Wednesday, 4 June 2008

something different

Dear Lene,

I think I'm starting to feel a little bored - same block, same colors - all of the pictures are more of the same. You mentioned the other day that you were feeling tired of the large, bold pieces in your block. I started my second block on Friday, and had been looking forward to the 'challenge' of the appliquéd scallops in the center. But once I started, I found it quickly got tiresome. It really is a challenge, and as I'm still using the freezer paper on top of the fabric, handling the whole thing with the huge piece of freezer paper is awkward. (Although I guess that it gives me something to look forward to, starting the leaves and stems for the second block, which will be a relief after all those scallops.)

So, I got a little distracted. I had enjoyed hand piecing my tulip flowers, more than I really expected to. They were small and portable, and the running stitch was a nice change from appliqué. Kathie had posted a while ago about a new book, Childhood Treasures: Quilts by and for Children (by Merikay Waldvogel), and I got myself a copy and just love it. I have several books on antique crib and doll quilts, and they're some of my favorites. Small, sometimes primitive, and often very inspiring. Childhood Treasures is all of those things.

There was one quilt in the book that immediately set me off on a tangent. Although maybe tangent isn't the right word, really. I have some blocks that are longstanding favorites, that I love the look of, and love to piece. One of them is called "Snowflake" (well, sometimes it's called that, there are several names for it but 'snowflake' is my favorite one).

A while back, I hand pieced a small top using the snowflake pattern alternated with another block:
This quilt top was a sample for a class I did on signature quilts and quilts with writing on them, several years ago. (All of the quotations deal with idleness and industriousness.) It was a quilt that didn't need to be hand pieced, but I did so anyway. The colors aren't really my usual choices either (well, except for the yellow, and the red) but I was trying to make something a little more modern - to fit in with the shop where I was teaching the class, I suppose.

One of my all-time favorite quilts - one that I own but didn't make is this top that I bought a number of years ago:

The blocks are quite small, just about 5" across. The picture above is just a small section of the quilt top.

This is a single block from it: The quilt top is entirely hand-pieced, with tiny 1/8" (or smaller!) seams.

I had thought I had a picture of another antique quilt I own in this pattern. It's a much larger scale than the one above, and is a signature quilt with the center square of each block signed by someone. Unfortunately, I seem to have neglected taking a picture of it, so that will have to wait for another time. (I do have pictures of another signature quilt that I own, but ... well, that one really deserves a post all it's own, so you'll have to be patient - sorry!)

Whilst reading through Childhood Treasures, I found a slightly - fatter? - version of the snowflake block that I really liked, and so I drafted the pattern (the book has no patterns, it's all history and pictures of old quilts) and started piecing a few blocks.

The blocks are 4.75" square, and I'm using a Japanese fabric (the dark one) and a Liberty of London fabric. I took this picture two days ago, and I have four of the blocks pieced now, and another four cut out and ready to sew. I find myself picking up the little pieces in every spare moment, as it's totally mindless sewing and very relaxing to do. It's going to be small, not even crib-sized. While I like the pattern and love working with the exquisite fabrics, I know I'll get bored quickly with a two-fabric, repeat block quilt. So I'm not going to go very far with it, just enough to get take an edge off the urge.

To really go on a tangent, I actually started a second hand piecing project...
Also very small (4.5") blocks. But a very different look, and a very different hand to the fabrics. These are coarser and go very quickly, with just five pieces per block. Again, this picture is from Tuesday, so ... there are eight of them now.

I'll be getting back to the appliqué quilt shortly, really. I haven't put it away at all, but the hand piecing is a lot easier right now, with all the stress of getting my daughter ready to go on her big summer trip, the little blocks are working out better right now for the time I have to work on these things. The center of the second appliqué block is halfway done, and I'm hoping that after Friday, I'll be able to give it more attention. I keep trying to tell myself that we're not racing to finish the big appliqué quilts, but I guess in the end this is just a note to let you know that while I may have slowed down with the Tulip quilt, I'm still sewing.


PS - I just remembered, aside from the snowflake signature quilt, I also have another in the same pattern, with no signatures on it, as well as another old top in a similar pattern (but it omits the center squares, so it's more of an "X" in the middle of a square block). I told you this was one of my favorite patterns! I'll take more pictures soon...


carolyn said...

these are all lots of fun. exciting!! :)

Anonymous said...

I quite like the colours on that top one, though that green isn't one of my favourites. They look a bit old fashioned to me though I don't know why. Maybe just the flowers or something. I tend to like the more modern stuff. And that last set of squares is really lovely. I'd like to see what that becomes.

Marianne said...

Cassie, love the little pieced squares and 'snowflake' quilt. Seeing your little pieced squares has me thinking about my 'piece basket' :^) I really like the red and black ones.

beadlizard said...

C, what part of a quilt is the equivalent of sleeves?

I find I need to have balancing projects, too, and cannot spend all my time on simply one thing, unless life itself is varied. Fina has been my sole project for many months and provides a thread of continuity in my constantly changing world.

I like the potential of the pink/black design very much.

Meredith said...

Thanks for starting the blog I have been enjoying reading your letter to each other. I like seeing the process and that you are doing work by hand. I enjoy hand work myself. I am always interested in how others hand quilt or hand appliaue and what products they use. NOw I get to enjoy each of you as you travel along the process.

elizabeth said...

I have to know about the quotes - what do they say and how on earth did you find fabric with quotes on it in just the right size?!?!