Tuesday, June 30, 2009

string quilt foundations

Perhaps this will be of interest to no one, but the foundations of the string quilt blocks were almost as interesting to me as the fronts. Norm said that they had cut up a Montgomery Wards catalog for most of the blocks, though I did find some that were pieced to newspapers.
I know two girls that would love the dog and cat for sale in the upper right block.
Had to take a photo of this one for my little Trixie - even though she spells her given name with an 'x', not 'ce'. Not so sure she'll ever be a "pre-eminent counselor on social decorum" either. Not as long as she keeps pulling her dress up over her head in public.

I would kill for one of these bikes.

Some of the paper was about to fall off like these. On most I had to rip it bit by bit. Removing the foundations took almost as long as putting the blocks together.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a single date on any of the papers. Any guesses as to the year?
Tomorrow - the finished top.
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Monday, June 29, 2009

garage sale - the sequel

As promised - goodies from the quilter's garage sale:
I have far too much to put in one post or to post only on Thrifty Thursdays, so I'll just put stuff up as I get around to taking pictures.
Jan accompanied me on this trek after tales of what I bought in the fall. We spent a fair amount of time there in the morning and came home with what I thought was a terrific bag of finds. Later in the day I got a call on my cell phone from Jan. She had returned in the afternoon to see what else had been added (the husband and daughter are continually putting more out as each day progresses). There was a large box of vintage piecework, she had bought some of it, but thought I might be interested in some and even better - there were more feedsacks. After begging her to go back and ask them to put those aside for me til I could return, I broke a landspeed record getting from my house to theirs.
The feedsacks were a no brainer (and I'll put pictures of them up another day). As I sorted through the box of piecework my head started spinning. There was so much and I didn't even know where to begin making decisions. The husband remembered me from the fall and he began telling me where they had bought various things, and which he knew Shirley had worked on herself. After a few minutes, he said I should make an offer on the whole box. We agreed on a price and it all came home with me.
I have a lot of quilt tops waiting to be put together.
6 pointed stars. 188 of them. (That's a plastic shoebox full.) Some are hand pieced, some are done partially by machine. All have a wonky quality about them - not too many seams line up in the center of the stars. I believe these were purchased by the late owner at an antique shop and were not done by her, but I need to check with her husband.
These are what made my heart sing. 192 pieced string quilt blocks. They're machine or hand sewn to a paper base. The size is about that of an index card. Norm told me he learned to iron on these blocks. As Shirley would sew, he pressed.

The fabrics thrill me. Each one averaged about 9 pieces.
Tomorrow, more on the string quilt blocks.
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

the kids

Meet snaggletooth (for some reason she doesn't care for this nickname):
The other front tooth fell out two days after this picture was taken. She now takes all meals through a straw.
Nearly had to tear her off of her teacher's arm the last day of school. For us, that was only last week.

Her breakout performance as The Paper Bag Princess in her classroom play.

Chris, myself and this crew are currently on our way to Washington D.C. for vacation.

No idea if I'll post while I'm gone, but boy do I have some finds to show you. Remember that quilter's garage sale from the fall? They had another one...
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Friday, June 26, 2009

little log cabin in the big woods


I posted this doll quilt top a few weeks back. I knew it wouldn't be up here soon after as a finished project since I planned to take another stab at hand quilting.

For the past few months I've been making the rounds at quilting - each week I'd pick a different woman to sit beside. Some days I tried to be casual and just looked over while she worked. Other days I was blatant and asked a barrage of questions. They all had individual favorite techniques, but all were alike in telling me that I shouldn't learn from them because they broke the rules. That's when it hit me that I could simply pick the rules that worked for me and do what felt right. It's amazing what a little direction from experienced quilters will teach you. Not only did this go round work better and faster, but I actually enjoyed it.

I chose to quilt close to the ditch to hide what were likely to be less than perfect stitches. The back shows the pattern I quilted a little better. I also noticed that hand quilting wrinkles up a lot more in the wash than machine quilting. I love that wrinkly look, but I love my machine too.

