Sunday, January 18, 2015

Progress is Being Made!

In November of 2013 I posted about my current leader/ender project, Bow-dacious, which is found in Bonnie Hunter’s book, Adventures with Leaders & Enders.  My update report:  Progress is being made!
I have finally turned all my prep work of paired up colors into 8 colors of scrappy bow ties and on January 17th I finally sewed the last set of 4 bow ties into a block. 56 blocks later I am ready to choose a color for the sashing that connects the blocks.

Finished blocks!
I will back up here for a minute and tell you about the sashing that connects four bow ties.  I looked at the picture in the book to see what color she sashed her bow tie blocks with.  Bonnie used a wonderful white and pink small check which reads pink to me and I dug through my shirts to find a pink one to use because I liked the look with the pink. (Tammy, stop laughing!) I used every bit of one men’s shirt to get all the pieces I needed. I had to piece 30 sashing strips and kept every bit of scrap I had left after cutting to make sure I did not come up one short.
All that is left from shirt!
One of Bonnie’s delights is to use things up.  She incorporates a lot of old 100% cotton men’s shirts in her works.  I have some in a tub or two which patiently wait for me to become as prolific as Bonnie and I even stopped taking the buttons off of them as I realize they will probably better serve mankind as shirts and I will give them back to Goodwill one day. Laura made a plethora of greeting cards with the buttons I did manage to take off shirts.

Sampling of Laura's blank cards
Back to my progress report; the blocks are amazing.  I had no trouble getting the variety of scrap 1 ½’ strips to do the job with.  I outlined this part of the block building in my earlier post, Weekend Warrior of Sewing.

Current leader/ender project in a box
This has been my only leader/ender project for this entire 14 months.  I am always prepared with a leader/ender project to sew off with and have already started using my next project which is pairing up 2 ½” squares with off-white muslin, the first step in making 9 patch units for a future quilt.
The Bow-dacious project is being done in tandem with my friend, Pattie.  She has gone off on her own tangent of recreating, redesigning and rethinking her color palette and is a little behind. I’m not sure what size her quilt will be, and it may even be two quilts.
Dark brown sashing choice
I have found a brown that is suitable for the final sashing and before the day is done I will cut the pieces so I can begin the last step in construction.  Now I just have to wait for Laura go get home from her overnight with her little school chum so she can crawl around on the floor and lay out the blocks for me.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 New Year Resolution

Make Me Pretty!

Old quilt tops speak to me.  I buy them as easily as I buy fabric to sew my own quilt tops with.  The words that flow into my head when I see a top vary, but nonetheless I am compelled to buy it.  I feel they have the voices of the makers speaking through them.  Many of the tops I have gathered are from estate sales, the unfinished works of someone’s love of quilting sold on eBay or at antique shops.  Unfinished works from days gone by that say to me; Make me pretty!

I want to make them shine! I want to feel like the person who made this quilt is poking their best friend in the arm when I finish each one and say with clapping hands, “I knew someone would find that worth finishing.”  Over the years I have quilted a lot of quilts I endearingly call ‘rescues’.  I have many hanging in my studio.  4 tubs of them under a table that go on tour with me when someone wants a dog and pony show about quilts and many more have found homes with various people who love old things as much as I do.

My New Year’s resolution this year is to try to finish the tops I have in my showcase.  I also want to work in the tops of mine that I am constantly piecing.  I try to schedule time on my quilt calendar to do my own stuff, but things happen and I fall behind.  Last year was heath issues that made walking difficult and keeping up with my client’s quilts was my top priority.  I did a fine job getting everything done. The only glitch was the 2 week Christmas vacation I had scheduled for myself and intended to do my own quilting got sucked up by a customer quilt that the maker did not understand that a 100” x 100” custom quilt could not be done in 2 of 4 days she had scheduled to do 3 quilts in and I graciously said I would do it on my 2 weeks off, never realizing it would eat up 10 of my 14 days. Imagine a giant sigh escaping my lips.
Make me Pretty 

I finished her quilt and still had a few days to relax.  I opened up a box of tops I have waiting and pulled out this gem of a quilt.  It is 68” x 74” unbordered  9 -patch blocks set with squares of off white muslin. Some of the blocks are hand-pieced, all of the fabric is old, probably from the late 30’s. This is a charming quilt that spoke almost out loud Make Me Pretty! The muslin is coarsely woven but sturdy, perfect to showcase quilting stitches.
Someone besides me is happy about this outcome

even the back is pretty!

found perfect fabric for binding in stash!

In the back of my mind is more of a plan about what I want these quilts to do when finished, but I will save that plan for a day when I realize I can actually quilt for my clients, go to physical therapy twice a week to keep on walking AND finish up the ginormous number of quilts I have stashed in all the nooks and crannies.  I am not getting any younger!
sampling of feed sack, old 30's green and fabrics we see today as reproductions