The Making of the Blue and White Mostly Vintage Linens Quilt, Part 2 of 4.

Part 2 of 4 is all about the right side of the quilt! Here’s the finished quilt with most of the new pieces marked with the red stars. In my last blog post we covered the left side of the quilt, top to bottom. Today we’re going to do the same with the other side. Are you ready?

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Section 5

This is Section 5, the upper right side. This is also one of the few sections made up entirely of vintage pieces. Starting with the upper left side, we have a small (4×9″) portion of a table covering, a piece of pale ivory lace (4×9″) and half, (10×18″) of a beautiful blue and white dresser scarf below. See the piece to the left of the vintage Grandmother’s Flower Garden block? One of the blocks in Section 4 had a bit of embroidered areas left after I cut it to size. I merely joined those 2 left over pieces to create an entirely new block. It’s not obvious is it? Keep this in mind before you discard anything, sometimes bits can easily be joined to create something new! The rectangle piece beneath, I don’t know… I suppose it could be part of an antimacassars set? A small dresser doily? Whatever its original purpose, I think it works very well in my quilt.

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Section 6

This is Section 6. The bluebird doily is vintage as is the rectangle block to its right where I took 2 pieces of white-ish old lace, laid them curved sides together and machine stitched them to the bleached muslin foundation. The next 2 pieces, top and bottom are new. The top piece is from my embroidery machine, I added the lace around the 4 sides. Beneath this piece is new straight off the bolt beautiful fabric from the now permanently closed Hancock Fabrics. I wove the blue ribbon in the cut-outs of the fabric. The rightmost piece is again, a beautiful vintage doily.

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Section 7

Welcome to Section 7. We only have 2 more sections to go after this one before the quilt top is completed. The top left long-long-long rectangle block measures 6×22! I really had to do some diagram adjusting to make this piece fit. On its right is a 4×6″ piece of vintage lace and finally a 4×12″ block of the most beautiful lace/trim/adornment ever! It is not symmetrical. You’ll see the top edge is not straight light the bottom edge. This is a piece I could have never ever cut so I’m glad I could use it in its entirely. (Note: this piece was moved over to the left side of the quilt during the quilting process.) Bottom row left has a 6×10″ piece of what may have been a curtain/window treatment and the doily in blue and green is an end of a dresser scarf. Next you’ll find a 2×10″ piece of hand crocheted trim and then a new hexagon shape from my embroidery machine. Beneath the hexagon is a plain bleached muslin rectangle and then a 4×4″ vintage lace panel piece.

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Section 8

Hello Section 8! Are you confident yet in knowing you can take vintage pieces and easily mix them with new? Starting at the top left we have a vintage beautiful blue pillow case, part of the hand crocheted piece we used in a section on the left side of the quilt, a new white on white embroidery from my machine and then an equally beautiful piece of blue embroidery. Measuring 10×14″ this may have been a tray cloth? On the far left we’ve got another piece of that table covering and a darling childs pillow case that measures 4×16″ finishes this section.

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Section 9

Are you still with me? This is the final part, Section 9! Beginning on the left, a 8×12″ new-ish Battenburg guest towel with a 4×8″ new machine embroidery ivory piece below. The next area has 2 different vintage laces, the top measuring 4×6″, the bottom at 4×10″. Moving to the right, the top 4×12″ rectangle is 2 pieces of vintage lace placed with scalloped edges touching and stitched in place on the foundation. The Basket… I auditioned this basket in almost every section as I created them. I finally realized that it was so “visually heavy” it had to go on the bottom edge. It balances nicely in this position. To its right is a 6×16″ beautiful piece of vintage crochet.

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Right side of the quilt top

Whew! We’ve covered each of the 9 sections in great detail. Success (for me) came from the “Divide and Conquer” method. Had I set out to create this quilt without a diagram I would have been at a loss as to where to start. Don’t give yourself a monumental task, break it down into managable goals, or in my case, 9 managable goals. Again, many thanks to Andrea for creating a very usable/adaptable diagram that is well laid out and easy to use! You can keep scrolling down to my post of 7/1 to see Andrea’s diagram if you’ve forgotten what it looks like.

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Here’s the quilt top with all the sections laid together on the design wall. We’ve come a long way since the previous post!

