Saturday, May 19, 2012


My husband and I were heading out to run some errands this afternoon and met the mailman coming in to deliver our mail. I was pleased to see that one of my quilt magazines was part of the delivery, as well as a large manila envelope with a return address in Pocatello, Idaho. It took a minute to register that it was from my cousin Raylene. (I'm not used to seeing her married name.)

I haven't seen Raylene since we were both teens, so I was eager to see what she'd sent. I opened the envelope to find a short note from Raylene that read:

"These belonged to Grandma Earl.  Enjoy!"

Inside were two very old pattern booklets and a few loose pages. What a lovely surprise, especially since they were my grandmother's. (My mother's mother, who made most of the quilts I grew up with and several of the ones I have in my home.) Raylene and her family don't quilt, so it was very generous of her to send the booklets to me.

Grandmother's Patchwork Quilts includes a number of traditional quilt patterns. 

I'm usually not a huge fan of floral patterns, but this stylized flower is intriguing.  I love all the different shapes in the pattern and how they could be manipulated through the use of color.

Heirloom Quilts was published in 1941 and sold for a whopping 10 cents!

The page on crazy quilts includes a couple of blocks that have a strikingly modern look -- like the Crazy Patch Quilt and the oblongs.

I found the thread ad in the back of the booklet particularly amusing. Who knew that quilting bees replaced bridge parties in the '40s? ("...real accomplishment instead of wasted afternoons.")

I'm pleased to be able to add these to my quilting library, and my thanks to my cousin for sending them along!

(P.S. If you're making a quilt on the fly without a pattern, it might be a good idea to make a basic drawing and write down all the measurements so you don't cut everything and then realize you forgot to take something into account. Sure, you might be able to figure out a way to salvage it, but wouldn't it be less frustrating not to have to? I'm just saying.)

Monday, May 14, 2012


A few weeks ago, I had my eyes checked and learned (no surprise) that I needed a stronger prescription for my left eye. I ordered new lenses for my glasses last week and stopped by the optical shop this afternoon to get them put into my frames. They said it would take about 90 minutes, so I had time to kill on 7th Avenue, one of Park Slope's well-traveled shopping districts.

My first stop was Clay Pot, an eclectic shop where we've found clever mugs, cute earrings, and stylish serving ware, not to mention my engagement and wedding rings. Today, some blown glass chickens caught my eye. (Have I mentioned my bordering-on-obsession fixation on chickens?) I didn't buy any, but I did send a photo to my husband (hint, hint).

Photo: Jon 'ShakataGaNai' Davis
Next, I headed to Barnes & Noble, where I fully intended to look at their Nook e-reader. I have a first generation Kindle (see ancient-looking device to the left), which is fine, but I'm constantly frustrated by 1) not being able see what page I'm on relative to the number of pages in the book, and 2) not being able to see how many pages are left to the end of a chapter.

Recent ads for the Nook show page numbers at the bottom of the screen, something like "page 47 of 384." I'm not excited about paying for a new e-reader, but it would be worth it to be able to know how may pages are left. Now, I do realize that if you change the font on the Kindle (my husband and I use very different sizes), it changes the number of pages in a book, but isn't this the sort of simple math that should be a breeze for an electronic device?

Anyway, I went into B&N to look at the features on the Nook. I got distracted by the magazine section and thought I'd see if there were any new quilting magazines. Well, of course there were, including a few I'd never seen before.

Modern Quilting is from the UK and has some cute patterns in fabulously bright colors. I'm looking forward to poking around their website to see what other lovely things they have to offer.

Quilt Mania is printed in France, but thankfully this was the English edition. My high school French isn't good enough for me to understand quilting instructions. It has some interesting articles about the 11th International Tokyo Great Quilt Festival and the Reiko Kato Exhibit (also in Tokyo), but my favorite thing in the magazine is the pattern for "Bird on a Wire," the quilt featured on the cover.

Quilt Mania Magazine
Quilty is a new magazine from Fons & Porter. (This is the first issue.) It's subtitle is "fresh patchwork + modern quilts" and it isn't false advertising. I guess Quilty is also an online quilting show, but I have yet to check it out. The magazine has some nice patterns, tips and techniques, and some basics for beginners. There's even an article about the Modern Quilt Guild, including a photo of a quilt by Elizabeth Hartman from Oh, Fransson, currently one of my favorite quilt book authors. (I'm eagerly awaiting the delivery of my copy of Modern Patchwork, a birthday gift from my husband.)

Quilty Magazine
While some of the patterns in Quilt are more traditional than in the modern-focused magazines I found, several of them got me thinking about new projects. Even an old tried-and-true pattern can be made to look new with creative fabric and color choices.

Okay, Threads isn't a quilting magazine, but it has an interesting article on how to make removable covers for dress forms, so that one form can be modified to work for any size you make. (No, I don't have a dress form yet, but someday I will and then this article will come in so very handy!)

After I'd bought all the magazines and headed in the direction of the small craft/quilt store at 7th and Union, I realized that I'd completely forgotten to look at the Nook. (sigh)

Fiber Notion is a cozy little shop located at one of the busier intersections on 7th Avenue, not far from the infamous Park Slope Coop. Because of the shop's limited size, their selection is naturally not what you'd find in a larger store, but there's a nice selection of fat quarters and yardage of some vibrant fabrics. They're not just a quilt shop, so there are also other craft supplies, as well as books and notions. With a new project in mind, I picked up some fusible web and a handful of fat quarters. (Note: They are a bag-free store, so if you check them out, be sure to bring your own bag to carry home your purchases.)

By the time I left Fiber Notion, my glasses were ready and I stopped back to pick them up. Aaaah! Now I can see to read all of my new magazines!