Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Tuesday's This and That: May 17, 2022

Happy Tuesday!

May is my favorite month and to be honest, I'm spending more time outdoors than indoors.  But as I hunted around the internet for some news, I found an interesting site that had a few articles I thought I would share.  The site is called "Curated Quilts" and I like it because it shares recent quilts.  

Claude Debussy once wrote that "music is the space between the notes."  In art and quilting we call this "negative space" and it is just as important as whatever we feature with our pens or needles.  One of the articles on Curated Quilts features quilts that celebrate negative space.  

Another post I enjoyed featured quilts that represented solidarity with Ukraine.  

The last article I studied featured Temperature Quilts--if you haven't seen one of these or know someone that is doing one it's an interesting concept.  A few quilters I know have done these.  Each day of the year, a different block or piece is added to the top to represent the temperature that day.  A good article on these quilts is also here.

Now I am off to walk the dog and get out into the garden...it's seed planting day!

Have a safe and happy day!

Monday, May 16, 2022

Bluebells for Sandra


Memory flowers.  For many people a specific flower can stimulate a memory of childhood.  Sandra recently wrote to me about Virginia Bluebells.  She wrote: 

"I enjoy my patch of Virginia Bluebells each year.  Some came from my grandfathers woods  the floor of which was covered with them in the spring…a sea of blue.  We would go in search of the pink ones or the occasional white ones."

Today I thought I would share a photo of my bluebells quilt.  I thought I had featured it before but when I did a search of the blog, I couldn't find a photo of it.

The quilt was called "Blue Bells" (yes that was how it was spelled) and was a kit quilt offered by Paragon in 1939.

The background of the quilt is a peach percale and featured these elegant bluebells that reflect a soft art deco style.

I've never seen another quilt like this.  The quilting on this piece is exceptional and the quilt shows little wear.  I have often wondered it if had ever been used at all.  

What flowers stimulate childhood memories in you?

Have a safe and happy day!

Friday, May 13, 2022

Flower Friday: May 13, 2022

 Happy Flower Friday!

It's been a glorious week here in the north east part of the country.  I hope you have had some time to enjoy the great outdoors too!

Libby sent these wonderful photos:

Rhododendron by the lake!

Libby's Annabelle hydrangea is ready to bloom!

Secret garden with viburnum and iris!
What a magical place!

Sue sent these photos:
Solomon Seal

Shooting star.

White violets!

Rock Cress Iris.

Sue wrote, "I forgot what these are 😁"
But of course she knew they were forget-me-nots!

Here in my garden I continue to weed but also did some pots with annuals.  It's a never ending battle with the squirrels versus Michele and her pots.  I go inside for a second and when I come back out, they have dug up my pots.  My usually benign and sweet Nana used to sprinkle red pepper in her pots with the comment:  "I'll burn their little a**es off!"  That never worked well for me so now I just put rocks in my pots.

Some of my allium are blooming but half of them were really burnt during the cold weather snaps we got this spring. 

The gorgeous irises that Lorraine gave me are in full bloom.  

Wishing you a safe and happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


 This season, my Mayapple plants have really taken off!   

I got my original plant from my friend Pam years ago.  I don't think I've ever seen them offered at a nursery.  The plants have a tropical appearance and although I appreciate that, I actually like the plant for sentimental value...

A woodland plant, I first encountered it when I went to Girl Scout summer camp.  It certainly wasn't a species I'd see in my Nanas' city gardens or our suburban garden.  When I was a teen, I was a counselor at the same camp.  Counselors earned a whopping $1 per day for our efforts.

Every part of the plant is poisonous except for a brief period of time when the fruit ripens and is yellow (it sometimes is referred to as Wild Lemon).

At Girl Scout camp, we never got to really see the flowers or the fruit.  The flowers and fruit appear in spring and by the time we attended camp, both had faded.  Last year I was delighted when my plants actually flowered:

In 1922, this pattern appeared in the newspaper and celebrated the best part of the plant--the unique umbrella like leaf structure:

I couldn't find an actual example of the pattern used in a quilt.  To me, the pattern isn't just unique, it reminds me of the Art Deco period and also reminds me of a poinsettia quilt offered by Grandmother Clark in the 1930s (here).

