22 March, 2012

Sow-A-Long Blocks 10, 11 & 12

Here they are!

My next three blocks for the

Last week Randy offered the following
 two blocks for some additional fun.

You may notice these blocks have a little something extra folded behind them.

That is because I decided to put my blocks into a zigzag setting, which is one of my favorites.
There was little reason to wait.  :-)

Here is what I have so far . . .

Can you make out the beginning of the zigzag?

I opted to use three shades of blue that read as solids.  They compliment the prints I used for my blocks.  They will make a nicely blended scrappy zigzag between the blocks set on point. 

I anticipate a total of 9 columns with 8 complete blocks in the odd numbered columns. 
The four even numbered columns will have half a block at the top and bottom.
My planned layout should allow for a nice 'playground' that I plan to fill with wonderful quilting.

You can also see in this photo a bit of the construction going on in my studio.  
Even with this room incomplete I enjoy spending time in here as often as possible.
It is already my favorite room in the house.  When it is complete I may never leave . . . LOL!

Gelukkig naaiwerk!

19 March, 2012

Treadle Machine Quilting

Have you ever sewn, or machine quilted with a treadle sewing machine?

Machine Quilting on a Treadle

The quilt being quilted in the photo is one I made for the
2008 American Quilt Study Group's Study of 19th Century Red & Green Quilts.
Nineteen (19) of the quilts that were included in the Study can be viewed at HERE.

I learned to sew as a very young girl;
first by hand and later by machine on my mother's
Singer Featherweight. 
 I still use the Featherweight for some projects.
In 1998 my DH purchased a Bernina 150 QE for me for our 20th wedding anniversary. 
These days I use my Bernina for most 
piecing and machine quilting.
I have tried newer models but I much prefer the one I have;
we are attached at the hip and work well together.

I am fascinated by sewing machines,
especially the early models.

Quilting Tumbling Blocks Patchwork Print (aka, cheater cloth)

How these mechanical wonders were used to make quilts is an ongoing research project of mine.
To better understand the machines themselves and how they could be used to help 19th century quiltmakers I started a collection of early treadle sewing machines.
I use them to see what features 'modern' 19th century quiltmakers had available.

While I love using all of the machines I have available to me for making quilts, I also love the piece and quilt by hand.  However, in the interest of getting more done most of my quilts are brought into being by machine.

What sewing machines, if any, do you use to make some of your quilts?
I think I have finally been able to remove the word verification feature from comments, so please feel free to leave a comment if you wish.

Heb een geweldige dag!

13 March, 2012

Winding Ways . . .

One of the downsides to restoring/renovating a 19th century house is that so many things have to remain in storage.  So how does one enjoy treasured objects that are safely stored away?

Winding Ways Quilt
Early 20th Century

Photographs of course!
I keep information about each of the quilts I make and antique quilts in my collection in a scrapbook.  Documenting them I hope will help future generations know more about these treasures that mean so much to me.

(Dank goodnes de lente!)

08 March, 2012

Autobiography Quilt

One day, several years ago, while visiting an antique quilt dealer's booth at the Quilter's Heritage Celebration in Lancaster, Pennsylvania I found a small antique basket block made of blue and white fabrics.  It was not very well sewn and there was only one.

Antique Basket Block
I purchased the little block and took it back to our home in Massachusetts.  I carefully took it apart and re-pieced the mismatched pieces in to a block that is actually square and will be 5 inches finished when sewn into a quilt.  But what quilt?

Little did I know then that the answer would present itself in 2003.  It was then that I purchased a wonderful book titled, "Dear Jane: the Two Hundred Twenty-five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A Stickle Quilt" by Brenda Manges Papadakis.

It is one of the few quilt pattern books you will find in my personal library as I most often purchase books more focused on quilt and textile history. However, the quilt made by Jane A. Stickle that inspired Brenda to reproduce it and write her book is absolutely charming. Who doesn't love the idea of making a challenging quilt?

