Thursday, January 11, 2018

Throwback Thursday Revival

Back in October 2014, I discovered a link-up to a Throwback Thursday party for quilters. This excited me because I had pictures of a lot of quilts that I made in my pre-blogging days, and I wanted some way to document them on the blog. Unfortunately, that link ended shortly after I found it. I kept writing TBT posts, often linking them up with another blog, but I felt guilty because the quilts I was sharing were old, not fresh ones that the blog featured. Then in October 2015, I discovered that Jenn at Quarter Inch From the Edge was hosting a TBT party, and I was back in business until life caught up with Jenn in August 2016, and she discontinued the party. (She continues to make awesome quilts, however.) My own blogging started slipping at that time and I quietly stopped writing about old quilts. Those posts had been some of my favorites, but they required a lot of digging in old files and scratching my head to remember details--and they were so time-consuming, I just stopped writing them. I had written a total of 32 (I think) posts about even more old quilts. If you'd like to read any of them click on the "throwback thursday" label at either the bottom of this post or on the right side bar. 

Anyway, all this is leading up to this!! Sandra of mmm! quilts has taken on Throwback Thursday!! Yay!!! (Can you tell I'm excited again?) I'm back in it. It will be once a month (first Thursday usually, except this month) which fits my more lackadaisical blog frequency of late. I still have some pre-blog quilts to share, so we'll see where this takes me. I have a feeling that my most "interesting" quilt stories have been told, but who knows what I'll dredge up for the remaining quilts. 

So here's a quilt I promised to share a while back. I had just made a Blackford's Beauty mini/mug rug for a bloggy friend and I shared that I had made a quilt of the same pattern long ago, but for some reason had no photos of it. Actually, I had found some slides of it, and then I lost them again by the time I wrote the blog post. Well, this week, my husband and I are going through old family pictures to try to make sense of our storage, and guess what? I came across the slides again--just in time to document this quilt:

I made this quilt back in 1983 (the slide is marked Jun 83) for my brother-in-law. I'm not sure if I was audacious enough to offer to make him a quilt for his office or if he asked me to make it. (He was an artist who worked for a firm that designed trade show displays--a fact that should have been quite daunting for me as a traditional quilter.) I remember that we planned the quilt by snail mail. I sent him some possible block designs (4, I think), and after he picked his favorite, we planned the color scheme. He sent me some little squares of colored paper to help me choose the fabrics. I was in awe of those smooth, artsy bits of hefty paper. I remember that choosing fabric was a challenge. I wanted a "masculine" feel, and at the time a lot of fabrics were little ditsy prints and florals. It was fashionable then to buy striped fabric and fussy cut it to add details to blocks, so I started with that and added in fabrics with dots, and sketchy prints. I went through my fabric drawers today, and I think I found bits of most of them. (I know. Sad. I still have fabric from the early 80's in my stash. We'll just refer to it as my archive, shall we?) 
I know for sure that the stripe and the dark brown print are from that quilt. The dots and solids are almost certainly from it, although I have more than one of each of those in slightly different shades. (Perhaps I bought multiple pieces to see what would look best). I am not at all sure of the light print above. None of the light fabrics in my stash seem quite like the one in the quilt photo. Maybe I used it up in that or other projects. 

After a lot of digging today, I found some papers in my file drawer that show some of my planning process. (I was really surprised that the original bits of art paper weren't in there considering how enamored I was of them.) I had used markers and colored pencils to draw the quilt on 1/8" graph paper to get a sense of the final design.
I have another graph paper drawing that indicates the sizes of the patches and helps determine that the block was 16 inches square and the quilt 30 inches square (smaller than I remembered it when I referred to it last summer).
That paper and another also have some trial quilting designs.
My final piece of paper shows placement of the quilting lines. Looks like I added some lines when I did the quilting. Yup, I liked dense even back then.
 Here's the back:

There are a few things that strike me as I look back at this quilt. First the fussy piecing. It must have been tedious to add those narrow striped bits, especially to the parallelograms, and still get the size of each piece right. This was pre-rotary cutting, so I imagine I used transparent templates with marks on them to help line up the fabrics. Next, the bias binding! That was before I discovered straight grain binding. And then, those mitered corners on all the borders. I sure don't do that anymore. In fact, I usually skip borders altogether. That I hand quilted it is not surprising. It looks like I used rust thread. I probably marked the quilting lines with a combination of masking tape and chalk. If you look way down in the right bottom corner, you will see that I made a little label, probably with my name and date. I wonder how the quilt was hung. There's no sleeve. So there you have it. An 80's quilt with a 70's color scheme. For an office. I probably had visions of co-workers clamoring for me to make them quilts for their offices. Ha!

Sadly, my brother-in-law succombed to ALS several years ago. I made him another quilt during his illness. I'll share that another time.

Okay, here's the Throwback Thursday link again. See if you can find something to share from your pre-blogging days and let's party like it's 1980-something. Just kidding. A lot of you were probably in diapers then--or a twinkle in your mother's eye. Recent past will be fine, too, I'm sure. Thanks Sandra, for hosting!

8 comments: said...

Wow, you did great work on this quilt plus all the notes and sketches which means you're pretty organized. Sadly for me, I have all these binders and notebooks laying around in no particular order. I did a quilt with similar colors, I call it cinnamon and brick but mine was done in the early 2000's--fun to see the old colors again.

Lynette said...

This was the best lunch-time read. :) Fun that we both chose a 1983 quilt to blog for this Throwback Thursday. I really love that all that quilting was done by hand, and seeing the precise fussy cutting that went into it is impressive. You got a really nice effect with the dark twiggy print - doesn't look feminine at all even though the fabric itself pretty much does. Great stripes for the binding! This was a nice share.

Louise said...

Wow, what a meticulously documented little quilt! I can't believe you found all those drawings and sketches and that you remember the details of fussy cutting the stripes. You truly have an archival brain :) I'm sure your brother-in-law was one of very few business men with a cool, custom designed quilt gracing his office and it probably generated lots of comments. Those colors were so on-point in that era. Fun!

Janice Holton said...

Wow, that's some good documentation now! You are a very detailed planner aren't you? I really like this warm brown color scheme you used and I'm a fan of dense quilting too. This would make a great barn quilt!

PaulaB quilts said...

That's a wonderful story, Janine. My favorite quilt is from that era before rotary cutting. It is five feet square and done entirely with HSTs. I can't imagine how I had the patience to cut each one with a coffee can lid template. Remember those cans? The quilt hangs on my bedroom wall today.

Kaja said...

You are lucky that you can still track down all the preparation you did for this quilt - I don't have any stuff like that from before blogging, but it is so interesting to read.

KaHolly said...

Wow! What a post! Bet he loved it! I’m sorry to learn he suffered with ALS after that. Such a cruel disease.

Mari said...

First of all, this is a marvelous little quilt and I'm sure your brother in law cherished it. Those awesome stripes! The beautiful quilting! Secondly, 1983! I hadn't made my first quilt yet, though I was making clothes. I was in college, and I can't believe you still have the sketches and papers about this little quilt. I don't have any paper from back then! I do remember those colors being very popular, though. I'm sure I had a skirt that matched the rust fabric exactly, and a blouse that was very much like the black-- because back then we wore skirts and blouses to work and to class, because we were proper young women, right? Ah, memories! :)