Thursday, May 30, 2013

National Quilt Museum

We've been trying to get to Paducah for several years now.  I've wanted to visit the city but more importantly I've wanted to visit the National Quilt Museum.  I've read about it, supported it, and dreamed about going.

Finally, I can say I've been.  Last week while on vacation, we visited my sister in Knoxville.  If you look at a map, it doesn't take very long to realize that Paducah, KY, is far from Knoxville, TN.  It's about six hours of driving away, actually.  That did not deter my darling from making the drive, however.

The quilts at the museum are beautiful.  Most have won a major award at one of the AQS shows, and all are the kinds of quilts that the rest of us dream of making.  You know, the kind that take some special talent, years of patience and determination, and a saintly ability to focus.  Since I have none of that talent, patience or focus, I make my quilts and enjoy the others.  But alas, I have to enjoy them in my head because there is absolutely no photography at the NQM.  

I did ask about photographing the stained glass windows and got an affirmative, so please enjoy them with me.

I don't know that I got pictures of all the windows, but it's close if not.   I had plans for adding a few other photos from Paducah but the internet is running extremely slowly tonight.  I'll apologize and try again tomorrow.  
Happy Quilting,

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pin It Wednesday #20

Summer has me thinking of the beauty of nature, especially flowers.    These are just stunning.

 We call these Sweetheart Roses, but the note labels them as Fairy Rose.  I have some in my yard that need some TLC. 

 Hydrangea shrub in full bloom.  

 Dalia blooms.

 Pink poppies.   

 According to the note these are called Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea.

I have a version of these Chinese Lanterns.  When we stopped at the visitor's center in Lafayette last year, there was a shrub blooming with these.  I fell in love with it and asked about it.  The sweet workers allowed me to break a branch from the shrub, which they said is a common weed shrub.  I planted it in the flower bed and it bloomed this spring.

How about a few piles of folded quilts?  I love photos of quilts folded and piled one on another.  They look so cozy, but I know they are also soft and warm, clean and fresh smelling, and inviting.

And I'll close with a few quilting funnies I discovered this week.

Have a great week of pinning!

Vacation, whew!

We got back from a quick vacation to the mountains.  The only real problem was that my darling agreed to all the craziness I could dream up, and I wore myself out!
The view from the windshield 

I have a sister who lives in Knoxville, so I started by suggesting that we save money by visiting her.  Besides, we've not been able to visit in the five years that she's lived there.  Off to the Great Smoky Mtns. the moment school closed, we had lots of energy and determination.  We did use some common sense and spent a night on the road.  
first large waterfall
However, that was the last bit of common sense to be found.  Laura, my sister, suggested we get as much of the Smokies as possible in the few days we had.  We agreed.  But the Smokies kicked our flat-land tails much so that we decided that mass was all we could handle on Sunday.  In their defense, every hill does go down, but down can hurt as much as up!  We loved the waterfalls, the beautiful, serene homesteads, the wildflowers, the pastures, the barns....all of it!  The hills, though, are tall and steep and even paving can't do much for shin splints, calves and toes--yes, toes!  It's amazing how much work the toes do! 
view from Clingman's Dome

We visited Clingman's Dome, Newfound Gap, and Cade's Cove.  They were all fabulous and describing any one of them will take a full post!
the mill at Cade's Cove

On Monday we left Knoxville for Mammoth Cave National Park with Laura leading the way.  She's wanted to visit the cave for a while and it's only three hours away, so why not do it with us?  I've recommended it a couple of times, but somehow we've not been able to get there in past trips.  The cave is beautiful, dark, and cold. Our tour guide was funny and interesting, but keeping up with him became impossible at "Fat Man's Misery" and we fell behind.  Eventually we finished the tour but it got a little dicey for a while.

We parted company with Laura at Mammoth Cave and were off to Paducah to the National Quilt Museum.  She's not into quilts, so she spent a night at the caves to do a little more spelunking the following day.  It will take a post to describe the beautiful quilts at the NQM.  

