Evening in the Garden Quilts

Adventures in Fabric Art

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Little Rock, Arkansas: History and Art Quilts

We stopped in Little Rock to see Central High School.

I had taught about it for years, and it was amazing to stand on the steps where such a change began for our country.  It is a truly beautiful building which should be preserved regardless of its history, and it is still an active high school, so tours are by appointment only.  Across the street, the National Parks Service maintains a small but excellent Visitor Center with great audio/visuals of the events that occurred there.  All so peaceful now.

A wonderful surprise was a display at the Visitor Center of a number of quilts by an artist new to me, Sabrina Zarco.  The exhibit is called “American Spring:  A Cause for Justice Quilt Exhibition”. 

I found these two quilts especially arresting.

I love that she made this one from a vintage tablecloth (thought I was the only one who did that).

I’m told all the quotations are things that have been said to her.

Great embellishment.  Buttons!

These are nine patches, with paint and stenciling over top, besides the large “applique”.

We had lunch downtown in their River Market District, then continued toward home.


Bloggers’ Quilt Festival Fall 2012

Wow, I had a hard time choosing my favorite quilt to enter in this show.  I really like several of the things I’ve made this year.  In fact, I started a post on “Windflowers” before I realized that this was my favorite.  For today.

This is “Ocean Breezes”, made in early July.  It’s made from 176 HSTs, in a variety of textured fabrics.

I wanted that breezy, summer, beachy feel, so I used several seer suckers and an embellished white cotton that had pin tucks and rick rack .

This was my first foray into fabrics like these for quilting.  They were stretchy and finicky, but we got along all right, and everything came out square enough in the end.

The pale yellow back was hard to photograph.  I pieced it with a strip of seer sucker.

I quilted this entirely with white Bottom Line by Superior Threads.  I stablized the lines between all the blocks first, then did the diagonals in one direction only.  I’m very pleased with the alternating wavy lines.  My favorite comment from a viewer:  “I can feel the breezes!”

The best part about Ocean Breezes is its new home.  It was purchased by a woman who had an antique family quilt in aqua and white (unusual, I think, she sent me a picture), and she felt that this one was meant to come home to be with hers.  I couldn’t be happier.

Ocean Breezes

48″ x 66″

Machine pieced, machine quilted by Valerie Root

Best categories:  Throw quilt; Home machine quilted

Linking up to the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival 2012 at Amy’s Creative Side

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Sunday Stash: After the Vacation

Obviously, no sewing was done in the last three weeks, so nothing was used that way.  And, yes, I did make Hancock’s of Paducah my last stop… so there’s no net use to report.

Still, these are good purchases, don’t you think?  I mostly stuck to my list, and stayed on my budget.

The lovely pile of Kona solids came from a discounted bin of remnants (they are generous about what is a remnant there!). 

The rest (mostly batiks, also from a discount table) are great neutrals and blues I need for a prospective quilt.  No regrets here.

To help the numbers a little, I decided that this would be a good time to donate some  large pieces of fabric that are neither pretty nor first-quality, and will never get used by me.  Someone else can have a stab at them.

This week:  12 yds. added, 7 yds. donated

YTD:  +114 yds., -192.5 yds.

Used 2012: 77.5 yds.

See more Stash Reports at Patchwork Times.


Greetings from Marathon, Texas!

Sitting here in the lobby on the historic (1929) Gage Hotel in tiny (pop. 430) Marathon, Texas, using their wifi to post this.

We left San Antonio this morning on the way to Big Bend National Park.  San Antonio is a beautiful and friendly place, and here are some images.  Sorry, these are just phone photos.  It’s a city full of textures and patterns.

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Greyhound Station, Blytheville, Arkansas

In spite of the sign, this station was not “open”,  but someone was working in the back in the “Main Street”  office.

This art deco gem was built in 1939.  It’s on the National Register of Historic Places, and believed to be one of just three left.

Such an amazing and functional building, with its wide overhangs, neon sign, and tiny, perfect lunch counter inside.

The underside of the overhangs was even stamped with quilting designs!

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Quilt Fabric on the Hoof, er, on the Plant!

It was unseasonably cold when we left Ohio Monday morning, and we passed many frosty fields.  When we arrived in Missouri, the fields again looked frosty, but they turned out to be frosted with ripe cotton.  We have traveled in cotton country before, but never in the fall.

I’m used to corn lining the roads at home, but here and all through Arkansas, there were acres and acres of cotton in various stages of harvest.

In some fields, the effects of the drought were evident, with sparse crops.

Still, they seemed to be harvesting a lot, some in these huge rectangular bales, and some in large round bales that were each wrapped in bright yellow plastic.  Rail cars waited on sidings and trucks hauled bales around.