Are you planning to create a quilt using this 4 part tutorial? Yes? Well please send pictures so we can all see what you’re doing. With your permission I’ll post your pics and we can all be inspired! Do you have questions? Bring them on, if you’re wondering about something, chances are so are others.

Next post, part 3 of 4, will be all about adding the borders and quilting! There’s nothing I love more than the quilting part! I took 10,000 pictures so get ready!

Lisa, have you started your quilt???

Here’s my thought for the day: “Any day spent in the sewing room is a good day!” Today I spent the biggest part of the day in mine!

*** Huge house update! Sunday (July 15) the roofers finished with the Hurricane Harvey repairs! Can I tell you that’s 321 days ago!!! Now that the roof’s repaired, the contractor can come back and fix the dining room wall. Once the wall is spackled, sanded and painted I can begin putting the dining room together! Can I also tell you I ordered furniture last Wednesday for the family room. I’m told to expect it to arrive in about 8 weeks. This means that we will be past the 1 year Hurricane Harvey anniversary! Who would have ever thought it would take this long, but God is good and so are we!

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Oh, and I survived the Juvenile Delinquents, aka the chickens…

Happy quilting and blessings to all,

Rhonda

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The Making of the Blue and White Mostly Vintage Linens Quilt, Part 1 of 4.

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I say “mostly” because this was an exercise in combining both new and old pieces into a single quilt. When I speak to groups one of the most common comments I hear is something like: But I don’t have all those beautiful old things and don’t know where to find them. Here’s proof you don’t need a huge stash of vintage linens to create a beautiful quilt.

In the picture below, with a red star, I’ve identified almost every new piece in this project:

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If my counting skills are sharp, there are at least 25 new items in this quilt. But how did I start this project? If you’ve read any of my past blog posts you might have seen the tutorial on the making of the Pink and Green Vintage Linens quilt. I used a wonderful quilt block layout by Andrea of http://www.mouseinmypocket.com. She has generously given me (us) permission to use her layout. If you’re going to go forward with her design, it would be great to drop her a line or two of thanks!

Below is the layout from Andrea’s web site.

Scan 1

What are the numbers in each unit? They are the finished size of each block. So right away your “quilty antenna” should be going crazy. Did you catch that: Finished Size!!! That means each and every single time you reference one of the numbers, you MUST add 1/2″ to the numbers!!! For example: look at all the 4’s. You know that really means 4 1/2 x 4 1/2″ right? If you forget your seam allowances you’re in big trouble! What about the units that are not easy squares like all the 4’s? Look at the 2×10 units. They are actually 2 1/2 x 10 1/2″ blocks. Get yourself into the frame of mind that you double, maybe even triple check before you cut! Think: SEAM ALLOWANCES!

Here’s my adaptation:

Scan 2

So what’s happened with my adaptation? I’ve marked off the diagram into sections, 1-9 (see the numbers circled in red),  I’ve labeled where I’m thinking many of my linens, etc. will be used,  I’ve changed up the block layout within each segment to meet my needs and I’ve totally revamped segment #4.

While you’re at it, using pencil, write your ideas for what pieces to use where. Then, take a piece of paper, write the Section number and block size down and straight pin it to the piece you’re going to use. This way you won’t get confused and try and use the same piece two or three times… like that would EVER happen to anyone…

It’s all about divide and conquer! And why did I totally revamp section #4? A number of reasons: I had a large piece I wanted to use and I wanted to avoid all the Set-In seams. What’s a Set-In seam? Here’s a pretty good link: How to sew a set-in seam

But, let’s start with section #1 and the design wall.

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Section #1

From the top left: guest (hand) towel, pillowcase, old dresser scarf,  new machine embroidered cross stitch design framed (Doily also new, cut into 4 quarters) ivory hand crocheted doily, hand crocheted white piece, blue cross stitch dresser scarf, vintage ivory oval doily and finally, new machine embroidered heart with old trim sewn along the bottom edge. See the top right edge of the large blue cross stitch? See where the edge is torn. I don’t care because later a new white butterfly will cover this problem area. Don’t fret the problem areas. Think of them as opportunities for adornments/distractors/etc.

If you’re comfortable with your block placement, sew them together and pat yourself on the back!

What about Section #2?

