The Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival is going on now! (More info here: http://kcrqf.com/) Stop by if you are in the neighborhood. It is very impressive event that has been put together entirely by volunteers. My guild is selling raffle tickets for a great starry quilt that will be given away in September. If you buy $5 worth of tickets you can have your photo taken in our "Sun Bonnet Sue" photo booth:
Amy Bradley has designed a lot of very cute patterns. My current favorite is a set of campers and family members. It can be found here. So far I have only made one of the campers for a friend of a friend,
but hopefully more will come soon. It is fun to put together a fantasy camper and accessories. Of course mine will include birds and a cooler full of soda and ice cream.
Unfortunately, for almost my entire life, I have been embarrassed about my mom's shoes. From photos I have seen I think that before she had children my mother had style and good taste in clothing. But life wore her down and high heels are not the shoe of choice for chasing three children around. She would settle on a pair of canvas tennis shoes and wear them until they fell apart. Generally those shoes would be splattered with paint or wallpaper paste or even concrete from time spent helping my dad repair and "flip" homes. She had very narrow feet that were difficult to fit and in later years she had a lot of arthritis pain in her toes. At least ten years ago she got a pair of green elastic sandals that became her go-to shoes, even in cold weather. They were bright green, two sizes too short and a size too wide. After a while they became worn and dirty and well, embarrassing. Twice I took her shoe shopping and she came home with replacements that she rarely wore. Last Christmas I special ordered a pair of shoes that were made for people who have trouble putting on shoes. Heavily padded warm shoes that she said were comfortable but they never became her favorite.
Last Wednesday mom passed away. Even though she had been on a long decline it still felt sudden. We buried her in the new "comfy" shoes and I put the green sandals in the trash. I was too embarrassed to send green shoes to the mortuary. Sorry mom.
On this Mother's Day it seems appropriate to consider the steps a mother makes during her lifetime. Steps taken in the care and feeding of children. Shoes worn working on projects that interested her husband a lot more than it interested herself. I wish her steps could have been easier.
Whoops, I forgot to post the info about the SAQA Regional Exhibit that opened yesterday in Kansas City! The theme is Midwest Metaphors. My entry in the exhibit is made out of six vintage flour sacks that I embellished with embroidery. (It was inspired by Andy Warhol screen prints.)
This weekend is the annual Kaw Valley Quilters Guild Quilt Show. It is held at Crown Toyota dealership in Lawrence KS. For more details click here. There are some great quilts to see and vendors to visit. The guild has a "boutique" where there are bargains in all types of sewing notions, fabric and books, as well as cute hand-crafted items. Here I am finishing the set up of merchandise:
Here is another baby quilt that I was asked to make. I used a panel print that was supposed to make a fabric book by Richard Scary. Just cut out the pages and added sashing with wonky star corner blocks. The front and back cover were a slightly different size so they needed some adjusting...but I liked including them better than leaving them out. A fast and easy project made from some pretty and pretty entertaining fabric:
A grey day here. The state song claims the "skies are not cloudy all day" but they often are up here in the northeast corner. Our basketball team is out of the tournament even though the long suffering husband and I traveled to Omaha to cheer them on in person. The seats reserved for a few lucky faculty members were within a half-dozen rows of the top of the arena, which started the event with a taste of the disappointment that was to come. Good thing we brought the new binoculars!
I have always made fun of people who travel long distances and spend big money to sit in the top rows of a venue and watch dots play basketball...a comfy chair in front of a HD TV makes so much more sense. I kept thinking Who is the dummy now? At least I got to help boo the governor when his face appeared on camera. To clarify: we were not booing his shirt, we were booing his policies and wrong-headed leadership of our state.
No Irish heritage here...and a holiday that does not focus on candy is easy for me to ignore. However, I did try out a bit of green sewing in honor of the season. Here is a block that is made from commercial flowered fabric that I used Rit Color Remover on, then clamped between two plexiglass circles and put in an indigo dye bath. Stitched with variegated green thread, it now waits for the next step:
"I'm not going outside until the temp is higher than my age!"
