Monday, December 28, 2009

The Ghost of Christmas (Distant) Future

I started this applique at a Gwen Marston retreat (the last Gwen piece I have to share). The spark is from Country Living Country Decorating by Bo Niles from 1988. This book has been culled from my local library, so I'll have to find my own copy. This will be a nine block Christmas quilt. The original has deep sashing between the blocks with beautiful hand-quilting. There's a wavy vine border sporting big cabbage leaves. The red center and green leaves(?) will remain constant between the blocks, but I'm changing the shape of the light print pieces with each block - the second block has a pawn shape piece replacing the whale's tail here.
I wish I had some beautiful red and green delicate applique to show, but 'it is what it is'. The applique alone measures 14" across - big, clunky pieces, but I like it! You can probably see the stripes of the spread peaking thru on this picture, but the background is a solid (P&B 01).
A pic of my kitchen Christmas mantle. I finally broke down and paid a ridiculous price to frame this poster - a Christmas gift to myself. The red transferware plates were a gift from my mother-in-law a few years ago - I love them! My son painted the village tree stand - a treasured piece placed out of reach.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

This year, I actually planned ahead, and made a quilt for Christmas. Initially, I was to present the block of the month at my guild, so I chose the Cracker block. I liked it enough to play around with it, and decided to make "Christmas Cracker". It needed a bit of explaining at the guild meeting. If you are unfamiliar, the English have a custom of having a small, wrapped object called a cracker that they open at Christmas time. It is shaped like a cylinder and tied on the ends. There are little presents and trinkets inside. Well, to make a short story long, it resembles the shape of this block.
It is hanging in the dining room. The hanger is a iron curtain rod. The quilt hangs closely to the wall this way. I've included some close-ups so that you can see the wonderful quilting my friend Sandy Rice did on this quilt. Alternating blocks have holly, and the shape of an old Christmas ornament on them.
Where the light triangles come together she quilted a small feather wreath.

Isn't she talented? I am thrilled with it. I have always been a dedicated hand quilter, but this look would be difficult to achieve with hand quilting. And, it wouldn't be done for Christmas this year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Breakfast Club

The view out my breakfast nook this morning - the morning doves lined up for their turn at the feeder. Can't beat the picture of the snow covered branches!
Safe and Happy Holidays to you!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What a Surprise!

Trudging thru the airport after a long travel work week - head down dragging my luggage behind me. I'd taken new transportation, so I entered at a different terminal than usual. Oh, there's a beautiful two-storey Christmas tree ablaze in light blue lights with dark blue ornaments. Well, that was a nice surprise. Then I turn the corner and - WHAT! - a quilt show at the airport! OK, now I'm smiling. So, thanks to the Annapolis Quilt Guild for making my day! If you're at BWI, head to the International departure level for a quilt treat.

Unfortuantely, my camera was low on battery, so I only got a close-up of two of the quilts. The quilting on the feathered star was exceptional. I loved the small fans!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jewel Box

I finished this Jewel Box top on Friday, and have it on my design wall to admire for a few days. It really is straight; just hanging wonky on the wall. Working with a 1-inch "scale" is really my most favorite size. I've probably mentioned that my true love is doll and crib sized quilts, and this is a smallish crib size at 38x46. Vicki saw it and said, "Oh, wouldn't it be great full sized?" That's what I thought, too, but it's not gonna happen.
I did make 60degree diamonds in a sort of series - small (doll), medium (crib), and large (bed) sizes. The tops are done, but the quilting goes on and on. It was fun to do, as the diamonds make a variety of patterns. The bed quilt is seven sisters, and the crib is stars, while the doll is tumbling blocks. It would be something that I would consider again if I found another block that I fell in love with, and could be sewn in a variety of settings.
Anyway...this is the border that I was going to make, but it just felt too heavy.
I like this much better. I'm thinking just simple, straight line quilting on this one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Back and Forward

Taking stock of the quilting department of my year. Completed four UFO tops (one bound and in use), which sounds pretty good. However, the 'started' column also tallies four. Only one in this category is from my 'bucket' list - Colorado. Fortunately, this one is nearing completion. Maybe my New Year's resolutions will include completing something from the 'bucket' list.

