Field Trip Friday: Quilt inspiration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Well, here it is. Our final field trip to New York this summer. Today we are visiting one of my favorite places in New York. I can’t promise you lots of cheap deals here, but I can share some gorgeous inspiration: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I know in the past I’ve seen actual quilts in the Met, but this was the only one I found this time. A beautiful example of whole-cloth quilting from 1815.  Lovely stuff, but I was hoping for some great folk-art piece or something with color. I asked one of the staff who told me the Museum does have some quilts in their collection, but none were on display. So I had to look elsewhere for inspiration.
See if you can guess what this is. Doesn’t it look like a Log Cabin pattern?
It’s a mummy! Pretty fancy, eh? Perhaps we could start a new craft trend – bandage wrapping! This was pretty amazing!
The Modern Art Wing had some really great inspiration.
This one is creatively titled: Blue Green Red by Ellsworth Kelly.
This piece is also by Ellsworth Kelly called, Spectrum V.  I’m kind of obsessed with spectrum stuff right now. I think that is why I loved the set-up of Purl Soho so much, not to mention, their color-wheel quilt.  I’m even doing my current hexagon arangement color-spectrum style.  Here’s another picture of an Ellsworth Kelly from the MOMA that would make a cool quilt.
Now here’s where I’m embarrassed because I lost the paper with the title and artist information, but this one looks like a Rothko to me. I love the color.  (Some modern art enthusiast out there, feel free to jump in here and help me out.)
Same deal for this one. So cool.

(When I find what I did with the artist and title info, I’ll update the post. They obviously deserve much more credit for their talent.)

Once again, here is our good old metal hexagon piece by Anish Kapoor.
And finally, this one has nothing to do with quilt inspiration really, but I had to give a shout out to my favorite Dutch Masters: Vermeer, Rembrandt and Van Gogh.  I can only imagine the quilts these guys could have produced.

Hexagon info and other Tips

I’ve had a few questions about hexagons recently and I keep meaning to post a little hexagon information, so here it is. Finally.
For the hexagons I’m doing, I use the 1 1/2″ hexagon cardstock pieces. (The 1 1/2″ measurement is the length of each of the six sides. That’s where that number comes from.)  I bought my pieces from www.paperpieces.com.  They arrived super fast. I think it cost me $19.00 for 300 ready-to-use pieces. To me, the price was totally worth not having to spend the time cutting them out myself.  And I like that the cardstock gives a little more shape and stability to the process.
Also, I don’t cut out hexagon shaped fabric.  I use 3 1/2″ squares. Much faster and easier to cut out.  
Angela lists some good hexagon tutorials here.  The thing that really helped me most (I’m such a visual learner) were these Hexagon Tutorial videos at Texas Freckles. They’re really short and gave me the confidence to pick up this new hobby.
Hope that helps answer some of those burning questions and gets you ready to start hexing yourself. (That sounds a little like something from Harry Potter.)

In other fun news, my little magnetic pin dish tutorial was featured over at Tipnut.com yesterday. Fun stuff! Have you visited Tipnut.com? Oh my – it’s one of my favorite sites for helpful information (tips, if you will) on a myriad of topics. Great links to craft patterns, recipes, gardening, household, downloads, etc. I love it – it’s one of my go-to sites!

A Quilt Blog by any other name. . .

I’ve been wanting to make this change for a while, but for some reason, it’s taken me until now to have the guts to do it.
I’ve decided to finally end the confusion and simplify my web address. Since most people know this site as Diary of a Quilter, I decided to make it a lot easier to find. Farewell quiltingdiaries.  We are now live at www.DiaryofaQuilter.com.
Blogger should direct feeds from readers, blogrolls, etc, but you may need to double check just to make sure. Because I would surely miss you if you couldn’t find me. Thanks to all of you who stop by to visit! 
(Will someone let me know they run into a glitch out there? I’ve never done something like this before and I’m pretty much clueless about most things technical. I’m turning into my mom who took years to figure out that new-fangled thing called a VCR.)
Happy Monday.

Living in the moment

This has been one of “those” weeks. As you can see, I didn’t even get to this week’s Field Trip Friday post, so we’ll save it for next week. Instead you get pictures from our camping trip this weekend. 
Some sad things and pretty tender feelings around here this week. Not things that happened to me personally, but to some people I care about. Also, my sister-in-law came to visit, which turned out to be a God-send. She was such a blessing and a help.  I’m grateful for those tender mercies.  And it was fun to stay up late and talk with her about young love and watch So You Think You Can Dance. :)
It’s a state holiday in Utah this weekend – Pioneer Day – hence the camping trip. I have to admit, I’m not a huge camping fan. So much work and preparation to go and get dirty and not get a lot of sleep. Then you get to bring home cranky, dirty kids and a lot of laundry. [That’s the bad attitude part.] But once we were there it was such a good thing. First of all, it was gorgeous.  Second, it is so good to be able to be with the kids with no distractions. No cell phones, TV, computer, email, etc. I was reminded THAT is why we do this. The opportunity to fully focus my life on what is most important, without all the distractions.

As the summer is fast flying by, I find myself getting more and more tired and longing for a little more structure. (Not to mention a tiny bit of solitude once in a while.)  But at the same time, I don’t want to waste it or wish it away. While this week has been emotional, it has also helped to remind me what matters most and to do better about Living in the Moment and not rushing through this time of having my kids around me. And please forgive me if I’m a little slower responding to emails or visiting blogs for a few more weeks.

I am pretty sure I’m not alone in this.
Best of luck in your own summer-time crazy balancing act.

And thank goodness for portable hexagons.

P.S. We camped at Payson Lake in Utah.
Fortunately the night before we got there,
they caught the bear that had been spotted in the vicinity.
 Really.

What is a Fat Quarter?

This post is for any newbies out there who have heard or seen the title “Fat Quarter” and wondered what the heck it was, but felt too sheepish to ask. 
(No worries – I was once one of you! And there are way more of us out there than want to admit it. So I’m here as your secret friend to get you in on the down low.)
Craft stores and quilt stores both carry pre-cut pieces of yardage called Fat Quarters.  A Fat Quarter is a quarter of a yard of fabric, but it is cut in a different shape than a regular quarter yard of fabric.  When cutting a quarter yard of fabric off the bolt, you are getting a piece 9″ wide x the width of the fabric (around 42″-43″.) Four of these cuts, create a yard.  
A Fat Quarter is a piece of fabric cut 18″ off the end of the bolt, and then cut in half on the fold.  Four of these put together still make up 1 yard of fabric.  Imagine a piece of paper cut into four equal horizontal strips compared to a piece cut once horizontally and once vertically to get four equal square-ish pieces.
One is not better than the other but one size might be more useful depending on the pieces needed for a particular pattern. For example, if you are using a pattern with strip piecing, or you want to cut a binding from that fabric, a regular quarter of a yard would be preferable because you would get longer strips and have less piecing to do. Also, say you want to cut a bunch of 4 1/2″ squares.  You will get 18 squares from a regular quarter of a yard, but you will only get 16 squares from a FQ. But a Fat Quarter shape comes in handy for other projects where you don’t need the long skinny length, like a little Easy Fat Quarter Bag, Drawstring bag, or something where you need a larger shape like the circles on this Monogram quilt.
So there you go.  Now you can consume fabric with confidence.