Monday, October 14, 2019

On My Design Wall

Do these blocks ring a bell for anyone?

They're from a sew-along called Summer Sampler, that Sheryl Johnson from Temecula Quilt Company led back in 2015. I've had a seed planted in my brain about this quilt, growing slowly for four years. Lately it has worked its way to the front, demanding to come to fruition.

Above is the quilt Sheryl made, the one everyone sewed along with.
(pssst... you can still find all the directions for Sheryl's quilt here)

Below is the antique quilt which was her inspiration.

I fell in love immediately.

I downloaded all the blocks, I bought the background fabric and the Block Tool* and followed along faithfully for ten weeks.

But I never made a single block.

I don't remember what was taking priority at the time, but this guy kept getting put on the back burner while I worked on "more important" things, and ended up staying there in an endless loop - for a very long time - while other projects came and went.

The background fabric got used for another project (a bad sign).
I still have the Block Tool (a good sign).

Well (four years later) somehow its number finally came up, and I decided to just go for it.

Part of the impetus was a bin full of charm packs etc. I'd been hoarding saving for way too long, including many pre-cuts from TQC. So I already had the right fabrics to get the desired "look" .. being brighter and more lively than my usual darkish/dullish palette, but still retaining a vintage look.

This is what I have so far.

The background blue is from my stash, and is looking more dull than it actually is, no doubt due to the poor light in my sewing room when I took the picture. But even in poor light, the blocks really stand out, which is a good thing!

Meanwhile, I discovered an alternate blue in one of my charm packs, a Betsy Chutchian line called Evelyn's Homestead.

Very close to the one from my stash - but prettier - so I went ahead and ordered some yardage. I may use them both. The vintage "inspiration" quilt has a slightly different fabric for the upper and lower borders, and I like that look.

Its hard to tell from the picture what exactly the quiltmaker used for the "lights" in the vintage blocks, but Sheryl used white in hers. One change I'm making is, I'm using shirtings for my lights. My way of adding a little more warmth, I guess.

One of Sheryl's own interpretations of the vintage quilt was to substitute many of the more complicated blocks for simpler ones, resulting in a cleaner, more graphic look, and at the same time, an "easier" project for summer sewing.  I decided I'd like to at least try more of the original blocks. In other words, I'll be using blocks from both the original quilt and from Sheryl's repro for my own interpretation.

I have nineteen more blocks to make, give or take a couple of re-makes. Which I don't mind, as I'm absolutely loving making these blocks!


*I highly recommend The Quick and Easy Block Tool by C&T Publishing - very helpful, especially if you need instructions on how to cut various blocks. (includes 102 rotary cut blocks in five different sizes!) I bought mine from Temecula Quilt Co.  Of course!

Monday, September 30, 2019

September Monthly Mini

Just under the wire...

Made from the deconstructed old blocks I posted about here.
The puss-in-a-corner blocks are a bit wonky, as were the original 
nine-patches. I decided not to worry about that. 

Sparcely hand quilted, 

Vintage indigo border and binding,

Soft, old-looking print for the back. 
(nice and light to camouflage my huge stitches, ha ha!)

This one from the leftover four-patches. 
Not sure about the binding, which I'm already considering switching out for ... ?

 The back is a soft brushed cotton, formerly a pajama leg.

 Yep, methinks that binding has to go. Any ideas?

An idea of scale. 
The four-patches finish at just under 2"
The puss-in-a-corner blocks, 2 3/4" 
Now to link up with Wendy, at The Constant Quilter
for more Monthly Mini's !

Monday, September 23, 2019

uh oh... spam! 😾

I have had to activate the moderation feature on my comments, and I think I added one of those puzzle thingies I hate. I am so sorry I had to resort to this, but I had three spams yesterday and fifteen more this morning, all identical. Grrrr.... !

Has anyone else been getting spam in Arabic?

Sunday, September 15, 2019

New Quilts for Old...

I've had this small stack of fairly ancient quilt blocks hanging around for quite some time, which were given to me by my MIL (given to her by ?? neither of whom had any use for them). Mostly double 9-patches, plus a handful of random one-off blocks. The 9-patches are mainly shirtings - I'm guessing time-era to be 40's? Could be older...?

