Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quilts on Tuesday-Learning a Little

Anyone out there getting tired of this quilt series? If you are fear not, this is the last one for a while. I've showed you a lot of my mom's work that was done for me. I've shown you work by other family members and friends. I've told you how I grew up playing under quilt frames and how my mom has been willing to make the types of quilts I love even though it involves a lot of piecing which she is not overly fond of. This week I'll finish up with a little of my own work (and still more of my mom's).

This first piece is just a four block table runner. The friend who made the batik wall hanging ran a workshop to teach the log cabin technique. I was eager to give it a try. The idea of doing an entire quilt was more than a bit daunting. Doing four blocks and putting them together under the supervision of someone experienced was doable. You might ask why I didn't learn from my mom. Well, she had taught me to hand quilt and I was halfway proficient at that. I like the piecing of traditional patterns though and that has never been her thing. Here is my finished project. I don't use it on a daily basis but I do use it when I have a big meal with guests because the quilting of the runner makes it like a nice thick hot pad.




Here's a close up of one of the blocks so you can see some of the fabrics a little better. I did the quilting on this "in the ditch." That means the hand quilting goes right into the seams joining the strips of fabric so it it only enhances the piecing design as opposed to drawing attention to the design of the stitching itself. It was a fun little project and when I explained the technique to my mother she was interested in learning it herself. It was kind of amazing to me to be able to teach my mother something about quilting since I am only a beginner and she's been doing it her entire adult life.




Finally, we have the quilt mom made to replace the tattered log cabin quilt she made me 20 years ago. Once again, she told me I could choose any pattern I wanted. Once again I asked for a heavily pieced quilt. This time I found a pattern in the Amish style which means it is done in all solid. You'll notice the table runner is made of prints like calicoes and such. This quilt has only solid colored fabrics. If you know anything about me you know I like bold color. As I looked through different books this one just grabbed my eye immediately.

Mom, in her great love heaved a sigh and agreed to make it for me. She also suggested it might be fun to work on together. She agreed to do all the large and complicated blocks that you see running up the sides. I agreed to do the pinwheel patterns that go up the middle as well as the flying geese strips on the other sides of the large single blocks. I realized this picture doesn't show the flying gees so here is a picture to let you see what that pattern would look like. Pinwheels and flying geese were reasonably uncomplicated blocks for a beginner like me and if I did them it would free Mom to figure out how to do some of the crazier ones that she'd never done herself. It also makes it special to me that we worked on this quilt together.



Once all the blocks were done she assembled the entire top and did the quilting and binding. Since her arthritis has made hand quilting too painful she machine quilted the blocks in the ditch and then added some other patterns within the black strips. I didn't want the quilting to detract from the patterns of the blocks so the patterns in the strips are just parallel lines with the occasional, random mirror of either a flying geese or pinwheel pattern. The top came out beautifully with the traditional look I really wanted. The totally non-traditional part is the backing, which was as close to tie dyed as we could find. I love this quilt for so many reasons. The love Mom showed again in being willing to make it, the time we spent working on it together, the traditional top, the crazy back are all things that make this MY quilt in ways that no commercially produced quilt could ever be. Oh, and one more thing...Mom has her own tradition. She says a quilt is not complete until a drop of blood has been spilled on it. Some people think that's a bit gruesome. We're not talking crime scene spatters here, just the natural occurrence of pricking your finger at some point during the process of handling needles and such. When the minor accident happens the quilt is christened with that little drop of blood. Yes, Mom and I both "completed" this quilt in her traditional fashion.

23 comments:

(M)ary said...

Lovely. I used to be crazy about quilts but I am not very good at sewing so I never got past cutting out my pieces.

As for blood on the quilt, well, I imagine that comes from back in the day when quilts were always hand made with needles and it was easier to prick a finger. Now, with sewing machines, if your finger gets under the needle it will be more than a drop of blood on the quilt!

Balou said...

They are both wonderful. Nice job on the log cabin. It looks complicated. The Amish quilt is a piece of art. Great colors and I love the backing. I will miss your Tuesday quilts.

Cocotte said...

Love the tie dye backing! I've enjoyed your quilts.

Mona said...

They are simply beautiful & knowing the amount of work put in them fills me with awe!

Craver Vii said...

Okay, that was a pleasant, warm, mother-daughter story that almost went Stephen King on us at the end. Do we need to send a CSI team to find other "christenings" in your home?

RiverPoet said...

This is yet one more craft I wish I could do. If I had someone to work with, then maybe I could. I love the traditions of home crafts (knitting, crocheting, etc.) but I'm not so good at any of them. I suppose I'm just a product of our consumer culture, eh?

