Thursday, March 20, 2014

More Stories in the Stitches

We held our March documentation day at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts last Saturday, which just happened to be International Quilting Day.  As always, we met wonderful quilt owners who shared their family quilts and auction finds with us.  I'm sharing just a few of them here with you.

The quilt above is called The Lady's Dream, and was offered as a pattern and a kit by Mrs. Scioto Danner long ago.  This one was made for the wedding of the current owner's parents.  It has been used only for "best" and is in very nice condition.

Here's a quilt made for the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial in 1998.  The ladies continue to use it to help 4th graders learn about Wisconsin history.
One of my favorite blocks in the quilt!
This scrap quilt from the 1950s (check out the chartreuse sashing!) has some interesting borders.  They are almost identical in each corner.

A beautiful basket quilt from around the turn of the 20th Century.  We loved all the great old fabrics and especially the fan quilting.

These old ribbons always make my heart beat faster.  This one celebrates the 18th Annual Encampment of the G. A. R., Dept. of New York, in Rochester, N. Y. in 1884.  The G.A.R. was a veterans' organization of Union Civil War soldiers.  It was found on a crazy quilt.

One of our volunteers owns this pristine beauty.  Here's one I'd like to try my hand at.  And what amazing colors!

I need your help with this one!  Try as we might, we could not figure out the pattern.
Here's a close up.  Are we missing something here, or is this an original pattern dreamed up by the maker?

One of the great things we are seeing now are LABELS.  Quilters are putting labels on their quilts!  Here are 3 we saw on Saturday:

A big thank you goes out to all the volunteers who worked so hard and carefully, entering the information, measuring, taking photos, and sewing on our labels.  Another big thank you goes to the quilt owners, who took their time to bring the quilts, and to preserve them and their stories.
All of the information will be entered into the Quilt Index online as we get time.  So none of the stories will be lost.
That reminds me, I need to label that quilt I finished the other day.

Here are some of our volunteers, hard at work, with the owner looking on.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Satisfaction Guaranteed

I finished a quilt yesterday.  You might remember it.  I wrote about piecing it last September (and gave the pattern), in this post:  Feed Sack Challenge  and also wrote about quilting the blocks in this post Flying Feedsack Squares .

It was a lot of fun to piece, and quilting the blocks one by one was fun, too, and really easy.  The thing that slowed me down was making time to hand sew the backs of the rows together.  I'm not sure why I procrastinate on that.  I like handwork.  I guess I'm not always in the mood for it.

Here's what it looks like laid out flat.  There are 7 rows of 6 blocks each.
Everything in this quilt besides the batting is made from feed sacks or flour sacks.  All of these came from my collection/stash.  Sadly I did not even make a dent in it.

Here's a corner.  The border feedsack was one of the first ones I ever bought.  I had three of this print.  I used one whole sack and part of the second one.  The binding is a dark blue print feed sack.

Here's a hint of the back.

This is the back laid out flat.  I used mostly white flour sacks for the back.  I cut out the squares and added them randomly when I was quilting.  I had to cut around holes and stains (although I left a few small stains).
Here's good old Gold Medal Flour, and Pillsbury, some of the few brands that are still around.

Doughboy flour has part of the lady's head on one block and part on another.  There's also a bag from Greensboro, Indiana, called Defender.

This one puzzled me a little--Emergency Flour?  I looked it up, and found out it dates to the end of World War II.  President Truman used an executive order to change the consistency of flour, so there would be more flour to send to the devastated countries of Europe.  There are even recipes online for how to use it.  This mill was in Evansville, Indiana, my mother's home town.
This flour bag came with a printed Humpty Dumpty toy, for the housewife to make for her child.  I decided I'd rather preserve it in a quilt.

Several of these bags had this message, but none proclaimed them as emphatically: Satisfaction Guaranteed.

The flour these bags held is long gone.  So are the cakes, pies, loaves of bread, cookies, biscuits, and whatever else was baked from it.

As I run my hand across the quilt, or wrap it around me for a nap, I am very grateful these cloth artifacts survived, and happy I could give them a new home in a new/old quilt.

Quilting?  Satisfaction guaranteed.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Back from Margaritaville

 This is the sunset, taken from the pier in Key West, Florida.  I can't believe I was there just over a week ago.
My mom and I flew down and visited family.  We didn't get to see everybody, sadly, but we had a good visit and a break from the wintry weather back home.
I took along some handwork, and I was glad I did.  It helped pass the time in the airports.  The butterfly above was appliqued at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, while waiting on a flight to Orlando.
I have had this project for a long time.  I bought the butterflies on Ebay.  Not only were they cut out, the edges were basted, ready for applique, and the black embroidery was done.
I finished this one in the Key West Airport, waiting for my flight back home.  You might be able to see the pencil lines on it, outlining the head and body and separating the wings.  I think these are quilting lines.
I didn't have to take a lot of equipment with me to work on these blocks--just the butterflies, the cut squares, white thread, needles, and a child's pair of scissors (TSA even let me get on the plane with them).  I used white thread because that's how these were typically done back in the day.  Plus a lot of these fabrics have a white background or are multicolored.  It saved having to bring all sorts of colors of thread.

I laid them out on the bed in our hotel room.  Half of the blocks are appliqued to a cream colored square, and the other half are on blue.  BTW, this is the same blue fabric my husband used for his display case at the library.  He'll have to use a different one next time!
Judging from the fabrics, the butterflies were probably cut out in the 1950s or 1960s.  There are some really interesting old prints here.  There are only 2 repeats:  the red gingham and the yellow gingham.  All the blocks are cotton, no poly.
I will probably set them like this, alternating blue and white and with the butterflies oriented as you can see.  I am thinking about adding some scraps for sashing, though.  I do have a big bag of 50s-60s scraps.

Speaking of scraps, I actually BOUGHT some.  Again.  Why are other people's scraps so much more interesting than my own?  I have had a lot of fun with Debbie's scraps, I bought a scrap bag at a quilt shop we visited near Madison, and now I've bought one closer to home.

This one came from Ye Olde Schoolhouse in Cedarburg.  I had to drop by the museum the other day (the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts:  Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts) to pick up some files, so I stopped by Ye Olde Schoolhouse, which is just around the corner.  Here's their web page:  Ye Olde Schoolhouse Quilt Shop
I bought some sale fabrics for sashing and borders, a new book, some not-on-sale fabrics, and this scrap bag, which was absolutely stuffed with beautiful fabric.  The pieces range from small squares to full width of fabric strips.
I stacked it up here.  It was kind of unbelievable how much I got for $10.  If you love reproduction fabrics and need some more scraps (NEED??? Hahaha) this is a great deal.  I wonder if you could make a whole quilt top from a scrap bag.  Hmm...that might make an interesting challenge.
Things are warming up around here, making me start to believe in spring, but I'm sure winter has a few surprises still in store for us.  For now, I'm going to keep calm and keep sewing.