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