Sunday, January 18, 2015

Vintage Gifts

My mom-in-law acquired a bag of vintage blocks recently, and not having any exciting plans for them herself,  she passed them along to me. Lucky me!

I gleaned these

and these
as the most interesting of the bunch.

The rest are mostly 16-patch blocks, looks like the mid-century era, which I love.

I haven't counted, but there must be 100 or more of them.

Very intriguing. Some of the blocks are discolored and/or a bit wonky, and the sizes vary. I'm letting them air out as I mull over what I might do with all or any of them. Any ideas? They're also leaning slightly toward brittle, so I may throw a few of the 16-patch blocks into the wash first and see what happens. If they hold up, I'd consider picking out my favorites and maybe sashing them black (?) for a usable quilt.

Then at the guild meeting the other night, a friend gave me a bag of repro fabrics she culled out of her own stash, and hidden in the stack were these

which look to me like vintage indigo.  Lucky me, again!  I'm thinking doll quilt. What do you think?


update: I washed four of the 16-patch blocks, washer and dryer, they came out soft and in good shape. I'm actually considering taking some of the blocks apart and using the fabrics for wall hangings and/or doll quilts. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Slow Stitching by Machine

Does machine quilting r-e-a-l-l-y slow count as "slow stitching" ?

I had originally intended to machine quilt the above quilt using an "all over" design, similar to this one below:

About 3/4 of the way through I had to admit it just did not look good. I believe it was a combination of the small size of the blocks (6") the variety of colors and patterns, and the wrong color of thread. I ripped it all out.

Starting over, I decided to stick with what I knew would work, and proceeded to quilt in the ditch, first down the seam between the rows, then on the diagonal between the blocks.

Notice I'm not using the "stitch-in-the-ditch" foot. I like that foot, but when I'm stitching on a variety of colors from very dark to very light (I'm using dark thread) I really need to bury my stitching line snugly into the ditch, so it totally disappears. I find the only way to do this is to go extremely slow - like one stitch at a time - and I need to be able to keep my eye on the needle the whole time. Which you can do more easily with the open-toe foot.

I'm literally stitching at a rate of about 60 stitches per minute. That's one stitch per second. My Janome does this beautifully, btw. 

That accomplished, I am now proceeding to hand quilt in the blocks, and on the zig-zag "sashing".

And I'm giving perle cotton another try. As before, I'm finding it quite tough, which is stressful on my hands. Therefore I must proceed even more slowly.

I sure like the look of it, though.

I'm linking up with Kathy's "Slow Stitching Sunday" where you can see what all the other "slow stitchers" are up to today.  Check it out! 


ps  I would sure love to hear any tips anyone might have on quilting with perle cotton!