Sunday, March 23, 2014

Japanese Quilts at New England Quilt Museum and More

Visited New England Quilt Museum in Lowell MA this week to view the Japanese Quilts!  I will start with My Favorite, that combines two of my personal favorite blocks....log cabins (Courthouse Steps variation) and houses, and post a couple each time I post......wish I could get to it more often!  I must mention that I have permission to post these photos from the Curator.  The photos were taken without flash.  The houses and tiny log cabins are amazing and the quilting is superb!!  Such a variety of types of fabrics!!  Feedsacks, even!  

 1/4" logs in those log cabins!  Recognize that yellow fabric from Nancy Kirk's Civil War collection of many years ago?

Several of the quilts in the exhibit used fabrics with writing on them.  

 I think the "shiny" fabric in the photo below is satin.  Hope you can see the exquisite handquilting!  And so Much of it!!
A most unexpected but gorgeous display of antique clothing was also on exhibit!  Wish I had had time to take notes!  Can't remember dates so well......tho the bustle is 1870's!

 The wool in this jacket was just about the finest quality I have ever seen!
 This is a wedding dress.  If I am able to get more info, I will add it later.

I've been making lots of little 4-patches this week to be used in upcoming Jo Morton Club quilts.  They are so darling and it's hard to stop.....oh, that fabric looks so good with this fabric, and so on and on!  You know how that is!  I found that I had a scrap box of strips from early club projects that worked perfectly, and I need to get strips cut from some of the newer ones to combine.  Well, maybe I don't.  Need 36 blocks and it seems I made 59 so I guess I am good to go.............when the setting fabric arrives.  Decided that I loved the olde-looking gray stripe in Jo's sample and it turned out to be a "Birdsong" fabric that I did not I have to wait until more is printed!  Never have liked gray much but sure did in this quilt!  The tan stripe colorway came and while I really like it (and so did the customers who got the first peek at it!), I will wait for the gray!  These little blocks are 2", finishing 1.5".
 Large log cabin blocks (10") update.......need to finish this quilt for a summer customer!  Here are the last 35 blocks (need 90 total)with round One tails all trimmed nice and neat, ready to start round Two!  Not tired of making them yet!  Nor the little ones either!  Keep finding boxes of scraps I forgot I had so have lots of different fabrics to work with!  Like the scrappy log cabins to have as big a variety as possible!
Until next time....................................................................

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Great New Book and Some Quilt Progress

Love this new book!   You will too if you like to study old fabrics!

Got this book a couple weeks ago and immediately sat down and turned pages for 2 hours...lots to study and read!  The number of prints and the wonderful colors are unbelievable!  Can't wait until I have time to get back to it!  First fabric I found pictured that I have a reproduction of is the blue Olde Sturbridge Village Collection #1.  Will find more to show you soon!  
Cutting more 4.5" Hexagons for my Charm Quilt......Have 50 cut and another 50 or so drawn and ready to be cut.......just need to find the minutes!!  Uninterrupted minutes!!  Working on my eighth row of 20, so that's about 160 different fabrics used so far!  Will need nearly 400 for an 80" x 80" quilt.  Have come across two duplicates so will need to watch that!  It's hard, tho, when so many gorgeous fabrics are my Favorites!!  That little strip above the hexagon goes into the log cabin/railfence box and the little triangles are now saved in a bandbox for the tiny 2" paper-pieced Pineapple blocks from the new Kansas City Star book "Kindred Spirits".
Have had kind of a dry spell concerning machine stitching since Dec 23 when a falling limb tore the service wires off the side of the house and created a power surge!  Am surprised at the number of things that survived but we had to replace a dozen or so items.  My Bernina that I am SO Bonded to will survive as it is Fixable!  Thank God!  We have been together 24 years....we work together as a Team!!  I'll bet there are lots of you out there who are just as comforable with your machine!  However, I did become re-acquainted with my old Singer 301 and one of the Featherweights so that is a good thing.  Have been doing somewhat mindless sewing......the little 3.75" log cabin blocks (Need 400 for a 75" x 75" quilt.....have only 95), 3" railfence blocks (Need 576 for a 72" x 72" quilt and have 220), and 10" log cabin block (Need 90 and have 65......this quilt needs to be done for a customer by summer and it is looking like I will make it!)  Will take a photo of the 10" blocks for next time!  Have been able to make these blocks with no cutting as I keep finding boxes of 1.5" strips hiding under other "stuff" that I place in the box!  Have now consolidated the Three boxes I found into one ......12" x 18" x 23" tall and full to the brim so I will be able to make blocks for a long time to come!  We all seem to have a favorite block to make and I guess mine is log cabin!  

