Vintage Linens Quilt #2, a Tutorial, Part 2

Part 2! Are you ready?

This post is going to be wordy and full of pictures of the diagram I used to create this quilt top:

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I want to point out a few things about the diagram and offer some advice on how to simplify your process. In the meantime, you can be thinking about what size quilt you want to make and once determined, go ahead and begin choosing your vintage linen pieces that will make up the largest blocks.

It’s never too early to get your linens clean and pressed. Now is the time to soak the vintage pieces and I’m always happy to tell you my soak method. Jump back to my blog post of November 7, 2016 for some very detailed information and a great recipe to get your pieces in tip-top condition. Somewhere along the way I need to tell you I’m a big advocate of spray starch. I starch and steam press just about everything.

So, back to the diagram, have you noticed that rather than random blocks, it is actually large sections? In the following picture I’ve labeled the 9 sections. Did you notice the diagram is divided almost down the center? The right half is 30″ wide, the left is 26″. If you stick close to the diagram, you’ll find all sections except 5 and 8 have one block that is larger than all the others. Keep this in mind when looking at your big doilies.

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If you follow the diagram exactly you’ll find you need: 21 2″ blocks, 34 4″ blocks, 18 6″, 10 4″, 3 12″ and finally, 2 16″. For the record, I did not need this many blocks. I do not have any 2″ blocks in my finished quilt top, they were easily combined either to each other or to adjacent blocks.

My advise to you is to construct your quilt top in sections. Sections 2 and 3 are small and could easily be combined as are Sections 5 and 6, but don’t make things harder for yourself! Use my methodology of: When in doubt…don’t.

Now, let me point out a few other dicey areas that have the potential to give you trouble. In the diagram below I’ve added green arrows and yellow circles to indicate the “set in seam” dilemmas. I made appropriate revisions in my own block sizes to avoid set-in seams. It’s only section 4 that has these pesky little 2″ blocks. You decide.

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When you feel like you’ve got a game plan in mind with your vintage linens, don’t rely on memory about where they should be placed, make a copy of your diagram and with pencil start labeling the blocks such as the following picture:

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You’ll also notice that using a red pen, I notated all my changes in block sizes. Do this as you work with each Section and you’ll find everything fits together nicely in the end. This is also a good way to know if you’ll be needing additional vintage linens and if so, what to look for in the shops or your stash 🙂

As you can tell, I’m generally a “planner.” With a good plan I figure I can do almost anything. Now this theory has gotten me into trouble a few times, but usually I’m good.

A few things come to mind:

  1. Don’t forget to plan for seam allowances!!! If the diagram says 12″ you know it really means 12 1/2″ right???
  2. Clean/soak your vintage linens! The last thing you want to happen is to have scorch marks on your beautiful pieces from old detergent residue!
  3. Plan ahead for your fabrics. Think about overall color schemes, etc.
  4. Determine the finished size of your quilt top.
  5. Decide what you’re going to use as your foundation fabric if you’re leaning that way, and let me just say your foundation fabric needs to be a true solid, no tone-on-tone, etc.
  6. And finally, if this is your first time cutting into vintage linens, please-oh-please do not use your most valued and treasured family heirloom things this time!!! Wait until you’ve some experience under your belt before using these pieces!

Are you ready? Do you have questions? You can easily leave a question in the comments section. The great thing about the comments section is that if you have a question about something, chances are good someone else will too! I’m here to help! I plan to send out a new “tutorial” for this project every few days. This is going to be so much fun, and YES! you can do this!!!

Blessings to all,

Rhonda

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Vintage Linens Quilt #2, a Tutorial, Part 1.

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Faced with the dilemma of needing my Vintage Linens Quilt #1 (VLQ#1) for a presentation to the Alamo Heritage Quilt Guild earlier this month and knowing it wouldn’t be back in my possession until the end of March, I decided to create a replacement of sorts! VLQ#1 was handed off to the Houston Livestock and Rodeo the first week of January so on New Years Eve day I started this new one creatively titled: VLQ#2.  I learned a hard lesson when I made #1: make the blocks with some sort of guide as to size. Being the Pinterest addict I am, I searched for several hours thru various pre-created quilt diagrams, found one I liked and immediately sent off a quick email to the creator seeking permission to use her pattern.

