Sunbonnet Sue Take 2…or…How I Saved 30 Little Girls!

Oh the things you can buy on eBay!

$18.00 bought me this Sunbonnet Sue quilt top with a pink ruffle on 3 sides, a total of 30 blocks and sadly in kind of bad shape. Not what I was expecting. And the aroma, oh dear!

Here’s the thing, this quilt top showed signs of being well used considering the stains, rub marks, spots of unknown origin, etc. What could possibly go wrong in the front load washing machine set to a gently cold water wash? Envision all the natural muslin in an awkward shade of light pink at the finish of the wash cycle. 🙁 Having really nothing to lose at that point, I threw the quilt top into the dryer set on low.

I mulled over how to proceed for a few hours and decided to cut the Sue’s out leaving 3/8″ of the now pink muslin around each of the girls.

Here’s how they looked after being cut from the quilt:

And here’s how all 30 of the Sue’s looked after I soaked them overnight in dish wash powder. Interestingly, the dish wash powder did nothing to remove the pink from the muslin.

Look closely at the pic below and you can see the pink muslin.

Seriously though, don’t these cut outs look darling!

I let all the girls dry on the counter top. Using heavy spray starch, the starch container lid, an artist paint brush and my iron I set about to press the 3/8″ pink muslin edge to the back of Sue. I sprayed a good amount of starch into the lid and then “painted” the starch onto the muslin using the brush. By pressing the starched area until dry, I had the perfect set-up to appliqué the Sue into a new background fabric.

From the moment I decided to cut our all the Sue’s, I knew I wanted to appliqué them onto background squares set on point. Right up to the moment when I realized with the 30 12″ finished blocks including smashing and borders would make a quilt much larger than I wanted.

By folding the 12 1/2″ blocks diagonally point to point in both directions and lightly finger pressing, I determined the center of the squares. By laying a ruler at the bottom of the square set at the 2 1/2″ line, I placed each Sue with her shoe resting at the upper ruler edge. This gave me consistency of the bottom border between the shoe and the block edge.

Lots of straight pins held each one in place while I used my sewing machine set to a tiny zig-zag. Bernina parameters: width 1, length 1. In my needle I’m using Gutermann Skala color #800, in the bobbin a prewound 60 weight white poly.

Here’s what the block looks like on the back side.

I’m unsure if I will keep the blocks at 12″ finished, I may trim the sides to form a rectangle. I’ll have a better idea once all 30 of the Sue’s are stitched onto their new fabric. Speaking of the background fabric, I had intended to use a natural muslin. Once I laid out 5 or 6 of the Sue characters on the natural, I realized they needed to be on bleached muslin to “brighten” them up a bit.

I’ll keep you posted as this project develops, just remember, there are many many different ways to save quilts, quilt blocks and even pieces of quilt tops! Be open minded and your opportunities are endless!

***update***

Remember the terribly stained napkin from my previous blog post? The one I put the large safely pin in so I could identify it after the dish wash powder soak? Good thing I pinned it! Look at the 2 pics below, the before and after! Wow!!

And finally, this is Memorial Day. Take a minute or two and say a prayer of thanks for all the men and women who gave their lives that you and I could have the freedom to pursue our dreams!

Happy quilting and blessings to all,

Rhonda

How I Clean Vintage Linens…Take Two…

Way back in November, 2016 I did a post about cleaning vintage linens and as I continue to experiment with these treasures, my methods evolve. I’ve gotten very simple and straight forward by cutting my supplies down to 2 ingredients: water and automatic dish powder. (The dish detergent we used to put in our Dishwashers until the handy “tabs” were invented.)

***Warning! Do not use this soak method if your piece has either black or dark grey embroidery floss!! If you have either of these two colors of floss just rely on either Biz or Oxyclean. Follow the instructions on the product container with care!

***Update: recipe is approx. 1 cup automatic dish powder to approx. 2 gallons warm tap water.

In the past I always purchased Cascade powder but one day at Kroger I saw their house brand at less than half the cost. After using the generic powder very successfully, my purchasing habit changed! In the pic below I don’t remember if this is a Kroger or a Walmart generic brand. ***Update: thanks to Stephanie, this automatic dish powder is from Kroger, she just purchased some and is currently soaking some of her vintage linens and in her words: “the water is yucky!”

I spoke to the awesome McKinney (Texas) Quilt Guild in April of this year and yesterday a box of amazing treasures arrived at my door step. Thank you Linda R.!! She crocheted the beautiful piece above! The other pieces, all vintage, were from her neighbor. As with most all linens, these showed the results of being loved and used for the purpose of which they were created.

Oh be still my heart, the things in this box are just wonderful!

Isn’t the above piece simply beautiful!!

So what’s up with the safety pin in the napkin below? I chose the napkin (from the matching set of 8) showing the most staining and by pinning it I can find it again and compare the end results with what the piece looked like at the beginning.

In 2 minutes time can you believe the change in the soak water!

