Archive for August, 2009

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On August 25, Karen Witt of Reproduction Quilts presented an extensive trunk show and lecture for our guild, Pine Tree Quilters. We saw many lovely quilts that are based on antique pieces and learned more about quilt history. Karen is so knowledgeable and is a real pleasure to meet and listen to. She was so agreeable about photographs too! She often vends at major shows such as Chicago Quilt Festival and Houston. Her selection of reproduction fabrics is remarkable and the patterns she offers are wonderful! Most of what you will see in the photos are from patterns available on her website.  (Bear with me on some of the photos…I was sitting at an angle or sometimes just didn’t know my camera. I tried to take closer shots for detail rather than a far away picture) So, get  yourself a cup of coffee or tea and settle back for a trip into the past…

Karen started off by mentioning the rotary cutter is 30 years old! It was introduced to the quilting world in 1979 and life has never been the same since.

The top quilt is Felicity’s Quilt (or Liberty Square). It was a favorite because of the eagle design in the center.

Our guest lecturer and instructor – Karen Witt

workshop 030A small red and green applique quilt with a close up of the appliqued border treatment.

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Harriet Beecher Stowe quilt with appliqued center surrounded by pieced blocks

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A neighboring pieced album block with a quotation from Harriet Beecher Stowe printed on the center rectangle

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A variation on the 9 patch – I believe this pattern was part of the 1st workshop for our guild on Monday, August 24. Karen did 2 complete workshops in addition to the Trunk Show and Lecture!

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Isn’t that a nice print used in the sashing?

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A simple 4 patch on point – in the strippy quilt style – lovely soft peach (Williamsburg inspired) and greens

workshop 018The back – a gorgeous toile and a quilt on its on!

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A Soldier’s Quilt – 9 patch with alternating indigo blue squares. The photo below this shows the usual binding done on a 19th century quilt – the back edging is simply turned to the front and stitched in place. Bindings as we know them for the most part, came along much later.

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This quilt was fascinating and another favorite with our group…there are no curves, just the illusion by using squares and 1/2 square triangles. Lots of visual impact!

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Backing – a beautiful “pillar” print

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Another classic 9 patch on point with an appliqued center medallion – also a pattern option for the Monday workshop gals…decisions, decisions…and note the borders to fit around a post bed. That’s Erin, Karen’s daughter to the left in black. Our guild member, Jan S. is always called on to assist in holding quilts for display – she is very good about it & we appreciate her height!

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Karen experiments with overdying and aging spots for that vintage look. This is the backing on one of her quilts. She also mentioned if you want to be authentic when inking on your quilt squares in a reproduction quilt, use black Pigma Pen. The brown or sepia Pigma Pen inkings would come later as the quilt aged and the original black inks would turn color.

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This is a great sampler quilt with many different size blocks incorporated into the quilt. Many of the blocks represent a significant event, North or South state or a notable person, i.e. Order #11 or Carolina Lily

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Some of the smaller blocks measured 6″

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Another “pillar” print – this is Prussian Blue. Karen mentioned that color is extremely hard to find – she buys yards when located. Many of her quilts feature this blue and it really brings a special spark to the piece.

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A really sweet wallhanging – don’t you love the willow trees and the little striped binding.

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A lovely medallion style quilt with broderie perse, applique and a nice variety of pieced borders.

workshop 005Are you still with me on this journey??? Sure hope so – I would like to close out this post with a couple of photos from our Tuesday workshop where we were introduced to Lizzie’s Quilt – most of us got 3-4 blocks done to get our feet wet.

Jan, Marjorie and Cindy – hard at work…

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Our Kathy P. – she took the Monday workshop also and completed the center medallion designs – she does all her piecing by hand!

workshop 058Kathy L. working on the first block of Lizzie’s Quilt – a traditional album block

workshop 057Rosemary with her finished album block (Rosemary is the one who shopped ’til she dropped back on our Duluth trip) in reproduction fabrics no less…yessss!

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Geri and Barbara Jean – a little stash envy going on, here?

