Monday, March 27, 2017

memory lane

In the 1970s, I was in the Cub Scouts. One of the annual traditions was the Pinewood Derby, and I remember making a car one year. It was a complete disaster, and I think the wheels fell off, but it was a fun disaster. Every boy had his own idea about how to make the car, what shape it should be, what weights to put in it and how to decorate it.

There was a kit with a block of wood, plastic wheels, nails for axels, and some instructions. Now there's a wikipedia page and a web site! I really could've used that. My car was barely carved, had no weights in it, the wheels were not put on the right way, it was painted metallic blue, and I glued on a piece of pyrite, "fool's gold" as a big, honkin' hood ornament. Truly the thing looked ridiculous, and it probably went in the trash at some point. I remember the winning car, too. It medium light blue and was shaped like a pointy teardrop, looked professionally made. When I saw it, I realized some kids had grown-ups helping them, and that was OK, I guess. I was happier making my own car, even if the wheels fell off before it could reach the finish line.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Tree Owls"

Owls were "a thing" in the 1970s. They were everywhere.

Today it is hard to go vintage shopping without finding lots of them.

at a shop in Hillsboro, Oregon
Seen on Etsy
1970s quilt from Cincinnati, Ohio
There are so many owl latch hooked rugs available for sale, I could have a large collection of them in just a few keystrokes, but there was one I liked best-- the Bucilla "Tree Owls" rug.

Like most of the other latch hooked rugs of the period, the design came as a kit, complete with printed canvas and yarn. This design is a little unusual in its use of longer "Rya" yarn in addition to the shorter length yarn. Part of the design is done in the reverse, more like needlepoint, with no shag showing on the front in the background of the tree hollow. The leaves were made with the longer, Rya yarn.

Although there were lots of owls, there were very few of these Bucilla Tree Owls, and the charming design jumped out when I saw it. The rug was less than half the price of the only kit I saw, which had sold about a month ago on eBay.

I love how easy it is to identify these 1970s rug designs. It is especially satisfying to have finite, straightforward answers when quilt identification is often anything but simple. Interestingly, none of the vintage 1970s latch hooked rugs I have seen have inscriptions or any information about the makers.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Christmas came early

I found this neat little vintage Santa Claus latch hook rug on eBay, and thought it was probably a kit. Most of the latch hook rugs of the time were kits. Sure enough, it was.

It is a Wonder Art Creative Needlecrafts kit, Number 4895 "Santa Claus". I found the kit later in another online auction. It was interesting to see "RYA" on the package. Rya rugs are traditional Scandinavian rugs with long pile, think: shag.

I didn't buy the Santa Claus kit, but it was interesting to find out more about it. If there was a book on these late 20th century latch hook rug kits, I'd buy it.

Friday, March 24, 2017


When I was nine or ten years old, some time around the Bicentennial I was into all kinds of arts and crafts. One of my at-home projects was a latch-hooked rug. 

My rug had a tiger with a big head, long tail and little red hats that looked like shoes on its ears. The rug went in a garage sale decades ago, but recently I regretted it as I jogged my memory about the actual design. For some reason, I thought it was Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, but it was really more of a generic tiger cartoon design. I found one on eBay and bought it.

While I was looking, I saw other rugs. Many of them had eagles, and a lot of those were patriotic, Bicentennial rugs. They weren't very expensive.

A couple of the rugs were eagles without patriotic elements, simply eagles in natural settings. One had a border on two edges.

I even found a thunderbird! Complete with thunder clouds and lightning bolts! How cool is that?

So, it looks like I have a little collection of latch-hooked rugs now. I'll sell some but keep others. They go well with the 1970s quilts, and the Patriotic eagles go especially well with the Bicentennial quilts. I got my hands on a canvas, too, so maybe I'll make another one. Back when I made my tiger rug, I tried sewing around the same time. Making the rug was much easier for me, and more relaxing, almost zen-like. The funny thing is I'll have to watch a tutorial to recall how to do it.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Andrea Proudfoot's Alphabet Quilt

Recently I discovered this neat little alphabet quilt made by Andrea Proudfoot. It was on the Goodwill auction site.

It came with a blue ribbon from the Siskiyou Golden Fair in Yreka, California.

