Saturday, December 7, 2013

Scrappy Reproduction Quilt

I made this scrappy nine patch from leftover scraps from my BIG Civil War quilt - still in the making. I like the way the stripe looks like a ribbon. Unquilted.

Update June 2018: Quilt, hand-quilted, lives on the back of my Yale Law School chair in my living room.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday Lydia!

Cupcakes for a cupcake

My granddaughter's first birthday was in August, but I had to finish both her wall hanging and quilt before she could have them. Her brother Dominick helped me out with the photography.

From the moment she was born, Lydia was "Cupcake" to her Mom and Dad, although Dominick would have called her "Watermelon" because he is "Pumpkin." I dug out this pattern from the 2012 June/July issue of McCall's Quick Quilts for the Cake & Ice Cream pattern. 

Cupcake closeup
Dominick helps out

This is Lydia's first birthday quilt. The pattern is Chase Manhattan - yes, like the bank logo - in 30's and 40's fabrics. This quilt is actually a leftover from a much larger version for my California daughter, but for some reason I don't have that picture. Because I spent my summer recuperating from surgery, I decided to hand-quilt this confection. I spent many hours on my deck enjoying the peace and quiet, listening to the birds and squirrels, and quilting away. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed hand quilting and hope to do more soon.
Chase Manhattan close up
Lydia, mugging for the camera

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Snapshot in Time: July 15, 2013 - A Clean and Organized Quilt Studio!

On my CA daughter's last visit to Connecticut, she took one look at my quilt room and declared that I was as bad as the hoarders one sees on the popular cable show! But just in my quilt room. Seriously! I had never thought of it that way because I have close friends who are as bad as I am and some who are worse! I think my issue is "out of sight, out of mind." I need to see what I've got and the projects I've planned so I don't forget to use the stuff and make the projects. It's just like sitting at one's desk at work with Post-It-Note reminders and to-do lists, and calendar notifications, but with FABRIC and MAGAZINES and PROJECT BINS.

OK. So I recently had some surgery, nothing serious, but my delicate condition keeps me from lifting anything for a few weeks. In anticipation of this event, Kim, who was here on her summer visit with her two boys, made it her mission to make ME clean up and organize my quilt room before she returned to southern LA. On a very hot and humid day no less! We were at zero hour because my procedure took place early the next morning. 

So for most of the morning and into the afternoon, we removed every bag, box and pile that didn't have a home from the room - and revealed my lovely wide-plank floor in all its beauty! Then we started on one corner of the room and moved around as we sorted, pitched, and cleaned each area. Kim said she felt like the lady on whatever show is out there about cleaning up, asking me if I needed it, was using it, etc. She held up a small piece of hand-dyed fabric, about a 3x3 inch piece and asked me "Mom, do you want this?" And I paused, looked, thought, and said, "No, you can toss that one." She discovered a basket full of unquilted tops, so we went through those and she came up with gift ideas for family. Now I have an incentive to get them quilted!

Then we examined what we originally removed from the floor and did the same thing, till everything I was keeping had a place in the quilt room. I followed that up with one last vacuum.

And then we had a beer to celebrate!

(If you listen closely, you'll hear my griping about not being able to find anything!)

I live in an 1897 simple Victorian, like a farmhouse. This room was formerly the master bedroom, my son's room, and then my youngest daughter's room. It has three exposures so I get a lot of natural light. I don't claim to have the most modern equipment, but this works for me. 

Burn these images into your brain because it is unlikely you will ever see this room this clean and organized ever again!

View from door

View from sewing machine toward door

View to my left from sewing machine

Under worktable storage

Hutch close up

More storage. Closet is to the left. It's jammed.

It's been too freaking hot to even touch fabric, so the room is still pristine and my visitors all exclaim about how jealous they are. Kim will be happy to help YOU clean and organize YOUR workspace on her next visit...for a fee of course!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Court Street Quilt Retreat Update

My project is finally hanging in my office! When I made the top, I didn't know what my office would look like because our department was not allowed to see the new space until we actually moved. Turns out I get sunshine all day long (and in the winter I have to wear a sun visor (ND of course) so I can see my computer screen!). So as I lived in my office I realized that the only place I could safely hang my quilt is in an alcove where the sun doesn't reach! Everything not in this corner fades, including Post It Notes! You can see the quilt as you approach my office door and it really adds warmth to this very sterile place.

Star Shadow

Star Shadow Closeup

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

When my colleague told me a couple of weeks ago that her son's first birthday party theme was going to be "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," I thought, "Great, I'll whip up a small quilt for a unique gift!" A good friend sent me the caterpillar fabric which I received on Tuesday.  I spent Wednesday evening researching other quilts made from the same panel for construction ideas. They were pretty much the same, easy round-robin type borders around the central panel. Thursday and Friday evenings were devoted to construction, using some of my own stash fabric. Saturday I had to find backing, pin and machine-quilt it. I finished that about 11 pm figuring I'd put the binding on Sunday morning and off I would go to the birthday boy's party! I think that would have been a personal best for me, completing a fairly good-sized kid's quilt in a matter of days.

I woke up Sunday morning feeling sick, so I didn't get to the party and only finished the quilt yesterday. I delivered it this morning, a week late, but this time his Mom was in sick in bed, so I didn't stick around.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Caterpillar's New Home

Sweet William

Sweet William
Civil War era reproduction quilts make me feel warm and comfy all over. I feel a special affinity for this style but can't pick anything specific about the quilts besides their looking old. However, because my house is over 100 years old, these quilts have an instant home.

Sweet William, about 22 inches square, was made from a kit of fabrics, some of which I swapped out. The pattern is by Carol Hopkins in her Civil War Legacies series. The stars and triangle border were hand pieced during the summers at the beach. It is hand-quilted.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Another California Quilt

The last year has brought a lot of heartache to my family, but every once in a while I come across something that helps me recall good memories. This small quilt is one of them.

Back in 1994 my older daughter visited San Diego for a wedding of a college friend. She returned to Connecticut with fire in her eyes and pronounced that she was going to move to California, and she gave herself a 2-year goal to get there. She did it in one year - 1995 Thanksgiving holiday found the two of us on a 4-day cross-country trek that took us to Ohio, Kansas, Texas, the Grand Canyon (no way I was going to miss that!) and into California with some special music Kim had picked out special for the occasion.

Kim moved in with her college roommate, Lisa. I stayed with Lisa's parents, Cindy and Ray. This was a wall quilt I had made in a workshop early in my quilting career and I sent it as a thank you gift, because the colors of this quilt EXACTLY matched my hosts' decor. It just belonged.

Kim and Lisa were like sisters, and last year we lost Lisa unexpectedly. Recently, during my annual Thanksgiving visit to Kim and  her family, we had lunch with Cindy. I asked her to send me a couple of pictures of this quilt so I could document it here for posterity. I don't know if it still lives on a wall in her home, but Cindy did a great job, and included Sadie, Lisa's dog, for good measure.

I will never forget that momentous trip, and Sadie here will always remind me how welcoming Lisa's family was, and continue to be, and how much Lisa loved this dog.

Sadie with quilt