Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sunshine, Anyone?

Here's another small quilt from the 1980's, machine pieced, hand quilted.  Too big to be a refrigerator quilt; well, perhaps if the refrigerator were a commercial one....
No new quilts to show; maybe I'll have some pieces to show after today.
I chose to post this one because it reminds me of sunshine trying to break through clouds--a description that fits this week.  Admittedly, compared to other places New Mexico has probably been fairly sunny--at least we've seen it a few times this week--most often blinding me in the car mirrors on the way to work.  And I shouldn't complain about that because in a couple of weeks we'll be plunged back into early morning darkness because of daylight saving time.  Whoever decided we should have more daylight saving time than "normal" time needed their heads examined. In any case, we are not accustomed to as many hours of dark, gray clouds as we've had every day this week!  (Hmmmm.....maybe I need to take more Vitamin D!--Quick, before the next storm hits!)

Here are a couple of details of this sunshiny little quilt that's been folded on a shelf for too long:
It is so very sad that all those quilts from the years when I hand quilted have faded to a shadow of their former selves--not my fault; the manufacturers insisted we shouldn't expect the dyes to hold for more than10-14 hours of direct light.  How sad!

But, hey, happy quilting anyway.......

P.S.  Today, 3/13/10, a friend called to say one of our mutual friends sent her 20 year old pictures that included at least one shot of this quilt, and that the colors were so bright.  She's going to send some of the pictures to me, so I'll get to compare.  If possible, I'll scan them for  a future post.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Slow Goin'

It's been slow goin' this week.  Haven't touched a machine or quilted all week.  I feared this would happen.  I truly hope that when I actually get to retire in a few years, I'll still have plenty of creativity and energy left for quilting.

This little quilt is one I made in the late '80's.  It's an old, traditional pattern from the Southern US, a variation of a Drunkard's Path with a head and a tail appliqued onto a couple of patches prior to piecing.  This one was made with some of those P&B (and other) fabrics that preceded the real reproductions that showed up in the marketplace a few years later.

This quilt has faded quite a bit from hanging in several of my homes and classrooms.
Here's a detail:

It's less than 24-inches square, one of many I made that one of my friends called "refrigerator quilts."  However, I'm pretty sure this one has never hung on my refrigerator because the refrigerator is more or less permanently loaded with schedules, reminders, recipes, and sometimes a few photos.

Somewhere I have a later version in blue, aqua, teal, and violet batiks--because I made one to give away, and then another one for Sanda, and then knew I had to make one for myself.  I've lived in this house for nearly eight years, and I really need to get organized and hang some quilts!

I am sooooo looking forward to coming home from work tonight, hopefully with enough energy to quilt.  In any case, the Victory Quilters meet to work on prayer quilts tomorrow, so I'll have more chances to work on quilts.

Happy Quilting.......

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Little Mark Twain

I love Electric Quilt 6; I've found it far superior to the previous editions.
However, thanks to Denise Russart over at I have more EQ skills now.  She helped me learn to use EQ's custom set, so I can use it to make some unique designs.

This is the one I'm working on.
It's a lot easier to do it this way--now that I've learned how--than the way I was doing it, which was always a variation on this:
I have a ways to go before I get really good at it, but I do like "easier"......

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lovely Discoveries

This weekend we made quick stops at three thrift stores because I was hoping to find an old metal  class 15 sewing machine that would fit in my treadle.  I'd be delighted to find a Japanese clone that had well-working parts and from which I could remove the motor.  Since it took me ten months to find the treadle, I figure this could be a long search too.

Of course, we didn't find one--although there was a Singer Touch and Sew that had been removed from its table or case.  (I didn't try it because I don't want to have to start a whole new collection of presser feet, and the T&S uses slant feet.)

What I did find was these three antique fingertip towels--they're hand embroidered, so they have to be old.  The bonus was the $2 yellow rose tablecloth.  What a bonus!  The prices on these tablecloths have escalated astronomically in the years since my friend Hannah bought them to make her children's play clothes--because she knew they'd never wear out!  I'll probably make an apron or smock if I can squeeze enough fabric out of it.

