Thanksgiving and the Quilt Museum

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday if you are in the United States.  My husband had to work on Thanksgiving so it was just me making dinner. I quite enjoyed it but when everything was prepared, I was extremely ready to be done. We do have a very traditional Thanksgiving meal because that’s what we all know and love which makes the process much easier.

After much feasting and some sleep, I took a trip to the New England Quilt Museum and the American Textile History Museum. I went with a couple of quilty friends and can I just say WOW! The quilt museum featured an exhibit called Great Quilts, Great Stories. The quilts were chosen not because they were the most gorgeous things but because there was a story associated with the quilt. It just goes to highlight the importance of telling the next generation the tales of your life.

This quilt is a Civil War potholder quilt which was actually used on a wounded soldier.  The pictures just can’t capture how lovely they really are.

I turned and saw this HUGE redwork quilt and, of course, immediately thought I needed to make one. (It will have to get in line with everything else!) I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture of the entire quilt but it was wonderful.

This one was just fun to look at and with all the red, white and blue quilts that my guild has done, it’s nice to see something “different” with the same color scheme.

I am in love with this one. It’s all just scrappy 1890’s through the 1930’s. It was done by a couple of sisters and makes me feel so much better about my own haphazard piecing. Who needs points when you can have a quilt that’s done!?

There were quite a few of the chocolate brown and pepto pink quilts. This one was a queen size I think.  The quilt was one of a larger collection that had been sold off at auction. The quilting was marvelous.

There was just such imagination in the quilting. I am certain I would never have thought of something like it. The quilter just used all that open space and really gave you something to look at.

Check this guy out! A mariner’s compass that isn’t complete! Don’t you feel better now!? Even your UFOs are museum quality.

This quilt has the distinction of being pieced by a young boy whose mother later quilted it and gave it to him as a wedding gift. It’s amazingly simple but still so much fun to look at!

One of my quilty buddies liked this one very much. I quite liked the clam shell quilting in it.

 

For lunch we went to the Club Diner and (oh my heck) was it delicious! I highly recommend the cheeseburger with sweet potato fries.

All in all it was a very long couple of days but I enjoyed every minute of them.

Through the looking glass

There are certain things that quilters collectively fall in love with… like batiks, 6 x 24 inch rulers, and Dear Jane.  Some of them go in and out of fashion but, on the whole, are never really gone. If there is one thing that I have always wanted for my adventures, it’s a Featherweight.  If you don’t know what it is then please allow me to tell you. It’s a Singer machine that was built between the 30’s and 50’s that is about 3/4 of the size of an actual sewing machine.  They are unlike today’s “computerized-digitized-embroidering-why-don’t-I-make-you-coffee-while-I’m-at-it” machines. They do one thing. They are uni-taskers. Alton Brown (from the Food Network) would hate it. It sews a straight stitch… a gloriously simple straight stitch.

Okay, okay. You have probably guessed by now that I TOTALLY BOUGHT ONE! It’s true. She’s mine and she’s lovely and her name is Alice.

She was born in 1956 which doesn’t seem so long ago especially for the “old-timey” look of the machine.  I have a 1970’s Singer that’s wicked mod looking so I’m guessing something happened to change them dramatically.  Anyway, Alice is in beautiful condition. She’s named after my Great Grandmother Alice and really I couldn’t think of a more perfect name for her since, as you may be able to tell, she’s sitting on the table that has another sewing machine in it.

The machine inside the table is Amelia. She’s named after another of my Great Grandmothers and she is a full size Singer that was given to me by my father.  I took a picture for size comparison. Amelia needs more than a bit of work since she was in storage for a long time but I have no doubt I can get her working. 🙂

Farmer’s Wife Tips and Techniques

We all know the book is just templates on a CD.  I am okay with templates but I would appreciate an alternate method to cutting out my teeny bits and pieces. Since this quilt isn’t brand new, I reckoned the internet would be the best place to find easier construction techniques.

Now we can certainly print out and cut out the templates. Get some old cereal boxes and paste the templates to the cardboard to make them sturdier. This is all well and good. Your farmers wife ancestors would be proud of you but we have easier and more efficient ways of working here!

First up is the Template Compilation!  It’s 15 pages long but it’s every template in the book! (WHAT!? You talkin’ crazy!) I know what you’re thinking. I already have all the templates. Yes, you do. The CD has them. However, the CD has them printed multiple times for each block which if you printed them all is a whopping 106 sheets of paper. It gets better with the second technique … just wait.

The next idea I have to share is that you can print out that template compilation on freezer paper! Cut your freezer paper into 8.5 x  11 sheets and print on the paper side of the sheets. Now you have templates that don’t wiggle when you cut around them. I can’t tell you how frustrating that is when you have a 4 patch that you’re squaring up and the templates are all wibbly wobbly.

The third idea is From Marti Michell‘s templates which work with all the blocks but the genius of the plan is that she’s come up with alternate construction techniques for nearly all the blocks to eliminate seams and make life easier. Click the link to find out how to sign up for the PDFs.

I’m a farmer’s daughter!

Heh. I may be from Indiana but my dad was not a farmer. However! That slight flaw will not keep me from creating a Farmer’s Wife quilt.  Have you seen these? Talk about gorgeous!

This all came about when my MIL told me she and a couple friends were kicking around the idea. I asked what the rules were. She just looked at me like “what do we need rules for.” There can’t be a quilt along without rules! We all need to be held accountable and if I’m doing it then I may as well make the rules. (Notice there was no actual time between her telling me and my becoming part of the project for her to actually ASK if I wanted to be a part of it?)

At this point I sat down to write the email. We will be making 4 blocks a month which means it’s a 2 year project. Officially the first thing in my life that I have planned 2 years in advance.  Heck, babies only take 9 months so this is a big deal.
Here’s my progress so far! They are 16. Calico Puzzle, 21. Contrary Wife, 70. Prairie Queen, and 72. Railroad.

What is a slap dash quilter?

Over the years I have made many cozy quilts. Some of them I have put heart and soul into and others I have just BARELY followed the directions on, hoping that luck would see me through.  All of these treasures have been adored by the recipients. These masterpieces have stood up to repeated use and washing.  So I ask (slightly sarcastically[or maybe not]) …from what dark place does the quilt world’s constant need for perfection come?

It’s all out there! The myriad rulers, grids, cutters, gadgets and machines are only a quilt shop away. Some of these items costing us upwards of (let’s face it when it’s the machine) the price of a small vehicle.  Yes, I do want them as much as the next quilter. Seriously? Who would not want a Viking Sapphire? I want them because I want to be the one who gets the oohs and ahhs. I want mine to be the wedding gift that they fight over in the divorce settlement. Do we need to pay the price to get the reaction though?

So, I am a slap dash quilter.

My seams are not always perfection. I’m not saying to leave in a seam that’s obviously going to pop but will the world end if it’s not a SCANT 1/4. Maybe it will, but I doubt it.  My colors are not always coordinated.  I quilt what I like not what I think will win me best in show.  If it’s got a flaw, I’m leaving it in. I hope that you leave some in, too.