Friday December 6, 2013
Grab your stash of leftover pieces of fabric, because they're a perfect choice for Arkansas Traveler quilt blocks. I've included three finished block sizes in the pattern -- 6", 9" and 12", so even quilters with fewer scraps can put their fabrics to use. The traditional layout for the block is made up of four dark spools against a light background, but switch that up if you prefer. How about bright spools against black? Or neutrals against darker colors? Backgrounds needn't be the same fabric, so feel free to scrap it up.
Take a close look at the four light background areas nearest the block's center -- two vertical and two horizontal. Notice how they form a bit of a pinwheel. Some layouts could take advantage of that look, and dramatically change the block's appearance. Play with the design a bit until you're happy with the layout. One thing's certain... Arkansas Traveler is an easy quilt block that can be used to create a wide variety of quilts.
Arkansas Traveler Quilt Block Pattern
Monday December 2, 2013
The huge array of quilting notions on store shelves can be overwhelming at times, but it's a good kind of overload, because slight variations in all sorts of tools make some types a better choice for each person's specific needs.
Straight pins are one of those sewing notions that are variable, and most of us should keep at least a few types of pins in our sewing kits. They range from very long pins with round or decorative (usually flat) heads to super-narrow silk pins that glide into fabric with ease. And don't forget applique pins -- those little 1/2" helpers that do come in handy for many tasks. The good news... most straight pins are affordable and long lasting.
Do you have favorite straight pins? I've covered some of the variations in the article linked below, and explained which types are my favorites.
Which Straight Pins Are Best For Quilting Projects?
Sunday December 1, 2013
Vintage beds were often built to hold the same mattress length as today's full size (or double) mattress, but the older beds are usually only 3/4 as wide. Quilts of those eras are often smaller, too, to match the narrower bed dimensions, so always keep that in mind when preparing to display an antique quilt.
Calvin Coolidge's bedroom is shown in the photo (love the quilt). It's the bed Vice President Coolidge was sleeping in when aides woke him (in 1923) with the news that he'd just become President of the United States. President Harding had died suddenly while on a tour of the country.
I love vintage beds, and over the years have left some at their intended width, but needed to increase the width for others. The good news... either option is doable.
Mattress Options for Antique Beds
Library of Congress Photo
Saturday November 30, 2013
Ah, Eleanor, you had no clue of the coming storm surrounding the quilt presented to you -- the grand prize winner of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. The event was dubbed A Century of Progress, and focused on improvements to science and technology that had occurred during the previous 100 years.
Sears held a quilt contest for the event and the 'Unknown Star' quilt that Mrs. Roosevelt is grasping was the winner (out of 15,000 entries, according to the Sears pamphlet). Quilters were required to sign a form stating that entries were entirely their own work, but the woman who entered Unknown Star must have missed that text, because it was later revealed that she hired a group of women to construct the patchwork, and someone else to do the 16-stitch per inch quilting that impressed the judges.