June 24, 2017

Another Perfect 1930s Double Wedding Ring

The Double Wedding Ring pattern was sure popular in the 1930s!  This spring, I've had two here for repairs in the same month.  When I blogged about the first one, I called it a perfect quilt - hence the name of this post.

Both have the same characteristics, including a huge variety of pastel print scraps and great needlework.  Here they are side-by-side, so you can see how they are alike and how they differ.  I always think it's great fun to compare and contrast the design choices that make each rendition of a pattern unique.

I'll call the one of the left (more info in a previous post) the pink quilt, and the one on the right the purple quilt.

The pink quilt continues using scraps in the 4-patches where the rings intersect instead of adding solid colors.  That lets the rings be complete, intersecting circles that flow calmly across the quilt.  On the purple quilt, the solid color accent squares create a more lively look, a counterpoint rhythm with the scrappy arcs. 

I'm incredibly fond of the combination of these green and purple squares.  I like green and purple together in general, but these particular 1930s versions of these colors are as good as it gets as far as I'm concerned.

You may also notice that the pink quilt has a thicker batting which shows off the quilting much more clearly.  Both quilts use the very same quilting pattern.

The soft mint green backing fabric on the purple quilt is a bit gentler than the bright pink back on the pink quilt.  Both backing choices are great compliments to the fabrics in the patchwork.

The edge treatments are also different.   The pink quilt has a more common edge: big scallops and a narrow bias binding.  The purple quilt continues having complete 4-patches along the edges, making a more complex shape.  Rather than trying to manipulate a binding around all those sharper corners, this quilt is finished with a knife-edge, i.e front and back fabrics turned in towards one another and whip stitched shut.

More about the purple quilt:  The owner thinks it was made for his mother, Mary (aka Peg), by her mother Lydia and Aunts Tillie and Ella (who Peg called LaLa).  They lived in Holdredge, Nebraska, and were farmers' wives.  Peg came to Chicago to study nursing at Augustana School of Nursing.

The quilt is in good shape.  I repaired only a few spots where a couple of fabrics were weakening faster than the rest.  I also washed the quilt.  It had some grey soil on the reverse.  The front didn't look too bad, but the quilt had obviously not been washed in quite a while.  The wash water came out quite a bit browner than I had expected!  Here's a bird's-eye-view of the quilt soaking in the tub.

The rings feature a few cheery (as always!) conversation prints.

I'd love to see a large piece of that last print.  I wonder if we'd find out where that little guy is off to in such a hurry!

June 14, 2017

Two Conversation Prints

A fiber friend is going through the sad process of clearing out her ailing aunt's home.  The aunt was quite a crafter, and had amassed a huge collection of craft supplies over many decades.  My friend found it was way too much for her to take on, and offered us the chance to choose some goodies for ourselves.

I always take a moment at times like these and at estate sales to thank and honor the person who loved the same things I do, and who found such fun ways to express her personality!

Here are two really fun conversation print fabrics that I adopted from her stash.

The one at the top of the post has ended up in my pile of extra special, totally wonderful fabrics!  Here's why:

I think it is from the 1960s since it reminds me of the style of cartooning that was often used in advertising in the 50s and 60s.  I'd call it a loose, stylized style of drawing.  Given the women's hair styles, I'm going with the 60s. 

This one, while less amazing, is just plain adorable.

There's just nothing like a great conversation print to brighten my day!  Well, that or some great buttons.  Or a gorgeous new quilt book.  Or completing a project.  Yeah.  

June 1, 2017

Busy, Busy Month of May

This week takes a prize of some sort for having three newly-finished quilts signed, sealed, and delivered in just one short week.

My hometown of Evanston holds a month-long arts celebration every June called Evanston Made.  There are exhibits and programs all over town.  This year, I'm exhibiting in two events.

