Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Blast from the Past

A co-worker friend of mine was at a yard sale last weekend and scooped up some quilting items she thought I might be interested in.

You never know what you're going to find, right?  It was quite an interesting collection of some things useful, other things just interesting:

These are iron-one transfers of some sort as far as I can tell.  And look at the lower left hand corner of the envelope on the right:  15 cents!

I wonder if they still work?

There were also some groups of fabric earmarked for a particular project.

The fabric was in a bag with this pattern, in a Better Homes and Gardens Patchwork magazine dated June 2008.

I'm hoping that since there is only a little bit left over that this was a completed project for this Mystery Quilter.

There's also a single completed star block from a Fons and Porter "Sew Many Quilts" magazine dated November/December 1998.

There were also more pieces of Christmas fabric that had been cut out but not pieced.

That magazine is particularly interesting for it's extensive article about The Internet and how it's The Latest Thing for quilters!  It's hard to imagine now, but we were all Internet Newbies in 1998! 

I need all the help I can get!

A really useful item from this haul:  a piece of white-on-white polka dot fabric nearly 6 yards long. This will be the backing for many, many projects, particularly the placemats and table runners that I make for my Etsy store.

Finally, the most intriguing item:

This binder is absolutely bulging with papers, envelopes, and fabric bits.

The Mystery Quilter had planned an epic project for 1995:

A Block of the Month quilt with 12 pieced blocks and ----brace yourself---- a background of 2" finished squares in a watercolor quilt style.  In case you were wondering (I know I was) I checked the pattern instructions and the background alone requires 757 squares.

But this quilter was as organized as she was ambitious:

Tulips for March

Each month's block is set in the binder, along with all of the templates and fabric swatches for all 12 months.

Well, I will not be making this quilt with 12 pieced blocks and 757 squares of background.  But some of the blocks are really cute.  So I will go through this notebook page by page and see what is useful in 2015.  

Saturday, October 17, 2015

By Hand and by Machine

I helped my friend and Florida Orchestra librarian Ella finish a baby quilt recently.

It's understandable that she didn't have time to finish it herself.  An orchestra librarian is one of those behind-the-scenes staff people that makes it possible for us symphony musicians to do our jobs.  It's a monumental task to acquire the music (much of it is rented), have it sorted, bowed, edited and in folders ready for rehearsals.  It's not unusual for us to rehearse and perform 3 entirely different programs in the space of a single week, since not only do we do subscription concerts (Pops, Masterworks, etc.) but there are also many additional services such as youth concerts, park concerts, community outreach performances, etc. etc.  And all of those require that the right music is on the right music stand at the right time.  An epic task indeed.

On to the quilt:

It's The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

When I received the quilt she had already done a lot of hand quilting in the large blocks.

The large butterfly block had particularly beautiful hand quilting.

 One of my jobs was to machine applique around all of the food blocks.

I used a narrow zig zag stitch for the applique.
This was really "appli-quilting", as the quilt was already basted and partially quilted when I received it.

I thought the cocoon block was particularly beautiful, and needed nothing additional from me.

Aside from the applique I mostly added a lot of "foundation" type quilting-- just long lines around the large blocks and borders, which sets off the hand quilting and will help the quilt wear well and survive love and laundry.

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Holiday Destination

Where to go for the holidays?

DRESDEN.  Of course.

My Christmas fabrics generate scraps at an unusually high rate-- maybe because those fabrics only see the light of day for a limited portion of the year.  At any rate, having more fun with the Dresden Plate block seemed an obvious way to use up some of those scraps.

I quilted it with my walking foot.  There's echo quilting around the outside edge of the petals, plus a few circles towards the center.  It's only about 16" square, so not much quilting is required, making this a pretty quick project.  (And fun!) 

This was made with the Accuquilt Go tumbler block die for the petals-- and a "luncheon" size plate for the circle.  See my tutorial (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) for the method.  And it's listed in my Etsy store.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Here Comes Autumn

Incredibly, it's September.  Time to start thinking about cooler temperatures, brisk breezes, bright autumn foliage.

