Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pillow preview!

I should be loading up my vehicle with all my inventory and gear for the craft show tomorrow--but if you live in or near Des Moines, you know why I'm not!  Yes, another lovely winter storm.  So, I thought I would use this time to share just a couple pictures of some of the pillows I will have for sale this weekend at the show being held over at the state fairgrounds' Varied Industries building.  Because the show must, and will, go on!  Here's a peak at a few pillows:
These are two of my favorites, because the fabrics I used for these covers are both old and new; the floral panels featured on each pillow cover is from a set of linen/cotton dinner napkins or table runners--I'm not sure which--that may have been a wedding gift to my parents back in 1973.  They've never been used; I've had them for quite a few years.  I must have come across them at some point and snatched them up because I thought they were pretty.  Good thing I did.  I love how they work with these modern fabrics. 
And, of course I have a few Nancy Drew pillows:
You can probably tell that in this picture they're displayed in a nice old suitcase, which I found at Goodwill just the other day; it is lined in vinyl so I could clean it, and now it's a perfect piece for my show display.  Very handy. 

I'll have plenty of journals and some collages in my booth as well, and would love to see you if you're in the mood to brave a little bit of snow.  Thanks for looking! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Warm thoughts on a Winter's Day

Once again, it's a winter wonderland here in good old Des Moines.  Which means it's a great day to stay inside and sew and cut paper and maybe paint something!  Which is exactly what I'll be doing. 

When you live in a super-cold climate, quilting is a perfectly practical hobby.  That's doubtless one of the reasons that quilters have created quilts for hundreds of years.  They're beautiful AND useful, which in my mind equals perfection. 

In addition to snuggling up under a warm quilt to keep warm, I use quilts to warm up the house in a few different ways, literally and figuratively:

I decided to switch up the d├ęcor in our teeny-tiny dining room (aka the room where I store extra craft projects and miscellaneous stuff) from black & white to more colorful.  And because our dining room table is ugly, I really wanted to cover it up.  I also thought it would be a great way to show off this beautiful quilt I got last summer at a tag sale.  I love all the colors and prints here.  And since we don't eat in here, I don't have to worry about food stains.  Of course if we did decide to actually sit down at the dining room table for a meal, I'd remove the quilt first. 
Our bedroom is like an icebox in the winter, so I simply draped a quilt on top of the sheer curtains in hopes of keeping the cold air out and the warm air in.  I love being able to look at this gorgeous vintage quilt several times a day and before I go to sleep each night.  This is one from our family's collection, possibly made by my great-grandmother Hannah; it's backed with flannel, there's no batting, and as you can see, it's tied rather than quilted.  I've been looking through various quilt books trying to discover the name of this block--if you happen to know what it's called, please let me know!  I love the fabrics she used (from her own dresses and aprons?) and the colors are so bright and really, so modern. 
And of course, I have a few quilts on a quilt rack (a $7 thrift-store score).  I have a couple vintage ones that are "just to look at" and then the gray one I made that we actually use.  They go so nicely with my son's playmat, don't you think? 

For those of you in the area who don't mind braving a bit of cold, please stop by and say hello to me this weekend at the State Fairgrounds--I'll be at the craft show held in the Varied Industries building on Friday evening (5 to 9), all day Saturday (9 to 5) and most of Sunday (10 to 4).  I'll have lots of new journals and a bunch of pillows--this is their official debut!  And a quilt or two as well.

Stay warm!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Mid-Century Margins modern quilt

Last week I finished a quilt that I made this past fall, right before the craziness of the holiday show season started:
The typewriter you see here is my mom's, which I grew up wanting to play with and eventually she let me use it a little.  I've always thought it was so beautiful.  Last year when I stumbled across the "Type" fabric line, I immediately ordered some and then got some more when I stumbled across it during a visit to Quilter's Cupboard in Ankeny.  Then I waited patiently until I was sure exactly what I wanted to do with it.  It's hard for me to be patient, especially when it comes to super-awesome fabric but the flip side of that is I didn't want to mess it up.  Especially when said super-awesome fabric is no longer in production.   My design plan was to keep it simple and focus on the prints in a modern, uncluttered way.  Nothing too fussy.  Also, I admit that I do get bored sometimes making the same quilt block over and over.  Here's a closer view of those adorable prints:
The gray fabric (also from Quilter's Cupboard) was the perfect solid (even though it's actually a subtle print) to go with the Type fabrics.  I definitely have a thing for gray fabric!  This quilt was pieced and quilted (my typical wonky lines) with gray Aurifil.  I haven't washed it yet--once it crinkles up it will be even better. 

If you'd like to check this quilt out in person, I will have it with me in 2 weeks at my first show of 2014, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Varied Industries building on Feb. 21, 22, 23.  The show opens Friday evening (5 to 9 p.m.), and is open all day Saturday (9 to 5) and Sunday (10 to 4).  Come out and say hello!  (Yes, the concession stand will be open so you can buy a bucket of chocolate chip cookies.) 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Nancy gets a new look.

So, I made another Nancy Drew quilt.  Imagine that!  This is number 3, but quite different than the other two.
The Nancy and magnifying glass squares are from the Moda charm pack; I haven't used the red and black ones in my other quilts because they just didn't go with the blue & yellow color scheme.  But obviously I couldn't let those little charms go to waste.  Here's a closer look at a block:
Every quilt presents its own challenge; in this case, it was trying to line up the sashing.
I managed to get it done though and I am proud of this one.  The back looks like this:
I was going to do the back totally in the funky floral print but--I was a little bit short.  What can I say, my system of measuring (guesstimating) doesn't always quite work out.  But I kind of like to do something a little quirky with the back of my quilts anyway, so I'm totally okay with this.  The finished quilt measures 46.5 inches wide by 51 inches long; big enough for a lap quilt or throw, but small enough to hang on a wall for display.  I tried a new batting this time, a bamboo & organic cotton blend.  Super-duper soft!  And it was the kind that isn't supposed to require any basting, but as I do not have a very trusting nature, I confess I did baste just a little before I quilted it (with red Aurifil--love that thread!). 

This is my tenth finished quilt.  I'm really glad I got over my fear of sewing machines.