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Friday, March 23, 2012

Antique Quilt Top

Here is a new-to-me antique quilt top.  That is Gizmo in the middle of it.  I threw it on the love seat and half a second later he was in the middle of it.  I suspect the double pink of the alternate blocks is a bit newer than the fabrics in the blocks, but I could be mistaken.  Dating fabric is tricky business and even though I study antique fabrics, quilts and tops all the time, some fabrics were made for such a long time that dating them is somewhere between science and art.  The blocks are primarily browns with some very nice indigo thrown in.  It is a nice top and finding it at our local antique store was fun. 
About the Giz - last week he had to visit the local vet clinic.  He has had a mysterious skin rash off and on for a long time.  None of the vets in the past were able to diagnose it.  This vet says it is an auto immune thing probably caused by an inability to digest gluten and corn.  Commercial cat food is full of both those things, with lots of other chemicals thrown in.  None of my friends can believe it, as I have the same condition, but throw in inability to digest starch as well.  I suspect that Gizmo shouldn't eat any starch either and I am not backing down from that opinion.  He now eats hypo-allergenic food which costs a small fortune.  He did not want to eat this food for awhile and was pretty unhappy with me for several days.  Plus he had two high power shots at the vet and had a reaction to them.  So, it has been rough for awhile, but he is looking so much better and the rash is disappearing.  Hooray! Oh, by the way, he weighs 16 pounds and 7 ounces.  We were outside one day and I heard a girl say, OMG, What is that!!!!  It scared me and I spun around expecting to see a rabid raccoon or something and she was looking at us.  A young man at the vet's asked me if I had a Pomeranian in the pet taxi.  Nope, just the Giz.
Till next time.........

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Deconstructed Quilt

When quilters find out that I am working exclusively with antique fabrics for my miniatures, they always say: "Where do you get your fabrics?"  Well, I get them anywhere I can.  In the past I have been reluctant to tell quilters that I take apart antique quilt tops and even quilts, as it is a controversial subject.  Although quilts are much harder to deconstruct, they yield yardage from their backs.  Above is my latest project.  We found this quilt in an antique mall this past weekend.  Here are some descriptions:

1.  These are blocks from the quilt.  As you can see, they are disintegrating.  Some of the blocks were done in silks and some in wools.  The wools appeared to be faring better than the silks, but turns out that they are rotten as well. 
2.  This is why I bought the quilt.  It yielded 3 pieces of 24 1/2" wide by 2 yards 10 inches long pieces of c. 1870 copper madder fabric in a very small print.  These pieces fill a huge gap in my stash.  It is very difficult to find madders that haven't disintegrated.  These pieces appear to be sturdy enough to use, although I will not be washing them.  You can frequently watch browns and blacks disappear when they hit the water.  I was thrilled to get this fabric. Quilters forget that even miniatures require more than scraps for backings and bindings.
3. - 6.  These are the fabrics hidden inside this quilt.  These are 9 1/2 squares that were used for foundations for the courthouse steps block.  Truly little treasures that were a surprise.  Normally muslin or some other utility fabric was used for foundation piecing.  Not so here!  The red is a lovely little piece that is c. 1850 and I will design a quilt around it some day.  I had none of this type of fabric in my stash.  It was the only square of it in the entire quilt. 
7.  This is the stack of blocks yet to be taken apart.  Although they are completely hand sewn, they are little terrors to take apart.  The seamstress/ seamstresses were very accomplished with a needle and made tiny stitches.  Not all the foundation pieces will be usable, as some are very fragile, but any of them that I can save is a bonus. 
8.  This is a little round sewing box that is filled with little oval containers and a pincushion in a tin.  I just threw it in the photo for fun - I came across it while going through some stuff the other day.  I made all of it based on antique spice tins I have seen in antique malls. 
Till next time.......

Monday, March 5, 2012



As soon as the Bethlehem Star was finished, I started looking for inspiration for a new miniature.  Sometimes new projects come to me with great difficulty.  There may be an idea in my head, but for whatever reason, it just won't come together for me.  Maybe I can't get the right combo of fabrics or maybe a test block just doesn't work for whatever reason.  Sometimes, however, a project practically comes together in moments.  This was the case here.  I picked up this book:
and started flipping through it and found the inspiration for my project.  It is named Multicolor Ocean Waves and I am sticking with that, just adding "Miniature" in front of the title.  I was off and running.  The half square triangle unit shown above on my finger finishes at 3/8" square.  It is pretty tiny and this quilt is chock full of them. As you can see, the pinwheel unit above is looking a little wonky. It represents one of the great difficulties of working on this scale.  Because the pieces are tiny and they are hand sewn, they get moved out of place.  I will go back and look at it and see what needs to be done to straighten it up.  Sometimes it is just repressing it properly and sometimes another stitch is needed to hold it.  Just suffice to say it is a constant battle.  This leads me to another thought - miniature quilts are really about problem solving  - looking at your work and figuring out what needs to be done to get back on the right track. 
Wish me luck.
Till next time.....................................................