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machine quilting blog hop {week 4}

We are back for Week 4 of the Machine Quilting Blog Hop! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I explain it here and links to the other weeks are at the end of this post. But the short form is that some friends and I are blogging and quilting our way through The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting in an effort to improve our machine quilting skills.

If you happen to be following along–we are going to throw you a bit of a curve ball this week because we are skipping the next chapter, called Swirling Butterflies. It is a whole cloth design and I felt that it seemed more like a Master’s Degree in Quilting rather than Quilting 101, so we all agreed that we will leave that one for Week 10 (and frankly I am making no promises about that week either).

So we all happily moved on to the chapter called Fractured Squares. In many ways, the quilt designed for this chapter covers different ways of handling borders–which I always find challenging. The most common way that I handle this is actually to leave borders off of quilt–but that’s just me 🙂 But recently I sewed up two quilts with borders and I used one of the motifs (wavy lines) on both of them and now wish that I had tried out a few others from this chapter.

The good news (for me) is that that this chapter is all about the walking foot! This was a welcome relief to me–those pebbles from Week 2 are still tormenting me.

Enough with the chit chat! What did I practice this week? I know I told you it was all borders, but there is also a center motif that I enjoyed stitching. It is a really fun way to fill up a block. You can do this with a quilting ruler–but I just totally winged it with my walking foot with no marking (except for the outer rectangle) and I love the way it came out. There is obviously a lot of turning with this design–but if the quilt isn’t huge–it’s totally doable.

domestic machine quilting

domestic machine quilting

Next came the border designs. I actually have some examples of some of these on real quilts, not just practice pieces. First up is the wavy stitch motif–done with a decorative stitch. On my Babylock, I stretch the default setting for this stitch out to 7.0/3.0 and I use it all the time. It give such a great texture to the quilt and is very relaxing to quilt. I usually quilt the lines about 1″ apart.

domestic machine quilting

And I really love the way they look when they overlap in the corners.

domestic machine quilting

Next is a cross hatch. This is pretty zen to quilt as well. There are a few ways to mark the lines for this–but my favorite is a hera marker. It leaves a crease easy enough to sew on, but eventually relaxes out and leaves no mark.

domestic machine quilting

The last border design is clever in its simplicity. It is just doing straight line quilting with different spacing between the lines. No picture really needed for this. Christa is very clever in how she shows you to do this with no marking.  Really this book is so packed with instructions and tips–I’m so glad to be going through it in depth to really absorb all the information. What we are showing you here on the blog hop is just the tip of the iceberg.

Truthfully, I’ve not be as diligent as I’d hoped about putting in my 20 a day practicing quilting this week. Since this week was walking foot designs–that turned out okay–but I hope to get some more practice pieces prepped (so. many practice. pieces.) and sit down each night after dinner and practice. But I thought I would leave you this week with what what one of my practice pieces looks like before I retire it. It is well used.

domestic machine quilting

I found a great YouTube channel to check out called Man Sewing. He has a whole playlist of Free Motion Tips and Tutorials. You might want to check that out.

A quick reminder that–The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting is on sale all month long over on the Martingale website. It’s a great time to grab a copy! Don’t forget to share on Instagram: #machinequiltingbloghop.

Machine Quilting Blog Hop series:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

See how the others handled this weeks designs:

HollyAnne at String and Story

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny

Vicki at My Creative Corner3

Or just click the image below to get all the links.

 

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made for baby :: cute sewn gifts :: book tour

made for baby cute sewn gifts

Welcome to my stop on the Made for Baby, Cute Sewn Gifts blog tour! I’m so excited to show you what I made from this sweet book!

