Saturday, March 10, 2018

Introducing Dottie

Dottie is a quirky little doll quilt I found at a thrift store in January.  She measures about 18" x 26".  I found her irresistible and brought her home.  When you find a quilt with so many polka dots what else could you call her but Dottie?

Other than the bow ties, the only repetition or pattern I can see are the red-dot fabrics between each block and the long strips of sashing between the rows of blocks. 

The hand-stitched blocks are approximately 2" finished.  Some are more rectangular than square. 

Lori of Humble Quilts uses the word "humble" to describe quilts that are less than perfectly made.  This is a humble quilt for sure.

In fact, when I look at some of the blocks and, really, the whole quilt, I have to wonder who made it.  Was it a child's early attempt at sewing bow tie blocks with five pieces of fabric (instead of the six commonly used these days) and set-in seams?

Or perhaps an aged grandmother with less than perfect eyesight made it for her granddaughter?  There are puckers throughout the quilt where one piece of fabric was gathered to fit against another.  Before rotary cutters and acrylic rulers cutting accurately was an art.

The ties feel like wool and have wool's fuzzy appearance.

The quilt was folded and probably laying where sunlight hit the fold.  There are sections of faded fabric.

As if red dots weren't enough, there are also blocks with turquoise dots.

You can see that some of the fabric had already been used in clothing.  It was unstitched but not all threads were removed.  There are several seersucker fabrics in the quilt.

The backing is a very soft flannel.  It is pulled around to the front to make the binding.  I suspect there is a layer of flannel between the top and back but without unstitching some of the binding I would have no way of knowing.

The stitches holding the binding in place are long with no attempt to hide them under the fabric.

I can't tell the age of the fabrics but I'm guessing 1940s and 1950s, possibly even 1960s.  Do you have a guess?

I haven't chosen a place for Dottie to reside yet.  For now, she rests on the back of chairs or lays on a little table.  She's not really my "style" of quilt but I love her for her quirkiness.

And that's Dottie.

Do you buy small, quirky quilts?  Are you sometimes unable to resist a quilt at a thrift or antique store?


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Little Rubies

When I first posted these blocks Janet O. (of Rogue Quilter) said, "Aren't little pieces fun?  Watch out--they can be addictive!"  Janet is the queen of miniatures and creates beautiful little quilts but I thought, Well, they are cute but I doubt I'll become addicted.  Sometimes I love it when other people are right.

The littlest squares I cut at 1¼" and they will finish at ¾".  Each little four-patch will finish at 1½".

Suddenly I find myself thinking of all the tiny fabric scraps--especially strings--that are laying around here, wide enough to become tiny 4-patch blocks!  It's crazy. 

Here's a possible layout.  Most of the little double 4-patch blocks are not sewn into larger blocks so there are plenty of possibilities.

I'm so pleased to have had sun today when I had time to take photos outside to capture the true colors.  (Only the first two photos and the last were taken outside.)  The browns are really warm and the reds are mostly bright.

A pro of tiny quilt blocks: 
  They are quick to unstitch if you make a mistake.
A  con of tiny quilt blocks: 
  There's a lot of cutting and sewing to get a quilt of any size.

Do you sew with tiny pieces?

I'm linking this post to
> wip link-up at Silly Mama Quilts
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Sew, Stitch, Snap, SHARE at Koka Quilts
Thank you for hosting, ladies.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Hand Quilting Utility Stars

From the end of January till now I've quilted 24 of this quilt's 56 squared and 2 of its 24 stars.  I admire the speed at which machine quilters can finish quilts but I prefer the look of hand quilted quilts so I continue along at my snail's pace.  Part of the slowness comes from how hard hand quilting is on my fingers:  they can only quilt for so long. 

I really thought I might be able finish this quilt in March but then I remembered that the outside edge of a quilt, whether blocks or border, is nearly always bigger than the center of the quilt and will take longer.  Sigh. 

You can see we have a sunny day today:  the shine through the window highlights one small square of this quilt.  Yeah for a sunny day!  Fun photo, huh?

I wish my goal for March were to finish this quilt but it isn't.  Instead, my goal is to finish hand quilting at least 12 stars and at least 12 squares.  I'd be satisfied with a double dozen.

I'm linking this post to
> One Monthly Goal - March Goal Setting Link-up at Elm Street Quilts
> Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Like a Wet Lion

March came in like a wet lion today.  No ferocious cold, just damp, grey skies and rain.  Plenty of rain.  Last week when we had temperatures in the 70s I was sure the groundhog was wrong and that March would arrive like a lamb.

