New Orleans House Project

Sunday, May 30, 2021

May Mini: It's Tomato Season!

 This month's mini quilt was inspired by two of Barb Vedder's (Fun with Barb) recent mini quilts:  Quarantini and Eggsotica.  Both feature the use of simple shapes as a fun way to play with design, color, and quilting technique.

After reading Barb's Eggsotica blog post, I got to musing about what simple shape would be meaningful to me in a similar mini quilt experiment.  Since tomato season was just getting started here in South Louisiana, tomatoes seemed like a fun idea for experimentation.

New Orleanians love their Creole Tomatoes.  Creole doesn't refer to a tomato breed, but instead is a reference to where the tomatoes are grown.  The rich, alluvial soil of the lower Mississippi delta produces richly flavored, juicy tomatoes.  

After playing with tomato shapes for awhile, I realized my tomatoes wanted to tell a story.  Specifically, a tomato sandwich story.  

I didn't learn to appreciate tomato sandwiches until I was a young adult.  A friend from Alabama introduced me to them one summer day, and I became an instant fan.  A traditional tomato sandwich is nothing but juicy, ripe tomato slices, soft white bread, mayonnaise, and a little salt and pepper seasoning.   Like everything, there are lots of variations, but that's the original recipe.

By now my mini quilt experiment had strayed a bit from the original simple shapes, but I was off and running.  Raw-edge appliqué was the best choice for all the shapes I wanted to use.  The appliqué edges were zig-zag stitched with invisible thread.  I even added a bit of machine embroidery to my mayonnaise jar, because a tomato sandwich really needs to "bring out the best"!  😃

I had wanted to experiment with Barb's matchstick-style quilting, but after trying it on some practice blocks, it just didn't do anything for the quilt.  I wound up doing outline quilting around the blocks and the appliqué shapes, using Aurifil 28wt thread.  The finished quilt measures 14 inches x 14 inches.

I had a perfect piece of backing fabric in the stash, an ode to tomatoes by Hoodie Crescent.

And a perfect location for a label!

Many thanks to Barb for the inspiration and to Wendy (The Constant Quilter) for encouraging monthly mini playtime!

Friday, May 28, 2021

Rainbow Scrappy Red

  I have not been doing much new Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing this year.  I have been trying to make at least two Sugar Loaf blocks (aka Flashes of Brilliance/APQ October 2915) each month using the RSC colors.  This month's color was red, so I had fun trying to put together light and dark scrappy strips for the blocks.

I guess this selection of fabrics didn't provide high contrast, but I like the result anyway.

When I look at this block out of the corner of my eye, I'm reminded of Pizza Margherita!

And with the leftover bits, I made some Easy Breezy blocks.

Looking forward to a new color challenge for next month's blocks!

Monday, May 24, 2021

Scrappy 4 Life!

 My favorite kind of quilts are scrappy quilts - and I have a new favorite quilt to share with you!

I present my version of Tonya Ricucci's Lego quilt, which I call Scrappy 4 Life!

Scrappy is made from 1.5 inch scraps of various lengths, stitched together into rows and then blocks.  I spent many soothing hours piecing scraps together with my trusty Singer Model 15 treadle.  

I'm not sure when I started assembling these rows of scraps, but I believe it was in 2015.  There are years and years of scraps in this quilt, and every time I examine the fabrics I get a smile on my face!

Last year I decided the quilt was at a good stopping point, measuring about 70 inches x 80 inches.

I sent it off to Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting for some long-arm magic.

The quilting is gentle swirls, which softens all the lines and angles in the piecing.

The blue binding with gold stars was made years ago for some other project and then never used.  Thanks to my newfound skill at machine binding, the quilt was finished in record time!  I did do a little hand stitching to add a label  to commemorate the quilt's inspiration and construction.

This is no quilt to hang on the wall and admire.  I plan to use it heavily (and maybe even let the dog sleep on it), and enjoy all the quilting memories!