This top was completed in January of this year. I think it was started in 2002 - cover quilt from the Quilt Sampler (bubblegum pink) from J.J.'s Stitches.

This is the quilt back (detail above). The original plan was to use the same yucky gold from the top for setting triangles. I was about 2" shy on yardage, so I improvised from stash.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Some Old Photos

I've had some inquiries about the old photographs on the church pew quilt rack. Here are the two that have old quilts in them. This first one is nicely composed I think. The woman has some blocks she must be quite proud of resting on her lap. I just wonder what is in the basket! It looks like a giant egg. Any guesses? This one is truly one of my favorites. Doesn't he have the sweetest expression? This must be his best, and probably only, suit. I imagine that he is setting off to make his way in the world, and his parents wanted his photo taken, and used his bed quilt as a backdrop. On the reverse, "Greene Co. Kentucky" is written. The quilt is just great, too. I love fan quilting.
This one is a hoot. It is a promotional photo for the film, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". The quilt/dress in the foreground looks to have been in wonderful condition when it was cut up to make the garment. Remember when that was going on in the early 70's? I have some old magazines that show how to take an old quilt to make a skirt out of it. The examples in those magazines look as if they, too, used quilts in good condition. I suppose they thought "there's more where that came from".

Monday, November 30, 2009

Antique Quilts from Show and Tell

Here are the remainder of the antique quilts shown at the DJ Retreat. The applique quilt was purchased in Shipshewanna. The two Amish quilts are from the early 1900's. The Shoofly reminds me of a Gwen Marston 'liberated' quilt.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pinwheel Blocks

My sister gave me some vintage quilt blocks for my birthday. The pattern is a fun variation of a pinwheel block, I think.There are a few fabrics of interest. This blue background reminded me of a blue reproduction. It just happened to be in my stash, so I photographed the block on top of the repro print. I don't recall the name or maker, but there were a variety of blues with the same prints in pinks. I like the brown in this block, too. An unusual color, don't you think? This was the block that blew me away. Or, should I say "blue"? I am sure that I've never seen a blue with a pink also in the print. Blue with cheddar, yes, and even a chrome-like yellow, but not pink. Here is a close-up. Has anyone seen this color combination before?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Antique Applique

This antique applique was the highlight of the DJ Retreat Friday Night Show and Tell. And the best news - it's being offered as a free 'Block of the Month' here. Each installment is free for one month and then is available for purchase on the site shop. I just checked and the first installment hasn't moved to the shop even though the second installment is out. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Doll Quilt Top Finish

This is the doll quilt that I started at Vicki's sew-in over Halloween weekend. The fabric underneath it is what I think will be the backing. I intend to just do some simple straight line quilting on it. To me, a reproduction doll quilt doesn't require much in the way of quilting. From the old ones that I've seen, they tend to have outline quilting, and that's about it.
Did you notice my boo-boo? In the upper left hand block, the four patchs are turned sideways. As our friend Pat would say, "Oh, well...". It doesn't bother me, so it's staying. Besides, it makes it a bit more interesting, in mho. So does the shortage of the "light" background fabric. The center block has a different light brown print. You can hardly tell, right?
There is enough of the dark brown, so that will be the binding, too, I think. The top measures 22" square. I don't usually make square doll quilts, although I love bed quilts made square. Doesn't the ombre sashing just bring a humble four patch up a notch? So beautiful and versatile. They enrich any quilt that they are used in, I think.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Retreat Packing

I'm headed to Shipshewanna next week-end for the Dear Jane retreat. I'm only one hour away, so I get to attend fairly often. My DJ should have been completed years ago, but I haven't worked on it in ages. The retreat starts mid-week, but I'm arriving on Friday. I'm packing today because I'm traveling for work tomorrow and won't get home until Thursday night.

