Friday, November 20, 2009

Dog Bed 5

Dog bed 5 went to Stephanie Fabritius. Stephanie is a fellow Danville quilter who has contributed a lot of fabric scraps to my dog bed project. Her shelter dog Thorstein seems to feel right at home on his new bed.
The dog bed cover is made of scraps of Marimekko fabrics. I continue to make dog beds so anybody in the market for a bed should let me know.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Passing it on

Too often, when I tell somebody that I am a quilter, I hear that "quilting is a lost art," or "my grandmother quilted." The people who say that obviously are not quilters themselves. The fact is that quilting is making a huge come-back and many people, mostly women, of all ages are now quilters. Still, most of us have grandmothers rather than mothers who were quilters, but the day is surely approaching where we will be seeing more and more people who learned to quilt from their mothers, sisters, or even children.

For that reason, it thrills me to no end that my beloved nephew, Jens, and niece, Anna, both children of my sister and her husband, Vibeke and Klaus, not only love the quilts I make for them but both have shown an interest in sewing on their own. When they visited us in May of 2009, they both asked if I would help them sew something. Jens wanted to make a pillow and Anna a quilt. I let them use whatever they wanted from my scrap box and said that they could also use from my stash if only they asked first. As it turned out, they used almost exclusively fabric from the scrap box, but each bought a fat quarter when we visited the fabric store.
Jens and Anna both designed their own creations and hand pieced their works. I helped them cut the fabrics, sometimes pin them together and sometimes thread needles.
They were so into what they were doing that when we during their stay visited the local Shakertown museum, they both sat down with me to work on the quilt which was exhibited for that purpose.

Jens finished his pillow case, front and back, before they left our home to continue their vaction in a rented RV on the west coast. As you can see, he was quite pleased with the way it turned out.
Nobody took a bite out of this picture, it is a lamp which hangs above our dining table!
When it was time to leave, Anna had finished piecing her top but had not quilted it yet. So I showed her how to tie it and sent her on her way with enough perle cotton to finish that as well as instructions on how to apply the binding when she was finished. Her parents subsequently took pictures of her with the finished quilt as I had instructed.
In my totally unbiased opinion, both she and the quilt are gorgeous!
Anna made the quilt for her friend and gave it to her. Unfortunately, a very short while later, the quilt was mysteriously lost. Both girls were heart broken and everybody looked everywhere, and Anna's mother put up posters with the above pictures, but last I heard it had not been found.

When I visited Denmark in August, Anna and I went shopping for fabric and we designed a new quilt together. Before I left, I cut the fabrics and left fairly detailed instructions for her on how to sew it. I am so very sorry that I live so far away. I know that if we lived closer, Anna and I would be able to sew and quilt together and Anna would grow up and say, "my aunt taught me to quilt." I am not giving up on that idea yet, but it is hard when we only see each other for a few weeks a year. Here's hoping, Anna!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tic Tac Toe

When my first Danish nephew - my sister's son, Jens - was born, quite naturally, I made him a baby quilt. He then became the one according to whom the tradition of quilt giving by me to my nieces and nephews was made. And, because he from a very early age, indicated a strong and irresistible desire for more quilts, I have had to come up with several occasions for giving quilts to my nieces and nephews.

My American nephews and nieces were all born before I started quilting - and all but one before I even entered the family! - so they didn't get in on the quilt circuit!

But back to the Danish bunch: First the baby quilts, of course. But before he was very old, Jens would, when he saw me sewing ask "is that for me, Auntie?" or "when do I get another quilt?" etc. And who can ignore such adorable talk? Certainly not a real auntie! So, when he was around 3 or 4, I made him an alphabet quilt. As Danish children do not even begin to learn their letters until they start school, and since this quilt really was for hanging on the wall, I am afraid it was a disappointment. Nevertheless, I had to make one for his sister, Anna, as well. However, I did not make alphabet quilts for their cousins, Emil and Emma! But because the alphabet quilts were not a huge hit, I had to hurry up and think of a new occasion.

Here enter the "Big Boy/Girl Quilts" made for everyone - Jens first, of course - on his or her 5th birthday. Because Jens and Anna were first, they got the least exciting ones, by the time I got to Emil and Emma my skills and creativity had developed and theirs were not only larger but also a lot more fun! But, so it goes.

Around the age of 8 or 9, Jens again started wondering when it might be time for him to get another quilt. I think I had originally said that the next one would not come along until he graduated from High School, but it is hard to hold the line to an adorable child who clearly really loves and appreciates one's quilts! So when I was visiting, around Jens' 10th birthday, and he was just getting a new adult bed and other new furniture for his room, I said that I would make a quilt to fit the new decorations. We got on the web and looked at fabrics on eQuilter. He originally picked out $300 worth of fabrics he liked, but I winnowed it down to four fabrics. I told him that I would pick the pattern and that I would add as many fabrics as I needed to the ones he had picked. Originally, I think I may have given him the impression that it would be ready for his 11th birthday, but that didn't happen, and then we just didn't talk about it. So when I finally brought it to Denmark this summer and gave it to him for his 13th birthday, I do not think he was expecting it.

