Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Different Kind of Orphan Block

I love orphan blocks and orphan quilt tops. Finn has started a fun challenge on orphans that you should check out.

I collect not only orphan blocks and tops, but also orphan embroidery projects. There's something very poignant to me about an incomplete project of any kind. They're full of dreams and hopes unfulfilled, but by completing them, we can close that loop and fulfill the vision of the maker.

I'm on the verge of finishing this little quilt for my sister's birthday. It has an orphan piece of embroidery as a focal point. A few months ago, I found in a thrift shop an unfinished stamped cross-stitch kit of Holly Hobby from the 70s. She's an old favorite of mine and of my sister. I finished the kit and then pulled some complementary fabrics from my stash for a simple 50x50 quilt. I deliberately included some bits of that old vintage calico, and the binding strip uses up the last of my supply of red. The framing of the embroidery is uneven and I decided that fit the style of the quilt. If you try something like this, interface the embroidery before you trim it up because linen and loose weave cotton are very unstable. I'm currently machine quilting it in straight lines on the diagonal and I'm using a 100% cotton batt, because I love that old fashioned drape.

While visiting one of my favorite thrift shops last week I came upon two items I've been scouting ebay for. One is a scroll embroidery frame. I've collected a couple of larger crewel embroidery kits that would be better to do on a frame, and the one I found came with not one, but two orphan projects and all the wool yarn needed to complete them.
Now these projects are not the kind that I would intentionally buy, but they came with the frame so I took them gladly. I like house motifs, but the kits are for long stitch, which is pretty boring. I'll probably complete the one on the frame, but the other I'm not sure about right now.

I also got this skein of wool yarn for 95 cents, and four unopened packages of stamped quilt blocks in a pattern that is not too hideous. I don't know why I have this affinity for stamped cross stitch and I love those quilts made from stamped blocks. I have enough in this pattern for a twin quilt, 24 blocks. I'm going to need some long winter nights to get through this one. Or maybe it's a summer project since one block at a time isn't too much to hold in the heat of the afternoon. I'm sure the original owners of these projects had the exact same visions. See, these things are the stuff of dreaming.


Debra Spincic said...

Back in the day, I handquilted one of those stamped cross stitch quilts that a friend's mother had stitched. My mother had one she cross stitched and I started handquilting it but it was so awful, I had to stop--olive green and gold with colonial eagles.

I have started collecting early 80s crewel and embroidery kits too with the thought of using them in some crazyquilting. They are so nostalgic (or so awful!)

Your sister's piece turned out great!

Finn said...

Hi Barb, I love the project for your sister! What a great combination of needle crafts. I also am a sucker for the partly finished embroidery and stitching projects. I can ignore the crocheted stuff just fine, but not the needlecraft, and I also am so very fond of stamped cross stitch. I've picked up and finished several over the past couple of years, but never thought to show them. I even bought my first piece of chicken scratch(ever) a christmas pillow, red and green on muslin...LOL
Could I add your Orphan to our orphan train journey blog? I'd love to have it there for others to see..*VBS* I've never seen your scrolling needlework frame but it sure looks neat.
Love the new paint color, and I'm not sure if I knew you crocheted rugs from fabric strips. I'll have to link over and have a look at that *VBS* Keep up the great work, Hugs, Finn

cher said...

I made that stitchery with the rainbow-I just recently took it down from a wall in my home! My mom bought many, many of those kits and I received lots of them-selling off most as I moved on in my life to other crafts. the proportion of the house and the fence is off...so don't feel bad if you decide not to do it.
how funny to see something I have made show up this way!