Jul 30, 2012

The Joy of Laughter

I've been in a bit of a funk of late. Ok, more than a bit. A complete, unrelenting, unhappy funk. I blamed it on the heat, but if I have to be honest with myself, this month just hit me like a lead balloon and it took a while to crawl back up from the depths.

So why is there a photo of undies?? Simply because those panties, those glorious size 13 panties, brought so much laughter yesterday that the funk was broken; I was able to emerge from the sadness cocoon I had been wrapped in so tightly that it was hard to break free.

There is a very definite story behind those scattered panties- I will spare you the majority of the details. There are also other photos. Photos of 5 wonderful, silly, happy women who came to stitch at my house yesterday. One took a flurry of increasingly silly pre-get together emails to heart, and arrived with a "gift" for each of us (yes, the underwear!). I will also spare you the other photos-I'd like to keep these friends (smile), and public embarrassment may not be their cup of tea.

So thank you Noel 1 for being the hysterically funny woman you are. Thank you Mardi, Noel2, Mary Ellen and Patty for being such good sports and playing right along. Thanks to each of you for bringing laughter back to my home. It has been missing for a long time. It felt good.

Jul 10, 2012

A Fascination with Fabric...

To say that quilter's have always been fascinated with fabric seems like an understatement. There has always been a common thread between those of us who quilt today and quilters of days gone by. We may no longer quilt for utility reasons, but the bond is there none-the-less. Many of us strive to make our quilts look "old". I've been know to spritz, spray and tea dye to get that old, somewhat stained look. I work primarily in reproductions (but that doesn't mean I don't have an equally large collection of "modern" prints), love to hand quilt when time and the scope of the project don't appear too overwhelming, and I aim for a batting that, after washing, will crinkle up my lovingly stitched quilt so it looks like it was put away years ago to be resurrected by a loving relative. I can only hope my children (and grandchildren?) will appreciate and be fascinated with fabric and my quilts.

This Tumbler quilt was pieced in 1950 in Johnsburg, NY. from feed sacks, dress making materials, shirting and as noted: possibly some Johnsburg calico made about 1800. It was on loan from the Johnsburg Historical Society.

The Bow Tie pattern, another way to use scraps of fabric, was made by Martha Meek of Indian Lake, NY in 2000. The ties are actually made from men's silk ties (note to self: where did I put that large container of old ties??)- over 200 ties in all were collected from the men of Indian Lake!

A cotton crazy quilt pieced by Maria Austin in 1915:

This quilt was finished in 1934 by Kate Watsaw and Jennie Ordway of North River, NY. 

Noting that many quilters make pieces "meant to be hung on the walls like paintings", The Art of Quilting section had several lovely pieces. Below is just one of the landscape quilts exhibited:

Giant Mt., Keene Valley, In My Mind's Eye.
Kathleen Towers, Wells, N.Y. 2007

Whitework Quilt, 1853
Sarah M. Getman, Mayfield, NY
An extraordinary display of the art of the needle- Sara was 15 years old at the time!

I hope you enjoyed this little trip through the quilt exhibit with me...can I leave you with this note from the brochure* before ending this post?

"Quilts and comforters can give their makers outlets for serving their communities and affirming relationships".

I think we can all agree that no truer words have ever been written.

I have a few other photos of non-quilt related sights I'd love to share with you. I will save those for my next post so as not to overstay my welcome! 

* The brochure from Common Threads in online at the museum website. You can see it here. I assume it will remain online while the quilts remain at the museum (October 14, 2012).

Jul 9, 2012

Common Threads- Let's Return to the Adirondacks!

Let's start from the outside of the History Gallery, shall we? Walking up to the building from the museum grounds, one is greeted by the most wonderful entry point, giving us just a glimpse of what we can expect inside:

In my last post I showed you just a bit of the educational highlights that ran the inside perimeter of the building. The quilts were hung on the walls as well as being draped in settings- a bed, a couch and the like.
This wonderful Tree of Paradise quilt was made ca. 1860 by Celestia Dunlop of Baker's Mills NY.  It was noted that the design might have been inspired by the Adirondack forest.

The quilts were set into categories:  Adirondack, Friendship in Quilts, Solace in Quilting, Quilts as Art, A fascination with Fabric and Community Ties.

