Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Denver log cabin/crazy quilts

Here is another picture from the Denver Quilt Museum in Golden, CO. I was delighted to see a crazy quilt made of cotton fabrics in what might loosely call log cabin blocks. At least the fabric strips are obviously sewn around a center square, the defining character of a log cabin block. The layers not quilted together, they were tied with a yarn or string of some sort. The block on the left features the American flag and is dated 1886 (or 1888). The block on the right was made by Ruth (last name unreadable) and dated 1887. The quilt is reversible as a pieced top with just squares of fabric measuring about 2" square was used for the reverse side. There is cotton batting between the layers.

Looking at these quilt blocks we have to conclude that modern day quilters did not discover or invent or design what we call "wonky" log cabin blocks. It is always heart warming to see what's old is new again and to revel in continuing the wonderful traditions of quiltmaking.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Denver in 3 days

I just spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in Denver. On Thursday night I spoke to the Arapahoe County Quilters, a guild of about 200 members. I flew into Denver on Wednesday, and had all day Thursday free before the evening meeting. My hostess, Lucy, took me to the Denver Quilt Museum in Golden. Antique Victorian crazy quilts made up the featured exhibit. It is an exhibit well worth seeing if you are in the area.

The store front entry to the downtown museum.

Here is an unusual crazy quilt. It is a skating costume created by a young victorian lady to wear to the skating rink. She has wooden platform skates. Roller skating was a very popular activity for young people in the late 19th century. 

A detail of a late 19th century crazy quilt. The quilt was first sewn in blocks, and the blocks were sewn together to complete the quilt top. The detail and embroidery in each of the blocks is exquisitely stitched to show the skills of the needleworkers who made the blocks.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I have been so weary of all the political ads on TV that I have watched a lot of HGTV while I sew.  Before long I realized that a modest remodel would make my house a lot more user friendly and would also give me a nice, big sewing studio. Today the demolition started. My house is 100 years old. The contractor knew the wall that he was going to break through to add a double french door was a load bearing wall...but here is our demolition surprise.
Instead of a lathe and plaster wall the interior of the living room was tongue and groove paneling--the boards being as old as the house. After they were removed we realized that the wood on the other side of the studs is outdoor siding. The room that is now my computer room (and will soon be the library) started life as an outside porch with overlapping exterior wood siding. Amazing. Sometime after the house was built the porch was apparently enclosed to become a bedroom and a second, new porch was added to the front of the house. Contractor was not happy but he is continuing to tackle the problem. It's a lot more work to saw through wood instead of just smashing through plaster or wallboard with a sledge hammer.

Here is the other side of my once lovely living room. I am not worried about the sofa and chairs as I plan to have them reupholstered after the renovation is finished. It is now a workroom for the contractor.
I have an old fashioned shotgun house. If you stand at the front door with a shotgun you can shoot out the backdoor. There are four rooms at the front of the house, these are the ones being remodeled, and four rooms at the back of the house...this is where I am living and working until the renovation is complete. Right now I have my computer on the kitchen table. The dog is confused. She doesn't like change. She is getting lots of change. In the end we will both love it I am sure.

On Wednesday I am off to Denver to present a program to the Arapahoe Quilters. I hope when I get home on Friday that the door opening will be cut in the wall and the roof will still be intact at the top of the house and not caved in to the living room.

I am quite excited about the Denver trip. If you live nearby, come as a guest. I would love to meet any and all of you. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Quilt Festival Fun

Home from Quilt Festival at last! After teaching 3 workshops and presenting other events in Houston that were all so well organized, I hit bottom at the airport. My flight was cancelled - the plane was broken and there was no part at the airport to fix it. There was just one more flight to Atlanta leaving that day and I was able to get a seat thanks to my million miler status with Delta. My bags are still in Houston, but should be delivered today but I got to sleep in my own bed last night. WHEW!

Janet and I taught the workshops together in Houston. On Friday it was Lickety-Split Log Cabin for a half day and on Saturday it was Magical Medallion quilts in circle of nine settings. One quilter, Beth, was in both classes. She finished 9 log cabin blocks on Friday and then told us she was planning to skip the medallion workshop on Saturday because she didn't have 9 quilt blocks ready - but now she did, so she was coming to class to make a Log Cabin Magical Medallion quilt.

Here's what happens when two workshops are combined into one fantastic quilt. I couldn't imagine log cabin blocks in a circle of nine setting, but Beth did it beautifully.

Janet Houts (my sister) and I are available to present programs and lead workshops (together or individually) at quilting guilds everywhere. Visit our websites: for me or for Janet. Our workshops, fees and email addys are posted for convenience.