Again, in soak container #2, the 1 minute change from clear to horrible looking water:

Included in the Treasure Box was this wonderful napkin keeper shown above. Laid out flat it it resembles a giant + sign. Can you see the tiny snaps? Once the napkins (or handkerchiefs) are cleaned, they are folded and stacked lying atop the center square. The side flaps are then folded in and snapped accordingly. Finally the top and bottom flaps are folded in and snapped revealing the beautiful monogram in the center:

I am always fascinated by the color of the soak water. The automatic dish powder is removing among other things: laundry soap residue, dust, hand oils, ironing starches and embedded food/beverage residue/stains. Some stains that the laundry powder cannot remove: the dreaded Rust, some lipsticks, nail polish and occasionally some perfume stains. Use caution when attempting to remove rust as it has already penetrated and has begun to destroy the fibers around it. Personally I’ve learned the hard way to just leave rust alone and in a project I will position a “distractor” of some sort over a rust spot.

Here are the 2 soaking bins after about 15 minutes. I will let these pieces stay in the water about 24 hours. Because the soak solution is so concentrated, the pieces will require a great deal of rinsing. When you think you’ve rinsed enough, do it one more time but add 1/2 to 1 cup of clear (distilled) vinegar to the rinse water to remove any remaining soap residue. Your pieces, when dry, may retain the aroma of vinegar for a day or two but this will dissipate.

These beautiful ladies handkerchiefs were also in the Treasure Box. I will soak them at a later date.

I will do an additional blog about how these vintage pieces turned out once they are finished soaking, rinsed, dried and pressed! Stay tuned…

Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post, let me know if you have questions!

Blessings for a wonderful day!

Rhonda

***someone pointed out to me that my Pinterest address on my business card is wrong 🙁

If you want to find me on Pinterest just type in my first and last name in the search bar. I checked and there’s no other Rhonda Dort listed, an advantage of having an unusual last name 😎

Vintage Linens; Quilting the Mid-Century Christmas Tablecloth

What’s not to love about a mid-century vintage silk screened Christmas tablecloth in near perfect condition? Purchased on eBay about a year ago, I decided it was time, back in February, to get this quilted.

The particulars: backed with 100% cotton bleached muslin, double batted with Hobbs white 80/20 and Tuscany Poly on top, needle thread is Wonderfil Specialty Threads Invisafil color #105 and Gutermann Skala 240 color #111 in the bobbin.

I longarm on a 26″ Innova with Lightening Stitch. As I do not have a computer on the longarm, everything I do is hand guided free-motion with an occasional ruler when necessary.

The marking pens are: blue by EZ International company and purple by Leonis.

The finished bound size is: 51 x 70 and it took 23 hours and 15 minutes to complete the quilting.

Let’s start with a picture of the finished quilt and then we will walk through the process step by step:

Here’s what the tablecloth looked like right before I loaded it onto the longarm.

I bought this large stencil years ago from The Stencil Co. To the best of my knowledge they still stock this item. It’s a fantastic stencil because it can be used in so many different ways! For this tablecloth project I relied on the marked circles as registration lines to determine the size of my various Feather Wreaths.

The stencil is 1 quarter of the final design.

You might have noticed I’ve marked the horizontal and vertical center lines with a purple pen. It’s a Leonis air and water erasable marker. I determined the marked lines by folding the tablecloth in half lengthwise, mirror image matching the motif placements as best I could. I pinned the tablecloth once the above and below motifs were lined up and using a steam iron I hard pressed a fold. I then repeated these steps to press a fold line horizontally. After the cloth had cooled and using a straight ruler I marked over these hard pressed fold lines with the purple Leonis pen.

Are you freaked out just a little bit about these hard pressed fold lines? Scroll back up to the first pic and see if you can find the pressed folds.

It’s always a challenge for me to quilt what essentially is a Whole Cloth Quilt. I’m a firm believer in Stitch In The Ditch (SID) but for this project there are no seams (ditches). I take the approach of treating the printed designs as appliqué and carefully quilt around these when possible. Below you can see I am outlining both the inside and outside red edge of the undulating ribbon.

Fast forward (also known as: I forgot to take progression pictures…). Once I feel comfortable that the tablecloth quilt top is stabilized it’s time to tackle the large Feather Wreaths in the center of the project. I used the blue registration lines to guide me as to the parameters of each wreath and the small spaces between the blue lines guided the size of my quilted 1/4″ Pearls and/or Pebbles in the wreath feather stems.

The picture above shows that I’ve quilted the feather wreaths and outlined most of the printed border motifs.

After marking a diagonal grid in the negative spaces left by the Feathered Wreaths I set about lulling myself into a quilting stupor by doing a small Orange Peel design… oh I was such a happy quilted when this step was finished!

In both the pictures above and below you can see what a difference the micro quilting made when stitched in the space between the large wreaths. It took forever but I think it was well worth the effort.

I used 2 different techniques in the micro stippling, one area has scribbling and the other has very tiny overlapping ribbon candy. I think I like the ribbon candy best and I also think it went faster.

If you’ve read any number of my past blog posts you already know I love love love an undulating quilted feather border. This quilting project is no exception!

How to handle all the negative spaces in the printed borders? Lots and lots of little elementary swags and arches.

