Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Scrap Bag Pressed Quilts

Another nod to the past here, as I went to my scrap bag to pull the colorful bits and pieces of fabric for these two patchwork wall hangings...


Long ago, every woman who sewed had a scrap bag. Fabric was precious and nothing could go to waste. She often pulled from her bag of scraps when making her quilts, and I've often read historic accounts of elderly quilters who fondly remembered the thrill of getting to go through their mother's scrap bag when first learning how to piece.

In another nod to the past I did some research and decided to make a "Pressed Quilt"...


What exactly is a pressed quilt? Well, from my research, it seems to be an old fashioned, and now seldom used term, to refer to quilts where the blocks are sewn onto pieces of foundation fabric. It takes it's name due to how each piece of fabric, after being stitched down, is opened and pressed with an iron before the next piece is sewn on. Crazy quilts are sometimes sewed this way, as are some strip quilts, log cabins and various variations, (such as "Courthouse Step" blocks, which is what I have done here). It comes in very handy when using smaller bits of fabric, or strips of fabric cut off-grain, which could easily become distorted without the foundation to add support. (I've worked this way lots of times before, as I am sure many of you have, too. I just had never heard of the term "pressed quilts" before, and always enjoy learning something new... especially when the information is old!)


In the past, pressed quilts often did not contain batting, making them the perfect choice for "summer quilts", (quilts that had no batting).


After some deliberation, I decided to forgo the batting in these quilts as well, feeling that the tops were visually strong enough... Knowing what to leave out is just as important as knowing what to put in.


In lieu of batting and quilting, and wanting the quilt to be structurally sturdy and sound, I decided to back the quilt with 2 layers of canvas weight fabric, and simply tack each block to the backing by using a concealed "tie" stitch.


Both quilts are now available in my shop.


And one more thing, I didn't realize it while sewing, but looking at the vibrant colors and pieced blocks in these two new pieces, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that I definitely believe that my reviewing Malka's book, Fresh Quilting, had a strong impact on my subconscious!

And speaking of Fresh Quilting... we have a winner in the Giveaway! Congratulations to Vicki @ DottyJane, who said...

"Malka's sense of color and pattern is exciting and captured my interest right away! Thanks for the interview and the chance to win her book."

Thanks to everyone who entered, and hope you all have a great week!

29 comments:

wackywoman said...

Great post. I love your quilt. On my way now to see Malka's book.

Nifty Quilts said...

Beautiful quilts!! I have never heard the term "pressed quilts" either, but I've made plenty.

Allie said...

Man, I think I want your scrap bag, lol! These are stunning!!!!! I'd never heard that term either, but once you explained it, of course I've heard of quilts being done that way. You are amazing.

XUE said...

Gorgeous quilts, Vic ! Very Keiko Goke too!

Sujata said...

Gorgeous piece, Victoria! Thanks for the research. Now I know a different term for a foundation pieced quilt!

Jackie said...

I just love these quilts!! But to think of a quilt with no batting... Hmmm???

nicolette said...

Google reader must have fooled me. Your latest posts never showed up!

You definitely got inspired by Malka’s book! Love this quilt. The Korak quilt I’m working on had no batting either. Love that!

Stephanie said...

You always provide visual beauty and a little history lesson. Thank you. Congratulations to the lucky winner.

patty a. said...

Victoria, you have done it again - blown me away!

Monica said...

never heard of the term either...

and concealed tie stitch? off to reasearch that one too!

Michele said...

Always fun to learn something new. Your pressed quilts are gorgeous! It's getting harder and harder not to run out and buy that book!

dióhéj said...

Hmmmm. Pressed quilt. This is new for me, but I like it :)

Vicki @ DottyJane said...

They're beautiful! Very interesting about the pressed quilts.

I'm so excited to receive this book! Thanks again for the chance to win it:)

Gina said...

These are gorgeous. Your sense of colour is stunning. I have not heard the term pressed quilts either - I always thought they were called foundation pieced quilts.

Amy said...

These are gorgeous! I wish my scrap bag looked like yours!!

dosfishes said...

I feel as if I am looking at a colorful village full of houses with personality. Happy, happy quilts. xox Corrine

Colleen MacDonald said...

They are both stunning, and I love your subconscious nod to Malka!

The use of oranges as props in the last pictures is brilliant, I have to add!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous!!

Jan said...

Great quilt. I've seen the name "stitch and flip" used for that, too. Either way, it surely is a fun quilt to make and your scrappy colors are so cheerful!

Happy colors!

Hugs,
Jan

Vickie said...

What a great quilt! And fun to learn something new, as well!

Annie Crow said...

These are great, I love the colors. I like the term "pressed quilt" - do you have any good references for how to do them? I've been wanting to do some log cabin askew (much like you have here), but haven't been able to figure it out from the brief descriptions I've come across.

meli B said...

Love the pressed quilt technique but I never knew that's what they are called. When I make them I usually make about ten blocks at the same time so you can iron 10 strips between each new addition. It's a big time saver.

picciolo said...

these turned out beautifully, they are o cheerful! ...I still have a scrap bag...
:)

Victoria said...

Thanks to each of you. :o)

Gina,
I think "pressed quilts" is an old term, and somewhere along the way foundation quilts replaced it.

Annie,
I don't have any references to give you, but I can tell you how these blocks were made... Cut the foundation fabric squares slightly bigger then the size you want. Start with a piece of fabric, right side up in the middle of the foundation fabric. Place another piece of fabric, right side down, onto the first fabric, lining up the edges that will be sewn, (it also helps if this 2nd fabric is cut to the same length as the first. Stitch down. Flip the 2nd piece of fabric over so the right side is up, and press flat with a hot iron. Line up the 3rd piece of fabric on the other side of the first piece the same way and sew, flip and press again. Line up the 4th piece of fabric, right side down, across the top of all three previous pieces, stitch in place, flip and press. Do the same along the bottom with the 5th piece of fabric. Continue in this manner, going side to side and top to bottom until the whole foundation block is covered. Then trim to size. Now you have one block. (Hope that made sense!)

Meli, I sew a few at a time as well, and agree... big time saver!

Fer said...

Simply gorgeous! I never tire of seeing what you come up with. :-)

Gina said...

These and your other works are gorgeous! I like the idea of 'summer quilts' done this way and your use of canvas backing omitting the batting seems perfect for this piece. I often use the 'pressed quilt' technique for small bits but didn't know this term, thank you! I'm off to enjoy more of your work ...

Cheryl Arkison said...

Yes, there is definitely an influence there! They look great!

Michelle @ Periwinkle said...

the quilts are lovely. I sometimes call that the "sew and flip" method -- foundation piecing--

deemallon said...

These are so, so lovely!! I, too, have used this method and heard it called "foundation piecing".

Domestic economy has a way of deepening an aesthetic (part of why the Gee's Bend quilts are so powerful) & it doesn't escape me that such a resonance is in keeping with you and your Pennsylvania landscape.