Friday, February 29, 2008

Selvage Quilts?

I'm a big fan of string quilting because I hate to throw away even the smallest scraps. One of my ongoing projects is Bonnie Hunter's Basket-Weave Strings quilt. But I never imagined that you could do much of anything with the woven selvage edges that we cut off fabric before we start cutting out our quilt pieces. Though they are technically strings, usually they're too narrow to use because a quarter inch seam on each side eats them up entirely.

Well, Karen Giska has figured out a technique that makes selvages usuable. Check it out here.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Visiting an Old Quilt

I've been out of town for about a week visiting my eldest son and his family. The week before I left, I was busy making purses for their two oldest girls to match the dresses I made them for Christmas. I wish I'd been able to take a camera with me so that I could show you pictures of both the purses and the dresses. I would also liked to have taken a picture of the quilt I slept under while I was there. It was the quilt I made for my son when he went away to college.

It's a restless pattern of triangles in dark lavender, white, and a print in shades of blue and purple that has always reminded me of outer space.

It's gotten a lot of use over the years and has now achieved an antique sort of look. Because it has a cotton batting, it's crinkled from the slight shrinkage that takes place with washing. The colors have softened. The edges of the binding have begun to show some wear. It looks well loved, and I am so pleased.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bad Quilter! No Biscuit!

"Custody of the senses" is a phrase you sometimes see in older Catholic books. It refers to the practice of controlling the senses (most commonly the eyes) in order to keep oneself from straying into temptation. I suppose I should have been practicing it yesterday.

It was Ash Wednesday, so my son and I went to 8:00 Mass just to kick off the season, so to speak. I was kneeling devoutly when suddenly I became aware of a beautiful red plaid shirt being worn by a young boy a few pews ahead of me. And suddenly, my mind was no longer focused where it ought to be. Instead, it had zeroed in on that plaid fabric and how it might be used in a quilt.

Among those of us who have been working on the Carolina Crossroads Mystery Quilt, salvaging fabric from men's shirts is all the rage. My own quilt is being made from stash, but Bonnie Hunter (our Fearless Leader) made hers from shirts she bought at thrift stores. So plaids are a major design element in her quilt. (See a close up of it here.) And she had plenty more shirt fabric left for her Super Bowl Bargello quilt which you can see here.

I love thrift stores -- though these days I limit myself to looking because there is absolutely nothing I need anymore. But can a quilter ever have too much fabric? Actually, I've been on a No-Buy fabric diet for a couple of years in an effort to use up the fabric I have already. But the urge to go thrifting for men's shirts is like a siren's song. It must be the hunter-gatherer instincts of our foremothers coming to the surface.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Election Day

And I have some really cool batik fabric that I bought for half price at the local quilt store with which I'm planning to make aprons. (I figure the batik will disguise the spills which are bound to happen when I cook. (I'm thinking a double layer of fabric because I'm afraid stains will go right though otherwise.)

The picture is from Kitchen Madonna who is promoting National Wear Your Apron Day. As she says on her website:
After your funeral, do you think your granddaughter will bury her face in your professional looking briefcase or in your treasured apron? When a woman puts on an apron, it makes no less of a statement than a fine leather briefcase. It announces she is on duty to be receptive to whatever happens in her home and everyone that encompasses. And that is a wider sphere of influence than many would allow.
Go read the rest of it. I need to sew my apron, and then I need to get back to sewing my quilt. (But I'll go vote too.)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Ironing Board Fantasies.

The other day I decided I needed a greater variety of blues for my Carolina Crossroads quilt. I was using so many dark blues that I was afraid they were beginning to run together. So I rummaged through my stash and came up with some that were bright but not light. They've been sitting on my ironing board waiting for me to press and cut them.

I was in Costco recently and saw a fancy new ironing board. The brand name was Polder. It had a holder at the end for your iron, and it was very wide -- an advantage for a quilter!

My own ironing board is practically an antique. I bought it soon after I got married, taking the bus to a shopping center in the next town. I bought it at JC Pennys and had them hold it until my husband could pick it up on his way home from work. After all these years it's got a slight dip in the center and it's getting a little wobbly. That's why I've never considered the Big Board as an addition to it -- I'm afraid it would topple over. While at the quilt show last month I saw a really nice ironing set up, a Big Board set on a couple of drawer units which gives you storage and ironing in the same footprint. Except I don't really have the room here for that kind of thing.

And I don't have money for either of these options, so I guess my fantasies will remain just that.