Sunday, October 30, 2011

Back in the 70's

This past week I’ve been working on the t-shirt quilt for my niece. The top is almost done and Friday morning I met my SIL at G Street Fabrics to buy the border and backing. Almost done! I hope to get it to the longarm quilter by the end of the week.

Did you see Barbara Brackman’s post about patchwork clothing of the 70’s? You can find it here. At the end she asks readers to send photos of their patchwork clothing from 30+ years ago for a chance to win some of her Old Fashioned Calicoes fabric from Moda. I was pretty sure I didn’t have anything, but I took a look at the old photo album anyway. What I did find was a top I made of cheater cloth.  
This photo was taken in 1975 when I was 14 years old. I’m at a new amusement park in Virginia – Kings Dominion.
Notice the embroidery on my friends’ top and jeans. Did you embroider your clothing back then?

This got me thinking about my old pair of patched jeans. Look at these things!

Did I really wear them until they were this worn out?!?! These were my favorite jeans as a senior in high school. I don’t remember when I started patching them, but I do remember wearing them in college too. So, you may be asking – why in the world does she still have them?  Probably for the same reason I have every pair of jeans my family has ever worn out. I think I’m going to do something with them (she says sheepishly). And in fact I have started one of those patchwork quilts with the squares of denim and flannel and then you clip the seam and make a mess in your washer and dryer.  I’m still at the cutting up the jeans phase. I did finish a dog bed made of jeans, oh, and I have patched other jeans using no longer wearable jeans. All wearable jeans that we outgrow or no long want are donated. I just keep the ones with holes and I have quite a collection. Someday!


Here I am in my favorite jeans with my 1978 Mustang. By the time I was 17, I had saved $3,000 from babysitting and waitressing. I used it as a down payment on this car (purchase price of $5000) and paid it off over the next couple of years. Yeah, I was pretty good about saving, but can you imagine how much babysitting and waitressing a 17 year old would have to do nowadays to buy a new Mustang? Just looked it up on Edmunds - $22,000! BTW, I waitressed at Bob’s Big Boy on Rockville Pike in Maryland. I was the naïve 15 year old the older – and by that I mean 18-21 – waitresses liked to tease. It was a big eye opener for me!

Back to cheater cloth. Seeing the top I made got me thinking of this cedar chest. My aunt bought it in the 70’s. I acquired it 20 years ago. I meant to recover it and never did. I think I’ll leave it as is.

Yesterday afternoon we had a dusting of snow! Snow in October in the DC area is almost unheard of. And this morning we woke up to a hard frost. Good for my allergies – not so good for the mums.

My husband was a good sport and took me on a quilty outing today. I’ll share in my next post.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Union Star and a Bonus Quilt

Union Star - 70"x80"
This Union Stars quilt was a Ways and Means for Burke QU many years ago. We received a bundle of fabrics and the pattern. I had quite a bit of fabric left over after making the quilt. It wasn’t prewashed fabric so I didn’t want to just toss it in with my stash. One day I just started playing with the leftover pieces. I don’t remember how long it took me to make the quilt below, but I think it went together pretty quickly. I was very flattered when I went to purchase the backing fabric at Treasures from the Heart in Occoquan (now closed) and the owner asked me what pattern I used!
Bonus quilt - 53"square

The Union Star was one of the first quilts I quilted on my Bernina 440 with the stitch regulator. I did a big meander stitch.  The bonus quilt is just quilted with straight lines on the diagonal.

Yesterday, I bought some apples at the farmers market and made applesauce in the crockpot. I was blog hopping a couple weeks ago and found a recipe at Loft Creations.

I modified it – just put the peeled, cored and quartered apples to fill the crock pot ¾ of the way full. Added a cinnamon stick and a splash of orange juice and set it on high. After an hour it looked like it hadn’t changed a bit. 

When I checked at 2 hours it was done.

Very tasty!

