Saturday, October 30, 2010

Butterflies for Grandma Barbara

In 2004, I participated in a block exchange at my local quilt guild. The blocks were butterflies, obviously a favorite of mine. Once I had received the blocks (four in addition to my own), I had to decide on a quilt pattern. Since one of my children was engaged to be married, I decided on a baby quilt size, in hopes of becoming a grandmother someday.

My mother's mother had been a quilter, but died before I was born. One of the things that she consistently did, apparently, was to make baby quilts. I never received one, of course. I had in my library the book, Better Homes and Gardens: Grandma's Best Full-Size Quilt Blocks, and found the pattern used for the butterflies in it (pps 148, 195-6). It is from the time period when my grandmother was fairly prolific making quilts. I decided to make it to honor my grandmother.

The quilting is free-style machine quilting. Fabrics are cottons, including batiks. The images quilted in the separating blocks are cone flower heads, since the cone flower is attractive to butterflies. I learned that dense free-style machine quilting makes for a stiff block, as each of the butterflies is surrounded by an intense amount of quilting. Fortunately, the intervening blocks are not as densely quilted.

"Butterflies for Grandma Barbara"
Butterfly Birthday Blocks - Quiltmaker's Guild 2004
Modified Butterfly Quilt

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival
Amy Ellis is holding the fourth Blogger's Quilt Festival on her site. I hope you enjoy all the beautiful quilts and stories! There are several I'm anxious to read about.
Until next time, may you experience peace and all good.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thinking of the Future; Remembering the Past

New studies now suggest that the number of new cases of Altzheimer's disease each year will double by 2050. I am not likely to be alive at that point, but I have three children, numerous nephews and nieces, and grandchildren who are. There have been some significant breakthroughs in research, but more needs to be done.

My initial interest in the disease had to do with my mother-in-law. While she was never specifically diagnosed with Altzheimer's, she did have dementia of some kind. (Of course, one of the difficulties with Altzheimer's is that there aren't any definitive tests to diagnose it -- yet.)  Over the course of years, Ma grew less and less able to cope with her day to day life, eventually struggling to recognize those around her. Since the disease progressed fairly slowly, at first, it was difficult to be sure what was happening, both for her and for those of us who loved her. By the time it was evident that it was likely she had Altzheimer's, she had already lost many of her abilities to cope. Researchers are trying to find ways to diagnose it earlier, slow the progression of the disease, and find a cure.

There is a World Series Quilt Challenge going on right now to benefit the Altzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI). The organization was started by Ami Simms to raise money for Altzheimer's research. The leagues for the Challenge include the American Quilt League (Hollis Chatelain, John Flynn, Becky Goldsmith, and Sue Nickels) and the National Quilt League (Caryl Bryer Fallert, Judy Mathieson, Mary Sorensen, and Ricky Tims). Each quilter has created a quilt for auction online between November 1 and 10. The quilts will also be at the International Quilt Festival in Houston from November 3rd to the 7th. In addition, there are ongoing auctions and sales of small quilts by many artists through the organization's website. For more information, please check it out at

Until next time, may you experience peace and all good.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rebirth or New Beginnings

I have to admit it, the thought of writing a blog makes me nervous. It is, however, my hope that I can create something with this blog that you will find interesting, educational, inspirational, and enjoyable. For most of my life I have been creating artwork of one kind or another. Since 1994, I have worked primarily in fiber. I expect that to continue, but also anticipate this next year being filled with changes. The blog will be my way to share my creations and thoughts on a variety of topics with you as I work my way through those changes and move forward. I hope that you will be so kind as to give me feedback and share your thoughts with me.

To give you some idea of the things I have done, this table topper is one I made for my mother-in-law from fabrics she selected while we were visiting a quilt shop in her town. (She wasn't aware I was planning to make something for her and was just pointing out fabrics she liked.) The pattern is "Twist and Shout" from "American Patchwork & Quilting's" June 2003 issue. It was my first or second foray into free motion machine quilting.

Until next time, may you experience peace & all good.