Thursday, November 1, 2018

TBT: Hodgepodge

Time for another series of quilts from My Tiny Career. I can't believe how quickly Throwback Thursday comes up on the calendar each month. It always sneaks up on me. I have one more big post of quilts I quilted for Becky Schaefer in the mid-80's to early 90's. If you read my TBT post each month, you will recall that she constructed or reconstructed them from antique materials or blocks and then sent them to me for hand quilting. Last month, I shared what I called midi quilts--a little bigger than the mini quilts I usually worked on. After I published that post, I discovered more photos of midis (undocumented) in a shoe box. I'll wait until next month to show them. Today I'm sharing a hodgepodge of quilts--ones that didn't fit neatly into the categories for my other posts. They were quilted with off-white cotton thread, for which I was paid by the yard. These photos have all been scanned from my files, so some aren't very clear, but I have been working on this project this year to document my work all in one place. If you'd like to read more about my tiny quilt career, click on that label to the right or at the bottom of this post. As usual, I will include what I know of dates, size, and amount of thread used.

Let's start with some Irish chains, a pattern that never seems to go out of style. This first one is 9 1/2 by 11 1/2 inches. I finished the quilting in March 1987. It has minimal quilting--only 1 1/2 yards--of double hearts in the plain squares.

 I'm not sure if this backing fabric is old or new because I had some very similar in my stash.

Here's another one in a different colorway, and a little smaller, at 8 by 9 5/8 inches. Finished in May 1987, it has a bit more quilting: 3 1/2 yards. I like the dark background and how the quilting shows.

This backing is definitely very old and fragile.

And then this little one. Ooh, look! Teddy Bears! I don't remember if these were some kind of stenciling or fabric painting or print. The variation and details in the overalls makes me think it was a print that looked like stencil. It also looks like the little corner squares on the bear blocks were set in, because the bears spill over what should be seam lines. It measures 8 3/4 by 10 1/2 inches. Again, minimal quilting, just around the bears: 1 1/2 yards. Finished in March 1989.

This one had a typical muslin backing for these kinds of quilts.

These next two quilts are actually antique blocks that were quilted for framing. The appliqued sunflower block is 14 1/2 inches square. I finished it in July 1988 with 16 2/3 yards of thread. I mostly echo quilted this one. Look at those little jazz hands! I think my tiny helper was trying to keep the quilt from blowing around. 

More jazz hands!

And a Pine Tree block, 13 inches square, finished in July 1988 with 13 2/3 yards of thread. Also echo quilted. I don't know why that bottom looks kind of wonky. Maybe the way the light hit it.

Here are two more little quilts with applique: Rose of Sharon. Look at those tiny HSTs! And the applique has such tiny stitches. They are both 9 1/2 by 11 inches, and were finished in March 1989 with 6 1/6 yards of crosshatching in each. 

And then there were these little bow tie quilts, another enduring pattern. The first is 11 inches square, finished in March 1989 with 6 5/6 yards of thread (double outlining in the lighter parts). The second is slightly larger at 12 inches square (wider border), but with a bit less quilting due to a slightly different straight line design in the outer blocks: 6 1/6 yards of thread. It was also finished in March 1989.

How about a Broderie Perse quilt? This one is 12 inches square, finished in May 1989 with 14 1/8 yards of thread. I love the quilting on this one. It's pretty extensive. The center has crosshatching along with bisecting horizontal lines, and parallel lines in the tan triangles.The border has ghost quilting to echo the pink and brown triangles in the inner border. 

And a Pine Tree quilt, 14 3/4 by 11 1/4 inches. Finished in May 1989 with 12 1/4 yards of thread. The feather circles were my favorite motif for this type of layout in Becky's minis. I also outlined those tiny triangles! Looks like I lost some resolution when I cropped the crazy background out (Mom jeans and all).

More trees, this time with sashing. 11 3/4 inches square,and finished in July 1989 with 8 1/2 yards of thread. More outline quilting on this one and parallel lines following the brown triangles.

Then there is this brown churn dash, which I seemed to have missed on my earlier post about churn dashes. I don't have any documentation of it, which means it was probably finished late in my tiny career.I don't think these colors are that popular these days, but aren't they striking?

