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!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Starting Another Quilt, tea-dyeing and my Fourth GIVEAWAY!!!!!!

As if I need yet another quilt to work on, I just started one!  Was eager to use  History Repeated  (1 and 2) by Julie Hendrickson for Windham.......a lovely line of browns/blues and shirtings........gorgeous fabric will speak to us that way, doesn't it!!  Decided on 9-patch (6") alternating with plain squares from the same line.  Note:  I have already replaced 3 of the alternating squares because they were too I ever not do that?  Seems that with every quilt, I find something I do not like and just have to change it......better to do it now at this stage than wait until it is ready for quilting!   Might not happen if I had a design wall but I don't have the wall space!  Then, I decided to throw in some blocks other than 9-patches......log cabin, sawtooth star, 36 patch so far.  Then I decided to throw in plain block "surprises" of unrelated fabric.  

Another project I am working on is my Take-Along Hexagons that I am hand-piecing.  Some of the lovely fabrics I chose had backgrounds that were just too stark white for me so I tried tea-dyeing three of them.  As you can see below, it just took the edge off the starkness and I think I will like them better!!

Also working on this medallion quilt from Fons & Porter Love of Quilting magaxine (will be a Very Long Term project!).  The first border is on the Hewson vase panel, a brown background from the Seneca Falls collection by Brackman/Thompson.  Had a hard time deciding on the next plain blue border.......Then, will get into more interesting pieced borders!!
I lined up these time I will show you what I choose!!!  What would you have chosen?
And Finally, the Giveaway box that is full to the brim.....weighs 5# 10 oz which translates to over 20 yards (using 4 oz per yard estimate)!!!  Most pieces are full width of fabric (40" - 44") and less than 6" length.  I use 6" strips to make cute little bundles of scraps to sell in my shop......anything less than that goes into the scrap Box.  For years I saved them but I have more than I could ever use!  Wish there were some way I could estimate how many miles of rotary- cutting I have done in the past 30 years!

All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog and you will be included in my drawing..........I will announce the winner on Friday Nov 15.  Regret to say that I will be able to ship to USA only since the overseas postage increased so much this year!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Books and Antique Fabric Study

Not much work gets done around here when New Books arrive!!!  I first go through new books looking at all the photos and reading the captions.  Then, I go back and Read!  And make Notes!  Feels like I am back in school!

The "Chintz Book From the Poos Collection" is new from Quiltmania.  Great (the Best!) closeup photos of Chintz for studying!  Will provide many hours of reading and learning!  The book on the right is "Interwoven Global" from the Metropolitan Museum Exhibit of the same name.......look at the is Fabric in the Indigo Resist method!  What a wonderful idea to cover a book in Fabric!!!

Now for some antique fabric study!  This 1790-1800 quilt is owned by my friend Judy Roche and I had the Privilege of analyzing it at one of our quilt study days!  Cannot imagine why I did not take a shot of it lying on the bed for an overall view!  I will try to do that later!  The Quaker quilt is a medallion style with the brown chintz fabric below as the center.  

This is the wide border.
The center is surrounded by a broken dishes blocks, 4 patches and others in a random matter the fabrics are the Star here!  The quilt is signed in one corner on the back "Ellen A Fell", likely a descendant of Margaret Fell, the Mother of Quakerism (1614-1702).  The handquilting is 2" diagonal grid with brown thread.

Some damage is with the brown fabric but for a quilt made from Many Brown Fabrics, it is in wonderful condition!

As I was about to fold the quilt for the storage box, I noticed through a tiny break in a seam that the sewing method was what we call English-Piecing......not EPP (English Paper Piecing).  It is a method I've seen done on American blocks made as late as 1870's......I have some and will find them for a future post.  Observing English Piecing from the back of blocks, the narrow seam allowances appear to have been folded (even creased) and then with two squares such as in 4-patches, right sides together,the seam are whipstitched together in the method popular today (and nearly 200 years ago!) with the construction of hexagon blocks.

Getting ready for a quilt show in Belfast Maine..........the Giveaway box of Scraps is Full and will give it away soon!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Jo Morton and Linda Collins visited the shop!

