Another Mid-Michigan Quilters' Guild member and I are in charge of making a raffle quilt for our guild quilt show. We decided on a simple pattern - nine patch - and had guild members provide the blocks. The fabric colors are brights that read like a solid. Members also provided a scrap of fabric from their blocks to use in the applique borders. I created the border design of bluebirds, flowers, and hearts that was discussed in a previous blog post. Several members of our Applique Club volunteered to create the quilt borders. Last Tuesday, we got together to put the borders onto the quilt. My guild friend had arranged all the blocks and stitched them together. The Applique Club members brought the finished borders. Here is how it turned out at the end of the day.
I'm excited to see the finished quilt. Another member of the guild will quilt the finished top. There will be lots of room for quilting designs in the alternating blocks and the border. The quilt will be raffled off at our Spring quilt show in March 2014.
Well, I am finally following up with the results from my second day of fabric dyeing. I was interested in trying a Japanese technique called Shibori. This is a resist dye technique that uses string or thread to create areas where the dye is not able to penetrate. The result leaves a unique design in the fabric. I tried two types of resist - string wrapped around a tin can, and basting lines of thread across fabric. My results matched the samples that came with the directions I followed at the Rit Dye website and on Quilting Arts TV.
Here are the results of the dyeing. The fabrics in the first picture were dyed using the string & tin can method, while the fabrics in the second picture were dyed using the hand stitched method. The third picture shows the purple hand stitched fabric as it was drying on the grass outdoors. I will review the two techniques below, with pictures taken during the process.
The first technique called for a large tin can. To begin, I folded a fat quarter size piece of muslin around a tin can. Then, a piece of string was wrapped around the center of the can and knotted, leaving about a 3" tail. The string was tightly wound around the can from the center to the bottom of one side of the can. After winding the string around the can a few times, the fabric was scrunched toward the center of the can, then more windiing and scrunching, until the end of the fabric. The string was wound a couple times around the can to get back to the center, then the entire process was repeated with the other side of the can. Finally, the string was wound back to the center and the end knotted together with the initial 3" tail. I neglected to take pictures of the wrapped tin can before it was dyes, but the following are pictures of the tin cans after the fabrics were dyed.
Here is one of the fabrics created from this process. You can see that the dye did not penetrate through all the fabric. I tried using less string, thinking that the string was not allowing enough dye to penetrate to the extra fabric, but there was not enough string to create the design. Each of my fabrics created this same look, so the folds in the fabric were the real issue. I plan to use a larger tin can the next time that I do this, so that the fabric does not have to be folded.
The second technique used thread to create areas of resist. I tried this process following the instructions that follow, but modified the stitching process for further fabrics. Instructions indicated drawing chalk lines 1-1/2 inches apart on the long side of the fabric. Then, basting stitches were sewn along each chalk line. Last, the basting stitches were pulled up, creating a fan fold affect, and the threads were knotted. Here are pictures of this process.
The fan fold created by the stitching creates creases in the fabric that do not take the dye, causing the resist. The preparation process is tedious, so I decided to try it by fan folding the fabric without the basting stitches, then using a large upholstery needle to pull thread through the layers. It took a lot less time and the effect was the same. Check out these photos of the fabric being dyed.
All the fabrics are placed in water and the excess squeezed out, before applying the dye. In this technique, the dye is squirted from a bottle along the folds. The fabric is turned over and dyed on the other side, as well. Then, a second dye is squirted along folds. Different effects are obtained depending on how much dye is used and the area of crossover where the two colors meet, creating a secondary color. There can be many combinations within the cloth. One of the fabrics that I dyed was made by using up all the extra dye in the squirt bottles, so that a rainbow of colors was created.
So, there is the process for creating your own Japanese Shibori resist dyed fabrics. I really enjoyed the process of making the different designs in the fabric, and learned a lot about using dyes. I hope to make this into a regular event, creating fabric to use in my quilts. Maybe you will consider trying this technique, as well.
I spent two days last week dyeing fabric. It was a lot of fun, but tiring standing on my feet so much. In the end, I created about four yards of brightly colored fabrics.
