Thursday, January 27, 2011

Miscellaneous Blocks and My First Quilting

Here are several miscellaneous quilt blocks I have on hand, plus a fun photo at the end of some "non-quilt" items.

I have a BUNCH of "Cross-stitch Bouquet" blocks that Grandma Cline pieced, a few of them are attached in rows of 2 or 3 or 4, but several are single blocks. I'm trying to figure out what to do with them, to arrange them and make a quilt of some kind. These blocks are made of squares of fabric only 1-and-1/4 inch, with a seam allowance of only 1/8 inch. So the finished size of each fabric piece is 1 inch. Talk about time-consuming! Not sure I'd like to tackle such a pattern, but I'll enjoy putting blocks together and quilting them.

Cross-stich Bouquet, back view:

Closeup of the back, where you can see Grandma's stitches and the narrow seams:

The article photo of Grandma Cline shows a Cross-Stitch Bouquet quilt to the far right (Grandma's far left) with this description:

"... to the far right is a quilt made of 28 blocks, each of which has 144 one-inch squares to the block. she has made nine quilts of this last pattern."

"Monkey Wrench" blocks by Grandma Cline:


"Sunbonnet Sue" blocks by Grandma Cline:

Now, here's a picture I'll share of my Grandpa and Grandma Wilson. Grandma Wilson also did her share of quilting.

Now we're going to see the VERY FIRST QUILTING I ever did. Mom had kept these various quilt blocks in her big cedar chest. Somehow, she let me fool around with one, and I decided to see if I could actually do some "quilting." I don't know how old I was, but probably around 10 or 11 or so. Here's the block, a "Jacob's Ladder" pattern, made by Grandma Wilson. I must say I love these colors.


I was really keeping this to the bare basics - I just found a piece of thick, plain material for the "backing," put it in an embroidery hoop, and started in.

The back of the block, showing Grandma Wilson's piecing/stitches:

Heh, I remember I didn't keep with it for very long. I got a bit of the center "quilted," then just stuck the needle in and never got back to it. (Almost 40 years ago? LOL!!!) THE NEEDLE IS STILL THERE. I leave it there for posterity.

Looking at the back of this "project." I love looking through the backs of quilt things - the light coming through in a different way almost makes it look like stained glass.

Now for the "bonus" picture. These are some of Grandma Cline's things. On the left are two dolls she made and dressed, which is what she enjoyed doing in her later years. Also pictured is a "sewing tool caddy," made from a fabric covered board, with a pincushion, pocket, hooks, etc., and can be hung on the wall. I think I'm going to hang this on MY wall, and actually use it! On the far right is her needle-threader. This was a real essential, as in later years her eyesight was not good, due to cataracts. You stick the eye-end of the needle in the narrow cylinder on top, lay the thread in the notch by it, press the little button down, and a tiny strip of metal comes out and pokes the thread through the eye. The spindle is to hold a spool of thread. I always thought that was pretty neat!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Recently, I tackled putting together some double axe head pieces, which promptly drove me crazy. In order to gain back some quilting sanity, I decided to just do a little project, as long as it was STRAIGHT SEAMS. I had seen several examples on other quilt blogs containing bright colors, including the binding. So I thought I'd go down that little path awhile, and just see what I could do. This was a very small project, but let's just say it stretched my horizons a fair bit!

First, I had this planning page:

Then I cut out various-colored squares:

I got the top pieced together:

Finally, today I finished the quilting, and this evening I bound it:

(I had a little mess-up, where I accidentally started to go around each square in one block like I was used to! That made me mad, so I put it away for a few days, then got back to it and took the stitches out and went on. I hate taking out stitches! Makes me think of Home Ec. class. ha ha)

A closeup, showing a little different quilting pattern in the squares:

New or rare things I did:

Quilted differently than around the edge of each piece.
Used colored quilting thread to outline just outside the blocks.
Used a bright print for the binding.
Sewed on a "continuous" binding, clear around with one (pieced) strip.
Worked with different binding corners than I'm used to.

In county fairs past, I've noticed judges look for "mitred corners." I've always accomplished this by sewing binding on opposite sides, then the other 2 sides, then folding the corners a certain way and stitching down to be nice and square from both front and back.