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Sections 1 & 2

With these close up pictures, I’m seeing a few new things I did not get marked with a red star. Starting at the top left of Section #2, the white embroidered piece is straight from my embroidery machine, as is the little ivory piece to its right. The middle piece is from a table runner and Home Sweet Home; well, straight from the Goodwill. When I bought it for $2.50 it was hot glued into a wooden round embroidery hoop. Once released from captivity, I trimmed away all the glue, used a circle template to cut it to perfect shape and added a bit of beautiful ivory hand crocheted trim around the edge. The bottom right piece is a guest hand towel.

This is a good time for a break to talk about the Vintage Linens Quilt Police: they exist only in your imagination. Don’t be hampered by thinking there are Vintage Linen rules. Do I have a few personal rules? Yes. I won’t cut up a fabulously beautiful “perfect in every way” piece, I generally abhor fusibles with vintage pieces and… I can’t think of anything else. For you: the pieces are yours. You can do with them as you please. You don’t need permission from anyone else because the pieces are not theirs. Ok, enough said.

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Section #3

From left to right: new off white lace, rectangle section of a small damaged tablecloth, a vintage Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt block, a filler block of bleached muslin, new Morning Glory machine embroidery using variegated blue/white embroidery thread (I embroidered this onto a vintage pillowcase that already had a small line of variegated blue/white handwork), another piece a vintage panel lace and finally, a small filler lace at the bottom. For the Flower Garden quilt block, I  machine appliqued it to a square of bleached muslin fabric before I began to set the section blocks together.

Are you with me so far? See how breaking down the quilt top into 9 Sections makes the task seem so much more manageable? If you concentrate on each section at a time you don’t feel so overwhelmed at creating an entire quilt top from bits and pieces. If you scroll way back to the top you can also see from the diagrams that sections 1-4 are sewn together to form the left side of the quilt and sections 5-9 make up the right side. Easy-peasy!

 

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Section #4

We’re now at the bottom section of the left side! Section 4 begins with the bottom edge of an ivory guest hand towel, a vintage Aida (I think…) piece of trim, a new blue and green machine embroidered heart with new white lace trim added, a vintage dresser scarf, the edge of an all white dresser scarf, a piece of beautiful light ivory trim and finally, a blue flowered small dresser scarf/doily.

 

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Say this with gusto: “Taaa-Daaaa!” The left side of the Blue and White Vintage Linens Quilt is complete!

Now that you’ve read thus far, do you have some ideas for your project? You can see that not every block has to be “The Star of the Show”. You need a mix for the eye to travel around your quilt. You need some blocks that pop and others what recede and “read” as plain. In other words, your eye need somewhere to rest as it travels the quilt top. What you do need to keep in mind is visual balance and that’s where your smart phone or digital camera comes in handy. It’s easy to snap a picture and look at it to see if your arrangement is visually heavy and/or light in certain areas. If you really want to get picky, revise your photo to black and white for ready reference to balance.

Do you have an embroidery machine, does your sewing machine have an embroidery module? Does a really good friend have either one? Can you see how the sky’s the limit when you take into consideration the adding of new pieces with vintage pieces to create a beautiful quilt? I hope I’ve opened your eyes to the countless ways to take what you have in your stash and add to it! Now here’s the upright and mature part, just make sure you don’t try to pass off your mix of old and new as totally vintage, because honestly, not too many people would be able to tell the difference!

Part 2 of 4 will come in a few days. I’m taking care of the daughter and son-in-law homestead once again, this time it’s only the chickens and watering the garden. The 5 chickens are juvenile delinquents. They don’t like me, they don’t mind and are in general, a nuisance, but right now they are my grandchickens and I will try and love them. 🙂

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***House update: the construction repairs are complete! Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow! It has been 10 months and 3 days since Hurricane Harvey and the flood waters came to visit. It seem like yesterday, it seems like years! Here’s another jaw dropper: when ordering from LazyBoy, it takes 2-3 months for chairs to arrive. Seriously, what do they do, harvest the polyester and weave the cloth!

So what do you do if you really what to watch television and don’t want to sit on the floor? You ask your awesome son-in-law or order 2 reclining lawn chairs!

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They are amazingly comfortable, and will probably be even more so when I venture out to the store to buy a couple of chaise lounge pads!

