Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Wedding Quilts

Our nephew and his wife married in a small ceremony last year and our oldest niece is getting married today.  I have been very busy for the last six months working on wedding quilts for both of these couples.  The quilt in the photo above is for Caylan and Michael who are being married today on Sandy Hook.  Michael proposed to Caylan In Ireland when they were on a wonderful trip to Europe, so a variation on the Irish chain pattern seemed appropriate.  The label on the back of the quilt was cross-stitched using the gingham fabric's squares instead of canvas.
I saw the design I used for Duke and Arielle's quilt on Pinterest.  It is an unevenly divided square using a sunshine and shadows type setting.
This is the label on their quilt.
Both of the quilts were hand quilted.  Here are some photos of my work in progress.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Working with a new design of an old block, plus an old favorite

The pattern that Kaffe Fassett named Jiggery Pokery in his book, Quilt Romance (Taunton Press, 2009),  is a variation of the Jacob's Ladder block generally known as World's Fair.  Here's a link to an antique quilt in the pattern.

This blogger made the quilt in the size Kaffe Fassett designed.  I decided that the size in the book was a little too big for me, so I reduced it slightly.

In the beginning, I was making it as a baby quilt, but was not at all happy with the way several of the fabrics worked with the overall pattern because they weren't reading light or dark.  Sometimes a void in the light and dark is interesting, but not so with this.  Long story short, I decided to pick out the fabrics I didn't like and had to disassemble the quilt by rows to do that.  Don't try this at home.  Ugh!

An interesting side note on this:  The text in Quilt Romance says that Jiggery Pokery is based on an antique quilt in Kaffe Fassett's collection.  If you look at the photograph, you will notice that there is a mistake in the way one of the blocks in the bottom is set, also as you go through laying out the blocks, there are several mistaken fabric assignments.  My guess is that someone other than the original quilter finished this quilt who didn't quite "get" the pattern and then may have run out the of the fabric that was needed to correctly finish the blocks.  Not to deny the whimsy of an antique, Fassett goes right along with the mistakes in his design.  I'm OC enough that I needed to do it correctly and that's how I drew my pattern design.
One of the first cars I owned was a red VW Beetle.  When I saw this fabric, I had to use it for the back.  The bias binding was made using one of the fabrics in the  blocks.
The baby quilt that I ended up making, was another baby bento box--my new favorite baby quilt pattern.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

"Trucks and Trains for Jack": a scrap quilt

I've just finished a new quilt in the "Film at Five" design.  It is for Anna's darling little godson, Jack.  Now that he is growing up, I felt that he might like a "big boy" quilt and since he is all boy, he loves trucks, cars, and trains.  This a great little design that is all 2.5 inch squares, so it is easily composed and easily quilted.  You can check out the first one I made in this post.

Here are some closer shots of most of the individual blocks.
Here is a close-up of the bias binding.
And finally the back, which is a flannel with all sorts vehicles.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Finding out what gives me joy and living with less stuff

Much has been written of late concerning a little book written by Marie Kondo  called  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of Decluttering and Organizing (Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, 2014 ISBN978-1-60774-730-7).  As one who is always looking for new ways to reorganize and reduce the clutter in my life, I grabbed it up instantly.  The radical nature of Kondo's philosophy is that you have to do the throwing away of unnecessary items in a hurry so that you can know and appreciate the difference less stuff makes in your closet, drawers, and other areas of the home.  This helps reduce the rebound effect of the return of clutter.

When Jim and I moved down to North Carolina in 2007, we got rid of lots of stuff.  We also resolved not to put anything in the attic of the house or the attic of the carport.  I can honestly say, we haven't missed one thing that we got rid of.   We moved into a much smaller house in North Carolina, but we love its cosy character. My thoughts now are to fine-tune.  If something is in a box in the closet and I haven't looked at it or thought about it since 2007, I probably don't need it.

Since I had already done some weeding in my drawers and closet, the clothes and shoes part of the job was quick and easy.  Kondo also has a great folding technique for clothes which allows you to see everything that's in your drawer at a glance.  I haven't done the little jewelry cabinet yet because much of that falls into the memento area that Kondo suggests saving for last.

The work in my studio has been slow, but steady.   I've discovered that my love of containers has meant that I use up much more room than really necessary for not that much stuff.  As Yoko Ono appropriately once said, "We're container minders."  Or at any rate, I am.

