Saturday, October 31, 2015

Catherine's Garden BOM Month Eleven

I have been busy in the studio working on my second and third colorway of our 2015 Catherine's Garden BOM.  Since I have three block sets completed, I want to finish them all differently.  This week I focused on the dots.

This involved digging in the stash - deep.  I have been able to mix some reproduction fabrics in with the brights, pastels and Kaffe prints. The oldest print I used in a yellow pin dot from 1985 - really!

I would love to have your opinions - fresh eyes please.

I will most likely machine quilt the blue dots, and want to use fabrics that compliment the appliqué.  I am fairly certain I will add a busy print border, I did the appliqued border on the first two.

So, here we go....

I am keeping the layout the same - 4 x 4 applique blocks, but will mix up the order of the blocks.

I like the Kaffe print for the border, do you?

I am thinking of using the prints from the applique for the alternate blocks.  Are they too much?  Do prints help the applique detail pop?
What would Catherine think of her 1855 flowers?

Or, is keeping it all 'dotty' better?
There would be texture in the alternate block after quilting.  Is it more soothing to the eye with the pastel Kaffe print?
I think I've decided, then looking this morning I changed my mind again.

Your thoughts please?  TIA for taking time to leave a comment.

Month eleven blocks are posted HERE.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

More SVBAQ Pineapple Blocks

Deanna's Red Pineapple block
Happy Day!  I am here to share more pineapple blocks from the Shenandoah Botanical Album Quilt.

The first picture is a block belonging to Deanna from Colorado.
Her blocks will finish at 17"
She back basted the block.

Deanna does beautiful hand stitching.
Her quilt, "Le Petite Pomegranate" is currently touring with the AQSG exhibit "In War Time: A Study of Civil War Era Quilts 1850-1865".

Isn't the red print she used fantastic?

I am looking forward to sharing more of Deanna's blocks.

Shona's Red and Pink Pineapple Blocks

These are Shona's first two pineapple blocks.
Shona is also from Colorado and is currently stitching away in South Africa.  Her 9" blocks are the perfect size to stitch on during long flights.  She also back bastes.

Shona also does fantastic hand work.  Her quilt, "Cheddar Bites" was on exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.

Only a few more days until the next block is announced on the SVBAQ blog - November 1.
If you subscribe to the blog, the announcement will come directly to your inbox!

Feel free to join in anytime!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dianne Miller

Dianne Miller Yellow Pineapple SVBAQ Quilt
In this post, I am featuring Dianne Miller from North Attleboro, MA - USA.

Dianne started her Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt (SVBAQ) in June 2015 when the pattern was first released by the Virginia Quilt Museum.  She generously shared photos of her blocks and gave me permission to share them with you.

As we know, there is not one right way to make a quilt.  It is always interesting to have a quilter share their technique.  Dianne is a prolific quilter and quilt teacher.  She also collects and restores vintage and antique quilts.

Dianne also tracks her time - each pineapple block took her about 12 hours.

When asked about her technique, Dianne gave me this information:
"I do all my appliqué off the Lightbox, tracing each piece/area with a very dry Sharpie ultra-fine, drawing directly on the right side of fabric. 
No templates are involved. 
Then I needle-turn appliqué each piece. 
There is a lot of cut work into the straight of the grain. For instance, on the Tiger Lily I drew the stems and leaves as one piece, cutting a little at a time as I made my way around the block. 
I pin all my pieces with sequin pins, and all pieces are on the block while appliquéing. I never draw on the background square....if a piece falls off, I just refer to the artwork on the Lightbox to re-position."
In a future post I will show pictures of Dianne's process with her light box.

When asked about her preferred supplies, Dianne replied,  " I use Gingher 4" embroidery scissors for cutting and clipping. John James #10 or 11 sharps for needles. YLI silk 100 wt. or Mettler 60 wt. for threads."

Dianne teaches at Emma's Quilt Cupboard in Franklin, Ma.  Her students are currently making, 'A Bountiful Life' by Karen Mowery.  The book/pattern is an authorized adaptation of the Bird of Paradise quilt top, sometimes called the Civil War Bride quilt.

Dianne also has an applique group that meets in her home studio.  They have been meeting for years and have formed a strong bond of friendship through their mutual love of appliqe and antique quilts.

Thank you for sharing Dianne!  We look forward to seeing more of your techinques, studio and of course your Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt blocks. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Anne Orr

One of the things I bought on our recent road trip  was an Ann Orr quilt top, pattern and fabric.  Published by Good Housekeeping Magazine, there are enough squares to complete the top and yardage to add the border.

This photo shows the top on a hotel room bed.  I bought it in a box filled with all kinds of needlework and patterns.  I think the maker was very comfortable working from charts.  She had fillet crochet patterns and counted thread designs.

Page Measures 7.5" x 10.5"

Ann was an female entrepreneur who found financial success in needlework even through the depression years of the United States. She didn't sew herself, she designed and employed other women to stitch for her.  She often designed complimentary pieces; a quilt, bureau scarf and doily might all reflect the same floral basket from a chart.

