Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Christmas Quilt Complete

Last night I finished putting the hanging sleeve on the Christmas quilt - but I took these photos almost two weeks ago in the foyer on a sunnier day.

The poinsettia and swags I thought of appliqueing are quilted on instead.  The Right Hand of Friendship stars got some echo lines.  I used a gold colored thread instead of my usual matching or blending colors for all the quilting on the colored areas.

The Glorified Nine Patches are quilted with echoed curves and a small feather in the center square.  The negative space is feathered on the inside of the swags, while the outer areas got lines 1/4 inch apart.

Somehow, I managed to get a couple of photos of the quilt on the floor without any cat models.
It's ready to hang on the dining room wall in a month. But it's not actually finished until I put a label on it. Dorry came up with great ideas for names. I think I might work the "friendship" part of the star block's name into one of them.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Week 9 - Brick Pavement: March on Washington

The block this week commemorates the March on Washington of March 3rd, 1913, the eve of President Wilson's inauguration.  Alice Paul, whose ratification banner we honored two weeks ago, organized this dramatic event. More than five thousand women participated in the march - but you can read more about what happened and the importance of the march in this Library of Congress article:

With green and gold, I don't have "bricks" but I was thinking of building materials in Washington as I chose my fabrics. I wanted a stripe for the long "pavers," and nothing I had was the color and scale I had in mind - so I pieced a striped fabric with a mottled green that, in this context, seems like marble.  The fabric with circles on yellow reminded me of tiles. Perhaps I wanted to use this fabric here because I'm reading Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Anthony Shadid's House of Stone. The book tells his story of fixing up his great-grandfather's house in southern Lebanon.  Finding and installing the cemento tile that belonged to the era is an important part of the renovation.  Here's a link to a YouTube video featuring the author talking about the tiles:
Sadly, he died earlier this year, only 43 years old. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Basket-->Lady of the Lake-->??

I finished piecing the center for my June Bride/basket quilt.  I started with a couple of variations on The Priscilla to come up with this original setting.  The main innovation is a frame shaped like a  slightly pinched square on point, colored to look like it is on top of the pieced points in the corners.

The missing muslin triangle from the basket block is now pieced into one of the larger outer triangles on the left.  You can see it because of the slightly pinkish tint to the old muslin compared to my newer pieces.  I placed the required blue in the points with a sweet pastel roses/striped fabric left over from a project for a friend with Victorian/romantic taste.

I wrote this up and thought I published it a while ago - I know I got the little quilt this far along before taking my machine in for annual service, and they've had it for three and a half weeks.  I used my other sewing machine to paper piece the border, so its ready to be quilted.

To challenge myself I'm doing something different to quilt the Lady of the Lake center block, completely ignoring the piecing, using a thread that will show up on both the white and red fabrics.

Well, that's my plan.  It's so unlike my usual approach, I may hate it and have to revert to my usual quilting style.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Week 8 - Rocky Road to Kansas

This week's block, like week 4, celebrates Barbara Brackman's home state of Kansas.  It's also my husband's home state, and I made this block once before, in a quilt for his mother.

The specific block doesn't show up very well in the photo so here's a crop for detail-

For my Kansas Carpenter's Quilt Walk quilt for Norris' mother, I was somewhat guided by the value scheme used in the huge blocks done in colored cement, placed around the county courthouse in her home town, Great Bend.  This link has some of the story behind the Kansas Quilt Walk.

Rocky Road to Kansas also resembles Week 2's Amethyst, though for this one, traditionally, the four points are randomly string pieced on foundations. 

To make this week's block distinctly different from the Amethyst, I decided to piece the points.  I foundation pieced them to make use of some hand dyed yellow fabrics that I had only small scraps of.

I don't know why I had the yellow and gold striped fabric in my collection, but it was fun to piece it to make concentric squares for the center of the block.  Dorry sent me the rich dotted green batik that lets my twisty golden yellow star glow in the dark.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Week 7 - Alice's Flag

The block this week is not a traditional one, but was created especially for the Grandmother's Choice Block of the week.  It honors Alice Paul and her Ratification Banner, onto which she sewed a star as each state ratified the 19th Amendment.

I used some contemporary prints with an old-fashioned flavor for the pieced background, and a very cute dark green printed with tiny quarter-moons that suggested the sky to me. The green fabric was a gift from my friend Sherrye, especially for use in this quilt.  I hand-appliqued the star, which I do very very rarely, only because my more sophisticated sewing machine that makes quick work of machine applique is away getting its annual tuneup. 

Dana's quilt can have its own connection to the new Alice's flag block. I have noted before that she  majored in American History at William and Mary. That interest  makes me want to go back a few generations for Alice connections. Dana's Great Aunt Alice was the most recent family historian. She is pictured below with my Grandmother and Grandfather, Faye and Fielding. Alice was born in December 1914, so this picture must be from 1915, belonging to the era of the focus of the quilt. In January that year, the House of Representatives rejected a proposal to amend the Constitution to provide for women's suffrage.

