Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Jersey - Week 5

The block today looks like a traditional Shoo-Fly quilt block with a big "X" over it.  The "X" signifies the right of women to mark the ballot.

I started with an idea to use darker greens, but Dorry, who lived in New Jersey a number of years ago, reminded us that one of its nicknames is The Garden State.  So I looked to created a block in softly toned florals.  The darker gold on the "x" makes that element stand out. I used templates created in Electric Quilt to get accurate sizes for all these pieces.  In another couple of weeks, I'll have to take a photo of the blocks all together - I like Dana's green and gold color scheme much more than I anticipated.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Quilting for Christmas

I think it's time to prove I'm still working on this Christmas quilt - only a couple more days of quilting to do.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Addendum for the Sunflower Block

I was so intent on making my sunflower block, I completely forgot something very significant to this block for Dana's quilt!  Her great-grandfather - my mother's father - raised sunflowers in his garden after he retired from farming.  His gardens were spectacular, and his sunflowers got the attention of the local newspaper, so I'm including this for Dana.

She will have a copy without the obliteration of the family name of course.  Thanks to my sister, Joyce for the reminder, and thanks to our Mom for saving this newspaper clipping -- probably from the 1960's.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week 4 - Kansas Sunflower

With both the Civil War block of the week, and this Grandmother's Choice, it usually takes longer for me to choose the fabrics than it does to make the block. I knew when I opened the post this morning that this block would be an exception.

I have been waiting for a reason to use Judy Mathieson's freezer paper technique for piecing one of these circular designs since Kerry (Dorry's sister) used it on a very complicated block for the International Round Robins. I decided to base my choices for the petals on the sunflower, with the darker gold on the inside.  Dorry sent me the intensely dark green I saw in many of the images I found when I did a search.  She also provided the fabric with the center flower.  My mother gave me four small remnant pieces of the outer sunflower print many years ago.  I believe she made placemats with them.  The four pieces had the same repeat - she must have fussy cut her rectangles.   That made it easy to come up with a dramatic sunflower frame for the flower.

This was a challenging block to put together - the result makes it worthwhile.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Week 3 - Union Square

This week's block was also featured in the Civil War quilt (see my block for Roger and Laurie's quilt at this link.

This block is very different from that one. I chose to print my own fabric from a letter my grandmother wrote to my mother in her second semester at college in February, 1946.  I tinted the photocopy green - the letter was written in pencil.

I cut my fabric to make sure the signature will show on the quilt  The inspiration for the choice of block was England's National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.  Their colors were red and white. I chose the floral print with it's orangey-red as my nod to the theme.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Week 2 Amethyst

This week's history lesson was about the choice of colors for the Britain's Women's Social and Political Union in England - Purple, Green and White - a pretty combination.  But my quilt for Dana does not include purple, so her Amethyst block, which has also gone by the name Diamond Star,  was going to wind up a mix of gems if I stayed in green and yellow.  I decided to make it an emerald and emphasize the "facets" of the design.

The greens in these fabrics are not exactly the William and Mary hunter but I liked how they worked together in this design.  I am planning to use a wide variety of greens

This is a block that could weaken the resolve of many a modern piecer, as you cut the fabric shapes the way quilters cut blocks before the advent of the rotary cutter: with templates.  I printed mine on card stock, then used a 1/16th inch hole punch to make holes to mark the intersections of the seam allowances.  Once that preparation was done, putting this together accurately to finish at the designed 8 inches was easy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Young Princess quilt

When I was closing out my quilting business, my friend and customer Ellen asked if I would still do a project she had discussed with me earlier, and I said of course I would.  It was a two-sided quilt she had made early in her quilting life, for her youngest granddaughter, who has grown up a lot in the decade or so since.

The quilts were originally tied together, which was a fine solution for a two sided quilt, but Ellen decided she'd like them quilted.  When I show the second one (which won't be for a while) you'll see why we decided they would be better as two separate quilts.

Ellen is still making quilts with photographs, though her work these days is more in the Art Quilt realm.  She now enhances her photos with fabric paint - but these photos don't need enhancing.  I think she paid to have them professionally printed - there's a business label lower left.  You can see how vibrant the color is in this closeup.


The feathered rays idea jumped out at me when I saw the layout of the quilt - but I didn't know how I was going to quilt the bejeweled crown.  Happily, the design worked itself out on my first try - I'm not sure the lame fabric would have taken well to reverse-sewing.

I didn't want to quilt the photographs but they are a little large to be left unquilted even with the poly batting I used to provide good loft.  There's a minimal amount of quilting around the edges of Baby Elizabeth, and occasionally on a seam or decorative element of clothing - you never leave a space larger than your fist unquilted.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Grandmother's Choice: Week 1 - Grandmother's Choice

The block this week is called Grandmother's Choice - fittingly, also the name of the series.  I have a variety of fabrics of all kinds and don't intend to make this quilt entirely of old-fashioned prints, but I decided this block could pay tribute to my grandmothers' day with a pair of brocade-style prints.  I have spent some time studying photos of the William and Mary campus on both the official school website and Flickr.  I decided this first block should include both the green and gold colors.

I was surprised by the interesting illusion that I curved the seams where the fussy-cut green and white print blends in with the larger scale print of the green triangles. There are only straight lines in the block.

Both my grandmothers were alive when Dana was born.  She has probably seen this photo of the two of them, taken at her parents' wedding in 1983 -

Faye  - my mother's mother on the left; and Mary, my father's mother

But the quilt will concentrate on my mother's mother, who was married in 1913.  This is a photo of her and my grandfather, not taken at the wedding, but from the era -

I will undoubtedly have more information about my grandparents to share as this Block of the Week progresses.