Friday, March 5, 2021

Flower Friday: March 5, 2021

 Happy Flower Friday!

There are 15 days until Spring!

And in case you don't believe me, here's the first herald of spring:


The snowdrops are blooming!!!


Many of us are feeling spring fever!  Lorraine purchased these daffodils to brighten up her world:

Sue also sent this photo of a vase of zinnias which will cheer you up as well!  Love those vases too!

Have a safe and happy day!








Thursday, March 4, 2021

Canines and Comfort!

 Sam sent a photo of her dog Damien.  He's not just a good companion, Damien models her quilts!!


Damien is sporting what appears to be a canine themed quilt, beautifully crafted with machine quilting.  Note how the stunning blue binding highlights Damien's eyes!  Donning a quilt like this is a sure way to appeal to girl dogs and quilters!  

*****
This week I bid adieu to a comfort in my collection and thought I would post about it today.

My youngest son asked if I had something really warm for his bed.  His new apartment apparently is a bit chilly at night.  Yes indeed I did.
I've had this tied comfort for years but could never use it in a lecture because it is so big and thick that it requires it's own suitcase.
I'm a sucker for tied quilts especially when the Pennsylvania Germans used red wool to anchor the thread.
I also liked that the backing is all one grey and brown print, perfect for a masculine bed.

The next morning our boy texted to say thank you and the comfort had done the trick!  I think the quilter who made it would be delighted that over a 100 years later, it was still providing warmth and comfort!

This reminded me of this article I clipped that was syndicated in 1885:



Tomorrow is Flower Friday and if you have a floral image to share (or a pet photo or textile), email me at allentownquilter@gmail.com

Have a safe and happy day!



Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Men Who Quilt #12

 There are a few reasons why I became interested in men who quilt.  A number of years ago, a local auctioneer advertised that they had quilts made by a local man.  When I attended the preview, the quilts weren't there.  It was then explained to me that the quilts weren't in good enough condition for the high end auction but that they would contact me when they came up for auction.  I never heard from them again.  

Years later, we had a woman attend our Quilt Study group and she brought a quilt embroidered by a local man and quilted by her grandmother.  We will talk about him next week in our last and final quilting post.

If you have found this series interesting to you, you might want to purchase Joe Cunningham's and Jean Burk's book, Man-Made Quilts: Civil War to the Present.  I just found out about the book recently and it was published in conjunction with the Shelburne Museum's exhibit of man-made quilts.  I bought the book on Amazon.

In this article, Earl Paules is celebrated for making yo-yo quilts.  I wondered if this piece had a red cross in the center.  I also wonder how many letters to the editors the newspaper received informing the writer that an afghan is knitted or crocheted and that a quilt or coverlet is sewn!  From 1964:

Milton Bartholomew also made quilt tops.  Among the fascinating aspects of these articles is the length the writers go in order to explain the process the men used.
Milton was a retired carpenter and cement plant worker that took up sewing quilt tops.  He took up sewing when he was 70 and even had his own sewing room:
1942

William Bauer also made a quilt top for his son's wedding.  Like Bartholomew, he sent his tops out to be quilted.  In this article we learn more about the women quilters who organized at a local church to earn revenue for the church by quilting tops.  
1941

As an aside, remember if you would like to have your pet or an animal themed textile featured in our Constant Companion series, email photos to me at allentownquilter@gmail.com.  We got lots of great comments about Sue's calico cats!

Have a safe and happy day!




Tuesday, March 2, 2021

This and That Tuesday

 A number of features and answers today which is why it is This and That Tuesday!

Our celebration of our furry and feathered friends continues!  Sue sent us two photos:

Sue wrote "Vlad the Impaler is fond of the quilting hoop!"  When I asked how he got his name she wrote:  "When I adopted him at a year old, he hunkered down in the basement for a month.  Then he would sneak up at night and became Vlad the Prince of Darkness.  Carolyn remarked, yes until he scratches you then he's Vlad the Impaler.  He's a sweet boy but dumb as a box of rocks!"

Sue's sense of humor continues to crack me up!  She wrote, "This is my chair that I reupholstered in calico."

Diann sent us photos of her bird quilt.  She and her husband have not had a pet in a long time but they really enjoy watching the birds.  "We spend a lot of money for birds in our yard and enjoy their company a lot" she wrote.  She made this quilt for her husband.  I know a lot of quilters that are birders and I love this piece!


