Monday, July 27, 2015

The Generosity of Quilters

Charlotte Croft has sent us a photo of a quilt she just finished. It was made with fabric donated to her quilting group and she states that she made the quilt "just for fun." After completing it, she decided to give it to a local friend who is undergoing treatment for cancer. I just love the "heart" shape that the fabrics form, but then, when I think of it, everything Charlotte does is done with love.

Bargello quilt made by Charlotte Croft in VT

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Three-Flowered Sunflower Quilt

This six patch quilt with over-sized blocks was collected in New England.

This antique quilt once had green stems and leaves but was made with a cloth that did not stand the test of time. The greens have faded to tan colors. The green dye was "fugitive," as we say in the quilt history world. In its day, the quilt would have looked outstanding. Now, the unknowing would simply wonder why the quilter chose "tan" for this pattern.

This week I learned more about the origins of the pattern. In Blockbase and in her Encyclopedia of Pieced Patterns, Barbara Brackman lists the design as #773.5 or "Three-Flowered Sunflower," originally published by Ladies Art Company as pattern #74.

As was a common practice, the design was modified slightly (see Brackman #773.6), and was re-published as "Triple Sunflower" by three sources:  Clara Stone, Household Journal, and Carrie Hall. More recently, Kaye England published a similar pattern known as "Callie Lu's Sunflower". See

The size of the quilt probably indicates that it was for a cot or lap throw. It's always fun to learn more about antique quilts. I suspect that this quilt was made mid-19th century before published patterns for the design were available to the public. That is just a hunch. Thanks to Tim Latimer for looking up the Brackman numbers, and to Barbara Burnham who told me about the availability of Kaye England's pattern. I have ordered it and shall be eager to see it. Since I love this design, I may just make a quilt reproduction.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Operative Word = Done!

The other project I finished this week is a woven pocketbook. I used a pattern by Aunties Two. The process was a challenge! The end product is not perfect. Ya, ya..."the best laid plans of mice and men." I like the colors. I chose Civil War reproduction fabrics for the entire project. I would make some minor changes were I to make a second one, especially cutting the binding a bit larger to account for the thickness of the fused interfacing of the pockets on the inside. I would also place vertical strips more closely together when weaving, not leaving a space as suggested in the pattern. The result was a bit of scrunching of the strips on one end. Still and all, I am pleased to have finished this fashion accessory that is practical. I love the manner in which the strap is added. The pattern is sold at Keepsake Quilting (no affiliation).

Here is a photo.

Civil War reproduction fabrics in brown, green, blue, and gray were used to create this pocketbook.

Finished Project: Clematis Wall Quilt

Within the last week I finished two projects. The first one is a wall quilt that features an embroidered Clematis, an antique design that I found in an over-sized catalog of patterns from circa 1886. As suggested, I used variegated thread (floss) from Mexico for the Clematis flowers and the autumn colored leaves. I enjoyed the embroidery and liked hand-quilting the linen cloth background. When it came to choosing a border, I found the "perfect" one in my stash:  a Hoffman print that picks up the purple and the yellow-orange colors. Here is a photo.

"Clematis Flowers in Early Autumn"

Friday, July 10, 2015

A Nature Hike Proves Inspirational

You know, I must think I'll live forever. I keep adding on project after project, some of them long-term and with no idea when or if I will personally be able to finish them. According to statistics, anyone who makes it to my current age has about 20 years remaining. That does not seem like enough time to finish all the quilting and embroidery projects that I have already started. Thank goodness for long arm machine quilters. At least some of the quilts will be quilted. I certainly could not rely on my (slow) hand quilting to finish all of them.

Sometimes it is a good idea to spend a little time away from the studio in order to get energized again. A brisk walk helps to clear the cobwebs in one's head, after sitting too long. Yesterday, we decided to travel to Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, a quaint quintessential New England town with a town green that is flanked with historic homes. Rhododendron State Park, within the town's borders, was our destination.

The rhododendron plants are amazing in size. In some cases, they form a tunnel on either side of a narrow dirt path through the woods.

Rhodendrons in full bloom at Rhodendron State Park, Fitzwilliam, NH

We took the trail that was one mile long and for the entire way, there were rhododendrons visible, some as tall as 15 feet tall or perhaps more. While the flower heads have no fragrance, noticeable by man, they do attract the bumblebees. This wild plantation represents the northernmost reach of this particular kind of rhododendron. There is an additional trail that features wildflowers and forms a three mile loop. We saved that for another time.

Now back to the studio. What will I work on today? Embroidery!

Patricia Cummings
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