I've loved these poor discarded blocks and visited them from time to time, but never had a clue what the heck I was ever going to do with them. They were not suitable for sewing together, as they looked to have been cut out of a top already, leaving no seam allowances along the outer edges. Some cuts went deep into the 9-patches themselves, compromising them even more.

So there they sat, until I had sort of an "aha" moment, which was more like an "aha" couple of months.

Inspiration started brewing as I became obsessed with looking at antique doll quilts on Pinterest, and by other quilters who make really cool doll quilts out of vintage fabrics. I started thinking, maybe I could do this with my old blocks. Part of the "aha" was when I realized that a no-seam-allowance 9-patch could easily be finished as a Puss-in-the Corner block (albeit somewhat wonky, in this case). Anyway, I finally decided I might as well go ahead and start to deconstruct the blocks, and see what I might come up with.

This is what's on my design wall today.

Fun! Well, mostly...

The hard part was, the sewing was so tight there was no way I was going to be able to pick the units apart. I finally settled for cutting them apart along the remaining seam lines, which wasn't a big deal, seeing the outside edges had already been compromised. I ended up with a nice handful of trimmed nine-patches, which will become Puss-in-a corner blocks. The most mutilated ones became 4-patches. All good!

Now the real fun begins, playing around with the units, and finding other vintage fabrics to go with them. Luckily I have a few (not many) small pieces, including the indigo and shirtings I scored at our Quilt Show Bargain Garden earlier this year. Although I'd love to have more variety, these will definitely come in handy.

We'll see how the progress goes, and which ones make the final cut and turn into quilts.

Meanwhile, I started yet another project from the book, Quirky Little Quilts from Temecula Quilt Company.

Except I increased the block size from 3" to 6" and added a few more blocks. I kitted up 63 blocks, enough for a small throw. I'll work on this at my quilt retreat in November.

I'm having some weird kind of trouble with blogger right now, my y's and z's aren't showing up as I tyype, and my z's show up as a quotation mark. They do appear correctly in the preview, so hopefully it will all correct itself when I post this.

Stay tuned....


Friday, August 30, 2019

August Monthly Mini

Another little quilt from Sheryl Johnson's book, Quirky Little Quilts.

This little trip-around-the-world quilt has been calling out to me ever since I got the book, from Temecula Quilt Company. Its the third quilt I've made from the book, but will no doubt not be the last. Sheryl really brings these antique doll quilts alive, the way she interprets them. And I am so inspired by them I feel like I have to make each one of them myself!

Below is Sheryl's repro quilt from her book, next to what I believe to be her inspiration quilt:

Sheryl's repro

vintage inspiration

I decided I wanted to use vintage fabrics for mine, and stay as true to the inspiration quilts as possible. I studied both these quilts carefully while choosing my fabrics. Luckily I had some that, if not matched, at least worked.

The prints in my quilt are all vintage, with the exception of the three different muslins, the backing, and the binding.

I machine quilted it, using sort of a hanging diamond pattern.

It immediately found a spot presiding over this cluster of mini quilts.

Speaking of quirky quilts, anyone remember these?

I pulled this project out recently as my "next thing to work on and hopefully complete" ... but sadly, I never got back into the flow I had going when I started these blocks. These were really fun to make ... until they weren't. Maybe I had used up my best scraps already? Maybe that switch simply switched off. At any rate, I managed to complete enough blocks for a small throw before I totally ran out of juice. Wondering all the while, where was I going with this, anyway?

At any rate, I went ahead and sewed them all together, into this glorious mess. My husband says it looks like a whole bunch of foreign flags sewn together. Berzerkistan? lol!  Not only does it not bear any resemblance to "my" inspiration quilt (seen here) but I didn't even make a dent in my scraps! I have no idea what fate awaits this poor thing. I guess I'll let it stew until it tells me where it wants to go.

Please check out Wendy's blog (The Constant Quilter) for a round up all our August monthly minis!


