Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Pennies for Your Thoughts

This is Day #2 of the Jaftex blog hop. After you read this blog posting, make sure to leave a comment and not under 'anonymous'! If your name is drawn, you might win fabric bundles or even a sewing machine. And your local quilt shop can even win a prize too! 

Here goes--pennies for your thoughts?

You know how sometimes you just want to make a simple quilt? No points, no matching, just put fabrics together and sew? That was the impulse that made me begin a Chinese Coins scrap quilt this Spring. I looked through some favorite picture books of Amish quilts (the source I go to when I want to think about pure color) and saw several great Chinese Coins quilts. Wondering about the origin of that strange name, I asked collectors of vintage quilts for opinions. Most thought the Chinese Coins pattern was an off-shoot of a traditional Bars quilt and cited visual images of vintage sewing baskets from China decorated with coins and tassels as possible inspiration. Another surmised that traditional Chinese currency, stacked and roped together after counting, provided a plausible explanation for the name Chinese Coins. See more samples of vintage sewing baskets here Chinese Sewing Baskets 

But I have another idea. While on the trail of the stacked coins theory, the image of an abacus came to mind. An ancient computation device, the abacus was used in China and other Asian countries and brought to the US with emigrants. Might a quiltmaker have seen a shopkeeper using the sliding beads of his abacus  to calculate purchases and associated the image with 'chinese coins?'

The antique Amish quilt pictured here is from Arthur, Illinois. Its name is Chinese Coins and it was made in the early 20th century. Picture courtesy of  The Quilt Complex .

I decided to make my Chinese Coins quilt based on one of my favorite pale colors of Peppered Cottons. The aqua fabric between the bars of strips is called Seaglass . This shade of Peppered Cotton is woven with a bright turquoise warp  and a pale cocoa brown weft that makes for a cool and slightly greyed-green-aqua. All the prints are slices of StudioE, Blank Quilting, and Henry Glass fabrics.

The size of my Chinese Coins quilt is informal. I stretched a tape measure from my chin to my feet and got 53" as the length of my strips. The pieced strips were then trimmed to 7 and 1/2" wide and the aqua strips cut 3 and 1/2". The top and bottom borders were cut 5 1/2". When complete the quilt's overall measurements were 48" wide by 63" long. I wanted the quilt as a recliner quilt for winter TV watching and so it was measured to me.

The back of the quilt is a Peppered Plaid in the colorway I called 'Aquarium.' With its bold aquas and greens, the large plaid made a stunning back. My friend, longarm quilter Laurie Mayo, machine-quilted Chinese Coins for me--simple stitched lines on the print bars but a wild vine, with every sort of leaf imaginable, twines up the aqua strips between the prints. The binding is a bias-cut strip of the matching check

I love this quilt, simple as it is. The prints seem almost luminous against the quiet Seaglass.

Here you are-

85th Anniversary Giveaway