Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Unfinished Quilt Projects

Because I can't talk about my very latest project until after the recipient has received it (just in case she's listening), I thought I'd document some of my unfinished quilts, recently unearthed during my pizza box project.

Quilt 1. The Irish Chain Quilt.

Might have been started in 2007/08, the Irish Chain quilt is just a pattern I wanted to try. Since it had no specific place to go, I suppose I didn't feel the urgency to finish it.

Quilt 2. The 3rd Red Room Quilt (2008). I will document the "red room quilts" at another time, but after making 2 quilts with fabrics chosen/donated by online book friends, I was on a roll and in possession of scraps I didn't want to waste. Thus, this small quilt top came about. Just tooling around.

Quilt 3. The Batik Circle quilt (2007). My daughter was "house mom" to several middleschoolers for a year at the private middle school where she taught. They had a big blank wall in their common room over the couch, and that is where this "wall hanging" was destined for. Unfortunately, my daughter took a different teaching job half way across the country and that took the urgency out of finishing it. Currently it is the size of a small lap quilt and I have another 30+ quarter circle blocks made up that could be added to it. In this picture the blocks have just been arranged but I doubt this is how they ended up.

Quilt 4. The eye-searing kids' quilt (2006). This is another quilt top I made for the fun of it. It hung, folded over a cardboard tube, on my closet door for what seemed like ages. It disappeared from there and honestly, I thought I had finished it and given it away, but there it was buried under "stuff". This is a twin-sized top. I've forgotten where the pattern came from.

Quilt 5. The Divorce Quilt (2001?)

I started making this scrap quilt for my oldest daughter and her then husband back in 2001 (?), but they separated and divorced (they were so young...), and well, that killed my enthusiasm to finish it. When I pulled this out just now to take a picture of it, I realized that the top was much more finished than I remembered. The overall effect is nice, but I shudder to look at how badly all those little seams line up (I used to have a problem "eyeballing" a 1/4 inch seam.)

Quilt 6. The Pink Quilt (2010)

I have 30+ little 6 inch blocks for a pink quilt I was making for a friend. After I had completed the blocks I laid them out and thought the whole thing looked horrible, so I canned it then and there, and moved on to another quilt for her. There was just too much pink. I had some ideas around some bordering for each block to dilute the "pink effect", but set it aside to work on the new quilt.

Quilt 7. The Victorian Crazy Quilt

I can tell you now that this quilt will never be finished. The amount of work in this one 20-inch block is substantial. The block is machine-pieced of mostly special occasion fabrics (velvets, brocades, jacquards, silks, satins, taffetas ("Taffeta, Darling!"), and then embellished with different stitches of embroidery in various kinds and colors of floss, also lace, beads, charms...etc. I made a few projects during this period, and I loved experimenting and playing. Not sure my eyes are up to such work now. This block will become a pillow eventually, I think.

There. I have confessed all.


  1. They are all beautiful! I especially like the first two, and hope you find a reason to finish them someday.

  2. Thanks, Laura. I'm sure I will. It helps to have pulled them out of the rubble.

  3. I like the Victorian piece. We have a quilt in my family that is made that way. It was in my grandmother's house, and my brother ended up with it, but we don't know its history. May have been made by our great-grandmother. Grandma herself was not known for sewing anything.

  4. I have one also, Linda. The era for crazy quilts was roughly 1876 (the Centennial Exposition in Philly was influential to a bit after the turn of the century. You can date the quilt (early or late) by the condition of the silks in them. Early silks had a lot of metal in them and deteriorated more readily. Also, you should look for initials or a name worked into it (which which done often) for clues to its maker. If he has not done so, he should have it documented with whoever is doing that in PA. They take pictures of it, document what you know about it, and date it. I had all the quilts I have from my grandmother and great grandmother documented here in MA even though they were made in ME. Here's an example in Western PA:

  5. It's amazing how the judicious use of black makes the colours pop...I'll have to remember that trick. I've been going for just colours but the black makes the Irish chain so interesting and the Red Room one just goes kapow. I don't think I'm ready for anything as hard as the triangles and circles yet.

    We have a crazy quilt with a lot of velvets in it, made by D.'s grandmother. It has those fancy stitches around each patch. Probably done by kersone lantern light as well!

  6. The clock is off on your blog. It's actually 2:16 p.m. here!

  7. @Tui: re: Black. Some of the black I have worked with picks up every piece of lint and thread in the sewing room (or so it seems).

    These triangles were easy. Put two squares together right side in (in this case, a black square and a patterned square). Mark a diagonal line from one corner to its opposite. Stitch 1/4 seams on either side of that line. Cut apart between the stitching on the line you marked, press, and voila! two square pieces with half triangles of each.

    Weird about the clock. My computer's clock is fine. Don't know where I'd adjust this one!