Monday, November 14, 2016

Vintage Scrap Lone Star


It all started in 2013, when Quiltdiva Julie sent me a box of crazy pieced vintage blocks.



There were 24 in all, and they came from a quilt top she'd bought on Ebay.
The seller said it came from Ohio.



I had saved this photo on my computer screen for some years before that.  
I don't remember the source, but it became my inspiration.



I sewed the blocks together and cut out the diamond shapes for the star.  
There were just enough leftover for the border.  



Then I bought some embroidery floss.



I learned a few stitches, and embroidered all the seams.



Eventually, it was ready for a background.
I picked this spring green solid, because it was the only thing that seemed to work.
I wasn't excited about the color, but thought I'd get over it.
Well, I didn't.  I just didn't like all that green!



I decided to remove it and find another background.
Several hours of stitch-picking later, I was ready for auditions.
I tried practically everything I had on the shelf.  
Here are just a few.


Too light


Too dark


Too brown


Too bright


Too busy


Too gray

A few dear friends suffered with me and my auditions for WEEKS!


Then I went to the Houston Quilt Festival and found what I was looking for!
It's one of the new woven plaids from Kaffe Fassett.
The top is about 87" square, plenty big for a queen size bed.
I finished it last week.




THEN, just yesterday, I went to the Farmer's Market, like I do every Sunday.
The woman farmer I always buy from gave me this!



She said her great-grandmother had made it from old family clothes.
What a treasure!  I tried to talk her out of giving it away.
But she said she had no room for it.  
So I gladly brought it home.  



While Julie's was sewn in blocks and not yet embroidered,
this one was sewn all on one sheet with embroidery.

Now I have TWO vintage scrap tops to quilt and to love!

News just in:  

Bill Volckening found where the original inspiration quilt came from.
The quilt was shown in the European Patchwork show in France in 2012.  

Katell Renon's quilt group in France was also inspired by the original.
They made a beauty!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"Spare Parts"

"Spare Parts"  87" x 87"
I finished this quilt top recently.  It's all made from "orphan" blocks,
(meaning parts that didn't make it into other quilts.) 
It was on my design wall for three solid months, finding it's way to completion.



It all started out as an attempt to use all my orphan blocks that fit into 
 this color range.  
The baskets are from Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran's book,
Collaborate Again.



They seemed to need a border, so I pulled out some sawtooth strips from
a block exchange I participated in years ago.  



What next?  I had some words I'd made from Tonya Ricucci's book,
Word Play Quilts.  
"Moderation" fit the color scheme, but I saved it for another day.  
Besides, the word "moderation" in this mess seemed a little TOO ironic!



I loved those green and white fans all lined up, and the Freddy chickens. 
But something wasn't right.
The fans are extras from my "Eyelashes" quilt. 



So I took them out, and added more spools and simple log cabin blocks.
You can find the spools and basket quilts here.
Better, but...




Still, something was not quite right.
At least I found a home for some of the fans.




I realized it needed a little calming down, so I added solid red.
I had lots of string pieced leaves, cut out years ago, 
and some extra basket handles for the vines.



A couple of weekend road trips, and the leaves were appliqued on.



Now, if I just made it a little bigger, it would fit nicely on a queen size bed.
Ah-hah!  I had lots of leftover blocks from the



Ta da!
And I still have plenty of spare parts leftover for a rainy day.
Good thing.  We're having lots of rainy days around here.  





Sunday, October 9, 2016

Organized Chaos

Here's my version of Sujata Shah's wonderful pattern,
"Organized Chaos."  
It's a joy to make, and a great way to use scraps.



The color scheme started with this home decorator fabric.  
A friend and I took on the challenge to make a quilt with it.
I thought I might use it as the border. 
In the end, both the fabric and the quilt shouted, "No!"




I quilted it with wool batting, and stitched in the ditch along the outside edge of each block. 
Then I added perle cotton 8 details.


Keeping with the scrappy theme, the back is a hodgepodge of large scraps.



You can purchase the pattern at Sujata's etsy shop here.



Meanwhile, I was fooling around with some "orphan" blocks. 



And the challenge fabric found it's home!  

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Playing with Plaids

I've been having fun with plaids, and finished this quilt top recently. 


"Plaids II" 58" x 76"



It's inspired by a quilt I've long admired, a 1930's quilt in Roberta Horton's collection.
It's shown in her book, "Scrap Quilts, The Art of Making Do."




All the plaids came from my stash, mostly shirts from the thrift store.



I made another quilt out of shirt plaids in 2013.




Earlier this summer, I received these wonderful madras plaids
from Beth in Houston.  
They came along with an adorable little pouch she'd made from a shirt cuff! 





I've also been cutting up my husband's old shirts.

Looks like there are more plaid quilts in my future!


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Back to front binding tutorial

Since some of you asked, here's a tutorial on how I do a back to front binding--
that is, using your backing fabric as your binding.  


I got the idea from the Gee's Bend quilts.  
Mine is done a little differently than theirs, 
but it serves the same purpose.
I can hear the Gee's Bend gals saying,
"Why cut off good fabric when you can bring it around to the front?"   



I'll also show you what Gwen Marston taught us about 
making an extra wide binding, 
which is sometimes a good design element.   



If you want an extra wide binding, 
start by cutting your batting bigger than your quilt top.
I do this with scissors, so I don't cut into the backing fabric.
It's OK if the cutting line isn't perfectly straight. 
I made mine 1/2" bigger.

If you don't want the wider binding, 
just cut your batting to the edge of the quilt top. 
Scissors are still a good idea.



Next, cut the backing fabric.
I lined up my ruler with the quilt top edge, rather than the batting edge.
I cut the backing fabric 1-1/2" bigger than the top.



Then fold over and iron the edges on two opposite sides of the quilt.



If you want mitered corners,
 fold the fabric diagonally UP TO THE BATTING EDGE.  
Then fold and iron the other two sides of the quilt.




The corners will fall into place nicely.  Pin if you like.  
Stitch around the edge of the whole quilt by machine or by hand.




Voila!  Here's how it looks on the back.  
After cutting, this binding took less than an hour to complete!