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Karen Witt – visiting us as we worked away on our Lizzie’s Quilt blocks…

workshop 060What a great event this was for all of us in the guild…Thanks again, Jan and Sandy for organizing things so well. In keeping with the vintage flavor of this post, this week’s pincushions, made by Jan in my small stitching group, feature shirtings and old buttons. She made the small one first and then the larger…has threatened to step up to the next size!! They are filled with flax seed.

I am so happy you dropped by for a visit – and your comments are always very special to me. Have a great week – hope these photos have you pulling out those reproduction fabrics…and that

You Always Take Time to Stitch…

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A cold night…

Hi everyone! Just a quick post tonight…we have been out of town at the Wisconsin State Skeet Shoot and got home just in time to hear that nighttime temps are predicted to be around 26 degrees. We quickly unloaded the truck and camper and headed out to the potting shed to gather up the stored sheets, etc. As dark was coming in quickly, we covered everything as best we could and can only hope it will be adequate. With a hard frost, I suspect we will lose some things…so sad.

I promise to return tomorrow with a more interesting journal entry – hoping the photos turned out okay from the Karen Witt Trunk Show and Lecture last Tuesday…so do not go too far away…

Heading off to find an extra quilt for the bed…downright chilly!


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Workshop preparations…

What a fun week is coming up! August 24-25, our guild will host Karen Witt of Reproduction Quilts (link on sidebar). Karen will present a lecture, trunk show and 2 complete workshops. I have signed up for the Tuesday workshop “Lizzie’s Quilt.” We get to play with reproduction fabrics and learn more about quilt history…You have all heard the standard statement from  quilters when they arrive at a workshop and see what fabric everyone else brought??? That’s where I am at right now as I pull pieces off the shelves, trying to anticipate what will work best. We have been instructed to bring reds, poison greens, Prussian blues, pale double pinks, chintz, toiles, etc. and…ramoneurs. Ever heard of that? It was new to me. The French word indicates polychrome flowers on a dark brown background. For an interesting write up about this particular fabric visit http://www.antiquequiltdating.com.  Kimberly Wulfert also includes some nice images of Promenade II reproduction pieces for illustration. Bet I don’t have anything like it in my own stash! Plan on visiting me again next Sunday or early the following week for a report and hopefully, lots of photos!

Last week I included a photo of myWorkshop Preparations 004 newly painted lavender chair. I must say, viewing life from that chair is quite the thing!  To sit out there and do mundane tasks like cutting up green beans from the garden makes you appreciate a late summer day even more.

It is also a convenient perch for keeping a close eye out on a husband who still insists on going up ladders to do maintenance/repairs on our chimney. This after 2 knee replacements and shoulder surgery. Honestly, they don’t know when to say “uncle.”

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Or, just relaxing with an Amaretto Slush while making up a check list of things to pack for the workshop coming up…how pleasant is that!?

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Here is the recipe.

Lois’s Amaretto Slush

1 12 oz. container orange juice concentrate (frozen)

1 12 oz. container pineapple juice concentrate (frozen)

1 12 oz. container lemonade concentrate (frozen)

2 cups Amaretto liquour

1 cup sugar

4 1/2 cups boiling water

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly in a large plastic bucket (ice cream bucket is good) & store in freezer…stir occasionally. When ready to serve, add 1/2 portion of the slush to 1/2 portion ginger ale, Sprite, 50/50, etc.  Serve with spoon and ENJOY!

There is a subtle change in our surroundings as we head towards the last 2 weeks in August.  The edges of the path where I picked violets last May has tall goldenrod swaying in the wind.

Workshop Preparations 022Our nights continue cool – 40’s – to 50’s…good sleeping with a quilt.

There is a hint of fall in the air – clusters of viburnum berries are showing a tinge of red.

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The coneflowers are in full bloom.Workshop Preparations 023

And the first sunflower has opened. I always seem to get this west facing garden bed in late, but it rewards me with new color late in the season when everything else has begun to fade.

