Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wildflowers Quilt by Kim Brackett - Test Block

A while back, I fell in love with this fabric line:  Garden Delights from In The Beginning.  I like the Liberty-like floral prints. 


Then I came across a quilt pattern, Wildflowers by Kim Brackett, in her book Scrap Basket Strips and Squares. 


So now I'm working on the marriage of the two - a Wildflowers quilt made from Garden Delights fabric.  I did some cutting...


...and made a test block.



My block is actually two half blocks because I am changing the construction method a bit to avoid having to sew set-in seams.  If it works, I'll do a tutorial in a later post. 


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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Singer Sew Handy - Vintage Child's Sewing Machine

I mentioned in my last post that I recently visited my mom at her home in Michigan.  She's been doing some cleaning out, with thoughts of an eventual move to some kind of  "senior" living, and she came across this very old Singer Sew Handy child's sewing machine.  She knows it came from her parents' house but does not recall ever using it as a child.  My mom is not a crafter and does not sew and her own mom sewed only out of necessity during the Depression and WWII.  But Mom's own grandmothers were handy with a needle and one of them may have given this to her for a birthday or Christmas present.


It is an entirely metal machine, heavy for its size (cast iron I think), and works with a hand crank (the turn wheel on the right side).  It uses thread on the top, but not a bobbin, and sews a sort of chain stitch that appears to be formed by a looping mechanism from underneath.  


I took this photo with the rotary cutter to give you an idea of how small it is.  Also see below, where each square on the grid is 1 inch.


I looked for a date on the machine itself and on the booklet but did not find one.  I found a little history of the machines on a website and conclude mine was made after 1926 (makes sense as Mom was born in 1934).


While I can't see actually using this to sew, it is a fun little thing to have in my studio.  Please leave a comment if you know anything more about these machines.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Plantation Road/Country Road - A Finished Quilt

Finally, a quilt finish!


Quilt is folded so you see about a quarter of it here.

In July, 2016, I started working on a design called Plantation Road, from the book Tributes and Treasures by Paula Barnes and Mary Ellen Robison of Red Crinoline Quilts.  I'd had a large piece of fabric in my stash for ages, a floral print from Blackbird Designs that I'd purchased with borders in mind, and this seemed like a good match.  All of the fabric in this quilt came from my stash, including the back which is a simple ecru tone-on-tone.  


The quilt has been finished except for binding for some time.  I took it along on a trip to visit my mom in Michigan thinking it would be a good evening occupation while there.  The season opener of Dancing With The Stars (Mom is an avid fan) plus some pre-dinner conversation time another evening and I had this one bound.

It's a very simple quilt.  Small nine-patch blocks are sewn into double nine-patch blocks then set on-point with alternating blocks of unpieced fabric.  My longarm quilter, Karen Thompson, found a panto design that is very similar to the motif in the toile-like fabric I used for the alternate blocks.  I think it looks good.


I made my version smaller than the original design in the book but at at 69" by 80" it is about twin bed size and will serve us well in our family room when two or three of us watch TV together.  And it's ready for use just as the evenings are getting chillier.  I'm calling my version Country Road.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Finimus Pariter Renovamusque Labores


We Finish Our Labors to Begin Them Anew*...the motto of my daughter's high school.  Perfect for the quilter, don't you think?  We finish one project to turn around and begin cutting fabric for the next.  But we probably don't call it "labor."

On Labor Day, I finished my 60 degree triangle quilt, The Ladies' Stitching Club.  It's a free pattern from Moda, with some revised cutting and piecing directions from Hyacinth Quilt Designs.  Except instead of white fabric for my alternating blocks, I made mine half lightweight denim, half pale gray print.  Then I mixed in aqua, lime green, and darker gray.  I'm pretty happy with the look and it's on its way to my quilter now.


I made some binding over the weekend too.  I have two quilts waiting for cooler weather so I can do the binding and call them officially finished.


And then there's the begin them anew part.  I starched the fabric for my next project so the cutting and sewing can start again.  Starting a new quilt project puts a smile on my face!

