Thursday, August 27, 2009

Vintage CQ...Flower #16

Ah, the waning days of summer.....

Everything is grown out and even a little past its prime already in the garden, but oh my has it been a great year. This was taken from my little card table under the dogwood tree this morning...

The inspiration for Flower #16 came directly from a blog post made by the great French embroiderer/embellisher, Sophie Gelfi.
She had a long and comprehensive article about crazy quilting published in the French magazine, "Magic Patch". Graciously, she scanned the entire article and posted it for the benefit of all of us around the world who practice CQ. Find it here.
It's very, very good!

One of the motifs she pictured just struck my fancy, so I more or less replicated it for my Flower #16.

Simple, but nice!

My time is not quite my own these days, so I won't be blogging more than once a week. Look for me on Thursdays, ok?

Happy Stitching, everyone.... ;-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vintage CQ...Flower #15...A Tutorial

I've been so inspired by the vintage crazy quilts I've seen lately and by my own collection of digital images of the old crazies.

Here is a three dimensional flower that I decided to try and interpret for my ongoing Vintage CQ project.

The petals were constructed individually from two pieces of I thought I would try that too.

I used very lightweight silk and a thin sewing machine thread to make these small shapes easy to turn...

I drew my shapes on one of my petal fabrics...

...and set my sewing machine to a pretty short stitch. (Ha! You can see my camera reflected in the sewing machine!)

Here the shapes are sewn.

And here they are cut out, with a very narrow seam allowance.
Notice that the three petaled shape is sewn all the way around. To turn it I made a slit in the back, because I knew that wouldn't show, and turned the shape inside out.

This is the basic arrangement...

I tacked down each petal at its base.
And I am sorry, but I forgot to photograph what I did with the center section, which was to make a circle of short basting stitches in the center and pull the thread, to gather the section...but you'll see that in the picture of the finished flower.

But first, the leaves....

I decided to use 1/2" wired ribbon, as it would give a nice puffy look to the leaves, to go with the puffy petals. This picture shows pulling the wire on one end to start gathering the ribbon.

Then I cut the ribbon to length (about 2 1/2"), carefully pulled the wire out on the other end, and gathered the ribbon toward the center. The wires are twisted a few times to secure the gathers.

After that, I just shaped the leaf, tucking the wires to the back.
I made four leaves, and appliqued them onto my little block behind the flower petals.

The center has some cast-on stitch loops made of cotton DMC Flower thread. They nicely cover up my gathering stitches.

So while this flower really doesn't look much like the vintage one that inspired it...still, it is a direct descendant!

I've got a very busy week ahead, so I won't be posting again until midweek next week.
Happy Stitching, everyone!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Free Swatch Day on Spoonflower!

Spoonflower, for those who don't know, is an innovative online company that will print your uploaded imagery onto fabric for you, in repeated patterns or centered if you wish...the quality of the print is equivalent to commercially printed fabrics that you buy in the store, and many fabrics are available for you to print on, too. Prices are quite reasonable.

All day on August 20th, from midnight until 11:59 p.m., Spoonflower is offering a free swatch service, whereby you can order two different designs for free! They hope you will include a donation to their favorite cause, Heifer International, as part of your order; this is optional but a fine idea.

See their blog post about Free Swatch Day here.

They make the service easy to use, so all of us can become fabric designers! They are super nice people, too.

I've got my designs all picked out and can't wait to "place my order" and make my donations tomorrow. I'll post pictures of my swatches when they arrive...

So take advantage of this great offer to try some fabric designing, support a worthy cause...and

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The International Quilt Study Center

What an absolute treat it was to visit the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, which hosted our board meeting for the Alliance for American Quilts. We saw some wonderful exhibits there (including the crazy quilts, of course), and were given an insightful tour and talk by the curator of the "American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870-1940" exhibit, Marin Hanson.

There is much to do on their site, too. Browsing the quilts in their collection is possible by logging into their Quilt Explorer pages here.

Marin was gracious enough to provide me with some digital images of the Crazy Quilt exhibit; permission was granted by the Center's fine director, Professor Patricia Crews, to post them here on the blog for you feast your eyes, on overall shots of the quilts and their details...

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There is a bit of silk ribbon embroidery...not too much in evidence, but some!

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And the maker appliqued some millinery leaves and flowers, too.
That made me so happy...some things have NOT changed between then and now.

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There were many botanical ideas to inspire me....

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Like on this quilt.

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Aren't these dear?

And there was a casket cover!

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This looked richer than an oriental rug.

There was much velvet applique that was then outlined in couched perle cotton...

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We could all do this, couldn't we?...the technique doesn't look too difficult.
Nice seam treatment below the beige border, too, isn't it?

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These petals were all needleturn appliqued before the couching was added. Such a subtle richness that couching gives...

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Nice carnations...I wonder if the leaf thread was originally green? The calyxes still maybe the blue here was "artistic license"...

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This quilt has a heavily embroidered border...with the flowers being carried into the center of the quilt in large motifs. This was so cool "in person".
You need to go see it!

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The maker found a LOT of variegated thread to work with. This seems rare to me, in the old crazies.

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She tucked a butterfly in there, too...
This is some kind of raised stitch. Anybody know what it is?

*edit* Pat Winter says it looks like a palestrina stitch, or "Basque knot", as Sharon Boggon calls it in her free online stitch dictionary.

There were some quilts and a sham that used this "cheater cloth"...

