Friday, December 30, 2011

Quilting The Crazy Crooked T-Shirt Quilt


Time to start quilting the Crazy Crooked T-Shirt Quilt top. Continuing with the utility quilt theme, I've chosen an old, soft flannel sheet for the filler. Delta quilters often used old blankets, sheets, and even burlap as their filler. For the backing, I stitched together several left-over pieces of cotton fabric. 







Utility quilting is perfect for this top, using cotton crochet thread and a large eye needle. You can't go wrong with utility quilting. Big stitches are mandatory. 







 There are many utility stitches other than the straight stitch.  

Here's just a few. . .


I love the primitive look to utility quilting. Don't try to make the stitches perfect.
Find the beauty in imperfection.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Crazy Crooked T-Shirt Quilt

My love affair with quilts and quilting began when I was around four years old. An older couple, the Turners, lived in a shotgun house at the back of my Grandmother's home. I loved visiting them. Mrs. Turner was always busy with some kind of handwork, usually piecing a quilt or quilting one on a huge frame. I decided I would make my own quilt one day and told Mrs. Turner so. But, she wouldn't let me use the scissors! She convinced me that I could make a quilt by tearing pieces of paper out of the Sears Roebuck catalog and taping them together. I was hooked. Since then, I have made many "real" quilts and collected over 100. 

A few years ago, I became interested in utility quilts, especially ones made locally. While talking to several ladies about their quilts, I began to realize that the T-shirt quilts they were making were 21st century utility quilts! I myself had "tons" of old T-shirts, so I decided to try my hand at it. 

I wanted the quilt to go together quickly, without having to use templates or patterns. And, I wanted this to be fun, without all the rules of piecing together a traditional quilt. 

Here's what I did:



First, I let my collection of red, white, and blue t-shirts set the color scheme. Then I gathered together cotton shirts and fabric--even a couple of wool skirts--whatever I could find. After all, this was to be a utility quilt, so anything goes!

To keep the t-shirts from stretching, I ironed a stabilizer to the back and cut the prints into various large squares and rectangles.

I then played with all the pieces until  I had a good idea what I wanted to do.


I decided to tilt several of the blocks by adding elongated triangles all the way around. I didn't worry about corners or the sides matching. Once I had all four sides sewn, I trimmed any excess.

  
I appliqued a few squares, adding fabric strips to the sides. 


I love folk quilts, so I used a few of my applique patterns.


To add interest (and use up all those shirts and skirts), I tore strips of the fabrics into various widths and lengths and stitched them together into various sizes. 



I began the quilt top last winter but had to store it in a closet during our busy summer and fall. The day after Christmas, I was cleaning out a closet and found my utility quilt in progress. What better time to finish it? So, I uncovered my treadle sewing machine and went to work. All the pieces were there, stacked neatly together. Now, for the fun part! I began to mix and match squares into vertical panels, filling in any gaps with fabric strips. Along the edges, I added the stripped pieces. Before I knew it, I had a quilt top finished!


I think you can now see why I call it "The Crazy Crooked T-Shirt Quilt"! 

Try making one for yourself this winter. The process was a lot of fun and very easy. There's no set rules. Get rid of the rules! 
Enjoy!

This post is Linked to:
Make It Great Monday @ Etcetorize 
and
Motivated Monthly @ Etcetorize 
Check it out!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Family "Snoopy" Tree

Once upon a time, there was a little Norfolk pine tree that came to live at the farm. It was tall and spindly. Some branches were long, and some were short. The farm lady fondly called it her "Snoopy Tree", but somehow, the little pine didn't feel that was a compliment. He longed for something that would make him unique among all the Norfolk pine trees--something that made him feel special.

 The farm lady realized one day that the little pine tree's branches were drooping more than usual, and he didn't seem as bright in color as normal. It was close to Christmas--a time that always meant family and loved ones to the farm lady. Unfortunately, most of her family was away. Then she had an idea. Why not turn her "Snoopy Tree" into a Christmas tree, with tiny photos of all those she had loved over the years? Wouldn't that be fun? And, a great way to remember others.


So she disappeared into her office for hours one day. Christmas carols played in the background, while much activity could be heard behind closed doors. She snipped. She glued. She smiled a lot. She dreamed. She remembered. She shed a tear or two. By mid-day, her project was done. She headed straight for the Snoopy Tree and began to transform him into a lovely Christmas tree. There were tiny framed photos of  Mom and Dad, Granny and Pop, Grandmother and Granddaddy Magers, Aunt Mamie and Aunt Naoma, and many, many others.

Oh! That little pine tree felt so important! He was so honored to hold her family in his branches. He straightened up and began to glow again. When she added bright red ornaments and fluffy cotton bolls, he felt like he was the most important tree in the whole farm. He wasn't a Snoopy Tree anymore. He was a "Family Tree" in the truest sense. He was special! He belonged!





 The farm lady just stood back and smiled. Her family was Home For Christmas once again. . .

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Country Farm Home



I love living in this historic district, where each day is a new discovery of the old, and the busy 21st century world is lost and forgotten.



Granddaddy (Earl Magers) bought the cotton farm in 1930 and built this house for his farm manager. Over the years, few changes were made to the basic structure, but "modern" doors, windows and shag carpet were added in the 1960s by the new owner, my Dad. In 2005, John and I began taking the home back to it's original appearance. We found the original handcrafted, cypress doors under the barn, beautiful cypress floors under the carpet, and solid cypress walls behind the cheap paneling. We did add a wrap-around porch to the outside, but the interior layout of rooms remains the same.







Collecting vintage clothing is a lifestyle for me. And, yes, I do sew on treadle sewing machines.













You might think you're living back in the 1930s, if you spend the night with us.

















One bedroom is now our bath. No outhouses for us!
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