Monday, July 29, 2019

July Monthly Mini

I have two minis this month, but they're both "cheats"! 

The first one is my version of Shoofly Sampler, from the book Quirky Little Quilts, by Sheryl Johnson of Temecula Quilt Company. I must have started it close to a year ago, hence my calling it a "cheat" as obviously I did not make it within a month. I did, however, finish it this month, so I'm hoping it sort of qualifies.

my scraps
This quilt was a blast to make, especially since I limited myself to a handful of scraps - literally - for the blocks. The only things I went into my stash for were the background fabric, and the backing and binding. I varied from Sheryl's quilt, adding a few more blocks of my own invention, and changing the shape.
Did I mention it was fun?
It was fun!

And speaking of fun, I've had this very fun yo-yo print in my stash for at least ten years. I thought it was perfect for the back!

The decision to hand quilt this is the main reason it took me so long to finish. These days I have to parse out my hand quilting into half hour sessions, with (ideally) several days in between as to not over stress my hand. This little guy may just be the last piece I completely hand quilt. But not to worry, as I am embracing machine quilting more and more, and loving the results. 

I'm trying to show better detail of the quilting here, but the motifs are pretty obscured. Probably due to the fact that I washed and dried it to achieve the crinkly look, and I kinda regret that now. It looked much better before. I'm learning there's a time and a place for everything, and sometimes less is more.

Next up is this little tumbler quilt, which I pieced a month or so ago, from scraps gifted to me from a friend. I actually made two tops at the time, the first ending up qualifying for my June Monthly Mini. This one sat around a while longer, while I was deciding how to quilt it. I ended up going with the machine hand-quilt stitch, and I think it turned out really good, plus it was fast, and no stress on my hands.

 Nice Barbara Brackman print for the back..

Hand quilting kind of disappears into these busy fabrics anyway. You can see the difference here, with the hand quilted one from last month on the left, and the crisper/bolder machine quilting on the right.

Here are my two July mini's hanging together on the fence. Taking this picture with my ipad in the bright sun was complete guesswork, as all I could see was my reflection on the screen! .

I'm posting this early because I'm going on vacation in a few days. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has made this month! If you are too, jump over on the 31st to see, at Wendy's blog - The Constant Quilter. 


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Where did June go?

I'm not usually one to complain about the (seemingly) more and more swift passage of time, but June really did zip by for me this year. I did have a really nice, fun vacation a couple weeks ago, hanging with two very dear friends from high school days, at the home of the one in Oregon, who's house is right on the Rogue River. I've been know to sleep on her deck in the summer, so I can look at the stars and hear the river, but this year she wouldn't let me because her deck is slightly falling apart. I have high hopes for next year in that regard.

I didn't take many pictures either, and the ones I did take were of food. Here's some wonderful flan we got at a local Cuban restaurant:

(oops.. iphone not cooperating)

Sorry no flan pix, but here's my Monthly Mini, which I barely squeaked by with, again this month:

 This little quilt is made entirely from a bag of scraps sent to me by a (very generous) gal I quilt with in November, at a retreat we've been going to for many years.

Sue has a habit of dropping off bits (sometimes more than bits) of fabric at my station, knowing I have the same taste for repro's that she does. Often she'll invite me to dig into her stash, imploring me to "take as much as you want!" which I respond by slicing off a little sliver (hmmm well, maybe just a little bit more...) of a few things.  She has also bailed me out by digging up fabrics I "need" to complete a top, and never takes a dime for anything. Last year I gifted her a quilt. She responded to that by sending me a bag of scraps, mostly 2 1/2" to 3 1/2" strips, some small, some WOF.

I thought the strips lent themselves to small tumblers, so I went ahead and cut, and constructed two little tops at a retreat last month, and thought I had plenty of time to finish before the end of June to finish at least one of them. Well, life has an annoying habit of getting in the way of such "non-essential" goals, doesn't it.

I thought this cute little bird fabric was perfect for the back. 

Anyway, I finished stitching the binding on around 10pm last night, and went ahead and washed it this morning, to enhance that crinkly look.

Now, forward!