Sunday, February 27, 2011

That 30's Obsession....

My local quilt guild, website, started a 30's study group a few months ago....  Uh oh, some of you already know what comes next!  I'm obsessed AGAIN.  Possessed even at times.  There is something about handling fabrics that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers sewed that just draws me in.  I get teary even. 

Years and years ago when we were still living in Ohio and going to auctions for fun and necessity I found boxes of old fabric.  And in one box there were some beautiful Sunbonnet Sue blocks that I wanted with a passion!  Well, as auctioneers do, he threw all four boxes into the same lot.  Whew!  People were positively gasping at the bidding war of "those crazy women".  I paid all of $7.00 for them (back when a dollar was worth much more) -- and found 54 yards of fabric when I got home!  I also found a little brown bag with someone's unfinished LeMoyne Stars, the blades made with feedsack fabric and 30's solids.  And there was her threaded needle, left in the seam of a half finished block.  I wept my heart out imagining the abruptness of her life.  Her work was absolutely beautiful--surely she wasn't so careless with that needle. 
(sorry for the lighting--taken against a window)

I didn't rush out to finish that quilt though.  I packed it away (without the needle in the seam).  I was busy with the rug rats and life.  I did use some of that fabric to make maternity tops, curtains, etc.  Shocking!  considering what real feedsacks sell for now....  And then we moved to North Dakota and dropped my sewing machine in the move.  I was devastated!  Monstrously lonely, and positively ITCHING to sew.  So I dug out that little brown bag and finished piecing the stars by hand.  I even used "her" fabric to add blue sashings and yellow cornerstones.  And about that time I found a new quilt guild and made friends and got my machine fixed.  You know, built a new life.  So that top isn't quilted yet.  Picture right there.  I've always thought that there was something missing from the outside border and finally decided to add a small scalloped border, white muslin, and then to bind it with scraps of feedsack.  Hope I have enough buried in my stash.  (insert loud laugh and snort here)

(only the top half)
So this winter, looking at eveyone's vintage 30's quilts and their current projects using the fantastic variety of reproduction fabrics, the 30's bug hit again.  First picture is of a quilt that I found at an auction here a few years ago.  It's in really bad shape, seams popping, shredding fabric, and a blanket used for batting.  But I really like the setting!  Making a copy is on my ever-growing Do List.

And thanks to eBay, I can shop in my jammies and buy quilts, blocks, and tops from all over.  Uh oh!  Won't show pics all of them today, just a couple....  I treated myself this winter to a Double Wedding Ring throw.  It was tied beautifully, every two inches, with two inch long pink tails that just over-powered the wonderful array of feedsack fabrics.  My favorite is a circus print on blue that you can see at the bottom of the second picture of this pretty quilt.  It's a lady riding a horse, but elsewhere on the quilt there's a dog climbing a ladder and an elephant pulling a rope.  Wish I had a nice big chunk of that novelty feedsack!  Anyhow, I've finished quilting around the rings and am ready to start the design in the centers--that's the pattern there in the pictures.  Before you say anything--I know, some of those fabrics aren't feedsack.  I think she must have pieced this much later.  There's a suspiciously bright yellow calico that looks an awfully lot like one of the fabrics I learned to sew on, in the 60's.  I love it anyhow!

And the final pictures?  A small Apple Core top I bought on eBay.  It's slated for a makeover to replace a couple of shredded fabrics and to fix the popped or tucked seams.  I'm pondering making a template slightly smaller than what is "there" and re-piecing it by hand.  And possibly adding some alternating plain blocks?  It does have feedsack pieces big enough to really look at--aren't those explorers and Indians neat? 

Oh, yes, the Sunbonnet Sue blocks?  Well, I have to admit to getting really, really distracted.  It's "there" in one of my many project boxes.  Somewhere....