Cupboard love

Sufficient progress with gardening and domestic projects means that there will soon be some time to empty the quilt cupboard, take pictures, re-arrange, re-fold and re-organise the contents.

This is the stack of vintage quilts at front right of The Cupboard; there are 3 other stacks, one to the left (mostly Tentmaker pieces) and two at the rear (more vintage quilts and my quilts). The process traditionally is to take everything out, vacuum and dust floor and walls, renew moth repellant and then put everything back – but not necessarily in the same order. As you can imagine this is never a quick process but is a great workout which can extend over a couple of days and can involve interesting tests of agility navigating through piles of quilts on the floor and on the bed. This year I’ll be adding to the time required by taking fresh pics of many of the quilts so that I have plenty of reference material for future classes and online lectures.

Let’s see what next week brings!

More cording

Before the corded quilting samples get put away I thought I’d show just a few more close-ups – (still grappling with new(ish) phone camera)

This piece was going to be just corded but I ended up adding a very small amount of stuffing to the enclosed spaces and I was very pleased with the finished effect.

This sample is ready for a close-spaced and interesting background and I might just be in the right mood to do that, so I’m keeping this sample out on the worktable.
This was a sample I made to show the use and effectiveness of closely-spaced corded lines. You can also see at the left hand side that it is not advisable to have heavily stitched areas and open spaces – too much distortion. Better to have the same density of stitch across the whole piece.

And here’s the reverse side of a 1960’s piece of Italian quilting, complete with heavy ballpoint or carbon pattern markings. Now I’m off to gather up class notes, worksheets and patterns and write a Zoom lesson plan – coming soon!

Still here!

The letup from lockdown seems to be a perfectly weird set of almost new experiences – switching between feelings of things being normal, not normal, really difficult, almost forgotten and a hefty dose of detached chaos. No stitching, I still can’t settle or focus – so I’m substituting garden chores instead. Thank goodness for the reliable Pioneers and the Thursday at Three crew. The past couple of weeks the Pioneers have been looking at corded and stuffed quilting, boutis, trapunto, Italian quilting and we’ve enjoyed touring through history, costume, techniques and equipment. So, with no new stitching to show you, I’m referring back to corded samples from several years ago. First, part of the reverse and then the front of a favourite piece I did based on the centre of a Welsh wholecloth quilt followed by a detail of one of my designs worked as Italian quilting using muslin backing and a very soft twist wool to “cord”.

I really should remove all those tacking/basting threads!

Not quilting

I think I am very close to setting an all-time personal “worst” for not quilting, not sewing, not stitching for what feels like a LONG time. One worn shirt collar was turned yesterday and that’s about it for another week. Sad face. I’m putting the blame entirely on myself and being unduly influenced/overwhelmed by being in the presence of crates of ufo’s/wips/PHDs and a very full Quilt Cupboard. Just too many things requiring attention. So just some random pics from The Cupboard to look at while I wade back into the organising quagmire –

This quilt is about halfway down the front stack of quilts in The Cupboard, shown here is the reverse side.
This quilt is also in the front stack in The Cupboard – hoping to launder it in the better weather.
This quilt is near the top on my “record the pattern” list. The first quilt I bought and the first quilt I bought from Jen Jones in the very early 1980s.
This quilt is at the top of the second stack in The Cupboard – also on the launder list.
A “compare” shot – quilt by Amy Emms MBE, quilt by Unknown. Polyester satin fabric, polyester thread, polyester wadding; cotton sateen fabric, cotton thread, cotton wadding.
Another quilt from the second stack – will check re. laundering requirement.

Happy stitching!

Good light

Sometimes, even in a gloomy cold Spring, the light is just right to capture quilted texture. Even the most elusive white-on-white quilting –

This is a very worn and almost shredded vintage strippy quilt that I bought for pennies in the 1980s. Strippy quilts are most often pieced from strips of contrasting fabrics by colour, value, print and plain. In this quilt both front and back are pieced from strips of different widths and weights of white household cotton, a thin cotton batting, and the simple quilting patterns are Lined Twist and a Bellows variation.