The other thing I did not buy--but would have loved to--was a beautiful 19th c. oak library table with pillared legs.  It was gorgeous, although, frankly, even if I had had an extra $175, it wouldn't have fit in my house. The same shop had a zinc-topped kitchen cabinet that had probably spent years on someone's porch.  Very interesting--and it too will eventually belong to someone besides me.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Field of Tulips Border

Here's one border view, and a second:

Probably the last Field of Tulips post for a while since the next step is the quilting of the setting triangles.  Karen decided I should quilt them in the same weathered gold that I used for the border.That will take a while, and it looks like I'll have very little time for quilting this week.
Reminder: you can right click on either photo and open it in a new tab or new window in order to see greater detail.
I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to do this quilt.  I know Karen will treat it well and that it will be enjoyed by a couple more generations.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Not Quilts

After many, many text messages from her girlfriends and her guy friend, she was off to the Sweetheart Dance, pretty much the antithesis of "calm".
She was so afraid she'd be the only girl in a dress.
Her date was waiting for her at the school and was by her side within five seconds.    But as we pulled up, she announced, "I can't do this!  Take me home!"  I didn't.  I hope they are having lots of fun.

Earlier in the week her jazz band played a gig a few miles from here.

Apparently the zoot suits were made for much, much larger people.  She said the pants had to be hemmed seven inches.  Fortunately, the suspenders keep the pants up and the cuffs on the shirt hold the shirt sleeves up over her hands.  Personally, I favor the hats!

She had a good time that evening too!
I'm determined to enjoy every minutes of these growing-up years!  They'll pass all too quickly!

Post Script:  As she tumbled into bed, she said, "I think this may have been the best night of my life!"  I'm glad it was so much fun for her.  I have a feeling getting up for church may be more of on effort for her!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday Night Sew-In: Field of Tulips

I did work on the Blanch Potter Roberts' Field of Tulips for the Friday Night Sew-In.  Every tulip has now been outlined.

I'm still working on the fill between tulips--and, yes, I'm feeling a bit of impatience to have that part done.
The setting triangles and the border will get me back to the feathered designs that I so love to do.
I am happy with the choice of white Fil-Tec Glide thread that I've used on this quilt.  (Will probably switch to another color for the setting triangles and gold for the borders.)
No, I didn't hear from my niece about her opinion on this.  I received an e-mail Thursday or so that she had just figured out how to get to her phone messages (she received her current phone in December), so she hadn't heard my message earlier.  She's mastered texting e-mail from her phone, so she was able to e-mail me.  We'll try to talk this evening since my daughter will be at her school's Sweetheart Dance.
Reminder: you can right-click on any photo and open it in a new tab or new window and then see more details of the quilting since the photo will open in a larger view.
Happy quilting......

An Unusual Nine-Patch--Ice Cream Social

I made this quilt, which I named "Ice Cream Social," in 1985-86 while living in Cleveland, TN.
The border is that dusty pink that was so popular during the 80's, but I was unable to get it to register as anything other than tan in the photo.  I called it "Ice Cream Social" because the pink (that looks nearly white in the photo) and the pale green reminded me of strawberry and mint ice cream.

The quilt is composed of nine patches set on point with alternating pink and green solid squaters.  To achieve this look, the center top and bottom squares of the 9-patch were pieced from green, and the center patches on the horizontal axis were pieced from pink.  
It was pieced by machine and then hand quilted.  I don't remember getting bored quilting the same designs over and over, but can't imagine being that patient today!

I would like to do another quilt like this--only in batiks this time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Savannah Stars & Sew-In

This quilt of mostly batiks and a printed Hoffman sky fabric was pieced and quilted in the early 1990's.  That was long before I had a computer or Electric Quilt, and it was planned on graph paper.
The "Baptist Fans" were quilted with Sulky silver sliver thread.
I look back at some of those older quilts now and am amazed at how much excess quilting I used. 
I never really enjoyed doing "stipple" quilting; now when filler quilting is necessary, I almost always choose some other type.

When I was first shown stipple quilting on antique Southern quilts back in the early 1980's, I was told that women just did a lot of stitches in random directions.  In fact, their stippling was in parallel rows of stitches about 1/8" or less apart.  In all the dozens and dozens of Southern quilts I've seen, I've never, ever seen stipple quilting done in random directions, only in closely spaced parallel rows.

Tonight I'm planning to join in for the Friday Night Sew-In--although I haven't decided if I'll continue quilting the Field of Tulips or work on something else or do a little of both.  You can join in too!  Just head over to Heidi's blog and sign up with the Mr. Linky.

Happy quilting......

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Little Quilt

Here's a small Amish style quilt I made in the early 90's: machine pieced and hand quilted.  It looks as if it has a lavender border in the photo, but it's actually an unusual blue color.

I've loved this zigzag set since I first saw it in a full-size quilt decades ago.  This little quilt is about 24" square and made from both polished- and plain cottons.

It was quilted the traditional way with black thread.

Amazing that I found time for all that hand-quilting!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Baby's First Quilt

I began this quilt for my daughter during the long, long wait for her arrival.

