Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fanciful Stitches: Bridge Keepers Cottage

This quilt was inspired by my dream job- to be a bridge keeper. From whence does this dream stem, you ask? I'll tell you. On the Chicago River there are charming little bridge keeper buildings that line the river where the major streets cross. From April to November, these massive bridges raise up and stop traffic so sailboats can travel the river. It's a big deal! (You can read more on the Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum site. Wonder if there are any job openings?)
Of course in my dream job, I'm working for the local castle and the bridge is made of stone so I really don't have much to do. Here in this detail of my home, you'll see that the quilt is chalk full of stitchery. See the French Knots, Buttonhole, Scattered Seed, Fly, Running, and Straight Stitches? If you elongate buttonhole stitch you can make ripples in the river. Luckily in Fanciful Stitches, Colorful Quilts there are complete directions for making your own cottage. Then you can join the Chicago Union of Bridge Keepers (CUBK) like me.

And now my fellow union members I'm giving away a Fist Full of Threads! to a random reader who leaves a comment on this blog today.  (Please note: if you win, I have to get your shipping address somehow, so  you may have to leave your email address.)

110 comments:

Carol said...

The color pops! You quilt such a colorful picture!!

DTODOCORAZON said...

Realmente precioso todo lo que haces,
sencillo y de gran gusto.
Y los bordados que manersa tan original de ilustrar tus trabajos... me encantan.
Un beso desde Galicia, España

DTODOCORAZON said...

ME GUSTARIA PODER HACERME CON ESTE LIBRO,PODRIA MANDARMELO CONTRA REENBOLSO CUANDO SALGA.
UN BESO, GRACIAS

Karen said...

Adorable! Since the bridge is made of stone and u wouldn't have much to do all day you could just sew and quilt and laze about! Nice!

maria said...

Love the idea of being a bridge keeper! You be one on one side, and I'll be the bridge keeper of the other side, and we can wave at each other and meet in the middle for tea.

Quiltbug said...

Your colours are an inspiration on a cold and snowy winter day

gill said...

Your comment about wanting to be a bridge keeper reminds me that my eldest son always wanted to be a car park attendant when he was young because they sat a such a cool yellow wooden hut!
Gorgeous quilt - thank you for sharing it with us

Kit Lang said...

I love the narrative that goes with your "picture book". :)

Mommarock said...

I would think you are in your dream job.. as the love shows in your work. I think my dream job is being a mom.. and I'm in it. I always dreamed I would have like oh 30 or 40 children though, and live in my highschool.. LOL

Cedar Ridge Studio said...

Yes the Chicago river and those bridges are cool. I remember them in the summer when its warm and sunny. Ist nice to pause and watch the water flow for awhile.
Nice colors in your quilt.
I remember in the 70's we all stitched like mad.
Good to see it back.
Mary Ann
mavs@netnitco.net

Beth from Maine said...

Again I love the way the stitches enhance the trees. I am filing those stitches in my memory banks.

Maggie Szafranski said...

My hubby who grew up in Chicago has memories of being drug across the pedestrian bridges because he was afraid he would fall through! I'm sure he would not have been afraid of your stone bridge!

Barbara said...

wow - you are such an inspiration, Miss Laura ! love the detail on the trees

Jane said...

I always liked the way the bridges sang when you went over them.
Still hoping to win a fist-full of fibers!
Jane

Edith Bieri said...

Your colors are as always just geourgous!
Edith

MAUREEN said...

I always wanted to be on the boat going under the draw bridges that would open just for me. Can you see me waving at you as I sail by?

Gayle from MI said...

Love this little quilt. Especially all the different stitches. I also like how you choose your fabrics to enhance your creative ideas.

Jackie said...

Your work is gorgeous!
I am trying again for that fistful of thread=)

TextileTraveler said...

Gorgeous as always, Laura! Is the guy who falls over in his chair in It's A Wonderful Life a bridge keeper? If so, you might have the added benefit of meeting an angel in your new job! I'd love to have a fistful of threads; I'm working on a little piece right now that requires a bajillion french knots and I'm on #37.

Art by Rhoda Forbes said...

