29 February, 2012

Blog Remodel . . .

Well, what do you think about the new look of my blog?

When I started my blog recently I wasn't sure about this new adventure. I am happy to say thank you to all who follow along because this journey into blogland has been a good one. So I opted to explore a few simple possibilties to personalize the look here.  I still have a little tweaking yet to do. I'm looking forward to delving into this new form of designing which is so different than working with beautiful fabrics, but also enjoyable.

 There are many places to start the exploration of blog design.  I found the 'Old Paper with Scrollsand Dress forms' background at the Graphics Fairy.   It is a site filled with many wonderful goods for the imagination to run wild!  Check it out . . .

26 February, 2012


Yesterday I bit the bullet and made a commitment to participate Barrister's Sow-A-Long challenge.  You can find details at her blog Barrister's Block.

The challenge started on 1 February 2012 with the first 3 blocks, Basket Weave, Contrary Wife, and Big Dipper.  Here are my first three blocks.

This well-organized project is set up to be a biweeklyish undertaking. Three new blocks are posted on the first and third Wednesday of each month.  Each block should finish 6 inches.  Of course, since I did not commit to this project until just yesterday (2/25) I started out behind.  

No worries!  After claiming today as mine to spend in my studio here are the blocks for the second week.  Their names are Autumn Tints, Box, and Calico Puzzle. 

To make the most of the time I have in my studio I love to listen to music or audio books.  For today's listening pleasure I have enjoyed Jennifer Chiaverini's 'The New Year's Quilt'.  Have you read it?

Now that I am caught up with the Sow-A-Long, and there is still time in the day to work on another project I think I will pull out a small PIP (Project In Progress) to see what I might be able to finish while my DH and daughters watch the Nascar race on television.  Daytona Race Day is a tradition in our house.  :-)

Update: The race in Daytona, Florida was rain delayed until Monday which I understand is a first in Nascar history.  Thankfully my day in the studio wasn't delayed!

Geniet van je dag!

23 February, 2012


I am absolutely certain that I am the only quiltmaker that has leftover pieces of much loved fabrics when I finish a quilt.  Am I right? ;-)

To accommodate the leftovers I have a large basket that sits on the lower shelf of my cutting table. Occasionally I dig through the basket to find a scrap or two but usually I pass the bags of  accumulated scraps on to my neighbors.  Often the contents end up in charity quilts and/or quilts sold at local 'mud sales' the proceeds of which benefit local volunteer fire companies and neighbors. 

About 4 years ago I made a Log Cabin crib-size quilt with a very scrappy piano key border. For some reason I have never been able to bring myself to toss the 38 leftover 4-1/2 inch blocks into my scrap basket.

Why?  I didn't know until recently.

Last weekend, I uncovered the long lost little blocks as I started a spring cleaning of sorts in my studio.  (I realize the calendar says it is still winter but the mild weather feels more like spring.)  I still like the fabrics in these pieces. They hold good memories not only of the quilt made a few years ago but also because of the charm swaps from which many of them were acquired. 

I decided to reward myself for my heroic de-cobwebbing and dusting efforts and sew those little blocks into something useful.  But what?

I first thought to use 36 of the leftover little blocks to form a square to be the center of another lap quilt for our living room. In this part of the country there is no such thing as too many lap quilts. I sewed 6 rows of 6 blocks together as I contemplated which fabrics I would pull from my shelves to add to this new project.

The leftover little blocks had a different idea. They revealed what they should be as I started to press the seams of those first six rows of blocks. 

These leftover little blocks wanted to be a quilted table runner for our long farm table. Who knew?

I am ashamed to admit as a quilter how long it has been since we have had a quilted table decoration of any kind in our house.  It is in part the result of seemingly everlasting renovations of an old house.

In compliance with the wishes of the little blocks, I quickly un-sewed the center seam of each row, cut and sewed a solid piece of fabric between the two remaining blocks and proceeded to sew 13 rows of 3 blocks into a long pieced top. The solid piece of fabric is in the center - intended to be a signature block.  It is surprising how quickly these leftovers became a top!

