Saturday, September 26, 2015

AQ08: Nine-Patch Courthouse Steps Variation

Scrappy pink and black nine-patch with courthouse steps variation
Primary blocks are hand-stitched
Sashings are machine-pieced - no borders
79" x 79"

The reason it's taking me longer and longer to post the remaining antique tops in the mystery quilt bundle is because I'm unsuccessfully trying to identify the blocks.  This one has me stumped. And you would think with the age of the Internet it wouldn't be so hard!  No luck in my trusty reference books, either.

Lovely use of stripes without concern for direction.  Yet you can tell the care the quilter took in cutting them - they perfectly align with the seams.I love the gradient nature of the stripes - where they are positioned makes them look like a medium tone so your eye travels from the dark center out towards the light sashing.

What's bugging me is that I should know this pattern, right?  I've pulled out all my Civil War quilt books, sure that I'd find it htere.

We need to take a closer look, but, as far as I can see, there's no damage to this top.  This is a good candidate for completing first.  Now, to add a border or find some more pink to match the sashing for a thin finish?

Again, I find myself wondering how this top made it out into the world?  Did the quilter pass away?  Did she not like it?  Or is this how she envisioned it but couldn't finish it?  

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Generosity of Quilters: A Friend's Gift

I realized I forgot to share another generosity with you.

Life right now is a little stressful - nothing I will bore you with.  But I find that when I'm feeling stressed or threatened or anxious, I gravitate back to my quilt room.  Today I spent a good hour cleaning it out, and I'm stitching down another binding.  I keep running my hand over the antique quilt tops, dreaming.

This week I was surprised by a flat, square package from Utah!  My dear friend, Lauri, sent me a care package!

Aren't they beautiful?  Two quilt calendars (one for the quilt room and one for my desk) and two quilt books. The Season's Greetings make my fingers tingle! I'm itching for some holiday stitching!  And this is my kind, too!  Scrappy, country Christmas.  As for A Bit of Applique? Applique is not my first love, but these patterns transform into embroidery quite wonderfully!

Thank you, Lauri!  Your package really brought me out of my mood!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Generosity of Quilters: A Pay-it-Forward Story

I have three more antique tops to share with you, but I thought I'd share a "feel good" story with you first.

When the mystery bundle of antique quilt tops were handed to me, they were wrapped in a sheet and held straight by a solid object.  The solid object turned out to be a bolt of T-Rex panels!  Pretty fun, eh?  And totally not what I was expecting.

Well, I don't have a need for T-Rex panels anymore so I posted a message on the Michigan Quilts Facebook page.  I thought since I was given this beautiful bundle of tops that it was only right to "pay it forward".  I asked if anyone was interested, and I would send them out free of charge.  

With ten quilters requesting the nine panels, we held a drawing and then requested addresses. Several of the "winners" offered to pay for postage, but I had posted these with no strings attached.  Luckily, to the postmistress's consternation, I apparently packaged them in such a way that I was able to mail them quite reasonably.

Fast forward to today.  I received a thick envelope in the mail from Cindy R.  Oh, I thought.  A thank you note?  Yes it was, but with an added bonus!  

photographed outdoors - fabric is white
She embroidered a kitty quilt label for me!  How adorable is this! And take another look at the card!  It's handmade, too.  It's looks like the flowers were machine embroidered on the checked fabric and then adhered within the card stock.

photographed indoors - on top of a cream backing
So excited to share I didn't think to iron it first!

Thank you so much, Cindy R - absolutely adorable!  I can't wait to attach it to my 1930's-era snowball quilt! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

AQ07: Scrappy Double Pinwheel

Scrappy top using 30's-style fabric and starred sashing
Missing sashings on each side
69" x 82"

The weather has turned in Michigan.  Today's highs were only the mid-60's, which has me thinking of stitching warm quilts on cold nights.  Instead of working on my own UFO's, I'm thinking of someone else's.  Here's the latest from the mystery bundle.

The seventh quilt top I pulled off the pile is this scrappy double pinwheel.  If you look closely, you can see it's missing it's last two borders (? sashings?).  I wonder if the original quilter intended to add another border after that.

Lovely, scrappy 30's fabric. I wish I knew enough to know if it's reproduction or not.  When I asked the lady who gave me this bundle, she only knew that the previous owner bought these years ago and then she hung onto them for years.  More research is required.  

Look at the polka dots!!!

My guess is the top is an amalgam of decades of fabric scraps, but it all seems to go together. Too bad they didn't add the date of sale to the tag.  Hindsight... 

You can make out some of the hand stitching at the bottom of this picture.  I think I have more of the starred fabric in my stash.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

AQ06: Blue and White Shirtings

Two-tone scrappy top using blue and white shirting fabrics
Both hand- and machine-stitched with mitered corners and Y-seams
Minimal damage - a few minor brown spots
76" x 82"

I have a weakness for the sixth top in the mystery bundle.  I've seen this one called "X's and O'x" before, but this isn't made from cheater blocks.  The solid blue squares are solid and not pieced.

The quilter who made this top hand-stitched y-seams to form the block sections. Imagine how careful she was when cutting these fabrics - all the lines even.

Here's a close-up of the back. Do you see them?  The Y seams?  I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around how you'd put this together.

Quilt back
And look at the scrappyness!  The eye tricks you until you look closer and see the different fabrics.

Need it a little longer?  Just add a row!  Not enough of a shirting?  Piece it together.  Nobody will notice that the lines in the fabrics don't match up.  Make do!

And here you can see the mitered borders.  Just lovely.

Oh, yes.  This one is a keeper.  Can you imagine it quilt with a thin, cotton batting and draped over your lap while reading a book?