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot!!! I have a new BFFWALVL! That stands for Best Friends Forever Who Also Loves Vintage Linens! This is Lisa and she works at Quilter’s Crossing in Tomball, TX. A wonderful fabulous quilt shop!!!!! Stop in and tell her you saw her here in this blog post! And then spend several hundred dollars while you’re there!!!  🙂

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Until next time, blessings to each of you and of course: Happy Quilting!

Rhonda

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Machine Quilters Showcase New England!

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The spring 2018 Machine Quilters Showcase New England, Manchester, NH was awesome! I am so humbled that 3 of my quilts were juried into competition and amazed that my Vintage Handkerchiefs took a 3rd Place ribbon in the New Traditions in Textiles category!

New Traditions in Textiles  Sponsored by ABM / Innova
3rd Place           Vintage Handkerchiefs by Rhonda Dort
2nd Place          Solitaire by Bethanne Nemesh
1st Place           Mesa Verde Cliff Palace by Kathy Adams and Joanne Baeth

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Wondering how the entries were judged? Here’s the judging sheet for Vintage Handkerchiefs:

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The other 2 entries and their judging sheets were:

Roses:

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and My Pansy Doily Quilt:

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Why am I showing you the quilts and their judging sheets? I want you to know what judges are looking for in a quilt show dedicated to the art of machine quilting. Now that you know there’s no mystery, why don’t you consider entering 1 or 2 of your quilts into the next show? Sure it’s scary the first time you enter, but once that’s behind you, the sky’s the limit!

I flew into Boston on Wednesday. My sweet travel agent/chauffeur/quilt show companion and all around awesome friend Kathryn (accompanied by my new friend Jill) picked me up at Logan and it was “off to the races!” Our first stop was at the historical Wayside Inn where we had a fantastic lunch:

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We had to said goodbye to Jill after lunch as we were headed to Manchester, NH to the MQX, needing to be at the show venue by 6 pm for the Awards Ceremony.

Thursday (the entire day!) was spent at the show and can I just say the true masters of machine quilting were represented in the amazing quilts. I was so inspired by every piece hanging!

Congratulations to Janet-Lee and Mary, they hosted an awesome show! I know countless hours and many sleepless nights went into the production, their 22nd (or was it 23rd?) show!

Friday found Kathryn and I headed for Center Harbor, NH to shop at Keepsake Quilting and my-oh-my did they have the fabric!

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We stopped for a fantastic lunch at the Lakeside Deli & Grill in Meredith on Lake Winnipesaukee.

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Leaving Meredith, we set out for Henniker, NH to the Quilted Threads quilt shop. What a beautiful and well stocked quilt shop! 3 levels of shopping, classrooms and fabulous Bernina machines of all kinds.

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Our last quilt stop of the day was to The Quilted Crow in Bolton, MA. This proved to be a devastating shop-to my wallet… they had the most wonderful selection of fabrics, many of which came back to Houston with me.

Our final stop on Friday was a lovely dinner at Arturo’s Ristorante, Westborough, MA where “Mr. Kathryn” joined us. I was really wanting to speak out loud about my dislike of the Patriots but Mr. Kathryn told me I could easily be booted out the front door by the crowd around us. I pretty much kept my mouth shut… 🙂  If I’d known the Philly Eagles fight song I might have hummed it throughout the meal… just saying…

Saturday we spent the day running here and there, a book store so I’d have something to read on the plane that evening, a fantastic fabric store, lunch at Legal Seafood, a quick tour of part of the route for the Monday Boston Marathon and then it was off to pick up Mr. Kathryn who drove us to the airport for a 5:04 flight that actually left at 6:24 and arrived in Houston way way way behind schedule 😦

It was a wonderful whirlwind trip! Kathryn drove the entire time as I was tanked up on cold meds., she planned the entire trip and I thank her so very much for everything! We are already plotting and scheming out next adventure.

Oh, and a big thank you to Sandra Soni (on the right) as she found me Wednesday evening and here’s our picture together on Thursday afternoon! She’s a fellow FB QuiltingVintage member! Such a super sweet new quilting friend!!

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The next MQX is in Springfield, IL, Sept. 27-30, 2018. You’ll want to attend!

Blessings to all and Happy Quilting!

