Needlework, Finishing, Designing, Quilting, Some Discoveries and Adventures in Stitching from Windy Ridge Designs

Friday, October 28, 2011

Virginia Quilt Talk Upcoming

At the historical society we received a press release from the Handley Library this week.  They're announcing that Paula Golden will be there at the Bowman Library Meeting Room in the Handley (Winchester, VA) on Tuesday evening, November 15 at 6:30PM.

Paula Golden is a co-author of the book Quilts of Virginia 1607-1899 The birth of America Through the Eye of a Needle.  She will give a presentation on the quilts in the book.  Interestingly it turns out that I purchased this book at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley when I went to see the Daughters of the Stars exhibit last week.  Many of the quilts that are in the exhibit are in the book - but there are so many more in the book!

Click on the title - available at Amazon
The state of Virginia is divided in the book into areas like North, East, Central, Highlands, etc.  And quilts from these areas are featured in those particular chapters.  But again, there is SO MUCH MORE.  I can't tell you what a delight it was to open and begin perusing this book.  For example - the Northern Region featured in Chapter Two features quilts made by Martha Dandridge Custis Washington as well as pincushions made by Dolly Todd Madison.  This chapter also has photographs of a staggeringly beautiful hexi-quilt and talks about how English paper piecing papers are from newspapers dating from 1790 in some of these quilts.  Fascinating!

Photos of old homes, sewing boxes, sewing tables, and needlework accessories and tools also dot through the book.  This chapter also held a surprise for me.  There is a section about Quaker quilts.  Most of these are applique quilts and the section talks about how some of the fabrics are featured in different quilts from different Quaker communities.  One quilt, from Abram's Delight from the Hollingsworth family has a block on each corner that is called the Apple Pie Ridge Star.  Well, it just so happens I live on Apple Pie Ridge and I thought, oh, my goodness, I HAVE to make that block!  The area was settled by Quakers from Pennsylvania who planted our apple orchards.  The apples grown in the orchards along the ridge (the elevation protects the blossoms from frost in the spring) made the best Apple Pie and that's how the ridge became known as Apple Pie Ridge.  It stretches from Martinsburg down south of Winchester; and where the ridge goes, our orchards go. 

Apple trees on Apple Pie Ridge - looking across to North Mountain
I don't know exactly what the presentation is going to comprise, but I'm hoping for a slideshow and Q&A session; cause I'd sure like to know more about that block.  Oh, there is a picture of a quilt in the back of the book called Farmer's Delight/Farmer's Fancy and they have provided traceable templates to make the block and appliqued border.  It is derived from a pattern thought to have originated in the Shenandoah Valley.   Just so you know, I'm not affiliated with the book publisher or authors in any way.  I just think it's a really nice book and thought you all would like to hear about it.  Hope you enjoyed!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Quilt Exhibit

   Daughters of the Stars: Shenandoah Valley Star Quilts and Their Makers   opened last night at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, VA.  I was lucky enough that a friend of mine who is a member, called to ask if I'd like to be her plus-one.  I'd received an invitation myself, but it was much more fun to go with a friend!  The exhibit is beautiful.  I features about 15 quilts made in counties of the Shenandoah Valley.  I highly recommend going to see the exhibit.

I took a few pictures (using my museum/no flash setting) before an aide told me that photography was not allowed.  Sigh.  I got almost all the quilts.

I originally found out about this show this past summer when a message was left at the historical society by the curator of the exhibit.  The president called me at home and said - museum, curator, quilt - will you please call him, I know you know about these things.  So, I called.  Turned out he was putting the exhibit together and they had yet to find an example of a star quilt from Berkeley County; was I familiar with one?  I answered in the affirmative.  Told him that a couple of years ago in the exhibit I put together at our museum, we'd had a beautiful one made in 1860.  So, long story short, I hooked him up with the owner, they worked things out and this quilt (which you may remember from my post back then) was hanging in a place of prominence in the gallery.

Quilt by Mrs. Gwilliams, Berkeley Co., VA 1860
Here are some of the other pictures I took -

 I absolutely love this one and may try and reproduce it.  In the center of the four stars is a white block with a signature on it - that's in each of the four-star blocks.  I'd make it without the signature blocks.  The lighter arms of the stars are done in beiges that nearly match the background.
 This one the green fabric was really wearing thin.  It may have been made of some exotic dress fabric or the green dye may have eaten away at the fabric.  The feathers are quilted and stuffed (trapunto)
 This is a church quilt with signatures in the centers of the blocks.  It's from Newtown (now Stephens City) Virginia.
This one was made in 1870 or 1880, but the information with it said it could have been made earlier.  It thought it was an absolute stunner for its colors.  It was also quite detailed.  If you look at the block at the top of this post, you can see that there are lots of little pieces in this block.  It was all hand pieced and quilted as were most of the quilts.  Note that in the border there are half square triangles, but the quilter was very cleaver, making a half square triangle out of two triangles and a square.  It made the color variation very interesting.

Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Daughter in Law's Stocking

I've been working the last couple of weeks composing a Christmas stocking for my daughter in law.  Remember I mentioned that I'd done some of the Sandy Orton stockings from Cross Stitch & Country Crafts (and/or Better Homes & Gardens) - Donna Kooler Studio?  Well, DIL is a teacher so I wanted to do a teacher theme for her. 

I took several of the stocking designs and recompiled them.  Then I made the changes necessary to fit my idea.  For instance, the desk - that's from the Holiday Study stocking, I just added more bookshelves above it.  Because that's one thing my DIL does - read - ALOT.  Maybe even more than me!  On the desk I've got a slate, an apple, a hand bell, a pencil cup and a Teacher sign.  Below are the two cats that they have and a coloring book, crayons and crayon box.  Over by the chair, some graded papers and a pot of sunflowers - those are her favorite flowers.   Oh, and up on top of the bookcase - a model school bus!  I threw in some Christmas-y decorations and viola!  To me, the wallpaper makes it look dated.  I mean, we're not really into that 80's country kitsch style anymore, but I didn't know what else to do on the walls; and it will match with all the others that way.  Don't want to have to do solid x's to make it a painted wall.  I think it looks done.  What do you think? 

The BH&G Heirloom Christmas Stockings book is available through Nordic Needle.  It doesn't contain all the designs that were ever done.  I have a collection of my original CC&CC mags that I use to supplement the book.

Hope you enjoyed!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Doing What I Want to Do

I have taken a vacation from my obligations.  Sort of.  Still have a couple of meetings I have to attend, but other than that, I'm doing what I want to do for the next two weeks.  Not going anywhere, just staying home and doing stuff that I've been putting off.

Like this project:

I was watching an episode of Blue Bloods on CBS last year.  Nate Berkus had said once that when he watches T.V. shows, he's always looking at the set design.  Honestly, I think that's way too confusing, especially when you can look at Tom Selleck instead.  But, this particular scene didn't have Selleck in it, so I felt obligated to follow Nate's advice and check out the set design.  And I saw a framed piece hanging on the wall of this victim's apartment and went "Oh, Wow!  That's cool!"  Ever since, I've been gathering up all the old keys I can find around the house (my husband had quite a few) and picked up some at tag sales.  Then I had to look and look for the shadow box I wanted (a long narrow one).  I finally found this one at Joanne's this past weekend.  Regular price was $35 (which I thought was unreasonable), but it happened to be on sale and I had a coupon for an extra 10% off regular and sale price items.  So, I got it for under $20.  Which I thought was very reasonable.

To put it all together, I used my drill, with a fine bit.  I put the keys on the display board until I had a layout that I liked.  Then I transferred all the keys off to my work table.  Put a couple of keys back on the display board and drilled holes just above them.  Then I took some fine, vinyl coated wire (in black) that I'd had for a l-o-n-g time; a manageable size, like a foot in length.  I am pretty sure it is some sort of scrapbooking wire.  Keeping a tail of the wire in the back, I poked the wire through a drilled hole and pulled it all the way to the front (except the tail in back) then slid on a key and put the wire back in the same hole to the back.  Then moved on to the next hole.  I repeated with all the drilling and the keys until I had them all attached to the display board.  Used several lengths of wire in this process. The nice thing about the wire is that it doesn't have much of a profile on the back and when you put the display board back in the shadow box frame, and then put the backing on it, there's no difficulty getting it all closed back up.  One thing I made sure to do was if the keys had some cool writing or design on them, that went to the front side.  And I still have plenty of room to add more keys as we find them.

I also have a collection of Patriotic American jewelry due to my DAR membership.  I just love big sparkly flags and red-white-and-blue beads!  I had put it all into a shadow box because it's so pretty it needed to be treated better than just hanging out in a jewelry box.  The only problem with that was the shadow box I used was too small to leave room for expansion and the jewelry had to be put in more permanently so that it would stay in place.  The problem with that is that I wear my jewelry.  I think that I figured out a new way to do it so they can be on display and wearable; I'm going to work on that here during my stay-ca.