 Got a call that Jo and Linda wanted to come to the shop on Monday as they are traveling around New England and Pennsylvania.  Nice to visit with them and talk quilts!  Very rainy day Monday but Tues/Wed have been perfect Fall days so I hope they are enjoying their travels!  And, yes, they both found fabrics they liked!!
 Linda brought along some Show & Tell...... on the left is the beginning of a quilt from  "Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts" by Kinch and Storms......the little squares are 1/2"!  The quilt on the right is the result of a swap of 16-Patch blocks between American and Australian friends.......actually may have been made from Leftovers............can't remember!  Linda is the Quilts in the Barn Lady from Australia! 
The Tumbler quilt uses Jo Morton fabrics.
Linda gave me the little coaster made with precious Dutch fabrics and the red fabric is vintage!  I love it!  Below the coaster is a Fabric Postcard I received recently as a Thank You for the donation of crazy quilt fabrics.....velvets, satins, etc.  I donated them as part of my purge from the sewing room that I blogged about earlier......More about that later!!
Fabrics received in the shop this week......Josephine by French General.
 Bordeaux and Sienna from Paula Barnes!
 Two purples and a pink from Party of Twelve by Judie Rothermel.
The Just Judie contest winners (300 entries) have been announced and the two Honorable Mention winners were sponsored by my shop!  Both made beautiful quilts!  This one is by my friend, Wendy Reed......used over 600 Judie fabrics!!  Beautifully pieced, appliqued and hand-quilted!!
This quilt is by customer Denise Isherwood from Connecticut.....another original design beauty!
Check out the Marcus Fabrics Blog to see all the winners!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sewing Room Cleaning/Organizing/Surprises

I can now "walk into" one of my walk-in closets!  Did a major purging of old clothes (and found some new ones too!) because there was no longer space on the clothes rod and things were piling up on the floor!  Not only clothes, but fabric, books, papers, etc.  Feels so good to see it neat again!  OOOoops....looks like some fabric is still piled on the floor!  Oh well!  This closet is where a lot of the "how-to" books and older Brackman/Thompson and Smithsonian fabrics live.  My fabrics are mostly stored by collection except for the first shelves I had built (that I thought would be adequate for a while but they weren't!) where they started out being organized by color.  Collections moved in soon after.......Most of the Time I can find what fabric I am looking for............I am amazed that when this room (oldest child bedroom that was used by 6 kids in succession!) was remodeled from an old attic that two walk-in closets were created.  One is at the top of the back stairs and it needs organizing but not today......or the foreseeable future!

Some of the Surprises I found while cleaning.....rabbit dolls that I made for a local craft show some friends and I did here in town from 1988 until 2001.  Did not remember that I had any left!  Might be good gifts sometime!
And I enjoyed making/dressing cloth dolls!
Made this little log cabin in the early 1990's and one of the surprises I found was a huge box of 1" strips I used for it.........they were hidden by the dolls.........oh wait...there were some Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.....must have forgotten to photo them......loved those dolls!  Made one for each grandchild as well as to sell at our show. 
More little Railfence making these as Leaders/Enders!

Have been working on little Railfence and log cabin blocks lately when I just feel like sewing!  Most of my scrap strips start out at 6-61/2" and will have a couple inches left over after working on the 3" Railfence blocks......they go into one of these little boxes to be used as the second strip on the 3" log cabins.   Have lots of the boxes and it's a good thing I started saving them when I did.......the flimsy little boxes that you have to assembly yourself now are worthless!  Isn't it awful how as soon as you find something you like, and can use/reuse, it is changed....and not usually for the better!  

Found a box marked "Auction Goods".......from probably 20 years ago.....guess I did not go all through it back then as I found things I did not remember ever of which is this mail in a brown paper wrapper..........
It turned out to be a catalog from the 1940', furnishings, quilts.....will add to my very small collection of old pattern catalogs.  Love the dresses!  Which I hardly ever wear nowadays!
From the back cover, it seems appliqued "Tree of Life" quilts were popular then!
Found this Amish "cheater" panel to make small quilts.  Also collect "cheater" fabrics, both old and new.  Too many things interest me!!

This little strip of an old quilt I have no recollection of......sure wish I had the Whole Quilt!  Those are pretty early fabrics!