Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Wall of Tops is on the Floor

My wall of quilts is still under construction. Here is an assortment of the tops I've finished. Looks like I need to get busy doing some quilting. For the particularly scrappy ones I prefer the all over little stipple. Lazy me would love to have a pro do it but the $50 minimum is steep for such small quilts. Janet did a good job teaching herself to machine quilt so I might have to follow suit. Drat, that means basting, too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

'Tis the season for a giveaway and other stuff

'Tis the time to seize the season. I love the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year's because it's family time and it's quilting time. So, let's celebrate with some quilting giveaways. I am kicking off December by giving away the very mini but festive little quilt pictured above. I whipped this little top up this evening and will hand quilt it over the upcoming long weekend and will give it to one lucky blog friend on December 1 to kick off the Christmas season. Leave me a comment on this post between now and midnight on November 30. I'll put everyone's name in the cyber hat (a.k.a. the random number generator) and pick the winner on Wednesday, December 1. I will mail anywhere in the world. To get an idea of the finished mini quilt see the photo below of my first version of this little cutie.

You will call me a slow starter if you've seen Kathie's blog lately. But, I have finally gotten moving on my red and shirting Irish Chain. I found more yardage of the Seneca shirtings fabric pictured on this post and produced these blocks this past Sunday. I am not sure how big to make this quilt so we'll see how things progress. I am totally loving the fabrics in this project.

Finally, I appliqued these butterflies onto a block about 8 years ago and that's as far as I got. While cleaning up some clutter this evening, I happened upon the block and decided to make another mini from it since the "big" quilt just isn't happening. So, I chopped the block into four pieces, added some sashing and will also add a border. Hopefully, the addition of some hand quilting will transform an orphan block into a wall hanging that will be the perfect gift for my butterfly-loving sister-in-law.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone (because we all can be thankful) in case I don't make it back to blog land between now and Thursday. I am looking forward to the things I enjoy this year -- connecting with quilters and actually quilting -- and plan on having some more festive giveaways during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Check back!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quilt Tastykakes

Sometimes if you want cake, you shop for ingredients, read the recipe, measure and mix, and wait for the final product to bake and cool. Other times, you just want cake, quick and easy. So you open the box of yummy Tastykakes (this is where I would put the registered trademark symbol if I knew how to do that) and munch away on the delicious cakey-ness. This little quilt top is the quilting equivalent of Tastykakes.

Temecula Quilt Company has a fun and satisfying monthly mini program where you buy a pattern by Lori Smith that includes 9 different mini quilt patterns. Then, each month you get a little kit for the top and binding, a photo of the finished quilt and cutting notes specific for the pieces in the kit or variations for the Temecula version of the pattern. This is a great way to whip up a very scrappy mini top without dragging out many different fabrics and lopping off a little bit of each. Plus, you don't have to take any risks with the fabric choices. You just go with what you get and if the quilt includes that gastly aqua print then that's the way it was meant to be.

The fabrics in the mini quilt top I just made (from the Civil War Ladies line by Pat Nickols for RJR Fabrics) reminded me of one of the quilts in the book Gone to Texas by Betsy Chutchian. Early last month I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Lone Star House of Quilts in Arlington, Texas, and met Betsy there. I am really looking forward to the line of fabrics she has coming out based on the fabrics in the antique quilt pictured below. She promises there will be three of the wonderful poison greens we can never get enough of.

In the meantime, I am really itching to make my own version of the quilt pictured below. I think I'll do this one the old fashioned for the ingredients, mix it up and wait for it to bake and cool. See, I've already started assembling the ingredients.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Okay, I am ready to cut the red fabric

Last month I was able to visit many wonderful quilt shops around the U.S. and bought lots of reproduction fabrics. Maybe I should even say I bought LOTS and LOTS of reproduction fabrics. Hey, no time to sew but plenty of time to stock up. Fat Quarters Quilt Shop in Vista, California had a good selection in stock of Judie Rothermel's Quaker Quilts collection. Alas, I don't think I bought enough of the background and I cannot remember where I bought it and which Jo Morton shirtings line it came from. I've had the quilt below in mind for some time and I took advantage of the opportunity to buy enough reproduction reds that I could even finally bear to use some. Oh, and I visited Common Threads Quilting in Waxahachie where I bought the book pictured above. They had several patterns they reproduced from some wonderful antique red and green quilts.

Don't you just love the variety of red prints (plus a sprinkling of different backgrounds) in this old quilt?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Whimsy, Wacky or Whatever?

What do I do when I want to post about all my quilting endeavors but the quilting endeavors are scant? I show you an antique quilt because those are what this blog is really all about anyway. You know the saying, "nothing new under the sun," right? Well that is particularly true when one is a fan of the quilts and quilt art of a prior era.

When I think of nineteenth century quilts I don’t usually think of polka dots but Barbara Brackman certainly has noticed the dots if you read her posts here and here. This is a crib quilt I really treasure because a) it’s a crib quilt (can’t resist small), b) it’s pink and brown (the perennial favorite), and c) it is so darn cute with all those dots. As I often do with scrappy antique quilts, I wonder about how those fabric choices were made. Clearly, in most of the blocks the fabrics look planned, but on others they are mixed. Did the quilter only have enough of that funky aqua fabric for just two triangles in the whole quilt? There’s another block that has two brown dot pieces and two black and white stripe pieces. Was that all that was left? Do you think she laid out the blocks before stitching them together or did she pick them up randomly as she went along with the stitching?

For those of you who make scrappy quilts, do you spend time trying to lay out your blocks to make them look like they weren’t planned? I do and don’t think I miss the irony in that exercise. If you are a fan of that scrappy look I encourage you to study the full quilt picture above. It is a great exercise in crafting authentic reproductions of 19th century scrap quilts.
See below for the latest shameless plug about my progress on my Lemoyne Star quilt. Nine more blocks stitched and all while I was one the road. Three cheers for my little hand piecing kit (see here for more on that). I am well on my way to my next 9 star blocks.

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