It was again, such a joy to give it to him. He clearly really liked it and was very thankful. When I think of how many people I give quilts to who seem quite underwhelmed by the gift, it is so much more satisfying and fun to give it to somebody - especially a much beloved nephew - who really appreciates and loves it. This, of course, is the reason it has been so easy for him to continue to talk me into making him quilts.
While it may not be visible in the picture, there are lots of fabrics with skulls in the quilt, those were chosen by Jens. I added some fabrics with skulls, but only because he had picked them in the first place. He chose the green, purple and pink colors and I just added additional fabrics in those colors as well as the whites and blacks.
When Jens was younger, he liked snow tigers a lot. The big piece of fabric on the back is a Henry Alexander print with lots of big cats, including snow tigers, peering out among fern or palm leaves. It is hard to see in the photo, but I think it is an amazing print. I bought it years ago with Jens in mind, and wanted to use it in this quilt, but found that I just couldn't cut it. I love it on the back of the quilt and am happy that I still had it.

The quilt which measures 68" x 84" is beautifully machine quilted by Regina Carter. It wouldn't be any kind of quilt without her (and I would be no kind of quilter.)
Here you can see for yourself that Jens actually really likes the quilt. He even agreed to have his photo made on the bed with the quilt, and at his age, he is not much into posing for the camera!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cat's Meow

Danville Boyle County Humane Society operates a low cost spay/neuter clinic once a week. Helping out there as a volunteer is one of the things I have become involved with here in my new community. One of the friends I have made through this work is Catherine Dodge who with her husband, Tony, is expecting a baby girl, Cheyenne, in July 2009. Catherine is a wonderful vet tech who takes very good care of our animals at the clinic every week.

I handpieced and handquilted this little 37" x 52" quilt for baby Cheyenne. In addition to all the cats, I tried to add some pink as Cheyenne will be the first girl in a family which already has two little boys.PS. July 7, 2009, - this just in: photo of Mom, and brand new Cheyenne, with a head full of hair.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dog Beds 2, 3 and 4

I have been able to continue to make dog beds. Each bed is made of a cover or bag of canvas, stuffed with quilt and other left-overs: fabric and batting scraps, threads, yarn, dryer sheets, and the occasional discarded piece of old clothing or towel cut in strips or scraps.

I have been able to make all these dog beds only with help from many fellow quilters, and most especially my friends at Wilderness Road Quilt Company, my favorite new quilt shop in Danville, KY, all of whom collect stuff for me, as I could never have collected enough by myself to make even one dog bed a year.

Dog beds two and three both went to Michelle Hiskey's new puppy Cleo.
Here's a picture of Cleo resting on her old dog bed with her zebra toy.
And dog bed 4 went to my sister-in-law Sallie Bright, dog lover extraordinaire, whose dog Lucy obviously took to the bed. It remains to be seen whether Lucy will share it with Annie and Lionel or whether they will have to have their own. So perhaps, Dog beds 5 and 6 will have to go there as well? Stay tuned!

Baby Ellie

I made this quilt for my friends Mary Sidney and Harold when their long awaited baby, Ellie, was born in June. I hand pieced and hand quilted it.
Because Harold spent a lot of his growing up time in Asia and because Ellie's parents like to travel, I put a map of the world on the back of the quilt.
After they got the quilt, however, it appeared that Mary Sidney and Harold liked the back more than the top. Here is a picture of baby Ellie resting on top of the world.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kevin Doyle

This T-shirt quilt was a present for my dear friend and mentor, Kevin Doyle. Kevin was one of the first lawyers I knew and admired for his skills and commitment as a criminal defense lawyer. While I was still in law school, Kevin was a federal defender and as part of a clinical program, I was assigned to work with Kevin during my third year of law school. In addition to having a lot of fun, I learned a lot about the law, about how to deal with clients, about how to try a case, and how to deal with judges and prosecutors. I even had the opportunity to sit at counsel table while Kevin tried a case where he represented a man who was accused of selling bombs to an undercover government agent.

Many years later, when I was working at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta doing capital defense work, Kevin and his family moved to Birmingham where Kevin had taken a job defending people on death row in Alabama, so out paths crossed again.

Kevin is not doing well right now, having to undergo chemotherapy for cancer, so I thought a quilt might be helpful to keep him warm and cozy during this tough time. I picked out some death penalty T-shirts from my stash and machine pieced this throw for him. It was machine quilted by Regina Carter.

Welcome to Disney World

I'd had several fat quarters of Mickey Mouse fabrics for several years and also some additional yardage. So when I heard that my good friend and former colleague Alex Rundlet and his wife were having a baby, I thought this would be perfect, since they live in Florida, the land of Disney. I copied this modified 9-patch pattern from a magazine, thought I needed some kind of variation from the same-old, same-old! and ended up with a 36" x 47" hand pieced and hand quilted quilt.
For a while, though, I was afraid I would never get it to Alex, Karen and their baby, because it was exceedingly hard to find out 1) whether their baby had been born, and 2) what the gender and name of the baby was. Alex was apparently way too caught up to make any announcement on his own, but I did see some "chatter" on his facebook wall which seemed to indicate that a Rundlet baby had been born. So I asked whether it was Alex or his identical twin brother who had become a father. A person unknown to me - let's call him Craig because I fail to remember his name - wrote back on Alex' wall and said that both Alex and his twin had become fathers within a week of each other. Nevertheless, I still could not get any information about the gender or name of the child.

