Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Week Five of the Civil War Blocks

This one is called Kansas Troubles. This is a block that encourages accurate sewing and seam allowances.

I decided not to go with "merely" three fabrics after reading the suggestion on BB's blog to look at the quilts made with this block pattern as shown in her book "Civil War Women". And there are a couple in there that use a totally scrappy look so I thought that might make it a little more interesting. What it did was make it a little more challenging as I had to keep things in the right order as well as watching the direction of the triangles.

In case you might be interested I also took a shot of my chinese laundry of fabrics that I had lined up to choose from - these were the ones not selected:

Now I guess I better go fold all that fabric and put it away until next week. Another thing I need to do is learn to hold the camera square on to the block so my blocks will not look as though they are out of square. This one does measure a perfect 8 1/2" unfinished - altho I can't use the same adjective for all the points. Oh well. It's done.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Winning Evening

Last night was the speaker meeting for the quilt chapter I belong to. The previous meeting had been canceled because of inclement weather (as they politely say) so we had lots to get through on the agenda with a quick go round of business before settling in to listen to the speaker.

Remember those Northwinds and Tree blocks I was making for our BOM and showed you a few posts back? I won back the collection of the Northwinds blocks. This caused some merriment as they all know I am the green afficianado and I got the blue blocks while two others won the small green tree blocks. All good fun and these can go rest in my cupboard for a while until I feel I need to work on a WIP as it certainly does not qualify as a PhD!

Scattered next to the blocks are more triangles that I had cut so I'll store them along with the blocks ready to make some more.

Our speaker was Mary Kerr who gave a presentation on her "Vintage Revisited" project that she initiated with a group of 19 quilters beginning in 2006. I have seen many of the resulting 120 quilts since seeing the first ones on display at a quilt show in 2008 and have been harboring a desire to do something similar. At a flea market/antique show I go to now and then I have been searching out collections of old blocks for this purpose. When I put forward this idea to my international group of quilters a couple of years back they were not enthusiastic and I was disappointed but I carried my set of old blocks home again and put them in the cupboard.

Mary's talk was well received and the meeting finished later than usual as there was quite a buzz among the audience about what they had seen. So I was quite delighted when two friends came up to me as we were clearing up and said "hey Dorry, do you still have those blocks? We'd do this with you." Another friend nearby, hearing this chimed in that she'd want to do it also. And as soon as I got home I emailed another friend who has been waiting to do this with me also and let her have the good news. Hooray, I have the beginnings of another new project! It will be a few months before we start as I need to gather my thoughts and my potential group.

If you are wondering what this is all about go to Mary's webpage and read all about what she did.

It was a great meeting for a cold January night - I won some blocks and got another project idea off the ground. No comments please on whether I actually need two more projects!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

About the week 4 block Texas Tears

I was reading the comments on the BB Civil War block this morning and noticing that several people commented on the challenges of making that block. There was also a comment from one reader about the difference between the block BB originally showed at the top of the Saturday post and the one further down - the reader says there were small differences and BB must have agreed because she has removed the original first picture of the block.

Yesterday I had taken out my copy of Jinny Beyer's "Quilters Album of Patchwork Patterns" intending to look for this block but did not get to it. However, this afternoon I did and I see that Jinny shows several similar blocks. The one that looks the most like the week 4 block is called "Crowned Cross" or "Four T's" and is credited to Nancy Page in 1938. The block that Jinny shows as being named "Texas Tears" does not have the T imagery.

And that's okay. A lot of quilt blocks have different names often particular to one geographical area. It is interesting (to me anyway) to find out about the history of a block and, sometimes, to give it some new history. That is what I am doing by making my "Civil War Quilt" not in fabrics that go with the era but colors that were integral to the war.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Week 4 of the Civil War Blocks

Yes, well this block, named as Texas Tears by Barbara Brackman, was not without it's challenge. The construction was done in an unusual manner - trimming off the points before the stitching likely would have helped but I did not really want to calculate how to do that and mess up as I was away from home while stitching the block.

Perhaps I should have waited until tomorrow and tidied up the loose threads (including that red thread in the middle area - I have no idea where that migrated from) but since it was done today I decided to go ahead and post it.

This evening I was sewing with my friends again and I am happy to discover that I have got someone else interested in joining in on this project.

