Storts Market

by Lesley Storts


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Pincushion Pal

While on the constant hunt for glass through thrifting and antiquing, I find all kinds of interesting and unique pieces. At times, I do not even know the intended purpose of a piece. I buy unusual pieces with the thought that I may use it eventually. The ceramic glass that inspired the pincushion pal was purchased within the last couple of years and I had it for many months before deciding what to do with it.

Lucy and I thought it might be fun to create a little caddy that could be used for handwork. I mocked one up with the original glass.

After creating the pincushion and many discussions, Lucy and I thought this was a great addition to the pincushions we make so I started hunting for more glass pieces like this. While searching, I finally discovered the origin of the piece. The three holed ceramic dish is the base of a condiment set for a jelly jar and salt & pepper. I searched and found some whole sets on Ebay. I bought one but the base broke during shipping so I only have the jelly jar and salt & pepper.

The antique ceramic pieces have “Made in Japan” or “Made in Occupied Japan” stamped on the bottom. The history behind that stamp and its meaning can be found in this article by The Mercury News. I found another one that is similar but not exactly like the base we had. I realized while searching Ebay, that it was going to be difficult and financially unreasonable to buy the sets and only use the bases.

I started wondering if I could have a ceramic mold made similar to the original. Over the years I have taken my kids to ceramic shops to paint their own ceramic pieces and then have them fired to a finish. I knew that the pieces were made in a mold. I started calling around and after many calls ended up talking with the owner of a local ceramic shop who told me he works with an artist who crafts the molds by hand. Once the mold was completed, the team in the ceramics shop made the pincushion pal using the mold and various glazes picked out by us. It has been a lot of fun to learn about ceramics, see the mold get created then used to make many pincushion bases. This process took months!

When I brought the pincushion pal bases home, I let them sit around for a while. I enjoyed picking them up, feeling the smooth finish and admiring the intense glaze colors Lucy and I had picked out for them. When I started pulling fabric it was a little overwhelming but exciting! As a long time quilting fabric collector and enthusiast, I started contemplating exactly what I wanted for each of the pieces. Match the fabric to the glass? Look for a small element of color in a particular fabric and use it to highlight the glass? So many choices!

One important aspect of the glass was making sure the secondary holes were big enough to seat a large Aurifil spool. I use Gutterman for a lot of my hand piecing and I knew that spool would fit. However, a lot of sewers use Aurifil and making sure that the larger spool would fit was an important element. The ceramic shop employees (I’m pretty sure it’s just Christine ;-)) specifically finish the bases by hand so the Aurifil thread spool will fit.

I am excited to continue making these pincushions and have them available for quilters, sewers, and crafters.

Happy quilting and sewing! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎


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»Rifle Paper Co. Fabric by Anna Bond and Pincushions«

Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. creates beautiful art! The combination of salt cellars, antique glass and other unique vessels combined with Anna’s fabric created a colorful batch of pincushions to enjoy while sewing.

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»Patty Young Fabric and Pincushions«

My latest batch of pincushions was made using Patty Young‘s fabric line, Lucy’s Garden, by Riley Blake Designs. In an Instagram post, Patty talked about her inspiration for this colorful line. I realized after reading about Patty’s inspiration, that there is a definite ‘art deco’ feel to the prints in this fabric. That element is so appealing to me and probably one reason I really like this line. In addition, I have a daughter named Lucy who was named after 2 grandmothers – so I really like that name.

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Jet Trails Quilt

Do you remember ever having a misperception about something? An experience or a phrase? My uncle thought “chest of drawers” was “chester drawers”. Or misheard lyrics – some of those are really funny! I enjoy having conversations with family and friends and discussing things we have all misunderstood at times. The Jet Trails quilt is about childhood and a misperception.

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»Sharon Holland Floral Print in Reclaimed Glass Pincushion«

Reclaim – to retrieve or recover

When Lucy and I first started making pincushions, we frequented many antique shops hunting for just the right salt cellars. Over time, we started noticing other small dishes and finally ventured into different pieces to test if they would work. Ashtrays are a very common find. Some of the ashtrays we have found are made in beautiful patterns with interesting glass. Reclaiming and repurposing the glass spurs our imaginations and provides inspiration for creating.

