Quilts for Sale

Monday, March 31, 2008

March Study

For a period of several years, I've been teaching a class in simple surface design which has resulted in many fabric samples. While gathering materials for my upcoming class in Greensboro, I began to notice how well many of the pieces worked together.

My stash includes fabrics I've made using hand dyeing, hand painting, found-object printing, resist and Shibori techniques as well as Caran d'Ache water soluble crayons, sun printing and several other methods. This Saturday, my class will concentrate on stamping techniques.

The study below was created this afternoon. I haven't made a final decision on the orientation.


March Study
11" square

Fabrics by me include: rubber stamping, resist, stitched Shibori, hand-dyeing and painting, Caran d'Ache Neocolor II water soluble crayons and sop-up paint rags. The dark purple is a commercial fabric.


Orientation #2.

Orientation #3.

Orientation #4.

It is chilly and damp here, a perfect day to be holed up in the studio. I love the peace I feel in the stillness.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Blessings on a Cold Sunday

A friend who owns an antique shop had a call from a woman wanting to sell her grandmother's sewing machine. Since he doesn't take such items, he called me - the resident collector of "all things sewing related." I met said woman and her daughter in a parking lot this afternoon. The machine turned out to be a Singer featherweight in very nice condition. I was a bit hesitant to buy it, as the bobbin case was missing, there were no accessories and the case is rough at best. But times are very difficult economically, especially in North Carolina and the woman's husband had just lost his job of 20 years. My heart told me to buy the machine for a fair price - then I added extra cash for groceries. It was one of those "there but for the Grace of God go I" moments.

Since I was already in the area of one of my favorite thrift shops, I went in for a look-see. I was on my way out, empty handed, when I spotted large bags of fabric against the wall. In one I could see part of a crazy quilt. For $3.50 I took a chance and bought it. To my amazement, the bag held not only the crazy quilt, but 20 blocks of a pattern I've never seen, four other odd blocks and 20 hand appliqued Sunbonnet Sues. Oh my - it was a very blessed Sunday afternoon indeed.

I'll try to add photos of my treasures later today. But first - I have to cheer for Davidson when they play Kansas at 5.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

March Madness

Stephen Curry celebrates a great shot during the Georgetown game.
Photo credit: Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul

Andrew Lovedale and Stephen during the Wisconsin game.
Photo credit: Julian Gonzales, Detroit Free Press

Stephen and other Davidson Wildcats celebrate victory.
Photo credit: Mary Ann Chastain, AP

North Carolina is known as basketball country. Three teams in the ACC - Duke, NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill - get the most attention. But this year a tiny, mostly unknown school 30 miles from Charlotte is getting all the press.

Davidson College, with just 1700 students, is the darling of the NCAA tournament. Seeded 10th, the Wildcats have upset Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin. It seems nobody saw them or their bright star, sophomore Stephen Curry,* coming. A player who looks as if he's about 11 years old, Stephen is small and incredibly fast. He scored 40 points against Gonzaga, 30 against Georgetown and 33 last night against the Wisconsin Badgers.

Everyone around here has Davidson fever. The trustees chartered buses and drove 350 excited fans to the Ford Arena in Detroit so that students could cheer their team on...and sing their theme song Sweet Caroline during the second half. Trustees also paid hotel expenses. I think that's amazingly cool. But what else would you expect from a school which does students' laundry so they'll have more time to study?

Tomorrow, Davidson takes on #1 Kansas. GO WILDCATS!!!

*Stephen is the son of former NBA player Dell Curry and his wife Sonja.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

'Tis Spring!

The beautiful Lenten Rose is a sure sign of spring in the South.

Tonight I added the very last border to Mother's quilt. All that remains is the binding, as it is a quilt-as-you go project. I can't wait to finish it so I can get outside! The weather man predicts 79 degrees for Friday!

Spring has sprung in the south - at least for a few days. We missed a frost Tuesday morning by just two degrees. Hopefully, we'll not have a freeze like last year's, which wiped out the peach and strawberry crops.

The hosta, May apple, lilies of the valley, toad lily and trillium are up. Today I found our white bleeding heart and the Virginia bluebells in bloom! It will soon be time to buy new window boxes and then find the perfect plants.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Patty's Easter Birthday

My baby sister Patty (right) and I share a happy moment at an AQN dinner last April.

Easter came very early this year - the earliest in a hundred years. Records show it won't be as early again for another hundred. Easter was also the birthday of my sister Patty.

Of us four girls, Patty is the one who always could do everything - and still can. She's the one you want to have along on a long trip. If anything goes wrong with your car, she'll probably know what it is and most likely know how to fix it. My mechanical skills end with noting occasionally that the gas gauge is on E.

Patty's beautiful daughter Kari (also my Godchild) and her adorable daughter Grace. Daddy Josh is not pictured.

She raised two terrific kids and now is the proud grandma of a sweetheart of a little girl - Gracie. She was so looking forward to coloring Easter eggs with her, so flew to Las Vegas for a week-long visit.
Patty's son Sean just graduated from Culinary school in Monterey CA and is currently working at Asilomar.

