag like the one I made for my cousin for Christmas. So, that tutorial I was promising? It will be coming up shortly folks! And hey, it's a chance to play with this absolutely adorable Japanese fabric. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! I can't wait to cut into this one -- it's just going to be fun!

I also found out when I got back that I had won a blog contest over at Wool and Company. Since I not only guessed the yarn, but also the pattern, I was the big winner. Ok, so I've done one scarf in that pattern and am working on another -- it isn't cheating. And, well, I've been in the shop often enough lately that I know they're in love with the new Noro sock yarns...still, it's just using my knowledge for good right? So, here's my winnings. A skein of each of the yarns used in the scarf and a pair of needles in the right size to make one of my own. Can I just say yummy? Of course, I should finish a few other projects first...but, oh, the temptation...

And speaking of finishes. I do have two to report. First up, the Bella quilt. I did get it quilted before I left -- but the binding had to wait until I got back. It's now hanging at the shop, and I have to say it's adorable. It also is one of those projects that looks like it took a heck of a lot more time than it really did (minus the getting sick, getting called out of town, etc.). This one is nothing more than fussy cut letters from the Lakehouse alphabet panel and charm squares straight out of the pack. Add a 1/4 yard of binding and some backing and you're set. The quilting is super simple, but the letters look like applique if you don't know about the panels. In fact, it fooled one of the shop employees for a second or two. A totally fun project and wouldn't it be adorable for a new baby?

I also finished this one (well, kinda, still needs the ends woven in) as a Valentine's present for my husband before I left. It's just a knit washcloth -- but, since he loved the Transformers when he was younger I just HAD to make it for him. He appreciated the humor and that I made it. So, way cool.

Oh, and one last thing (as if this post hasn't gone on long enough -- can you tell I'm still playing catch-up? I was only gone 5 days, you would think I would be caught up by now wouldn't you? yeah, that whole sick toddler thing when I got back kind of put a kink in the works) -- this is a teaser hint for another blogger. Nope, I'm gonna keep the soon to be finish a surprise, but I hope you like the hint!

That is sooooo much more than enough for now. Time for me to dig out my sewing area -- FINALLY! I'll take a before picture so you'll believe me when I say how messy my house gets (not to mention my sewing area if I don't police it pretty regularly). UGH. My kingdom for a cleaning service. Or a separate craft room -- yeah, that would be nice!

Friday, February 22, 2008

It's Just A Jump to the Left...

I'm stretching a bit with today's title, but given the last two quilts were from the late 1800's, there is a bit of a time warp going on with today's offering. And for some reason I'm addicted to these darned song lyrics. Anyhoo...

This quilt comes from my Dad's side of the family and is of much more recent vintage. Mom remembers that it was a gift for their wedding in 1968. It is a true scrap quilt -- lots and lots of fabrics in this one and lots of combinations. They all appear to be cottons, though, some could be blends. There are feed sacks, shirtings, possible dress materials, even some cord material in there. The white areas all appear to be plain white muslin though. The size is approximately twin. Again, no quilting on this one, but it does have a batting which looks like it is a layer of white flannel and it is tied. One tie through the center of every single star and tie in the corners where every block meets.

Mom remembers that my grandmother on that side tied this, but we both agree it is unlikely that she actually did any of the piecework. My grandmother had her talents (the woman could bake like no other, and remind me someday to take photos of the baby clothes she crocheted for me) but sewing was not really one of them. It's much more likely that this one is made by the same person who made this quilt. Especially since there are a lot of fabrics that are common to both pieces. That would mean that it was probably pieced by my great-grandmother, and more likely my grandfather's mother. My grandmother's mother was a German immigrant and I just don't see her doing much of this patchwork -- though, I could be wrong. Any clues from my friends in Germany as to whether this would have been common there in the 20's and 30's? It's much more likely that the top was already finished and my grandmother simply tied and bound it. Or, that it was even farther along than that when my grandmother gave it to Mom and Dad. Unfortunately, anyone who would have the information is now gone.

The blocks themselves are interesting. They are hexagons with a six pointed star in the middle. The finished sides of each hexagon are 2 1/4". That's a whole lot of small piecing for those stars. I'm not sure if these are hand or machine pieced, I've seen evidence of both in the blocks though. I don't know the name of the block (if anyone has any information it would be appreciated) but it does explain why I absolutely LOVE hexagon designs in quilts. These quilts are ones that really mean "quilt" to me. I grew up with them. I remember using them for picnics, camping, snuggling on. They were not put away as "treasures" as Mom said "They were just quilts, we used them." And yeah, that's exactly how it is supposed to be :0).

