Monday, December 19, 2011

Chinese Auction Fun

My friend Connie and I went to a Holiday Luncheon last Saturday. The members of the Rocky Mountain Crazy Quilt Association celebrate each December with an afternoon of cheer and fun instead of the regular business and workshop meeting. This year we participated in a Chinese Auction. Each person was to bring a white elephant type gift for exchanging.

I took a Bootie Bag filled with stash items that a crazy quilter would enjoy. In return I received a lovely fabric and lace lap quilt. It was made by Leah Mae Williams in 1996 and was brought by Holly. She tells me she originally purchased the quilt at a craft show. The quilt is so sweet with such great blocks that I have no idea why she was willing to give it up. But, I am glad she did!

Each block has a different design done using lace and/or some patches of manipulated fabrics. The colors are white, off white, and the palest peach tone with black satin ribbon accents. The whole thing is very nicely handquilted. It is amazing how uniformly the hand quilting is done. Here is an example of just one block.

Click on the pictures below to see the details of each block. There are some neat techniques shown. I am particularly fond of the way the corner of a hankie was used on the fan, the use of prairie points on another block, the various ways shirred or gathered fabric was used on several blocks and the use of the crocheted lace on the cuff of the lacey glove. The lace inserts on the basket of flowers is pretty cool, too, as is the use of the lace rosettes on the blocks. Every time I look at it I discover something different. I keep discovering different types of lace that are actually being used, too.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Booty Bag for Connie

When I went to Las Vegas in the late summer of 2010 I bought some beautiful peacock feather appliques. I gave one to each of the moderators of Stitchmap and challenged them to make a swap item. I also participated in the swap. The swap coordinator was my daughter Moon and it was her job to keep us all on track.

Moon assigned us swap partners, setting a 6 month due date for the swap to be completed. Like most of the others I procrastinated. The major obstacle for me was thinking of a gift that was useful and that could carry off the peacock theme. Imagine my surprise when Moon sent me Connnie's name as the one I was to make this swap gift for. Now I was feeling pressure. I had to keep it secret and we pal around all the time! How does one keep such information from a good friend when that friend keeps wanting to talk about the swap and exchange ideas???

Somehow I managed to not let her know I had drawn her name.......I give myself pats on the back for that.

I decided to make her a Booty Bag that she could use for whatever purpose she wanted. They can be made in just about any size and used for evening bags to utility bags - depending on what they are made out of or how they are embellished.

I chose to use mostly jewel tones and black in fancy fabrics. I found a piece of a velvet vest front with a multi-colored swirling pattern in it. I used this and the feather to pull my other fabrics selections. I stitched it with silk threads and silk ribbon. I hand dyed some small lace motifs and set about creating the CQ block.

Connie and I spent a day recently doing some decoupaged buttons and I remembered that she liked this one little lady. So, I made a beaded cabochon for her.

I added her initial in silk ribbon so some unscrupulous friend (like me) wouldn't take the bag away from her or just keep it, LOL! I used some vintage ombre ribbon from the 1930's to make the little flowers because we had been together when I bought that ribbon in Niwot, Colorado. I added the free hand swirls and sequins to try and repeat the feeling of a peacock tail.

Here is one more picture of the bag showing the hand dyed dragonfly and a better color shot of that beautiful velvet that I used as my inspiration fabric. In the next picture is a small flower lace motif that I also hand dyed for the bag.

When I put the feather in place it tied the whole bag together. The "Touche" is a personal joke so I can't share that but the label is from a ladie's dress. I save a lot of those because the names are cool and they can be used like this on a crazy quilt.

I don't know how well it shows up in that first picture but I also added a real peacock feather at the base of the applique feather. This is my interpretation of how to show we are birds of a feather who flock together.......ROFLOL!!!

Moon will tell you that Connie had to pry this out of my hands the day I delivered it to her.

Hugs, Shari

Estate Sale Find

I recently went to an estate sale with my friend Connie. We found many wonderful stitching related items there and I felt I got a good bargain on everything. I would share pictures of what I picked up but it is the usual stuff: fabric, lace, patterns, a couple of old books, etc. I am sure I will find a way to use everything I bought.

The best buy of the day is this 8" x 8.5" crazy quilt block from 1904!

I actually saw another lady pick it up and set it down. I couldn't wait for it to be out of her hands. I snatched it right up and set it on my pile of goodies. I didn't even really look at the price right away. The date alone was enough for me to want it.

Connie and I took our gathered up goodies into the living room, sat down and began to weed out what we really wanted vs. what we might want to keep if we could still afford it after paying for what we just had to have. When I got to the CQ patch I let out a "Yippee". Connie looked at me and asked if I had just hit the jackpot. I handed her the quilt was marked 50 cents! Obviously no one who set up that sale knew what they had in this little treasure.

