Friday, August 28, 2009

Remnants of the Past

My mind wandered further than usual this week as I stitched. It traveled back to a time before my time - the 1930's and 40's. I was transported by some lovely, lively vintage fabric scraps Martha at Q is for Quilter generously shared with me. I found there to be a lot of "scope for the imagination" as I hand-pieced six of them into blocks for my bow-tie quilt.

I've always been curious about that period of time because that's when my parents grew up. Mom used to tell me about dresses made from feed sack fabrics. Her older sister would get first pick of the fabrics and usually ended up with the pretty ones. Mom didn't say it in a grudging way, she just always told me how pretty my aunt was. My dad served in WWII, as did my father-in-law (those are the latter's pictures above). I can't even BEGIN to imagine what it was like for those two boys to be plucked from the farm and sent overseas to war. The world beyond your own must have been more mysterious in those days with no 'round the clock coverage or "to the minute" updates. I think they used to watch the news reels projected on the town hall in our little home town which seems to have been more of a boom town in those days.

I also love movies from that period like "It Happened One Night" and "Dark Victory". Since most are in black and white, as are family pictures from that time, it's hard to tell how colorful the decor was back then. I look at these fabrics and think maybe there was an abundance of color, perhaps as a distraction because times were hard. Anyway, that's the trip I've been on this week in my head as my "self" sat stitching in the standstill traffic of the carpool line at school. Thank you Martha, for giving me the ticket!

I LOVE the fabric Martha chose for me! These are just the blocks I have finished. I am all excited now and looking forward to making more of them into blocks. They will add so much personality and fun to my quilt! Martha often sews with vintage fabric and creates beautiful, colorful quilts that put a smile on your face! She is currently working on an embroidered ABC quilt which showcases her talent for stitchery. It is ADORABLE!

And here is a close-up of my grandmother's tatting. This is an edging or perhaps collar (it seems the right size) which was probably made in the 30's or 40's. I may be biased, but I think it is beautiful!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And This Heart of Mine Will Be Free...

IF you don't consider the stuff I had to BUY from Handy Hands to GET it!

Hmmmmm? Were you expecting some deeper thought or sentiment? I'm sorry, these days I only have time for shallow thoughts and deep breathing as we plunge into back-to-school mode.

I was VERY excited about making my first motif with clunies last week and wanted to do more cluny tatting. So I ordered a booklet, Cluny Tatting Designs by Joy Botchlet. It has been YEARS since I ordered from Handy Hands, so to stop there would have shown more restraint than I possess. Therefore it came as no surprise to me when I chucked Celtic Tatting Knots & Patterns by Rozella Linden, a couple more colors of Cebelia #30, and a GIGANTIC, "Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves" shuttle made by Tatsy into my cart! When I pick up that shuttle I know how Baby Doll must feel when she gets hold of one of my clovers - like I got the WORLD by the tail! Hope it tats well for me, cause I'll look pretty silly just sitting there holding it with a big, goofy grin on my face!

Anyway, Handy Hands threw in a sample of Lizbeth #40 in Grape Pizzaz with my order - nice! Then, in the catalog, I saw the pattern for this heart - very nice!! It is called Clover Leaf Heart and is by Mrs. J.M. Blackman from Modern Priscilla 1917. It was an easy, fun heart to tat - nicest part of all!!!

Now, my only remaining question is - IF my heart is INDEED free, will it STILL be free if I order the mini hook set and celtic shuttle I ran across while WORKING... on my FREE heart?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Make It One For My Baby, and One More For The Road...

And it was a LONG, LONG, LONG road home from Disney!

The first day in the car I tatted during Baby Doll's naps. She's a little obsessed with shuttles, hooks and thread. I totally get it, but apparently I'm stingy so I had to wait until she was SOUND asleep before I made my move. I made two more motifs from Minitats by Patti Duff. #51 in blue and #7 in white, both with a few beads added for fun. It was a SWEET tatting day!

But on Day Two, somewhere in Mississippi, the unthinkable happened... Tatting became VERY contrary and troublesome, and after a bout of huffy breathing, I banished it to the darkness of the bag for the remainder of the trip. It sounds harsh I know, but I HAD to stand firm.

So how did I fill the remaining hours in the car? By singing along obnoxiously to elevator music with my husband, both of us ignoring groans from the children, and keeping my hands busy working on my Baby Bow Tie Quilt.

I have been working on this quilt for some time and have about 200 blocks done. The blocks measure 3.5" square. I have about a third of the blocks I will need for a twin size quilt. I enjoy making them and pick up fat quarters of 1930's reproduction fabrics here and there to add to the mix.

Tatting and I made up quickly after we got home and I made this motif with cluny leaves designed by Stephanie Peters. I liked making it SO much I ordered a book with more cluny patterns!

I think the tatting motifs and quilt blocks make handsome pairs!

A while back, a friend suggested I not use some fabrics for my quilt because they didn't look good together, but I want a scrappy look and believe in the end that they will all "go." And that reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite books:

"And then while you're livin' your life, it looks pretty much like a jumble o' quilt pieces before they're put together; but when you git through with it, or pretty nigh through, as I am now, you'll see the use and the purpose of everything in it. Everything'll be in its right place jest like the squares in this 'four-patch,' and one piece may be pretty and another one ugly, but it all looks right when you see it finished and joined together."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Happiest Cluny Leaves on Earth

If Disney World is the "Happiest Place on Earth" then these must have been the happiest cluny leaves on earth!

Last week we loaded up the family and went to Disney! A good time was had by all and in between the rides and shows I even squeezed in a little tatting time!

One afternoon I sat on a bench in Hollywood Studios and practiced cluny leaves with a view of a giant Mickey sorcerer's hat,

and a sleeping Princess Baby Doll,

while the rest of my family took in a movie about Mr. Disney.

Now mind you, these were not my first cluny attempts! I had two days of intermittent practice during the car ride TO the happiest place on earth. Before we set out on our trip I had printed Mimi Dillman's excellent tutorial on cluny leaves which I found via Tatting Chic. Tatting Chic has a great list of tutorials and she adds to it all the time. The photographs in Mimi's tutorial helped me out immensely and after a few (I don't care to count) awkward attempts, I started to get the hang of it. It's still touch and go as to whether I will turn out a nicely shaped cluny or a dud, but the odds for a good one are getting better. The next step will be trying to incorporate them into a pattern... We'll see how that goes...