Thursday, May 2, 2019

TBT #17 9-Inch Block Exchange Quilt

Welcome to another edition of TBT! Hope you'll pull up a chair, sip on a coffee, tea or wine, and read about this 21-year-old quilt I made with friends. Maybe it will spark thoughts of a quilt you made back in the days before blogging. I hope you'll write up the story of your quilt and link it up below.

This quilt has no name! I didn't used to name my quilts, didn't get that part of the process back then, and this one goes a ways back, but oh, how I love it. Blue and burgundy is a favourite colour combination of mine even though it may be rather dated!
I actually darted out yesterday to take these shots while it was still drizzling (we're growing flippers here, but better than growing snowshoes), but then it stopped after the first photo, which wasn't this one btw. No, I saved taking the shot above for last, so that I could have big fat drops of rain drip onto my head while I positioned the quilt artfully over the bench, avoiding the black walnut shell pile from a squirrel.

I'm actually going to start with the label for this quilt.

Way back then, even if I didn't get the naming of quilts, I innately knew the importance of labelling them. I even made it into its own little block, and sewed it into the quilt back as an integral part for added security.  I think it's because I am by nature a recorder; I need to note events, to journal, to document. That is a big part of why I started my blog.

You can see this was a project during 1998, when I was a member of the Fort Saskatchewan Quilting Guild. Four of us were in the group. We gave each other a half yard of one fabric that we were to use when making the others' quilt blocks, plus use some of our own fabric. My fabric was the fancy blue and burgundy floral used in the outer border.
Fancy quilting on fancy fabric with fancy Sulky metallic thread! I used my walking foot.

I had made fancy dresses in this fabric for my daughters a few years prior to the start of this quilt. The dresses had velvet collars, one blue, one burgundy, upon which sat a Battenburg lace collar. These were the dresses and this was the fabric that I took that fateful day with me to Lori's Fabric Cottage, as it was known back then around 1994/95, in Sherwood Park, looking for velvet to set the lace collars upon.
Gentleman's Fancy block

That was the trip that Brianne, my eldest, who was with me at the time, bugged me to join in a block draw. Make a block in the pattern given, turn it into the store anytime that month. From all the blocks turned in one would be drawn and would win them all. I've told the story before:

Brianne: Mum! You should do this!
Me: I don't quilt. I make clothes.
Brianne: Come on Mum. You could win.
Me: I never win anything.
Brianne: MUM! It's one dollar.
Me: sigh Okay.

And I won. And my fascination with quilts has not stopped since. And very few garments were made after that!
Don't know the name of this one; think it may be a Nancy Johnson-Srebro block

I had a good chunk of that dress fabric left, fabric I loved, still do.   Over the course of four months, four of us made a 9" quilt block of our own choosing, one for each person in the group including ourself. This was hard for me; I actually looked specifically through my few quilting books and those I got out of our guild library for 9" blocks, not thinking about resizing them!

Double T - love this block. Need to make another!
Most of the blues and burgundies are scraps from the very first quilt I made (clearly I've had a long love affair with scrap quilts), the second quilt I made being Brianne's Bear Paw quilt that I made with the blocks I won. You can read that post here.

Was I happy to find a 9" house block! I have always loved house blocks.
So we each ended up with the exact same set of 16 blocks, with some of our own fabric in each block. It was a super-fun project.

I didn't finish it in 1998. It wasn't until 2001 that I got it completely done, hand-stitching the binding down on the very day I was taking it out to the Mundare Outdoor Quilt Show put on by a terrific quilt shop, The Chicken Coop.

Hand-stitched binding is my favourite, though I rarely do it these days. Always looking to save time. Yvonne of Quilting Jet Girl wrote a post a little while ago about hand-stitching down binding and how it is sturdy, and that machine-quilting it down, in her opinion, wasn't sturdier. Well, this 21-year-old quilt that has seen some use in its day, is holding up fine. I have found, however, with some of my quilts and one I gave to my sister that get heavy use that the single thread I use to hand-stitch it down will wear in spots and it may need repair here and there. This was a single-fold binding too; I don't know if I'd learned about double-fold, or possibly thought it a waste of fabric!

Here's the back. This is another fabric I got from Wall-Mart, of which I bought several yards, a Northcott I am pretty sure, that has that vintage look. It's so soft, and is on the back of a few quilts I made from that time!
I see I need to unfold and refold some of the quilts that have been piled on shelves. I've taken this to my yoga classes on several occasions.