The first picture above is what I used and adapted to become my VLQ#2. She sent me a speedy reply of permissions so I was off to the races! After a few of my FB posts, so many other people wrote to her asking to use her pattern that she digitized and enlarged the pattern! How sweet is that! Her name is Andrea (and she has a darling little baby girl) and she has a great website at: Mouse in My Pocket.  If you want to use her pattern, send her a quick request first!

Now when you see the end product you’ll be surprised to learn I’m not all that fond of pink, but I have so many pink and green vintage doilies in my stash I decided they would get a chance to shine.

With this project in mind, I scoured the International Quilt Festival last fall for fabrics and came home with several yards total of about 15 different choices. I’m going to feature several different blocks today and try my best to answer any and all construction questions that you might have.

Remember my hubs is sharing my sewing room??? I created both a cutting and a pressing station on my Big Board. Why am I using my ratty light green cutting board for this project? Because several times I forgot and steam pressed my work right on the cutting board 😦

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Of note: I have created this quilt using the foundation method. I chose a light weight natural 100% cotton muslin which I preshrunk using a spray water bottle and a very hot steam iron. Many of my vintage pieces are quite fragile and cut on the bias. The foundation will fortify/stabilize these pieces. The foundation also serves the purpose of keeping me on track regarding block size.

This is going to be the 16×16” finished block in the upper left part of the diagram. I know I want the manufactured edging to be showing rather than incorporated into the side and bottom seams. Now keep in mind you need to add all 1/4” seam allowances so the finished 16×16 will really be 16 1/2×16 1/2” until you see all the blocks together.

Below you’ll find a visual tutorial on how to construct this block:

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I chose symmetry for this block construction, keep in mind your goal is a 16 1/2×16 1/2” square no matter your fabric and doily placement.

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Moving on:

This block quite frankly looks boring as can be! I have big plans for this block so stay tuned…

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I’m introducing an adaptation already to remind you that the diagram is a suggestion, not a hard and fast rule. I knew I wanted to use this vintage doily but none of the block designs were this large. All I did was to combine several of the blocks together. In fact, I printed out a copy of the diagram and made notes all over it. Once you have your larger blocks determined, it will be easier for you to begin creating/deciding what and where to use your vintage linens for your medium and smaller blocks. See what I mean: F6E87B41-00CB-48D6-9DDB-99F2351C3B3A

In this long linen and crochet doily, the pink fabric measures 12 1/2 x 26 1/2”. I know eventually I will add a doily to the middle of this long rectangle piece, but that’s for another day.

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Here’s a very simple little piece of a dresser scarf. I want the bottom edge of trim to show so this block is constructed in the exact same fashion as the first block above. This block measures 6 1/2 x 12 1/2” and is another adaptation as shown below circled in blue:E2CD40B3-AC8B-4282-9F39-8BC7883E65C1

As you make changes here and there to fit your vintage pieces, just remember to make your block measurements fit a space in your diagram. And above all remember to add the seam allowances!!!

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And finally for today, 4 darling little baskets of flowers. The foundation was very important here because they are cut on the bias and are embroidered on remarkably thin fabric. 4FD2FC47-9A0E-4F89-81A3-EFFF3F0EC833

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Are you ready to start your own Vintage Linens Quilt? Let me know if you have questions so far!

*** House update: we’ve been on a blessed 3 week construction hiatus. We’re waiting on windows, doors, siding, some baseboard, plumbing, tile work, etc.  I’m so very thankful for many things, among them: God, family, insurance, patience, a 2 story home and my sewing room!

Blessings to all and Happy Quilting,

Rhonda

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The Making of the Pansy Doily Quilt

 

I’ve been collecting Pansy Doilies for years and years and decided they could be used in as a collection in a quilt.

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I sorted them by general color as I have those with white or very light ivory centers and others with darker ivory/ecru centers. I also discovered many in my collection were not actually pansies but rather, creative unknown flowers. See the doily in the bottom right of the picture below. Beautiful, but not pansies.

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Like any other of my vintage linens, if they haven’t been soaked, starched and pressed, I set about to get those things underway.

Using my design wall I began an experimental layout. The doilies below became my “main players”.

