Quilts for Sale

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Stamp Out Folding!

I NEVER fold my quilts. How many times have you seen a fabulous piece ruined by huge creases right down the middle of it? Once those deep wrinkles are there, no amount of effort can get them out. I'm on a one-woman campaign to keep quilters from folding their quilts. Roll them instead!

Because my work is usually not huge, I have an easier time with storage than if my quilts were all full-sized. I have found swimming noodles to be the perfect size around which to roll quilts. The noodles are long, lightweight and can be cut easily. And they're cheap - $1.50 or so at the dollar store. Right now is the time to stock up, as they'll disappear once pool season is over.

If your work is large, try to store your quilts flat. My Aunt Alda layered her antique quilts on a bed in an upstairs guest room. The Princess and the Pea pile was protected from light and dust by a cotton Martha Washington spread.

Below are photos and instructions on making drawstring quilt storage bags. They can be whipped up in very little time from those '80's fabrics we all have lying around. I have many of them in various sizes to fit my work.

Begin by measuring the width of each quilt. This piece is square.

Place quilts face down for rolling, and then roll from the bottom up. Swimming noodles can easily be cut to fit. Just use an old kitchen knife. Note: I've used the noodles "as is" for years with nary a problem. If you're concerned about "off-gassing" you might consider covering the noodle with muslin.

I use selvedges torn from cottons for tying rolled quilts. These strips are also perfect for tying tomatoes in the garden!

I add a drawstring closure to each bag I construct.

Make sure your bag is roomy enough for your rolled quilt(s). I add 6-8 inches for the length and 3-4 inches around. This bag is large enough to hold several quilts at one time.

To save space, several quilts can be rolled together and tied.

Placing the end of the quilt roll into a plastic bag eliminates friction and makes it slip into the bag easily. After placing in bags, store quilts horizontally if possible, and away from direct light. Tagging each bag with a list of its contents is helpful.

Each Day is an Adventure.

Darby, a Great Dane and one of our two 'grandpuppies' greets each new day with optimism, enthusiasm and unconditional love. Oh, to be the kind of people dogs think we are. What a wonderful world it would be. Photo credit: Matthew Guerrant

The Urge to Purge

I'm addicted to old things, so much so that I've been in the business of buying and selling vintage treasures for over 20 years. I'm a collector and hoarder, filling up the nooks and crannies of our 80 year old home. Every once in a while tho, I get the "urge to purge." It is so liberating!!! Last Saturday was the day!

In addition, our son and his bride cleaned out their attic (I think seeing ours made them nervous, so they nearly emptied theirs after only 18 months of marriage). And a friend brought his Grandmother's fainting couch.

Over thirty people were waiting in line when we opened our now famous semi-annual garage sale Saturday at dawn. Above is a photo my dh took of the opening crowd.

All in all, we took in over $800! Some of that money will go towards my studio revamp. I can't wait to get started!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

I have been astonished watching the testimony in the ethics trial of Durham NC DA Michael Nifong. Over the last few days, many details of his actions have been revealed. Today, he was disbarred by the NC Bar Association.

What happened to the three Duke University lacrosse players who were accused of raping an exotic dancer at a frat party is frightening. Their actions were portrayed as "rich, privileged boys who think they can get away with this. Well, they can't." They were kicked off the lacrosse team, dismissed from the university and defamed everywhere in the press. Nearly everyone assumed they were guilty. They were tried in the media as they proclaimed their innocence. Their lives and the lives of their families were ruined.

The handling of the case against the boys was so prejudicial that the NC Attorney General took it over, calling Mike Nifong a "rogue prosecutor." He also dismissed all charges against the players. Today's action by the NC Bar is just the first step toward restoring the lives of these young men.

The entire saga has all the trappings of class, privilege, racism, prejudice and injustice. An article in today's Charlotte Observer asked what would have happened if the players had been minorities without means. I ask what would have happened to any of us?

The bigger question is: How did this become a country where the accused are assumed to be guilty without benefit of trial, without benefit of evidence? All because a disturbed young woman said, "They did it."

The lacrosse players were very, very fortunate to have parents who could afford excellent attorneys. Even then, with the suppression of DNA evidence, they easily could have spent 30 years in jail.

Let us remember to tread lightly. Let us not be quick to judge. This could have happened to any of us.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Rusting Fabric

I had seen examples of fabrics beautifully patterned by intentional rusting. My first experiment last April was a complete failure. I decided to try again and really learned a couple of things.

