I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Beach Projects _ The Pokeberry Quilt

Hi! I'm here again. I've been having computer probs all week, please excuse me if I didn't respond to comments here or leave comments on your blog. Today I finally was able to upload my recent photos and I can show you my new summer project. It's so fun and exciting to have a challenging new ''thing'' to bring to the beach.Years ago when I painted watercolors I'd treat myself to a new watercolor sketchbook and a new mini tin of paints. Sure I have quilts to sew bindings on; and three, yes three, or four? doll quilts to hand quilt. Last summer my hurting hand put those projects in the someday pile.

This summer I am beginning a quilt I've loved for years. Jan Patek's Pokeberry Quilt.

Okay, maybe I don't love the stupid eagle or the weird wreath; that horse will be a black Kitty instead---but what I love is the idea of the pokeberries. How fun to use a weed from the fields of my [our, Mel made ink with the berries too] childhood. Yes we made pioneer ink from the deep purple berries, used a feather for the quill. Brown paper grocery bags were my ''parchment".

I haven't done wool work in years. I am hoping the raw edge applique is easier on my hand than the tiny finely stitched needle-turn applique done with cotton.

I used all my spring etsy money to stock up on beautiful wools, hand dyed from Errin at Quilting Acres

I am going to use wool plus some cottons, silks, and velvets.
Greens, here.

Here's the purple selections for the berries. Besides the gorgeous wools I found antique velvet and velvet ribbons in my stash.

I had pictured the Pokeberries  penny sized but no, more like quarters.

cover photo, by Jan Patek

Patek mentions in the book that there are 310 yards [?] Feet? of bias binding used on the quilt. Ugh. No. I found this lovely vintage French silk velvet ribbon on eBay. It will be used for the stems. And the dealer has more if I need it. Timeless Trims

Both the etsy seller and the eBay dealer went out of their way to help me find just what I was looking for. It was very nice, and kept me busy in the coldest end of March.

The ground will be mottled black flannel. It is from I think Primitive Gatherings and is very lush and yummy. I prewashed it with Retayne and color catchers even though I am not sure this will be a washable quilt. I'd also love to use this vintage purple toile somehow in the project.

Here are my first four blocks. I hope to do at least two blocks a month, like my own little quiltalong.

Antique Flying Geese blocks used for this one. I want to mix in some of my favorite antque orphan block.

Here I am auditioning the grounds for this one. I like the calico better but the plaid is more appealing and graphic.

 The tails are all out on this in-work block because I suddenly realised I had to use Fray Check, especially on wool points and velvet edges.

The adorable doll block. I'll embroider my name and date on her skirt. She's all wrinkly bcause she's my carry along project this week.

I have so many questions about wool applique. Obviously I am self taught and just hoping for the best, but please weigh in with advice or ideas, if you've worked with wool. Or just want to share your thoughts.

_Should the stitches be tiny and invisible or larger and decorative?

_Do you use Fray Check and where /how? [I'm putting it on the back edges.] Or what?

_I listened to Lori of Humble Quilts about stapling the pieces. This works great  for the beach, where it's so windy. Any other hints for attaching? I'm not great at prepping and I don't baste. Ever.

The grooming van came to visit yesterday, to bath and brush Mo. I sat out on the curb and sewed on the little doll block in the sunshine while he was bathed. He looks all pearly and pretty, my little white lima bean! He has a Fourth of July bow! And his adoption anniversary is June 8th. One year of Mo. sigh. I think I walked a million miles.

What are you planning for summer projects? When you were a little guy did you love to have a beginning of Summer project planned? Learn to swim or sail, ride bikes all day, bake all the recipes in your Betty Crocker "Cooking for Girls and Boys"  cookbook? Plant radishes and marigolds in your own little garden? Read Little Women, or The Hobbit or Narnia series?

I know Mel got a new sewing machine! And my friend BJ is making another beautiful baby quilt.

Wish me good luck! And pain free hands.



gone to the beach....