This was my first attempt at dyeing fabric. I have done some tie-dyeing in my younger days. But, this venture was planned to acquire a basic understanding of how dye interacts with fabric. I wanted to understand the concepts I had been reading and see the results for myself. I could also decide if I enjoyed this enough to invest in better supplies. For this project, ;I purchased basic supplies and pre-washed muslin fabric I had on hand, rather than purchasing PFD fabrics; PFD=Prepared For Dyeing. I chose to use Rit liquid dyes in three basic colors: Fushia, Aquamarine, and Lemon Yellow. These were a good choice because of the ease of use, low cost, and convenience in purchasing. I prepared an area for my dyeing area and dressed appropriately. Here are the results of my first dyeing attempts, along with my table set-up.
I chose to do low-water immersion for my first day of dyeing. Since the muslin fabric that I had on hand was 54" wide, the sample pieces that I cut were larger than traditional fat quarters. I did not use an adequate amount of dye to obtain a bright color. The volume of dye to the weight of the fabric determines the depth of the color. From this dyeing experience, I determined that the amount of water added to the container did not make a difference in the depth of color, only the weight of the fabric.
Here's a look at the table with the dye containers, and some of the fabrics after removing them from the dye. The fabric on the right was dyed using a different mix of colors and more dye than the fabric on the left, giving a darker shade.
Here are more samples of my second dyeing attempts using the correct volume of dye for the weight of the fabric. I used recipes from a Quilting Arts TV project on fabric dyeing. See how much brighter my aquamarine and lime green samples appear next to the first attempts. The mottled look is achieved by the low-water immersion technique. I tried Japanese Shibori dyeing techniques for my second day of dyeing. I will follow-up with those samples in another post.
I completed a quick project today, creating a pressing board. The project was presented on Quilting Arts TV episode 1105 with guest Elizabeth Hartman from Craftsy. You can watch the episode and download the project requirements. Here is a quick rundown of the project with the needed supplies:
16"X24" piece of 1/2-inch plywood
21"X29" piece of cotton home-dec fabric
3 pieces of 19"X 27" low loft cotton batting
duct tape - I chose a colorful duct tape to coordinate with the fabric.
The home dec fabric is placed right side down on the work surface and the three layers of batting centered on top of it. Center the plywood on top of the batting. Trim the corners of the batting at a 45 degree angle, to eliminate the bulk. Fold the four corners of the home dec fabric toward the plywood at a 45 degree angle and staple in place. Fold the batting and the fabric to the back of the plywood board along one side, stretching the fabric a little to ensure a snug fit; staple in place. Begin the stapling at the center and work your way to the ends of the board. Repeat this on all four sides of the board. Lastly, use the duct tape to cover the raw edges of the fabric and the staples.
Front of the pressing board. Note the size compared to the cutting mat.
Back of the pressing board.
This is a great item to take along for a quilting class or retreat. It is the perfect size to press fat quarters or press seams on blocks. It is lightweight, easy to make and inexpensive.My DH cut the plywood from scraps and sanded the edges; and I used leftover home dec fabric from making drapes. This would also make a great gift for a quilting friend.
Happy Independence Day! July fourth conjures up feelings of pride in our country among the majority. A sight of a flag flapping in the breeze or the sound of the notes from the National Anthem often bring tears to the eyes of patriotic citizens. We cannot take our freedom for granted, nor can we allow the government to diminish the principles on which it was founded.
To celebrate the day, I am posting a picture of the only red, white & blue quilted object that I have made and still own. And, actually, it's red, gold & blue - the stars are gold. The penny rug was made several years ago. I won a pattern on a bus trip. Sometimes, patterns won on bus trips and at guild meetings are poor selling items that stores are willing to part with, but I liked this pattern. Penny rugs date back to the early 19th century and were made from wool scraps. The background was usually some other form of fabric, such as burlap. The name "penny rug" is derived from the use of a coin as a template. Circles were cut from the wool scraps and stitched to the background. Of course, in our modern era, penny rugs are much more elaborate and not just made from wool circles. Here is a look at mine. I use it to cover a side table.
These projects look quick and easy, but the stars on this project took quite a bit of time. The nice thing about working with wool is that there is no fraying, so the edges do not need turned under. All the applique is done with a blanket stitch. Candle mats are another wool project that are fun to make. I'll have to share some of those in future posts.
Enjoy your Fourth of July! And, Happy Stitching!
