Friday, March 22, 2013

Home to Roost...

 No, not chickens this time. Quilts.

Or, as they say, time to update the sidebar.

Not to mention, clean off the top of the dining room table, because there is some serious quilt trimming to be done.

The six quilts I had sent to Cloth and Quilts for longarming came back to me in this giant box today.

Naturally the arrival of a box this size is going to interrupt all other activity, which today was sewing up blocks on the Lowell Mill Girls quilt.

Opened the box and stacked the quilts up on the back of the loveseat.

Pretty impressive stack, huh?  (Bear in mind, when I mailed them off they went in two flat-rate boxes. That was before batting.)
Six quilts on a love seat.

Since I can't seem to get them to line up the way I want them to (thank you, Blogger photo uploader) I think I'll add captions to them so you can tell which is which.

And I'll add running commentary over here.

I guess I really should work on learning to use the Smilebox like Anna (Woollie Mammoth) does.

Oh well, not today. I have a table to clear off and some bindings to sew!
Back of the Lily of the Valley Quilt
Chicopee Quilt

Lily of the Valley Quilt
 The Lily of the Valley quilt has a yellow lacy-butterfly print on its back. Can you see the butterfly in the quilting?

The Chicopee quilt is quilted in a jigsaw-puzzle pattern. This just appealed to my sense of whimsy.

The back of the Chicopee quilt is pieced from two semi-coordinating fabrics, one kind of tawny and the other a sort of swept-sand color and print.

I think the colors look good with the rather busy front of this quilt.

The fabrics are from a line called Chicopee designed by Denyse Schmidt. It's kind of a mid-century-modern repro, maybe more 60's than 50's. One colorway is called Waterfall and the other is Fairview. For those of us from Chicopee (which is an old mill town in Western Mass.) those names refer to the waterfall that gives Chicopee Falls its name, and to the Fairview section of Chicopee, where my cousin Bunny lives.

I am from the Aldenville section of Chicopee, as it is now known. Or, as a little sign at the corner of Granby Road and Grattan St. says, Aldenville is the heart (insert red painted heart here) of Chicopee.

Back to the quilts.

I love the Lily of the Valley print on this quilt. It's a very vibrant royal blue with lots of green,white, and yellow--hence the green and yellow squares. I think lilies of the valley are one of my favorite flowers, one of the ones I miss the most out here. So now I have some on a quilt.

Wonder how I could get that heavenly aroma into the quilt.  Surely there is a way to do scratch-n-sniff with fabric.

Back of Art Nouveau quilt

 This is the back of the Art Nouveau quilt. It is the same pattern as the Red/White/Blue Yukata cloth quilt that I finished quilting and binding a little while back. That one was made by the Liebermans, and this one is all my choices.

One of the major differences is that in mine, the squares are all different colors pulled from the focus print, and they're smaller than the ones Harry and Ellin used. My focus strips are also narrower, and there are more of them, since I was working with a completely different type of print.

Art Nouveau quilt
Good example though of the same pattern adapting nicely to different fabrics and themes.

This quilt has the same lace butterfly print on the back as the Lily of the Valley quilt, only in pink. The quilting design shows up nicely on the front and back, I think.

Of course I haven't spread the whole thing out yet.

See, above, clear off top of dining room table. Which is currently serving as my desk.

Twisted Sister quilt

Back of Twisted Sister quilt
The Twisted Sister quilt is the last of the Harry/Ellin "legacy" quilts. This one was partially cut out and I think only one or two pieces had been sewn.

So I finished piecing it, and as soon as it's done it will join the other two and be returned to Harry.

The quilting design I chose is a swirly ribbons kind of pattern.

You can really see it on the shot of the back of the quilt.
Yo Gabba Gabba quilt

Back of the Tumbler quilt
Which is actually much darker in person, but laying it in the late afternoon sunlight really made the quilting pop!

Tumbler quilt
The Gabba quilt has a plain dark blue back.

It's quilted with a fun swirly pattern. I hope that one of the younger grands will fall in love with this quilt!

They are getting a little old for the Gabba gang, which is really toddler crack, although when they come over here they do know that Memere has some Gabba shows on her TV.

They aren't too old to be mesmerized by it still!

Last but certainly not least, the Tumbler quilt is home.

The back is a red and white 30's repro that came 108" wide. It was on a good sale at Keepsake.  Seemed to me to be a good choice for this quilt!

Amusingly enough, if you look at the picture of the front of the quilt, there's one of the tumblers showing that looks like it's either the same print or a very close cousin.

I asked them to put their lightest weight batting in this quilt--it's big enough to be really really heavy if it had something dense in it. Besides, lighter weight quilts are usually just as warm as the heavier ones--at least for "warm" sleepers like me.

I am somewhat encouraged because there appears to be extra fabric on all sides of this quilt, which means it's less than 108" across.

Still going to be a lot of binding. I'll probably see if I can get the binding out of the leftover backing fabric.

This really wasn't what I was planning to post about today, but how could I pass up some show and tell?

Guess I won't be running out of hand work for the foreseeable future. My poor neglected knitting!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Off to the Mills

 The Lowell Fabric Mills, that is--working on my Lowell Mill Girls quilt top again today.

Here's all my squares and triangle sets laid out for easy pickin's! The 8 groups on the right (on the ironing board half) are the triangles with their matching corner squares. The others are the sets of colored squares for the block centers.

I've been laying the blocks out and playing with the colors as I do so, to get the most pleasing combinations.

Not too hard, so far, because I have the full range to choose from. I anticipate making some interesting choices later on, when I have run out of my "favorites."

I've been picking up the squares the way I do when I'm putting together a quilt top--row 2 gets flopped on top of row 1, then all the rows are picked up top to bottom. Rows 3 through 7 (in this case) get stacked in order of sewing, left to right.

Then I sew the first pairs together, open them up and add the next row all the way down. This works really well for me, as long as my furry friend doesn't get himself involved in the process.

Which, predictably, he does.

But those little white paddy-paws are just so cute, who could get mad at that face?

Well--it isn't always the face.

I have no qualms about pushing the fat furbutt out of my way. I mean, really!
 It's fun watching the pattern come together as I sew the blocks. I am easily amused!

Yesterday I got to meet Nancy Rink, the author of the book I'm suing and the designer of the quilts in it.  I told her that seeing her both at this same quilt show last year had started me down this path, and I thanked her for it.

The special connection I have to this topic is that there is some Lowell (Mass) in my family history, plus my grandmother worked for many many years in the Skinner Satin Mill in Holyoke, weaving bridal satin.  Skinner Satin was the ultimate bridal fabric back then, and working in the mnill allowed my grandmother, who was widowed young and left with 4 small boys, to support her family (which included her parents and sister) all through the Depression and much later.
She loved to dance, loved to travel, and was full of life. I have some of the old bobbins from the textile mills, including one that is wound with hair-thin thread that I like to think was from the satin mill.

Anyway, here are my first four blocks done. Really takes a photo to bring out the contrast in colors and the way the values play out in these. The one in the upper right is not going to be the only one with such light corners, so hopefully it won't stand out so much in the finished quilt. We'll have to see.

One good thing about making 12 blocks is that if I decide I don't like the way some of them come out, there's no reason it can't become a 9-blobk quilt! Or three, with 4 blocks each (the way the original in the book is designed)--for now, I'm planning on making one quilt with 12 blocks, but that can change.