Another Adirondack themed quilt was of a more modern time frame: After the Microburst is a wall hanging commemorating the severe windstorm of July 1995, and was Made by Edith Mitchell of Blue Mountain Lake, NY.

I remember that event most clearly. Eldest Child was attending a science program that year at one of the North Country colleges, and was camping with the group of students (R&R from the rigors of studies and research) when the storm went through decimating much of the area. It was all very scary for us as parents (she was so far way!), so I can only imagine what the kids must have felt being in the center of the destruction!

I found the quilts commemorating "friendship, anniversaries and special occasions" wonderful! This album quilt by unknown maker(s) from North River, NY ca 1894 was a gift to Joseph Ronie Bruno when he left as cook at the North River Hotel:

The blocks commemorate activities available at the hotel, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and if you look closely you'll see a block with two black women labeled "The Heavenly Twins", a nickname reference to a novel published in 1893 (the women in the block most likely represented women workers at the hotel).

I loved this block- and found it a fitting centerpiece for the quilt:

 Stage would have been the way to arrive at the hotel at the time, and the 6 horses were nicely drawn.

Here is another favorite of the blocks (I love basket blocks!):

It's embroidery was so very pretty.

This beautifully embroidered crazy quilt was part of  "Solace in Quilting" and was made during the winter of 1887-88  by Mary Church Holland of North River, NY so to "keep busy" ( the advice of her doctor) after the death of her first (infant) child: 

The embroidery detail is exquisite:

* blogger is refusing to orient several of the photos in the correct way, for which I apologize. Thankfully it does not affect the viewing of the details of this amazing quilt.

Below is a wall hanging entitled Ode to Lance: The Wind Embracing the Tree by Kris Gregson Moss, Queensbury, N.Y. (2008). This piece was constructed after the death of Kris's brother Lance in 2007. I wish you could see the detail...on the main trunk ( look hard at the brown trunk- to the mid- right) and you may see a tiny "dot". This is actually a very small Lance, riding his bike up the tree. Kris is a very talented art quilter, and I have been to her studio and taken a class with her in the past.

My next post will discuss the "Art of Quilting", "Community Ties" and "Fascination with Fabric". 
I hope you are enjoying this tour of the exhibit so far!

Jul 7, 2012

Ready To Move Back In and Let's Discuss Quilts!

It's done and ready for me to move back in!!

 Can you tell I'm excited. So fresh, so clean...I do want to do a light scrub (my contractor and his brother cleaned from top to bottom before calling it a day yesterday- how amazing!) and then I will start to bring back the rest of the goodies so I can fire up the sewing machine. There are projects waiting for me to get back to them:

Being away a few days this month and seeing lots of quilts has gotten me back in the mood to create, finish some things I've started, and actually discuss quilting with friends once again. Pull up a chair- let's do just that (because I promised you I would).  In this post I chatted a bit about the Quilt exhibit at the Adirondack Museum in Tupper Lake. This exhibit entitled Common Threads: Quilt Trail (thread your way through history) is being staged until October 19th, so if you have a chance to visit the Adirondack's do go. The exhibit has you threading your way through the museum grounds to see the over forty quilts shown. Starting in the Visitor's Center and then winding your way to Boats and Boating, Log Hotel, roads and Rails, Sunset Cottage, The Adirondack History Gallery, Woods and Waters, Bull Cottage (love!), The Artist's Cottage and the Education Center you get to see not only life in this beautiful part of the northeast, but old and new quilts alike. Each of the quilts had its own fabric information block- a star block-with a quick quip on the outside which lifted to give you "the rest of the story".

So let's start at the Visitor's Center, shall we??

Here are the star info blocks hanging on the wall as you got ready to enter the main part of the Visitor's Center:

I was too excited to properly document the quilts and their makers, for this I apologize to you- the reader and to any living quilt maker whose creation was shown and not properly tagged in this blog.
I also hope I've tagged the correct quilt to the correct exhibit building!

Streak o' Lightning from Hotels, Camps and Clubs exhibit space.

 Sunset Cottage's One Patch Quilt

Another One Patch in the Artist's Cottage. See the half circles in the back window?? Mushroom Art! Yes, beautifully painted pictures on the large fungal growth one would find on old trees!!

Bride's Bouquet by Jean Morehouse Reed featured in Roads and Rails: Life in the Age of Horse
I was expecting an applique quilt, but found this lovely Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt instead! (Now where did I put all MY hexagons??)

