that 80's quilt

June 4, 2010


drunkity durnk drunkard's path

I've been ignoring my 80's quilt for a while because I felt like I couldn't move on. I drew out the blocks for the third column, but there was this drunkard's path block that scared the hell out of me. all those little wedges mocked me. I could have started some other blocks but leaving an empty spot to come back to irked me. I finally made myself sit down and sew it yesterday.

drunkard's path closeup

after making four little "perfect" wedges, I decided to shake things up and make the rest wonky. it is a DRUNKARD'S path after all. I threw in a little linen to add texture and more grey. you can't have enough grey. after all my whining and fear it wasn't so bad. fiddly, but not awful.

with the other two blocks I have done, I can finally say there are two columns finished, three more to go!

I don't even remember what block number this is!

drunkard's path

April 12, 2010

in context

THE 80's quilt

over easter I was able to get my hands on the original quilt that I've been basing my blocks on. I wasn't lying about the green was I? I don't know too much about the quilt, other than my mil won it in some charity raffle. it was handmade my a group of women, but I'm not sure what their group was or if they had a group name even. I know that my mil was too busy to pick it up after winning it, since it was in the middle of a work day, so she sent her mom, who was also a crafter, to receive it on her behalf. apparently they really took their time showing her every little stitch and block design. I'm imagining tom's grandma being surround by a bunch of ladies all wanting attention on their block. the only other clue I have, and it isn't a very good one, is the embroidered block on the top left of the picture. if tom hadn't held the quilt upside down, it would read "bethlehem senior citizens". not sure if they're supposed to represent every single senior citizen in town or if someone didn't bother to write "center" or something like that.

THE 80's quilt

I've been working on what I thought were the first two rows, but really the last two columns. either way, I still have a quite a few blocks ahead of me. my quilt will turn out a bit smaller, my blocks right now are 12" while in the original quilt they are 14". I still have no idea how I'll do the sashing, but that's ok. I'm just taking it one block at a time.

can you spot my new blocks in the original?

block 11

this one is so out of my comfort zone, but I love it.

block 10

I used my own silk screened fabric for this. I like how quirky it looks compared to the perfectly printed fabrics in the other blocks.

sawtooth star (block 9)

I cut the center fabric to play off the appliqué on the original block.

hourglass block

this one is so simple, almost boring, but still one of my faves.

March 25, 2010

a tale of two blocks

two versions of block 6

in my little "80's quilt revival" I've had to ask myself how true to the original quilt I wanted to be. was I simply copying it to end up with a quilt that better suited my tastes or was I trying to go deeper and learn about traditional quilt construction from a group of women I'll never get to meet. I know I'm already going to fail in that regard since I'm not hand-quilting it. I am taking inspiration from their fabric placement though. all my sketches have little notes marking which pieces were prints or solids and what the color values in each block were. but there's something I'm just not loving, besides the hunter green, and that is appliqué. some of the blocks have center appliqué squares, that I don't see myself replicating. right now, hexes seem very modern and it would be an interesting challenge to limit a hex design to a six inch square without relying on a "grandmother's garden" flower. I just see myself ending up with a very messy block or a design I would constantly question. and I already question everything I do enough.

looking through my notes, there are two blocks in the first two rows with an appliqué center, a heart and a flower. I decided to play with fussy cutting, what seemed to me like another 'modern' option, to replace the heart. I also tried out a pinwheel to match two of the blocks in this row. I'm calling these "square in squares" and "pinwheels in a square" (which then leads me to call it "pinwheel in a box", which leads to singing). that's another thing I've noticed in this project, it's really hard to find quilt block patterns if you don't know their names. some blocks have more than one name and sometimes I'm not even sure how to go about finding them. it would be easier if I was just putting together random blocks for a sampler, I could just look through pictures and choose blocks that I like. but I'm trying to recreate a specific quilt, so there's a little more research for me.

right now, the fussy cut with plaid block is winning my heart. the pinwheel block is pretty too, but all that white is bothering me. especially compared to the other blocks I've made. I wrote down how I made these blocks in the extended entry. it's pretty picture heavy.

Continue reading "a tale of two blocks" »

March 23, 2010

paper piecing

fourth block!

the thing about paper piecing that people 'forget' to mention is that if you make a mistake, you REALLY make a mistake. ripping tiny stitches off paper is not fun. especially after the fifth time you sew on the wrong line. but the results are so worth it. I'm by no means a precision cutter (or sewer!), but this block doesn't give me away. just remember the printed side is the BACK of the block so you want to reverse things. I knew this going in, but something about the printed side hypnotizes you and makes you forget how you wanted to arrange the block.

fourth block!

the other thing they don't say is that if you cut your fabric too small, you'll definitely want to kill yourself. yes, I know I'm very dramatic. learn from my mistakes here, just cut things bigger thank you think. really. after you grab the dutchman's puzzle, print four copies out and make sure it's printed to the correct dimensions. chrome didn't want to print it right, but firefox was perfect. then erase line 3 with some whiteout or something. you don't want to see it or remember it was there. trust me.