This is the chart included with my purchase as well as the instruction sheet.  The basket design is 43 squares x 53 squares = 2,279 squares.  The floral bow for the pillow area is 11 squares by 39 squares = 429.  That's 2,708 for just the design section.  There are instructions given to sew in large strips between the designs and out to the border.  For a quilt, the instructions suggest a 3/4" finished square with the template square measuring 1.125" square.

85" x 96" Finished Heirloom Basket Quilt
Includes the Blue Border

The instruction insert offered a pattern for the hand quilting motifs for 28 cents.  You could also write to her and she could arrange for the quilting.  Her quilting designs were very elaborate.

Also available for mail order were the fabrics to make the quilt.  The first suggestion was to match fabrics yourself to the colors on the chart.  To purchase the fabrics you mail in $4.55, if you wanted the backing fabric add $3.51.

The instruction sheet states, "To hand down to our daughters and grand-daughters, nothing would be lovelier than this basket design"

The entire instruction sheet is about 5 paragraphs.

Creased paper page from Ann Orr Pattern page

The pattern sheet also includes instructions for the Oval Wreath Quilt, Star Flower and Debutante's Pride Quilts.
Ann Orr patterns also offered ideas for matching accessories like towels.  The same charted motifs were suggested for use on other linens.
"Several of these designs are practical for quilts as well as for cross stitching"

Also included was an alphabet for adding monograms.

Ann Orr Squares for Quilts

The maker of my top appears to have had plans for making the full quilt.  Also in the larger yardage box was this candy box filled with squares hand cut from the yardage.

I placed a pencil there to give you an idea of the square size.  Remember, this is before the days of rotary cutting fabrics.

The top is entirely hand pieced.
Very nicely stitched.  For now I have no plans to finish it.  I think with all of the components seen together it makes a nice study set.

Loving applique the way I do, I can't imagine making a pixeled top.  I love seeing all of the approaches available to make a quilt.  I have dome lots of needlework from charts and like all of them.
 I appreciate Ann's business model and reading about her success was fascinating.

Do you have a finished Anne Orr quilt?  A Kit?  Cross stitched towel?  I would love to hear about it.

Have a great week!

Anne Champe Orr Tennessee Encyclopedia HERE
You can read more about Ann Orr at 'The Quilter's Hall of Fame HERE.
Also read:  'Softcovers For Hard Times' by Merikay Waldvogel Rutledge Hill Press
Anne Orr Star Flower Quilt for sale HERE
Anne Orr Books HERE

Sunday, October 4, 2015

First Place Winner

Ribbon Still Attached
One of the quilts I purchased in my travels is a first place winner.

A First Place County Fair Winner!
Macoupin County Illinois 2002

Beautiful isn't it?

Hand pieced and hand quilted - the maker had a gift for color and placement.

Another special feature - it is 100% Polyester.

That's right, double knit top and backing and filled with polyester batting.  I had so many questions I started researching as soon as I got back in the car.

Illinois Map - Macoupin in Red

Macoupin County is in Illinois.  The county seat is in Carlinville, Illinois.
The fair has a Facebook site and they responded to my inquiry within an hour.  Would I be able to access fair records from 2002?   Maybe.
The responder gave me a name and phone number for the Fair Board where I left a voicemail.
I did a little research on the fair.
The county fair has a rich history - 163 years making it the oldest county fair in Illinois history.

The polyester of my youth was never a quilt.
It wasn't a jumpsuit either - let alone backless.

No, it was pull over shirts with stretchy ribbed necklines, mini skirts and stretch pants.

There were colors and textures, polyester could do so much!
I don't think I ever saw a polyester quilt.

The quilt my grandmother made for my wedding in the 1980's had poly blend fabrics and poly batting.  She never would have hand pieced and hand quilted polyester double knit.

The maker of my new found treasure made a work of art out of her polyester double knit - and all by hand.

In subsequent phone conversations the fair board representative was able to confirm it is highly likely the ribbon belongs to the quilt.  It was entered in the 'Hand Quilted - Small' category and the measurement fit the entry description based on her 2002 Fair Book.
The writing on the back of the ribbon provided the numeric code representing the entrants name.  Unfortunately the fair is only able to keep their records for 10 years - they are not digitized and stored.  She also mentioned once an entrant gets a number representing their name, they keep it for life.  The number on my quilt has been retired, meaning the maker is deceased.
The maker remains a mystery.  I've tried the newspapers and found livestock and 4H ribbon winners.  I am holding out hope someone might recognize the quilt. With this skill - this wasn't a first project.

She may have entered her project more than once.

Was the quilt made decades ago when double knits were so popular?
Did she buy yardage or cut up clothing?
What other quilts did she make?

This is another example - why all quilts need labels!

The backing is green, and was folded to the front to create the binding.

I will link this post on the Fair Facebook page hoping maybe, just maybe, someone knows more about this quilt.  My goal is to identify the maker and preserve her name with this beautiful quilt.  Her work in polyester double knit just might last forever and it deserves to carry her name.

Have you made a polyester double knit quilt?
Own one?
Want to collect them?
I'd love to her your polyester story.

Read more about polyester HERE.
Polyester in Fashion HERE.
Wonkyworld Polyester Quilts HERE.