Fireflies are out again tonight and the daylight is fading earlier. July has begun and I am looking forward to a long holiday week-end. Besides spending time with my DH, I have a couple of WIP Wednesday - works in progress - projects planned.
I was able to complete the blanket stitching on several more of the Farm Animals Baby Quilt blocks. I've fused the shapes of the last three animals and a heart onto the muslin blocks. I have been able to blanket stitch one or two blocks each day, so I should be able to finish them by the weekend. Then, I plan to stitch together the scrappy 9-patch blocks that will alternate with the appliqued farm animals and hearts. Here is my current progress.
The blocks on the right are the final four that need blanket stitching. I increased the size of the quilt and added more heart and farm animal blocks. The cat, goat and duck are my own designs. All of the completed blocks are on the left side.
I have also been moving ahead with the applique border for my guild's raffle quilt. All of the motifs are cut from the fabric scraps provided by guild members. I've laid out the shapes into a pleasing color arrangement. Check it out and let me know what you think.
The three photos show the entire width of the border as it will be laid out. It will be a very bright quilt and I cannot wait to see it all put together.
I also plan to try my hand at dyeing fabric. I have purchased some inexpensive supplies, along with Rit liquid dyes, and will dye several yards of muslin fabric. I want to try a Japanese resist dye technique called Shibori that I viewed on an episode of Quilting Arts TV. I'll have to share my experience with dyeing next week.
Until then...Keep Stitching!
My flower beds continue to bloom. Several lily plants have brightened the corners of my yard.
The fragrance of roses permeates the air. I also have a flowering plant blooming, which I purchased at a local farmer's market several years ago. I was told that it was a heliotrope, but it doesn't look like one, to me. It adds a nice purple color next to the orange lilies.
I'm continuing to work on my farm animal quilt. I finished another heart and a puppy dog. But, I need to get back to the applique borders for our guild's raffle quilt. At our guild meeting, on Tuesday, members provided nine patch blocks, along with scraps to use for the applique border. This will coordinate the border with the blocks in the quilt. Selecting which fabrics will be used for the hearts, flowers and bluebirds will add to the fun to this fast moving project. Everyone used such lovely, bright colors. The quilt will be bright and beautiful. Now, to get my portion of the border done in the next month.
I began a baby quilt for my niece at my last Sisters Sewing week-end. I had prepared fusible appliques of farm animals and hearts, using thirties reproduction fabrics. These were fused to 6-1/2 inch muslin squares. Now, I am outlining the edges of the applique shapes with buttonhole stitches. It makes a great take-a-long project. I could easily complete these squares on the sewing machine, but doing them by hand, I can take them with me anywhere. They may take longer to finish by hand, but I am actually finishing more of them doing it this way, because I haven't had much time in my sewing room, as late.
Here are the blocks that I have finished so far.
I have several more blocks to complete, but the process has gone quickly. I completed these blocks over the last week, during travel time only. Next, I have to make scrappy nine patch blocks, using the same fabrics as the appliques. These will be alternated with the applique blocks to make the baby quilt. It's a fairly easy pattern, but makes for a lot of fun. I really enjoy handiwork, so I find the buttonhole stitching enjoyable. This project should go together more quickly than some that I've done. And, it better, since I waited a long time to start it. My niece is due next month.
Today, was a day for preparing to make a quilt. I know that we all enjoy the part where we actually sew something together. But, at some point, we have to prepare for the sewing. Whether it's reading the pattern, pre-washing fabric, cutting, or winding a bobbin, the actual stitching cannot begin without some preparation.
I received a package in the mail today from Primitive Gatherings with a pattern that I had ordered. It is called Songs of Spring by Lori Smith. It is the next project for the Applique Club at my local guild. I reviewed the pattern and now need to go through my stash to see which fabrics I already have to use in the project. I will need to purchase a cream background fabric and something for the border.
I cut bias strips and stitched them together. Then, using my Simplicity bias tape maker, I created a 3/8" green bias vine for the applique borders on our guild's raffle quilt.
I pre-washed the backing fabric for a quilt. I know many of you do not pre-wash your fabrics, but I do. I find that it softens the fabric, removes the manufacturer finishes, shrinks the fabric, and removes excess dyes. The fabric has a brown background with multiple colors sprinkled across it that look like confetti pieces. The two color catchers that I placed in with the fabric turned a dark brown/black color. This fabric is now ready to be pieced for the backing on a WIP quilt. What's a WIP? This is the modern term for a UFO. WIP = Work in Progress. I like this modern term much better.
