Friday, May 15, 2015

Bloggers Quilt Festival Time!

It's time for the annual spring romp through quilters sewing rooms courtesy of Amy at Amy's Creative Side who hosts this fabulous party each year!  Thanks Amy, both for the tremendous effort in making all this possible and also for including my favorite category - hand quilted quilts!

My entry this time has a story to go with it.  A few years ago I attended a small local yard/estate sale in the community where I worked.  After loading my arms with a bundle of lovely vintage linens, I spotted a plastic zippered bag on the ground under a table, the kind of bag new blankets and other bed linens come in from the store.  All I could see in the bag was a bundle of muslin and a bit of what looked to be a colorful vintage fabric.  And this tag:
Well.  That bag was coming with me!  On the way out of the sale, I was chided a bit by a co-worker who happened to be there for hauling away 'that old thing.'   That old thing happened to be this:
Hand basted with quilting just begun, these gorgeous vintage bow-tie blocks all hand pieced, with a heavy polyester batting and a one-piece muslin backing!  At the time I was unaware that the yard sale was at the home of the widower of a lady who had previously worked in my office, who had passed away shortly before I began working there.  I think this quilt may have been one she started as a young lady and had never finished.  It was destiny that I was to finish it for her.
I worked on this off and on between other projects and completed it just before moving back to the east coast late last summer.  Here is the finished quilt:

And some of my favorite fabrics from the bow-tie blocks:

 The whole quilt:
I love the finished quilt, the fabrics washed beautifully after it was completed, the bow-tie background fabric, a heavy cotton vintage tablecloth-type fabric, whitened considerably, making the bow-ties pop wonderfully.  
Thanks for visiting, and good luck in finding your very own vintage yard sale treasure!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A quick baby quilt

We've been attending our new church here for several months since getting settled in our home, and we've all been awaiting the arrival of a new little one, the fourth child of one of the worship leaders.  Well, her newborn son has now arrived, and of course a shower is planned.  What have I been doing these past four months, not thinking baby quilts for sure.  But Monday I pulled out the bin of baby fabrics and making do with what there is in the stash, pieced some flying geese, added a panel and some strips and this quick little top is the result.  Good colors for a little boy to drag along the floor or outside, or run his little trucks over.  
Pin basting on Tuesday.  I love these little characters dancing across the flying geese blocks.  Had only a small piece of this fabric.

Quilting began yesterday and I hope to have the quilting completed today.  Using Aurifil 50 wt. color 2205 and Hobbs Polydown batting.  Quilting is Wendy Sheppard's "Jester's Hat" overall design, a favorite of mine to quilt on these small projects.

Have been progressing slowly on both the Campfire Memories and Blockade quilts, they are both about half quilted at this point, but I'll wait til the finish to show more photos.
A late-spring snow blankets the ground this morning, the weather has been wild this week.  Seventy degrees on Monday, then a huge thunderstorm that turned our little creek into a raging river within half an hour!  That was quite impressive!  The creek has returned to its banks again though is still flowing high and fast.  Looking forward to finding some brook trout out there one of these days.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Blockade Quilt

I love walking into my little sewing room and seeing a quilt in progress on the hoop stand, so right after finishing the pin basting of Campfire Memories for machine quilting (see my last post) I layered this queen size gem. This is a vintage top acquired from an online seller a couple years back.  It came from the estate of an Ohio Mennonite woman who was a prolific quilter in her day.  The seller called the pattern "The Blockade."
Several of the blocks were lightly penciled with the intended quilting design, and the white border was completely marked for quilting.
Fabrics making up the blocks are primarily mid-century prints, mostly floral with a few polka dots, stripes and geometrics thrown in.  I'm reminded of some of my mom's dresses and dad's pajamas when I look at these prints.
Here is the first day's quilting effort:
And progress as of this morning, after a couple weeks' work the central area is nearly half quilted:
The backing is a soft bleached muslin, in keeping with the era of the top, though the batting is a more modern Hobbs Polydown.  Thread is Coats 100% cotton 20 wt. hand quilting thread (pink spool). This will make a great summer quilt, and with luck it may be finished to go on the guest bed sometime this summer.
Summer seems a long way off, as we are still having snow showers every couple days, and there are forecasts for accumulating snow for Easter weekend.  On the bright side, there is a one-day warm up predicted for Thursday!    Hope springs eternal!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Campfire Memories

