May 4, 2017

Ta Da!!!

I have a couple of reveals for you today.

First is the "Shindig Quilt" for this year. 

Just a reminder that three of us have collaborated for several years to make a quilt to donate to the Folk Heritage Committee to use for fundraising during the summer outdoor traditional music and dance series known as "Shindig on the Green." This free series takes place most Saturday evenings during the summer right in Asheville's downtown Pack Place Park on the Bascom LaMar Lunsford Stage. We call our collaboration "Mountain Jam Circle," and I'm proud to be one of the members of this group supporting this wonderful local event series. 

This year's quilt features a design by our master machine quilter, Cheryl, and she actually did the bulk of the "work" on this quilt, since she created the center Carolina Lily medallion and then Alice and I put together the remaining blocks in four large sections that Cheryl put together to frame the lily.

I should have measured it so I could give you precise dimensions, but it is about a twin size quilt.

The three of us made a shopping excursion to select fabric and then last week Alice and I machine and hand sewed on the binding at our quilt retreat.

Here's a closer view of the medallion.

 And a couple of close ups to show you some of Cheryl's wonderful custom quilting.

We try to come up with a quilt that will show well from the stage and it's nice, too, when we can incorporate something traditional like the "Carolina Lily" motif which reflects the local area.

Anyone who buys a raffle ticket during the season has a chance to win this and the proceeds of the raffle help the FHC to pay for the expenses of setting up the sound system, renting porta-potties, and all the other costs that allow this to remain a popular free summer activity for locals and tourists.

I think this looks pretty good draped over my living room sofa, but alas, I can't keep it.

This final shot just shows our label, the coordinating backing fabric, and the striped binding that mimics the shading in the border poppies.

The second reveal is my annual submission the Quilt Alliance contest. Proceeds of this competition help support the QA mission of promoting, preserving and documenting quilts. This year's theme is "Voices."

I decided to make my 16 inch square quilt reflect the memories that speak to all of us when we come across ephemera we've saved... things like newspaper clippings, old photos, things in familiar handwriting, ticket stubs, journal entries, memorial cards, postcards, and even a grandmother's handkerchief.

It's machine quilted and embellished with rick-rack, yo-yos, buttons and inkjet printed ephemera.

Though the items were from my personal collection, I tried to choose things that were generic enough to "speak" to everyone who reminisces about people and events that brought joy to their lives.

And, of course, all quilts need to be labeled.

April 29, 2017

Annual Quilt Retreat

This past Monday through Thursday I was on a quilt retreat. 

The retreat, which is now organized by several of the Asheville Quilt Guild members, actually happens twice a year, but for the last several years my friend Alice and I have only been attending the spring retreat. 

Formerly the retreat was held at Lake Logan, about an hour's drive from my house, in a rather remote Episcopal center which is on the site of a former logging camp. So think of lakeside housing and a large sewing/eating space with a fireplace and a rustic feel. 

This year we moved to Bonclarken, also an historic religious retreat, but closer to "civilization." It is a half hour drive from my house, very close to the golf course I often play at in Flat Rock, just outside of Hendersonville. There is a nice quilt shop just a couple miles down the road, and the center of Flat Rock Village which has a nice bakery/coffee shop is about a 3/4 mile walk away.

The move was motivated by a cost increase at Lake Logan, but all the 30 attendees seemed to be happier with the Bonclarken accommodations and agreed to return there in the fall.

We were housed in a newish facility that had the layout and feel of a three story chain motel/hotel and on the other side of the "lobby" was a huge, well lit, windowed room where we sewed. There was a full kitchen adjacent to the sewing space and a small gathering spot with a gas fireplace and a TV that was never turned on. We had a short walk past a couple of buildings and through a parking lot to get to the dining facility which was an add-on to the historic hotel on the property which dates back to the 1860's.

Here is a photo of my corner of the main sewing room.

And outside there is a patio with rocking chairs. The hotel rooms are above the patio and our sewing space is in the peaked portion of the building visible to the right.

