Monday, June 15, 2009


So, here’s the Civil War reproduction version of the tumbler quilt, my remembrance for having had the thrill of sitting next to Barbara Brackman (someone I’ve long admired) for a bit at Quilt Market.

I’m a little worried that the pink binding may be a bit over the top.  Do I need to redo that?  Thinking . . .

I thought I’d add a few notes about process here:   I wanted a soft and gentle effect with this one.  I have to admit, I have some favorite stand-bys with fabric selection when I’m making a reproduction style quilt.  One is simply to throw everything in the pot.  When every color is in the quilt, they usually figure out how to play well together.  Still, the effect can be a bit crowded.  A simple brown and pink combination is also one of my favorite combinations.  It’s very sweet, but it is also kind of restricted.  It looks planned.  (I don’t mind that effect at all, but it isn’t always what I’m aiming for).  So, this time I decided to add in blue to the pink and browns.  The three colors create a scrap look that is  quiet and unified. 

I don’t usually lay out patches when all I’m doing is a random scrap quilt, but this time, since I really wanted to work that soft, quiet effect, I went ahead and laid out the patches.  This pattern is very basic – simply alternating light and dark patches.

I cut a few extra patches so I’d have options as I laid them out.  The patches floating at the top are the ones I rejected.  Since I wanted a quieter quilt, most of the ones I decided to leave out were light colored patches. Instead, I softened the light/dark contrast of the pattern by using a number of  medium values where the pattern called for light patches. 

I don’t usually work from patches laid out in rows, but since I liked how everything was looking, I decided to keep this order and sew it up.

I also thought I’d add a little here about how I quilt the borders:

Since it is so easy to resize quilting motifs in EQ6, I often pull my border quilt pattern from EQ.  These motifs came from EQ’s add-on library, Quiltmaker Quilting Designs.

The motif didn’t exactly fit my border size but I could see that it was close enough that I’d be able to make it fit by fiddling a little as I was tracing the design onto paper.

I use Golden Threads Quilting Paper.  One of the things I really like about using this method with miniatures is that the paper fits over the entire (little) quilt so I can draw all the borders on one square of paper. 

I draw the dimensions of the inner border onto the paper (the black line).  Then I draw a line an eighth inch beyond that: the line I want my quilting design to touch (the red line).  I draw diagonal lines coming out from the corners so that the corners will line up neatly.  Using those lines as a guide, I trace the design onto the paper.

I pin the paper to the quilt, using the black line as a guide for placement.

I take a little breather before the actual quilting and work on my doodle scrap to warm-up my free-motion skills.  I tend to stitch small stitches in the curves and then bigger stitches on the straight-a-ways, so I particularly work at trying not to do that.  (As my own stitch regulator, I can say that my stitches tend to be  uneven charmingly erratic).

Then, the quilting itself.  A little bit of a botch-up here.  I got off track when I stitched the lower loop, so when I came back around to stitch the upper  loop, I deliberately when off the line there as well, trying to keep the loop a little fat.  Now, I could have stitched the second pass correctly and then taken out the stitches where I got off the first time and redone it.  But this is folk art.  Those little imperfections make it more personable.  (At least this is what I tell myself.) 

But most of the quilting came out reasonably well.  Good enough, says I.

Then, simply tear off the paper and it’s ready for binding.

Of course, I couldn’t do all this without assistance.  Here’s my helper, Wyatt, the Wonder Dog (aka Duke Wyatt of Earp):

Wyatt’s a working dog, and since we are sadly lacking in both sheep and cattle, he’s had to create his own job description.  His mission, as he sees it, is to help keep me limber and balanced.  It’s a tough life for a working dog but here he is, valiantly laying in the middle of whatever path I need to take so that I have to walk over and around him in order to do anything.  To keep it lively, he sometimes stands up in the middle of my stepping over him so I must engage in bizarre hopping motions to avoid hitting the floor in a six-legged tangle. 

Poor guy.  It’s hard work.  You can just see how it exhausts him!


  1. Terrie, this is going to be such a sweet quilt. Love your quilting design. And I can see that your helper is working so hard.

  2. I liked the bright one, but this one is awesome! I think the pink is perfect just as it is in the photo. Is this pattern in your book?