Saturday, November 3, 2018

"Bricks" Series Celebration

13" x 17"
At last!

It's been a long time but . . .done is done. Here is the ninth and final quilt made from the pieces of a c. 1900 Bricks top I took apart in 2011. If you've been following my blog you've seen the posts of the previous eight quilts interspersed over the years. I challenged myself to see how many small quilts I could get out of that original top.

I've been wanting to wrap this project up for some time but I just kept putting other things first.

The motivation I needed came when I was invited to share this project with the Minnesota Quilt Guild at their November meeting. Carolyn, a member of Minnesota Quilt Project (MQP), the group that documents quilts and sponsors a meeting each year, saw my blog and contacted me.

Nothing like a deadline, I always say. Newly motivated, I dumped out the scant supply of remaining scraps which included some little units leftover from #7. ( the improve piece you can see again if you click here.)

By the time I got #9, this little strippy, done, I was very limited in size and color but I was able to eek out a pieced back by using some white shirting fabric from my stash of vintage yardage.

the back

I put a label on all my quilts...sometimes I write directly on the quilt if a label would be intrusive. Here's what I did on the back of this one.

I've really had fun with this project. I learned a lot along the way by trying different things ie. edge treatments, methods of construction, different battings, different ways to join the layers and the confidence to just create something I like without a pattern or instructions.
Here's a look at how I displayed them for the lecture:

And one more look at the original top:

Maybe you would enjoy working with vintage textiles to create something uniquely your own. Working in small scale allows you to get them done more quickly than large pieces though I may not be a good example. This project spanned seven years but I counted over forty other quilts in all sizes that I made during those same years.  I like to keep lots of plates spinning!

Thanks for checking in. I'd sort of like to hit 100 followers so if you are not 'official' I'd love it if you'd join my blog. I am sporadic but have good intentions (does that count?)
If you sign up for email reminders you'll get a notice when I post a new entry.

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Rick Rack Riot

Some years ago at a garage sale I came across four panels of tab curtains, 90" long. A dollar each. That's a lot of yardage for a dollar! Nice fabric. How could I go wrong!

I knew they'd come in handy somehow, someday and sure enough a while later I decided to replace the faded red checked curtains at our cabin.
I measured and cut and made a valence for over the sink window and curtains for the door with tie backs.

I'd seen a cute way to attach rick rack in an old pamphlet; the kind the dime stores had to inspire you with projects for bias tape, rick rack etc. I can't find it now but I'm sure it's here somewhere. But you use embroidery thread and it makes a nice design like this:

 Pin the trim over the stitching line of the hem and nip the space between zigs.
I used the red rick rack I'd found in an old box of sewing stuff from my mother-in-law - probably from the 50's)

She had a lot stashed away
I must have run out of steam or summer was over . . . so I never got around to making the curtains for the windows by the table. Those stayed as they were for . . . too long.  Mishmash-doesn't match, but it's a cabin, after all. 

This summer I finally decided to get the job done. First I had to locate the garage sale panels. That's another story but I did find them and managed to eek out two pair of cafe style curtains. Now for the rick rack. Wouldn't you know, there was not enough to do four panels with what I'd used before. I hit JoAnn Fabrics and bought some red rick rack not thinking a thing of it. I got to the cabin, eager to get at it.

No! It's too fat. It doesn't look right and it's POLYESTER!

After visiting a few quilt shops and fabric stores I realized I was  going to need vintage rick rack. I posted on-line with a textile Facebook page I'm on. I took photos of the type I needed. Not one reply. A couple of friends looked through their sewing stuff. Nothing.
Last weekend we headed to the cabin again. I'd hung the curtains sans embellishment - at least the windows were covered -  but I was anxious to get the trim and truly be done. I knew I'd have to find what I needed in an antique store and what were the odds? Slim, you say?  I'd have to agree. But there are several antique stores in a nearby town so off I went.  I walked into the first one, browsed first floor thinking 'this will never happen'. I headed up the stairs to a loft where I saw a tall cabinet.

I spied a basket on the bottom shelf full of rick rack! Heart pounding I picked it up.
"Red red please let there be red."

I flicked through blue, white, pink ....and there it was.   A single package of red on the bottom.  (I put it on top to stage this photo)

Price $2.50. 

I couldn't resist sharing my excitement with a shopper at the register who understood the excitement of finding just what you need. On top of that the booth was 30% off.  $1.75 for more than enough to finish the curtains.

The little things in life can really make my day!

