Posts Written On April 2015

Replacement Album Doll Quilt for Swap

If you happened to read the update on my last post, you know that I ran into a problem on the Shoofly doll quilt for Lori’s swap. I was about 3/4 done with the quilting when I encountered a block with weak fabric. It’s not unusual to run across unstable fabric when you’re purchasing antique tops and blocks, so I try to be very careful when I’m selecting fabrics for a quilt. This time one slipped right by me. At some point in the future, I’ll probably take out all the quilting and replace the damaged block, but for now I just had to put it away and think about making a replacement quilt for the swap.

While I was pondering a design for the new quilt, I walked by my remade 1886 antique quilt which hangs in the living room. I remembered that I had a leftover strip of the sashing fabric, and thought I could make a small version of the Album quilt using reproduction Civil War fabrics. The Album block is simplified for the little quilt, but the diagonal set is just the same, and I plan to use a similar quilting pattern. The top should end up about 19″ square once it’s quilted.

I have to say that it was a nice experience working with new fabric for a change — there are so many prints to choose from, and the fabric is much easier to work with. I still love the authentic stuff, but from now on I’m going to be a lot more rigorous about testing the strength of the fabric before I include it in a quilt.



Shoofly Doll Quilt Top for Swap

UPDATE:  What a drag — I was nearly done with the hand quilting, when I encountered a block with an unstable print. This is always a risk when working with these very old fabrics, and although I try really hard to catch any little pieces with issues, I missed one this time. 🙁 Now I’m going to start over with a new swap quilt, but this time I’m going to use reproduction fabrics.

Here is my little quilt for the second doll quilt swap sponsored by Lori at Humble Quilts. This time I decided to make a double-pink utility quilt using the simple Shoofly pattern. On my first attempt I made the sashing about twice as wide as it is now, and I was not happy — it was too much pink, and the scale was all wrong. Now that I’ve taken it apart and cut down the sashing, I’m much happier, although it’s still very pink. I just hope whoever gets this quilt likes old double-pinks as much as I do.

All the fabrics in this 20″ square top are from my collection of antique blocks and tops, but the binding and backing will be reproductions. I’m planning on hand quilting with the Baptist Fan pattern, because that just seems right for a utility quilt. Click to enlarge the photo if you want to get a closer look at the individual prints.




Denim Applique Coverlet Update

I’ve decided to call this a coverlet, since it doesn’t really fit the definition of a traditional quilt sandwich held together with stitches, and it’s not particularly warm and snuggly, either. It’s going to be a sort of bedspread for a twin bed, but not floor length, and I’ll crochet a scalloped edge around the outside.

Now that we’ve got that straight . . . here are the first 16 of 164 6″squares all crocheted together. It went pretty smoothly once I figured out how I wanted to join the squares. I had planned to space the letters in order across the quilt, but then when I was sewing these first two 8-square sections together (the upper left corner of the coverlet), I accidentally placed the section with the A on the bottom and the D section on top. I did not want to rip out any more stitching on this project, so now the letters will be completely random, just like the pictures, and it’s going to make it easier going forward. Seriously, I’m always making stupid mistakes like this — it would worry me that I am getting Alzheimer’s (like my father and grandmother), but I’ve always been this way, so that’s a comfort, I guess.

I’m going to take a break from this quilt now so I can finish the quilting on the String Star Quilt, and also make a little Civil War quilt for Lori’s quilt swap. I know I said “no new quilts,” but it’s just a little one, and she only does this exchange once a year.

There is more info on the making of the denim quilt in a previous post.


Here’s how it looks on the back.denim-applique-quilt-16-blocks-back


Hand Quilting Designs from Vintage Embroidery Transfers

I recently purchased folder of large vintage Briggs transfers which are labeled as quilting patterns. As I was looking at the designs, I realized they looked a lot like the large patterns I’ve seen which were intended to decorate cushions. After looking around online for cushion patterns that might also work for hand quilting. I found a rose design that was perfect as is, and four others that I felt would work, but needed a few changes. Now that I’ve added a few elements to a couple, and subtracted some details from the other two, I think these would look wonderful as alternate blocks. Click images to enlarge.

Next, I will clean up the Briggs transfers to share — no changes will be required for them, as they were designed for hand quilting.

Quilting-Design-from-Cushion-Embroidery-Transfer-1 Quilting-Design-from-Cushion-Embroidery-Transfer-2

Quilting-Design-from-Cushion-Embroidery-Transfer-3 Quilting-Design-from-Cushion-Embroidery-Transfer-5


Denim Applique Quilt — Progress

After much trial and error, I think I have finally come up with a plan for this quilt. The process of figuring out how to embellish and join these blocks required lots of stitching and almost as much unstitching. For some reason, it’s just about impossible (for me, anyway) to envision how embroidery and crochet is going to look on a project without actually doing the stitching. So, on with the plan . . .

