Saturday, March 25, 2017

Just How Particular Are You?

In making recent projects, it occurred to me that I am becoming more particular about my work. Is this a normal phenomenon for quilters to experience? I used to not care too much about how I pressed my seams, for example. Or, it never concerned me overmuch that intersections might be a tad "off." I rarely pinned, and had the attitude of "good enough" for most things.

No more! I pick out seams that aren't matched, and if I turn under a seam allowance that is supposed to be open, I go back and fix it.

Here's an example of what I mean. This is an intersection of the baby quilt I have worked on this week. I had been very consistently pressing seams open,and I found this folded seam when I got to the ironing board. So I ripped it out and fixed it.

That's a wicked-looking seam ripper, isn't it? I bought it about 10 years ago at a seminar.  I have taken out about 6 stitches, then resewed just that little bit making sure I had all seams open this time.

Now, the seams don't precisely match when I turn to the right side. On some projects, I might re-do this - again, but since this is a baby quilt which will very likely get some rough treatment, I am going to leave it alone; I doubt anyone will notice. (If they do, I will compliment their amazing eyesight!) *grin*

Another thing I have been known to do is piece bits of fabric together to get just one more block. For this baby quilt, I was running low on the two orange fabrics shown above. After I miscut an entire strip, I knew I was in trouble. So I just pieced the fabric back together and proceed as if I'd never cut it at all. I pressed the seams open to ensure it wouldn't be bulky, and I think the results are perfectly acceptable.

Can you see the seams in the 4 parts of the orange block? There are 4 - one in each square. You really have to look for them, and once this is quilted, those seams will be darn-near invisible.

So, yes, I am getting fussier about my work. I hope that's a good thing. If it's not, please don't tell me. I don't want to know.


Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Antique Delights - Part 4

Today's excursion through the antique beauties of Miss Rebecca will feature pieced and patriotic quilts. Miss Rebecca apparently had a soft spot for red, white and blue quilts, and the collection reflects that. Let us begin.

I would call this a rail fence design. We spent a lot of time examining this quilt, but this is the only picture I took - a few close-ups would have been nice. Many of the fabrics appear to be cut from clothes - work shirts, dresses, skirts, blouses, and maybe even underclothes. Studying the fabrics was fascinating. Controlled scrappiness. Very nice. And from a distance, do you notice the "weave" look?

Do you think Union Jack when you see this quilt? I do, for some reason. The only name I can find for a quilt in this pattern is Railroad Crossing, and I found it in two different sources, so that is what we'll go with.

I am trying to figure out the method for making this quilt. Does the block consist of the 4 red triangles separated by white with a navy center square? And then the white around it is the sashing? And the navy squares from the center of the block are repeated as cornerstones? That is the best I can come up with. What a conglomeration of seams at those intersections. I suspect the quilter was saying things under her breath as she tried to work her needle through all those seams.

The next quilt is an interesting study, too, but for a totally different reason. How can some fabrics fade so extensively, while others do not? I think I have an answer.

That red polka-dot fabric has withstood the test of time, and those faded Ohio Stars in each square have not. I am of the opinion that the stars were pieced from previously worn clothes. They may even have sat stacked in a box for a good while, waiting on enough blocks to be made for a quilt. When enough stars had been accumulated, the quilt maker then purchased new fabric - the red dot - for setting the blocks together in quite a unique and graphic setting. It seems very plausible, wouldn't you agree? It is somewhat surprising to think that someone would go to the trouble of creating such a unique setting for stars made of old shirts. However, the longer I consider things, I know that no matter what, some quilters want their work to be eye-catching. If they are going to the trouble of salvaging old fabric and turning it into a usable quilt, then that quilt deserves to be attractive. I can imagine lots of our ancestors working hard to have a few pretty things. In homes that were sometimes less than lavish, their quilts might have been some of the only things of beauty they owned.

I will conclude today with this Log Cabin quilt set in the barn-raising style. Center squares are red; the light fabrics are work shirts while the dark fabrics look like scraps from a sewing basket, or possibly discarded dresses and skirts. I can't say that I've ever seen the center handled the way this one is - with the red outline around the 4 center blocks. I wonder if the quilter just did that, or is this typical of the barn-raising setting of Log Cabins.

I seem to be long on questions and short on answers with the posts in this series. I welcome feedback from anyone who happens to have a theory or a more extensive background.

