New Orleans House Project

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spring 2012 Blogger's Quilt Festival: Split Nine-Patch TOBE

Spring Quilt Market is happening this weekend in Kansas City, which means it is also time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival - Spring Edition!  If you're not familiar with the online festival, take a hop over to Amy's Creative Side for a wonderful exhibition of quilts by bloggers from all over!

My entry for the festival is a colorful quilt that resulted from an online block exchange.

The quilt started with a batch of blocks shared by members of the Treadle On mail list.  Treadle On is dedicated to the use of antique and vintage people-powered sewing machines. Treadle On  has been around for 15 years, nurtured under the benevolent dictatorship of Dick (Captain Dick) Wightman.  The list has inspired countless sewing machine rebirths, as Captain Dick and list members encouraged folks to actually sew with treadle and hand-crank machines.

Group block exchanges among list members have become popular ways to utilize favorite antique machines.  Nicknamed "TOBEs" - Treadle On Block Exchanges - the swaps usually involve a pre-ordained block which is also inscribed with the stitcher's name and the type of sewing machine used, along with the machine's birth year, if known.

After I received my exchange blocks, I started playing with placement on my design wall.  The original blocks from the swap didn't weren't quite enough for the design I had in mind, so I started piecing more blocks.  It was almost like eating potato chips - once I got started I had a hard time stopping!  Even after I had a satisfactory number of blocks, I kept going with half-square triangles to add even more color and movement to the quilt.  

During the quilt construction, the blocks kept falling off my design wall.  I didn't think anything of it, until I noticed (gasp!) one of the blocks had been chewed by my dog, Bailey.  Not only that, it was a block from a special quilting friend, Annie, who has free-motion quilted (on a treadle sewing machine!) several quilts for me.  Determined to salvage the block, I saw the damage could be repaired with judicious use of fusible interfacing and a little bit of dog paw applique.  I guess Bailey wanted to "autograph" the quilt, too!

Two of my favorite things about this quilt are the amazing variety of fabrics used by the swappers and the memories of wonderful friends I have made through Treadle On.  It's great fun to use this quilt and admire all the fabrics and remember all my sewing machine friends!