The center of the tablecloth gets 1/4″ spaced curved crosshatching.

Below you’ll find more close up pics:

Have you noticed? Does it bother you? The tablecloth has a very large double holly elongated oval printed in the center. I quilted a very large circle in the center. I felt as though it would be an unexpected surprise. Apologies right now to all my OCD friends.

Thanks for reading this far! Hope you enjoyed this blog and next time you see all those beautiful mid-century tablecloths in second hand/antique shops think about buying one in decent condition and quilting it! I can either hang this on a wall or use it as a tablecloth, after all, it’s been laundered on many occasions and still looks great!

Blessings and Happy Quilting,

Rhonda

The Saving of the Blue and Pink Vintage Tablecloth and its Quick Transformation into a Whole Cloth Quilt!

Here’s how it all began:

How I came to own this vintage 44×46.5″ luncheon tablecloth is a mystery to me. I’m guessing it was in a box of vintage pieces I bought sight unseen but no matter, I love it, holes and all. But how to save it?

Generally I shy away from mixing fusible products and vintage linens but this time I knew this great product by Heat-n-Bond would be perfect. It’s remarkably light weight so the added bulk to the tablecloth fabric was minimal

I assessed the size of the damaged area, cut a piece of the fusible about 1/2″ larger and using a Teflon pressing sheet I ironed the patch to the back of the cloth. You’ll notice I did not cut away the frayed edges. The raveled hole edges serve a couple of important functions: 1st, they provide a padding if you will so there’s not a sharp cut edge of where they would have been cut away and 2nd, they provide, in most cases, continuity of color.

Here’s a picture below of all the holes with the iron on fusible in place.

With the holes stabilized it’s time to decide on a general quilting plan and begin marking registration lines. If you’re familiar with my work you already know I believe almost anything looks better with feathers quilted EVERYWHERE!

Where to start: fold your tablecloth in half horizontally. Do your best to match up the printed designs. Adjust your fold if necessary and when you think you can’t get it anymore perfect, lay it carefully on your ironing board and press the fold. You want a firm crease pressed into your cloth.

Now fold your cloth in the opposite direction, again carefully matching the already pressed crease this time and the printed design and press once more. Now there’s no question about the center of your tablecloth and the center of each of the 4 sides. Remember, you MUST do this step before you introduce any sort of marking pen to your fabric! After you’ve begun marking, don’t even consider getting your piece close to an iron, or any other heat source.

The tool I’m using is a modified Dasco Pro Compass. I removed the pencil it came with and taped a blue marking pen in its place. I can’t remember where I purchased this great tool but google the name and you’ll generally find them for less than $12.00. The great thing is that you can also buy a 36 inch 1/2″ wooden dowel and make circles anywhere from tiny to 72″! I love the idea of quilting using hardware items to make our lives easier!

Introducing my idea about covering the holes: small white crocheted doilies. Now do you see why I chose to not cut away the frayed edges? They actually help with the look from the front through the crochet.

So now that I’ve decided on the little crocheted doilies, I’m moving to the printed ruffled border. Again, undulating feathers are a very quick and filling technique. I first mark a solid blue line halfway between the right and left edge of the printed ruffle design. Next, using a clear acrylic longarm template I mark the curves of my intended feather stem.

But…how do I know the curves will match with the corners? I don’t. If you begin your border marking by starting at each of the 4 corners and slowly and mark towards that pressed center crease, you’ll find yourself somewhere near the hard pressed center crease. Both the left and the right borders should be marked as mirror images of each other and then the same for the top and bottom borders. As you approach the center pressed crease from each direction, you now have a “make it work” moment.

See the picture below. Can you see where the curve is slightly different at the point where I’ve kind of got a mess with the blue marking pen? The up curve is quite a bit smaller than all the others. Once the feathering is complete and the blue pen is erased I would challenge you to find the aberration. It’s one of those “make it work” moments that give you a great feeling because rather than freak out, you’ve met the challenge.

I’ve got a wonderful stencil that marks this nice grid that I will use to quilt the Orange Peel design. And on the 4 corners of the body of the printed design I decided to mark quarter circles to quilt abbreviated feather wreaths.

I did have a bit of a dilemma in deciding whether or not to quilt directly over the crocheted doilies. Because I wanted continuity of design on the back of the quilt, I threw all caution to the wind and quilted as thought the doilies weren’t even there. Yes it caused me to ask a few friends their opinion first, and finally I realized, if it looks bad, just get a seam ripper and take it all out. Whew! No Frog Quilting required.

Back to the doilies. I chose them for a couple of reasons. First, because I had them in my stash, second because they mimicked the center feather wreaths and 3rd because they offered contrast to all the horizontal and vertical lines of the quilt.

Can I just say here that I’m so happy this piece is not bigger! I grew weary of quilting Orange Peel!