Rhonda

***Of course, what would my blog be if I didn’t give a house update! We are 7.5 months post-flood and while I was away the Master Bedroom closets were finished! Remember the 6 windows that were delivered and only 2 were correct? The remaining 4 are scheduled to arrive Tuesday. The kitchen is scheduled to undergo the necessary repairs and painting maybe next week. We may very well be finished with the house by June. I will be thrilled!

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Feature artist/blog: Sarah Lizzies Handmade

Sarah Lizzies Handmade

This woman is to blame! After stumbling on her blog (via Pinterest) a few years ago, my creativity headed in a whole new direction, my spare time was spent searching for that perfect vintage whatever, my pocketbook began its downward spiral and sleep became random.

Her blog is such a joy to read. I’m thinking that if she stopped being creative with her hands, her words alone would likely pay the bills.

I am in awe of creative “think outside the box” individuals and she’s definitely one of those people! She has a name by the way, it’s Kim. She has no idea I’m featuring her in my blog today. Gosh I hope she’s good with this!

If you have a minute, or two, or ten thousand, click on the underlined link above and spend some time in Tasmania. For the geographically challenged, Tasmania is at the southernmost tip of Australia.

The link is above. For some reason I cannot get the font to be dark blue 😦

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I have been introduced to this island by her blog because not only is she genius when it comes to creativity, she’s a mighty fine photographer to boot.

So, I was afraid of hexagons until I found this picture, the rest is history as they say…

I immediately began planning what would be my first embellished hexagon quilt. In the States (for quilting) we measure hexagon sizes by the length of an individual side. If I had to guess I would say these hexagons might have 6-7″ sides? And just look at those fabulous pillows! Vintage linen pillows!

This picture above was the inspiration for my small piece titled: Basket of Flowers. Thank you Kim! And feast your eyes on this awesome basket in the pic below! Wow!

How many people do you know that wake up one day and say to themselves “I think I’ll cut apart a perfectly good book and paste the pages on a few wall in my home”?

Her garden pictures are sublime, her sense of composition are wonderful and she has taught me about her family, her town, her country, her talents and most of all she has taught me to stretch my creativity.

Thanks Kim!

Happy Quilting and Happy Creating and Blessings,

Rhonda

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***house update: 6 replacement custom windows (ordered months and months ago) were delivered to the house on Tuesday. The window installers came on Thursday. Only 2 were correct… 4 have to be remade… Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, and just about everything from that dreadful hurricane has been, well, just crazy!

 

 

Vintage Linens Quilt #2; the final tutorial, Part 5!

Ta-Da! It’s finished!

I’m going to take you through the entire quilt and give you some quilting pointers, some do’s and don’ts based on me getting to know my seam ripper much better. Get ready, there are more than 35 pictures below with lots of words to go with them!

I set out to quilt a theme in this quilt: Hearts and Feathers. I had such fun with this piece for a couple of reasons. For starts, I love quilting feathers and…I honestly didn’t like this quilt top all that much so I wasn’t on pins and needles about getting everything perfect! Now that’s it’s finished, it’s one of my favorites!

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First let me show you how little things can make such a nice difference. Look at the arrows on the pic below. The black arrow points to feathers stitched in the traditional manner and the red arrow points to the feathers stitched with a simple vein in the middle of each individual plume.

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Just this simple addition to the feathers give them depth, definition and character:

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Is the pic big enough that you can see the parallel lines at the outside of the ivory swags? Super simple, very dramatic method of quilting the edge of a piece. Now, don’t get any idea that the parallel lines 1/4” apart go quickly, they don’t but I think they’re worth the time.

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When you’re quilting or telling your quilter what you’d like, keep in mind that seams/fabric changes can be completely ignored when it comes to quilting designs/motifs. See how the hearts below span both the pink polka dot as well as the solid light pink and right above the top heart, notice how the undulating feathers cross over both the ivory with the tiny rosebud and the mint green floral. Don’t ever feel you’re confined by your seams/fabric changes.

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But how did that quilting get beneath the big horizontal ivory linen and crochet piece above?  I un-tacked the corners of the crochet, folded them into the center and quilted underneath. Once the quilting was finished, I folded back the crochet, tacked it back into place. Here’s an example of a don’t: see the horizontal and vertical lines on the hearts in the above pic…had I thought through my process completely I might have realized that diagonal lines would have been a better choice. The quilting lines, as they are, accentuate the fact that they are askew with the fabric seam lines. The top heart lines are ok, the bottom heart lines look wonky.

