Saturday, February 16, 2008

Genesee Valley Quilt Club Spring Fling

Well, just finished two days with a group of ladies from the Genesee Valley Quilt Club doing our yearly "spring fling". Now yesterday was not particularly spring - like but today pulled through with lots of sunshine.

We had a great time and fantastic lunches arranged by our own Pat Pauly who does a wonderful job promoting and organizing these days. It is always fun to sew with a small group of women, many of whom are long time friends.

This is the final quilt that Beverly Kondolf put together with a very challenging set of blocks that she received during an online exchange. I think it turned out beautifully. Originally it was to be two comfort quilts but she may have changed her mind now.

This is a really pretty traditional applique quilt done by Linda Kronenwetter. Everyone in the room was voicing an opinion about what the borders should be. We didn't reach any kind of consensus at all!! We shall see what Linda does....

This is our own Pat Pauly, sitting down and actually looking a bit relaxed which is a rarity. She was our very successful organizer and was always up and about making sure everyone was having fun, which we were.

This is our fabulous clothing designer Priscilla Kibbee actually making a pieced quilt. We have taken her over to the dark side. I don't think we have influenced her palette to the dark side though. Her blocks were glowing and were intricately and finely pieced. She is famous for her fabulous Seminole piecing which is in most of her Bernina and Fairfied Fashion Show garments.

This was a particularly pretty quilt that I saw in progress on a design wall early on. I don't know who the quilter was but really liked the colors.

This is our Chairman, Barb Brummond hiding behind her beautiful Lemoyne Star quilt. The alternate square blocks were a fabulous fabric that she found which was just perfect to set these stars.

This is Barb Seils ironing away early on!

This is my batik small block quilt in process the first day. I was happy to get it all put together but the border for the second day.

This is my final top incorporating almost all the small blocks I had in batik. Now to just figure on a border. I am think some Seminole work with multiple colors but focusing on some red/oranges. It needs to be a small scale pattern in the border to keep with the scale of the rest of the piece. It ended up being about 60 inches wide and about 80 inches long which was great!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Genesee Valley Quilt Club - February Meeting

Well, it was an excellent program today on color by a male quilter who is an architect in real life but has succumbed to the quilting life thanks to his wife! I did bring my camera to take pictures but unfortunately forgot a memory card for it so no pictures of our monthly "quilt show".

I did, however, make a few purchases. Some time ago I posted a picture of a bird embroidery from Guatemala that I just loved.

My friend Priscilla was heading again to Guatemala so I asked that she keep an eye out for another one which she did.

She also gave me the right of first refusal on a gorgeous bird embroidery from Viet Nam which I scooped up immediately. She is always finding nice things and brought me back a wonderful box with elephants on the lid. Even Warren was admiring it when I got home!

I came home with a small sewing cabinet as well. I have seen these before and others have managed to buy them before I did so was overjoyed to see this one remain unsold -- I didn't even see it until lunchtime. So I have included pictures of my various purchases and a partial picture of the big Blue Lady quilt that is now wonderfully quilted by Teddi Ahern.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Margaret Marie Leary Brandkamp April 14, 1908 - February 9, 2008

Margaret Brandkamp passed away peacefully on Saturday morning after a very short bout with pneumonia. She would have been 100 in April and lived longer than anyone ever had in her family. Both her parents died relatively young. She was the youngest of two children (she had an older brother named Frank) and grew up in Rochester, New York.

I absolutely loved this picture. One of the things about my mother in law is that she was obsessive about always having her purse at her side. Even when there was very little mind left, she would go nuts if the purse was not right there. Warren bought her several purses as she would wear them out just holding tightly onto them. I was amazed when I saw this picture for the first time about ten years ago and here at age 2, she is holding a purse!!

She attended Nazareth Academy and graduated from Nazareth College in 1929. This was the second graduating class at this very new college.

I believe this picture was taken at the time of her graduation either from high school or college.

At the time, according to her, George Eastman was intent on keeping not only the ethnic populations of Rochester out of his factories, but was also interested in keeping them from attending the University of Rochester. My mother in law was primarily of Irish descent and definitely had a twinkle in those blues eyes when I first met her forty years ago.

She left Rochester as soon as her father died in the 30's and moved to New York City to seek her fortune and to teach school which she did until her retirement at age 62. She met Warren's father, Fred, in the late 30's and they were married in 1941 (after he begged her to).

This is a picture of my mother and father in law about 1943 with their first son Fred. Warren obviously was not in the picture yet!