Aunt Alice was named for her paternal grandmother, Alice Bruner. Aunt Alice told Alice Bruner's story in her book, They Came to Spencer Township, which I assume Dana has seen.  I'll post this one photo of the beautiful Alice Bruner because it includes her parents, Henry Convear Bruner and Jane Whitcomb Bruner, as well as her siblings.

Alice Bruner is seated, far left, with her parents, Henry and Jane just to her right in the center of the photo.
  Perhaps not so remarkably, Alice Bruner was also a family historian.  Below is a page from her "Scribblins" book, which tells the story of her ancestors, as well as that  of her Civil War veteran husband's family.  Rereading some of it to prepare this post, I was struck by how sympathetically she attempted to relate what happened to the native Americans when these Europeans came to live here.  But, to keep close to the family history, the page I have reproduced below includes some details about one of our Revolutionary War ancestors. 

Alice was clearly proud of her family heritage and became a D.A.R., as did her daughter-in-law, Faye. You may have noticed the small birds (I'm guessing they are eagles) that illustrate her manuscript. Alice was also a talented artist. The Scribblins book is sprinkled with small drawings like those.

The following page comes from the back cover of a children's book about bears, written by Fielding's sister Florence. This delightful book is fully illustrated by Alice Bruner.

Since I am now continuing this family tradition of documenting our history, making Alice's Flag and selecting Alice-related illustrations was a great exercise, reminding me how much work I have to yet to accomplish.

Friday, October 12, 2012

No more basket

The basket block for the New from Old challenge quilt last seen looking like this....


... is no longer a basket.  It's a Lady of the Lake.  No more sloping right side, either.  I rotated the block so you can see the transformation - again the black triangles were created in software.  (They won't be in the quilt.)

The new muslin triangles along the lower edges were cut from the side rectangles from the original block, supplemented with my own fabric.  Two new small red triangles used to be the basket's "feet" - and the rest are the red printed fabric that we must use in this challenge.  No my triangles are not perfect - the sides I started with weren't and I was trying to make this square.  I did adjust the point mismatch at the bottom after I saw this picture though.

It seems most Lady of the Lake quilts are blue - and blue is a requirement of all the June Bride challenges.  My "lady" is in red which is a song I could use for the title, but it's not a particular favorite, so this quilt will have another name, to be revealed later.  For a change, I have a quilt name in mind before I finish the project.

Another requirement of the challenge is to use the entire vintage block.  I used the muslin triangle the basket used to sit on for the next phase of the quilt top.  The pieces shown below were cut off and will not make it into the quilt, but I'm pretty sure it's o.k. to leave out such small slivers and bits - these are sitting on a 1-inch grid for scale.

 I'm working on the next phase already.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The other side

Several weeks ago, I posted the photos of Ellen's quilt for her granddaughter.  I finished the second one, which used to be the back of the Princess quilt, and finally took photos this week. I didn't get one of the full quilt.  It was wet outside when I took these and I couldn't find an indoor patch of sunlight that was not disrupted by shadows  - but the photos in the afternoon sun do show off the quilting best.  In most lighting, the quilting is not this obvious.

Much of the quilt - be sure to click for the larger view.

You may have noticed the swirling trail I gave the butterfly above for some movement, but you probably couldn't see how the frog also moved, hopping from the flower garden to its current location

The bunny was just relaxing in the scene, but you can see the mix of feathers, ferns, leafy and flowery designs I used. The cut off areas are more of this type of fill.

Ellen's applique is really cute - and incorporates several things to make her design very special for Elizabeth.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Week 6 - Aunt Eliza's Star

Today's history lesson was about women's rights - in addition to the vote.  The Aunt Eliza's Star block was chosen to represent Eliza Custis Law, granddaughter of Martha Custis Washington. The layout of it gives a large central focus area, which I chose to fill with something personal for Dana -

I found the photo of the William and Mary wall mosaic at the National Gallery in London on Flickr with a creative commons license.  Still, I decided to contact the photographer Matt from London, who replied, "I'd be delighted for you to include the photo on the quilt. Thanks for asking."

My mind jumped to London because Eliza's husband was British, and the lack of child custody rights for women were similar in England and the United States. I added the George Washington stamp print - a free-to-use internet image - for Eliza's step-grandfather.  The beautiful striated green fabric is another hand-dye by Vicki Welsh.

I took a photo of the group of blocks today. 

I'm pleased with how the greens and yellows work together, and with the mix of bright and subdued prints.

Operation Colorstorm - Part II

About twelve hours after the installation, in the light of day, I took photos of the results of Operation Colorstorm's nighttime attack on Weaverville. We'll start on the north end of town and work our way south.

Bookworms at multiple scales, in front of the public library - 

A really large bookworm occupies the other handrail at the library and trails back for yards.  Hand rail sweaters are visible in the background.