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Speaking of quilting, you’ll see when you mix things up you create a quilting visual interest/tension by sometimes staying within a fabric such as the pink heart and the feather wreath to its left.

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The sweet blue ribboned floral bouquet below gets lots of attention with the tiny orange peel background fill.

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Just to add some visual interest I quilted diagonal parallel lines in the pink print fabric below. What the pictures don’t show is that I diagonal line quilted all the plaid fabric also. And how about that beautiful ladies vintage handkerchief? It was the perfect background for a half feather wreath within a half feather wreath.

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See the sweethearts Juan and Juanita below? How could I not quilt hearts on the lower left and right open areas of their block! And can you see I took liberties with the doily and quilted additional vining branches and leaves into the design?

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The medium ivory vertically placed trim next to the turquoise fabric was quilted down on all edges except the left side leaves. I left them free of any quilting.

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I was undecided about whether or not to quilt directly on the laces, trims, crochet pieces and the tatting so I did a variety of things. Some crochet long strips were heavily quilted, all the light weight laces were heavily quilted, the tatting was quilted, the ivory crocheted heart was also quilted but the dark ivory hand crocheted glove was not. I machine (think crazy tiny) zig-zagged the outer edge of the glove and quilted feathers all around the outside. From the front it looked great. From the back it looked awkward…there was this large un-quilted hand on the back of the quilt. 😦 kind of like I forgot to quilt a large area.

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I un-stitched the glove, drew a diagonal grid in the void and quilted a tiny orange peel design.  The blue box below shows the “after”.  Needless to say,  I was much happier!

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How about that “googly-eyed” butterfly! Eyes the size of nickels and 6 antennae! Crazy but I like it! I quilted directly on the butterfly. This block is another good example of quilting straying successfully over fabric seams.

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I’ve got a few cross-stitch pieces in this project. I quilted straight lines along each edge of the cross-stitch so that the flower and leaves puffed out. See how the center veins in the feathers gives them character and depth.

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Such a dilemma with the tatting. I finally decided to quilt directly on and over the tatting and if it looked bad, well, my seam ripper was close by.

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This large handkerchief below was in just OK shape but you’d never know it with all the quilting. Keep in mind when working on a vintage linens project that the quilting can be a wonderful distraction from less than perfect pieces.

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What do you do if you have a nice crocheted edge that you want to stay loose and free of quilting stitches? Home Depot to the rescue with blue painter’s tape!

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Here’s a quick look at a small portion of the back. (The yellow cast in areas of the pictures is just due to my novice picture taking abilities.)

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So what did I do with this “already pretty visually active” quilt top? I  intentionally quilted the living daylights out of it. Does it distract or add visual interest? You be the judge with the before and after pics below.

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If you’re still with me and are making your own Vintage Linens Quilt top, take a chance and quilt your project yourself! It will be a great way to practice and a great memories will be made!

The particulars: Backing fabric is Moda 995211 white, 100% cotton, 120″ wide. This time I used only 1 layer of batting: Hobbs Tuscany Poly, white. The needle thread: Wonderfil Deco Bob color #104, bobbin thread: Guttermann Skala 240 color #800. Total quilting time: 38.5 hours.

Why only 1 layer of batting this time? Remember that I created each block on a foundation of muslin. This is essentially like having a double layer quilt top. It was heavy and I felt like a double layer of batting would be too much.

From tutorial #4 someone asked how I handle all the little tears, shreds, holes, etc. in the vintage pieces. As a general rule I acknowledge I am not creating a utility quilt to be used as warmth on a bed. I make my pieces to be teaching tools as I guest lecture, as examples to accompany my blog posts or as show pieces. Unless the damage is severe I ignore the problem areas and leave them as evidence of their use for which they were created. When it’s time to quilt I specifically use a dense technique where necessary with the idea of further securing the damaged area(s) with the stitching.

So many of you have asked such great questions! Keep them coming! Thank you!! And of course thank you so much for all the kind words about the loss of my youngest sister.