Following along the log cabin thread, here is an old piece of 4 Pineapple blocks from the turn of the 19th century.  It has lovely fabrics and looks great on my dining room tablecloth.  Unfinished......someone had put a light blue sateen backing  and lace around the edges but I like the look of the plain blocks.  The lady who made this block was able to co-ordinate fabrics/colors....each round is made of the same 4 fabrics, the centers & corners are the same fabric, and the solid blue and brown fabrics frame the center/corners.  The grey/red fabric used in the center/corners was very popular and we have seen it in numerous quilts in the Maine Quilt Documentation.  You can see the same fabric but with tan in place of the red in the closeup.  Fabric also came with bright blue flowers.

Guess that is it until next time!  Hope it is not so long between posts!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

c. 1800 Reproduction Quilt

Finally a quieter day when I can sit down and think about writing a post!  Winter has been a challenge this year!

Today am showing a copy of an 1800 quilt that I started in 2003 and finished in 2009! I was inspired by a photo of an old quilt in "Saved for the People of Pennsylvania"......Quilts from the State Museum in Pennsylvania by Lucinda Cawley, Lorraine Ezbiansky, and Denise Nordberg 1997.  The quilt is signed N. Virginia Robinson Drum, June 16th 1800, Pittsburg Pa.  I may have written about this earlier but I recently found another version of it on Mary Jenkins' blog (10/31/13 posting) and could find no way to contact her so hopefully she may find her way here!    Her blog is "littlewelshquiltsandothertraditions" and her posting is about a similar quilt (maybe inspired by the same quilt?!) called Cotswald.  I had just received the new Dargate Doubles fabric line by Margo Krager and was eager to use them as they were so light compared to the fabrics I generally use!

I enjoyed figuring out the math for each  of the 9 borders surrounding the center star......and then making them.  The handquilting is what took me so long......sometimes would not work on it for months before picking it up know the story.......start too many new projects!  Also, I kept going back and adding more handquilting!

My eldest granddaughter loved the quilt (even before I asked her if she liked it!) so it became hers!

Continuing in my quest for creating "scraps" from yardage!  I cut 4", 1-1/2" and 1" strips from my 6 inch strips.  Forgot to take a photo of my 3.75" log cabin blocks and the 3" railfence blocks but will do it next time!!  
 Have been wanting to make a quilt with plaids/strips and recently found this pattern.  Love the true story of the Navaho Code Talkers who created a code in WW2 that the Japanese were never able to break!  I believe the movie was called "Windtalkers".  The quilt is simply an enhanced Railfence but it sure appeals to me!
 My first "code" need to find time to cut strips from the plaids/stripes!  

I'll leave you with the photo of our sweet little "Tommy" who thinks it's ok to sleep on my quilt tops!!  

I have Comments emailed to my Inbox but cannot always answer because of No-Reply Commenter.  So, I am going to try to answer any comments/questions here on the blog.  

For information about changing from a No Reply Commenter check out Lori's blog!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year after Ice Storm!!

Well, we really have Winter this year!  Certainly is different than the milder winters we have been experiencing in the past few years! For this area, it's the Twelfth "snowiest" December ever and the "snowiest" since 1970.  If only it could be just much easier to cope with!  Ice Storm arrived Dec 22 and hung around for a few days.  Now, 12 days later, we are still ice-covered!  Very cold and windy today......outside it sounds like a giant Windchime with all the tinkling ice!  Wish something so beautiful was not so destructive!!  

Winterberries encased in ice.

Birds still need to eat!!

Ice about 3/4" thick in some places!
Love that blue sky!

Bird Bath out of order for now!
This is Sweet Annie still encased in ice twelve days after storm!
Have not seen much of the sun, but I know it is still there somewhere!

Found this postcard from 1909 in an old postcard album..........Happy New Year to Everyone!  May you find lots of Time to do whatever it is you like to do!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Where Did the Month Go?

Took out my trusty old Singer 301 (1956) that I use in the shop, oiled her up and she's been purring!  Had not used her for about two years.....that needs to change!  Just never could find the time but I plan to Make Time to do something I enjoy so much!  The little quilt block on the machine bed is the first for the new Jo Morton club due to start in January.  If I don't lose my ambition this evening, I may start one of the other quilts, an applique basket.

 I've been making Half Square Triangles for the Medallion quilt I started a couple months ago.  Needed 44 but made  88 (really 176 because each unit produces 2) to have choices!  Of course, each triangle unit has a twin so I'll have lots available should a new project interest me later!

I know these colors look way out of character for me, but the little quilt is not for me but for a worthy cause.  Hope a child loves the bright colored Butterflies!  Made two in fact and during the sewing room cleanout, I found kits I had made for myself for 3 more different ones!

