Miss Mary

Together we make the Great American Quilt Part 3

We had a WONDERFUL turnout last evening at our regular meeting of the Algonquin Quilt Guild held at the Algonquin Congregational Church.  All the ladies were very excited to see what our new project would be and to jump into the making of the raffle blocks for our Great American Quilt in reds and whites.  Sue Stanek walked us through a very different technique, especially for me, of how to exactly measure and cut using templates.  It is so much easier when someone takes the time to show you how to do something.  Some of the members knew what to do and helped those of us, with and without our glasses (don’t laugh), with these techniques.

I am documenting this process to help you have an appreciation of the amount of work that goes into an heirloom quilt.  From the design, to the fabric prep, cutting, sewing, “sandwiching” the quilt, quilting and binding, it will take us till June to have this assembled and ready.  That’s using the hands of 30 some people so you can image what it’s like when one person would do this alone.

If you remember from Part 1 we chose red and white as our quilt material as it is a classic color for American quilts.  They’re stunning when displayed.  We chose two different lines – Minick and Simpson’s Mid-Winter Reds and French General’s Josephine.  You’ll see in many of the photos just how lovely the contrasts are when you put the colors together.  We also chose the block pattern at that meeting.  Sue updated that pattern idea so our members could see what it will look like.

Great American Quilt pattern
Great American Quilt pattern

In Part 2 we assembled the packets.  They contained the washed and cut material, the templates, and instructions.  When working with dark colors you always wash and iron the material due to color bleeding.  The last thing you want is to wash the quilt and have it bleed.  Not a pretty site.

Sporting her story board, Sue hopped right to it explaining how to use the templates to make the perfect 10″ block.  We have to make 60 plus blocks for this queen sized quilt.2014 GAQpt3 2

I think you can see in this next picture the use of the templates and rulers.  We carefully have to draw, with a pencil or washable marker, on the riverside of the material the lines to cut and sew on to complete the block.  This technique should give us a perfect block.

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Members are using sandpaper to hold the material still while drawing on the reverse side of the fabric.

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You can see the block under Sue’s hands here as she demonstrates the pinning just before sewing.  Using templates makes it much easier to sew a more perfect 1/4″ seam.  Now many of you whom sew are use to a 5/8″ seam, not with quilting.  It’s 1/4″.  Blew my mind when I first learned how to do this.  All those years of clothing construction using a 5/8th inch seam – let’s just say – it was an adjustment.

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Sue painstakingly took the time to create each section of the block to show members as she walked around.  It’s a lot of work to demonstrate exactly how to put these together.  Thank goodness for our experienced members who knew how to do this who were around the room helping the 25 or so who braved the cold.  Sue then asked others that if they felt confident enough to take extra blocks home.  Our homework is to complete the blocks and return them for next month.  Our objective is to have the top done, quilted, bound and ready for raffle tickets by the start of summer.  The tickets will be sold till November’s Guild meeting.

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I wanted to show you all our “show and tell” of members work.  You remember Carol Pilz from Part 2.  She completed her quilt and it is stunning.  She used French General fabrics on this quilt too.  The pattern is called “Stone Soup”.

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Jan Stadt loves to do little work.  Isn’t this adorable in the Thirties fabric.  Thirties fabric are reproduction prints from the 1930s.  I use them for baby blankets.

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Carlene Moeller made this adorable little piece with hand embroidery and little buttons.  She also completed a huge green quilt.  Keep in mind, unless the material is on sale, the cost of the fabric is $10 to $11.50 a yard.

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Next month we’ll be turning our blocks in.  We also have a sewing day February 22 at the Eastgate Algonquin Library Branch at 9:30am for those members whom need assistance.  Bring your sewing machine, your project and things you’ll need to complete your blocks.

If you’re interested in joining the Guild, visit our website for more information.

Just as an aside, seven baby quilts were handed in for the neo-natal unit at Advocate Sherman Hospital.  Our members donate these handmade quilts for the babies.

#4.  Auditioning borders.

#5.  They’ve returned.

#6.  Piecing it together

#7. It’s done

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