House update: windows are scheduled to be delivered (and maybe installed?) on Thursday! Woo hoo! Progress!

Additionally a bit of exciting news: I have 3 pieces juried into the MQX New England! (I can’t find a full pic right now of the first one.) The show begins the evening of April 11th and runs through the 14th.

Blessings to all and Happy Quilting!

Rhonda

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Vintage Linens Quilt #2, the tutorial continues – Part 4!

I know there are several quilters that are well into the process of creating their own Vintage Linens quilt! Thank you for sending pictures of your awesome progress! Recently Elaine Marie on Facebook asked where I get my vintage linens. Here’s my reply:  “I’m rather addicted to: eBay, every junk store in Houston, every antique mall/store in Texas and sometimes my bffs give me awesome things! It seems that all of my friends know I love vintage linens so if they have the task of cleaning out a relatives home, I am so blessed that they often think of me!”

Below is one of my very favorite blocks in this project.

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The colors of my fabrics and the colors in this vintage doily work so well together!

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This is the first time I’ve chosen to use such big prints and bold colors with vintage pieces. The bold colors lend their own set of problems to making blocks that are so often comprised of white and/or ivory linens.

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The large round doily looks great on the bold floral fabric. Here’s my method for handling the shadowing:

  1. Center the doily on the fabric square (or rectangle).
  2. If you have a crocheted edging such as the pic below, machine stitch along the area where the crochet and the doily fabric meet.
  3. Stitch with a zig-zag or a straight stitch, the choice is completely up to you.

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4. Flip your block over. I’ve done both the zig-zag and straight stitch to show you what each will look like. There’s no need to do both stitches on your own blocks. Mine is just for demonstration.

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5. With really sharp scissors, make a tiny snip in JUST THE BACKGROUND FABRIC.

6. Insert the scissors into the snip. Begin to cut away the background fabric very close to your stitching, about 1/8″ away. Continue cutting all the way around until the fabric behind the doily is removed.

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Below is a picture of what your block will look like, but looking closely…what else do you see that is problematic? Look at all those wispy embroidery floss ends flying all over the place! They will show thru to the front side when your quilt top is placed atop batting! Now’s the time to take care of them but first, give the “end game” some thought. Why are you making this quilt? Will it be a utility quilt used on a bed? Will it be a Show Piece in your home? Will you quilt it very closely or will it have mostly wide open un-quilted areas? Because I quilt the living daylights out of my quilts I already know that once loaded on the longarm, I will closely stitch most if not all the embroidery as though it were applique. I also know I am creating this piece as a teaching tool and it will most likely never be used as a utility piece. Therefore I have chosen to clip most of the floss tails to about 1/4″ and then to press them into the floss of like color.

If this were to be a utility quilt I would need to have knotted the floss tails in some fashion to ultimately secure them because as a utility piece the chances of seeing a washing machine and dryer are highly likely.

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Let me also tell you that many of the linens had small (less than 1/4″) holes/tears in them. For this project I did not take time to make any repairs, instead I did heavy quilting over these imperfections. See the pic below for one example of such a hole:

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So here we are with the body of the quilt finished! Well, finished with the exception of sewing all 9 sections together.

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I chose to do 2 borders, the inner 1″ finished and the outer 6″ finished. The outer border features ivory swags cut from a vintage damask tablecloth with shamrock woven designs. I used Heat ‘n Bond Lite behind the swag, pressed it into place and then with a sewing machine built-in applique (blanket) stitch, I  appliqued each swag and circle to the borders. The ivory swags and the circles are both raw edge. Many of you know I do not like using fusible with vintage linens so why did I use it on the swags? The damask tablecloth was of medium weight. If I had turned the edges under, the bulk would have been awkward. The damask was also very ravelly. The Heat ‘n Bond Lite held the raw edges very nicely until I could get the applique/button hole stitch completed. For this quilt I chose to make the swag circles from the same fabric throughout the border.

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Remember, there’s a very detailed Custom Swag tutorial you can find in my blog post of May 26, 2017. Don’t be intimidated by creating a custom swag border, once you’ve done one you’ll be a pro!

