Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Quilt Plan and the Turn of the Century Home

I've been working on the plans for Sweet Teen's Opportunity Quilt.
 Here is the plan for the quilt.  I decided that due to it's size, I wanted the simpler blocks  in the corners so the quilt will show itself off better on a bed.
 I'm still figuring yardages for cutting since I want to strip piece it and EQ7 can't really provide me exactly the information that I need. This quilt was inspired by a 1903 triple Irish Chain made in the Oklahoma Panhandle that by the mid-1980's was living in East Tennessee.  I made a rather close copy of that blue and white quilt, but I no longer have the quilt.  I'll look for a photo of the original or of my quilt and scan it so that I can share it at some point while I'm making Sweet Teen's quilt.

These are the main fabrics.  The one in the Lower left barely shows, but it has many colors in it, is much more intense than the background fabric, and will show up in the quilt. I think one of the challenges of making quilts is that complicated fabrics don't usually show up well in photos.

I've also been very busy painting in preparation for the likelihood that I'll be back to work on Friday (after I see the rehab doctor on Thursday).

I repainted the fireplace surround in the livingroom and changed the display to seven of the pitchers I've collected over the years.  The one on the left is the oldest--from the days when my grandparents lived in a house without indoor plumbing.
 When we first bought this house, we used the fireplace all the time, and I didn't understand that the reason we were getting smoke in the house was that our chimney just isn't tall enough.  Now we never use it.  It's pretty, but it's just not worth the work and the mess. In any case, the mantle and the surround direly needed painting.
 This is why I'm questioning "The Turn of the Century."  When I was a child I always loved visiting homes that were much like they had been at the turn 19th to the 20th century.  I'm sure almost anyone would say I have just too much in my house, but since I'm not trying to sell it right now, and since my house is definitely my haven, I love being able to see things I treasure.  These boxes are full of yarn and needlework.  The lovely spider plant is one my assistant gave me a start of when she moved last January or February.  Clearly, it loves living in my haven too!
In any case, we may have passed the next turn of the century, but I still have a seventeen year old turn of the century house.

I rearranged another wall in my living room--putting up more plates that need a new home now that my buffet has a "hutch". Two of these plates have been in my family for at least three generations, one is fairly new, and the others were gathered from thrift stores, antique stores, friends, and a flea market over the course of many years.

Although my computer shows the wall color as somewhat lavender, it's actually a pale orchid.  Because the living room is on the north side of the house, blue would have been too cool a color (although I did use blue and yellow in the kitchen).  The orchid shade looks cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
 I really was a Victorian when I rearranged the piano and the wall above it. I will be putting more doilies along the edge of the shelf when they are dry.  I just love the little things I've collected.
The plate on the wall to the right is a commemorative plate from my hometown's centennial in 1954. (My daughter loves that it has a picture of my high school--apparently built from a plan used by many different communities.   Some people bought enough of these plates for a table service.  My mother had a few, but this is the only one I have.

 I love the antique candy dish my cousin Joy gave me a few years ago, and the inkwell is one that has been in my family for many years.  I have no idea what happened to the lid.  It had been a while since I polished the tray it sits in--but it's no long blue and black with tarnish!

 The rose plate at the rear is very old, but I found it cast aside at a thrift store.  The silver birds are a salt and pepper set my mother received as a wedding gift (the salt has corroded the head and neck of one).  The little blue iridescent bird is dated 1990 and was a gift from my Aunt Louise.

This little harp playing angel was part of a set my mother purchased decades ago, but it's the only one left, the others having been seriously chipped and broken over the years.

See?  Lots of little treasures that I still treasure (and which make my daughter crazy).

 And here's the freshly painted "hutch" that is actually an Ethan Allen Nutmeg book case from the 1950's  I bought it because I've been looking for about 15 years for a hutch that matched my buffet.  The irony:  you can't even see the lines at the top that match the bottom and top of the buffet.

I'm going to link to Esther Liu's WIPs on Wednesday and Freshly Pieced, as well as Connie's Freemotion By the River  and will hope that none of my visitors mind seeing the redecorating endeavors.

Updating to add a link to Vintage Thingee Thursday over at Suzanne's blog.

Happy Quiltmaking.....

Saturday, September 22, 2012

FNSI and Quilting Mini-Tutorial

I was so happy to be able to take part in the monthly Friday Night Sew In last night--especially since there was so little time for quilting this past week.

As a result, here is a little mini-tutorial of how I'm quilting these blocks.

 This is a four-block section of the quilt I'm working on. I am sure my friend used a commercial pattern, so I don't know the name of it or who published it.  I have to admit that if I were piecing this I would have pieced two different blocks and put them together as alternating blocks.  (However, I also realize that in an attempt to publish "original" patterns, pattern designers and sellers create things that are a bit different in order to copyright the patterns.)

As one looks at the entire quilt top with these blocks set edge, one sees two basic and common blocks.

 Barbara Brackman's Blockbase and Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns lists this as Diamond in a Square (as well as a variety of other names).  In Blockbase it's referenced as 2375a.