It also came with a very detailed, handwritten label on the back with information about how the quilt was designed and made.

One of the most intriguing details to my eye was the quilting in the lower section. She included a copyright, and I can't recall seeing anything like that before. I suppose in the early to middle 1990s, quiltmakers were thinking of protecting their design work. It just struck me as something unusual in a quilt.

A quick Google search yielded an obituary in the Mt. Shasta News, from December 2013. Andrea Proudfoot was a fascinating person, and she had a connection to Oregon. I would love to hear from anyone who knew her or remembers the fabric store in Oregon.


Andrea Hofer Proudfoot, aged 76, passed peacefully Saturday, November 23, 2013, after battling Parkinson's Disease for over 30 years. Andrea grew up in the Washington, DC area; and received her BA in Home Economics from the University of Maryland. She moved to Oregon and successfully owned and operated a fabric store. She designed and produced clothing, as well as developed a baby pack which she marketed throughout North America. She moved to Yreka, California in 1983 where she married Robert and lived in view of Mt. Shasta. She began a new career as a quilter. She marketed several of her designs and received awards for her completed quilts. This last phase of her life included many treatments that attempted to halt or diminish the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. She participated in a fetal tissue implant study and, as a final part of the study, has donated her brain to Dr. Curt Freed of the University of Colorado.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

a good trade

pieced quilt, polyester, unknown maker, Kansas, c. 1975, 72" x 86"

Every once in a while, collectors will trade quilts. This wonderful polyester quilt came from Marjorie Childress, who got it from a seller in Kansas. I had one she liked, so we traded. It was a good trade.

I love how the block looks like a sun rising over a mountain. It has to be the sun rising since it's yellow. Wouldn't it be orange if it was setting?

Almost everything about the quilt is polyester, the top and back fabric, the binding and the batting. The yarn ties are either wool or acrylic.

Polyester quilts do not always have polyester backing fabric, so that was a fun detail. The brown polyester coordinates with the brown fabric in the top. Just three colors, but so much impact! I love it. Thanks, Marjorie!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

coming soon

I found this quilt through the Goodwill auction website, and it was a super bargain, so I couldn't resist. All polyester, the quilt is 84" x 100" and is coming from Traverse City, Michigan.

The maker cleverly combined half-square triangle patches, "Broken Dishes" patches with four quarter-square triangles, and solid square patches to create a dynamic, concentric design.

I love how the colors shift in the diagonal rows of half-square triangle patches, and the "Broken Dishes" patches complete each corner. All of the solid square patches are one color. Pink as a neutral! Who would've thought?

frame fix: before/after

A long time ago I worked as a picture framer. One year, I even asked for a Fletcher FrameMaster framer's point gun for Christmas, and I still have it!

No other tool like it, but I didn't need it for this project. I found two delightful 1930s crayon drawings in ready-made frames, the kind with the bending staple/prongs on the back. The thing I wanted to change was the color of the frames. I mean...who would put white frames on those drawings? It was ghastly!

So I went out to the art supply store and got some paint. I thought a bright reddish orange with a slightly antiqued finish would work, so that's what I did.

I like how they turned out, and it'll be a lot harder to sell them now. The pair of lovely little crayon drawings will be available April 1st in booth C-1 at Antique Alley on NE 42nd in Portland. For more information and hours, click here.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Wilma's quilt

There were two quilt shows on Saturday, and by the end of the day I was bushed. But there was a nice surprise at second of the two shows, hosted by the Metropolitan Patchwork Society at the Beaverton Library. I turned the corner and saw this beautiful red, white and green quilt and I thought, "That looks familiar."

It looked very much like one of the quilts in my book, a rescue quilt. The only difference was the cornerstones, nine-patches in the original and stars in the new one. Then I read the tag.

How awesome is that? I loved what Wilma said about being 96. She figured she'd best get going on the project. A New York Beauty was on her bucket list. So, with the help of her daughter she completed this beauty.

As it turned out, Wilma was there with her daughter, and I met them both. What a delightful surprise!

I love knowing quilt makers can look at my book and make a quilt, even if there isn't a pattern. That's one thing I really wanted the book to do. Thank you to Wilma and her daughter for making my day!