Thursday, February 28, 2013

February's NewFOs

Somehow, it doesn't seem like there's a lot to show for February.   For my first NewFO, I took the remainder of the two charm packs of polka dots and stripes, and put together a little baby quilt for the local hospital's layette project. 
I bordered it with some Kona red fabric left over from my grandson's superhero quilt from last fall.  The back is made up of pieces left from other grandchildren's baby quilts, and the batting was also pieced from foot-wide strips left from another project, so this quilt came entirely from stash. 

This one was simply ditch quilted around each of the squares, and some loops, hearts, and the word Baby were free motion quilted around all the borders. 

Another shot showing a bit of the back.  This should be a great little teaching quilt, for colors and shape identification, not to mention counting!  It's also very soft and lightweight, perfect for dragging about the house!   The quilt finished at 38 inches square.

My other February NewFO is this little wall quilt titled Betsy's Closet - In Stitches, by Acorn Quilt & Gift Company.  This sweet little quilt with its nine embroidered blocks will be the test of whether I can relearn a skill my mother began teaching me at a very early age, but which I have not practiced much in at least 35-40 years!  My mom and I embroidered countless pre-stamped dresser scarves, doilies and pillowcases when I was growing up in the 1950s, mostly with simple stem, chain and back stitch, and the occasional french knot.  We didn't do any of the fancy work seen on some embroidery blogs, something I would dearly love to learn ... someday!   But I digress - here is the start of my little embroidering adventure:
And here is the completed first block.
I'm thinking of tackling this in a block a month fashion and hope to have it completed by the end of the year.

One of my January NewFOs was completed this morning.  The little angel has had her unruly plaid skirt tufted or tied, free motion quilting completed, and the binding is now all stitched down.   Here is Sophie's Quilt, ready to be sent on to its new home. 
And more embroidery practice.  You can read more about the creation of this little piece for a special mom of an angel here and here.  This tiny quilt finished at 10 by 16- 1/2 inches. 

I'll be linking up with Barbara at Cat Patches for the February NewFO Linky Party and Giveaway, and hope you'll stop over and see all the new creations this month.  You can even join the party and enter your own NewFO's - with no pressure to finish any of them!  Now that's a deal not many of us quilters can resist! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Basting Complete!

My batting order arrived a few days ago, and today was the day:  preshrink and fluff the batting, clear out the living room for adequate work space, vacuum most of the dog and kitty fur off the carpet, set up ironing board, starch and iron the backing and top, then on my hands and knees for a couple of hours pin-basting this queen size (86 x 110") beast!
The top and back have been pieced and awaiting quilting for well over a year.  I loved this quilt from the first time I saw it on the cover of the fall 2004 issue of Quilt Sampler.  The pattern is called Dream Catcher, but I'm calling my version Tropical Sunrise.    This top has over 1,250 pieces - yep, I counted them!   Originally I had planned to hand quilt this one, but after reading about the difficulties involved in hand quilting batik fabrics, especially when the backing fabric is also batik,  I've opted to free motion quilt it.  Hope to begin the ditch stitching tomorrow or Thursday, and will spend March and probably most of April with the FMQ and binding.  This one is slated to be a wedding gift.

I've also been making some slow progress on the little angel quilt that was one of my January NewFO projects.   Did some background FMQ work this morning.  A little more on the bottom section tomorrow, then will need to decide whether to add any quilting in the borders.  At this point I'm thinking the borders which will finish at 1 1/4" will remain unquilted, but we'll see.   My major quandry right now is what to do with that plaid dress.  The homespun type fabric is quite thick and stiff, especially with the fusible backing.  Now that the batting and quilt back are added and everything is outline quilted, that skirt has way too much pouf and sagging.  I first thought I might add embroidered little daisies in each of the squares to try to flatten out that area, but that didn't turn out well and they were ripped out immediately.  I'd like to avoid free motion quilting this area, though that may end up being the only workable option.   I might also try using embroidery floss and tying the skirt at each little blue square corner of the plaid.  Anyway, here's what it looks like at the moment.  For those who might not have seen my previous post, this little angel was directly inspired by a larger angel hanging by Ulla of Ulla's Quiltworld blog.   The embroidered birds and vines are from a 1976 Dover Needlework Series book entitled Peasant Iron-on Transfer Patterns by Ed Sibbett, Jr., found at a recent quilters estate sale.

