Saturday, October 26, 2013

Autumn leaves & quilts

Went for a walk earlier this week and saw a few pretty colors in the trees and vines and the sky was so blue I had to take a few photos to share and save the moment. 
Virginia creeper's brilliant red is an early sign that fall is underway

maples seem to change by the hour from green to orange red...

New paints and roof looked great on this Newton St. NE home

Newton street is just beginning to show the bright colors of maples 

Fort Bunkerhill the park where the poison ivy got me. 

American Beech trees in Ft. Bunkerhill are the gray bark beauties

dogwood leaves getting red 

crab apples anyone?

that's how the leaves from Newton Street maples fell to the ground below
While on a visit to Manassas I also took mom out to Haymarket to see a show of local quilts at the town museum. It was a fun experience to tour the show of about 75 quilts in the tiny former town hall with the curator. I enjoyed seeing the big history quilt of the town's important buildings and all the pretty hand work. I only took a few photos as a memento of our visit. The Black applique seems to have been my favorite.

Museum curator and Mom 

Vintage Yo yo quilt 


Haymarket History quilt
 This quilt was all done by the local chapter of Quilter's Unlimited Haymarket and donated to the Museum telling the history of this little town in pictures of it's historic buildings.

Black applique quilt made of felts and hand sewn was very impressive. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Improvising again

Burgundy and navy blue were my theme colors for this quilt, sized 45x68 inches. 
I began with a small scrap of diamonds I had left over from the "add a border swap"  building a bigger block using those two colors. I liked the result and kept building new  blocks, just short of a full bed sized quilt because this project was getting a washable wool batting. Never having used wool batting before, I thought it wise to begin with a small quilt.
my first block with the burgundy diamonds left over from add a border swap
 I was working on this during the week of the big Navy Yard massacre and I missed picking up my "Orange Explains It" quilt  from Anacostia Arts Center because police hand closed the 11th Street bridge and I didn't know any other way to get over to that neighborhood. I was feeling sad most of that week due to the tragedy but I had my quilt to kept me busy. I was very excited about the developing blocks and didn't dwell on the news coverage after the first day. It was nice that the arts center asked to keep the quilt for a while longer. I was happy to lend it to them for a extra long display.
back is navy and white plaid with burgundy and navy blue Perle #8 quilting 

crossing lines of burgundy and navy blue Perle #8 quilting 

Burgundy and Blue finished throw sized quilt 45x 68 inches

This past Saturday I enjoyed sharing my two finished quilts with my friends at the Washington DC Modern Quilt Guild meeting at the library in Rose Hill, Virginia a subdivision in Alexandria. The meeting was only a block from my Uncle Bernard and Aunt Betty's old home. I knew the neighborhood from our holiday visits during the 1970s. It hasn't changed much excepting a nice new Indian restaurant in the shopping center across the street where I ate with Aubrie one of the local quilters from the group who recommended it as a new hot dining spot. We were surprised to find her newly wed husband and his pal, a civil war re-enactor there and shared a table with them. They were curious what we do at guild meetings and we tried to explain it but if you are curious you can read a after meeting round up on our blog and see photos of my guild's quilting work from our show and tell here:
These guys both hand sew their own uniforms for the recreations of various civil war military units they portray at the mock battles both Northern and Southern units! Sounds like fun to me but I don't know much about military history nor guns so I am happy to focus on domestic quilting history in my sewing. I was surprised to hear they thought they knew a tailor in Colonial Williamsburg who led me and some of my family on a tour of a 18th century costume exhibition there about nine years ago. It's a small world.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Blue Diamonds spread out

One of my readers asked to see the entire Blue Diamonds quilt spread out. I am still trying to find a solution to photographing my big quilts. I want to take pictures like artworks are presented, in a straight forward way but in the mean time here are a few lawn shots I took of it last week while visiting in Manassas. For the full quilt story see the previous post here:

The backing is all white on white print with the three colors of yarn quilting 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blue Diamonds Quilt

Earlier this week I finished quilting this blue and white Dresden plate quilt, laid out in a diamond format. Living in Washington DC near the Hope Diamond, that jewel came to mind when I was searching for a title. These Dresden plate blocks were originally based on my great grandmother's quilt of the late1800's. It was around the house since I was a kid and gets special treatment because it is a unique family heirloom. Stuffed with loose lambs wool it has lots of hand quilting to hold it all in place and fascinating patches of old dress fabrics making up each plate.
Great Grandmother's Dresden Plate quilt 
 I found some tips on YouTube about how to make the Dresden plate blocks and then I went full steam ahead producing them last year in blues and whites. When a few dozen of them were finished I realized I wasn't ready to quilt them, and set them aside until I felt more confidant about quilting. This past two months I began the process of hand quilting this the smaller of two tops with contrasting and matched Perle threads. This fits a double bed and the next one is even bigger which is laid out like great grandmother's version in square format.

Folded back you can see some of the quilting and the navy blue calico binding

Title block embroidered on blue oxford shirt cloth
The one challenge this quilt gave me were the bias cut sides. They stretched and made it difficult to keep it flat and even especially on the long sides. The blue and white polka dot framing helped some but it wasn't a completely flat finish. I wonder if anyone has tips for keeping this large diamond layout squared up?  I would love to hear them in comments below so I can use the diamond layout again with less struggle.