Saturday, April 30, 2011


 Hello quilters!  Did you make it to Paducah to see the museum, enjoy the show, and see all the wonderful  quilts?  I'm a bit envious.

Although I'm from KY and have been to Paducah many times (my husband lived there for a bit), I have never been to the big quilt show.  I'm told the quilts are incredible -- after all, it is a juried show and they should be grand. I'm looking forward to pictures on other blogs.
In honor of Paducah and the show, I thought I'd share my Paducah Nine Patch from Pat Speth's initial "Nickel Quilts".  This is made completely from scraps from my stash and is huge.  It's almost king size and I got started and couldn't stop.  Because it was so big, I had to lay it out in the local library branch -- using an extra room and moving all the tables out of the way and standing on chairs to take pictures and see the placement of lights, mediums, and darks.  It was made for my son and future daughter-in-law and it's their everyday bed quilt. It was quilted by my friend, Paula (hi, Paula), and contains 50-60 words that represent places, people, and things that were important to them.  I think it's a tad too large but it was fun to make, easy to assemble, and a real stashbuster! 

As for Paducah and the show -- maybe next year!  In the meantime, I'll live vicariously through your pictures.

Keep piecing, Jan

Saturday, April 23, 2011

In honor of Easter....

..... I thought I would post a picture of a "spring-like" quilt, in spite of Chicago having measurable snow, wind chills, and horrible cold rainy weather for over a week.  After all, it is Easter week which conjures up images of sun, beautifully colored eggs, flowers, ribbons on hats, frilly socks, and warmth (at least in my head as I remember it).  Apparently that paradigm has shifted for this month.  Definitely a winter month here in the midwest!

The perfect quilt to post pictures of would have been the applique quilt for my sister -- it is in soft colors and has one or two baskets on it.  But I've already posted that.  Or, there is the basket quilt I made using Alex Anderson's pattern where you piece the little baskets, sew in the curved handle and applique down one side.  I love that pattern but mine did not come out like hers -- no matter how I laid it out.  The 4.5"baskets just didn't play well with each other -- even though it was definitely a scrappy quilt.  And, it wasn't too "springy" so that's not appropriate.

 But -- if I'm looking for a quilt to boost my spirits in spite of the weather, this one does.  I sort of made up the pattern after seeing a picture of a similar quilt.  These beautiful fabrics were given to me for my birthday by a very good friend (I call this my Birthday Confetti Quilt) and were fat 1/8's, I think.  There are 10+ shades in here and some very very subtle. I wanted to use every inch of those beautiful fabrics and I wanted them to to be the stars.  I think they are. 

I love this quilt and plan to keep it forever.  It is on a chair in our bedroom so I can see it everyday...and for this week and in the spirit of the Easter season, I'll rename it the Jelly Bean Quilt. Don't those colors remind you of jelly beans???

Have a blessed Easter and keep piecing....Jan

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sometimes you just have to make it!

This is another one of those quilts that when I saw it -- I had to make it.  It is an original design by a quilt shop in Madison WI and I fell in love with the sample on the wall.  It was also the cover quilt for BHG Top Ten Quilt Shops several years back.  Considering I made this in 2005, it was at least then or maybe 2004. They had samples in a bright colorway and the dark/medium fabrics. 

It still makes my heart sing when I see pix of it. Lots of cutting (this was prior to my having my scraps under a bit of control), lots of piecing, and lots of fun.  I fully intended to keep this quilt forever.  You know how some quilts need to stay with you? 

But --that was not to be.  It now lives in Madison with my son and daughter-in-law.  He fell in love with it and made no bones about how much he liked it.  Too bad -- my quilt and he could enjoy it when he came to visit.  And then --- he had a difficult professor who was a jerk on his PhD committee at the same time he had to be on crutches for a sports injury and it was not a happy time.  While the rest of his committee was up in arms over the jerk and he was getting lots of support from his friends but still facing another committee meeting for what I'm told was no reason (I have absolutely no idea about this stuff), a mother still wants to bring some comfort, right?  So, on our next visit, the quilt made a trip to Madison and is now in his possession.  Quilts give comfort and it was all I could do besides commiserate and listen. And, it makes me happy when I see they still use it.

This is one of those quilts that is on my list to repeat at some point.  And, now that I cut more fabric into strips, there might be a little less cutting.  There certainly would be more variety in the scraps since I have more fabric now than I did then.  But -- it still makes me smile when I see it!  I bet you have a few of those too!

Keep piecing (and cutting those strips)!  Jan

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rites of Spring -- but not this year

 Are there certain quilting 'events' that are seasonal for you?  A retreat?  A quilt show?  A sale at your LQS?  For me, it was Rosemont -- the big quilt show in the Chicago area that came every April and was incredible. 

Booths of fabric, patterns, tools, books, samples, everything.  Display quilts that ranged from vintage to modern to mind-blowing.  Long days perusing the booths with friends and lots of laughter and tired feet.  I loved it.  I looked forward to it.  I left inspired (and tired).

But not this year.....

Rosemont is no longer.  The spring show that is affiliated with Houston and Long Beach is in Cincinnati this weekend.  I hope they miss us.  We miss them terribly.  This is what happens when unions and bureaucracy make it hard to do business with booth set up and then hotel costs are high.  It is a good business decision.  But my quilting circadian rhythms have been interrupted. Seriously interrupted. 

If you go --- take a peek at the quilts on display. I believe the quilt you see here has been there at least two years.  It is incredible and my pix do not do it justice.  Check out the close up. I believe those little blocks finish ... FINISH ... at about 2" each.  They are not 3".  This quilt is an inspiration to me.  I am not likely to ever make it -- but I go back to it regularly to marvel at it.  You may remember an earlier post of a log cabin/courthouse steps quilt made from silk that was vintage -- also Rosemont.  Also an inspiration. 

Stay inspired and keep piecing!  Jan

Saturday, April 2, 2011


My first finish for 2011!  That does not bode well for the list at the right of this blog.  The year is 25% done and I'm not following suit with my completions.  I'll do better.  That's my mantra. 

This is obviously a Trip Around the World quilt -- about full or slightly larger -- and will be heading to Madison WI tomorrow as a wedding gift.  You may have seen my post earlier this year about challenge quilts.  This was the one for October last year where we had to have the top done by the retreat.  My top was done on time but I've been a bit slothful in the quilting and finishing.

We had to use the three Mark Lapinski fabrics (green, purple -- even though it looks blue, and deep red) and then you could add up to 9 fabrics (I think).  It's so fun to have the big 'reveal' and see the patterns, colors, interpretations.  I was lazy and only took a pix after we had put them all up to admire but you can see how different they were -- and even those that were similar, "felt" different b/c of the fabrics that had been added.

This is Blanche Young's technique which I had been wanting to try and I ended up buying her book from  Her instructions are flawless and if you don't miscut, you will have sufficient fabric to make a pretty good size quilt.  I mis-cut and had to beg, borrow, and order fabric but that's another story for another day.  She works in segments of strata rather than in the loops which terrify me when I think of the risk of mis-cutting or not staying straight.  I'm not sure which is faster -- there's a lot of sewing (and for me, pinning) in each quilt b/c of the number of squares.  These blocks finish at 2.5" so they are pretty good size.

I will definitely make another one -- as well as several more from her book.  It's a gem if you like large quilts and scrap quilts. 

And, in the spirit of the Final Four - GO BIG BLUE -- this UK fan is pretty impressed the cats have made it this far! 

Keep piecing, Jan