Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Meet the Bears

They're finished! Here are the bears made from a friend's husband's suits. I used just the pants and vest backs--they were the easiest to work with. Like I mentioned before, even though they are not fuzzy, they are cute! And each one has its own personality! I'll miss them when they go to their new homes!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Interesting Insides

The other day I decided to snip apart that little quilt that I bought in the Missouri antique shop. In no time I had all those little purple ribbons snipped off . The flannel backing was brought around to the top for binding, and the stitches that held it in place came out easily, too. It didn't take me long to find out why this little quilt (34" x 42") was SO thick! MANY layers!
First of all, one half of the quilt had a double layer of flannel backing. I certainly can't figure out why. That area of the backing has a seam across it, so maybe whoever made it decided to add a second layer in case the seam came apart??? It is stitched with tiny machine stitches, though, so I don't think it ever would!
Then there's the filler. The batting appears to be cotton (and giving it the flame test, it burns like cotton). It is creamy in color and very smooth, not at all lumpy. I do not see any seeds in it. It reminds me of batting they used in the seats of early cars. It is between a layer of muslin on one side and flannel on the other, tacked in place with neat tacking stitches (short on one side and long on the other).
I have never seen batting like this in a quilt. I might have to ask one of the "experts" about it. It's little surprises like this that remind me how clever and resourceful quilters can be! :)

P.S. The quilt top is definitely feed sacks and the blocks are machine pieced. I plan to soak it in mild soap to see if it will come clean.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Scrapping, but not quilts

This month I am trying to complete projects that have been promised to others. Right now I am making teddy bears. (Yes, many of them.)
A friend gave me some clothing from her deceased husband with the request that I make bears for her, her kids and her grandkids from the clothing. I'm making 3 large bears (15") and 4 smaller bears (10"). Even though they aren't fuzzy, they are coming out cute. Instead of bows around their necks, they wear ties--neckties fashioned from some of her husband's ties. I'll show you a photo of the bear family when they are all done.
I started this kind of sewing about 10 years ago. After seeing my things at a local craft fair, a lady brought me clothing from her deceased parents. I made a crazy quilt and several teddy bears for her. Over the years I have made T-shirt quilts, quilts that combined T-shirts and other items of clothing, yo-yo bears from neckties, etc. Several "customers" have said that they couldn't bear to cut into or work with the clothing themselves, but it's ok for a "stranger" to do so. And all have been delighted with the finished products! I find it very rewarding to make these keepsakes for them.
Hope you are working on a rewarding project right now, too!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Vacation Shopping--Part Two

I love to wander through antique shops. Get me in one and I'm set for a couple of hours. I explore every nook and cranny, looking for quilt-related items--quilts, quilt tops, quilt blocks, fabric pieces, quilt patterns, quilt books, etc, etc. These things are getting harder and harder to find, but once in a while I find a treasure hiding under other things.

Up the street from the quilt shop in Potosi, MO was an antique mall. I couldn't spend as much time there as I usually like to because of the others that were along on the trip. I couldn't dig deep, but I did come across this little quilt. At first glance it is nothing special. Just some 4-patch blocks set with (a bit dirty) white. It has a really thick batting in it. The backing is (a bit dirty) white flannel. And it is tied--small bows of lavender ribbon are tacked in place with white string (perle cotton?). But the fabric in the top is not just any fabric--it is feed sacks, so right away I was interested! I could not find a price on the quilt anywhere--oh, oh!

I decided on a price that I was willing to pay and went in search of the shopkeeper. I asked how much the quilt was and when she replied "$10", I right away said "SOLD"! Talk about thrilled!

When I carried my little bundle out of the shop, my mother-in-law spied it and asked me what in the world I was going to do with it? My reply was that it would become part of one of my quilt talks. What DO I plan to do with it? First of all, I plan to take it apart. I'm curious as to what the thick batting is inside it. I plan to carefully wash the quilt top and study it to see how it was made. Then, I plan to just enjoy it for what it is. Will I re-make it into a different, cleaner little quilt? Only time will tell.

PS--I'll let you know what I find when I get inside it! :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vacation Shopping, Part One

Last Tuesday I was in Quilters Corner, a quilt shop in Potosi, MO, a little town in the hills south of St. Louis. Our trip to Potosi was a little "get-away" from our camping in Washington State Park.
Quilters Corner is my kind of shop. Not only did I see lots of bolts of reproduction fabrics (at great prices, so yes, I bought plenty to add to my stash!), but there were also old quilts and quilt tops around the shop, many with price tags on them. The lady working that day, Sue, was friendly and chatty--very willing to tell us how the shop got started. Seems the owner, Laury Blair, was first into antiques, so collected them and started an antique shop. (One can see many antique furniture pieces in the shop. . .) As part of this, she got into collecting old quilts and that blossomed into the quilt shop. The shop carries a wide variety of quilting fabrics, not just reproductions. There is also a good selection of quilt blocks to embroider, along with books and notions. Sue is a long-arm quilter and has her machine set up in the back of the shop.
Sue went on to say that the future of the shop is uncertain. About 6 weeks ago, Laury passed away suddenly. She was only in her 50's and had just been given a clean bill of health from her doctor! With everything else he has to deal with, her husband is trying to decide if the shop should stay open. It is always sad to hear about a quilt shop closing, but this instance is especially sad. I felt Laury's spirit in the shop that day. Hopefully her husband does too, and will decide to continue on in her memory!
Quilters Corner is at 201 E. High Street, Potosi, MO 63664. Ph: 573-438-6718