Patty is a great quilter with an amazing sense of color - and the world's largest collection of batiks. Her hand-dyed stash is growing quickly following a one week dyeing class with Carol Soderlund at Nancy Crow's barn. She also sews about three times faster than I do!

Patty is also my biggest cheerleader, morale booster and confidant. I don't think there's anything she wouldn't do for me.

Happy birthday, Patty Lynne. I love you!

Monday, March 17, 2008

On Being Irish

I grew up thinking I was mostly German. With a last name like vonOhlen and great- grandparents who'd come to this country from Braunschweig, it was a natural assumption. But genealogy research has revealed that my sisters and I are a lot more Irish than German. We have Fitzgeralds on our maternal side and paternal Meehans (formerly O'Meghan). 'Tis a nice thing.

I didn't buy a shamrock plant for St. Patty's day this year. The closest thing to it was a big patch of clover in our back yard. After all, they are almost all three-leaved.


My father had a special gift for finding not just four-leaf clovers, but five and six also. We girls saved each one, pressing them in our big blue Merriam Webster dictionary, or one of the Bobsey Twins or Outdoor Girls books we read. I still occasionally find one of Daddy's treasures in an old tome.

Our son Matthew is equally blessed with a keen eye. Above is a four-leafer he found and pressed in our dictionary many years ago. I think it's ironic that the clover is touching the word sew.

Art At Last!

Dream was inspired by a Paul Gaugin quote: "I shut my eyes in order to see." I like people to have to come close to see the detail in my work. Click on the image for a closer view.


Dream detail

Fabric for the center of the piece was painted with a watery wash of Pebeo Setacolor paints. I sponge painted my hand-dyed blue fabric with a metallic silver for the border. The top strip as well as the royal blue just under the center are commercial fabrics.

It feels wonderful to get back into the studio! I spent most of yesterday there, putting together a small piece for an upcoming workshop. Although I like the piece, I plan to redo the top strips, as the proportions don't suit my eye.

Workshop info: April 5, 2008, Piedmont Quilters' Guild, Greensboro NC
For further info, see the guild's website http://www.piedmontquilts.org/ or contactLinda at: lindaincarolina@aol.com








Thursday, March 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dear Sister

My sister Sue with one of her granddaughters, also born in March.
As you can see, little one loves the beach!

Our family has a plethora of March birthdays. Mother's just passed, my niece Joanna's was the 11th and my sister Sue's is today. We'll have two more Saturday and then four more before the month is out.

Sue did not begin to talk until I started kindergarden. With me out of the picture she jabbered away. I was such a chatterbox that I had asked her all the questions and answered them too. The poor kid never had a chance to speak!

Always scholarly, Sue read constantly filling her quick mind with knowledge. She attended the University of Missouri with a major in genetics.

I am so lucky to have Sue not only as my sister, but as my friend. She has always been there for me, in good times and in bad. She is a rock - always steady in the midst of the most fearful of times. Her incredible faith and optimism have carried me through the darkest hours and made me believe I would see the light once more.

She and her husband of nearly 40 years have two wonderful kids, four granddaughters and one grandson. They have been truly blessed.

Happy Birthday, Sue. I love you!!!

Beautiful Sunset Beach NC provides a respite for Sue and her family each year.

Playing Tag

This beautiful azalea was a birthday gift last year. Its buds are
just about ready to open.
I hope it's as pretty this spring.

This game of cyber tag is great fun - a way in which others can get to know you a little better and a great way to bring more traffic to your blog. Participation rules are simple:

1. Place the name of the person and URL on your blog.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write seven things about yourself.
4. Name seven of your favorite weblogs.
5. Send an email letting those bloggers know they have been tagged.

Here are the seven bloggers I've tagged:

Jan Smiley is a non-stop dynamo and friend of nearly 20 years. While raising two kids, she managed to write four books: Focus on Batiks, The Art of Fabric Books, Altered Board Book Basics and Beyond, and her latest - Scrapbooking on the Go - Collect and Create While You Travel. She's also an Affiliate Artist at the McColl Center for Visual Arts, where she's turning out amazing work. Jan will lead a tour to Italy this June. http://jansmiley.blogspot.com

Michelle's blog: "The ramblings and growth of a fiber artist who likes to take pictures." I love checking to see what's new in her etsy shop - especially her very cool aprons. (Note: click on Rusted Rhubarb under my Favorite Sites list if this link does not work.)
http://rustedrhubarb.wordpress.com

I love Toni's blog. She describes herself as "one who loves to sew, crochet and do stuff with paper." She drinks lots of tea and keeps dark chocolate around. Thrift stores and libraries are her friends (mine too!). Be sure to check her etsy store for lots of really darling stuff. http://simplesparrow.typepad.com

