Friday, June 24, 2016

Quilter Goes Rogue: Slipping a Rose Dream In Amongst the Farmer's Wives

6" Rose Dream Quilt Block
I made something yesterday!  Well, actually I made it bit by bit over the last few days, one wretched little curved seam at a time, and I finished it yesterday.  It probably took me 15-20 minutes to pin each pair of opposite curved pieces together.  Once they were pinned, they were easy enough to stitch, but then pressing the little devils without distorting the bias was challenging as well.  I probably should have starched the fabrics before I cut out the pieces.

This Many Pins
The Rose Dream quilt block, first published in the Kansas City Star newspaper in 1930,  first caught my eye when Charise of Charise Creates featured it as the first block in her 2012 Vintage Quilt Block Quilt Along.  So I've had this block in the back of my mind for four years.

Charise's Rose Dream Quilt Block
I love Charise's fresh modern take on vintage style.  She has a knack for finding very special fabrics and uses them in interesting ways, often fussy cutting a word or pattern motif for a detailed effect.  Notice how she has centered a strawberry in one patch, an ornate teapot in another, and the text in the tiny center squares.

Original Rose Dream Pattern, 1930 Kansas City Star

The vintage quilt below that I found at an auction site online (thank you, Google) is similar to how I imagine most 'thirties quilters would have used this block pattern when it was originally published, combining a solid background fabric with an assortment of prints as per the newspaper instructions:

Vintage Rose Dream Quilt
The original Kansas City Star pattern was for a 13" finished block, and Charise redrafted her block to finish at 12" and offered a free PDF with templates along with an excellent tutorial for piecing the block.  But I decided to make a 6" version of the Rose Dream block out of this solid red and this small-scale floral print so I could sneak it in with the other 6" blocks I've been making from the 1930s Farmer's Wife book.

Fabric Picks for my Rose Dream Block
After all, the Quilt Police is NOT really a thing, so who's going to stop me?  Although the three blocks I've made so far for this sampler quilt have all been from the 1930s Farmer's Wife quilt book, I do have the previous book with the 1920s inspiration letters and block designs and had planned to make only the blocks I felt like making from either book and then mix them up together once I had enough for a quilt.  Because, really, it's my quilt and I can do whatever I want with it, right?  I could even resize some of the 4" Dear Jane blocks a little larger and put them in with the Farmer's Wife blocks, too.  Scandalous, right?!

So anyway, back to the Rose Dream block.  First I thought that I would just print Charise's templates for a 12" block and then use the copier to reduce them by 50%, but then I realized that Charise's templates include 1/4" seam allowances that would be only 1/8" seam allowances after reducing with the copier.  The original newspaper templates did not include seam allowances, but the scanned images of the newspaper clipping that I found online were not actual size, either.  I thought of trying to do an old-school grid enlargement on graph paper, the way Anders did his Spiderman drawing enlargement in art class this year, but then I remembered TECHNOLOGY.

BlockBase Software from EQ
Barbara Brackman's BlockBase for EQ to the rescue!  BlockBase is an add-on to EQ7 quilting design software that can also stand alone as a digital block reference library.  My husband and sons got it for me for my birthday or Christmas or something.  Why didn't I think of it earlier, before I wasted all that time messing with the photocopier like it was the 1980s or something?!  In BlockBase, I was able to enter the keywords "rose dream" and this block came up immediately, ready to print in whatever size my little heart should desire. 
Rose Dream Fabric and Templates, Ready to Cut
That little square measures exactly 1" including the seam allowance, so I cut those squares out with a rotary cutter and ruler instead of using the cardstock templates like I did for the curved pieces.

Rose Dream with FW 1930s Blocks 1-3

Right now they don't really go together very well, but I don't really care.  Once I have a whole boatload of 6" blocks that don't really go together, I'll sew them all together and it will be a "scrappy sampler."  If I find some more blocks with curved piecing or applique like the Rose Dream block, that will help. 

One of my kiddos comes home tomorrow afternoon!  He's been in Florida with our high school youth group choir, singing at a variety of Lutheran churches and visiting amusement parks with his church friends.  The house has been VERY quiet all week.  I'm almost looking forward to the sound of video games on the PlayStation!

I'm linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Fathers' Day 2016, Minus a Father

Dad with Anders at Scholars Academy Holiday Feast in 2010
When I woke up this morning, my first thought was that I had to get over to the hospital to be with my dad in the ICU.  Then I remembered that he isn't there anymore, because he died last Tuesday and we had his funeral on Friday, two days before Father's Day.  My first Father's Day without a father.

Anders, Dad and Lars, Anders' First Birthday 2004
My dad was only 69.  It wasn't "his time."  His whole body shut down on him way too early before he got to see any of his grandchildren graduate from high school, let alone dance at their weddings or hold a great-grandchild in his arms.  It's not fair and it sucks.

Dad Taking Selfies at Lars's Confirmation, September 2015
The funeral service was beautiful, just the way he wanted it.  Dad picked out all the music he wanted and although there weren't many in the congregation, the choir loft was packed full of singers.  Because there's nothing else we could do for him except sing.

At the Funeral: Sister Susan, Cousin Allison, Me, Sister Janice, & Cousin Kerri
It was nice to have my sisters, aunts, uncles, and a few cousins together at the funeral, especially since they were flying in from California, Iowa, Minnesota, Chicago, New York and New Jersey on short notice.  But having everyone together like that WITHOUT Dad just made his absence so much more conspicuous, so surreal.

FrankenWhiggish Rose Applique
I worked on some needle turned applique while I was sitting in the hospital the first week, back when we thought that he would get better and come home.  I can't even look at it now.  It's the same project I was working on in the waiting room when I took my dad to all his doctor appointments and speech therapy appointments.  It's like sickness and death are stitched into it and now it's foul.

I did go in my sewing room yesterday, looking for something cut up and sew to take my mind off Father's Day, but nothing felt right.  How can I do something so frivolous when my house still smells like the lilies my sister-in-law sent to the funeral home, when we haven't even gotten the ashes back from the crematorium?  All I can do is clean.  Thankfully, both of my boys are away doing fun summer things this week.  They needed a break from all the sadness and my dad would want that for them.

I don't need anything, and I'll be fine.  Just not today. 
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