Monday, November 17, 2014

"November"

You remember that poem about November by Thomas Hood?  Part of it goes like this:
No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon -
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! -
November! 
Indeed, Thomas Hood got it right.  But I think this November isn't interested in following the pattern of previous Novembers.  This year November 17 has given us snow!

This is what I saw when I looked out our upstairs hallway window this morning.  There are times in winter when the snow-covered roof blends into a white sky.  It's not winter yet, but that's what happened today.

I love the view from this window.  In spring I see cherry blossoms against blue sky; in summer, green leaves, blue sky, and a brick-colored roof; and in autumn, bronze leaves against a blue or grey sky.  But now... snow.  With this early snow and such cold weather I wonder what December, January, and February will be like.  I'm in for quilting!

I hope you are staying warm!

--Nancy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Beginning to Play

These blocks have been sitting on a cupboard nearly always in view when I'm sewing, cutting, or quilting.  Since I have the strings quilt well underway, I thought I'd put these up and play with possibilities.

No sashing, no corner blocks:
Red Wings with Stars scrap quilt

No sashing, two red corner blocks:
Red Wings with Stars blocks for scrap quilt

Several different sashing possibilities, 1 medium corner block (and a bunch of tape!):
Red Wings with Stars blocks for scrap quilt
I think the color of the sashing on the left makes the quilt look very peaceful and calm.  But maybe it's boring, too.  Below is a red corner block which I like less than the tan, above.

Same sashing as above with red corner block:
Red Wings with Stars blocks for scrap quilt

Other possibilities I might try
  • black, dark brown, dark green sashing with light stars in the corners
  • dark sashing with solid light corner blocks
  • medium sashing with white stars
  • medium sashing with light corner blocks
  • light sashing with red, medium, or dark corner blocks
  • narrow, medium, or wide sashing

On the other hand, maybe no sashing would be perfect.  I just saw photographs here and here of all the blocks together.  Hmmm.  So many possibilities.

I love this part of quilting, the playing with fabrics, patterns, colors.  It takes me a while to make a decision about what I think works for the quilt but for me it's all part of the process.  It has to be since I never use a pattern for a quilt!

I have 41 of the blocks above.  They finish at 9½".  There are 15 with really light backgrounds and 26 with slightly darker backgrounds.  I don't know if I'll put them all together or make some more of the light or the dark ones.  It's all just "let's see what works" right now.

The string quilt looks like this right now:
quilt blocks for Dark Strings scrap quilt
All the corners are sewn.  They are in the process of being trimmed.  Then I'll lay them out, sew them, and decide about a border.  I was thinking a red inner border with an outer border of shorter string blocks, but maybe I'll use an inner border the same color as the corners.

My mind's eye is often fuzzy and inaccurate.  It's better if I actually see things with my real eyes than try to imagine them.

I'm linking this post to
Design Wall at Patchwork Times,
WOW at Esther's Blog, and
WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.
Thank you, ladies, for hosting.  I appreciate it.

Best wishes for a great day!
--Nancy.
 .

Monday, November 3, 2014

Auction Lady and the Babies

I saw this lady doll at a recent auction.  She is the most unusual doll I have ever seen.  She was positively plump.  I don't know when she was made but from her appearance I think she represented an older lady wearing a corset in the early 1900s.  The home where she "lived" was that of an older German lady who had many other late-1800s and early 1900s possessions.

The photo below is a little blurry but you can see how the fabric of her head was stitched.  I wish I'd taken more photos.  There was a crowd around that end of the table and it was hard to get close, let alone pick her up and examine her.

There were several boxes of babies, varying in age and style.

I was talking with two collectors and one of them commented that the stiff-body dolls with moveable arms are a dime a dozen. He said, "I have so many of those.  Nobody wants them.  I can't give them away!"  My unusually quick retort was, "You could give one to me."  We both laughed.




I don't know how much any of them sold for.  Had I been close by and had the bidding been low I would have been very tempted to bid.  I love old dolls.

I hope you're having a beautiful autumn if you're in the northern hemisphere, or a beautiful spring if you're in the southern.

