Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quilt Content?

Piecing has taken a backseat to a summer visit from my daughter & grandkids.  This past weekend was packed with activity sans kiddoes.  On Saturday, we visited our local Amish area where quilt gardens and murals are at summer peak.  You can find details here.  Our tour included just this one stop - mural and quilt garden.

Thus ends the quilt content of this post!

Sunday we visited the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, MI where an exhibit of Chihuly glass is on display through Sept. 30.  It was a beautiful day - the sunshine danced off the glass.  Following are a few of my favorite installations!

Now that their visit is over, I'm looking forward to the change of seasons - cool temps, bright leaves, mums, and ... pumpkins - I love my pumpkin patch!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Some Thoughts About String Piecing

Here is a little string doll quilt I made, looking at the label, in 2003. Our little group was on a quilt shop hop of our own, and I saw a quilt in a store in Ohio similar to this. When I returned home, I made one for myself straight away.

It was in one of the Guild shows later, and I remember the judges comment was that the strips of light were distracting and didn't complete the design, or something to that effect. Jeez! It wasn't made to be a showpiece, just a little doll quilt made in the spirit of quilting of old. Just one of my gripes about modern quilting.

This backing fabric is just lovely, imho. I have no remembrance of who manufactured it. It is nice to have a good sized piece for a backing so that I can look at the design. The label was cut from some yardage of images like this.

I am still plugging away at my string quilt. Here is my messy sewing area with boxes, and bags and basketsful of strings, and pieces too small to be called strings. Our friend Susan, who I have mentioned, calls this scrapnel.

When sewing the other day - a cool-enough-to-be-upstairs day, I was thinking about why it's so fun to make these quilts.
1. There is something in me that just wants to use the last bit of everything when it pertains to quilting. Little pieces in a quilt, of any size, just make me want to look at every square inch of that piece.
2. It is difficult to work on more than one project at a time because there is fabric everywhere. Maybe if there is more than one work station, but my room is pretty packed.
3. It is a great use for fabrics that are hard to use otherwise - the old VIP and Cranstons, and just plain weird prints. The weird ones are the ones that look the best, I think.
4. Lots of thread gets used. Having no history of home sewing, I wonder where the yellow and aqua threads came from. I know where they are now - in these blocks.
5. Speaking of thread, a downfall of this type of sewing is little threads that can get caught in your bobbin case. The little pieces are the culprit here.
6. String quilts have to be unique, by their nature. Even if a dozen of us were to make the same pattern, they would all have our signature look to them. As Gwen Marston says, "You can't even copy yourself!".
7. Very light fabrics can be hard to use in most reproduction quilts, but really sparkle in a string quilt. I was hesitant to use them, but Bonnie Hunter reassured me that they really are necessary, and she was right! The lights just dance around the blocks.
8. The ends of strip piecing are usable, at least in the string star, and look pretty cool, I think.
9. Just when you think you can't look at the same strings that you seem to grab again and again, you find a "new" one that you hadn't noticed before!
10. And, finally, people have given me their scraps because of my love of little pieces. They get incorporated into the blocks, and when I am sewing with them, I can remember who gave them to me. And, with my own fabric, I can remember many of the pieces and where, and when they were purchased. It's a trip down memory lane!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

1st Anniversary

Winners are Diane - Persnickety Quilts and Janet - Mrs. Sew n' Sew.  Email me address info and I'll mail early next week.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Time Flies!

Hard to believe, but our first blog anniversary is this Saturday.  Last year, Jan dropped by on my birthday and we were chatting on the porch - six days later we were blogging.  So, we're having an anniversary 'give away' - two party-goers will each receive 50 3" squares and 5 fat quarters (all pre-washed). Leave a comment with your favorite quilt book title.  I'll draw two names on Saturday at 7:00 PM (close to the time of our first post) .  Thanks for dropping by - we love reading your comments! 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

One Block Applique

I've been working on this large applique block.  The square measures 36".  I prepped the block for stolen moments on the UK trip in May, but there weren't many of those - one long stem stitched in two weeks.  To date, I've completed three stems.  I haven't decided on the flowers for the short stems.  I think I'll leave that for last and let the block tell me what they should be.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

When All Else Fails...

I can always show you some doll quilts! This is one that I made, I see from the label, in 1997. The block was in one of those fabulous reference books like Barbara Brackman's or Yvonne Khin's, and it looked good to me, so I just sewed it up in some vintage 30s that I had. The fabric was in a bundle of thirties scraps from an auction, and they have been put to use in a couple of quilts. The backing is an old salt sack, of which I obtained a box full of those, too, along with sugar sacks, and printed feed sacks.

The little elephants quilt could be a crib, or a doll size. Crib quilts can be fairly small, and this is 25 inches square, which makes it a bit big for a doll quilt. Anyway, the care and detail in quilting shows lots of love, I think. The sashing was probably once an aqua, and the elephants originally had black yarn, or embroidery floss tails. The clamshell quilting in the outer border is a nice touch, and I just felt that this little sweetie needed rescuing, so home with me it went!