Saturday, December 21, 2013

Last Finish of the year, and the 2014 NewFO Challenge

In a recent post I mentioned a 1950s era quilt top I'd found that had "issues" to put it mildly.  Originally 7 inches longer on one side than the other, it was also pieced together with triangle squares of varying sizes with little regard for matching corners, and with a large machine basting stitch.  Definitely not something I wanted to spend much time on yet it also didn't want to be thrown in the pile of things heading out to the local St. Vincent de Paul store either.
The original top.   Photo was taken on a sunny day, the top looks nice and clean, but it was not, and the natural muslin triangles had age spots and small stains.
I ended up taking off the three rows of triangle squares on the right and added a wide dark brown border to make it a useable size.   Trying to stabilize the large machine stitched seams, I decided that an overall FMQ meander quilting was the best way to proceed.   I had an old Mountain Mist 100% cotton batting, probably from the 1960s or perhaps even earlier.  It had the paper wrapper with some vintage patterns printed on the reverse.  So, meandering we did through the first week or so of December, then the edges were trimmed and the plain brown binding was stitched down, and the finished quilt measured about 58 x 84 inches.
I've heard the praises of the "Biz Bucket" for soaking out stains and age spots on vintage linens, so after the binding was stitched, the quilt went into the bathtub filled with hot water and about 1/2 cup of powdered Biz and nearly the same amount of original Dawn liquid dish soap.   The water turned a grungy shade of brown, which I should have photographed, but forgot to do before draining the tub some eight hours later.   After soaking all day, the quilt was rinsed in the tub several times, excess water squeezed out and then into the washer for an additional cold water rinse and spin.  After that it went through another delicate cycle in the washer with a small amount of liquid Biz and several more rinse and spin cycles, then into the dryer on the low heat setting.  The quilt shrunk up nicely and now measures about 53 x 78 inches, a good size for the back of the couch or a small grandchild's bed or an outside picnic when they come for a visit.  Here's the finished quilt in all its clean and crinkly glory.

So, that's my last finish for the year.  The other two quilts currently underway are weeks away from the hand quilting being completed, plus we just embarked on a remodel of the small bathroom in our house, and the next couple of weeks will be spent with spackling, paint cans and wallpaper!  Funny how that works - you update one item in a room, in this case changing out the flooring from carpeting to a more practical vinyl, and the rest of the room suddenly looks way shabbier than it did originally, and you know you can't just continue to ignore the obvious.
Thinking of the new year ahead, Barbara over at Cat Patches is again hosting her annual NewFO Challenge.  And this new year will be one of many challenges on the horizon with DH's anticipated retirement and a few other major life changes on the horizon.  Though I fell short this year and had to r-e-a-l-l-y stretch to have a NewFo every month this year (and there are still none on the horizon for this month), I do want to participate again next year, so I'll throw my name into the hat once again with the following:
1.  The Strippy Basket Quilt I didn't quite manage to start this year, inspired from an older Fons & Porter Fat Quarter Friendly Book pattern.
2.  I'd also like to make at least one baby quilt each month to donate to our local hospital's Layette Project that provides new parents who are in need with a complete layette when they take their newborns home.
3.  Earlier this year I acquired several vintage 1980s era Ohio Mennonite quilt tops through an online seller friend who specializes in antique and vintage quilts and tops.  The tops range in size from 28x28 inch wall hanging through king size.  A couple are pieced and the others are mostly from vintage applique and embroidery kits.  This lady did impeccable needle turn applique and gorgeous embroidery and was a prolific quiltmaker.
I think it's safe to say that I'll begin hand quilting this wall hanging in 2014:
4.  I'm anticipating I'll need to begin (and maybe complete) another wedding quilt this year.  And maybe another grandbaby quilt - just sayin ...
I may be getting ahead of myself here, so I'll quit while I'm ahead and head off to find the links for Barbara's 2014 NewFO Challenge and see what everyone anticipates for the new year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Advent Banner - addendum to my November NewFO Post