--Nancy.
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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Baptist Fans by Hand

The hand quilting is finished.  Hurray!  It took about 5 months to quilt but there were days I didn't stitch and days I stitched very little.  Some days I stitched a fan or two.  I wasn't rushing to get it done.

I've never seen Baptist Fan quilting in person.  I've seen drawings of the pattern in books and online but they never say how far apart the quilting lines in the fans should be.  Or how many lines per fan there should be.  Without a frame of reference I chose to make these between an inch and an inch-and-a-half apart with 5 lines per fan.  I didn't mark the quilting lines, just stitched free-hand. 

I'm pleased with the fans but now I wonder how the quilt would have looked with a different quilting pattern.  If I do another churn dash maybe I'll try a different pattern.

If you've quilted Baptist Fans before, how large were they and how far apart were the lines of the fan?

Happy quilting to you!

--Nancy.
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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Seen at Auction (But Not Purchased)

In person this quilt looked more red or red/orange than pink.  The yellow and green seem to have photographed more accurately.  I don't have a guess as to its age.
If it had a batting at all it was very thin, maybe a flannel sheet or something even lighter. Definitely a summer quilt.

The back of the quilt was brown and natural striped.

I think the quilting was what people call utility quilting.  The stitches were neither small nor even.  On the back were the quilter's initials in chain stitch.  The little red patch on the lower left of the photo below is a truer to the red on the front.

Auctions these days seem to have several auction circles going at the same time.  It's difficult to hop from one to the other to keep track of what's being sold, especially when they are spread between the back yard, the front yard, and the basement, etc.  I missed the sale of the above quilt but I probably would not have purchased it anyway.

A few other quilts:

Those 1930s, '40s, and '50s prints capture my heart!  Grandmothers' dresses.


 And a few unquilted tops:

Auctions are a bad idea for my husband and me.  We're at the age where we should begin finding homes for some of our own things (or they'll go to auction after we die!) but we enjoy seeing what's being sold at  auctions.  (What is that fascination with other people's possessions?)

This auction was the result of an older lady moving in with one of her children.  We wondered how everything being sold had fit into her home, there were so many things.  There were many old books and photographs without names.  It seems that she was of German descent from Pennsylvania.  Many of her things were from the late 1800s and early 1900s.  (There were several pairs of ladies' hand-stitched cotton "drawers" that I didn't photograph and now wished I had.  I've never seen anything like them, even in books about old clothing.)  I always feel sad to see possessions of older people being sold.  It seems so mercenary when you know that they probably loved and used the very things that are being sold for a pittance.  I guess it's the cycle of life that we buy what we need to live -- to create, to communicate, to entertain -- and when we're done with it, well, it has to go somewhere.  (The family historian in me wishes someone in the family had identified the photographs and that someone else in the family wanted to save and preserve them.)

I bought several boxes of sewing notions and old linens.  There is a set of two beautiful linen sheets and four pillowcases with exquisite lace decoration along the tops of the sheets and sides of the pillowcases.  No one else wanted them!  

I have a few more auction photos which I'll post later.

I hope you're loving and enjoying life, even with whatever challenges you face.

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Strings and Churn Dashes

Yesterday I finished sewing all the blocks for this string quilt. 

I was uncertain about whether to stitch the corner squares on every corner or on alternating corners.  I decided that every corner needs them.


I think light/medium tans will look better than very light fabric on those little corners.  I'll choose the fabric tonight or tomorrow and begin cutting and sewing.  I think the corners help unify the variety of colors, plaids, prints, and plains in the quilt.  I'll probably use the same fabric for all the squares to add more unity.

The finished blocks will measure 6".  There are 99 of them which equals 9 blocks x 11 blocks and 54" x 66".  It seems a little squatty and I may add more blocks.  I'm planning to add a border or two which will increase the finished size.

I'm almost finished hand quilting the plaid churn dashes.  Two or three more fans on the row with the hoop and another row of fans and I'll be done.  You can see only about a third or a quarter of it in this photo.  I love this quilt!

