New Orleans House Project

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pieces of the Past: Feedsack Cracker

I inherited this quilt from my mom's side of the family, but its origins are a bit of a mystery.

My mom and her sister disagree on exactly who made the quilt.  My aunt says their mother, Norma Gerke Sommerfield, made the quilt, while my mom says the quilt was made by their grandmother, Bertha Hoffmann Sommerfield.  

My mom, who is the oldest, does not remember seeing their mother making quilts.  My aunt insists their mother was an avid quilter.  I knew both women as a child and I don't remember either one of them ever sewing, much less quilting!

Regardless, I have fond memories of both grandmothers when I use their quilts!

The pattern for this quilt is known as Cracker; it's a fairly easy pattern and great for using scraps.  This version is a nice sampler of Depression-era fabrics.

The printed fabric may have been purchased, or it may have been saved from feedsacks.  The white background fabric is coarser; it may be from plain, bleached feedsacks, since there are variations in the actual white color.

The quilting is done by hand in a cross-hatch pattern.

The binding was created by folding the backing over to the front; size is approximately 64 inches by 84 inches.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vegetable Dye Fabric: done marinating!

I started a new project that's been marinating in my stash for a few years.

The fabrics in this collection were hand-printed with woodblocks, using vegetable dyes.  The line was designed by Kathy Hall for Andover Fabrics in 2008.  I fell in love with the fabric line when I saw it at one of my local quilt stores and snatched up a FQ collection of the line assembled by the shop owner.  She had also started piecing a promotional pattern that was designed by Gail Kessler.  I wasn't crazy about that pattern and started looking for something that would really show off the fabric. 

By happy accident, I found a pattern on the All People Quilt website that was specifically inspired by the Vegetable Dye fabric collection.  

I can't say why it took me so long to get started on this quilt, but things are zipping along now.

I look forward to assembling the finished blocks!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival: Four-Patch Parrots

I may be new to blogging, but I'm well-acquainted with happenings in the quilting blogosphere!  This weekend is the Houston Quilt Market, which leads up to the Houston International Quilt Festival.  In honor of the Festival, Amy at Amy's Creative Side began hosting an online quilt festival for bloggers.  It's an opportunity for blogging quilters to share their quilts and inspire others to creativity.

For my first-ever Bloggers' Quilt Festival entry, I offer some Four-Patch Parrots.  This is a happy quilt for me, not only because of the bright colors, but because it was all my creation!

The quilt began as simply an experiment with making stack & whack style 4-patch blocks.  There are a number of patterns and tutorials on creating this type of block, so I did some Google studying then raided my stash for some likely fabric.  I came up with some tropical parrot fabric and had a blast cutting and positioning the parrots in kaleidoscopic fashion.  

Before long, I had a stack of 4-patch blocks in search of a quilt.  Back to the stash for some coordinating candy-colored solids. Then more studying to figure out the cutting dimensions for the square-in-a-square blocks and the HST border.  This is the final result as it hung on my design wall.

My quilting collaborator, Annie, came up with a swirly quilting pattern and used a multi-colored thread on the top.  The quilting really complimented all the crazy birds!

The quilt backing and binding came from the stash, too.  (How all those tropical birds got in the stash in the first place is a story for another day!)  I love snuggling with this quilt on winter days - all that color and those mixed-up birds brighten any dreary day!

Thanks for stopping by to see my quilt and I hope you are inspired by all of the fantastic quilts in the festival!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pieces of the Past: Midwest churn dash

I do not have a large collection of antique quilts, but I enjoy looking at old quilts and learning about them.  I think I was drawn to quilting as much by a love of fabric as by the history of textiles and quilt-making.  My library is full of quilt history books: state documentation projects, doll quilts, Depression-era quilts, Civil War era quilts, etc.

This quilt was purchased from an antique dealer in suburban New Orleans about 10 years ago.  The dealer said it came from an estate sale in Illinois.  The quilt is in very nice condition and doesn't appear to have received heavy use.  There are no dates or inscriptions on the quilt.

There are several common names for the quilt block pattern:  hole in the barn door, monkey wrench and churn dash.  Whatever you wish to call it, it's a classic Nine-Patch block.

