Saturday, January 30, 2010

Look What Polly Has Been Up To

All of you rug hookers can stop whining now (Kidding!). Polly heard your cries and she responded. We are proud to announce a new rug kit by Minick and Simpson!For a limited time (until our limited supplies run out) we are offering the above kit to you. Each kit includes the hand drawn linen with serged edges, hand dyed wool, and ticking for the binding. It will be lovingly packed into our "Nantucket" sand pail and tied with a yard of our Prairie Paisley Twill Measuring Tape. Polly sees this as a series - there will be 2 more kits offered later in the year. Again, limited supplies. The rug kits will be $200.00. Go here to order.

As usual, a portion of the proceeds will go to our favorite charity - Semper Fi Injured Marines Fund.

Per Polly's instructions.... we purchased every last Nantucket Sand Pail that Moda/United Notions had in the warehouse. After these kits, there will be no more.

But wait....(insert tv informercial joke here) There's more. Or there will be more. Later this spring look for a quilt kit to be packaged in these sand pails too. Think summer, sand, and all things Minick and Simpson.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Just When I Was Getting The Hang Of It

Yes, just when I am getting the hang of these great big applique blocks, I must put them away for awhile. This is the second block I have finished. The colors in this picture are pretty true to life. Much better than my last post.I must take a break now and work on another project, but first..... this weekend will be devoted to taxes. Ugh. I don't actually DO the taxes, I just have to get all my paperwork in order and come up with some numbers. I then gladly hand it off to the CPA. Life is too short to have to learn how to do taxes. Think of me this weekend when you are enjoying life. I unfortunately, will not be.

Polly is with Tom and Amy (the Moda sales reps for Florida) today doing a little show and tell at a quilt shop in Fort Myers. I wish I could have been there :(
The shop is called The Quilt Lover's Hangout. Polly will have another little announcement soon, probably in the next week or so. Keep checking back.


Monday, January 25, 2010

What Came First

What is at the roots of our quiltmaking? What is the event that brought about the modern quiltmaking renaissance. While we all know a bit of our American quilt history and the quilt designs and fabrics that occurred in historical eras (say Civil War, or 1930's and a particular style and color pallet comes forth in our mind) - what made 20th century women fore go the department store and decide to make their own bedcoverings?

Most style mavens, artists, and quilters will say the 1971 Whitney Museum "Abstract Design in American Quilts" show as the signature event. Suddenly, stodgy 19th century bed linens made by women were on a par with Modern Art made by Warhol, and Kandinsky. This, along with the pending Bicentennial - made things "made by hand" all the rage. Now, what brought about the Whitney Show? Probably a lot of things, and I don't claim to know the reasons - Barbara would :). Ask antique dealers, art gallery owners, and quilt collectors and they will all mention different things that collided into a perfect storm of Folk Art and quilts. The hippie-fication of America was one reason. Could this have been another? I was perusing a book I checked out of the library last week - Horst: Interiors. It is a compilation of Horst P. Horst's photo essays on stylish interiors. You know, home shoots in decorator magazines. He most often worked for House Beautiful and Vogue. These homes were/are stylish! The homeowners include Warhol himself, Jackie Onassis, Oscar de la Renta, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and many more. The one that floored me (literally) was Gloria Vanderbilt. Here is her bedroom and these photos were first published in 1970.

I took these photos off the internet as I couldn't scan the huge book with it's substantial binding. I wish they were a little bigger. The bit of text next to them say the entire room, except for the moldings, were covered in patchwork. OH. MY. GOD. It is hard to tell, but it looks like the floor was covered in quilt blocks and unfinished tops and then maybe coats of polyurethane over it. Those are collages on the wall that Gloria herself made. Now, Gloria is a go-to gal for style. Remember a few years later in the 70's when we all wore her jeans to disco dance in? Hmmmm. Looking at later home shoots in the book you see more patchwork. Could it be Gloria who we can thank for our contemporary fabric madness?

I know. Before it goes any further - we can't condone the destroying of antique quilts. I feel the same way. But - really, I like to think that these quilts in Gloria's bedroom, on her floor and ceiling, became their "Quilt Destiny" here. I think the sum surpasses all the parts. These quilts died for our present quiltmaking mania, wouldn't you say? Brava, Gloria!

