Sunday, May 31, 2020

more thoughts on artifact quiltmaking

A few months ago I wrote about making an artifact.
We make quilts in joy, in sorrow, and in anger.
Political work needs to be seen as a snapshot in time. There was a reason it was made, it made sense in context.
The nature of our work is it is very labor consuming and time consuming. The emotions and ideals that are present at the start of a work can dissipate and the work seems irrelevant or can grow so intense the work itself seems inadequate.
In either case I think it is valuable to finish these artifacts.

I started on my "Hillary" quilt with excitement and set it aside in my sadness in the results of the election. But, I was determined to complete it as an artifact of that optimism.

When the 2016 election happened I named a quilt to reflect my wariness.
"...may you live in interesting times" took an otherwise traditional quilt made of the plus block on point (giving it a times symbol appearance) and making it political by naming it with the Chamberlain curse.

Now, my "Impeach" quilt. I made the top during the impeachment hearings. It channeled my frustrations during that time. It too was set aside when the Senate made their choices. But this week, after the "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" quote was used by our president, who then claimed he did not know the history of it (this white girl from Iowa knew the history of it) I decided to finish this artifact. Complete with its pink pussycat back.
I am leaving the sleeve untacked so the pussycats show.

When we are faced with these very troubling times one can feel helpless.
I can be angry
I can support the afflicted
I can call attention to injustice
I can vote
I can sew

Sunday, May 24, 2020

calico rose, top completed

Calico rose
96 inches square
From a sew-a-long on Deanna's delightful blog Wedding Dress Blue:
Changes I made:
I used flying geese for the star points instead of half-square triangles
I used 16-patches for the border

Look carefully for the orientation of the blocks for the border.
I sewed together the border blocks with the block seams perpendicular to the edge of the quilt. I sewed the border pieces to the center flipping the border seams to nest with the center seams. I then stay-stitched the edges before pressing to these nested orientations.

This is the second quilt I've made from Deanna's pattern. The first, made in 2015, belongs to my sister Janna. My sister Beth asked me if I could some day make her one like it. That day is today.

Over the past few years if I was using a 3 1/2 in strip I would cut a few triangles for this quilt. I keep my 2 inch scrap squares at the ready in shoeboxes and there are fabrics here from decades of work--some of my mom's scraps are included too.
The square prints parts of the blocks were done last year during a busy semester and were welcomed mindless sewing.
Last week I pulled out my Studio Cutter and cut the 3 1/2 inch and 2 inch solid strips to make the remaining parts.While this feels it went together quickly, it really has had years of prep work behind it.

I have an appointment for a drive-by drop-off with my longarm quilter this week. We decided a wool batt would be best to keep the quilt from being overwhelmingly heavy.

Thank you Deanna, for sharing this great design.

My obsessive pressing made sure every seam in the quilt top nested.
star block pressing
alternate block pressing
16-patch border orientation and pressing

Friday, May 15, 2020

patience corner, top completed

Patience Corner
80 by 96"
120 blocks set 10 by 12
Block finishes 8 inches

My design, use at your pleasure.
Solid: four 1 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch rectangle, four 1 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch rectangles
Print: four 3 1/2 inch squares
Press units away from square
Press halves towards side with square at seam
Do not press final horizontal seam until assembly
Sew 4 blocks together into a unit
Press all connecting seams and block horizontal seams into one direction
Rotating one, sew two 4-block units into an 8-block unit.
Sew 5 of these together for a row.
Make 3 rows
All seams will nest

Friday, May 08, 2020

rickrack, top completed

About 75 by 88 inches
72 blocks, set on point
Block finishes 9 inches

Solid: one each rectangle 1 1/2 by: 2 1/2, 3 1/2, 5 1/2, 6 1/2, 8 1/2, 9 1/2
Print: One square 2 1/2; one each rectangle 2 1/2 by: 3 1/2, 5 1/2, 6 1/2, 8 1/2

Setting triangles over-cut from triangles 10 1/2 inches on sides and about 15 on base. Corner triangles over-cut from 9 1/2 inch square.

In block construction press all seams away from the 2 1/2 inch square.
(((You could chose to wait to press final solid strip seam and press them up or down every other block for nesting in assembly--I did not press them differently as I needed to ease seams a bit and I wanted the full 9 1/2 inches to do so.)))

Sew together in diagonal rows.
Press every other row of blocks to the left or right to allow rows to nest. Press final seams to the top left.

My design, use at your pleasure.
This is another quilt that everyone sees something different: feathers, dragon scales. I see Rickrack.

My Great-grandma Dykstra loved to sew and embellish dresses for her granddaughters. My dad said his sisters didn't like that she put so much rickrack on them.
Last year my sister was helping one of these aunts clean out her house. They ran across a dress from the 1940s and my aunt said, "That is grandma's burial dress." Which begged the question, why was it not in the grave. My aunt said her grandma sewed the dress and designated it to be worn in the casket. When she died her daughters-in-law thought it would not be appropriate because she had sewn sequins on it.
I want that dress. You may bury me with sequins.

Elizabeth Vander Hoef Dykstra and Joe Dykstra. She was known to be a very bright woman who did the business side of their farming. And for loving sequins and rickrack.
My father adored his grandparents.
My dad said his grandpa stood on a stone for this photograph so he could match his wife's height

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

remains, quilt completed

Remains, 2015
47 by 69 inches

This uses the "serendipity snakes" method I explain here on my blog. My mom taught me this method over 30 years ago, she learned it from a friend.
The strips were the leftovers from my 1 1/2 inch strip drawer, picked over and not used after several projects that made a big dent in them. I love this quilt. It reminds me of the rugs made on a treadle loom by our neighbor Charlotte Pals. I liked to lie on her floor and feel the vibrations of the loom as she worked.

It was beautifully quilted by Suzette Fisher.
I must draw attention to my long-arm quilters, Suzette Fisher and Sue DiVarco who allow me to be as productive as I am.

I have been posting a quilt a day on my Facebook (private family) page as a way to ward off a bit of despair in these quarantine times. I decided to re-post here some of my past quilts that never had a proper photograph taken.

Monday, May 04, 2020

40 years

Red Cross, 2015. Top completed 2015 in celebration of 30 years in nursing. This week marks 40 years.
I love being a nurse and am privileged to be teaching the next generation.