Thursday, May 28, 2015

Antique Signature Quilt Completed (WIP 1939-2015)

Happy Friday! This week I have possibly the oldest WIP I will ever finish to show you, begun in 1939.  I first posted about this quilt on a WIP Wednesday a week or so ago.  A friend of my parents have had this quilt top in their family and asked me to finish it into a quilt. 

The quilt is made from signature blocks and a few 9 patches. The information my friend had on it is that the signature blocks were made by the female family and friends of her inlaws at their wedding shower in 1939. 

The bride's maiden name began with M and the groom's last name with V, so many of the ladies on the blocks have those initials.

The blocks are hand sewn and the embroidery on the signatures is gorgeous! I'm curious if anyone can identify the age of the fabric in the 9-patches. They look more modern to my completely untrained eye and I wonder if the blocks were just a stack of blocks for a few decades until someone else tried to assemble them. Interestingly, the green plaid sashing is the only thing that was machine sewn.

I mentioned in my previous post that this top did not lay remotely flat. The blocks appear to have been not square to begin with and the sashing made it worse, which is another thing that makes me think that the sashing was not added by the same ladies who made the original blocks.  I had the option of removing the green plaid and resashing the blocks, but whoever put it there was part of this quilt's story and I didn't want to take that away.

Variegated color thread on a few of the signatures. Did they have that in the 30s?
To cope with the not-flat-ness I took small (and some not-so-small) tucks throughout the top. I first hand sewed them, then quilted them down. As a quilter it kind of makes my teeth hurt to do it, but my parents literally could not find them until I pointed it out, and even then couldn't really tell anything was wrong.

You can see the largest fold in the picture above. Notice how the horizontal sashing gets narrower toward the edge of the quilt, that's because it's being lost in a fold. I took a close up of that same fold below so you can see what the edge actually looks like.

Since most of the fabrics in the blocks were small, bright florals I chose a similar fabric for the back.

The finished quilt is still not quite square, it's sort of mildly trapezoidal, but it's within acceptable limits. It does lay flat and the edges are straight, those are my triumphs ;)

My friend wants to be able to pass this quilt down to her children and grandchildren.  Since we are going for longevity in an already old top I put a light interfacing under the entire top. This also made it washable (delicate cycle) and it definitely did need a bath.

I am (I think) at least the 3rd generation of quilter to work on this project and it's a honor to be the one to finally finish it so this family can continue to enjoy it.  For posterity I have listed the names on the signature blocks below, if any of these stitchers are still alive they would have to be nearly 100! 

  • Lillian M.
  • Janet A.
  • Mama
  • Elizabeth M.
  • Wilbis?V.  (could possibly be Willis or Wilba, hard to read)
  • Vivian M.
  • Francis F.
  • Bobby V.
  • Merrell V.
  • Loraine F.
  • Maurine V.
  • Ila B.
  • Loree V.
  • Letha F.
  • Harley Jo M.
  • Aunt Addie A.
  • Waunice M.
  • Grace M.
  • Kitty B.
  • Maud V.
 This is one of my favorite things about quilting, the way it reaches across generations. Here's hoping this quilt lives on and has more stories to tell!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

do. Good Stitches Design Wall

May is my month again to host the NURTURE circle of do. Good Stitches and the blocks have been coming in!  You can find my tutorial for these hot-and-cold blocks here.

I just put the ones I have so far up on the wall last night to play with different design options. The ladies in my circle are doing a great job with this block, can't wait until I have the whole set to arrange and rearrange!

Linking to Judy's Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Scrappy Sunday

My crumb jar was overflowing again, so I dumped it out and started sewing slabs of fabric by color. I love this kind of quilt. Something from nothing! And it's totally reflective of what was in my scraps at the time. It's the quilting equivalent of opening up the pantry and making dinner from whatever you can find rather than going from a recipe.

I've got 3 shades of blue left to assemble.  I have a really cool idea for setting these. I just hope it works out like I am imagining it!

Linking to Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than housework.

PS: Every week Adrienne at On the Windy Side has Caturday Wisdom. It's always adorable and this week it's extra cute because my boys are there! Check them out!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bonnie's Scrappy Mountain Majesties

Hello all, happy Friday! This week I have a slightly more traditional quilt to show you. This is my version of Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Mountain Majesties pattern.  The main change I made from hers was to increase the size of the blocks.

The fabrics for this quilt came completely out of my stash; always good to do a little stash busting.  This became another quilt for Covered in Love.

The quilt finished at 56"x70" and got an all over stipple for quilting. Binding is a pretty yellow solid.  I didn't get a picture of the back but it was pieced from more stash.

