Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Button, Button, Who Has The Button?

It all started out very innocently. I went to the Bryce Retreat and purchased a kit to make Nanette's (of Freda's Hive) bag.

I think I was OK at that point.

Inside my kit was a very cute covered button. In fact, I think I picked that particular kit because of the button.

My friend Judi had a very cute button inside her kit, too.

(*Michael Millers "Lava Bloom")
Then Nanette came into town, and we went shopping to some quilt stores together. She bought a yard of this fabric and pointed out how nicely it would make up into covered buttons. I bought a yard too, because deep down inside I am such a Nanette wannabe.
I think I was still OK at that point.

Then she did a tutorial HERE on how to make covered buttons, and showed the finished project.

She even put them together into a lovely jar.
Right then I knew I was in deep trouble. Is there a self help group out there for "Covered-button's -aholics?"
Every piece of fabric I look at now, I ask myself "Could I make a button out of that?"
I never used to have this problem.
(*I got these vintage fabrics from James Carroll Antiques of Anaconda, MT when they had a booth at our quilt show.
I'm a little late for the teapot exchange. Can't you just see in your mind Nanette's purse made out of various teapot fabrics, with a teapot button bringing them all together?
I especially liked the "sun", although the other designs are nice too.
Wonderland by MoMo for Moda Fabrics
(*Fresh Paint by Michele D' Amore for Marcus Fabrics)
Now I have my friends out scouting for me too. Ricci just spent two weeks traveling with Superior Threads to trade shows. At Paducah she saw this fabric and said "Buttons!".
Oh no, will she need a self help group too?

I have been buying the covered button packs here and there at Joann's with my coupons. But then when Nanette did her tutorial, she gave us a resource to buy them at a less expensive price in BULK.
You can find them HERE.
Somebody stop me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ricci's Irish Linen Quilt

Every once in a while a quilt comes along that completely takes my breath away. The talent that some artists develop is almost incomprehensible to me.
Today I viewed such a quilt.
This stunning quilt started out as a piece of vintage Irish linen purchased by my friend Ricci Lindley. The original piece was a whole cloth with very little design. Ricci then asked Cindy Needham to work her magic.
Cindy works from her home in California, and does the stitching on a home machine. The bead work is done by hand.
Ricci originally purchased the vintage linen in 2001 while she was on a vacation in Dingle, Ireland. The exact date was September 11th, 2001. The reason Ricci can remember so vividly is because she purchased the linen in the morning Ireland time, and that afternoon heard of the devastation at the Trade Towers in New York. I think all of us will always remember the hourly details of that day.
Since then, the linens were tucked away waiting for something special, although Ricci wasn't sure exactly what.
In February 2009 Cindy came to St. George and taught classes for Superior Threads School of Threadology. Ricci was Cindy's helper and they became instant friends.
When Ricci saw Cindy's beautiful work she knew right away what she wanted for her Irish linen.
Cindy went back home to California and blogged several posts as she worked on Ricci's quilt.
You can read her posts Here.
Cindy often helps Superior Threads at Trade Shows. A few weeks ago, she and Ricci were assigned to be room mates as they worked the MQX show in New Hampshire.
It was 11:30 at night when Cindy arrived at their room. Ricci was already in bed, but was completely alert when Cindy brought the quilt out of her suitcase.
Ricci said she was so overtaken with the beauty of the work she immediately started crying.
Just hearing her tell me the story made me cry too. Cindy has been so generous with her time and amazing talents. She truly is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.
The back of the quilt is almost as beautiful as the front.
Cindy took a doily and wrote an Irish Blessing.
She used an antique pillowcase for the label and sleeve.
What a treasure.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Antique Samplers

I have another very curious story to tell you. It goes along with yesterday's story in finding the vintage stuffed toy patterns from my grandmother.
This experience has me pondering even more the question of whether we have inherited our fore bearers love of handiwork through our DNA.
When I was a newlywed we lived in married student housing while my husband was in graduate school. The woman who lived directly below me did cross stitch. I had never seen this handiwork before and I was completely taken in. I felt compelled to start a project that very day.

I did several simple things at first, but then discovered patterns that copied antique Samplers
For years that is all I wanted to work on.