Can I also say that it’s taken me 2 times of crazy frustration to finally learn not to use 3/4″ high loft poly batting. Hold me to it, never again! At least this time I knew to start quilting at the top and slowly work my way down the quilt. This 3/4″ high loft creates big problems with fabric puckering. I’ve got a few small pieces of this batt left and Tuesday is trash day. Wednesday I will not have any more in my house. Yes the dimension it creates is fantastic, I’ll just go back to my favored double batting of Hobbs 80/20 topped with their Tuscany PolyDown.

So what’s that red cord running right to left on my longarm? It’s a wonderful invention my 2 amazing Innova users, Donna Estes and Cindy Allen. What you can’t see are a bunch of white plastic garment toggles on the red cord. It’s a wonderful way to keep your quilt top centered and straight while quilting. Wonderful!

I always love to study the back of a quilt, this one’s no exception. This piece was finished with 8.75 hours of longarm quilting.

Here are the particulars: the top is a damaged vintage luncheon cloth measuring 44×46.5″. The (dreaded) batting is 3/4″ high loft poly, the back is white Moda Classic Muslin.

The thread, both needle and bobbin is from Wonderfil Specialty Threads, Deco Bob (weight 80) color 104.

My machine in a 26″ Innova with Lightening Stitch. All the work is hand guided free motion.

And thank you to Betty for her comments/question about the marking pen, I forgot to mention I use 2 different pens. First I mostly use an EZ International water erasable pen but sometimes when the blue is not dark enough I use a Leonis air/water erasable.

And again, the front. I will trim to size tomorrow but before I do, I found an area I forgot to quilt! I’ll load it back on the longarm, do the 10 to 15 minutes of stitching. After trimming I will serge the 4 edges, fold it up and soak it in room temp tap water for at least a few hours. I used so much blue pen that the crazy batt seems to soak it up and re-deposit it elsewhere… after a good soak, I’ll spin the water out in my front load washing machine and block the wet quilt on my design wall laid out on my dining room table. The binding will be from a vintage solid blue fabric I have in my stash.

So where will this piece end up? Maybe in your home! I have plans to donate this quilt to the Livingston, Texas quilt guild for their quilt show auction in April. Here’s a link to their web site for additional information: https://lpqgtexas.org/

I just hope there’s someone out there that loves this piece as much as I do!

***update 03/11/19

Remember I said I was going to do the binding in a blue, well I decided against that and used white instead. Can I just say I really love this piece!

It work of mine is being donated to the Livingston (Texas) Piecemakers Quilt Guild, lpqgtexas.org as an Auction Quilt. Contact the guild via the web site in the previous sentence if you have questions. I can tell you the show is April 6&7, 2019.

***update #2: Thank you to LaDonyce Hamilton, owner of the Red Barn Retreat in Coldspring, Texas! She won the auction and took this piece home!

 

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Until later, blessings to everyone and Happy Quilting,

Rhonda

Quilting; How I Add a Frame Around a Hexagon, a Visual Tutorial

I’ve never published a tutorial blog with no words but here goes! I’ve been getting questions about how I add a frame around my vintage hexagons as shown in the picture below so I decided to do a Visual Tutorial by uploading 43 pics. Of course, if you have questions, please email me or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Ok, did this work for you? Please let me know!

Blessings and Happy Quilting to all,

Rhonda

The Humble Tomato Pin Cushion

 

If you haven’t made one or two tomato pin cushions in your quilting life what are you waiting for? I bought this pattern from Birdbrain Designs several years ago and set about making several of their Big Fat Tomato projects. Here’s a link to their website:

https://www.birdbraindesigns.net/big-fat-tomato-pin-cushion-set

The pattern is for one size tomato pin cushion, a needle strawberry and a darling little needle keep booklet.

In order to made many different sizes of pincushions, I placed the master pattern on my printer bed and after printing one copy of the pattern at 100% (so I could cut it up), I went on to reduce the pattern to the following sizes: 90%, 80%, 70%, 60% and finally to 50%. Now, the 50% reduction makes a tiny yet darling pin cushion!

In the picture below you’ll see I’m using the pattern reduced to 70% of the original. Important math: if you want a pattern to be 70% of the original size, you reduce it by 30%. Your desired final pattern size (say 60%) plus the amount you reduced it by (40%) always equal 100 if the numbers are added together. Got it?

So you cut out 4 football shaped paper pattern pieces. (1 pattern piece cut out 4 times.) I cut the above pieces “on grain” with the fabric weave. It’s always fascinating to fussy cut on the bias each of the pieces so they are exactly the same. They sew up into great visual patterns like the red and blue plaid tomato below.

I also discovered that if the 4 pieces are cut on the bias, they are easier to manipulate into unique shapes as you fill and finish them.

So here I am sewing 2 of the football shapes together. I’ll then sew the other 2 shapes together and finally, with right sides together, I’ll sew these 2 halves into a sphere. Now remember, you’ve got to leave about a 3/4″ space open in your seam in order to fill them. I have found it easiest to have this 3/4″ opening about 1/2″ away from where the 4 seams meet up at the top and bottom of your sphere.

See how the fabric changes up when the 4 pieces are sewn together and stuffed!

