Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Embellisher Experiment #3: Granddaughter's Flower Garden

Oh, this one was so much fun. But to understand how it came about, first a little back story....

Here is a picture of this year's Silent Auction at Point Bonita. Everyone brings quilt-related items that they wish to pass on, bids are written on the slips of paper next to each item until the bidding time is up, and all proceeds go to charity. Some great stuff shows up every year, and the bidding wars get quite intense as the last few seconds are counted down.
This year there were some vintage Grandma's Flower Garden blocks that just spoke to me, I had no idea why. Fortunately, the lady I was bidding against and I decided to cooperate: we would split the blocks (there were 300 of them) and not bid the price up further. This worked like a charm and we were quite smug with the deal we got...we each paid $20.00 for 150 hand pieced Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks from the 1930's.

And here they are. They are lovely but I can't imagine how boring they would be to make, much less set together. When Barbara Brackman saw them, she commented, "That is why quilting died out in the mid 20th Century..."
They were made by a very proper Methodist lady sewing on her porch after church on Sunday afternoons, this is what I was told.

She could have very well looked a lot like this lady, also a proper Methodist woman. She is my grandmother. She was busy banging out hymns on the piano after church; she didn't sew, but if she had, I like to think she would have made blocks like these.

But I have a new embellisher, right?
Catherine Smith was kind enough to send me some reprints of articles by the Japanese fiber artist, Nobuko Ema. This talented lady uses the embellisher to applique cut out printed flowers...
Now this is talking my language, big time. I have done a TON of appliqued flower collage quilts, but always using the technique of free-motion machine zigzag with clear thread. With the embellisher, you get a different look, but wow is it fast. No thread required.

So I laid out the beginnings of my collage, using those Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks as elements to applique. Why not? For my base I have used that all cotton drapery lining that usually serves as batting for my crazy quilts. I like how it functioned here.

Here everything has been felted around its perimeter.

I have a stash of old quilt blocks...I dug through them to find a block for the center, thinking it would tie in with the flower blocks. I felted some flowers onto it too, also to help the composition. Then I free-motion machine quilted everything down.
I do not often machine quilt but I enjoyed this very much.

After the fact, I decided there should be some background fabric around my wreath, so I could square this up. Next time I would lay out my collage on the fabric over the drapery lining. We live and learn. But that fuzzy edge that the beige toile made when felted along the edge of the wreath was kind of cool, too.

Fast forward....after the background was felted in place along the edges, it too got machine quilted. Then I had to add some lace, a little embroidery, a few beads, a printed border and some piping....

Here is a detail....



Granddaughter's Flower Garden
19" X 19"

I could not stop working on this, once I got started. It was just so much fun. There are so many, many possibilities with this new toy...I mean, tool!

23 comments :

Pam Kellogg said...

OOOOF! Allie, that is yummy! I love how it has the 30's/40's feel and yet is so contemporary. Your creativity never ceases to amaze me!

Amy said...

Love it, love it love it. It's vintage, it's contemporary, it is fantastic. I thought I could wait until later this year to pick up and embellisher but heck my birthday is coming up soon.....

Possibilities, Etc. said...

What a beautiful thing you have made with these old blocks! I learned to piece and quilt from little old ladies (I am one now) in the country when I was a very young wife and mother - they were alone, and pieced their blocks to while away time - then invited all of us together for a day of quilting, sampling new canned peaches and jams, and lots of remembrances of their own youth. "Miss Minnie" would love this!! She used her grandmother's frame, which let down on ropes from the ceiling.

Vicki W said...

Awesome! I love it! You really are exploring the possibilites of the embellisher. So often we buy new toys and never really use them to their capacity.

Gerry said...

This is really quite beautiful. What a wonderful way to use the quilt squares.

Your creativity amazes me!

Kay said...

Wonderful! Those blocks never looked so good. I would second Barbara Brackman's comment, but ironically there are several people in one of my guilds who do nothing but those blocks; to each his own. You are probably going to sell some embellishers, you know!

Judy Merrill-Smith said...

WOW! A beautiful, new use of the old.

chiffondolly said...

All I can say is WOW, I got to get me one of THOSE!!

Marty52 said...

This just turned out so nice! You really used the blocks to their best advantage. Excellent, m'lady!

Rengin Yazitas said...

Amazing...You do always fantastic things...

Debra Spincic said...

I think the GFG blocks are making a return. I see them on lots of blogs and they are very addictive to make. Your approach is very pretty! and as the others have said-a great combo of traditional and contemporary. Nice to see your explorations.

Barbara C said...

You're really pushing the envelope on this tool and its applications, and the results are wonderful. What a great use for old blocks, and for your floral photo images.

verobirdie said...

Great way to make something boring exciting! I like the result very much.

Cat said...

This is totally amazing, I LOVE IT! What a new era!

Karrin Hurd said...

Wow, I love it! You are paving the way for the rest of us for the embellisher's applications. Thank you!

Rian said...

Wowzer, you are really blazin' a new trail with this embellisher. This piece is outrageously cool!

Granny Fran said...

Pure Genius Delight! Love your embellishlique. I still have so many of these blocks that I couldn't figure out how to use. I could make something similar for all the female members of the family so they would each have a piece of Granny's piecework that could be displayed instead of dumped in a drawer someplace.

atet said...

That piece is simply incredible. I love the way you're using "sane" blocks here and really making a piece that is your own. Ok, I'm drooling on my keyboard now. Must stop. Must also not think about embellisher envy.

Sherri said...

That is fantastic!! I love grandmother's flower garden too, but feel the same as you - it couldn't hold my attention for long. What you've done is wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

Cindy Brick said...

OH my goodness, that's pretty! I've been fooling around with sort of this idea, but substituting hankie bits and pieces for the fabric motifs...swirling them around orphan blocks. The results look quite dainty.
Cindy Brick

Janet said...

Beautiful little quilt, Allie! I have some grandmother's flower blocks from my husbands grandmother and haven't come up with what to do with them. Many look very like the ones you have pictured in your pile. I wonder if these were kits at some time... Anyway great idea. I definitely have to get out of the box and get creative!!
Janet

Joseph Smith said...

have you ever heard something about pharmacy ? I think you should add something about that element, shouldn't you?

viagra online said...

wow amazing post, What a wonderful way to use the quilt squares.thank you so much for sharing with us..keep posting