Thursday, March 27, 2014

Martha's Colorful Vintage Quilt

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of doing the finishing work on this quilt for my friend Martha.

Finished Vintage Quilt - Foundation-Pieced Diamonds

Every now and then, I get to participate in a really long-term project. Quilting this quilt was the final step in a project that Martha's mother started a few decades ago.

Finished Vintage Quilt - Strip-Pieced Diamonds

The quilt top had been ready-to-quilt for many, many years, but there had been no one to quilt it.

Vintage Scrap Quilt - Strip-Pieced Diamonds

When Martha offered to pay me to do the quilting, I hesitated a little, since I don't consider myself a "pro" at quilting yet. But Martha wasn't in a hurry, and she said I could quilt it however I wanted to.

Vintage Strip-Pieced Scrap Quilt, finished

Since I love to make quilts, I'm fascinated by quilt-construction processes. One of the things I love about this quilt top is that it was foundation-pieced: the strips of quilt fabric were all stitched to a "foundation" square of fabric. Once the foundation square was covered in fabric strips, any excess was trimmed from the edges, and each square was stitched to other squares. 

(Here's what the quilt top looked like from the back - foundation squares in white and green.)

The back of the Foundation-Strip-Pieced Vintage Quilt Top

Another thing that's impressive is the variety of fabrics in this quilt. All colors & styles of fabric, including shirt & dress fabrics, flannels, florals, stripes, novelty fabrics, heavier fabrics and lighter fabrics -- they work together to make an amazing scrap quilt!

Vintage Quilt Top - foundation fabric piecing

Martha said that her mother sewed clothes, often for other people, and that she made quilts from her fabric scraps.

Front and back of foundation-pieced vintage quilt top

For the quilting, I used my favorite machine quilting style -- a free-motion meander. Light-green thread blended well with the light-colored fabrics, and contrasted well with the dark fabrics.

Quilting detail on vintage quilt Quilting and fabric detail on vintage quilt

When Martha asked if I would quilt this quilt top, she let me choose the backing and binding fabrics. 
The blue floral is the fabric I picked for backing, and the solid blue binding turned out just right.

Backing Fabric for a vintage scrap quilt

This is a big quilt -- in this picture, the quilt top is lying on a queen-sized bed, with about 12 inches of overhang on all sides.

Queen-sized Vintage Quilt Top

It really makes me happy to be able to finish-up-and-make-usable a quilt project that's been in the works for all these years.

Half of the quilt is showing in this picture ...

Finished Foundation-Pieced Scrap Quilt on the Clothesline

... and the other half is visible here.

Finished Vintage Quilt on the Clothesline

I'm honored that Martha trusted me with finishing her mom's quilt.

Foundation Pieced Vintage Scrap Quilt

I'm glad she can use and enjoy it now.

Vintage Scrap Quilt

I'm glad I got to enjoy working on it.

Vintage Quilt - Foundation Pieced Diamonds

Quilts can be, in many ways, links to little parts of history. This one certainly is. It reminds Martha of what it was like watching her mother at the sewing machine, doing the work she did so well. It gives me a glimpse into the life of a lady I never met, who, several decades ago, had jobs and hobbies that were probably a lot like mine.

 Finished Colorful Vintage Quilt

After I quilted this quilt, Martha sent me home with another one to finish up! That one's done now, too, and I'm hoping to blog about it soon, as well.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Kaleidoscope Finish!

Several years ago, while expanding my quilt-making horizons (thank you, Internet!), I discovered the wonder that is the Kaleidoscope Quilt. I've been loving kaleidoscope quilts ever since!

The floral fabric for this quilt was actually a twin-sized sheet I bought at a thrift store. It was so pretty, and just the thing for floral kaleidoscopes. In fact, I loved the sheet so much, it didn't even matter to me that I was buying a cotton/polyester blend sheet for quilting. :-) It works. The solid gray and the gray/blue print fabrics are both new, cotton sheets. I love the way the colors work together.