But first let me take you back in time to when I first came across Adya’s work. It was actually my friend Minki, who mentioned to me one day over tea that she had found this person on Instagram that took the most amazing photos of the most amazing projects. I pulled my phone out right then and there and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship! The word “impeccable” comes to mind every time I look at Ayda’s projects. Her taste is exquisite and her workmanship is just perfection. So much so that I was thrilled when she took part on our own Sew Illustrated blog tour. I still go back and look at those pictures!

made for baby cute sewn gifts

I was excited and not at all surprised to find out that she was writing her own book–and the result is just as sweet and charming as can be. After pouring myself a cup of tea, I spent a delicious afternoon just paging through the book. First of all, Ayda took all the photos and they are gorgeous! I think that a craft book needs beautiful, inspirational photography–don’t you?

The book is filled with absolutely adorable quick things to sew for baby. And that is often when the sewing bug bites us, isn’t it? When there is a new baby arriving to sew for? I wish I could go back in time and sew up many of these charming pillows, toys, bibs, and quilts for my own children. But, now that I think of it–maybe it’s better to enjoy my teenage children and just sew these projects for other new mamas. The best of both worlds!

So, which project did I choose? The baby quilt of course! Oh, my what a fun make this was! It’s a simple patchwork quilt–but in true Ayda-style, she added many lovely little details that make it special.

baby quilt
Photo credit for all quilt pictures: Minki Kim

First of all–that elephant! How cute is he?! A handful of blocks with raw-edge applique (or sewing illustration, as I like to call it)  are the first detail that make this quilt so darling. Each motif is large enough that sewing them was easy-peasy.

baby quilt

raw edge applique baby quilt

Another detail is this sweet little pocket that you can tuck little toys (or binkies) into. And there are a smattering of little tags here and there for added charm and most importantly–for baby to find and play with.

baby quilt

I put my own spin on this project in a few small ways. First, as much as I adore the muted palette of the quilt shown in the book–I  used a layer cake of  the very bright and cheerful Wistful Winds by Doohikey Designs. I purchased this stack a few months ago–just because it was so adorable, with no plan in mind. I was happy to find the project that it was meant to be! I also left the borders off the quilt, which, of course, made it a bit smaller. But I think it is a perfect size for a car seat or stroller quilt–or as a playmat. Lastly, I machine quilted it with a combination of free motion loopy meanders in the larger center blocks and what is becoming my signature wavy line quilting along the outer squares. I love they way the wavy lines criss-cross in the corners.

This little quilt was lucky enough to go on a playdate over to Minki’s house and visit the adorable bunnies she made for her stop on the tour. Don’t they look sweet together? As a matter of fact–her daughter Claire is waiting ever so patiently for my turn on the tour to finish–since I promised this little quilt to her.  Though she’s not actually a baby–I know that she will make good use of it playing with her collection of handmade dolls. So, actually it’s not just for babies!

baby quilt

This quilt was such a fun and quick project–perfect when you need that last minute gift to bless a new mama. I’m so glad to have this book on my shelf. I know that I will reach for it often.

baby quilt

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! Comment over on Ayda’s blog to enter. One winner (worldwide) will be chosen at the end of the tour. It could be you!

made for baby cute sewn gifts

And make sure that you pop by each of the stops on the tour–so many talented makers have created beautiful projects to share.

