Friday, January 22, 2016

Key West Butterflies

Does it count as a finished quilt if I don't have the binding sewn down yet? 
This is my butterflies quilt.  I finished the quilting, made the binding, and machine sewed it on yesterday, and will be sewing it down by hand this weekend.

(I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts today.  There's a link back at the end of the post.)

I call it Key West Butterflies because I appliqued a lot of these on a trip to Florida in 2014.  (I did a post about it called Back from Margaritaville)

Each butterfly is surrounded by a row of squares, cut from vintage fabrics.  Half of the butterflies are appliqued on white squares, and half are on blue.  They fly in different directions.

I think this orange one is my favorite.
I bought the butterflies on Ebay years ago.  They were just the butterfly shape, which had been cut out and embroidered, and the edges were basted under.  There were no backing squares.   Most of the fabrics in the butterflies are from the 1940s through the 1960s.
Here's the back!  Each of the 20 squares was quilted separately on the machine.  I used vintage fabrics for the backs and old fashioned cotton batting.

Most of the fabrics on the back are just vintage cottons, but a couple are from feedsacks.

This pink print with the enormous blueberries (?) was a skirt I bought in an antique store.

It's about time I finished this!  It has been languishing for months.
I'm looking forward to watching some PBS mysteries while I sew the binding down, and then get a label sewn on.
I'm having such a good start to this new year.  I hope you are too!

Back to Crazy Mom

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

With A Little Help From My Friends

This is my string quilt.  I made the top over a year ago (as described in this post).  It has bits and pieces of so many memories--quilts made and used, quilts given away, shopping trips with friends, scraps of fabric and time.   There are even 3 blocks in the quilt that were made by my friend Debbie for her own quilt.  She gave me the extras and lots of plaid scraps.
My cat and I are looking at it here.  I LOVE it!  (Mr. Biddy is also giving it his seal of approval.)
Here's the back of the quilt, made from orphan blocks and random fabrics.  My friend Joey and I made up the backing together, and Joey did the quilting.  Can you see it in this picture?  She did a Baptist fan over the whole top.  She does this freehand on her long arm.  It is amazing, and exactly what I was envisioning for this quilt.

I have since bound and labeled the quilt.  I can't stop running my hands across it.
Here's the label.  It's part of my New Years Resolution, to label the quilts I make this year.

Ties that Bind Quilters may remember this quilt.  Louanne S. led us in a mystery quilt, with one clue per month, in 2014.
I chose the spools fabric first (it was a Connecting Threads print), and then chose the other fabrics based on the colors in the print.  I really liked this quilt, even though these are not my usual colors.
But it didn't come to life until Joey quilted it!
Look at these beautiful feathers, done with variegated thread!
And check out how it turns the corner!  It is just so wonderful!
Both of these quilts would still be just tops, hanging in my sewing room closet, if it wasn't for Joey.  This is the first time anyone else has quilted anything for me, and I could not be happier.
I bound it in a bright green, and sewed on the label.  The quilting looks even better from the back!

Yesterday was a busy day, but it was also Martin Luther King Day, so I made time to work on a little quilt for charity.  (I think I'm going to try calling them "giving quilts" this year.)
I quilted and bound this baby quilt, all on the sewing machine.  The top was hanging in the closet, waiting for me.
I have made quilts in this pattern lots of times.  It's sort of my go-to pattern when I just want to sew something.  I call it Evelyn's Quilt, since I made it first for my granddaughter Evelyn. 
Click here to go to the free pattern.
I quilted a diagonal grid as well as a horizontal one.  My quilting is SAD compared to Joey's.
Here's the back of the quilt, a Winnie the Pooh print I got at a sale for $1.00 per yard.  I think I have enough to back at least one more quilt.

The redwork quilt sits on my kitchen table, where I can quilt whenever I have a few minutes between cooking and laundry, etc.  The masking tape is working out for quilting lines without having to mark them.
I'm hand quilting diagonal lines through each square.  When those are done I'll tackle the sashing and border.  The lines are 1 3/8 in. apart.

This is one of the best of the squares--a mule and two dogs.  The embroidery is mostly chain stitch.  Blue lines are visible on some of the blocks.  Either the original quilter bought the blocks ready-stamped or stamped her own with a transfer pattern.
I like this one, even though it is very simple.  I believe it was traced from a rooster cookie cutter.  I'll have to look for one of these the next time we go antiquing.

My life has really been enhanced by my quilting friends, and I bet yours has, too.  Let's remember to appreciate them this week.

Stay warm!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Grandma Loves Red

Maybe it's because this is the view today out my front window.

Maybe it's because I am a proud Indiana University alum (Class of 1976).

Maybe it's because I got this wonderful book, Infinite Variety:  Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts, for Christmas.

Whatever the reason, I have gone and done it again.  I made another red and white quilt.

It started out like this.  After the Allietare mystery quilt reveal, I was putting the red, cream, gray and black blocks together.  All those scattered pieces go to these blocks, which Bonnie named Echoes of Pisa. The other block (the star) is the main square, and the red ones were meant as alternate blocks.

But I really liked these blocks on their own!

What if I surrounded them with shirting print sashings and red cornerstones?

What if I added a 3-strip border?  With 9 patches in the corners?
So, here's the top.  It's not a big quilt.  It's not a show stopper, like Bonnie Hunter's Allietare.

It does brighten up the room!

The top's done, and now I have to contemplate the quilting.
(When I was well into setting this quilt together, I discovered this was the third quilt in less than 2 years that I have set in this exact way!  I might have some sort of a problem.  At least the borders are different on all 3 quilts.)

Meanwhile, I have some other quilting in mind.
It's a small redwork quilt, made from old blocks I bought at a flea market.  (Are you seeing a theme here?)  There were 24 blocks, and they cost 50 cents each.  I washed them in the sink, pressed and starched them, and chose the best 20 of the bunch.  I set them together with new fabric, which is as close to the old turkey red as I could find.

The squares are all hand-embroidered, mainly with farm animals, although there is a jack-o-lantern and a witch flying on a broomstick, among other things.
This one has a deadline.  I'd like to get it finished this month, one hundred years after it was started.  I'm hand basting it, because I'm going to hand quilt it.

I'm glad to bring some warm, bold color indoors in January in Wisconsin.
Stay warm, and stay in stitches.