Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Pleasure of Reading...New This Week

I love to read almost as much as I love to piece, applique and handquilt!  Guess what I will be doing this evening while watching the final installment of "Downton Abbey"!!    Here are some of the reasons why I love to read.......Two new books came this week ...."Utility Quilting" by Carolyn Forster which has lovely photos of old quilts interspersed with instructions.  Very good instructions about layering quilts to baste, big stitch quilting, and best of all, methods of creating quilting designs such as cables that have been greatly simplified!  Instructions for eleven projects.

"Back to Charm School" is the second book by Country Threads about making small quilts with charm packs.  This book is as good as the first!  And I can't wait to make one, but have to work on my monthly Jo Morton quilt first!!  Priorities you know!!

Here are three new more new books!  Edyta Sitar has outdone herself with "Reasons for Quilts"!  It is primarily a photo book with excellent shots of her loverly quilts, but there is a CD with patterns for 9 of the quilts.  This book could easily while away the evening hours without you realizing it!  A Hexagon Craze by English Paper Piecing method is sweeping the Quilting World and here is a book that shows you More Patterns (actually, nearly any pattern could be done EPP!).  If you love the handwork of EPP, you will like this book!  "New English Paper Piecing" by Sue Daley, A Faster Approach to a Traditional Favourite  contain 10 quilted projects. Clear photos and instructions should make this technique easy for anyone who wants to try it!  The third book is "Quilts in the Attic", a collection of 30 short stories about "Uncovering the Hidden Stories of the Quilts We Love" by Karen Musgrave.  Have enjoyed the first two and I am sure the rest will be equally interesting!

 Now we come to this week's magazines!  I should make a list of all the magazines I read each month....might provide some insight as to why I am slow at finishing quilt projects!!  "Early American Life" has been a favorite for years and I believe I have collected every issue since it began in the early 1970's.  I love old houses and can easily while away a few more hours learning about wonderful restorations that folks have done!  The other magazine is only a couple years old....."A Simple Life"  ...again more restoration, history, beautiful gardens, but the homes are a bit more "primitive".  Even the ads are wonderful!  Visiting all the websites could take up a whole day!  (Much like the blog-following we are becoming deeply addicted to!)

Now we have three magazines from my childhood that I found on ebay!  When I was a child, I loved to read my mother's "Woman's Day" magazines....I collected the little monthly recipe booklets for many years!
When I happened onto the June 1959 issue on ebay, I noticed that it had a Quilt article and I wanted to see what quilts were being made in 1959!  I am sure I read the issue in 1959 but do not remember it!

The middle issue contains an nice article on rugbraiding, something I tried, and enjoyed, but did not pursue beyond two small still using them! Someday I would like to try time to do everything one would like to do!

The issue on the far right contained an excellent article on antique dolls, a hobby I pursued in a different life and I still have a few dolls that I will talk about another time!  I wonder if that article with its beautiful photos and history of dollmaking planted the seed in my heart that I would follow many years later!

 This is what quilts were in 1959.....bigger pieces with solid fabrics! Machine-sewn and Machine-quilted!  To me it is the typical "modern" look that ladies were after in the 1950's, including my own mother!  Instructions are similar to what you read today, but of course no mention of rotary-cutters....would be a little more than 20 years before I heard of a rotary cutter!  Must have been a bit tedious using scissors and less accurate too!  But I'll bet it was Satisfying, nonetheless......later, when I was a young mother, I loved making everything for my children and home that I could!  Quiltmaking is my primary sewing endeavor these days!

I was particularly thrilled when I came across this Singer ad!  If I have identified the machines correctly, I own all three!  Collecting older sewing machines is another hobby of mine, but unless something Spectacular comes my way, I have reached my limit!  Running out of room!   As much as I love the neat stitches and the purring motors of the older Singers, I will admit that my first choice of machine is my trusty 22-year-old Bernina 1120!  Have the 1/4" seam allowance down pat and am addicted to the the knee-lift for the pressure foot and the needle-down button!  Hope she lasts for many more years but, if not, I have plenty of back-up!