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I would love to see this fabric reproduced. It is terrific.

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One quilt had the fabric pieced in with some regular quilting fabric, which was so interesting.

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And one maker wanted to keep piecing crazily, even with humble cotton plaids and no embellishment.
This looks so contemporary to me.

Finally.....just check out the setting of this quilt:

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This is just brilliant, in my opinion.
I surely would never thought of doing this in a million years, yet it is so simple...

...which leads me to the point of why it is so valuable to look at these old quilts, whether at museums or online, at such fine sites as the International Quilt Study Center, or of course, at the Quilt Index on the Alliance's site---over 30,000 quilts are there, with many more to be added this fall. We get ideas that we can make our very own in fresh and original ways from these treasure troves.

Another reason to support these organizations is the opportunity they provide for scholarly research. Academics in such fields as womens' history, the decorative arts, and sociology are able to use these resources--including the Save Our Stories oral histories on the Alliance website--for original research. (We have three board members who are scholars in these fields.)

So take some time and cruise around the Alliance will be well rewarded!

And thank you again, to Professor Crews and her staff, for a most wonderful couple of days in Lincoln.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vintage CQ...Flower #14

This was a quick one!
The little metal roses were glued onto the block using E6000. Then I just added some straight, stem, and ribbon leaf stitches and it was done.

This will be all from me for a few days....

I am off to Lincoln, Nebraska tonight for my first board meeting of the Alliance for American Quilts. It will be held at the International Quilt Study Center on the University of Nebraska campus, and I am thrilled to be going. Not only will I get to meet my very fine fellow board members, but it just so happens that the IQSC is currently showing a great exhibit of crazy quilts.
Just down the street from our hotel is the Nebraska History Museum, and they too are showing crazy quilts this summer. I feel quite lucky!

So it is off to the great Heartland for me....back this week-end.

Happy Stitching, everyone!...

P.S. All the information about the Alliance's Crazy for Quilts contest is now up on their website. The link to the gallery for voting (and you can vote if you are a member; I do encourage you to join!), the auction dates...everything you want to know is there. Enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Crazy for Quilts" Contest Gallery!!!

Have a look at all these fabulous, wonderful, incredibly beautiful, super fantastic crazy quilts that were made for the fundraising contest of the Alliance for American Quilts!!!!


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Vintage CQ...Flower #13

Harvest, harvest, harvest! Not much time for sewing...

The plethora of bounty has caused some consternation in the counter space was shrinking to nothing with all the gizmos, gadgets, piles of veggies, cutting boards, etc. So I asked the Head Carpenter to help me solve the problem, and I am thrilled with my fifteen dollar remodel.

As you can see, our kitchen is a time capsule of the 1970's, when it was built. Updating it has not exactly been a about that light fixture in the ceiling? You should see the one in the hallway....oh my is so ugly it is kind of beautiful....
But look at my new appliance barn! And all that new counter space!! I am one happy chappy.

Vintage Flower #13 came about when I was tidying up the sewing room and found a few scraps of pink wired ribbon....

It was inspired by morning glories...

Hope you all are having a wonderful week-end.... ;-)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vintage CQ...Flower #12

First I have to show you the new champion Tiffen!

Now 28 ounces is the weight to beat!

And here is the first harvest of what we hope will be many, many, many more....

I split these Japanese eggplant and grilled them, added a tiny bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar...just so yummy!

So now on to Vintage Flower #12. I was trying to depict some lavender...I like the flowers o.k. but the leaves came out a little bushy.

I guess I was going for the "feel" of the plant (mine are very thick and bushy) rather than an accurate portrayal.... ;-)

Our heat wave has finally broken. Phew!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Poblano Chillies

Those chillies came right after me alright! We have been harvesting, roasting, and then freezing them for the last few days.
Fun, opening that broiling oven when the kitchen is already 85 degrees and it's 100 outside! My glasses instantly fogged up with a whoosh of the blast furnace. This "going green" stuff is a lot of work!

But oh my goodness are they good....we had green chili chicken stew last night, with everything in it from the garden....onion, peppers, carrots, celery, tomatoes, potatoes, corn (frozen from last year). Fresh, organic, and satisfying...

This was the first hodfull...

The chillies were cut in half and seeded, then placed on a parchment lined pan and run close under the broiler for about 4 to 5 minutes. (The parchment made removing the peppers and later clean-up a breeze.)

I decided to leave the smokey skins on before packing them to freeze (each quart bag has four little individual bags), as this will flavor the chillies until I thaw them. Then the skins will come right off.

Sorry there isn't much stitching news or pics these days!
Just garden happenings.

And about those dueling "His 'n' Her" onion beds....
Here is Robert's:

Nice orderly rows of succulent Western Giants here.

And then there is my onion bed:

There are just as many onions in it....honest.
Robert says that's what happens when you let a quilter do the weeding!

And now I'm being chased by the second bed of broccoli.....

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Vintage CQ...Flower #11

Oh, it's been hot around here!
Almost too hot for stitching, but not quite...

Flower #11 was mostly made of Mokuba ombre ribbon that I got from Maureen Greason's website. I love this stuff!

The large center flower is wire-edged rayon; the little flowers ringing the center are made of the ombre Mokuba. The little lazy daisy leaves are 4mm silk ribbon. The center daisy was glued into place!

It's to be another hot one today, but those poblano peppers are insisting on my attention....