Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yarn Bombing!

 I didn't get to do any sewing while I was in Michigan for two weeks.  I brought along two wholecloth (panel) quilts that have been sitting in my closet for months.  Unfortunately, I got no farther than layering them.  Since I don't have anything exciting to show you, I thought I'd share a fun link instead.  Read on!
By: Stephen Crane (Photo: The Telegraph)

Yarn bombing

As some of you know, I have been into all kinds of needlework since I was a kid (just came late to quilting).  So I was delighted to find this on my Facebook wall this morning.  I was posted by
24 Blocks.  If you aren't familiar with yarn bombing, it's basically graffiti done with knitting or crochet instead of paint or markers.  There are more photos and links on this page.  Have fun!


She's Right on Time

Turn on all the Christmas lights 
Cause baby's coming home tonight
    (with apologies to Billy Joel)

While I was away, my sewing machine went off to the sewing machine doctor for a well-baby checkup.  So when I got home, this is what I found:
So empty!
Monday I swung by the store on my way to work, and when I got home, peace was restored:

A Quilter's Path Bonus Quilting Tip:  You don't need a fancy sewing table to support your quilt.  Take advantage of whatever you have on hand.  Extra points for multi-purpose!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Drummond Island Quilts

Yesterday we took a day off from Otsego Lake to travel north to the Upper Peninsula ("U.P." or "Upe").  It's the 2nd largest freshwater island in the U.S., with a small year-round population, lots of summer homes and many nice rental units.  It was a spur-of-the-moment trip; we didn't take golf clubs or kayaks so there really wasn't much to do except visit the local historical museum.  Lots of old, rusty logging equipment (not exactly unusual around here), photos of early settlers, etc.  Then I found the quilts!  (In addition to kayaks and golf clubs, I also didn't have my camera, so these phone-photos are a bit blurry.  My apologies.)
Drummond Island
 This quilt has panels from scenes and landmarks around the island.  The panel above is a map of the island (in the lower right corner of the quilt).

The quilt isn't old, but it is treasured because many of the landmarks no longer exist.  I didn't get to find out which ones were gone or where the existing ones are -- there was only one docent and the joint was jumping.

The local guild made the quilt for a raffle.  The man who won the raffle didn't want it, so he sold (!) it back to the museum.  Sounds like a nice guy...

 Though several hands were at work, many panels use a thin gray yarn to depict masonry or wood siding.  The buildings are heavily embroidered.

A local church
The old Town Hall

Two old school buildings
Paper birches in the autumn

Across the street from the museum is a small memorial to a woman named Betsy Seaman.  This simple red-and-white quilt was made by her children and grandchildren for her 70th birthday, September 28, 1890.  It was signed by them all.

70th birthday quilt, made for Betsy Seaman, Sept. 28, 1890

Betsy was the wife of Murry Seaman, the first permanent settler on Drummond Island whose descendants still live there.  Murry and his first wife, Lovina, had joined the new Mormon religion in New York State and had moved with other Mormons to Nauvoo, Illinois.  Betsy became Murry's second wife in 1841.  In 1850 they moved with other Mormons to Beaver Island in Lake Michigan, and finally settled on Drummond Island in Lake Huron in 1853.  Murry died 10 years later, leaving Betsy along under pioneer conditions with 10 children.  Some family members remain on the island today.

The quilt is in fairly good shape, considering that it is over 120 years old. 

 Another quilt nearby also used the same red and white fabrics in classic basket blocks.  Perhaps it was also made by a member of the Seaman family.

Unfortunately, this quilt is in poorer condition.  The quilt was undated.

The quilting is simple, diagonal lines forming squares and triangles in the background and stitching around the seams of the basket triangles.  There is a bit of echo stitching around the basket handles.

All of these quilts, except the big Drummond Island one hanging on the wall, are in glass cabinets.  I was reluctant to use the flash, so some of these photos are a bit dark.  The background fabrics are actually very white, despite the quilts' age.

 Here's a Friendship quilt.

The quilt below is also undated, but the museum label says that it was used for 3 generations.  The seams on this Ohio Star don't always meet exactly, but every point is perfect.  The background is diagonally quilted, wide in some areas, more dense in others.  The dark pieces in the stars are echoed.
Ohio Star, probably at least 70 years old.

These hexies were probably made from old shirts and dresses.   The hexagons are about 1-1/2".  There was no information about the quilt and it was folded up in the cabinet, so it was hard to see much more than what is here.  Does anyone have any idea about the vintage of these fabrics?

Another folded quilt -- grrr!  And the handwritten information is stuck toward the back, so it can't be read.  The one is also very scrappy, with white to pull it together.  The outer border is a large scallop, very pretty.  I just wish I could see the whole quilt!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

North Country Batik

I've been at the cabin in Michigan for a week, now, and haven't sewn a stitch.  Eight people in the cabin is lively, to say the least!  But now everyone has headed home, so the other night, to celebrate our newly-empty nest, my husband and I went to a local spot for dinner.  Hanging on the wall near our table was this beautiful quilt!

I'd seen this last fall, but wasn't yet blogging and so neglected to take any photos.   The fabrics are batik, the colors are definitely north woods.  I don't know if this is a common pattern or not.  It might even have been a kit -- I'm not sure how to find out. 

Green diamonds alternate with brown squares (left), but when you step back, you can see that the light background fabric creates a larger diamond that surrounds each square.   It's going to take some studying to figure out just how the block(s) are constructed.

The centers of the brown squares and the green diamonds are similar, with a medium-colored four-patch and a dark green square at each corner of the four-patch.  The diamonds actually look like an argyle (below).

It's hard to tell whether this is a little bit scrappy.  Mostly it appears not to be; the variations in color are just the variations in the batik, I think.  But the center of this diamond does look scrappy, which makes me wonder if maybe it wasn't a kit after all.

The quilting is an all-over large machine-stitched stipple, nothing fancy.  The colors are doing all the work here.

 Sorry for the blur; I was in a rush at this point.  I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the binding, nor to peek behind the quilt for a label, because the table right under the quilt filled up with an invasive species that has become common around here, the Guzzling Golfer.

I did manage to cut the batting for two small quilts for the boys yesterday.  But last night the heat wave final broke and the rest of the week is expected to be pleasant (78-80 degrees) and sunny.  Can't stay inside sewing on days like that!