Monday, May 28, 2012

Red, White and Blue

Horseshoes and anchors 'conversation' print
I've guess I've had writer's block ....I haven't posted for awhile.  I've had a rush of appraisal work which takes priority but... I do NOT want you to forget about me so here's a quick peek at a recent red, white and blue addition to my vintage collection on this Memorial Day. (I have decided to quit saying that I won't buy any more quilts!! It just isn't working!)

49" W x 61" L

The small scale (5") baskets and overall size could mean it was made for a crib or youth bed.

A variety of shirtings serve as background to the different indigo baskets and red prints.

The lighter blue is a novelty weave; seen in quilts of the early 20th century and visible in some of the photos below. Though some fabrics may be from the late 1800's, I'd date this quilt c. 1915.

At a distance the blues look the same but the close-ups show the variety. The same goes for the reds.
 Click to enlarge.

woven stripe - the only non-indigo

Example of fading reds

'Garabaldi' red and black print

Red print with
widely spaced motifs! 

Hanging Diamond quilting

In remembrance of those who gave their lives for our country and in gratitude to the brave men and women who continue to serve. 
Thank You!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

PA Four Patch Done . . . Etc.

18.5" x 22.5"
I finished hand quilting and binding my little February project - I took this photo without flash because it shows the quilting better. The close up is better color. 

As you recall from my first post about this I used the back of a man's shirt from Goodwill for the backing. Again, I went with an ultra narrow binding. 

Remember this one?

I do enjoy hand quilting - I have a big king sized quilt that I am working on (a repair, actually)  but the weather is getting warm so I want to have a small piece going....So I think I'll baste the little Amish Bars and dig in. It's only 19" x 21". What color thread should I use?

I am inspired by Tim Latimer's blog. He loves to collect vintage tops and finish them...  and he gets so much done! Reading his posts reminds me that just keeping at it really works. Check him out if you need a nudge and to see some really nice completed projects.

I'm also making progress on my 1970's Tumbling blocks which is hand pieced. My goal is to finish that top this month....

And I'm sewing strips together - trying to 'use up' some of them....

Stay tuned!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hanging your Quilts

I want to talk about hanging quilts today but first I have to tell you pays to whine about never getting a May Basket! My dear friend, Gail, came to my doorstep with these beautiful tulips a few days after she saw my post....she didn't ring the bell and run, though. She came in for sewing, chat and lunch!! Delightful!

Are you changing some of your decor with a fresher look for spring?
I use several ways to hang my quilts depending mostly on their size.
The simple 'corner' method I used on my recent contribution to the Alzheimer's project seems perfect for very small lightweight pieces. I had not used it before but will surely do so in the future.

I carefully twirl the pin as I insert
 it into the inner corner of the
 binding to prevent tearing the fibers.
They bend easily if not the
sturdy short kind.
I must admit to having   used clear push pins on small pieces - or even sturdy sewing pins, but these are not recommended! You can damage the fibers and after a short time even a small quilt sort of 'sags'. Best for only temporary hangings.

Most often I use either dowels or slats inserted into a sleeve at the top. Make the sleeve about 2" shorter than the width of the quilt so the slat extends beyond it and can be hung on a brad or headless nail. I put that straight into the wall at just under 90 degrees.

For the slats, I drill a small hole about 1/2" in from the each end and also write the name of the quilt with permanent marker on each end.  Some fit more than one quilt. This handy tip makes it easy to find what you want.

I use slats from old shades, trim from the lumber yard or yardsticks. I pick up free ones whenever I see them (Home Depot gives them away at our state fair.) They are straight and sturdy and a nice thickness. They are easy to cut shorter if needed.  In the store they are only $.68!
 Perfect for quilts 38" wide or less

I tie the different types together and store in an old wastebasket in my closet with other supplies that need to be rolled.


For dowels there are several options.
For the one on the right I slanted the brad and then just hung the dowel in the 'crotch'.

