Monday, November 30, 2009

An Inspiring Quilt Show

Today I went to one of the best quilt shows I have seen in a long time! At the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, there is a show of  Water Quilts , and it was absolutely inspiring and beautiful!

I love shows with a theme, and it is always fascinating to see how different artists interpret and represent that theme. Water quilts are near and dear to my heart, and these were some of the BEST!

I loved seeing silk being used more than usual in quilts, and the "silkiness" really enhanced the images of water.

If I had to pick two favorites, one would be the cut-silk quilt by Tim Harding. Several years ago I saw a cut-silk work by him, similar to the one I have shown here. It was in a book from the Quilt National Show, and I really found it breathtaking. But in person, his work is even more so.

My other favorite had to be the fish quilt by Ruth McDowell. It was a very large piece, and her masterful use of fabrics, like the detail I have shown here, has long been a model for me. There is nothing more I can say about her work; it speaks for itself.

I really recommend this show. I will definitely be going back at least one more time! It is on until December 19; you can stop in the gift shop, too,  to look at the treasures there.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nice long weekend!

The nice long weekend draws to a close, and very soon, the new month will start. 

I have enjoyed the holiday weekend, with good visits with family and friends.

I had everyone over for chili and soup; we had a good combination of family, neighbors and friends, and everyone enjoyed it.

This week my goal, in addition to sewing, is to get to several quilt shows in the area. At the downtown Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, there is a show of "Water Quilts," all from one person's collection. Water quilts are among my favorites, and I am looking forward to seeing these. 

Then at the Carnegie Center in New Albany, there is a show which includes works by several outstanding area quilters, so I want to get to that one, too. I think its theme is "Earth Works", so it should be fun to see several interpretations of that.

Now that December is almost here, I have to get serious about finishing the Christmas gifts I have started.  

I hope all of you enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday weekend!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Another scrappy project

I hope everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving. It is important to pause and think about all the things we tend to take for granted.

As I have said before,  I love making projects from scraps. I rarely throw things away, and I almost never regret it.

While going through some scrap boxes, I found these pieces that I had used years ago, when I was making "wearables." 

I made jackets and vests and tunics, and they often had panels down the front or back. Although I enjoyed making them, it was often the case that the person who wanted a particular piece would want it bigger, or smaller, or a different color. 

So at some point, I started making wall hangings - "One Size Fits ALL."

But I still had all these pieces cut, too good to throw away. So I made this runner, and it will be a Christmas gift for a traditional friend who will probably use it for a table runner. I used it as another opportunity to practice my machine quilting.

Now, after a break, I am ready to return to my big project, and keep working toward my December 4 deadline...

Have a great weekend!  

Monday, November 23, 2009

More Machine Quilting

I finished the last five buildings yesterday, putting machine quilting on each one for texture. I did a different pattern on each building, and I am  pleased with the results.

On the gold building, I made a curved pattern, similar to the squiggly designs on the fabric.

I got a start on the chimneys , just following the lines for a little texture.

Then I need to go over the whole quilt to tidy up loose ends and raw edges. I was hoping for a sunshiny day for better light, but that's not going to happen.

After that, I'll put the backing on and bind it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Back to my Prague quilt

Now that I have returned from a wonderful and restoring Florida vacation, and have mostly recovered from foot surgery that  has kept me off my feet for about 6 weeks, I am back to sewing and enjoying it!

My first priority is my quilt of the Prague castle houses; it is a Christmas gift, and will be going to Prague after Christmas with its new owner, who is living there for three years.


I have finished all the piecing (really, fusing,) and I am getting lots of practice in free-motion quilting, as I add texture to the buildings, the cobblestones, the chimneys and the sky.  

This square pattern doesn't look great from the back, but it adds a great depth to the dark blue building.


The freehand zigzag is on the red building. That fabric was a gift from the person who will get the quilt, so I enjoyed including it...

The pale blue building got simple stripes. I am trying to give each building a distinctive texture, within my limited ability to do machine quilting patterns.  The peachy building to its left got a simple tight zigzag pattern.

I have four buildings to go, and then a lot of details to tidy up. I have set December 4 as my finish date. I have several other projects to do before Christmas, along with everything else.  I'll post more photos when it is finished.

