Wednesday, September 2, 2015

More State Fair Quilts

Most of the quilts entered into the Minnesota State Fair can be found in the Creative Activities building.  And what an amazing display!  You will have to take my word that there are stunning applique and intricately pieced quilts all throughout the building.  I tend to photograph quilts that I actually have a fighting chance of making myself some day. So, let's take a look around and see what caught my eye....
Market Basket - traditional block
flannel Floating Friendship Star - traditional block
This just looked so cozy!
Some darling small quilts were also on display.
This grouping in the Ramberg Senior Center included
an award from a LQS: Rosebud's Cottage 

And though I don't think Dear Jane is a quilt that I will attempt, this lovely version was folded on a display shelf. I wish we could have seen the entire quilt to fully appreciate the artistry that goes into making it.
Dear Jane in batiks on black background
Surprisingly, there were not labels with the quilter's names on the quilt displays in this building so I can't give credit where due.  Congratulations to all the quilters whose work is displayed!  You have outdone yourselves again this year, and it was a delight to see your quilts.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Minnesota State Fair time

Minnesota Bedrock Geology Quilt 2011 by Aileen Lively
We're into the "12 best days of summer" here in Minnesota and that means the MN State Fair is in full swing.  This huge event is attended by millions of visitors each year - and it's a hoot!  Where else can a 15 foot tall cow be seen going down the street on a trailer and be absolutely normal?  Kids and adults alike wear crazy paper hats that look like pigs or pickles, and it's as common as a baseball cap.  And the food.... foot long hot-dogs, corn dogs, cheese curds and even meatloaf-on-a-stick.  Strike up a conversation with a complete stranger as you sit and enjoy some musical entertainment, and folks would think you'd known each other for years.  We're all family after all.

The amazing talents of quilters from all over the state can be seen in multiple venues.  Here are a few snapshots from this year.

The first quilt I saw was this 84x108 inch quilt in the Dept. of Natural Resources building.  The quilter appliqued 80 different batik fabrics! Stunning.  This photo does not do it justice.

A version of the Milky Way block called Chinese Coin
traditional block made by Sandra Claessens


There is always a nice collection of quilts in the Ramberg Senior Center, and I was able to look at these while listening to a men's choir sing some great old-time songs.  I'm always drawn to these jewel-tone colors and this one has an alternating light/dark secondary pattern which gives the quilt so much motion. The one below is so wonderfully scrappy.


Old Maid's Puzzle traditional block
made by Mary Jane M.
Cathedral Window traditional coverlet
made by Angie Rogers
Are you fascinated by Cathedral Window quilts?  I have actually tried one once.  Lots of work, but so very pretty.
























And look at this Little Red House quilt with alternating background colors.  It reminds me of the suburban neighborhood I grew up in, with the houses close together.  It's a lovely setting for this block that I don't think I've seen before, and I was immediately drawn to it.  Love it!

More to come....
Little Red House traditional block
made by Carol Schwankl

Monday, August 17, 2015

Postage stamp quilting

Guess what I've gotten myself into...Postage Stamps!  At the beginning of August the postage stamps that Dad had collected over the years came to my house.   He supervised the mail room at work for years.  When a commemorative stamp came in, the empty envelope ended up at our house in a box.  Twelve boxes to be exact - and now opened for the first time in 35 years.  Unsorted, some stamps still on envelopes, many just torn off and stuffed in another envelope.  Overwhelming!

I feel I have to go through every box, bag and envelope closely. Already I've found a newspaper clipping with my great-grandmother's obituary, a photograph of Dad at work, envelopes from letters Dad sent home to his folks during WWII, and even a couple of checks from the 1970's.  

In 1978 the US Postal Service issued a set of stamps with Quilt Blocks.  Do any of you remember these?  I was just barely starting to quilt back then.  What a treasure to find quite a few of them.   I think they look so cute in a little frame from the thrift store.  Don't you?
 

The old stamps are fun to look at.  Sounds like the real collectors want the stamps to be mint condition, or perfect.  These humble little cancelled stamps would never meet their standards. If you would like a set of four basket stamps to put in your own little frame let me know.  There's enough to share!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

July stragglers

July was a really productive month in the sewing room here.  There are two more little quilts that didn't get photographed until August.  Both were made from 'bonus' HST's from other projects.  It's so nice to use those little bonus pieces.  Seems like the quilts go together in half the time!
original design  33 inches square
(traditional Irish Puzzle and Sarah's Choice blocks)
Summer Star  19 1/2 inches square
pattern by Sherri at a quilting life.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

July finishes

Lazy Sunday 84x105 inches
A busy July in the quilt room!