I've been working on two dark quilts, the rubies/strawberries/cherries on brown and the blue and tan/grey utility stars.  With so much grey and darkness surrounding me both outside and in, I felt the need for color.  Bright, happy colors.  So I pulled out these little spool blocks. 

spool quilt blocks

And played just a little.

spool quilt blocks

Six more are in progress and then I'll have 36 little spools.  They finish at 3" and they're really cute but they haven't been much fun to make.  This is my least favorite block pattern ever.  They are a bear to sew!  The diagonals are the problem and every block is at least a little cattywumpus, even when I draw or press the diagonals and pin before sewing.  Despite the difficulty in making them, they were a sweet, colorful diversion during today's grey rain.  I'll make enough more to make a small quilt, but that's it.

Here's the wet March lion I saw outside today.  I really do love rainy days, but I would have been happier had this been snow.  (Grumble, grumble, grumble.)  Sun is predicted for the next several days but I see a chance of snow, too.  I will welcome either one.

I'm linking this post to
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts and
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Into Thin Air

When Lori of Humble Quilts began the year with an invitation to join her in a sew-along to make Cheri Payne's "Sweet Land of Liberty" quilt I was excited but indecisive.  I didn't have the pattern and I wasn't sure I could find or create patterns for all the blocks.  (If you don't know this quilt, it's filled with applique.  You can see four versions of the quilt here, top left.)  So I hemmed and hawed and deliberated through January weighing the pros and cons of stitching this quilt.  Finally, toward the beginning of February, I began with the eagle, a pattern Cheri has in her Facebook group files.

paper pattern for Cheri Payne eagle

I finished appliqueing the eagle one day last week and then, because I had other obligations and knew I wouldn't be able to work on it for a week or so, I put it away.  (I didn't take a photo.)  Now I find (ha!) that it has vanished into thin air.  (Is vanishing into thin air the adult version of the dog ate my homework?)  Anyway, I've searched and searched and can't find it anywhere.  I'm taking that as a sign that I really shouldn't be making the quilt, especially considering how indecisive I was to begin with.  If the eagle turns up maybe I'll make it later.

What I have been working on are a few more blocks for the rubies/strawberries/cherries quilt in red and brown.

And more quarter cabin blocks.  With this batch finished I think I will have about 75.  I don't have a specific plan for these, just lots of strings to use.  I did consider a strippy quilt but I need to play before deciding.  

untrimmed quarter log cabin blocks

It seems this year is shaping up to be another one in which I focus on using up scraps.  I know I'll always have scraps but sometimes there are just too many and I feel the need to either use them or toss them.  It's too bad it's against my nature to toss.  Do you ever tire of your scraps -- same old fabrics over and over again -- and wish for new scraps?

This is one of the little boxes I carry projects when I'm riding in the car.  Sometimes I use a more enclosed container but I was just pinning today so this box worked well.

I've been working on preparations for our women's conference at church and haven't had much time to sew, or to even concentrate on the next ideas for quilts.  It will all be over by Saturday afternoon and then I can devote more time to quilting and family history.

I know most people are ready to be done with winter by the end of February but it seems like we've barely had a winter here in central Ohio -- a few little snows and a little ice.  I'm still hoping for one  good, deep snow.

I hope all is well in your world.

I'm linking this post to
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Moving It Forward at Em's Scrapbag
> Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt 
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Confections for Valentine's Day

Would you care for a heart?  They are such confections!

Really almost too sweet.  The gritty kind of sweet you feel in your teeth after you've eaten an iced, heart-shaped sugar cookie or two.  But don't some of us occasionally over-indulge on Valentine's Day?

This little quilt is still in progress.  I started stitching the hearts in January when I had nothing to do.  I'm deciding on the outer border -- even or uneven.  The quilt to the edge of the first striped border measures 13¾" x 18¾".  Long and narrow.  I thought a wide border on the sides might even it out a bit but maybe it needs a border top and bottom and a slightly wider border on the sides.

Those little corner stones are all fussy cut, too.  They're only ½" square so no one can see them without a close examination of the quilt.  I guess they are for my pleasure, just knowing they're there.

Oh, the sweetness of this quilt.  I can hardly stand it!  Truly.  Had I realized in advance how red and pink and white and sweet it would look I might have made it differently.  But it will look festive on my front door -- next year on Valentine's Day 2019.

Please enjoy a heart while I head for my favorite Valentine's Day confection, chocolate. 

I hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day.

I'm linking  this post to
> WOW (WIPs on Wednesday) at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #216 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers #111 at Quilt Fabrication



Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Using Red Scraps

If someone had told me last week what I would be doing this week, I would have chuckled, maybe even scoffed to myself, and said, I doubt it.  And with an moment's thought would have said, Definitely not.  But here I am.

My red scraps want to be used.  Many of the scraps are 2" strips and I couldn't come up with a way to make economy or square-in-square blocks (except really small ones).  I decided to make double four-patch blocks using brown scraps as the background color.  (Please forgive the flash photos.  It's still grey in Ohio.) 

red and brown double four-patch quilt blocks

The block are cut at 2" and 3½".  I like them.  I like the brown background with the tumble of red squares.  But there was just something missing.

So I decided to make some smaller four-patch blocks.

red and brown double four-patch quilt blocks

The little guys are cut at 1¼" and finish at ¾".  Never in my life would I have thought I would be cutting and sewing such tiny pieces of fabric for a quilt.  But aren't they adorable?!  They're probably sweeter in real life, where you can actually see how tiny they are.

red and brown double four-patch quilt blocks

Here are both sizes mixed.  I'll need to make more -- lots more -- before choosing a layout.

red and brown double four-patch quilt blocks with triple four-patch layout

As I was pressing them they made me think of rubies on a string.

red and brown double four-patch quilt blocks with triple four-patch layout

I have three thoughts:
The next quilt I make needs to have more than two colors.
This will not be a quick quilt to make.  (I was hoping for quick and done.)
This quilt will not use up all the red scraps.  I'll have to make a second red scrap quilt, maybe a one-patch alternating with whites/naturals/creams.

a pile of red fabric scraps

Do you have a favorite scrap pattern if you're using just two colors?

I'm linking this post to
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River
> To Do Tuesday at Stitch All Things 


Friday, February 2, 2018

An Assortment of Red Scraps, Pluses, and a Book

One of the hardest things about quilting for me is choosing a pattern and then beginning, especially when I have a selection of scraps I want to use up.  I have this group of red scraps.... Some are 1" to 2" wide strips, other pieces are larger. 

Some of these fabrics could be from the 1930s through 1950s, some are from the 1980s, and some are recently new.

There is such a range of reds, from almost orange to almost purple.  I'm trying to decide whether I can use them together in a quilt and, if so, what quilt pattern will "accept" them and create a unified quilt.  And which other color(s) to use with them.

Ideas for blocks for these scraps include
  • one patch with reds alternating with lights/naturals or golds or browns
  • nine-patch with any of those color combinations above
  • Square-in-a-Square block with reds in the centers and browns on the outside
  • double nine-patch in reds and browns with browns in the corners, or reds and creams with reds in the corners
  • double four-patch
  • housetop blocks with a center square and one border around it in reds and lights or reds and browns, alternating the center and outer colors from one block to another
  • snowballs in reds and another color

Will these fabrics actually work together in a scrap quilt?  They are from different eras and there are so many different tints and shades of red.  Some of these fabrics are already small pieces.  If I have several of the same print, I'm happy to sew them together to create a larger piece, but there is only one small piece of some of them. 

I have some thoughts on another quilt that I haven't yet started sewing.  At the beginning of last year my nearest local quilt shop offered a pattern and fabrics for these blocks if we returned every two weeks to get them.  I have all the fabrics but I haven't started on the blocks yet. 

I'm not a huge fan of orange and now that I have all the fabrics, it occurs to me that the oranges might look great with browns and/or blacks for an autumn quilt. 

Then, instead of orange crosses/pluses I could make yellow ones.  I have an over-abundance of yellow fabrics (mostly purchased in odd lighting that caused them to look light and creamy).  The light fabrics we received are much lighter than the ones shown in the photo above.  I think the blocks finish at 6" so the quilt is not large.

I've been so unmotivated the past week or two.  I'm happy to sit and hand quilt (building up callouses on my fingers) and do little more (except the essentials, of course).  I hope finally deciding on the reds will propel me into action.  Do you ever feel unmotivated?  I have a friend who says, "Doing is better than dreaming."  I need to quit dreaming and do.  Just do.

I have been reading Victoria The Queen:  An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird.  I think it is excellently written and is a joy to read.  I have ancestors who lived in England during the reign of Victoria which makes the book all the more interesting as I imagine what their lives might have been like.

I hope you're enjoying life!

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