Around that time I was making quite a few baby quilts.  On each, I included hand-inked quotes that I hoped would inspire the recipient at a later point.
The little green blotch on the upper border is some unidentified substance that left its mark in several places on this quilt.  I really don't think it's paint, but I have no idea what it is. It does offer evidence that she actually used the quilt.

It's hard to tell from these pictures, but I did do part of the quilting with Sulky holographic metallic thread. (Remember, you can right-click on any photo and open a larger view in a new tab or new window.)

In most of my homes I've hung quilts on the walls as artwork.  For some unknown reason, I have only one quilt hanging in this home.  Perhaps I should remedy that.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Older Quilts - Bowties

Because I'm working on the quilting for that huge Field of Tulips--it's 90" X 100"--there's really nothing new to show.  So here's what used to be one of my all-time favorite quilts.

 All the blocks were hand-pieced with center rectangles.  It hung in several of my homes for many years.  Unfortunately, it was made in the 1980's when fabric manufacturers were insisting that as long as fabrics held their colors for 14 to 18 hours of exposure to light, that was long enough. Not!

Here's a detail of hand piecing and hand quilting:
That little beige inner border was once printed with beautiful little rose-colored flowers.  They're barely visible now.  Most of the time, when I take the quilt out to look at it, it just makes me sad that all that work was done with full-priced fabrics that were such low quality.  When I was making this quilt, I carried the pieces everywhere and pieced every time I had a couple of minutes.
I made several more bow-tie quilts in the years following this one--one was given to my baby sister and the rest were given away as baby quilts--and they were pieced with two corner triangles next to squares so that although they looked like bowties, they weren't this old, old patchwork pattern.
I do so little hand work now that I doubt I'll ever manage to produce another bowtie quilt like this one.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


This is such a huge field of tulips that I didn't have a lot of confidence about how to quilt all this white!
I thought about outlining the tulips with a green that matched the tulip leaves.  Or perhaps a blue to pick up the blue in the setting triangles and border.

I did phone Karen to see what she might prefer.

She didn't phone me back, so I just went ahead and started laying in the swirls with white.

It's slow going, so I'll have plenty of time to think about how to quilt the setting triangles.  Right now I'm thinking of using yellow thread for partial feathered wreaths and then quilting feathers in the borders using gold thread.

We'll see.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More Fil-Tec Glide Thread

I've had a few struggles lately while choosing thread for quilts made by others in our Victory Quilt Group.  So. at our last gathering, I looked at some of the tops others were working on and some of the fabric they were choosing, looked at some of the fabrics I'm planning to use and some of the quiltops I have waiting, and then placed another order for Fil-Tec Glide threads.  The person from whom I'd bought these threads for a couple of years stopped stocking them to make room for other merchandise, so I did a web search for Fil-Tec threads.  They are available at, a site from which many threads as well as machine needles and disposable loaded bobbins can be purchased.  (They also have a Facebook page.)

Why would I do a post about this thread?  While this thread was designed for machine embroidery, I use it for quilting.  I love the range of colors (free color card with initial order if you let them know you want one).  I really love the way it glides through my machine and needle.  I love the size of the spools and the fact that it works so well in the bobbin too.  I love the way this thread glistens on the quilt top. More than any other color, I use one of their beautiful golds that is even better than the metallics  I used to use.

Furthermore, Fil-Tec/Bobbin Central has a special for February for 10% off  Glide thread.

They have an extremely high level of customer service.  They fill orders rapidly.  (For me the only downside is the time it takes for UPS to carry it across the country--so I need to allow a week from the time I order.)

I have no financial connection with them at all (except for sending them money when I order from them).

I keep telling myself I'll take some pictures of quilts I've made over the last few decades and post about them, but time has been so crunched that I haven't managed to do that--yet.  I'll get to it.

Happy quiltmaking.......

Monday, February 8, 2010

Field of Tulips and More Snow Photos

Alexandra and I pin basted Blanche Roberts' Tulips yesterday.  I remain amazed that she was able to applique and embroider this many tulips.  I do wonder how long it took her to do it.  I admire the fact that she was able to create so many of these blocks.
We just couldn't get a good enough angle to get the entire quilt and borders--but I love the effect from this angle:
I'm slowly working on  the stitching that will hold everything in place for the major quilting.  Still haven't decided how I'll quilt the rest of it.