Find and Fuse the Appliqués
Initially, I thought I would browse through some of my old coloring/paint books for patterns, but even the simple designs were too detailed. Because I wasn’t planning on adding any additional embroidery beyond the blanket stitching, the designs had to be recognizable just by their shape. I ended up using images I found online of silhouettes and die cuts, and some I actually drew myself — a talent I do not possess, but these are pretty simple designs.

With a light fusible web (something you can hand sew through), I fused the design to vintage fabric pieces and then to my denim squares. I just wanted something that would prevent the edges from fraying.


Finish the Edges of the Appliqués
This is regular blanket stitch using a pretty big embroidery needle (to get through the denim and fusible) with 3 strands of floss.


Back the Squares with Cotton Fabric
For backing, I pulled scraps of new, mostly reproduction, fabric from my stash. I didn’t bother sewing up the small open area where I turned the fabric inside out — it’s closed up in the next step. And I know . . . my cat’s ears and tail ended up too close to the edge, but I’m going to try and fudge it.


Blanket Stitch Around the Squares
Using Pearl Cotton #5, I grouped three stitches together to make it a little more interesting. It’s important that there are the same number of stitches on each side — I made a template so I could mark dots for each triple blanket stitch.


Crochet a Border Around the Squares
The border is made with double crochets, although I need to maybe add some triple crochets to the corners to make the blocks more squarish, which should make them easier to sew together.

Because there’s a lot of black thread in this quilt, and Pearl Cotton is not cheap, I ordered a large cone of 5/2 mercerized pearl cotton (mostly used by machine knitters and weavers). I think the wpi (wraps per inch) is just a tiny bit less than the DMC#5 pearl, but it should be fine. When I get the new thread, I’ll rip out the borders on these two blocks and replace them.


Sew the Blocks Together (no photo because I freaked out)
Update: Click here for a photo of 16 blocks sewn together.
Honestly, this was the hardest part of this project. Since there are about 50 little stitches on each side of the square, it’s a bit more like joining crocheted bedspread squares than granny afghan squares, and everything is black! I hate sewing black on black!

Eventually I realized, after trying about 8 different techniques for joining my squares, that just sewing them loosely with a whip stitch (appliquéd sides together) worked really well.

I’ll include all the alphabet letters and maybe some numbers, but the pictures will be random — both in the selection and placement. Hopefully I’ll find be able to find at least one picture for each letter of the alphabet, but I don’t really consider this an alphabet quilt, so I’m not going to obsess about it.

This is a pretty fun project because there are so many different steps involved. It takes a while to make each block, but when they’re done, they’re really done. No batting or backing to add, and no quilting of any kind required.


Vintage Embroidery Designs — Fuchsias

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we struggle to grow a decent zinnia, but we have beautiful fuchsias in so many amazing color combinations, which are particularly suited to our mild climate. My husband says to be safe, I should wait until Mother’s Day, but today is a gorgeous day, and I couldn’t wait any longer to hang my new fuchsia on the porch.


These matching Art Nouveau designs are from 1910 newspapers, and meant to be used on a blouse and a skirt panel (hence the odd shapes). These are the only fuchsia embroidery patterns I’ve ever seen, and although they are quite large, I think you could just use small elements of the designs. As usual, click on the images to enlarge.




Appliqué Quilt Blocks on Denim and April Apron Winner

I brought out an old project from my stack of cardboard boxes, and I’m having a lot of fun appliquéing these simple designs on 6″ denim squares I saved from our old jeans. I used a light fusible (one you can hand stitch through) to apply the pieces, then blanket stitched them with three strands of embroidery floss. I have to use my rubber needle puller to get the needle through the denim, but it’s not too bad.

My plan is to finish the squares with a quilt-weight cotton, making each one with finished seams like a little flat pillow. Then I want to blanket stitch around each block so I can use decorative crochet to connect all the blocks together — sort of like granny squares. I know I saw a quilt somewhere that was made this way, and I just hope I can make it work. Anyway, it’s fun looking for new designs in my old coloring and paint books and matching them up with little prints from my vintage fabric scraps.

denim quilt birdhouse

denim quilt cat

denim quilt dog

denim quilt gekko

denim quilt apple

And now on to the apron giveaway. Congratulations to commenter #9, Julierose, who is the winner of the two April aprons, and a big thank you to everyone who participated.

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