Saturday, April 28, 2012

Grandma's quilt

I received a treasure today.  This is Grandma Pendarvis's quilt. 

About 20 years ago, my MIL gave me the quilt top. She told me that she had found it when she and her sisters were cleaning out their mother's house after she died. MIL said she knew that I, of all the DILs, would appreciate the quilt and would know how to finish it.  Well, truth be told, I didn't appreciate it.  It was nice and all, but I thought the colors were garish and would never fit in my so-called decor.  Besides, there were a few stains on it--Yuck!

Ten years later I began quilting and with experience and knowledge, my appreciation of antique quilts grew. I took out the old top occasionally and each time, I liked it more. I decided that this top needed professional quilting--my skills weren't good enough. I finally had the extra cash and I took it to Lynette Gelling of Pine Cone Quilting in nearby Clayton, WI in early March.  She called me today to say it was finished and I brought it home.

She and I realized that the top is all hand pieced and hand appliqued. Such incredibly tiny stitches!  Lynette pointed out that the green stems were silk and that the yellow flower centers weren't a 30's print as I thought, but earlier than that.  I'll try to get the fabric dated.  With that information, I decided that my MIL was wrong when she told me her mother had made it.  I think it was her Grandmother who made it.  She's the one who would more likely have done it by hand instead of machine. She's the one who more likely had silk fabric available to her.  So, I've made the executive decision that this is my husband's great grandmother's quilt, and I'll stand by that unless someone tells me differently. :)

Here's a somewhat glaring look at the quilting Lynette did on the blocks--outline quilting of the applique and below, is a look at the setting triangles and outer border.  She did feather wreaths in each of the plain alternating blocks and you can see that a bit in the first picture. I think it's wonderfully beautiful! And I think Lynette is a truly gifted artist with her long arm.

And those few spots by the flowers!  Nothing but character, in my mind.  I imagine Grandma had a bit of oil on her fingers from polishing the furniture or from the cooking she did for the boarders in her house, and she left some of it in the fabric as she picked up her needle to work on the project in the evenings when the work was finished. Those "garish" colors?  They look beautiful to me now and will fit in quite well with the "decor" I have. I have the perfect empty wall where I'll hang this quilt--everyone will see it as they come through the front door.  I can't wait to put it on display but first I have to stitch the muslin binding and find a quilt rack for the wall that's big enough for it.

Grandma Pendarvis, Grandma Gray, and MIL have all gone on to their just reward, but this quilt will live on as a tribute to the women in my husband's family. Thank you, Leona, for giving this quilt to me 20 years ago.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The "joys" of gardening

Yesterday, we had warm and partially sunny weather here so I spent several hours outdoors doing some gardening--pruning (don't yell at me, gardeners, for not getting this done last winter--I know I should have), weeding, and generally starting to tidy things up.  Well, the price I'm paying today is stiff, achy fingers, knees, and back. I didn't think I'd overdone it but I guess I did. So, today is another warm and sunny day and I'll be working on quilting instead of going outside and adding to my misery. Well, maybe I'll be out for only an hour or so. We've had such a cloudy, cold and rainy April that I hate to waste a day like this, but that's how it's to be.

I've been getting that giant auction quilt ready to be sandwiched.  I have the back all pieced together and I just have to  piece a bit of batting and then take it to work with me on Wed to get it all pinned.  I use the tables in the meeting room after work to lay it all out rather than crawling around on the floor--No mam! Those days are gone for me!  I'll try to get a picture of it when it's all laid out.

I've also made a set of place mats for my Etsy store and I posted them today. I made them to coordinate with the table runner I had posted earlier.  

I think they're pretty.  I've been using quilted place mats for the past 10 years or so and I love them. They add a texture that's missing from other mats, and when I set a plate or a glass on them, it just sounds different--soft and nice.

Today, I'm making a table quilt that will probably come out to about 50" square.  Pastel spring colors I think.  Probably some applique as well as a pinwheel block.  We'll see.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I just read Kate's blog and remembered it was Tuesday and I've not posted the 15 minute challenge for a long time.  Well, I've been on vacation for 8 days so that's one excuse.

I've been working like mad on the auction quilt I began in January and by burning the midnight oil, the top is finished!  I spent at least an hour or two every day this past week working on it--except for the weekend when we had Lily and Tessa here most of the time. 

Anyway, the top is done and I did a final measurement to see how much batting and backing I'll need, and that darn thing has grown from a double/queen as intended to a king!  Now I have to quilt it on my DSM!  Yikes!  I've done a king quilt on that machine once before so I know it can be done, but I also know my shoulders will take a beating doing this!  When I finished the other King, I felt like a linebacker for the GB packers!  I also know that I'm not going to do any real fancy stitching on this quilt--too much mass to manage on the home machine.  I figured out a simple loopy design to do in every triangle piece that should be easy as well as good looking.  Hey, isn't that what I said 40 years ago that I wanted in a husband?  :o)

Anyway, my sewing machine has been working a lot and will continue to do so until this thing is finished and on the auction block in June.

