Thursday, March 29, 2012

Behind the Scenes Tour -- Smithsonian Institute

That's the time I got up on Tuesday to go on a great field trip with other Country Piecemaker quilt guild members.  Nine of us were going to Washington, DC for a Behind the Scenes Tour of some of the Smithsonian Institute's quilts. 
 Nancy and Joan were checking out our goody bags made up by Donna, our "mama duck."  Thanks to Donna's great planning and organization we made all of our times and no one got lost. 
 Here we are riding Amtrak to Washington.  7 am train -- no wonder I had to get up around 5 am! 
Jane and Donna riding the Metro in DC.  Standing was fine in the morning but by the afternoon we were ready for seats... 
All 9 of us on the way to the American History Museum.  An iconic photo if ever there is one!   Thanks to a fellow tourist who volunteered to take a group shot.  The day before the weather was in the mid 70's.  But the day we went it was only in the 50s.  Hey, we are really lucky we didn't have rain and snow storms.
American History Museum of the Smithsonian Institute.  The cherry trees were past their peak but there were lots of flowering trees still gracing the landscape.
Kay waits for me while I try to snap some photos as we are led to see some great old quilts.  The tour was conducted in a 4th floor room where the quilts are stored in a temperature and humidity controlled room. The room is full of white metal storage cabinets with shallow drawers.  

Our three docents did a wonderful job -- we not only saw the quilts but heard the stories that go with them.  Here's a quick plug -- don't forget to SIGN your quilts with your name, the date and where you are.  I'm not as good as I used to be about this but if any of my quilts last 100+ years I sure would like to be remembered as the quilt maker and that won't happen if you don't SIGN your quilts! 
And here are some of the quilts we saw: 
The Copp Quilt -- RJR produced a line of fabrics from this quilt in the 90's.  
The Martha Washington Quilt -- an unfinished top made by Martha Washington as told by her grand daughter. EP Custis left a note that said "This quilt was  entirely the work of my grandmother as far as the plain border I finish'd it in 1815 (?) and leave it to my Rosebud."
The Charlotte Roe quilt made in 1806.  
This is the 1812 quilt said to have been made while the men were fighting the British in the War of 1812.   This was the first block we made in our 1800's Block of the Month quilt.
And a close up of the 1812 quilt. 
  This is a spectacular radiant star quilt.  The outside is Broderie Perse.  Broderie Perse is a printed design cut out from fabric and then appliqued to the new piece.  Although it isn't popular today it was extremely popular in the 1700's and early 1800.  Printed chintz was being produced in the United States so quilt makers put it to use.  
A variation of a 8 pointed star.  Remember, these quilts were made with template and no precision rulers and quick methods.  Some were made without sewing machines, all by hand.  YIKES. 
And, of course, there were several gorgeous Baltimore Album quilts.  The colors in the fabrics were fabulous.  I recognized some since reproduction fabrics have been made from some of these quilts. 
 This was an interesting top made of wool military uniforms. The man who made it was stationed in Alaska for several years and completed the top while living there.  It is made entirely of diamonds that you can see in the picture below of the back of the top.  (Except -- it looks like some hexagons also... oops, faulty memory!) 
As the tour was winding down we asked about the oldest quilt in the collection.
 This was made from a wedding gown that was never worn.  The maker's fiance was killed.  It was made in the 1700's and looked brand new.  It probably was never used.  
 Here we are at the end of our tour.  The lady in the red sweater was a fabulous guide and obviously had done much research, especially being able to tell the stories behind the quilts.  She is a volunteer as were her two assistants. 
I got a special bonus at the end of the tour.  Kevin was able to come over from the Department of Labor and have lunch with us. (We ate in the museum restaurant but, wow!  It was expensive!) 

After lunch we viewed the gowns of the First Ladies.  I can remember seeing them when I was living in northern Virginia when I was in elementary school.  At the time every First Lady was represented.  Now, many are represented, but not all.  We also were able to see the flag that hung over Ft. McHenry that inspired the words to the Star Spangled Banner.  It's HUGE!  

I could tell you about the return trip but just scroll up and reverse the trip!  We were totally exhausted when we got home but really enjoyed ourselves. 
Happy Quilting All!  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Design Wall Monday 3-26-12

Not much new on my design wall today.  I only sewed up at Jenny's house.  Here's the little outfit I made for Sophia. 
 You might notice she isn't wearing this outfit.  We tried to put it on twice and she screamed and took it off before we really had it on!  Hum, does she hate yellow?  Do lady bugs scare her?  Or was she just tired?  I don't know.  I know the shorts are too big now but I don't know about the dress.  And, considering it is only March and she'll be growing a lot I am not worried if this doesn't fit her now. 

Here's a charity quilt I quilted yesterday.  It is a darling little panel with two borders on it. 
I ditch stitched between each block and around the borders.  Then I tried different fill techniques. (One of the great reasons to do charity quilts beyond the normal feel good feelings.) Here are three close ups of what I tried.  Oops!  I haven't knotted and trimmed the strings yet so that's what the funny lines are.

I didn't have much on last week's goals as I knew I'd be busy away from the house a lot. 