Calley Cat watches the strange doings of the quilt photographer
As always, if you would like to be involved with Covered in Love please send me an email of leave a comment!

Linking to Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Quilting an Antique

After over a week away on vacation and work I'm finally back at the sewing machine! I decided it's time to finish up this old quilt top I agreed to quilt up for a friend. I'm not sure if this is exactly old enough to be antique, but it is old.

Signature blocks made for the wedding of my friends' parents or grandparents... I can't remember which. I am going to have to get all the details so I can put it on the label. For some reason the top was never made in to a quilt and the family has been passing down the top ever since.

One reason the quilt was never finished may have been the poor construction. Talk about not lying flat! Oi vey.  The best thing to do would have been to tear the whole thing apart, square the blocks, and use new sashing. However, I wasn't quite up for that level of involvement and I didn't want to take that much away from the original quilt. If I tried to make some of these blocks square there wouldn't be much left of them! Instead I am just carefully pleating the winkles in the sashing wherever they appear and quilting them down.  It actually looks good, the busy plaid sashing helps to camouflage the pleats and I think after a gently wash/dry they will be hard to even find.

I love the old fashioned names! Whoever did the embroidery had gorgeous stitching. I am using a FMQ spiral to quilt the top pretty heavily in order to reinforce the old fabrics. It's a big quilt so this is going to take a while!

Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Mix Tape {Bloggers' Quilt Festival 2015}

Welcome once again to the Bloggers' Quilt Festival, hosted at Amy's Creative Side. Every time I participate in the festival it seems I end up including at least one quilt made by my do. Good Stitches group the NURTURE circle.  This quilt was our January project; I am entering it in the ROYGBIV category.

Each member of the circle made 2 foundation pieced, QAYG string blocks and mailed them in. If you are interested a tutorial for the block can be found here.  The finished quilt and matching pillowcase were mailed to My Very Own Blanket.

Since the blocks were QAYG all I had to do was join them and then stitch on a backing. To reduce the bulky seams I pressed them open and use a triple zig zag to stitch over them.  

The ladies in my circle did such a great job of choosing fun novelty fabrics for their blocks!

I like how the quilt has an overall ROYGBIV gradient but the odd pops of contrasting color jump out at you.

Because the blocks were foundation pieced onto their battings only the zig zag quilting at the block edges shows on the back.

Some fun lions and bikes and a bright yellow binding.  This was actually one of the last quilts we sent to MVOB.  Starting with this month's quilt the group has voted to begin donating our quilts to my pet charity, Covered in Love, which donates quilts to the families of patients who pass away in the hospital where I work.

 Don't forget to check out the rest of the festival and visit my other entry in the scrappy quilts category here.


String Braid {Bloggers' Quilt Festival 2015}

It's time once again for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival, hosted at Amy's Creative Side.  This year I am entering my string braid quilt into the scrappy quilt category.

This quilt was the second in a set of scrappy string quilts that all came about because the very generous Judy @ Quilt Paradigm sent me a LARGE box of scraps she wasn't going to use.  Among the scraps were a lot of string which pushed my string storage beyond capacity, quilts had to be made!

This quilt is made from a series of string pieced 60 degree triangles (tutorial here) set into columns. I stippled the whole thing with a variety of thread colors.

This quilt was actually one of my first quilts to go toward the charity I started back at the beginning of the year, Covered in Love. I am collecting quilts to be donated to the families of patients who pass away in the hospital where I work.

I actually had the immense honor of giving this quilt away personally. One of my coworkers suffered a late term miscarriage and was in the hospital to be induced and have her baby. I got to take her this quilt and she was so grateful and comforted by it.  I wish I could have taken a picture for you of her hands holding her rosary, crossed over her pregnant belly on top of this quilt, but it wasn't the time.

Over a dozen quilts have been distributed and they have all been received with tears and gratitude, bringing comfort into despair. If you might be interested in donating a quilt, top, or blocks for Covered in Love please check out the main page. I promise they will go to people in need, and they will be treasured!

Thanks for visiting! Be sure to check out my other entry in the ROYGBIV quilt category here and visit the rest of the festival!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Baby baby!

A few weeks I posted the tutorial for the four-fat-quarter baby quilt, today it's all done! Also, I have a few pretty, soft lovie blankets to show.

This quilt is for a friend of mine who chose red and black for her baby's colors. I quilted it with FMQ square spirals in the main part and circles in the borders.

Usually when I give a baby quilt I sort of give a package, with a bib or two, onesies, and receiving blankets or lovies.

I recently made these 3 lovies from a remnant of minky type material found at JoAnns and flannel.

