Sunday, January 31, 2010

Free motion quilting at home

I just completed a quilt (I hope to share it with you tomorrow) in which I did the free motion quilting at home, on my own sewing machine. If you have been a regular reader of my blog, you know that I have typically rented time on a long arm quilting machine; the picture above is of a quilt I completed in this fashion. But I was really interested to see if I could do it at home, as I had seen it done by a couple of quilters online.

Here are the resources that I used:

Crazy Mom

365 Days of Free Motion Quilting

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Communion of the Spirits: A book review

My friend, E, loaned me one of her copies of the book, A Communion of the Spirits: African-American Quilters, Preservers, and Their Stories. I was not prepared for what I found when I opened the cover and began to read. To say that Roland Freeman put a lot of work into this book over the course of several years is inadequate, and cannot even begin to describe this book. It is more accurate to say that this could very well be his life's work--his life's masterpiece. If he had never published anything prior to this, and if he never published anything afterward (but he, of course has numerous publications to his credit), this comprehensive work serves for all.

After a foreword written by Cuesta Benberry, and a preface written by David Levine, Freeman's work is separated into two parts, the first of which he entitled, Something to Keep You Warm. In this part, Freeman traces his own life's story, and the role quilts have always played in it. Even before he became conscious of how important a place quilts would ultimately have for him, he chronicles their significance in his life and in the life of his family and friends. He discusses at length the spirits he senses in them--the spirits of departed loved ones, spirits that bring healing during bouts of illness, spirits which have messages for the person who sleeps beneath it.

Sometime in the 1970s, Freeman began work for the Smithsonian Institute in his career as a field research photographer in folklore. While in Mississippi, he teamed up with fellow folklorist Worth Long, and they discovered a shared interest in chronicling the traditions of elderly craftspeople. Even though they were working on a different assignment at the time, it is at this time that they began to lay the groundwork for the research that would eventually be included in A Communion of the Spirits. As if to confirm this project, they discovered that other black scholars were researching similar topics with the Smithsonian. So, in the midst of researching and publishing other books, the informal research for this book began.

In the second part of the book, More than Just Something to Keep You Warm, Freeman picks up chronologically where the first part left off, which was 1992. He formally begins work on this project at this time, continuing with the interviews which he had been conducting over the course of several years. Over the next four years, he toured several states, spoke to several quilters, and took scores of photographs, all for the express purpose of chronicling a dying generation of black quilters, and their quilts and traditions. As he had observed several years prior, as these artisans passed on, they were not necessarily being replaced by the following generation. Thus, their stories, their traditions, and their quilts were dying with them. This 385-page volume honors their work and their memories, by sharing their stories, their faces, and their quilts.

Win a blog makeover!

Details about it here:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Obama quilts

We are somewhere around the one year mark of Obama's presidency. Because I am a quilter, it brought to mind the incredible quilts that were created for this historic event.

1/28 update: The exhibit is now on exhibit in Europe.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Make your next quilt for free or almost free!

I saw a great quilt over on Roz's blog

that she got here from Alicia

This looks pretty "do-able." And cheap! Who DOESN'T have old, holey jeans they don't mind giving away?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We got lots of goodies in the mail!

Last week, we received lots of great packages in the mail!

Many thanks to Laural; she had a few giveaways, and I won this one:

This is six--SIX!--charm packs! The fabric is Moda, the designer is Mary Engelbreit, and the line is called The Caroler. It is a Christmas fabric which just happens to blend perfectly with some other ME fabrics that I have left from this quilt. Look for something wonderful close to the end of the year!

I also received this--super quick--from the folks at Hawthorne Threads. I'd heard other quilting bloggers talk about how fast Charlie and Lindsay are, but my goodness! They must have been just waiting for my order, and when they got it (probably at midnight or something), they cut it immediately and personally flew it out to me!

In typical Laurel style, I fell in love with these two fabric lines once they went out of production. Fortunately, they are not too difficult to find yet (unlike, say, Flea Market Fancy). The top is Anna Maria Horner's Garden Party line. The bottom two fabrics are part of a (costly) Japanese import line by designer Etsuko Furuya, called Echino Spring 2009. These prints reminded me of Aslan; I just had to have some! You'll be seeing the Garden Party fabrics very very soon; I need to acquire some more fabrics before I do anything with the lion fabric.

We also received these skeins of yarn:

Hershnerrs was having an unbelievable sale on this yarn. It is Moda Dea, and the yarn is called Sassy Stripes. It is sock yarn, and it typically costs several times more than what they were selling it for. Since DD1 is a knitting fiend, this was a logical purchase. She immediately snatched it up and hurried away to her room with it; I had to request it back just to get this photo. I think that means she likes it. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A distinguished blog award

I'd like to thank my friend C (I think) for this blog award!

I'm so, um, honored!

I'd like to share this honor with you; consider yourself the recipient of this award, and post it to your own blog!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A new swap!

O my goodness! Did I share the good news?

I am part of Rachel's Modern Siggy Swap!

I have been wanting to get in on some of these quilt block swaps, or block parties, or any of these virtual quilting shindigs. So here I am!

Yes; here I am. I need to make (gulp) 101 blocks. Probably pretty soon. Now, Rachel herself assures me it will go very quickly. Hmm; I sure hope she's right.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tie One (apron) On Tuesday - monogrammed black and white apron

We don't have any new aprons on the design table right now, so I thought I'd share this apron with you. It is store bought (we did not make it), but we really like this style. Incidentally, the color scheme, black and white, puts me in mind of Amy's newest apron challenge, the Black and White theme apron challenge! I love the look of a black and white apron; I have to think of what style I'd like for this!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Another charity sewing circle!

As you may know, I am a member of a local charity sewing circle, named Sewin' Sisters Sowing. I have blogged about some of the quilts I have made as a part of that organization, and I have put pictures of these quilts in my flickr photostream, as well.

In my online travels today, I came across this quilt, made by a member of another charity sewing circle, Give a Kid a Quilt:

She's not sure if she likes it, but I told her she should not question the beauty of this quilt. I love it! I told her I'd ask you how you like it. So, tell me (or skip on over to her blog and tell her), how do you like it?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Prayer quilts

A few weeks ago, I needed two very quick quilts, for friends who were in the hospital for one reason or another. I chose a couple of very bright fabrics, bordered each of them in a bright coordinating color, and was able to create these quilts in no time:

I was so glad to be able to do this. I have always wanted to be able to give quilts to sick friends. I have done literally dozens of charity quilts (I blogged about some of them), but they are different; I don't know, and never meet, the recipients of those quilts. But I could pray specifically for the recipients of these two quilts. Yes, they are very simple, but as I don't keep these types of quilts (prayer quilts, I guess?) on hand, I needed something that I could complete in literally a couple of days, for two different friends who were unexpectedly hospitalized. I will try to somehow keep a gift quilt or two on hand; maybe a prayer quilt, maybe a baby quilt.

At any rate, I really hope they like them.
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