I noticed that the quilt had a lot of penguins and we know Diann loves penguins, her blog is called Little Penguin Quilts!

For some eye candy, you might want to check out the winners of Quilt Con 2021: you can peruse here.

One new follower emailed and asked why wasn't I celebrating women during Women's History month.  As I explained to her, that is pretty much every day here.  But in that vein, I want to share with you some redwork patterns I found recently on Etsy.  The patterns celebrate women suffragists and I think you would enjoy looking at the store.  It's by April Songstress and you can see the patterns here.  If I had known about these patterns earlier, I would have definately worked on a piece for our Suffrage Centennial Celebration!

Have a safe and happy day!





Monday, March 1, 2021

Celebrating our Constant Companions

 Today is Scout's birthday!!!

Our puppy is 4 years old today!

Scout with her siblings.  She is the one with the purple collar!

Baby Scout!

All grown-up!

Where would we be without our constant companions these days?  On many of the blogs I follow, people make mention of their pets at least once a week.  Some even have special days when their pets have a special blog post!

This theme is so popular that two of my best selling (and copyrighted) greeting cards feature the importance of our furried friends:




In celebration of Scout's birthday and because it is the last month of winter, I thought it would be fun to celebrate our furry or feathered friends!  Do you have a photo of your pet or a pet themed quilt that you would like to share?  Why not share with the group and cheer us all up?  You can send me a photo at allentownquilter@gmail.com

Here are a few examples:

Scout always has to oversee anything I do, especially when I am marking fabric! 

My niece has a similar situation with her cats:

Here's a top that's going off to the quilter soon.  It was a quick quilt I did last winter.   It features poodles in Paris!

What do your pets do to help you sew?

Can't wait to hear from you!
Have a safe and happy day!














Friday, February 26, 2021

Flower Friday: February 26, 2021



Happy Flower Friday!
There are 23 days until Spring!



This week Lorraine sent photos of her lovely amaryllis:



Well if these amaryllis don't cheer you up, nothing will!

This morning I woke up thinking about gardening chores.  Oh sure, there's still a foot and half of snow outside, but one can plan right?  Weed, place the new soaker hoses I ordered in January, thin layer of compost, mulch after the first rain and oh most of all, what I'm going to plant this year!

My seed order came in earlier this month.  I'm feeling nostalgic so I ordered a lot of seeds that I used to grow in my garden but faded with time or I just stopped resowing.

Two of my favorites: moonflowers and four o'clocks.  Have you ever grown them?  You need to soak the seeds before you plant them but they are well worth the effort.  They are both wonderfully fragrant!

Moonflowers open at dusk and you can literally watch them unfold in what seems to be a miraculous show.


 Moonflowers are like Four O'Clock flowers.  They both open in the evening and rely on moths and other evening bugs to pollinate them.  (Four O'Clocks open without the showiness of moonflowers).  That's why the fragrance is so important. 

It's been so long since I have grown four o'clocks that I can't even find a photo of them.  My nana loved them because they grew them in the coal regions to disguise the sulphur smell from the mines.  You can google them to see all the different colors!

Have a safe and happy day and enjoy the longer days that are happening!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Tulip Lady Finger

 Some names of quilt blocks crack me up.  Like this one:


"Tulip Lady Finger" was listed in the Ladies Art Company (LAC) catalog but in 1939, Nancy Page encouraged quilters to buy their instructions for the block.  

I actually wondered if there was a tulip referred to as lady finger.  I didn't find a tulip with that name but it is the common name for okra 😏



I think this would make a cute baby quilt pattern!

If you like this block, there are plenty of free tutorials for this pattern on the internet!

Tomorrow is "Flower Friday" and if you wish to share a floral image or photo, please email me at allentownquilter@gmail.com!

Have a safe and happy day!








Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Sewjo

 Last week I talked to Jane, the president of our guild and one of the things she mentioned was that many of our members had lost their sewing mojo during the pandemic.  Since then, I've talked to two members who mentioned they weren't sewing and then received an email from another friend from our guild who mentioned the same thing.  So what do you do when your Sewjo (sewing mojo) is deflated?


The first thing I did was too google this topic and there are a lot of articles on the subject.  So guess what?  You're not alone!  Many of the articles I read were even pre-pandemic.  Sometimes we all get in a rut or there are just too many extraneous things happening in our lives to focus on sewing.  And by the way, it doesn't just happen to quilters, there are a lot of craft blogs that are talking about how this or that craft is being put to the side by people who lack motivation right now.