Here’s one I made from a man’s flannel shirt I picked up at a resale shop:

But what happens if you decide you need a tomato pin cushion made from a vintage dresser scarf? I laid the full sized pattern strategically on the embroidered designs and cut out each. The fabric is old and rather on the thin side so I doubled up by also cutting 4 additional pattern shapes out of the middle of the dresser scarf. 

I did a running stitch on my sewing machine to hold the embroidered piece and the bleached muslin together. After stitching they become 1 unit.

The lovely hand crocheted edging of the dresser scarf was saved as I realized it would look great inset in the 4 seams of the pincushion.

So below you’ll see my sphere with the crocheted edging in the seams.

Here’s the 3/4″ opening I’ve left unstitched in order to add the filling.

But you’re probably wondering what I’m using as filling? Crushed walnut shells purchased from the pet store. I believe I may have bought this bag at Petco. Ground walnut shells are used as cage bedding for both lizards and some birds. Who knew! But what about the little Strawberry Needle Keep that’s attached to the Tomato? For the fill I’m using 0000 (Super Fine) Steel Wool purchased from Lowes. When stuffing your little Strawberry, work over a table covered with newspaper, as when you pull tiny bits of Steel Wool off of the pad you’ll get quite a bit of shedding. Stuff your Strawberry as tight as you can but use caution not to burst the seam.

I’ve got a funnel (very necessary) and a scooper and I just slowly fill the entire sphere as full as I can get it. Continue to pounce, squish, manipulate your sphere to pack the ground shells in tight. Once I think it can’t hold one more speck of lizzard bedding, I slip a small (maybe 1″) square of quilt batting in to cover the opening and then carefully and tightly hand stitch the opening closed. Do a very good job of stitching this closing! The last thing you want is pits of shell working their way out.

This little cone below will become my pin cushion needle strawberry.

In the example below I’m cutting 3 fan shaped patterns that will make the large (think about 4 1/2″ tip to top) Strawberry pin cushion.

The fabric I’ve chosen for these giant Strawberries is a 2 sided gauze-like fabric right off the bolt at JoAnn Fabrics. The weave of the fabric on the red side makes it look like the little black dots are strawberry seeds. Even though it’s a double layer fabric I’m still concerned that some of the ground walnut shell filler might filter through so I’ve added 1 layer of muslin to the process.

When you’ve filled your Strawberry with as much of the ground walnut shells as you can and have drawn tight the cord at the top, you’ll probably find that the top of the strawberry looks flat. You’ll also find that you still have maybe a 1/4” hole at the top. This is ok. I found some small pieces of batting, cut the batting into about 1/4′ by 1/2′ pieces and using tweezers, I stuffed these batting bits into the Strawberry. You’ll find that this will fill up the top very nicely! Keep stuffing batting bits into the top until you’re happy with the shape.

These Strawberries need a green wool top and I (most often) do the leaf stitching at the edge before they are added but on the strawberries, I want the greenery stitched down to the berry.

I was recently at a Retreat, one of my new favorite ventues:

The 1914 Boehm House in Moulton, Tx.

https://1914boehmhouse.com/  

and

https://www.facebook.com/BoehmHouse/

I made most if not all the pin cushions below at the Retreat. Starting at 12 o’clock you’ll find a Strawberry in the gauze-like fabric, a felted wool plaid Tomato with a golden felted wool needle keep, again a Strawberry, a flannel Tomato and solid red needle keep Strawberry, another large Strawberry as before and finally a Tomato out of the gauze fabric.

While retreating, my sweet friend Anita and I traded fabrics and I was on the receiving end of this wonderful orange-ish brown-ish wool!

Here’s another tomato in the works, a flannel of red and black. I’m finishing the “wrapping” of the sphere using a nice heavy weight wheat colored Pearl Cotton.

You’ll need a long needle with a big eye when using the Pearl Cotton. Just keep in mind that a big needle with girth is not your goal. You’ll find it leaves quite a large hole in the tomato and sometimes the crushed walnut shells can filter out. Just find a needle with a big eye that’s maybe 3-4″ long and you’ll be fine.

There’s a word picture below. Do you get it?

Yep, Fried Green Tomatoes! The Lodge company makes these tiny cast iron skillets. Their intended use is a Spoon Rest. They are priced at around $4.50 each and while available at many places, I found these at my local Academy Sports store.

When will I stop making these? Who knows! They are addictive!

They’re also a nice addition to my already growing collection of Vintage Tomato Pin Cushions. The giant pin cushion at the top is the very first one I made years ago. I followed the pattern exactly for this one made of felted red and felted green woolens.

And I can’t finish out this post without including this picture of 3 of my very favorite people!

Happy New Year and Happy Quilting to everyone! 

The final edition of My Primitive Garden Quilt blog posts!

Remember I said mom and I decided to make this amazing quilt? She finished her light years ahead of me but finally we had them in the same room! Hers is hanging on the wall, mine is across the bed. We know we had a hit on our hands when her cat made himself comfortable! If you hate cats on quilts, turn away for a few more pictures as you scroll down.

So very much the same, so subtly different here and there.

I have scanned all my “add-on” patterns. If they are something you’d like, send me an email and I’ll send you the file. I’ve scanned each pattern with a 6” ruler in the pattern so you’ll know if your printer is to scale.