These corners I just did were a DISASTER! I thought I sewed the binding on correctly to achieve a certain kind of mitre, but it sure didn't. I'll have to figure out what happened. Here's a comparison of the "disaster corners" (red binding) and how I usually do it (dark blue binding):

There is another way you can do a quilt without binding. I bought a little Log Cabin quilt at a garage sale once. It was pieced and everything was sewn together on the edges with no binding (but it needed quilting). I thought it was very effective. So I quilted the quilt, and just used very simple quilting in the border area, following the seam. So here is a comparison of all three corners - the continuous disaster, the separate edge strips folded, and the no-binding style. Lesson learned! I'll stick with what works for me! Or at least figure out what I did wrong.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pink Embroidery

This is a quilt made by my Grandma Wilson. Pretty pink embroidery makes me wish for spring!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tumbling Blocks

In this photo of Grandma Cline and her quilts, the article refers to the one on the far left (her far right) as "made from a pattern of General Eisenhower's mother." We always called it "Tumbling Blocks." It's very colorful, using all kinds of scraps.

This one is similar to the one in the article photo. Grandma pieced the top, then later on when I was a little older (after Grandma had passed away), Mom and I quilted it. This is the first quilt I did any "real" quilting on. I haven't used it a whole lot, so it's in pretty decent shape.

Here is a closeup of the pieces. I love seeing the different types of fabric prints in these old quilts - seeing what was available back in those days.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Little Boy Quilt

This quilt was made for my brother when he was little. I'm thinking perhaps it was made by my Grandma Wilson, and maybe my mother helped too. Cute figures use up a lot of different scraps.

Closeup of the blocks:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Small But Colorful

It was nice that this went together so easily. It restored some of my wits after grappling with the curvy mess of that "other project." Now to go find a chunk of material for backing, a bit of batting, and put it all together. Then bind it with something colorful.


Last night, I got the last two rows of "double axe head" pieces sewn together. You can see the stack of seven rows waiting to be joined in the upper part of the photo directly below. This was not without problem, as once I accidentally got some fabric doubled over in the seam, and had to do some ripping! (*tear more hair out*) Needless to say, I need/want/must have a change of pace before I start joining those rows! Hence, the plans you also see in this picture.

In a lot of quilt blogs I like to read, I've seen neat quilts featuring bright prints surrounded by white, with a colorful border. So I'm trying just a small wall hanging project, to see if I can do something in that style, and HAVE SOME STRAIGHT SEAMS TO WORK WITH FOR AWHILE. I drew the design, decided on the size of pieces, made templates, found fabrics I liked from my stash, and cut out the pieces.

I have this plastic alphabetic file folder I like to keep pattern drawings, plans, templates, and so on in. I've taken lately to include snippets of the fabric in with the page, just for interest to see what I used.

Here are the color pieces I chose:

I'm having a lot of fun playing around. I might do this:

Or this:

Or maybe this:

But I doubt I do any more of this kind of CURVED SEAM MADNESS anytime soon:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Glutton For Punishment

I like to think, "You never know until you try."

I kept wanting to try this "double axe head" pattern I kept seeing. Maybe it was the way the pieces fit together that intrigued me. Maybe it was the idea of variety or a challenge.

It's MADNESS, I tell you! "Tedious" is a severe understatement.

I got a stack of pieces cut out, each one different material.

The pieces fit like this, with the outward curve being sewn to the inward curve.

The TEDIOUS part - pinning them together!

Pins, and I'll need a lot when I join the ROWS together. *shudder*

The frustrating part - actually sewing them together. I can't imagine doing this by hand.

Two rows finished so far. Seven rows of six pieces in each row.

Um ... more than a few of them have puckers. This is not easy, I tell ya!

This part didn't turn out too bad.

How do you like my recycled chocolate sack for snippets of material, threads and bent pins? I'll just throw the whole thing away when it's too full to pack in anymore. :) Of course this means I'll need another round of chocolate ... so I can use the sack for sewing trash. :)

Well, the two pieces being sewn above turned out O.K. But this seems to be the exception rather than the rule!

How many more rows to go? If I ever pick another pattern that has curved seams to it, someone take my sewing machine away!!!