And, in the ongoing saga of the sixteen-year quilt, I took the hoop off this queen size senior citizen this afternoon and spread it out on the floor after the other basting project was completed.  Here's where this one sits now - see all those wrinkly green setting triangles?  Those are the LAST of the major areas still awaiting hand quilting.  I'm thinking if major miracles happen, this one might just finally get finished this year.  Don't hold your breath ... I'm not.   The last stitch on the binding of this one's going to be so sweet.  This pattern is called Biblical Blocks and is from Rosemary Mahan's book of the same name.  This one is like the proverbial albatross, and may be the last quilt this large that I try to hand quilt.   My next one slated for hand quilting is a throw size Civil War era pattern, yet to be pieced, so no pressure there.  
So that's what has been happening here this week.  What have you been up to today?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

More Hand Quilted Gems

I'm definitely still in the inspired mode from our visit to the quilt show and workshop sponsored by Zion Mennonite Church last week.  What a wonderful treat to see all these beautiful hand quilted treasures.  You can read more about the quilt show and see the first installment of photos here.

And now, here are some additional beauties.  There was a great abundance of embroidered and appliqued quilts in this show, both vintage and contemporary, and some great vintage accessories as well.
Another favorite, beautifully quilted, with great outlining of the embroidered blocks (next photo).  I don't have an estimated date in my notes for this one.

A hand embroidered baby quilt from 1966.

And another from the 1970s.

A kaleidoscope baby quilt dated 2004.  Love the stuffed critter standing guard!

And this sweet pair, in their vintage high chair!

Quilted kitty comforter.

This dogwood quilt has exquisite tiny hand quilted stitches - at least 12 per inch. 

These yo-yos were made in the 1940s and the little wall quilt completed in the late 1990s.  The muted fabrics are lovely.

Royal Cross wedding quilt made in 2005.

A Feathered Star wedding quilt, also contemporary.  Our cameras both failed to capture the background fabric which appears very faded in the photo.  It is actually a nice charcoal shade.

This flower basket quilt was hanging too high for us to note any information.  It appears to be a recent quilt.

Triple Irish Chain - date not given.

I love the movement in this quilt!

And, last but certainly not least, this recent quilt made from 1930s reproduction fabrics, except for one patch, which I certainly could not discern!  What I really loved about this one were the whimsical appliqued flowers placed in the center of the white blocks.   Totally charming!

I hope you're having a great weekend, and that you loved seeing these photos as much as we enjoyed our visit to this quilt show.  Definitely a repeat visit is in order next February! 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hand Quilted Gems

Yesterday we attended the 41st annual Quilting Workshop sponsored by Zion Mennonite Church in Hubbard, Oregon.  It was my first time visiting this quilt show, and it's already on my calendar for next year!  Along with the displays of approximately 100 antique, vintage and contemporary quilts, there were demonstrations of needle turn applique, hand quilting on an old fashioned frame, making woven star ornaments, piecing, etc.  The quilter's group meets at the church every Thursday, and according to the program provided, had already been meeting for about 70 years at the time the first annual Quilting Workshop was held in 1973!  These ladies share their knowledge as a service to others and there is no admission charge to attend the annual workshop and quilt show, however any donations received are designated for a particular mission project each year.  This year's donations will be sent to the Senior Center in El Torno, Bolivia.    I came away from the show wishing it were not an hour-plus drive each way, as this is exactly the kind of group I would dearly love to join and learn from. 

So different from most of the quilt shows I've attended, here nearly all the quilts on display are hand quilted!  Some of the older ones were both tied and hand quilted.  One of the more contemporary quilts I noticed was machine quilted in the center, however the plain outer borders were expertly hand quilted, the maker evidently choosing to feature her hand stitching where it would have the most impact.

We came away with approximately 200 photos, and this post and probably the next will feature a few of our favorites.  I attempted to highlight some of the wonderful quilting motifs, and the especially fine and even stitching found on many of the examples.  So, without further ado:

 This quilt, possibly my very favorite in the show, was labeled "Orange and Teal Summer Quilt."  According to the card it was made in the early 1900s and resided in a trunk on the family farm in Ohio for nearly 90 years. 