I'll still use my machine for anything larger than a crib quilt (at least at this point in my life), but I think there might be a few more hand quilted, doll quilts down the line.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We interrupt our regularly scheduled posting for a weekend power outage followed by the death of our modem . (Hope to be back sometime tomorrow.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

thrifty, but not thursday

I have a backlog of things for Thrifty Thursday at this point. If one of the treasures involves sewing, I'm just going to start posting them when I finish the project.
Like this little doll bed-
The bed was found at the Salvation Army thrift store ages ago. I thought I'd give it to one of the girls for a birthday or Christmas, so I had it stored in the crawlspace. Then it seemed like a great thing for displaying my doll quilts at the art show, so I pulled it out. That got me thinking, if it's good for the show, I should just keep it out with my quilts on it to enjoy all the time. And hey, the girls won't appreciate it the way I will, so I'll just put it down in my studio. I'm sure a stuffed animal or two will soon find their way into it in the coming days.
Back to what I worked on - It needed a mattress for the show. The fabric and buttons are from my stash. It's not visible from the picture, but the mattress is about 2 inches deep. I did the corners the same way you'd box corners for a tote bag. It's stuffed with a thick poly batting leftover from another project. I think there are 4 layers of the batting stuffed in there. The buttons tie the mattress through the back and hold the batting in place.

This little guy doesn't even creep me out. His(her?) blue ears and legs match the polka dots perfectly.

Ellie has noticed that it matches her room. Nice try, kid. It's staying in the studio for now.
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wall pockets (courtesy of carol)

The rain here is making picture taking for new projects difficult.
Today I have a cute guest project from the lovely Carol, frequent commentor and friend from college-
She brought me a set of three for my studio on her last visit. They're now hanging on the side of a cabinet ready to hold the makings of a current project for each kid. Glenn's has some felt pieces from his "ninja softie" project inside. Ellie's has her fairy doll kit in hers. I've no idea what's stuffed in Trixie's at the moment.
Seems only fair to give them each a landing place for their current project since I've slowly taken over even more of the basement playroom.
The bags measure about 8X8 and are 2 inches deep with a cute little patch pocket on the front(in one of my favorite fabrics, no less!). Carol, if you have any info for the pattern please put it in the comments.
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Friday, June 12, 2009

ring pincushion

As promised the little pincusion from thrifty thursday:
If memory serves me right, I saw these on WiseCraft a long time ago. If I'm wrong, please let me know in the comments. (I found this tutorial, but it's not the post I saw first.) They're made from the pull tabs on juice cartons. I just used a large yo-yo maker and some of my precious Liberty fabric to put running stitches along the edge of a circle of fabric. Instead of pulling it taught to make a flat yo-yo, I stuffed it with fiberfill, then inserted the disc part of the pull tab. Once that was in place, the threads were pulled tight and knotted off. (The knot is not centered over the plastic disc - more to one side.)

Slip the ring portion over your finger and viola! Just enough pins for a small project while watching television. If the ring is too tight, just snip it with scissors. It'll still hold onto your finger just like those bat rings at Halloween.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

thrifty thursday

Another treasure from thrifting with Carol-
A sewing screen. That's what I'm calling it anyway. I first saw one at an estate sale in the fall. This one came from a local shop. The owner had replaced the fabric on it with a vintage piece that I think looks wonderful and also happens to match my living room perfectly. I did run a new casing to make the fabric more taut, but otherwise have left it alone.
The left side:
The right side:

The inside:

There were a few packages of vintage ric rac, a vintage pattern and some wooden spools of thread that came with it, but what's in the photo are my supplies ready for some mending or handwork.
There's a small, flip up work surface that's pretty warped, but servicable to hold a small pair of scissors or threads. The block on the underside that kept the support wire in place has long since fallen off. I fixed it with a small screw to serve as a stop for the wire.
The fabric folds up over a wire at the base of the screens to make a pocket for patterns or supplies.

Tomorrow, a post about what's hanging between the scissors. And yes, those are readers on the end. I put them over my regular glasses at the tip of my nose when I do petit point or some other insanely small handwork.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

spirit of '76 apron

Okay, maybe this fabric isn't from '76, but I think I'm pretty close. I remember a lot of Americana type prints being popular around that time and this one fits the bill.
The fabric is from a friend's grandmother's stash (thanks, Kim!).
The pattern is from a book I picked up shopping with Carol - The Perfect Apron which, oddly enough, was written by a man. I used the Singapore Sling pattern for this project. Super fast, super easy. It uses a fair amount of bias tape to finish all the edges and has only two pattern pieces, not counting the ties which are just rotary cut rectangles. I used my roll hemmer presser foot(#62 on a Bernina) to hem the edges of the ties, so those went very fast. You could just as easily use ribbon to avoid hemming or sew a few lengths of bias tape closed and treat them like ribbon.
I love cute, little, half aprons, but they aren't very practical when I'm really cleaning the house. I need something to cover my shirt. This one also has three generous pockets in the front for stashing the phone, legos, doll shoes, and various game pieces.
My favorite part of the print -
"Peasant Folk"

