Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fleece-backed baby charity quilt

What a nice week we are having here in North Carolina, with a cool crisp hint of autumn in the air!
Maggy was full of energy and we walked way across the street to the new Heritage neighborhood. There are many new paved roads since my last walk through there. For awhile, new construction had halted due to the economy.

At home, my fall garden is shaping up with some nice purple beauty berries

and autumn joy sedum.

I have been quilting a lot of charity quilt tops for the Capital Quilters Guild in the past few months, mostly Quilts on Wheels for the rest home wheelchair-bound citizens. However, because this donated fabric has "Care Bears" on the print, it will go to the Quilts for Kids program. Sharon did not have any backing fabric for this one, so I used a piece of lavender fleece along with some regular batting.

The top really drew up during the quilting and looks kind of puffy. I quilted in clouds, hearts, four-leaf clovers, suns, and stars.

But, oh, the back! I love the sculptured look of quilted fleece. Don't bother using your expensive variegated thread...it won't show. The stitching sinks into the fleece.

I have one more charity quilt to do before picking up the next four, but the backing on it needs to be pieced. I am thinking more like taking a nap than hitting the sewing room!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mountains in Rain and Sunshine

Our mountain weekend started out with LOTS of heavy rain. On Saturday, we spent the day indoors, playing with my sister's grandbabies.

celebrating my father's birthday, eating lasagna, and enjoying a win by N.C. State in football.

The rain finally stopped just before dark on Saturday night. Our normally placid little creek was changed into a muddy roaring river

and the spillover at the dam was crashing over the rocks on the sides.

What a difference a day makes. Sunday we woke to golden sunshine, blue skies, and a light breeze. We took some beautiful rides on "our" mountain in the Gator.

Charlie and I went into the woods to fill up the corn feeders for the deer (and raccoons, squirrels, and turkeys...no bear on the stealth camera this week!) It is definitely beginning to look a bit like autumn. Hmm, this forest floor pic might make a good art quilt!
Even the ride home was gorgeous. This is where our road comes out on the highway in Laurel Springs. The fields are part of the North Carolina Upper Mountain Research agricultural station.
These fields and barns are also part of Upper Mountain, but across the highway. I like the way the golden leaf tobacco in the foreground matches the quilt block on the barn between the silos. There are goats grazing on the hills in front of the barn.

Hope to get some quilting done this afternoon, but it is continuing to be cool, sunny, and beautiful outside!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Colorful Quilt for a Little Boy

This is the quilt that I finished this week. It is filled with things that little boys like...


and Snails...

And Puppy-Dog Tails...
Some Fish...

Some goofy tadpoles...How about a frog?

Or a turtle?Some of these critters are based on the book by Laura Lee Fritz, 250 Continuous Line Quilting Designs. Others are just "drawn" freehand with my sewing machine.

We are going to the mountains this weekend and I will deliver this quilt and two others to my nephew's new baby and new stepchildren. We are also celebrating my father's birthday, a little late. I made two big pans of lasagna and am ready to go!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nature's Best Quilt Contest- Please Vote for Me!

Natures Best Quilt Contest

I entered my little dogwood trapunto quilt into the Nature's Best Quilt Contest at the Quilting Gallery online. It is in the Small Quilts category.

Only one photo is permitted in the contest, so here are some additional photographs of this quilt. The patchwork contains hand-dyed, hand-painted, and commercial cottons, and Dupioni silk. It is machine quilted, trapuntoed, color trapuntoed, painted, beaded, and embellished with Swarovski crystals.

If you like this quilt, which won a first place ribbon at the North Carolina State Fair and a Judge's Choice prize at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium, please consider voting for my quilt!

Just go here and scroll down to Carolina Woodland Spring! Thanks!

A Look Back at North Carolina's Quilting Heritage

If you ever glance at the sidebar of my blog, you will notice a new award today: Top 100 Quilters Blogs! I'm not sure what I did to earn this recognition, but I'll take it! Not only am I on the first page, but I'm number three. Probably something to do with alphabetical order, LOL!