Some of the articles had helpful tips, some I felt were not so helpful.  Here's my first tip:

Congratulations!  

1. You've made it through one year of the pandemic and are still here.  THAT is something to celebrate and a reason to continue what you are doing to keep yourself safe.

2.  Many bloggers suggest you clean out your sewing room. 

 Here's my perspective:  Clean it out not so you can start sewing again.  Whenever you do get the urge to thread your needle, you'll have a nice clean place to go.  

You'll also have a nice place to escape when life is hectic and you need a getaway.  Many of us are loving this time with our families but sometimes you just need a quiet place to read or even just "be."

Old Mother Hubbard definitely needed a sewing space!

I've noticed recently that many bloggers are taking this time to rearrange their areas, even repaint the room and make it more conducive to their work.  Beth began that task last spring.  She has been redoing her sewing room and even ordered some new furniture!

3. Another suggestion has been to organize your stash.  I think this is a great idea.  I've even studied articles on how people organize their fabric.  Some folks are cutting their scraps to specific sizes a la Bonnie Hunter.  If that works for you, great!

4.  Relax.  Think about yourself:  are you an introvert or an extrovert?  My friend Chris (the therapist) has explained the difference to me.  An introvert recharges their batteries by being alone.  An extrovert finds energy in being social situations.  Part of your sewing mojo challenge might be just that pandemic isolation has depleted your energy supplies.  


Think about yourself:  everything we do these days takes additional energy to insure our safety.  Not sewing can be another thing you find weighing you down during these times.  

But if you've found clever ways to spend your time or navigate through the pandemic, you've managed half the battle.  Diane mentioned in her email that she has been trying new recipes.  So she hasn't lost her creative mojo--she's just rechanneled it into different aspect of her life.

5.  Play games with yourself.  When I reorganized my stash, I realized that I had a lot of fabrics set aside for specific projects.  The problem was that I just wasn't interested in that quilt anymore.  OH THE GUILT!!!  It was absolutely freeing to just say, "well that's never going to happen" and put the fabric back in to the general stash.  

A couple years before the virus, I decided to not buy fabric unless I absolutely needed it.  It wasn't for any specific reason, I just wanted to see how I would cope. I am still holding to that resolution and have only purchased black fabric, white fabric, and a batik set that is for a cousin's wedding shower quilt.  Not buying fabric has forced me to be creative with what I have and I find that satisfying.  I support my local fabric shop with orders for thread and other necessities.

6.  Many blogs suggest forcing yourself to do an easy project.  To be honest, maybe that was a great idea before the pandemic.  But forcing yourself to do anything is not fun and sewing should be fun.  If you don't have it in you, you just don't.  Be kind to yourself.  The sewing machine isn't going anywhere.

7.  Pat yourself on the back.  These snowy covid days are a perfect time to think about all that you have accomplished with your sewing.  I look at photos or images I've saved on computers.  I often find that I'd forgotten all about a number of quilts I completed.

I live in a VERY small house.  I love to look at how people display their quilts because--well--I don't have much space to hang quilts.  This is a great time to celebrate what you've sewn and the things you love and surround yourself with them.



8.  This too shall pass.  I know that in my heart and so do many of you.  Being afraid of the pandemic or annoyed by it isn't a creative use of my energy.  Here are some last thoughts:

Turn off the tv.

Turn on your favorite music.

Imagine what color combos you enjoy or what patterns you haven't made in a while.  If you could sew right now, what would you make?

Well I have to go--hubby and I are doing our curbside grocery pick-up.  If you have more suggestions, email me at allentownquilter@gmail.com!

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Men Who Quilt #12

 The "Men Who Quilt" series is beginning to wind down.  In a few more weeks we'll be starting a new series.

At the beginning of this series, I told you that I had found that there were a surprising amount of men who quilted in our valley.  We'll be finishing the series with some of these men.

Like many of the men we've studied, they have common themes.  Harvey Gross was disabled:

1889

Erwin Sterner was a tailor who took up quilting:
1906

So was Charles Landis:
1914

Many of the men competed at local fairs and competitions:
1950

An earlier Allentown Fair winner article included 2 males:
1902
I would have loved to see the quilt the boy made.  Maybe a redwork quilt?

We have a few men left to feature and I hope you are safe and doing well this snowy winter.

Have a great day!