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Quilt Memories

 I'm lucky to have several family quilts, although my family disagrees about who made the quilts!

My mom insists the quilts were made by her maternal grandmother, Bertha Juliana Hoffman Sommerfield.  My mom's family lived with Grandmother Sommerfield for many years during her childhood, but she doesn't remember quilting being done during those years.  Mom thinks the quilts were made later, when Grandmother Sommerfield (my great-grandmother) was living on her own.

My mom's sister insists all the quilts were made by their mother, Norma Gerke Sommerfield.  Their mom worked full time most of her life, not retiring until the early 1970s.  

As a child, I was lucky to be able to spend plenty of time with both my great-grandmother and grandmother, but I don't remember either of them sewing, quilting, or even having quilts on display.  OK, I was only two in this picture, but my Great-grandmother Sommerfield was around for many more years.  The lady on the right is another great-grandmother, Myrtle Ludeking Gerke.

All the quilts passed on to me contain mostly feed sack-type fabrics, and use the patterns and colors typical of quilts from the 1930s and 1940s.  I blogged about two of them here and here.

I've always wondered if the quilts were made from kits, as I don't think either grandmother would have had a scrap basket with so many different fabrics.

The remaining two quilts have seen heavy use. 

Yes, this Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt ~is~ that faded!

I had this quilt on my bed during my teenage years, and dragged it off to nursing school when I left home.  It was washed regularly.  Some of the fabrics are beginning to shred, and the binding is coming loose, but otherwise, the quilt is in pretty good shape.

I have always enjoyed examining all the different fabrics in the quilt!

The backing is solid pink.  The long edges of the quilt were turned in following the scallops and slip-stitched; the short edges have applied binding.  The quilt measures approximately 82 inches by 74 inches.  Hand quilted inside each hexagon.

I rescued this Dresden Plate quilt from the back of my dad's truck.  Prior to that, it had spent years on my sister's bed.  

The fabrics are quite faded, and in some cases, shredded.

Regular washing and hanging to dry in the Florida sunshine will definitely fade fabrics over time!

The quilt back is a soft blue and white print.  This one was also hand quilted.  Approximate size: 75 inches by 68 inches.

I love having these tangible memories of my grandmothers, regardless of who made the quilts!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

April Digest

 Although I spent a large chunk of April focused on finishing the T-Shirt Quiltathon, I also managed to work on a few other projects.

During one of our recent phone calls, my mom mentioned buying paper napkins.  I realized I had never made her any cloth napkins, so I got busy and pulled some fun prints and started stitching.

Once I got started, I was on a roll and made some for my sister, too.

Dear Hubby and I (and McKenzie, our dog), took a road trip to Florida last weekend to visit family, so I was able to present each set of napkins in person.  Yay for vaccines!

While I was digging through the flamingo fabric stash to find fabric for my t-shirt quilt pillowcase, this 'mingo fabric spoke up and told me it was ready to be in the spotlight.

I used a tote bag pattern I had pinned to a Pinterest board ages ago.  The pattern is free from the All People Quilt website.  You'll have to register with APC if you want to download a printed version of the pattern.   It's a quick project - you may even be able to make it with supplies on hand.  If I were to make the bag again, I'd add some refinements like an interior pocket (or two) and a magnetic or zipper closure.  

A monthly project this year to to make Sugar Loaf blocks following the Rainbow Scrap Challenge monthly color selection.  April's challenge was to use light blue and bright blue scraps.  I went for the low volume look with this light blue block.

And switching over to bright blues, I put this block together based on the tropical fish (outer row) fabric.

Using scraps from various April projects, I put together some Easy Breezy blocks.

Last but not least, I finally got all the parts and pieces assembled for the 25-patch star quilt top.  

My original plan was to add a plain white border with a narrow strip of the turquoise fabric used for the cornerstones.  But last week, I started hearing whisperings that maybe an appliquéd vine, flower, and leaf border would look good.  I guess that will be a project for May!