The back is a muslin foundation that is very much discolered with age but so neatly done that the little stitches look like small road maps for a doll's town. The knots are tiny and the stitches pretty much uniform. The thread colors are a bit brighter on the back than on the front so I imagine the back saw less sunlight wherever it had been stored. There is no evidence that the block was ever sewn into a quilt or other object.

The front has 3 dark wool patches (a man's coat?), 1 purple velvet patch, 1 red gabardine patch,1 beige oriental print damask-like patch and the rest are all pure silks. Only the gabardine has a shredded rend in it. The red silk patch (ladie's dress piece?) has 4 tiny holes in it might be bug related. Other than that the fabrics are still in very good condition.

The seam treatment stitches are all single stitch herringbone. They are done in perle cotton #12 or embroidery floss using 2 plies and there are some basting stitches around the outer edges done in cotton sewing thread.

I believe this quilt block might have been made for a Memory Quilt when someone was going to be moving from one place to another. The names/initials are done in tiny chain stitch. A few of the stitches have been snagged and are waving little flags of "hello" at me.

I wish I knew who the block had belonged to and more about the "girls" Mollie, Lula and Clara who signed the quilt. One set of initials is definitely JH. It is hard to tell if the other set is MH or HW. I am going to fanticize it is MH and that JH & MH were a newly married couple moving to another state......maybe the girls were little sisters of the bride?

I am looking for suggestions of how best to display this treasure.

Ever the romantic.........


Mug Rug Swap Completed

Remember the Stitchmap mug rug swap mentioned in my last post? Well, now I can reveal that I sent the chicken patterned one to Ruby in North Carolina, the coffee mug one to Mona in Southern California and the purple diagonal striped one to Michele in Texas! By all reports they enjoyed their mug rug and the extra goodies I sent - mugs to match with an assortment of teas.

I have also received all 3 of my swaps now. The first one that came was from Amber in Ohio. It is so sweet and completely reversible, having a pink rose print on one side and a pink polka dot print on the other. She also made me a matching fabric snack bowl and a darling pocketed booklet to hold my tea bags in! It looks like a needle book so it would be perfect to take with me to an EGA stitch-in. I really like the feminine look of this one. Of course, my grandaughter Grace did too! I will have to keep it away from her.

Ann in Nevada sent me a beautiful blue printed mug rug with a matching tin. The mug rug is embroidered with oodles of tiny French knots accenting the floral prints.

The tin has a top made of the same fabric and then embroidered in floss and silk ribbon. It held an assortment of teas but it would also be just the right size for my embroidery scissors! I could use this mug rug right by my computer and fill the tin with just enough candy for an evening of web surfing!!!

I actually have a matching blue pottery mug that says World's Best Grandma on it and it is like they are a matched set. Lovely work and so tactile. I love texture on my handstitched items. I tend to fondle the texture when I am thinking about things.

Last, but by no means least, was the mug rug received from Michele. It is in my favorite colors of purples and creams with touches of gold and blue. The fabrics are just beautiful and I have already given it a dedicated spot next to my lounge chair on the end table so I can use it when I am watching TV.

Many thanks to these generous ladies. I can tell they put a lot of thought and energy into making these mug rugs for me (not to mention the extra goodies!). I really appreciate their generosity.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mug Rug Swap

I am taking part in a Mug Rug Swap and it has been so much fun coming up with a concept for my swap pieces. I am not really talented with a sewing machine so I asked my BFF Maggie to help me learn to put on bias tape bindings. We got together the other day and she tried to teach me but I wasn't the best apprentice she's ever had. Her big computerized sewing machine scared the dickens out of me. Maggie finally suggested we opt to make the simpler "sandwich" style mug rug.

I gladly agreed. I think they turned out great. Each mug rug has a warm and natural batting inside which gives it a little body. There is a bit of quilting on each to hold the layers together. Of course, I sent along a few other little goodies but I don't want to show what they were because the ladies are followers of this blog and I don't want to spoil their whole surprise.

This first mug rug is constructed on a muslin foundation from selvedges generously donated to me by my friends who quilt and sew much more than I do. I love working with selvedges, I just don't like doing the sewing that is required to generate having my own, LOL. There is also a redwork style embroidery. I hope the recipient will enjoy this little matt, it is just the right size for use by the computer.

The second mug rug I made was also created using selvedges on a muslin base with a redwork style embroidery. This was a mix of patterns to get all the elements I wanted on the cup and for the steam lines. The difference is mainly in color, theme and the quilting stitches are the S curve lines in the selvedge strips rather than the straight stitch quilting stitches used above.

The third one is also selvedges on a muslin base but the muslin is entirely covered with the selvedges. I then took my passion for crazy quilting seam treatments and added a bunch of embroidery to each joining seam. This one feels very texturized when you run your hand over it and I am very happy with the way it turned out. The quilted lines run diagonally across 7 of the strips.

The swaps being sent to me should be arriving in the very near future. I will try to blog about them when they arrive.

If you haven't tried making one of these little matts I really recommend that you do so. They are fun, can be done in a wide variety of shapes and techniques. I plan on making more for gifts.