Monday, August 14, 2017

A quilt treasure

I am lucky enough to moonlight,very part time, at a really fun quilt shop, My Material Matters. The other day a customer came in with questions on how to repair and wash a quilt that they found in her families home.
When she took it out of the bag and laid it out on the table, I was in for a real treat.
It was a gorgeous antique redwork quilt.
I enjoy handwork, and love to see antique quilts, and I was enthralled with it.

It was in beautiful condition with the exception of some wear on the binding at the top of the quilt and a couple of tiny stains.
As we spread the quilt out more, I saw the date stitched into it......omg 1896! It's a wonder that is in such wonderful condition.

antique redwork quilt

1896 antique redwork quilt.

Not only that, but the stitching was wonderful, and the motifs and phrases were so unique and charming. What a treasure they had. She wasn't sure where it came from. It had a name on it (Edna) but she didn't know who Edna was. My mom's name is Edna, but she wouldn't give it to me....HAHAHAHA.  No really.

She had no knowledge of quilts and so I filled her in to the best of my knowledge. I then happily referred her to the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts in Cedarburg WI for further information and guidance.

Hopefully she was able to get more expert information and i hope the quilt will find a treasured place in her home, or in the museum.

Thistledownblog, antique quilt

Do you enjoy hand work such as hand quilting or hand embroidery? Obviously this person did!
I am so glad I was there when she brought it in and also happy that it didn't get discarded by the family. Do you have a plan for your quilts after your gone? perhaps it's time to think about your most treasured quilts and document where you want them to live. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

For you ....A tutorial on String-piecing a quilt block

Hi there, I've been a busy bee, I am redesigning my website for a more user friendly experience. In the process I've decided to place my tutorials over here on my blog.
Please bear with me. I am trying my best to get them all over here quickly.

The first one is a tutorial on how to String piece a quilt block.

 First... what is a string quilt? A quilt made from kite string? Butchers string? NO, not from literal strings.....
In the case of quilts, the term string, actually refers to strips of fabric. The fabric strips can be of almost any width. Usually 2-1/2" or less, all the way down to 1/2" if you dare.
The strips or "strings" are stitched side by side to a base foundation for the purpose of stabilizing any bias edges (especially if using scraps) and to keep the strings straight (not curving) and on course. In many cases, as in the tutorial below, the strings are stitched diagonally across the quilt block.
String quilts are a fabulous way to use up your stash for a scrappy look. you can also be more precise about color choices and placement for a more graphic and dramatic quilt.

Below is my tutorial for making a string quilt block using Whisperlite as the foundation instead of muslin or paper. You'll love it.
Enjoy stitching.

How to string piece a quilt block using Whisperlite tracer/foundation
String piecing is a great way to utilize your fabric scraps, use up some of your precious fabric stash, or, you can always go shopping at your favorite quilt shop for more.

String piecing on a foundation will stabilize your work along with any bias edges. Traditionally, muslin was used as a foundation, but muslin adds a lot of extra weight to your finished quilt. Sometimes paper foundations are used but then, when you are done stitching, you have to tear away all the paper. Groan.....
That is very messy, and time consuming. Don't know about you, but I'd rather spend my time stitching than tearing.
By using Whisperlite as the foundation, there is no need to remove it when you are done sewing, and it is super lightweight.  You can barely tell it is there.

You can "string piece" free form (without any drawn lines) or, if you like, you can draw the position and width of the strings directly on the whisperlite foundation. In this example I am showing a string pieced quilt block with the stitching lines drawn on the Whisperlite tracer foundation, and placed diagonally on the block foundation.

Step 1. Cut the Whisperlite foundation to the size of the block you want. Make sure to add your 1/4" seam allowance to all sides. Draw the stitching lines for the "strings" of your block with a regular pencil. The closer together the lines are, the smaller your strings will be. That means you can use narrower strips, but it also means more stitching. The strings can be of varying widths, and can be lined up evenly, or skewed like this example. It's up to you or the pattern you are using.

Step 2. Cut your fabric into 'strings" (strips) allowing extra width for seam allowances and placement. I cut most of mine 1-1/2" to 2-1/2" but again it's depends on your design. 
Place two of the strings right sides together, and place them under the Whisperlite with at least 1/4" extending past the line you are going to stitch on. 
You can start in the center as I did here, or, start from one corner and travel across the block.  
Pin the strings in place. 
Step 3. Stitch your first strings on the drawn stitching line, with the Whisperlite on the top, through all layers. I used a dark thread so you can see it better.

