Sunday, September 13, 2015

More Flower Gardens ~ A Top and Blocks

One of the first quilts I made and quilted was a flower garden quilt.  It wasn't the best in the world, but not tacky either.  The top below is one that I made a few years back, using brown instead of the typical green.  If green was to represent grass, I suppose brown represents dirt?  Anyway, it's a huge top; will it even go on my frames without the outside border being removed?  Someday I'll try it.  I sew rows of hexagons on the machine, then put them into blocks by hand, so it isn't too difficult.  I find English paper piecing to be too time consuming for me.

I don't think early quilters had access to many solids and prints so as to pair them up into matching colors.  The blocks I remember came later when we saved solids to go with prints left from making clothing.  Now it seems the more mismatched colors and prints can be, the better, making the blocks look like vintage ones.

These 30 blocks were given to me by the farmer's great aunt.  She had started piecing them on the machine and some seams were barely 1/8" wide, too small to hold securely, so I took them apart and sewed them back together by hand.  The white/beige fabric is unbleached domestic (what we call today, unbleached muslin) and somewhat stiff to work with; I sorta dread quilting it by hand.  I hope to get the blocks set together into a top this winter.

The blocks are joined with a rose colored broadcloth

I'm beginning to think that pressing these blocks, after being packed into a box for years, will be the most difficult thing about making the top.  I always try to press my blocks as I make each seam; things fit better and make for a neater top to put on the frames.  I sincerely believe a neat top, stretched correctly on the frames, makes a finished quilt more pleasing to the eyes.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Flower Garden Quilt

"Listen in on any group of ardent quilt fans and you will hear frequent mention of this most popular pattern of the day and it is not hard to see why."  Romance of the Patchwork Quilt ~ 1935 ~ by Carrie A. Hall and Rose G Kretsinger.

After Mama retired from her town job, she devoted her "spare" time to quilting.  Of course she had made bed quilts most of her life, but first farm work, then town work, took away time from her quilting projects.  Her work was nicely done and soon there were women who wanted one of her quilts.  She began keeping a little notebook,  telling where the quilts went and how much they sold for.
The records started in 1980 and ended in 1987, a short time before her death.  By reading this page, you can see how little money she received for her work.  For instance, the quilt called Joseph's Coat, was sold for $250.00; it's one of the most difficult patterns to piece, and she did it all by hand.  Baby quilts were sold for $35-$50.  The total for this page is $1360.00; one would do well to buy one large quilt for this amount today.

At the time of her death, there were enough quilts in the closet for Daddy, my sister and me, and the six grandchildren to each have a finished quilt.  We numbered the quilts, then drew for them.  The Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt was chosen by Daddy before we drew.

 Now for the story of how the flower garden quilt came to be with me:

Daddy lived alone for about nine years before he remarried.  She was only four years older than me and four years younger than my sister, very outspoken and opinionated, so totally different than Mama.  We came to the conclusion that he married her because she told him she would take care of him so he would never have to go into a nursing home, and she thought he had money to take care of her.  (As it turned out, they both had to go into the nursing home, so the money soon was gone, and she passed away before he did.) Money issues did come up and he demanded that we bring the keys to his safe deposit box back to him.  We begged and pleaded for him not to do anything foolish, and that what money he had was there to take care of him later, but through her influence, he refused to listen.  Finally I gave in and let him have the key I had, but I told him there was one thing I wanted: the flower garden quilt.  He said "no I might need it".  Of course, the wife was in a huff by now too, so we left.  We talked a while outside, and then I said, "I'm going back in to get the quilt."  She hadn't locked the door yet, so we went in and I told her I had come back for the quilt.  She asked Daddy, and he said o.k. so she went to the closet and got it for me.  I've told my sister, she or one of her children,  can have the quilt; I don't need it, I just didn't want it to go to one of the "wife's" children and let who knows what happen to it.  So, it's still here; I don't use it, but it's a part of my mama with me.

For the most part, I'm not confrontational, but now and then I won't be stepped on. lol


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Summer ~ 2015

In spite of a slow start, due to so much rain, we've had a busy and productive summer, and it goes on.

