Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why Do We Quilt?

I picked up the book Quilting Traditions by Patricia T. Herr at the DAR museum shop.  In chapter 3 "Rites of Passage Commemorated" the Heritage Center of Lancaster County conducted a statistical analysis of the reasons their recorded quilts were made.  Below is a breakdown of the various rites of passage commemorated by quilts inventoried by their center.

Lancaster County Quilts
Marriage includes dowries, hope chests, and setting up house keeping.  The Miscellaneous includes birthdays, departures, and other misc. events.

I was inspired by this type of analysis and ran a survey of my own quilts to look at the reasons I quilt in a similar way.

My Quilts

Obviously the bulk of my work fits into the Misc. category, which actually breaks down in a variety of interesting reasons.  I have made many gifts over the years for family members, I also tend to try out many patterns, like the one I'm working on now.  (In fact, as I moved with my handwork across the country from kid to kid, each one asked, "Who are you making that one for?" and I had to answer that I was making it just for the fun of trying out the pattern I had seen on another blog). 

My Quilts Breakdown

What I'd really like to know is why you all quilt.  I'd like to see if we're trending in any way as a community of quilters.  I'm adding a poll to my sidebar - pick the top-most reasons why you quilt.  I'll start with the Lancaster county categories, but if you don't feel these suit you, leave me a comment to tell me why you quilt and I'll add it to the poll. 

In case you are impressed with my skill in creating this post, forget it! Tonight I will fly out of D.C. leaving my Guru son behind. From this point forward, it will be the old mom making the posts ... no fancy stuff ... no interruptions from hugging grand kids ... and one month accumulation of dog hair.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Washington D.C., my last kid fix

Day 1, a trip to the butterfly garden.
There were quite a few I had never seen before. Some were resting and some were on the flowers and many were checking out the admirers.

There were way too many to show them all.

Day 2 was an outdoor concert for kids in Strathmore. I got a refresher course in Spanish which I haven't used since the Tokyo Olympics ... about 48 years ago.

After sewing five rows of the + and X blocks, we laid them out on the design floor and picked out some corner-stones. Not only is my son good at this arranging, he brought out his stash so I could cut pieces for the five blocks that were lost on the first flight.

Now, I would like to know how many of my blogging friends have a son with a stash to share ... or would be that concerned about five lost blocks!

Dinner celebrated on the quilted tablecloth made for son Jon's birthday two years ago.

Day 3 ... a trip in the afternoon, past the White House, to the DAR museum to check out the quilts. Many were on slide-out panels. The lighting was quite dim but the quilts were lovely.  A collection of the DAR quilts can be found at QuiltIndex.org at this link (http://www.quiltindex.org/search_results.php?collection=DAR) .

The Museum was closing for the day so we didn't have lots of time to look but the shop had a wonderful book of Quilts of Lancaster that practically jumped off the shelf into my bag and will follow me home.

Day 4 ... I got my "Fox Fix". I spent the day with my good friend, Steve Fox, who I have known for many years through Boy Scouting in Tokyo, and his mom, Marion, who has been responsible for many of my quilting projects. Probably a good percentage of the pieces in the + and X blocks have hopped in from her stash and the quilt that I have been working on for the last two years was her offering to keep me out of trouble when the tablecloth was finished.

I took along the five rows I have managed to sew together since leaving home. (Just so my friend would know that I am not without a project for the road)

This is row 2 - 6, row 1 waiting for the five new blocks. Son Jon is behind, holding the side edge. It is very interesting to see how the blocks go together with cornerstones in place. A whole new look is beginning to emerge.
Having come this far, I look forward to adding more rows. Too bad I can't take Jon with me to add the cornerstones as I go.

(Also, as my computer guru, he has managed to rescue all my photos from the dying computer I brought along ... and don't ask me how those three pictures got lined up above, because he did that with a few taps on the keyboard.)

Somewhere in these pictures, too, you can see my grand-chicks Kaiea and Maile. Of course that is a bonus part of the trip, happy companions for my last few days of vacation!