I love the way you use stitches, the 'dream job' is so full of texture from your stitches. I 'll have to give some thought as to what my dream job would be. Lovely post!

Lynn said...

Around here, people strive to be lock keepers....on the C & O Canal....Love your quilt and your blog - makes me smile every time!

Debbie said...

The fly stitching on those trees is very clever, Laura! I still want to get my hands on a Fist Full of Threads!

YankeeQuilter said...

I used to love watching the bridge go up on an inlet near my house growing up...couldn't understand all the angry adults behind the wheels of their cars!

I wanted to live in the attic of our local library so I could be close to books all the time....

Marni Goldshlag said...

Laura - I love all the embroidery you are doing on your quilts! Please choose me for the fistful of threads, please.
marnig@nc.rr.com

Marilyn said...

How could anyone not want to look at that wonderful view from the gatehouse. You would smile all day.

Robin said...

Kind of thought you already had your dream job:)
Those little buildings are so wonderful and fanciful...I didn't want to work in one but always wanted one on my dream house:) There are some gated communities that have these castle-type gate houses and I just daydream about them.

Helle said...

By that gorgeous stone bridge you would have lots of time to stitch more lovely quilts! Thanks for the chance to win a fist full of your beautiful thread! Greetings from Seoul

Michigoose said...

What a neat post! And I too love the little bridge keeper's "houses." Thanks for sharing.

JillW said...

I love all your colors! And I love how easy you make dyeing all that thread sound. :-)

Suzanne said...

Another beautiful design Laura! I love the clouds. And I sure would love a fist full of threads!

taiqi said...

wonderful. It reminds me of some of the canal keeper cottages in England and Wales. Dream on. Janet Wright, Friday Harbor Wa

JVC_Scout_Mom said...

I love the idea of being a bridge keeper. :)

There is a bridge gate crossing over to Avery Island in Louisiana -- home of Tabasco Sauce.

The last bridgekeeper I encountered was on Lake Champlain near Grand Isle.

Quiltmuse said...

Water, boats, control -- what could be better? LOL!

PuebloMom said...

I absolutely love the fabrics in this quilt. So vibrant and fun.

Teresa said...

You can be the bridge tender where I live in Florida!! Love your latest quilt. Can't wait for the book!
teresa@tampabay.rr.com

Jean said...

I'd love to be the person on the boat waving to you in the bridge house as I sail by!

Nancy said...

There's a load of stitching on this little quilt... wonderful! You're going to have to put your stitching down to tend the boats going by... just so you know the down side of bridge tending.

Paula Ganyard said...

Once again a fun quilt!

judi said...

Again, Laura, I just love how all the stitches make your piece come alive! Keep the stories coming.
<3 judi
mystyq at verizon dot net

Leslie McNeil of MarveLes Art Studios said...

Well, Miss Bridge-Keeper-to-Be - I think you'll get the job...and myabe even the castle will be needing a caretaker...sign me on with you! I love it.

Carol Kamin said...

Love the story about the Chicago bridge keepers! I'm going to look for it the next time I'm in the city.

Kathleen GP said...

Where I live (California desert) a body of water of any kind is a wonder to behold. We could go forever without seeing one.

So it's fantastic to see yours today. I'll make a visit to the Chicago River Museum website and dream on.

Thank you for the artistic treat every day, especially Tuesdays!

linda moon daughtry said...

Your quilts are always so happy. They make me smile.

Алена said...

WOW! it is wonderful! I love all your art!!

WoolenSails said...

Another fun piece, always love seeing what you have made to inspire me. I am making a piece that was supposed to be primitive, but think it will be more folk art, by the time I get through with it;)

Debbie

Relentless Toil said...

Y'know, I fused and painted a nice little quilt from old stash fabrics last month, and now I'm feeling all "meh" about it because I used somewhat busy prints, and I could've done solids or hand-dyes and then cute stitching like you! You're really influencing me lately (I think this is good). So looking forward to your book.

Darlene Habanek said...

My dream job involves a lighthouse instead of a bridge. The idea of sending a guiding beam of light out to those searching for security and peace is a rather lofty goal. Nevertheless, at least the image it invokes is dreamy. I see a lighthouse series in my future! Thanks for the inspiration.