Eye hooks can be screwed into the wood slat either through the fabric at the top or on each end as shown here.

What methods have you used?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Alzheimer's Quilt Done

I finished it! Done done.
I used both vintage and contemporary fabrics and hand appliqued, embroidered and hand quilted it.  Being only 9" square it went very fast and was really fun to do.

I auditioned many fabrics for the binding....I tried plain red, checks on the bias, tiny polka dots .... but finally decided that using the same fabric as the border allows the bird be the center of attention.

I like a narrow single layer binding for small quilts. For this one I cut my strips just 1".

I came across this bird print in a New Mexico quilt shop on my last trip to Arizona. As I brought it to be cut the clerk said, "Oh, you're not taking it all, are you? I haven't cut some off for myself yet!"  I just got a yard so she was happy. I had no idea at the time that I was going to do this quilt....I think it's a perfect backing.

The website with rules and instructions for this fund raiser suggests this 'Easy Triangle' method for hanging the quilt. A thin dowel is inserted between the top two triangles and if the piece wants to curl a bit when hanging you can put one in the bottom, too.

I have registered it now and received an assigned number  10296.

It's going in the mail tomorrow and as soon as I find out it's either for sale or being auctioned I'll post again.

By the way, the May auction is now 'live' so if you want to participate or read more about it click here.

Here's the vintage quilt that inspired me:

Note the embroidered date on the back

If you didn't catch my first post about the Alzheimer's Project

Next: Hang It!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day! May Day!

19" x 23"
No, this is not a call for help - though if you saw my sewing room at the moment you'd say I really do NEED help!

But I'm talking about the first of May. The tradition involves leaving a basket, usually with flowers or trinkets within, at the doorstep of a friend or loved one- ringing the bell and running away. Apparently if you catch the culprit a kiss is your least that's one story on Wikipedia where you will find out more than you ever wanted to know about this holiday. Quite an interesting and complex history going back to pre-Christian times.
I have to admit I have never left a basket for anyone....Nor have I found one at my doorstep. Sniff, sniff. But I do have a few basket and flower themed quilts to share.

Signature Quilt - 17" x 23"
Hand Quilted

This little quilt is the result of a group project with eleven quilting friends, the Quiltin' Babes. (see our red and white quilts from last Christmas)
Each of us made and signed a basket - actually 12 baskets - and we assembled and finished them according to our own taste.

As I think you know, I DO love a 9 patch...and this variation seen in an old magazine caught my eye. The block close-up will make it easy for you to duplicate if it strikes your fancy. Blocks are separated with neutral sashing.

70" x 80"

I made if for my mother-in-law on her 80th birthday.
I seldom machine quilt but in this case it got 'done' in a timely way and she was thrilled.

Many quilts I've made for loved ones have come back to me....this is one of them.

I also seldom do 'fancy' labels but for gifts it's nice and this block lent itself to miniaturizing for a cute, coordinating label.

Here's a top of colorful baskets - I used to belong to lots of guilds and took part in the block exchange drawings. I won these blocks years ago, put the top together in the zig-zag strip style and....that's where it stopped!

It's huge....Do I want to finish it? For which bed? Will I add a border?

90"W x 80" L

Close-up of pink print

This pattern, Window Box, is from the book Watercolor Quilts by Magaret and  Slusser. I made it in 1995 when the 'watercolor' technique was the newest excitement. With the exception of the border, it is entirely composed of 1.5" squares and hand quilted with a bit of beading (dew!)
I recall the careful positioning of each square on my design wall - and walking by and changing things until finally I had to say, "Sew it together!" I heard of one woman who did the same deliberating with the entire family making changes as they scrutinized it. She was finally ready to sew.... when a gust of wind rearranged the pieces!!

Window Box
24" x 26"

I do have other quilts with floral themes but these represent the 'springiest'. I'll end with the vintage basket quilt I showed you in a recent post....currently gracing my guest room wall.

 Happy May !! 
Did someone leave a basket at your door?