Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bonnie was talking about log cabin quilts and I remembered this pile of blocks from about 1989. My goodness it feels strange writing that date, what a long time ago it was.

I had ended up with a large box which contained all our remnants from our dressmaking eforts, and some of Mum's as well. I decided to make a log cabin quilt, perhaps two, and send one to Keryn as a way to remember all these bits and pieces.

I became utterly obsessed  and every day I was at the machine, sewing these in batches of five or so. I couldn't stop and I had such fun going round and round adding to each block. Some of the fabric was terrible quality, but each bit held a memory and I was too frugal in those days to throw any scrap out, no matter what.
In these two blocks I can see fabric that were leftovers from a 'brunch coat' of Keryn's, two shirts, a halterneck dress and a skirt.
This sprigged fabric was a halterneck top that Keryn and I wore to death, but it was quite a coarse weave while the spotted fabric next to it was a dreadful chinese cotton that was so thin you could see through it.

 This block contains two beloved dark browns, the outer one was a skirt and the William Moriss type one was a dancing dress of mine from the '70's. It was a slightly brushed cotton and is one of my very favourite fabrics of all time. I still have the dress, but it is impossibly tiny and will never be worn by me again, sigh.The red check is from Mum's stash and was a skirt from a little dress for us.

The green was a wrap around dress of Keryns, the purple on the edge a dress that was never finished and the turquoise was from Mum's stash too. I think Keryn made a shirred dress from it, but it's a gorgeous vintage print I'd love to have more of now.

Matthew was about eighteen months old and he got pretty sick of me sewing all the time. I had a big old wooden chair with arms, and I used to let him climb up behind me and stand looking over my shoulder. He was quite safe there, away from the pins and scissors and he amused himself by turning me into a truck and driving me noisily around corners, jigging up and down and singing, brushing my hair into strange styles and sometimes even going to sleep leaning on me. Once I wondered at how quiet he was, and found that he'd been able to reach my container of bias binding and had unwound all the little strips and let them fall to the floor then stacked the cards neatly to one side. That took me a while to fix, but it had kept him occupied for some time, so it was worth it.

I sewed and sewed until I had 83 blocks ( the strips are 1 1/2" finished) and then tried to put them together. It was then that I found out that log cabin blocks can start twisting as you sew them, and you have to be really careful about squaring them up. None of the corners were 90 degrees and they were all decidedly skewiff. I tried nibbling away at each side but I was just making things worse so I had to stop. I didn't have a square ruler in those days so I put them all away in a drawer until I could find some way to fix the problem.

Now I have my big ruler I know I could have these trimmed down in half an hour, but the desire to finish these quilts has been put on the backburner and other more pressing things take over. Still, I've enjoyed looking at these fabrics, and I'm glad that I turned that big box of scraps into these blocks, even if they've been in the drawer ever since. Their turn will come...


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

 I was going through some tops the other day and found this one all folded up. I hadn't seen it for a while so I hung it up and examined it with great fondness. I made this one long summer school  holidays, when we lived on the farm.

I had great fun piecing the blocks, and most of these fabrics are long gone from the stash.
 I liked the two colour blocks, they're nice and clean looking,
 but I also loved using scraps for some of the pieces just to make it interesting.
 I made a Sister's choice using similar fabrics, thinking they were nice and masculine, but the boys proclaimed them too "girly". No pattern of any kind was permitted apparently, so both tops were relegated to the drawer for years and years.
 I didn't put a top border on this, because the boys just wanted quilts to come up to the pillow and this was long enough already. But it always looked a trifle unfinished to me and I was slightly dissatisfied with it.

When I got it out the other day it happened to fall onto a fabric I was considering for another backing, and it looked really good, so I think I'll put a strip of it across the top and piece some into the backing for this. It might even get quilted after all these years- perhaps one of the boys won't be so fussy now and be glad to give it a home.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

I'm still plodding away on these blocks, but I got a bit bored and relegated them to leader-enders for a while. So the pile of nine patches grows, but I'm working on other things as well.

 I've sewn heaps of them into these 36 patch blocks, which makes them easier to arrange on the design wall, and I have 25 made (100 ninepatches) and about twenty units ready to sew. I'm getting close to the amount needed for the centre of the top, so I'll need to set it all out soon and just see where I'm going.
Remeber my pumpkin patch from the summer? Here's what's left of my produce after giving away some to family and cooking a few over the last months.
 I grew the yellow spaghetti squash, butternut pumpkins and these strange Turk's Turban pumpkins. I bought the seeds from a seed savers stand at a market, because I'd read about them and wanted to see what they were like. I know people used to eat them, especially in the Depression but they were a disappointment flavour wise, in that they had none.

When we were young Mum used to serve up a homegrown vegetable called Trombone, so called because it was very long, and like these Turk's Turbans they were very prolific. The flesh was  similar looking, yellow and  a bit stringy and very watery when cooked. Not all was lost though, because Pippi ate it all up when mixed with her food (it's very good for dogs) and the others I'll enjoy just for their appearance. This year I'll be growing some other large pumpkin like a Queensland Blue or something I can actually like eating.


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