buriedinscraps

Decide what to be and go be it.

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Covered by Glory

Saturday, my husband and I took a road trip to Waterloo, Iowa to see the Covered by Glory quilt exhibit at the Grout Museum.   Five hours one way…worth it to see quilts!!  We first visited the Veteran’s Museum.  It was an interactive museum that traces Iowan soldiers from the Civil War to the present.  You’re given a dog tag at the entrance and you are that soldier throughout the museum.  At many exhibits, you can scan that tag to find out how the conflict affected you.  I learned something that I still find hard to believe.  Apparently only 25% of men fighting in Viet Nam were drafted.  That number seems low and I may have to check that out.  I know that has nothing to do with quilts, but I found it interesting. We spent about ninety minutes there and then on to the quilt exhibit.

In a previous post, I wrote about being too timid to ask about taking photos and many of you encouraged me to at least ask at the museum!  So, I put my camera in my purse and when we entered the museum I asked if photography was allowed. The woman behind the counter said no one had ever asked that before so she asked someone else and I was told photography was OK without a flash.  When we arrived at the quilt exhibit, there was a sign that said No Photography.  Darn!!  Now, my husband and I are people who always follow the rules.  Everyone else is breaking them and there we are watching them get ahead and we putz along following the rules.  So I pointed to the sign and my husband says  “She said you could without a flash”.  We were the only people in the exhibit and I made the decision to take pictures.  I know that flash will harm the fabric, but no flash will do no damage.  It’s just so rare to see Civil War era quilts….   I will apologize in advance for the quality.  Museum light is not the best for flashless photography and it was a pretty small area and I couldn’t always get the best angle.  Not my best work….

The quilt exhibit was quilts from the Civil War and tribute quilts made since then. There were not many actual Civil War quilts in the exhibit…there are very few in existence.  Those that were exhibited were not in pristine condition but I can imagine the stories that they could tell!  There were two Rose of Sharon quilts hung side by side that were interesting.  One was the original made in 1866 and the other was a modern version.  The modern version was made from patterns that were traced from the original.  The maker made a few changes but it was interesting to see them side by side.  There were two embroidered quilts that were made by the Women’s Relief Corps right after the war.  Many of the quilts were modern miniature quilts made with the reproduction fabrics.  A few quilts from the Civil War Diary book and a couple of Dear Janes.  (I am in awe of anyone who finishes a Dear Jane.  That is quite an accomplishment!)   There was an interesting story with one of the quilts about a young girl (three years old) who was very upset that her big brother was going off to war.  He promised her he would come back and bring her a china doll. He didn’t come back but soon a box came in the mail with a china doll inside. Years later, she was talking with a Civil War veteran and he told her the story of a young soldier that he met.  The soldier was dying and told the veteran how he had promised his little sister a china doll and after the soldier passed, the veteran bought a doll and sent it to the young girl.  It certainly brought a tear to my eye.  Even though the exhibit was small, it was definitely worth the trip.  The exhibit is open until September.

Enjoy the slideshow!!

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Look what I got!

Yesterday my aunt and I took a road trip two hours south on Route One to Threads of Time Quilt Shop and Retreat.  It was truly worth the two hours in the car!  I’m sorry that I have no photos of the shop.  I’m timid about asking if I can take photos.  I think it goes back to when I tried to take a picture of a line of dresses at a Renaissance Faire and was politely told to put the camera away.  Geesh…..I only liked the colors, not the dresses!  So, I guess I’m just afraid that someone will say no.  I know….get over it!

I’ve never met friendlier people.  When they found out it was our first trip to the shop, we got a guided tour of the shop and the retreat.  I’ve never been to a retreat.  I kind of like to be home at night, but I think I could be persuaded to stay there.  Very nice rooms…a huge workroom with many design walls.  There are design walls throughout the retreat area.  They have a beautiful garden out back with a fountain and a lighted patio.  I can see where it could be quite a relaxing weekend.  Sew…eat…sleep…repeat.

The shop itself is very nice.  They have a nice selection of fabrics.  As long as I can find Civil War repros I’m happy!  They carry a lot of Superior and Aurifil threads.  I really liked that since my local quilt shop doesn’t have a large selection.    We got a demonstration of a new product…..iron on thread.   It’s a heavier, glittery thread that you iron on to fabric…..much like a stained-glass look.  I can see where I might use that in holiday projects.

