Thursday, July 30, 2009

What happened here?

So, if anyone has stopped by to read this blog, you might have wondered.......hmmmmm, she started this and then - poof! - she disappeared. Well, I can explain. First, though, do you ever make plans and then somehow things just don't go like you think they will? Well, that kind of happened with this blog. I had this great idea that I would blog about the items on display in our exhibit at the Scott County Historical Society. And then, just a couple days before our opening, I realized that if I posted photos and talked about the exhibit that it would "give it away" and we wanted people to come see it. I realize that many of you are miles away and can't see this exhibit but many who read my blog live nearby so we want them to travel and visit the museum. That was part of the purpose.......share the talents and skills of our group of stitcher's which will in turn bring visitor's and awareness to the museum. So, here I was writing that I would share about the exibit and then realizing that I really shouldn't do that because it defeated the purpose of the exhibit. I wasn't sure what to do. I was really bummed that I had not thought this out more carefully. I considered deleting the blog but decided to leave it and think about how to proceed. Well, it's been four months and I think it's time I thought about how to make this blog work. So, here's my plan................if you live nearby and are reading what I write, please also go to visit the exhibit because it looks so marvelous in person. The exhibit ends in October and there are several activities planned between now and then. Check it out at to learn more.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What's in the box?

Well, the box is full of crazy quilting goodies, that's for sure! If you stop in to see the exhibit, you can purchase a ticket and perhaps be the winner of this pretty little hat box full of crazy quilting goodies........

and even better, you'll see below that I am preparing five of them!! So if you are not the first winner drawn, you still have four chances to win! Everything you need to start crazy quilting - or add to your current crazy quilting projects - is in these boxes!
In the photo above, I am cutting fancy fabrics from my "stash" - some from local shops and some from trips to Europe and even some that my husband bought for our Crazy Quilting group while he was in Taiwan! I have included threads and lace and trims, plus each box contains a small velvet handbag and a velveteen journal that you can embellish with crazy quilting. Each box will also include a copy of Crazy Quilt Stitches by Leisure Arts. The Hat Boxes are a fundraiser for the Scott County Historical Society. The drawing for the boxes will be held on October 22, 2009 at the monthly meeting of the Scott County Crazy Quilters. If you would like more info on this you can contact me at my e-mail address. Just click on my profile and you will see the link on that page.

Later this afternoon, I am going to try to make order from the chaos that I created in pulling my items for the exhibit. Plus, since items will be on display for six months, I need to fill the spots where some items were hung here in my house. There is a blank space above my desk where one piece hung and it feels strange not to look up and see it! I'm glad that others can see and enjoy the items made by our group or the vintage pieces that inspired us. All the set-up and hard work was done by Theresa Norman, the Curator and Collections manager at the Scott County Historical Society. She was assisted by a core of faithful volunteers. I sewed muslin casings on the larger quilts and have a tip I can share on that. Most shows require that you have a four inch casing sewn to the top of your quilt if you are submitting it for exhibit. One of the quilts was exceptionally heavy and I worried that one thickness of muslin would not be enough. So, I cut twice the width of muslin I needed and folded it in half so that I would have a double thickness of muslin to "hold the weight of the quilt". There may be many of you that already figured that out, but if not then it's good advice. :-)
Well, I guess I better get started on organizing that "chaos". Every few days, I will post here about aspects of the exhibit or with info on crazy quilting. As Spring arrives, I'll also share stories of The Landing because when the grass starts to turn green and the flowers begin to bloom there is nothing quite so pretty as that little place along the Minnesota River.
Miss Martha

And the winners of the boxes are........
Lavonne Schmitt, Betty Gerold, Elle Blomquist, Sheila Helmick and Deanna Geer! All of the boxes have been picked up by the lucky winners!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Opening Day of the Crazy Quilt Exhibit!

"Crazy Quilts - A Stitch in Time" is the name of the crazy quilt exhibit. As you enter through the main door of the Stans Museum here is what you see in the central hall. On the left is the raffle quilt that was made for Murphy's Landing and to the right is a smaller wall quilt made by Pandora Jurisoo.

Therese, the President of the Scott County Historical Board took this photo of Judith and me in front of the Murphy's quilt. When we "crossed paths" at Murphy's Landing it led to a place for us to crazy quilt.

When I "crossed paths" with Deanna at Murphy's Landing, that was when the whole crazy, crazy quilting thing began. I would show you a picture of her but I didn't get one snapped before she left today. However, she brought me what's in this picture...........roses as a thank you for sewing her blocks together (that's her quilt in the photo at the top of this blog) and for keeping our group "glued" together. Funny thing was that I thought she just brought them for the show and when she said they were for me, well, that was really cool!!! I have never had a dozen roses before so this was a first. Well, except my daughter gave me "second-hand roses" she received from an admirer in college. My husband is not a flower man. End of story.
:-) These are all mine and I am going to enjoy every last bloom!! Thanks, Deanna!
That's all I'm going to post for tonight. I'll be back soon to share a bit more. I'm not going to show you all the quilts and items in the exhibit - 40 in all - because if I did that then you wouldn't want to come and see the quilts. Now I know that many of you can't possibly get to Minnesota so I will post an item or two here and there, and other works in progress that are all crazy quilting related. In October, I will post all the items in the exhibit. In the meantime, I'll make it fun. That's a promise I can keep!!!
See you tomorrow!
Miss Martha

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A warm place to meet..........

