Way back in August, 2014 I was on a mission to transform an ugly quilt top into something beautiful. The center of the quilt top contained a block with a blue house. The blue house was my biggest obstacle.
After carefully disassembling the multiple borders and harvesting the blue house I began the process of its reincarnation. Over an extended period of time a number of new art quilts were created. This project titled The Blue House, Art Piece # 115 was one of them.
Upon close inspection, of the above photo, you will notice where some of the fragments were incorporated. Securing those sections together were angled strips of fabric. Added for embellishment were several buttons, a teal floral rick rack, as well as machine and hand quilting. A gray binding was added to all four edges. On the back is a blue cotton print fabric, a fabric hanging sleeve and a label containing identifying information.
I am very proud to add this early experiment in ugly block transformation to my portfolio. Thank you for being present.
One of my goals is to see how many items I can recycle. While enjoying food or beverages away from home I often check the bottoms of plastic cups and containers for their recycling symbol. If it falls within the guidelines set by my community I will transport those items back home to be added to our recycling bin.
I also like to utilize recycled furnishings. Inside my home you will find furniture constructed from reclaimed barn wood, old cabinets purchased from flea markets and antiques stores as well as old pieces of pottery and items I call collectibles.
Quilters are often characterized as savers or recyclers. Every time an item is made there are always leftover pieces of fabric. Those remnants or scraps are often accumulated in baskets or tubs for future use. The size of the piece will determine if the scrap is salvageable or not. For some there is no piece too small and yet for others there is a minimum standard set for retention. I have my limits. Anything less than 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ is to too small for my liking.
I’ve been sharing my journey to re-purpose or recycle a quilt top, formerly known as the Simple Times Crib Quilt.
After disassembling its various segments I utilized a portion of the sections to make a mini quilt I call The Blue House. You may read about the adventure here. The Blue House used only a small fraction of the available units. The remaining pieces have been reconfigured into at least five other items.
The first is a tiny little critter slightly larger than a standard size sheet of office paper. The body of this small but useful item was taken from a section of the second border. To frame the segment I added a border cut from a sage green fabric. On my conventional sewing machine I quilted it with a very simple straight line stitch. After binding it with matching fabric I added a few buttons for interest. The finished teeny tiny quilt adds a bit of flair to one of my cabinets. I have named it All That’s Left.
The second one, which I have labeled Four Square measures 19″ x 29″. The resource for this one was five of the Four Square blocks, also from the second border. As with the first item, I added a border of sage green fabric. A straight line quilting stitch was used. Not to be outdone by the first mini quilt this one sports buttons as well. The quilt currently resides in my office on top of my multi-drawer storage cabinet. I purchased the cabinet from one of my favorite antiques store.
Next is the table topper I have labeled Remnants of the Past. This one measures 16 1/4″ x 44 3/4″. As with the other items this too came from part of the second border in the Simple Times Crib Quilt along with the addition of half-square triangles from the original outer-most border. Surrounding the row of half-square triangles is a border of blue material. I pulled this fabric from my inventory. A straight-line quilting stitch was applied with my Pfaff sewing machine. After applying a binding crafted from the same blue fabric I finished it off with a label. As of today the table runner is being used as a decoration on my desk. It makes a very comfortable place to rest my wrists when typing on my keyboard.
The remaining two projects have been assembled and carefully pressed. They are patiently waiting for their turn to be quilted on my long-arm quilt machine. Their reveal will not take place until they are finished.
To finish off the Blue House wall hanging all I have left to do is attach binding, a label and a quilt sleeve. Compared to everything else that has transpired this is a relatively simple task. To bind the wall hanging I used 2 1/2″ strips of the grey fabric used in the body of the wall hanging. The quilt sleeve was also made with the same color. The quilt label was cut from solid white fabric. On it I hand printed details of the wall hanging.
Well, there you have it; my finished Blue House wall hanging. Unlike it’s predecessor, I absolutely, wholeheartedly love the outcome. I couldn’t be more pleased.
Now just because I have declared the Blue House wall hanging finished doesn’t mean this adventure is over. The Blue House fabric utilized from the original Simple Times crib quilt was only a fraction of the fabric available. From the remains I made at least five other projects. Details of those projects will follow over the next several weeks.
From its original state until now the Blue House has gone through a huge transformation. Before adding the label, quilt sleeve and binding I decided I wanted to take the reinvention phase a bit further. Time to audition embellishments.
From my inventory I pulled boxes of buttons, ribbons, ric-racs well as a huge tub of thread. Little by little I auditioned buttons of every color choosing the ones that best fit.
Imagining how they would add to the quilt’s visual appeal was the most fun. Once I had them narrowed down I set them aside and moved on to the containers of fiber art supplies. From my stash I retrieved ribbons, cording, yarns and pompoms and strategically placed them in the wall hangings surface.
Several options stood out immediately because of their complimentary colors and texture while others just didn’t fit in. With patience and a keen eye I sifted through many of the possibilities whittling away at the options until the final cut was made.
Sewing on buttons is not one of my favorite tasks. Whenever possible I use my sewing machine. When selecting the buttons for this project I made certain they were suitable for machine application. Each button was carefully attached making certain the machine’s presser foot didn’t damage the button. After buttons I moved on to ric-rac and hand stitching. I love the way French knots look so I added them in several different colors. Rows of a running stitch were also incorporated.
After applying the last piece of embellishment I sat back, in my chair, took a deep breath and allowed my eyes to survey the Blue House wall hanging. My heart was so pleased. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.
Not much left before this project is finished. Time to take a break.
When next we meet we will finish up the wall hanging. I’m looking forward to seeing you then!
We’ve come a longway in this quilt transformation. The list of things left to complete has grown much, much shorter. Time now to add some decorations.
The very first thing we need to do is secure the quilt sandwich with stitching/quilting. For very small projects, like this one, I prefer to do the quilting on my Pfaff sewing machine. My conventional sewing machine has 100’s of decorative stitches. Adjusting stitch width and/or length as well as thread color provides oodles of possibilities. My imagination would be my only limitation.
To minimize the shifting of the three layers (quilt top, batting and backing) I carefully placed pins in strategic locations. Once those were in place it was time to let my creativity run wild. Line by line, section by section stitches were added. Some were zigzag, some were straight while others showed way more imagination. I used nine different stitch patterns.
Here’s how the Blue House wall hanging looked after some of the stitching was finished.
Once the quilting is finished it is time to move on to embellishments. See you next time!