Here are a few things ya gotta know:

1. Check your local thrift store for the rustiest cake pan you can find. Buy it.
2. Wrinkle your scarf or fabric in the pan. Place pieces of steel wool pad onto the fabric - use LOTS!
3. Pour plain white 5% vinegar over the fabric - enough to get it good and wet but not enough to submerge it.
4. Try to make sure as much of the fabric as possible is exposed to the air. This is what causes the oxidation. (Accordian pleats did not work for me, as the air could not reach the inner portions of the fabric.)
5. Check your fabric daily for oxidation, turning it if necessary to expose other areas to the air.
6. The reaction will be faster in warm/hot weather.

When your scarf/fabric has attained a nice amount of rust, take it out of the solution and rinse it off - outside. Wash in gentle suds, rinsing well. Dry. Press. Please dispose of the vinegar responsibly.

Tip: Some artists wrap vinegar soaked fabric around old rusted tools and leave them for days. Shibori, anyone?

My first successful rusting experiment.

Detail of rusted scarf.

Just Dotty!

This tower of fabrics is just a small selection of the polka dot fabrics I've collected over the years. Click on fabrics to get a closer look.
I love polka dots! They always make me think of those little puff-sleeved dresses my Mother made for my three sisters and me when we were little. How I loved those dresses, especially the ones with white pique' collars.

I've been collecting polka dots of all kinds for years. They are extremely popular right now and the designs are terrific. It's a great time to stock up. I think I'm low on reds and oranges actually - hint, hint.

I'm in the middle of a huge studio revamp so have been engaged in "nesting" activities. I can spend hours refolding, fondling, rediscovering and reaquainting myself with each treasure on my shelf. Quilters understand this kind of behavior; I'm not even going to try to explain it to anyone else.

Today I got into my polka dots, making a huge leaning tower of over three dozen of my favorites. And then when I ran errands, I found that Puffs tissues are now packaged in polka dots. How cool is that? I just had to buy TWO!

These polka dotty Puffs cubes are the coolest! Wish they came in different colors.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Creating Fiber Postcards

My sister Patty Cramer created this fabulous postcard for my last birthday. She even made the cake in my favorite colors - purple and red! Thanks, Patty.
I like the art I create. I like having a style that is recognizable to many. I hope I've found my groove, hope my "MoJo is working" as my father used to say. But there's a big difference between a groove and a rut.

In an effort to get a bit of a jump start towards doing something different, I've joined the internet group Art2Mail (art2mail.com) in which members create and exchange 4x6" fiber postcards. We're an international group of 25 artists with very different backgrounds. I can't wait to see what happens with this!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Get the Perfect Color by Overpainting Fabrics

I received an interesting comment to yesterday's post about overpainting fabric. Apparently, not everyone does this?? I often use this technique as an easy solution to finding just the right fabric when nothing in my stash will do. I've also used paint to enhance the chroma of a color. Try it - it's not only great fun, but will give you fabrics not everyone else has.

Below are two quilts for which I overpainted existing black on white prints. Click on images for a larger view.

For Moody Blues, I used a watered down mixture of cobalt blue and aquamarine to overpaint the border fabric, originally a black on white print. This gave me the color I was looking for.

His Eye is on the Sparrow was created from a mixture of my hand-dyes, recycled (the 'bird splat' fabric was my son's shirt when he was in third grade) and overpainted fabrics. I again used music fabric, this time painted in more aqua than blue tones, as this piece is named for my favorite hymn.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

New Favorite Colors

While working on a wedding quilt over the past 18 months, I've learned to love the color combination of blue and orange. It is everywhere! This poster of Bill Monroe, shot in the studio of Michelle and Nathaniel Stitzlein, is a knock out!

Acid green and yellow were added to blue and orange for this quilt. Many of the quarter circles have images representing favorite things in the lives of our son and his bride. Using Deka Silk paint, I overpainted the vintage ice cream fabric (purchased from textile dealer Bonnie Ouellette) a soft yellow. It originally had a white background.
When my son Matthew was married in late 2005, I wanted to create a very special wedding quilt for him and his bride Suzie. I asked them what their favorite colors were. "Blue and orange." "Together?" I asked. "Yes."

I wasn't sure at that time that I could make a blue and orange quilt so added acid green and yellow. I should have known the kids had an inside scoop on what's 'hip' as I'm seeing the blue and orange combo everywhere! Even the Blogger page on which I'm typing uses it.

One hundred New York Beauty blocks later I've almost finished their quilt. A partial block is shown above. The foundation pieced border is nearing completion. Now to set everything together and have it quilted. My completion goal is September.

