Saturday, April 25, 2015

May Day

Then and Now....a new pattern company with my business partner Mary Robbins from Bozeman, MT...will feature both traditional and contemporary quilt patterns using Dargate fabrics. We have started with the Treasury line. Two of my designs (I am very much Then) have made it to the photographer. Here is my first offering...May Day. Patterns will be available thru (retail and wholesale) late May.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Furnishing Goods

Today we might call these fabrics 'decorator designs'. The scale is larger and the elements often more exuberant. Merchant ledgers of the 18th and 19th Century referred to these fabrics as Furnishing Goods. The large printed garlands in Dargate Treasury from Andover Fabrics are a good example of c. 1830 Furnishing goods.
Ground colors popular 1815-1835 were white, tea dyed, yellow and light blue. These grounds were generally solids. The combination of a finely printed ground with block printed florals began with the development of steel mills in the mid 1830s. Often the small mill engraving backgrounds were printed separately and used as backings for quilts.
The tan color above is the document coloration. The pattern however, is a bit smaller than the original for two reasons. Today's goods offer 4 complete repeats of the large garland across the fabric. Five of the smaller design. In the original piece...the two different garlands are so close together some elements actually touch.  I wanted enough space between the two floral garlands to be able to cut/sew each design separately. 
Ribbons, an important fashion accessory, woven in the early 19th century often used a warp of one color with a different color of weft. In fabrics this would be called shot colors or chambrays. I am using several of these Chambrays by Andover Fabrics in quilts I am designing for the Dargate Treasury line. The Linen color is subtle and supportive while the Coral and Plum add a sparkle.
Dargate Treasury fabrics will be available late April and my quilt patterns by mid May on my website, Reproduction

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Circle Skirts are Popular!

If circle skirts are popular again, then half circle skirt aprons must be twice as popular. After all, doesn't one circle skirt equal two half circle skirt aprons?
    Circle skirts are the inspiration for the Half Circle Skirt Apron pattern. The little skirts with the geometric stripes showing up in the store windows and the Sunday newspaper ads are catching my attention and, maybe, yours too. But, you don't have to buy a circle skirt and cut it in half to get a half circle skirt apron. You can just make one from Margo's new fabric line, Dargate Treasury from Andover Fabrics available in early May. The floral stripes are perfect. My pattern includes two versions, the shorter "cocktail" length and the longer "cook" length. The pattern and kit will be available in mid-May at and, if you are at Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis, you might see Margo modeling it at her Schoolhouse presentation. And maybe she will twirl (circle skirts are known to cause this impulse) and you will see the floral stripes swirl.

If you think that the Half Circle Skirt Apron is cute in the aqua color way of the Dargate Treasury floral stripes (A7791T) and cream coordinate (A7795TL), imagine a full circle skirt. It will be twice as cute. After all, don't two half circle skirt aprons equal one circle skirt? Oh, I'm getting weary of the math.                                 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Embroidered Center Panel

This panel was designed and stitched by Karen Melhouse of Canon Falls, MN. Karen has used Andover Fabrics Chambray in tan plus a layer of Pellon for the embroidery stage. Currently it is just loosely basted. I am designing a Dargate Treasury Quilt around it and plan to show it at a School House presentation at Quilt Market in May. The pattern (embroidery/quilt) and kit will be available on my website early/mid May.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dargate Treasury Inspiration