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If I felt the doily passed the layout test, I then laid it out on the bleached muslin to make sure it looked acceptable on white fabric. Some of the ivory centered doilies looked dingy on white and so they were relegated back to the storage drawer for another future project. If a pansy doily was still in the running I gave it a hang tag with a number.

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By this point I felt I needed a plan so with graph paper I set about drafting what I thought would work. Each of the colors below represents a specific pansy doily. On each of the color shapes I notated not only the pansy doily number for that block, but the finished block size as well. It was my intention to always work in multiples of 2″ but with a few odd sized doilies you’ll see I have a few areas where finished 1″ blocks were necessary.

Each of the white blocks represented negative space to be quilted and then to place additional pieces of vintage crochet.

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With the pansy doilies in hand I pulled out my fabric stash of 1930’s reproductions and began to cut strips measuring 2 1/2″. From these strips I then cut 2 1/2″ squares. I contemplated strip piecing for speed on construction but changed my mind deciding I did not want “consistency of fabric/color placement” throughout the project.

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Earlier I mentioned each pansy doily was assigned a number printed on a hang tag. Here’s a picture of two such doilies.

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The white “negative” spaces were intended to host pieces such as the snowflakes and hearts below.

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So with my chart as my guide I began to set the blocks together to make the quilt top:

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This was Plan A: (visual bedlam!)

After placing maybe just half of all the various pieces I stepped back and said “I need a Plan B!” There was way too much going on, there was no place for the eye to rest.

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Now mind you, at this point I am not happy.  I’ve collected vintage pieces for many years and I’d thought this project out in my mind for at least a year and was so excited to finally be creating this giant experiment. The only pieces that made the final cut were the pansy doilies.

Plan B won out and I used only the pansy doilies.

With the entire quilt top created (including  6″ white borders not shown above) I loaded it on my Innova longarm. I used 100% cotton bleached muslin on the back, a double batt of Hobbs white 80/20 topped with Hobbs Poly Down. If you’ve read any of my other blog posts you’ll know I’m a fan of Wonderfil threads, specifically their Invisafil and Deco Bob.

Invisafil won the toss for this quilt. You’ll see in lots of pictures below that by using one of these threads there is no need to change colors as you quilt over different color fabrics.

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For the first time ever I quilted the top border first. I usually always quilt the body and then decide about borders.

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Look at the thread below as I quilted over the different color fabrics! Amazing! If you haven’t tried either Invisafil or Deco Bob, what are you waiting for?

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After I quilted the top border I moved down the quilt top quilting all the sashings. I can’t remember if I also quilted the side borders as I moved down but I’m thinking I didn’t??

I mark registrations lines/circles when I quilt. I always mark the “vein” of feather wreaths and when I know I want consistency in feather lengths, I mark an outside circle telling me where to stop.

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Using my blue marking pen I used the “divide and conquer” method of quilting negative spaces.

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You’ll see below that after I marked the block I changed my mind about what to quilt. The diagonal lines serve no purpose other than they indicate the center point of each of the divided areas and they did dictate the direction of the feather plumes.

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While you can’t see the quilting you can see distinctly the sashings that ended up being 1″ in width. They stand out in the picture below but once the doilies are attached they blend in nicely.

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The quilt at this point is trimmed and bound using the same white fabric as both the front and the back. And what’s not to love about it receiving the “Winston the Cat” approval!

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After the quilt was quilted, trimmed and the binding finished, I laid out the pansy doilies and hand stitched them in place using a small curved needle and the Invisafil thread. I tacked them in the center and then all around the outside edge.

But… the pink and orange doily always bothered me and a few weeks ago I removed and replaced it.

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I still don’t have anywhere in my house to set up my portable quilt display stand so laying out on a king bed will have to do. The picture below shows the pink/orange doily replaced with a more suitable player.

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The lighting gives the quilting a chance to shine:

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I was very worried that the white negative spaces would appear awkward as the original plan was to have a vintage crochet piece in each.

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With this revised layout/placement, it gives the quilting a chance to shine.

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You know, I’ve really never met a feather I didn’t love…

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And finally, a bunch of pictures of the back:

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The finished measurements are: 70 x 90″. This project took 31 hours, 40 minutes to quilt and about 2 weeks ago I had it appraised. I’m sharing the Replacement Value with you not to brag but to let you know you should have your quilts appraised (by a certified quilt appraiser) and then insured. Let’s just say I was STUNNED: $4,500.00.