Two more. A drunkard's path. (I don't really like that name. There are alternatives. I should look them up.) Isn't this modern looking? I think it's the only one of this type I quilted for Becky. Again, no documentation. And a basket quilt. I thought I didn't have any photos of it. It was peeking out from behind a quilt I showed last time. But there it was in that shoe box of photos I found. No documentation. Sigh. But look at all those narrow borders!! And the scrappy piecing. Quilting on these was pretty simple: outlining in the lighter blocks of the drunkard's path and simple lines around the sashing on the baskets quilt with partial feather stars in the triangles. I have a photo of the backs but it's really bad so I've deleted it.

Okay. That's quite enough for this month. Next month, I'll slip in those last few midi quilts I did for Becky and I'll be done with the documentation of the work I did for her. As I worked for Becky, I found new avenues for quilting for others; some clients were referred to me by Becky, but others came through other connections. Those quilts are the ones I'll share next time. Some are much, much, MUCH bigger.

I'm linking up with mmm! quilts today for Sandra's Throwback Thursday linky party. Go there and see what other oldies quilters have dug up from their pre-blogging past. 

Have a happy November! 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

DrEAMi Pink and Purple

Throughout this year I have enjoyed making string blocks according to the RSC (Rainbow Scrap Challenge) color prompts hosted by Angela at SoScrappy. I made most of my blocks into two small quilt tops, which will get their own post after I quilt them. You can see them in process here. My original plan was to divide the 80 blocks in two sets of 40, with 4 blocks of each color in each quilt. While laying out the second quilt, I started having second thoughts about the pink and purple blocks. I set them aside (I first was going to say I rejected them, but that's harsh, isn't it?), and as I did so, I suddenly knew exactly what I would do with them. I subbed in other blocks in the second quilt, and then abandoned postponed the bigger quilts and got to work on this fun little project:

I had 8 blocks. I knew I needed one more block for the quilt I wanted to make. Before I addressed that issue, I laid out what I had and tested some possibilities for a border from fabric on-hand. This one just didn't feel right. The border fabric seemed too crisp and modern for the variety of fabrics in the blocks.

I tried some other fabrics too, and then worked on the central block. Rather than make one more string block, I chose a butterfly from a set of paper pieced patterns I have admired for awhile: the Pepper Block from the Butterfly Charm blocks at These little butterflies are all so cute. I'd really like to make a quilt full of them someday. Of course, I had to change the pattern just a bit to put my own stamp on it and tie it in with the string blocks. So I string pieced the main sections of the wings. Here it is with that same border fabric again. (I was still mulling things over). I had also added sashing to the plan to make the quilt the size I wanted and to avoid sewing a lot of thick seams.

I also inserted a pink strip around the edge of the butterfly block to separate it from the sashing. 

By then, I had let go of the dotty border. But then the project took on a life of its own. I didn't like how some of the strips looked in the blocks. There was a hot pink strip in one that shouted out and grabbed all the attention. 
I replaced it with a tiny calico.

Then there was a purple strip in another, which didn't seem quite right as there were whole purple blocks next to it. 
I replaced it with a gold strip.

And a purple block with a bright red strip and more wine colored purple strips than I would like.
I replaced the red with a tiny red print, and the wines with bluer purples.

If you check out my other posts for RSC 18 (see the label on the right sidebar or at the bottom of this post), you will see that I kept the outlier theme going. The outlier strips are actually kind of strange in this quilt because they don't relate to anything in particular--only the RSC blocks that are in the other quilts. But I think it's kind of neat that I know the relationship is there. It's my little secret. Changing the strips was easy, as I used the old strips as a pattern for their replacements. But I was on the verge of getting carried away. DrEAMi (Drop Everything And Make it) was becoming OBSESSION (except those letters don't stand for anything--I'm not that clever). I had to stop myself. Each time I made a change, another strip in a block would stand out, calling attention to itself, until I told myself, "Enough, already!" 

I considered a solid pink and a solid purple for border and binding, but at the last minute I softened them a bit by subbing in a pink Grunge for the border and three purple prints for the binding. Then, finishing the piecing was easy. 