What I did on my Spring Vacation

I went on vacation in March to Sedona AZ. My first time in N. AZ but not my first in AZ.  When I attended a conference in Scottsdale a few years ago, I suffered so badly from dry eyes!  I'd forgotten to bring my eye drops, and I never once during the four days I was there, thought to go to the store and buy some!  Duh!  This time I brought a fresh bottle of drops, but of course, never needed them.

Don and I arrived in Phoenix after a rocky start--the security line in Minneapolis was so long, and we'd arrived just a little later than planned, and Don took extra time to get through security since he always has to be "wanded." So we arrived at the gate just in time to see our plane leaving.  He was furious but for naught. We were able to get on the next plane 1 1/2 hours later and arrived in Phoenix in plenty of time. 

We drove to Sedona where we met our friends and began a very relaxing and wonderful week in beautiful red rock country.  The time share was small but comfortable. We found great restaurants. Bonnie and I did some shopping (found a quilt shop on the main drag-yippee) while Jerry and Don golfed. 

We spent a day at Grand Canyon--what a place! It's impossible to see how huge and magnificent it is.  I want to get my knees fixed and go down into the canyon--it's on my bucket list!

 This is the four of us taking a lunch break and simply admiring the canyon.

 We saw some California Condors both in flight and sitting on this rocky spot.  They are the black spots on the white rock.  We think they're mating. (Get a room, will ya? Oh yeah, the Grand Canyon IS your room! :)  ) Jerry's an ornithologist so he was thrilled to be able to see them for himself!

Bonnie and I spent an afternoon on a spiritual tour of the Sedona area with Hugh, a very fine guide.  He took us to several of the spots where the vortexes converge and I could feel the energy in my hands as he led us through some exercises.  All the while we were in Sedona, I felt calm and peaceful--unlike vacationing in other places.

When we woke up on our last day, we found about 4" of heavy, wet snow on the ground with more falling!  The highway to Phoenix was closed unless you had chains or 4 wheel drive, which we didn't, so we couldn't leave that day. Not so bad since I'd screwed up the plane reservations and we needed to get on a different flight.  We found a motel in town where we watched basketball all afternoon and since it was continuing to snow, we decided to turn in our car and take the shuttle to Phoenix the next day, as our friends had done. 

Still snowing when we woke up--at least another 4"--so we happily paid the $100 for the shuttle and the extra $221 (Yikes!  I'll never use Hertz again!) for leaving the rental car there and hopped on the shuttle. By the time we were 10 miles out of Sedona and into lower elevation, the snow had stopped and the road was clear all the way to Phoenix!  I whispered to Don that we better enjoy this ride since it was the most expensive one we'll ever take!  Got to the airport in plenty of time and all was well the rest of the way back home.

We did a lot of other things on this trip, but not as much as I'd wanted to, so I guess I'll have to return and finish what we started.  Got to get the knee fixed first, tho.  :-)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter is a new beginning!

It's Easter Sunday and we've had the Easter lunch (which included a few jelly beans!) with Lily and Tessa and now they've gone home and I have a quiet house again.(DH's glued to the Master's Tournament!)

I've been debating opening an Etsy store for some time and I sat down this afternoon and did it!  I realized a few years ago that there are only so many quilts my family and friends can absorb from my hands, and there are so many more quilts that I want to make. What to do?  What to do?  Why, make them up and sell them--I hope! Here's the link to my store--"Jolly Ruby"--if you want to take a look.

I've spent the last 25 years or so providing service to disabled adults and, frankly, felt quite guilty about retiring last April and not continuing my work.  Then it dawned on me that I could continue to provide service to that community through my quilting.  Any profit I make will go to a special account to be used by disabled people in my county who need things they simply cannot afford--an air conditioner for the person with emphysema; car repairs; a new vacuum cleaner or lawn mower, etc.  These things are often beyond the stretch of a disabled person's budget and are the things that can determine quality of life for him or her.

Please share my store with others. I want to grow the fund and I want to shrink my stash!  At any rate, I've listed my first item: this Friendship Star table runner.

And here's the back:
I made this runner and at the same time, I cut fabrics for a kit.  I'm involved in a silent auction fundraiser for our volunteer services organization and I got some very generous donations from the 2 local quilt shops so I'm adding some things from my stash as well as this table runner kit and we're calling it "The Quilters' Bundle."  The auction's on Thursday. I hope it brings in some $$$ for a good cause!