Category Archives: Quilting

Unstitched

Yesterday I began quilting a gift for someone special. You may have seen the top before in this post. It’s been patiently waiting while I ventured through the Delectable Mountains, completed (except binding) a project with my small group, and survived Fire and Ice.

Sometimes I have trouble getting the right thread tension, so I checked now and then and it looked very good.

I got done with the first pass of quilting. It’s an area about 16″ x 74″, or something like that. It looked good, went easily. I was happy. I rolled the quilt to advance it on the frame.  And I noticed … there was a big pleatey area all down the right side of the pass. The backing fabric hadn’t been pulled smooth and taut enough when I pin-basted the edge, so I stitched in pleats. 

I climbed under the frame to identify and mark the pleated areas with pins through from underneath. From the top, I found the quilting line that led through the pleats. I free-motion quilt, so the line can range a bit, wandering backwards and forwards, left to right. The quilting line covered a larger area than the pleats did, about 16″ x 12″. I made a fence with pins around it, to define where I needed to unstitch.

An area that took less than five minutes to quilt took more than an hour to unstitch.

Once I finished and removed the pins, I clamped the back fabric to pull it smooth. I sprayed the area lightly with water, on both the top and back of the quilt. With drying, the holes from stitching close up, and the fabric on the back dried taut, not saggy.

Today after going to the gym and errands, I’ll get back to the quilting. Wish me luck!

Ohio Red and White Medallion, Progress

As discussed before (here and here,) I’m creating a quilt inspired by a historical work held by the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. You can find the inspiration quilt here. And you can find more information about it here.

I’m not reproducing the original quilt, but trying to honor it and its maker. In so doing, I’m changing some aspects of the design. The size is somewhat smaller than the original, as mine will finish at about 68″ square, while the original is listed as 79″ x 81″. Also, I don’t have a pattern so my proportions are somewhat different as I estimate from the photo. And I’m changing the center block and corner blocks, while maintaining the feel of the original.

Because of the construction challenges this project offers, I’m building it in parts. Here is a photo of the “parts” so far, laid out on my beige studio carpet. The places where the carpet shows are where more parts are needed, such as for the big corner blocks.

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Because the center block is appliquéd, I’ll finish it before adding any borders. (Nope, it’s not done yet. Today Jim helped me decide the final design for it. He really is the best consultant, as he tries things I don’t think of. Those little squares on point? That was his idea.)

If you’ve ever used traditional piecing to make long strips of triangles for a border, you know it is fraught with lots of opportunity for error. I used my new paper piecing skills to make mine. While the process is slow and fussy, and wastes fabric and thread, it is easy enough and created borders I’m really happy with. I’ll take the waste and the pace in exchange for the quality.

For those corner blocks, I’m considering including my initials in one and the year in another. However, that leaves two more blocks and I’m not sure what to use in them. Any ideas?

I’m really excited about this quilt, as I’m able to honor an amazing piece of art that’s 200 years old, and its artist, while contributing my take on the design and incorporating some new-to-me techniques.

More Drawings I Found

I’m still working on my red and white quilt. There are parts covering my design wall. I’m paper piecing the triangle borders. It is a slow, fussy process, but in fact I don’t mind it at all. Would not want to work this way all the time, but it’s fine for now.

Since it is all “parts” and not much new to show, I thought I’d share other drawings I found while looking for newsprint.

One of the drawings is dated 2003, and the other two would have been from the same general time. Coincidentally, or not, I made my first quilt in late 2003 for the birth of a granddaughter. At the time I assumed — I said out loud, numerous times — that I’d never make another quilt. Instead, I didn’t draw anymore, and I did make another quilt in early 2005.

sketch-boy

A young boy. Drawn from a photo of a painted portrait. The painting was likely from the early 1800s.

The next drawing is of Victor Weisskopf. He was a physicist with a wide-ranging and impressive career, including working on the Manhattan Project and chairing the physics department at MIT. The black-and-white photo I used to draw him was so striking, with beautiful lines and shadows of his strong features.

In these days when science and basic research are threatened, it’s worth noting this 1969 quote from Weisskopf: “The total cost of all basic research from Archimedes to the present is less than the value of ten days of the world’s present industrial production.”

sketch-man

Victor Weisskopf, physicist. Drawn from a photo of him found in a magazine.

sketch-woman

Drawn from a magazine ad.

I’ve had fun looking back at these old pictures, and I might muster the ambition to draw again. But there are always so many things to do, aren’t there?

Are there any arts or crafts from your past that you’ve given up? Did you play an instrument or tat or needlepoint? How about intricate origami? Any of them you’d like to resurrect? 

Ohio Red and White Medallion, Center Block

As mentioned in my last post, I’m creating a quilt inspired by a historical work held by the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. You can find the inspiration quilt here. And you can find more information about it here. I don’t intend to reproduce it exactly, but to honor it.

The center block of the quilt is quirky and complex. I found the inspiration quilt more than a month ago and have spent much of that time pondering its construction. The sizing of components and the technique to use for them both present challenges. (And opportunities!) On first glance it looks mostly pieced, but I decided that appliqué would be my primary technique. I’m not very experienced with appliqué, so thinking it would be “easier” gives you a notion of how the piecing would go.

And because I don’t appliqué much, I tried multiple methods before settling on raw edge fusing, with a button-hole stitch to seal the edges.

Here’s the block so far, with more detail to come. It is surrounded by the hourglass blocks that border it a little later. I have a ways to go yet, but I’m really happy with it and its resemblance to the historical quilt.

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Ohio Red and White Medallion, 1800-1820

My adventures with the Delectable Mountains quilt, currently on my longarm frame, were inspired by a photo found at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. During the same expedition in which I found that, I found another quilt from the early 1800s that is a bit more my style.

The IQSCM has a confusing policy sheet for sharing their photos. Though the quilt is 200 years old and therefore is not protected by copyright laws, and the design, regardless, is not protected, the quilt is owned by the museum, and the photo was taken by someone. They have the rights to the photo; I do not. And since I don’t understand their policy, I will share a link to the photo, rather than the photo itself. You can find the inspiration quilt here. And you can find more information about it here.

As it says in the title to this post, this quilt was made in the early 1800s, possibly in Ohio. It is made from two fabrics that currently appear to be a brown print and a creamy white, likely an unbleached muslin. The brown may have been a different color when it was made. The quilt size is 79″ x 81″.

I’m using this quilt as inspiration for a red and white quilt of my own. It is not a reproduction; I won’t use similar fabrics and it will be somewhat smaller. Some of the appliqué elements will be different than on the original. This EQ7 image approximates the whole design. I wasn’t able to draw either the center or the outside corner blocks as on the original quilt, but they will be more similar to the original than you see below.

ohio-1800-to-1820

All the construction will be pretty simple, with the exception of the center block. The very center is a variation of a LeMoyne star, with extra points set on top of a base. The straight red lines in the center may be most easily made with appliqué, too. So even some things that begin as pieced, or appear as pieced, will be appliquéd.

At this point I have the hourglass border blocks made. (I love making hourglass blocks.) Once I get some progress made quilting the Delectable Mountains, I’ll come back to tackle the center block.

When finished, I hope to exhibit this quilt in my local guild’s show in early June.