What does it all mean, and what am I trying to say? I don't know. I just found it fascinating. You never know where a creative idea can take you - and take everyone else. Ideas aren't made in a vacuum. One thing sparks another and now with internet speed - we all spark each other. Happy sparking, everyone.

And on to more pedestrian is the first block of the Winter Garden/Love Letters quilt. The large applique pieces go fast! The colors aren't quite this bright in reality ;)


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Catching Up

For all of you asking for Gibby updates, here he is on HIS couch and HIS quilt. He is growing by leaps and bounds and makes us laugh every day. We can't imagine life without him. And, he is smarter than a 5th grader. Okay, enough of the puppy-love.....

I have caught up on some projects and I got to start Winter Garden/Love Letters from When the Cold Wind Blows. This will be fun. I really am glad a lot of you have posted on your progress on this quilt too. My friend Susan from McKinney emailed me and she is doing it as a BOM. She uses the back basting needleturn method. She has kindly shown me two times how this is done and I am still bewildered. I am doing my Simpson Slapdash needleturn method. That means I slap the pieces down and stitch them where they lay. Works for me. She has kindly offered to mail me her real scale drawings of the block lay-out. I am taking her up on that. I will just trace the bias stems onto the block. Once those are drawn, I'll just put the vase on the bottom and the flowers on top and fit the leaves somewhere in between. I finished making all my bias stems a couple of days ago.Here is my first block in progress. I am doing the wreath block first. I basted the wreath into place in the center and am placing all the other components in place by eye. Again, works for me.Do you know the Kinko's trick? For a small fee, Kinko's will replace the original binding with a spiral binding. This was recommended to me by a student (that would be you, Linda) when I taught the Folk Art Stars quilt. I guess this isn't the newest tip for most of you, but it was for me. It makes it so much easier to trace the applique motifs from the book this way. You do lose a little bit of the inner page next to the binding, but not enough to lose any information.I actually have a pretty free day today and I think I will applique, watch some old movies and cuddle the puppy. Tonight I am taking Bill out to dinner for his birthday. I asked him what he would like me to cook for him on his day and he said for me to "take the night off" and we will go out. We are going to a new and promising restaurant tonight - Grange. We will order lovely things and we will critique it for you. Anything for you dear readers.

Oh, and the swing dance class was fabulous. While enthusiastic, we are not particularly talented. We have homework.


Monday, January 18, 2010

In The Swing

Today's post is a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Above is the salad we had today for dinner, and it was delish! We had a big plate of salad and a spoonful of macaroni and cheese. This was the perfect salad to go with it - tart, sweet, and crisp. Here is the recipe:

Chicory With Oranges and Red Onion

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbls. sugar
1 1/2 teas. salt
1 medium red onion, sliced crosswise 1/8" thick and separated into rings
2 medium naval oranges
2 teas. whole grain mustard
1 tbls. water
1/4 teas. freshly ground pepper
2 tbls. olive oil
1/2 lb chicory (curly endive), stems discarded - 10 cups*

* The market was out of curly endive, but did have a spring salad mix that contained curly endive and other bitter greens. This is what I used.

Combine vinegar, sugar, and 1 teas. salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.

Cook onion in a medium saucepan of boiling, well salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again. Stir into the vinegar mixture and let sit 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut peel and white pith from the oranges and slice into 1/4" slices. Drain onion and layer onto the oranges and endive on large platter. Whisk mustard, water, 1/2 teas. salt, pepper, and oil into the vinegar. Dress the salad.

We have been eating a lot of pasta, salad and chicken in 2010. All of our favorite things, but in moderation with large helpings of salad. No one was feeling deprived, at least I thought so. Bill had a curious condition spring up this weekend. Gout. Yes, Gout! (I mean, who gets gout beside Bill and maybe Henry VIII?). I was puzzled. He had this once before about 4 years ago. It went away quickly with medication. We haven't had any red meat since the meatballs in spaghetti about 10 days ago. None of the other trigger foods either. At least I thought so. It seems Mr. "all things in moderation" has been sneaking off to Wendy's. Busted. This is cause for concern for a couple of reasons. First, his health (he's fine!) and secondly, this....Tomorrow we start our Swing Dance class! I am so excited. Actually it is called "Swing Dance for Beginners". A class made for us. I can't wait to give you all the details. Keep your fingers crossed that the gout medication will make it possible for Bill to jump and jive.