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»Pincushions in Salt Cellars«

My adventure into making pincushions was not planned. I entered a quilt in the National Quilting Association’s (NQA) quilt show several years ago. While there, I was browsing through the vendors and came upon salt cellar pincushions. I was smitten. I bought 3, one for me and each of my daughters. The little salt cellar dishes are unique and charming. I wanted to make them and told my daughter, Lucy, that we should try to make them together. We live in the midwest and there is an abundance of antique stores here giving us ample opportunity to look for old glass. The following summer, after collecting some glass salt cellars, Lucy set out to make the pincushions. She had recently had ankle surgery and was non-weight bearing and looking for something to do because she was bored. She did an amazing job troubleshooting the pincushions. I had a basic idea of how to make them, but she perfected it! Several years and a thousand+ pincushions later, we still love making them – it’s so much fun! I’m a quilter, but now I feel like I’m a pincushion artist too. We have expanded the pincushion containers beyond the salt cellars, but salt cellars are how we started and still my favorite base to use in making the pincushions.

The books pictured above, The Open Salt Compendium and 5,000 Open Salts, A Collector’s Guide, catalog a large variety of salts and include the manufacturer and date of production. Another reference is Salty Comments which was written from 1984-2005 by Ed and Kay Berg. Their early newsletters were written on a typewriter and pictures of salt cellars were hand drawn.

Our process of sewing on a button with matching thread and creating a custom crystal and glass beaded pin gives each pincushion their own personality and appeal. My pincushion journey includes hunting for glass and looking for just the right fabric, or cut of fabric, to make the pincushions. I have met a lot of interesting people and learned so much along the way. I am sure I will continue enjoying the whole process.

Happy Crafting and Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎


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»Adored Quilt«

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Quilt Quiz:

Q: Favorite Color?
A: Green (but orange is my secret favorite – I’ve just loved green so long that it’s hard to know if it’s replaceable)

Q: Name you favorite quilt?
A: Hmmmm…depends on the project or season

Q: Name the quilt that gives you the most utility?
A: Easy…a yellow and white quilt my mom gave me 15-20 years ago. It’s lives on my bed or the chair in my room. It was perfect for covering kids when they “stopped by” for the night or to take in the car. This yellow and white quilt has been washed repeatedly and is snuggly and soft. It was never intended to be my favorite, but it just might be because of all the use I have gotten out of it. This quilt was pieced from leftovers and given to me by my mom because she did not need another quilt hanging around. I adore this quilt! I love the connection it gives me to my mom and the utility it provides.

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Yellow and White Quilt with a camera shy Benson

After many years of using the yellow and white quilt, I decided to make a pattern so that I could make this quilt for friends and family. One aspect of the quilt that I really like is the size and how it is accommodating for so many different uses. It measures approximately 47″ x 56″.

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Adored quilt with Kona Tiger Lily, Carolyn Friedlander Snake in Ash and a variety of Denyse Schmidt prints.

The pattern is available in the November/December 2018 edition of Modern Patchwork.

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Camping with the yellow and white quilt

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Work in Progress

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Denyse Schmidt Prints

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Happy Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎


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»Millefiori Study«

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Mille definition — “thousand”
Fiori definition — “flowered”

When I was first exposed to the Millefiori Quilt pattern by Willyne Hammerstein, I was amazed by the process and outcome. I had never heard the word millefiori and did not take time to stop and think about it’s meaning. I was too captivated by the quilts and all of the possibilities.

Millifiori Quilt Blocks

Blocks made by Lesley Storts

This past spring I visited the Chicago Art Institute and walked into the glass paperweight exhibit. I was amazed and awestruck. And then I saw that word again – Millefiore…that was the beginning of my quest to understand what it meant.

Glass Paperweight

Glass paperweight from exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The word millefiore, which translates to thousand flowered, originates with glass making in Italy from the 18th century. On their website, millefioribeads.org, the authors state that mosaic beads date back much further than that to the 7th or 8th century. A quick Pinterest search of the word millefiori will show quilts, jewelry and paperweights. So many mediums with which to experience this beautiful art – glass, clay, and fabric! As I was touring the paperweight exhibit, it dawned on me that Kaffe Fassett’s fabric, Paperweight, is inspired by this beautiful art.

Paperweight Fabric

Paperweight Fabric by Kaffe Fassett

As a bonus to learning all of this information, I recently found out that a friend of mine is associated with a local glass studio, Glass Axis. He invited me on a tour of the studio to see various methods of creating with glass. The day we went, there happened to be an artist working on blowing glass. It was an intriguing process to watch. The entire studio was full of inspiration! I went home to research the process a little more. The following 5 minute YouTube video of glass making shows this intricate and mesmerizing process.