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This has been a very busy week – Tuesday our small stitching group attended a demo on how to make Spring Rolls. Wish I had brought my camera – what a fun process and  the rolls turned out so well! It was quite a gathering and hundreds of rolls were made with everyone joining in. After that we headed off for an evening of stitching…such good times.

I helped out  putting kits together for Joyce’s Comfort Quilt. This wonderful selvedge pillow was a gift from Barbara Jean. ( She is in red on the right – BTW – I avoid being on the other side of the camera…now must really get back to my Sonoma Diet! – I feel like one of the Calender Girls (love that movie!) “we are going to need bigger buns ….pillows”)

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I had the applique group for lunch this past week.  We get to talk quilting, cooking, family treasures such as depression ware and china and support each other. Our Joyce will undergo heart surgery in a few weeks and Barbara Jean organized a Comfort quilt made by friends using Moda’s Roses de Noel. Joyce, we all want you to heal quickly and be back out in that rose garden you love so much!  This photo shows her with a newly completed appliqued quilt…it’s a beauty! Quilting friendships stand out among the best, don’t they?

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Best get back to the sewing room and packing up fabric and supplies for that workshop…another busy week…Love your visits to my little corner of the world – thanks for dropping by!

This week’s pincushion is another Gail Wilson kit – dark green velvet makes up the bird. And if you haven’t been by Fig Tree Quilts blog recently, check out the really cute Sugar Pumpkin pincushion!

Have a great week and

Always take time to stitch…

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Sometimes it works okay, sometimes, not…this is one time when it is not…or rather the quilter is not working well.  The pink and brown log cabin “Wall of Fame/Shame” deadline is looming and to this date, I have ripped out (politically correct – reverse sewing) more threads than I care to think about. Having started out by simple straight line quilting, which didn’t thrill me that much…to trying a Baptist Fan design by free motion, walking foot or the BSR and now back again to taking the easy way out with simple free motion quilting…it has been a journey of frustration over lack of skills and impatience. I keep telling myself…practice, practice, practice. But life is short and there are so many projects out there. You just want to jump ahead to the next one.  After this quilt is finished and the September Quilt Show is behind me, I must sit down and have a talk with myself…

It has been many years since I participated in a swap of any kind. But the Quilting Gallery is setting up a Friendship Bag Swap (click on logo to right under “Swaps) that is so doable and really cute which made it hard to resist. So, I signed up and it is fascinating to see where everyone is from…all around the world. There is still time to get in on the fun!

Meanwhile, the garden keeps calling out for attention…pick me, pick me, pick me! The summer squash is under control, so far…I have enough for us, my folks and unsuspecting friends who get mysterious brown bags. The phone is beginning to ring more frequently with neighbors asking (pleading) if we need anything.  I picture waking up one morning and going out onto the porch only to find boxes left during the night with dozens of zucchini weighing in at 30# a piece. I have made a couple of loaves of zucchini bread so far – it only takes 2 cups shredded squash – won’t even make a dent in the supply.

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My husband thinks someone should find a way to convert the stuff over into biodegradable fuel for our cars…what a concept! Zucchini powered autos…

With our warmer weather and humidity of the last week, the raspberries are coming to an end and my pretty little sweet peas have slowed greatly. But the Oriental lilies continue to bless me with their beauty.

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We have also noticed a very healthy increase in our frog population this summer…leopard frogs are everywhere and DH found this little guy perched on a raspberry shrub leaf .

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This one was balanced on one of my morning glory vines – he is about the size of a nickle.

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And after being away for most of July, our hummers have returned in droves…they are all over the place checking out the monarda, lilies and whatever else is in bloom. Of course, the feeders need filling frequently now where before they were untouched for weeks.

We see touches of late summer – the tansy is in full bloom and the fields are showing the first goldenrod heads…and the local shops are featuring mums and rudbeckias.