Dar

Ruth B said...

Love the castle. I can just picture King Arthur charging over the bridge. Fun to see your stitches!

Sue Andrus said...

I remember a time when I stayed wayyy away from any hand stitching... I now find myself doing more and more... especially after seeing what you do with your quilts!

KevinB said...

I love Chicago's bridges. I have walked many miles downtown shopping and observing and pausing on the beautiful bridges. A fist full of threads would definitely brighten my day!

Rachel Parris said...

Loving the quilt and the narrative. Somewhere in there you have the makings of a great children's book. Hmmm. You may contact me here: ladyra@aol.com

JoanDeArc said...

...Beautiful inspiration as always! :)

caromill said...

I am so intrigued by your bridge quilts. I'd love to have some of your threads! Unfortunately, I'd never be able to use them as expertly as you do, but I will sure try.
caromill@gmail.com

Bobbie said...

I enjoy your art and sense of humor. Continue to keep us in stitches. May your bridge be over untroubled waters. Fondly, Bobbie

Margreth said...

Your small quilts are so lovely. Where do you find the inspiration?
And the stitching...I'm impressed!

Janine said...

Awesome! I'd love to spend 1 summer being a lighthouse keeper. Thanks for the tip on the stitches. I like the ripple effect. Always looking for ways to use all those stitches on my machine!

Elf Cottage Elves said...

It's 1-11-11...are you giving away 11 different artfabrik delicacies? Count me in! XXXXXXXXXXX (11 crossed fingers)

Vivien Zepf said...

Growing up in Chicago, I share your fondness for the bridges! I wonder where you could put your castle? By the Wrigley Building perhaps?

kathleen said...

I live on an island that has four bridge crossings. Perhaps they need to be rendered in your beautiful fabric and threads.

wlstarn said...

As long as there is no troll UNDER the bridge!

Marybeth said...

Loved this one. Could that dream job be reinturpreted into my dream job...a flagger at a NASCAR race?? or any race for that matter. HA

ConundrumChum said...

Really wonderful!

mad elena said...

I see you raising stitches - a stitch keeper!

Laura said...

Today...yesterday what a problem for readesr from the other side of the world!
Very very nice your bridge.

Suzanne said...

I love the idea of using a longer buttonhole stitch for the waves in the water. The design is very inspiring to start doing more of this on my work.

Merrie Jo said...

Another wonderful project! One of these days I'm going to win that fistful of threads!

Joyce Teal said...

So awesome! Your color palette always impresses me. I'm not that daring but love what you do with it!

Nancy said...

Love the quilt - it is so cute!

Pkaplan said...

ANother great design, thank-yo for the continued inspiration.

gambyruby said...

Your designs are so close to the "real" thing they could just jump right off that fabric and start dancing around.

ParisMaddy said...

Sweet! As a Princess in training, anything with castles catches my attention. I love yours.

Carolyn in Kerrville, TX said...

Thank you again for a thought provoking blog and a great bit of artistry. Since 1-11-11 is supposed to be lucky, I sure hope today is my day! Thank you again for all the inspiration.

kerrgirl@gmail.com

Dotti said...

I am still in awe at how varied your 'real estate' collection is in this book!

Jan in AZ said...

As always, I'm so inspired by your colors! And... I just discovered your hand-stitch tutorials - they are awesome - thanks for sharing!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Your work is so much fun and so creative and I wanttttt your threads....grin.

Billie

Carole said...

what fun... still hoping... I am needing some orange to magenta to purple to mauve...for a special hand-dye.
Off to see if you have any in your store...

Kathy, die Stichmücke said...

I bought your book "Fuse and Tell Journal Quilts" some days ago and I really like it. Thank you for it!

Gabriela said...

Hi Laura! I love it!
I know exactly about what you mean...I did the architectural tour down and up river and I took some awesome pictures to sometime put in fabric!They are certainly all different and very intriguing!

carol ann perkins said...

Wow Laura What a wonderful dream job!
but somehow I thought you would want to be living in the castle!!

dollie said...

Just beautiful. Love the story too. I really need those threads that are indeed beautiful.

Marcia W. said...