I've taken two loads to Goodwill that were mostly clothes and small furnishings.  Edward McKay, our wonderful local used book store, was the recipient of five cartons of books.  Next on the schedule is paperwork.  Industrial shredder, here I come!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My continuing love affair with Pinterest

Just some quick thoughts on Pinterest:  as a visual learner and an artist, I find that Pinterest is like a party for the eyes.  I have 75 boards and thousands of pins on them.  One of my favorite phenomena is when worlds collide.  That's what I call it when an image appears that would fit on more than one of my boards.  For example a painting by Frida Kahlo of her grandmother knitting:  I have a board for Frida Kahlo and a board called Knitting and the Knitted.  Where should it go?  Oh, I love the fun of the decision.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Returning to my poor, neglected blog


Apologia: Last weekend marked the hellish return of my trigeminal neuralgia symptoms and I've asked my doctor to refer me to the surgeon in Winston-Salem who does laser surgery to bring relief from the pain.  This is as bad as it's ever been.  Everything seems to trigger the pain--toothpaste, talking, chewing. drinking cold water, walking, touching the right side of my face, etc.  Saturday, I mostly sat on the porch and tried not to move, but Sunday, I was tired of giving into the pain and decided to do some work in the studio and reactive this poor, sad blog of mine.  The baby quilt above is for the new baby of the couple who owns our favorite Indian restaurant.  I finished piecing it on Sunday.

  Dan and Steph left on Friday after a wonderful extended visit.  Anna was able to come for the long July 4th weekend and it was terrific being together with our entire family for my  66th birthday.  Anna made me a delicious and beautiful cake and we all enjoyed our meal at Lucky 32, an excellent Greensboro restaurant with fabulous catfish.

Jim is greatly improved in health.  The brace and the walker are gone, but he relies on a cane.  He is getting himself around to therapy and school and generally looking and feeling more himself.

Safety Pin Studio has seen the usual number of baby quilts as well as a t-shirt quilt for my cousin, Lynn, and the repair and quilting of an antique quilt top of hers.  Anna's new apartment sports new curtains, too.  Dan and Steph's quilt was finally finished so that they had it on their bed here during their visit and then took it back to Canada with them.

My cousin's antique quilt top was in rough shape, but since I had some experience restoring antique textiles, I repaired everything first. The poor baby below had to be completely backed with cotton to save it.  I suggested that quilting the top would help to preserve it.  Using all 100% cotton (thread, backing fabric, batting), I sandwiched  and quilted it very lightly by hand.

The weather was cooperative, so I was able to baste it on the screened porch.

My cousin knew something about the history of the quilt, so I created a label on the back to preserve that information as well.  The block pattern was churn dash, so I made a little block of my own for the label.

The t-shirts that my cousin had collected over the years were very rich visually and made a very fun quilt. Making t-shirt quilts interesting presents a challenge because it is tempting to cut them uniformly in size which means you end up with lots of empty space and the thing becomes so heavy you can hardly move it.  I'm a fan of cutting the designs out closely.  I stabilize all the shirt pieces with a woven, iron-on interfacing which makes sewing regular cotton fabric to them easier. The differences in size can be dealt with by adding pieces of patchwork.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Quilted Librarian in Retirement

Our lives have been turned upside down since my husband's illness began in May of 2013.  Finally, after three different courses of antibiotics, the last one killed the staph infection in his back, but he suffered a compression fracture of the T12 vertebra sometime in November and had to spend eight months in a sort of tortoise shell brace.  The fracture healed on its own (which was a blessing because he is not a good candidate for back surgery now) and with physical therapy, he is regaining his mobility slowly but surely.  He returned to teaching after several months off, but it was necessary for me to take him and pick him up.  It became clear that my retiring would be the best course of action.  Since I turned 65 in July and had the required amount of time in, that is what I did.  So whilst I am technically retired, I am still a librarian, so the name of the blog will stay the same.

Also in July, three days before my birthday, my mother, Kathleen Warner passed away at 94.  She had been failing for several months.  Anna came to stay with Jim in June so I was able to fly down to see her.  Several weeks later, it became clear that she was not going to get better, so  Jim and I drove down.  My brother and his wife flew in and were actually with Mom when she passed.  I'm glad that we could all be together and support my dad.  He is doing well, but misses her tremendously.  They were married for 67 years.

I have not been idle during this time of being a full-time caregiver, though.  I've made a number of baby quilts, a t-shirt quilt for Anna's friend Philana, curtains for Anna's godson's room,  and am working on a full size quilt for our son Danny and our daughter by marriage, Steph.  I've also read many wonderful books and have added more yoga classes, zumba, and cardio workouts at our local Y.

This is a quilt for Danny and Steph's new niece, Aria, who was born last spring.

The t-shirt quilt was composed of Philana's high school sports shirts.

This is the back and the bias binding.

I'm currently quilting this bento box quilt for a little baby girl.

These are some of the double wedding ring sections for Danny and Steph's quilt.

The setting is called Posies because four sections of a similar color are put together to form flowers.