If you have been following along with me on this weekly journey, there was a photo of some lavender color chips last week…and the realization that I need to add color to my life. When we had our log home built 13 years ago, the classic color combination (at least here in Northern Wisconsin) was dark green window & door trim and usually a dark green shingled roof. I continued on with that in the rocking chairs and Adirondack chair for the porch and deck. Well, over the years, the Adirondack chair has faded, peeled and generally deteriorated. I owe thanks for this weeks outdoor project to pondside in Vancouver, B.C. (direct link to her blog on my sidebar)  She also likes lavender farms and had visited one recently. A photo she included on her post showed a lavender painted chair. An “ah hah” moment for me…

The old me –

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The new me –

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Do you like it? I sure do! My DH says “it is PURPLE” – I say “lavender” and the paint chip color card calls it “Butterfly Garden” (Behr Exterior Semi-Gloss Latex) I got great assistance from my husband though as he introduced me to the “joys” of spray painting…one of his favorite toys is the big air compressor…it does just about everything but slice bread.  Whatever, it sure does a smooth job in applying  coats of paint. He even made new arms as the old ones needed replacing.

So, I don’t think I will wait until I grow old to use “purple” in my life – especially when there is a comfy chair to sit in and stitch.

Today’s pincushion is one I made from a Gail Wilson kit.

Have a great week – off to a good start – Packers – 17/Browns – zip! Go Pack!

Always take time to stitch…

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Having been at this quilting “obsession” since 1982, still learning the basics and for the most part, being a late bloomer in most everything I do in life anyway…well, isn’t it remarkable when a book comes along that just shouts at you.  The message to me is – “you are very traditional” – make that “you are too conservative!”  I have just added to my quilting library – Material Obsession by two very creative Australian shop owners. This has got to be one of the happiest quilt books ever. All the quilt projects make you smile and the use of exuberant fabrics is eye popping.

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When I stand in front of my little stash closet, what do I see? Reds, greens, lots of tans/golds and browns and a stack of yellows. Now don’t get me wrong…I love, really love vintage look quilts and have a nice little supply of reproduction fabrics. 99% of my books are very traditional, although last year I did purchased my first Ricky Tims book – gasp! I admire his work and sense of color so much. But overall, the “wildest” thing I have done to date is a small wall hanging back in 2006 that was made to honor my small stitching group “The Garden Club.” We were celebrating 10 years of quilting together. There were no fabrics on my shelves that came close to what was needed. Pretty tame, huh?

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When looking at fabrics these days at our LQS, I tend to skip over Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, etc. The new stuff is out of my comfort zone…so far…but I definitely need to add more color to my quilting life!

How about you? Have you been going down the same style road? Wondering if you want to break out of that same look? If you have been involved in quilting for these past 20+ years, you might remember that your first quilts would typically have a background, a main fabric and an accent fabric…that was it. When I see what is available now, my head swims. Thank goodness for new books that provide new inspiration to quilters who have been at it for a while. I may have just gotten that first little shove in a different direction…oh, and I really went out on a limb this week…there is a photo of me on my “About” page…it took a lot of courage to do this but the real focus is that fabulous cinnamon bun I am holding (Braeburn Lodge, Yukon Territory – 2007.)

Back to something a little more traditional though. I just finished the binding on a Raffle Quilt for our guild. We have 2 Raffle Quilts for this years 13th Biennial Quilts Among the Pines. This is the smaller of the two and called, “Suddenly It’s Spring.”  It is done in pastel batiks with inked stampings and silk ribbon embellishments. A number of our members appliqued the blocks by hand and it is machine quilted.

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Go to our Guild website – http://www.pinetreequilters.org for more information regarding our upcoming September quilt show. The link is to the right on my sidebar. We are always proud of our show and usually have around 275-300 quilted entries. It is a judged show with ribbons and prizes.There will be a variety of vendors, a special exhibit and ongoing demos.  If you plan to be in the North Central part of Wisconsin on September 26-27, 2009, we would love to have you visit!

A little garden talk (didn’t think you would get away from that topic for long??). This is the LAST of the peas – I carted off the spent vines on Saturday and took them out into the middle of our south field – near an area where the deer bed down at night…they should have a smorgasbord for a while.conserve 004

Removing the vines and fencing has been a plus – they were blocking sunlight from the tomatoes, cucumbers and squash plants.  It is now easier to get at the remaining plants for harvesting.

