Tuesday, November 29, 2022

One of Those Days!

It's one of those days!  I'm on fire -- everything is going better than expected.  The arthritis is calm, the bed sheets are hanging outside to dry (perhaps the last time this year),

I baked cranberry bread to share and eat, even froze extra cranberries
 for winter scones and bread,
and started to layer up an antique quilt top that I've owned for over 25 years
. . . . and that was all before noon!?!

Oh, and the sewer backed up in the basement . . . . . . . . . 


well, at least it did it on a "perky" day.  This has become an annual event and I should have called for a clean-out a month ago and I did think about it, but . . . . . . you know how that goes.  Happily, I have My Plumber on speed dial and the receptionist knows my name and the plumbers know where the clean out is and where to plug in the electric?!?
They'll be here late this afternoon and I've already cleaned up the mess inside.
(Should I resent the fact that I know how to use a shop vac?)

But I didn't let it ruin my day -- nope!
I'm going to show you some fun details about this antique quilt top!

I bought it in Texas during Quilt Festival about 30 years ago.  It was the inspiration for my (least successful) pattern -- Farmer's Medallion -- and I've tried to sell the top a few times but it's still here so I'm taking that as a sign to finish it and use it (gently).

Since there has been a real lack of progress on my 2022 goal -- only one small finish of a UFO for the past month -- and George (my APQS quilting machine) has been sitting ideal since late August, it's an easy project to tackle right now.  
This top is on my target list of UFO's to finish and well suited to simple quilting.
Then when I found enough fabric in the stash for the backing and enough batting -- karma!!

The first thing about this quilt top that caught my eye was the fabric -- lots of circa 1900 shirting plaids with a sprinkling of 1880's calicos.  But when I opened it up and started to study it, WOW!  
The woman who pieced this had a strong sense of graphic design.
(I've looked for a published "pattern" but finding none, I give her full design credit.)
Focus on the navy plaid.
If you trace it from one side of the picture to the opposite, you'll begin to see the graphic design and this repeats on all four sides and is echoed in the corners.

Identical blocks are positioned symmetrically around the quilt.  The 4-patches are in the corners,

 the 9-patches are at the center of each side, 
and the simple squares are centered around a large simple center block.
The rest of the blocks are a simple scrappy design rendered in "coordinated" values all the time and colors some of the time. 
I wish I could have watched her planning and piecing process -- it's so organized it seems planned but yet, the scrappy aspect of some of the fabrics implies spontaneity as well.  There are pink prints in specific locations but there is a variety of pink prints.  That black calico at the top edge of this block is likely a mourning print and there are just ten pieces in the quilt -- precious scraps from her mother or grandmother?

There are quite a few "patched" bits which aren't as apparent from the front as from the back.  This is something we rarely do in our work today because we have so much fabric and it's so easy to buy more.  But there's a kinship to be felt when you "patch" bits together to get a big enough triangle or square.  
And it's okay -- so much historic precedence exists in vintage quilts!! 
I wrote the pattern first as a mystery quilt for the regional quilt group here in Northeast Ohio and then went on to publish it.  I found a picture of one of the "mystery" versions made by my friend and student, Mary from Ravenna.  Even without seeing a picture of the quilt, she was able to achieve the strong graphic medallion of the original quilt top using just my guidelines for  value placement (dark, medium, light).
Would any of you be interesting in having a copy of the pattern?
Let me know in the comments.  I might still have a few copies around here?

The holiday lists are upon us and the pandemic is no longer quite so scary but I don't think the holidays will be quite the same as before Covid.  I'm trying to think how to enjoy less harried holidays this year -- easing back into "celebration" mode.
How about you?

Wishing you a peaceful start to December!

P.S.  I'm changing my email address -- the new one will be 
maryhueyquilts47 at gmail dot com
Make a note because the old one will be closed during December.




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