I can honestly say my mother and father in law were almost total opposites. She was a story teller and had a wonderful sense of humor while his father was very disciplined, organized and had relatively poor sense of humor! Add onto that the age difference (he was five years younger than she was), their educational difference (he never finished college), religious difference (she was Irish Catholic, he was a devout fundamental Baptist), it was a wonder they stayed married for 57 years! They bought their first house in the late 40's on Staten Island. This house came with a barn filled with junk from the previous owner as well as about 2 acres of land and was the beginning of their rather good luck with real estate over successive moves. Her husband Fred was a fireman on Staten Island but studied nuclear physics in his spare time which led to a job as a health physicist in Massachusetts at one of the shipyards and later as an inspector for the Atomic Energy Commission (now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission). They ultimately moved to Bricktown, New Jersey where they stayed after they both retired.

They traveled extensively in retirement first sailing their tri-moran sailboat (Talitha) and later visiting South America, the Carribean, Australia, New Zealand and other islands in the South Pacific as well as a trip to East Africa.

Margaret survived a bout with colon cancer when she was 83 and a minor stroke in her early 80's. She definitely had an iron constitution and was still doing the New York Times Crossword puzzles when she was 90 and her husband Fred died. She lived by herself for the next five years before falling and breaking her hip. At this time she had to move to the Maplewood Nursing Home where she lived the last 5 years of her life in extreme comfort as this was a lovely nursing home.

Her biggest gift was her wonderful son Warren who I have had the great pleasure to be married to for 35+ years. She also had another son Fred and several grandchildren.

Her granddaughter Zann wrote this about her:

Found out my Gramma died on Friday - she was 99 (woulda turned 100 on April 14th). She lived a nice full life so I'm surprised I'm even
upset by it, but I still find myself moping about my apartment a day
after the fact.

I haven't cried for any of my other Granparents who are all deceased
now because I never felt close to them, but my Gramma (Magee) made me feel special.

For years she has been mentally out of it, but I have warm memories of her from my childhood in which she would sneak me chocolate,
encouraged me to write poetry and piled extra blankets on my bed on
cold nights.

Magee was a great story teller. As a young girl she had her love poems published in magazines and "love" seemed to be her greatest
inspiration. All her stories revolved around men who had loved or lost her; the ones that had been "too fresh," and the ones that had entered the priesthood after they had unsuccessfully chased her.

The greatest love story of all was how my Grandpa proposed to her -
the way she would describe it, I could only imagine it in black and the ending to a beautiful old movie.

"He chased me to the station. I told him to get away from me, that he was too young for me (Magee was 5 years older than my Grandpa). But he was standing there with these two little German dolls he had bought me. He wouldn't leave the train platform until I promised to marry him when I returned from my trip. So I promised, even though I was convinced he was too young - and I was and old woman about to ruin his life!"

Magee and Grandpa were married for 50 + years until my Grandpa's
death. I love ya Magee - wherever you may be

This picture was taken as part of a dress up day at the Maplewood Nursing Home. They took wonderful care of Margaret and she loved being all dressed up and I thought she looked so nice in this picture.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Very Productive Day at Marcia's!

Well, after a rather tough weekend, I had the pleasure of spending my day at my friend Marcia's ( She has about 30 linear feet of design wall so I thought a good idea would be to organize several sets of blocks that I had so that I could so them together this weekend at our annual Spring Fling at Genesee Valley Quilt Club. I needed some projects to work on as it is not easy for me to do design in that kind of setting.

I THOUGHT I had finished up most everything when I was on vacation but when looking through my unfinished projects, several more came up to bite me. Of course at the time, I thought I might do more on some of these. However, as part of my new path, I am not going to concentrate on these very traditional quilts so they are hereby declared finished except for putting together, putting borders on, quilting and then finding them a good home. A couple are fairly complex with lots of blocks.

These are the blocks that are all made out of vintage fabric from the 1930's and 1940's. I combined blocks from a quilt I saw on ebay (and later got the pattern for) and some from my quilting software (Electric Quilt and Blockbase where I picked blocks that were originally designed in the 30's). Originally I had planned on it being much larger but have decided to concentrate my efforts elsewhere. So I am going to put a strip of solid color around each block and then put them together with muslin (off white) strips between each block. The solid color strip will coordinate with each block and will be different colors but still of the 30's fabric. Each of these blocks is only 4 inches by 4 inches and several have over 100 pieces -- see why I am declaring this one finished!

This is one of my first quilt tops made in the late 1980's -- about 20 years ago. The fabric shows its age and this was my sampler to learn how to hand applique and several of the blocks show it. Again, this used to be what I loved to do and I did many of these blocks while traveling on business and on planes and in hotel rooms. I was going to do two - one for each daughter but again am declaring this one done except for a border that I am designing and will also applique!!

This is a small quilt top made with blocks I gathered as part of a basket exchange in 2005 (I think). It deserves to be finished!!
Just needs to be sewn together and some borders applied, then it will be hand quilted I think if I don't have the Baltimore Album one done.

