Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Another "Oldie"

Last week was a crazy busy week so I did not have a chance to post.  I spent 3 days at the NQA show in Columbus.  Once again I was wowed by the beauty and creativity displayed in the quilts there.  There were many quilts with detailed applique; many with amazing machine quilting; and as usual, the ribbon winners were stunning.  I admire the determination it takes to see such a project through to the end!
The Blazing Star quilt that my grandma made for my parents took determination, too!  That is one design that must be pieced carefully so that it lies flat, especially in the center. 
This quilt was long-forgotten until I found it at the bottom of Mom's cedar chest when I was preparing her house for sale.  Like the 2 quilts I showed in previous blogs, it is thin and worn--signs that it was used often and well-loved. 
Grandma made these quilts in the late 40's and into the 50's.  I'm intrigued by the fact that the colors in these quilts are 30's colors--pastels.  Makes me wonder just how far back Grandma's scrap bag went!!!  I will most likely never know.

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Very Traditional Quilt

Grandma's smaller apron and dress fabric scraps went into this Dresden Plate quilt.  I'm guessing that she acquired scraps from her quilting friends, too, because of the variety of fabrics in this quilt.  This one was used on my older sister's double bed (she had her own room!!!). 
The "plates" were pieced by hand and hand appliqued to the background squares.  The blocks were set together by machine, however.  Grandma had a sewing machine--one that started out as a treadle, but was converted to an electric machine somewhere along the line.  That machine saw lots of activity because Grandma loved to sew. 
This quilt was hand quilted by the church quilting ladies.  Even though it was often washed (because it was used and loved), the quilting stitches are still intact.  Those church ladies did quality work.  :) 

Friday, May 9, 2014

The beginning of my love of scrap quilts

I've decided to share with you the vintage scrap quilts in my collection.  Perhaps they will inspire you as you work with your own collection of scraps.
My grandmother was a quilter.  She made quilts for the family from scraps leftover from making house dresses and aprons.  My sister and I slept under Sunbonnet Sue quilts that Grandma made for us.  My quilt was sashed/bordered in green (pictured).  Grandma used pink to sash/border my sister's.
Black embroidery stitches accent the appliqued Sunbonnets.  And the hand quilting was done by the ladies in Grandma's church quilting group.  My sister and I have fun reminiscing about the aprons Grandma made for us when we see certain fabrics in these quilts.  And I like to think that I came by my love of scrap quilts by osmosis...sleeping under this quilt as I grew up!
  It is ragged in some places because it was used.  But that also shows how much it has been loved. :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Taming a Scrap Quilt

Scrap quilt blocks tend to be "busy" with all the different fabrics being put together.  Unless you like the busy-ness, it is necessary to calm things down.  How do you do this?  By strategic use of a solid fabric. The solid fabric gives the eye someplace to rest as one studies the overall design of the quilt top. 
Makers of old scrap quilts used muslin as their background fabric.  Some chose a solid coordinating color fabric for the sashing between their scrappy blocks. 
Unbleached muslin, white and black are all good solid fabric choices.  Audition each against your scraps to see which one shows off the colors in your blocks the best.  If there is a predominant color in your scrap blocks, perhaps that would be a good solid color choice.  Other colors to try in sashing, borders or cornerstones are teal and brown. 
Lay out your blocks against your chosen colors, either on the floor or on your design wall.  Stand back and study the layout.  The color choice(s) will become obvious.  (If you find that you need to shop for your solid fabric, be sure to take all of your scrap blocks to the store with you.  Find a spot where you can lay the blocks against several colors, stand back and decide.  Again, the color choice should become obvious.)  How satisfying to find just the right color to show off your scraps!