When we moved back east from Oregon last fall, I knew it would be several months before quilting could again become a somewhat daily activity.  We knew there would be several months in a temporary apartment and most of the fabric and supplies would need to remain packed safely in their moving boxes until we were finally in our new home.  I brought one plastic tote with a hand quilting project, a couple small rulers, tiny cutting mat, needles, threads and scissors.  Into a smaller tote went fabrics for sashing, cornerstones, backing and binding, and enough phone book foundation papers and many of the fabric scraps that would eventually cover the foundation papers.  Finally, my favorite Singer 301 was carefully packed with more of the fabric scraps filling all the spaces in its case, cushioning it for its cross-country trek in the back of the pickup.
Fast-forward six months, and those scraps, bits and pieces of nearly all the quilts I've made over the past twenty years, are pieced together into the string squares of this just-completed flimsy.
The lighter gray sashings are from a gorgeous fat quarter bundle I won a couple of years ago that had been sitting in my stash just waiting for the perfect project.  Many of the black outer sashing/border pieces are a vintage Cranston fabric featuring elephants and other jungle themed patterning.  A few of my favorite blocks:
Each block is filled with memories.  I see fabrics from my kid's college quilts, wedding quilts, grandbaby quilts, a group quilt made for a coworker whose home burned to the ground, donation quilts, and of course the quilts that keep us warm at night or snuggled on the couch as we read or watch tv.
My quilt was inspired by one called Rock Island Campfires made by Marianne Fons for the July/August 2013 issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine.  While watching the television episode featuring this quilt I learned she had been inspired to make her quilt by an antique turn-of-the-century quilt she had seen.  I think mine will be called Campfire Memories.   Hopefully it will be layered and basted later today and I can start machine quilting this week.  
I can hardly wait to snuggle up under this one!  
March!  Spring arrived in January back in western Oregon.  Here in western New York the temperature this morning is above zero for a change, though we're expecting yet another snowstorm later today and overnight.  Upwards of a foot of new snow anticipated.  Happily, the frig and cupboards are newly restocked and we don't have to venture out again til the roads are plowed.  The new snowblower has more than earned its keep this winter.

One thing I've learned after a(nother) New York winter - there's no such thing as having too many quilts!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Settling In

Unpacking is nearly complete and I'm finally able to spend a little time each day at the sewing machine and/or hand quilting once again.  The new sewing space is a lot smaller than my previous room, the closet for storing fabric about half the size of the old one, and to make it all so much cozier, my computer desk ended up being put in the sewing room since it didn't fit in the office area.  But, everything is workable so far, and I love this room for the great natural light we get from the south and west-facing windows.  
That table in the middle of the room is my all-purpose surface, for ironing, cutting, moving behind the Janome for FMQ, and currently spreading all the tax forms and receipts for the annual agony of tax prep.
I love looking at this little quilt remnant, so bright and cheery.
My view of the side yard.
I finished the additional hand quilting on the vintage 1980s(?) dresden plate quilt I picked up last year.    
I do love the great scalloped border the original quilter added to this quilt.
The batting is quite puffy so I chose not to do a lot of background quilting, but just outlined the elements of the dresden plates and bordered each of the blocks with straight line quilting along the seams.
I'll share progress on my campfire quilt next time.  It's great to be blogging again, even if only intermittently!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Biding our Time

It's been so long since I've posted, we'll see if I can still remember how to add some photos.  Thanks to the several brand new followers who added this blog despite the absence of any current posts!

We arrived safely in Western New York, to be greeted by the most gorgeous fall colors we'd seen in years, almost from the time we arrived in late September to this week.  Being retired is a wonderful thing when the weather is prime and you can drop everything and get out to enjoy scenery like this! 

Not so much this - taken about an hour ago ...
Thankfully the latest "color" in the landscape is melting about as quickly as it falls, though a couple hundred feet above us on the hillsides there are 2-3 inches sticking to the ground.  The local ski operations are smiling today!

We're currently 'biding our time' in a tiny townhouse apartment, most of the boxes remain packed and at least half the furniture is in the basement awaiting another move into our next home.  We found a small house on 15 acres near the Pennsylvania border, with a creek running through the property.   Lots of level land for gardens and a small orchard, and even a pond if we decide to add one.  Just about perfect in our list of desires for this new home.   Right now we are just waiting to close on the property, scheduled for mid-December.  We'll take our time moving everything there and will try to schedule trips between snowstorms! 

In the meantime, despite the lack of space I finally just had to unpack one sewing machine.  "Casey Jones" my favorite vintage Singer 301 is now doing duty stitching a huge batch of string blocks, about all I can accomplish right now, but should keep me busy for a couple weeks, at least. Without further ado, my current 'sewing room':
I've also been attempting a bit of hand quilting, mostly in the very early morning while DH is still asleep.  This is a vintage 1980-1990s(?) quilt I picked up awhile back in an online auction.  Though it was nicely hand quilted, there were huge gaps between quilting motifs and the quilt sagged when hung on a rack, so this is a nice easy project, filling in the blank areas with additional quilting.  The original quilter created a lovely scalloped border on this lap quilt, which I'll show you later when the quilting is completed.
So that, my friends, is our current status.  I hope to have some photos of the new sewing room in a few weeks after we've repainted it and moved everything in.  In the meantime, the holidays are fast approaching, there are grandchildren to play with and Christmas preparations to be started.

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving if I don't get another chance to post before the holidays.