Monday, July 27, 2015

Civil War Dresses Exhibit

Some of you may remember that I attended an exhibit of Civil War era dresses last year at a local museum in Antioch, Illinois. They have another exhibit running though this summer (it ends September 6) and I saw it this past weekend. Seeing the old fabrics and the intricacy of the sewing was truly inspirational. The dresses are NOT reproductions. All are authentic period pieces dating from the 1850s - 1870s and part of a private collection.

The exhibit features summer dresses and ball gowns . . . 

. . .  as well as 19th century mourning clothing.

If you live in northern Illinois or southern Wisconsin (or even Iowa - only a short drive away, I hear) and this sort of thing appeals to you, then stopping by the museum is definitely worth your while. Here's a link to the museum's Facebook page for directions and other info.

Children's apparel

Look - an outfit trimmed with Prairie Points.

The fabrics were lovely and EVERYTHING was hand sewn.

Pack up the car, bring some friends and take a drive to Illinois this summer. Make sure you take the informative "tour" given by curator Ainsley Brook Wonderling. The dresses are all a part of her extensive and beautiful collection of 19th century artifacts.

Here's a link to the first post about the exhibit after I visited last year.

Part Two of the exhibit from 2014.   The exhibit showcases different dresses this year.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Pattern Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the Eliza Jane doll quilt pattern -

Barbara Cissne  and  Christine Jensen

Winners, if you send me your addresses I will mail out the patterns ASAP.

Thanks, everyone, for joining in the giveaway this time. Thanks also for taking time to tell us how you display your little quilts. It's fun to get creative with these, isn't it? Wish I could send a pattern to each one of you but  . . . .  I'll try to do another giveaway next month or so.

Keep making those little nine-patch quilts. They're so much fun to put together. We'll have another small quilt challenge for you to think about in August. And there's going to be lots more fun coming up soon in the Yahoo and Facebook groups.

Have a great week. 

(Eliza Jane thanks you again for taking the time to comment for a chance to win a pattern to make a lovely little quilt just like hers. She thinks it looks too cute on her little black primitive bed. You can buy the pattern here.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pattern Giveaway

This seems to be a month for making little nine-patch quilts. It's the July challenge for my Yahoo and Facebook small quilt groups and of course anyone else who cares to join in. I know some of you are making or have already made one. I started one myself based upon a pattern from the Little Quilts book Celebrate with Little Quilts  but have not quilted it yet. Family stuff and other things like cleaning up my messy sewing space got in the way. But July's not over and I will definitely finish it soon. Here's a peek at my quilt so far. Don't have too much left to do. 

Because I love a simple nine-patch block more than anything, I've made a few other other small quilts with this block. So, to encourage you to make your own nine-patch quilt, I am giving away 2 FREE patterns to 2 lucky winners for my sweet Eliza Jane's doll quilt. Yes, whaddya know - it's a pattern booklet for a little nine-patch quilt  that was part of a small quilt club  - The American Schoolgirl Club - I created a few years ago. The pattern includes a little bit of fun historical information about doll quilts from the past.

Here's the deal to win - All you have to do is post a comment here on my blog about what it is you love about making little quilts or tell me how you display yours. Over the weekend I will randomly select the TWO winners of the free pattern and announce them here on my blog on Sunday or Monday. International friends are welcome to join in too. Even if you already own this pattern, feel free to enter the giveaway so you can give it to a friend. 

This club was a lot of fun and I am actually thinking of starting another club because I know many of you enjoyed doing that one. We'll see. 

So, here's your chance. Enter to win a pattern and even if you don't love small quilts yet, making this one just might change your mind. Only enter your name once, please. If you post 2 comments in order to increase your chances of winning you will be automatically disqualified. Make sure you come back to the blog on Monday to see if you've won. I'll ask the winners to send me e-mails with their addresses after I announce them.

Good luck! Tell your friends. Share the love.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Display Your Small Quilts

I love making small quilts and if you're reading this and following my blog, you probably do too. Quilts come in all sizes and even though some call them "place mats" or "pot holders" our small quilts deserve the dignity of being considered real quilts too. Small quilts or doll quilts are where my heart is and are SO much fun to make since you can actually crank them out pretty quickly in between larger quilts if that's what you like to make most of the time.

There are times I like to experiment with quilt blocks, colors or styles I wouldn't necessarily feel like trying in a large quilt. In one of my books, there's a little Amish quilt and also a crazy quilt. I may not ever make a large quilt in either one of those styles, but the little ones sure are cute and you can make them in no time at all.

One of the best things about making small quilts is that they're fun to display around the house in different ways. Quilts really add something to a room whether they're dressing up a bed, draped over a sofa or hanging on a wall in an entryway. I am often asked -  what do you do with all your small quilts? Anything, really. Many of us hang these treasures of ours on a wall or place them upon a table. You can make a whole wall of quilts if you have more than a few. They can personalize a room and add color, texture and creativity to a space. The possibilities are endless.

Here's another idea for displaying the quilts -  on a doll bed. My friend Karen and her husband make and sell primitive doll beds (see photo of a black one, above) and now they've started making doll cradles too. Aren't these adorable?

They're perfect for showing off your small quilts and they come in assorted colors. There's a page on my website with a link to e-mail them for more info on purchasing one of your own. Don't just make the quilts and put them in a drawer, display them!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Let's Play with Some Nine-Patch Blocks

This month in my Small Quilt groups (Yahoo and Facebook - take your pick. See sidebar for info on joining) we're making small nine-patch blocks and putting them together into small quilts.

For the small blocks (3" finished), cut nine 1 1/2" squares. Larger block (4 1/2" finished)  is made from 2" squares. (For six-inch blocks, cut 2 1/2" squares if you like working with something a bit larger.)

It will be fun to see what everyone comes up with. I'll admit I love playing around with simple blocks more than challenging ones. Hence the nine patches this time. I get enough of the other kind working on my Dear Jane quilt. You can easily get one of these cuties finished in a month. 

I haven't actually made too many nine-patch quilts. Two?

Eliza Jane's nine-patch (see my website for pattern) 

Free pattern on my website

I do have a bunch of nine-patch blocks I made more than a few years ago for 2 quilts. One will be a simple throw and the other will be a small doll quilt. But - what a surprise - I haven't gotten around to sewing either one of them together yet. At first, I was waiting to find the perfect background fabric for setting the blocks. Should I go with light or dark? Indigo, red or tan? Stripes or a shirting? 

I decided upon dots for the small one based on this quilt I have always loved from am older book written by the Little Quilts ladies -  Celebrate with Little Quilts. 

Isn't it the sweetest thing? Mine will be very close. Lots of blues. This may be the month I finish this one.

For the larger throw quilt, I made 6" blocks and was inspired to do this same kind of background seen in the sample below. Some of you may remember that I spotted this quilt at a Country Threads booth at a quilt show a few years ago, fell in love with it's simplicity and was even able to find the same lovely fabric to use (Old Savannah by Paula Barnes).  I've only got 20 or so blocks done so far but I know for sure it's one I will finish eventually. 

My blocks are a tad more colorful  : )   Hope it works.

Finding ways to incorporate my favorite fabric, new and old,  into simple, unpretentious quilts, large or small, can be so much fun. I hope I've inspired you just a little.

So, if you're up for making a small nine-patch doll quilt this month (or any quilt. any month), join us in the Small Quilt Talk Yahoo group or the Small Quilt Lovers group on Facebook (info on blog sidebar) to see what we're doing. We'd love to meet you and inspire you with our creations.