Thursday, November 29, 2012

And new old Quilt Tops

Another "new to me" quilt treasure...some tops from my South Carolina trip.  Ended up having long discussions with my DH on the drive home on why I like quilt tops.  He says, "they are abandoned projects... unfulfilled destinies...they can't be complete until they are quilted and used on a bed like the maker intended."  (unfulfilled destines?  I think he has been watching too much of the Sci-fi channel....)  My side of the discussion, "it gives me great examples of the fabric as it would have looked when the original maker selected it...never  been washed...and little to no fading...also, I can clearly see the construction techniques."

Two hours later when we pulled into our driveway we had agreed to disagree...not like he is going to quilt them when I'm not looking or anything!

The first top is an Economy Nine Patch.  There is a small penciled note on one corner....

It is all pieced by hand.  Each Economy Patch is only 3 inches making the blocks 9-inches finished.  And to think this was done before paper-piecing!

She used blue in the outside edge of each patch giving unity to this scrappy quilt.  There are some great fabrics in this but you have to get close to see them!  This is one I'd like to use as inspiration for a new quilt....

I don't have my Brackman Encyclopedia handy but I think this pattern is called "Boston Commons."  It is circa 1930.  The workmanship isn't quite a good as the first top but it is a great fabric study!  Sometimes you can figure out why a top wasn't finished.  This one does not lay flat...and not much of a chance it could be "quilted out."  The mitered inner border have an almost 1 inch fold in them!  Another good reason to just appreciate it for what it fabrics!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Early Christmas Quilt...

Christmas came early this year.  My DH and I drove up to South Carolina to view a quilt collection that is about to go to auction.  I came home with a couple...early Christmas presents!  (makes up for my not going out shopping all Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend!)

First is a brick quilt done in columns circa 1880.  The blue sashing strips vary in width...largest to smallest differs by more than 2 inches.  Lots for wonderful indigos mixed with shirtings, and plaids.

 The binding is back to front and is sew down by machine...a bit rough on the corners but it is the earliest quilt that I own that has machine binding.  I'm thinking the maker was showing off her new machine!  The rest of the quilt appears to be hand pieced and hand quilted.

The quilting is a Baptist fan or elbow fan.  Interestingly the fans begin on each side of the quilt.  The arcs meet in the middle and the "empty" spaces are filled with parallel line quilting.  Makes you wonder if they planned this or got halfway through the quilting and went "how the heck are we going to join the two sides?!  Anyway, it works!

Worked on my embroidery a bit today.  Trying to keep calm as I have an MRI this afternoon and I hate being in those big metal tubes!  Anyway, hope to have a finished pillow to show tomorrow....

Monday, November 26, 2012

Easy Street step one...

I got quite a bit done on Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt, Easy Street, this weekend.  I am more than half finished with step one and since she only posted it a few days ago that is saying something.

Having done many of Bonnie's prior mystery quilts I am feeling sure that she started out with an easy step to lull us into a sense of accomplishment...I am sure I'll be splattered when the next step is posted on Friday!

I am looking forward to cutting into some of the fabrics I've put aside for this though.  I was surprised how many I had in the color scheme.  Maybe it is because I never put these in one quilt before!

I've also been working on some Christmas projects.  I have several of these vintage Dresden plate blocks.  I traced an embroidery design in the center.  Now I have to decide if I am going to use a variety of colors/threads

or just red or blue?  (more traditional...)  The blocks are 16 by 16 inches so I am making pillows/cushions.

What do you think?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Random sewing...

Not really focused on any particular project this weekend but I am sewing a lot...

My Dh has had to work all holiday and I have developed new MS symptoms...random facial and eye twitches (think of the police commander in the Pink Panther....yuck!)  Anyways, they have kept me indoors and though they make me a bit cautious using the rotary cutter I have got some things done!

I cut my strips for the first step of Easy Street...Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt.  I sewed a few together and like the repro gray I pulled from my stash.  It was difficult finding a gray that could hold up to the white and black fabrics...
                                                         Tim Latimar's mock-up....
Also I pulled some seed/orphan blocks from the sewing room to test out a scrappy Road to California Block.  A facebook group I belong to have been discussing this pattern.  The quilt from Laura Fisher Quilts  (a great source for antique quilts) is white and green and looks great a two color quilt.  Tim Latimar of did some great two color mock up's of the many ways this block could be set.  A question did come up on how it would work as a scrappy block.

Well I just happened to have a stack of HST left over from my Ribbon Candy quilt and a basket full of four patches from various leader and ender runs so.....

It isn't quite as graphic as the two color but then you get the fun of the fabrics!  Like it both ways....though you can see why some of these blocks ended up in the orphan pile...needed some squaring up!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Late and tired..Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving was a success at our house.  Even with the short notice that I'd be cooking a large meal for many it went surprisingly well.  It did cut into my posting and quilting time but as I do not go out on "black Friday" I should be able to catch up today.

For those of you who have or work with children a question:  Is there a book or a comic that has school lockers in it?  My 8 year old grandson is obsessed with getting a grey school lock for Christmas!  Funny kid.   He couldn't find the perfect locker on the internet so I drew one for him based on his "specs."  Then gave him a box of crayons so he could decorate it.  "Wow," he said in disbelief, "this is as fun as an IPAD."  Who knew...wonder how long it had been since he used crayons!

