As I noted yesterday, I have not been idle.
This is another piece that was on the UFO list—but somehow I ended up signing up for the same UFO challenge but with another group and was shamed into not using the same projects for both—although no-one would really be checking. I do want to clear out these projects–I’ve made fairly good progress—the trick is to not start new ones while working on the old ones.
This was a workshop project several years ago. We used stamps to mark the size and seam allowance of the pieces. It was a hand-piecing project–which was a relaxing change from ones in which we hauled in sewing machines and yards of fabric and rulers and rotary cutters and thread and so forth. For this one, we needed a gallon bag of fabric, scissors, needle, thread, and pins–easily carried in with room on our arm for a sack lunch and maybe even a cup of coffee.
I had pieced the sunbursts and appliqued them onto background—alas, as I found when I began to quilt it—each circle was not exactly in the center of each square. I managed to do the feathered circle around each sunburst but the grid was a lot more challenging.
Still it is finished and moved to the done pile!
Back to the UFO list!
It is done!
Some years ago–and I’m not telling how many, my dear friend and I hit upon the idea of working through EQ (a quilt designing program) to come up with a sampler quilt. Each of us would make two rows, we set the finished size of the quilt and therefore the rows and chose a group of blocks–primitive style—we would select from. We each contributed background fabric. Our rules were that we could use other fabrics of our choice to finish each block but that we would each have the same background for the blocks.
We prepped the backgrounds and slipped the pattern into a packet with each background.
I worked away at mine for a few weeks; but then got interested in other projects and set it aside.
American Patchwork has a challenge each year—to complete UFO’s; you select twelve, number them and they draw a number each month–and you work on the corresponding project. I did this last year and got 8 projects completed; this year I am a bit behind–only 4 so far but most of them this year were barely started. This was one of them.
I learned a lot from this project.
Some blocks are not meant to be huge.
Some blocks are not meant to be tiny.
I am better at embroidery than applique.
It is much easier to make the label for the back when you are working on the top–I use leftover blocks and fabrics, print out the pertinent information, trace it (my handwriting is not neat) and then it is ready.
But this huge monster is now completed and bound.
It has been awhile since I have written a bit but I have not been idle.
It is prime honey bee season and the bees need attention this time of year. We now have 7 hives. Husband has been doing the majority of work with them as he is still in town; having a few medical issues to deal with before he heads to the great Northern expanse and much cooler weather.
However, I have been working on quilting up a few things while letting my eyes rest from my latest art project.
This is a small quilt my mother pieced many years ago. It has fussy cut animals in some of the squares; all of them oriented in the same position. (I would not have been so careful).
It has now been bound and after a viewing at the local quilt guild will be shipped off to one of my mother’s great-grandchildren–numbering 7 at this time. There are still a few more pieces of hers to work through destined for those great-grandchildren and I still have three grandchildren quilt tops to go—there were 17 of those!
I should have looked back–I did show these photos in April; however, it is now bound and labeled and ready to ship….
My grandmother was a practical woman and I adored her. I remember her as always laughing despite a life that was full of hard work, scrimping, and managing on next to nothing. She never balked at doing work; work that might have been done by someone else or in her time, a male.
Grandma raised cucumbers for the pickle factory and she was in charge of the cucumber sorting. The bins were on the side wall of an empty bay in the fire engine’s garage. That bay still housed the canning equipment from World War II on the back wall; Grandma had run that in those times. She also repaired sewing machines and had the contract to cut grass and otherwise maintain two local cemeteries.
Although her older sister made quilts for a living at a $1 a spool, Grandma made quilts for beds to keep warm. My first quilt was one she made for me–strips sewn together for a central panel, and then circled round with strips, bound in purple, with an old wool blanket as batting, and tied with red yarn.
When my mother died, I was left with all of the quilt tops and parts and pieces and fabrics and the carefully rolled up leftovers from dresses, skirts, and blouses. This top was made from many of those rolled up scraps as I recognize some of the fabrics but many others I do not—and the combinations are so colorful, I know they are the ones my Grandmother made on her old Singer treadle–bought by my Grandfather when she was expecting her first baby–my aunt—-in those days, according to my grandfather, even the women did not talk about babies and he took a lot of grief from his parents for being so extravagant as to buy a sewing machine.
Traditional quilts were made from scraps; scraps from dresses and aprons and blouses and shirts. Ready-made clothing bought in stores was expensive, custom-made clothing accommodating longer arms or any body shape other than what was considered ‘normal’ was just not available.
And then there were the people who had lived through the Great Depression where nothing was wasted.
My grandmother was one who was frugal; my aunt remembered her wedding cake as being very small due to rationing during World War II. Both of these ladies sewed; my grandmother repaired sewing machines in the day when sewing machines were not portable and women did not have men in their homes without their husbands being present.