It was wonderful to hold regular meetings in a warm place. That seed that blossomed in the late 1990's had come to "full bloom" in the Millennium year of 2000! We enjoyed gathering to share fabrics, stitch our blocks, enjoy a potluck, stories of our families, all those things that enrich our lives. We got so much stitching done and had so much to share that it wasn't long before we were talking of hosting an exhibit.
In March of 2001, we presented our work in an exhibit that honored Women's History Month. As the years went by we continued to stitch and shared things for other exhibits of Sunbonnet Sue quilts and Aprons and Hats and Basket Quilts, always in honor of Women's History Month.

And now we are here's Women's History Month and we are back with an exhibit of Crazy Quilting. This one is different. Instead of just one month, this time it's over six months that this exhibit will be in place. Each month (except July) there will be special activities going on at the museum so that others can learn the art of crazy quilting. As we journey through those months, I'll take you along. The opening of the exhibit is Saturday, March 7th and when I return from it I will sit down in the evening and share some photos and stories of the exhibit with all of you. I won't do it all in one night, though. I'll share it a little at a time. I'm also going to introduce you to the women in our group and the projects they have made or are working on. I'll tell you more about The Landing, the Scott County Historical Society and it's home, the Stans Museum. So if you enjoy crazy quilting, any type of handwork, a little bit of history and you love a good story, then come along on this little Crazy Quilting Journey with me!
Most Sincerely Yours,
Miss Martha

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Crazy Quilting 2000

January of 2000 arrived and we all survived Y2K and life returned to normal. After Judith had suggested that we meet at the Historical Society, plans were set in motion to do a program on crazy quilting and share our interest. On a cold winter day, Saturday, January 15th, I presented a program on crazy quilting and 17 people braved the cold!! There was so much enthusiasm that we set a date for our next meeting and on January 27th we officially became "The Scott County Crazy Quilters". We found a home at the Scott County Historical Society. (To learn more about SCHS go here. )

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Coming's finally here so read this first!

The "seeds" for our little crazy quilting group were "planted" during the summers in the late 1990's when I volunteered and then worked as a site interpreter at Historic Murphy's Landing. Now known as The Landing, it is a lovely place where old homes from the surrounding area have been relocated and interpreters tell the story of the settling of the area along the Minnesota River Valley (1850's to 1890's - if you click here you can check it out). It was a lovely place to work. One could almost not call it "work"! It was a very peaceful place. I took the name of Martha which was my great grandmother's name. A few years earlier, I had learned that she had been a dressmaker and that was the "role" I usually took at Murphy's. The home I was most often assigned to was the Harms house, set in about 1860. There was an old treadle sewing machine, a loom and other accoutrement's of a seamstress in the house. One of my favorite things was when a group of young home-schooled girls would come to the Landing for a "learning day". I loved it when they would stop by "my house" and they love it because I had a sewing basket filled with scraps that they could use to sew dolls and such. We called our little group "Miss Martha's Sewing Circle". In my journal from 1999, date August 6th I wrote "Sewing girls 1:00 p.m.......We had a lovely time stitching on crazy quilt blocks and eating the English toffee I brought. It was really good." Just a few weeks before that I had accompanied my husband on a business trip to England so we were eating the goodies from that trip plus I shared laces I had bought in Nottingham.

In the summer of 1998, I proposed a plan to have volunteers and anyone who was interested in crazy quilting to make a 12" block for a crazy quilt that would be a raffle item at Murphy's Landing's Annual Adopt-a-House event. We had a lot of fun creating those blocks and the completed quilt raised a little over $2500 for The Landing. Definitely a success!

That next summer of 1999, we began work on another raffle quilt (embroidered and patchwork blocks) but still enjoyed working on crazy quilts, too. I had sewn the raffle quilt together and when it was finished, I really hated to part with it and so was determined to make one of my own. I remember telling Doc Pistulka (another volunteer who was a Doctor in real life but enjoyed playing the role of the village doctor at Murphy's Landing) that I thought a good name for our sewing circle would be "The Ladies of the Landing Philanthropic Sewing Society". He laughed as he should have as no one would want to say that more than once and so that idea never grew. Then one day after some of us came in from a day of "work" in the houses, we were talking about how nice it would be if we could continue to meet all year round and continue to crazy quilt. Minnesota winters are no fun in a house or building with no heat or just a small log stove!! Judith, the Education coordinator at the Scott County Historical Society, was at the Landing that day and heard us talking and said "why not meet at the Historical Society?" And so we did! The seed had blossomed for what would become our crazy quilt group.