This quilt will be in the main show at the Evanston Art Center.  It's a new member of my Something From Nothing series called "Symmetry."  It's 16.5" x 16.5".  The opening is this Friday 6/2 5-8pm, and I'll be there.  The show runs for the entire month. 

And this quilt will be in a show called Nasty Women Evanston, a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood.  The event is on Saturday 6/3 from 6-9 pm, and I'll be there as well.  The show is patterned after a similar fundraiser in New York City that was quite successful.  All pieces in the show are for sale and 100% of the proceeds go to P. P.  This is also a Something From Nothing quilt.  It's called "Directions" and is 12" x 12".

I had some fun while stitching this one, which I wrote about a bit earlier.

And finally, a quilt called "To Turn, To Turn."  This is the third quilt of this pattern that I have made.  You can read about the first two in a previous post.  The quilt has velcro strips on the back so it can be rotated as the year goes along, keeping the current season at the top.

The quilting design includes clouds, sun, rain, wind, and snow.

This version was commissioned by my friend Diane, as a gift for her son who is about to graduate from med school.  We worked together to get the fabrics "just right."  Diane is a glass artist, and we had loads of fun.  A photo of the first set of fabric choices we made is below.  The fabrics look quite a bit different when they are in folded chunks pulled off the shelves vs. when they are cut to size and shape, so there was quite a bit of fiddling around to get the final look.  You might have fun comparing the two and finding all the changes we made. 

May 23, 2017

Cozy 9-Patch

This lovely little 9-patch came for a few small repairs to the top and remedy for the very worn edges.  Originally, it had a knife-edge finish.  I added a binding as a way to cover all the wear along the edges most efficiently.

This quilt was made by Etta Metott Weaver, the current owner's great-grandmother, in the 1950s.  You can see another of her quilts in a post called A Complete Makeover.

Here are some of the lovely fabrics that Etta chose.

 scattered flowers in one of the blocks, plus a regular floral print in the alternate squares

a printed plaid

very typical 1950s print styles and colors

And then, there are conversation prints.  Conversation prints are prints that feature objects instead of geometrics or flowers.  I've been highlighting quilts with conversation prints in several previous posts.
faux patchwork, and kittens

tropical fish, parrots and a pineapple, and maybe a salt shaker and pepper grinders?

faux quilting

As a fun little aside:  The fabric below is from an Attic Windows quilt that I washed a couple of years ago.  It's the same design concept but with different flowers.  That quilt has the embroidered date - 1959.

 All in all, this quilt is a nice snapshot of fabrics of the 1950s, and a comfortable, cozy quilt.

May 15, 2017

It's Mend It May!

The other day, I discovered via Instagram that there's a tag for #menditmay where people share their mending adventures!  So, I'm taking this moment to pass along the links about mending that I've been coming across.

Mending used to be much more the norm back when many things were made by hand and were much more precious.
I love investigating old repairs.  Here's some old darning on a lovely Edwardian day dress.

I'm so intrigued by the creative new efforts to bring mending and repair to a more solid and important part of how we live our lives.  This is, after all, how I make my living, i.e. repairing quilts and clothing.  And I'm also very dedicated to living with a smaller footprint, which includes changing away from the "throw-away" economy. 

1.  I'll start with a philosophical piece on Tom van Deijnen's blog in which he and Sarah Corbett discuss mending as activism.  Sarah is creator of the Craftivist Collective whose motto is "Changing our world one stitch at a time…"  Tom says:
If you have concerns about social or political issues, but, like me, you’re not a very outgoing or confrontational person, then you’re sometimes left wondering whether there’s anything you can do in a way that feels more true to who you are.

2.  Next, two articles which showcase Sweden as a hotspot for setting up structure and venues to support and value repair over buying new.

The World Economic Forum recently published an article entitled "Sweden is paying people to fix their belongings instead of throwing them away."  Here are a few quotes from the article:

To combat its ‘throwaway consumer culture’, Sweden has announced tax breaks on repairs to clothes, bicycles, fridges and washing machines.