The edges are bound, but rather than cutting off some of the hexagons to create a "squared" quilt, the binding follows the hexagon pattern all the way around. Part of me shudders at the thought of having to turn all those corners with binding. The other part of me is doing some little dances of glee going "I've gotta try that." I'm not sure which part is going to win eventually (though I'm kinda voting for the sane part that says 1/2 blocks at the edge aren't so bad...).

Now, given that the quilt has been used, and used well, there is some damage. Some of the fabrics have not held up. There are wear spots and some tears and some staining. Mom wants to wash it to see if the stains will come out, but with the state of some of the fabrics -- I'm not so sure. However, I mean, I could do some rescue work here. I can trace the pieces, create templates, replicate blocks and replace them. I have the skills, I have the technology, and more importantly, I have...

this. No, this is not the same quilt. It is the twin to the one I've been showing you. Fraternal twins -- but twins just the same. :0)

Unfortunately, time has not been as kind to this quilt as it has to the first one. While the first one has a quite a few damage spots but may be salvageable, this one, um, this one is a cutter. I think Mom had a small coronary when I looked at the second quilt and said that -- but, honestly? That's what it is. It got better when I stated referring to this one as the "donor" quilt.

While the donor has pretty extensive damage, there are some good spots that I could lift out blocks and replace those in the first. Having said that, I'm not planning on doing this rescue any time soon -- but, eventually, yeah, I'm going to do it. I'd also like to try my hand at making a few of the blocks with some modern fabrics. Now, will I end up with enough blocks to make two twin sized quilts? Um -- yeah, probably not. That's a WOLE LOT of hexagons folks. And here I thought Jane Stickle was crazy -- looks like that kind of insanity runs in my family too. Especially since I also remember my grandmother having two of these quilts at her house when I was young. I remember sleeping under them when I went to visit her for a week every summer. What happened to them, I don't know -- but think, making enough of these blocks for 4, count 'em 4, twin sized bead spreads. EEEKKK!!!! I'm hoping for enough patience with the pattern for maybe a pillow. Possibly a throw.

I hope you've enjoyed the quilt show from Mom's house -- I've still got more photos to share of other works from Mom's, just not quilts. These are all MUCH more recent vintage as well. As in, well, my lifetime since I made most of them. And I still have goodies to share -- retail therapy and some current crafting. Not much of the current stuff this week -- I've been digging out and dealing with a sick Miss Tinkerbell. She managed to survive being exposed to my strep throat without catching it -- but, another kid at daycare seems to have passed it on to her. UGH. Until next time!


Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Show Must Go On

Or rather my own internet "Mom's Quilted Treasures" quilt show must. (and hey, I've managed a post title that combines a cliche AND a song lyric/cultural reference -- cool) Thanks to everyone who has been saying such nice things about my great-great-grandmother's quilt. But it's not the only quilted treasure hanging out at Mom's house. This next one actually belongs to me, but I decided that it needed to be in "Mom protective custody" for the time being. My housekeeping skills and the quick hands of a toddler mean this one just doesn't have a spot to be cared for properly in my home right now.

This quilt also comes from Mom's side of the family. One of my aunts received it when my great grandmother died and passed it on to me almost two years ago because she knows how much I love quilts and quilting. According to my aunt, it's not from my great grandmother's side of the family, but rather from my great grandfather's. According to my aunt, my great grandmother said it was "old." (and given that SHE was born in 1896, that says something) And that's about the extent of the sure information I have about its history.

The quilt itself is a largish lap/smallish twin size. The blocks are log cabin blocks that have been foundation pieced (more on how I know that in a minute) and set in the barn raising pattern. The center blocks are not the "traditional" red or yellow -- the are a variety of fabrics that match the light logs in the blocks. All of the dark logs are solid black fabrics with the lights being composed of various solids and prints. Since that side of the family is from Kentucky near the Ohio river/border -- there may be some Amish influence (ya think?) but this is NOT an Amish quilt. At least, I'm pretty sure it's not. Why do I say that? While solids are more traditional, I have heard of Amish pieces that use patterned prints. Yep -- but, I've never heard of an Amish quilt that uses silk. Yep -- unlike the last quilt -- this one is not pieced from calicoes (though there are some used as foundations). All of the logs are silk and/or silk crepe, and that includes the plaids and the red binding.