These are batik Dear Jane (4 1/2 inch) blocks that I did as part of an online exchange many years ago. I found I had 111 so decided I could make a 9 x 12 block top. I will be "sashing" this with a nice rich navy blue (if I can find it before Friday). I have just the fabric but the place where I got it no longer carries it -- darn.

Last but not least is this 35 block quilt top which is made with blocks left over from another quilt I made as a shower present for a new bride a couple of years ago. It also deserves to be finished.

Now wasn't that a productive day! I might also add we went out to lunch and also did some fabric shopping at a store that is going out of business!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Yellowstone 3 is Finished!

Well, having nothing but dreary skies outside for days, I have been sitting at the Bernina machine quilting Yellowstone 3. It has been a bit time consuming as almost all the stitching is about 1/4 inch apart.

After I finished all the quilting, I decided to lop off one side of the quilt. After DH (dear husband) when asked to view it, cocked his head sideways to the original orientation (which he had never seen), I decided to put it back to its original orientation as well!!

The weirdest thing is that the piece demanded that I put black binding around the outside. What is strange is that I almost never put binding around the outside of an "art" quilt, much less one that totally contrasted with the inside!! It just seemed to call for something to contain it.

I am relatively pleased with it but suddenly looking at it last night (with the alternate orientation) decided I would REALLY like it if there were six panels instead of the four that there are currently. Hmmm, sounds like Yellowstone 4 might be breathing down my neck.

This shows the different stitches that I used to give different textures. Sometimes I used matching thread but often I used contrasting darker or lighter thread so that it would show up more and change the color of the original fabric somewhat. Double clicking on the pictures will give you more detail.

I was particularly surprised by how the quilting looked in this dark blue area, especially if put on its side. Very even flowing quilting gives such a different look than more staccato quilting.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Some of the Quilts from the Jonathan Holstein lecture

My dear friend Marcia took pictures of every quilt (I think) that was part of the lecture we heard on Saturday. She graciously let me have them so I could post some on my blog! I will do so after she decides which ones she wants to include on her blog ( and that only seems fair!! The first two pictures that are included here are from Pat Berardi's camera which she let me use during the presentation. I only took a few pictures as I was just too far for a flash to be effective so they are a little dark. The rest were posted on Marcia's picasa site.

This is Jonathan Holsein with my great, great grandmother's crazy quilt. He was pointing out all the different features on it.

This is just another shot of Jonathan with my quilt. He was such a charming man!

This is another of my favorite log cabins courtesy of Marcia!

This was a very strange crazy quilt indeed. Made in probably the 40's from scraps of wool fabric.

Here is another of the log cabins.

This is one of the two Amish crazy quilts that Jonathan Holstein had in his collection. Both were very interesting. He said that there have been very few of those. All his Amish quilts were from the Pennsylvania Amish. This was my favorite of the Amish quilts as it was so graphic and so different.

This was a stunning red and green quilt from about 1870 which had small stuffed cheddar (yellow orange) birds around the outside. I just loved it.

This was another very unusual quilt which was in the "crazy" genre. It was made by appliqueing onto burlap bags.

This was a lovely children's quilt from the 30's or 40's. It was either from a kit or was a professionally designed pattern that was published in a magazine or newspaper.

This is the other of the Amish crazy quilts.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Jonathan Holstein Lecture at Memorial Art Gallery

Our first noticeable snow since we got back from Florida. It has been messy for the last two days.

Well, hopefully my friends took some pictures that I can share that shows some of the really cool quilts that people bought for Jonathan Holstein to talk about.

Jonathan Holstein was responsible for the first show which featured quilts as art back in the early 70's at the Whitney in NYC. He is basically credited with bringing women's quilts as art into the forefront. So it was great to see such an iconic person give a lecture!! He spoke completely extemporaneously using the quilts that had been brought as his visuals. He was so knowledgeable and so charming, it was a pleasure to spend two hours listening to him talk about the different quilts. There were a couple of really amazing quilts too which made it very interesting.

I brought in my great, great grandmother's crazy quilt as I figured it was a very typical crazy quilt and it is in good condition. This was made by my mother's great grandmother in 1889 and I believe her full name is Frances Elizabeth Currier Bowen Townsend Knapp as she was married three times which I figure is quite a bit for a woman who was born around 1836 and died in about 1917 while my mother was still a girl. She lived with my grandmother and her family. My grandmother was deeply bitter about her own mother (my mother's grandmother) and really never had much to do with her as an adult. She had made my grandmother quit school at age 11 and stay take care of her. She lived with my grandmother's brother's family and she does look like quite the stern woman in the only picture I have of her while her mother (the crazy quilter) looks like a lovely old woman (she must have been to get three men to marry her).