for piece 1 and 4 cut two rectangles that measure 4 x 6.5" for 2,5, and 6 you want three pieces that measure 4 x 5". you could probably go a little smaller, but just don't. I rather end up with some scraps than rip. the other tip I can give you is to leave the paper on until the end. it's so easy lining everything up when you sew on the seam line. just rip the paper covering the seams after sewing each unit.

so that's four blocks down on my "80s quilt" with two more to go on this row. this is my favorite block so far, I love that blue "modern meadow" print and the pop of pink from "nicey jane". I skipped the "official" fourth block because of some math issues, but I think I almost have it figured out. I just need to wait for my quilt-alongers to catch up. in the meantime I'm going to try to get my hands on the original quilt to show you its green goodness.

March 21, 2010


this morning I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. so what better way to spend it than sewing? well, after some coffee, web surfing, and sunday morning on cbs.

cutting for shoo-fly

I decided to go right along with my 80's quilt and on to block 3, otherwise known as shoo-fly (though I've also seen it called churn dash or wrench among others). I wasn't sure how to go about this one; not math-wise but fabric-wise. the original used a print and two solids (a medium and light green). I really didn't feel like getting another grey solid to coordinate with the slate I'm using. luckily I have some hope valley in the stash; the small print reads as a solid as you step back. problem solved!

shoo-fly layout

this was a pretty relaxing block compared to the first two with all those half square triangles. rectangles? yes please.

you want to cut out:

(4) 2.5 x 4.5" of your solid
(4) 2.5 x 4.5" of your second "solid" (the hope valley print)
you'll make four pieced squares

(2) 4 7/8" squares of your solid
(2) 4 7/8" squares of your main print (timber)
you'll make four hst's out of these

(1) 4.5" square of your main print for the center

block 3 shoo-fly

March 20, 2010

starting something

starting my 80's quilt

last night I had to fend for myself dinner-wise, which meant reheating some leftover pizza and a lot of time on my hands. since I couldn't work on my circles quilt I decided to finally start my "80's quilt". what really spurred me on was the fear that amanda was going to come back from vacation with a million blocks finished and I would have nothing.

so far I have the first two rows sketched out and almost all of them have some sort of math behind them. there are some blocks with curves which look frightening and are stumping me. more on that later. I decided to go with these first two blocks since they seemed manageable and the math was easy to figure out.

block 1

I wanted to get away from the hunter greens and white of the original quilt. run away is more like it. I'm using amy butler slate as my solid and mixing up some nicey jane and modern meadow so far. you can basically get the math for these two blocks if you visit rachel's pinwheel along . I changed my block placement to match the old quilt, but it's basically the same as rachel's block one or three.

block 2

I'm still iffy about the second block. part of me doesn't like the way the two prints work together. maybe I should have used an orange or pink print to make it punchier. other times I look at it and like how quiet it is. I figure I'll keep it for now and I can always make another block along the line once I have more of the quilt done.

March 9, 2010


I should be working on my green quilt. sewing the rows, deciding on borders (I'm leaning towards nay) and piecing the back are all in order. but fabric is an evil temptress and I already have my eyes set on my next quilt.


I think my favorite part of quiltmaking is playing with colors. maybe because I don't really do this in my knitting? I don't do colorwork (yes, I'm limiting myself), I rarely knit a non-self-striping stripe, and mostly limit myself to one color for my projects. my socks are pretty colorful, but I didn't come up with the color combinations or have a say in color placement. with quilting though, there's a whole world of possibilities to someone like me.

fabric trials 2

ok, so I'm pretty restrained when it comes to my "personal" palette. most of my sweaters are grey, blue, red or some shade of purple. and now that I just wrote that, I notice that these images are pretty much that except for the orange. so I guess I'm not going that far out of my comfort zone with this next quilt. mixing all together is the big deal for me.

fabric trials 1

also, being able to imagine what the whole quilt will look like is apparently very hard for me which leads to a lot of second guessing. the quilt I'll be working on, along with amanda and rangsiwan, is a sampler of sorts. it's going to be based on a quilt I found at my in-laws. the original was made my a group of ladies that raffled it off for charity. it was definitely hand quilted and, I think, hand pieced. but this was in the '80's. so there's a lot of hunter green along with the white they used. the batting is pretty thin, almost nonexistent in some places.

fabric trials- the maybes

I'm going to update it for myself, in grey and turquoise with touches of berry and orange. it's going to be a very relaxed quilt-along, maybe a block or two every week or so. it'll be fun to see our different interpretations of it. I already know some blocks are going to be a lot of fun to piece and some, not so much.

for now though, all I can do is think about it. there's a green quilt calling me.

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all photos and content copyright 2005-2011 yahaira ferreira and
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do not use without permission.




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