Welcome

I'm glad you stopped by my blog. I am happy to share all the content with you and hope that you find something here that is helpful. However, everything here - text, photos, recipes, and so on - is my personal property and has my copyright on it. You may only copy and use any of it with my written permission. Ahh, but you already knew that, didn't you?

Friday, July 29, 2011

A new project


Hi all,
I sort of keep a list going of quilts I want to make.  It is  my policy to only have one quilt to be quilted at a time.  Miniatures are hard to quilt and I don't want a stack of them waiting for me to do.  So, I try to have only one that is in the process of being quilted and only one that is being pieced at a time. However, sometimes I just go off on a tangent and do something out of the blue.  The other day I was looking through  The Art of the Needle   100 Masterpiece Quilts from the Shelburne Museum  and saw a wonderful little crib quilt.  I had to stop everything and make one.  Since it is a miniature version of a crib quilt, it is going to be very small.  The background fabric shown above is from the 1840's, however I believe the other two fabrics are even older.  The blocks are 1.75" square.  It is a bit odd to have a sawtooth star and a Le Moyne star block the same size, but that is the way the original quilt maker did it, so that is what I am doing.
Till next time, keep cool.........
Sheila

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Brackman Block and my process

Hi to all,
It was my intention to show you my process for making blocks this week.  Turns out this is a bit of an unusual block for this project, but decided to show you anyway.
Note: clicking on the photos will give you a larger view.

Step One: I print out the block as shown on The Civil War Blog by Barbara Brackman. Next, I draw the block in Electric Quilt and print out the block templates on card stock.  Yes, I use templates.  A word that sends terror into the heart of most modern quilters.  Sigh.  I don't really understand that.  With EQ, it is so fast and so easy and so very accurate to just print out templates.  But, to continue with my process...

Step Two:  Cut out the template in a window style.  That allows marking both the cutting and the seam line.  Run it through a Xyron machine.  The model shown here was purchased at Wal Mart.  It puts glue on the back of the template and prevents it from slipping when placed on the wrong side of the fabric for marking.  It will stick a few times and then it has to be run through again or tossed.  Since we are doing only one block, this method is fast and easy. 
Cut out all the fabric pieces for the block and sew together.  I do this by hand, but a sewing machine would work just as well.

Step Three:  This is a step unique to this block.  I used a Tim Holtz die cutting machine to make an applique template for the star.  You see all the star dies I just happened to have.  Happily, one of them will work.  I used the negative part to find the proper placement on the fabric for the star.  Then I ran the die cut star through the Xyron and stuck it to the right side of the fabric.  I marked around it on the right side with a black Pigma pen.  Then I creased the fabric on the lines by hand and pressed the star with an iron. Now it is ready to applique onto the background.
That is basically how I make quilts.  This is the same process I used for the Miniature Mariner's Compass Quilt and lots of others - except for using the die cutting machine, of course.
If you have any questions, let me know.  Till next time...
Sheila

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Brackman Block

Hi to all,
Just trying to stay caught up on the Civil War Block of the Week.  Barbara Brackman has a wonderful give away going right now here, so go leave a comment and good luck to us all! 
This week's block was fun and easy.  Just what we like for a fun project.
Till next time.....
Sheila

Monday, July 11, 2011

Two things....

Here is the current Brackman Block.  I am happy to be caught up and staying current.  Just a reminder - I am using the same plain background fabric in all the blocks to keep the 4" blocks from being too busy.  I had to go back and change a couple of blocks, as in the beginning of this project I forgot what I was doing and didn't use the plain fabric in all of them.  Isn't getting old fun????
Karen at the Log Cabin Quilter ( click on the name to visit her blog.) left a comment saying that she was surprised I was hand piecing the Miniature Bethlehem Star.  She has a wonderful blog that showcases the lovely work she does, so check it out.  She mentioned that she had successfully pieced a couple of these quilts by machine.  Judging from her blog, I am sure the quilts were very nice indeed!  (Time out right here to thank everyone who troubles themselves to leave comments.  Bloggers love comments and I am no exception.)  Anyway, thought I would elaborate on why I am doing this series of quilts that way.  Here goes:
In late 2008, I started the series now called the Portfolio Series.  I wanted to do a whole bunch of quilts made with antique fabrics.  The date of the fabrics would be in keeping with the style of the quilt.  All these quilts would be roughly the same size.  The maximum size that will fit in my artist's portfolio is 13.625" x 15.5".  That is not very big for a quilt. It presents a lot of problems to overcome.  One problem is seam allowances - a quarter inch is just not going to work when you are making quilts on this scale.  It is possible to piece them with a quarter inch and then trim the seam allowance down.  So, that method is a good one to use if you are machine piecing.  Another machine method is foundation paper piecing.  A very accurate method and I have nothing against it other than I personally don't enjoy doing it and it gives a certain look to the finished product that I am not after.  I am trying to create miniature versions of antique quilts.  I want you to look at a photo of these quilts and think that it is a full size antique quilt.  That is my goal.  Why?  I don't know.  I just enjoy doing it.  So, after much experimentation and thought over the years, by 2008 I knew what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it.  Hand piecing.  I find it to be straight forward and relaxing.  For me it is the easiest way to achieve my goals.  It is also in keeping with the way a lot of those original quilts were made.  I also hand quilt all the quilts in this series.  I do not have anything against machine piecing.  I have machine pieced full sized quilts in the past and have had some of them machine quilted.  It is just not what I chose to do for my miniature series. Hopefully the photo above gives you some idea of how small the pieces are and you can see why hand piecing just turns out to be easier.
Let me know what you think.......
Sheila


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Works in Progress

Here's my current projects:

1. The Hex/Star you have all seen before.  I am currently hand quilting it.
2.   This is the backing for the Hex/Star.  Yes, it is blue and this fabric doesn't appear anywhere in the top.  This is in keeping with the practices used by the Pennsylvania Germans ca. 1870.  There is a quarter next to it for scaling purposes.
3.  A Bethlehem Star that I am hand piecing. This is my second one.  The first one I made was ca. 1870's fabrics and is in the International Quilt Museum at the University of Nebraska.  This version is made with ca. 1840's fabrics. 
 4.  This is a possible pieced border for the Bethlehem Star. 

That's all I am working on right now.
Till next time.....
Sheila

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Playing Catch Up

This will be a long, long post.  Here are all my Brackman blocks:














Now I am caught up!  Yippee.  Happy Fourth of July weekend to all of you,
Sheila