I also cut a bolt of bleached muslin into one yard sections. Then, I pre-washed these fabrics in warm water. After trimming the frayed threads on the edges, I folded the pieces and placed them into a box marked "fabric for dyeing", along with a project page from Quilting Arts TV that explains how to dye fabrics. I also made a list of supplies that I need to pick up at Wal-mart. Earlier this week, I purchased Rit liquid dyes on sale at JoAnn's.
I watched a great video from Craftsy of a lecture from the Modern Quilt Guild QuiltCon show. Lesson #7 features Jacquie Gering of Tallgrass Prairie Studio. Her quilts are beautiful. Her blog is inspirational. And, I am signed up to hear her speak at AQS in Grand Rapids. Check out the free lectures at Craftsy.
So, now I am prepared to work on a couple of projects. Preparation may not be as much fun as the actual stitching of a project, but it is necessary. Items are marked off my "quilting to do" list and I am one step closer to be a finished project.
After all the rain in April and May, June has bloomed. Although the weather remains cool, which I prefer, the outdoors is beginning to look like summer. The rose bush has had lots of buds and bloomed this week. The irises and peonies also bloomed over the week. The lilies are budding and should bloom in a week or so, depending on the weather. The flowers are fragrant and beautiful.
I've also been watching the birds, as they eat at the feeders. I have a feeder just off from our back deck, that is visible from the bathroom window. I can watch the birds without disturbing them, as happens when I sit outside. Looks like the feeders need filled again.
All this visual stimulation makes me think of quilting. I love to applique, and have a current project with an applique border of roses, tulips and bluebirds. Our guild is making a raffle quilt and several ladies from our Applique Club are stitching the borders. I began by tracing the applique shapes onto freezer paper. I like the freezer paper method to prepare the pieces, by pressing the freezer paper shapes onto the right side of the fabric, and adding the seam allowance as they are cut out. Then, I lightly trace around the shape with a pencil before removing the freezer paper. The shape is basted to the background and appliqued using the pencil mark as a guide.
I'm also progressing with my applique heart quilt, the 2011-12 guild project. You can read more about the progress of my heart quilt project here. I have so many projects going, that nothing gets done very quickly. I have been steadily working on this quilt, making quarter inch bias tape for the vine, preparing the applique leaf and berry shapes, and applying the vine. I started appliqueing the leaves a few weeks ago. Because of my shoulder surgery, I am unable to applique for very long, so I have only completed a few leaves. When finished, I plan to hire someone to hand quilt the top. I cannot imagine finishing this quilt on the machine, after all the handiwork that has been put into it.
Enjoy working on your hand project throughout the summer. They make great take-along projects and can easily be taken outdoors. Work in the flowerbeds a little, then settle down under a shade tree to applique, while watching the birds. That's my idea of a relaxing summer day.
Our local guild holds an annual mini quilt auction in May, to raise money for bringing in speakers. Tuesday was the event and I came home with a 14" X 14" candle rug. I expected to pay more, but there were only two other bids, so I paid only $20 for it. Usually we have a live auction, but the board was unable to acquire an auctioneer for the event. I was disappointed, since it's much more fun to bid against someone. Items were sold through a silent auction bid. Likely we did not raise as much money for our speaker fund, but the total hasn't been revealed yet. Here is the mini quilt I purchased.
The little wool flowers drew me to this quilt. Green beads decorate the flower centers. The colors work well in my living room, where I plan to hang it on the wall.
Although, this is an annual guild auction, I see that I haven't blogged about this event before today. I have purchased a few mini quilts over the years, and also donated a few. My favorite purchase is from the 2011 auction.
The quilt measures only 12" X 12" with a mitered border, using an edge printed fabric. The two bluebirds are hand appliqued on a cherry branch. The cherries are about 1/2-inch across. The quilt maker echo quilted around the shapes at quarter inch intervals. I really wanted this quilt and paid $60 for it.
The weather has been warm and breezy today. My irises are in bloom and the rose bush has lots & lots of buds. Because of my surgery, I haven't been able to do much in the gardening arena. I hope to enlist my husband to loosen up the soil in two of the flower beds, so that I can plant some annuals this week-end.
