Friday, September 18, 2009

Sewing all day

I spent most of today sewing. I sandwiched 3 quilts and sewed a pieced backing for a 4th one. It feels so good to make progress. I need to make time for these short sewing "retreats" more often.

One of the ones I sandwiched was the string quilt pictured above. I used up some thin, lower-quality muslin to foundation piece them. These blocks were fun to make, but looking at my still-overflowing string bin, I don't think I used up any of the strings! I'd also like to make a military string quilt using blue centers.

The quilt below was made around 1900. It has a hole all the way through it a few inches wide, and other area in need of repair, which was probably why it was so inexpensive. It should be easy to fix. I have a small assortment of antique scraps that I can use. I intend to applique a small square on the back the same red as the backing, nestle a little cotton batting on it, applique a small piece on the front to match the fabric, then put a few quilting stitches on it to pull it all together. If I'm careful, it should blend in just fine.

I just love these 1900 fabrics, and antique quilts really inspire me. This one has a lot of black mourning print fabric. The pattern is not simple, but it's possible. It's full of diamonds and set-in seams, so might be easier to hand piece than machine piece.

I have a few other older quilts I'll share from time to time. I keep them in my "cat free" guest room. My cats have the run of the rest of the house!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sunbonnet days

Well, here it is noon already and I'm playing on the computer when I have lots of other things to do! I have dozens of old family photos stored in the computer, and this is another one that I really like. I believe it was taken in the San Jose or Mountainview area of California, about 1904. The first five people are my great-grandparents Silas and Ellen Grable, and their children. The little girl is my grandmother Gladys. Silas and Ellen were born in KS and IN, and settled in California around 1900. The bought several acres of ranchland and planted orchards. In fact, it looks like there is a small seedling just in front of them, if you look closely. (Photo will enlarge if you click on it.)

Old photos can give us a glimpse of life in the past. The hills in this photo is pretty bare, but today the California hills have beautiful oak trees generously scattered around. I would guess that at the time of this photo all the trees would have been cut down for the wood, or perhaps the cattle had eaten the seedlings. Today, this same area is probably dense with housing developments.

This is a close up of the same photo. I just love the photo of my grandmother, the little girl in the white dress. With the sunbonnet hiding her face, she looks just like Sunbonnet Sue! Her parents look so proud of their little brood.

Well, back to my chores! I'll reward myself with some sewing time tonight and will try to get something quilt-related posted next time!