Tuesday, August 11, 2015


I took a little vacation from the blog this past week. Well, lets just face it. I was distracted. It all started with this chair.

My mother-in-law sent it home with us last time we were there because she said it was just in her way. Her father bought it and a few others from a sale or auction of furniture from the 1933 Chicago World's Fair after the fair ended. He had used the chairs in his grocery store for customers to sit in while waiting for their orders to be filled (this was pre-supermarket, although he did modernize the grocery store later). I wish I knew who designed it. It looks a lot like a Rohde chair. It has probably lost a lot of value because it has been reupholstered, but it looks the way it did originally. 

Honestly, we weren't sure we wanted the chair. Our home is decidedly traditional, with overstuffed furniture and items we've collected at used furniture/antique stores. I joke that it's become vintage just through our aging and not changing things much. But once the chair was in the house, we started looking at what we had in a new way and suddenly had the urge to lighten up and minimalize a bit. And so started the game of musical chairs (without the music). Out went the big couch from the family room, an accent chair from our bedroom, and a recliner from our son's old room. (They're all in the garage waiting for a thrift store to pick them up). We sent a wooden rocker and an accent chair from the living room to replace the two chairs in the bedrooms. After lots of furniture shopping, we came across two chairs at a kind of unusual little store that sells hotel liquidation and estate furniture.

This chair and its partner were hotel chairs but never used. They had been stripped and had new cushions and were just waiting for stain or paint. My husband finished them this week and now they look like this:

While we were at that store, I spied two cute little estate sale chairs from sometime in the mid-century. I couldn't get them out of my head, so the next day we went back and got them. 

My husband's in the process of cleaning them up, but they're in pretty good shape.

So now these chairs all live in our living and family rooms. We're still looking for two smaller chairs to replace some big overstuffed chairs that we use for TV watching, but we haven't found what we're looking for yet. I do love the new little chairs, though, with their clean, simple lines. I was going to change the cushions, but they're in good shape, so I think we'll keep them they way they are for now.

So why am I showing all of this? Well, partly to show that one thing leads to another. After we got the chairs, I looked at the living room curtains and decided they needed to be changed. During the weekend, I made some valances out of curtain panels I found at a discount home store. After I put them up, I decided that they were a bit too long to suit me, so I folded the bottoms up all the way to the curtain rod and stitched them down, turning the valances into cornices. And again, I like the simplicity.

And those chairs? They are begging for new, modern pillows in case anyone needs a backrest. I found some vintage-y looking fabric that I might use:

Or this might be inspiration for a modern quilt! I'm sure something related will pop up on this blog someday. The plan is already forming.

So there you have it. We lightened up. What's our style now? Is it modern? Or vintage? Both? Whatever it is, it will definitely prompt more sewing projects. And it definitely distracted me from quilting, which is the other reason I showed our furniture adventures.

But there's more! The Big Quilt is now basted! When I wasn't furniture browsing, I worked on it for much of last week--the most time I've ever spent in my basement. Having all the space to tape the backing to the floor really made it easy to get a nice smooth sandwich, but it truly is a boring environment, and I can't say it was all that fun crawling around on the floor. It took some time to get everything done. The backing is all one fabric. (That's not my style lately) I did take time to match the pattern so that the seams aren't as noticeable. And then when I Iaid out the batting, I discovered that I had been sold queen size instead of king size width, so I had to go back to get more, which meant having to piece the batting, too. Oh well, now I know why that first piece of batting seemed like such a bargain! 

I started quilting today. First I made a little plan using a photo of the central block and some Quilter's Preview Paper (I won it in a giveway last year, and it's coming in handy). I'm using four motifs because I've heard that if I use four, I should be able to mix them without having the same motif next to itself. We'll see how that goes. Today I noticed that I inadvertently drew the same one on two adjoining patches, so I will have to depart from the plan just a bit. 

I also made a little thread sample so I could decide which thread I wanted to use on each fabric. I just laid swatches on batting and backing and doodled. It will be a good reference while I quilt. 

The darker thread is at the top of each swatch and the lighter at the bottom. I'm still a little uncertain about the variegated darker thread on the darkest fabrics, but I'm going to go with it anyway. I don't think it's worth waiting for another order to use a darker solid thread. 

Today, I did straight straight-ish lines with the walking foot, a hera marker and the lighter thread (I'll have to make the wavy lines really wavy so you'll be able to see the difference), and then I doodled some flowers with the free motion foot and the darker thread. I have good support under the quilt so it went pretty well, and I'm happy to know that I can fit it all in the harp space of my treadle.

I'm going to take my time with the quilting and focus on just one patch at a time. And I'm going to make sure I have another project to work on so I can alternate between piecing and quilting. I'm looking forward to it. 

Have a good week everyone, and watch out for those distractions. You never know where they might lead. 

I'm linking up this week with Freemotion by the River, Freshly Pieced, Sew Fresh Quilts and My Quilt Infatuation. Check out their buttons on the right. 


Cheryl said...

Great quilting! I love all of the designs.

Lorna McMahon said...

It's nice to change things up once in a while. Those chairs are sharp! Your quilting is coming along nicely. Looking forward to your progress!

Sherri @ RebeccaMaeDesigns.com said...

Love the colors of your quilt and can totally relate to your chair story haha

Kaja said...

I love your mid-century chairs, what a great find. Enjoy your quilting - I really like where you are heading with it.

Valerie Reynolds said...

But what fun you had and what wonderful finds!!! I love the character of all your chairs!!! I like minimal window treatments too, enjoy your quilting.