Thursday, February 14, 2008

Further Baltimore work

It's been a long time since I posted. What happened was, I took some pictures to post and when I was about to upload them, my computer died! Everything is sorted now and I've made a fair amount of progress with my Baltimore Album.

Here is the finished Fleur de Lys block, I worked hard on the points, both inner and outer and I'm very pleased with them, but now I look at the completed block I realise I didn't pay enough attention to some of the curves. At some point I can go back and add some extra stitches to smooth them out.

Part way through the block, I switched to silk thread, with pleasing results, all future work will be with silk thread!

This is the assymetric basket with a possible arrangement of flowers, I think to balance it the rose needs to be on the other side, though it may be too big for the arrangement. I've put this block aside and am still musing over exactly what I'll do with it.

I found a copy of a museum catalogue in Half Price Books, it's fairly old, so not all the pictures are in colour, but with 20 odd quilts it gives me a good idea of the range of blocks and I'm starting to pick out which blocks reoccur identically and which reoccur only in basic shape. Even within the very narrow range that historians designate Baltimore Albums there is quite a wide range, with some quilts consisting only of very intricate blocks and others being a mix of intricate and very simple. A couple of the very early ones have blocks with a star or hexagon made of smaller hexagons, presumably by English Paper Piecing, I've been working on a much more complex block so I've temporarily put that aside to work on one of these.

Flying Geese - photos

The intial pieces.

From the wrong side, with the corners marked.

Pinning through the corners.

Replace with a single pin to hold, note how the bottom corner matches perfectly and the top corner hangs over.

Getting ready to sew, the piece is under the presser foot, butted against the needle.

Finished sewing, sew off the edge of the piece, don't stop at the dot, or backstitch.

How it looks before pressing.

With the seam pressed towards the sky.

The 2nd sky piece pinned in place.

Go carefully here, you'll be sewing over a seam, which is liable to make the fabric wobble under the foot and make an error in the seam allowance. You could pin from the other side and sew with the goose on top which gives you a longer run up to the potential wobble.

Whichever way you do it, sew right off the edge.

Before cutting the dog ears off.

Ta da! One goose!

geese and parallelograms

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Flying Goose

A flying goose unit before it's sewn to anything else. The red lines indicate where the seams are sewn when you do join it to something else. The darker blue would be the first triangle added to the centre triangle and the lighter blue second.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Plugging away...

I decided that I was going to have to buy Elly Siekiewicz's book "Baltimore Beauties and Beyond, Volume 1". It doesn't seem to be in the shops, but it's apparently still in print, but whether that's a case of the publisher still having some left, I don't know. There were several available to buy 2nd hand via Amazon, but at a saving of about 5 dollars, it didn't seem worth it for a possible loss of speed and a little less reliability.

She doesn't claim to use original techniques, but does discuss why techniques we now find to be good may well not have been back in the 1850s. By Friday, I just had to try something, which meant using the iron, so Andrew was kind enough to set the board up for me and pick up the bits I needed, then I managed to stand for 10 minutes to get it all done. I then started off on the stitching and have been troubled a little by shaky hands and blurred vision. I like my contact lenses, but there are the odd moment when they refuse to sit right for close work. I like the way she explains how to do the technique as she has the approach of a realist and tells you how to deal with a sharper corner or a tighter curve, or when the pattern means there isn't enough fabric to give enough seam allowance to both parts of the design how to cope with that.

She also mentions that stars and compasses done by applique were common and that many blocks recorded as pieced, when she's got close enough to the original to find out, that it's turned out to be applique. I think I'll probably include one.

I also completed a flower to be used on the basket block I'm working on, the petals are made from circles, folded in half and then to the middle, to give some texture to the centre I used a larger circle gathered smaller, though I'm not so sure about the finished result.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Reverse Applique

The pattern I'm basing a block on calls for decorations on the vase/urn to be done by reverse applique, this makes sense to me in terms of the layers of the design. As far as I know reverse applique has to be turned as you go along, or at least if you preturned it, you'd lose some of the advantages of reverse applique. The next factor is how you mark the applique and get it in the same place on two pieces of fabric, you can get around that by marking on the wrong side of the fabric that would usually be the applique, then use quilting thread to stitch it to what would usually be the background, but is going to form the turned edge of the applique.

The first picture shows this having been completed, the idea is that the thickness of the quilting thread makes a perforated line that the fabric should easily fold on - this has never happened to me! You then have to trim the "background" fabric, without anything between it and the other fabric to protect it, snip the marking thread, sweep the seam allowance under and stitch in place - this is far easier said than done and you really only want to have to poke each area once, the more you play with a turn under to get it to lie flat the more likely you are to get fuzzies. The 2nd picture shows the start of this process.

Eventually after much toil and trouble, I managed to work round all 3 shapes, deeply thankful that this is a one off design element. The result looks pretty good, there are no obvious puckers, there is a slight bit of tension in one area that makes it feel less than perfect to me, but that won't be visible in the end. I'd originally been planning to stitch mark and needle turn this urn on to the background, but having argued with the fabric so much over these 3 shapes, it's back to freezer paper preparation for me. I keep wondering how on earth women from the mid 19th century managed to applique anything without freezer paper!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

much done, but little time to blog

Basically, I've almost finished number 2 and made a start on number 3, I do have a list of ideas for the rest of the block, so there should be enough for me to get on with. At any time I can pick up sashing and stitch away and hopefully add some of the dots, I'm not sure how many have been prepared. This picture of block 2 looks like it's finished, can you spot were it's not? 4 leaves need to be sewn down.

The 3rd block I started sewing on is flowers in a traditional basket, with a swooping curve, I have a pattern for it, which has one way of putting the flowers in and two other interpretation, It definitely means learning even more techniques to finish it in any of the ways. After these 3 I'm not sure what I will work on next there are a couple of wreaths that I'd like to work on. I had intended to have more time to write somethinq about technique but I'm having surgery tomorrow and things are a little crazy.
I did manage a trip to a slightly further away LQS, they had some silk thread but not in the most helpful colours, I got some green in a packet for 99c and it has had good results. I also found a piece of fabric with a few different fruits on that I thought would be good for using in a fruit bowl design.