Friday, July 26, 2013

A Swap and a New Look at Block 2

I received a swap blog from Miriam a few weeks ago.  We decided to exchange the fleur de lis Block 10 after Miriam's delightful guest blog. I wrote my signature freehand for the first time, no tracing.

 Miriam signed her block but she had the naughty pen.  She wasn't pleased with the result so she cut the centre out and replaced it with a new signature.

Miriam isn't the only one to have troubles.  Have a look at this block from the original quilt.

Did Emily Carlile have to cover a mistake, or was she just being cautious?  It is tempting to peek under the fabric.

Barbara Burnham has an interesting post on signing quilts on her blog Baltimore Garden Quilts. Her blog has lots of helpful ideas and eye-candy photos.

I've been making another block from the quilt, this one one made by Lydia Baker.  The pattern outline is the same as Elizabeth Cowan's but the green leaf has been cut differently.

Lydia Baker pattern

detail of Lydia Baker's block

Elizabeth Cowan pattern

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Godey's Lady's Book April 1850

The Work Table - Patchwork 
Many improvements may be made in the old style of patchwork that we have been accustomed to see, and, in anticipation of some improvement in the designs at present used, we venture to intrude a few remarks, trusting that our “Family Friends” will not take them amiss.

The materials necessary for patchwork are such portions of wearing apparel, whether of cloth, calico, linen, Holland, silk, velvet, cotton prints, &c., as would otherwise be thrown away, or saved for the rag-man.  The next necessary article is some stiff paper, to form the shapes; and lastly, the design-shapes, cut out in tin, and the designs themselves.  The materials should be arranged into shade and qualities.  After having been cut to the requisite sizes, and the irregularities of the edges neatly remedied, they are ready for use.

The patterns may be varied ad infinitum, if the person possess the least talent for drawing and designing; but, for the sake of those who may not be thus gifted, we submit the accompanying simple and effective design, to be executed in any of the materials.

To make the Patchwork.- The pattern should be placed before the person, and, the shades being selected, the several pieces arranged so as to form the design, and the edges then neatly sewn together; after which, they are either pressed or ironed, the papers removed, and the lining proceeded with.

When silks and velvets are employed, it improves the effect to combine the two, taking the silk for the lighter, and the velvet for the darker shades; or, as in figs. 5, 6, 8, and 11, to have silk for the lighter shades, and two velvets for the others, shaded to pattern.

A very pretty effect is produced by combining Holland and calico, silk and satin, silk or satin and velvet, and rough and fine cloth.

The various articles that may be manufactured, are quilts in colored and white calico;  anti-mecassars in silks; ottomans in silks and velvets, or in silks and cloth; cushions for chairs or sofas, in silks; and mats, rugs, and carpets, in cloth.

We have seen many useful white quilts for children’s cots made from the cuttings remaining after shirt-making.  The centre might be of Holland and calico, pattern 10, fig. 5, and the fig. 7, with a fringe border, knitted.  Numerous rugs might be made in colored cloths to look equal to carpets, and wear much better.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Year in Review

*** The new website for is looking great!  We are open and ready for visitors, hope you like the new format.

If you have been making one block each month you might have something like this.

These blocks are my First Year blocks.  They are just a photoshopped quilt at the moment, but I have begun my quilt-as-you-go and two of the blocks are joined together in the reality world.

My final quilt will be 6 by 6 blocks, and the layout will be something like the picture below.  I'm using EQ7, it is much more useful than EQ5.  The wreath block isn't quite in the right spot, the centre square will take up four positions.  Which I'm sure you can do in EQ7, I just need to keep reading the manual.

The original Chester Criswell quilt is bigger, it's an 8 by 8.  The blocks are repeated two or three times, and the layout looks a little like the picture here.

In one of the many online applique groups, a member asked if the Chester Criswell quilt was suitable for a beginner.  The suggestions have been interesting, what would you say?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Block 12 and a Guest Visitor

I asked Carole from Wheels on the Warrandyte Bus to be a guest blogger and she has been waiting patiently for the block she chose to be revealed.  You need to check out her blog too, Carole's fabric choices are excellent and she has a lot of Work in Progress to show.  Thank you Carole!

I was very flattered to be asked by Sharon to be a guest blogger for the Chester County Criswell quilt. She gave me a few different blocks to choose from and I picked the wreath block. 

Firstly I thought about which fabrics to use, I am making this quilt in blue and green rather than the original red and green. I like to have some similarity within the block and so I chose these two because they both had curvy bits in the pattern, echoing the curve of the wreath.

I wanted my wreath to be a perfect circle so I used a plate to round off Sharon's pattern.

I made the circular stem with bias using a 'Clover' tool. I have the fabric widths written in the box lid for my own reference (after throwing away the packaging long ago).

For the 1/4" bias I cut strips 3/4” on a 45° angle so that the fabric would curve smoothly. I fussy cut the fabric to incorporate the swirls.

I used the bias tool with a strip of visoflex, pinning it to the ironing board when you commence keeps everything together. I used 4 bias strips for the wreath circle.

The right side of the wreath is the same as the left but upside down so I printed out two copies of the pattern and stuck them together for a complete circle, then I pinned down the flowers and leaves. I didn't need to have the flowers on yet (as they go over the stem) and in hindsight I shouldn't have put them on yet as they became quite frayed and I actually lost one on of my bus journeys.

 I needle-turned the leaves and pomegranates first, then the stem and then the flowers. I sewed the inner curve of the stem before sewing the outer curve.  The flowers and pomegranates require some reverse applique so I placed yellow fabric underneath for the flowers and red for the pomegranates.

The picture below shows the reverse applique that's required for the pomegranates and flower centres. I forgot to cut some slits before sewing these down so I used a good quality seam ripper to cut into these parts.
Lastly I embroidered the pomegranate tendrils with a simple running stitch using 2 strands of DMC. When you are marking out the tendrils be careful of keeping them within the finished 12” block size, particularly if you round off the pattern as I did.

The finished wreath block.