Thursday, July 24, 2014

Author! Author!

It's been nearly two years since I walked into the Bloomington (MN) Historical Society Museum for the very first time.  I came to drop off something for my dad, and while I was there I asked if they had any quilts in their collection.  Did that question ever send my life in a whole new direction!

Out on display for the 150th anniversary of the Dakota Conflict was an Album quilt.  Not just ANY album quilt.  This one has amazingly complete information inked right onto the quilt.  Not only the year it was hand-sewn, 1893, but the names of many of the women who made it.

Now, it's pretty remarkable that a quilt of that age is even dated at all.  But to have 34 individual names is amazing.  Now, add the fact that most of them were Native American. Can you say RARE?

My curiosity got the best of me.  Who were these women?  What stories did they have to tell?  Was there even any evidence they existed at all, except for their name on an old quilt?  It seemed as if the women called out to me, and it became my passion to know who they were.

So, mostly from my home computer, I have researched the names and the small South Dakota Presbyterian mission where they lived.  What I found could fill a book.  And it has.  Well, a small book anyway.

The basic research has been compiled into a 40 page booklet and printed up for a public presentation I will be giving about the quilt at the Bloomington Historical Society Museum this Sunday afternoon at 2pm.

The quilt was donated by a member of the Pond family, a family with roots to the earliest days of white settlement in Bloomington.  Thus, the quilt has been named "The Pond Album Quilt."

So, even though it's small, and self-published, it IS my first book.  There is a lot of information that didn't make it into the booklet and maybe a larger book could be written in the future.

But for now, if you will indulge me for just a minute...

I'm an Author! (Squeal!) (Happy dance.)
....Ok, I'm back.   Thanks.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Market Day progress

When I headed up north last week, these little blocks were all done and ready for the next step in a Sew Along.

When I got home I was eager to go to Pam Buda's blog Heartspun Quilts and see how they were to go together.  Yep, it was a surprise!  I do love how she puts different simple elements together to make such pleasing designs.

Here's my version so far....



It will have a royal blue binding to corral that red border.  I went to deep, deep stash for that fabric.  Something with tiny red, yellow and blue flower buds straight out of Holly Hobby and the 1970's.  I never thought I'd ever use that when I brought it home from my mother's stash of fabrics, but it was just perfect for this project.  The shade of orangy-red plays so nicely with the other reds in the quilt.  Surprise!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Solstice time

Here's another unfinished project that got some attention last week at the Lake.  Celtic Solstice!

All the blocks are now sewn together.  It's time to figure out borders.  The first will be a narrow white border.  The last will be Kelly green.  (I have enough for a 4 inch border all around, but perhaps I'll head to JoAnn Fabrics some time soon and see if they have more, or if there is another green that will work better.)

As for how to piece a border to go between them....well, it's still a puzzle.  I just know that I want to try something different than the yellow and blue arrows that Bonnie Hunter used in the original, but I'm feeling a little lazy.  I do mysteriously have a lot of the yellow and red pinwheels left over.  Maybe they will find their way into the border.

Oh, and I just realized as I hit the post button that this is my 200th blog post! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Carried away by UFO's

Several unfinished projects (ufo's) came with me to the Lake last week.  It was relaxing to spend time piecing together and playing with fabrics set aside long ago.

First on the agenda was to stitch together some Oklahoma Backroads blocks that were created from a Leader/Ender project.  I had made 24 blocks and it will make a nice lap size quilt for watching television when it's all quilted up.  The pattern is free on Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville page.
Oklahoma Backroads lap quilt
The next project was inspired by Kathleen Tracy.  She shared a photo of a small signature quilt and it has such a sweet verse on it.  I need to make a quilt for a door prize at our Lake Association Picnic and perhaps this larger version will work.  My sister says that it looks like little sailboats.  Which way should I put the writing?  Colored sails up?  or White sails up?  


Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Quilting Holiday

Lake cabin and garage/barn 
July has been a busy month, and we were able to spend a week at our lake cabin in central Minnesota.  I brought several unfinished projects up and was able to make good progress on all of them!  That will at least give me something to write about for the next few posts. (smile)

We brought up an old desk and dresser from my parent's house to make a quilting space at the cabin.   I thought I'd share with you the wonderful view from my new quilting area which is upstairs in the 'barn'.  

It's not really a barn... just a garage for the car, boats and canoes, lawn mowers and storage, plus a workshop for Hubby.
lake side view
road side view- the railing is so that no one accidentally
walks out the door since there's no balcony.

It's a wonder I'll get anything done with such a lovely view!  But it's nice to finally have a place to set up my sewing machine and leave it up for a while.  Usually I sew/quilt at the dining table, and then have to put everything away whenever meal times come along.  And we often want to use the table for board games or cards in the evenings. Having a separate space to sew will be so much better don't you think?  



Monday, June 23, 2014

Baby whole cloth quilt

It has been a busy week, cleaning out and clearing out my childhood home.  Wednesday my son and daughter-in-law will take up residence for a while.  It's temporary, but they need to make it their own home, so at least the main floor of the house needs to be cleaned out as if the house were being sold.  It's been a huge job, but I think we're almost there.  One book case to go!  Carpets were cleaned today and they look so much better!

Such adorable little kittens!
Among the treasures was the first quilt that I remember.  I had completely forgotten this darling little baby quilt.  Maybe because it's whole cloth, and not pieced, that I barely thought of it as a quilt.  But it has a front, a back and some type of batting between.  So, it's a quilt!

It's a whole cloth quilt, and probably made by my mother about 1956.  It measures 33 inches by 58 inches.

The quilt was sewn pillowcase style, with three edges sewn right sides together and then the whole thing turned right side out.  The bottom seam is turned in and top-stitched by machine.  One side is pink with darling little grey and white kittens.  Isn't this the sweetest fabric?

The machine quilting meanders around each of the kitten motifs, so it was quilted with this side up.  Blue thread on the bottom and pink on the top.

The other side is light blue with little baby ducks and daisies.  Too cute!

Close-up of the little ducks on the back.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Mother's Irish Chain

Five Rail Fence 1998
Not many posts lately.  Most of my time has been spent at my childhood home cleaning out closets, delighting in long lost treasures and forgotten memories.  Here's one I'd like to share with you.

Back around 1990 I purchased my first quilting books.  One was Marti Mitchell's "Quilting for People Who Don't Have Time to Quilt."  Sounded like me.  Two young children and a busy household didn't give me much quilting time!

I made Five Rail Fence in 1998 for our queen size bed, followed by Blue Nine Patch in 1990 for our son, and Sticks and Stones in 1992 for our daughter.
Blue Nine Patch 1990
Sticks and Stones 1992





















My mother, who was an excellent seamstress, had never made a quilt.  She had made many other home decor items like drapes and bedspreads, but never a quilt.  So, I talked her into making Irish Chain quilts using Marti's book, and she made two matching twin size quilts.
Double Irish Chain about 1995 by Eileen


The colors she chose are so soft and sweet, just like her personality.  Creams, peaches and pinks in tiny florals.   I think I will have to guess that she made them around 1995.  She only made one more quilt.  In 1997 we made a four patch lap quilt for her brother when he had to move to a nursing home. She decided that quilting was not really for her and she stuck with knitting, which she much preferred.
Mother - in a sweater she knitted

Since I have boatloads of quilts, I think these will go to my sister's home.  First, I need to make labels for them!