For purposes of this tutorial, I've used colors in alphabetical order to show the order in which I stitched.  You may need to click on each photo to enlarge it or else view it in the photo viewer.

I began at the dot at the center right side and stitched first the ribbon in the corner of the block (blue, green) and then stitched a curve (violet) over to the next corner, repeating ribbons and curves around the block back to my starting point.  Then I stitched the center ribbon (blue, green).  At that point I cut my threads and moved to a new block or stitched in the ditch to a new block.
 Barbara Brackman's Blockbase lists this as 1262a, Broken Wheel, Pin Wheel, and other names. I began in the center of each of these blocks.

 I used my decades-old tracing wheel and a ruler to mark the center point on each side of the pinwheel. As you can see, the tracing wheel leaves a very faint line that remains just long enough for me to quilt each block.

 I actually use two designs in these blocks--one very minimal design because it's not going to show up against the busy pretty print, and a second more elaborate variation for the the solid pink triangles.

In the following drawings, the yellow portions symbolize the print, and the white background symbolizes the soft pale pink.

I begin at the center of the Pin Wheel block, quilting the print side first, [blue] curve to center, [green] petal shape, then [violet] curve to the outer edge of the block.  The penciled dashes are predicting the next curve, returning to the center petal.

 Then, once again with colors in alphabetical order, blue curve, green ribbon, violet central petal; followed by blue ribbon and curve back to the center of the entire pinwheel block.

 Once back at the center it's time to stitch the next print triangle [blue-green-violet]...

 until every section of the Pin Wheel looks like this.

I did cut the threads as I finished each block, but on some quilts it would be possible to just stitch in the ditch to reach the next starting point.

This is being quilted on my vintage Necchi BU in 1919 Singer treadle irons.

In some of these blocks I curved the tiny ribbons toward the central petal, and in some they curve in the opposite direction.  The same is true for the directions in which the ribbons curve on the Diamond in a Square blocks.  I'm doing this because this quilt will go to an elderly woman who has lost a lot of her mobility, and I think seeing the variations in the blocks will be more interesting than if every block were exactly identical.

If you head over to Heidi's blog, you'll find the linky party for the other bloggers who participated in the September Friday Night Sew In.

Handmade by Heidi

Also linking to Sarah's Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and Amy's Show and Tell Friday.  (Icons are in my side bar.)

In addition, here is a new-to-me Monday Linky Party:
Sew Happy Geek

Happy quiltmaking....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Quilt Fabrics and Free Motion Practice

Hmmm.....less to share than I would have guessed.  So I'm sharing fabrics for Sweet Teen's Opportunity Quilt and a strategy for quilting practice.
 This fabric is what I'm thinking of using for the background; however, I'm still debating and may decide to order something the color of New Mexico sand and dust.

 This fabric has a gold overlay print that does not show up in photos.

 This fabric has a lot of color variation.  Here's one section of the fabric....
...and another.  This fabric also has a gold overlay print.

 This is a contrast fabric for between the rows of the chains.

 This is one of my own hand dyed fabrics with a lot of changes. Since there are so many colors,  I'm guessing I dyed it with leftover dyes at the end of a dye run. But that was many years ago, so I don't really remember the details.

And this is one more fabric that I may use at the edges of a pieced border.

Connie, over at Free Motion by the River has posted about some of her most recent practice quilting pieces.  Her post is here.

A few weeks ago I posted about how I used a batik fat quarter to practice a new-to-me kind of feathers. That post is here.

However, I've never shown my largest practice piece.  It's destined to be a 100% cotton mattress pad (because every time I see 100% cotton mattress pads at a price I can afford, they turn out to be not 100% cotton--and, of course, finding that out always requires at least an 80 mile round trip).

This is my second mattress pad practice piece.

If you want to see the quilting, you'll probably need to use the photo viewer or open these in a new window.
Because it's for a mattress and pad and because we use mostly vintage white sheets, it's quilted in white.

I've been adding to it for several years, so it's nearly done. 

Oops!  I guess I should clarify.  For my first "practice pad" I used a layer of broadcloth, a layer of Warm'n'Natural batting, and a layer of muslin.  For the current "practice pad" I've used two layers of white broadcloth with a layer of Quilter's Dream Request in the middle. Quilter's Dream Request is a thin batting that is closest to the look of antique batts.  At the time I wanted to try it to see how it worked, and now I've quilted many quilts with this batting.  Once it's done I add more broadcloth around the perimeter, cut wide enough to go under the mattress and to accommodate a casing and elastic.  (I may have to replace the elastic in the one I made about twenty years ago, but the rest of the mattress pad is still holding up well.)