In the Gallery Space, there was an educational floor level (cabinet) display highlighting quilting methods, patterns, material and tools. Again, I am just in love with hexagons! I also smiled at the display with the rotary cutter. I remember when I started to quilt it was a Kellogg's Corn Flake box (for your pattern templates), a pencil, scissors and some luck! How times have changed!!

I think that is enough for this one posting. It is to be a rainy day and I did say I wanted to start moving back into my sewing space...that means bidding you adieu for now. More to come.....

Jul 5, 2012

 I know this post is for the stressed out mom, but I have been following the same "simplify" type rules and find that it has truly helped in my re-centering. Sometimes you just have to keep busy, and creating more simple surroundings in my wake has helped. Not that I can claim that my home is not in turmoil right now, mind you! The dining room is still paperwork central:

There are fat quarters and pattens growing in the (very large) basket on the coffee table:

The upstairs hallway is filled with parts of the furniture from my sewing studio:

 The studio and my bedroom finally had their bulkheads torn down to the lathe and rebuilt after last year's water damage thanks to Irene and subsequent weather patterns (all not good!). My bedroom is back to semi-normal- just one more top coat of paint to go and the studio is promised back to me by the weekend. Let's hope! Both rooms look wonderful with the biggest change being the studio which sits pretty in it's new white woodwork:

 and soon to be taupe walls. I am excited! Ok- so I will be after tomorrow??

In the meantime, since I have no place to fire up the sewing machine- I've been stitching my block of the week (why do I do this to myself!) from Primitive Gatherings. This year is particularly wonderful, and the little freebies just make me smile with delight. It's a Good Thing (as Martha would say).

Both projects will be well loved when finished, and keep right now, keep my mind occupied.
Enough musing for one morning...I'll be back with some photos and thoughts about the travel/quilt excursions of last week a bit later than originally thought- I forgot I promised to join Eldest child at lunch with the great-aunties today, and certainly do not want to disappoint.

Jul 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, America

Wishing one and all a happy 4th!
I'll be back with a post tomorrow...right now i have to make a large dish of baked beans for the afternoon get together. 
Just loved this patriotic quilt...the site is here:

Jul 3, 2012

It's Time...

I'm seeing the light of day, and feeling a bit like a sunflower turning its head towards the sun!
It is time to move on with things I love to do...quilting, scrap booking, reading, spending time with family and friends. There are still little things that need to be done, but they will come to a close.
There are still legal and financial ends to string together. Again, they will come to an end- it is better now, and much less confusion and work.
I've gotten away on two short trips. Eldest child came home for a visit at the end of her quarter. She won't have to teach next term as she has gotten a writing fellowship. Knowing she'd be home she first planned an overnight trip for us to the Adirondack Mountains. Definitely a Soul Restoration. What is there about the mountains that bring such peace? We stayed at the Adirondack Hotel- a lovely little room facing the lakeside. Imagine my surprise when we saw the sign "Welcome Quilters"!  Really?? Did they know I was coming (smile). Who were these women and what was going on at Long Lake??
We never really did find out. We did, however get to see some lovely quilts at the Adirondack Museum. Displayed in appropriate settings through out the museum, as well as in the gallery spaces, it was nice to see new and old quilts living together happily.

These lovelies greeted us as we entered the museum building. New and old patterns hung side- by- side, drawing our attention UP! We both loved the Tree of Life quilt.  As we walked on through the museum grounds, an old crazy patch laid on a bed in one of the out buildings:

While a more elaborate, grandly embroidered one was on display in the gallery:

Even the weather (with its spurts of rain) couldn't dampen the spirits- how could it with vistas like this:

I will leave you for today, happy to be back and with lots more to tell. If I can find the exhibit information I can share more of what we saw! After that- thoughts of Vermont. I was "made to go" to the Vermont Quilt Festival for 2 days, another reason Eldest Child came home.  Such a hardship (another smile). It was definitely a whirlwind of a trip- as I usually go for the week and even take a class (or not) with The Quilt Buddy; that can wait until next year. I will be ready then.

To those who sent cards, emails and comments on the passing of my husband, I thank you. Friends help lighten the load whether we have know each other for many a year, or have met here on the Internet sharing life's ups and downs. I feel very lucky to have made and met so many friends. I have a wonderful support system...and life truly does go on.

Related Posts with Thumbnails