Saturday was another sewing day with my sisters. We haven't gotten together for several months, so we were all ready to spend a day together. We gathered at my oldest sister's house for the afternoon. She worked on sewing some baby items - boppy covers, blanket & burp cloths - for her soon to be granddaughter. My younger sister worked on a baby quilt for her soon to be granddaughter. It's a lovely design that incorporates block piecing and embroidery.
I'm not expecting any grandchildren, but I worked on a baby quilt for one of my soon to be great-nieces. I have planned a fused applique quilt with farm animals and hearts alternating with scrappy nine patches. I am using thirties reproduction fabrics. I was only able to do a little, since I am still recovering from my shoulder surgery, spending most of the time chatting about family. A few weeks ago, I traced the applique shapes onto fusible web. I followed that up by fusing them onto the fabrics. Saturday, I cut out the shapes and fused them onto 6-1/2" muslin squares. I was able to finish all but three of the blocks during the after. That was about all that my right arm & shoulder could tolerate. The next step is to complete blanket stitching around the shapes and add embroidered features.
As usual, the day ended far too soon. My brother-in-law returned home, which signaled it was time to pack up. I was expected home for supper by my own DH. Until the next Sister's Sewing Day, working on my projects at home will have to suffice. Having sisters to share your hobby and spend time sharing our lives, is one of the joys we share. My sisters are my greatest advocates and my much needed critics. We can share honestly and know that we are still loved. I do not take the relationships lightly, knowing how blessed we are to have each other.
I began designing an applique border for a guild raffle quilt. Another member & I are planning the next raffle quilt for our biennial quilt show. We've decided to make a simple nine patch with alternating plain squares. The Applique Club has been asked to make borders for the quilt, so I have gotten involved. The pizzazz in the quilt will come from the small inner and outer borders.
Since the quilt show is in the spring, we are looking for bright, crayon colored blocks that members will be asked to make. The light fabric is purchased, providing continuity throughout the quilt top. Several ideas came to mind for the applique shapes - vines with flowers, hearts, birds. I planned an initial design to present at the show committee meeting and everyone liked the idea of flowers and the bluebirds I had drawn. Springy colors and designs were suggested from my original darker shades, additional ideas came to mind. The final draft of the applique design has tulips, stylized roses, leaves and berries, two bluebirds with a tulip between them and a heart beneath them. The quilt top should be fresh and colorful, just like a spring garden in bloom. My fellow guild member and I are excited about the final results.
The plan is to have four guild members take borders to work on at home or in a small group. Therefore, the design will only run along the sides of the quilt, and not turn the corners. Here are line drawings of my design. The two photos connect together and they create only one half of the image, as the other half will be a mirror image. The border will be twelve inches wide and is drawn full size onto freezer paper, which will be used for a placement guide. The central design motif is the three flowers, which will not repeat. This design will run along the side borders, while the top and bottom borders will have the bluebirds as the central image and mirror only the stylized rose and tulips.
Next, I will need to prepare templates and guidelines for the Applique Club members to use while stitching their borders. How exciting that after just two years with our guild club, we are beginning to do more than just make our own projects. I am honored that our group was asked to participate in this guild project.
A few weeks ago, I posted pictures of some vintage quilts that I own. Someone asked to see the wool throw laid out. When I wrote the post, I didn't have any pictures of the full quilt. So, I laid out the quilt and snapped several shots. It wasn't easy, since I am not able to use my right arm yet. And, it took another week to get the photos posted, because I have been so exhausted. Recovering from surgery is a long process, and takes even longer the older that I get. I'm back to working pretty much full time, only leaving work early on days that I have physical therapy. The one hundred mile round trip to & from work is especially tiring, driving with only my left arm. Using my left arm & hand to do all tasks takes a lot of brain power, contrary to the second nature of my right-handedness. I am progressing, though, and hope the surgeon will up the physical therapy after I visit him again next week. So far, it's been just electric muscle stimulation and massage therapy.