We spent an entire morning just enjoying the quilts and then a few more hours enjoying Paducah.  I was not expecting such a large city or one with such a colorful history. The downtown area is surprisingly busy with quilt and antique shops, restaurants and the river.  The new areas along the interstate are busy with hotels, shopping, restaurants and business.   Between the two are beautiful older homes well worth the extra time of driving around.  I thought of New Orleans and Savannah, but this city is more than just a reminder of other older cities.  It has it's own vibe and history and takes full advantage of both.
the hills in Kentucky

After the quilt museum and Paducah, we were finally ready to head home.  Kentucky and Tennessee are littered with barn quilts and we saw a few on the stunning drive from Paducah toward I 55 and Memphis.  It was easy to see them since we are country people at our core and could not help but to look at every farmhouse, barn and field on the drive.  Every now and then Richard would roll his window down so the smell of fresh-cut hay could replace "the stale air of two old people too long in the same vehicle." (his words, of course!)

Expect a few more vacation posts with lots of pictures.  I am sure I can find a few words to express visiting some of the highest mountains and some of the deepest caves that ordinary visitors can get to in a week's time.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

I hope everyone had a wonderful, happy Memorial Day and took some time to thank a veteran or pray for one.  At mass yesterday the priest asked that all veterans stand and the rest of us applauded as a way to say thank you.  The applause lasted for quite a long time while the men and women who protect us (currently or in the past) stood with honor.  I am so pleased that my sister, who we were visiting for a few days, was among those standing proudly.  

Of course, I thought of my dad, who served in the Navy during the Korean War, several of my sisters and brothers-in-law, and now another generation including my son and several nephews who have also served.  Although I personally did not serve in the military, I come from a family of men and women who have, and I am very proud of them and appreciate their sacrifices.  Sometimes the sacrifice was an easy one, but there have been times when the sacrifice was more difficult than I will ever really know or understand.

If you are a Veteran, thank you for your service to our country.  If not, please join me in thanking one. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In back of the barn

I have never been so good at documenting a quilt as I am with this one.  It's been easy, though, snap a few pictures and write away.  I think it may be that the inspiration makes it especially easy.  I started with a picture of a place that is part of my family home and have so many memories of playing there.  

What is funny is that two of our boys came for supper and when Will came into the studio and took a look at the quilt, he knew immediately whose barn it is.  He got a bit involved by pointing out different sections and telling stories of his youth.  What a wonderful compliment!  That's exactly what I was hoping for.

This afternoon I started working on the background.  I wanted to include a few animals in front of the barn, but I didn't want them to be in color--just quilted in place so that the viewer doesn't see the animals unless he/she really looks for them.  The problem though is that I need a drawing on the fabric.  I figured out one way to achieve my goal: packing tape.  

I had pictures of the animals I wanted to use, so I put a piece of packing tape over the picture and drew on the tape with a Sharpie.  The tape then goes on the quilt background and I just quilt over it.  Removing the tape is a little bit of a problem, but my seam ripper is a great tool for that.

The chicken came out pretty good, and I'm pleased with the calves and the pig, too.  Following the darker lines of a Sharpie is much easier than following the lines of the pen.  I used a Frixion pen for the first animal, this calf.  The ink disappears with a quick pressing but it doesn't mark very well on the muslin that I'm using for this project.  There was no way I'd be able to follow these lines for the chickens.  The tape worked beautifully and because it sticks to the fabric, there was no shifting.

I am almost finished with the entire background.  Going around the trees and limbs was a fun challenge.

There's a lot of open background on this one, which means lots of lines.  I call this filler Southwest.  It's an easy one but takes times because it is pretty closely quilted.   

 The only thing different in the quilt is that I am not so exacting as the picture appears to be.  (For the picture I drew one line and then cheated by copying and pasting the same line two more times.)

  Tomorrow, if all goes well, the quilt comes off the longarm and I'll add more details with the Bernina.  Then it will be down to binding, which may have to wait for a few days.

Before closing tonight, I want to show you a pot of flowers that is sitting under a tree in our back yard.   These petunias are deep, dark purple, but next to the whites, they look black.

When I saw this mixture, I could not resist.  It's just so pretty and perfect for this pot.  The pot is one I bought years ago in Mexico and is huge.  In fact, we never move it because it's too heavy.  Of course, that means that it needs lots of plants.  

I think we did a good job of filling it, and that black/white combo is a real focal point for our big open yard.