I'd give a detail shot of the quilting but, well, there isn't any. Nor is there any batting. It appears the foundation pieces were joined and then it was backed and bound which probably means this was not meant for use as a bed covering. Well, heck, given the materials used, I'd doubt it was meant as a bed covering as well. Maybe a table covering? Anyway, because of the materials used this one also has some pretty extensive damage in areas. You can see here where the blue silk is these logs is simply desintigrating due to time. There are several spots on the front where this is happening. (and also partially how I know about the foundation piecing :0) )

Also interesting is the way the logs are put together. they are not simply sewn to the foundation and folded back like we do modern paper piecing. they are sewn down and then a knife pleat is created so that all of the logs are actually "pleats" on the front. Hopefully this picture explains better than my words are doing. It's kind of neat though.

The backing is made of one piece of silk crepe material in a brown and white pattern. There is one corner where there is a rip in the backing (it goes all the way through to the front) but it shows the stitches on the foundation really well and it shows where a plaid was used as a foundation. The stitches here also look like they are hand stitched. So, if pressed, I'd say this one was at least partially hand pieced. If I HAD to put a date to this one, I would guesstimate that it's roughly the same age as the one my great-great-grandmother made. Though, I will give it a bit more leeway in the "earlier" department. I'm going to say anywhere from 1870-1890. I can't go any earlier because of the log cabin blocks and I don't want to go much later because of my great grandmother's comments about its age.

Also, while the blacks appear to all be one type of fabric -- they aren't. The one photo I took with a flash really shows the number of different black silks that went into this piece.

One thing that I'm not sure I've been able to show with the photos are the colors in this one. Yes, the black stands out, but really, what I noticed about it this time were all of the colors in the light side of the blocks. Look at that purple, and the green. Just yummy. I so could see myself wearing those colors. Heck, I could see myself wearing most of the colors in this quilt. Not so sure about the plaids though. :0)

The thing about this quilt for me is that it invites dreams and speculation. Let's face it, there is a LOT of black silk in this one. Why would someone have that much black silk? Was this a memorial quilt and when the maker had put aside mourning dress did they use the fabrics to make it? Were they bits and pieces left over from dresses? Were the light blocks from dresses from happier times and possibly some from half mourning (lavender) with the blacks of full mourning combined? Were these bits of white silk (which is tissue thin and delicate -- I tried touching it, then thought better of it when I realized how thin it acutally was) the remnants from a wedding gown lovingly preserved? All of those questions are ones that spin through my mind, and because I have so little information about it -- I can dream over. I know it makes bad history. I know its what leads to over romantacized notions of quilting. I know. I also can't say for sure that is what this quilt is. But I can have fun dreaming :0).

I have two more quilts as part of my mini-show to share tomorrow and I will finally be able to get to the retail therapy and other progress on projects. Thanks for indulging my trips through my family's quilting history. I'm off to do some more digging out cleaning and to dream about my long ago relative who decided to make log cabins out of silk.

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

It's past midnight and I should be in bed. I was on my way there when I heard Miss Tinkerbell calling out to me and I just had to share this one before I make my appointment with my pillows. (and yep, I switched from cultural references to cliches)

I heard Miss Tink crying and calling for me. I figured it was a bad dream, nothing a little TLC can't cure. I go and pick her up for some cuddles and ask what's wrong.

"I'm sad Mommy"

"Why sweetie? What happend"

"I'm just sad"

So, I tell her that when I'm sad, sometimes it helps if I think about what makes me happy. And I asked her what made her happy. I'm expecting an answer that includes one of her stuffed animals, her art stuff, her toys, her videos, etc. Her response was instant.

" 'Nama"

These are her grandparents and her great grandparents folks. Then she pulls this one out --

"All you need are friends"

This from my 2 1/2 year old daughter. And at that age -- she gets it. Not a single toy was mentioned -- only people (a few friends from school made the list too. Mommy and Daddy may have been in there somewhere -- kind of hard to tell since she was falling back asleep on my shoulder).

Thanks Miss Tinkerbell for the reminder. And thanks for letting me know that you have so much to teach me.

