Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Doug in his kilt

Doug was playing a wedding.  It was Hawaiian theme.  so I wore a denim skirt and was holding his stuff.  Ignore me...The good looking guy in the kilt is my hubby

Saturday, January 14, 2012

a scan of what I have done so far....

This is my practice piece for the month of January 2012--the stitches included are: Straight Stitch Family  that includes straight, fan, Holbien, back stitch and shapes made with straight stitches.  The red leaf laying on its side was supposed to look like it had a higher spot but it just looks silly to me.  the empty blocks on the right of the square targets are supposed to have pink parts.  Yes I didn't get any further before I had to post it for the embroidery class I am taking.  I have 2 more weeks to go on this part so we will see how much room I actually use up on this piece of aida 14 count.  The empty white space can be filled in and below the line could become the February part.  I will post as I get things done...(supposed to do it weekly for
the class) so everyone can see how it is going.

This is the first "block quilt" block that I have gotten done.  At least it shows the colors even tho it can't show all the block.  My scanner is only so wide.  I will eventually embroider over all the seams much like a crazy quilt and add tatting, ribbon, etc to the blocks.  So far the colors are lilac, light blue, red, orange, navy blue, azure (aka turquoise), leaf green, pink, and yellow.  If I run out I will add more gingham colors..I need 43 blocks like these (12X12) , 44 more blocks that will be solids or prints in the same colors (or 44 gingham and 43 solid/print). Plus the 12 monthly design blocks...(We get to do something with the stitches that were practiced each month) for a total of 99 blocks for an 9X11 (99 blocks) quilt that will cover our bed and hang down far enough to cover the mattress and springs.  I am thinking about doing the "practice" pieces somehow to make 2 pillow shams.   I am conflicted as they are just "practices" and not meant to be "used" but I don't want to waste the time, thread, aida cloth (Okay Grama Dean don't get huffy I won't waste them...[see previous post]) so I think they may become part of pillow shams as I will have 12 blocks in 12 colors it will look okay from that stand point.  Any ideas would be appreciated for how to do the pillow shams--they won't be done for at least 12 more months before I can even think of doing them....the quilt has to come first.

Peace, C

Friday, January 13, 2012

I have been encouraged to write about my great grandmothers quilt.  First off it was made in the late 1800's--probably 1875-1890) from flour sacks...yes cloth flour sacks that she acquired over time. A short--very short--version of the story of her life.  Skip down to the next paragraph if you don't want to read it and just read about the quilt...

My great-grandmother was born in Ireland in 1864...She came to the US on a sailing ship in 1868 and learned to write from a woman who asked that she write something every day...She did...at first it was things like "I saw 3 birds today." and as she grew up the journal entries "grew up" too with messages about her life---the good and the bad.  She had more than a hundred journals at her death in 1968 just a few days before her 104th birthday.  I have had the privilege of reading most of her journals which are now archived and available only to family members or those with a reason to use them for research (I took notes as she was an incredible lady).  She lost everything in that house to a fire--the quilt was the one loss she grieved for the longest.  I do have her notes about the quilt tho...no pictures.

Now back to the quilt....she, my great-grandmother-Gertrude Dean,  was able to occasionally keep 1 flour sack for her quilt.  The rest were made into clothing for her husband, children and herself.  (Times were hard, money was tight, but as she said in the mid 1960's no one knew times were hard they just lived and enjoyed life as it came so don't pity her or anyone else of that time.)  She decided to learn to embroider...she wanted to make something "fancy" and not the plain, utilitarian things that she always had as something for her first "real house" (think walls with windows and a door, roof, kitchen/living room combination and 2 bedrooms--1 for she and hubby and 1 for the kids--all 5 of them) not the dugout shanty against a hill that they had lived in for years.  She would make a quilt for their bed. Yes it was still utilitarian but this one would be beautiful and have embroidery on it--she could dream of a fine house.  She found someone about 3 miles away and would walk over once every 2 weeks to learn a new stitch.  She could not go more often as work had to be done first and weather had to be taken int account.  She saved up for "real embroidery thread" by  using only half as much coffee (and only throwing out the grounds every other day) in each pot every day so she could save up for for a fine needle, thread and the highly desirable "real" hoop not stretchers made from tree branches.  Her quilt was coffee dyed cloth with white thread embroidery. Sewing thread was pulled from the sacks...but real thread or embroidery thread came in a skein and was 2 skeins for a penny.  The embroidery would be white on the ecru sacks--double thickness (both thread and sacks) for strength..  She would dye the sacks then boil them in the wash water to set the dye.  Each of her blocks (the quilt was 5 feet by 6 feet and her bed barely 4 ft across--mine will dwarf hers) would be a different stitch in a different design with any variations she could think up. Additional blocks would be from what was left after making clothing--pieced together and little designs stitched on each one.  We now have names for most of the stitches she used--she just called it "fine embroidery stitches".  She would not be pleased with my hand sewn seams..stitches were 10 or 12 to the inch--tiny and almost machine like when she did them even when she was in her 90's!  Mine are bigger and not even...lets not go there...

My quilt will have 12 blocks...12 colors...12 months...and also gingham blocks (see previous post for one) and maybe some additional blocks of a soft print in the same colors as the gingham (all the blocks will be 12X12 inches square when finished)...I do need 99 blocks for my queen size bed after all (9ft. X11ft. so it hangs over the edges and hides the box springs too--both sides and at the foot) .  I am using unbleached muslin for the embroidered blocks.  Embroidery thread ($0.40 each skein) in 12 different colors all store bought just for the quilt...talk about frivolous.  I am thinking about using my "practice pieces" as a basis for pillow shams--with tiny blocks of the additional fabric as edgings as needed.  I just can't shake the feeling that I should not waste any of the material!! Gertrude Dean would not tolerate waste...use it, re-use it, make do with using it some more--the original recycling concept!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

playing catch up still.....