Have you ever been on the hunt looking for a specific thing
- - and found it - -  
at a garage sale, flea market, antique store? 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Brick Series #8 Completed

15" x 20.5"
Here's my latest addition to the series of mini-quilts I've been making from an c. 1915 top I took apart.

I call the series Bricks because the original top,
was made up of rectangular bricks. My goal was to see how many small quilts I could make out of this one top, with the added goal of incorporating various techniques and styles.

The two previous blogs about the early stages of this one can be found  HERE and  HERE .

I love the finished piece - now that it's done! - but I was not crazy about the process and don't feel the urge to work with English paper piecing hexagons on any larger scale.

By this time my choices were more limited, having fewer and fewer pieces to work with, but that turned out to be a lesson in creativity and letting go of traditional design concepts. I couldn't go to my stash to find "the perfect fabric" to carry out an idea. I had to get the idea from the fabrics available to me. The result is more interesting as a result, I think.

I settled on one large rosette off center and two smaller ones as well as partial rosette in the upper right corner. The rest of the hexagons just got moved around endlessly until I finally stitched them together as background.

A period piece of striped brushed cotton from my friend Dawn became the perfect backing.

I was able to selectively cut two floral hexagons from the only floral print among the many stripes, plaids and dots; this one a centerpiece and the one in the upper right corner -  which had to be pieced to make it large enough.

top before ripping
I debated about using this BIG dot print at all but it demanded inclusion. As you see in the original top, this was the only such piece and only one hexagon could be cut from it.

I used it as a center of the black/grey rosette - at the bottom right. Then, to keep it from shouting,  I added my name and date to that plain white ground and a french knot in the center of that BIG DOT.

When it was all together I removed the papers and appliqued that whole piece onto a reproduction background fabric in the cadet blue of the period. (I've allowed myself to use a repro for a border on one other quilt and on some backings and bindings)

I didn't cut away the excess in the middle of that foundation until the piece was appliqued down. I turned it back for a 1.25"  border, trimmed the excess, folded it under and stitched it to the back.

It seemed only right after all that hand work to hand quilt this one.

I quilted closely around the appliqued piece and 1/4" inside all edges of that hex section. Then I quilted the outer edge to simulate the look of binding.

End wall of 'gallery' of the other seven quilts

I think I have enough scraps to do one more little quilt but I can't find the baggie of the snippets right now ....:) so I can't say when I will get to it. It's not a priority. I've already I've been at this for seven years so what's the rush?

(The first one, Tumbler, completed in 2011!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Brick Series #8 - A Long Time Coming!

Hello again dear quilting friends!

(I found this post partially done in Drafts. I've finished the 8th quilt and will post that tomorrow...but this was supposed to come first!)

You are sick of this photo if you've been following me on this project but for any new viewers, this is the original top.

You may recall the story of this  c. 1910 'bricks' top that I bought many years ago.
I decided to take it apart and see how many small quilts I could make out of it. I've written 10+ blogs on this particular project. The first was in May of 2011. (You can find that along the right sidebar by year)

I'd resisted suggestions that I do a hexagon quilt - over papers British style -but I finally decided to challenge myself. I felt it would be a good addition to the series and would use up most of the larger pieces.

I created the paper templates and basted the fabrics over them until I had over 100.Then I began thinking about a layout. I needed a small portable "design wall."
Flannel and batting didn't work because of the paper behind each piece.  I tried double stick tape on a piece of cardboard I got by cutting up a big box. The pieces fell off as I tried to work with them too many times. FRUSTRATION!

As it might be used for display

the sticker on the back
Then I came across something in office supplies. This Tri-Fold cardboard display board looked perfect.

It was just big enough for the size of the piece I'd planned. I used  applique pins to poked the pieces into the cardboard. I was able to move them around, pin still in each one, until I decided on the layout. 
After considerable playing I decided on a layout. Remember, I am using only fabric from the old top. There weren't enough larger pieces left to enable me to be fussy about  color choice.

I used the usual method of putting two hexagons face to face (right sides together) and whipping those edges together.
Then I saw a post by Barbara Brackman suggesting laying pieces side by side, flat, and whipping them together as they lay flat. 
Click here for a YouTube video showing the process.

I tried it. At first it seemed clumsy but I ended up liking it. (I did not use tape or clips...just put the pieces on either my thigh or a pillow to raise it up and ease along matching corner tips as I go.)  

I assembled  it in three sections

This shows all but the last couple of hexies in the bottom section sewn together.