I'm also enjoying reading the comments that others leave on BB's blog along with looking at the flickr photos posted. What is especially intriguing is how this project has quilters from around the world joining in. Have you begun to read the side bar notes (on the BB Civil War blog) on what styles of fabrics belong in a Civil War scrapbag? It will be fun to see if I can use those styles of pattern without using reproduction fabrics.

I'm looking forward to seeing the progress others have made.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sorting through the Collection

Yesterday was an icy day but I needed a particular piece of fabric for my project. Traffic reports said there was a lot of ice and slush out there and only to go out if you have to. So I thought I should drag the entire batik collection out of my cupboard and see if I might be able to find what I needed there. No such luck. All I found was that I have a lot of batik fabrics that need using! Before just pushing it all back in I thought I should sort and restack it. Trying to decide which color family some of those batiks belong in was not easy. And this lead me to wonder about how other quilters sort and store their fabric collections.

Here is the newly sorted and stacked batik collection. I really do need to make a quilt in the blue family don't I? And I better not get distracted about the solids which live on the lower shelf because that is in need of tidying too.

A while ago I decided that it would be a good idea to store all the stripes and the spots in one place rather than in the color family where they had previously resided. I do still come across more stripes and spots living on their color shelf and in need of relocation. I'm finding it easier to use those stripes and spots now they are all together even if the shelves are not photo ready all the time. And there is a lot more space for more to be added. Of course the overflow from the green cupboard would then have to be dealt with.

So I drove to the quilt shop anyway. The worst part of the trip was my own icy driveway and after that the roads were not a problem. The fabric I needed was for the centers of the blue morning glory flowers on the left in this progress photo below.

How do you sort and store your fabric collection?

And have you guessed the name of my project?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Week 3 of the Civil War blocks

This block for the Barbara Brackman Civil War block of the week gave me angst. While I plodded on with it I was thinking of a variety of words I could use for the title of this posting. Would it be "on a dark night, without my glasses" or "phew, done" or "I won't let it beat me" or "and now for the practice block".

But now it is done, I just want to post it and put it away.

My first angst area was in choosing the fabrics. Only two needed you say? Yes, but with my chosen color scheme of blue and grey and this being a Confederate block I couldn't do it in blue totally. Friends who are not doing this BOW "helped" me by researching the flag. And we found the Bonnie Blue and all suceeding flags had white stars on a blue ground. In trying to fit this with what I have already done we decided that I could reverse my previous blocks and use the very pale grey fabric that had been used as the background for the foreground, or stars, this time. Then I took a blue, white and grey stripe as the background thus making more or less, white stars on a blue ground.

Then there was the layout angst. Should all the stars stand up straight on two legs? They don't in the picture given on BB's blog. In the flags they don't stand exactly straight but they are very regular in how they stand. I cut my stars out and laid them on the background wanting them to stand straight. But when I achieved that I discovered points of adjacent stars might touch or, worse, they might end up in the seam allowance. So topsy turvy any which way is how they ended up.

And finally the stitching angst. My eyes would be concentrating so hard on laying that stitch tight to the edge that I would sometimes forget to change the length of the in bite. Oh dear.

But finally I got all seven stitched down and cut the thread and decided "done" was as good as this block is going to get.

Here it is, the Seven Sisters block.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Today's Conundrums

Oh, the 7 Sisters block has me a little flummoxed while I try to figure out what fabrics I want to use.

In the meantime here is another work in progress project that I am at the pondering stage with:

The bird house will have a pole and the morning glory flowers on the left will likely have centers and maybe even some leaves. But my bigger question was if I have enough flowers. Since I took the photo I thought that perhaps I could have a clematis vine climbing up the birdhouse post and then taking off to the right with a purple clematis flower in the space above the brown-eyed susan flowers.

Briefly, let me give you the background story of this quilt. It is for our President's Challenge this year. The challenge is called Color My Quilt with Song. We each chose a brown bag which had the title of a song on the outside - all the song titles had a color word in them. Inside the bag were two fat quarters some of which have to be used in the quilt. Something musical has to appear on the quilt, the songtitle/lyrics/singer/band can be used for inspiration and the color in the song title has to be the focal color of the quilt.

So, will I make you guess my title?