The first two photos are slant post zig-zag machines and the last one looks like the 404, a straight-stitcher that was made for the school home economics classes from the good old days! The $69.50 price was for the SPARTAN Portable, a small basic machine.  No prices given for the other 3.  It is noted that all three machines are made in America by American craftsmen!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

More Old and New Comparisons

Yesterday a friend and I spent four hours going through two boxes of old fabric scraps and quilt box was mine and one was hers!  We marveled at some of the fabrics we found that we remembered as having been reproduced.  First photo is from a log cabin quilt top that I am thrilled to own!  Sixty-four blocks of gorgeous fabrics in very good condition!  When I bought the top, I thought there had been a repair as I recognized the fabric design.  Well, when they are side by side, one can see the difference!  The old fabric seems to have a glaze.  The new fabric I think might have been made by Concord (someone correct me if they know otherwise!).  The repro has a navy ground instead of teal; the large red motif is similar but not exact; the old fabric has tiny flowers in pink and blue and two shades of green in the leaves, but the new one has only pink flowers with leaves in one shade only, rather dun-colored I would say.

 Two more blocks from the log cabin quilt......recognize any more as having been reproduced?  I think the long strip on the far right has been....either by Judie Rothermel or Jan Patek?

 Now that you can see a whole block, check out the construction technique.  It is a "regular" log cabin block with the contrasting lights and darks adjacent to each other.  But it is Made like a Courthouse Step block with the logs added opposite each other!  Interesting.............Instead of adding two lights or two darks on each round, the maker added one light and then one dark opposite.  Anyone else ever notice this log cabin contruction technique before?

On the right below is a reproduction stripe by Judy Roche and Corienne Kramer from the Peddlar's Pack line.  I lined it up with the original from a quilt fragment on the left.  Check out the other early fabrics! 

  The design in the shirting fabric below of little diamonds with 4 dots at each point is quite similar to the Indigo Berries fabric by Jo Morton!

Now we have a reproduction stripe done several years ago by Virginia Robertson lined up with its antique counterpart!  Stripes are the same size; colors are quite similar.  The new fabric feels wonderful but the old fabric feels a bit stiff and is thin; however, the colors are still great!

 Just remembered where to find the reproduction (to any Non-Quilter walking into my sewing room/fabric storage it looks like Chaos but I can usually find any fabric that I am seeking in a relatively short time!  Not every time, but usually!) in the photo below.  The reproduction fabric on the right is similar in scale and colors but they left out the blue!  Don't you think that is what made the fabric eye-catching?  I believe this fabric was from an old Christmas line by Judie Rothermel......maybe Christmas in Virginia or in Williamsburg?  

The red centers in this quilt appear to be a fine linen and aren't quite as bright as the photo portrays.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Book, Leftovers, Broken Dishes and Toile

"Amish Quilts and the Welsh Connection"  
Received this wonderful new book this week!  Have looked at all the photos and read the captions and need to find time to read the rest!  If I didn't like to read so much, I might get more sewing done!  

 This little Courthouse Step quilt is a Jo Morton Club project.....wanted to show you what a member and I did with the leftover 1" strip scraps!

 Linda made the darling little bowl and I have tiny Four Patches in progress!
I like to try to make Somethin' from Nothin'.....little scraps that some folks throw away!  Linda is a Kindred Spirit!  I am one of those Fugal Sorts.....among the many things that I recycle are the little boxes that checks come in to store and sort fabric scraps!

 This is a little Broken Dishes quilt made from a charm pack and border fabrics from Barbara Brackman's "Civil War Crossings".........actually two quilts can be made from one charm pack!  I love little blocks (these are 3") and I love Busy Quilts with lots of color!  Machine-quilted the body of the quilt by stitching in the ditch and then hand-quilted the border with my favorite little wavy line.  Looks like I should go back and quilt something in the corner stones!  Takes me a long time to decide a quilt is finally Done!

 I used this black/white Toile as the center in a Medallion quilt that I showed earlier on.  (I have started hand-quilting it!)  A friend (a quilt historian)called me the other day and told me that my toile was on the cover of "Toiles for All Seasons".  I had the book but had not yet recognized the scenes as being in my reproduction fabric!  The original Toile was made after 1793 and was based on four paintings by two different artists depicting the four seasons of the year!