For all my bloggy friends -- you make me happy :0).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And now for something completely different

I thought I might actually post about some crafty/quilty stuff. I know, kind of a stretch for this blog, but hey, it's there in the title. As for when I will stop using cultural (pop or otherwise) references and song lyrics for my post titles? Um, probably not anytime soon.

First though, the obligatory vacation photos. (hey, it wasn't really a vacation, but it's the closest I've come in a long time) This is part of the view from my Mom's back porch. For a flatlander like me, going anywhere there are tall hills (also known as mountains) is kind of cool.

I always forget how beautiful the desert can be when I leave there. It is stunning. And the night skies? Oh my, it really makes you appreciate just how much you miss due to light pollution in other places. Of course, it could also have something to do with the higher elevations. If anyone's curious about the location of these mountains and the desert -- they are in the Mesilla Valley of southern New Mexico. Las Cruces to be precise. If you get the chance -- I can't say enough nice things about the people there (Hi DJ!) and their hospitality. They do need to do something about their speed limits though. I think there was one road I was driving on the entire time that was over 35 mph. UGH. (sorry, I'm way too used to lightly populated areas having much higher speed limits)

Anyway -- I didn't see a whole lot of the area on this trip. I spent a lot of time at Mom's house hanging out and getting her stuff when she needed it. But this is good from a crafting point of view. I had some time to work on a couple of projects (which I'll show later) and, more importantly, I was able to take photos of some of the crafty treasures hanging out at Mom's house. Some are things I made, and some are truly treasures handed down in the family. Yep, some lovely antique quilts!!!!

Today's offering was made by my great-great-grandmother. It's unsigned, but Mom remembers it from her childhood and also remembers helping her great-grandmother by threading quilting needles for her. The quilt is roughly queen sized and is a two color pink and white quilt. The pink is a lovely dotted double pink and the white is plain white muslin. I don't know what the pattern is, but there are feathered triangles surrounding large white hexagons. An approximate date on this one is anywhere from 1880-1890. The date is based on the date of my great-great-grandmother's birth and the date of my great-grandmother's birth as Mom is pretty sure this quilt was made by my great-great-grandmother as part of her trousseau. Location of creation would have been West Virgina.

Each of the plain white hexagons is quilted with a feathered wreath with cross hatching in the center of the circle. I don't know enough to even guess at the number of stitches per inch, but it looks pretty darned good to me. Each of the feathered triangles is quilted about a 1/4 inch in from the seams. I wasn't able to get a good shot of the back (would have involved more work than I care think of to take it off the wall) -- but the back is plain muslin with at least one spot showing some repair.

The borders on this one include a small border of triangles and a larger border of the double pink. Before the border begins there is a cabled quilting design. The final border is quilted with diagonal lines, and a few of those do get a bit wonky in places. I'm not sure if a single person quilted this one or if there was a bee of some sort. Either is possible, which might explain the care in the main circles with the slightly wonky edge treatments. Or, it could just be the edges were harder to work with.

There is no binding on this one. The edges are folded in and finished that way. And just to show you the scale of those triangles, here's a picture with my finger in there. Let me state I do not have big hands (the rest of me, sure, but my wedding ring is a 5 1/2). My assumption is that this one is hand pieced, though I'm not 100% certain on that one. It seems likely though.

I do love this quilt. It really is a masterwork. There are a few damage spots, but for its age it has held up remarkably well. And the damage? Some sun fading on one side (no, not from Mom hanging it up, there is more light in that room for the photos than really ever gets in there) that was there when Mom got it. One spot on one triangle where the fabric looks like it has torn slightly, but otherwise, pretty darned pristine. Mom had the hanging sleeve added to it sometime in the early 80's after it came to her when my great-grandmother died. It's hung in her home since. Someday, it will hang in mine, and I will be glad to know I come from a line of quilters (even if that line was broken a bit before it got to me :0) ).

And just to show that I didn't spend all of my time gazing at the mountains, marveling at the fact that my toes were warm for the first time in months and staring at beautiful antique quilts. Here's a shot of some knitting I did while was on a plane and waiting for Mom to get out of surgery. Another pair of mitts. Or, well, a single mitt anyway. No, Sharon, this one isn't yours -- yours I'm making you wait to see :0). This one is for another exchange I'm working on. And I do hope the recipient likes the colors :0).
And still no freakin' spell check. ARRGGHHHH! Oh well, I have a couple more family quilts to share and the retail therapy excursions, plus more works in progress...but, I need to go dig out my house. Somehow leaving suddenly and leaving my husband and 2 1/2 year old on their own for a few days means my house is even more of a disaster than usual. Time to acutally dig out! (wish me luck, I'm going in...)

