Saturday, February 27, 2016

Upcoming Event!

I suggest you call soon for a space!  There is a lot of interest in this program!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2016 Mennonite Relief Sale

Each year the Mennonite Community gathers for an open preview of quilts that are going up for auction at the Pennsylvania Relief Sale.  It is fun to look at the quilts and often I have gotten good ideas from looking at these quilts

 But most of all, we antique and vintage quilt lovers adore the Quilter's Corner available at the preview.  You may find wonderful bargains on antique and vintage fabric, ufos, patterns, linens, books and other vintage items.  I've even found some assembled pieces there.   It's hard to say what exactly is in store for this year's preview in Ephrata but you may see something similar to the beauties on this post.

The preview will be held at the Material Resources Center at 517 Trout Run Road, Ephrata PA 17522 on March 3, 4, 5.  Thursday and Friday hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday it is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  I suggest you go early because the lines start forming WAY before the shop opens.

The 2016 Pennsylvania Relief Sale will be held April 1 and 2 at the Harrisburg Farm Show Complex.  For more information you can go to .  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bread is the best food! Images from the February LV Quilt Study Group

The February meeting of the Lehigh Valley Quilt Study Group was a real treat!  Sue P. brought in an amazing crazy quilt full of rayons and interesting images from the early 20th century:

Finding King Tut on the quilt was wonderfully fun and indicative of the craze that followed the discovery of Tutankhamun's Tomb in 1922.  But the back was just as much fun, full of feedsacks:

And my personal favorite:

Bill from brought some interesting quilts including this mid to early century patchwork:

And this wonderful quilt comprised of small baskets with enchanting patterned alternating blocks:

Sarah brought a southern quilt along to the meeting which we all adored:

Lorraine brought this beauty!  Thanks for letting me know!

Lisa shared these quilts and we loved this piece, despite the fugitive colors.  Somehow it made us all think Spring!

Jayne shared this crib quilt.  It was a quilt kit offered by Bucilla in 1959 and entitled, "Early to Bed."

Jayne is our redwork maven in the group.  She always brings
 fun pieces:


And...what we normally would have considered a clothespin holder with a new purpose!
Sue P. had brought along some pieces from a friend but we all went crazy for these stuffed toys featuring Snow White with ALL SEVEN of the dwarfs!!!  

Each of had the same reaction when we saw these:  absolute delight!
Next meeting is April 21st!  Please feel free to email me if you would like to attend!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy President's Day 2016

Quilters have often incorporated images of president's in their quilts.  These two blocks of George and Martha Washington are from the "Merry Christmas, 1904" quilt in my collection.
On another redwork piece, a story is illustrated of the old tale of George and the cherry tree:

Have a wonderful and happy holiday!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

On my first blog post, I talked about Hilda Kromer Koch and her family's quilts.  I was fortunate to receive a number of treasures from Hilda's childhood, including these sweet homemade valentines from the early part of the 20th century.

Wishing you and yours a day full of love and kindness! 
Happy Valentines Day!

Close-up of an early 20th century quilt block  with 4 hearts in the center.  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Frugal Quilting: Last word

You know you are a quilter when you look at your friends and families clothes and think, "hmmmm, I could sure use that fabric in my quilt."

Allie commented on a great idea to bulk up your stash at a reasonable price:

"Great ideas, Mickie! I would add one - I shop the thrifts and pick up shirts that are 100% cotton - not too thick, not too thin, and use them for quilts. The bigger the better, lol. I look in Queen size first. And a few years ago, my mom and aunt found $3 pajama pants in all cotton, they got several pairs, and they're going to be used in a quilt for mum. I think Bonnie Hunter is the men's shirt quilt queen, but I don't go for stripes and things, I like the pretty florals, lol."

Shirtings have been popular for quilts for over a century.  This quilt top, called "Aileen's Nine Patch", is probably from the early part of the twentieth century.  

Aileen was a friend of our family and when she passed, this top was found with some of her old family things and given to me so it is a treasured piece.  The colors are soothing and it would look great in a shabby chic room.
I particularly like that it has conversational prints in it:
Have a great day!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Stash Exchanges

An I-spy quilt I made in 2013 with a lot of contributions from friends

Part two of yesterday's post:  

As I get older, I want/need/can afford less and as Allie suggested, it has made me more creative in my quilting and especially in how I accumulate fabric for a project.  Here are some ideas I've seen lately...

START A STASH EXCHANGE:   I have some great friends and we love exchanging fabric for each other's projects.  This is really helpful for scrap quilts or I-spy quilts or that dreaded day when you realize you are just short of the fabric you need to complete a project.  

You can do this with your local friends or internet buddies.  It's a great way to get what you need and give what you can.  You can even make an event of it: "come for coffee and cake, bring some hand sewing and if you like, fabric you don't want anymore."  It's not extravagant but a fact of life: we CAN tire of a color palette or style.  I am binding my third yellow/black/white quilt and believe me whatever pieces of fabric left are going....

USE YOUR GUILDS:  A lot of guilds are starting to implement stash sharing into their groups.  At my guild, people just leave what they don't want or need anymore on the free table and people take what they can use.  About a year ago, we sold the fabric stash owned by a guild member who had passed away. The fabric was affordable and even better, the money raised was donated to the people who had adopted the member's beloved pets.

