Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tour My Sewing Room

Thank you for coming on the house tour.  Would you like to see my sewing room?  Yes, this is where all the quilts you see were made. 

When we agreed to be on the house tour, I thought the historical society was interested only in the first floor of the house.  But then two ladies from the committee came to see the house (to be sure it is not a house of horrors, we joked), saw all the quilts, and thought people would enjoy seeing the bedrooms and sewing room.  "Of course, you'll have to clean up," said one, looking at all the stuff on the sewing room floor (aka my organization system). 

View from the doorway.  Sewing room doubles as a guest room.
There is a trundle bed under the day bed.
It took some work to get it all cleaned up.  Still, some tubs of fabric and works in progress were stashed in Miss Main Street's off-limits bedroom.

Bookshelf storage unit behind me as I sew, holds my quilt book collection, patterns in one drawer, rulers and templates in another.  The lower cabinet on the left holds part of my Christmas fabric stash.
Wall to my left while I sew with All Dressed Up on display.  I can put a piece of flannel over the rod and call it a design wall.  To the left of the quilt is the small closet (a downside of old houses is the small closets); it holds more fabric stash. 


My sewing machine, Bernina Q440.

Tools at hand while I sew.  The onyx bowl holds pins.  A small basket, out of picture to the right, holds scraps for leaders and enders.  The Shaker work tray is handy for carrying hand sewing supplies to another room.
Thanks for coming.  Now, I need to get back to work on this quilt!

Monday, October 27, 2014

House of Quilts

My house here on Main Street was built in 1911-1917 in a style known as American Foursquare.  (Our's is a modified version.)  We've lived here 17 years and have done lots of work on the house, modernizing essentials like heating and plumbing and making it more comfortable for us as a family home.

About a year ago, we got a call from the local historical society, asking if we would allow our house to be on their biannual house tour.  We agreed, because we have enjoyed touring the other houses in past years and because we thought it would give us a deadline to work towards for the projects we'd been meaning to get to.  It did serve that purpose and that's the major reason I have not been quilting as much the last few months. 

Come on it!  You've just entered the front door.

The tour was Sunday and it was really fun. Of course, we spent most of Saturday cleaning and de-cluttering - my home has never been so clean and tidy! On Sunday afternoon, we had about 350 people through the house. Fortunately, the traffic was pretty evenly spread out over the four hours of the tour so it was never too crowded.

West end of living room; notice quilts on back of both chairs.
People were so complimentary about the house and gushed over all my quilts on display.  Two ladies came up to me and one said, "Oh, you're the owner?  We already decided we hate you, you are too talented!"  (She said this with a laugh, the real life equivalent of LOL.)

West end of sunroom, with another quilt on a chair. 
The weather was perfect, no rain or wet to be tracked in the house (my nightmare).  I vacuumed the house Saturday night.  After the tour, I noticed a few bits of leaf here and there so vacuumed again.  It is amazing what 350 will track in, all unseen.  I have a bagless vacuum and the dirt cannister was completely full!  That was the only yuck factor is the whole process. 

Quilts on chair and couch in sunroom, the TV end of the room.
Dillie the Corgi wondering what is going on.
Miss Main Street did not like the idea of her bedroom being "on display" so we kept the door closed and used the room as a stash spot for a few items, plus the dogs in their crates.  They were very good and mostly quiet.  Of course, they were incensed that they had not been allowed to attend the party!

Quilt hanging in kitchen in my seasonal rotation quilt holder.
Flower arrangement courtesy of local garden club.

The biggest job in getting ready was the redecoration of our dining room.  Fortunately, everything came together in plenty of time. 

East end of dining room; you can see me reflected in the mirror.
Our kitchen is not an "eat in" except for breakfast or when I am home alone for lunch; we eat in our dining room every evening so it gets a lot of wear.  I was ready for a design upgrade and am happy with the result (I bought most of the furniture at Ethan Allen). 

This cabinet could be holding quilts!  But for now it displays china and crystal.

The dining room is the only room without any quilts, at least, so far!  Instead, it has boat pictures.  Mr. Main Street's father and grandfather were both professional yachtsmen; we have lots of inherited boat pictures and model ships.  They are significant to Mr. Main Street so I worked them into the decor. 