Step 2 - String Quilting quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company
Step 3 - String piecing quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company

Step 4.  Turn your block over so the fabric is on top, then flip the strips open as shown. Press. The new string should cover the next stitching line with an additional 1/4" for the next seam. You can hold and fold your strings as you put them in place to be sure they are wide enough before stitching them in place. If you are free-form stringing you don't have to worry about it.

string quilt block tutorial
Step 4 - String piecing quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company

Step 5.
  If your seam allowance of the just stitched seam is more than 1/4", trim the seam allowance to 1/4". Do this after adding each string.

String quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company
Step 5 - String piecing quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company

Step 6. Add another string to the last one sewn. Make sure that when you place it, that you have at least a 1/4" seam allowance past the next line that is on the foundation.

String quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company
Step 6 - String piecing quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company

Step 7. Continue adding strings until the entire block of the Whisperlite foundation is covered with fabric strings.
It's as easy as..... stitch, sew, trim, flip, press....repeat

String quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company
Step 7 - String piecing quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company

Step 8.
Turn the quilt block over to the wrong side and trim it square using the edges
 of the Whisperlite as your trimming guide, or use the markings on your ruler. may find yourself addicted to string piecing.  

string quilt tutorial Thistledown and company
Step 8 - String piecing quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company

Here's a block that I started from one corner and I have trimmed two sides.

I hope this tutorial fully explains String-piecing, or foundation-piecing to you. 
It's a fun technique, give it a try.

Whisperlite tracer/ foundation is sold by the yard. Whisperlite 42" wide. 
It is not a fusible product but you can iron it and fuse to it. 
You can find it here...or here.... or ask for it at your favorite quilt shop.

This is the pattern that inspired this tutorial.
Peppermint Strings - a Bed runner quilt pattern 
You can find it here

Peppermint String bed runner quilt pattern

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Happenstance Quilt Hexies

Here we are in 2017, and no, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I've fallen off my creative  groove. I guess it's only normal for that to happen now and then. Maybe it's winter.......

maybe it's this darn cold I have......anyway, I'm not going to dwell on it. Instead, I've decided to dive into a project.
Not that I don't have a few in the works LOL don't we all? This bout of doldrums calls for starting something new.
I was pondering a small wool hexi quilt. Hmmmmm, I went into my stash and dug out some pretty pastel colors to help chase away the gray of winter.....
I gave them a quick wash and dry so they'd be ready in the morning.

First I had to get breakfast out of the way so my empty tummy wouldn't interrupt me.
Then I figured I'd fire up the printer to print out a small hexi to make a template. (I really need to get a hex n' more ruler) anyway,  I guess I was on the right track to start with breakfast.
As happenstance would have it......I grabbed the cereal box, and there, right in my hand, was the hexi I was looking for. You just never know where  you'll find inspiration, or tools!
After I finished breakfast, I quickly set to cutting out my hexi's and headed to the studio to play.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

summer delights, summer fresh recipe

Summer continues to bestow us with fresh delights for our table.
It's sweet corn season in Wisconsin and we are making frequent trips to our favorite farm so we can enjoy it while we can. It is absolutely heavenly!

They also had a fun variety of colorful cauliflower...I didn't know it was available in purple now.
How fun!

 and then there are the luscious tomatoes on sale.....

My sister-in-law, Lisa, shared some of her summer squash with us and we found a great recipe for a cold summer salad.

Here's the recipe:

2 cups julienned zucchini
2 cups julienned yellow summer squash
1 cups thinly sliced radishes
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
3/4 tsp. dill weed
3/4 tsp. slat
1/4 tsp. pepper

Yield 6-8 servings
In a large bowl toss together the veggies. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake well. Pour over veggies and toss to coat. Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
I found this in the Aug/Sept. issue of "Our Wisconsin" magazine. It's tasty and refreshing.

I actually found some remnants of one of my favorite veggie fabrics in my stash and used it up to make some veggie hot pads for the kitchen. I should have purchased more of this fabric.....drat.

I hope you are enjoying the waning days of summer. Soon, a new season will be stepping in.
After living in Florida for 40 years, we are enjoying the change of seasons. Even if it means one of them contains snow.
Though Florida has seasons, they are less distinct. One of the Florida seasons involves lots of tourists, and the other consists of lots of rain, heat and storms.

I am loving the multitude of wildflowers that grace the Wisconsin countryside and all the beautiful annuals and perennials in the garden.
The black-eyed Susan's are bursting in blossom right now. So pretty.
Try to take some time to go out and enjoy the end of summer and all it's delights. 
Plan your stitching projects for nighttime, and the cold that will be settling in eventually.