It's interesting how some fabrics quilt more easily than others.  I was very new to quilting when I made the blocks for this quilt.  There's a great variety of fabrics, even though they're all plaids, which are not woven the same.  It was fun to sew them and it's been fun to learn about how different fabrics quilt.  When I buy plaid shirts for quilting now I lean toward some kinds of fabric and leave the others behind.  (But first I look for color when I buy shirts -- or any fabric, for that matter.)

That's the current state of quilting affairs in my world.

I'm linking to WOW on Esther's Blog; WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced; and Scraptastic Tuesday at She Can Quilt and Mrs. Sew and Sow.  Thanks, ladies!

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

--Nancy.
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Cutting Up Fabric to Make a Quilt

Some years ago the women of our church gathered to make quilts and clothing for a service project.  One of the women worked at home with her family and brought an armload or two of fleece blankets to donate.

Later we were talking and she said,
My husband just doesn't understand the point of buying long pieces of fabric only to cut them up into smaller pieces and then sew them back together to make a quilt.  He thinks it's ridiculous. 

As far as I could tell from our conversation and her body language she agreed with him.  I was surprised because I'd never before heard anyone be so adamant against quilts.  But because I don't have a ready wit, I didn't have a response.  A few days later, when it was really too late to say it, I thought,
I guess it's like cutting up long pieces of lumber to make a floor . . . .
Or a table, a chair, a cupboard, or a house....  I guess a floor is more like a quilt because they are both flat.

I feel sad to think that they misinterpret the love that goes into a quilt given as a gift, the joy of sleeping under a handmade quilt, and the beauty of such a quilt.


Do you know anyone who is anti-quilting?

--Nancy.
.
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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Four Quilts from the 2014 Ohio State Fair Quilt Show

I mostly wasn't impressed with the quilts at the fair this year but part of that could have been the dark hall in which they were shown.  There were not many quilts, either.  Several photos came out clear enough to post.








Just a few.

--Nancy.
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Quilts from a Local Quilt Show

Just a few photos from a tiny quilt show during a local arts festival a week or two ago.  The quilts were hung in the basement of a church and were too close for good photos.











 

Many of the quilts in the show had a white backgrounds.

My personal favorite quilt was the red and green (the one with the blue ribbon).

Happy quilting.
--Nancy.
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Quilter's Riddle?

Q:  When is a straight line not a straight line?

A:  When I sew it!  Yes, I have a hard time keeping long, straight seams straight, especially at the beginning and end.  Not to worry, though:  I have plenty of strips to practice with and, if all else fails, I have an acrylic square and a rotary cutter.


This is how I think the quilt may look -- unless I decide to change something about it, maybe the color or size of the corner squares or the color range of the strings themselves.  The strings are sewn into blocks but the blocks are not cut to size or sewn together. 


And this is how the blocks look without the corner squares.  I think the corner squares help unify the quilt.

I'm linking this post to WOW at Esther's Blog and WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Thank you, ladies.


Happy quilting to you!

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cherubs, Fans, Ancestors

Much of my summer has been devoted to enjoying these two sweet grandbabies and their mom and aunt.  They've been home several times over the summer and I've enjoyed every minute.

But who can sew or do much of anything else when there are grandbabies to hug, cuddle, play with, and spoil?  Not me!

Between times, when neither daughters or babies were visiting, I worked on this plaid churn dash.
It's about one third quilted.  I went with Baptist Fans, after all.  It was a little challenging at first because I didn't mark the fans.  It was hard to ignore the lines to make the curves.  I think I've got the hang of it now.  The other challenge with this quilt is that the top is laid out on the bias and the back is straight grain.  There's more stretch on the top than if both were laid out straight grain.  It's all good, though.

My ancestors have also been calling to me, nudging me to find them and the rest of their families and our joint ancestors.  So I've been spending time searching for them instead of sewing more quilt tops.  That's probably a good thing since I have plenty of quilt tops awaiting a turn to be quilted. 

Of course, whatever else I'm doing, my mind may also be considering the next quilt to make.

I'm linking to WiP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced and WOW (WOW = WIPs on Wednesday) at Esther's Blog.  Thanks you, ladies, for hosting the link-ups.

Happy August to you.

--Nancy.


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