I found Denise Aumick's blog recently. Ya gotta read postings which begin with this header: Thoughts, musings, randomness from a woman whose passions infringe on her life in the everyday world. "Yes honey.....dinner will be ready soon." http://wildthreadstudio.blogspot.com

Wanda Hanson and I met at QSDS many years ago. She produces tons of colorful work inspired by traditional designs. I want to know the secret to her productivity. Wanda also has a blog shop entitled Wandaful Quilts which you can reach through her blog. http://exuberantcolor.blogspot.com

Karen Ponischil is a graphic designer who also does the newsletter for our guild. I tried to buy her beautiful foxglove piece created for our guild's silent auction last year, but was beaten out at the last minute! Dern! Bruce Dern! http://karenponischil.com/

If you're a member of quiltart, you see Margaret Hunt's name daily. Maggie is a gifted artist who not only creates fabulous quilts but draws and paints beautifully as well. http://scquiltaddict.blogspot.com

Have fun checking these blogs everyone!

Ellen.
xoxoxox

Monday, March 10, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by my friend Susan Brubaker Knapp, a member of my home guild in Charlotte. Susan is an incredibly gifted quilt artist and graphic designer. For a real treat, be sure to visit her blog: http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com/

This cyber game gives bloggers a chance to let others learn more about them by listing seven things their readers might not know. Additionally, I must now tag seven other bloggers. Look for my list tomorrow!

Here are seven things you probably don't know about me:

1. I've been sewing since I was 10 but didn't begin quilting until 1980. I've made over 100 quilts and love teaching and lecturing.

We Fix Broken Hearts was created to honor those who heal. It is my most published quilt and won a 1st place from the National Quilting Association and our guild show. It was also juried into the AQS show in Paducah.

2. I grew up on a farm in northern Illinois where we raised Shetland ponies and horses. My first job was detassling corn and I once ran a power screwdriver on an assembly line! I can also saddle and bridle my own horse, hitch a team to a wagon and drive a tractor. Believe it or not, I have not used these skills since 1954!

One of the Shetland ponies on Four Sisters Farm.

3. I often have the title for a quilt before I begin making it. I have to create in solitude and quiet. My dear friend David Walker taught me, that in order for work to come from the heart, the artist has to listen to what the piece is saying.

Hold on My Heart...........Throw Me a Lifeline
The title, a line from a Genesis song, came before the quilt.

4. When my son was little, a school assignment was to finish this sentence: "My Mom likes........” His response:” kids, quilts and chocolate." Right on the money!

5. I participated in all things musical when I was in school and was honored to be selected for All State Chorus. I don't think I could live without music, which speaks a universal language.

6. When in high school, I instigated a senior class skip day, a protest against injustice and unfair treatment. While many "chickened out" those of us who did participate really bonded during the following two weeks of detention hall.



7. I was, and am, an anti-war protester. In 1969 I, and hundreds of others marched with Coretta Scott King in Washington DC. I am a proud card-carrying member of the ACLU. Amazingly, I have never been in jail.






Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mother of Mine

Helen Louise Erb vonOhlen
as a teenager, about 1932

Today would have been my Mother's 93rd birthday. It is hard to believe she has been gone for almost 20 years. We expected her to live as long as her parents and grandparents and great aunts - well into her 90's. Her sudden passing, just a year after her own Mother's death, made us truly see that life is very short and each day is a gift. Take nothing for granted, as things can change in the blink of an eye.

I'll always be grateful that both my parents taught my three sisters and me many things, most of all to be responsible and self-reliant. We were not allowed to sit down for a meal until our farm animals had been fed. We were not allowed to get our driver's licenses until we could change a tire by ourselves. There would be no worries about any of us being stranded by the side of a country road with a flat tire!

Mother was the one who taught me how to sew, as she did my three sisters. Using the unthreaded machine, we had to be skilled enough to stitch on the lines of a sheet of tablet paper before we were allowed to sew on cloth. We couldn't afford to waste fabric.

The four of us were soon making most of our own clothes, easing the burden on Mother who had made everything from our snow suits to school dresses. When Daddy would go to town to buy feed, Mother would always ask him to buy three sacks alike, as it took three to make a dress. We girls had many frocks made from feedsacks, but my favorites were always plaid with puffed sleeves and white pique' collars.

Mother had been a 4-H leader so was exacting. There were many sighs of frustration as I stood on a diningroom chair so she could properly 'fit a pattern' or pin up a hem. I was impatient, and soon began to long for just one piece of clothing from Henderson's Department Store in downtown Sycamore. Silly girl!

I miss my Mother every day. I'm especially sad that she and my father didn't see their grandchildren grow up. Sadly still is that the grandchildren missed out on sharing the lives of these two wonderful people.

Once upon a memory
Someone wiped away a tear,
Held me close and loved me,
Thank you, Mother dear.




Monday, March 3, 2008

PEACE!


While browsing through Clip Art on my computer, I ran across this fabulous Dove of Peace. The colors are wonderful enough to inspire a quilt. The symbol expresses my prayer for PEACE NOW!