Wednesday, September 03, 2014

A Visit to Yesteryear

This keeping quiet is paying off!  Limiting my computer time daily -- with or without background music -- means that I'm spending more time doing What Needs to Be Done, as well as What I Want to Do (you know as well as I that these two aren't always the same!).

For example, the first section of the Japanese Taupe Quilt is now together in its entirety.  When I laid it out on the twin bed in the guest room -- whoa!  To think this is only one of four planned sections...and that there will be wide swaths of applique in between them.

What am I thinking?! Well...I'm thinking that I'm about to start quilting-as-I-go.  The pieced blocks will be done by machine and the plain blocks, with Sashiko-style hand quilting.  To that end, I went out yesterday and bought wide backing.  It's beautiful stuff too -- taupe marbled batik-like stuff.  Alas, it has no identification on the selvedge, so I can't give you the name of the line, designer or manufacturer...but it's perfect!  And, bless her heart, when she saw my rough draft of the design, Caroline -- of Caroline's Homespun Seasons in Stettler -- agreed to cut the backing for me in sections so I wouldn't have to worry about laying out and cutting a ginormous piece of fabric for my QAYG sections.  :-)  (Note to readers from the Southern US: up here 'bless her heart' means exactly that.  (Grin))

I also got my September block done for the 4 x 4 Block of the Month -- you know, the one I'm doing from the kits bought in another lifetime back in Calgary.  This one has a Christmas Theme in its fabrics, but the blocks are classic patterns.  I really like September's selection:

Wild Rose & Square

Where have I seen those chevron shapes before?  Oh yes -- in the mysterious fabric pieces found in a basket at the Mirror & District Museum:

But the "Museum Pieces" are all-in-one -- not constructed from separate sections using 1/2-square triangles.  Along with these pieces we found 3" squares, and some diamonds -- very scrappy, with much of the fabric appearing to be genuinely from the nineteen-thirties!  What did the quilter have planned when life got in the way?

Was it a LeMoyne Star block?  Nope; not enough pieces.

I wandered down to the Mirror Library and found a treasure: Better Homes & Garden's America's Heritage Quilts (Meredith Corporation, 1991).  In there, I found two other possibilities for these pieces: a Peony block and a Carolina Lily block.  The latter stems from Civil War days, and features one or three "blossoms" in a "basket".

Single Blossom Version
Photo - Lillian's Cupboard, 2011

Three-blossom Version
Photo - Generations Quilt Patterns

These didn't seem quite right, so I researched the Peony block and found this on the Shelburne Museum website.  It too features multiple blossoms...though you can find it in single-blossom versions too.

Catherine Bolster's Peony Quilt

To add to my excitement: you can purchase this pattern -- and the templates with which to make it -- and one of the templates is an all-of-a-piece chevron, just like the pieces we found at the museum.

I thought I'd try to make a replica using stash -- albeit fairly contemporary fabric (no thirties scraps or Civil War reproductions; sorry!)  Blessedly, the book had instructions on how to do set-in (in-set?) seams:

I tried it by both hand and machine:

Can you tell which is which?
The hand-pieced version was actually easier and a bit neater, but if you look closely you'll notice there's a tiny pucker at that inside corner, regardless of method used.  Clearly set-in (in-set?) seams take practice!

Here's the block now...still in pieces, without stem or leaves...modelled after the photo in the B H &G book.

Single Peony block under construction

In other news...MOB stitching and Christmas knitting continue...and I finished a third 'mini' so that I could put all three in the mail to Different Strokes Gallery yesterday:

Prairie Oasis (C) 2014
Before I sent them off, I took them down to the new antiques-and-gifts shop in town -- Gracie D's -- and it was agreed I should make up a half-dozen for them to try on in the shop.  :-)

My morning computer time is over...must away -- but first, I'll like this up to WIP Wednesday on The Needle and Thread Network.  See you later!


Chantal Thibodeau said...

Good job for your Y seams. I've done a quilt previously using that method for the first time. For your purple pieces, did you stitch to the edge or did you stop a 1/4 inch to the edge ?

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

Lots happening here....I love the Japanese quilt!!!

Darlene said...

Really nice work, Margaret. And as usual, love the miniatures!

Wil said...

You have been busy this week :-)

Judy Warner said...

I just love following all your projects - you are so methodical! Glad that you are not going to try and quilt that taupe quilt all at once! It should be amazing when it is done.
Nice reminder to have you keep referring to Christmas gifts...I think. :)

Jo Ferguson said...

I love the cows in the mini. It's a serene setting. Yes, set in seams take practice but these look great so I don't think you need a whole lot of practice.