Here are a couple more between storm photos:

The storms just keep coming--but we were glad to see some bare earth yesterday.  I'm sooooooo looking forward to the end of winter!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Eccentric Border

I first saw this border on a red, gray, and black wool quilt from the early 20th century.  I think it's quite possible that that early quilt was made by someone who planned a three-strip border and then didn't realize until too late that the corners were going to be a bit awkward.  But there was something about them that was appealing, and I knew one day I might want to make a quilt using something similar.
This top was pieced about 2 years ago and has been waiting for a border.  It isn't as bold as on the antique quilt, but I think I'll like it.  I really am going to try to get this layered and quilted soon.  (The backing is ready.  I just don't have a comfortable place to pin baste it.)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

White Again

Looks sweet, doesn't it?
But looks can be deceiving--and in this case, they are.

When my morning class was excused, I checked the weather and (because snow was predicted, and where I was, we'd had rain and snow flurries). I learned I-40 had already been closed.  When that happens, the only alternative for 40+ miles is Old Route 66.  I left work as soon as I could, but I still spent well over an hour going just seven miles.  Apparently, Old Route 66 was also closed at least for a while.  However, there were a lot of people trying to get home to their kids, who had been dismissed from school much earlier, so eventually they let us through! (I learned later that there were buses that had been forced to return to schools because the roads were impassable in places.)
I always think of my home as being on the plains east of the mountains.  But after that trip home, I recognize that while "East Mountains" doesn't quite apply out here, we have way too many steep hills to claim we live in a flat area, even if it does seem that way after having traveled through the mountains. There was some evidence NMDOT was trying to clear the highways, but they weren't able to keep up.  Seeing a snow plow sliding all over the road was kind of scary too.  Oh, my! I prayed my way up every hill, knowing that if I didn't make it on the first try, I'd end up in many more inches of snow in a ditch!  My town looked like a parking lot for semi-trucks.  Someone said the reason they worked so hard to get the interstate open again is there were no more motel rooms left in our town. Really? Our city road department was working valiantly to keep the streets passable. (I did call the city to tell them how much I appreciated how hard they were working.)
After nearly three hours in transit, there is a whole new meaning to "home, safe and sound." However, I'm getting pretty tired of snow and ice caused closures.  Even Alexandra was upset that school has been canceled for another day.
No chance of school being closed where I teach--it will take a miracle for me to able to drive there.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Split 4-Patch and Post Storm Pictures

Members of the treadle sewing machine group introduced me to the split 4-patch.  I was interested in it because it has much in common with my split 9-patch windmills.  Above is my first attempt.  I began with 6-inch strips and squares.  Once they were assembled as 4-patches, I made two parallel vertical and horizontal cuts 1.5" from center seams.  I then moved each "double bar" patch clockwise to the next position.
Here's a closeup of one block:
I sashed the blocks with a blue print and set aside more blue for the binding.
This prayer quilt will be for the Victory Quilt ministry; we have to make an effort to make quilts that will be acceptable for men; we all love making the pretty, flowerdee, feminine quilts.  These take a bit more effort in the planning.  I thought the butterfly/feather print and the leaf print worked well together, and the blue picked up the blue in the feathers.

Now to layer and quilt.......

The bonus in this post consists of two post-storm pictures, both from last Saturday.
We awoke not only to the left-over snow, but also to fog.  I find it fascinating that the camera apparently "sees" through some of the fog.

Everything was coated in ice, but apparently the camera doesn't pick that up very well either.
I tried to get pictures of a lot of other bushes, even weeds, but the ice disappeared in the photographs.
We're expecting more snow today.  I do hope  NMDOT manages to keep the roads clear and safe......

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Appalachian Baskets

I love basket quilts.  I recently posted the violet and white bed-sized quilt I finished this month.
Above is another quilt--a small one--I began back in the 80's.  I spent months and months searching for violet and yellow fabrics--those were definitely not in abundant supply in those days.  (Those were the days of peachy pinks and blues; about the only colors that couldn't be found were violets and yellows.)
I had taught several classes on basket quilts for a chain of fabric stores in the Southeast.
Somewhere along the line a woman brought in one of her family basket quilts or tops, and I fell in love with it because of the things it said about the maker; and I decided I wanted one with those idiosyncratic patches.
The maker had used a basket from another quilt, a basket on a five patch grid.  For the top of the basket, the "flower" part, she had used one half of an 8-pointed star.  Although her blocks were slightly larger, I drafted mine for six-inch blocks.
The stripe around the center was cut from a gray striped print.

Amazing how dated this quilt became in about 25 years.  Doesn't fit into my house anymore.  I'm no longer teaching quiltmaking classes.  It became a Victory Quilt--I would love to know who ends up with it.

Over the last several decades I've made quite a few basket quilts from a variety of baskets.  I might need to make another one--but I'll need to narrow down my choices quite a bit first.

Happy quilting......
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