Friday, November 20, 2015

A FUN Pincushion Finish & Pattern Review!

Super-cute finish to share this week!
Large and sturdy, this fun pincushion is fully-lined and stuffed with walnut shells to keep pins and needles sharp! I combined vintage with retro fabrics to use with a white Kona background.

The pattern is a new design by Karen, who blogs at SugarFreeQuilts, available at her Etsy shop HERE. It comes with very detailed instructions, and a full-size 'map' to lay out your fabric pieces before piecing.
The double-layer backing used a technique new to me that was quite simple once I wrapped my brain around it.
I really ought to have switched to white thread for the binding though...

In other progress this week, I completed Step Two of the Christmas Table Topper QAL hosted by Carole of From My Carolina Home. Step Three was announced today, so hopefully I will get these pieced together over the weekend.
I am also looking forward to reading finishes shared at the Friday Linkups over the weekend!

Hope yours is a great one!
TGIFF is hosted this week at Anja Quilts!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Le Challenge: Method. Using Orphan Blocks & Vintage Fabrics

Finding and using vintage fabrics is a bit of an art, and definitely a hobby of mine. When I began quilting, "The Quilting Police" were in their prime and I still hear their voices whispering in my head, "that fabric is sub-par,
it will not last 100 years,
it might bleed,
it might fade.... "
 There is some truth to this, and I look forward to sharing soon the biggest bleeding nightmare I have ever encountered. But not today as it is still a secret, and it's outcome is not yet known. However, the culprit in this case is a NEW, quilt-shop fabric.
Lately, I have been using some of my favorite vintage pieces and these things have been on my mind. You may have seen projects recently with some of these beauties:

Over the years there have been many times I've pulled lighter weight fabrics from my stash, yet there are many I just wont part with. Bottom line, I love them. I also love building my stash, as well as the thrill of the score! When I go fabric hunting at garage sales, estate sales and thrift shops, I seek them out. The rebel in me does not diminish and I continue to find vintage fabrics for my stash, and I find creative ways to use them.

Le Challenge for November is METHOD and I chose to finish up an orphan block that I found at a garage sale. There were six in the bundle, all signed and dated by different quilter's. They were made in the 80's for some sort of swap. Interestingly, most of them were appliqued on a poly/cotton blend background.
Unfortunately, purple is the hardest for me to photograph, especially on a stormy afternoon such as today. This is the best photo I came up with, taken indoors:
I Googled the maker and found that she passed away one year ago. Turns out Ruth was a Past President for her quilt guild. I did find a daughter and plan to mail this out to her once I finish hand-stitching the binding.
I used this method to make the Broken Dishes border:
This is the third orphan block that I have made into a mini, all with the same border.
One for myself:
I was able to find an address for the maker of this one:
She gave me a call after receiving the surprise in her mailbox and we spoke for more than an hour:)
Can you imagine opening this more than 30 years after you made a block and mailed it away for a swap? She was delighted:)

One thing I have learned about using vintage fabrics is that you really never know what you may end up using in the future. It is so nice to shop your own stash successfully when working on a project!

A few tips methods I use for stashing vintage:

1. Keep what you like if you have the space!
2. Avoid storing fabric in plastic bins if you can avoid it; they will acquire a peculiar odor.
3. If you can do this without offending anyone, smell the fabric before purchasing.
4. Wash pre-owned fabric before adding it to your own stash. Sometimes I air it outside for a few hours first. Then pre-soak in water with 1c. vinegar sprinkled with quite a bit of baking soda. Finally, wash with extra-gentle cycle and mild detergent. Dry and lightly press. Any odor remaining will be detected during the pressing, and I donate these to the thrift store.
5. I stick with 100% cotton for quilting. I can usually tell by the feel, however, if it generates static when removing from the dryer it is likely a poly blend. If you are really uncertain, a burn test can also be done. Take a lighter to a small snippet: Cotton will leave an ashy edge and synthetic leaves more of a melted edge, a bit like plastic.
6. I store lighter weight fabrics separate from premiums since I tend to use them together. I have been known to mix various weight fabrics with some quilts, but generally I use them together in scrappier quilts, smaller projects, linings, etc..

How bout these calico's, look familiar?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Doubled My Zip Bag Pleasure

I decided my first little Zip Bag needed a mate!
A larger version following a variation of the Week One Bag, with 1 1/4" boxed corners .
I may not be able to complete a Week Two bag, the cute little Boxy Bags! Can't believe it is Friday already, but I am looking forward to next week and I have been eyeing my leather stash!

There are still several weeks of fun - check out the Bag It Series at Elm Street Quilts! 

Elm Street Quilts

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