We made a huge batch of waffles this morning...somehow by the time the plate made it to the table we were one short.  There are waffle crumbs behind the couch and Dobby's belly is dragging a bit...doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure that one out!  Heck, Dobby can barely fit in his basket...we may have to get a shoe-horn to get him out!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pre holiday craziness!

So only a few days until Thanksgiving and my plans have all gone topsy-turvy, catawompus, or just generally turned upside down and sideways....
                                                                   Set of vintage blocks that I'm putting together...
What was going to be a quiet few days in Charleston and Edisto Beach has turned into a home-stay holiday complete with weekend guests and a full table for dinner!  Yikes...
                                                                          Sprigs and Stars in process....
So today I am making the lists (love lists!) and am preparing for a week of cooking and cleaning  (love, not so much)...which means projects like the sprigs and stars in the photo above need to get off the dining room table, into a box, and then hopefully somewhere that I can find them again the first week of December.  How I wish I had a larger studio! (but don't we all!!!)

The good news is I did find some of the mint chocolate chips for my favorite holiday cookies - Mint Snowtops!  They only distribute these around the holidays so I have to stock up when I find them!

Poor Mac...all this activity has already worn him out.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Mystery

This past weekend I got lots of quilt-backs pieced.  It was the last step towards getting some quilts out the door to the long arm quilter.

It is amazing how many tops had joined the que since our last quilt show!  One of the big impetuses for this was Bonnie Hunter's next mystery quilt.  I couldn't let myself start another one until the last one (yes, that was a year ago!) was finished.  So I fixed that one corner of my Orca Bay, the backing was washed and pressed, and it is all ready to be quilted!

With that I allowed myself to play in the fabric stash and pull for Easy Street.  Fun colors.  I also stopped at Hancock's for their Veterans Day sale to do a bit of stash building for E.S. (I used a lot of green this year!  Fabric that is...)

Wouldn't you know it I ran into two other quilters visiting from near Columbia  S.C. who were also planning to participate in Bonnie's mystery quilt!  Amazing who you will meet if you just carry those paint chips around a fabric store!

Anyway, I think I am set except for the grey.  I don't have much yardage in this color.  Lot of fat-quarters and some solids...guess I'll have to keep looking!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Fold and stack...

Thursday was a reorganize day.  Quilts that had come out for the program this week were put back into the closet.  New quilts that I brought with me went back to the que in the sewing-room or into the other closet.

 And best of all...a long lost/misplaced project - Sprig and Stars - reappeared!  Please tell me I'm not the only quilter who packed two projects into one basket.  Obviously the Sprigs was on the bottom!

While all this was happening I also pulled two tops to quilt up this weekend so I could send them up to NYC.  Those folks look so cold.  I also heard that a soldier who worked for me years ago lost his house in the storm.  One of the quilts is going his way.  I can't imagine being a three months away from retirement and losing everything.  Fortunately his family is ok and he says he can rebuild...though perhaps he will put off retirement for another year....

A couple of folks asked about the pattern for the sheep pincushion.  It is by Just Another Button Company and is called "ewe look fabulous."  I think I picked mine up at Paduca last year...

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Lots of Quilt Talk!

The last few days have busy quilting days...well, at least busy talking about quilting...

First, I went up to Seneca, SC to do a program for the Lakes and Mountains Quilt Guild.  They are a really great group of quilters.  I changed up my 100 year of quilting presentation to include how these antique and vintage quilts can inspire modern quilters.  I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did!  It is always fun to take the quilts out for a road-trip....

On the way home I stopped in McCormick S.C. to check out some of the Quilt Blocks they are putting up on local buildings.

The local antique store is where the blocks are drafted and painted.  It looks like a wonderful project...more will be up soon!

Then last night Bonnie Hunter came by so more quilt talk!  She was on her way to Florida and my house was about the halfway point.

  Our friend Paula came by so we sat around the kitchen table and stitched.  Paula and I worked on our Sheep pincushions (mine is the little one with her winter blanket!) while Bonnie stitched down the binding on her bow-tie quilt.  My DH watched the election returns and narrated....

All and all a busy few days.  I still need to put away the quilts but that may have to wait until tomorrow.  Right now it's time for a long nap!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Packing again...

Making one last look at the quilt piles to make sure I haven't forgotten anything.  I am off to a guild in South Carolina to do my talk on 100 years of American Quilts.  It is an overview of Quilting history using a trunkshow of parts of my own collection.
                                                                     Lemoyne Star...North Carolina
Can honestly say I haven't done this the same way twice.  First, I don't bring the same quilts.  Choosing which quilts is always a huge deal for me so it would be easier if I just picked a dozen and always used those but what fun would that be?!  Besides, sometimes that quilt may be up on the wall and that is where I draw the line...not climbing up on ladders and removing quilts from display to bring along.  It isn't like I don't have others that fit the same time period...I've always had the "Noah's Ark" approach to collecting (I wan't to have two of each type) so this works for me!
                                                                         Irish Chain with swag border...circa 1840, Marlyand
The second reason is I ask the guild members to bring quilts that we fit into the "timeline."  Sometimes there are only 6-10 and once there were over 50!  Definitely keeps me on my toes!  (Have to admit to being a bit brain-dead after the 50 quilt day...quilt speed dating!)
                                            Redwork, circa 1910, Washington D.C.