Thursday, 24 March 2011

Civil War Quilts - Block 12

Block 12 - "Louisiana" is done - twice!

I really enjoyed making this block. It went together quickly and the sizes were spot on.

I was so pleased with it that I decided to do another one!

They are both my favourites. I really like pinwheels. Hmm . . . I think I see a few more of these in my future!

Pattern: Civil War Quilts - Block 12 - Louisiana
Designer: Barbara Brackman

Friday, 18 March 2011

Civil War Quilts - Block11

Where did this week go?

I have managed to complete Block 11 - London Square. The colours are a bit drab in the picture, the "brown" is actually quite lime. Bad lighting - what can I say?

The weather's become decidedly "autumn-y" this week, and I must say I really like it. I can feel that it won't be too long before scarves and coats make their way back into my morning attire!

And this week has seen many hot air balloons take to the sky over our city . . . and I get to see them on my drive in to work. The morning sky this week has been quite overcast, so you see the lovely glow of the balloons as they burn the gas jets. And twenty-something balloons all floating around is quite a sight to behold. There certainly are some benefits to starting work early!

Pattern: Civil War Quilts - Block 11 - London Square
Designer: Barbara Brackman

Monday, 7 March 2011

Civil War Quilts - Block 10

Block 10 of Barbara Brackman's Civil War Quilt Block of the Week is Lincoln's Platform (or Churn Dash as I know it) . . .

I really like this block . . . well this particular block, but also the pattern. It's a pretty simple design, but it can be so versatile with reproduction fabrics, bright moderns, romantic florals . . .

I took a bit of time with this one making sure all my measurements were right, so it all went together without any fuss this week.

I've had fun delving into this little stash of reproduction fabrics week after week.

And this is how my little quilt is looking after 10 weeks.

I've got an extra block in there. I got a tip from Carrie at Passion for Applique on doing the points of the stars, so I thought I'd have a go at another Seven Sisters block. Carrie's "secret weapon" is a toothpick. So simple, but so effective - her tutorial is well worth a look.

While it's not quite perfect, I think it's an improvement on my first attempt.

And since I was in "do-over" mode, I decided to have another go at the "Kansas Troubles" block, too.

I unpicked this one and started again. The original block was way over-sized and the bias edges of the triangles stretched too much as well. So, with this one I got a hint from Ranette about having the half square triangles over-sized and then trimming them to the right size. This, coupled with a hint from somewhere on the net last week about using spray starch (I've been using Best Press) made for a much better end result. It was more work undoing it than making it in the first place, but I know it would have bugged me every time I looked at it in the finished quilt with chopped off points.

Annette from Sunshine Yellow posted about her "AHA" moment, inspired by La Vie En Rosie making block boards, or design boards. I thought they were a great idea for managing blocks when you just can't leave them spread out on the table. So I made some . . .

I bought some core flute board from the hardware store. It's nice and light but still sturdy enough for my needs. I cut 15" squares and then 8 /12" squares from the left overs, ending up with a set of 12 of each size. I used some cotton batting and some wool batting that I had left over from finished quilts. I used a spray adhesive to both the board and the back of the batting. Then (with the assistance of my trusty helper who helped by keeping the batting taut) I layed the board onto the batting and trimmed the excess to a nice, neat edge.

These boards are great for storing blocks on during the construction process. Or if you are wanting to lay out your blocks, you don't have the issue of fraying with too much handling that you can get when you are auditioning them. I have used a board this week taking my pieces backwards and forwards between the machine and the ironing board and everything has stayed just where I wanted it.

I can't recommend these boards highly enough as a useful sewing aid. So, if you've got a bit of time, a bit of board and a bit of batting, do yourself a favour and make yourself up a set. You won't regret it!

Pattern: Civil War Quilts - Block 10 - Lincoln's Platform
Designer: Barbara Brackman

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Cross Stitch Table Cloth

Talking of (almost vintage), back in Year 10, we had a major project that we worked on all year in Needlework. I can't remember now if we had to do a table cloth or if it could be some other stitchery item, but this is what I did.

It's a 25 count linen. The stitching is 20" square and the overall cloth is 51" square. I don't know where I got the pattern from or any other specifics of the designs, but the four scenes represent . . .




and Wales.

It was all counted thread work, including the zig zag border

and the hem.

I've only used the cloth a couple of times. But the other day I decided to use it while we enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea. After all, what's the point of having these things if not to use them? Why save things "for best". I mean, if my family and I aren't "for best", then what is?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

What is "Vintage" to You???

I only ask because I was browsing on Etsy (I love Etsy) in the "Vintage" category and right before my very eyes were a couple of pieces of jewelery just like some I'd owned in my younger days! Vintage!! I think not!!!

So, I asked around . . .

Husband (after some consideration) thinks vintage is about 30-40 years.

Daughter (with no hesitation) says 10 years! Oh to be so youthful! (While looking at my school photos she declares that she just loves those vintage photos!!!)

Me - I'm thinking my lovely teapot and plates are vintage. A gift from my great grandfather to my great aunt as a wedding gift. Then a gift to me. Sorry Aunty Shirl, but this is vintage to me.

And maybe my trusty old ironing board - made by my great uncle for my mother when she was married and then passed to me when I left home (and still as good today as ever) . . .

But something I've had from new? Not quite vintage yet, I say.

The www declares that vintage (while previously referred to the age of a wine) is now commonly used to "describe almost anything that is or can be old-fashioned" and "of old, recognized and enduring interest, importance or quality."

OK, so very dear teapot - Yes.

My school photos - No.

Jewelery from my youth - No.

From my mother's youth - Maybe.

Fabulous old cross stitch sampler patterns - Yes.

So, what is "vintage" to you?
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