May.03 Ayda ALGIN www.cafenohut.blogspot.com @cafenohut
May.04 Jemima Flendt www.blog.tiedwitharibbon.com @tiedwitharibbon
May.05 Sarah Edgar www.alittlehappyplace.blogspot.co.uk @sarahedgarprettyfabrics
May.08 Lisa Cox www.aspoonfulofsugardesigns.com @aspoonfulsugar
May.09 Ange Hamilton www.alittlepatchwork.wordpress.com @alittlepatchwork
May.10 Lauren Wright www.mollyandmama.com.au @mollyandmama
May.11 Melissa LeRay www.ohhowsweet.com @ohhowsweetco
May.12 Minki Kim www.minkikim.com @zeriano
May.15 Faith Essenburg www.SaranaAve.wordpress.com @faithessenburg
May.16 Kristin Esser www.kristinesser.com/ @kristin_esser
May.17 Lauren Guthrie www.guthrie-ghani.co.uk/blog @guthrieghani
May.18 Bridgette McNay www.thefamilyhearth.com @thefamilyhearth
May.19 Torie Jayne www.toriejayne.com @toriejayne
May.22 Constanca Cabral www.constancacabral.com/blog @constancacabral
May.23 Stacy Olson www.stacyolsondesign.com @stacyolsondesign
May.24 Caroline Husle www.SewCaroline.com @SewCaroline
May.29 Nadra Ridgeway www.ellisandhiggs.com @ellisandhiggs
May.30 Wynn Tan www.zakkaArt.blogspot.com @zakkaArt
May.31 Sedef Imer www.downgrapevinelane.com @downgrapevinelane
JUNE 01 Lauren Nash www.transientart.com @transientart
JUNE 02 Jennie Pickett www.cloverandviolet.com @cloverandviolet
JUNE 05 Amy Sinibaldi www.nanaCompany.typepad.com @amysinibaldi
JUNE 07 Kim Kruzich www.retro-mama.blotspot.com @retro_mama
JUNE 08 Elea Lutz www.elealutzdesign.com @elealutz
JUNE 09 Samantha Dorn www.aquapaisleystudio.com/blog @aqua_paisley
JUNE 12 Ayda ALGIN www.cafenohut.blogspot.com @cafenohut
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machine quilting blog hop {week 3}

Welcome to the Machine Quilting Blog Hop Week 3! Or, as I like to call it “Quilting with Friends”. It’s so good to hear from people in the comments, on Instagram, or on my Facebook page that are following along both in practice and in spirit. And I have loved reading about Jen, Vicki, and HollyAnne’s experiences along the way.

This week was fun! It started with some straight line quilting–which I was doing on a quilt anyway–so “check!” I really enjoy straight line quilting, or as I like to say, “straightish line” quilting. This design is one that I find myself cringing when I see the wobbles as I’m quilting–but when I stand back and look–those wobbles pretty much disappear. It is so easy to be critical when you are close-up, so stand back and give yourself a break.  I was truly in my happy place quilting line after line, listening to the soundtrack from Les Miserable.

domestic machine quilting

Then it was on to a similar design, but using a decorative stitch. This is one that I do all the time right now: the elongated wavy stitch.

domestic machine quilting

I had never done it in a triangle shape before, so that was a bit challenging. You want to switch from the wavy stitch to a straight stitch to travel to the next starting point, so that you don’t have to keep breaking thread. I found it very inconvenient to keep switching stitches like that–especially because I need to modify the wavy stitch on my machine. I make it longer and wider than the default setting. This was a lot to mess with every time I switched back to the straight stitch to travel. So I actually dug out my sewing machine manual and looked up how to save stitches in memory. I saved the wavy stitch with the settings that I like, and I also saved the straight stitch. Then it was just a couple button clicks to move back and forth between the stitches. I felt like a genius!

domestic machine quilting

Next was irregular zig zags and then came irregular chevron shapes. The chevrons were so fun and easy to do! I love the way they came out. This is going to be a very useful design, I can already tell. I switched over to a bending thread, but I actually like the one with the high contrast thread better. The stitch length is all over the place–but I’m finding my rhythm. I could really use one of those Bernina stitch regulators–and the Bernina to go with it 🙂

domestic machine quilting

I am so glad that my new free motion foot finally come in from my dealer! (Queue angels singing!) I Iove this thing! I can see! I can finally see! Having this foot really made a difference in being able to see where I am, where I have been, and most importantly, where I am going.  (I talked about my issues with my other darning foot last week. ) I practiced those darn pebbles again–and it is a lot easier–but they still need work.

open toe darning foot

Then on to small scale stippling. Stippling is the one free motion design that I feel I have the most experience with. When I was a new quilter I joined a guild that has a huge charity group. I used to take home 2-3 quilts each month just to practice stippling. But, I had never done it on such a small scale before. The stipples may not actually be micro-stipples, but they are pretty small for me.

domestic machine quilting

Lastly, was a fun triangle spiral–which I did once across the practice piece and then when back and filled in all the remaining spaces with more triangle spirals. I’m still working on keeping my stitch length consistent, but this was a fun design.

domestic machine quilting

After last week’s pebbling challenge, I felt that this week was pretty fun and easy–a good confidence booster. And it is a mix of both walking foot and free motion designs, which is a nice change up. I’m still practicing those pebbles though…

Don’t forget–The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting is on sale all month long over on the Martingale website. It’s a great time to grab a copy!