On to the wrap-up of the Ashe County Piecemakers Quilt Guild Show last weekend in West Jefferson, North Carolina. I really enjoyed my quick visit to see these quilts and the vendors. One of the vendors was Karen Comstock of Raleigh, a member of my own guild. She has a fabulous line of quilt patterns called Quiltricks, and had a large display at the vendor mall. I most recently blogged about her trunk show at Etc. Crafts in Cary, NC.

I certainly enjoyed the large exhibit of antiques at the show. Mountain people have a long quilting heritage, going back to the times when women suspended a frame on the farmhouse or cabin ceiling, and lowered it down by pulleys at night to add stitches to the quilts they made to keep their families warm. My husband's family from Rutherford and Cleveland counties in North Carolina had some quilters, but the descendants did not value these homemade "blankets" that were passed down. I think that during the depression, people had to make do with "homemade," when they could not afford store-bought. My late mother-in-law used her family quilts to pad furniture in the moving van, or to sit on at the beach. There were only two left when we cleared out her household. One was being used under the mattress on the convertible sofa bed. That one was in rags. The other I have restored as much as possible. It had many brown "age spots" or water marks that I finally reduced after many efforts with a paste made from denture cream! I will have to get some photographs of those quilts and the hooked rug made by my husband's grandfather.

So, it was delightful to see some treasured family heirlooms that have survived the generations. Here are some of the assembled vignettes of times past at the quilt show.

Here is an old chair and painted table. The china teacups brought back memories of my own mother's collection of dainty cups and saucers, which miraculously remained intact even in a family with seven rambunctious children.

The quilt on the left reminds me of one of my heirloom quilts, and the green one in the middle is much like a quilt top that my sister-in-law's grandmother made and I quilted.

They certainly had an array of hooked rugs to show with these charming old quilts.

And some braided ones, too. Look at the lovely Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt on the rack. And the card table cover and napkins...I have inherited several embroidered card table covers from both Charlie's grandmothers and my own. Bridge, anyone?

And here is my favorite of the antique vignettes...with a beautiful old Singer treadle sewing machine.

Great show, Ashe County quilters!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ashe County Quilt Show: Art Quilts and More

Instead of my usual Wednesday-Work-in-Progress, today I will bring you more images from the Ashe County Piecemakers' Guild show in West Jefferson, NC, last weekend. I did have a WIP to show, but I actually finished it last night, and will show it later on.

Unlike the North Carolina Symposium show last May, this guild only had a handful of art quilt entries. This was my favorite: it represents "Sang" or American ginseng, a plant native to the North Carolina mountains whose roots are prized for various purported herbal health benefits. Aphrodisia is one of them!

I also really liked this quilt depicting a working mill. The water spilling over the dam is incredible!

The poinsettias on this quilt look lovely on a pieced log cabin background.

This is the most unusual piece in the show, in my opinion. This quilt is made of silks or satins with delicious quilting.

It does not resemble any other quilts from this mountain community, and I believe it was made by one of the "snowbirds," or Florida residents who escape the heat by residing here during the summer months. At the center of each four-patch is a 3-D floral element.

Since the entire show was judged by Viewer's Choice, the only quilts with ribbons were from some guild project involving teaching quilting as a service project, I believe to children. I liked this painted sunflower quilt.

This is the most colorful Bargello quilt I have ever seen.

This was a rather outstanding large quilt depicting Lewis and Clark's explorations. I wonder if it was made for the quilt contest featuring that theme a couple years ago?

There was only one entry in the garment category: this charming child's patchwork jacket.

There was an outstanding assortment of handbags. My favorite was this purple purse with a braided handle, piping, and artsy button.

My last report on the show will be the antique displays with wonderful quilts, hooked rugs, tatted lace, and furniture.