Second Thing I did (well, actually I did this before I did the keys, but . . . ) was to finish the blocks for my Julia's Ribbons quilt.  Remember, I began working on this last winter.  I'd really like to finish it before this coming winter ('cause I have other cool stuff that I want to get to!)  So, here are the blocks -

The block here on the left is my favorite one.  I just love the background fabric that is on this one.  Wanted to have more of it!  I went back to the store, but they didn't have anymore left in stock - and you know what that means . . . so, no, I decided I didn't want to spend all that time just to add to my already too-large stash.

Lastly, I've been stitching in the evening on Opus Magnusson.  I now have a complete width of the whole.  Two more rows to go!  That means nine more months of stitching on it!  Yippie!  It will remind me of maternity!

This one has quickly lost it's charm for me.  That tiger should be orange and it really bothers me.  Not enough to unstitch it and restitch it, but it really bothers me.  I'm sure I'll just love it when I'm done - right now I'm just boo-hooing.  Maybe I'll have a better outlook at the end of my vacation. Hope you enjoyed!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

End of September Update

I had planned on getting back to Opus Magnusson, after my start on the American Sampler, but, I got so busy and so into AS, that I just never did.  Here is my progress on the sampler -

I am stitching it on Lakeside "Navy Bean" 32 ct. and using the DMC colors.  That house was a bugger to do with all those over-one stitches, so I've begun cheating.  Instead of doing ALL over-ones, where I can, I am doing over-two and then doing the over-ones to complete; like in the sheep.  They were supposed to be done ALL over one.  I looked at that and said "Forgedaboudit!"  (I love the way Hugh Grant says that in Mickey Blue Eyes!)  Also, the windows are all done mostly over-one.  But what I did there was just a half cross stitch.  Got the same coloration I needed and took half the time!  YAY!

Some of you, like Siobhan, have correctly calculated that this is THAT chart that has tons of Queen Stitches.  I really dislike Queens.  I will try and do the thing as charted, but if those Queens give me fits, I will convert those sections over to cross stitch - or some other stitch that will cover; I am not into self-torture.

Husband's car has been repaired, mechanically.  Thanks to all of you who inquired after my son's welfare.  He's absolutely fine.  The judgement of the mechanic (and others he's consulted) is that the value of the car makes it not worth continuing with the major body work that the car will need to be brought back to where it was.  So, looks like we've got to get Husband a new car sometime soonish.  Husband is stubborn, so he's driving car until it falls apart underneath him.  I'm thinking of getting him a kevlar suit for Christmas.

At the same time that the car was wreaked, my dishwasher broke down.  When we bought it, the house had been outfitted with Jen Air appliances.  Except, for some reason, had no fridge.  So, we had to buy our own.  I'm a pretty loyal Kitchenaide/Whirlpool customer, so we bought a KA fridge.  Every single one of the Jen Air appliances have had major problems over time.  The oven door has never shut properly.  We had a repairman out when we moved in and he said, oh, you have that oven.  They know there's a problem, but they don't know how to fix it.  Say what?  I ended up having to put a strip of industrial velcro on it to hold it closed; can you believe that?  One day my husband went to open the oven and the plastic oven handle broke.  One day he left the oven door slightly ajar (you know how you do in the winter to get the residual heat into the house?) and the digital display no longer works.  The dishwasher had a small leak that we'd fixed a couple of times, but one day I opened it and the handle broke off in my hand (I swear we are not a family of Godzillas!)  Soon the delay feature on the dishwasher wasn't working and then it just wouldn't start at all.  My husband said it was some sort of relay switch.

We calculated the time and effort in repairing it versus going out for a new one.  Well, I've found the layout of that dishwasher difficult from day one.  Did some research, came up with a price for a new one and Husband said, let's go shopping.  So, for $449 we got a brand new model Whirlpool.  Even better, they're running a $50 rebate on it, so we end up paying just under $400 for it and got free delivery.  I even saved money by not buying the more expensive "stainless steel" finish.  Black looks just as good - even better since it won't require special cleansers like the SS.   Husband installed it the other night (savind $125) and I ran it for the first time yesterday while I was cooking dinner.  The dishwasher was quieter than the oven.  I am very pleased.  I have decided that if I can put a new oven in the hole for the old one I'm going to treat myself to a new one at Christmas.  I may have trouble because the microwave is over the oven and I'm not sure if they're a two-fer.  Will have to investigate that.

Will begin work on my Anniversaries of the Heart for October tonite or tomorrow so will update soon on that.  Hope you enjoyed!