Monday, September 1, 2014

Does Hand Quilting Hold Up?





When I first started hand quilting for a business was in the early '70's and was contracted by a company called Quilt Country out of Kansas City. It was in the garment district and run by 2 men. They had hundreds of quilts and tops they had collected and started their business in repair and sales. They contracted me to repair as in un-quilt the 'old' quilts and replace batting, backing and re-quilt along with tops to quilt. He would send the materials I needed,the batting, backing thread.

One particular quilt that had its own history was a small yellow and white print. I don't remember the pattern but the backing was in bad shape, it had dry-rotted and taking it apart VERY carefully to the batting, there were bug legs, tiny sticks in the cotton batt. It was real cotton bolls that was used by the little lady. I kept working on it and that was my first experience with researching.

I found out that the quilt belonged to a family who found it in the attic and had the notes of the quilt maker. They traveled West and she would piece a little when she could, sharing scraps with their travel-mates in wagons and then, nothing. We didn't know if they were killed on the way, but, there was still some blood on the quilt. Faint but there. To get to the topic...the hand quilting was Still There. The fabric had dry rot in places, but the thread and quilting was Still there.

As an amateur historian, this was a special quilt for me and was able to meet the owners when I was finished. This was before the 'quality fabric, thread, etc'. and we used what we had at the time. After several years, I cringed at the thought that ALL of the quilts I worked on for this company used 100% poly batting.....eeeeeeekkkk....

Now to add to this, there's Nothing wrong with poly-batt! But, you need to use materials that are period correct. If you're working on an antique quilt, be sure to use the materials for that period. In most cases, cotton or wool batting. These make for a nice, flat finish to the quilt as well. Practice with batting samples from your quilt shop to see which 'needles' better for you. There are different weights and density to these and some are a little trickier to work with. 

Do hand quilted quilts hold up as well as machine quilted....of Course they do!!! There are quilts out there 200 years old and are still in tack. sometimes the semas or the fabrics are a little worse for wear, but....the hand quilting is STILL THERE!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The new "me" for blogging

Just a little blurb while I tweak some new articles. I'm really bad about keeping my blog up to date, but I'll try harder. Since history is my 2nd love...I'm going to be adding stories on the history of quilts, fabrics and techniques. I hope you enjoy the 'other' side of me.
Feel free to add your comments and if you'd like to be included in my links to your blogs, feel free to email me. The blogs have to be quilt related and that's about the only requirement :) 
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There were times that I would put a pillow on my lap and the quilt Without the hoop. The pillow helped to elevate the quilt a little and gave me a soft resting place for my arms. Still in the recliner

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tired of waiting for a blog ?? Well, come and join us on my Facebook page....I just uploaded LOTS of pix on there: I'll come back to post on the blog later :)
https://www.facebook.com/karenbushquilts

Monday, April 7, 2014

(((WHAT))) IN THE WORLD??

does a tea cup, saucer, greeting card and stencil possibly have to do with Hand quilting?? Read my book...Guide to Hand Quilting, the basics....from Amazon and find out!!!! yes, I'm a Tease! :)

How to go from Blahhh to Ba- Zing to your quilting room!

When I had my hand quilting business, I had a dedicated room with a Door! A MUST for all of us serious down-to-the-nitty gritty, leave me Alone quilters! Now, I'm posting some pix of my quilting room with some explanations. This was in the 1990's...NOT current, so please forgive the quality of the pix and the out-dated things in the pix. OHH my gosh, I noticed my old boom-box Much need for those books on tape, and my 13 inch tv! haha...well, I DID have cable then. Best $$ I've ever spent.

I watched tv (usually Court TV) while I hand quilted to keep my mind working as well as my fingers and to 'time' myself durning commercials. Got to have those important potty-breaks and such ya know!

So,...I took a look one day and it was...well, it was BORING. I had my totally necessary recliner and true light, that's about all I needed as far as furniture since I didn't have much time for piecing, just hand quilting for customers.
But, it was Still boring. Blah off-white walls, homespun curtains, mini blinds and hardwood floor. One Sunday afternoon, I took paint to brush. I dry brushed over the off-white with white tinted with a tad of black for a shaded gray and dry brushed horizontally on all 4 walls. Then, got the yard stick out and used that for guidelines for 'boards'....went back and added black 'squares' making it look like square nails in the boards.
That still wasn't enough. I just HAD to hand paint ivy, morning glories along and up the walls, Caladium near the baseboards....made the wall by the closet look like a separate room and a rail fence.....As they say....Ba-zinga, I had my quilting 'cabin' or quilting in a barn. I wasn't finished...as the Former dh gasped for air...I painted over the hardwood floor with barn red oil paint, outside grade....it was WONDERFUL!!!
Whenever I had people over and when 'word got out' I had quilt customers who were picking up their quilts wanting to see my 'quilting cabin'! LOL..

It served as a wonderful retreat for me as I spent a Lot of time in there and had 2 windows looking out at my terraced back yard and the bird feeders at the windows. Along the way, the Hallmart gift shop closed here in town. I managed to win the bid at the auction for 9 of her drawers that were used for storing gift cards. Great drawers. Deep and wide on nylon runners holding all of my quilt fabric, flats, fat quarters, even yardage.
Of course, I outgrew those as well and had to add an upright shelving, you can NEVER have enough fabric. That was my 'retirement' collection. To be used when I retired from hand quilting and actually had time to Make quilts.

 This is actually a flat wall.I started at the door frame and used what I learned in my high school art class on persepectve to 'shape' what looks like the wall goes into a corner with the rail fence and, of course Things growing on the fence.
So, you can always revive a boring room. Maybe I was nuts, but I was a Happy nut! I didn't stop there, either...you should have seen the REST of the house! LOL

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014