Field Report from Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

Yesterday I drove to Sisters, Oregon for the annual Outdoor Quilt Show. It’s the first quilt event I’ve attended (QuiltCon will be my second). I walked up and down all four streets, but definitely didn’t see all the quilts as there were over 1,300 and many were inside stores or down side lanes. Here are the highlights of what I did see.

Clearly I have a strong preference for improvised piecing using varied and/or salvage fabrics and quilted by hand. Carol Webb was a featured quilter, and her work was mostly hand-quilted and used hand-dyed fabrics. These things seem to give the quilts depth and keep my eyes moving.

SOQS Carol Webb-1040612

SOQS Carol Webb-1040554

Some of these look like sari fabric:

SOQS Carol Webb-1040552

The streaky tie-dye background is totally working for me here:

SOQS Carol Webb-1040550

This is Sarah Peery’s Fibonnaci Sequence Gone Wild. I like the colours and the over-the-top amount of quilting:
SOQS Sarah Peery-1040539

Christy Merritt describes her quilt, Ohio Wedding, as a mashup created for two quilt challenges (Ohio Star Made Modern and Double Wedding Ring challenge). She used a hand-carved linoleum block to print the Ohio stars, and used suiting fabric and curtains to construct the fragmented double wedding ring design. I love the texture of the block printing, and the improvised layering of multiple traditional designs. 

SOQS Christy Merritt-1040574

SOQS Christy Merritt-1040576

SOQS Christy Merritt-1040577

Jodiy Rusconi’s quilt has islands off it’s shores (the orange is a blank to support the quilt):
SOQS Jody Rusconi-1040562

Sometimes I liked the backs best… these two squares were on the back of the black cat quilt. The label didn’t make it into my photo, so if anyone knows who the maker of this quilt is, please comment on this post.

SOQS Cat Back-1040571

SOQS Cat Back-1040570

Caro Sheridan made a pixelated self portrait of her eye… and the back looks like a hudson bay blanket. Clever.

SOQS Caro Sheridan back-1040595

I learned that crooked will draw my eye from across the street (Cheryl Burnett, Squares a Go Go)…

SOQS Cheryl Burnet-1040583

SOQS Cheryl Burnet-1040585

… as will minimalist designs. This is Kirk Butts’ Crown Royal.

SOQS Kirk Butts-1040540

SOQS Kirk Butts-1040541

 

Here’s a cool modern quilt. I can’t read the label in this photo. If you know the maker, please tell.

SOQS unknown -1040560

A nice rendition of Kaffe Fassett’s rice bowls pattern. There was a group of Kaffe-inspired quilts on display because he has a new autobiography out. I’ve always liked this pattern, particularly the way the shadows are pieced in a slightly darker shade.
SOQS Kaffe Inspired-1040565

Diana Jackson’s Gee’s bend-inspired Red Square has great texture:

SOQS diana jackson-1040605

SOQS diana jackson-1040606

SOQS Diana Jackson-1040608

And, after looking at so many quilts, it’s nice to look at other things. Especially other things with pattern and rhythm:

SOQS not quilt-1040582

SOQS not quilt-1040602

So long, Sisters.

Funnels, canning jars and the power of standardization

 

Norpro wide mouth funnelI was going to write a review of the Norpro Wide Mouth Funnel for the website Cool Tools, because the former is one of my favourite kitchen tools and the latter one of my favourite stuff blogs. But I realized the funnel is part of a larger system of canning jars in my kitchen, and that you have to be into jars to get excited about this funnel.

The canning jar – better known as the Mason or Ball jar – is the only cheap, standardized food storage solution I know, and therein lies its beauty.

There are, of course, fancier, more expensive jars available, but buying enough to be truly useful is cost-prohibitive. With new designs you run the risk the company will stop making them after you’re heavily invested. Weck and Fido jars, while classic and useful for specific purposes, lack cross-brand standardization: you take apart the lid for cleaning (so many pieces!) and then wonder which jar that lid belongs to. Similar lid-hunts will result if you build your food storage system around used peanut butter and jam jars. Not so the canning jar.

Usually around $1 apiece (or 25 to 50 cents in thrift stores), canning jars are cheap enough to build a collection. I have at least a dozen of each size in regular rotation in my kitchen, pantry and fridge and use them many times a day:

• I pack lunch items, including soup, tea, pudding, and nuts or seeds, in half pint and pint jars which then go into an insulated lunch bag (available at your local thrift store).
• Pint jars double as drinking glasses, of course. At our wedding we had an assortment of them and coloured sharpies for guests to label them with. Classy, I know.
Immersion blenders fit snugly into a wide-mouth jar to make shakes, mayonnaise or whipped cream. Leftovers can be easily capped and stored.
• When making sauerkraut or other anaerobic ferments, a 4oz canning jar makes a handy weight inside a wide mouth or bail-top jar, to keep the veggies under the brine.
• Straight-sided jars can be used in the freezer without breaking. Put them in warm water for a few minutes and the food slides right out.

Amco strainer

The generic canning jar is fair game for all kinds of innovative accessories. My favourites are the aforementioned funnel, which stacks elegantly on top of a small strainer and allows you to strain and store in one go. You don’t know how much you want this function until you have it. One-piece lids are also handy.

(There are a myriad of other accessories, including the cuppow, Kraut Kaps, ReCAP, Tattler lids, and the Holdster. So far none of these have proven themselves indispensable, or even all that useful, but they’re evidence that the magnificent canning jar continues to inspire.)

The website Food In Jars has a useful taxonomy of canning jar sizes. Note that my infatuation with jars begins and ends with the wide mouth variety. Unless you have tiny hands, regular canning jars are a pain to hand wash and should be banished to the tool shed.

Although “salad in a jar” is a thing, canning jars don’t make great lunch containers  for sandwiches or, ahem, salads. As far as I’m concerned there really isn’t a perfect non-plastic lunch container on the US market. I’ve tried many, from Indian tiffins to Ikea glass lunch containers. Inevitably they aren’t leak proof, or they are but then they get a dent, or you lose the lid, or the seal gets filthy or wears out, and then the parts aren’t replaceable, or the company stops making them and you have to buy a new set and throw away the old lids. I hate throwing shit away. Which is why I dream that one day someone will design a standardized, open-source, leak-proof travel bowl. I already have a name for it: the extra-wide mouth. 

Next in the series: An Ode to the Silicone Spatula…

Vintage trailer repair, JT style

Our friend Barnett fixes up vintage trailers to rent out during the Joshua Tree Music Festival.  I really like the way he fixes them: a coat of paint for waterproofing, rusted metal patches on the siding, wooden window frames, improvised doors. The insides are usually gutted and painted bright colours; plywood patches are applied where needed. A lot of the trailer renos you see on the internet are painstaking restorations. This is not that. This is something a little wilder.

 

Lloyd Kahn Spread

This is a draft spread from Lloyd Kahn’s forthcoming book, Tiny Homes on the Move, originally posted here.  Note the charming couple under the “the,” standing in front of their trailer. Awwww!

I think we also appear in the movie Tiny, though I haven’t seen it with my own eyes yet.