Here’s the quilt top ready to be loaded on the longarm:

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I think there’s one more blog post tutorial about this quilt coming. The final tutorial will detail all the quilting and the tidbits about handling crochet, tatting, laces etc. on your quilt top. I had a bunch of “do-overs” I want to tell/warn you about. What am I doing right now on this quilt? I’ve finished 2 sides of the binding, maybe I will be able to do another side or two this coming weekend. That will leave the sleeve and label for another day.

Thank you so much for all your kind sweet words about the loss of my youngest sister. The funeral service in Chicago was beautiful. I had a chance to speak near the close of the service and while rather difficult, I’ll be forever grateful I did.

Blessings to all and Happy Quilting,

Rhonda

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Part 3, Vintage Linens Quilt #2 the tutorial continues…

I know some of you have started your vintage linens quilt tops! I love the pictures you’ve sent! Keep sending pics, keep posting comments/questions! The creative process is amazing!

So remember: you’ve got a plan at this point, you have an idea of what your color scheme might be, you have an idea about the general size of your project and you’ve been scouring your stash, your friends stash, your local antique malls, etc. for wonderful vintage pieces for your quilt. But what do you do when you find something that works… kind of? The colors are right, the motif(s) are right but there’s that thick modern rolled hem all around the outside! You improvise! Today’s post is mostly about improvising with pieces to “make” them work. The luncheon/dinner napkin below is one of these pieces. You’re going to have to imagine it without the blue lines because I forgot to take a “before” picture.

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It’s a lovely light ivory medium weight linen with both dark and light pink hand embroidery. It’s well done, it it perfect in every way except that unsightly wobbly thick machine applied rolled hem. It will be perfect for cutting apart to make 4″ blocks!

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From this single napkin I now have 8 embroidered pieces!

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I immediately head to my repurposed McCall’s pattern drawers to look for trim to cover the rolled hem.

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Auditioning trims, I make a final decision on a machine produced medium yellow/ivory trim. I sew on the trim and then carefully cut away the rolled hem. Important point: if I had cut away the rolled hem first, I would have been left with a fragile bias edge to manage. Don’t make the project harder than it should be!

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Once the new trim is added and the rolled hem is cut away, I position the little piece on a 4″ 1/2 x 4 1/2″ fabric square, machine stitch just above the new trim edge. Now here’s where another problem presents itself. The fabric shadows through the ivory linen, or in other words, I can just barely see polka dots thru the linen. Not a good thing! Flip your piece over to the back side and CAREFULLY trim away the fabric ONLY behind the vintage piece.

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Remember to place your little piece on your foundation fabric and in some fashion, baste around the raw edges. This is one of those times when you’ll be glad of the foundation as the top edge is 100% bias! Here are 4 of my new 4 1/2″ square blocks made from the dinner napkin. For consistency I used the same machine produced trim on each, you may have decided to have vary all of your trims.

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For a little break in the action, here are a few pics of my remarkably clean, non-cluttered sewing room… ha! Yes it’s a giant mess but it’s MY mess! I’ve got my remote control and my can of HEB lime flavored sparkling water so I’m set!

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It’s time to begin laying out your blocks. Refer back to your diagram for placement. Remember to mark (with pencil) on your diagram where specific blocks go, if you’re anything like me you won’t remember within a matter of 30 minutes!

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The pic below will give you an idea of the variety of things you can use in your quilt. You’ll note I’ve used both old and new-ish things.

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Now, here’s a warning of sorts: see the plaid fabric above, the one with the black lines? It is a new fabric, a VERY well known fabric manufacturer. Never in a million years did I expect the black to fade, in fact I never bothered to test it. It fades. I’ve learned my lesson. Test your fabrics, even if it’s just laying them atop a white paper towel and spritzing them with water. If I’d done even just that I would have discovered the fading issue.

I’d love to see pictures of the vintage linen projects you’ve started!

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Now a bit of news from here: sadly my youngest sister passed on Tuesday. We knew it was coming but of course when it happens you’re still deeply saddened. We will be traveling to Chicago on Sunday for a Monday funeral service. I’d so appreciate your prayers for safe travels, for the gathering of the family, for words spoken at her funeral and of course for her sweet husband as he transitions to life without her. God’s plans and timing are perfect and nothing takes Him by surprise. It is in our humanness that we are deeply filled with sorrow at these kind of happenings because we have such a great sense of loss of loved ones.

Blessings to all and until next week,

Rhonda

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