Saturday 26 January 2013

Mary Leggett's Star Bouquet quilt

I like to regularly look through my treasured collection of quilt history books - such a treat (the word "droolfest" comes to mind?)

 Recently this photo leapt out at me - Mary M. Leggett's Star Bouquet quilt :

Photo of page from the book below
The photo of Mary's quilt is on page 24 of one of my favourite quilt history books

According to the authors Mary M. Leggett made the quilt in 1862. It was made of silk, "template-pieced", and measured 95" x 77 1/2 ". 

I love it - particularly the way the colours pop out of the milk chocolate background. And on closer inspection you can see that she has taken great care in fussy cutting her silks, even joining a couple of  fabrics in the diamonds to increase the complexity of some of the stars. Here is a close up photo (from the book again):

There is a neat seam visible between the two fabrics used in each diamond on all the stars in this picture  - except the top right lilac star. 

So ... you might have guessed my new project ? 
Yep -  to make a reproduction (or more a "version") of this quilt.  

Some rough Maths makes me think Mary's stars were about 6.5" across point to point. After a bit of experimenting, I have decided to make 4.5" stars because I want to make more of them (but not a bigger quilt!) and the hexagons she made would be quite large for English Paper Piecing by hand (my preferred method). I am using  hexagons and diamonds with 1.25 " edges - a comfortable size to work with. And much as I'd love to use silks for the luxurious look of it, I'll settle for cottons from the stash. Those changes make it more a "version" than a "reproduction" I think?

First to select fabrics :
The background behind the photos is the chocolate/ cinnamon homespun for the hexagons
Then ...printing the diamonds onto light card - free download from here :

Diamonds ready to cut up

Then ...constructing some diamonds made of joined fabric strips:

Back of fabrics with diamonds marked to cut out
Paperclips holding  fabric over papers ready for hand basting
The finished star

And here is the extent of my quilt so far :

Tell you what - it is great to be playing with more fabric, fiddling with fussy cutting, and EPP again - such fun isn't it ?!

Saturday 19 January 2013

Top finished

I have finished the top of my version of The Burnt Quilt - and it is a biggie - 109ins (233cm) long.

Hanging from the highest curtain rod it flows across the carpet

Lying on the floor

In the end the biggest challenge was that lovely Dutch chintz fabric that I used as the final  border.

I wanted to mitre the corners and, ideally, have each corner matching - with the blue vine sweeping across the inside of each corner.

And  - to cut a very long story short - that is pretty much how they ended up. Here are another two corners.

But - if you look closer at the border on all those edges you will see that I had to make one or two quite a few "cut and pastes" to adjust the fit. Lucky I had quite a lot of the fabric to play with. And lucky no one was there to take photos of me scrambling around the floor making these adjustments - and sighing (yep, just sighing) loudly as I went...

A collage of "cut and paste" border - see them all??

Well - that was a learning experience! and what did I learn? Don't use that fabric again!!
The end result is acceptable to me...and it is called "patchwork" after all.

This is the fabric I have set aside for the binding -  love it:

Anyway I have about had just about enough of that quilt for now so it is on the end of the queue for quilting. Goodness knows if  I will manage to quilt it in my normal fashion on my domestic sewing machine ...suspect it will not fit. There will be more "sighing" then too. 

Saturday 12 January 2013

Baltimore blocks 14, 15 and 16 and embroidery

More progress on  Baltimore album blocks:

Block 15  -  after much deliberating I decided to add some embroidery - just felt there was a need for some definition on the more complex applique blocks - the ones with a layered look. The pictures of the original quilts (in the pattern pack) had what appears to be simple if not crude embroidery (maybe some inked details actually) and all in dark brown/black? So I thought it didn't need to be too sophisticated - which suits me fine as I am no embroiderer!

Block 15

With the next block I photographed it before adding embroidery and then after - for comparison (hopefully you can see a difference!) ...

Block 16 before embroidery
Block 16 with embroidery

And here is Block 14  - started a couple of posts back - now finished. No embroidery as it is one of the simpler,  two dimensional blocks :

Block 14
Now I mustn't forget to go back and add embroidery to a few of the blocks already finished  ...

I've enjoyed seeing the impressive lists of "Projects planned for 2013" on other quilting blogs - Wow, so much inspiration there! must get sewing...