They're about the size of a fat quarter and I put a ribbon loop on one corner so they can be clipped to a stroller.  These lovies were made from all remnants and cost next to nothing, but they are so lovely.

Welcome baby kit, all ready for the little guy to arrive!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Four Patch Charm Quilts

Up on my design wall today is a version of the Four Patch Charm quilt from Tamarack shack.  This is the same design we are making this month for the NURTURE circle of do. Good Stitches, but I made my own version as well from batiks and grey solid.

These batiks all came out of my batik scrap box.  I am not sure I am committed to this layout yet, but I am enjoying playing with it on the wall.

Linking to Judy's Design Wall Monday.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

String Quilt No. 4, Hexie Pinwheels

My string quilt craze started back in about October. I know this will not be my last string quilt by a long shot, but I can now finally say that 4 quilts later I have curtailed my overflowing strings bin. String quilt No. 1 was a very traditional blue and brown one, string quilt No. 2 was a more modern, bright, braid design, string quilt No. 3 was a super modern black/white/red quilt. And now we have string quilt No. 4, made from the leftovers of No. 2, arranged in a different design.

My tutorial for these 60 degree string triangles can be found here. Turned another way theses could have been a spider web quilt, but I opted for a pinwheel instead. I really love the mellow yellow solid I found to set off the bright strings.

I had a little fun with the FMQ. Spirals in the yellow triangles, stipple in the hexes, and waves in the borders. The dense quilting makes for lovely krinkle and a soft look.  Binding is scrappy, which was only fitting.

The backing is mostly this pretty, rich peacock fabrics, and yes, this is another quilt for Covered in Love.  Thanks for visting!!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday and Oh Scrap at Quilting is more fun than housework.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cayenne Pepper Hard Candy Recipe

(And now a departure from your usually scheduled quilts.)

Looking for something sweet and spicy and definitely different from what you've had before? Want to impress your family and friends? Try making these cayenne pepper hard candies, think of them like spicy jolly ranchers.

A few years ago I started growing cayenne peppers every summer. I turn most of them into pepper jelly using this recipe but last summer I started experimenting with a hard candy recipe. The basic recipe comes from this one.

You will need:
1c water
3 3/4 c sugar
1 1/2c light corn syurp
8 or so cayenne or other spicy pepper
splash of apple cider vinegar
green gel food color

Also, you'll need a candy thermometer and something to pour the candy in to. Silicon candy molds are certainly best and sucker sticks are nice, but a buttered cookie pan will do.

Prep your peppers first. Remove the stems, chop into chunks and throw them into a food processor with a splash cider vinegar, just enough to be able to blend them. For small batches like this I actually use a immersion blender.  Add a bit of green food color to the finished paste if you want.

You want to really get it blended small. I happen to like a little bit of chunks suspended in the finished candies, but if you want a crystal clear product strain your pepper paste and just use the juice. Be very careful not to get this stuff in your eyes! You will regret it. Deeply.  I use about 1 1/2 tbsp for my candies, but you could use more or less depending on how spicy you like it.

Pour the sugar, water, and corn syrup into a pot and heat over medium, stirring frequently, until it boils. Stop stirring and insert your candy thermometer. Heat slowly over med/med-low without stirring, maintaining a simmer until the temperature just touches 310F degrees.

This is going to take a while, like possibly 30 or 45 minutes. So prep your candy molds/cookie sheet, clean the kitchen, and watch some Netflix on your phone. Whatever you do, do not leave the kitchen. As sure as the world, as soon as you turn your back on sugar on the stove it will blacken beyond recovery.

I found these silicon candy molds at Hobby Lobby and the sucker sticks yo can buy almost anywhere. Although you can just pour the finished candy onto a sheet pan to cool and then break it into chunks, silicon really is the way to go if you can. It's flexible so the candy is easy to remove and nothing sticks to it.

When the thermometer just reaches 310 degrees F take the pot off the heat and drop in your pepper flavoring. It's going to boil up and steam but that's ok; stir it in quickly.  Carefully pour the molten sugar into your molds, this is hard to do from a heavy and hot pot so I transfer mine into a small bowl with a spout.

It will take half an hour or so for the candy to cool, so while it does save yourself a thousand headaches on clean up. Put a little water back in the sugar pot and put it on to boil. Throw in all your spoons and other utensil that are crusted with hard sugar and stir. The boiling water will melt the sugar right off.

Unmold your candies, make sure they are cooled completely and serve. I found these little cellophane bags at WalMart that work perfectly.  I am saving these for a party at work, but any time you make sugar candy there will be over pour and places where you left trails of sugar between molds. Bag up those crumbs as treats for the cook ;)

I would love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you make it! Please leave a comment or email me.