June 29, 2015

Fun and Easy Crib Quilt

This perky crib quilt was brought to me for repairs.

The idea is so creative!  Absolutely everything is reversed from red to white - two-color polka dot fabrics, trims, ties, and ruffle.
Technical details:
- The ties don't go all the way through the quilt, just into the batting.  I replaced a couple of missing ties, and discovered that I could stitch the one side's tie into the other.
- The ruffle is made of two strips seamed together, instead of one piece folded in half.  So clever!
- The ruffle is not quilt-weight cotton.  It's a light-weight knit, polyester or blend, a tad stiffer than the cotton but still able to gather.  It gives the ruffle a bit more oomph.

What tickles me is that even this old mend was carefully done to match each side.

The biggest problem was a tear on one side along the edge the red fabric.  I have a vintage fabric with white dots on red that, because of being vintage, is pretty much exactly the same red as the original.  Even though the dots are a different size, it's such a narrow piece that it blends right in.  This is why shopping at estate sales and rummage sales for vintage fabrics is such fun.  One just never knows what will come in handy!  This is how I justify having a room full of fabric!

There was also a hole, which I patched with a small piece of fabric and a small piece of lace.  I pick up laces and trims at estate sales, too.  Most of the other problems were due to old breaking threads, both around the edges and loose sections of lace.

And then I gave the quilt a bath, following the procedures described in my book

There is a happy and gratifying story that comes along with this quilt, too.  The customer who brought to it me is expecting her first child in a couple of months.  This was her baby quilt, made by a dear family friend in 1980.  She is planning on bringing the new little one home from the hospital in this quilt.  I love it!

June 19, 2015

19 Stars - Indiana Quilt Exhibit

Starry Knight by Ellen Anne Eddy
My quilt friend Ellen Anne Eddy posted an article about a new quilt show at the Indiana State Museum.

It's called "19 Stars: Quilts of Indiana's Past and Present", celebrating the state's upcoming 200th birthday.  Indiana was the 19th state to join the Union, and the Indiana flag features 19 stars.  So the museum is showing 19 antique quilts and 19 contemporary quilts from their collection, all with starry designs.  I love the idea of juxtaposing the old and new quilts to celebrate the history of the state.

Here are two video clips about the show.  The second one features Ellen's quilt, "Starry Knight".
historical quilts
contemporary quilts

I've always found themed exhibits and books the most fun.  They really bring out the variety and excitement of all the approaches to quiltmaking.

I first discovered how cool these shows can be in the 1986 book All Flags Flying.  It includes the 52 prize-winning quits from the Great American Quilt Contest "Expressions of Liberty" celebrating the Statue of Liberty's 100th birthday.  Some are very literal, some are very abstract.  My favorite happens to be the winner from my home state of Illinois, made by Sidney Allee Miller.  It's called "Freedom's Children," and is 72" square. 

(Photo credit, All Flags Flying)

The concept is unique and the execution is both folksy and technically amazing, a great combo! 

June 15, 2015

I Love a Good Coincidence

Remember this sweet baby quilt I posted about a couple of months ago?

Well, look what I found at an estate sale this weekend!

I think I squeaked out loud when I found it....

I don't have any intention of making this quilt, but somehow just had to buy the pattern anyway!  Really, how could I not?

And now, I can add the pattern name and info to the quilt's story:

June 11, 2015


Such a lovely Amish quilt!  Here's a quilt with all the criteria needed to satisfy any Amish quilt collectors:
Colors are bold.  It is wool.  Piecing is precise.  Quilting is prominent.  Stitches are teensy.

It is quite large, and is backed with a grey striped flannel.

There were some holes here and there.  I carefully tucked a slightly larger piece of fabric inside each hole and then secured the edges with couching stitches.  The practical benefit is to keep the batting from popping out.  The visual benefit is to not have white spots of batting distracting from the color and design.  I did not actually patch these areas for two reasons - one was to not cover up the original and wonderful quilting, and the other was not finding great color matches for the wools anyway.  You may think the colors look pretty good in this photo, but that's because I could use such small pieces.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

One octagon was missing about 1/4 of its fabric.  I did patch that whole shape and then re-quilted.  To transfer the feather wreath design:  I traced the wreath, then cut around the edge of the wreath and cut out the center hole.  I basted the paper pattern in place.  Then I stitched along the edges of the paper.  I carefully cut the lines between the feathers, one at a time as I progressed.

It's really a beauty, isn't it?  That interplay between the murky octagons and brilliant red-orange squares is stunning.  To my eyes, maybe because of the shadows created by the quilting, it seems like the octagons are floating over a red-orange field.  But color theory would say that the brighter color would move forward.  This makes for a feeling of movement.  Lots of movement for such an otherwise chunky and stable design.

June 3, 2015

Magic Vine - Quilting Progress

I've spent a few weeks with relaxing sewing while watching fun things on Netflix, a very nice "spring break."

One project that's benefited is the vintage Magic Vine quilt top that I am finishing.  I started the quilting 25+ years ago!  I've only worked on it now and then, when I go someplace to demonstrate hand quilting.  After its most recent excursion last November, I decided to push forward and finally finish it.

I bought the top, made in the 1930s, complete with back fabric, at the antique quilt shop where I used to work.  You can read more about the pattern and fabrics in two previous posts.

I've been quilting a garden lattice behind the vines.  Now, I have finished extending the lattice into the inner borders.  The next step is deciding how to quilt the outer, leaf vine border.  I don't want to extend the lattice even further.  It would be kind of boring, I think.  And also, because I marked this bit by bit over all these years, I discovered some inconsistencies in the marking, and extending the lattice proved to be problematical in places.  No need to emphasize that even more!

When I bought the top, I decided to give it the best finish I could to honor the anonymous woman who did such amazing appliqué.  I did find one "oops" on her part in the border piecing, so I'm a little less sad to have skewed the quilting lines.  I guess she was better at appliqué than at math!

So these things happen even to the most highly skilled amongst us!  I hope that she's enjoying the outcome and will rejoice at the final finishing, as will I.