I created this piece to be a teaching tool/example for what you can do with a collection of vintage pieces. As I speak to different groups, I’m always asked something like “I have grandma’s dresser scarves/doilies/handkerchiefs. What can I do with them other than stack them in the linen closet?”

Am I glad I stuck with it and finally created this quilt? Absolutely! When I look at this quilt I smile. I feel that it is a peaceful tribute to the hands that spend hours crocheting the Pansy Doilies.

If you’d like to use the graph to make your own quilt, please do so! If you need a better graph shot, email me and I’ll send you a better picture.

Let me know if you have questions, and if you’re thinking of creating your own Vintage Doily Quilt, keep me posted!

Blessings to all and Happy Quilting!

Rhonda

***House update: The fireplace wall is finished (and the fireplace is installed). The Master is painted with baseboards, the Dining Room is painted with baseboards and the Powder Room is looking better. The Office is painted. We are waiting on the new windows, the master fireplace, and the kitchen cabinet repairs. The back staircase is ready to be stained, the front staircase is next on the list. Big Progress!IMG_8333

Happy New Year! 

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The $6.00 Sunbonnet Sue Project

Oh eBay! You can find the most interesting things on eBay… This twin Summer Weight Bed Coverlet was listed at $6.00 and I was the only bidder. When it arrived I was pleased to find it was relatively in good condition, a few stains here and there and only 2 fabric areas that were worn/torn.

The hand applique stitch around each of the girls and the pink flowers is dark grey and as such, I was careful not to soak the coverlet too long for fear of the floss fading.

 The light pink outer border was terribly faded on one of the long sides but this was an easy fix by just replacing the entire border.

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If you’re not familiar with Summer Weight Bed Coverlets, they essentially are quilt tops with all the seams “finished” as to not unravel. They are only one layer, no batting and backing and no quilting. They are intended to be the top most covering of a bed during the warm summer months. This coverlet maker used French Seams and I had a dilemma… do I hand-pick out all the stitching so I can iron everything out flat or do I chance quilting over what is essentially 5 layers of fabric? Let me also mention the sewing machine stitches were around 12-14 to the inch. I left the French Seams intact.

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My backing fabric is natural medium weight double wide muslin that had been laundered. The batting is white Hobbs Heirloom 80/20. Now…do not quilt when you’re sleep deprived: 1. I cut the first batting too narrow and had to cut a second and… 2. as I worked my way down the quilt doing all the Stitch in the Ditch work I discovered that I’d loaded the backing fabric sideways. I was 8″ shy of having enough fabric. There’s a pretty easy method of adding backing fabric so after that task was completed I finished the ditch work and was ready to do the quilting. I used WonderFil Invisafil color #105 in the needle and their Deco Bob color #112 in the bobbin. I used, for the first time ever, WonderFil Deco Bob pre-wound bobbins, loved them!

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I loaded the quilt on the longarm with the intentions of not doing feathers. I looked at the quilt for a few hours and changed my mind.

The 3 circles drawn below dictated the parameters of the feather wreath to come, the 2nd of the 3 is the guide for the vein of the wreath.

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But how did I get the large circles consistent throughout the quilt top? Below you’ll see the 4 tools necessary: an 18″ ruler, a modified draftsman’s compass, a blue fine line marking pen and a modified Dasco Pro 1405 Beam Compass. The Dasco Pro used to be available at Home Depot, but friends tell me now they go online and order them on Amazon. They are remarkably affordable at under $20.00.

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The first step in circle placement is to find the center of the block and I did so by drawing a line connecting opposing corners.

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I then established the size of the largest/outside circle by using the Dasco tool. Once this outside circle size was determined, I made no more adjustments to the Dasco. This set things up to have each feather wreath throughout the quilt the same size.

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The additional 2 circles were small enough I could use the modified draftsman compass.

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In order to keep everything consistent, once I drew the 3 circles on a block I made a gauge or template from a sheet of typing paper as an easy reference. This way I did not have to stop and measure each time I had to re-adjust the smaller draftsman’s compass.