My email address: RhondaDort@gmail.com

That’s it! This is officially the end of blog posts about My Primitive Garden! This quilt remains one of my favorite projects, so much so that I’m mulling over starting a new wool on cotton quilt top but this time I’m thinking about designing my own pattern. Lofty idea but possibly doable…possibly…

Here’s a little sneaky-peek of my next blog post:

It’s time to consider the New Year, it’s quickly approaching. I’ve been blessed beyond measure this year and come mid to late February, more blessings await me as hubs and I will be first time grandparents! I can hardly wait!

Happy quilting,

Rhonda


Primitive Garden Quilt: Patterns for All the Little Extras…

I’ve scanned and commented on most all of the following pictures of the “Add-Ons” to my Primitive Garden Quilt, just as a reminder, this is a wonderful pattern by Lisa Bongean of: Primitive Gatherings.

Why is there a 6″ ruler in each of the black and white pattern pictures? For scale! Often times our printers do not print full scale. This way if you print, you can use your own measuring devise to determine if you’ve printed full or 100% scale.

😦 I cannot find the patterns for the 3 little gourds at the bottom of the left block but they should be very easy to replicate on your own.

I also could not locate the pattern I used for the Carolina Wren on the Birdhouse Block. You can easily use the House Wren pattern, enlarge it a bit and make the tail feather pattern piece stand up.

The Queen Anne’s Lace flowers in the picture above… they are just lots of ivory wool 1/2″ squares that I’ve cinched/gathered in my needle and embroidery floss. I put a pale yellow french/colonial knot in the center of each of the cinched squares. You’ll need 12-15 little squares per blossom head to get the same look. Once the blossom heads were in place I embroidered stems where needed.

***And just as a reminder, create all your “multi-pieced” motifs on a teflon pressing sheet. Once they are fused together and have sufficiently cooled off, gently peel them from the pressing sheet, audition them on your quilt block in several different places. Once you think you have the perfect placement, walk away from your block for a few minutes. Once you return if you’re still happy with the placement, then it’s time to press them in place. Keep in mind that if you’re working with felted wool, don’t use the hottest setting on your iron!***

The turtle is only 3 pieces, the shell, the body and the front leg on the left. The additional details are highlighted by the hand embroidery.

If you vary the size of the leaves in this block, you will add visual interest. You can choose to place any number of birds in your tree branch, I just decided that 2 of them would be enough for me.

About the Tree Branch pattern, you should feel free to add or subtract branches, whatever fits your needs.

I had intended to put a couple of Walking Stick Bugs in my quilt as I used to be both terrified and intrigued by these bugs growing up. Sadly I forgot to include them but thought you might like the diagram for them anyway.

Mr. Field Mouse. He is tiny but cute! The exploded pattern pieces are down below the Blue Jay pictures, they are unmarked but you’ll find them in the top right hand corner of a black and white pic.

The Bumblebees and the profile Dragonfly.

This pattern underwent some serious changes but I stayed true to the intent of the original design. I added undulating ivy, extended the cone flower blossoms to almost touch the bottom of the feeder and redesigned the structure to include the roof. Using my rotary cutter, I placed pieces of “bird seed looking wool” on my cutting mat and sliced them almost to bits. I laid them carefully on the background fabric and placed smoke colored netting/tulle over-top. The netting holds the pieces generally in place. You could use a bit of very light weight fusible directly under the bird seed wool bits if desired.

The Left Cardinal pattern

Are you surprised the Robins are only 5 pieces? Again, its’ the hand embroidery that creates excellent detail. I’m sorry to say I think I have lost the pattern for both the beak and the feet but they are easily re-created.

Above you’ll find the pattern pieces for the Robins.

The top right 3 pieces are for the House Wren.

The Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird is one of my favorites!

The exploded pattern pieces are the Hummingbird. The little tear-drop looking thing is a pattern for tree leaves.

I love the Blue Jays. They have a lot of pieces but I feel like they were well worth the effort!

The top right 3 pieces (ignore the cone shape with the X in the middle) are the Field Mouse.

The left pieces are for the sitting Blue Jay.

And finally, the frog/toad. You will need to enlarge him to create both the large and small frog/toad on the Garden Tools Block.

I also can not find the individual pieces to the American Gold Finch. He is composed of: yellow body, black tail and head cap, white spot at the top of his tail, his beak and his feet.

While I liked the original pattern for the Hollyhocks, I decided to use a graphic I found instead. They are fuller flowers and leaves. I added a lot more of each to the left border.

This pattern addition is my favorite. Mr. Baltimore Oriole is feeding his 3 babies. The nest is just a bunch of pieces of brown felted wool layered on top of eachother. The hand embroidered chain stitch creates the “branches” that hold the nest onto the tree. I added a worm in the dad’s mouth.

If I was doing this over again, I would have the plant stem coming out of the dirt and angled much more sharply off to the left. I didn’t have a pattern for the spilled soil, just wing it, it’s easy.