A crib or twin-size mattress pad not only provides a chance for lots of practice but also makes a great gift for a favorite young person.  I discovered several decades ago, at the height of the reign of polyester, that when I slept on 100% cotton sheets and pillowcases, I slept sooooo much better.  When I mentioned that to moms and grandmas of toddlers who were screaming at night and they changed to 100% cotton bedding, the children slept through the night.  (Yes, I know manufactured bedding for children must be fire retardant by law--I'm really skeptical about exposure to fire-retardant chemicals.)  A few years ago I was still able to find 100% cotton mattress covers from the 1950's and early 60s at thrift stores, but those finds are rare these days.  So, this is just one more idea for a great way to practice machine quilting.

I'm linking this post up to a couple of parties, because I don't seem to be creating my usual number of posts this week.  (Might have something to do with the headache that is still with me despite huge burdens of stress having departed.)  In any case,  I'm linking to:

You might want to check out my sidebar for some more linky parties that I was just too late to join.

Happy quiltmaking.....

Friday, September 14, 2012

Charm Stack & Visit with Neurologist

I have no finished product to show, but I do have a finished task.....
This is my stack of charm squares for a "low volume" exchange.  There are actually two different fabrics, but they are stacked in A/B, A/B order so only one shows.

The big event of the day was a visit with a good neurologist (after the rehab doctor decided to pull some strings, thank goodness!) Lately, the wait to see a neurologist in our city (or maybe the entire state) has been three to six months.

The neurologist thinks my headaches are due solely to stress.
Although neither of the other doctors would do so, he showed me my MRI and assured me that I have never, ever had a stroke (as the radiologist, the rehab doctor, and the worker's comp case manager were saying as they made excuses for not being more helpful)  and that there are two tiny spots in my brain from broken blood vessels consistent with my diabetes but my brain is not riddled with ischemic disease as they were saying.

I hope the relief of knowing that will help with the horrible headaches (although it hasn't helped yet). I didn't realize what a heavy burden that was, so I'm hoping things get better now.
I'm expecting that when I see the doctor again on Sept. 27 that he will say I can work full days again.

I also stopped at the Habitat for Humanity Resale shop and found a hutch for the top of my buffet (I've been looking for one for close to 15 years) and a small chest that will work in our main bathroom (so I'm hoping to get them sanded and painted in the next few days).  Big expenditure:  $30 total!  I have never found good buys like that before, so I am thrilled. (Of course, the hutch went into my car very, very easily and is balking at coming out--and Sweet Teen is at a football game, so it will have to wait until morning unless I get a sudden burst of problem solving ability and extra muscle.)

I'd like to think of today as my lucky day.

Happy quiltmaking......

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Winner and Mid-Week Report

Something very exciting happened.....
 I won some wonderful fabrics from Marcia at Little Pink Rose Quilting and Sewing. Marcia's blog is here. These are Pat Bravo's Art Gallery fabrics.  Some people have mentioned that they are hard to find.  Marcia has them waiting for you!

Undoubtedly I can  count on one hand the number of times in my lifetime that I have won something and still have plenty of fingers left over.  (And that is despite the fact that since my head injury last March, I have entered more give-aways than I can count.)

These are destined for either a prayer quilt or a baby quilt (although, I should say that every quilt I make is a prayer quilt since praying has blessed me as much as the recipients).

Thank you, Marcia!

 This is where the latest quilt sits--not quite stalled, but no stitches added yesterday, because I was wiped out between my horrible headache and the visit to the rehab specialist in Albuquerque.  I'm not sure I've ever gotten out of his office in less than two hours.  However, he did make an important phone call and on Friday I have an appointment with one of the best neurologists in the state.  (So, if you don't count the fact that the injury occurred over six months ago, I'm getting to see a neurologist after far less than the usual three to six month wait.)

Last Saturday I ran into my friend Ruth at a yard sale and told her I've been looking for some kind of portable cabinet to hold my 1000 yard spools of quilting thread.  She texted me on Monday to let me know she had something for me that she thought would work.
 So I stopped to see her on the way home.  Not only does it have drawers to hold at least 18 spools of thread, but it also has a place for me to keep my notebook of plans and notes.  I couldn't resist giving it a little polish with real furniture polish.

 This tin that I picked up at a thrift store is what I've been keeping smaller spools in, but now I'll use it to transport my tools to quilting meetings.

 Of all the sunflowers I planted, this is the only one that isn't yellow.  I'm guessing we won't get one of the red ones this year.
 I have one little blooming Cosmos.  (I planted them late and feared I'd get no blooms at all.)
 I purchased some mums for a little more fall color.
 The pinks are still blooming....
 and this little one that has not done well at all looks like it's deciding to give life a go.
 I purchased six pansies too--then forgot to transplant them, then remembered but didn't know if they'd be okay.  Well, they are turning around....
thanks to my Sweet Teen's favorite kind of day.  Yes, we are so overcast that no one would guess there are mountains beyond that hill!  (Isn't it funny that I moved to New Mexico in part because I love the sunshine, and my daughter is determined to move to a place where it rains and is cloudy a LOT more!)

 Although I'm not making as much progress as I wanted to make, I am going to link to Freshly Pieced, where you will find links to the blogs of people who have been a lot more productive than I have been.

Happy quiltmaking.....
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