The other day after coming to my senses and abandoning the teeny tiny handpiecing project, I was digging around in my sewing room hunting for a tool and came across these.
I may not have mentioned it before, but for years I taught quilting so I have a lot of sample pieces of random blocks and techniques that I tried while preparing a new class or workshop. When foundation piecing appeared on the quilting scene as the *newest (old) thing*, I made these small examples. Then tucked them into a box and put it on a shelf....with all the other boxes. So when I found them the other day, I had a lightbulb moment. The teeny tiny project!
This immediately came to mind. And how I hate paper-picking. Competing in my mind's eye was the antique quilt I saw in New York. (About which I am mightily kicking myself for not at least attempting a stealth photo.) The most lovely scrap quilt, made special by the tiny, precise blocks, repeated across its 77" face. Over 13,000 pieces, made by hand in the 1880s, in Mechanics Falls, Maine. Breathtaking.
So this morning I outlined the pattern onto some tracing paper and went back into the sewing room.
Now I'm not saying 'stay tuned and soon I'll have bed-sized quilt to show you'. I'm not even saying this won't eventually end up in the box with the other samples. But the tracing paper was the perfect foundation and the block, though a bit bulky at a few intersections, went together quite precisely. With paper piecing you have to make the seams' pressing direction decisions as you sew, and I think I'd change a few on subsequent blocks. If there are subsequent blocks. Which there may be. Or not.
Thanks to all of you who responded to my question yesterday. What an array of answers! I had been considering telling several friends, but reading just the first few comments reminded me that once that genie's out of the bottle, there's no putting it back. For the time being, anyhow, I think I prefer writing for the imaginary masses.
Contrary to the conclusion you might have drawn from my recent posts, I have been working on several projects. Remember the antique quilts I mentioned seeing in New York recently? Remember how, in passing, I considered replicating them? I started one.
(Melody, please don't call the looney bin with a pick-up order. I came to my senses. Quickly.)
Hillary wants us to post our vintage fabric finds. Is this what she means?
I'm plodding away on my Leaf Lace Shawl. Not plodding, really, but not quite finished yet and it's hard at this point to stretch it out for a photo shoot. So I'm sending you to two posts I came across this week. You'll love them.
I've been dropping in on Something to Say for months now. Kim's a graphic artist and posts regularly about all things visual and interesting. A feast for the eyes and the senses, she takes beautiful photographs and often links to fascinating sites. Where do you find these things, Kim? This week, she posted about a friend's topiary. Wow! (Check out his paper mache, too.) If you have some time, wander through her archives or bookmark them for a hot afternoon's entertainment. A treasure trove.
Last week on my roadtrip, I stopped in Cleveland for an arts festival. It used to be within walking distance of our house, but it's a great annual event and was well worth the detour. Last year, I got this painted tin piece from Terry Powell, a new exhibitor from...Texas, maybe? and I was disappointed to see that he hadn't returned this summer. I had debated (ad nauseum) about buying it because I didn't know if there'd be a place for it in our new, as-yet-to-be-found house. Ironically, it's the first thing I hung up. Lesson learned...if you like it, get it. You may never see it again. Within *some* budgetary bounds, that is!
I did find a new (to me) artist, Brad Devlin. What fun assemblages he had! Go see, I'll wait. Of course, the piece I was mulling over, smaller than what's on his website, was purchased right before my eyes. What happened to 'if you like it, buy it'? Hmmm.
Quilt National? Nope, didn't make it. A combination of a later-than-planned start, combined with an early missed turn and a car clock set to Indiana time (don't get me started) proved that stop's undoing. I'll be driving to Baltimore in August though and plan to hit QN on the way. Report merely postponed.
One last bit about my New York stay. I had planned to leave Thursday morning, but with several unvisited places on my list, I decided to stay a few more hours and try to squeeze them in. As I headed down the subway station steps at my usual 9:30, emergency vehicles flew by, sirens blaring. Waiting for the next train, the platform slowly filled with an eclectic mix...neighborhood residents, students, tourists, three ballet dancers. Waiting, waiting. An announcement. The westside subways are shut down because of a building collapse. Everyone exits, making alternate plans. But as we emerged, more and more sirens, and ahead several blocks, numerous helicopters hovering over a large, dusty cloud. Some uninformed were clearly panicked and several approached me to ask, "Do you know what's going on?" To see that fear rise so quickly in what I think of as unflappable New Yorkers gave me the tiniest peek into what they (you?) probably live with in the aftermath of that awful day.
I decided to just trek across the north end of Central Park to catch a downtown train from Lexington. (You didn't think I scrapped my plans, did you?) And came upon something that wasn't on my list. These guys.
For 4 college summers, I was *the crafts lady* at our local parks department, rotating daily through the city parks, laden with popsicle sticks and glitter, yarn, beads and Elmer's glue, ready to turn a hot afternoon under a tree into an event for bored kids. So when I came across this group, how could I not stop? And chat. And snap a few. Definitely one of my top New York memories.