We added a couple of upholstered chairs to the dining room, to use as host and hostess chairs when we entertain and are seating more than six at the table.  This does not happen often because we have a small family and tend to entertain more informally than a seated dinner. 

Barrister bookcase from 1911 belonged to my grandfather. It holds cookbooks now.
The tour included my sewing room.  Come back tomorrow for a once-in-a-lifetime view of it clean!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

For Fans of Downton Abbey

My mother is visiting me, a good excuse for the two of us to take a trip to Winterthur to see a special exhibit called Costumes of Downton Abbey.  (Winterthur was the home of Henry Francis du Pont and holds his vast collection of American furniture and other decorative arts.  Henry was a descendant of the founder of DuPont Chemical; money was no object for him.)

The special exhbit of costumes from the TV drama Downton Abbey was very interesting, especially for those who sew.  The costume designer copied some original dresses from the era (1912-1924 so far), used vintage fabric and embroidery fragments in some cases (augmented with new fabric), but had to reimagine some designs to be more suitable for TV. 

The two dresses below were worn by Sybil and Mary for the garden party scene at the end of Season 1. 

This dress is really a harem pants style jumpsuit, worn by Sybil as evening dress to shocking effect on her family during Season 1.  The bodice was made from antique embroidered lace.  It tore or split in several places during the filming and had to be hand stitched to repair it.  You can see the repairs up close but they don't show up on television.

This is one of Lady Cora's evening dresses.  It was inspired by a length of jet and pearl embroidery that had formed a center vertical panel down the front of a vintage evening gown.  The original panel was re-worked to form the bodice of the dress and new fabric was embroidered in a coordinating design for the skirt of the dress. It was worn with a coat, as shown.

The costume crew has only seven weeks to assemble all the costumes for a season of filming.  Many have hand embroidery or other embellishments. Some costumes are re-used, just as real people would wear clothing multiple times.  The costumes below were worn by Mary and Matthew for the proposal scene out in front of Downton Abbey.  The wanted a simple dress for Mary that would not distract from the scene.  The dark red dress had beading along the neckline and on the edge of every other flounce. 

Some costumes for the servant characters were included in the exhibit, making quite a contrast.  This is Mrs. Patmore's dress and apron (the cook).

If you are a fan of Downton Abbey and have a chance to see this exhibit, by all means go!  I enjoyed it very much.  And Season 5 premieres Jan. 4!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Still Here!

I did not intend to take such a long break from blogging, but the truth is that there is not much quilting going on here on Main Street.  I am continuing to work on Modern Herringbone but have not progressed to the point where a status update is in order.  I interrupted that project this weekend to finish a few smaller tasks.

First, I pieced the backing for my Double Wedding Ring, so I can get it off the quilter. 

I'm using the large floral print from Paris Flea Market.  I bought 10 yards just for this purpose when it went on sale; the back used up a little over 8 yards so I still have some left.
My second task was to make the binding for this quilt, Christmas Crossroads.  I began this quilt about 10 months ago and finished the piecing early this year.  Even the quilting was completed months ago.  Time to stop procrastinating and get the binding on so we can use this this Christmas.  

After consideration, I decided to use the red.  It is a subtle stripe and I used a little of it in the body of the quilt.  There is more green than red in the pieced sections; the red binding gives it some "pop."

I plan to be back soon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Quilt Show Vendors Are The Best!

While I enjoy the quilt show exhibits and find a lot to inspire me, it is the vendors I like best.  What can I say, my husband will tell you I was born to shop!

I took my Fabric Hoarder tote bag to the show, along with a certain feeling of liberation brought on by having destashed a little earlier in the week.  But I refrained from going wild; in fact, I did not buy much.  I was looking for layer cakes from some of the new fabric collections but did not see any (lots of charm packs available though).  I picked up a selection of fat quarters of red Kaffe Fassett prints, to go with the yellow, green, and blue I bought last year.  I have something in mind for these and needed to round out my supply.

And I made a couple of impulse pattern purchases.  These patterns came from different vendors.  The pattern on the right is for an iPad case.  The vendor had a sample made up and I liked it better than the case I have now.  It looks fairly easy to make and will be a way to use some of the pretty fabric I have in my stash.  I'm thinking of making some as Christmas gifts too.