Make sure to stop by the Jolly Jabber. The folks at the Fat Quarter Shop are having an auction of quilts to benefit Haiti relief. I donated this quilt today.
It is 31" square and made with antique reproduction fabrics and some antique scraps. It was hand pieced and hand quilted. If this one isn't to your fancy - there are more quilts (with more coming) to bid on. Let's help Kim, Jocelyn, and the rest of the gang over at Fat Quarter Shop send a nice check from American Quilters. Thanks


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Getting Back To Work

What can we say? After a long, sad week, we are both happy to get back to work. Thank you everyone for your kind words. You know, we hesitated to put up the last post, but since we have been pretty open about our daily lives since this blog thing started - we decided to. We were comforted and moved. So was our family. You folks are the best.

So, what has transpired and what are we working on? Lots of stuff. This was delivered yesterday. These are the Bar Harbor wovens. Expect them, along with the prints, in your quilt shop next month. Oh, what a nice taste of summer these are!
I have been also plodding along on a new quilt design. I am using scraps, of course. I won't bore you with how much scraps I still have. (Ummm, more than when I started, despite the laws of physics) I changed my mind half-way through and decided on a smaller quilt. These are left over.
Any thoughts of how they should live out their half-square triangle destiny?

I also decided on the fabric I will use for Blackbird Designs beautiful applique quilt.I have been collecting reproduction Turkey Reds for a couple of years and I saw this fabric collection by Whistler Studios called Folklore. I picked out a couple to round out my stash.Note: There is probably 4 times the amount of fabric that I need to make this quilt - but collecting the stash is most of the fun, isn't it? I am looking forward to actually being able to work on a block soon. Keep coming back for updates. And, Hey, thanks for stopping by today.

Also, expect a MEGA give-away soon. Just as soon as my UPS guy gets it here.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Our Brother

We are heartbroken today. Yesterday we lost our brother Patrick to cancer. He was the brother between Polly and I and the closest to me in age. Patrick is now pain free and in a better place. Till we see you again,

Laurie and Polly

Friday, January 8, 2010

I Can Take a Hint

We have a snow day here in Ann Arbor. Gibby would like for you to come over to play. Bring all your furry friends.
Gibby is ferocious, you better beware :)
Keep warm and happy quilting and hooking!

Monday, January 4, 2010


Greetings to everyone in Twenty-Ten. I have been reading that this is how we are to say it (internet hopping and blog perusing) . Twenty-Ten. Works for me.

Have you seen this newest issue of Quiltmania? Every page is as intriguing as the cover. Some of us, who have been around quilting for "mumble-mumble" years will recognize this cover quilt as a new interpretation of a glorious antique. The original was a white background with red, and green applique. It was beautiful then and is beautiful now. If you are not familiar with Quiltmania magazine (it has been hard to get until now) - it is a French publication printed in English. It is certainly a global publication with special emphasis on French and other European quiltmakers; Japanese masters of needle and cloth, and antique American masterpieces. It has been a favorite of mine since I first saw it. There is a huge emphasis on antique quilts and modern interpretations of them. Antiques are my inspiration and I love to see how others interpret them. This one on the cover is made of antique kimono silks. It certainly takes on a contemporary feel done in these colors, doesn't it?
This was another recent interpretation of an antique quilt. It was made by Bonnie Hunter and is called Virginia Bound. Everything old is new again! Each issue is chock full of fantastic examples and often with instructions.This is called Houses and Hearts and was made by a Frenchwoman - Nicole Cocquyt - but in Japanese fabric and the Japanese style. There is more inspiration per page than anywhere you can find. It was in an old issue (spring of 2006 - Oy! I can't find it - but it had a black and red fan quilt on the cover) that I saw an article about an antique quilt collector and her awesome stash of great quilts. One of these quilts was hanging on a wall and about 1/3 of it could be seen. It was an amazing example of a Lone Star quilt. I couldn't take my eyes off it. I got out my graph paper and pencil (and lots of erasers) and tried to figure it out. There was a slight mathematical quirk (i.e. mistake) that made my quilt 120" square - but hey, you can't get everything right can you. This is what I came up with.Try not to notice the wiggly edges. 120" of bias strips tend to get a little out of whack. Doesn't really matter though. I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

This good news just keeps getting better. Quiltmania will now be easy to find. Moda has become the American distributor for this magazine - which means it will be readily available at your local quilt shop. Ask your favorite shop to give Moda a ring and it can be your inspiration too.


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