Are you seeing progress with your own stitches? We’d love to see! Don’t forget to share on Instagram: #machinequiltingbloghop

Check out what the others are doing:

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny

Vicki at My Creative Corner3

HollyAnne at String and Story

Or just click the image below to get all the links.

 

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a new story on quilt fiction + a giveaway

Frances posted another quilt fiction story on her website Quiltfiction.com! If you haven’t read the last one, it’s called The Off-Kilter Quilt–I encourage you to pop over to read that one as well. This new story is called A Quilt for Dr. Wallace and I loved it from the first sentence. It’s a quick read and after you are done, leave a comment on her blog post to be entered in a sweet giveaway for this fabric bundle:

What are you waiting for? 🙂

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machine quilting blog hop {week 2}

Here we are again for Week 2 of the Machine Quilting Blog Hop. To recap–a few blogging friends and I are quilting our way through The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting in an effort to improve our machine quilting skills. It’s been a lot of fun so far and I’m already seeing progress! Click here to start at the beginning.

I made about a million more quilt sandwiches to practice on this week.. No piece of ugly fabric is safe from me anymore! I’m actually regretting donating a bunch of fabric that I didn’t love to charity last fall. I could really use it now.

This week the focus was on two new designs–pebbles and a wood grain motif. Now, I know a lot of people do pebbles, and they act like it’s no big deal–but (ahem) I beg to differ. Pebbles are hard! I’ve been training for this for months, doodling pebbles while in boring meetings. But still . The struggle is real.

the ultimate guide to machine quilting

The first night, I filled up a full fat quarter with pebbles. And I have to say–I actually saw progress from the beginning of the night to the end. The part that I find the hardest is traveling back over the original line to start the next pebble. I’m often all over the place and it just looks…sloppy. I learned pretty quickly that I just need to Slow. Down. This is the story of my life–trying to do things too fast. Going slower gives you more control–when will I learn this?  I also started making the pebbles a little bigger, which helped. I found this interesting, because last week I found that making spirals smaller made it easier for me. Go figure.

So, after practicing them for a while, I decided to try them on a practice piece with more of a blending thread–which is a lot more forgiving. Not forgiving enough, I’m afraid. They still need work, but that’s what this challenge is all about! In fact, I plan to continue practicing each motif each week–and I’m excited to see what my pebbles look like at Week 10.

pebble quilting

Next, onto the wood grain motif. I’ll admit–I was intimidated by this one. So much so, that I also watched Christa’s Craftsy class, where she demonstrates this motif (actually most of the motifs in the book are covered in her class–it is a treasured resource for me!). The first thing I did was practice on paper to start to figure the design out and start to establish the muscle memory. Here’s what that looked like:

domestic machine quilting

Then I hit the machine. I found this motif so much fun! I actually tried quilting the design horizontally at first, but eventually found that it was much easier for me to quilt it vertically. So much of machine quilting is finding what works for you–so I was pleased to figure that out. I can totally picture myself using this motif in the future! It looks much harder than it is and creates such a cool look.

the ultimate guide to machine quilting

Here is the other thing that that I found out this week–I want to try an open toe free-motion foot. I feel that the foot I have makes it hard to see what is happening (pictured below). Leah Day has a video on how to modify a foot like this for better visibility. But I was a bit hesitate to do that in case I actually broke the whole foot. Instead, I have a metal, open-toe free motion foot on order at my local sewing machine dealer. I suspect I will like that one better, and I will then try the modification that Leah suggests on my existing foot. I will let you know what I think of the new foot once I have a chance to play with it.

darning foot

Some good news if you would like to follow along–The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting is on sale all month long over on the Martingale website. It’s a great time to grab a copy!