In return you can offer your opinions of how many more flowers I might need. I was trying to make them flowers that are found in my garden.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday Sewing

My quilt "guild" tries to have one full Saturday a month where we can get together and sew our own projects. We use a meeting room at an area library and we can sew from 10am thru till about 6pm although you can come and go when you want.

Today was one of those days. Last night there was the potential for snow overnight and into this morning. I really really wanted to get out and sew with my friends so decided to use some reverse psychology and not get everything fully packed and ready last night. It worked and there was only a light dusting of snow so after I finished packing up my machine and fabrics this morning off I went.

For me, it was a productive day and I got four block of the months sewn (with more cut out) as well as the week two civil war block. Of course I also got lots of chatting done.

Our December Block of the Month (to be handed in at the first meeting next week) was this little (4" finished) paper foundation pieced tree. Everyone knows that green is my favorite so of course I could not make just the one. I have foundations printed to make a few more if I have the time before Tuesday night.

And this is the block for January. It is an 8" finished block named North Winds. I have lots more of the small triangles cut out so perhaps at the Friday Bee this week I'll get some more of these blocks sewn.

For this year the way our BOM works is that a block pattern is chosen and posted each month. Color choices are noted. Anyone who wants can make one or more blocks and bring them along to the meeting. Then we have a draw and one person goes home with the pile of all the blocks. (In the happy circumstance that we would have lots and lots of blocks there might be more than one winner).Jane, the member who is in charge of BOM this year, is trying to use it as a teaching experience. Each month she chooses a different construction style; e.g. December was paper foundation piecing, January is about sewing together triangles that have the points cut off (to help with lining up).

I also intended to make a couple more of the blocks for our March Retreat but I did not get to those. I guess I can put that fabric in the bag to work on at the Friday Bee too.

Do you have a BOM in your quilt group?


Week Two of the Civil War Quilt Blocks

This morning, as promised, Barbara Brackman posted her week two block on her page. The block is an old favorite of quilters; for this situation Barbara has called it the North Star.

As my plan for the day was to go to my quilt group's Saturday Sewing I was all set with my fabrics to chose from to make the block while there. Off I went and, for me, my day was quite productive. I got my week two Civil War block sewn. Once I got home again I was looking at the BB blog again and in one of the blocks already shown I recognised a fabric as one I also have and thought, oh, maybe I could have used that fabric. So I made another block. I'll figure out which one to use later on.

One of the center fabrics has words on it that you might be able to read, but if not the words include: Freedom, Victory, Life, Happiness, Liberty. I thought those words would all be apt.

I'm also enjoying using the grey fabrics as they remind me of a quilt top I made a few summers ago for Cheryl. I needed a selection of grey fabrics to represent all the rocks that appear on her property so I made a concerted effort to expand the grey section in my fabric collection.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Week One of the Civil War Quilt

I decided that to be in on this project I did not want to go out and buy more fabric. There exists a large amount of civil war reproduction fabrics but they are not well represented in my collection.

(side note, I used to say I had a stash but I read that I should recalibrate my thinking - what I have is a collection, something to be proud of and something to be used. Stash has connotations of something that needs to be hidden away but my fabric is crying out "use me". And so I shall do just that.)

My thinking is to make my blocks using fabrics from the blue and grey color families to represent the colors of the uniforms of both sides in the war. Being neither born into a Confederate or a Union family and having lived in both New Jersey and Virginia I sit neatly on the fence.

So blue and grey it shall be.

Here is my week one block "Catch Me If You Can".


Inaugural posting

I have been a quilter for a very long time and in the past many months have contemplated joining with the multitude of quilters worldwide who have their very own blog.

My thinking is to post photos of and words about : ideas for projects, blocks I make, quilt tops in progress, or even - gasp - finish, links to other quilting sites, quilt books I read, events in my quilting world both near and far...or whatever I think fits my header.

The impetus to do this was my invitation to my international round robin friends to join with me in making the Civil War blocks as posted on quilt historian Barbara Brackman's blog

Surprisingly, several of my robin friends are going to join with me in making a block a week. I'm going to post photos here of my blocks and I hope they will come visit. Perhaps there will be other readers who are also following along with this year long project, find this blog and add in their comments.

But, I hasten to add, I don't want to limit this to only the Civil War blocks. Let the cuttings fall where they may and may all scraps be useful!

Kia Ora to each and every one of you!