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Circles drawn, quilting underway. You can see that the large outside circle set my parameters for how big to quilt the feathers, the middle circle is the guideline for the feathering “vein” and the inner circle sets the edge for quilting the inside feathers.

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Once each Sue had its Feather Wreath, I went back and marked a single circle-to represent the feather wreath vein-on each of the large pink appliqué flowers.

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With the Sues and the pink flowers quilted I had another issue… The green arrows below show large open spaces I was uncomfortable leaving un-quilted. There was quilting in the block ditch but I didn’t feel this was enough.

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Using a plastic 3 ring binder found at one of the “Dollar” stores, I cut off the front and back to use the plastic as templates. I’ve shown the blue plastic binder below so if you go shopping you’ll know what to look for, they come in many colors.

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I laid the orange plastic over the pink flower, traced around it with a medium point Sharpie. What I’m not showing you is that when I actually used the Sharpie I laid a large piece of clear vinyl down first to protect against an accidental hick-up with the Sharpie marking pen!

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I cut out the orange plastic and now had a correct sized template.

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At each open area, I strategically placed the orange template where needed and traced  around it with a fine line blue marking pen.

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And then I quilted the area as though it were a pink applique flower:

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In the picture below, all the quilting is finished, wish I had a spot in the house where the lighting was better. How did it go quilting over the French Seams? Piece of Cake! I have an Innova!

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Here’s a nice close-up showing the undulating feather borders:

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And of course no quilting blog is complete without a couple of pictures of the back:

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This was such a fun project! Every other Sue holds a small bouquet of flowers, each one has bonnet streamers and a bow and most have their dresses quilted with a bit of decorative stitching.

Sunbonnet Sue is ready to be trimmed and bound! The total quilting time on this project was 27 hours, 25 minutes.

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So what happened to my Vintage Pink and Green Lawn embroidered project shown below? (It was the subject of my blog post in November.) During the final soak a portion of the old black satin embroidery floss literally disintegrated! I repaired the piece and may very well get it loaded onto the longarm by weeks end.

 

 

***House update: Floor tile tomorrow! This is a major step and we are thrilled! We’re looking at mid February to have all the work finished.

Until my next post, happy quilting!

Rhonda

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A new project in the works!

I’m shifting gears while my vintage linens quilt is still on the longarm. The quilting is finished, my dilemma is that I do not have a large enough area to take it off the machine, lay it out and trim to bind. I have a plan: using my channel locks I’m going to put a light pink thread in the needle and baste top/down one side/across the bottom/up the remaining side, remove from the longarm and lay out on the king bed. I’ll lay a medium size cutting mat underneath the quilt and trim to size via scissors. If anyone sees the folly in this let me know asap!

In the mean time I’ve started a new project to keep me busy when I’m not binge-learning EQ8.

Meet vintage summer weight bed coverlet:

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Are you familiar with the garment fabric called Lawn? For a very good short article on this fabric: click here. Lawn is remarkably thin/light weight. I’m showing it here laying atop a white bedspread.

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Purchased on Ebay sometime earlier this year, I was very pleased when it was delivered to my home. Now, let me say “my-oh-my was this item dirty”! So dirty in fact that I could hardly wait to wash my hands each time I worked on the unfinished embroidery. Not particularly stained dirty, just full of the dust and grime from the passage of time. That rhymed! Be warned, I will be addressing poetry again further down in this post…

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This arrived from the Ebay seller with about 90% of the hand embroidery completed. A quick trip to ABC Stitchery in Spring, Tx allowed me to purchase the right Satin DMC colors to finish the project. Oh goodness! After doing the embroidery work for the first time with the satin floss I believe the original creator of this work most likely died of frustration. Satin embroidery floss is horrible to work with! Sure, it looks great but she did THE ENTIRE PROJECT with this crazy stuff!

 

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The sides of the piece were cut so the green Lawn fabric salvage was the edge. The top and bottom were beginning to fray so I serged an edge using care so as not to serge/cut the fabric, only the threads that had come loose.

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The overall condition of the piece (minus the dust and grime) was excellent. There are maybe 5 or 6 of these little less than 1/4″ spots on the piece. I am thrilled that they are not rust!

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Remember earlier I said there was more poetry to come? There are tiny, and I do mean tiny little holes in 4 or 5 places. I’m assuming they are areas where tiny little creatures (silverfish?) munched. So, think back to your childhood…what internationally famous poem about munching insects comes to mind?

