Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hand Quilters Blog Hop

The Celebrate Hand Quilting blog is holding their first blog hop this week, and I'm delighted to welcome members of the blog and its associated Facebook group to my little page in blogdom.  During the past couple of years some of my quilting time has been devoted to learning free motion quilting using my home sewing machines as arthritis continues to slow my hands, but I've also continued to hand quilt most evenings as well.  This blog is my attempt at documenting the quilts I've made using both machine and hand quilting methods, although most of my earliest quilts were never photographed and are no longer in my possession.

For those of you who are new to blogs, you can click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

My first real quilting experience began in January 1983, the month after my daughter was born, when I signed up for a community college class, taking her along with me to each two-hour session.  The class began by hand piecing an Ohio Star block and then learning some basic hand quilting, turning our blocks into pillow covers.  The remaining sessions were spent learning the needle-turn applique technique and creating a sample.  That same winter Jinny Beyer came to Anchorage and my friend Pam and I were lucky enough to attend her lecture and see many of her early quilts.  I was quite taken with her medallion quilts and purchased her book on the subject, so naturally my little applique class sample morphed into a primitive version of a medallion quilt.  This eventually became my first "real" quilt, and here it is in all it's simple glory.
It was February in Alaska, and back then the supermarkets knew how to draw customers by flying in planeloads of daffodils and selling them for $1 per huge bunch!  And how we needed those little harbingers of sunshine and spring!  I made the templates for my daffodils and leaves as well as the butterfly quilting motif by cutting them from cereal boxes.  I have no idea anymore how I managed to create the circle in the square but I'm pretty sure it was done on my old Kenmore vintage 1960s machine.  A couple of close-up shots follow.  The green fabrics especially have faded from their original hues.




Fast-forward thirty years to 2013 and here is what I'm working on currently, and have been working on intermittently for the past 16 or so years - my oldest UFO!
This is my version of Rosemary Makhan's Biblical Blocks queen size quilt.  The project was undertaken well before I knew very much about piecing intricate blocks or curved seams, or a lot of other quilt making techniques for that matter.  Each block had hand made templates, and the fabric I had chosen for the border print and which was also used in many of the blocks was not symmetrical, adding to the many challenges.  But it was the only border print available to me at the small quilt shop near our home at the time, so I decided to wing it, after all how difficult could it be to split and then resew portions to create symmetrical strips?  Ha.  At any rate, progress has been agonizingly slow but finally, at this writing the outermost borders are being quilted.  This quilt will not have any background grid quilting, it simply needs to be done and out of the hoop, bound, and on the bed before fall!  Not the best example of my work, but it most certainly has been my biggest quilting challenge to date, and  I simply need to get on to something else at this point!  A few close-up photos of progress to date:



Other quilts  for which I have photos that were completed in the interim between that very first daffodil quilt and today are documented in my blog.  There are summary pages by year that you can click on right below the blog header at the top of this page.   Most of my hand quilted work is summarized on the page link entitled Earlier Quilts, or you can click here to open that page.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will return in a few days when I'll be posting my most recent finish, another queen size quilt completed just yesterday!  I quilted this one on my sewing machine, a Janome Horizon, using free-motion techniques.   Also, May 19 will mark my first blogging anniversary, and to celebrate I'll be holding a special giveaway, so I hope you will plan to visit again soon.

Hope you have a wonderful day with time to quilt, or at least fond thoughts of the next quilt to appear on your design wall!





21 comments:

  1. I like both of these quilts, very nice. 16 years! Just keep telling yourself that Great Things Take Time :)

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  2. What a glorious quilt! And I can see the influence by way of Jinny Beyer in your use of border fabrics and how to continue them around corners. Well done!!!

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  3. Oh my. These are beautiful. The Biblical blocks is especially lovely. The fabrics you've chosen are perfect, and the quilting really sets off the design. I'd love to see the back too. I should do more hand quilting since I love embroidery so much. Maybe you've inspired me.

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  4. Your first quilt is much more involved than mine ever was.
    I have that Bible Blocks book and have used several of the blocks in quilts, including the center Tree of Life, but I have never made that whole quilt. It is a beauty, but won't it be nice to finish it after all these years. When you are done with it can I send you my 15 year project for you to finish--a paper pieced Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt? : )

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  5. Your blog is terrific....love the detail. And your quilts are beautiful. Each one is so different. Magnificent! Your daffodil one is lovely. Applique is one of my favorite things. Along with whole cloth. Love the photo in the header.

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  6. What a quilt history you have. Your first quilt is so charming. Dineke from the Netherlands, just bloghopping

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  7. Enjoyed reading your story. This blog hop is great, as I get to know so many new to me quilters.
    Ann-Mari from Norway

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  8. Lovely quilts. I haven't hand quilted anything for about a year, but I have a doll quilt basted and plan to quilt it on my trip to Dayton. We leave this morning. I would love to attend your guild meeting if you will be having one while I'm there.

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  9. Your first work looks like a masterpiece to me! What a great class you took then to see Jinny afterward while still excited about it and now your work today just rocks! Can;t wait to see your finished quilt... hope it looks as good as your original dafodils! Love them :) Kathi

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  10. Very interesting to compare past and current work.....and to see the differences in fabrics and design! I still marvel at beautiful hand quilting and miss the pleasure it gives, but with age i moved to the machine, too. Beautiful projects.

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  11. you will be so glad to get that quilt on your bed - one stitch at a time and it will be there before you know it. nice looking quilts

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  12. I remember those day when Daffies came into Ketchikan, AK!! Love the wall hanging with lots of memories!!! Beautiful Biblical Blocks and love the hand quilting.

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  13. Your daffodil quilt is so pretty and I love the story that goes with it! The Bible Blocks quilt is a priceless treasure that you will love forever! I enjoyed visiting with you today.

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  14. That is an amazing "first" quilt! How wonderful that you were able to take a class that taught basic handwork techniques. Your Biblical Blocks quilt is an absolute treasure.
    Linda in Iowa

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  15. Wow, your Bible quilt is fantastic!

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  16. Beautiful work. I enjoyed reading your quilting history.

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  17. Love the quilt in your blog banner. The hand quilting is marvelous. I quilt in Providence Village, TX USA.

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  18. Way to stick with your ufo! Your stitching is lovely and your first medallion quilt is quite brilliant in it's simplicity.:)

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  19. Your quilting is just beautiful. It's so amazing to share our work even when we are miles apart. I enjoyed your blog.

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  20. Ha Ha! I totally get the oldest UFO! I don't currently have anything that old, but that's not to say there aren't a few that have been put off for way too long!
    You do beautiful hand work, looking forward to seeing more!

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  21. Love the quilt in your blog header. Gorgeous!!!! Liz SC.

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