Thursday, September 20, 2007

REAL 30s and Apologies to Ms. Burns

Several years ago, an acquaintance gave me these REAL 30s scraps. She had been making humongous quilts at her church from towels, drapes, sheets, bedspreads, for disaster victims to be sent overseas, and these little scraps were unsuitable.

There are all sizes, a few little blocks, bodices cut out and thrown in the collection. Over the years, I’ve become more and more envious of anyone who can claim their 30s scraps are REAL, – I’ve lovingly oogled them.

For some time, I’ve wanted to make a Rocky Road to Kansas, and finally, the time has come. Now, there are several ways to make this block, but I chose this way, from Eleanor Burns book, Egg Money Quilts. The good part is that her templates (in the book) are made from thick cardboard, and you can draw around them.
The kink in this choice is this long thin background triangle that has to be .... uhhhh ... set in - yes, that unpleasant method of getting a triangle into an inside angle.

I string pieced the bits onto telephone book pages, cut oversize, the approximate size of that large triangle, then trimmed to correct size of large triangle.

(By the way, I DID purchase the center triangle fabric, to be sure I had enough for all the blocks.)


I saw Eleanor Burns do this block on TV and couldn’t believe it, when she started at the OUTER tip of the string pieced part of the star, sew to the inverted angle, wrangle that background triangle around with the needle left down at the inside of that angle, and zoom back down to the tip of the next point. However, I DID notice (clever me), that the camera did not stay on the finished project, so assumed maybe, Eleanor’s usually perfect methods may not have been successful.

So, being skeptical, I decided to do it MY way - the RIGHT way! Pulling the center seam allowances out of the way, I started at the inside angle, carefully backstitching 2 stitches, then sewed to the tip of the point. Then going back to the other inside angle, doing it again, from the other side, and off down to the other point.

Hmmmm, not so great. OK, need more practice – it will press out.

Hmmmm, less great ... OK press those seams in the OTHER direction, that will do the trick.

Hmmmm, a little bunchy, and where did those puckers come from? That foundation paper is causing the puckers. OK, I’ll take off the foundation telephone book pages. .

x%#&^**@#!~/!! 6xxxx drat!!! No improvement - this is not fun anymore, but now I’ve pieced all that precious fabric to the paper and trimmed it! Now what?

Hey - I’ll just try it her way - nothing to lose here. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll redo the xxxx pattern and make a seam in that long thin background strip ( ... getting just a teensy bit impatient with this process ...)

I started at one tip, put in a holding pin at the pivoting point and ... stopped needle down at that inside angle, wrangled that fabric around to the other side (I DID use a tweezers for assistance), totally ignored what was happening with the seams on the underside, zoomed on to the other point, and did some praying, and turned on the iron to improve what was going to be a mess.

Voila - absolutely perfect! Who woulda guessed? My apologies to Ms. Burns!

26 comments:

Linda said...

Elaine you had me sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what the outcome was. What beautiful fabrics, lucky you. It's going to be a stunning quilt.

Mary said...

It looks great Elaine, who knew that Eleanor would actually show you the RIGHT way!!

Jeanne said...

Oh, it's nice! And with those authentic fabrics, and all the challenging work going into this, it will be a very special quilt!
Jeanne :)

Lindah said...

This is lovely! I will be sure to get Elanor Burns' pattern. Do you know, I have wanted to make one of those for years, too. For 2 reasons: 1-I have inherited a lovely old string pieced quilt of that pattern from my husband's side of the family--made in 1898 with each piece embroidered in the crazy quilt style. 2-Kansas is my place of birth (although I grew up in CA).
Your blocks are turning out beautifully --esp the one done Eleanor's way. ;-) I like the effect of the light 30's colors as opposed to the 1898 dark velvets and wools.

paula, the quilter said...

O this was too funny! "My way"! and I love your choice of block to use the fabrics with.

julieQ said...

I too have that book!! Aren't the 1930's fabrics so fun and fresh! Your blocks turned out so well, I am proud of you for making it work!

JulieQ

Patti said...

Isn't it so marvelous to work with vintage fabrics? I inherited a partially pieced double wedding ring from that era that I had to take apart totally, recut and restitch. I had to toss quite a few pieces that were just too loosely woven and flimsy, but most were perfect and a joy to work with. You've chosen the perfect pattern for using yours, and the blocks are turning out beautifully. And isn't it funny when we try to second guess the experts and finally figure out they really do know what they are talking about! I guess that's why they make the big bucks.

:-)

meggie said...

That block is so suited to that 30's fabric. Fun & 'games'?

Hedgehog said...

Gorgeous fabrics!! Sometimes we just have to try our way first.

Cheryl said...

Don't you just hate it when they
are right?? :-). Love your quilt -
think I need to make one.

Gypsy Quilter said...

Elaine, since you've got it down to a T (or in this case an X) would you mind dropping by to help me with my set-in 6-pointed star?

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

I see that once you figured it out - you got 8 blocks done! They all look lovely!

Cheers!

Evelyn

atet said...

Love this post -- hehehe -- don't those pattern writers and tv folks know they're not supposed to be right?? This is going to be an absolutely beautiful quilt!

Jane Ann said...

Oh, the times I've made a complicated affair out of something so simple! Sympathy here, but not a lot--I'm too envious of those wonderful fabrics. (Great treatment, BTW.)

Rose Marie said...

Glad it all worked out for you in the end, and the quilt will be stunning.

Annie said...

I have this book also.......I did it Eleanors way ....... and it worked for me too. This was my first try at set in seams. I love the book and Eleanor is one of my favorites!!! I have my 30's blocks done from the book, I just need to get them put together in a top. Your brave to do the whole quilt top in the "rocky road to kansas"!!!

Dawn said...

Oh my gosh - the are wonderful! And so cool that that method works! I loved your story!

Rabbit Stitchings said...

GREAT quilt, and I was reading as fast as I could to see if it worked! Glad it did :O)...Really am liking this pattern!

Fiona said...

Just fabulous! I am totally in awe as I have never even attempted set-in pieces - the result is stunning and so nice to be able to use those precious pieces of fabric.

Kathie said...

Lucky you to have all those vintage fabrics. This is going to be one sensational quilt.

Morah said...

Gosh you crack me up! Don't we just always know best...aka doing it the hard way...aka reinvent the wheel! I'm glad it finally worked out as you do incredible work and I can't wait to see the end product! Lucky you with the 30's prints.

Mama Koch said...

It HAD To be all that praying you were doing..or was it holding-your-mouth right technique?!

Too funny. The blocks look good!

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

These are going to be fabulous, I love the real 30's fabric, well done!! Tracey

Colleen Whalen Eskridge said...

Stunning Quilt.Love the pattern and the fresh way it looks done in the 30's fabrics. Colleen from South Africa

Marcie said...

I have always wanted to make that block/quilt! Yours is wonderful! All those vintage fabrics are great! Nice going Elaine!

Tazzie said...

Ohhh, I'm loving these blocks. I'm way behind with my comments, I knew the blocks must have come out right as I've seen the finished top, but I was riding along with you hoping the block would come out in the end.
*hugs*
Tazzie
:-)