*  Sometimes more loosely translated as there will always be homework.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

60 Degree Triangle Quilt

Do you know the blog Hyacinth Quilt Designs by Cindy Lammon?  I've long been an admirer, especially of her quilt aesthetic which I call updated traditional. By that, I mean she uses traditional blocks but with color, fabric, background, and quilting design choices that make them decidedly modern.

One of her quilts, The Ladies' Stitching Club, has been on my to-make list for a while.  The 60 degree triangle is a new experience for me and I thought this project would be a good way to learn something new, expand my repertoire, and use fabric from my stash.  It is turning out to be exactly that!  The quilt was originally a free design from Moda but Cindy figured out a different way to piece it that results in less waste so I'm following her instructions and it is working out well so far.

But I really should call this project my Hyacinth Quilt Designs homage project because I also found inspiration in her color palette on a couple of other quilts, namely Triangle Hexies Quilt and A Plus Quilt Variation.


I'm using a color palette of aqua and lime green with gray and blue denim.  I'm using some fat quarters out of a little bundle I bought a while back from Pink Castle Fabrics, fleshed out with additions from my stash and some denim I bought for another project.  The denim is light weight, a little heavier than quilting cotton but not as heavy as jeans.  I starched all the fabric before I started cutting.  


Here are some finished blocks.  Two triangles are joined by an inch wide strip to create a trapezoid.  These units are treated as blocks and joined in rows.  I have some more blocks to make and then I'll start sewing them together.  The size is going to be dictated by the amount of denim fabric I have.   I'll post more on this as I make progress.


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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wildflowers

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my love affair with a new fabric line, Garden Delights from In The Beginning.  I bought a little stash of it and turned to figuring out what to make with it.  I've landed on this design called Wildflowers by Kim Brackett.  I'm going to make it wall-hanging size.


The pattern is in her books Scrap-Basket Strips and Squares.  All the patterns in the book use pre-cuts or pre-cut sizes (2.5" strips or 5" or 10" squares).  Several other designs caught my eye, including the cover quilt, called Velocity.  I'm considering putting that one on my list for floral fabrics with denim in place of the gray solid.


And there is Magnolia Bay Gazette.  A while back, I went crazy for text prints and bought a few mixed bundles.  But how to use them?  I found an idea right here.



But I need to finish my current project before I start any of the quilts shown here.  More about what's on my work table in my next post.


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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Few Good Books

The 4th of July was a four day weekend for me.  It would be hard for me to say which I prefer, quilting or reading, and I did both over the holiday.  I know some of you are bookworms too so today I'm sharing a few books that I've enjoyed recently.



The Heirs, by Susan Rieger
Story of a wealthy family living in Manhattan and the upheaval in the lives of the wife/mom and five adult sons after the death of the husband/dad.  It would make a good choice for a book club.




The Wicked City, by Beatriz Williams
Beatriz Williams is one of my favorite authors but this is not her best book.  Intertwined stories, one set in the present, the other in the 1920's, but the historical part is vastly superior to the contemporary as the modern story lacks the excitement, drama, and danger of the Prohibition setting of the other story.  If you haven't read any Beatriz Williams, I recommend giving her a try but maybe start with A Certain Age.  Her newest, Cocoa Beach, is next up for me.




The Deepest Grave, by Harry Bingham
 This is #6 in the Fiona Griffiths mystery series.  I discovered the first about a year ago and quickly read through all four books available at the time, then reading #5 and #6 as soon as they came out.  Fiona is a detective with the police in Cardiff, Wales.  She is a complex and unusual character and events in her personal life unfold side-by-side with the murder mystery.  If you like mysteries of the procedural, not cozy, variety, I suggest you start with the first book, Talking To The Dead.



The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, by Jennifer Ryan
It is hard to believe this is the author's first book, it is so good.  It is about a group of women living in the same small village in England in the summer of 1940, some months into WWII.  With the men away, the church choir morphs into an all-women's group and becomes the bond between this otherwise eclectic group.  It is the best book I've read in a long time.

I'll be back soon with a quilting update.


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