Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tis the Season!

People around here often joke about the seasons (it's either that or cry).  We say there are two seasons in Wisconsin, winter and construction.  For quilters, there is quilt show season and everything else.  Quilt shows tend to start around here in the spring, taper off into summer, and get into full swing again in the fall.
The first show I usually go to each year is the Sun Prairie Quilt Show, usually held near the end of March or early in April.  Here's their web site:  Sun Prairie Quilt Show 
There are pictures on the web page of the winners for this year.
My friend Debbie lives in Madison, and we like to meet at the Sun Prairie show every year.  She makes beautifully colorful quilts (she's an artist), and one of the vendor booths always features these exquisite Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  They gave me permission to take pictures of them.
Aren't they amazing?  Any one of these would look good just framed on the wall.
This isn't really what I like to make, but I do love the inspiration.  Check out Kaffe Fassett's web site here:  Kaffe Fassett Studio 

The show itself was fun, but we're not allowed to post any pictures of the entries (of course).  I did take a couple of snap shots of the other vendors.
What do you think we did first?  Shopping, of course!
I bought a couple of yards of fabric for charity quilts (at $5.99 per yard), and picked up an old magazine on the free table.
Later we went to J. J. Stitches in downtown Sun Prairie, which is my favorite quilt shop on the planet.  It's just like walking back in time.  I went a little overboard on the repro fabrics.  I wasn't going to buy any more, except yardage to put together scrap quilts, but some of the deals were just too good.
Don't forget to support your local quilt shop.  We are so lucky to have them.

Next up:  The It's A Stitch Quilt Guild Show, May 3 and 4th, 2014.  That's next weekend!  Here's a link to their web page for all the details:  It's A Stitch Quilt Guild Show
Tis the season!  Hurray!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Historical Fiction

I love antique quilts.  I have inherited a few, mostly from the 1930s through the 1960s.  I bought a few (well, maybe more than a few!), plus lots of blocks and pieces to finish into quilts.  And since the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, I have made more than a few reproduction quilts.  This is not really one of them.
This block is called Antique Tile.  I chose it for a couple of reasons.  It was simple and fast to piece, but most importantly I could use up some of the dark strips in my 2.5 in. strip drawer.  There are a lot more dark fabrics in the quilt than light, which is good because I'm getting low on light 2.5 in. strips.  It also uses a dark 4.5 in. square in the center, and since I had a box of squares and strips that size I could use some of them up.
It might look like a reproduction quilt.  After all, the block is an old one, and the fabrics are all reproduction fabrics.  The two blocks in the bottom row above give the game away.
When I make a reproduction quilt, I do my homework.  I go through books, pouring over color pictures of quilts from the intended time period.  I read again which fabrics were produced then.  I choose blocks quilters of the time might easily have chosen.  I choose my setting and backing based on history.
I want my reproduction quilts to look like old quilts.  I want them to look like antiques from across the room.  Close up, the viewer will see the machine quilting, and hopefully the label or inked signature and date on the back.  There might even be a piece of fabric from our time period hiding in with the repros.  (For quite a long time I used the fabrics printed with the year 2000.  Sadly I'm about out of those.)
Those two blocks above show why this is not a true reproduction.  The brown one on the left has fabrics that replicate those from the 1840s-1860s.  The blue one on right has fabrics imitating those from the 1890s-1900.  Even though I've seen quilts that contain scraps from several decades together, they would probably not be quite like this.  Also, the set is a fabric from a Civil War line.  Usually, if the blocks span a wide range of time, the setting fabric is from the newest time, not the oldest.
So this kind of quilt is more like historical fiction than history.  There's nothing wrong with that!  I like the look of it, it was fun to make, and I did use up a few strips.
I used to read a lot of historical fiction.  The best of it can make you feel like you really lived long ago. 

Here's the pattern for Antique Tile.  This makes a 12 in. finished block.
This is the finished block.
Here you can see all the pieces.  I suppose you could strip piece these, but I just cut them separately.

Cutting directions:
For each block, I chose three colors--the main color, the light, and the corner color.  For the main color, I used three prints in that color.  In the block above, the main color is indigo blue.  The center square, the small squares, and the outside rectangles are each a different print of indigo blue (the center might look gray in this picture, but it's really blue.)    The light rectangles in my blocks are mostly shirting fabrics.  The corner color is a contrast to the main color.
1 center square in the main color, print #1, 4.5 in x 4.5 in.
4 light rectangles, 2.5 in. x 4.5 in.
4 main color squares, print #2, 2.5 in. x 2.5 in.
4 main color rectangles, print #3,  2.5 in. x 4.5 in.
4 corner color rectangles, 2.5 in. x 4.5 in.
4 corner color squares, 2.5 in. x 2.5 in.

Here's how I sewed them together.  You could also sew them in strips, top to bottom.
I made the block like a nine patch.
First I sewed the light and dark rectangles together.  There are 4 sets of these.

Next I sewed the small squares together.  Then I added the corner rectangles to them.

Now all the sections were sewn, so I assembled them into a nine patch.  Really easy.
And there you go!

If you're wondering why it's still in 3 pieces, it's because that's how I'm going to quilt it.  I managed to get it layered and spray basted yesterday.  Maybe I'll get started on the quilting today.

May all your days be pieceful.