Edit: Vivian made a good point in her comment. Notice how the applesauce splattered within the pot. Be sure not to overfill - 2/3 of the way full may be best. I think the next time I make it I will do it on low. I used an old crock pot and I think they get hotter than the new ones.

This afternoon I went to a quilt dating club meeting. Wow! The antique quilts I saw were such a treat. I have to wait until January for the next meeting. I will have sweet dreams tonight – that’s if I can fall asleep with all the quilts dancing in my head!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Serendipity Quilts

I love the word “serendipity”. From The American Heritage Dictionary - n. The faculty of making fortunate and unexpected discoveries by accident [From its possession by the characters in the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip].

Serendipity Quilts is the name of Susan Carlson’s latest book. She is a quilt maker, teacher and author from Maine and the speaker at the QU fall lecture last Saturday evening. Susan is an “art quilter”. I’m not sure there is an official definition for “art quilter”. In my mind an art quilter is someone who only makes quilts to hang on walls. Susan’s quilts are fabulous and I thoroughly enjoyed her talking about her quilting journey that started in her last year of art school. Her quilts are collages of fabric scraps. Basically, she glues the fabric scraps to muslin, stitches around the pieces and uses tulle to create shadows. I think I have that right. The image on this tote bag is of her quilt titled Tickled Pink. It’s hard to believe it was made with little pieces of fabric. This tote and the photo on her website don’t do it justice. I don’t know if I would ever make a quilt of this style. I’ve admired other art quilter’s work, too, but haven’t had the urge to create my own “art quilt”.

It has taken a while, but we finally finished our kitchen/bathroom paint job turned home repair job. I say "we" loosely - my husband did most of the work. My biggest effort was not getting mad when he started painting at dinnertime. I know this is an odd color for a kitchen, but I like how it cools down the wood cabinets, table and floor. I'm going for a less cluttered look, so I haven't rehung the plates and vintage crocheted hot pads. It needs something, though. Maybe a quilt under that clock? What do you think? 

Here is a shot of the little shelf in the powder room off the kitchen. I rearranged things a bit and added my little blue and white quilt.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Some Thoughts and Things to Share

My last post and your lovely comments got me thinking. I do so appreciate your comments.

I’m obviously in the jump from one project to another camp. This seems to work best for me. It keeps me interested and gives me time to think about one project while I’m working on another. I know I could give up on some of these UFOs, but that just doesn’t sit well with me. I have gotten so much done the last year or two because of all the inspiration I get from blogging. I’m a member of 3 quilting groups (3 chapters of the Quilters Unlimited guild) and I don’t think I would ever give that up, but the day-to-day inspiration has been so helpful in getting me over the hump on many projects.

I guess this is an early Thanksgiving post! lol

My mom asked how I get so much quilting done and I told her I use it as a substitute for worrying. When I’m working myself up about something I’ve learned to switch gears and start thinking about quilts instead. Better yet, I go to my quilting cave!

All of the above was written last Monday. It is now Sunday and I finally have a day to relax. I was hoping to post on Thursday or Friday and tell you about Janet's, Cathy's and Doniene's giveaways. Janet’s is over, but you still have time to enter Cathy’s and Doniene’s.

I hosted Bunco Friday evening so there was a flurry of cleaning, shopping and food preparation last week. Yesterday I was at a high school marching band competition, a craft show where I found a couple pairs of cute earrings and the Quilters Unlimited fall lecture.  I will tell you about the lecture in my next post.

I slept in late today and have just been puttering around the house. I so admire the beautiful photography I see in many quilting blogs so I asked my husband if I could use his camera. Typically, I just use my point and shoot. I took some photos with his camera and mine today and can tell it isn’t just the camera that is important. I definitely have a lot to learn.

Here is a better look at the little pincushion from Ireland. The stuffing isn’t like it used to be so it is a little flat. I’m just using it for the few pins I need while I hand piece my spool blocks.

This is the corner of a pillowcase I embroidered as a teen. The pillowcase was tie-dyed purple and has been washed so many times you can barely see the purple dye.