Once the sections were done, all I had left was to sew those two long zigzag seams.

Back of the piece
PS leave papers in until all sides have been sewn
The papers along the outer edges will stay in place for stability until the piece is appliqued to a border

Beginning the zigzag row

13" w x 19" long without borders

Here's the top with those side hexagons roughly basted under to see if I like that look.

I think I do.

I anticipate it will be about 19" x 25."

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Lone Star Revision Complete

I'm really pleased with the way the c. 1920 lone star in my previous post  (April 2) turned out. (photo is not good....see below for a better idea of the colors)

After getting all the faded wonky prairie points and old binding removed from the edges with my trusty ripper, I decided on a simple finish. I liked the points in some ways but it seemed like too much work for an old, rather worn out piece . . .and they may have stood out as 'new'.
So I squared up the piece and found a nice little printed check in my stash to use for the new binding.

I just love fabric printed on the get the look of a bias trim without having to cut bias strips.

I apply binding by machine on nearly all the quilts I make. I apply it to the back, fold and bring to the front and top-stitch. 

Many quilters I know are reluctant to machine bind. Some just like the process of doing it by hand but others seem to feel it's 'cheating'. 

My collection of vintage quilts indicates that as soon as women had machines, they began both machine quilting and binding by machine. I find it a strong method which looks perfectly fine and which save a LOT of time that can be used for more rewarding work.

I treated a couple of yellowed areas and washed the whole thing in the washer on hand-wash setting. I put it in the dryer on low with a few big terry towels for 10 minutes at a time, checking it and taking it out when still damp. 
Then I laid it out on a large sheet and did a bit of gentle shaping. I put a fan on the floor across the room to aid the finishing of the drying process.Voila!..I think it's adorable. So sweet and soft. 

P.S. I am on a roll!  I also finished #8 of my on-going "Bricks" series of mini-quilts. 
I'll post that in a day or two. Please check back.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Lone Star Project - Just What I Need

59" x 66"
left side points already removed!

Well, I've done it again. I was out on a "Search and Rescue" mission with my gal pals recently. This sweet Lone Star quilt caught my eye.  I turned it every which way but I didn't see a price.
"Would you like me to bring that up front for you?" said the nice man trolling the antique store. They do that to make it easier for you to continue to shop as you accumulate interesting objects that you don't really need. (and deter shop-lifting, I'm sure)

(So you know I bought it or I wouldn't have the picture or be attempting to justify the purchase.)

The full shot doesn't reflect the colors well. Here's a close up for a better idea.

overall pastel feel c. 1920

There was quite a bit of damage on all four sides. I told him I wasn't at all sure I wanted it, but he said it would need to be priced in any case. He said he'd try to reach the seller and have it up front.

When I returned to the front desk they had a price on it. $20. How could I not?

Trusty Clover Ripper

That very evening out came my ripper . . .

This photo is an attempt to show all four edges up close prior to ripping. You can barely see the pink binding at the right edge.

The binding on two ends, one pink, one green, is frayed and worn through. The other two sides are finished with points which were once pink. They were not made with the easy Prairie Point method of today. Instead they are individual triangles, sewn and turned.
 The sizes vary greatly and they've faded in varying degrees, some completely white, from their original pink, probably indicating which side of the bed was closest to the window.
frayed binding

A few days later I had removed all the points and binding.

I love that this quilt is machine quilted. Women used the machine to quilt their quilts as soon as machines became available. Women took pride in owning a machine and wanted to show it off. I've seen examples from the late 1800's are even done in contrasting thread perhaps to be sure it is noticed.

wavy grid edge to edge

 This one is done in a wavy grid. Lack of precision indicates hand guided which I find so much more interesting that the precise, automated look of some "perfect" long-arm examples of today.

I originally thought I would just trim up the edges and re-bind, maybe with a vintage tiny pink check in my stash. But it does look cute with points...doesn't it? I may reconsider. Points on just two sides makes it 'different' -  a bit more fun I think.

Do you wonder why she did that? The extra time it took? Wanting the sides to be featured. Why did she use different colored binding? Did she really not have enough? Or did she want to indicate top and bottom and rotate for even wear? Perhaps she was just a creative spirit.

Why do I love studying and rescuing old quilts almost more than making new quilts with new fabric? I just do!

Please leave a comment (I need to know you're out there) and check back soon to see how I decide to finish the edges. Also, I'll be updating you on my Brick series project with #8 very soon.