Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Sweetheart of a Quilt

Vintage Drunkard's Path Blocks 
c. 1930-1940

Happy Valentine's Day to YOU!

Is this a big day at your house? Not for us either, if you said no. Our big event today was lunch out after an optometrist's appointment together. I am having problems seeing in the studio, and wanted to make sure nothing was wrong beside normally ageing eyes. Gratefully, everything is up to par, but I simply need more light. It's become a bit of a joke in our house.

These bulbs came from Amazon.

My sweet, but reluctant Valentine and one son put up track lighting for me last weekend. It's off-the-shelf store brand, and is like having an outdoor room under open sky now. They both said, "You'll need different bulbs for sure!"...meaning sunglasses in the studio. I smiled. I can finally see both my design wall and my cutting/ironing table. I'm still adjusting to eliminate the shadows, but it's like heaven shining down on me!

Today was the first day I was free to work, and I went in search of some vintage star blocks. Before I found them in the box, I came across these Drunkard's Path blocks. They called me to play with them so I changed my mind in a flash. 

To put it nicely, they are rough.
But they are also deliciously vintage,
and were less than $1 each.

You can see in the top picture, I started by laying them all out on the wall. There are 29 blocks, and the most frugal layout was 4 x 7 using 28 of them. Then I measured each one to see what was the smallest measurement I had to trim to. A few like the one above had real problems like a bite out of it.

11" seemed to be the magic number.

I made my own squaring up ruler by adding fluorescent tape to my ruler. I first looked to get as close as I could to the center then to each of the four seams. I squared all four sides. 

What a difference!

Some blocks were very close to 11", and I fussed less with alignment than proper size.

I used my black and white filter to adjust blocks for value and contrast. A few were moved, but not many.

While these will create a slab 42" x 73.5", I needed additional fabric for borders on each side. I auditioned many fabrics from my stash. One 36" width vintage piece was really fun up there, but there were some damaged spots in it. It would have been a lot of work and piecing to make it work. Kona Snow was a good off white solid for the first border...

...and I reasoned the dot was probably the closest modern fabric that went with the time period. On one hand I have little regard that this carries the look of a vintage piece, and on the other I am a purist. I can't help it. So the print is on target, and the little extra pop of color helps it cross the decades. I need a little more dotted fabric I can pick up this week, and then I will sew this together.

I did find the stars after my afternoon tangent, and even picked a fabric from my stash I think will work for connecting triangles. It's available at the same store as the blue dots so I get a two-fer this week.

Isn't it a great day when everything falls into place? Two more projects pulled from the archives into the light of day. And I love to think that it's a special day itself to help a quilter of the past get her project done even if it's 80-90 years later. That's what I call a serious WIP!

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Linking up with~
Crazy Mom Quilts
Finished or Not Fridays
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
Needle & Thread Thursday
--where Pink Doxies was featured. 
Thank you, Kelly!
Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers


Sandy Panagos said...

Two very cool projects to be working on. I've never seen a Drunkard's Path with large prints like that. It's a really interesting effect.

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

That's a great layout. Love the stars. I use a 150 watt bulb in my sewing room. Nice and bright.

Linda Swanekamp said...

The quilt has a calming, cozy feeling. Maybe because I have been crashing on the couch. Amazing how trimming brought it into attention. What fun, finishing what someone long ago sewed.

Barb Neiwert said...

That's quite a variety of blocks for this quilt! The small dots will probably work wonderfully to calm them down. Have you ever wondered what people in the future will think of the unfinished blocks that may find their way into their sewing rooms? Kinda weird to think about. Maybe that's motivation to leave no project left behind!

Tu-Na Quilts said...

Those vintage blocks are so cool and so is the idea that you're finishing a quilters WIP. Kind of makes me think that I should scratch a few notes to put into my project bins as I'm sure if someone needed to finish them up for me might need a little guidance. Thinking that one has eye issues is a scary thing. I know the feeling. So glad yours could be handled with just extra lighting.

audrey said...

It's amazing how much difference there is between good lighting and bad. My quilting room has horrible lighting in the evening. Loved seeing your vintage block play. There's just something about working with them {even the rough blocks} that can make our heart sing. Had to laugh at your split personality over being a purist except when you're not. Everybody has to have a line in the sand!:) said...

I am loving those blocks made from diamonds and I'm seeing another EPP project. BTW, I can totally relate to your new light bulbs. My studio is in the basement and the lighting is not so great which is why I have OTT lights in certain areas. My overhead lights were switched to daylight bulbs this week and it is a game changer for me. The lighting just energizes me and I've already spent some late nighters several times this week. I don't know why this wasn't done sooner.

Cathy said...

I love how you have transformed and saved some vintage blocks. What a lovely and unusual Drunkard's Path layout.

And how nice you have new lighting. I hardly have any in the place where I sew but even if I did I don't think I'd see much better.

Susan said...

Awesome vintage blocks! And you're doing a fine job with them too!

helenjean@midgetgemquilts said...

Yep, St Valentine's day is alive and well in our house. We used to do the whole flowers and cards thing. Then I felt flowers were a rip off at that time, then the cards went. But ... we do have a special meal in the house with candles and the whole kit and kaboodle.

grammajudyb said...

I understand completely about the lighting! My room is in the basement also. I had just an overhead central ceiling light and some extra floor lamps. OK but not great. Last fall my DH and DS(when he was visiting from Phoenix) added MUCH light to my space. They kept saying, tongue in cheek, "you'll need shades (sunglasses)". I love it. I spend much more time there now. ps, I have some vintage churn dash blocks that I need to get out of the box and do something with. Thanks for the inspiration!