The pattern on the left uses jelly roll strips wrapped around batting and woven.  The pattern is officially for a purse or wallet but I checked out the sample and think it can easily be adapted to iPad or Kindle size.  I have some batik jelly rolls I bought on my trip to Hawaii that I might use for this project.  Stay tuned.  The vendor I bought this pattern from had devoted their entire space to Aunties Two patterns, with many samples made up, plus all the supplies like the batting and clothes line you need to make them.  I've seen some of the patterns before but never made any.  They are cleverly designed and can take on a more conservative look when made with a more subtle color palette.

It looks like I have enough to keep busy.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza XXI

On Friday, I took a day off work and went to the big quilt show in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza XXI.  It is held in suburban Philadelphia (or "Philly" as it is referred to around here), a bit over an hour from my house. 

Here are some photos of the exhibit quilts I liked best. 

Fall Feathers by Sandi McMillan
Lovely feathered star blocks and pieced sashing. 
You can see it won a blue ribbon. 
Feathered star is on my quilt bucket list.

Close-up of the feathered star block, above, and border, below.

Hubble, by Ellen Simmons
From a Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. pattern of the same name.
Kaffe Fassett fabrics and the bright teal background,
plus fantastic custom quilting by Jane Hauprich.
Inspiring to see a quilt with such an unusual background color.

Spirit of Valor, by Gina Shevchenko
Lemoyne Star blocks enlivened by intricate custom quilting

Harvest Baskets, by Deborah Johnson
From a Blackbird Designs pattern.
This was machine appliqued; I could not see a stitch!

Let's Do the Dresden Twist, by Teri L. Cherne
I love the design as well as the unusual scalloped edge.
A Dresden in this style (rather than round plates) is on my quilt bucket list.
Back tomorrow with a post on my quilt show "loot."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Now For The Fabric

Sewing room clean-up continues, with a focus on fabric stash containment.  I know I have more fabric than I will ever use.  Here are a few things I want to send to a new home.  Description and price below each photo.

7 fat quarters from Rouenneries Deux by French General for Moda
$20, includes domestic (US) postage - SOLD

16 fat quarters Gingham Rose by  3 Sisters for Moda (light blue and ecru colorway)
I must have liked this because I bought fat quarters on three separate occasions. 
Among the 16, there are 3 of the paisley print, 2 of the tiny gingham check,
2 of the tone-on-tone and 2 of a tiny vine print.
$40, includes domestic (US) postage - SOLD

1 yard Willow Mews by Judy Sabanek for RJR;
I bought it to go with the Gingham Rose, above. 
It is red on ecru, with wedgewood blue accents.
$7, includes domestic postage

Holiday Chorus by Nacny Davis Murty for Andover Fabrics
Panel 40" by 48", includes 12 bird "plates" each 12" square,
with floral border along both selveges.
$7, includes domestic postage

Happy Holidays panel by Nancy Halvorsen for Benartex.
23" by 42" - includes alphabet A to Z (part was left out of the photo)
Very cute and these panels are great for practicing machine quilting.
$5, includes domestic postage

Sweet Geraniums II by FreeSpirit - 4 yards
I love these wallpaper stripe designs and have several in my stash.  They make great borders. 
This piece has 4 repeats of the wide floral stripe and 5 repeats of the narrow leaf stripe. 
The colors are gorgeous!
$28, includes domestic postage

Abbey Road #2227 by Ro Gregg for Northcott Quest for a Cure
2 yards scroll print in light blue and off-white, silky finish
$16, inlcudes domestic postage

3 coordinating pieces: 
yellow is Cherry Lane by RJR - 2 yard piece;
yellow dots on white is by Dena Designs for In The Beginning - just over 1.5 yards;
aqua dots on white is Dena Designs for In The Beginning, - just over 1.5 yards 
(3 pieces total 5+ yards)
$33, includes domestic postage
Mary Rose MR1030R-13 by Quilt Gate
3 yards rose floral on ecru background, shabby chic look
$20, includes domestic postage - SOLD
If you would like any of these items, leave a comment telling me what you want.  I will send you an invoice via Paypal (or you can mail payment directly to me if you prefer).  Just be sure you are not "no reply" in Blogger/Google so I can respond to your comment via email.



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