This has been the view from the back window of my office tractor several days this summer.  I've raked over 1000 bales of hay;  we still have two fields left to cut but will wait until these big chickens are gone.  There's always a worry to leave them on hot days when we go to the field, although we have a monitor that calls when the temperature rises, and a generator if the electricity goes off; we aren't too far away either.

All our hay is hauled, except 175 bales, and insured.  I hate to "put all our eggs in one basket", as the saying goes,  in  case of fire.  Should something happen to the hay, insurance money would help, IF we could find more to buy.

Two days were spent gathering in calves to send to market.  I like to work with the cattle; get right in there with them, and let the adrenalin flow.  

The garden was successful for the most part and I froze good things for next winter; now I will plant turnip green seeds and hope for one more thing to freeze.  We're going to miss the fresh tomatoes.

Not every day was spent in the field so I have worked in the sewing room too.  The flying geese quilt has been up for most of the summer, and the last border is now visible after working on it a few hours in the afternoons.  My left hand has a tremor that shakes the whole frame some days, thread just will not go in the eye of the needle some days, leaving me to wonder how much longer will I be able to do a reasonably good job on my quilts.  I don't need the quilts, but it brings me so much happiness to make them.

Isabelle needs new school clothes; I'll show you some of the ones I've made soon.

Summer sun is slower coming up over the tops of the pine trees now, and the chores must be finished not long after 8:00 p.m.  Mornings feel cooler but give way to hot afternoons, so we know the fall season will be here soon.

Have you had a good summer?


Friday, July 24, 2015

Two weeks ago, our older grandson got married.  This was the place they chose for the wedding,
on top of a bluff!  
The trail going down to the spot they had picked, was so steep that a man stretched a big heavy rope from tree to tree for us to cling to on the way down.
Guests were seated on square bales of hay.
Informal ~ but very nice.
An extension of the bluff.  I would have felt much more secure if I could have worn my lace-up shoes and jeans.  The heights really bothered the farmer; he kept holding on to me.  I guess he was afraid I'd fall on the rocks.  Or, was he thinking, "If I fall off, I'm taking her with me!"


Monday, July 13, 2015

We're having temperatures in the upper 90s these days, so an afternoon in the water is a good way for a young lady to cool down.  Since I'm a country girl, I go swimming in the creek instead of a pool.  I have a new swimsuit,

and because the water is so fresh and cold, my teeth begin to chatter, and I have to come out to warm up now and then, wrapping up in my terry cloth swimsuit cover-up.

Of course swimming always makes me hungry and I look forward to having a backyard cookout with my family and a few friends.  I picked my newest sundress to wear for this.

Mama Charlotte used to swim in the creek, but she says now she wouldn't be caught dead in a swimsuit.  Do you swim?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Clothes for Isabelle

Isabelle has new clothes for vacation Bible school.  Did you ever attend a vacation Bible school?  I did, when I was a young teenager.  As a girl brought up in a home where we were in church every time the doors were opened, I think I knew most of the Bible stories, so I enjoyed the games we played: red rover, red rover, let Charlotte come over, and I would run and try to break through the line of children on the other team; any, any over, and someone threw a ball over the building to the other team.  And it was at Bible school where I developed a crush on a certain tall, good-looking boy who showed no interest in me whatsoever.  I carried that crush with me for most of the rest of my high school years, watching as he started dating my very best friend and then marrying her when she graduated.  I look back on it all now and think how similar this storyline was to Scarlet and Ashley. lol.  But this is suppose to be about clothes I've made for Isabelle:

pants and top, twirly skirt and top

simple sundresses,

fashionable jeans and top for playing red rover, red rover,

enough for one week of activities.   So much fun!  Now all she needs is a pair of sandals.
Hope you like them. Charlotte

Pattern credits:  pants and top, Simplicity A2086
Twirly skirt, www,, page 23 of My Tutorials
Green sundress,
Jeans, from an old pair of my jeans with three snips, washed and dried with other jeans.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My latest string quilt top is finished and put away to be quilted later, maybe next winter.  Each individual block is not very interesting by itself, but I really like the effect of using dark and light strings to make this pattern.  This would be a nice quilt for a boy's bed or a dorm quilt.

I'm making clothes for Isabelle now and when they're finished, I'm shutting down the machine for a while and concentrate on quilting the top that's been on the frames for a few months.