Hello. My name is Michelle Yeo and I am an Australian quilt designer and teacher with a love of reproduction fabrics & antique quilts. My friend Virginia and I were lucky enough to visit Margo in November and spend 2 lovely nights looking through her fabric sample books. We enjoyed 2 days 'playing' in her shop, 'Reproduction Fabrics', where we were easily entertained sifting through a drawer of Dargate fabric scraps from bygone treasures and drooling over the wonderful shelves of reproduction fabrics all arranged according to era.
Margo topped off my stay in the US by asking me to design and make a quilt using her new, upcoming fabric range, 'Dargate Treasury' by Andover. Of course I couldn't say no to that request! I left Margo, and America, complete with the Skus card for the Dargate Treasury fabric range and I have spent much time since pondering over a design that would do these beautiful fabrics justice.
The inspiration for my central block is the design on a 60 year old dinner set owned by my Mother- in-law and, in particular, the tea cup and saucer from this set in which she served me a cup of tea on Christmas Day. This block features an appliqué basket with Broderie Perse flowers and butterflies. These have been mostly cut from the floral feature stripe border fabric of Dargate Treasury. This central block will be surrounded by a series of pieced and plain borders featuring all the fabrics from the range. The quilt will travel to America for Spring Market and the pattern will be available, after May, on my website,
Enjoy and I hope you like it!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Is Desultory a Quilter's Term?

A porch railing I saw at a Chinese museum inspires my upcoming quilt pattern named Peace and Prosperity using the Dargate Treasury fabrics. I think you will be pleased with the simple piecing. A one-inch sashing creates the porch railing and the Dargate Treasury floral stripe fills the negative space. Two blocks, measuring 7 x 23 inches each, alternate to produce the pattern in the porch railing. In the Dargate Treasury collection, there are four lovely color ways of the floral stripe fabric. I am obsessed with wanting to use at least two of them in one project. I chose the cream colored floral stripe and the aqua colored floral stripe with the red fabric that coordinates with both colors as the sashing.

It should work. Look at the perfect companionship of the color dots.

I tested the pattern by making a prototype of a table runner with just two fabrics from my stash. It turned out great, but I wanted to explore the versatility of the porch railing design and also try using two color ways. So I decided to try a wall quilt with a 4-patch configuration. There would be four panels containing three blocks each, two panels with the cream floral stripe and red sashing and two panels with the darker, aqua floral stripe and red sashing. The panels would be placed as a light/dark four patch. I had a wonderful time sewing them, but up on the design wall, something was wrong. The fabric combinations looked lovely together, but...

I asked my non-quilter husband for his opinion which he gave without hesitation, "It's desultory." What?! That's not a quilter's term. Seconds later, I have the dictionary app open. Desultory: lacking in consistency, or visible order, disconnected. Okay, I get it. Sometimes you just need a non-quilter husband with an objective point of view and a vocabulary better than your own.

There were two things not working right. First, the two alternating blocks, which create the pattern of the porch railing, need to end in an odd number of blocks across and down so that the left and right sides (and top and bottom) of the quilt match. Some blocks are like that. The 4-patch configuration had six blocks across and two blocks down. By ending in an even number of blocks and not matching on the sides or top and bottom, it was out of balance. We admire artistic asymmetry in today's modern quilts, but this was not that. This was just, plain off-balance.

The other problem was that the red sashing gave pop to the cream floral stripe, but lacked the same enthusiasm with the aqua floral stripe, probably because of value issues. Another Dargate Treasury coordinating fabric that would be perfect with the aqua is the cream colored tiny swallow fabric. I love that one and I'm getting inspiration to create a paper-pieced or appliqué swallow.

The solution--go back to the original inspiration from the unique porch railing and make a table runner with the cream colored floral and red sashing. If you are wondering about the fate of the aqua pieces that were already sewn together, they make a lovely pillow.

The pattern which will be coming out with the Dargate Treasury fabric in May will include instructions for adjustable length table runners, placemats, and pillows and guidelines for how to "grow your quilt" into various larger sizes that maintain balance and help you avoid a critique of "desultory."

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dargate Treasury Quilt

Building baskets...then making strips! to love them! My friend Mary Robbins found the pattern in Barbara Brackman's book under 'Bread Basket'.

Starting to add borders.

I have up loaded the entire line of Dargate Treasury to my website. It is currently on wish list.  We will cut and ship April 27, 2015.  I am very excited about this new Dargate line....the first since 2007!