A long, hot summer

It seemed fitting to close out this HOT summer in flames. Andrea and the wonderful Miss D from I Love Schnauzers shared the Blog on Fire award with Agujas. When I came across I Love Schnauzers, I was hooked. Andrea knits a little bit of everything and makes the cutest doggie sweaters – and Miss D is the perfect model. Thank you Andrea and Miss D for heating up my day!

The rules are to share 8 unusual things about yourself (or your pet) and then share the award with 8 other bloggers who are on fire! Since this honor was bestowed by a line of dog lovers, most of them wrote about their pets, so I will too. My pets have been gone a long time, so this is in memoriam.

  1. Despite their spirited names, Tequila (terrier-schnauzer mix adopted from the SPCA) and Vodka (blonde pomapoo adopted from friends) only imbibed non-alcoholic beverages.
  2. Tequila liked his on the rocks. Give him an ice cube and he would slip and slide all over the kitchen floor chasing it until he crunched it all up.
  3. Tequila was the athletic type – extremely agile and fast. He could jump 2-3 feet into the air like a jackrabbit on steroids.
  4. Tequila had cat-like qualities. He could jump onto the sofa or bed without making a single sound.
  5. Vodka was the dreamer. He would follow Tequila faithfully on their romps but was easily distracted. He would give chase to butterflies and then look around in panic when Tequila was out of his line of sight.
  6. Vodka would nudge his nose under my hand until he was nestled under it so that I could rub his neck.
  7. Vodka was clumsy. If he ran too fast, his short legs would give way under him and he would run into things.
  8. They were mischievous. Once I left them in the backyard to get fresh air and sunshine. Apparently, they broke out of the yard and roamed the neighborhood because when I drove up to the house, there they were both sitting at the front door with very guilty looks on their faces.

Here are Tequila (black-bearded fella) and Vodka (blondie). DISCLAIMER: This picture was taken a LONG time ago.

In the spirit of these blog awards, here are 8 blogs that are on fire that I encourage you to visit.

  1. Grackle and Sun – learn how to use natural dyes for your yarn
  2. Buscando Comienzos – colorful crochet
  3. Salty*Mom – fun do-it-yourself projects
  4. Deep in the Heart of Textiles – knitting and quilts, lots of quilts
  5. Spinayarnknit – see pictures of traditional Peruvian textiles
  6. Land of Bread and Honey – ripple crochet afghans and recipes
  7. Daisey Jayne – loved her hand sewn dresses for little girls
  8. Big House, Little Prairie – loving life on the farm

And to end summer on an even lovelier note, thanks to Seascapes AUS for sharing the One Lovely Blog award with Agujas. Since this honor was already bestowed, I just want to say thanks and encourage all of you to go see the lovely paintings of the sea.

“40 Under 40: Craft Futures” at the Smithsonian

My husband was in Washington, D.C. recently on a business trip. On his way to a meeting, he saw this:

Knowing I would be intrigued, he inquired about the bicycle. The crochet-bombed bicycle is by the Polish artist Olek, one of the artists to be featured in the upcoming “40 under 40: Craft Futures” exhibit. The exhibit will take place in the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum from July 20, 2012 through February 3, 2013.

According to the museum’s website, “These 40 artists are united by philosophies for living differently in modern society with an emphasis on sustainability, a return to valuing the hand-made and what it means to live in a state of persistent conflict and unease.”

Amongst other art works in various media, these are some of the knitting and fiber arts-related works you can see and experience first-hand.

Vintage military knitting needles by Dave Cole (image source).

Glass spinning wheel by Andy Paiko (image source). Apparently, this is a fully functioning spinning wheel.

Protest knits by Cat Mazza (image source).

Crochet urban pigeons by Laurel Roth (image source).

Quilted coat by Jeff Garner (image source).

You can read about all 40 artists and view a slide-show preview of the exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s website. Better yet, if you are in D.C., go see it in person. I hope I can.

Our Family Heirloom Quilts

When I married my husband, he brought three beautiful quilts into our home. The quilts were handmade by his mother, whom I had the honor to meet shortly before she passed away. Besides raising six children, my mother-in-law was a seamstress. She measured, designed, cut and assembled custom-made clothing, mostly dresses for women. She used a combination of hand and machine sewing for her garments.

Along the way, she crafted quilts for each child and grandchild. My husband became the beneficiary of this beautiful Friendship Ring quilt. This quilt has been gently used throughout the years to cover sleepy boys (and husbands). My husband has fleeting memories of dresses made from the same patterns and colors of the fabrics in his mother’s quilts.

This second quilt is a simple whole cloth quilt (red background). She must have used a thicker batting because this quilt is heavier than the others. The weight is comforting somehow when you snuggle up underneath it.

The third quilt was a gift for our son. The little Dutchmen pattern with the blue borders was just right for his crib.

These are our family heirlooms. We chose not to display them on a wall but rather use them as they were intended – to cover cold toes and keep hearts warm.

International Quilt Festival

My friend, Natalia, and I attended the 2011 International Quilt Festival in Houston. More than simply utilitarian, these quilts are works of art. Styles ranged from traditional to contemporary, incorporating a variety of techniques including hand quilting, embroidery, appliqué, machine quilting, piecing and fusing. Here are a few of my favorites.

“The Laneway” by Grace Whiting from the O Canada exhibit. Techniques: Some machine piecing and quilting; hand appliquéd. Delicate threads create the foliage while the quilting pattern echoes the undulations of the fallen snow.
“Bouquet” was hand-pieced, appliquéd, embroidered and quilted by Keiko Morihiro from Japan as her 30th wedding anniversary present to her husband. Winner: Master Award for Traditional Artistry.
“Twitter” was assembled using recycled materials, including newspapers, to represent the artist’s vision of an environmentally responsible social network.
From the Art-Whimsical category, “Tokyo – Wish You Were Hair” by Pam RuBert. The artist made the quilt for an exhibition “exploring the intersection of fiber art with new technologies.”

For more quilts by Pam RuBert, click here.

“Dixie Dingo Dreaming” by award-winning fabric artist, Susan Carlson. Her work is like a collage that fuses small fabric pieces into a recognizable image.
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Read  more about Susan Carlson’s work here. Keep track of the happenings leading up to the 2012 International Quilt Festival here.