The blocks themselves use a number of different fabric prints and colors, but the overall appearance is more coordinated than randomly scrappy.

I love how the quilter got inventive in using what fabric was on hand!  The fabrics in the quilt are typical of fabrics from about 1890 through 1915, but if the quilt was made from scraps, who knows when the quilt was actually constructed!

Hand-quilted using a fan pattern; single fold bias binding.  The size is about 64" by 70".

Backing fabric is a solid piece of light brown and cream shirting-type stripe.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Deep, Deep Sea

There are so many UFOs calling my name, but they'll have to wait a bit longer.  It's time to start a baby quilt - and babies don't wait!

Friends of the family are expecting their first child in December.  Both parents love to fish, so a fish-themed quilt seems appropriate.  Since the expected bambino is also a boy (those 3-D ultrasound pictures are amazing!), I chose Deep, Deep Sea by Studio E Fabrics.  Studio E does not seem to be keeping their website up-to-date, but you can view the line at the Fat Quarter Shop.

I purchased a bundle of fat quarters, which also included a Deep, Deep Sea panel.

I don't really have a plan for this - maybe a growth chart or some other type of wall-hanging?  Maybe a lumbar pillow for Mom?  I'll have to think on that for a bit.

I'm planning to use the Snuggly Squares Baby Quilt pattern by Melissa Corry for Moda Bake Shop.

If all goes well, fabric cutting will commence this evening!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Orange You Glad?

I have had the color orange in my mind's eye lately.  Maybe it's because of all the orange traffic cones and road construction signs that line my usual commuting route these days.  Maybe it's just the right time of year for Halloween orange: pumpkins, candy corn, a rising harvest moon.  Or maybe it's Madame Samm's Wantobe Quilter Campaign, with her mahh-velous orange theme!

All this orange craving gave me an excuse to pick out some new fabric, but I was rather surprised to find I've been stashing orange fabric all along!
New orange and stashed orange.  

I found a nice bunch of traditional cheddar oranges:

And some floral-type oranges:

Compared to the others, these are more of a salmon-orange:

My local quilt store had just received the Asian-inspired print below:
Dan Bennett Wild Garden "Bellflower", Rowan/Westminster Fabrics.

I'm thinking I might just need an orange accessory - the Bellflower print may be appearing here soon:

Margo handbag by Lazy Girl Designs

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Resistance is obviously futile.  I have resisted starting a blog for years now with varying rationales:  I don't have anything that interesting to say; I'll never be consistent in posting; I might get some nasty criticism; blah, blah, blah.  Yet today the inspiration has stuck (with a little nudge from a friend), so I'm jumping into quilting blogland and preparing to have a lot of fun!

Let's face it, quilting all by your lonesome can get dry and boring.  It's fun to showcase the latest quilt creation on Facebook for all your adoring friends and family, but they'd probably not be much help in previewing fabric choices or choosing a quilting strategy.  Blogging offers a community of quilters who bring different perspectives right to your laptop.

My plan is to share my quilts, my quilting experiences and my thoughts about quilts, quilting and even occasional non-quilting topics.  Most of all, I look forward to the fun and friendship quilting seems to inspire in all of us! 

In honor of Karen, the friend who gave me the blogging nudge, I offer a quilt that was a UFO for a very long time.  Many years ago, in another lifetime, I served as president of my local quilt guild.  The traditional "thank you" gift at the end of the term was a stack of blocks made by the guild members using the President's Path pattern.  The out-going president could request a style of fabric if she desired, and I requested "old-fashioned" fabric.  My blocks languished for years (I won't bore you with all the excuses), but I finally got motivated a couple of years ago to finish that President's Path quilt.  Once it was pieced I sent it to my friend Annie for machine quilting and I was thrilled with the amazing designs she stitched into my memories.  This has become one of my favorite quilts as I love the tactile reminders of my quilting friends. 

All the blocks were gifted to me in 1997, but the quilt wasn't completed until almost 10 years later!

The pictures above give a good idea of the quilting in the blocks.

More fabric and inscription detail.

Border quilting detail;  all quilting was done by my friend Annie, who does amazing free-motion quilting on a treadle sewing machine!