Monday, June 30, 2014

June Finish

My one and only June finish, and just under the wire at that.  Last binding stitches put in this morning, then out the door onto the deck we went for some photography on this fine and quite hot day.   Without further ado, here is the vintage bowtie quilt I found partially completed at a small local estate sale last summer.
The quilt finished at about 52x71 inches, large enough for a throw or to cover a young grandchild visiting at our next home in western New York State.  We have accepted an offer on our property here and pending closing date and a host of retirement date details, will be making our move about mid-September.  Current plans call for renting a small house for a few months while searching for an ideal retirement home.

Anyway, back to the quilt.  This was a bit difficult to hand quilt, owing to the very thick and dense poly batting the original quilter chose.  Equally tough hand stitching the binding owing to the closely woven slightly heavy plaid that I chose to blend with the vintage fabrics!  Broke one needle this morning while stitching one of the binding corners. 

Having worked on this quilt off and on for several months now, my thinking is that this was a first quilting project of a fairly young and inexperienced girl.  The hand pieced blocks are uneven and the stitch size varies quite a bit, and her set-in seams are often rounded or puckered.  Her quilting stitches often did not penetrate through to the backing muslin and she generally left the quilting thread hanging and unknotted.  I mended the worst of these areas but chose to leave the vast majority of the piecing just as she completed it, to reflect her efforts.  Since it is not intended for daily use and most of the fabrics appear fairly sturdy, it should be just fine (I hope!).

I really love the vintage 1940s and early 1950s fabrics used for most of the quilt top.  Many of them remind me of my mom's cotton housedresses and dad's pajamas.  A few of the great variety of fabrics found in this top:

Probably one of the last finishes to be photographed with this fabulous huge pot.  The buyers wrote the pot right into their contract offer!
The photoshoot over, the quilt is now happily soaking in a hot tub of Biz and Dawn, and hopefully 50 or so years of accumulated dust, dirt and a few small stains will soak out overnight and she can be fluffed and puffed tomorrow morning.

Wishing you all a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Some Progress

We've had several showery cool days and today is promising more of the same, so painting of the big front deck is put on hold until the weather dries up.  I was more than ready for a break, though we're looking forward to having this last big project completed, and the house sold.  We've had an encouraging number of showings in the past couple of weeks and some serious interest, so fingers-crossed that we'll soon be on to the next stage of this big life change.

I've been able to spend a few hours working on the free motion practice quilt mentioned in an earlier post a month or two back.  The nine central blocks are now completed, along with the inner border and sashings.  A few of the most recently completed blocks:

The 10 inch wide outer border is being devoted to freeform feather practice - my favorite kind of FMQ!  Up to this point I had used white thread to quilt the entire top, but the teeny tiny calico print of this outer border made this totally impractical - impossible to see my stitches to backtrack or even see where to head next.  So, after having to mark the outer borders of the first already completed feather with blue washout marker to avoid quilting over it, I pulled several colors of wildly contrasting colors, even a spool of variegated thread, and plan to finish by alternating colors of the feathers.  For the most part, I think this will work out ok since there are several other shades of pinks, greens and even light yellows in some of the other calicoes used in the top.  A section of the completed area, with the variegated thread.  I think the variegated will be used sparingly on the rest of the borders as the color changes are often occurring at the point where backtracking is needed, and looks a bit muddy.
Happily, my Janome is performing beautifully and the tension is staying even for the most part.  There are only a very few tiny dots of thread where the darker top thread shows through to the back on the feathers.  I'm really loving the backing fabric on this quilt.
So, that's our latest progress!  Wishing you a happy, sunny, quilt-filled week, and looking forward to seeing what you've been up to lately.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mail Call

Not much happening in the sewing room this week as we've been working on a major re-do of our deck, and of course the garden is calling for nearly constant attention these days.  In the odd evening moments if I'm still awake enough to see, I've been plodding along with the hand quilting of the vintage bow-tie quilt.  Hopefully there will be a finished quilt to show you in a couple more weeks.

Monday's mail delivery brought packages!  Last month Sharon at Vroomans Quilts held a special "May for Me" celebration with several giveaways, and I was the very lucky winner of this gorgeous quilt kit, photographed just before I opened up the jelly roll to drool over all the sweet fabrics.  Of course that jelly roll didn't roll back up quite as neatly!   This will make up into a great lap quilt for my little granddaughter when she eventually gets to move into her own bedroom (currently serving as a nursery for her baby brother).  Thanks so much Sharon - I'm going to love making this one!    Since the quilt pattern only uses a portion of the jelly roll, I'm thinking the remainder may go into a matching throw pillow for her bed or a floor cushion.  Fun sewing days ahead.

The second package came from Amy Ellis at Amy's Creative Side, who recently hosted the Bloggers Quilt Festival.  I won one of the general prize drawings for participating in the Festival, and this group of books, courtesy of Lark Crafts was my prize.
It has been many years since I sewed big stuffed rabbits for my son and a little friend of his, but with a couple of granddaughters nearing the 'learn to sew' stage, there could be some fun projects we can work on together.  I'll be looking at the Stitched Blooms book with an eye to adapting some of the designs for free motion quilting.  Thank you Amy!

Looking forward to a couple rainy days ahead when I can put away the paintbrushes and find the sewing room again.  I hope you're enjoying some warm sunny days, as we have been in western Oregon!