Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New "Old" Blocks

I bought some Pennsylvania Dutch quilt blocks, from a woman who dated them at about the late 1890's, early 1900's. They have that distinctive bright mustardy yellow with a tiny red print.  You don't see a lot of reproduction yellows as bright as these; I just love the bold colors (the yellow is the closest to real yellow in the 3rd photo down). I'm not sure what I will do with them at the moment, but just looking and admiring is fun!

Double pink, green and mustard yellow makes the block pop.

A nice rich red with the mustard yellow. Almost glows in the dark.
What I did not count on was some little mouse got to these blocks before me, and made a very pretty house from some of the red and yellow blocks!

Ms. mouse had good "taste" in fabric.

More mouse work.
 It will be easy to repair these blocks, but not so easy to find the right yellow. I have found a couple of reproductions that could work, but the hand of the new fabric is so thick and stiff compared to the older fabric that I don't want to go that route yet.

There are people who specialize in selling older fabrics, but I have found the yellow to be on the rare side, thus the price is high (50 dollars or more a yard, anyone?)  And they sell the fabric in small bits (i.e. 15 inches by 20) but 25 dollars for a small hunk of fabric? Yikes. I still hold out hope that I'll find a nice stash of a variety of mustard yellows and bright reds that someone will beg me to take off their hands. Hah.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Card Production 2014

So, did you guess Christmas cards?

That's what the quilt block was for (and by the way, it was my husband's idea...I never would have picked an 8-pointed star as a "quick thing to throw together" to use to make cards! I had to sew it by hand, because I had to get the pieces to fit and did not have a pattern or template.  Back to Geometry 101.)

We have been making our own Christmas cards since the early 1980's (one year when my husband was swamped with work and had absolutely no free time to fit in Christmas card designing, I had to buy cards. They were cute cards, but I felt so guilty that I wrote a "sorry this is not a homemade card this year" inside. My friends thought that was just too funny.)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Secret Projects

Working on a little something...can you guess?

Here's the front. It's about 11-inches square with the black border.

Fa la la la la, la la la la!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Two Finishes and Signs of Fall

A little behind, here. We had stay-over company, company at my dad's (who we had to run and see), checked out ArtPrize with the company, and attended the West Michigan Quilter's Guild Quilt Show, all mushed together in about 2 weeks.

Aunt Pat and her quilt
Yay! I finally got Aunt Pat's quilt done. As you may recall, this is a quilt that her grandmother made in the early 1960's, we figured.  I repaired the shredded patches (there were lots of them), and put knit fusible interfacing on part of the back where the backing fabric was gone (just to keep the guts in).  The last thing I did (in the 2 days prior to Aunt Pat leaving Michigan--they only stay for 4 days or so) was tie a new back on the quilt with no. 8 perle cotton, and put a new binding on. That binding was a bear, but I did it all by machine due to time limitations. Got it done at 1 a.m. of the day we were meeting them for breakfast at 9 and surprising them with the quilt. Yikes! But I think Aunt Pat likes it!

Buggy Barn pattern Spring Posies (I think)
I finished up this quilt, too. "All" I needed to do was bind it and sew a sleeve on the back. Now it hangs in my stairwell overlooking my living room. It is about 60 by 70 inches.  Now I need to get to work on something more seasonally appropriate to hang in this space. Something orange, perhaps?

A nice row of pumpkins at Potter's.
Want some good cider? This is the place to get it!

Next up: Showing you photos of ArtPrize (I got a shot of the winner's work) and the local quilt show, which was outstanding. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fall Quilting

Fall 2014 Garden
So where have I been? Outside, of course! This summer has been one of the nicest I can remember, temperature-wise and with lower humidity. Makes you want to stay outdoors all the time! Even when I am at work, I make a point to at least walk outside around the building at lunch time.
Catching the light (while it's still here)
I am making some quilty progress, too. Slow but sure.

I'm about two-thirds of the way done quilting this one. I thought I could get by with machine quilting in the ditch between the blocks, but it was not enough. At least the stitching between blocks is holding everything together while I hand quilt the logs of the blocks (the blocks are about 4 inches wide).

