Saturday, May 19, 2012

George's Cherry Tree with Birds

The antique quilt featured in the book Baltimore Garden Quilt was made with a traditional red and green color scheme, with highlights of yellow. Block B1, which I call George's Cherry Tree, features four birds enjoying the cherries.

On the antique block you can see some wearing away of the fabrics. The birds' legs were stitched with black fabric, and that fabric is mostly gone, as well as some of the Turkey red. But I was able to capture all the details for the patterns in the book by following the applique threads that were left behind.

My red and green reproduction block of this block is pretty much identical, faithful to the original.

However, these patterns can be done in any colors you choose! Readers and friends have been sending me photos of their blocks, and WOW, they are beautiful!

Cynthia in Texas sent me a photo of her Block B1 -- She has flown in some different birds! Cut from a favorite fabric of hers, the birds on her Baltimore Garden block are strategically cut from the French Journal Collection by London Portfolio for Michael Miller. Of course, I had to go buy some of that! :-) Cynthia inspires me to try some broderie perse!

And here is my latest version of Block B1. Plaid fabrics are a favorite of mine, and I try to use them wherever I can. The yellow birds' wings are fussy cut from a flower. I wasn't quite sure how this background would work out either -- it is a little busy -- but hey, it was fun!

I wonder what the original quiltmaker would think, if she could see these new blocks today ...


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More Excuses to Buy Fabric

When shopping for fabric, if a fabric that catches your eye, or just looks interesting, buy some!
If you don't buy it now, it won't be there when you come back. That's my motto. You just never know when it might come in handy for fussycuts ...

Sometimes it can be as subtle as a tiny green worm hiding among the green leaves and vines. I love to put surprises in my quilts.
But really now, do we EVER need EXCUSES to buy fabric!?!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

No Sticky Stickers Please

If you ever make fabric kits, such as for a block-of-the-month, for group projects, or for someone else to use, please don't ever use sticky labels to mark fabric numbers to match with a pattern. Over time (and not a very long time) they will get gummy, and leave a residue on the fabric that cannot be removed. The fabric might be completely unuseable, especially if it is in the smack-dab in the center of the piece. If you absolutely must use a sticker, just put it in a corner, or on the back, but not in the center of the piece!
The sticky labels can also fall off the fabric. Staples are no better, because they can rust, leave holes in the fabric, and are difficult to remove without a tool.
If you ever purchase a kit with stickers on the fabrics, get the stickers OFF the fabric ASAP and re-label your fabrics some other way until you are ready to use them.
Recently I bought a block-of-the-month set -- a beautiful design with great fabrics -- second hand from someone who collected them all for that year. Every piece of fabric had a huge label, slapped down in the middle of each piece. Here is a solid black piece, where the sticky label left residue.

 So I went through all the fabrics, for the whole year, removed the big sticky labels, cut each one down to minimum size, and put them in corners. Here's hoping the fabrics will all be useable. (And glad I have stash to substitute.)

Here are some ideas to use instead:
* Lay the fabrics staggered far enough apart to see the labels, and take a digital photo, close enough that you can still read the labels. Print the photo and remove the labels.
* Clip off a small piece of the fabric, and glue or staple each fabric to a paper next to its label.
* If you are making kits, provide a color copy of this paper - well worth the extra few pennies.
* A full-color page of numbered swatches with fabric measurements can be used for assembling kits. The same fabric key, if included in a pattern, can be used by the quilter for fabric shopping or pulling from stash.