Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Antique Ironstone Collection

I love antique white ironstone, and I know I'm not the only one - this simple heavy china flys off of the (virtual) shelves in my etsy shop. But have you noticed that I haven't had much for sale recently? Here's at least one reason why... 

I've been busy filling my own (very real!) shelves at home. The antique farmhouse cupboard in my livingroom was looking a little bare, so I've been loading it up with ironstone pitchers, platters, butter pats, soup bowls, serving bowls, and stacks of small oval dishes.

I like the discolored patina of old ironstone, and this rustic cupboard holds the more humble aged pieces in my collection, all with thick rounded edges and simple silhouettes. But wait, there's more!

The blue china cupboard in my dining room holds my more pristine white pieces with more formal shapes. I don't discriminate against antique ironstone - stained or bright, humble or high end, I love it all!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Second Quilt

Quilting time again! Here is the second quilt top that I've finished. I've actually had it done for quite a while, as I literally did the entire thing in one weekend right on the heels of finishing my first quilt top. I told you, I can get a little obsessed :) But I found a golden yellow fabric with a simple small-scale print that I loved - it reminds me of the "cheddar" color often found in traditional antique quilts - and I was itching to try another block pattern.

Now, unlike most quilters, who end up with huge fabric stashes and swoon over all the newest prints and designs, I have found that when it actually comes down to making a quilt for myself, I am not motivated by fabric hardly at all. You won't see those eye-candy shots of my latest stack of fat quarters in modern prints and designer colors. I like solids, and I like traditional colors. I get very excited if I ever find a print that I love. And as you can see from this quilt, even the "prints" that I love are for all intents and purposes still solids. Instead, I am motivated by the overall pattern and layout of quilt blocks, most often old patterns from antique quilts. I could happily produce dozens of different quilts with nothing but a bolt of red or blue and a bolt of antique white (my favorite is "Bone" in Kona Cotton). But that's the great thing about making a quilt... you can do it exactly the way you like!

Which brings me to my second point. The actual quilting. I got so many positive and encouraging comments when I shared that I was going to be hand quilting my first quilt... About how glad I would be that I did it, how relaxing and addicting hand quilting was, how much I was going to enjoy it, and that it would be so worth the effort!!

Well, it's not. At least not for me. 

All the fun and sense of accomplishment I had sewing the quilt top went right out the window as I started hand quilting. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but I just flat-out hated it. I gave myself pep-talks and tried hard to convince myself that I was doing the "right thing". And then it hit me. Everything I liked about making the quilt top - the pattern design, the mathmatical precision, the systematic rotary cutting, the well-ordered almost assembly-line contruction, and the instant gratification of seeing the pieces come together - was missing in the hand quilting process. Rather than a defined step-by-step creative process, I had a big blobby perpetual never-ending project. I like quilt-making for the same reasons I like soapmaking (and baking). They are all precise, almost scientific techniques that combine all of the carefully planned and exactly measured components into one fantastically designed and immediately tangible final product. I guess I like right-brain activities that employ left-brain techniques. (Nothing like a little self-analysis with your crafting...)

So for me, it's machine quilting or nothing at all. And seeing as my new hobby is such a complete expression of the many aspects of my taste and personality, I think machine quilting is a perfect match. I can't wait to show you this one when it's finished! And now it can be sooner rather than later :)

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