Wow! and you used so many of your stitches on this... Our family enjoys light houses too. Thanks for the thread-u-cation and please enter me to win a fist full of threads!

Musicmaker said...

my fingers are crossed - I love to incorporate stitches in my small works.

Karen said...

We used to have bridge keepers in Milwaukee too, but I haven't been downtown in so long that I have no idea if they are still there or not. What a fun quilt!

Sheila said...

You have such a wonderful imagination - I bet you were a fun friend as a child. :)
I would love to win your thread.
sheila.fernkopf@gmail.com

Bev said...

I'm so ready for your new book! This one makes me wish we still lived in Chicago. Great colors and stitches!

MRose said...

Maybe I'm the last to comment, but I think your threads are wonderful.

Marilyn
MRose1251@aol.com

California Fiber artist and composer said...

I love your whimsical quilt and the description of your dream job

Helen said...

Laura - I love your stitched pictures - they make me smile. Such happy pieces :-) Your threads would be a real inspiration!
Cheers
Helen

pcoxdesign said...

What a great job that would be! Your version is so much more beautiful than the actual bridge houses! Congrats on your new book!

Honeyquilts said...

I love all the hand stitching you've done on this quilt - the textures and movement are wonderful. I hope there's enough light to stitch by in your bridge keeper's house!

SunRai said...

I love your playful spirit! I also love the colors you use - so much fun! Thanks for the inspiration.

Terry said...

Never would have guessed what your dream job was. . .love, love, LOVE your sense of humor. Terry

Jean M. Judd said...

Congratulations, Laura on your latest book. I love your quilt profiled here as well.

You know, there are plenty of little bridges all throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, etc just crying out for a bridge monitor. Probably more openings in being the troll than the bridge keeper and you would make money as well!

Continued Success!

Jane Moxey said...

I always feel like I am the last one to add my name for the Fistful of Threads Drawing! Maybe one of these weeks I'll get lucky!

Mary Andrews said...

I remember the bridgekeeper when I was a kid only I was too scared the bridge would go up when I was on it. Love the quilt and would love some thread.
Mary

Cindy Cooksey said...

What a charming little quilt. I'm into embroidery just like you are.

Mary Kay said...

Lovely new quilt! And congrats on the new book! I look forward to picking it up! Happy 2011! Mary Kay (mknavy90@hotmail.com)

Sharon Robinson said...

Oooh, like all your quilts I love it. I am trying to learn all your wonderfully demonstrated stitches. Thanks for being so generous with the give-aways!

Gerrie said...

Wow! I am late to check in today for my chance to win a fistful of your thread!!

Jill said...

I love the bridge. I am glad to know it is on the Chicago River. I love the construction of the bridge in stone and in your fabric.

BDRussell99 said...

Love the little quilt and the beautiful threads.

Madalene said...

Love your Bridge Keepers Cottage--and the way you used those stitches.

Sandra said...

Glad I kept reading as my 1st thought upon seeing the pic was that you wanted to be a troll and live under the bridge ... living in the little castle sounds much better. Congrats again on the new book.

trudys_person said...

Funny what our dream jobs are - I've never thought of being a bridge keeper! Thank you for the giveaway again!

paulamb at shaw dot ca

vrgnamgnta said...

Hmn. bridges do remind me of trolls...I could be a troll. Your book is on my birthday wish list...

Hi! I'm Lisa said...

Is there still time? I've always told my family that I would like to sit in a little booth and stamp parking passes all day ( and read and knit). A bridge keeper would be great too!

Jennifer said...

Almost missed the cutoff for the day in the eastern time zone - great bridge!

Antonija said...

What a fabulous job! And a fabulous quilt to illustrate it! WE had those bridge keepers, too, here in Milwaukee along both rivers...but I believe they are all automated now. But--the charming little bridge houses are still standing and have been restored.
My dream job was being an artist! I'll get there someday!

--Toni in Milwaukee
toni@tbgnetworks.com

What's Next said...

Beautiful Quilts!!! Your job sounds wonderful! Though it would be quite a bit of work where I live due to the huge amounts of snow! Your colors are so amazing! I wish I were a quilter so I could use them!

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