Friends, as you know from my earlier post I had a rough week of driving to start 2012 off...That put me a week behind on my beginner Take A Stitch Tuesday...I am frantically trying to catch up and think by tomorrow I may be getting close...not fully caught up but close enough to not embarrass myself with a picture....well actually a scan of what I am doing...but for the time being...I want to show one of the quilt blocks... It needs to be ironed and is actually 12" by 12" so each of the gingham blocks is actually 4" square when sewn in...and the scanner didn't get all of it but you see the colors...

Yes I will be embroidering the block edges and adding some tatting as well.  Now for a bit more info on these blocks...There will be either 87 or 44 or 43 of the gingham blocks.  I am doing 12 additional "sampler" blocks of the stitches I am learning in the beginner TAST aka Take A Stitch Tuesday that are plain muslin with the embroidery on it...different color each month and new stitches as well that will be arranged on the top of the quilt.  I am considering making 43 or 44 of the blocks the same basic color but with a polka dot or a small design...in the same colors as the gingham blocks.  I have looked at the store and can find only 2 colors in the polka dots--red and navy blue but all except orange and navy blue with the a tiny floral pattern that will be a nice change of pace.  But  I will be working on this project for a full year plus so don't expect fast decisions or postings.  I am expected to post progress weekly so I ~will~ do that...LOL.  I like the gingham but think a queen size quilt 9 blocks across the bed by 11 blocks long might need some other blocks to set it off a bit more.  It is not a crazy quilt but a block quilt.  As I said it is a work in progress....we'll see how it goes.  I would call the quilt a "Sampling of embroidery quilt" if I had to give it a name. 

A quick summary of the blocks as that can make it easier to visualize:  12 Sampler embroidered  blocks with 12 different colors (red, red-orange, orange,  yellow orange, yellow, yellow green, green, blue green, blue, blue violet, violet and red violet--1 color per block basically  with 3 a dark, medium and light of each color to highlight different effects). Next on the hit parade is the gingham blocks.  If I don't have enough material of these colors or can't get one (or more) of the colors I will add an additional color as needed to make  all the blocks.  That is why I am also considering adding a quiet floral or polka dots as 12 inch blocks too.  I need a total of 99 blocks (12 sampler and 87 other blocks).  Thoughts of others are nice but realize this is "MY" quilt.  ( Sorry a bit of ego sneaked in...)
Peace and hugs

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Welcome to the New Year

Welcome to 2012  a new year and a new attempt at doing this blog...hopefully better or at least more often than in the past.

In December as I was making bad lazy daisies around all the birthdays and anniversaries in my family (sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews as well as immediate family) on cloth calenders...I made a crazy decision...in 2012 I would learn to do embroidery better and correctly.  I joined a group and I must post to them weekly...this blog may benefit if nothing more than duplicate posts...

Each month (yes all 12!!) we will be learning a new stitch and some variations on it.  January is Red and the stitch is the seed stitch aka straight stitch aka running stitch.  The trick is to make them even and have them look good.  I should post again on Saturday...if I get it done on time...I may have to play catch up next week with 2 posts...hmmmm (already behind....sheesh and it is only 6 days into January).  The rest of the month is devoted to variations or so I think...

On December 23 we headed to my MIL's for a Christmas gathering with all Doug's siblings and families.  It was a good Christmas...a bit non traditional as we did presents on Thursday the 29th and had chili for dinner.  Beth was able to join us from Bismarck ND--a long solo drive for her.  On Dec 30 Beth headed toward our house in Stillwater OK (She wanted to spend new Years eve with a friend in north Oklahoma.) and we headed out on the 31st.  We had awesome weather for driving except for about 2 hours of misty rain right at the start.  We arrived home on Jan 1 about 3 AM  slept awhile and started helping pack all Beth's stuff from her rental storage into her truck, a UHaul trailer, our truck and brought everything to the house including her 16 ft fishing boat.  On January 2 we headed out for Bismarck ND as a parade....LOL  Alright make it a caravan...truck with boat (trailer) then truck with UHaul trailer....we made it to Bismarck in time to get the boat to a new storage place, unload the trailer and get it returned to a UHaul rental place, get the paperwork all straight for her apartment and have dinner on the 3rd.  We were exhausted....totally EXHAUSTED!  We got Beth's bed set up and we (Doug and I) went to sleep.  Beth on the other hand...emptied her truck and set up a cot.  Energy of a young adult as compared to us older parents--we remember when we could have done that too...On the morning of the 4th we headed back to Stillwater...made it to Concordia KS before getting too tired to continue.  Arrived in Stillwater about 2:30 in the afternoon on the 5th.  I learned 2 things...First,  I am too old to drive that far (5 1/2 days with no days off) and Second, driving past 10 PM is insane no matter when you got up.  According to Map Quest it is 3136.79 miles We did it in 5.5 days!!!

The above paragraph is why I am behind with my embroidery class.  Life happens...  

On a side note the UHaul place had a B-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-D day on the 3rd.  At about 4 in the afternoon one of their big commercial trailers came loose from the Semi/Tractor on the interstate and they were busy until well after dark cleaning it up.  The only good thing...no one was killed....stuff can be replaced.  I actually felt sorry for them.  They happened to stop by the office as we were trying to drop off the little rental trailer...5X8 not the huge thing they were dealing with.  They said they would do the paperwork in the morning.  I hope the rest of 2012 goes a lot better for them! (And for everyone!!!)

Peace, Cyn