Friday, August 28, 2015

Tumbling Blocks

One of the most "antiquey" looking quilts I've ever made is the little Tumbling Blocks quilt from my book Remembering Adelia. Remember this one?  Anyone made it? Why not? It's easier than it looks. 

This little quilt was inspired by a large Tumbling Blocks quilt made in the 19th century by President Calvin Coolidge when he was about ten. I saw a photo of that quilt in a magazine and knew I wanted to make a little one for myself. If you've been itching to make a tumbling blocks quilt yourself, this is a good one to try because it's small and easy. It's really a lot of fun and a good way to use up your scraps.

I've hand pieced and hand quilted THREE of these if you can believe it. Not because I was crazy but because I was sending trunk shows to various shops around the country at the time so they could display them and promote the book for me. Sure, it took a little time but they were fun to make and if you haven't hand pieced a quilt yet, try making a little tumbling blocks quilt by hand. It's not as hard as it looks. Remember, I've made three so it can't be that bad.

The instructions in the book are very clear cut and simple. If you prefer to do it on your own, without a pattern, cut diamond shapes from 2-inch scrap strips, lining them up with a 60-degree diamond ruler. There's a pattern for a template included in the book.

Because the blocks are small, it was easier for me to sew the "Y" seams, or set-in seams, by hand. but you can certainly do it on your machine.

If I were going to make another one someday I think I'd like try English paper piecing the blocks.

If you don't feel like making your own, here's a link to buy this antique quilt that's remarkably similar -

                                    full view of Tumbling Blocks antique quilt

                                          Want to try the tumbling block quilt pattern.  Its classic, and gives me the opportunity to use lots of scraps

LLBean used to sell one.

I wonder if Adelia or her daughter ever made a tumbling blocks quilt?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Inspired by Beads

Quilting isn't the only thing that inspires me to be creative. I love playing with beads and have since I was a child.  Two words - Pop beads. Remember? What fun my friend Audrey (NOT Audrey Hepburn) and I had with those in 3rd grade, making things and trading. (Shhh, pretend you don't know how old I am now.)


If you're longing for some retro fun, Hey Viv! is a shop that still sells these.

I, however, have graduated. Not to gems, though. Now I favor turquoise beads combined with silver and natural colored, polished stones. Every now and then, instead of doing the things I'm supposed to be doing or just to take a break from making blocks for a quilt or sewing on a binding. I bring out my bead boxes and fritter the day away making earrings or bracelets. It's very relaxing and I still get my "color fix."

These unique silver beads would look great mixed with any color beads.

I've added a few new things to my Etsy shop so you can see for yourself. (When I was very young, I received much encouragement from my mom and sisters whenever I attempted anything creative - "Oh, Kathleen, it's beautiful!" Hence, the name of the shop. See what happens when someone encourages me?? I believe them.)

FYI - I make custom orders as well and if blue is not your color, e-mail me and I'll see what I can do. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Little Walk on the Prairie

There's a prairie garden near my home and it's so much fun to walk around it. Especially on days when there's no one else around.

There's a waterfall at the end.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Spools Quilt

We're making some little Spools quilts in my Yahoo and Facebook Small Quilt groups this month.

In 2008, I fell in love with this antique Spools quilt after I saw it on eBay - I think it was all the different blues that got me.  I had started an online small quilt group that year and so decided to design a spool block for one of the group's monthly challenges. 

I started, but never finished  . . . .

Many of you who are in one or both of my groups now are new to the challenges so we are recycling the block from 2008. I revised the block to be 3" x  3" this time around. You can make a quilt this month using any colors or any size block you like. Find another pattern and use set-in seams if you prefer. Remember to show us by posting a picture in the yahoo group or on Facebook. I hope I get a chance to make one for myself this time.


It makes you wonder -  how did makers of antique quilts like this one come up with such wonderful color combinations?  

Join one of my groups (see sidebar) to get the free pattern and then start having fun making your own little quilt.

Here's a vintage spools doll quilt I received a few years ago as a gift from a friend to inspire you -

Sweet, sweet, sweet.