Quilt Gallery

Monday, January 27, 2014

Back to the Texas Hill Country

A while back I promised to show a picture of the quilt I made for one of the other screened cabins at our little lake place.  The girls call it the Jelly Bean Quilt, I suppose because the colors are so scrumptiously like those of jelly beans.


When I took out the quilt for photographs I found my crocheted afghan that has also become part of cabin III's linens.  I didn't intentionally match the afghan to the quilt, or even make it specifically for this cabin, but it was obvious once it was finished that the two belong together.  I guess at the time I just really liked this color palette.

In the background of the next photo you can just see a sliver of what currently passes for Lake Travis.  We are in the midst of a severe multi-year drought and the top of the lake is about fifty feet below where it is when full.

Given the gentle slope of the lake bed on the opposite shore from our place, fifty feet of water translates into a huge increase in the surface area of the lake and so makes an enormous difference in the view.  The sunrises and sunsets are still beautiful though.  Perhaps they subconsciously inspired my color choices for the quilt and afghan.

In case anyone is wondering about the colors in these photos, they are true representations of what I saw.  I only made minor tweaks to the RAW files using Lightroom -- and didn't touch the saturation slider.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Evenings at Home

Winter in Austin is pretty short so I particularly enjoy the few evenings when it is chilly enough to have a fire.  The cats enjoy it too and make for a very cosy scene.

It is also a good time for hand quilting and knitting. I work away while Steve reads to me.  Thankfully once he finished "The Merovingian Kingdoms 450-751" he turned to biographies of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and has even been persuaded to slip in a little of "The Hobbit" here and there.

I have been working on my Antarctica piece and expect to finish it right about when Bilbo makes it back to his snug little hobbit hole.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Reminiscing in New York City

We went to New York the week before Christmas to hear the girls sing Christmas vespers with their school choir.  I had a day to myself before meeting up with them and took the opportunity to wander around Chelsea, the neighborhood in which we stayed, and to reminisce about the New York of my childhood.

Inside Chelsea Market

Several times a year my mother and I would walk to the end of our block in Queens, climb the stairs up to the El (the elevated) and board a train. A few stations along my grandmother would join us and we would travel together into the city (Manhattan). Our destination was always the same:  Macy's, Herald Square.

We would take the wooden escalators (dating to 1902) all the way up to the 8th floor.

The fabric department, of course, was located on the 8th floor.  I have a vague recollection that it took up the entire floor of the west (7th Avenue) building. In any case, it was vast. Alas, it is no longer there, having been replaced by ready to wear clothing.

First, we would sit down with the Vogue, McCall's and Butterick books to choose patterns for dresses, blouses, suits, or whatever garments we needed. Then came the really fun part of selecting fabrics: calicos, cotton shirtings, silks, wools, corduroys. You name it, Macy's had it. By the time we had made our choices and had the appropriate yardage cut it was well past noon and we were eager for lunch.  Chock Full O'Nuts was our go-to place, I suppose because the price was right, and it was fun to sit at the counter to eat.  After lunch we would stop in one of the little nearby shops specializing in notions to pick out buttons, fasteners, ribbons, etc. Although Macy's no longer sells fabric, the notion shops seem to have grown quite a bit. Home-sewn clothing may not be popular, but other crafts certainly are. The Martha Stewart effect, perhaps.

It is certainly easier, quicker and cheaper to buy ready made clothing, but I am glad that wasn't the case when I was a child. I would not trade all those trips into the city with my mother and grandmother for anything. The days we spent together, and the hours subsequently spent making up the clothes, are so much a part of the special relationship I share with my mother. She taught me to sew, and that is no small thing, but along the way I learned many other things of even greater value.

Here is a vest that I made for myself when I was in high school.  It is perfect for Austin's winter weather when a shirt alone is not enough, but a sweater is too much.