Monday, February 18, 2008

What a Long, Strange Trip

First, thank you to everyone who has posted comments wishing my mother a speedy recovery. She came through the surgery like a champ and is well on her way back to "normal" (whatever that is for anyone). As she said -- it was nice to have her nose straight again. :0) It was great spending time with her and I managed to take a ton of photos to share. I also may have, just may have mind you, done some retail therapy while there -- so I'll have some of that to share as well.

Honestly? Other than having a row of three seats to myself on the plane, my actual travels weren't all that strange. The strange part were the events at home that I missed. (Tink and Mr. Cornfields are fine) The first strange part happened while I was at Mom's -- on Valentine's Day I started getting wierd emails and text messages from friends -- all asking me if I were ok, if I'd heard the news? News? I was on my way back from picking up a late lunch at Sonic Burger -- what news? I mean really -- I live in the cornfields, what in the world can happen in the cornfields?

It turns out -- quite a bit. For those of you who have seen the news, you'll know there was another campus shooting on Valentine's Day at Northern Illinois University. So why all the calls to me? Because I am a part of the NIU community. That's my campus. It's part of my corner of the cornfields. I was lucky, I was nowhere near campus that day. I've been taking some time off from my studies this year, but if I hadn't -- I probably would have been in the thick of it. No, not in the hall where the shootings took place, but in one of the buildings nearby which houses my department and my former offices. When I heard what had happened and turned on the news I was stunned. I still am.

I've been involved with NIU in one way or another for over 20 years now, as a child of a faculty member, an undergraduate student, a staff member, a graduate student, and a graduate assistant/instructor. NIU in many ways has been a home to me. The town that houses it has been part of my home base. Both are good places. They have their faults, don't get me wrong, but it's the type of place where you can go to the local businesses and be greeted by name. Or the post office. It's the type of place where you see folks you've known since you were in Jr. High and they ask about your parents, and your children. And now, it's a little darker. And a little more scary. But ultimately, it's still a good place. It's a good place to learn; it's a good place to live. The actions of one person will not overshadow that.

My heart and thoughts go out to the families of those who lost their lives and to those who were injured. I didn't know any of those killed personally -- but their absence impacts the entire community. For those injured, I wish them a speedy recovery. For those of my friends and colleagues who are busy with trying to put their campus back together so that students can return, my thoughts are with you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

We Interrupt This Blog...

For an emergency trip to visit my mother. Mom tripped and fell over the weekend, and some minor surgery is in the works for tomorrow (no, nothing major -- she broke her nose). So, I'm heading out on a plane tonight to hang out with Mom and give some TLC. Lovely part is I get to spend Valentine's Day with one of my favorite people -- down side? I have to miss Valentine's day with my other two favorite people :0(.

Thanks to everyone who has responded to my little disaster -- just to let you know, the second wash didn't do much (a bit lighter) but also brought out another spot where bleeding was going to be a problem. I did try a bit of a seam treatment -- but, um, it didn't look great so I pulled it out. So, final decision? It's not THAT bad -- and it will be going to my partner as is. Hopefully today (if I can get my butt in gear and get packed, etc.). It may be packaged up today and left for my hubby to mail out tomorrow. I'll try and get a picture to share later.

Until then -- I have about 3 hours to pack, get some things done around the house, and get ready to make it to O'Hare. I'll be back next Sunday, so I'll have tons of catching up to do -- Later!

Friday, February 8, 2008

I Spoke Too Soon

In my last post (of all of, what an hour or two ago?) I said that my Four Season's Swap quilt didn't bleed. And when I took it out of the washing machine -- it hadn't.
But, well -- when I took it out of the dryer this is what I found. F*ck.
And this. Double F*ck.

I'm sorry to those of you offended by swearing but, there are times when such language is the only thing that will accurately describe the feelings. This is one of those times.
And, I was right. It is that &(&*%^(*# star fabric that was bleeding on my ironing board. Aren't I just so happy to be right?
So now what to do? Other than swear and want to cry? I'm going to try washing it again. More Retayne. Some Dreft stain remover (works on some really nasty stuff my daughter manages to get into -- can't hurt). And if it's still bleeding? What then? Any opinions? Advice? Please?
This is what the quilt looks like with the stains. If it were a quilt for me, I'd probably try washing it again and if that doesn't work say fecal matter occurs and hang it up anyway. I still love it. The stains don't bother me. But, it's not for me. It's for someone else. UGH!!!!! Any opinions?

