Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Rest of the Story

In my last post, I told the story of the little log cabin quilt that recently came home to me after thirteen years.  Here, as Paul Harvey would say, is "the rest of the story."

As I mentioned, my father and mother were both excellent dancers.  In addition to ballroom dancing, they participated in square dance and round dance after moving to North Carolina.  In fact, they met at a school dance back in junior high, and were sweethearts ever since.

Here is a picture of my father next to the portrait he painted of my mother wearing his favorite red dress.  As I recall, he painted this while she was still living.  Dad looks like he is wearing a tuxedo with a snappy vest- perhaps to the wedding of one of my younger siblings.  The note on the back says 1996.  Mom was taken from us way too soon from cancer in 1984.

I actually got to wear this dress once.  Charlie and I got married while we were still college students.  I had a great job working at the student bookstore on campus at North Carolina State University for about three years.  Shortly before his graduation, Charlie landed a job at the university business office.  That Christmas, the chancellor invited the entire business office and their dates to his lovely home for a party.  I made a panicked call to my mother because I had nothing appropriate to wear.  She brought me the red dress and, I think, even took a few stitches in it to make it fit me a little better.  When we arrived at the door, Chancellor Caldwell greeted us himself, and seemed confused about which one of us was the business office employee!  But he gave me effusive compliments on my "beautiful Christmas dress."

As I wrote previously, Dad brought me the dress in 1998 to see if I could make a quilt from it.  The first attempt was a colorful wall hanging, but it was evident that he really wanted a snuggle quilt.  So, with lots of fabric left from this floor-length gown, I began again. 

You can imagine how hard it was for me to cut into this dress the first time! I remembered the gown as being sort of a polished cotton, dark red with a border print.  Of course, the garment was around thirty years old when I started the  project, so it may have faded a bit.  But it was a shiny, thin fabric, sort of a silky polyester, perhaps. And it definitely looked more orange than red.  I used a French-fuse interfacing to back the parts that I used.

The blocks are Album Blocks, and the orange center of each is from Mom's dress.  The rest of the block fabrics are hand-dyed or commercial cottons. 

Here is the second quilt made from Mother's Dancing Dress.

This one has been hung on the wall over Dad's bed, used as a lap quilt, tucked over his recliner...but always lovingly used.  The other quilt got packed away when he sold his house and moved to Boone, and was not unearthed until he moved out last spring.

A final funny end to the story:  when my sister Katy went up to Boone to get Dad out of the nursing home, she went by his apartment to get a few things that he would need.  The first time I visited Dad at her home, he was still mostly bedridden.  She made a point of mentioning that she had brought his quilt, thinking how pleased I would be.  Unfortunately, the quilt she retrieved from the apartment was a blue Wal-mart patchwork bedspread!  Oh, well, he's got his paintings and his books and his quilt with him now.  And he is doing much better, and that's all that counts!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Colorful Quilt from the Past

Circles of Life, 1998

Some of you may recall that my father recently moved in with my sister and her husband due to some health issues.  He had been living in a retirement center apartment in Boone, NC for the past six years.  My sister-in-law, Debbie, recently gave me two boxes of items from his apartment that she had salvaged for me. 

One was this little log cabin quilt that I gave to my father for Christmas in 1998. 

This quilt is an attempt to copy a quilt that I loved from a book about Quilt National, the wonderful innovative art quilt competition at The Dairy Barn Arts Center in Ohio.

Some of the orange-red strips in the off-center log cabins are from a dancing dress of my mother's.  She and Dad used to enjoy ballroom dancing, and this was my father's favorite of her dancing gowns.  He even painted her full-size portrait wearing that dress.

My mother passed away in 1984 from cancer.  Dad kept that dress in her closet until 1998, when he brought it to me and asked me to make a quilt from it.

I actually made two, Circles of Life, and a more snugly lap quilt.

It was nice to see this one again!  Right now it is adding lots of bright color to my kitchen table.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

First Fall Weekend in the Mountains

It's starting to look like fall on the first official weekend of the season.

More and more trees are displaying their autumn palettes.

As is the forest floor.

The fern banks still shine in the shafts of light that reach them through the forest, but some have shed their brilliant yellow-green for the tawny golds and brown of fall.

My window boxes on the cabin have been very sad since all the heat of the summer.

Now they are happy.

It makes me so happy to be in the mountains.

Almost Heaven!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ashe County Quilt Show, Part 4

Get ready for the wrap-up of last weekend's Ashe County Piecemaker's Quilt Guild Quiltfest in West Jefferson, North Carolina!

Here are some of the smaller bed quilts and wall-hangings from the show.

The Snowman Club, by Irene Bebber, was made from a kit.

The alternate blocks feature embroidered snow people.

This is a nice example of bargello twist quilt- in my favorite color, no less!  All of the smaller quilts were pinned on hanging drapes, so this quilt looks more twisted than intended.  It is an Australian pattern made by Irene Bebber and titled Twisted Bargello.

Here is a traditional quilt in cheerful fabrics.  It's A Grannie Thing is by Sandi Smith.

The next one is also very cheerful, made entirely of Fossil Fern fabrics.  Those have always been among my favorite fabrics.  I did not catch the quilt title, but it was made by Catherine Finch.

The lovely quilting is by Gillian Winterton of Laurel Springs Quilting.

From the traditional to the unique:  Geisha in a Frame by David Smith.

Love the colors in the next piece, also by David Smith, titled Stairwell Yen.

I have seen other quilts made like this 3-D pinwheel entitled Pinwheel Posies by Carol Skroch.  

The blades or petals are gathered for a dimensional effect.

Here is a bright sampler by Lynda Harris entitled On the Road Home.

This strippy quilt in cool colors is called Bali Rainforest, by Sandy Leafe.

Here is a very cheerful child's quilt making good use of print fabric and stripes.  It is called Baby Genius Speaks Up by Jean F. Stevens.

For log cabin pineapple fans, here is a wall-hanging in fall colors called Pineapple Delight by Sandy Leafe.

Here is a fabulous branchy tree made from a pattern, Threaded Timbers by Barbara Barkley.

The next one was quite eye-catching:  Brown Crumbs by Elizabeth V. Kelbaugh.  The crumbs concept was learned from Bonnie Hunter, and the brown color scheme unites all the scraps and different blocks.

Here is a cute quilt in summery shades, Flip-Flop Fantasy by Wilma McClure.

I adored the next quilt, Tuella's Day Out by Barbara Barkley.  It is made from a pattern.

Finally, there was some sort of challenge category called "Inner You" with some interesting entries.

This one is called Inside Out, and the makers are not identified on the labels for these challenge quilts.

The quilt depicts many of the maker's interests. HMMM, we might be clones!

Another entry in that category is rather clever, called Exposed by Bits and Pieces

This was my favorite part.  I must look for that "Spool Lady" fabric.

We are back in Ashe County this weekend, and it is starting to look like fall.  We bought some mums today and they are ready for planting.  It has rained off and on today, so I better get out there during a lapse in the showers!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One more Heritage Day quilt

Today I finished the last of the three tops that I agreed to quilt for the Heritage Day auction by Capital Quilters Guild.  This one was much larger, about 88" x 82".   It is made of strips of pastel calico fabrics arranged in blocks resembling asymmetrical log cabins.  Looks like it would be a great stash-buster!

Most of the calicoes were small floral or botanical prints, so I did a leafy free-hand meander over the whole thing.  I have learned to do that one pretty quickly.

The back is plain natural-colored muslin.  I used a pear green cotton thread from Signature.

No batting or binding material was provided, so I went to my own supplies.  I had a big hunk of a solid pink fabric which I used for the binding.  What I did not have was time to hand-stitch the binding to the back.  I tried something new...stitching the binding to the back first, and then machine stitching from the back with a sort-of blanket stitch.

The straight part of the stitch is in the ditch on the back, with the perpendicular stitches biting into the binding.  It actually looks better on the back than on the front.  But- it is done!

A helpful guild member is going to pick the quilts up for me tomorrow at Quilts Like Crazy in Wake Forest and take them to guild.  I will be leaving for the mountains where we are having a party for my father's 88th birthday!  I have been cooking the tomato sauce for the last few hours.  You can even smell the savory sauce from the driveway.  Yum!

(Note:  I wrote this post last week, but somehow it remained in draft form and was never published.  Thought you might like to see the quilt, though.)

Ashe County Quilt Show, Part 3

Today will continue my posts about the Ashe County Piecemaker's Guild Quiltfest in West Jefferson, NC, last weekend.

Let's look first at the miscellaneous items such as wearables, purses, art quilts and other fabric items.  This fabric collage vest was a blue ribbon winner by Irene Bebber called Pinecones and Petals.

This satiny butterfly was very eye-catching.  I did not catch the name of the creator.  This show did not have a program.  There was a Viewer's choice ballot including all the categories.  I took photos of the labels to help me credit the entries, but I guess I missed this one.

Loved this brightly colored tiny fabric basket with embellished flowers.

This original design is called Sunset Sails by Peg Hofstetter.

There were many examples of quilts made by flower-pounding.  I saw this method on Simply Quilts once---looks like a lot of work!  This is Camellia by Rheta Kirk.

This colorful jacket is Sherbet Delight by Irene Bebber.

Another pretty jacket is Snowflake by Gillian Winterton.

I have the pattern for this purse!  Never made it, though!  Purse-Tote is by Barbara McCabe.

Got some old jeans lying around?  Who doesn't? Here is a cute apron made with the handy jean pockets. Recycled:  Denim Apron is by Catherine Finch.

Let's move on.  Here is a really cute Christmas village, Winter Wonders by Alice Potter.  It is her original design.

I showed a picture of this next quilt to my granddaughter, Lily, who immediately asked if "we" could make one.  Lollipop Christmas is by Judy Thew.  This quilt is from a pattern.  I especially like the peppermint yo-yo's.

Loved the Snowman Calendar by Janet Ward.

Here is the August Snowman.

Look at the beautiful Indian Peacock  by Peg Hofstetter.

Here is closer view.

There was a peacock feather in the lower corner.

I have enough pictures left for one more post.  Next time I will show some smaller bed quilts and wall-hangings.