Saturday, October 31, 2009

Crochet As An Addictive Art Form

The most recent meeting of "Layers", my small art quilt group, led us on a field trip to The Wayne Arts Center in Wayne, PA to see a calligraphy exhibit, called "The Artful Letter". It definitely was not your wedding invitation type calligraphy. Many of the pieces were truly works of art, taking a quote, handlettering it and then somehow enhancing it with a drawing/painting.

The big surprise was when we walked down the hallway to get to the next gallery. There was a dinner table set with everything crocheted. And when I say everything crocheted, I mean everything. (Click on it to enlarge it.)
We all stood there with our mouths open. It was quite a sight. Then there came the identification. First it was, oh look, the utensils are crocheted with metallic yarn. Then, look it's a hamburger with fries. Chocolate cookies, 2 eggs sunny side up with bacon .....and orange juice. Lasagna, pancakes, a half peeled banana. It was crazy. There was a green tossed salad, ice cream sundae, a piece of layer cake. It was such fun as each new item was identified.

Behind us were a few lucite display cases with more items. My favorite was the Thanksgiving turkey. I can't tell you why this exhibit intrigued me. But it was one discovery after another. Even though I haven't crocheted since I was a kid, I can imagine, perhaps, making a crocheted lemon. Then saying, that was fun and pretty easy, how about if I try creating an apple, then a banana and on and on until I was creating a Thanksgiving turkey! I could see it being addictive. I guess that is what is so intriguing to me. (I even brought a non-quilting friend back the next day and she was equally enthralled.)

The creator of this display is Joy Kampia O'Shell. Check out her website if you want to see more of her work.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Inexpensive Quilt Storage System

I have been searching for ways to store my quilts that don't involve folding. I have been creating quite a few quilts, thanks to my varied topics for my lectures. Up until now, if they were not hanging on my walls, they have been piled on the beds in our extra bedrooms. Clearly, a temporary solution.

My son is getting married next Spring. So we are doing what everyone does when there is a big family event coming. You look around the house and all of a sudden you realize that it's time to spruce it up. Things are looking a little tired after 17 years. OMG - did I say 17 years? I can't believe we have been here for that long. Where does the time go?

Anyway, putting on the backburner the types of things that require a lot of effort, thought and money, I have been focusing on those long ago deserted boys' bedrooms. So now I have to find a place for my quilts that have been residing on those beds. Inexpensive really appeals to me. I have used those foam swim noodles, available at the dollar store, to transport a quilt, unfolded. But what if I used them for storage. Not a unique idea, but what if I put many quilts on one noodle?

So I laid out a bunch of my smaller quilts (with the aid of my helper). Then I placed the longest one on the bottom, laid down the noodle and rolled.
Finally, I found a piece of fabric in my stash that I will never use and wrapped the roll in it.

And those little holes in the ends of the noodle were the perfect little place to tuck in the ends of that cover fabric.
I have done this with a few noodles and have piled them on a shelf in my closet. The best part is there will be no fold marks when I need the quilts for lectures/exhibits. I haven't rolled any of my larger quilts yet. The noodles are only 48" long. To store the longer quilts, my plan is to use a dowel as a joiner by inserting it into the holes in the end of 2 noodles. Tape the noodles together with a little duct tape, and voila! Another thrifty solution.

Fall Has Come To Pennsylvania

Fall in Pennsylvania is a beautiful time of year. The colors of the foliage glow and are just gorgeous. My favorite tree for color is the maple tree. So most people think that these wonderful colors means Fall is here.
I, on the other hand, don't really believe that Fall is here until I see a plate full of these most delicious pancakes:

Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes with Streusel topping. Only on the weekend. Offered at the sweetest, friendliest neighborhood restaurant. So special that I hesitate to name it. It is really a well kept secret. But I will share at the risk of annoying my friends. The Country Deli - in Gradyville, PA - with the best Fall breakfast. Yum!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blogger On Line Fall Quilt Festival

Blogger's On-Line Fall Festival - This is my quilt: Family Musings in Blue

This is my first time participating in the on-line blogger's quilt Festival. To view more of the quilts click on this link, The Blogger's Quilt Festival. or the icon on my sidebar. I have only had a blog since February and I am very excited about participating and being part os this on-line community. This piece, called "Family Musings in Blue", was made to celebrate my family. It is really like a modern day crazy quilt in that it has many sections and lots of hand stitching and beading. The sun arch above the quilt is covered with beads and was result from inspiration from the Broadway Show, Fiddler On The Roof.
The song, "Sunrise. Sunset" was in my brain as I was trying to stitch my feelings for my family into this piece. Lyrics like :
"Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play ?
I don't remember growing older,
when did they?"
My family has grown, and it sure is bittersweet to let go and let them fly on their own. Here are some close-ups of some of the sections. This sections is made of hearts, covered with vintage buttons. The background is done by hand with chicken scratch.
This section shows what is hidden behind the doors along the bottom edge of the quilt. It's photos of my family.
And here's another section. The white squares are actually the old fashioned Shrinky Dinks material. It is now called Graffix Film. You can print on it and then shrink it in the oven. Before I shrink it, I punch holes along the edges. After shrinking I have small holes that I can then use to stitch the plastic onto my quilt. For this quilt, I included the story of the quilt on the plastic squares.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Quilts For Food

Last Saturday was the day that we were sold my quilt guild's challenge quilts. If you read my post from Sept 17th, you'll know the background of the quilts. Just to fill you in a bit, if you haven't read about them, we had a challenge based on food and hunger. Selling of the quilts after they were exhibited was part of the deal. So no one got their quilt back unless they were willing to buy it.

My friend and fellow guild member, Lisa is a frequent visitor to The Growers Market. It is a weekly farmers market in downtown West Chester.There are people selling produce, cheeses, fresh meat, baked goods, flowers, etc. And ever changing live music - Today there were 2 banjo players with a wooden dancing man on a stick, that entertained with delight, the younger crowd. Many people come weekly to make their purchases. You could call them locavores, which is defined as someone who eats food grown or produced locally. These people are passionate about supporting the local farmers and the local economy. Everything looked fresh and beautiful. No pesticides here.

So this was a perfect place to sell our 21 quilts to raise money for the Chester County Food Bank. All of the quilts were 24" square and we priced them all at the same price - $50.00. Lisa had one goal in mind and I had another. It was a little rainy in the morning, so it started out a little slow. Eventually we met her goal. Then we met my goal. We were thrilled. By the end of the day, we blew by both of our goals. We sold half of our quilts and received some cash donations as well. We were ecstatic and are looking forward to giving the food bank $526. They can really use the money. They are in desperate need of food.

There are still quilts for sale. We have one more venue this coming Saturday at Drexel Lodge in Newtown Square, PA. AND we're going to post the remaining quilts on The Calico Cutters Guild website.
If you're interested, check them out.

Home For Hannukah

  McCalls Blog

McCall’s Quilting Magazine (Nov/Dec), the Holiday Issue, has published my Hannukah pattern!  Yeah!  It is now available on the newsstands.  It’s design is a nighttime scene of houses lit up as a menorah.  I haven’t seen anything like it before. 

Home For Hannuakhblog

McCall’s has taken the pattern one step further.  At the end of the article, they cleverly show how the pattern can be modified to turn  it into a North Pole scene or an evening village.  Thank you McCall’s.  It isn’t every quilting magazine that includes a pattern for this holiday.  To double the pleasure for this holiday season, they have also included another one of my patterns in their  January issue of Quick Quilts magazine. (Coming soon.)  If you enjoy seeing a pattern for Hannukah in their magazine, shoot a quick e-mail to