This one's been in progress for several months - see this post from September.

Like most quilt projects, the repetition of sewing piece-after-piece-after-piece gets - well - repetitive, but it's good to see milestones like the ones in this post from November.

I quilted this one all over with my favorite free-motion meander. I love the soft texture the quilting gives.

I've decided that I like little custom-details, like the extra curlicues in the gray border near the bottom of the picture below ...

I love a good kaleidoscope!

This quilt is 51" x 62" ~ my favorite size for a "couch quilt"!

And, here's the back of the quilt.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Little Bargello Quilt

Bargello quilts are fun. 

Way back a couple years ago, when I made a black and pink bargello quilt top, I planned a layout for a little bargello quilt made from the leftovers.

I got it started, but the quilt top sat nearly finished for ages. 

Until recently.

I finished up the quilt top, and I quilted it.

It's a small quilt - 39" x 54" great for a lap-quilt or baby quilt.

Since I don't know anyone who needs a little black and pink quilt right now, this one is listed for sale on eBay. (See this item, or all my listings.)

I love how the quilting turned out ...


It's an allover meandering free-motion pattern ...

The backing is a tiny gray floral. 


Technically, there's no gray in the quilt top, but it works!

It was fun to use some scraps to make something useful!

Monday, March 17, 2014

English Paper Piecing - progress milestone

I've been making slow but steady progress on my English Paper Piecing ... I've finished the border of colored diamonds, and added a complete row of white-ish diamonds, which is more than a whole-row-around since the picture in my previous post about this quilt project. 

The vintage-inspired colorful fabrics still make me smile. I started with some "actual" vintage fabrics, added some reproduction-vintage fabrics, and threw in some regular fabrics that just seem to fit the style! I love it!

I'm thinking I'll add at least two more rows of white-ish diamonds. (The border is a variety of whites & creams, including some solids, some woven-in white-on-white stripes, and some woven-in white-on-white florals.)

After that, since the quilt top will still be so small (right now, it measures 35" x 45"), I'll probably lay the whole thing on a cream-colored background, add something colorful for a border (more diamonds? squares?), and then add batting and backing, and quilt it. That whole procedure should add at least 10 inches to each side, making this a decent lap-sized quilt.

Every time I put anything quilty on the floor, the cat shows up to inspect.

Silly cat. 

I'm linking this post to this week's Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts, and looking forward to seeing what sorts of English Paper Piecing other quilters have been working on.

In other quilting news, I'm ALWAYS in the middle of multiple quilty projects. 
Lately, I have:
- Quilted 2 quilt tops my great-great-grandmother made!
- Finished a Quilt-As-You-Go quilt!
- Made a shirts-and-sheets quilt top - with lots of bright orange! [Update: Sneak peek of that quilt here.]
- Sewn some bits and pieces on my Double Wedding Ring quilt top.
- Almost finished enough leaders-and-enders for a big quilt top!
- Started and finished baby quilts for my two newest nieces! [Update: Blogged about them here.]
- Finished a couple more quilts to list on eBay! [Update: See posts here and here.]
- I've also been meaning to share pictures of some quilts I worked on last year but never blogged about! [Update: One finally-blogged finish post here.]

I'm hoping to blog about all of those things soon (the links above are links for blog posts where I started or mentioned those items. Real posts coming soon!)

Not long ago, my son-who's-having-a-birthday-soon suggested that when I finish the quilts I've got started, maybe I can make another quilt for him. (Good thinkin'. After all, I've made each of my girls a jeans quilt AND a patchwork quilt; I've made each of my boys a jeans quilt. Time to make a couple of boy quilts. So. I have a plan for a guy-quilt for my son. Not sure if it'll happen before birthday time, but we'll see.) [Update: I DID make an NFL Quilt, complete with quilted-in FOOTBALLS! Blog post here.]

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