I love it. Chris just rolled his eyes when he saw it.
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

wrap skirt

#2 in my quest to sew up a summer's worth of skirts.
The pattern is from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. A word of warning that you may have already seen on other blogs - if you are not very thin, you'll want to cut one to two extra panels before sewing them all together. (Sadly, I didn't see it until after I had finished the project.) Because the skirt is much larger at the hem, I'm hoping the small amount of overlap won't be such a big problem and I think I can ease my mind on a breezy day with some well placed snaps near the hip. Or I can check the weather report and if the air isn't still, I'll choose something else to wear.
(Hey, just had another idea - perhaps I could wear the wrap part in the front and add some buttons along the edge of the wrap to keep it in place. Thoughts?)
The fabric is from Denver fabrics and is a cotton lawn. I love the drape and softness of it, but I may need to wear a slip due to it being somewhat sheer.

Next skirt on the docket - a simple a-line out of some vintage drapery fabric from an estate sale.
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Monday, June 8, 2009

church show

Yesterday I got to show off my work a little. Our church had an art show featuring members of the congregation who were artists and craftspeople.
Here's my little spot (I was sharing my table with a woman who writes poetry):
I just realized that I showed the first and last quilts I posted on this blog. Glenn's denim quilt was my very first post. It was also so heavy I could barely get it to stay up. I wound up wrapping twine around one corner to take advantage of a hook that was already in the wall. The other quilt is Carol's. I should have it in the mail to her soon.

The rest is a mish mash of doll quilts and needlework. Most of what I showed depended on what I could get my hands on quickly. Some doll quilts had to be reclaimed for a short time. Ellie yelled, "Hey, those are mine!" when she first saw my display.
All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon. I found out that several other women in the congregation quilt and we've made plans to start a "caring quilt" group in the fall. We'll piece tops for members who are going through a difficult time. The tops will come to church to be tied by everyone who is able to help and a blessing or good thought for the recipient is said as each knot is tied.
Besides quilters, there were weavers, knitters, authors, poets, photographers, potters, painters, flower arrangers, sketch artists, collage artists, musicians... Plans are in the works for next year and I'm already thinking about what I'd like to have done for that show.
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Saturday, June 6, 2009

the kids

It's been a big spring for Ellie. She had her Age of Reason ceremony at church last Sunday. Godparents, Norma and Chip, were in attendance. Behind her is their gift - some perennial grasses for our garden. We put them in later that day. They were a fitting gift for a kid who put "everytime we take a step the earth changes, so we should take care of it" in her belief statement. She's also excited that they'll grow taller than her.
Trixie had her last day of preschool this week. It was also field day. She looks totally unimpressed with it in the picture, but I took the photo at the end of the morning. I think she was a little pooped by then.

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Friday, June 5, 2009

date skirt

I think last year was supposed to be the year I made a ton of skirts. That didn't work out so well. I started in on the fabric I'd reserved for all of them last week.
Up first - a red linen bias cut with elastic waist. The pattern was drafted by laying a well fitting skirt I already had on the fabric and cutting a little wider for seam allowances. It worked out pretty well. A little snug at the waist, but otherwise it looks fine. I won't be tucking a shirt into it, so I'm calling it good.
The fabric came embellished with the ribbon. Found in the clearance bin at JoAnn for $1.00/yd.
What's a fancy little date skirt without a fancy little date bag?
The pattern is from Linda Lee. I'm happy with the results, but there were errors in the cutting directions and the zipper instructions were seriously lacking. If you're new to zippers, ask someone for help with this one. I lined it with a toile pattern from my fat quarter stash.

Below is the worst picture I've ever taken of a finished project. It was supposed to show how the strap goes through the loop(that's on the left above) to make the bag small and dainty. There's a fabric rosette where the two come together.

Moving on, just a close up of the cool ribbon detail on the fabric.

Basia's babysitting tonight. I'm wearing the skirt even if our date consists of shopping at Costco.
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