"Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing,
The days pass quickly when I am sewing"
~Author Unknown

Friday, May 11, 2012

I know, I know.....

...I was going to work on mostly UFOs this year. But a girl cannot live on UFOs alone....right???

A couple of months ago, Jos hung my old huge cork board in my quilt studio. I was not sure I was going to use it in this house but decided I did have a wall big enough for it. It has quickly attracted a number of fun new quilt projects. More about the two doll quilts later. *grins*

Since my quilt studio is now downstairs in our new home right off the living room, I wanted the cork board to look nicer. Jos added an oak edging to it to give it a finished look. I just love it now!

Did you notice the project hanging at the bottom of the cork board?

I had been carrying the patterns for this cute stitchery quilt in my folder with my newsletters for my quilt group all this year. Not a good idea! When you see them constantly, it is hard to resist starting on them. But start I did and today just put the last touches on the quilt up to this point.

You can find these free patterns for Visions of Christmas here.

It is full of fun patterns like snowmen, nutcrackers, Santa, stockings, angels, gingerbread men and a little red wagon. Well...I made it into a little red wagon and added the Radio Flyer logo. You can enlarge the photos to see more details. What little kid in the US did not want a Radio Flyer wagon when they were growing up. Since I am in my second childhood, I asked my step father to get one of these cars so I could come home and drive it. For some reason he said no....lol. Take a look at this video of a couple in Alaska that have one.....

How neat is that? I bet it would stop traffic everywhere. 

So now I have to decide on what I want to do with the pieced border so I can get this top ready to start quilting. I am using all woven homespun fabrics for this quilt to give it a primitive country look. 

I am however still working away on a UFO which is being hand quilted. I have now been diagnosed with Raynaud's disease in my hand and it has been painful for over a month now. I am luckily left handed but still need the right for my needlework. This are slow but steady. I do hope to get a couple of finishes done by the end of May regardless. Wish me luck!?!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Woman's Strength and Courage

This past week, I happened to be looking for free daily offers on my Kindle and came across this children's book called Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria. I love quilt based fiction for any age.

Last night, I decided to read it before I went to bed. I was touched by this story that I woke up this morning and immediately started looking for information. As a quilter, when I read at the end of the story that it was based on a real woman's life and the quilt existed, I had to see if I could find a photo of the Coffee Tree quilt.


This is Martha Ann Ricks. This photo is part of the collection taken at the National  Portrait Gallery in London. It was taken on July 18, 1892. Her eyes and smile tell a story in themselves.

Martha Ricks, by Elliott & Fry, 18 July 1892 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

This is the Coffee Quilt which she stitched by hand for Queen Victoria. It was made with affection and conviction for the queen. She herself was quoted in The London Times saying...'The Lord told me I should see the Queen, and I know I will.' She hand appliqued more than 300 green leaves with red coffee berries.

Excerpt from Martha Erskine Ricks: 19th Century Quiltmaker by Hicks...
**The Coffee Tree Quilt Mrs. Ricks designed had over 300 pointed green leaves with plump red coffee berries all delicately hand-appliquéd onto a white background. The quilt was composed of a center tree trunk extending the length of the quilt. Mrs. Ricks divided the background into four quadrants with a main branch in each quadrant attached to the center trunk. Dozens of leaves with coffee berries attached to minor branches in each of the quadrants. Scalloped appliquéd leaves and berries bordered the entire tree. She most likely spun, wove and dyed her own cloth using both cotton and fibers from the silk cotton tree. The size of the quilt was at least as large as our present-day queen-size quilts.** 

Coffee Tree Quilt by Martha Ricks

I found this version of the quilt from the story Kyra Hicks wrote on her blog. Isn't it beautiful! Thank you so much Kyra for sharing this inspiring story with the world through your book. Martha Ann has really touched my soul.

Normally, I use my book and food blog to write a book review but I just had to share this book with you. It is such an inspiration to any woman who sews, quilts or stitches. I will be quilting today with Martha Ann in my thoughts and a feeling that I am linked to her and all woman who worked magic with their needle and thread before them and draw on their strength and courage.

Personal note:  I have been neglecting my blogs as I have not been feeling well. I had to go into the hospital over Easter and am not totally recovered yet. Rather than write it all out, you can read about it on my home and garden blog here. I find myself in bed at 7pm some evenings totally worn out. The specialist just talked to me this morning about my test results and it appears that my immune system just went on tilt which is something they cannot explain. It is not a result of anything I ate. I have an emergency kit with 4 medications to take if it happens again before I call an ambulance. I think I have a nerve infection in my right hand also which is causing me major discomfort for the last two weeks so my needlework is coming more slowly at the moment. I am left handed though and grateful that I still can do things. I do have some works in progress to share so hope to get to some of them on my next blog post.