My mother also sewed and she and her friend taught me and her friend’s daughter-Judy- sewing for a 4-H project. I still have that first project–a brown print apron. We learned to cut out dresses and blouses from cotton prints–polyester was just arriving in the stores, and saved all the scraps, rolling them up into little bundles and either tying them with a bit of selvedge or using a straight pin. These little bundles were then tossed into a bin; the idea was that these could be used to patch or repair–and of course rarely if ever were used for that purpose.
The quilt top I am working on now was pieced by my grandmother. There are fabrics in there that my mother must have given her–as I recognize two fabrics that were dresses I made for my first year in college; and dresses I remember my mother wearing–she liked black and white and gray fabrics.
This is a simple pattern; my grandmother loved vivid colors and assembled this top in her later years–still loving color and wild combinations. She bordered it with a bright kelly green to make it big enough for a bed. She had made me a quilt when I was 8–bordered in purple and tied with red yarn; the ‘batting’ was an old wool blanket; it was heavy and warm..a good thing for a Wisconsin winter in a home heated with a single pot-bellied stove.
And so I work on this quilt top, remembering my grandmother and my mother and our careful saving of all those scraps.
My mother took up quilting in her middle years, making a hand-pieced/appliqued and hand-quilted quilt for each of her six children. Then she made quilt tops for each of her 18 or so grand-children, leaving them to me to quilt for her and gift on the occasion of their wedding.
I have been working away at this project and have three left to quilt, two are quilted and ready.
But then there are the bits and pieces and the pieces she made for fun.
This is an Irish chain with fussy cut farm animals. I finished quilting it yesterday. It will go a great-grandchild–I am a few behind on that project–four at present….and two step-grandchildren. And I didn’t include my five.
She left plenty of fabric and lots of starts.
My mother was a quilter and left me quite a few unfinished projects along with her fabric—lots of rust and turquoise==my least favorite colors. I’ve been working on finishing the little pieces as baby quilts for her great-grandchildren–but it has been slow-going.
There were quilt tops for each grandchild to be given on the occasion of their wedding–I have four left–two handed out this year.
And then there was this piece.
She had a class of quilting students–and together they decided they wanted to make a smallish wall quilt commemorating the establishment of Prairie du Chien–I think—I really don’t remember what event they were focused on—but here it is—-
I put it on that UFO list I talked about yesterday—and wouldn’t you know it–but it was number three and the number that was drawn for the month of January.
I had hoped it wouldn’t be the very first month—but here it is—and I’ll have to figure out how I want to finish it—and then take it to the new library in town and see if they have a place to hang it.
I’ve been working hard at converting quilt tops into finished quilts. I am really good at making lists–but somehow the list-making got done but the items on the lists just moved around–and never moved to the ‘done’ section.
Last Year I signed up for the American Patchwork UFO challenge–listing 12 projects and working on them in the random order determined by someone picking a number. I think I finished ten of the 12 projects I listed—plus several others. This one was not on the list, but now it is quilted and ready for binding.
It is easy to find the one block I turned the wrong way in this quilt—but it will have to stay there.
Some people don’t like the binding part—I don’t mind–and it never seems to take long. What I didn’t like was basting the top, batting, and backing. Now with Vivian–my Gammill, that is no longer a procrastination creator.
And yes, I filled out my form for another year.
Sometime earlier this year I made a list.
I’m good at making lists; its a good way to procrastinate. Instead of doing something, I can make a list–or just re-arrange things and then make a list.
However, after making a list this time, I set to work on doing some finishing.
In December, I quilted six tops–six that had been moved from place to place–but now are quilted and waiting for binding.
Some people dislike binding–I really enjoy it–it feels like the last loving touch on a quilt that will comfort and cuddle someone–it may be someone I know–or someone I don’t but it always goes with my love and prayer.
Vivian–named after my grandmother–and I quilted them. I like pantographs–edge to edge quilting patterns–I only have to think about the beginning and ending of each row–just once and then the ending row—otherwise it is mindless following the little red dot across a pattern–and for these two–it was a swirling curlicue with gentle curves.
My list still has quite a few on it–but I made a significant dent—now to the binding.
Sometime a year or maybe it was two or three years ago, I decided to try English Paper Piecing. I wanted something simple, something I could work on while watching/listening to movies on Netflix–or maybe an oldie from our stash of DVD’s.
I found a die cutter and promptly began to cut out dozens of hexagons from advertisements, used envelopes and then hand-basting bits of fabric to them. After I had accumulated a small bagful I put them together in small flowerettes at first and then just randomly. Eventually it became too big to manipulate easily and so it is now quilted in straight lines and ready for binding—and to rejoin me in watching/listening to movie in the evening as my lap quilt in my somewhat drafty and chilly living room.
That washed out look on the top–is from the sun streaming in across my Gammill long arm sewing machine—also known as Vivian.