Week of Mar 19, 2012
Visit Jenny, Brian and Sophia√
Attend Faithful Circle Quilt Guild meeting√
Help Set Up Jenny’s new sewing area√
Make Sophia’s play outfit√
Continue working on Scrap Squad #2
Here's this week's goals... sad to report most of these have been on my list many times.  It's time to get some of this stuff done!  But I have a lot of quilting to do so I may not get that much done.  
Week of March 26, 2012
Go to Smithsonian’s tour of quilts
Quilt Kay’s baby quilt
Continue working on Scrap Squad #2
Bind blue and green X quilt
Make snowman blcok
Send info FCQ equilters on next block
Make a few more blocks for Equilter’s donation quilt… 

Don't forget to visit Patchwork Times to see what's on other people's design wall this week. 
Happy Quilting All! 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day of SCervice

Pat and I are members of our local alumni association... Univ. of Southern California Alumni Club of Richmond, or something like that.  Yesterday we participated in the Day of SCervice that is actually happening today in Southern California and across the country where alumni clubs are located.

Our group chose the Central Virginia Food Bank.  We arrived at the location on a beautiful spring day.  

Surprisingly, I was the only one who had thought to bring a camera.  Well, except all the cell phones with cameras.  I tried to get photos of everyone helping out and a group shot. 

Mike and Pat giving the traditional USC victory sign before we started our 3 hour shift. 
Covering hot food.

 Pat and I were bagging bread with little cups of spread. 
Scooping coleslaw into cups.  Later the staff fired up a machine that heat sealed some plastic over the cups.  Pretty interesting actually. 
By the time we were done we were all very happy to have degrees from a good university.  Cutting, bagging and sealing loaf upon loaf of bread wasn't very stimulating.  Of course, I was extremely happy I am retired.  The staff was so appreciative of our efforts.  Pat and I were totally exhausted and I don't think I've recuperated yet! I'm quite happy to make charity quilts rather than pack food.  

Happy Quilting All! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Scrap Squad Quilt #1...revealed...

Over on Quilty Pleasures, Quiltmaker's blog, my first Scrap Squad quilt was revealed today.  Here it is with Raggs -- he sure knows when his photo is being taken.  
Here's where I got my color scheme.  I saw this plate in the Louvre, Paris, France.   
I pulled turquoise, pumpkins and cream for the background.  My first attempt was cream with pumpkin. 
Here's the cream and pumpkin with the turquoise and pumpkin.  Hum, I don't really like the cream and white.  On with the turquoise and the various pumpkin/rust fabric I had on hand.  I only purchased fabric because I ran out of the turquoises.  
This was one block I had to pay attention to while I was making it!  Ooops! 
I thought I'd try something different with the blocks.  Ok, not doing it for me this way.  But, what about using this block as a border for another quilt.  I think I'll keep that in the back of the mind for the future. 
I used the extra strips to make blocks . . . 
. . . that went on the back along with the extra blocks. 
Here it is on Ruthie.  It was fun to try free motion feathers on it.  And the design was perfect for feathers.  
Here's another look at the finished quilt.  On to Scrap Squad quilt #2.  It's on my design wall at home.  
I've enjoyed my visit with Jenny, Brian and Sophia.  Jen was off from work so we got her new sewing space set up and I made a play outfit for Sophia.  Unfortunately, Sophi wasn't interested in trying it on. But she liked to pet Max the kitty. 
However, Ducky seemed to like Sophi's new outfit that Grammy made. Hopefully Jenny will send me a photo of it on Sophi some day. 
Happy Quilting All! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Design Wall Monday 3-19-12

This baby quilt is on the design wall.  All the rows are done.  It will continue to be my ender project while I work on Scrap Squad #2.  Sorry I can't show photos of it yet.  Heck, haven't been able to show photos of #1 yet either... but it should be sometime over the next few weeks. 

I have joined a modern quilt bee with 11 other gals -- most are younger quilters with a few older quilters thrown in.  Many are new to quilting.  Heidi started the group and sent directions and fabric for the first block.  The concept is to send out fabrics and block directions to each person. They make the block you pick in your fabrics then return it to the "Queen Bee" of the month.  Here's my first block -- Heidi's choice. The block is a 20" wonky log cabin.  Hum... I probably should not have done the traditional lights and darks.  It was a lot of fun to use Heidi's fabrics.  I did throw in one of my own fabrics.  And, it looks like I have a sq of white fabric on the block... oops. I was in a hurry. Next month Jenny is the Queen Bee. 

It doesn't look like I did much toward the goals last week...
Week of Mar 12, 2012
Quilt Jenny’s quilt√
Bind blue and green X quilt
Send out info on FCQ Equilter block - made a sample but didn’t send info….
Make snowman block for last month’s FCQ Equilter - didn’t finish but have backgrounds ready and snowmen traced on wonder under….
Continue on Scrap Squad #2 and Snowball kid’s quilt√
Start play outfit for Sophia - traced pattern…
Take a day trip with Jennie & Diana√

But I actually did some things that weren't on the list.  I quilted a twin size charity quilt for Faithful Circle Quilters. I put sleeves on 2 quilts. I organized what I am entering in the FCQ show.  I received two more quilts to quilt on Ruthie. And, probably the most important thing I did -- YEAH -- I got a new camera.  Now photos should be much sharper than coming from my older iPhone. 

Week of Mar 19, 2012
Visit Jenny, Brian and Sophia
Attend Faithful Circle Quilt Guild meeting
Help Set Up Jenny’s new sewing area
Make Sophia’s play outfit
Continue working on Scrap Squad #2

This list is short as I am leaving shortly to visit Jenny, Brian and Sophi later this morning.  I'm not sure how much I'll get done sewing-wise although we probably will be doing some sewing, hopefully cut out and make Sophi's play outfit.  
Don't for get to visit Patchwork Times to link to what others have on their design walls this morning.

Happy Quilting All