I've been finishing up some long overdue projects lately and it feels really good to see progress. So, I'm taking two in-flight projects that have been lingering too long. The first is something I cooked up using 4 patch exchange blocks and I stalled because I'm not sure I like the design - it's pretty busy. I'm hoping the stars in the sashing add some structure (and calm things down). It doesn't get any better sitting in a box, so I'm going to forge ahead and see how things turn out.

The second is Snowball and 9 Patch. This one stalled because I don't like the blocks set straight, but, I do like them on-point. I'll have to dig thru boxes to see if I have enough background fabric for setting triangles. I purchased the background fabric on my first trip to Sauder's.

I'll let you know how things go. I'm looking forward to seeing familar faces!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kansas Troubles

Remember Mission Valley plaids? They were everywhere for a time. I don't know if they are still in business as I haven't seen them for quite some time. This quilt on my church pew rack was made from those and an antique muslin. I saw this in the American Patchwork and Quilting magazine when it was in it's first year or two of publication, and made it pretty much like they did. At the time, I was planning on it being a bed sized quilt, but I hadn't been quilting for long and had a little trouble with all of those points. I decided that a smaller size would suffice!

And, speaking of American Patchwork and Quilting, I just love that magazine. They seem to be the only one still out there that respects traditional quilters. Vicki and I have often bemoaned the fact that there isn't an Antique Quilts magazine. McCalls used to have a quarterly one, but they stopped publication after just a few years. Thank goodness for the wonderful books that are still being printed, especially the state books. And, the internet, and all of you out there who share their wonderful collections with us all!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Radio Flyer

A finish!!! The pattern is Radio Flyer by Miss Rosie. I improvised my own border. This was quilted by Sandy Rice - she did an awesome job. I finished the binding this morning and ran it thru the washer (no soap) and dryer. It feels so good to get something crossed off the longggg list!

Below is a close-up of the corner - front and back.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Check One Off The List

I just recently made this top for son-in-law to be, Adam. It is lap quilt size, and he is a big boy so it measures around 54x76. He plays hockey professionally in Texas, and needs a new quilt for road trips. These are the teams colors. Maybe I'll attempt to machine quilt this myself. Just some straight lines. I wanted to baste this using one of the sprays available, but started to read the labels on the cans and got scared off. Has anyone used them? I would be interested to hear what you have to say.

Vicki had a sew-in this past weekend, and we all had such a good time. She showed you one of her four cats, and she also has two dogs and three kittens out in the garage. Her animals are so sweet and well behaved. They kept us all entertained. I was able to complete the blocks for the Jewel Box quilt, and started a doll quilt. Of course, there has been zero sewing time since I got home. Maybe tomorrow!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sweet Dreams

It didn't take Josie five minutes to find this comfy quilt thrown on the floor - one more thing marked off the list with binding applied. How do they know? What a lucky cat to be the first to lay on (rather than under) this beauty. Wish I could claim this quilt as mine.

I'm working on turning the binding on a quilt of my own. Hope I'll have a finish to show you soon.

We were visited by Halloween chickens during our sew-in. These were the cutest chickens I've ever seen (my niece's girls).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Here is probably my favorite quilt of those that I've made. This was a Red Wagon pattern in the early 90s. I remember running out of the red background fabric, as I was fairly new to quilting I didn't know to buy a lot even if you need a little! The quilt is the better for having two different background fabrics, I think.
These skeletons have buttons for their elbows and knees. They are made of bone, and the original use was for underwear. Before elastic was invented, from what I've learned. From skivvies to a quilt; bet the guy, or gal, whose drawers these belonged to would be surprised.
Some of the fabrics were vintage; for example, the shirt on this scarecrow. I would be tentative now to mix fabrics from different eras like this. This quilt receives no wear, so, hopefully, it will hold up.
The label.
Halloween is my dad's 83rd birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad, and Go Yankees!