So, how did you do this week? Did pebbles kick your butt too? Let me know and don’t for get to share your work in Instagram #machinequiltingbloghop.

Don’t forget to visit the other bloggers who are quilting along!

Vicki at My Creative Corner3

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny

HollyAnne at String and Story

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machine quilting blog hop {week 1}

I’m so excited to get this Machine Quilting Blog Hop started! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this. I’ll wait 🙂

The first thing I did was to assemble the basics: The book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, a Supreme Slider (optional, but oh so helpful), Machingers quilting gloves (sorry they are so dirty!), the darning foot for my machine, and my favorite thread–Aurifil 2311.

Ultimate guide to machine quilting book

I should confess right now that I don’t have an ideal quilting set up. Like many of you, I’m sure, I sew at the dining room table. I have a Sew Steady extension table for my Baby Lock sewing machine and I actually sit on a yoga bolster to get to a comfortable height when I quilt. So, there is no high-end sewing machine sunk into a custom-fit cabinet for this girl (maybe someday?).

This first week is all about filling horizontal or vertical spaces with quilting. I created a couple of practice pieces with some stash fabric and just spray basted them. I used black fabric because 1. I have a lot of it and 2. the stitching would show up well on it. I probably won’t do that again because boy, it does not photograph well! So please excuse all the lint on these pieces that I did not actually see in real life. Also–one last tip: wind a whole bunch of bobbins!

Ultimate guide to machine quilting book

I drew some long lines with a chalk pencil on the fabric to create different sized channels to quilt in.

Ultimate guide to machine quilting book

First up was a simple, curved switchback motif–not too hard, even for me.

Ultimate guide to machine quilting book

We then moved onto a freehand zig zag. I’m still holding my own, in my opinion. I’m thinking, “I can do this–I’m not actually that bad.”

Ultimate guide to machine quilting book

Ultimate guide to machine quilting book

Then I moved onto square chains. Hmmmm. These were not as hard as I expected–and if I had done this with a blending thread, it could still be passable.  I practiced these for a while using two different techniques. But you will have to get the book to find out what they are 🙂 You can see them a bit in the photo below.

Onto the spirals! Hold the phone. These are not as easy as they look. I learned quite a few things with this design. First, I was doing them in a channel that was too big to start with. Smaller was definitely easier. Also, I realized that I was focused on the edge of the darning foot and not the needle as I was creating the spiral. This resulted in me not filling the entire space at first. Once I started focusing on where the needle was, I was able to fill the entire channel with quilting. I also realized that I wasn’t filling in the spiral enough at first. They started to look better when I filled them a little more densely. I still won’t win any quilting awards with this design, but I see definite improvement and again, if it had been done with a blending thread, I think it would create a lot of nice texture.

 machine quilting
my first attempt
domestic machine quilting
starting to improve–smaller and denser

I will admit, that putting my amateurish quilting out there is a bit out of my comfort zone–but I’m encouraged with my progress.  I really need to spend an evening creating a big pile of practice pieces so that I can spend just 10-15 minutes a day improving my skills.

So, how about you? Are you following along? If so, don’t forget to share on Instagram: #machinequiltingbloghop

Also–any advice? I’d love to hear it! Just leave it in the comments.

Lastly, don’t forget to visit the other bloggers who are quilting along!

HollyAnne at String and Story

Vicki at My Creative Corner3

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny

Or just click the image below to get all the links.