Now, to what you all came for. This wool throw is circa 1935. As I indicated in the previous post, the fabrics are wool, some cottons (possibly scraps from men's shirts), some home dec fabrics, and maybe some silk ties. The fabrics may have come from a salesman's sample book of fabrics. The throw is tied, which typically indicates it was made for utilitarian purposes. The backing is cotton, providing an interesting binding as the striped fabric was turned to the front for stitching down. Two sides have a candy cane like affect, while the other two sides have the full length of the stripe along the edge.
The blocks appear to be octagons and squares stitched together. However, some of the small squares are hand stitched on top of the corners of the larger rectangles, while other squares appear to have set in seams. Below is a closeup of one corner of the quilt.
The binding treatment is clearly visible from this shot. The edging has half square triangles stitched at the block corners. The quilt is in fairly good condition, but I do plan to do a few repairs. There are some loose squares that just need a few stitches, while a fine netting in a matching color will be stitched over corners where the fabric has frayed.
I returned to work last week, after three weeks off following surgery. To some, the time off may have sounded nice with extra time for quilting. However, I cannot use my right arm, so my time was spent reading and surfing the internet using my left arm. I spent more time in the QCA forums and reading some of my favorite quilt blogs. Unfortunately, talking about quilts, reading about other quilters' projects, and seeing pictures in the galleries and blogs, just increased my desire to be quilting.
Since I am unable to share any new projects, I thought I might give a look at some of my vintage and antique quilts. Last year, I had a quilt appraiser look over my quilts and give me her verbal appraisal of age and condition of the, as well as, ways to repair and maintain them.
I purchased my first vintage quilt back about 1998, at an Amish quilt auction and flea market. It is a circa 1935 Butterfly quilt. I found it in a booth, but didn't immediately purchase it. You know that feeling you get, when you pass up an item and it nags you until you find it again and buy it. The quilt is faded, probably from being washed. It also has creases from being refolded in the same place. The hand quilting isn't beautiful. In fact, it's rather large, but consistent, which is considered good. The appraiser was not sure if the batting was wool or cotton; and she felt that the outside border may have been from a later date. But, the butterflies are definitely thirties fabrics and the green & pink setting is also typical of the period.
I picked up a summer throw last year at a local antique shop. The appraiser stated it was circa 1900, making it an antique. It is in a scrappy Rail Fence pattern using various fabrics. She suggested that many were dress weight fabrics, some are fine dress fabrics, and some may have been from silk ties. The layout is noted to be made from blocks and stitched to a foundation. The pieces are hand stitched, but the piece may also have some machine stitching. The top is tied and has a knife edge border.
I also picked up a circa 1935 wool throw at the same antique shop a few years back. It is an interesting pattern made of rectangles that have plain squares sewn on point at the intersections. Some of the squares appear to be set-in to the seams, while others appear to be stitched over the top of the intersecting block corners. The top is made of several different fabrics, notably wools, that may have come from a salesman's sample book. There are also silk ties and home dec fabrics. This top is also tied and likely meant as a utilitarian piece. The back is cotton. There are several loose patches, that the appraiser recommended repairing with a few stitches. And patches that had become frayed could be covered with a fine netting of the same color and stitched with a few stitches to hold it in place. These types of repairs do devalue the quilt, as completely removing and replacing patches would do. The top hangs over the back of a chair under the previous rail fence top.
The last vintage quilt to share today is a circa 1940 Jacob's Ladder. I picked it up at a flea market/antique sale in Ludington, Michigan. It is quite small and likely made for a man or a small bed. The floral fabrics are from the 30's & 40's, but there are also checks and stripes. These may have been leftover shirtings from making men's shirts or cotton pajama pants. The top has hand quilting and the batting is likely cotton. The binding is bias. The quilt has been used and washed with an unknown pink stain on the backing, and she stated that the quilt was in fair condition.
As you can see, the quilts that I have collected are scrappy. I like that this gives a large sampling of the fabric choices during the time period when the quilt was made. The patterns are not elaborate and the quilting is not fancy. When looking for older quilts to collect, I am looking for what appeals to my quilting tastes. You may surmise from my vintage collection, that I make scrap quilts, and you would be correct. Many of my quilts use an assortment of fabrics from my stash and from dressmaking scraps. I guess I like lots of color and texture.
Filed under: hand quilting, Rail Fence, antiques, Jacob's Ladder, butterfly, hand piecing, scraps, vintage, batting, knife edge binding, circa
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