After a few hours of sewing, I was ready for a walk, and just a short walk away was their lake which has a nice walking trail circling it.

The campus is quite large and includes several large meeting halls and many types of accommodations ranging from buildings that look like old fashioned strip motels, to larger boarding houses, to cabins, to year round homes. In addition to their own lake, some of the homes overlook neighboring Highland Lake.

I brought several projects to work on. I was happy to finally put together the rest of my scrap mystery quilt top from last year. It was a treat to have the floor space to lay it all out.

Alice and I also divided up some fabric that was donated to us and we each made a "Turning Twenty" quilt top.  Once the quilts are finished they will likely be given to Hospice.

We also hand sewed the binding on this year's Shindig quilt. I guess I didn't include a picture of that in this posting, but likely you will see it in a subsequent posting.

I am including some photos of other people's projects in progress so you can get an idea of the things people were working on and so I can remember some of them, too.

This annual retreat is a nice get-away. 

It's a treat to not have to meal plan and to be able to focus solely on a hobby we share with others. We enjoy the the fellowship, make new friends, get our creativity sparked, learn from each other, share resources and recipes... and so much more!

April 14, 2017

Prayer Flags!

I have been thinking about making some prayer flags for my front porch for a looooong time.
I'm not really sure why it took me so long. Probably that procrastination tendency at work again.
Then this week, I happened to see the suggestion of making them out of old handkerchiefs... brilliant! 
I have a collection of old handkerchiefs that I have accumulated... some from my childhood, others likely were my mother's or grandmothers'.
So, in about a half and hour, I had my prayer flags ready to hang.

I think they look rather like springtime! 
Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

April 10, 2017

Tip Toe through the Tulips... with me!

The Spring tulip season seems so fleeting, compared to the daffodils which we have been enjoying for two months. So yesterday we were at the Biltmore Estate gardens to see their annual tulip display. Apparently our timing was good, because it was a riot of color.
 I love this view from the garden this time of year when you can clearly see the house. Later in the season, when all the trees are leafed out, the house will be a bit more disguised.
 The rose bushes are in the upper left of this shot. They already have leaves and in another month they will be full of color!
 I noticed an absence of those stately red tulips... this year the oranges stole the show!

 The purple and white were impressive, too!
 These delicate blooms were tucked in an out of the way spot.
 And now... just a few more pictures:

 And finally, a stop at the winery for a tasting. Year 'round the whites and the reds steal the show there!

April 2, 2017

A Quick Finish!

In mid-February we went to the 30th Annual National Arts & Crafts Conference Show at the Grove Park Inn.

It's an amazing event featuring antiques from the "Arts and Crafts" or Craftsman era as well as all manner of things made by contemporary "makers" of items in that style.

This year Russ bought me a kit to make a pillow, selecting this nice design featuring pinecones and pine needles. For me, it was a quick finish, from a bag of loose materials to a finished product in less than 2 months!
I worked on it primarily during my winter TV viewing time.

The other day I finished it and now I think it looks pretty much at home on my Morris chair.

It only required satin stitch for the pine cones and a chain stitch for the needles. The linen has a very coarse burlap-like texture. The back of the pillow, which was also provided in the kit, is a dark brown finer weave linen.

This isn't the first pillow kit I have completed from this company, At the A&C festival three or four years ago, I purchased a kit for myself. Again, I started the embroidery immediately and worked on it throughout the summer during many outdoor music events. I finished the embroidery, and then due to my tendency toward procrastination, I folded it up and put it away.

The next year when I saw the price tags on some completed pillows, I figured I had better find my project and finish it and put it to use.

This pillow design is a little more elaborate, but nothing requiring great embroidery skill. I liked the sage green linen background and backing and the acorn/oak leaf design.

The pillow now resides on the East Lake rocker in my living room.

If you like the A & C look, you might consider going to the 31st National Arts & Crafts Conference which will be held at the Grove Park Inn on February 16-18, 2018. or for more information.