I made Sampler after Sampler after Sampler. I studied the history of the making of samplers, and even taught classes about the art.

For some reason, working on these brought peace to my soul.
Many hung in my entry way going up the stairs of my last home.

These are just a few that I worked on.

My mother lived quite simply in a one bedroom apartment, and didn't have much in way of material things. She had a difficult life and there were many stories of her past that she did not share. Other than pictures, I have very few of her things.
After her passing, I opened a box and found this antique sampler folded in tissue paper.
I immediately recognized the name of one of my ancestors born in the 1800's.
My mother had carefully kept a Sampler from one of our family members made in 1854.
You can imagine my surprise in discovering how much Ellen Tracy and I had in common.

Wanting to preserve Ellen's work appropriately, I took the piece to a curator who worked at framing art for historical sites here in the state of Utah.
He archivally preserved the piece in a hand carved frame, dyed only with natural products as the pioneers would have done.
In another box I found these 5 pieces, with a small note on the quilt piece. It said "made in the day of George Washington". This is my only clue, other than I know the sewing kit, gloves, collar and fan were handed down through the family.

I also had them archivally framed to help preserve the pieces.
So what do you think? Do you think you might have inherited the love of quilting from an ancestor just the way you inherited your blue eyes or curly hair?
Have any of you discovered the same about yourself?
I'd love to hear your perspective.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Vintage Patterns

Have you ever wondered what there is about quilting and handwork that draws you in? Do you think it could be something in our DNA?
My mother was very intelligent and loved to learn, but she was more of a bookworm than a seamstress. My grandmother on the other hand, loved to create with her hands. Maybe the gene skipped a generation, because anything with a needle, thread or fabric calls to me. My grandmother died when I was very young, so I never had the opportunity to have her teach me her skills, or to be around when she sewed.

When my mother passed away I found this box amidst a collection of family photos and letters.
She had saved patterns that her mother had used to make clothing and toys for the grandchildren.

These are patterns she sent away for in the 1950's. Notice she didn't use her given name on the address bar, but instead referred to herself as the wife of my grandfather Oscar. A decade later, the woman's lib of the 1960's worked hard to discontinue those practices.

I love that the postage was 1 1/2 cents to mail a letter from New York to California.

I remember playing with many of the stuffed toys my grandmother made. My grandfather lived into his 90's and I visited his house often until I married and moved away. He kept a little leather chest in his living room filled with the toys my grandmother had sewn, and we could play with them if we were very careful. I remember the musty smell of the chest, and felt close to my grandmother during those moments, even though she was gone.

The paper on the patterns is still in good shape, and my grandmother's handwriting and notes are very visible.

The all time favorite toy in the chest was the sock monkey.
I have the original pattern she worked from.
My grandmother made at least two sock monkeys. One she gave to my older brother to have for his very own. He loved his sock monkey so much that he decided that when he grew up he was going to become a monkey. No one could convince him other wise.
Isn't it amazing that today these toys are just as popular as they were in days gone by?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Schnibbles State Fair

This is the week for making baby quilts.
Jen and Zach are my daughter's best friends. In fact Aubrey introduced Jen and Zach.
For the last several years of their marriage, this wonderful couple were told that the chances of having a baby would be near to impossible. They worked towards adoption, but faced roadblock after roadblock.
You can imagine the elation they felt when they found out Jen is expecting. Those of us who know them, and have been aware of how much they have wanted children, have cried tears of joy in their behalf.
I e-mailed Jen right away and told her I wanted to make her a baby quilt.

Jen and Zach went to quilt stores near their home and selected the fabric line Aviary by Moda to decorate the nursery.
I could only find charm squares in this line at stores here in Southern Utah. I used Miss Rosie's Quilt Co., Schnibbles, State Fair for the pattern. I enlarged the quilt a little to make it more crib size.
Monday it will be off to the quilter.
Congratulations again Jen and Zach. I am so happy for you, and your little girl will be so fortunate to have you as her parents!

Friday, April 24, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons

To quote my 17 year old son:
When life gives you lemons
Throw them back
And demand the cookies you asked for."
Not an original quote but I like it.