And just when I thought it was safe to go back to the garden…the beans are going into full produce mode. We got our first little container this weekend with a gazillion little babies yet to come. The raspberries are slowing down and the first batch of raspberry jam is in the freezer…and more jam to be made.

I will try most anything once. Apricots chilling in cold water after their hot bath…skins slipped off easily and the pieces were set into an ascorbic acid solution.

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Out to the potting shed and onto the trays – ready to go into the dehydrator.

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We shall see…

And the oriental lilies continue to provide fragrance…a pale salmon with orange “dots” and the first stargazer of the season.

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Before signing off  this week…don’t you love these beautiful lavenders and purples? I will show you where the color I choose is going in the next couple of weeks. Told ‘ya I might be going to the other side of conservative…it is a start for this late bloomer!

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Have a great summer week – the August days are flying…kind of like Doreen Speckman’s famous chicken (aka “chook”) pincushion…wonder how many of these have been made around the world?

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Always take time to stitch…


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Up in the U.P.

Negaunee, Michigan – home of  DaYoopers, pasties and not too far from Lake Superior…You ask, “what in the world are DaYoopers?” They are a singing group with a very famous song that is played faithfully in Wisconsin (& no doubt, elsewhere)  at the opening of deer season each Fall.  It is called “The Second Week of Deer Camp.” While listening to the lyrics, it helps to have a cold beer nearby…actually, it helps to have all ready had that cold beer(s). But that’s enough of that…

We took a mini-vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan & my DH participated in a skeet shoot. This part of Michigan is really beautiful and Negaunee is only about 12 miles from Marquette which is right on Lake Superior. We were one of the first campers to arrive at the gun club and immediately set up our site. Things didn’t look too promising on Thursday afternoon as storms moved through…

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By Friday morning, we woke to a beautiful day – puffy clouds, little wind and a lot of wonderful sunshine…perfect for a tour of the area with friends.

Marquette is a lovely old town with lots of restored buildings facing the lake.

LakeSup 030This ore dock is no longer in use, but years ago, huge ore tankers would be loaded with taconite from the chutes which run along the sides of this structure….the outlines have an almost oriental feel.

LakeSup 026Colorful flowers were tucked everywhere along the streets and by historic markers

LakeSup 003This lighthouse extends out quite a ways into the Lake and is approachable if you are part goat and can navigate those boulders. I felt pleased with myself just to walk out to the end of the concrete walkway.

LakeSup 012One of a gazillion seagulls, this little fellow was kind enough to pose for me…I think he was hoping for a snack.

LakeSup 009Such a peaceful view on a summer day in August…we heard this place is quite forbidding in the depths of winter…

LakeSup 021We decided to find a place for a late lunch before heading back to the club. Isn’t this a pretty presentation – just a simple tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil bread salad…love the touch of lavender and nasturtium.

LakeSup 031The rest of the weekend was just plain relaxing…didn’t even have to cook dinner on Friday or Saturday. The host gun club provided a delicious salmon dinner on Friday and a huge steak dinner on Saturday. The rains returned on Saturday, making it kind of miserable for the guys shooting. But me?…well, I had my trusty Bernina 1260 (good basic model for travel)  along in the camper and I ended up sewing all day. The “Wall of Fame/Shame” pink and brown log cabin quilt is now a top with only borders to add this week. Then onto machine quilting it. But first there is binding to finish up on the small Raffle Quilt our guild is doing. And raspberry jam to be made…this morning we checked the garden and picked more berries, finished up the Chinese Pea Pods, gathered lettuce and generally took stock of everything. I took a few minutes to cut more sweet peas – just so pretty in this old demitasse cup.

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So, that about wraps it up for this Mellow Monday…still feeling kind of slow moving/mini vacation mode. Will try to post more “quilty” photos next time. Glad you dropped by for a visit – I always love your company! This week’s “pincushion” is really a etui. I started this a few years back with a broken wrist and the tiny details were very kindly completed by one of my small stitching group friends, Kathy.

Have a great week and…

Always take time to stitch…


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