Saturday, May 31, 2014

Turtles, T-Shirts and Houses

What do they have in common?  That's what my customers have brought me to quilt this week.  I'm almost two days late with this week's blog, and having my two rambunctious great-grandchildren here tonight is making even this a challenge.  They're 3 and 4 and never still a moment. Right now they're yelling into the fan that I have blowing on me.
 So you are just getting photos of what I've been working on this week.

First up was this delightful littleTturtle and Snail's Trail quilt intended for a baby.  The maker wanted the legs left floppy, but I just had to quilt spirals in the turtle bodies.
Next was this pretty red and white house quilt.  The blocks are set directly together, with alternating colors, one house red with white background, and the next one white with a red background. 
All the reds were different, but the white was all the same.  I just quilted in the ditch in the body of the quilt, but did feathers and fans in the borders.
And lastly, this stunning t-shirt quilt.  The maker claims to be a beginner quilter, but she did a bang-up job of creating a setting to showcase only a dozen shirts.  She said she only purchased a yard of fabric, instead using some of the boy's jerseys  for sashings.  It's just meander quilted, with the designs on the shirts outlined.

So that's it for this week.  Enjoy.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Spring foods from my back yard

It's Friday and I just realized I don't have a blog ready!  The sun is shining, and it even feels warm on the back when I'm out there.  Picked a few morels to go on my pork steak for supper.  Last night I had some stir-fried with fresh asparagus. 
The season for both morels and asparagus is so short, so when they're available, I eat them frequently.  Rhubarb is ready, too, so I'll share my favorite rhubarb recipe.
Rhubarb Crisp
In a 9"square pan, put about 4 cups of cut-up rhubarb.
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
a dash of cinnamon if desired
1 egg
With a fork combine ingredients until crumbly.  Spread over top of rhubarb (or other fruit).
Pour 1/3 cup melted butter over top of this.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Quiltomology 001: Ugly Bug Collection

Some years back, I was part of an online group which held a yearly "ugly" fabric swap.  It was meant purely to be a fun event.  Rules were posted on April Fool's Day, and the fabrics needed to be mailed to participants on April 15, tax day.
Each participant sent two "fat 1/16th pieces of the ugliest quilting fabric they could find to all the other participants.  There were 54 who participated in this particular swap, so I ended up with 108 pieces of ugly fabric.  Of course, part of the challenge was that we had to make them into a quilt.
I pondered long and hard about what to make.  I like plays on words, and I kept thinking, "ugly rugs", "ugly mugs", "ugly bugs".  That's it.  UGLY BUGS won.
I got a book on insects from the library and created some oversized bugs, using a piecing method I'm very fond of, freezer paper piecing.  My goal was to use only the ugly fabric, and to use all of it.  I didn't want it breeding in my stash!

I even found some plastic flies to scatter around the quilt top.  I drew the line at the plastic spiders I found, though.  I hate spiders.  Anyway, they are not insects.

 I had a few fabric scraps left, and I wanted to use them all.  At that time, I was doing a lot of back art on my quilts, so the back became another place to get rid of that ugly fabric.
The bug spray effectively made use of the rest of the "uglies".
Too much fun?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Quilt Trails Galore

Quilt Barn Trails have been blanketing the countryside in the past few years.  To date, I believe 45 states and 3 Canadian provinces have quilt trails.  The movement began in southern Ohio in 2001 with Donna Sue Groves' idea to create an imaginary "clothesline" of quilts across Appalachia.  You can learn more about that here: Donna Sue's story.  Author Suzi Parron has collaborated with Donna Sue to document the movement in a book, Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail.  Clicking the link will take you to Suzi's blog, where you will find a link to purchase the book.  She is at the present time touring the United States, giving programs and doing research for a second book on the subject.
I joined the quilt trail movement in 2009 when a friend, Cindy Cambier and I started a trail in our home county of Osceola County, Michigan.  Osceola County has 92 quilt blocks on barns, garages, houses, businesses and public buildings. 
Now we have moved on to the two counties immediately to the north of Osceola, Wexford and Missaukee Counties, having started in 2014, the Quilt Trails of Wexford-Missaukee.  Our first block went up this week, a Snail Trail block went up on the historical octagonal building at the Wexford County Fairgrounds.

The grounds crew at the fairgrounds rounded up a few ladders, and with a lot of coaching from the bystanders, the deed was done.

 To quote Cindy's facebook post about this:  "A few years ago, when we were in Ohio for the national gathering of Quilt Trails, we proposed that every trail, in every state, replicate the Snail Trail quilt block in purple and lime in honor of Donna Sue Groves; many have done just that. Generally, we agree that we should not duplicate blocks on from other trails, but we love that this connects us all and honors DSG!"
Snail Trail was donated by our team to the fairgrounds, and we also donated one to the Missaukee Falmouth Youth Show, but they don't have it up yet.

It's been a busy week.  The next day we put up another block, this time on a barn.  The barn is located in a place where there used to be a village called Star City.  All that remains of it is the name of the road, and an old building which once was the Methodist Church.  Shelby Norman, owner of the block, is somewhat of a local historian, and she has named this block "Star City".
 Sometimes the biggest challenge is getting the block installed.  A local contractor loaned his equipment and aid in getting this 8' square beauty 20' up in the air.
The quilt trail is a volunteer movement.  None of us make any money doing this, but we get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing our artwork so prominently displayed, the wonderful people we get to work with, sharing the heritage of the families in our area, and bringing a small boost to the economy of the area through what is commonly referred to as "agri-tourism".  \
We don't have a website or dedicated blog yet, nor a trail guide/map, but those will be forthcoming as the trail grows.