I have an "obsession"? with labels on quilts, and think that before I give a baby quilt to somebody, I have to put the child's name on it - along with my name. I do not recall how long it took, but Alex finally did get around to letting me and the rest of the world know that Baby Celia Clare Rundlet had been born.

I have since heard from both him and Karen and seen pictures of the beautiful child. And according to Karen, Alex is totally smitten by her. She will probably get to go to Disney World as often as she wants to, all she has to do is ask her Daddy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Baby Olivia

This little quilt was made from a Baby Genius panel. I hand pieced it and hand quilted it. It was a present for Baby Olivia, the daughter of Greg Camp. Greg was a student of Steve's and is on the board of the Southern Center. The quilt is 40" x 47".

Sunday, May 31, 2009


This was made from a kit supplied by the Wilderness Road Quilt Company during their Spring Retreat in March 2009, all I added was the zebra, the back and the binding. The finished product is 74" by 84". It was machine quilted by Shery Whitaker, who works at Wilderness.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cup and postcard

Every now and then I get around to making some small non-quilt items. Here are a couple:
Atlanta Intown Quilters, THE best quilt store in Georgia, asked its customers to send them a quilted post card, so I made and sent the above. (It was announced that a drawing would take place later in the summer and that the winner would receive a gift certificate to the store. A huge incentive for every quilter to send in the card!)
In March I participated in a retreat at Wilderness, in addition to making two quilts, we all also made a couple of minor items. The first was this "quilt in a cup," for which the staff of the store had embroidered each of our names to be included in the cup. A very cute and fun idea.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Peace by Piece V

The Peace by Piece quilters met for the last time - with me in attendance at least - for dinner in June of 2008. At that time, they surprised me with a present of two beautiful pillows they had made especially for me. How wonderful and how sweet. A beautiful and so meaningful reminder of our great time together, which made my new home so much more like home, right off the bat.
For the front of the pillows, they had constructed these two amazing pictures of zebras drinking Diet Coke with Lime from a straw! I, of course, always drink Diet Coke with Lime from a straw and almost constantly have one of them with me no matter where I go!
The back of the pillow covers were pieced with fabrics from each of their quilts. So I have scraps of all the beautiful fabrics they chose and from which their quilts are being made! What a great idea.Each pillow had a label. I think they may have been making just a tiny bit fun of me when they made the labels. I had talked to them about the necessity of putting a label on each quilt you make, always! Perhaps they thought I had been too emphatic! But this label, surely is wonderful and descriptive.
The other label was very creative, each woman held out her fingers in a "peace" sign on several "pieces" of their fabrics, and it was done in a circle for our group! A lot of symbolism packed into that label.
This is a picture of us, with the pillows, from that last meeting. From left: Marie, Kirsten, Charlotta, Sara, Ela, and Mica. As mentioned previously, Shelby had mostly dropped out by then, so she had not been involved in the pillow project.

What a great time I had with these young creative women. I feel very privileged to have been able to get to know them and hang out with them. So far, I have been able to stay in touch and to meet with them a couple of times on my return trips to Atlanta.

Now I am anxiously awaiting a visit from them, or at least some of them, here to the Vatican!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Peace by Piece IV

Marie is very prolific and very creative. Here is one of her quilts. I love the bright colors!
This is another of Marie's quilts, a lovely Drunkard's Path, with creative pieced borders.
Kirsten has so far been the most prolific of the group. She has completed several baby quilts.
This is Kirsten's diamond shaped baseball quilt made for her nephew.
Kirsten hand appliqued this quilt inspired by one she saw at the Gees Bend show. Last I heard, she was in the process of hand-quilting it. I especially like the blue block in the upper most right corner. She told me that she made it because she lost a block she was working on at the celebratory service held in memory of our friend, Lewis Sinclair. I love the symbolism: the block is unique but nevertheless fits in and looks just right with the rest; Lewis was most definitely unique, yet he was such an integral part of all the rest of us and made us all feel as if we belonged together.Another beautiful baby quilt by Kirsten.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Peace by Piece III

While not everybody finished her quilt while I was still around, most made significant progress. It was especially exciting for me to see what happened to the quilts for which I had helped buy fabrics.This is a picture of Sara proudly showing off her top. She subsequently added a border and had it machine-quilted by Regina Carter. I have not yet seen it with a binding.
Ela showing off her first finished block. And, below, is a picture of all her finished blocks laid out as she wanted to put them together.

This is Mica's quilt. She told me that after this picture, she bought additional fabrics to make it even larger.

Unfortunately, Shelby more or less dropped out before I could get a picture of what happened with her quilt. Kirsten had already started at least one project before we started our group. I believe this is her first finished quilt.
And, if I am not mistaken, this is the back of Kirsten's first quilt.

I am waiting for and looking forward to pictures of the quilts as they continue to move towards their final states! Stand by for more adventures of the Peace by Piecers!