When we stopped to take these pictures, I felt the “lint” on the plants.  It reminded me of wool:  soft and a little greasy.  Of course, I was thinking about all the quilt fabric this could produce, but I forgot that cotton seed meal and oil are important parts of the crop.  Anyway, this is one of the places where our beautiful fabric gets its start!


Sunday Stash Report: Progress!

Finally used some fabric!  Well, I’m always using fabric, but I wait until a project is finished to count it.  The Blue and Gold Cabins quilt was all from stash, which tells you something about my stash.  More importantly, it used two rather difficult pieces of fabric.  I loved those wild blue and gold prints when I bought them, but they were on the verge of becoming large (2 yard pieces) stash dogs.  In this quilt, they are not just “okay”, they are perfect for this recipient.  Now they’re happy and I’m happy, and I feel like counting them double, but I won’t.

Recently, Judy was saying that she uses the yardage calculations from her EQ7 designs to calculate stash usage.  Somehow, this hadn’t occurred to me!  I guess I always assumed the estimate would be too high.  I took a look at it this time, compared it with my guesstimate on yardage for the top, and found it to be pretty close (with the large, straight pieces and limited fabrics in this quilt, it was fairly easy to figure).  What about you?  Do you find EQ estimates to be close?  How do you measure your fabric usage?

This week:  0 yds. in, 9.5 yds. used

YTD:  + 102 yds, -185.5 yds.

Net used in 2012:  -82.5 yds.

See more Stash Reports at Patchwork Times.


A Finish!

Seems like a while since I’ve finished a quilt, and longer than I thought with this one, but Blue and Gold Cabins is done.  I did remove and reverse the fabric on the borders, and I like the result.

It was awkward and cumbersome to rip off the borders and reattach them at that stage, and added a few more hours.  While I worked I could only see that it looked like the back of a fabric, faded and not as smooth as the front, but it looks fine washed up.  Like a lighter colorway in the same fabric line.

One thing that did happen is that I must have brought thousands of batting pills over to the front (I guess because of the spray baste).  I’ve washed it, shaken it outside, and now will lint roll it thoroughly before I box it up to send today.

It’s going to a relative in the hospital who survived a medical crisis and now has a long recovery ahead.  This is nothing if not a cheery quilt!

Here is the view out my studio window, where I look into the top of a dogwood tree.  What you can’t see are all the birds hopping around, eating the orange berries.  Right now I see a wren, but often there are titmice, chickadees, cardinals, flickers, and others.  Lots of company and extra interest for the cats.

I hope you all have a beautiful fall (or spring!).

I’ll be linking to Finish It Up Friday on Crazy Mom Quilts.

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Rainy Tuesday

International Audience

I feel like I’m off to a good start with this blog.  I’m still trying to learn the technical parts, so I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface, but my stats show that so many people are looking at it from all over the world, and that’s very exciting.  Thank you, viewers, and especially commentors.  As much as I like showing my work, be assured that that’s not all that I’ll be doing.  I hope to review tools and to tutorials and share lots of interesting things.

One thing that will be different soon is that I will be away from home for three weeks, traveling through Texas.  I plan to keep blogging, but obviously there will be no actual sewing to share.  I don’t want to do a travelog, but I wouldn’t rule out a few pictures of beautiful places.  What I hope to do is show patterns or designs I happen across in nature or architecture.  There could also be quilts or quilt shops, but hopefully not much buying.  We shall see.


I am going to show another personal quilt photo here.  The intensity of this quilt has been bothering me.  It is for a young man, an artist, who I know likes bright color and pattern, but I still feel it is too much.  Adding the blue inner border helped, and I like the way it is quilted, but it is still pretty hard on the eyes.  I joined the Flickr group, “Stash Pact II, Electric Bugaloo”, and Gab-Fab suggested using the back side of fabrics.  As I was working today I glimpsed the reverse side of the blue and gold border fabric and I really like it.  In the picture, I’ve placed some scraps on top of the actual border.  I think it provides the calm I was looking for, for floating the bright log cabins.  Problem:  the borders are on and partially quilted.  Do I rip the quilting out and the borders off, reattach, and requilt?  Keep in mind that I’m leaving on a trip Monday.  I think I probably will, because I really prefer the effect.  Hmmm.  Thoughts?

Inspiring Me Today

These tea towels  by Mae Engelgeer on Design*Sponge would make great quilts, don’t you think?  I love them.  And speaking of great quilts, I wish I had made this quilt, but it’s by Rita, of Red Pepper Quilts.  Her work amazes me.

Have a productive week!

I’m linking up with WIP at Freshly Pieced.