Mr. Grasshopper

The pattern for the darling little grasshopper is found way up in the black and white picture that also had the Field Mouse. He is 3 pattern pieces, the body, the front and the back leg. Again, it’s the hand embroidery that finished this one!

You may remember, mom made and gave me the Squirrel so I don’t have a pattern for him either.

Does this help you in choosing to personalize this wonderful pattern? I hope so!

Do you have questions? I’m ready to answer anything I can, just send me a comment and I’ll answer back as soon as possible.

If you find that you cannot print the black and white pattern pages from this blog, email me ( rhondadort@gmail.com ) and I will sent you all the patterns of my little extras.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone, and of course, happy quilting!

Rhonda


All the little extras in my Primitive Garden quilt.

By now you already know how much I love this pattern and what a wonderful time I had creating each and every block and border. But with each pattern I tried to add a personal touch or two or three. This blog post is jam packed with pictures, 41 I think, and each one is included to show you the details of my additions.

The 2 pictures above show 2 of the 7 House Wrens I added to the top border. Below you’ll see I added a tree branch (to the upper left border) featuring a male Baltimore Oriole feeding a worm to one of the 3 baby birds in the hanging nest. Just for fun I added several clumps of red cherries to the tree branches.

Above is a pic of a tiny field mouse that’s found a home at the base of the left fence post in the Birds on a Wire block. In the 2 pictures below you can see close-ups of the beautiful Bumblebees buzzing the Morning Glory vine flowers.

Sorry this pic isn’t clearer, but this is my tiny garden variety snail crawling along the lower edge of the Geranium block.

This sweet little yellow and tan butterfly is flying around in the right upper border, just above the Zinnias.

Here’s one of 2 male Ruby Throated hummingbirds flying around in the quilt. This one is finding nourishment amongst the Zinnias.

The Garden Hoe block features this tiny spider dropping down from his web at the head of the hoe and below you’ll see 1 of 2 green grasshoppers resting on the top left of the same garden hoe.

Here’s the 2nd yellow butterfly hovering above the robins in the Shovel block and below is the 2nd of the 2 hummingbirds searching for nectar in the flowers of the orange Trumpet Vine.

The Shovel block also features 2 male Robins observing their surroundings as they perch on the Trumpet Vine tendrils.

Below you can see I made several changes to the bird feeder design in the left border. I revised the design of the feeder structure, changed from one blackbird to a male and female Cardinal, placed chopped up wool pieces behind smoke colored netting/tulle to resemble bird feed and added a green Ivy Vine that winds its way up the feeder pole and onto the roof.

Here’s the 2nd of the 2 green grasshoppers making an appearance on the Seed Packet block.

More Bumblebees and a tiny little Dragonfly are additions to the Sap Bucket block.

Oh the Rake block! I had a great time creating these 2 male American Goldfinches! They replace the original 2 blackbirds in the original pattern. And, am I the only one that thinks the leaves in the Rake block look like moose antlers?

Mr. Squirrel is at the bottom right of the rake handle. I must confess, my mom made the squirrel for me during one of my visits to Missouri. I was thrilled! It was only because I was not paying attention to things that created the circumstances of the vine appearing to be growing out of his nose 🙂 At least I remembered to provide him with acorns to eat.

Another “tree branch” addition features 2 more House Wrens perched in the right quilt border.

Oh the Blue Jays! I love both of them! Dad Blue Jay is coming in for a landing to join mom Blue Jay on the edge of the birdbath bowl.

In the above 2 pictures you’ll see a small Carolina Wren addition to the Birdhouse Block and look closely and you’ll find a Chameleon resting in the leaves of the plant at the left base of the birdbath base.

Below is one of many red LadyBugs I’ve added to the quilt.

A tipped, yet still flourishing plant in the flower pot on its side and below at the left base of the Hollyhocks is the 1st of 2 turtles.

3 very small gourds round out all the additions to the left border. Below is the 2nd little turtle underneath the Wheelbarrow. You’ll notice I added a second set of leg supports to the wheelbarrow.

A very tiny little yellow butterfly is visiting a flower in the Seed Packet block.

A tiny LadyBug on a leaf in the Garden Tools block.

In the picture above you can see I added 7 bunches, both large and small, of Queen Anne’s Lace blossoms atop the sunflowers.

Below you’ll note I changed up the right border to include a stylized American Flag with vining ivy to replace the original green garden hose.

The top border also got a few more flowers: 2 more red flowers and 1 more purple flower on each side.

And finally, again in the Garden Tools block, I added 2 little green toads, a blue butterfly and deleted the garden clippers.

I’m sure given more time and concentration I could document 1 or 2 more changes/additions but I think I’ve covered the majority of them.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, I thoroughly enjoyed making this quilt, many thanks to Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings for such. Wonderful pattern!

Are you still with me? Please know that if you’d like any of my bird/animal/insect patterns, I could scan and send them to you, just let me know.

As a closing note, take time to remember that as we approach this blessed Christmas Season that Jesus is the reason we have this “season”!