I worked hard all through June, and by mid-July finished quilting Lazy Sunday.  This Bonnie Hunter design was a mystery quilt that I pieced in 2013, so a 2-year finish.  Queen size quilts are a challenge to quilt up on my machine - no long arm here - and I tend to just enjoy piecing them and put off quilting them.  There are three more yet to be done.  Hope I can stay motivated!

There were some small quilts finished up as well.

D4P  13 inches square
 I finished quilting the red border on this little Disappearing 4-Patch.  Don't know why that took so long.  I was just procrastinating on free motion quilting I guess.

Roman Stripe blocks found in a box of quilt scraps gifted from my friend's late mother inspired two quilts.  I'd say those were UFO's from the 1980's.  I thought the black version would look much darker than it does.  The borders brightened it up considerably.  I quilted these much more densely than I typically do, and my machine quilting and free motion quilting are horrible, but improving.  (Don't look too close.)

Red Roman Stripe 32 inches square


And three versions of this little flag quilt: one as door prize for our Lake Association Picnic next month, one for my sister, and one for ME!  It's especially meaningful because I used pieces of our dad's clothing in some of the flags.
America 18x29 inches
Finally finished this mystery table topper from Sheri K. Falls.  Free pattern here.  It just needed a bit more quilting, and binding.  The free motion quilted pine needles can be found as a free tutorial here at The Inbox Jaunt.
Mystery #5 table topper:  25 inches square
This month our DS and DIL celebrated their second wedding anniversary.  Their 'cotton anniversary' according to tradition - so I gave them a table runner made from the 2015 Row by Row Experience.
Lappin' at the Shore - Country Fabrics and Quilts, Brainerd MN



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Not one, but two!

Audition time...
Looking around on the internet the other day I saw someone had posted a photo of a cute little quilt she was making with half square triangles.  The quilter showed the original, which was made with lovely yellows and pastels.  Then she showed her quilt in progress with brighter colors.  Inspiration!

There was a small bag of yellow and red HST's left over from another project and the little quilt would be the perfect way to use them up.

After piecing the center there were still some HST's leftover, and one pinwheel.  Soon all the leftovers were made into pinwheels.   There were only 12, but enough for the top and bottom borders with 2 extra.   I auditioned them for a day or two on the design wall.  
Summer Sunshine

Until....  another quilter posted her quilt in progress.  It is Cabin in the Woods, a design by Ellen Murphy in American Homestead Quilts.  It uses 12 pinwheels for the centers of the blocks. More inspiration!

Those pinwheels were snatched off the design wall and I started searching through the stash.  Now there are two quilt tops pieced up and those leftover HST's are all gone!

I wish I could give you a link to the quilt that inspired Summer Sunshine, but I can't find it at all now.  (sigh) Apparently inspiration is fleeting.
I
Cabin in the Woods

Monday, July 20, 2015

Row by Row

Vertically it's a waterfall
One of the patterns I picked up as part of the Row by Row Experience used bargello technique, which I have never tried.  A quick trip to Hancock to pick up a few extra quarter-yard cuts of batik, and I gave it a try.

The pattern is Lappin' at the Shore by Country Fabrics and Quilts in Brainerd, MN.

I had trouble with the directions.  My eye kept going to the chart of how to cross-cut the joined strips, and I started off cutting the original strips those sizes.  Oops!  But I caught it fairly early, and only had to re-cut two pieces.  (One was too narrow and I re-cut it completely, the other I just trimmed down to the right size.)

The quilting was so easy. I just used the walking foot and made a series of wavy lines that crossed over each other.  I used several different color threads - white, lime green, lt. and dark blues.  That really gave motion to the quilt!  And used a piece of my Marimekko fabric from Finland for the back.

DS and DIL are celebrating their second wedding anniversary today.  This table runner is for them as a reminder of their honeymoon trip to Canada where they saw some lovely lakes and waterfalls.
Horizontally it's a lake
The happy couple at Honeymoon Lake