The Termite 
by Ogden Nash
Some primal termite knocked on wood
And tasted it, and found it good!
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.

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With the hand embroidery finished and the raw edges serged, it was time to think about how to clean this beauty. As the piece has a lot of black satin embroidery floss, I was concerned about the floss fading onto the pink and/or green Lawn. Blue Dawn dishwashing detergent to the rescue! You might know that Dawn (the blue original Dawn) acts in the same manner as Synthropol in that it binds errant dyes in the soak water, hampering them from re-attaching to the fibers/fabric.

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The picture below is the water after the piece had been submerged only about 20 seconds!

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Here’s how horrible the soak water looks after 2 minutes! Yikes! Like I said, this piece was dirty!

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I let the piece soak in the first tub of water about 10 minutes, drained, lightly rinsed in warm tap water and put it into a second tub of Dawn soak water. Once again, the water is just horrible. I will continue this process all morning until the soak water is clear and clean.

I just realized that I have no place to lay this piece out to dry. Hm….. I’ll have to think on that for the rest of the morning. It very well may have to be draped over a shower curtain rod.

So what will I do with this beautiful piece when it’s clean? I will lay it atop a solid very light pink cotton quilting fabric, double batt, Hobbs white 80/20 and also their Poly Down and use the same light pink solid fabric as backing. Get everything loaded on the longarm (Innova) and quilt! What thread will I use? WonderFil of course! At this point I’m not sure if I’ll use Deco Bob which is 80 weight or go with Invisafil at 100 weight. I’ll keep you posted!

***house update: I’m pulling out my hair trying to find a stacked stone for the fireplace wall:

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Until next time, blessings to all and happy quilting,

Rhonda

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The quilting is finished!

Oh happy day! I finished the quilting early yesterday afternoon, later I added up the quilting hours in this project: 49 hours, 50 minutes! I think it’s been worth every single minute!

Here are the particulars: double batting using Hobbs white 80/20 on the bottom and Hobbs Poly Down on top. You may know I’m a WonderFil thread crazed quilter! For this entire project, no matter what color I was quilting over I’ve used WonderFil Deco Bob color 104 in the needle. I have a prewashed bleached muslin as my back fabric.  And for anyone keeping track, this project took 14 size M longarm bobbins. When finished (trimmed and bound) this quilt will measure about 85×92″.

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One of my sweet friends remarked that I’d go through withdrawal when finished, I chuckled, but now that it’s happened I find she is spot on!

The block below has a small white-on-white hand embroidery doily as the centerpiece.

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In the block below I used the entire doily, laying it atop the block and stitching it in place with the sewing machine. This way I could keep the beautiful machine produced edging.

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Again, I’ve used the entire oval-shaped doily:

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This yellow tulip with a blue bow is one end of a dresser scarf.

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One of two vintage quilt blocks I used in this piece:

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A lovely hand embroidered basket doily with a hand crocheted edging.

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The second of the two vintage blocks used in this quilt.

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Initially I had trouble with this block as it appears to be sideways. I’m glad I used it in it’s original orientation:

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The block below is made up of two vintage doilies from a matching set of 3, two small and one large. I layered one of the “smalls” on top of the “large” and stitched them to the quilt block:

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I’ve included the picture below to show how the border swags tie in nicely with the vintage linen blocks:

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One of my favorite blocks is the “lady with watering can”. If I could quilt it differently I would make the feather arches on each side a little more arching/curved:

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Well, this block gave me headaches! While quilting the small ovals inside the cross stitch grids, it was my intention to have the ovals on the left side tilt in the opposite direction as those on the right. Oops! I wasn’t upset enough to un-quilt…

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Still one of my favorite blocks below!

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I’m looking forward to taking this quilt off the longarm, trimming to size and binding. Hopefully I can utilize a few classroom tables at a local quilt shop to trim as right now there’s nowhere in the house to accomplish this simple task. 😦

***house update: nothing new to report. We were hopeful to have all repairs finished by Thanksgiving but remember, there were in excess of 40,000 homes damaged in the Hurricane Harvey flooding and there are not 40,000 construction teams to handle the tremendous amount of work to be done. Patience here is key! Let’s just say I don’t think we will be putting up a Christmas Tree in the great room this year.