 Got a new book "Kindred Spirits" from Kansas City Star.  Loved most of the projects but especially these little paper-pieced 2" Pineapple blocks!   The first one took me about 3-1/2 hours but I got a Rhythm going and made the rest quicker.  Think I'll try some red/green ones for Christmas tree ornaments.  I always find a good idea for Ornaments when it is too late for the current year!!

The opening of the frame is 6" the scrappy colors!

Sunset catching just the tops of the trees on the hill behind the house on Thursday afternoon.  Things have now changed drastically.......watching the ice storm approaching from the midwest............probably will lose power.  In the 1998 ice storm we went 14 days without power.  Having a generator made it easier than some folks had it.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

And the Winner of the Box of Scraps is...................................

Lori of Humble Quilts!!  Wish I had boxes enough for all who left kind comments!  Good News is that I have started the next box and will work hard to fill it as soon as I can with the ends of bolts from the shop and with the leftovers from my quiltmaking!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Update on TeaDyeing, English Piecing and More

Had some questions about the tea-dyeing I wrote about in my previous blog.    Experiment with scraps if you are really apprehensive about it!  I teadyed the 3 Hexagons (they are about 4" x 5") using a teaspoonful of powdered tea mix that I found in my cupboard in a cup of boiling water.   Not sure how long I left them in the tea but it was a little while......2 or 3 hours maybe.  When you take the fabric out of the tea, it is darker than it will be when it dries.  I wanted only to soften the stark white backgrounds.  Interestingly, "tea ground" was a background color in the early 1800's fabrics......chintz for one.  Time will tell if it fades tho I plan to experiment with a couple scraps to see if washing removes the tea color.  I have overdyed fabrics and small quilts often in the past and have never been disappointed......might have come out differently than anticipated but I always liked the results.  Most of the time, I used Rit Tan dye for those projects.  Don't be afraid to experiment with it!
 I thought I had taken a photo of the Hewson panel Center Medallion Quilt that I have started but could not find it so will use this one from my booth at a quilt show I vended at in Oct.  The choices are in the next photo.  Regan is the only one who choose the same one I did!!
 These were my blue choices and I used the second from the left.  I Love the second from the right (quite a few others did too!) and will use that in the next blue border.  Will be a while before I get border is Half-Square Triangles.
 Now as to the English Piecing (not English Paper-Piecing), it is essentially the Same as EPP but without the paper!  While documenting quilts here in Maine, we occasionally found the technique used.  I could not find the small 4-patch blocks I wanted to show you but I will keep's fun to go through boxes of fabrics and blocks....just need to find the Time!  I  remembered this runner I made using an antique found in an antique shop.  It was a long, skinny runner with a 1940's rayon dress fabric for the backing!  I took it apart (that took a long time!) and reassembled it in a different configuration.  Hope you can see the tiny whipstitches in the seams of the 4-patch below.  It is accomplished by creasing the seam allowance of 2 patches, placing them right sides together and whipstitching the creased edges together.....much the same as is done with the hexagons popular today.  

Block is 1870's fabric made in 2 colorways.

 Four rows of my Hexagons are sewed together!  I think I will work in five sections of 4 rows to make assembly less cumbersome......this is my TakeAlong project that needs to fit in my lap!  I have another couple rows sewn together but want to find time to go through my fabric and make sure I have lots of choices when sewing rows!
 And I have taken on another project.....thankfully, I love to make log cabin blocks and over the years have accumulated enough strips so that I can just sew (well, after I iron the strips!)whenever I have a few minutes.  I will need ninety 10" blocks to make a queen-size quilt for a customer request....have until next summer to get it done but have a good start with more than 30 blocks made already!  Hope I can keep up the momentum!
 I work with about 30 blocks at a time just as I do with my little 3" blocks.....strip-piecing a different fabric each time, rather than cutting strips the exact length needed for each round.  Trim and square each block as I get 4 sides done and start all over again till I have completed 4 rounds!  The stack shown on the left below is all trimmed with one block left untrimmed so you will see what I mean.
 Love this little Jo Morton quilt I just finished.....last one for Club 12!  Waiting for Club 13!!
 And one more thing........ For years I sewed in silence and I still love the Sound of Silence but if I listen to an audiobook, I feel I am accomplishing two things at once!  I read a review of Kate Morton's "The Secret Keeper".  When I went to purchase it, I found 3 previous books so I am listening in the order in which they were written.....English castles, mystery, unusual little twists and Secrets!  "The House at Riverton was her first, followed by "The Forgotten Garden".  Currently listening to "The Distant Hours".
And one more One More Thing......will chose the winner of the Scrap Box Giveaway on Friday!  Thanks for all your comments!