One of the Co-Captains of this event came into the bakery as we finished breakfast.  She said she had just walked by the library and was greeted by a staff member who asked, "Do you know who did this?"  My colleague answered, rather sheepishly, she did.  She was happily surprised when the staffer proclaimed how delightful it was. 

This was the hoped-for reaction, because the Library had the most complete coverage of any site in town.  Taking aside the beautiful Blue-Ridge-Mountains' two-toned sign, the library's decorations have a rather Halloween-esque result that most of us were unaware of.  The stealthy Bookworm yarn-bomber arrived after the rest of the group was taking refreshments and resting up from the work. My photos do not do justice to the effect.  (please note, in the photo just above, the trash can cozy next to the bench and bunny who was shown in my previous post).

The tag you can see in some photos identifies this as the work of Operation Colorstorm. Though the idea to do this was not mine, I was asked to help with the planning.  The name  came to me while driving one morning, mentally composing the first organizational announcement.

Next is a daytime view of the building that houses Blue Mountain Pizza and two other businesses.  The maker didn't call her red ornaments with leaves tomatoes, but I decided that's what they were, so we installed them on the Pizza end of the rails.

At the opposite end of this building, which is marked with a plaque identifying it as the oldest still functioning business location in the county, is a unique place called "Shop Around the Corner."   We ran into the owners, who sell an array of antiques, vintage housewares and gifts, the first day we were scouting.  They were planting the flowers in the beds visible in front of the railing.  We hope they like the incorporation of flowers in the new decorations. 

A telephone pole across the street is dressed in a baby blanket.

 This telephone pole is right outside the bakery wrapped in color with a knitted ruffle!

The creator of the large bunny on the bench at the library (pictured above and in a night-time shot in my previous post) donated this crocheted scarf as a source of yarn for my garden bunny.  As I only needed a bit of the yarn, I brought the remaining piece along last night.  An enthusiastic recruit to the team carried it off and installed it I knew not where during the evening.  I finally spotted it again as I walked by on my way to the bakery for breakfast.

 My little garden, originally designed for a less visible space, was planted in front of the florist's.
 That area would otherwise have not been treated.  But just south of the flower shop is the centrally located town parking lot.  It got a lot of attention.

You can see the clock I showed in the installation photo of my previous post.  Weaverville has no statues, so the clock serves as the iconic symbol. 

In case someone managed to get this far along and had missed everything else, I believe the tree-sweater in the foreground and this bench are going to make them aware of Operation Colorstorm.

The directional panels got "sweaters" and flowers - incredibly, the same people who did all the work at the Blue Mountain Pizza building did all of these as well.

Here you can see the little mice on the clock.

Below them is a vest by one member, festooned by a flower created by a fellow quilter.

 This spectacular bench is also at the parking lot.  Just behind it is the tree I showed in the photos from last night.
 Both of these represent a lot of knitting!

Just across the street, the telephone pole has a garland with fall leaves.  Weaverville is proud of its Tree City USA designation, but there are very few trees in the heart of Main Street.  An artist's vision turns this pole back into one.

The clever yarn bomber who decorated the lights on the Aabani salon with scarves and hats complete with braids managed not to tell anyone there about her plan for months.  Traditionally, yarn bombing is a stealthy activity, but some Weaverville business owners were given an idea of the plan.

The Weaverville Drug Store has two of these massive columns.  It takes dedicated yarn bombers to get up on a ladder that high to adorn not just one, but both of them.

Maggie B's, a wine and sandwich shop, hosted our primary organizational meeting.  This shop got a pretty-pretty piece, which looked almost like a spider web in the morning sun.  My quilting friend contributed the colored flowers we placed on the railings.  The youngest regular member of the knitting group that was at the heart of the effort made more than a dozen red baubles she placed on the rail and bicycle.

The bicycle seen from the other side.  (The grapes were already part of this fixture.)

Our dedicated hand-dying, hand-spinning expert-at-just-about-every-needle-art-you-can-think-of created this very long scarf for the telephone pole anchoring the southern end of downtown.  Every bit of it is her own yarn, start to finish.  My tree sweater on the Frontier Building tree is visible in the background.

 I'm not sure I photographed everything, but I tried!

We ran into our landscaper and his wife at a yard-sale event going on downtown. They had noticed and seemed pleased with the yarnbombs, so that's the first "public" reaction I got to hear.

Operation Colorstorm - Part 1

Last night, starting just before dark, a group of fiber artists gathered in downtown Weaverville, then fanned out to create "Public Art" - AKA a Yarn Bombing.  Here are a couple of photos taken during the installation.

Remember my photo from yesterday captioned, "Hickory Dickory Dock"?

My tree sweater in the local high school colors, red and black

A cooperative effort by other members of the team

Custom fitting a tree sweater (the maker, our organizer, is in the light clothing)

One of the more complicated installations in process
The team worked well into the night. Norris and I got up early this morning, planning a trip to the local bakery-cafe for breakfast, hoping all would still be in place for the weekend downtown activities.