Well, maybe not.  Autumn is still a few weeks away here in hot and humid Florida.

What I do know is that my long, long summer off from orchestra work is coming to a close in a couple of weeks, so it's time to address all of the things I Was Supposed To Do.  So despite stifling temperatures, Here Comes Autumn, ready or not.

It's really my favorite time of year for seasonal sewing.

Here's a table runner and placemat set made out of the "Autumn Medley" collection by Martha Negley.  I'm not sure this fabric is being produced anymore, although you can still find it on Ebay and Etsy.

And here's the latest version of the Autumn Leaf runner:

This style runner has been a strong seller in my Etsy store for years.  I love making them!  I use the Autumn  Accuquilt Go die for the leaves and pumpkin.

I fuse the shapes to the background fabric, then go around the edges with a narrow zig zag stitch. Then the whole thing gets basted and quilted.

For more details on these items, check out my Etsy store here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Getting Silly

A small purchase for my home inspired an attack of Crafting Silliness.

It's just a simple Reading Wedge-type pillow, something that I've wanted for a while and finally found at Target.  (It's a seasonal "Back to School" type item, available now but not all the time).

I didn't initially object to the plain beige pillow cover, as my bedroom has acid green walls and a wide rotation of bed quilts in many colors.  Best to keep the accessories simple, and neutral.

But the poor thing is Just So Plain.   And I couldn't resist.

Time to break out the ric-rack and yo-yos!

Now, if you were really dedicated this could be a sewing project-- the pillow cover is removable.  But I decided to keep it fun and easy and used fabric glue, which is really strong and washable, and there was no need to remove the cover.

For a project like this, remember Linda's First Rule of Embellishment:

If Some is Good, More Must Be Better

I love it!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Magic Carpet Ride


Well, it was actually a braided rug.

I had an absolute blast of a week at the John C Campbell Folk School learning all about the art of braided rugs.

I wanted to have an adventure this summer and this seemed like
a fine place for one.  It's in a beautiful location that's drivable
from here (southwestern North Carolina, about 10 hours from my home in Tampa) and the range of classes that's offered is absolutely staggering (click here for a list of classes).
And I thought a braided rug would be fun to make, a completely new skill for me, and something that would look great in my wood-floored, Craftsman-style bungalow.

It all started here, with a box of 2" wool strips:

  Our wonderful instructor had brought some samples of her beautiful work along for inspiration

rugs by Diane Ellis

  Looks easy, right?

We had these wooden "ducks" to provide tension for the braiding portion of the process.

In the old days they would have used a nail on the wall, or inserted the strips in the drawer of a heavy dresser.

The wool strips were threaded through these metal holders to keep them folded.

Ideally, when you braid you don't want any folds, creases, or raw edges to be visible.  Plus you want even tension so the braid comes out even.

After making several feet of braid, it was time to lace it together to form the rug.

As you can see, my braid is a long way from perfect!  Lots of folds are visible, although it got better as I went along.

The difficult part of the lacing process is getting the rug to lay flat, even when going around the curves.

Here is my rug just after being completed!

The class consisted of 7 other ladies plus our wonderful and dedicated instructor.  We all got along marvelously and it was just a wonderful experience.

The campus of the Folk School is breathtakingly beautiful, and quite historic.

My class met in this building, which also houses the quilting studio. (No quilting classes were going on the week I was there.)

We had our class at long tables in this room, since there was no weaving going on that week.

Look at all those looms!  My next class might have to be weaving.

Every morning started out cool and misty. . .

And ended up being sunny and gorgeous!

I can't wait to go back!                                                            

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Going to the dogs: Final Chapter

An epic custom order is complete:

You'll recall from this post that a customer had commissioned a quilt made from many years accumulation of dog kerchiefs.  She had owned a series of poodles and every week they went to the groomer for a bath and a kerchief.  

It's been a long journey from what was
many bags of kerchiefs in every color and
size .  . .

to organized sets of blocks. . .

layout. . .

and completion!

I hope it looks as good on my customer's bed as it does on mine!