We don’t anticipate that this will make people avoid buying things overall, but hopefully it will be easier for people to buy high-quality products because they know it’s affordable to have them fixed if something breaks. 

And we also know that repairs are more labour-intense than production, which has been largely automised, so expanding repairs could actually contribute to an expanding labour market and a decrease in unemployment.

Wow, they've thought of lots of potential benefits.  I'm excited to see how it goes!

3. And "Sweden Opens World’s First Mall for Repaired and Recycled Goods".  This sounds heavenly to me!

The facilities contain both a recycling center and a shopping mall. Customers can donate the items that they no longer need, then shop for something new – all in one stop.

The center also includes a café and restaurant with a heavy focus on organic products, as well as a conference and exhibition facility complete with a specialty school for studying recycling.

The center, which is operated by the local municipality, has benefitted the local economy by creating 50 new repair and retail jobs, and providing space for private start-ups and local artisans.

4. And links to other repair venues that I mentioned in a previous post about why I like to mend things:
The rise of mending: how Britain learned to repair clothes again
Home Repair Café

Here are a few photos of creative mends I have made.  The vintage clothes are from Basya Berkman Vintage Fashions.

Rather than replace the zipper, I crafted a new zipper pull with earring findings and pearls.

I added more beading to hide the snags in the bodice of this wedding gown.

This dress had a permanent stain on the bodice.  I covered it with ribbon and added more ribbon to the bow so the bodice ribbon wouldn't look so out of place.


This family heirloom quilt suffered an ironing disaster, ending up with a hole through all three layers.  The owner asked me to add an embroidered dedication to the patch.  (This quilt is super interesting.  The owner also has the diaries of the quiltmaker that detail the process of making the quilt.)

And finally, a family heirloom quilt that was literally in pieces, many of which I was able to rescue and rebuild the quilt. 

May 4, 2017

Amish-made Sampler Quilt


This quilt was a wedding gift, much adored, and came to me in need of some patching.  The needlework is marvelous, which after all is something Amish quilters are famous for.  This is a quilt made for sale, not at all in the traditional style of the antique Amish quilts.  Repairing it required that my needle skills stay on par with those of this great quiltmaker!

I couldn't get the whole quilt flat for the photo in my living room.  So you have to use your imagination a little bit.  Here's a rotated shot that may be kind of dizzying, but helps me explain.  The bottom and right side edges have the same deep white scalloped border and red binding that you see on the left edge.  At the top of the quilt is the pillow tuck with a straight edge.

Most of the repairs I did are in the basket block and the distelfink (birds) block on the right, and also some rebinding of the scallops alongside those blocks.  This area has been sun-faded, which has weakened all the fabrics in that area. 

And now we can return to normal gravity!

The quilt is dedicated and dated with machine embroidery.  It was specially ordered for this couple and made in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania.  I think this is one of the best town names ever, by the way.  Besides these quilted hearts (on just the three scalloped edges, the pillow tuck has only the parallel lines), there are plenty of hearts in the sampler blocks as well.  Such a romantic quilt!

Here are some examples of how grand the needle work is.  Those perfectly round grapes are 3/4" in diameter.  The logs are 1/2" wide.  And the Whig Rose is intricate and delightful.

In the distelfink block, the dark red tulip pieces were torn.  I knew that they hadn't been appliquéd as two separate pieces in the first place, and that it would be very tricky to mend them that way.  I carefully lifted up the white center piece, applied one complete red piece, and restitched the white center on top.  It worked quite well, if I do say so myself.

Here are a couple of shots of some of the other blocks, so you can see some more great stitching and some more of the fabrics.

And finally, a few shots that will let you see all the blocks a little better than in the big overview shot.

Once again, I've got to say that the variety of quilts I get to see and spend some time with never fails to inspire me.  And also, I get to meet the nicest people!  It seems that anyone who has a quilt touch their heart enough to want to really take care of it is by definition a wonderful person!