PS I am thinking of subbing this block for the church block or eagle block. The size is right, but maybe it doesn't GO? 
Nessy Visits Nauset * beloved lighthouse on Cape Cod* by Meeting House Hill Designs


  1. I think what you are doing is perfect! I love the trim as the stems. I wouldn't plan on washing the quilt.
    This is my take- I use small whip stitches in matching thread. If something needs a little embroidery, then I add it. I've never used fray check, although I think I own some. LOL

  2. I like to use a small whip stitch on the wool and needleturn the velvet. Because the wool is felted it should not fray. Great quilt and I love your blocks.

  3. I made one wool quilt for a friend who was ill. In Fresno, California. In August. In a year that it hit 112F.

    I'll probably never touch wool again. I did also whip stitch it and didn't use Fray Check. Unlike Lori, I don't even own any. LOL.

    What beautiful colors and Mo looks so fluffy and pretty.



    1. Youre amazing! You made a probably all hand sewn wool quilt? Do you have a picture. Maybe it was hot to make but I bet it gave your friend a lot of comfort and love.

  4. I love the Nessy visits Nauset block and I think it needs to be on this quilt - somewhere. I like your colors and substitutions - especially the ribbon for the stems.

    Mo looks so comfortable with his rawhide chewie.

    1. I love the lighthouse block. It was a family favorite, the lighthouse, not the sewing.

  5. Love the photo of Mo with his treat up over his nose, LOL!

    I'm so glad you're doing your pokeberry quilt! Also happy to hear you plan to switch out parts you don't like - Yay! That will make it more uniquely your own! The colors are so pretty! It'll be gorgeous. The seagull block made me laugh and my knee-jerk reaction was 'no' -- because pokeberries mean 'Midwest' to me. But you had poke growing there, and we really have seagulls here, too, so why not? As long as Gully doesn't EAT the pokeberries... If you don't want the lighthouse, turn it into a silo - same shape!

    I've never done applique by hand except for you, so not sure about the fray check. In my experience, using it on the cut ends of ribbons on things washed a lot girls' nightgowns) - it didn't last very long. On a quilt, which if washed at all would probably be done seldom and gently, it would probably hold fine. It dries a little stiff but clear, if it was me I'd try it on a few scraps of different fabrics first just to see what happens.

    To stitch the wool down I think 'blanket stitch' or some other simple decorative stitch - because that way you don't have to try to hide them! On the velvet I think I might take the time to turn the edges under with a running basting stitch just to make sure cut edges don't show (I've not had great luck with velvets). Whatever is comfortable for your hand, and I do hope it doesn't give you pain this summer!

    I'm so excited! I can't wait to see how this comes out and what other personal touches you might put on it!

    I've got a couple of projects for my new sewing machine, and I'm still figuring it out. SO many stitches to choose from! And LOL, I put the feed dogs down and forgot, got a knot underneath it so had to take part of it apart already! Typical for me!

    Have a great Summer! Looking forward to seeing your progress!

    1. I kind of know the lighthouse doesn t fit in, and wanted to use more idwestern motifs when subbing. But I do love the block.

  6. Well, I know less than nothing about quilting...I can say the velvets are so pretty, and I like the seagull substitute!

    Hard to believe it's ONLY a year since Mo made his way to your home. Seems like he's always been there. LOL, he is a lima bean.

    I can't remember having summer projects when I was a kid. A lot of reading mostly.

    Love the pic from Memorial weekend?, with the lobsters and the fun honey beer, looks like what the beginning of summer should look like.


    1. Hi Kel! Reading was always my favoriet summer activity too. We had a Bookmoblie that came weekly, what a fun thing that was.
      LOL, yes what was life like before MO!

      From the other day...DEC police are Department of the Ecology police, they look for violations of ecological codes etc. I guess they re maybe part of the Federal Wildlife people? Theoretically they ;; roust out folks picnicking on the dunes or playing football in the plover fields but I ve only seen them make people get their dogs off the beach.

  7. Thanks for sharing your summer projects! Looking forward to the updates!

  8. Thanks for sharing your summer projects! Looking forward to the updates!

  9. Thanks for sharing your summer projects! Looking forward to the updates!

  10. by the by, it is fabulous to have the flashback to the beginning of the project!



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