Next project: I shopped the International Quilt Festival vendors looking for just the right fabrics to begin another Vintage Linens quilt project. I want to use the predominately dark ivory/beige doilies and trims in my collection. Most of the 1930’s reproduction fabrics have white rather than ivories. I found a fantastic grouping of various manufacturers fabrics that I think will be just the ticket! I wish I had taken the time to properly learn EQ7, it would be so helpful in developing these original patterns! Maybe in a week or two I’ll make myself sit down with the manual and go through the program step by step! My sweet friend Veronica makes it look so easy! Veronica, do you hire out?

Let me remind you, if you ever have questions about anything I talk about in my blog, you’ll find my email address below, just send me an email!

Until my next post, happy quilting, keep praying for the flood victims and blessings to all,

Rhonda

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Blocks finished-on to the borders!

I’ve quilted the 26 blocks and now it’s on to the sashings and border. My goal is to have wandering/vining feathers throughout the sashings and connect them to each other where I can. But first, let me show you a few of my favorite blocks:

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The picture below appears to be redundant but notice, I’ve begun the sashing/negative space quilting below the block:

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I’m a slow learner about certain things… I have been in awe over certain quilting pictures where the lighting is just low enough to really make the quilting pop. Had no idea how to achieve this effect until the other day I walked into the sewing room to discover I’d left the longarm on for about an hour with the overhead lights turned off. Wow! Just the effect I’d been trying to achieve! Who knew!

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The next picture demonstrates the transition from blocks to sashings to the border. Inside each swag I marked and quilted two separate feather sets.

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I liked the look just “ok” and mulled over the situation for an hour or two.

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Decided to quilt the 1/4″ parallel lines beneath the swag to see if that would solve my dilemma.  I liked the look of the lines but still was not happy with the feathers.

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Giving it some time, I decided to go ahead and decide how to handle the 4 corner appliques.

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And then in a flash it came to me! The feathers above the swags needed veining to give them depth and character:

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The picture below shows what my “already quilted feathers” look like after I added the veining:

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So, here’s a short tutorial on how I accomplished the border feathering: 1. Divide the space between the applique circles and mark.  2. Using an oval acrylic template, mark a gentle curve from the appliqued circle to the top most point of the area center line. 3. Begin quilting the feathers at an outer edge, quilting towards the center as shown below. I always quilt the feathers and then add the vein. If you want to do the veining as you work your way up the spine, of course do so!

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After finishing the lower feathering, I’ve begun quilting one side of the upper feathers:

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One side of the feathering completed and the other side needing the veining:

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Ta-Da! Feathering complete!

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When you’re intimidated by the quilting area remember: you want to “Divide and Conquer” the space! The big spaces become much smaller and much more manageable!

I’m mulling over the idea of quilting the top and bottom border parallel lines, taking the quilt off the machine, rotating 90 degrees and reloading. It is so much easier to stitch the lines vertically than horizontally. My biggest concern is getting the quilt loaded perfectly… More on my final decision in a later post…

About my quilting, I’ve had my Innova Longarm for 3 years and 2 months. Without fail, every single time I quilt something I learn something. Every single time! This quilt project is no exception: I’ve been teaching myself to not see the hopping foot but rather to stay focused in the needle meeting the fabric. In all honesty the most perfect hopping foot would be an invisable one! I’ve also been trying to learn to slow down a bit. Feathering is basically the same motion over and over and over again and I can tend to quilt very quickly when I know exactaly what I want to do. By slowing down I always increase accuracy and I have more time to “think ahead” about feather placement.  And finally, I’ve been concentrating on muscle memory to achieve accuracy in “bump back feathering” and veining.

*** House update: not too much to report. The flooring tile, all 9242 lbs. of it got manually moved today so we no longer have to park on the “wrong” side of the gate across the driveway. With homes in our immediate area in much worse shape than ours, we have elected to wait a few more weeks while our contractor addresses many emergency concerns of our friends and neighbors. This will allow me more time to search out the perfect Stacked Stone for the fireplace wall. If you’ve never looked for stone, wow, it’s amazing how much is available! Too many choices!

Happy Quilting! Let me know if you have any questions about anything in the 25 picture above.

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