 

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my colorwave quilt in quilts and more magazine

I am thrilled to share my Colorwave quilt, which is featured in the Summer issue of Quilts and More magazine! I was happy enough about that–but then, a couple of weeks ago I found out that it made the cover! What?!

colorwave quilt kristin esser
Used with permission from Quilts and More™ magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

The full pattern is inside–don’t they do absolutely beautiful photography?

half square triangle quilt

There is also a wonderful little surprise inside this issue–a feature article on my friend, neighbor, and Sew Illustrated co-author Minki Kim! I feel compelled to tell you that those are my hands doing the hand sewing in that picture on the bottom. 🙂

So, feel free to pick up a copy–it hits the stands today!

Lastly, in case you don’t follow me on Instagram (and you should!)–here is a fun picture that @allpeoplequilt, the publishers of Q&M, posted on their Instagram stories yesterday. Wow! This quilt is more well-traveled than I am!

 

Thanks for indulging me today–I’ll stop the navel-gazing now 🙂

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announcing the machine quilting blog hop!

Would you like to join me and some other bloggers as we  quilt our way through The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–piecing is my favorite part of the quilting process. And over the last couple of years, I’ve put in the effort and practice to become quite a bit more accurate. I smile every single time that I get some perfect points on my blocks. But the quilting part. That’s a different story.

machine quilting

walking foot quilting

I’ve simply just never practiced enough free motion quilting to feel confident and proficient at it. I’m sure I’m capable of it–I just need to put in the time. In the last year or so, I’ve kind of fallen in love with straight line/walking foot quilting. And I’ve finished at least a half a dozen quilts with various forms of walking foot quilting. But I want to have the skills to free motion decently when I think the quilt calls for it.

Enter the book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters and Christa Watson–two of the reigning queens of machine quilting. As a sort of challenge to myself, I hatched this plan of working my way through the book practicing the free motions designs. In the book, Angela does longarm designs and Christa’s designs are for a sit-down domestic machine. So I will be following along with Christa. There are actual quilts in each chapter that are specifically designed to practice the motifs–but I will just be putting together practice pieces to work on. The real point of this is just to practice. I have a couple baby quilt tops sitting on a shelf, and I may try a couple of the designs to those to finish them up.

I fully expect the first few weeks to show how unskilled I actually am at free motion quilting–but at the end of ten weeks (ten chapters=ten weeks), I hope to see some significant progress in my skills.

And to add to the fun–three of my blogger friends are joinging in as well! Each Monday, we will each post our thoughts and adventures as we work our way through this wonderful resource.

HollyAnne at String and Story

Vicki at My Creative Corner3

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny

We are kicking off on May 1 and would love it if you would like to pick up a copy of the book and join us! If you do–be sure to show us your work on Instagram with this hastag: #machinequiltingbloghop.

 

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hand pieced quilt progress

patchwork quilt along fat quarter shop

I’ve always known that I like hand work–I love to bind quilts, I knit and embroider a little–but I really had no idea how much I would love hand piecing. When I started this crazy idea, I wasn’t at all sure that I would be able to see it through. About halfway through my first block I thought, “What have I gotten myself into?” But I pushed through, and now, a mere three months into this project, I can very clearly see my progress.

The actual motion of hand piecing is becoming second nature, and it feels so good to just slow down. I tend to do things very quickly–I walk fast, talk fast, and do most tasks as if I am getting a medal for speed. I’ve made a big effort this last year to slow down my machine sewing as well. I am always working on improving my accuracy, and slowing down is a big part of that for me. I hear about these sewing machines that sew 1500 stitches a minute and wonder how in the world someone can sew that fast without careening out of control.

patchwork quilt along fat quarter shop
I kind of love the crumpled mess of the blocks before the final (only) pressing.

Hand sewing takes time–something that always feels in short supply these days. I do all my prep work up front–I cut out all six blocks for the Patchwork Quilt Along and then mark the stitching lines on the back of them (I wrote about my favorite hand piecing tools here). This takes a good evening or two–usually while listening to a podcast or watching Netflix. Then I just keep everything I need to hand sew in a basket.