 This quilt labeled "Zigzag Winter Quilt" was also created in the early 1900s and stored in the same trunk as the first quilt above.  Both appeared to be in excellent condition.

 Embroidered on the central block of this beauty are the words "from Grandmother" and "1917."
This huge hexie quilt was labeled "Grandmother's Flower Garden" and dated 1900s.

This gorgeous 1930s Grandmother's Flower Garden stole my heart with it's sunshine yellow border.  If I ever come under the hexie spell, this is the one I'll model mine after!

This 1930s quilt titled "Dahlia" has amazingly vibrant colors for its age.  This was one example of the quilt being both tied and hand quilted.  It has great loft, like a modern comforter. 

 A 1930s Sunbonnet Sue, in wonderful condition.
A 1940s embroidered flower basket quilt. 
Basket and quilting detail.

There were several outstanding examples of the Lone Star pattern.  Here is one, with exquisite hand quilting.  Many of the large quilts were displayed folded so we were unable to photograph the entire quilt.
Some of the antique and vintage household items also on display. 

Another very striking Radiant Star quilt, completed in 2012. 
 Gorgeous quilting motifs and stitching.
The label attached to this beauty indicates it was purchased at the Brownsville General Store in the 1980s as a kit.   Detail of the applique in the photo below.

Next post will feature some of the many embroidered quilts in the show, as well as more applique and pieced items.  It is obvious from viewing these quilts that they have been treasured by their makers and those who have inherited them, they are all in excellent condition.  If you love traditional quilts and hand quilting, this is a not-to-be-missed event!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Eye Candy

As promised, today is show-and-tell of a portion of the crazy quilts I saw during my visit to the local historical society museum last Saturday.  To see my earlier post showing the pieced and appliqued quilts, click here.

This little museum had many crazy quilts on display and I only photographed a few.  The first one, shown in the next several photographs, was my favorite, for the many gorgeous fabrics, stitchery, and overall quality of workwomanship.  Without further ado:

 Note the prairie point edging!

Closeup of what appears to be a child's block.  So sweet.  Also, note the tree trunk embroidery that straddles the edges of two pieces. 

 Lots of exquisite embroidery and fabrics.

 I loved the fabric featured in the above photo!  It appears in several other places in the quilt, in smaller patches.

The second quilt appears to be a friendship quilt, and is made up of everyday fabrics, more rustic in appearance than the first quilt shown above, but also containing some beautifully embroidered patches.  The side of the quilt facing me had dates of 1902,1904 and 1909 on the visible patches.
 I wondered about the doily placed rather haphazardly atop the quilt, but the reason became more apparent in the photo below.  Closer examination of the quilt indicated that although the blocks themselves were seamed together before embroidery, at least some of the pieces within the blocks appear to have only been held together with the fancy stitches, undoubtedly contributing to the overall fragile condition.

 A utility quilt.  Note the large binding on either side.

 Another utility quilt.
A friendship quilt, bound with heavy buttonhole stitches.

On the homefront, this has been a week of utility stitching after Monday's fun get-together with Barbara from Cat Patches and the monthly guild meeting.  Last year I picked up a small table-top quilters ironing board at a yard sale, that still had its original not-so-shiny gray cover and the thinnest possible layer of foam underneath.  Yesterday, it was finally time to make a new cover for the board.  I had some vintage home dec fabric that I'd been wondering how I would ever use (more inherited stash!).  I made a paper pattern of the old gray cover, traced it on the new fabric, and zig-zagged some 8-4 linen rug warp left over from my weaving days around the edges for a drawstring.  Two layers of nice cotton batting, cover on top, and I now have this:
There is plenty of fabric leftover to make a second cover when this one becomes scorched, which it surely will with time.  I saved the pattern with notations to cut it about an inch larger all the way around, since this one is just a tad smaller than I would have liked, due to the extra layers of padding that I hadn't accounted for.  Small oops, could have been worse.
I won't bother to show DH's old long sleeve shirts now neatly hemmed into short-sleeve summer gardening shirts, etc. etc.   More utility stitching (I refuse to call it mending) on today's docket, along with a long-overdue cleaning of the sewing room. 
Oh yes, Happy Valentine's Day!  We've decided to celebrate with an early morning trip to the coast and our favorite breakfast spot in Lincoln City the next time DH has a day off that coincides with sunshine!  Hopefully soon, but this is western Oregon ...