This is not the best plan for old people like me, but I bet my east coast daughter and maybe even my local daughter can relate. Until Spring comes I am getting by with some paper flowers I made at the Percolator a while back:
For forty years my husband and I have been going to the University of Kansas basketball games. We started as students and now go as faculty member and wife. Over 30 years of service has given my husband fairly good seats...not as good as we had 40 years ago when college basketball was an entirely different animal, but pretty good. This year Allen Fieldhouse (the facility where the games are held) is celebrating its 60th birthday. Much has been written about how special the atmosphere is in Allen. Loud, excited, crazed for the team, etc. I suspect that much of the energy of the place comes from how uncomfortable most of us are. There are no hand rails on the steps so you have to be young enough to climb without help. There are very few seats with backs and they certainly are not the padded theater seating that other venues have. But worst of all is that the bleacher seating is marked for 1950s sized bottoms.
I have a coveted seat on the aisle with a clear view of the game but for most games that seat is just a few inches on the end of the bleacher and half of my overlarge bottom stays levitated in air like these guys' on the other side of my aisle. It makes me ready and willing to leap up and cheer from my half seat, though, and at least I don't have to stand for the whole game like the students do:
I still love going to the games...but here's hoping only skinny people show up for my row. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
I was asked to make a baby quilt from an alphabet panel and some coordinating fabrics. The baby is already here, so time was a bit short and quick was the main theme of this project. I started by cutting the letters apart and adding two inch strips of yellow fabric to two of the sides of each block log cabin style. A math check revealed that if I continued on with the same sized strips, the quilt top would be just a bit larger than the width of the backing fabric. Not wanting to piece a back, I used 1.5 inch strips in red for the third and forth sides of the blocks. Then sewed the blocks together with some half-sized plain blocks to even things out. The off-center result is subtle, but bright, cheerful and a little educational:
The art exhibit that I am part of at the Oak Park Library in Kansas City is on display until Feb. 22. There is still time to see it! For information on the exhibit click here. This group has been meeting for several years, but only recently came up with a name for itself. We decided to call ourselves The Studio Seven. We work in a variety of mediums including paper, fabric, paint and collage in our home studios. Here is a group photo taken at the show reception in front of a collection of art cards that we made to depict principles of art:
A while back I made a quilt for a friend/client using some fun Nancy Drew fabric that she had found. She is kind enough to let me pick the pattern on many of the quilts I make for her, so I was inspired by the circles on the fabric to use a pattern called "I do" by Cherry House Quilts. They have a new version of this pattern out called "I do two" that is a little different, but both of these patterns probably work best using solids. Or at least half solids. My version is too busy to really see the pattern the best...and when I saw how much fabric I had left from piecing the top I added a couple of borders. That doesn't help much...but the interesting thing about this pattern is that it is not the same column of pieces offset by half for each vertical row, but two different columns that alternate. Anyway, live and learn... I still like the pattern and Nancy Drew was always a favorite of mine. Here is a badly cropped picture of most of the quilt:
Those old quilt tops are always so tempting. Vintage fabrics and careful hand-piecing...But for me, at least, there is the problem of the smells and stains that the tops acquire over the years. Even a whiff of ancient cigarette smoke turns my stomach. So, I was not surprised when a friend took an old quilt top and ran it through the washing machine before giving it to me to machine quilt. It is exactly what I would be tempted to do. The result, though, was as you would expect. The hand sewn seams gave way and many frayed holes opened up. We did manage to salvage the project by pressing all of the bits back down flat and then heavily machine quilting it, using flannel as batting. The result is a little rough and ragged but useful and the original charm shines through:
A friend of mine found an aluminum Christmas tree from the 60s, along with the color light wheel and a rotating tree stand. I made a tree skirt using some of the designs from my book "Robots in Space!", some vintage ball trim and a couple of silver trims from the fabric store. It turned out modern and shiney...just right for a very 60s Christmas:
It was all snapped up by a lucky bidder at the Festival of Trees auction, where the funds raised go to The Shelter. If by some crazy chance you do not own a copy of "Robots in Space!" click here to remedy that. (I increased the patterns by 150% for the tree skirt.)
Each year there is an auction of Christmas trees at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS to raise funds for The Shelter. My sewing group donated a quilt with trees this year instead of doing a tree. The pattern is "Geese in the Forest". Click here for more information.
One member of the group made this modern wreath quilt to donate to the wreath silent auction:
I also made the tree skirt that was under a vintage spinning aluminum tree with color wheel. (You can see the tree quilt in the background.)
Stop by if you are in the neighborhood and check them out! Dec.1-4