Monday, July 23, 2012

From Boston to the Northen border and back

It is amazing how much we have managed to squeeze in in such a short time!

Friday, Marie and I visited the Kaji Aso studio where there was a  Tanabata art exhibit and, among other things, a lovely Japanese garden and tea room.

There was an amazing selection of plantings. It was hard to believe I was half a world away from Japan.

Friday night we drove and drove and drove to the very most Northern tip of New Hampshire.          

The farther North we went, the more plentiful the signs to beware of moose crossing. Since the passenger seat where I was sitting is the driver's side in Japan, Zooming down a road labeled "Moose Ally" was a bit white-knuckle for me, even without control of the wheel or brake.

It was after midnight when we finally turned in for the night in a place called Pittsburg with a cabin along the shore of the First Connecticut Lake. The loons welcomed us with their plaintive calls and a soft bed was a perfect ending for a long day..

Driving North the next morning, what do you suppose we almost passed along the road?

Moose Country Quilting ! The quick thinking Son in Law pulled into the drive and so we had to go in and check it out.

I hardly need to add to my stash, since I will have to live to 200 to use up what I already have, but I found two fat quarters of polka-dot fabric that wanted to be added to a project I have in mind.

Our destination for the morning was the Fourth Connecticut Lake.
One does not get there entirely by driving.

We hiked up a long trail crossing back and forth across the border.  A bit of a down-hill at the end brought us to our destination. SIL, Tim, took an extra hike around the lake but the view was just perfect from the trail end and the scent of balsam in the air was heavenly.

Fresh moose  tracks along the trail did not crush this delicate Indian-pipe.

We canoed the Scott Bog looking for moose but didn't see any. We did get a good close-up view of a family of loons, their call echoing over the water.

The only moose we saw the whole trip are right there on my socks. Please notice that a few rows of piecing did get done.

The last big stop Sunday on the way back to Boston, (if meals don't count, that is....) was a trip through the lovely fabric displays at Keepsake Quilting.

I had been given a gift certificate from Susan Phillips at http://www.starwoodquilter.blogspot.com. Now, that was just too good to pass up!  I love all the assortments of fat quarters this store has on display and had hoped to find a few more polka-dots to add to my collection.  No sets, but I found a few to add and ended up rounding off my purchase with what I think they call a jelly roll. I think these are intended for machine piecers but the size and selection seemed just right for a project I have in mind, a nice medley of fall colors.
So ... here I am with my treasure and my adviser and shopping coordinator. Did she help me decide? Yes, if I say "I kinda like that", she agrees with me that it is a good idea.

So... That was only the highlights of our weekend. Today we did a bit of poking around in stores. I am now fixed for jeans for the next few years. The time is speeding by and tomorrow I will take the final leg to Washington D.C.  

Without internet connection I have fallen behind on my blog-reading so if you have not heard from me I will be playing catch-up one of these days

Friday, July 20, 2012

Boston activities

A visit to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts included a surprise quilt-fix in the Art of the Americas wing. The entire exhibit was very well done with good historical descriptions of the paintings and period furniture as well as this lovely quilt.

Having been an art major so long ago, I was pleased to see how well attended the exhibits were, family groups, lecture groups, children and adults of all ages.

At The Kelleher Rose Garden, I paid a visit to the "Liff" rose.
This blooming beauty was hybridized and registered by my father and dedicated to Justine Mee Liff, a longtime Boston parks commissioner. 

No Boston trip would be complete without a few trips to my daughter's garden plot. 

She had a great selection of flowers as well as vegetables. We picked up peas and tomatoes and squash of assorted kinds and perhaps some green peppers.

We had rain moving through in fits and starts and kind of grabbed the goodies between showers.

The garden has even more of my dad's roses and all were doing so well. I felt my dad would have been pleased to see the next generation valuing the results of his passion for roses.