I also stitched these little ladies as a teen (click to enlarge). I’m not sure what to do with them now. They were taped around cardboard and I can faintly see where I signed the cardboard and dated them March 1977. Not sure if you can see in the photo –  they are printed with “ Copyright Sunset Designs 1973”.

It is a beautiful day here today. We’ve had so much rain I can’t help wondering what the winter will bring us. Today is cool, sunny and breezy. I went outside and took some shots in the yard and of my paternal grandmother’s sewing case.

That tomato pin cushion was mine - probably purchased when I first took Home Ec in junior high school.
 The thimbles and bobbins came from my maternal grandmother.

My sewing machine is being cleaned so I’ve been prepping the t-shirts for the quilt I’m making for my niece. I had a couple gals from the neighborhood over one morning last week to see how I do it. They aren’t quilters and want to make t-shirt quilts for family members. I may be giving them advice as they progress.

Now, time for me to go catch up on my blog reading!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Concord, Cranston and Peter Pan

Here is my finished Triangle Quilt. I don’t usually name my quilts, but this one is titled Concord, Cranston and Peter Pan after the fabric manufacturers of most of the fabric in the quilt. It measures about 74” by 86”. The HSTs - all 957 of them - are 2 ½” finished. My inspiration came from this antique quilt I found pictured in Mimi Dietrich’s Quilts An American Legacy

Here is the back of the quilt. I can tell I was just trying to get it done quickly.

My inspiration for the back came from this quilt in the book Virginia Quilt Museum by Joan Knight…

Here are some closeups-

I had to chuckle when I read on Barbara Brackman's Material Culture blog that she has a new fabric collection coming out featuring calicoes from the 60's and 70's. Click here for a peek.

I’ve read on other blogs that some of you like making little quilts because they are faster. They may take less stitching time, but for me they do not necessarily get done in less calendar time. The Triangle quilt took me 4 months to complete. This little blue and white took about 4 years to complete.

I made the little top and it sat. I quilted it last fall and it sat. I wasn’t sure what fabric to use for the binding. A couple weeks ago I auditioned fabrics again and this itsy bitsy flying geese (Civil War Crossings by Barbara Brackman #8121 – Susquehanna 1860-1880 for moda) was easily my favorite. I picked this fabric up at a guild yard sale this past spring. So glad I did!

These are just the finished blocks.
I have 25 more in various stages of completion.

My poor sewing machine has gone 14 months without a proper cleaning. After making a gazillion pineapple blocks for a guild demo (it went well), I decided I needed to give the thing a break. I’ll take it to The Quilt Patch tomorrow and hope I can get it back in a week. In the meantime I will do some hand stitching and prepare t-shirts for a t-shirt quilt I’m making for my niece.

Here are some spools I’m hand piecing…

Do you see the little shoe pin cushion? Our Irish neighbors, the Murphys, gave that to me after one of their trips back home. That was back in the early 1970's. I would have been a young teen. I guess I brought my embroidery with me when I babysat their daughter.

I just outline machine stitched this table runner for my church auction. Others will bind it. Sorry for the blurry photo.

I posted about this lone star on January 1. It was one of three projects I wanted to make headway on this year. I’ve thought a lot about all three, but haven’t done anything. I finally picked this one up and pinned the 4 segments onto the background. I had to do some creative pressing to make them meet correctly at the center. I had tried sewing the segments together, but they just aren’t going together smoothly. I did a poor piecing job. Let me know if you don’t think appliqueing them to a background will work. I plan to do it by hand. My motivation on this one is to meet the Springfield QU challenge “diamonds are a girls best friend”.  The completed quilt is due in February.

I didn’t realize how much I like 8-pointed stars. I recently became reacquainted with this quilt in Scrap Quilts The Art of Making Do by Roberta Horton. Mabry Benson was copying an antique quilt top when she made it. It is one of my all time favorite quilts!

Happy stitching!