I drag this basket from room to room–or even in the car, using found moments to sew a seam or two. I think that this is one of the most unexpected parts about hand sewing–all the memories that are being sewn into this quilt. I will always remember that I worked on it in the car as we drove up to do a college tour for Jonah, that I binge-watched and cried my way through the entire season of This is Us, and that I worked on it pretty much every night when we gather as a family to share a TV show together before bed.

patchwork quilt along fat quarter shop

At first hand sewing a whole quilt seemed a little daunting, but now I realize that just like everything else–it is so much more doable when you break it down into small chunks. In this case, six blocks a month. I seem to need to be reminded of this over and over again–break it down and tackle it one bit at a time.

 

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these actually are your grandmother’s quilts

handmade antique quilts

The phrase, “Not your grandmother’s quilt” is so prevalent in articles about quilts these days–as if our grandmother’s quilts are somehow “less than” what we are creating today. I could not disagree more.

So today, I’d like to introduce you to three quilts made by my husband’s grandmother, Lettie Maude. As is the way it goes, his mother did not inherit the sewing gene and sadly had little information about them. But he remembers them on the beds in the house all throughout  his childhood. And then he brought them with him when we got married. Even though they were threadbare even then, we continued to use them for many years. I just noticed them in the linen cabinet recently and pulled them out to appreciate them with new eyes.

We don’t really know when they were made, but I’m guessing the 1930s and 40s. I’m no expert, but the fabrics seem consistent with that and it makes sense with her age as well. They are all utilitarian scrap quilts and my husband says that he actually remembers some of the fabrics coming from his grandmother’s dresses. Though the are meant for use and using up bits of old clothes and bits of fabric–each quilt has a unique design that prevents it from being to chaotic.

This little gem was on my daughter’s bed until she left for college last fall. And while it is clearly scrappy–I love how the light and dark purples really give it pattern and structure.

antique quilt

It is worn through in many places, but this didn’t actually stop us from using it until recently.

All three quilts are all machine quilted, but the stitch length on the piecing leads me to believe that these were all hand pieced. The quilter definitely wasn’t worried about points either!

This totally cracks me up. Three of the four corners are curved, but that fourth one is totally squared off as if to say, “I’m done with this already!” This one is machine bound with a crazy zig-zag stitch–another sign that this quilt was meant to be used.

This next one is a very simple scrappy Nine Patch. The design is calmed down by a couple of factors. One is the white snowball block that alternates with the nine patches. But the other I found really interesting. Every nine patch has either green or yellow patches in the corners and center square. This provides a unifying color scheme. Now, our quilter did not arrange these green and yellow blocks in any order–they are totally random–which I find totally charming, but not at all anything I could ever do. And, do you see that hole?

This one is also machine quilted and the design is so uniform that for a moment I wondered if it was computer generated–but obviously not! I guess the quilter just had made these designs so many times that they are amazingly uniform.  And I know I said that every block was either green or yellow–but can you spot that rogue yellow square in what was supposed to be a green block? A humility block, perhaps? Or ore likely, she just ran out of green fabric.

It’s fun to look at the quilting pattern–I remember asking my mother-in-law how they were done. I was not a quilter yet and had no idea about free motion quilting. Achieving this shape on a domestic sewing machine seemed impossible to me. All she said was, “She sent them away to be quilted.” So, I have no idea if they were done on a longarm or a domestic machine–but the designs seem to be in long columns, so I’m thinking a longarm–which was called a “quilting machine” in those days.

Here is the last one. While also a scrap quilt, the design really unifies the scrappiness..

I actually love the way that fabric on this one is just literally wearing away in a swiss cheese fashion.

And there is that same quilting pattern!

antique quilt pattern

All three of these quilts have been retired from active use and are now happily folded on a bench in our family room to appreciate in a new way. I would like to think that Lettie Maude would be happy to know that these labors of love have been in use for the last 80 or so years. And we continue to appreciate them to this day.

I am actually thinking about remaking one of them in contemporary fabrics–but I haven’t decided which one yet. Which one would you choose?