Saturday, September 26, 2015

"Fireside Visitor" Quilt

Awhile ago I was browsing in an antiques shop in Vermont and I saw a quilt that had been set in a basket under a heavy iron object. It was necessary to remove the object and extract the quilt in order to see it better. I love scrap quilts and this quilt was very appealing! Taking it home, I looked up the pattern name and found that the quilt block is called "Fireside Visitor," a charming title that seems appropriate for this "warm" quilt.

"Fireside Visitor" c. 1920. Photo by James Cummings,
Quilter's Muse Publications

The quilt is based on a rather simple block construction but the way the quilter manipulated her scraps, the result looks very complex. The pattern was published in 1906 and the designer credited is Clara A. Stone, a fictitious name for someone who apparently wanted to remain anonymous for whatever reason. I love the design and I love this quilt!

Patricia L. Cummings

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Almost Winter" Wall Quilt

"Almost Winter" is the name of a small wall quilt I just designed and am working on. I have machine-quilted it but will add more quilting by hand between some of the strips. The theme I chose is Nature and even though it is a strip quilt made in the traditional pattern of "Chinese Coins," I picked fabrics from my fabric stash that would reflect the colors of Autumn:  yellow, orange, rust, and brown.

"Almost Winter," an original wall quilt designed by Patricia Cummings

For interest's sake, I varied the size of the strips. Some are cut as small as 1 1/4" and the largest are cut at 2 1/4". I found it easiest to cut the strips width-wise at 6" since that is the width of my rotary ruler. After sewing the strips together, vertically, I trimmed them to 5 3/4". It is nearly impossible to sew a set of strips together and have them come out exactly the same size! The sashings and borders were cut at 2 1/4" and so were the binding strips (which were folded in half before applying them). The total finished size of the quilt is 20" long x 23 1/4" wide.

I've yet to add the sleeve on the back and the label but those will wait until I add some more quilting by hand between some of the strips for stability. I decided to add some striped fabrics and one with polka dots. One fabric was not printed on the straight of the grain and I added it, just the way it was sold as a fabric strip from a jelly roll packet.

The fun of the quilt was playing with colors and auditioning how they would interact with each other. Luckily, I found the perfect backing fabric in my stash. It has figures that look like snowflakes and is a yellow-orange in color. Now to make the label, always the finishing touch to any quilt I make. Hope you have enjoyed seeing my latest quilt.

A book review I posted this week is "Pagtinabangay: The Quilts and Quiltmakers of Caohagan Island" found on my website under the category of "Quilts."

Happy Quilting!

Patricia Cummings

Monday, September 21, 2015

New Book Review: Pagtinabangay

Sometimes a book comes along that is so special one can hardly put it down. Such is the case with the book Pagtinabangay:  Quilts and Quiltmakers of Caohagan Island by Dana E. Jones. This morning, after finishing the book last night, I rose early and wrote a book review, complete with a link as to where one can order it, and published that information to my website:

I hope you will enjoy reading more about the quilters. There is much to tell and the 190 page book covers the topic very well!

Patricia L. Cummings
Quilter's Muse Publications

Saturday, September 19, 2015

In Quilting There's Always Plan B

Sometimes things turn out the way they are supposed to. Case in point:  I bought some yardage of a fabric by Brenda Manges Papadakis of "Dear Jane" fame. The printed cloth, inspired by quilt blocks of the famous quilt in the collection of the Bennington Museum in Vermont, was to serve as "cheater cloth" or "imitation patchwork." In other words, the quilter did not have to spend her life piecing tiny blocks. From a distance, the quilt would appear pieced although it is one piece of continuous wholecloth. I purchased border fabric at the same time. Both fabrics are updated, color-wise, to reflect pastel and other clear, upbeat colors favored by today's quilters; not the browns and dark colors present in the original quilt made in 1863 by Jane A. Stickle, a Vermont invalid who won a prize for her Civil War quilt "In Time of War" and certainly had time on her hands to make such an intricate masterpiece.

First, I trimmed up the main part of the quilt, making sure the edges were straight and true. Then, when I went to cut the borders, I had made the first cut when I realized that I was cutting in the wrong place. A Plan B was in order. I re-thought how I could cut the borders so that I could avoid having to make bias binding to go around each of the very small scallops that were to form the outside perimeter of the quilt. I continued working and sewed the borders on, my way.

"Imitation Patchwork" quilt assembled by Patricia Cummings;
machine-quilted by Tracy Szanto of Dreamland Machine Quilting, Penacook, NH

The quilt does not look like that of Jane Stickle. It is rectangular and does not have corners that jut out. Ultimately, I decided that I preferred my way of putting the quilt together. I decided to have the quilt machine-quilted with an Easy Loop stitch and I bound the quilt with the same fabric used for the backing, kind of a mottled cream-color fabric. In the end, I really like the quilt about which I'd had reservations. Perhaps it is "one-of-a-kind." I had to think outside the box to solve a problem and I like the result. Isn't quilting about having fun?

Happy Quilting!

Patricia Cummings

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

NH Farm Museum Worth the Trip

Recently we visited the New Hampshire Farm Museum located in Milton, New Hampshire. More than 20 years had passed since I had been there, demonstrating quilting and embroidery at one of their Saturday events, as a member of the Embroiderer's Guild of America. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

One first passes through the Gift Shop which is set up in an old barn. There, one pays admission and then is directed to view a film about farm life in past centuries that was made by the University of New Hampshire. The filmmakers interviewed elderly people who had memories of growing up on a farm. From there, one steps into another part of the former horse barn and sees three quilts on display. A Rose of Sharon appliqued wedding quilt shares one wall with a pieced four-patch quilt made from fabrics from a Manchester, NH handkerchief mill. The opposite wall features a quilt made by the Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild in Wolfeboro, NH. That quilt, made in 1989, has a central oval that depicts the yellow buildings of the farm, sheep out front, foliage, etc. and is surrounded by traditional quilt blocks made by members of the guild.

Guided tours of the old farmhouse, once a "tavern," are available periodically throughout the day. One room is now dedicated as a study room for weaving and spinning and implements for processing flax into linen can be seen, as well as dye stuffs, and two working barn looms. Throughout the house, quilts that were donated to the museum are displayed on walls and on one small quilt rack. A magnificent Crazy Quilt adorns the wall of a Victorian parlor. An adjacent room features a large doll house and a wooden doll bed made by one of the former residents of the house. Old implements, tools, and textiles are on view in other rooms and provide a sort of timeline of progress.

German peg doll dressed in English 19th century costume

The doll shown here was purchased at the museum's gift shop.
She came with fabric and a pattern to make her dress and