Sunday, February 22, 2015

Off on an adventure

Soon I'll be heading off on an adventure.  Hubby and I are planning a vacation to the San Diego area to visit relatives.  A cousin suggested a couple of wineries to visit in Temecula, CA.  Does that name sound familiar?  I have made up several of the free patterns that have been shared over the past few years by the Temecula Quilt Shop blog, and I don't think I can pass up the opportunity to stop in person!

Just for the record, there are the three quilts at my house that can trace their beginnings to that sweet little blog.
Temecula Blues 2013
which I believe was to celebrate the Quilt Shop's Anniversary

Countdown to Christmas -
a 2013 pattern that I finished last week
I made about half the blocks so it's smaller than the original pattern
Valentine Hugs and Kisses - Feb. 2015

If you enjoy English Paper Piecing, which I have to admit I've never tried, you should skip over to Sheryl's blog.  She is in the midst of a lovely series of blocks made with that method.  And, of course, her Little Letters alphabet series was extremely popular last year according to the number of times I saw those adorable pieced blocks on various blogs that I visit.  That one is on my wish list!

Monday, February 16, 2015

President's Day Red, White and Blue

Another UFO is quilted and bound!  This one was started in April 2013, so I've been working on it off and on for quite a while.  All that was left was binding and the machine embroidery eagle that I wanted to put in the center.  I finally made a decision on a grey binding fabric last night, and finished it up.
The backing is grey fleece, so it's lightweight and warm.
It's so much fun to use the embroidery feature on my Elna to quilt in special designs like this eagle.

The print fabric is deep stash that had been around for 20 years before I decided to use it.  But now it's ALL GONE.  It was leftover from making some Zuba style pants for my kids back when I was sewing most of their clothes.  Here's a photo of  my daughter wearing hers when she was 5 years old.  How time flies!
I just can't settle on a name for this quilt yet.  Maybe Red, White and Zuba?  Though it's actually Blue, White and the Zuba print, so... maybe not.  Any good ideas out there?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine Hugs and Kisses

Just in time for Valentine's Day I've finished a little quilt called Hugs and Kisses.  The pattern is from Temecula Quilt Co. (sort of).  I used 1.5-inch strips and squares instead of their smaller size. They were already cut, and on hand in my scrap bag.  So easy!

Can you tell those alternate blocks look just like chocolates?  I wish I had bought more of that fabric.  It's such a rich chocolate brown swirl.
All finished, and I can deduct another 1.5 yards from my fabric stash log for the year!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A night at the museum

It was a late night Sunday at the Old Town Hall Museum working on a mounting and display frame for the Pond Dakota Album Quilt.  I had a lot of help from Hubby, and he even took photos!
Here you can see the back side of the frame that he made.  I'm bent over the frame attaching cotton cording to stretch across the frame and hold the muslin tight.  Hubby used the ratchet straps to hold things together until the cording was pulled tight.  We didn't staple the muslin to the frame because we want to be able to take the frame completely apart for storage when the quilt is not on display.

Frame is turned right side up and the fragile quilt laid out so the folds will relax.  Next weekend I begin carefully hand sewing the quilt to the muslin.  Those old marching band white cotton gloves have come in handy!  The Museum can't afford museum glass or acrylic right now, so I'm working on an idea to use a layer of bridal tulle netting to keep people from touching the quilt, and yet allow them to see it fairly well.  The goal is to have it on display by February 22, 2015 when there will be a presentation about Quilts and the Underground Railroad at the Museum.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Countdown Complete

Another UFO finished over the weekend!  In late fall 2013 Temecula Quilt Shop had a quilt-along for an adorable quilt she called Countdown to Christmas.  I enjoyed making the tiny 2-inch (finished) stars and four-patch blocks.  But there were way too many of them!  I ran out of ambition, (and 1 1/2 inch scraps)  so I finally just gave in and made up a 38x46 lap quilt using the blocks I had finished.  Better to have a finished quilt than another UFO, right?

Then it sat... and sat... while I tried to find borders that I liked, which ended up being navy with stars and red with stars.  It's finally finished!  I may gift this one to my Aunt who is in a nursing home.  In a strange twist of fate, though I live in Minnesota, my Aunt lives only about an hour's drive from the Temecula Quilt Shop in California!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January wrap-up

The first month of 2015 has flown past!  How are you doing on your New Year's Quilting Resolutions?  I'd call my progress "not too bad."  But then, I'm from Minnesota and that's what we say here for anything that's better than completely horrible.  Come to think of it, we even say that in the dead of winter when it's below freezing, as in:
Question:  How's the weather today?   Answer: Not too bad.  (sigh)

My goal is to get as many unquilted tops quilted and finished as I can this year.  I have way too many of them, and they're keeping me from feeling good about starting new and exciting projects.  So, let's see how I did.