The next question:  Border or no border?     The little blocks answered, 'NO Border!'

With the top complete, I pulled out a brown and tan woven stripe for the back and flannel for batting.  Why flannel instead of thin batting?  It lays flatter on the table so glasses and other dishes won't topple over.

As I pin-basted the layers together the quilting designs appeared on the quilt - in my imagination at first.  However, it didn't take long before the designs began to appear on the quilt via my electric needle. 

There are feathers that travel in a long loop over the outer rows of blocks surrounded by ripple quilting.  (Ripple quilting is what I call echo quilting when the spaces in between get wider with each line.)  The inner section between the feathers is grid quilted.

I applied a single fold straight-grain binding cut from a complimentary fabric in my stash, washed my new table runner and put it out on the table. Voila!

Now, what shall we have for dinner? 

Leftovers, of course!
Fijne dag!

14 February, 2012

Love Birds?

Well do you love birds?  What about fabrics with birds?

We have been having a very mild winter with only light snow that disappears quickly.  I am not complaining and I doubt the wildlife in the neighborhood is either.  Our feathered friends have not needed to frequent our feeders this year.  Nature's refrigerator is wide open allowing the birds to find plenty of food.

With fewer live specimens to watch through the window, let's turn our attention toward finding birds in the fabrics of my Tumbling Star quilts.

Let's start with a few little birds found in a red and white print. It is Valentine's Day after all!

Mama Watching Over Her Little Ones
Little Bird in Flight

These two love birds can be found in the Tumbling Star quilt discussed earlier. 
To view earlier posts look back to 14 January 2012; 18 January 2012; and 2 February 2012

I would absolutely love to have a reproduction with the feathered friends featured here. Wouldn't you? 

Caught In the Netting?

This lovely little character had to be captured under netting.  This is one of the few fabrics in the Tumbling Star quilt that has begun to deteriorate.  To keep the fibers as intact as possible I carefully stitched a piece of fine netting over the diamond.  I plan to remove the netting to cover this piece with an appropriate period piece of fabric, some day.  Can you see the white stitches that keep the netting in place?  That is intentional so that I can find them when it is time to remove the netting.  Without a close up view this conservation step is almost invisible.

Bird in Blue
The black on white detail of this little bird is striking on the blue background.  This is another fabric I would love to have because I love the black on whites with color backgrounds.  I see them more often in home decorating fabrics than I can find them in cottons suitable for making quilts. 

And finally, found hiding . . .

Little Fan Bird

Of all the little birds on this quilt I could find none that appear in pairs to celebrate
St. Valentine's Day. 
Perhaps you have a pair of birds on one of your quilts.
Happy Valentine's Day to all!

09 February, 2012

Waiting for Spring

Yesterday it snowed just enough to make things look wintry.

Our Wood Shop

Today the sun is shining and the temperature is predicted to be 44°F.
This  small bit of snow will disappear quickly.
I wish the terrible cold I have this week would melt away with the snow.

On the side of the wood shop is our 'quilt shop sign collection.' 
'Splinters & Threads' is the sign my dear hubby sandblasted into wood
when we opened our quilt shop many years ago.
The other sign was on a friend's quilt shop - she gave us the sign
when she closed her business a few years ago.
Two of anything is a collection . . .

This is Abbie.
She is our 11-month-old lab/golden retriever puppy.
She is also part of a collection of two dogs. 
Abbie does not like two things:
1) Snow on her feet; and
2) When her peeps sneeze!

I am looking forward to spending some quality time in my studio today
with my cough drops and tissue box close at hand
while we wait for the snow to melt.
Quilt making is the best medicine I know.

Fijne dag!

03 February, 2012

Siggy Block Exchange

Ik heb in het Nederlands geschreven voor dit blog post.  Ik ben aan het leren beter Nederlands spreken, hoop ik.  Schrijven helpt me een beetje.

I have written in Nederlands for this blog post. I am learning to speak beter Nederlands, I hope. Writing helps me a bit. 

Dit is mijn eerst Siggy van Annelies.  Ze organiseert de swap en ze doet het zeer goed! :-)This is my first Siggy from Annelies. She orgnizes the swan and she does it very well! :-)

Dank u, Annelies!

