Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Quilt top makeover!

My quilt has gone from *blah*

to *bedazzled*!

I love how the centerpiece imparts a kind of tribal look. This quilt is intended for a large matching donor for our recent KHOI Community Radio fund drive (who is also a composer / musician).

I've also been working with this mystery antique block. Anyone know its name? (Update: thank you CJ, it is "Album Block" or "Chimney Sweep".)

Since I have 12 of them, I thought they'd make a good centerpiece, but I changed my mind: too white, too uneventful. The other blocks I am mixing them with are so rich and storied--some person more than 50 years ago pieced together these triangles as the fabric became available, from old clothes. So I'm using the crazy blues, grays, and blacks as the centerpiece and outer border, and the uneventful light-toned mystery blocks will make an inner border. This is what I've got so far. A work in progress (and another KHOI donor thank-you quilt)!
I always say green is my favorite color, but there's nothing quite so satisfying to me as working with blue.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Distract. Distract.

My antique Temperance block rescue is on the long-arm. I quilted about a foot before the thread ran out. Tension is so tricky that I wanted to use the same brand, but when my order arrived, it looked awfully different. What color did I use to begin with anyway? Cream? White? (I had thought Antique.) So I'm in for another round of wait-for-the-postman.

In the meantime, I decided I hate the quilt. Look at it from a distance. Ugh. Dead on arrival. I fell into a puling funk... (ask my husband)

To distract myself, I made some holiday gifts (hotpads? mug rugs?) out of other antique blocks.

I added a few ideas to my crazy quilt.

And I started a second antique block rescue quilt. This one will have a wide, crazy-patched inner border, mostly in darks:

At the end of the night, I decided I could applique more geese (antique scraps) to the front of my Temperance block quilt.

...and add some red here and there. It's not going to be easy with the quilt on the frame, but (I tell myself) it will be worth it. Wish me luck.

(Update here)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Another antique block rescue UPDATE

Anyone know the name of this block?
I "inherited" 21 of them, from the same source as the antique Dresden blocks. They are hand-stitched, under who knows what conditions; the puckering in the piece above was common to pretty much all the blocks. The shapes and the French blue color somehow remind me of war, peace, and Europe.
However, the stitcher had another weighty issue on her mind: drunkenness and the damage it did to women's lives. According to librarian/quilter Nann, who left a comment below, and verified in this article by Barbara Brackman, this is the 4-T or "Capital T" block standing for temperance. The recipient of the quilt will love it! The only aesthetic preferences he gave were "not too much of anything." How perfect!
How to make them into a quilt? My first priority is to combine the blocks with this very sweet Dianthus print I picked up at Joann's at a steep discount. I bought 5 yards at less than $4 a yard (using a 25%-off-my-entire-purchase coupon, on top of a 30% discount on calicos! If you sewists out there missed that deal, you were sleeping!)
But how to match the "outspoken" block with the rather delicate print? Here's a layout I've come up with. I have an idea for the central cross section (more flying geese?) and for the five remaining blocks, but I'm letting it rest for the moment (for one thing, I need a source for antique white fabric!--I'm about to use up the old pillowcase I've been using). Do you think I need something more, an applique, in the white space around the peach center squares--or will fancy quilting fill the role?

Meanwhile, on my design wall (as opposed to my design floor), I have this crazy quilt beginning, measuring about 40" by 40"
My mom thinks it looks like a story quilt, as it has "narrative" elements like this toile lovers' scene
and this Japanese scene (my mom once had a dress made of this fabric):
but as for the story itself, I'm happy to let others' imaginations fill the gap.