Blessings to all and Happy Quilting,

Rhonda


My Primitive Garden Quilt

img_1584Way back in probably sometime around 2007, mom and I were at Festival and in the Primitive Gathering booth had just the body of this quilt on display. The borders weren’t finished yet but we liked what we saw! Liked it enough that we both bought the pattern and decided then and there that we’d each create our own quilt and compare blocks when we could as Mom lives in Missouri, I’m in Texas.

I’m going to present the pics in this blog post as follows: 1st will be a picture of the pattern as purchased and then my interpretation in the completed and quilted block. Are you ready?

This a pic of the pattern cover:

And here’s a pic of my finished quilt. I had a hard time finding various background fabrics of the right scale and color. To help solve this problem, I concentrated mainly on the fabric scale when making my choices. To help them all “play well together” I mixed up a light tan dye vat and over-dyed them all together. All the background fabrics except the Sap Bucket went into the dye for several minutes. It worked like a charm!

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But first, where did I get my woolens? This entire project is felted hand over-dyed wool applique on cotton. 95% of the felted and dyed wool came from second hand store garments that I took apart, felted in the washing machine and dryer and then individually hand dyed as I needed specific colors. When searching in second-hand stores I would concentrate on clothing where the wool had a nice weave and texture.  It was such a satisfying journey start to finish! Yes I made a mess in my kitchen but thankfully everything cleaned up nicely. The felting and over-dying of the wool was one of my favorite parts of this amazing project!

Let’s begin with the Shovel Block:

Right away I have taken some liberties with the block composition by adding additional leaves, a butterfly and a hummingbird and also revised the blackbirds to robins.

The Rake block:

The blackbirds were revised to American Gold Finches and I added a Squirrel and acorns to the bottom right side. I should mention right here that mom made my squirrel, thanks mom!

The Watering Can block:

I added quite a lot of hand stitching to this block, especially to all the small purple flowers, leaves and a tiny ladybug.

The Birds on a Wire block:

For my adaptation I revised the fence posts to be smaller, added additional flowers and leaves, gave the blackbirds a bit more character by cutting their wings separately, added a tiny field mouse at the base of the left fence post as well as embroidering 2 bumblebees.

The Birdhouse Block:

I tried to give the birdhouse more detail to create dimension, added additional flowers and buds, leaves and changed the blackbird to a Carolina Wren.

The Garden Tools block:

This block had 2 frogs a ladybug and a blue butterfly added and I did not make the secateurs part of my block design.

The Geranium block:

I revised the placement of the flower stems, added additional flowers and leaves and found the perfect spot for a little garden snail.

The Garden Hoe block:

I had trouble with this block because while I knew why the flowers were upside-down but my brain didn’t like them that way. I dressed up most of the flower edges, added a little grasshopper on the left of the hoe handle as well as a spider and web on the right.

The Sap Bucket block:

This was one of the first blocks I tackled. If I was to do it over again I might change up the bird to a more realistic one. I added 2 bumblebees and a little dragonfly. Otherwise, it follows the pattern rather closely.

The Seed Packet block:

This block also follows the pattern quite closely. I added detail to the flowers, the yellow butterfly and the little grasshopper.

The Sunflower basket, top border:

I made many many changes/additions to the top border: added the Queen Anne’s Lace white flowers above the sunflowers, increased the number of the purple and the red flowers as well as adding 7 House Wrens.

The Wheelbarrow border:

I added a second set of leg supports to the wheelbarrow, the vining strawberry blossoms intertwined through the letters and the little turtle.

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The Hollyhock border:

I made lots of changes/additions to this border. I added the tipped and overflowing flower pot, tweaked the bird feeder design, revised the design of the hollyhocks, changed the birds to Cardinals, added the tree branch with the male Baltimore Oriole feeding the young in the hanging nest, added the grouping of gourds at the bottom and the larger turtle at the lower left corner.

The Watering Hose right border:

I also made lots of revisions to the right border, replacing the watering hose with a stylized American flag and ivy vine, added another hummingbird, butterfly and a tree branch with House Wrens. I kept the birdbath but changed the birds to Blue Jays and added a flowering plant at the bottom right of the birdbath base. If you look closely, you’ll find a chameleon hidden on the leaves.

I’ve got a lot more to tell you about this project but I’m going to save it for my next blog post, look for it in a few days. I have to report for Federal Jury Duty Monday morning, I’m taking my computer and hopefully during wait times I can get the next blog post ready to upload. And yes, I longarm quilting this on my Innova. It was one of the first “serious” projects I quilted and yes, I was nervous!

I was fortunate enough to have this quilt win several awards: Best of Show at the Quilt Guild of Houston’s 2015 show, accepted into competition in 2016 in the International Quilt Festival, Houston, Quilts of Beauty, and in 2017 it won First Place, Best of Division, Judges Choice and Best of Show at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo.

This project was a complete joy! One of those where you wonder how you’ll know when you’re finished. Until next time, hope you have enjoyed the journey thus far through My Primitive Garden quilt! In the next blog post I’ll show you a picture of mom’s quilt next to my quilt! We both finished our amazing project!

Blessings and Happy Quilting,

Rhonda

RhondaDort.com 2018