But you're so right. You can't get a quilt like this in a store. I have an afghan my mother made that is priceless to me.

Peace - D

furiousBall said...

love the tie-dye backing, i like that it's traditional on top, but cool and funky underneath

VE said...

Aw damn, here I am on quilt day again...with nothing snarky to comment on! I'll just laugh at that album again...

S said...

I have always loved that quilt you and your mom made. The black really makes it vibrant!

Stitch in the ditch is one of my favorite sewing tricks!

And yes, I have also bled on many of my projects, but the worst one was stabbing myself and bleeding on a white satin wedding gown. What a mess.
Then my cat peed on that dress. I stopped making wedding dresses after that. My life was too boheme to be a wedding gown maker.....

:P

Kat said...

Wow. That just sounds like so much work! Beautiful and worth it, though. :)

Jeni said...

Okay -explain please, if you will, the term "Stitch in the ditch." Does it have a different meaning in quilting than it does in general sewing?
Tired of seeing quilts? NEVER! My Grandma made quilts basically year-round -spending evenings in the spring and summer with her leftover fabrics, doing the cutting of the pieces, then sewing them together. Come October, the quilting frame went up in the living room, came down briefly over Christmas (needed the floor space again, ya know) and after the tree came down, the frame went back up and the quilting continued then until usually April! I still have one of her quilts -made for me about 50 years ago now and it's still in pretty doggone good shape too! My daughter has mentioned she'd like to learn how to quilt -so would I! I've accumulated a lot of scrap fabrics over the years -leftovers from many sewing projects -but have never taken the time to work on the pieces, putting things together, etc. I'm not sure I remember enough from what my Grandma taught me about quilting to launch out on my own, but thankfully, I have several friends who are members of a quilting circle from a nearby church -they make quilts there to use in their big Labor Day picnic fund-raiser and chance a quilt off every year. So I do have some folks I can call for instruction -just need to get off my duff and re-learn -as soon as I get done with the embroidery kick I've been on since August of this year!

Craver Vii said...

Aww, come on! Didn't anybody else see the Norman Bates-ish humor at the prospect of bleeding onto the quilt with or for Momma?! Freaking hilarious!!! (Can I say that?)

Nobody else thought that was funny? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

(crickets chirping)

lecram said...

Wow! That really is a stunner!

barman said...

Oh that quit you two worked on is increadible. I am so happy to see you did "tie-dye" like on it. There are just some things that need to be done.

I am loving your quilt Tuesdays. I have always enjoyed quilts but never really had a love for them. I guess it is because I have never had a quilt or even an afghan made for me. If I did I would have more fully appreciated it.

Here at work we have what I believe is a quilt that is a modern American flag. It is on display on one of our walls. It was made by two people I work with. They have been doing similar things only on a smaller scale for the troups during their lunch hours. Today (quilt Tuesday) one of the ladies brought in a quilt she just finished. It was rather small, at most half size, probably smaller. This one was all the reindeer. Blitzen had a matini, rudoulph had a plug in hand to plug in his nose. Dancer had on a small pink outfit and shoes, etc. It was very cute. Her and the other lady have real fancy machines that they use to do patterns etc. It is not the personal touch but I would still consider it wonderful none the less.

So I have really loved Tuesdays at your place.

Lulda Casadaga said...

there is nothing like having a personalized quilt...I'm still waiting for my mom to make a big one for me...she did make me a "throw" size one for me once...or maybe it was one of her rejects! HA...
I love the tie dye bottom of your quilt and love the blood letting story.
Nice "True Blood" / "Twilight" touch! :D

citizen of the world said...

Actually, I'm not tired of the quilts. They're all beautiful.

NYD said...

OK now you've done quite a few posts about quilting, shared your stories and quilt history with us and displayed some pictures of quite a few amazing pieces (The tie dye backed one is so trippy, I ove it!). What do haven't talked about is the amount of patience and time it takes to make one of these.
How do you and your mom do it? I would go nuts after the fist hour or so.

NYD said...

Oh, yeah. Happy Thanksgiving!

Palm Springs Savant said...

I say, keep the quilts a-coming! me likes them!

coopernicus said...

Wow...the bed quilt is awesome....

Moosekahl said...

I have a scrub hat with THAT backing fabric too :) That last quilt is amazing!

g-man said...

The 'Quilt' Series....

I'd like to see the Lingerie Series!

Moannie said...

So lovely. I have ALWAYS wanted a quilt, and of course it had to be a hand made one, not one of tose 'made in China horrors.But as I am allergic to needle and thread [there are SOme things I cannot do]
and a good handmade quilt can cost many hundreds of pounds, it aint gonna happen. So keep showing us quilts, please.