And just so this post is nothing but me wanting to tear my hair out (because, no, I didn't pre-wash my fabrics and I know it's my own fault). I'll show some of the embroidery that I put in. 'Cause it turned out exactly as I wanted it to.

And the second panel.

And the full poem that is embroidered on the front as a label ready to be sewn to the back (there is another label as well with all the required info -- but, well, since this will be the first quilt I've ever actually labeled it's not so hot. And if you're about to have a heart attack about the not labeling quilts thing -- sorry :0( ).

Ok, off to try and get the stains out and keep more of it from bleeding.
Da*n, Da*n, Da*n.
I think I need chocolate. Maybe a drink.

Quick Blog Break

I haven't been blogging much the last week or so, or doing a whole lot of crafting. This whole getting sick thing has really knocked me for a loop. The antibiotics helped. I was able to eat again relatively quickly. But the energy levels? I'm still waiting for those to get back to something that resembles "normal". It doesn't help that mommy just doesn't get to be sick in quite the same way as daddy and/or little one (potty training still needs go on, laundry needs to get done, etc., etc., etc.). I think I'm finally getting back up to speed, but -- oy! So, while I'm waiting for my Four Seasons Swap to finish up in the dryer (it didn't bleed!!! Wooo Hooo AND I got out all the markings for the embroidery, double WOO HOO!) -- and thinking about how to apologize to my partner for how late it is -- I thought I 'd take a quick blog break and show what I HAVE been able to get done in the last two weeks.
I did manage to do my part for the economy lately (go and read Kim's blog about this one -- really, you'll be laughing yourself silly). I mean, shopping doesn't take that much energy right? (we'll ignore the fact that when I got home from the shop that day I needed a nap.) And hey -- when you can find some lovely new fabrics? Oh yeah. I finally broke down and bought my very first jelly roll. It's the new Moda Simplicity line by 3 Sisters. Yummy, yummy spring time colors in pinks, blues, yellows, a scrumptious green, and white. Oh my. Not my usual palate at all -- but, oh, how I need some spring. I already have plans for these goodies, just need to get a few more things off my plate. (oh, and I think I'm kind of lucky to have these. I just checked out the Fat Quarter Shop and looks like these haven't gotten in yet...)

I also got some great mail. I won a blog contest over at The Late Bloomer (Thank you Compton) and my goodies arrived over the weekend. Two fantastic patterns and kits to make the cone and heart valentines. Just in time! I think I may be playing with these over the weekend. As for the Altar Steps pattern...oh my, that I may need to go play in the stash for. Much too cute! Thanks so much Elizabeth -- your package made my day.

So, new projects added to the pile, but, how about some things actually done??? There are a couple. I've mostly been finishing up things (note, 4seasons quilt still in the dryer -- LATE). First up on my finally finished list is this cutie. And yes, this is Yet. Another. Apron. I think this is about my 10th apron made from this pattern. Am I tired of it?, not really. I can make them pretty quickly now -- and hey, they turn out so darned cute. Now, having said that, do I want to do another one soon? Um...well, we'll see. This one is a shop sample. More Cherry Baby fabrics from Lakehouse -- with the panel letters used for the word and a fun cupcake applique added. Sorry, that cupcake needs a closeup of its own here. I actually started this one before I got sick folks -- (so much for I can make them quickly) and it took me way too much time to get it done -- but it's done, delivered and last I saw was hanging on a manequin in the shop.

Other than that -- not too much to report. I've been working on finishing up things (weaving in ends of knitting -- mils mitts are done! Yeah!, need to finish sewing down the binding for "bella" -- almost done!, have a couple of things being blocked before I can do much more -- but hey, I'm blocking them...). Lots of things in the "almost done" category that I want to clear out so I can start some new projects. Speaking of which -- I think I just heard the dryer buzzing -- WOOO HOOO! Label to stitch on, photos to take, and a trip to the post office. (which, since I just looked at the time -- will happen tomorrow morning. UGH!) Oh well, almost done with one more! YEAH!
PS -- and STILL no spell check. Um, am I just cursed??!!??