Oklahoma Backroads and Ninepatch Rosegarden were quilted and bound!
Oklahoma Backroads  55x75 inches
It was so windy I couldn't get it to lay flat for a photo.

Ninepatch Rosegarden 25x25 inches

Starburst and Blue Disappearing 4-Patch small quilts were new projects and not UFO's, but are quilted, have their bindings on, and are ready to be hand sewn down at Historical Society events so that I have something to demonstrate.  Do they count as finished?  Almost.

I made progress on Countdown to Christmas and have the center portion quilted.  Borders still to be quilted with free motion stars when I get my courage up for that.

Two lap quilts are sandwiched, pin-basted and ready to quilt in February.

And as for my stash report:  10 yards of fabric purchased this year and 9 yards used.
Not too bad.

Linking up with Vicki and other quilters who are seriously working on their UFO's this year.  She asked if we had ever trashed a project that wasn't going well.  Sort of.  I had a quilt top that I finished and really didn't like it, so after an extended period of avoiding it, I donated it to a local church quilting group.  They were thrilled to have it.  One quilter's trash is another quilter's treasure I guess.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bessie Fisher quilt 1885

The quilt projects going on recently at our house aren't piecing, or quilting, but researching and framing.

Let me introduce you to the Bessie Fisher Quilt in the collection of the Bloomington, MN Historical Society.

 This quilt was made in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1885 by Bessie (Elizabeth A.) Fisher aged 16 and her sister Mina (Ermina G.) Fisher aged 12.  The girls were daughters of Thomas A. and Martha B. (Mattie) Fisher.

I was able to date this quilt because Bessie embroidered her name and age on one block.  

Elizabeth A. Fisher was born June 23, 1869 and was 16 years old in 1885.  "Mina" is embroidered on another block. 

In addition, the quilt has two ribbons from Grand Army of the Republic (a civil war veteran's group) events.  The GAR had it's 18th Annual Encampment in Minneapolis in 1885, and a rose colored ribbon sewn onto this quilt advertises the 19th Annual Encampment held in Portland, Maine the following year.  

Thomas Fisher, father of Bessie and Mina, served in the Civil War with the 6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, company D, and would likely have been a GAR member.  After the war he worked as a meat cutter/butcher in Minneapolis.  The words 'New Hampshire' may seem out of place, but Thomas Fisher's grandparents lived in New Hampshire, so there is a family connection.  Perhaps uncles or cousins were with New Hampshire units in the civil war.

The Victorian Crazy Quilt measures approximately 62 inches x 45 inches.  Fifteen whole 12.5-inch blocks and five half blocks make up the quilt.  Velvets, silks, ribbons and other fabrics are hand-basted and embroidered to coarse muslin foundation blocks.  The blocks were sewn together by machine with brown thread and pressed open.  Then those seams were embellished with hand embroidery.  A jade green silk backing was sewn by machine, pillow-case style, with green thread to three sides of the quilt, then turned, and the last side is hand sewn closed.  The backing is badly shredding vertically and is split along the seam lines where the three pieces of fabric were joined to make the back.  As is typical of this style of quilt, there is no batting, and no quilting or tying the layers together.

The embroidery shows several skill levels, but there is some really outstanding embroidery on several blocks.  Flowers and ribbon rosebuds are sewn on velvet with multiple shades of embroidery thread in the leaves and stems. I had a hard time believing that these were hand sewn, but looking at the back through the large slits formed by the shredded backing, one can see that the embroidery threads come through the muslin foundations.  

In other areas there is beautiful hand painting on silk and on velvet. The velvet has not held the paint as well, but the flowers painted on silk have held up well.
I am surprised at the lovely shading and use of colors.  It is the work of a very good artist!

Elizabeth Fisher went on to attend one year of college, and was very briefly married, but divorced before 1900.  She became a music teacher and supported herself by teaching piano for many years.  Mina Fisher was single, and worked for a number of Minneapolis banks as a teller and clerk.  The sisters lived with their parents, and after their deaths Elizabeth continued to live with Mina.  Elizabeth Fisher died in 1941 at the age of 72.

The museum would like to display some of their quilts.  We did our research.  Hubby has made a wood frame, and put three coats of poly sealant over the wood. The frame is put together with dowels and can be taken apart for storage when the quilt is not on display.  I washed (three times- twice with soap and once without) two layers of muslin.  The muslin was stretched over the frame and is held taught by cotton cording over stretcher bars on the back. I have carefully hand-sewn the quilt to the stretched muslin with vintage silk thread and a very thin needle. 

The next step is to look for museum quality acrylic to protect it from dust and light, and it will be all ready for display at the Bloomington, MN museum at Old Town Hall!  There will be a presentation at 2 pm on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 about Quilts and the Underground Railroad.  You are all welcome!  We hope to have many of the museum's quilts on display then.

Since I'm so excited to get this finished I'm linking up to share it!
Crazy Mom Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict