April 30, 2017

There's A First Time For Everything

So yesterday about noon I was sitting at the computer doing Stuff when the doorbell rang.  There stands a delivery guy with a huge bouquet of flowers.  I'm all prepped to direct him to whichever house he's really looking for, because there are a couple of addresses that always get confused with ours. 

And then - he said my name!  How bizarre!

I brought the flowers in, and found this card.

Now honestly, my customers are all very lovely, but this is the very first time someone has sent me flowers! 

Aren't they gorgeous?!  What a stunning color combination!  Quilt inspiration alert!  I am still a little bit in shock - a happy shock for sure! 

April 25, 2017

Fun With Stripes

If I was writing a catchy newspaper headline it might read something like this:

Local Quilter Inspired by Late Night Stitching Session!

I'm working on another little piece for my Something From Nothing series, this one to be part of a show you'll hear more about soon where the size limit is just 12".  I'm making this piece using just this one really cool striped fabric.  (You can see that I used a little bit of it in a previous quilt in the series.)

The photo above shows the pieces pinned to muslin so I could be sure (or more sure at any rate) that the stripes would end up heading in the direction I meant them to.  I started the piecing process with the center four triangles.  (And yes, the gold stripe is made with metallic threads.)

When I turned it over and pressed the seam allowances open, here's what I got:

Is that not just the coolest effect?!?!

Quite happily, I've got plenty more of this stripe.  So now my mind is buzzing about how to turn it into another little piece showcasing the "wrong" side!

More to come on this striped adventure - I hope!

April 19, 2017

A Perfect 1930s Double Wedding Ring

I call this a perfect quilt, because it is just what a 1930s quilt is all about.  There's the popular Double Wedding Ring pattern.  There's the wide range of 1930s prints and soft colors.  There's great quilting. 

It currently belongs to the maker's granddaughter.  It was pieced by Martha Streitmatter, and quilted by the sewing circle at her church in Princeville, Illinois.

There's also a fun (at least I think it's fun) story about the repair work that I did before I washed the quilt.

A short while ago, I posted about a 1930s sampler quilt that I had great fun repairing.  There was one block that I found really disappointing, though, because there was no damage to that fabric.  What an odd thing to say, right?  Well, I own the exact same vintage fabric, but didn't get to experience the joy of using it.

So when this quilt came along with one particularly weak fabric in pretty much the same color combination and size of print, I jumped at the chance to use my "neglected" fabric.

Sometimes, the strangest things can make me very happy!

April 13, 2017

A Complete Makeover

This poor little quilt has been "through it".  The quilt is currently owned by the great-granddaughter of the quiltmaker.  She sent me this history:

The quilt was made by my great grandmother, Etta Metott Weaver, most likely in 1950 or 1951. She made a quilt for each grandchild (including the grandsons) when they got married. My mother, Jane Weaver, was Etta's granddaughter and she married in 1951. Therefore, I imagine the quilt was made for my mom in 1950 or 1951.

I couldn't find a name for the block, so I am dubbing it Capital O, at least until I learn otherwise. 

She sent these photos of the quilt's condition.  Yes, this is just a top and back, no batting.  It looks to me like someone took it apart to fix it up, and then realized they didn't quite know how to proceed!

Here's what the owner and I decided to to.

I took off the two significantly damaged sides of the top.  Let me just state here that changing a quilt this much is something that I rarely do.  I try as hard as I can to keep to the original intent.  But this was just tooooooo far gone.  I took off the sashing strips on those sides as well, so the edges would be the same on all four sides.

I marked the portions removed in the photo below.  I also marked a mend I made to the remaining quilt top.  The red plaid fabric of the O in the block at the center bottom was badly torn.  I was able to patch over it with the green O from the right hand side since the background fabric was the same.  I took off the octagon with its center and appliquéd it over the torn red octagon.  I salvaged another piece or two from the edges to patch other spots that needed help.

Because I'd made the top smaller, I was able to position it on the back fabric to avoid one of the major rips and also had enough extra fabric to mend the other.