So back to the outdoor quilt show in Mundare. Great little town, super friendly. I got a contract teaching there for the last third of the school year in 1994, which led to me getting back into full-time teaching. Prior to that I'd stayed home mostly, and done one other short-term contract, as well as substitute taught so that I could have time with my young girls.

Well didn't I win the grand prize at the show, a $200 gift certificate (that went a long ways 20 years ago!) to the shop! I was ecstatic. It wasn't a judged show; all the quilts entered went into a hat and mine was drawn. I bought enough fabric for a bed quilt for us, and then some; I had to kick in some of my own money for it! But of course you just do that don't you? It would be rude not to. I planned to make a Lone Star à la Jan Krentz.. Nope, haven't made it yet. And now I am thinking I'm going to make it a Spiral Lone Star à la Vasudha of Storied Quilts.

Love love the texture and the softness of this backing. Call me weird, but right from the beginning I've been fascinated to the point of giddiness with how the quilting shows and makes patterns and texture on quilt backs!

Here's the first shot I took when it was still drizzling a little!
Oh I do love this quilt. Notice how I put one of my blocks in each row? If I remember correctly, I did each month's blocks in their own dedicated row. What a great project it was. Sewing and quilting with friends is always such fun.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Various blocks
Size: 56"
Fabric: varied
Backing: unsure, maybe a Northcott
Batting: Warm n Natural
Quilted: Pieced and quilted on my 1979 Elna Air Electronic.
Threads: Gütermann and Mettler, Sulky metallic and rayon 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
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  1. I love this quilt! That's a great color combination, so royal looking!

  2. That is a super fun label! And also, how fun that Brianne urged you to enter and look where it has taken you.

  3. I admire your dedication to making such great labels! I've committed to sewing in preprinted labels into the binding. They have my name on them; perhaps I'll write the year with a pigma pen. As for whether hand-sewn or machine-sewn binding are more durable: in my studio, hand sewn will literally last for decades, because that's how long a quilt will sit before it gets finished. We all have our little weirdnesses, and mine is my abiding hatred of hand sewing binding! But I do think they look more polished and professional, so if I need a quilt to be extra special, I do a machine sewn flanged binding :)

  4. I love this quilt! When I sew on a binding by hand I use a double thread even Aurifil, call me weird just figure if one is good two must be better. I like the look of a hand sewn binding.

  5. I enjoy the stories behind your quilts! So glad your daughter talked you into making that block, and what a fun journey it has been, eh? After all these years, that is still a lovely quilt! Anybody else feel like the late 90's were just yesterday???

  6. Hi Sandra! What a fabulous post. Come on Mum, it's only $1! And the rest is history. But for that one entry where would you be now?!! Hmm, I don't think I see our favorite photo bomber in any of these shots. He probably would have enjoyed getting big fat drops of rain on him while sniffing that pile of black walnut shells. Just sayin. A fun finish and an even better story to go along with it. ~smile~ Roseanne

  7. I love reading all your stories and am amazed that you remember so much detail.

  8. I love how your quilts have such lively backstories. The connections here are precious. Sometimes group quilts aren’t very cohesive, but the blocks in your quilt coordinate so well, I would never have guessed that they were made by four different people. You always have such fun labels, too. Was this one part of a panel or sold as a label? Funny how quilters vary in their preferences about how to sew bindings. I’ve always used heavy hand quilting thread. I hope it’s been durable.

  9. Love the story that goes with this quilt. Love the border fabrics and each of the blocks. A very pretty first quilt.

  10. Two wins! One to start quilting and one to say Hooray for You! I love this quilt and all its sotries. Thanks for TBT.

  11. Imagine.... things could have been very different... it's always fascinating to see fork points in people's lives. I remember the moment in hindsight that I started quilting as a forever thing. A knock on the door from essentially strangers at the time changed everything. I love the blue and burgundy. To me it doesn't feel dated.... It's a classic combination that will always appeal.

  12. 21 years!!! Well, I must say you don't look a day over 14 :-D I am sure your mom takes excellent care of you. Beautiful fabrics and sharp points too. Love your borders - feminine floral and manly blue. Hope you get to come out more often and play :-)
    Even though I have heard the story before, it is good to hear it again. Growing flippers!!! Isn't mommy funny?

  13. Love the quilt! It is amazing what we will go through to get our pictures:)
    Nancy A:

  14. Your label is so sweet! I love the blue & burgundy too! Thank you, Susan


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