This is Part 4 in my series called Antique Delights. You can click for previous installments. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sharon Moved Some Mountains

When the two of us sewed together here on Tuesday, I worked on the 4-patch baby quilt which I described my last two posts. Wait till you see what Sharon worked on!

These gorgeous blocks are the 24 Delectable Mountains for her Elizabeth quilt. They are scrumptious! The pinks in my version are cotton-candy pink, while Sharon's is deeper and dustier. I think it's much more dramatic, actually.

This picture from two weeks ago shows her first Delectable Mountain block, so this week she made the remaining 23. Bit by bit Sharon is closing in on all the parts for Elizabeth and the setting-together will begin. So close.

Next Tuesday, we will be sewing at Terry's house, and Sharon plans to make the 4-patch units and the triangle units. Big blocks; they they will go together quickly.

I'm late getting a blog posted today, folks! I opted to spend the day finishing the scrappy baby quilt over blogging. (Sometimes, ya' just gotta' sew.) The baby quilt is now a flimsy. Whoo-hoo!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Value of Remnants

It is a well-known fact that sewing rooms become quite a repository for leftovers and scraps and whatnot; over time space is at a premium. But we quilters rarely discard these leftovers, for we know that someday there might be a use for them.

I can attest to this, first hand. I dug out some remnants a few days ago for the purpose of making one of two baby quilts on my list. I discovered that I had enough in that neatly-wrapped bundle to make an entire quilt.

This is cause for a happy dance.

If only I'd thought to take a picture of that little bundle of remnants. You'll have to just trust me that they were folded and stacked and tied together. It was like I knew I'd eventually want them. All the fabrics were the leftovers of a baby quilt I made about 2 years ago. That baby, now 2, has a new brother and he will be getting a quilt made of his sister's scraps. Below is Jackie's quilt.

Yesterday while Sharon was here to sew, I made quite a great amount of progress. Even though it was on my list, I really didn't have a clue that this is what I'd accomplish, but I am very happy that I did.

There was a significant amount of trimming and cutting to be done. Then I made as many 4-patches as I could. (Some are pieced to make them work.) My layout creates diagonal rows of color. I am currently chain-piecing the rows. and I hope that this will be a finish very soon. Hooray!

I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Old Dogs DO Learn!

Even with a king-sized quilt finished off in big-stitch quilting, I attended a workshop Saturday on that very topic at Old Town Fabric Shop in Chillicothe. The guest speaker was Corey Yoder of Coriander Quilts, who designs fabric for Moda and creates pattern, as well.

When I did my quilting, I had no prior instruction, nor anyone giving me tips or advice. I just did what I thought made sense as a seasoned quilter. Attending this workshop/seminar would let me see things I ought to have considered, methods I might have tried, and simply dozens and dozens of examples.

The day began with a trunk show, and gosh, for a young woman, Corey sure has finished a LOT of quilts! At her age, I was still mostly just dreaming about making quilts (and buying fabric).

Here is Corey in the upstairs classroom at Old Town Quilt Shop. See the pile of quilts beside her? She has already shared all of those, and I didn't take a single picture. I thought I'd go back later and take a few, but we were just too focused on our mission to allow time for that. *grin*  Everyone in attendance created a circle - albeit loosely formed - and we showed the project we brought and shared ideas for possible big-stitch quilting. Corey was great in this segment of the day, as she has "an eye" for seeing what the resulting quilt will look like. All the sharing was really helpful, making it a wonderful give-and-take for everyone. Sometimes, we end up doing something we had never previously ever considered.

The many expressions of our speaker - what a sweet thing. She was so well-spoken, super supportive and most encouraging. She didn't rush us; she didn't come across as a know-it-all; in fact, I'd invite her over for our next sewing session without a moment's hesitation. Down to earth. Easy-going. Friendly. Personable. That's Corey.

After a 30-minute lunch break, we went to the next room to spread out our work and begin quilting! Corey roamed around, stopping when a quilter needed help or encouragement.  It was very informal and quite comfortable. We chatted as we stitched, and helped one another, too.

I mentioned the lunch break. I can't forget to show you the tremendous feast that Cindy and Kelly prepared for us! My goodness, look at the mountain of fresh fruit! This was truly fresh and delicious! The sandwiches came from an Amish/Mennonite store in the Frankfort area, Old Home Place. Delish!

