Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Granny's Quilts

 As I mentioned earlier, today it has been ten years since my dear mother-in-law passed away. She was a precious lady and fortunately, we had a wonderful relationship. We also both had a love of sewing and eventually quilting together. She made clothes for many many years, from baby clothes to adult men's suits, and was an expert seamstress.
 This butterfly quilt is one she made when she was 12 years old using the blanket stitch by hand. Her grandmother taught her how to do this. It is a bed size quilt and these are just a few blocks. In the 1990s, I scanned the butterfly and taught this as a class.

The dahlia star (I'm not sure this is the correct name) is another quilt she made in her younger days.

However, as the years went on, she did not make quilts again until the 1980s and she took a class and made one all by hand. Every single stitch, even sewing the binding down. I'll have to show that another day. These are pictures I scanned as they were taken so long ago. We forget how nice digital prints are!
My husband's favorite pattern is the double wedding ring! After I had two failed attempts at getting mine to lay flat, she took the pattern and pieced this quilt all by hand. Now that's a lot of hand work. She gave it to him for his birthday and then I began hand quilting the top. It was taking quite a long time so she and my father-in-law came up and stayed a week and we quilted all day long until we got it finished. What a treasure! It is king size.
 Next is a quilt called Weaver Fever - the pattern by Jackie Robinson. I taught this class in 1995, according to the photo date. She was up visiting so joined in the class and made this delightful quilt. She liked it so well that she made a second one also.
 Now here below is one of her quilts, made not long after my father-in-law passed away in 1997. She came to stay for a while and we decided quilting would be good therapy (it always is for me) so we got to quilting. She loved pink and pastels and began this beautiful basket quilt. She did not like to have her picture made so you can see below she is shying away from the camera a little.
Anyway, we had many wonderful times together not only quilting but just enjoying each other's company. I admired the fact that no matter her age, she would say she wanted to keep her mind sharp and learn something new. As a quilter and working in a quilt shop, I was always finding new projects or techniques and so we would have private lessons and she was such a good student.
Best of all, was her gift of sharing and giving. She made many more quilts but shared them (as most quilters do) with others.
Some of the pieces in the string quilt I am making came from these quilts so again, that makes it special!  I know she would be happy knowing it was being finished. This is just a tiny tiny bit of her story but I wanted to share it by remembering her and her quilts!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Granny's Strings

 This is a quilt top that my mother-in-law made about 12 years ago. Her health was failing but she loved to sew and quilt and always learn new techniques. I showed her how to string piece these blocks and she was using her favorite colorway - pastels. She loved pinks and blues, but also red, so you can see lots of little red strings thrown in for a splash of color.
I am going to finish this quilt top and make a quilt with probably 48 blocks.
This was her only UFO when she died as far as quilts were concerned. She loved to piece the tops and then I would quilt them for her on my trusty Bernina sewing machine. No longarm back then! Above are the strings and pieces of fabric she had in the little plastic shoe box with the quilt top.
 Last night I began pressing all the strings and sorting them by size and separating the whites which always go down the center.
 I began piecing some more blocks, working on four at a time. The paper I am using comes on a roll and is 8.25" wide. I've had it a long time and it was sold to be used behind machine embroidery. It tears away very nicely.
 I just keep adding various colors, being sure I cover the paper plus a generous seam allowance on the outside of the paper.
Here you can see I've left plenty of fabric because my seam allowance is outside of the paper.
 Here is a block that has been trimmed on the left, with 1/4" seam allowance.
And here is the finished block. I like to leave the paper intact until after I sew the blocks together, mostly because the seam are on the bias and the paper keeps it from stretching out of shape. I think I am going to have to take her blocks apart, press them well and put them back together. Because of her failing health, they will not lay flat and I want to put the quilt together as she would have wanted it. She was an expert seamstress in her younger days and loved to quilt and have things very neatly done.
This Feb 8 will be ten years since she passed away. I am going to show some of her other projects in a couple of days to honor her love of sewing, quilting and embroidery and sharing her gift with many others.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Diagonal Madness & More

 Diagonal Madness was begun over two years ago in a class with Kaffe Fassett. I eventually got the diagonals completed but it was set aside waiting for those 50+ nine patches in the border. So, this past week I finished the borders, sewed them on and quilted it!! Wahoo!
 Here are two close-ups of the quilting. I used a variegated thread since there were so many colors in the top and a pattern called banana swirls.
 Above is the back of the quilt. And now the binding is sewn and ready to be attached. It's nice to get another quilt of my own finished!
 Here is a quilt top that my mother-in-law began over ten years ago. I had taught her how to string piece on lightweight paper and even though her sewing skills had diminished with illness, she still loved to try new techniques. After she died I took the little plastic shoe box with the blocks she had finished and sewn together. I am going to finish this quilt for her with just a few more blocks being added.

There is a new blog I am a part of called String Thing Along. I will be posting more pictures of the progress of this quilt there. It's such a fun way to quilt with all those strings and scraps we have! Come join the fun and be a part of this blog!
 Here is my UFO project container. By UFO, it is really mostly leftover fabrics from other projects and it is now running over. The lid will hardly close which shows how long since I've played with my leftovers.
 This is inside the box!! I used to enjoy taking the leftover fabrics, add a few more and make charity quilts or smaller quilts with no rules. I hope to attack this box soon. There are so many fun projects that could be made if I will allow myself to play.
 And here is a recent tablecloth, yet unquilted. I went to a retreat in January and sewed this. I already had the strips cut so it was easy to sew and get the blocks made with a group of 50 quilters in the room. Now it is waiting to be quilted. I chose the fabric combination from a quilt I had on display in the fall. So, it'll be a few months before I'll need this one.
 And now for my house blocks!! Two are 3", one is 4", and two are 6". The six inch were much easier to make I must confess. It is fun picking the fabrics from the scrap pile. Hopefully there will be more or enough to make a small quilt before the year is out.
And now, another small project I had been putting off. I needed a little pillow behind my back at the computer. After months of just the pillow form with no cover, I got around to making a colorful pillow case. Now how hard was that?? A 30 minute project that I had delayed for months. Happy Quilting!!