White on white quilted strippy style like this would be a great way to make a wholecloth quilt without the angst and terror of design, marking etc. Just a thought ….

The light was good enough to take a quick shot of the 1845 quilt too –

I know I commented before about the sharpness and precision of the hand piecing of this quilt – take a look at the scant seam allowance that’s visible here. Our standard seam allowance is 1/4inch, this measures a very scant 1/8inch. Imagine stitching with so little room for error!

Happy stitching!

Hidden clues

A week of working with the red and white quilt from The Cupboard shown in the previous post. Patterns have been recorded with much musing over dates, fabric, origins etc. Hand pieced, hand quilted – razor sharp piecing of points and matching of seams, museum quality quilting of 10+ stitches to the inch, thin cotton batting, narrow single binding.

And, perhaps best of all, and hidden in plain sight – a date and possibly initials!

No more musing and theorising over the date for this quilt! Off to the printer this week armed with a stack of quilting patterns . . . .

One thing leads to another – the quilting patterns I mentioned last time have now been put into fair copy ready to take to the printer. But as I was halfway through copying the last one I remembered that there was another quilt in The Cupboard that needed to have it’s patterns recorded and that I had never made time to do that. So you can guess where things stand now – one set of patterns finished, a second set well under way (except that there are more patterns in the second set!). I’m using upholstery vinyl to lay over the quilt and a permanent fine-tip black marker to trace over the patterns and then make a clean copy of each pattern on layout paper. And, for good measure, I’m recording the design of a small wholecloth piece of uncertain vintage while the “capture and trace” mood lasts.

Making a start with recording quilting patterns.
Close-up of small wholecloth piece.

Happy quilting!

More distraction

So you should be looking at the next stage of those red-theme blocks with framing strips duly added and the tentative start of new project involving those gorgeous antique fabric pieces. Instead, I’ve been spending time when I could have been sewing on further rummaging in storage crates for fabrics and projects half-remembered and half-forgotten. A set of quilting patterns taken from a 1850s quilt has surfaced again so I really must take them to be professionally scanned and resized

In the mid-1990s I was gifted a vintage hexagon quilt top and an old pillowcase containing a few fabric scraps. ( I’ll show you the quilt top when the Grand Sorting and Re-packing of The Cupboard takes place). These scraps were mostly glazed chintzes and, having encountered them again this week whilst in pursuit of an errant class sample, I’ve taken them out of hiding and put them near the investment pieces I showed last week.

Wonder how many more “treasures” will see the light of day by next week? Happy stitching!

Something new…?

Another week gone by and now fully recovered from vaccine effects and at least one large bag of projects/stuff re-homed and put away. Maybe out of sight is out of mind but I definitely do better if I can keep the top surfaces in my sewing space relatively clear. It’s interesting how habits can change – I used not to mind clutter and my workspace was never terribly tidy. These days I prefer to walk into a tidy uncluttered space and try to keep it that way. And, of course, there is a difference between tidy and organised – I’m aiming to be both tidy and organised but it’s often a struggle! Awaiting their turn to be tidied and organised are the red-themed sample blocks made over the past two years.

I think I may have worked out the next step to progress this a little further. All the 6inch blocks would benefit from a simple frame, same size strips for all blocks using a variety of predominantly red prints. This will be easy and mindless stitching with no pressure!

While putting things away I remembered to pull out a fabric “investment” I made several years ago – modest-sized pieces of vintage fabrics that were totally irresistible. Acquired for the sheer joy of ownership, these may now have the chance to star in their very own project –

I hope to be able to show you the first step next week … happy stitching!

More settling

Quarantine is over and first vaccination tomorrow – important milestones! It’s been a really slow week, hard to find motivation to finish unpacking and the quilt cupboard remains in need of a thorough working over. But I have brought a long-standing (a mere decade) project to the surface ready to be moved to the batting and basting pile –

Keeping this really short and hoping that this coming week is more productive!