Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Preparations

How are your holiday preparations coming along? Is your Christmas shopping done? (Ours isn‘t) Got your tree up? (Nope) How about those exterior lights and flashy yard ornaments? (Never have, never will) Is your holiday menu planned? (Kind of) Are your Christmas cards in the mail? (Just)

No wonder my Santa has an anxious look on his face. He’s in panic mode!

Actually, our family is celebrating Christmas simply this year, with minimal decorating, minimal gift giving, minimal hassle, but maximum love! It just feels right.

As far as I’m concerned, this antique quilt is the only decoration we need to give the house a festive look. It dates from the mid 1800’s and is in pristine condition. You can still see faint pencil lines used to mark the quilting pattern, which in no way detracts from the tiny stitches, 12 to the inch.

The quilt maker chose solid colored fabrics in classic red and green for her seemingly simple star design. But look closer... 

The star blocks are quilted with parallel lines and a grid within each green square. Alternate muslin blocks are heavily quilted with a double clamshell design, showing the maker had amazing prowess with a needle.

I'd like to display this in our living room for Christmas. Does anyone have experience hanging a quilt from picture molding that's already attached to the wall?

Christmas blessings to you for the coming year.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fun with Barb and...

Have you seen my friend Barb's new blog, Fun with Barb and Mary? It’s a dialogue between two quilty friends who maintain their relationship in spite of one family's move from the East Coast to the Midwest.

Wait a minute... Why does that sound so familiar? Because before there was Barb and Mary, there was Barb and Diane. We had our share of fun too, until one family’s move from Chicago to New Jersey forever altered our quilty friendship.

Diane and Barb, 2002

I wish Barb and Mary well with their new blogging venture. What a great way to stay in touch! As they share news and photos of their projects, quilt shows, bee get-togethers, fabric shopping escapades, holiday decorating and more, you’ll begin to feel like they are your best quilt friends too.

Before her move, Barb and I collaborated on Churn Dash quilts based on this pattern from the January, 2002 issue of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine. We swapped blocks made from reproduction fabrics. Between us, there were enough fabric combinations that no two blocks are alike.

Click to enlarge

The blocks are 5" and my finished quilt measures 64" x 85". Robyn Saunders of Batavia, Illinois did the machine quilting.

Barb has a very similar "sister" quilt. Read about hers HERE.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Number of visitors to the Quilt: +18,000,000
Number of names on the Quilt: more than 91,000 (representing only about 18% of all U.S. AIDS deaths)
Size: 1,293,300 square feet (6 city blocks)

Viewing time: To see the entire Quilt spending only one minute per panel - over 33 days
Total Weight: More than 54 tons
Last Full Display: The Mall in Washington, D.C. in 1996

Goal of the Quilt: to honor and remember those who've died of AIDS, to bring awareness to how massive the AIDS pandemic really is, and to bring support and healing to those affected by it.

These are the panels I made to honor my brother, Wayne Hanson and his partner, Don Melvin, who died of AIDS in the mid 1990's. Each individual panel measures 3 feet by 6 feet (roughly the size of a grave).

Eight panels are combined into 12 by 12 foot units that make up the massive quilt.

If you ever get an opportunity to view a portion of the NAMES Quilt in person, don't hesitate. You'll find it a powerfully moving experience.