I must admit that I have yet to actually begin a 'Dear Jane' quilt.  I doubt that I ever will because the little antique Basket block inspired me to design a quilt of my own.  At first I considered using some of Jane Stickle's blocks redrafted to finish at 5 inches to fit with the Basket block.  Instead I decided to choose blocks of my own and some with names that have a special meaning to me.

Turkey Tracks

This version of Turkey Tracks was drafted by me to be pieced and sewn into a quilt for DH's and my 25th wedding anniversary.  Have you heard any myths about this block?  It is also known as 'Wandering Foot' which I have heard is thought to bring bad luck to a marriage.  Since I am not particularly superstitious I made my quilt anyway.  My DH and I, now married almost 35 years, together wandered away from our childhood home in California about 14 years into our marriage.  We have been fortunate to be able to choose some wonderful places to live including . . .

Clockwise starting at the top left block these are
 California, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania

California, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.  Yes, all of the blocks for my quilt conform in size to the little antique Basket block; they will all finish at 5 inches in the quilt.

Clockwise starting at the top left block these are
Holland Mill, Quilter's Delight, Job's Patience, and Mother's Own.
I used several resources to find blocks with titles that had some meaning to me.  These are Holland Mill, Quilter's Delight, Job's Patience (because I wish I had some), and Mother's Own.

Kylie, Brienne & Meagen
Two of our girls are left-handed!
 These little hands represent our three daughters.  Certainly they all have my heart in their hands. :-)

Tumbling Blocks
When I started this quilt we did not yet have any grandchildren.  In anticipation I included these Tumbling Blocks.  Now, we have three wonderful grandchildren for which new designs are in progress.  The oldest, our only grandson, will be 8 later this year! 

Clockwise starting at the top left block these are
antique 9-Patch, Thirteen Squared, Sunrise Sunset, and Trials & Troubles.
These are some of the more recent additions.  An antique 9-Patch, Thirteen Squared, Sunrise Sunset and Trials & Troubles.  The antique blocks represent my love of antique quilts. :-)

Each block starts with these paper plans drafted by me onto 5-1/2 inch squares of fabric to represent the unfinished size of the blocks.  I prepare several ahead and put them into baggies with the fabrics so that the work can travel with me when I am away from home.  I also work on the at home too!  Whether working by hand or machine I prefer traditional piecing and applique methods.  There is one block that has been foundation pieced onto muslin, but none of them have been paper pieced.  I enjoy the challenge of accuracy no matter how many pieces go into a small block.

37 Finished Blocks of the 64 Needed

I will not show all of my little blocks today, or bore you with the stories of why I chose each one. This is all I have finished spread out on the table by my laptop.  As of this post I have 37 out of 64 finished and more designed and ready to sew. My goal is to have all of the blocks completed sometime this year so that I may begin to set them into at quilt top.  I have several ideas for how to set them but until assembly of the top actually begins those ideas are subject to change.  A friend calls it my 'Dear Greta' quilt, but my working title is 'Autobiography Quilt'. 

This is one project I have been working on, mostly in the evenings.  I will share some of the others, and an antique quilt or two, soon!

07 March, 2012

Sow-A-Long Blocks 7, 8 and 9

I have been spending some quality time with fabric, needles and thread.  I will try to catch up with posts in the next few days. 

Today, being the 1st Wednesday in March, means the third installment of the Barrister's Sow-A-Long blocks were posted.

As you can see, the blocks 7, 8 and 9 are:

Churn Dash, Broken Dishes and Basket.

I am doing these blocks in shades of blue with a light tan print background.  I think this will compliment another quilt I have in progress that is multiple shades of blue with a light muslin.

I would like to share what I hope will be a helpful hint to anyone working on these little blocks.  When you assemble the basket block, press your seams toward the background. 

And when you do a final assembly, clip the seam right next to the opened intersection so that the triangle piece can lay flat. Be careful not to clip your stitches. It helps the block lay nice and flat. 

No worries! I have been doing this for years with no problems.  By the time the quilt is assembled and quilted this little clip will be all safe and sound.  The flatter block will help reduce bulk to quilt through.

Ik wens u gelukkig piecing!