In the meantime, I am making two big pots of chili for a Thanksgiving open house. One is a vegetarian chili with wheatberries, black beans and garnished with avocado. The other is more traditional (as traditional as chili can be on Thanksgiving) with my additions of cumin and bitter chocolate.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


When we were in Florida, I visited a quilt shop in an Amish area of Sarasota, and as there always is, there was a group of Amish women sitting around a big traditional quilt, quilting and chatting.

I asked their permission to sit with them for a few minutes, and they were very gracious and welcoming. I found sitting with them very calming, and I enjoyed talking with them for a few minutes.

Afterward, my Florida friend let me borrow this little book, Plain and Simple, by Sue Bender. It was a very pleasant book to read, and had some good lessons, for sewing and for life.

It talked about having joy in your work, rather than fretting about the outcome.  It was a good lesson for me,  to have pleasure in every step of the process of whatever you are doing, rather than having "Accomplishment" as your goal.

I really recommend it. I am going to try to get her next book,  Everyday Sacred.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Florida at its Best

We just returned from a wonderful time in Florida, on the Gulf Coast between Sarasota and Venice.

I was recovering from foot surgery, and couldn't do any bicycling this time, but the trip couldn't have been nicer. 

There were many birds around, and great Kodak moments. This is a sandhill crane, and perhaps the very same one I did my little quilt of several months back.

This is "Louie," a beautiful little egret who took up residence on our patio, and wouldn't leave until we gave him some breakfast. He wasn't the least bit afraid of us, and whenever we walked anywhere on the property, he was right behind us!

We saw hundreds of dragonflies this trip, and their iridescent wings and bodies were brilliant in the sun.

Hurricane Ida came and went while we were there. Although it didn't come ashore where we were, the remnants were very beautiful - gorgeous clouds, heavy winds, and very high surf. Sorry about the damage it did elsewhere, but the coast where we were was unaffected.

Here's a crane family, Mom and Dad and the two chicks. One of the chicks is the one I had a photo of for my quilt...

What a treat to be able to see these beautiful creatures on a daily basis!


This is Caspersen Beach, in Venice. Like many of the beaches in that area, one can find shark's teeth  from prehistoric times. It is amazing that they are still washing up after all these thousands of years...

I got dozens of wonderful photos this trip, and maybe one of them will inspire a quilt some day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Successful Auction!

The auction to benefit a downtown food pantry for the homeless was Tuesday night.

In spite of its being on a Tuesday night, and a rainy one at that, it was a wonderful success.

Being at Pyro Gallery downtown elevated the event to something special. The artists and "patrons" mingled, sipped wine, enjoyed the art, and, the important thing - bid generously on the wonderful art.

I have already posted photos of two other fabric pieces, and they were a popular contrast to the more traditional painted and otherwise embellished pieces.

This piece, "Hardware Heart," was a wonderful piece, and it looked even better in person than it does in the photo...

This was a favorite of everyone there...

It is by a young artist, and I'm eager to get back to Pyro to see more of his work.  It got one of the highest bids there. Even though it was a "Silent" auction, there were two people bidding on it, and at the end, there was an animated live auction to see who got to take it home... 

And this was another popular item - Bob's Celtic heart. 

Bob was invaluable to the auction - from making the wooden blanks for the artists at the beginning of the process, to getting them ready to hang on Tuesday

Thanks also to Pyro Gallery for sharing their wonderful venue.

It was great fun, lots of work, and very successful!  

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Hearts

As I said before, "When you want something done, ask a busy person."

My friend Anita Estes, who is a professional machine quilter and an Art Quilter in Louisville,
made these two wonderful hearts for the "Have a Heart" auction that I have mentioned before.

She has been unusually busy these past few weeks, with her quilting work, along with house maintenance, and family demands, but she made the time to create her donation to the auction "When Ma met Pa."

Thank you Anita for your generosity...  I know these will be popular at the auction...

Another Halloween

It is really interesting how important a holiday Halloween has become, not just for children anymore. 

Adults are really into it, and the decorations have become more and more elaborate. It's really fun, especially in the blocks where people become competitive and each year the decorations get better.

As we drove to a party last night, to see Bob's (grown) children's costumes, we saw something I had never seen: 

A long white limousine delivering children house to house to trick or treat. Again, I don't even know what to say about that.