I have more to report, from a Harriet Hargrave lecture at our guild, to the AQS show in Grand Rapids mid-August. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Port Huron Treasures

We took a day jaunt to Port Huron this past weekend (it is 3 hours due East of us, and home of the Blue Water Bridge, an entranceway to Canada).   We went to visit and have lunch with a few of my husband's cousins.  I remember this quilt top from a visit 25 years ago to cousin Joanne's home, and she still had it in the same spot! It was made by her grandmother, which makes the top around 100 years old. Love the colors!

Here's a close-up shot.

If you go to Port Huron, you have to go to the water. This is Vantage Point, where the Black River meets the Saint Clair River. Across the way is Canada. The red barge is traversing the Saint Clair River, part of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, heading to Lake Huron and beyond.

 I saw this purse hanging on the wall near a pottery classroom at Studio 1219 Art Gallery. I think it was the teacher's purse, but I'm not sure.

I did not touch the purse, but can you see the rolled fabric with black behind it? I'm quite sure they used a single jersey knit. That rolling of cut jersey edges drives you nuts when trying to make a t-shirt.  The artist used it to their advantage in this piece. Love the colors and the style!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spring is Here 2014!

Here's a shot of my "freebie" Jack-in-the-Pulpit that is getting bigger each year.  As you may recall, it just appeared in my garden a few years ago and I'm happy it's here!

This is my "back from the dead" bleed hearts plant in the rock garden! I thought I had lost it for good about 3 years ago, but last year a little sprout appeared, and this year it's flowering again!

I lost at least one of my long-standing columbines to the cold winter, so I had to find a replacement. Isn't this one cute? I think it's a double flower because it doesn't have the standard columbine shape.

And last but not least, a first for our neighborhood pond. Baby geese! (See the yellow fuzz balls behind mom and dad?)  We don't see a lot of baby ducks or geese because our pond is a little to "hub-bubby" with lots of kids playing in the water.  But this year we lucked out.  The Geese family has even been walking up to our bird feeder area (about 20 feet from the pond) and scrounging around for leftovers. Fun!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Baby quilt done!

What, you didn't know I was working on a baby quilt? 
Well, I whipped this one together in a week, when I found out at the last minute that the shower was in one week. (Hey shower planning people: Did you ever hear of a little advanced warning for the poor sewing lady?)

I bought this cute set of printed blocks late last year and had it on hand, knowing the baby was due in May.  My niece found out she was having a girl, and the new mom really likes pink, so I thought it would work well.  It could really work with many colors of sashing.

I usually don't buy printed panels, but this one was so darned cute! It is "Hello World" from Cori Dantini. I cut the blocks apart, squared them up best I could (they are 10.5 by 11.5 inches), added the sashing and cornerstones, and simply quilted it.

Birdie block
Lion block

And this Lenten Rose had better get it's act together and bloom, because Lent is almost over! It usually blooms early to mid-March.  Actually, this poor plant in my rock garden was still covered with over a foot of "roof snow" just 2 weeks ago. What is roof snow? That's snow that gets hurriedly shoveled off the roof in a big pile after you hear report after report of multiple home and business roofs collapsing due to excess snow weight.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Next on the Docket

Our family Christmas party was canceled over a month ago due to a snowstorm that made traveling dangerous. We finally got together this past Sunday at our home!  It was weird last month putting up and taking down Christmas decorations and lights without anyone but us seeing them (we didn't want them up for 6 weeks!)  So now that the party's over, it's time to get some stitching done!
This Broken Star Log Cabin quilt top (pattern from Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts) was made a few years back. My friend Debbie S. worked on one for herself, too, back when we used to stitch every other Monday at her house. With steady stitching from 10 to 12:30, then 1 to 3 pm, we could only get 6 blocks done per time. These are 4-inch blocks, people! Simple sewing but time intensive. A closer view:

I plan to machine quilt in the ditch between the 4-inch blocks. Then I'll decide if more stitching is needed. 

I also have another quilt which will get some simple hand quilting. This top was a block of the month from Quilts Plus in Kalamazoo, from quite a few years ago.  These are also 4-inch blocks. Debbie S. has one of these, too. I'm glad we stitched together, because we had to read the directions for each block a few times, and double check with each other so we were assured that we wouldn't goof up.
I'm anxious to have these finished and hanging in my living room.