Sunday, September 27, 2015

Cherry Tree, CCC #33 progress, & the countdown for SVBA quit

With several project in progress, what fun it is to be able to do a little of this and that as the fancy strikes me! Most attention has been given to Cherry Tree blocks. Mom bought this pattern for my birthday this year and I am making big strides with these beautiful large blocks (18 inch background).

Beyond the Cherry Tree
While the first block I began is still in progress (shown in previous post), I cut out three more and basted some pieces on the background while other pieces are still pinned. I sewed a little on the pineapple stems and one pineapple crown - just because they were calling me to sew them instead of just put in a few basting stitches, I sewed now!
Choosing the fabric and getting in this state of readiness then allows me to pick up and sew or take with me if there is an opportunity for hand sewing. I am using the many green and reds and a few yellows that I have in the stash from other circa 1850s applique work.

Next, the Shennandoah Valley Botanical Quilt block Sew-Along type blog is kicking off on Oct. 1st. As shown previously, I have printed off patterns and prepared a folder for all blocks. Now I have begun to trace off my desired 14" sized blocks. All the time it takes tracing on freezer paper makes me wish for the ability to copy the pattern directly on freezer paper using the printer...but I have neither the proper paper nor the proper printer (it is a laser printer and I think not amiable to freezer paper pages). If someone knows something different let me know. Tracing is at least a mindless easy task when I am too tired to actually put effort into any decent applique work - works well for the late night TV keeping family company (basically that just means politely staying in the same room, LOL!)

CCC #33 Half-way mark
Here is what Chester Co. Criswell quilt block #33 looks like today. I have sewn about one circle at a time now and then. It is difficult to make each the same, (impossible?) but I see that overall it will look fine despite many imperfections. Maybe it will be finished by the end of October :) Then I am looking forward to laying the blocks out and sewing together. However, my design wall will be VERY empty since these blocks have held the place of honor (covering the entire design wall) since mom and I installed the cloth covered feature a year or two ago.

Finally, I must admit that I have also worked on the Bible Quilt animal block a bit more - just s stitch here and there to finish the elephants and begin on the panthers/foxes? Not enough progress to show this time. Now back to some quilting before the work week resumes!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Needle turn fruit circles & SVBA debut

Needle-turn circles in Bible Block #3 - Garden of Eden
I did a little quilting this holiday weekend while listening to book on tape historical fiction from WWII and a couple TV shows/movies with ds. Hubby was gone all weekend to a family reunion out of state and I vowed NOT to work (much) this weekend, leaving me with lots of time to just relax ad enjoy!

I cut a few more pieces for Bible blocks and based two blocks. Also tried some free-hand needle turn on the circular "fruit"in the Garden of Eden block in Bible quilt. Since this is a primitive style quilt - I thought it would be a good time get in some practice for small circles that would be less than perfect. The circles for the fruit are a hair larger than 1" inch in diameter. I am pleased that they turned out great! (4 circles sewed on so far -and I expect to keep getting better). I have many cherry circles to do on my work upcoming with Beyond the Cherry Tree pattern, of which I also began free hand needle turn circles. If I can master this skill, it will save much time in pre-sewing (gathering and restitching) circles for this project. If I need more precision circles I can gather around a little cardboard and press for future projects which has worked fairly well in the past.

The other quilt project I worked on this weekend was getting organized with Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt blocks (SVBA). This pattern is from the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg, VA. The original quilt was made in 1858 by Esther Blair Shaw Matthews at age 82 in Lacy Spring Virginia. The pattern is now a fundraiser for the museum. Quilters are invited to make the quilt one block at a time beginning in October and there is a blog set up for support! Very fun! (See small quilt button - icon link I made on right side of blog feed). I think the blog support part (plus only getting the pattern one month at a time) helped me with the last delightful applique project Chester County Criswell quilt.

This weekend, I printed the patterns (from electronic download purchase). I assembled into a flexible plastic cover notebook made with plastic sleeves for each pattern and a clear cover so the full quilt picture is visible. I did this with other patterns as it works well for me keeping things together, visible and easy to manage.

For the quilt, I decided the size enlargement I wanted - of course different from sizes offered! I made a few printouts to see what I liked. The quilt is 25 blocks in a 5 block X 5 block pattern with no sashing and no borders. The pattern that is sold is 9" an just shows the applique floral design with an asterisk in the center (sort of some were not centered when I went to sectioning each block into quadrants). There are no edges or quadrants marked, no real instructions (I suppose the blog will address this).It calls calls for enlargement of pattern to 20 inch blocks like original. But, I am enlarging to 15 inch.                    The pattern has 9, 16 & 

Background option Shenandoah Botanical Album
20 inch enlargement options although when I tried the pattern's 16 inch size, the patterns seemed to be too small, floating in the background. The actual quilt blocks look very full. The pattern calls for enlarging 160% for 16 inch blocks, but I enlarged 170% to make mine 15 inch blocks and there is still adequate space around the applique. I will cut background 16 & 1/2 inches to allow for 1 inch of "shrinkage" from applique and trimming, and 1/2 inch for sewing blocks together. I also marked each original pattern (9" size) into 4 inch quadrants for ease of enlargement - this way I can print two 11x14 pages that will give me a full size pattern for each block. The next step will be to trace patterns onto freezer paper. I will probably do this one block or two at a time as I go. Watched/listened to some DVDs checked out recently from the library of the series, Berkley Square. It is set in a similar time and fashion as Downton Abby and so far is delightful.

Now, I am contemplating the background fabric for SBVA. Since I have about 3 white background appliques for this era, I think I might try something different for this bright quilt. These are two tonal prints that I might use. I would use both and maybe even additional tonal prints (not enough of any one of them - plus variety make for more interest! Still thinking... :)
Happy Quilting!