I'm back from my 8 day trip, all refreshed and revved up after (among other things) 4 glorious days in New York City. I highly recommend the solitary excursion experience. It's funny...although I like to be alone, I'm a pretty social person. And I had a number of lovely, tempting invitations from bloggers to get together during my visit. Invitations that I hope will be extended again. (I will be back!) But in the end, I decided that for this trip, I would decline so that I could truly do whatever I wanted, whenever, without checking watch or datebook.
It was fabulous. And I don't know how to tell you, but I didn't really document it. I meant to. I intended to. I had my camera with me, the first day, at least. But by midday Monday it was so hot and humid that the mere weight of it in my bag was irritating me. I did not want to be irritated! Being on a solitary excursion, who else could I blame if I wasn't having fun? I had one of those interior conversations...and the voice that said "forget about the camera and just enjoy" won.
My stay was exhausting and exhilarating. Each morning I left the apartment and headed to the subway by 9:30. I never returned before 8:00 pm. Went to some usualhaunts and found newfavorites...some on my lists, many not. I don't want to bore you with every*little*thing but if you're in the city this summer, here are a few I'd recommend.
MOMA Wonderful place to spend a rainy afternoon. Initially lukewarm on the topic of this featured summer show, I ended up loving Cezanne and Pissarro. I should have started at it, in the top floor galleries, instead of ending up there on my last full day (and last legs.) I hadn't realized that these artists had painted side by side for over a decade and the exhibit features many of these 'same subject' paintings, side by side. Different emerging styles...fascinating. You can see some of the exhibit here at MOMA's fabulous interactive site.
Woodard & Greenstein I was here in November to check out their woven rugs and was awestruck at several of their antique quilts. I had to go back. This time I took notes for reference because I'd like to make versions of two of them. (Since I didn't have the $1,800. and $8,500. respectively, to seal the deal.) Small but lovely gallery if you like folk art, hooked and woven rag rugs and antique quilts.
Pearl Paint I used to order from this place when I was in college. They have everything.
I always wanted to try gouache. It's dream week, why not?!
Minamoto Kitchoan This wagashi (Japanese sweets) shop is conveniently located on the same block as Kinokuniya for maximum Nihon indulgence. Mmmm...matcha manju. I admit I made three purchase stops here. Divine.
Rice to Riches (Watch their intro...clever!) Late one afternoon, I was heading to Chinatown to have an early dinner at Dim Sum GoGo (thanks for the reminder, Carolyn) when I came upon Rice to Riches, a rice pudding shop. The advantage of being alone...dessert before dinner! Sleekly designed shop, humorous signage, delicious and imaginative flavors. A hip place and now I'm hip(pier), thanks to (the smallest available serving of) Cuban Rum Raisin rice pudding.
I'm packing my bags...clothes, camera, sketchpad, knitting, CDs...and heading east Friday on a roadtrip. Alone! Just me!
First stop will be a wonderful summer arts fair, where I got my *bird girl* from ceramic artist, Jenny Mendes, two years ago. It'll be great to sit behind the scenes and catch up with some of my friends who'll be exhibiting. Then I'll be off to spend some family time in PA, followed by several days of nonstop inspiration as I browse, gaze, tromp and graze my way through New York City. I'll break up the long drive home by veering off the direct route for a stop at Quilt National, where I'll try to get the inside scoop on why a favorite textile artist, AnnaTorma, had her Best of Show award retracted and her quilt removed from the exhibit. I'm on the case!
It's a dream trip! (Can you tell from All!The!Exclamation!Points!?) Many in my family don't understand the thrill of this to me. But the thought of eight days of endless possibilities and no schedule but my own, open to any change of plan or direction, at my whim, is almost intoxicating.
I had the intention of posting when I got up today, but felt like I had nothing much to write about. I've been knitting on my Leaf Lace Shawl, but a few more inches of the same pattern doesn't really need to be chronicled. The teacup blocks are coming along, but at this point are just more teacups. So as I buzzed around town doing errands this morning, it occurred to me that I had another quilt to share. A quilt that is just in my custody for the summer, and therefore a perfect post for today before I forget about it again!
60" x 78"
I made this quilt for K the year he graduated from college and moved to Japan. (A recurring theme in our family, it would seem.) If I had to name it, I would call it *quilt for someone who likes things plain and blue*. Of course, I had to make it a bit fun or it would have bored me to death to work on it, so I included a red sushi print here and there. And a coffee print. (For someone who likes things plain and blue and drinks a lot of coffee.)
I chose the red & green prints and plaids to offset the blues a bit and was working along, cutting out triangles when September 11th occurred. I started adding in some stars and stripes, something I had no intention of doing when I started. A quilt of its time, I guess.