Because of the busy prints, quilting was simple--mostly walking foot. I outline quilted around the butterfly

and in the ditch around the blocks and (sort of) along seams between every set of two strips. I had to restrain myself because quilting these mini quilts to the nth degree is always my temptation. I wanted to keep it fairly soft. For the border I tried a bit of FMQ. I haven't done much lately and am a little rusty, but it was fun to add butterflies and loops to the top and bottom borders. 

Signed and dated!
The whole quilt is 22 by 24 1/4 inches. I haven't washed it yet, but I expect it will shrink a bit. The blocks finish at 5 inches and the sashings finish at 1 inch wide. The batting is a scrap of Hobbs 80/20. The white is Kona Snow. I pieced on my Singer Featherweight with Superior Masterpiece thread in Granite, and quilted on my Singer 115 Treadle with Superior King Tut in Temple. The back is pieced from the trimmings (three pieces) of another back. I even sort of matched the pattern. 
This view shows the quilting a bit better.

This quilt is headed to A Doll Like Me, the business of Amy Jandrisevets, who makes dolls for children that match their physical characteristics (perhaps with a limb difference, or hearing aids, or any other unique feature that might not be available in commercially-made dolls). Amy also provides doll quilts to include with the dolls under special circumstances. (If you'd like to learn more about Amy's business, you can read this post by Bernie at Needle and Foot from a quilt collection she did in February this year and then go to Amy's Facebook page to read more.) I'm pretty sure there is a child somewhere who is obsessed by pink and purple--and maybe butterflies, too--who will enjoy it with a doll. 

I'm linking up this DrEAMi (OBSESSION) with Sandra at mmm! quilts for her monthly linky party where we all share the squirrels we just had to chase this month. And with Angela at SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Cynthia at Quilting is more Fun than Housework for Oh Scrap! 

I hope you've had fun with your scraps and squirrels this month!

(I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Dark Green

Well, here we are with the last of my RSC (Rainbow Scrap Challenge) blocks for this year.  Oh, that's not exactly true. More about that in a minute. Anyway, this month's color is Dark Green/Sage.
I have lots of dark greens. They were one of my favorite colors to work with early in my quilting life. 
The problem with those early dark greens is that the dyes were not all that stable, so I've sort of avoided using them in recent years. Still have them, though.
That makes me just a tad nervous about using them in my string blocks this month, but I'm taking the chance. There will be a lot of detergent and color absorbers in the wash after I get the quilts made. And some finger crossing, too. 
I also have some sage greens, so I tried to sprinkle them in as much as I could.

 I actually had these all sewn up in September. (After all, I knew what the color would be.)
I continued to add in other RSC colors in one strip of each block.
I've enjoyed making all of these blocks, but have been eager to make quilts with them. 
As soon as I finished the blocks, I got to work on a couple of quilts.

First, I split my batch of blocks in two. I used half of them (40) to make a simple top. Here is the beginning of the layout, with Kona Snow for the background. That top is finished now. I'll share the whole thing when I have it quilted.

I decided that I wanted a print for the background of the other quilt. I had a print style in mind (see this awesome string quilt by Mari, the Academic Quilter that served as my inspiration) and looked everywhere for something that matched my vision. I finally found a fabric that seemed to work okay. (You can't go wrong with llamas, butterflies and turtles, even if they are all chopped up.) The only problem was that I didn't like how my pink and purple blocks looked with it. So I quickly made 8 more blocks in the other RSC colors to use instead. I had plenty of strips leftover from the other RSC blocks I made this year, so I finished them in a very short time. In my haste, I forgot to take a picture of them, but here are all of the blocks laid out on the fabric. 

I've probably moved blocks around some since I snapped this, but they are well on their way to becoming a quilt top. 

And do I ever have a plan for those pink and purple blocks! 

I'm linking up this weekend with Angela at SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Cynthia at Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh, Scrap!.

If you're taking part in RSC this year, I hope you've have been inspired by your blocks to get them into quilt tops! 

I'll leave you with this Still Life with Scraps, aka my block trimmings. 
Yummy, no?