We had planned more activities for the afternoon but somewhere along the way, the skies opened up and even an umbrella was no match for the deluge. We half-swam home and pealed off wet-to-the-core clothing.

Yesterday we began the day with free Tai Chi lessons in the park. The class was well  attended, perhaps 18 people, and part of a series of park events my daughter is involved in organizing.

We took the afternoon to have a delightful visit and lunch with my daughter's friend, Bob Pessek, who just happens to have come from my Dad's home town of Silver Lake MN. He was quite familiar with all the members of that Bohemian community, aunts, uncles, cousins ... It is truly a small world after all.

See how nicely we cleaned off those plates! No room left for dessert either.

Daughter Marie and I worked it off with another trip to the garden, this time for some pruning as well as picking the goodies. Tonight we will take off for the North and a bit of hiking and fishing and canoeing and whatever my crew has planned.

I have to admit, I have hardly touched my piecing so there won't be much of that to show. Five blocks in a little zip-lock bag slipped out of my bag during the first change from the no-go plane. No one was able to locate it so row #1 will need a re-do of those five blocks. Row three is almost done but out of 15 rows, it isn't much. I must have been dreaming when I packed the whole thing!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sisters ... (part 2)

These were some pretty cool cats!

We were enjoying these "paint chip" challenge quilts when it began to sprinkle.

Soon the ladder crew arrived to rescue the hanging quilts.

It was a good thing too because soon it was coming down in buckets. After that, only the indoor displays were there to see. Still, we managed to see quite a bit and the atmosphere was just super.

And after the rain? A dinner with the whole gang and the most wonderful sisters of all, my eldest and youngest daughters, who with their families, made the whole day possible.

A trip to Sisters (part !)

Some opportunities don't knock twice. I have been to Oregon quite a few times, by now, but this was the first time to hit the area during the Sisters quilt show. The whole family was determined I would make the most of my visit, so Saturday morning, we set off in two cars for Sisters and the show.

It was still morning when we arrived but there were people everywhere enjoying the many quilts.

The Stitchin' Post had beautiful quilts both inside and out.

Quilts make a pretty background for my two youngest granddaughters.

Sorry, I didn't write down the names of the quilts or the makers. The afternoon became more and more windy and those quilts were really dancing in more ways than one.

Since I am having difficulty down-loading so many pictures, I will see if a second post will take the rest.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Well, I made it to Oregon, more or less in one piece. The first plane we boarded only made it a little out of the gate and then had to be stopped on the tarmac for repairs. After a certain number of hours, it was determined the plane could not be fixed so we all came back to the gate and got off to board another plane. That one had no sitting waiting-room and we stood over an hour as boarding was stopped while they made repairs on that plane.

Here is my reception committee. The first face I saw in the crowd was Ben's and two daughters and two granddaughters were waiting just beyond.

Unfortunately, I seem to have picked up a nasty bug on the trip. We drove five hours down to Grants Pass with me coughing most of the way and all the night.

It was so good to be together with the kids and they pampered their poor sickie all the while. On the 7th, Tanabata matsuri in Japan, Ken and Zia had a lovely wedding reception in the woods. I wish I had been more prepared for taking pictures but the best I could do was find a comfortable chair and greet people rom there. I'll have to explore the pictures on the other kid's cameras to see if there is something better.

The cake.

The clan. (hard to get those little girls in one picture) Little Paul and Lucien had to attend a baseball game so couldn't come but Jon and son, Kai came in from Washington DC to attend. I am regretting I didn't get a picture of my darling Niece, Lempi with her family. It was such a bonus to see her too. Some camped out in the woods that evening but we drove back to Ken's to crash on real beds. Good choice for me!

Yesterday was the five hour drive back to Portland ... maybe longer with accident delays along the route

Today I have opted out of a ballgame and hope I will be feeling better by tomorrow. I will need my trip to Powells Books... and maybe a fabric shop or two. Unfortunately I seem to have passed the crud around. If we are well enough by the weekend we will try a trip to Sisters for the quilt show. Any of my blogging friends going to be there?