FRUGAL SHOPPING:  If you need fabric and are on a tight budget, I've found flea markets and yard sales to be really wonderful places to pick up fabric.  Boxed lots at auctions can be a treasure trove.  The other great place to buy fabric is your local quilt guild shows (not the big quilt shows). Often they have an area for reasonably priced fabric that members donated.

Marimekko fabric I picked up last summer at a local yard sale.

EVEN SHOPS CAN HELP!  Last year, a local quilt shop sponsored a flea market day where people could sell their unwanted fabric and find treasures in each other stashes.  It may seem counterproductive for a shop to offer this but I believe the owners found that people still shopped for "new" fabric to go with the odds and ends they had picked up.  A large stash is no friend to a quilt shop and by depleting some of what people have is always helpful.  

MENTOR SOMEONE:  This is great if you have too much fabric.  I adore my daughter-in-law and was so excited when she expressed an interest in sewing.  She tells me there aren't many good fabric stores in Philly, so I take her fabric whenever I visit.

Sewing lessons with Jessica.

If you can think of any other stash sharing techniques, please let me know!  I'd love to share them on the blog! 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Raw Edges

My friend Allie at Allie-Oops Sweet Happy Life posted a wonderful and thought provoking blog entry yesterday.  You can read it here.  I've been thinking about what she wrote during the last 24 hours.

The first thing Allie addressed was how overwhelmed she feels from all the ads screaming at us when we visit websites or blogs.  I wonder if the "Modern Quilt Movement" and "Slow Stitch Movement" are a reaction to the chaos and excessive messages that the internet has brought into our lives.  Don't get me wrong, I love the ease of communication and research the web provides, I just want to keep the extraneous stuff at a minimal. 

For years when I worked at a local college, I would only listen to music without words.  I heard enough words at work and just wanted to listen to my internal process at home.  The problem with overstimulation and over-accumulation is that it stifles our own creativity.  


What is your creative process?  I appreciate so much Allie's thoughts about this and can relate to her comment:

"Frugal quilting, which I have no choice over, forces my creativity.  I have to use from my stash, and work with the tools I have."

If there is one thing that I learned from old quilts it is that our ancestors didn't much think about the things that the quilt police or leaders in our field.  Often they just did what was right for them in their circumstances.  Take a look at this piece that could be criticized in today's world. 

 The seamstress did raw edge applique and fastened the pieces with a blanket stitch.  Afterwards, she would cut the extra pieces of fabric off the applique:

She did what she knew how and the block is still beautiful. 

In today's society, there is a lot of pressure to accumulate and "follow the leader."  This year I'm on a stashbusting mission, mostly because I just don't have a lot of space in my tiny house and I simply want order in my life.  I think that Allie is on the right track of "using what you have" and making do with what you can.  I think the biggest message she has is that you follow your own path and choose the road that is most comfortable for you.  
For me, I'm just rejecting a lot of things because sewing is my escape and refuge.  I don't care about the quilt police or any of that because I'm just too old to give a fig.  I'm not that interested in a lot of gadgets because I know what I want to sew, I have more than enough here to keep me busy.

So although I like many of the ideas of the "Slow Stitch Movement", I'm rejecting the idea of a legacy piece.  If I feel like making a quilt that seems "Modern" it will be a coincidence because I am sewing what I love.  
Tomorrow, I'll talk about what some of us our doing here in my inner circle in regards to our stashes.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Doll Days

As a child, parks such as Willow Park in Butztown (Bethlehem Township) and Indian Trail Park in Northampton County were regular places we visited for school and family events.  I didn't go to Dorney Park (the only park that remains in the region) until I was a teenager.  
The one park that I always wondered about was Central Park in Allentown.  It was closed a few years before I was born but I would see signs in the Rittersville (eastern) portion of Allentown alluding to the park that once was there.  
Central Park was established after the Civil War ended and eventually was named "The Greater Central Park."  It was a popular trolley destination in the region and I love looking at old images of the park:

One of the neatest pieces of the park's history is the idea of the "Doll Days" held at the park when children mothers were encouraged to "bring the little ones" to the event.  

According to a 1917 issue of  The Allentown Leader (one of the local newspapers) this was an annual event held in mid-July:
…the annual Doll Day festivities will be held on the portico of the dancing pavilion at Central Park. All the boys and girls are invited to bring their dolls and not only display them, but join in the competition for the trophies that are to be awarded. There will be beautiful prizes for the prettiest doll in the show, for the prettiest boy doll, for the prettiest girl doll, for the fattest, leanest and ho'meliest dolls, for the prettiest twins, for the largest doll, for the smallest doll and so on down the line. 
This may have been the kind of event that my paternal grandparents attended, both were from Allentown:
McLaughlin archive, copyright 2015.  1906 photograph.  Seated is my grandfather Jack or my grandmother Elsie.  It's a debated topic in our family who it is.  My aunt maintains it is my grandfather but a close-up of the child shows daisies dotting the bonnet of the child.  Also, she looks exactly like my grandmother...

This local little doll quilt was probably pieced during this era. A tied comfort, it is comprised of sweet little nine patches and bordered and backed in fabric featuring a trellis patterns, flowers, and birds:

Have a happy and sewful day!