Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Stitching Together, work in progress

(Above:  Stitching Together, a work in progress.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

Earlier this month I blogged about one my hair-brained ideas for an upcoming call-for-entry.  (CLICK HERE to access the "start" of this project.)  The McKissick Museum will be jurying submissions for their show, Crafting Civil (War) Conversations. The exhibit will commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War's end.  I am surprised how this year in history has proved to be fertile ground for inspiration.

(Above:  Detail of the self-guided, free-motion embroidery on the quilt top.)

After reading the call-for-entry, I could literately picture the finished work in my imagination.  There was a major obstacle.  I didn't own the antique quilting frame necessary to bring my mental image into the real world.  Over the past ten or so years, I've seen at least a half a dozen antique quilting frames sell at auction.  I've seen one or two in various antique shops too.  But, when I first needed one, none could be found.  I visited eBay, Craigslist, and did an exhaustive Internet search.  Those I found were already sold.  I wrote a request on both the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) and the QuiltArt Internet lists.  Two people responded.  One offered a fabulous, new quilting frame.  It wasn't "right".  The other came from Kathleen Loomis.  It wasn't "perfect" either but I thought it was the best I'd be able to find.

(Above:  Detail of the self-guided, free-motion embroidery on the quilt top.)

I paid for the FedEx ground shipping and was excited to receive it.  It was a strange but wonderfully homemade contraption.  Unfortunately, it was missing a few essential parts.  Kathleen never used it.  It was in her garage for twenty or so years.  To the best of her knowledge, what I got was all she ever had.  Immediately, I had another plan ... but I was back to "square one" as far as getting an antique quilting frame.  Finally, I located one in Pennsylvania.  On the weekend my parents were having a cookout, we drove 200 additional miles in order to purchase it.  It is PERFECT ... and it is also "period", likely 1850 - 1870 or thereabout!   (By the way, shipping the over-sized boxes would have run over $180.  The quilting frame cost me a $100 donation to the Unitarian Universal Congregation of Susquehanna Valley.  I look at it this way:  I saved $80 and got to visit with family!)

(Above:  Stitching Together, set up in our living room.)

After making all the crayon grave rubbings, I basted the vintage tablecloth to a piece of recycled white felt.  Then, I did all the self-guided, free-motion machine embroidery.  Finally, I basted these two layers to another vintage damask tablecloth and stitched the 3-layered quilt to the two wooden rails.  It really does look like a "table" at which the "daughters of slaves and the daughters slave owners" could sit down to share a meal of quilting!

(Above:  Stitching Together, in the living room.)

My plan is to thread #5, off-white perle cotton through several chenille needles and start hand quilting around the brown outlines of the unknown Confederate soldiers' graves ... so that anyone might really sit down to stitch!

(Above:  Stitching Together, in the living room.)

Of course, I don't have any appropriate chairs ...

...yet!  Remember, I still had the parts of an old quilting frame from Kathleen Loomis!

(Above:  Me in the garage!)

First, I took everything apart.

I measured and sawed.

I fit pieces together by pre-drilling holes, using glue, and screwing the parts into two, primitive looking chairs.

These are my two seats ... not quite done, of course ... but very promising!

I even left the canvas tape attached to the rails.  This was the material to which a quilt would be stitched in order to be rolled into place and put on the quilting frame.

This quilting frame had two hinges ... which would have allowed someone to set up the legs at two different widths.  I used the hinges.  In fact, I used just about everything that Kathleen Loomis sent!  Thank you, Kathleen!

(Above:  The only things I didn't use!)

Now ... I'm planning on making grave rubbing upholstery and something to serve as a "place setting" ... scissors, thimble, needle case, etc.  I'm really happy the way this project is progressing!


Bruce the Great said...

Did you consider discussing a quilting frame with a furniture maker person whom you met recently? :)

Margaret said...

You are one crazy lady, eh? Wonderful!

Elizabeth said...

Brilliant!!!! I do so love how your mind works!!!!!

Wanda said...

I envy you so for having a Workshop! Heck, it's like your entire house is a Workshop though! I Keep dreaming....I love the quilt Frame. It is fabulous. And the furniture? ha ha WOW...now you can do Mom's old chair! ha ha You said something in the very beginning of the post, that you are " surprised how this year in history has proved to be fertile ground for inspiration." You should experience this year in history over here. We celebrated WWI for I don't know how Long. In fact, that was the main theme this year in the Salzburg Festspiele. Now, it is 75 years since the start of WWII. It is very inspiring (I'm being sarcastic). That's all we hear about and see on TV and it is inspiring everyone to say all sorts of things. Too bad no one is really listening...look what's going on in the world right now, as we speak.

Aussie Jo said...

You really are a 'Jill of all trades'! I am looking forward to seeing the finished setting.