I now have a better understanding of the inspiration behind the the millefiori quilts. As a quilter, I believe that inspiration can be found everywhere and learning about the millefiori glass paperweights once again confirms this belief. The plan for my millefiori quilt is to make each rosette focused on one color so that when they are all joined together, they feel distinct. I see paperweights with multi colors but I also see them restrained to smaller color palettes. The variance of options creates endless ideas for quilts.

I enjoy looking for paperweights when I antique. I found this beauty for $3 which is a bargain!

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Happy Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎

 

 


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»Diversity and a box of Crayons«

Earlier this week at church, one of my daughters received a box of crayons as a gift. As soon as she saw me, she laughed and asked me to open the box.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs a kid and even as an adult, I’ve always liked looking at a new box of crayons. So many possibilities with those fresh, sharp points. When I pulled the lid back, I was surprised! The sharp points were there, but the color was monotonous. I like the color Unmellow Yellow, but I like a lot of other colors too.
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The opportunity for creating with a new box of crayons seems endless, except when all of the crayons are the same. That box of crayons left me thinking about diversity and the privilege and inevitability of being exposed to it.

As a nurse working in an emergency room, I see diversity in so many aspects of life – health of patients, family interactions, coping mechanisms with life altering news, and clinical practice styles among health care workers. As a mom, I see differences in my children who all are growing up with the same 2 parents in the same household. I really appreciate diversity. Life would be boring if everything was the same.

As my quilting has evolved over the years, I’ve come to enjoy the diversity in this craft and appreciate varying styles – not only in quilting, but in individual interpretation – mine and others. Sew alongs, swaps and sewing challenges have provided a designated focus for creating.

Sew alongs have provided a great way to see a pattern with a large amount of personal interpretation. I participated in the Sewcial Bee Sampler  (IG #sewcialbeesampler) and Community Sampler (IG #communitysampler) both hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell. Everyone was working with the same pattern but chose their own fabric and approach. This project gave each quilter a unique opportunity to see the pattern reinterpreted again and again. It was interesting to see and a learning opportunity as well.

 

Last fall, Isabel Kelly (IG @lambandwolfie) hosted an Anna Maria Horner (AMH) sew along (IG #amhsewalong). This was a fun project because it was open to interpretation including pattern or project and focused on using your AMH stash. I decided to join with one project in mind, but changed my mind and created a single Irish chain using rainbow colors.

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Maker: Lesley Storts

Maker: Isabel Kelly (IG @lambandwolfie)

Maker: Isabel Kelly

Swaps are also another fun way to see how an individual views fabric or a general theme. I participated in the Polaroid Greeting swap (IG #polaroidgreetswap) hosted by Johanna (IG @johannaweidner) and found it interesting to see what “pictures” people captured. I still have not put together all of the blocks I received, but I was inspired to create a polaroid quilt for my dad for his 70th birthday.

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Maker: Lesley Storts

The Rainbow Mini Swap on Instagram hosted by Kate Basti (IG @katebasti or quiltwithkate.com) limited you to size but encouraged the incorporation of a lot of color. We had a deadline and I knew who I was sending to, but it was a secret who was sending to me. I sent mine to Becky (IG @keepmeinstitches) and received mine from Isabel Kelly – same gal who hosted the #amhsewalong mentioned above. I loved giving and receiving and made some wonderful online friends through the process. The quilt I made for Becky was a pattern I designed myself. It was challenging to create a layout that I felt was visibly appealing but in addition, I was sending it to a stranger! It pushed me to create the best quilt I could.

Lesley with Rainbow Mini made by Isabel Kelly

Lesley holding Rainbow Mini Quilt made by Isabel Kelly

Rainbow Hexi - made by Lesley for Becky

Maker: Lesley Storts

The Central Ohio Modern Quilt guild hosted a color challenge which was exciting and fun! Each person blindly pulled two crayons from a bag. The rules stated that were neutrals could also be added. This resulted in me trying out the Wefty needle made by Tara Curtis (IG @weftyneedle or weftyneedle.com) and making a pillow with piping! The palette was limited, but creativity was not.

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Maker: Lesley Storts

 

Diversity in all aspects of life is important. I appreciate the challenges that have come with various projects because I have grown as a quilter and crafter. How has your quilting or other passions grown over the years?
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Happy Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