The ad for the quilt pattern states:  

"Have you ever walked out into the orchard when the trees were in blossom, and wished that you might carry their fragrance back into your own bedroom with you, and keep it forever?  I believe that the person who designed the May apple quilt pattern must have felt this way about those fragrant spring blossom, and sought out a way to be reminded of them, even when the ground was carpeted with snow.

Any dainty color might be used when making up this quilt.  Think how pretty a soft pink would be with a touch of green, and these on white background!  Blue, yellow or lavender maybe substituted for the pink, if you prefer them.  One could not wish for a prettier quilt."

Barbara Brackman did a whole post on Mayapple quilt patterns (here).  Her article focused on the flower.  For me, the magical quality of the plant is actually the umbrella like leaf structure.

A later article featured women in Missouri who adored working on a "May Apple" quilt but the pattern does not resemble the one I featured:

Do you like this pattern?

Tomorrow I am taking a day off to garden and take my mother to the doctor's.  If you have anything to share for Flower Friday, please email me at allentownquilter@gmail.com!

Have a safe and happy Wednesday and Thursday!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Going Back to Basics

 Have you ever lost your quilt mojo?  I have lots of friends who have lots of advice but recently I got one piece of advice from a friend that I've decided to take.

He said, "Go back to basics."

A simple statement but he meant my quilting and it's what I've decided to do.  I won't go into the long list of things I do for others these days or how exhausted I often feel.  I will say that I've been afraid to tackle any major project because I was afraid I would mess it up.

So yesterday I pulled out some charm packs and turns out, I had some Kona white packs as well.  I went waaaay back to the most basic patchwork.  It's a simple checkerboard and it felt good because it was a project I could handle.  I should have a quilt top by the end of the week if nothing else surfaces this week.

If you are feeling as ragged as I am, then maybe this piece of advice can help you.  I hope it does.

Have a safe and happy day!

Monday, May 9, 2022

Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls, and Charms

 Happy Monday!  

How was your weekend?

We had a good soaking rain that lasted from Friday through Saturday and we needed it!  Everyone's garden and grass are looking fresher and happier!

Happily, I got a call from the sewing machine hospital on Friday that my machine was repaired and I spent Friday and Saturday finishing a quilt top for my cousin's grandson (sorry no photo yet but it's a simple square in a square quilt).  But then I wondered, what I had planned on working on next and couldn't remember until last night.  Oh yes, I wanted to use up some more charm packs.  And all that got me to thinking about you and what your opinions.

Today's topic is...Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls, and Charms.

Do you buy them?  Do you use them?

The idea of pre-cut fabric isn't really that new.  I know that some retailers (like Sears) used to sell sample packs of fabrics.  I have a doll quilt that is made of one of those packs:

I even have examples of the fabric samples sold in the 1930s that I found at an antique store once:

I admit I was first seduced by the idea of charm packs, jelly rolls, and layer cakes.  I especially liked charm packs because they were affordable and gave me the variety of what was offered in the line.  I've only bought 1 or 2 jelly rolls which are still in the drawer and only one layer cake--because the merchant didn't  have yardage of the fabric.

I find that the pre-cuts limit my imagination and often (in the case of charms) are not cut accurately.  Recently I finished these baby quilts for the twins and had to cut the charms down to 4.5 inches because the sizes varied so much.

The bottom line is I generate enough scraps to fill a full deep drawer with 5 inch scraps, 2.5 inch scraps and 2.5 inch squares.  This is just the charm drawer:

Yes there are some charm squares in there but 99 percent of the squares are leftover fabrics I sized a la Bonnie Hunter.

I'm more inclined to buy a fat quarter or half yard pack (or both) if I fall in love with a design line.  That way I have enough of it to make something or two from the fabrics.

What are your thoughts on the matter?  Have you noticed that charms and jelly rolls are being offered on sale regularly from your favorite fabric shop?

Have a safe and happy day!