Outdoor Kitchen

My plan was to have a productive day, crossing many items off my To Do list. My travels are over for a bit, and although I'm taking a sabbatical from teaching this summer, I am giving myself just two weeks in which to whip this house into shape. Then it's back to the studio!

Well.........the best laid plans of mice and men...........you know the rest. Our power went out about 2 and stayed out for over five hours. How soon we forget how much we rely on electricity. With temps in the mid 90's, we missed our A/C. Couldn't do laundry, couldn't run the dishwasher, couldn't dry my hair, and on and on. But an afternoon of inconvenience was nothing compared to the 10 days we went without power following hurricane Hugo or what the Gulf Coast residents endured, and are enduring, following Katrina.

Since then, we've kept emergency supplies on hand. We're never without lots of batteries and water, and propane along with an extra tank, is always at the ready. We use our grill almost daily, but today also used the side burner for stir-fry fresh veggies. The snow peas, onions and spinach came from our garden; other things were fresh from the farmer's market at the bottom of our hill. The veggies were delish with the pork tenderloin my husband had prepared last evening. We enjoyed a lovely dinner and were very relieved when electricity was restored!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

While driving home from the NC Quilt Symposium recently, I decided to treat myself to a short shopping adventure at the Shelby (NC) Dollar Tree "Where everything's a dollar!" I was back in my car in less than five minutes. I settled in, then decided I wanted a CD from the back seat (Michael Hedges, Live on the Double Planet - wicked cool!). Got out to go around and instantly realized I'd locked myself out! Big Trouble! My purse, cell phone, AAA card, extra key - every single thing was locked in my car, which was running with the A/C going full blast! Not to panic, but it was late on a very hot Sunday of Memorial Day weekend!

Stranger #1: A wonderful gentlemen very kindly called the Shelby Police Department and requested a squad car. I did not get his name, but judging from the cap he was wearing, he's a Carolina fan.

Stranger #2: Officer M. N. Bannen, a member of the Shelby Police, pulled up within 15 minutes. Although skeptical that he could unlock my car, he was patiently persistant. Success! Yeah! I was finally on my way home once again.

This experience made me realize just how easily a situation like this can occur. It also reconfirmed my belief that most people are basically kind. I was blessed to meet two of them that Sunday afternoon. Thanks, guys!

May we all pay it forward.

Keeper of the Cloth

I received a call recently from a woman who, while dismantling the old family homestead, had discovered several quilt tops made by her 93-year old mother. Not having a huge amount of space in her own home, she was not able to keep the quilts but was having difficulty letting them go. Neither a stitcher nor a quiltmaker, she wanted them to go to someone who would keep them and take care of them. I assured her I would do so, sight unseen.

The quilts pictured below, are made mostly with 1940's era fabrics. Most are quite utilitarian but were created with love and care. They are a study in extreme frugality and a testament to the ability to make something useful from nothing. Clothing scraps, feed sacks, shirting fabrics and perhaps mill ends (after all, North Carolina was once a huge textile manufacturing state) were used in each quilt top. In several places, small scraps were pieced together in order to make up for a fabric shortage.

It's always been my nature to rescue things, especially textiles. As a quiltmaker, I feel a certain responsibility to honor that which was created by another's hand. I am a "keeper of the cloth."

Can someone tell me the name of this quilt pattern? It's similar to Dresden Plate or Wagon Wheel, and yet very different. This is one of the quilts given to me recently.

Several of the utilitarian quilts with which I was recently entrusted.

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." This quiltmaker lived this old adage, as evidenced by her piecing of the windowpane check fabric!

Waste not......I so admire those quilters who came before us, especially those without great purchasing power. Using whatever materials they could salvage, they managed to satisfy their creative yearnings by making quilts while providing "cover" for their families.

Note the economy piecing and coping strips used in this block. I think Roberta Horton, author of The Fabric Makes the Quilt and other great books on quilting, would love this!

Small strips, added to bring this block up to size, indicate the frugality of this quilter.

I love the English Cottage Garden feel of this fabric. Wouldn't you love to have yards and yards of it?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

PEACE in Any Language

My wish for this day: Peace! It is the same in any language. Here are just a few examples:

Paz, Vrede, Damal, Mier, Paix, Loeke, Pace

Memory Garden

A beautiful Peace rose, planted in memory of my father, greeted me this morning. I would plant them everywhere if I thought it would bring an end to violence in this world.