Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Rachel Meyer Quilt

Well no one recognized the blocks I posted previously so I guessing this is a rather obscure quilt but I decided it might be fun to bring it out of obscurity and do my version. I was inspired by all of Esther's work on LE to actually make a quilt that I had seen in a book several years ago and kept speaking to me. Several years ago I was browsing in an antique store in Charleston , SC and came across and old quilting book from 1983 called "American Graphic Quilt Designs" by Dolores Hinson. Now since I am mostly interested in appliqué quilts this title would not have drawn me in at all but the dust jacket showed a photo of the center of a wonderful Baltimore Album quilt. After browsing through the all black and white pictures I realized that this was an early study of Baltimore album quilts with some great quilts I had not seen before. I have followed the Baltimore quilting revival since its early days and had all of Elly Sienkiewicz's books as well as other authors and was startled to discover new, to me, research. Apparently the publisher of this book got it wrong when choosing a title and as a result this work has been overlooked.

Anyway this is the Rachel Meyer quilt as it appears in the book. Just a black and white line drawing and lots of verbiage describing the colors used in the fabrics and embroidery. But the author also went a step further and drew out templates for the blocks as a "pattern". She obviously never actually made the quilt as the templates are not very accurate but a great starting point. A few years later I travelled to Baltimore hoping to see some antique album quilts up close and personal. Unfortunately the Maryland Historical Society had none on display at the time but I was able to get a copy of a book describing the quilts in their collection and voila a color photo of the Rachel Meyer quilt.

I have always loved Jacobean embroidery and the stylized leaves and flowers used and the flowers and leaves in the quilt reminded me of that look. But what also intrigued me was the fun animals and embroidered details on the quilt as well as the medallion setting. It certainly looked nothing like the baskets and flowers I saw in most of the Baltimore album quilts of the time. And so it remained on my wish list until recently.

If you follow my blog, you will know I recently had major back surgery. The severity and length of my expected recovery came as a surprise and I knew I would need something exciting and inspiring to get me through the long days ahead. So in one week I scrambled to prep as many blocks as I could using those templates as my guide. So far it has been interesting work. I have cut the templates as printed anD often discovered that they would not fit together on the block. So In a rather freewheeling fashion, I have resized or redrawn things and made adjustments in placement. And I am finally using the color palette that I was planning to use for LE before my purchase of some beautiful Dutch Chintz sent me in another direction.

So this is not a reproduction quilt for me but one that will probably be recognizable to anyone who has seen the Rachel Meyer quilt. And if you look at the flowers closely you might think they have inspired other modern quilters as some of the elements are very similar to those used in Kim McLean's magnificent work.

Oh and here is a photo of the book. As you can see I used it when creating my own center for the Captain Russell quilt as there are also templates in the book for that quilt. It is a great book for your personal library and an online search shows that it is readily available used at very low prices. I have seen it for as little as a dollar.

So now I am working on 2 exciting appliqué projects, which should really keep me busy stitching!

Update: Well apparently the cheap versions of this book are no longer available. I admit I had not looked online for about a month but when I last looked there were several cheap copies. Now the cheapest appears to be about $35. Sorry!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Trying out Blogsy

Well I was hoping to coma post on my inspiration quilt today but before doing that I decided to do a trial post using the Blogsy app on my iPad. I have not been happy with the picture quality of my posts since using my ipad and as I am rather computer challenged anything new has a huge learning curve filled with lots of trial and error.

So here goes. A picture of a few more of the blocks that I have prepped for this quilt.

Perhaps someone recognizes it now!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Finally stitching again!

It has been 4 1/2 weeks since my surgery and I am finally feeling up to a little more stitching. Since this is a quilting blog, I will not bore you with the numerous setbacks in my recovery but I will say it has been very painful and difficult. I saw the doctor today and sure enough an MRI shows that I suffered a stress fracture sometime after surgery. Not sure what caused it and we are just hoping and praying that it heals itself in the next few months, otherwise another surgery! The doctor has only ever seen this once before and while am I certainly not happy about it I was glad to hear that there was an explanation for my severe pain and difficulties.

But enough of that. I did get the last block for the baby quilt finished and hope I can get back to the machine soon to put it together. I also am itching to start part 5 of LE but I have printed it out and maybe I will be up to that soon. As fun and exciting as LE is, sometimes I just feel the need to work on something different and new. Before surgery I decided to prep some blocks that have intrigued me for several years. Here is the first one I prepared.

And here it is with the stitching partially complete.

I will happily show the quilt that I am using as inspiration but first I am just curious if any of you recognize it. I will give you a hint. It is an old quilt from the around 1830 - 1840 and these colors are not representative of the original. In fact here is the fabric that inspired the colors.

One thing about sitting in one chair for long periods of time, for me, is that I start thinking of decorating ideas for the room. I had seen this Decorator fabric and thought I might want to make curtains for my room and had saved a photo to my iPad. Then when I decided to start this quilt I knew that these colors were perfect. And after prepping 6 blocks and sitting for weeks in the same room I have finally ordered the fabric. I love it and amazingly the blocks all blend so well with the colors even though I was only working from a photo. Now I am excited to work on this quilt alongside LE. Hopefully healing will continue and I am able to stitch more often.

Hope you are able to be happily stitching today!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Recovery update

I haven't posted in awhile as I have very little stitching to show. So this is just an update on my recovery. First of all a huge thank you to those that have sent well wishes and kind thoughts. I thought I understood,before the surgery, how difficult this would be but frankly I was not prepared for the setbacks. While my back seems to be on schedule, the muscles that have not been used while I was suffering from sciatica pain are getting quite the workout these days and as a result I am suffering great muscle fatigue pain in my legs. It seems to travel from one muscle group to another with little or no warning so I have had 4 days where I could not stand still without extreme pain behind my knees and now last night and today my butt and hip muscles make getting in and out of a chair very difficult. And everyone says it will be a very long recovery, ha it already feels like forever and it is not yet 3 weeks. But it will be worth it if someday I am able to walk and play with this little guy.

This is my grandson Christopher and I so want to be able to share adventures with him as he grows. My inability to walk any distance the last few years has meant no stroller walks, no trips to the zoo or park. So as I look at this sweet little face I am reminded that my current frustrations will be worth it in the end.

And if all goes well he will soon be joined by a baby sister. My son and DIL have been matched for an adoption of a baby girl who is due Nov 7, my son's birthday! We are praying that all goes smoothly. Another strong motivator in my recovery! I so want to be there to help out when the time comes but sadly that looks unlikely as they are 6 hours away and right now I am not to travel in the car except to doctor's appointments.

I am trying to finish the blocks on a quilt I am making to hang in her room. This is the second to last block and is coming along slowly but surely.

And here are all the blocks on the design wall - pre surgery with many yet unstitched.

Not sure when I will be able to quilt it but I will just consider that to be more motivation to get better!