Anyway…if you are ever near Danville, Illinois, be sure to stop.   They’ll feed you cookies!  🙂

Reasons for Quilts (Edyta Sitar) is really a nice book.  It’s not really a pattern book although it comes with a DVD  containing patterns for some of the quilts.  It’s more the stories behind many of her quilts and the reasons why all of us quilt.  It’s beautifully photographed.  It would make a wonderful gift for any quilter….even a gift to yourself!  Hey, we deserve it!

As you can see, I found fabric.  Sometimes I feel like the Queen of the Fat Quarter.  I do so love them!!  :-). It’s obvious they followed me home!  I think you can tell which fat quarter I brought back for MiniQuilter.

Tomorrow, it’s another road trip with the husband.  We’re off to the Grout Museum in Waterloo, Iowa to see an exhibit of Civil War quilts and tribute quilts and Civil War letters and artifacts.  I’m going to ask about photography.  I’m guessing no….but I’ll ask!

Another one bites the dust!

And I’m so glad it did!  I’m checking one more off my summer to-do list!  I finished the quilt I call Square Cubed. I call it that because it’s basically a Square Within a Square block that I extended to have three squares.  I really like this little quilt.  I’m sure you’ll remember the fabrics…the little guys that wouldn’t talk to me.  Piecing the quilt was easy once I decided what I wanted to do.  But as always, I was drawing a blank when it came to quilting it.  I have the hardest time deciding how to quilt my quilts.  I almost never want anything “straight” or grid-like.  But I also don’t always want a stipple or all over design.  I’m usually stumped when it comes to motifs or quilting plain blocks.  This quilt had many opportunities to show off quilting.  However, I’m not sure showing off is a good thing for someone who still has so much to learn.  But here are a few pictures of the end result!

I stitched in the ditch around the blocks and inside the pieced blocks.  I wanted something rounder and smoother for the center, so I chose a spiral.  I have to say they were fun to do and pretty easy.  I had a lot of practice with spirals by the time I was finished!

What to do with the plain blocks.  My original thought was to do a plume in these blocks and feathers in the borders.  After I looked at the borders, I decided that they really weren’t wide enough for my current feathers.  Maybe in the near future I can make them small enough to fit in a smaller border but right now I’m like those big semis you see on the road…I make wide turns!  So I chose one of Leah’s fill patterns…Bubble Wand…and used it in the plain blocks and on the border.  Lots of practice with circles and travelling.  I think that it may also help me with feathers.  It seems like a good jumping off place for them.  The picture above shows my inner border and some of the outer border.

I was merrily stitching along…my fmq looking pretty darn good if I do say so myself!  I made the mistake of turning the quilt over.  Oh dear!  I had eyelashes on the back.  I know that quilting circles and curves can breed eyelashes.  I made the decision to not unsew.    Moved on the next bunch of circles and slowed down a bit and was careful about making the curves.  I was feeling pretty smug.  Turned it over and….more eyelashes!  I had enough eyelashes on the back of that quilt to film an episode of Jerseylicious!  Click on the picture below to get a real good look at the mess!

Dang!  Now what!  I’m not giving up and I am finishing this quilt!  Checked the needle, the thread, feed dogs.  Everything seemed fine.  The only thing left was to check the tension.  (Insert blood curdling scream here.)  I really don’t like to fool with tension.  A few weeks back, I spent an afternoon getting the tension just right.  Then I wrote down the number and thought my tension issues were over.  Wrong.  I readjusted the tension and after a few practice spirals, I found the right tension….again.  And then things went smoothly for me.

This is what good tension looks like.  🙂  I guess this quilting thing is a constant learning curve.  Just when you think you know it all…you learn something else!

Here’s the finished project.  Now I’m on to the next one.  It feels so good to have finished a couple of quilt tops that have been languishing on my sewing room.  Finishing is good…..

Road Trip!

I was able to spend a little time with the grandkids this weekend.  Saturday, we took a road trip to Springfield, Illinois.  MiniQuilter’s brother, MarioFan, has a fascination with Abraham Lincoln so we promised him a day trip to some of the Lincoln sites.  MiniQuilter is not really into history, but she went along for the party.  We had a beautiful day–beautiful hot warm sunshine.

 Our first stop was Lincoln’s Tomb.  It’s pretty impressive.  The design is symbolic in many ways and it has a very nice collection of Lincoln sculpture.  It was a very interesting visit.  You can take a virtual visit here.