I said in Saturday's post that I would share what I learned from this seminar. First, let me just say that now I can make the official "quilter's knot." I know! I've been quilting all these years, and never knew how to do this! I learned to make a knot from my mother or grandmother, and I've always continued to do it that way. I am now reformed!

Second, I used 505 Spray Baste. Oh my goodness. This will be life-changing. I dislike stretching a back and batting and layering on the top, and then keeping it taut without wrinkles and puckers. This will make all that so much easier. I can't believe I've come so late to this game.

Third, I generally use whatever needles and thread I have on hand, and since I have all of Grandma's stuff on hand, most is no longer labeled and pretty darned old. I bought 4 spools of Aurifil 12 wt. thread (recommended by Corey) along with a package of #7 embroidery needles. These made quilting very easy, and I finished fast because of it. It helps to use the tools that are designed for the task you are undertaking. I will try to keep the needles together and not let them get lost on a pincushion, never to be properly identified ever again.

I'm sure I learned more, but those are the big ones. Here's a cute, sweet anecdote Corey shared. She told about going back a long lane to her grandmother's house and playing under the quilt frame with her cousins. Her Grandma Lulu (thus the name of the new line of fabric) always quilted, and the children spent many hours there while their mothers all quilted at the frame with Grandma. She said they'd get scolded for flicking the scissors or thread from underneath, and making them hop unexpectedly on top, startling the quilters. I can so envision that orneriness!

Finally, as the day wound down, I shopped. Oh gosh, I just couldn't resist, and you don't get 10% off every day, now do you? The store had a sweet display of Corey's products - patterns and precuts - so I splurged. I only bought fabric; I will figure out my own patterns. If you click on her website, you can see some of what I passed up. Let me tell you, a couple patterns were really calling to me, however my rule of thumb: fabric always trumps patterns. So there.

I hope Old Town continues to do these fun seminars with nationally known designers. I've attended two (my first featured Laurie Simpson of Minick and Simpson) and both have been totally worth it.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

I'm super-stoked to show you my Sunday stitching today because a week ago, I had no plan or intention of even touching it! Yes, this old UFO was destined to be a forever-UFO, until I had to produce a small project for the Corey Yoder workshop yesterday. This was the closest thing I could find to the suggestions she provided in her seminar details.

My little quilt measures 23" x 17.5" and is made of leftover HSTs from a previous project. I've had this little flimsy sewn together for a good while - over 4 years, I know, because I made it in the previous sewing room and that move happened in 2013. Anyway, it's been skirting my sewing table (attached with masking tape), just for aesthetics.

After hearing Corey's talk, I decided to use 4 colors of quilting thread on my quilt, so I bought what  you see above along with the needles: Aurifil 12 wt. thread and Tulip embroidery needles #7 size.

We marked our lines with water-soluble pens and began our work. The 40 or so women who attended the workshop were busy-busy-busy!

I did a bit more stitching last evening and then finished the quilting, trimmed the excess and attached the binding today. What a nice, unexpected completion for March! Yay! I will add, in hindsight, I think I should have just used the purple thread, as the other three colors are so light that they have very little impact. I will need to work on making stitches more consistent in their length and spacing. Actually, I have old habits to break, as I did my own version of big-stitching on Erin's Diamonds last October-December. I suppose it's a "quilt as desired" sort of thing.

I will link up with Kathy at her weekly Sunday Stitching party. I hope you'll take some time to stop in and peek around.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Big Event Today!

I probably should have been hyping this previously, but today a famous quilter will be in Chillicothe at Old Town Quilt Shop on Water Street. I signed up for it about 6 weeks ago, and have been eagerly anticipating it ever since.

The guest is Corey Yoder of Coriander Quilts. She's a new-generation quilter, young and vivacious, hip and cool, (my impressions of all these millennials who are joining and trendsetting in the quilting world!); her workshop today is on big-stitch hand quilting.

Now, if you've followed this blog for very long, then you know I am no stranger to this technique, as I spent 3 months doing that ginormous quilt for Erin last October-November-December. I won't link to anything because there are so many, but if you hit up that archive tool over in the side bar, you will be able to find them.

So why am I attending this? Well, one can always learn a few new tricks, you know, and I wonder if I did things the way she will be instructing. One thing I am curious about is burying the knots. I never did feel as though I had a good method of doing that. I also used a different type of thread than she suggests, so I would like to get her take on that.

I will be sure to take a few pics, and soak up as much information as I can, and then I will report back here next week!

Happy Quilting, Friends!