Sunday, May 31, 2020

Slow Stitching and a vintage finish

Well, we made it through our first heat wave of the season and are having a much cooler weekend...but perfect for getting some gardening accomplished!

I was ready to give up on my perennial bed, but we're giving it one more shot. Hopefully the work we do this weekend will pay off in the long run. 

This time of year is so lush and beautiful and a couple of favourites in the garden are my Weeping Cherry tree...

...and my Canadian Redbud tree, which was just humming this week with big, fat bumblebees. They are so intent on their work that you can get up close for pictures...

Even though we have a lot more to accomplish outside in the garden today while it's still nice and cool out, I hope to get a bit more knitting done. I'm liking that I can knit outside in the warm weather....something that wasn't easy when I would take applique outside. This week I started another Christmas present, a pair of socks  knitted from the toe up....

Knitting socks from the toe up is something new to me this last year and I quite like it. This pattern called for the Judy's Magic Cast On. I have tried the Turkish Cast On and am liking the "Judy" method more. What did we do before YouTube!!

The colour-way for this yarn is Hamburger....I know the recipient of these socks will love it.


Recently I had fun doing some custom quilting on a vintage quilt top that I've had for 15 years. I bought a few vintage tops on Ebay back then, intending on practicing my longarm skills....but I've never taken the time to actually do anything with them.

With the slow-down caused by Covid-19 I thought I'd take the time to quilt this Double Wedding Ring quilt. Lol, I bought this top thinking it would be good practice for when someone would eventually bring  a DWR in to be quilted....but that's never happened.

I always love working on a vintage quilt....and I've done a few over the years. Most times it is someone bringing in a top that they've found in their grandmother's hope chest. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when working on these and I find myself smiling a lot when I work on them. I almost feel the original quilter's happiness on seeing her quilt being completed. I know some may say it's a shame they aren't being hand-quilted....and as a handquilter myself, I totally get that....but I also believe the piecer would like to know that her quilt was a "real quilt" to be loved and used, by whatever means possible.

This quilt was totally hand-pieced....quite fitting then that I talk about it on Slow Sunday Stitching day, don't you think??? I'm in awe of the work that went into this and would love to know how long it took.

I actually have a few questions about the quilt other than how long it took. Like, how come the piecer didn't try to remove the blood stains where she must have really jabbed herself with the needle?....

.....and why was there one piece of fabric removed from the quilt....and never replaced...

Luckily, I did have a piece of fabric that was a close match...

....and managed to piece it in, no problem...

As for the blood stains....I tried the old trick of using saliva to blot it out. It is always said that it should be your own saliva to get your own blood out of the quilt....and I do know that this works, from experience. I don't know if it's because the blood stain isn't my own, or that the stains have been there for decades, but it didn't work on this quilt....but worth a try!

I do have to say that this quilt had many "issues". It ranks second in quilts that had issues in all of my 16 years of longarm quilting. I could tell right away that not only could I not "quilt it out", but that I'd have to disregard the fullness in spots and have puckers fall where they may. It was by no means going to be a "show quilt"...but that's ok, since it was always meant for practicing on. That being said, there are many quilting errors that I made in the quilt....on a client's quilt, or one of my own, I would have picked these mistakes out...but I didn't bother on this one. Most of the quilting problems were by me trying to become ambidextrous with the ruler-work....I think I need more practice!

I was going to use 80/20 batting in the quilt, as I thought it would have a more authentic look....but I chose wool batting hoping to fill out some of the fullness with the batting's loftiness. It didn't work, but I do love the feel of a quilt with wool batting!

Here are a few photos of the fun I had with the quilting...

I do regret not doing something a bit more creative in the green/pink 4-patches. These were actually the most troublesome parts of the quilt so maybe if I'd quilted them differently it would have hidden the fact a bit more. Oh, well! 

You can see how the wool really gives definition to the quilting. In the end, I absolutely love this quilt. It is about 80" square and I do intend on using it as it is so soft and cozy.

On a quilt with scalloped edges you really do have to use a bias binding to make the job easier...but what a pain doing all of those inside corners. Plus, I don't know if there is a way to calculate how much binding you actually need for these quilts, but if there is I don't know of it. Luckily, I made too much binding rather than too little.

....usually I attach the binding while the quilt is still on the longarm, but not with this one. I forgot how cumbersome it is attaching it with the domestic machine.

Now, I'm itching to make my own Double Wedding Ring quilt. I've only made one once before, probably 20 years ago. It was one someone paid me to make, so it's not even my own. 

I did find the book I used to make it's a book by John Flynn and has a slick trick to make it an easier process. After I finish the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt (which I need to get done soon for a gift), I hope to start on a DWR of my own so I don't forget and never do it.

That is a picture of the quilt before I started sewing down the binding....but that is done now and, after many, many decades of when the quilt was first started, it's now a real quilt and I'm very happy with it. I enjoyed the quilting and I will enjoy using the quilt :)

Something I have not made at all is face masks. I've done gowns for our local nursing home, and many scrub caps. I had been using my running buffs for a face covering but now I have a mask custom-made for myself by my running buddy, Paula...

It's actually a sad state of affairs that putting on a mask has become the new normal :(

I appreciate, though, how lucky I am that I don't have to wear one constantly like some other people do in their jobs. 

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching. It's quite chilly this morning, so I think I'll have another cup of coffee and see what others are working on today before I head outside. 

(Hopefully this post turns out ok, as there is a new Blogger format that I'm trying for the first time.)