A vintage start

There’s much to get to grips with this year and January, it seems, is already half over.  So we’ve probably been issued with another speedy year and it will be winter again before you know it!  Frances over at Quilting Owl is determined to find the Fun in her quilting activities this year and Shirley of Stitcherydo renown is committed to just Try things – they’re both highly creative and productive ladies already, it will be interesting to see how their resolve works out.  Maybe I should just Try to have Fun?

I’m resisting the urge to start with picturesque snow scenes – it’s all very well if you actually don’t mind the stuff, but it’s not for me – too cold, and too much hard work shovelling, clearing, and cleaning.  But snow does have some advantages, and the main one I think is the improved light from all that reflected whiteness.   So, with a six inch depth of reflected whiteness outside, today might just be the day that I settle down and start quilting on a couple of samples (breathe easy, Volunteers).  Both are my favourite Oakshott fabrics, pieced without attention to having all the border strips run in the same direction, which gives a slightly offbeat effect I rather like.  As you can see below I’m probably going to use King Tut thread so that the stitching will show well on the pale clay colour, and the designs are already marked on.  One design has all the lines marked, the other has just the main outlines and I will fill in “by eye” in the time honoured and traditional manner.  There is also a piece of Oakshott pink silk which is putting its hand up to be used soon, so I need to get going.

preparing samples

Oakshott silk and cotton

The Antique Rose Star project is coming along quite well, and I’ve pieced 7 sets of half blocks that just need the final seam to finish.  Laid out on the floor it looks like this

Antique Rose Star blocks

I’m storing the half-blocks wrapped in a linen serviette which was one of a dozen hemmed and embroidered by my mother before she was married, and it’s proved a very practical solution to keeping them together.

initial detail

There seem to be lots more pieces cut and stowed away in the Secret Drawer so it doesn’t look as if this will be stopping at just 7 blocks.  The block really does go together very quickly, being all short seams, and there’s a satisfactory amount of fabric deliberation too, so it’s a winner all round!  I shall probably include several little bags from this project to take with me next week – a visit to Minneapolis (and doubtless more snow) is scheduled, which means time with my friend Pat Cox and her quilt collection.  It’s such a hard life sometimes…

One of several finishes that didn’t happen last year was this setting of 3 vintage black & white blocks.  It just needs quilting and binding, so I’ve considered a number of different quilting “looks” and had a think about what to stitch in the border.  I still like doodling direct onto the top with a chalkwheel, or ripping up bits of paper – as you can see –

chalk doodling

pencil & paper doodling

Maybe this year I can summon up the courage to bring some more black & white vintage blocks out of their hiding place and make a couple of small tops or runners?   I had almost forgotten how striking some of these blocks are –

Road to California vintage block

Bear Paw vintage block

A slightly different take on the black & white theme – this will be the first year without any black & white presence, canine or feline, in the house.  Losing the prim and proper Smiffy just before Christmas we are now reduced to “ginger only” and a whole new order.


Over the Christmas break I did find a bargain at a local antiques fair.  It’s not black & white, but some of the fabrics are very droolworthy (if that isn’t already a word then it is now) and I’ll just give you a peek at a few –

fabric detail

fabric detail

fabric detail

More pics of the bargain next time – quilting calls.  Warmest New Year wishes to all followers, readers and visitors, I really appreciate your company!

7 thoughts on “A vintage start”

  1. Certainly has me drooling. Love the rose star blocks and it will be a fabulous quilt. I may come and join in with your fun sometime and maybe we can try and do some sewing together. You are teasing me with those glimpses of hexagons. Had also forgotten how pretty some of those black and white fabrics are, that may just be the start of a new fabric collection. Poor Smiffy. Our pets leave gaping holes in our lives when they are gone so my thoughts are with you. Don’t like the cold either. Like the snow but so long as I can watch it from indoors.

  2. Thanks for your post. Love the black and white blocks and the hexagon quilt is intriguing – some great fabric snatches indeed – can’t resist hexagons! Your antique rose star is coming along beautifully.
    Every Stitch

  3. Great to read your happenings and I agree that it will be another speedy year but I can’t believe that it can really go any faster than 2012 did! I have found that I have a few hurdles to jump before the real fun can start – that is create some order out of the havoc in the studio – but if it all gets too much I will find a comfortable chair in an air conditioned spot and do some hand stitching. Good luck with your projects.

  4. Hope the snow doesn’t disrupt your travel plans. Lovely to look at but really inconvenient, unless you are a child again. Some very inspirational pics here, just what I need at the moment.
    So sorry to hear about Smiffy, not been a good year has it? Here’s to a better 2013.

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