This Blog

This is a blog to show off my needlework, mainly crazy quilting, beading and crochet. It makes me happy to create these things and even more happy to share the fun with friends. Pictures of my beading projects are at

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Something Special from Peru

In July I took the trip I had been dreaming of for years: an Amazon River Cruise and Rain Forest exploration. I loved it. The weather was perfect, it was less buggy than here in Maryland, the trip leader was excellent and fun, lots of wildlife showed itself and the villagers (riverenos) were friendly.

I had my eye out for embroidery, of course. At a gift shop at an archeological site outside Lima, before we even reached the Amazon watershed, I found my favorite piece. Yes it's a  mountain scene and I didn't visit the mountains, but I had to have it anyway.

You can see it is applique and embroidery with stumpwork. Just up my alley. I will use it for pointers to add figures to a years-old UFO I have, if I ever get back to it.

Below are close ups of some of the stumpwork figures  on it.
In Iquitos, the headwaters port on the Amazon, there were other embroideries for sale that I wish I had bought. Ah, well.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Southern Spring, CQJP 2012 April Block

Oh, me. This isn't the end of April, is it. It IS the finish of a flowered block inspired by spring in the south. I'm a native of Iowa. When I moved from there in 1970 to Raleigh, North Carolina, I was delighted with the blooming of  shrubs and trees in the spring. Azalea, dogwood, redbud, apple, pear, and cherry blossom. And it goes on all summer with magnolia, crepe myrtle, mimosa. Just plain beautiful. I now live in Maryland, where it is still the south and I am still delighted every spring.

 The photo on this block is of the pink dogwood in front of my house. Mine is the the house in the foreground with the big picture window for viewing it. The tree is very old. I don't know how many more years I will have it, so I savor all the more the pink beauties it blooms each spring.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

March CQJP 2012 Block

Yes, March brings the spring equinox and this year it was really spring when it came.
In Iowa, where I grew up the daughter of a tenant farmer, March 1 was moving day. Farm leases began on March 1 so moving in could be finished in time to prepare the fields and plant the crops. Of course the old saying about March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb or vice versa was based on a little bit of truth about the iffy weather. In my fifth grade year, my sisters and I were snowed in with my Aunt Sarah's family for three days when a blizzard came during our move. My parents were snowed in at the new farmhouse without everything hooked up. I wish now I could ask details about how they managed, but alas they are gone now.

My March Crazy Quilt Journal Project  block remembers moving day, this time without the blizzard. The daffodils are blooming in crocheted glory and forsithia adds it's bright yellow to the day. The family dog makes the move, too, representing the livestock that goes. The year of the blizzard, our old dog Bud, made the trip, but didn't stay. He made his way back to farm where he had spent his life until now. He had actually been my Grandparents' dog and we had lived on the home farm after they retired to town. My Dad made arrangements for him to stay there with the people who moved in behind us.

Monday, March 5, 2012

February CQJP 2012 Block

It''s woman power and the stages of a woman's life. I had no idea this would be it when I began. I just wanted to use a beautiful carved cameo cabochon of a girl which I have had for a long time.
This lovely maiden made we think of the stages of a woman's life: maiden, mother, wise woman. And a theme was born.

I added the vintage brooch of a woman I bought at Accessories of Old several years ago when they still had their bricks and morter store.

I needed the face of an old woman for the wise woman image, so I pulled out the package of sculpey my son-in-law gave me for Christmas and made one. Actually I made 3 and picked my favorite, although I almost decided to look for something else, because I'm definitely an amatuer sculptor. I think now she looks like she could give some good advise.
I also added a dragon charm as a symbol of woman power.  Way back in 1978, as a slightly frustrated feminist (the Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution was going down to defeat), I was reenergized and inspired by reading, When God Was a Woman, by Merlin Stone. It was in this book I learned that the dragon was an ancient symbol for the goddess and I have used and collected dragon images and items since then.

My friend Helen, of my crazy quilt group told me it is also a symbol of transformation. And, doesn't that fit with the whole theme, too!
At last April's Crazy Quilt Adventure in Connecticut, we exchanged hand-made  motifs. Some pretty ribbon flowers I received were the perfect color for this block. I regret I discarded the card that was with them, so I can't personally thank the friend who made them. I hope you see this to see how pleasingly they were used.

After all the seams were embellished, I had one spot left for a motif, so I furthered the mother theme with an image of madonna and child.

Here is the completed block, finished 2 days into March. I hope to make up that slippage and stay on schedule to have a complete quilt at the end of the year. I didn't want to start slipping this soon. These are 8 inch blocks.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

CQJP 2012 January block finished

Okay. I finished my January block for the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2012 (CQJP 2012) just in the nick of time. I  hope this doesn't bode badly for the rest of the months.

This is an 8 inch block as all will be.

Since I learned that the winter holidays origninated with ancient people celebrating the return of the sun, I have loved the idea. Well, in 1965, the sun's return heralded the arrival of my son, Joe, on the 28th. I think he began yelling and kicking before he was born. He was a difficult one to raise, but also a charmer. Hence all the meanings of "ka-pow" came into my life. I'm happy to report he became a responsible adult and the sun still returns to my pleasure in January.

Crazy Quilts are Quilts, Too is having a Crazy Quilts are Quilts Too online contest and show. I didn't enter a piece in the contest, but I'm doing the "linky" thing. Here a picture of my latest finished piece, Green Apple Flutter.

It is 14 inches square. It started with a 6 inch square block I made to experiment with the colors orange and lime green. I decided to enlarge the piece to take to the Crazy Quilt Adventure retreat in Connecticut last April for a work piece. I decided to include some plastic stickers I had with uplifting words to go with the bright colors: grow, play and bloom. I used a fair number of new to me techniques on the block, including stumwork wired butterflies. My friend Susan brainstormed to help me chose a new name for it, Green Apple Flutter. I had been calling it red orange and apple green block. That didn't exactly flow.

I've been crazy quilting since a few months after I retired in 1997. I wanted to make a quilt and was looking through old ideas and patterns I had kept. I was struck immediately by a crazy quilt pattern, ca 1960s and started on a full sized quilt I called "The Sampler." I read that a spider and web on a quilt is good luck. I remembered the big garden spiders that built their webs between the corn rows on the Iowa farm where I grew up. I made a "corn rows" block with a spider in the middle that is 3 1/2 inches long from including the legs. She was published in the first issue of Quilting Arts magazine.  I finished the quilt in 2001.
During that time I joined the Crazy Quilt group on Quiltropolis and found a great community for learning and friendship. I participated in a number of round robins over several years. I enjoyed them a lot, but have given them up because I want the time to work on my own projects. As various new crazy quilt groups have formed, I've joined them, too. Can't say enough about how valuable they are for promoting our art.

I've made two other full-sized quilts: one for my friend Maggie:

Since Marguarite means daisy, the quilt was full of daisy motifs and "silkies." It was made of cotton fabrics from my stash in purples.

And another for my sister: Bells and Butterflies for Betty

This is  blues, her favorite color and features the objects of her collections, bells and butterflies.

I've also made blocks for donations, ornament and toys over the years:

These are some examples. As I look back through my pictures I see I've had a lot of fun with my crazy quilting needle.