In my last post I mentioned the big project I'd been working on was an Advent banner for our church.  There was no suitable spot in the house to get a photo so I waited until it had been hung and finally took the photo last Sunday.  Some of the colors are a bit washed out, especially the yellow beams, but my photo editing computer skills weren't up to fixing that issue without creating problems with other colors. 
This project had a finished size of a little over 88 inches x 44 inches. The completed banner looked a bit flat to my quilter's eye, so after adding a layer of lightweight batting and backing, there was the dilemma of how to best keep the layers together.  Since there are multiple layers of fabric fused one on top of another, especially in the center, machine quilting was not an option, not to mention a time-crunch factor.  In the end I decided to "tie" the piece using a variegated metallic thread, and hand stitching small "stars" somewhat randomly across the black background.  Then, the outer edges were folded to the back and machine stitched down since there was not enough of the black background fabric to make a regular binding.  All in all, as long as you don't peek at the back, it doesn't look too bad from a distance!

On the home front, December is flying by and I'm itching to start a new quilt, but since the Christmas decorations have still not made an appearance, I think hauling all the fabrics out of the closet is probably out of the question for a few weeks.  Still plugging along hand-quilting Checkered Past during the evenings and trying to get in a half hour or so of FMQ on the vintage triangles quilt every morning. 
Hope everyone is weathering the cold blast and snow storms we've had the past few days.  Stay warm, and happy quilting!

Monday, December 2, 2013

NewFO, and a Finish

November came and went just as quickly as every other month this year, but I'm happy to report that I actually started work on an old 1950s era quilt top found several months ago.  Curiously, the online seller didn't bother to mention that the top, which looked perfectly wonderful in her photo, actually was nearly 7 inches longer on one side than the other!  But my bad since when it arrived I just unfolded it about halfway and it looked about like it had in the photo so it was promptly put away for later.  It does have a wonderful array of 1940s and 50s fabrics in the alternating triangles which were apparently cut from "approximately" 4 inch, or was it 3 1/2 inch squares.  No matter, the quilter forged ahead and pieced it all together with fairly large machine stitching, bless her heart!  After all, if that quilt is meant to cover two people, one is bound to be taller than the other, right?  Of course!!

After deciding that I just couldn't bear to waste time hand quilting this vintage piece, nor was I about to take the entire thing apart and re-piece it, what next?  Laying it out on the carpet it became clear that it would never lie flat, but at least the longer area was mostly contained in the last three vertical rows.  After cutting those away, the remainder was down to "only" a two inch difference in length from one side to the other, but it was also now only about 44 inches wide.  So, after adding some wide plain brown borders from my stash, here is the resulting top.
It will be interesting to see how all those ripples quilt out!  I've pretty much decided that quick and simple is the way to go, so this one will be meandered into submission, even the borders, although I might go "fancy" on the borders with some variegated thread.  As of now, there are about three square feet quilted, and I'd love to see this one totally finished this week.  Batting is an old, really old, Mountain Mist 100% cotton batt that has been languishing in the stash closet for several years.  That ought to shrink up nicely and give a nice vintage look to the finished quilt, hopefully disguising the inevitable ripples and bumps!  Here's what the quilting looks like so far.

There was one additional November NewFO, an Advent banner for church, which was finished a couple days before Thanksgiving.  Now, how can it be that I don't yet have a photo?  It finished too large to hang anywhere in the house but I'll hopefully get a shot of it next Sunday after service.

One finish to report for November, that being little Zachary's quilt, completed just a couple days before I traveled to see him, along with his big brother and sister!

Photobomb!  At least he knew he wasn't supposed to lay on top of it!

I loved quilting the borders, and they went relatively quickly.
The back
Name quilted into the border.

That's about it for the month.  Linking up with Barbara at Cat Patches, where you can see lots of other NewFO's begun during November, and even enter your own.  Now, back to meandering through December, and looking forward to hand quilting some gorgeous vintage Mennonite quilt tops I acquired over the last few months.  Well, just as soon as I finish the Checkered Past and Bow-Tie quilts that are piled up on the quilting hoop stand.