Dit is een Siggy ik gemaakt.  Ik mailde een van Annelies een paar dagen geleden.
This is a Siggy I made. I mailed one to Annelies a few days ago.

I ben vereerd om te kunnen in de swap.  Ik kijk uit naar het delen van meer Siggys!
I am honored to be able to particiapte in the swap. I look forward to sharing more Siggys!

Fijne dag!

02 February, 2012

More Tumbling Star Fabrics . . .

I am thrilled to learn that many of you are interested in antique quilts and the fabrics they contain.  Thank you for your encouraging comments and emails as I explore this new-to-me venue for sharing. 

The quilt we have been studying here is one of my late 19th century Tumbling Star quilts.  We have been focusing on the study of fabrics that are contained in this quilt.
Tumbling Star Quilt, c. 1890

Additional information can be found in earlier posts on January 14 and January 18, 2012.

If one question about this quilt comes up more than any other it is whether or not this quilt is a charm quilt.  Given the number of fabrics that appear in many of these quilts it is a good question.  Let's take a closer look! 

By definition a charm quilt does not contain more than one piece of the same fabric.  I suppose there is some discretion regarding any borders and/or backing though I generally do not take them into consideration.  Charm quilts are most often pieced in a single patch design such as a simple geographic shape including square, triangle, hexagon or diamond.  There is a slightly less strict definition that allows the same fabric to be used if varying motifs are used.  I leave the choice of which rule to follow up to individual choice.

Is this quilt a charm quilt?  If, by the purest definition it only takes one duplication to keep a quilt from being a charm quilt then the answer is a resounding 'No.'  Careful examination reveals that there are a few varied pieces of the same fabrics scattered throughout the quilt.   Each of the duplicates seem to have been cut to feature different motifs.  By the more liberal definition of a charm quilt we could say this one qualifies.  It would be nice to know what the quilt maker was thinking as she hand pieced all of her diamonds together.

We have already taken a close look at one of the most obviously duplicated fabric pieces.  Remember the patchwork print (a.k.a. cheater cloth) discussed in my post on 18 January 2012?  Above is a larger piece of the original fabric.   

Can you find the dog in the uncut piece?  How about the cat?

Can you identify the prints that surround each of them? 

Please note that the coloration appears to be different only because each photo was taken with different lighting.

The calendar print also appears to be a patchwork print. If you look at the bottom of the diamond you will see a pink, brown and white geometric design with what appears to be a brown ground floral print beside it. 

I currently do not have an uncut piece of the original fabric to know what other types of prints surround this calendar.  However, thanks to information shared with me at a recent quilt study meeting I have a source that may have what I am looking for.

It remains my hope that finding an uncut piece of the patchwork print that contains the calendar will help me discover a little more about why the calendar was significant enough to be included in the printed fabric.

Included in the quilt are a number of other pieces that have similar coloring to the calendar piece.  They too are obviously varied pieces of patchwork prints. Which of these, if any, the calendar may have come from I am not sure.
This one appears to have a floral design featured.  I am not certain what the remainder of the prints surrounding the featured motif may be. Though a bit less defined than other patchwork prints, the lines and varied backgrounds make it clear this is another piece of a patchwork print.

Here are three additional pieces with similar coloration.  These three are clearly related to each other.  Can you find the same patterns that serve as clues that these pieces are all from the same piece of patchwork print?

As we have seen here, large pieces of original fabrics are invaluable to quilt researchers. They give us an opportunity to see what the original fabrics in antique quilts actually looked like before they were cut into smaller pieces.

Imagine if the diamond shapes in this quilt were small enough to be cut from only a single print found in these patchwork prints. We would assume they were varied pieces of fabric when in fact they are not.  Caution is the key when determining whether or not a quilt is actually a charm quilt.

Another day we will look at more fabrics included in this Tumbling Star quilt.  Eventually we will compare this quilt to other Tumbling Star quilts to learn what we can about whether or not they are related.

Tot de volgende keer, fijne dag!