Then the quilt was tied and bound:  I chose a lightweight poly batt instead of a cotton or blend, because the fabrics are so delicate.  For the ties, a size 5 perle cotton in a strong dark pink similar to the original.  And the near-perfect-match binding fabric is a lovely organic cotton found by my husband's eagle eye.  It's from JoAnns, super soft and lovely to work with.  I think it would drape beautifully in clothing, plus be super comfy on the skin. 

Here are my great helpers, Maggie and Hanna.  I've known these two for years from the youth theater company I used to costume for.  They love to sew and helped with costumes several times.  They came to help me get the quilt in the frame because I'm nursing a broken foot back to health.  They stayed on and on until we'd set in all the ties which was way more than I'd expected.  And they were laughing and totally enjoying it all the way through.  The best helpers ever!

And.....the final appearance.  Quite an incredible makeover, if I do say so myself.  The green O that I moved is in the center bottom row.

And finally, a few close-ups of some of the fabrics.  Of course!

Here's the O that I moved.  I happen to love the background fabric.  I keep imagining it as a lace, maybe a lace curtain would be nice.

Homey floral plus cute multi-colored dots.


After a long time, I've figured out that the text probably used to say "Home is where the heart is."

And here are two prints from the borders that I removed.

This is cheater cloth (printed, faux patchwork) on the back, spool of thread for scale.

Welcome back to the world, little quilt!  Keeping heirlooms alive is one of the great joys of repairing quilts!

March 30, 2017

A 1930s Sampler Quilt

OK, folks, I totally love this quilt!

It's a super fun collection of well-loved blocks, other more uncommon blocks, and a couple of wonderful appliqué creations.  The fabrics are pure 1930s style.  One really fun detail that you can watch for in the photos is that the ties are placed according to the design on each individual block.  There were some previous repairs here and there, including a new binding.

I just couldn't help myself, and took a photo of each block.  You can click to enlarge them.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Grandmother's Fan --- Japanese Lantern  

unknown (Brackman #3514 Rising Star is closest) --- Corn and Beans

Flyfoot --- Spider Web

unknown (Brackman #2508 Sky Rocket is very close) --- Prairie Flower
The solid peach on the left hand block is a previous repair.

Wedding Ring --- Steeplechase

The Moon --- Zig Zag

Pansy --- Broken Squares

Basket --- Chimney Sweep

Sunshine and Shadow --- Fish Block

Puss in the Corner --- Anne Orr style rose

Cross Roads or Garden Maze --- Schoolhouse

Joseph's Coat --- Greek Cross

Sunbeam --- Maple Leaf

Butterfly --- Running Rooster
(That's my name for the rooster block, because it's just so fun.)

Wrench --- Rose Dream or Endless Chain
The solid peach in the Endless Chain block is a previous repair. 

unknown (Brackman #1293 Double Windmill or #1305 Turkey Giblets are close) --- Capital T

Tulip --- Tumbling Blocks

Double 9-Patch --- Wind Blown Square or Whirlpools

Tulip Quilt --- Queen of the May

Dove in the Window or Goose Tracks -- Prairie Queen

Pinwheel or Turnstile -- Hands All Around

Now here's the fun thing about this last block.  In amongst my stash of vintage fabric, I actually have that very exact fabric!  Such a rare treat!  But.....this block is in fine shape and I didn't get to use the perfect match.  All I can do is photograph it.

The back was kind of fun, too.  There were quite a few previous repairs, made with scraps of the original fabric.  They were small, some only 1/2" square, all meticulously placed to match the print exactly.  I think even when I'm pointing to a patch, you'll have trouble seeing it!

I also enjoyed some tiny, little darning that had been done.

I patched over the pieces that had significant tears, and stitched smaller tears shut with herringbone stitches.  When I take on a repair job, I always ask the owner whether they prefer conservation (stitching or sheer fabrics) or restoration (patching).  I explain the pros and cons of each, but after that, the decision totally depends on the owner's goal for their quilt.  This is a beloved family piece, so maintaining as much of the original was the most important factor.

These photos document for posterity the original appearance of the blocks I patched:




Working with all these fun blocks and fabrics was a real treat!