After a quick stop to buy a stovepipe hat and beard for MarioFan, we were off to Lincoln’s home.  A slight problem when MarioFan bumped into a stacked display of Lincoln Logs—the tins rolled through the gift shop as my husband slinked out the door, leaving me with a cute little red-faced boy!  When we went outside to wait for the tour to begin, MarioFan announced his disappointment that the home was not a log cabin.  (This later led me to do a Google search for an Abraham Lincoln log cabin–another trip for another day.)  Once inside, I was very disappointed—not one quilt!  Not even in the servant’s room.  Lots of woven coverlets…no quilts.  I mean, seriously Mary Todd Lincoln…not one quilt?  MiniQuilter and I enjoyed the tour of the home…the furniture and all the “pretties”.  MarioFan on the other hand, was most impressed by the “little house out back”.  He had a hard time wrapping his head around that one.  Ah….eight year olds!

A pleasant surprise!  There was a Civil War encampment on the grounds of the Old State Capitol.  It was basically a medical encampment and there were displays of medical kits and such.  There was a surgical “demo” that the kids surprisingly enjoyed.  I’m just happy that medicine has come a long way, baby!  We walked past a tent that housed both Grant and Lee.  (Nice to see the boys getting along!)  These two men looked so much like the generals that it was uncanny!  These  re-enactors take this very seriously and stay in character at all times.  Throughout the entire camp, I only saw one quilt!  It was not an antique, but very pretty.

Inside the Old State Capitol building, ladies and gents in period costumes were dancing.  I always find these events fascinating.  I love to see the men in their uniforms and the women in the big dresses.  Although at 90 plus degrees, I was glad that it was them and not me in a wool jacket or a hoop skirt!

And, as always, with two eight year olds, I made several trips to the “necessary room”.  (Good thing for MarioFan that these were inside and flushed!) So, if you’ll ever be in Springfield,  give me a ring—I can tell you where all the bathrooms are!

I’ll leave you with a short slide show of our day.

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And the winner is….

That’s a good question!

I just received the latest issue of the AQS magazine and it showcases the winners at the recent shows at Paducah and Lancaster.  The quilts were beautiful.  So certainly, all of us were winners for having been able to see them.  Not having seen them first hand I can only image that the level of workmanship was superb.  But, looking at these photos, I felt a twinge of sadness.  The greatest majority of them could be considered art quilts…or at least modern.  Not many would be considered traditional.

I’m going to stop here and say that I love art quilts!  I don’t typically make them but I like them and I admire those who can express themselves using cloth instead of paint or clay.  They are stunning and worthy winners.  There is a place in the quilting world for every type of quilt.  I only wonder this….is it possible for a traditional-in-the-true-sense-of-the-word quilt to win an award at one of these major shows?  If it were meticulously pieced and gloriously quilted could it stand up next to a beautiful, stunning and modern quilt and win?

I wonder if in judging quilts, we’ve gotten so far away from our roots that the traditionals are hardly considered.  Or is it that in the recent past so many of the winners have been more modern and artful that the purely traditional quilter doesn’t even enter?

In this magazine I saw so many quilts that were drop dead gorgeous and I drooled over them and almost coveted them.  I knew they were out of my skill set and I envied and admired them.  But I still couldn’t see them on a bed keeping someone warm at night.

I guess I’m just saying that while these winners are beautiful and deserving of awards, I just wish there was more of a place in the winner’s circle for more traditional quilts.  After all, they represent our roots.  It’s kind of like forgetting Grandma.

One down…

…and a bunch to go!  But I’ve checked one project off my Summer To-Do list.  My Gettysburg Sun is finished!  Finally…    I know I’ve whined about it a little bit…OK, a lot.  But I finally finished it and took a step back and it actually doesn’t look too darn bad!  It’s amazing how some imperfections disappear with a good night’s sleep.  Having said that, I did “unsew” a few places.  No amount of sleep would have saved those “straight” lines!  Let’s just say, I’m glad the quilting police couldn’t pull me over.  I’d be doin’ time in the slammer!  So, here’s the finished product.

The finished product! 

I think the part I’m proudest of is the green border.  When I began the project and was full of optimism and enthusiasm, I decided to quilt a loopy design in that border.  As my enthusiasm waned, I thought I just might take the easy way out and leave it plain.  After all, it was only an inch or so wide.  But I convinced myself to stick to the plan.  If nothing else, it would be loopy practice. Although, believe me when I tell you that I’ve  had plenty of practice at being loopy!  Here’s my simplistic little border that I’m so proud of.  Not so much the workmanship itself, but the fact that I did it at all!

My loopy border!

The issues I had with quilting straight lines were well documented in a different whiny post so I won’t go into that again except to say that the lines did improve as I quilted more and below you can see the detail on one of the “suns”.

A star within the sun.

As you can see from the first photo, the quilt is finished with a sleeve and hanging on my front room wall.  I’m very happy with the result and all is right with the world tonight.  Now, on to the next one!

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