Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Project:..the Vintage CQ

For quite some time I have wanted to work with the design from an actual vintage crazy quilt, only updating it with fresh colors, fabrics, and embellishments. When I saw a picture of the following quilt, I knew it was the One for me.

I can't remember where I first saw it...maybe one of you will?
Anyway, I love the combination of crazy piecing and sane quilt piecing as well, the randomness and definite design. (My pet theory is that the woman who made this was also a sane quilter, not just picking up on the huge fad of crazy quilting.)

So as with all my large quilt projects, I start with my block blanks up on the design wall.

I like the proportions of the blocks a lot.
I don't have the border up there yet, as one of my good friends still has to come up with a piecing diagram for me. It looks kind of tricky.

I decided to start with the wheels in the center section.
Not wanting to piece those funny black diamonds, I came up with a true "cheater" version of the little 5" blocks, one that has the advantage of no bulky seam allowances too. This will come in handy when I am embroidering all those nice black diamond's nice and flat under them.

Each block is roughly laid out with pre-sewn half-square triangles.

I only need to square up one of the four corners.

Then I adjusted the lay-out, just barely overlapped them, and ran a zig zag down the center seams.

I was off and running....

...while getting reacquainted with my stash, which was really fun.

Next is to applique those black diamond shapes, which will turn these blocks into wheels.

I started with the exact finished shape cut out of freezer paper.
I ironed it onto the black dupioni silk and cut it out with roughly 1/4" extra seam allowance.

Using the freezer paper as a guide, I ironed under the extra fabric. Then I peeled off the freezer paper.

I pinned on my shape and machine appliqued it in place using a fine black thread in a narrow zig zag stitch.
This is not exact...but all these seams will be covered by little stitching, and this is supposed to look vintage, not 21st Century Quilt Police Perfect.

You can see the wheels starting to emerge.
When all the blocks are trimmed and sewn together this will look quite cohesive.

But I am not planning on assembling them right away.
I personally feel that part of what adds to the "vintage" look in crazy quilting is the way each block has been worked on independently, and then all the blocks are joined together in the end.

In recent projects, like the Spring CQ, I've been exploring the look you get when you assemble the entire top has a more controlled, unified look. But this time I just want to be able to grab a stack of little blocks and add seam treatments any which way, "working the stack", as Martha Green would say. It's perfect stitching work for under the trees next to the hammock! Or on an airplane....and is the kind of project that can be interrupted and taken up again, not necessarily pursued in one sustained effort.

Before I start any embroidering, I do think I will piece the rest of the quilt blocks (not counting the already dreaded border). But first I have 20 more diamond shapes to go....


Vicki W said...

Oh, this is going to be exciting!

Tina said...

I have quietly followed your blog for quite a while now.. I am always the one who gets tongue tied so mostly keep quiet. Anyways, I have seen this quilt in the past or something similiar and thought oh how beautiful. I don't do much quilting now, (shudder) even CQ'ing.. I can't wait to see your finished project.. even though I know your work has always been beautifully done.
You might have started a chain reaction with others showing the piecing of the small blocks.. I would of never thought to applique the black star shape.
Thanks for sharing.

Possibilities, Etc. said...

Wonderful project! I've seen that quilt somewhere before also - long ago, I think - and agree, the quilter wasn't just following the Victorian "fad." I'll really look forward to this one, as I do everything you make.

QuiltingFitzy said...

OMG, I totally did not see the black diamonds, only saw round circles. Funny how the brain works!

I'm staying tuned, gosh, I love your documentations of each step of the way.


Thelma said...

It's going to be beautiful. Will be keeping up on your progress. I would love to try to do this quilt.
It's an awesome quilt to reproduce. You will do an awesome job I am sure. I can see this quilt done in handdyed fabrics.

Diana said...

It's coming along. Looks like a fun project!

Unknown said...

With so many people already showing an interest in this quilt, maybe you should issue a challenge. Do you care if people work along with the same general idea?

I've already told you that I was thinking of a similiar idea too (although mine was more like the mourning quilt you showed earlier).

Allison said...

Wow you really work quickly. i love your blank block idea..... really helps you to plan everything.... I will watch this project closely....

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

Wow that is very clever technique. I wish I could play along with you on a project - start when you start and see how I do, but I have too many other projects in the works. Maybe one day, I will go back and do this one. It is so beautiful.

Maureen said...

Allie, That is a stunning antique quilt. What a fun project that's going to be. Can't wait to see it finished!! Reen

Summerset said...

Cool! It will be fun to see how you interpret this one.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize you were planning your larger quilts with blank blocks placed on a design wall. Now I understand how you work and why everything goes together so well.

Jean said...

Just so you know.... I'm going to be calling you "the amazing Allie" for now on! You tamed that block like you knew what you were doing! You clever girl! That outside border does look rather stifling though! Good luck!
Seems to me that maybe the quilter who made this was using ophan blocks.... or not. Anyway... it's great!

Susan Elliott said...

Oh what fun!!! I love pinwheels and all the colors are just popping!! I better settle myself in my chair for a while to watch this, cool, cool

Margaret said...

Hmmmm... a crazy quilt that's...ummm...less "crazy" (that is, more intentional) in its design. I like! Though the black centres look rather fussy. I envision myself burning my fingers on my iron!!

flavia said...

ciao Allie
per realizzare il diamod come devo fare? hai le misure del pattern??
grazie sei sempre la mia preferita!!