Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fifth Chinese Coins Quilt


Jade Snow Wong's autobiography, Fifth Chinese Daughter, relates a first generation girl's struggle to find her identity in both her family and American society. Published in 1950, it has never been out of print and still resonates with women worldwide.

This is my fifth Chinese Coins quilt for #AHIQChineseCoins. Who'd have thought there would be a series of this basic design? Not me. However, the simple structure has given me freedom to explore other ideas. I've found quite a bit to say.

It amuses me that Coins was one of my go-to plans for philanthropy quilts - a quick, mindless way to use up scraps. I made a dozen quickies before my current exploration began with this improvisational version. Now I an enthralled with Coins. Two more quilts are percolating in the back of my mind.


Designing a Chinese Coin quilt with vintage household materials
Chinese Coin quilt using vintage household materials
So what's different this time?

First, it uses household fabrics and old clothing. While DH's shirts have appeared for a while this is the first time I've used kitchen goods and old dresses. It has a homier, old-fashioned, and quieter feel that continues with the quilting scraps.

Second, I didn't differentiate the columns. Look back at Pflugerville Coins where a different set of fabrics makes each column; no overlap. This time the fabrics are distributed across all columns and will depend on the vertical sewing lines to highlight individual columns.

I wasn't sure how well this would work and set a (short) sashing strip between two columns but don't think it will be necessary. It doesn't add to the conversation right now.

Perhaps the top needs a bit of bright green. It may be too quiet. [That would never do for me.]

Designing a Chinese Coin quilt with vintage household materials
Adding strings to a Chinese Coin quilt
Still adding judicious amounts of red. It's very easy for me to overdo color so we'll see how these work when the rest of the strings are added.

I got my Christmas present early. DH bought me a new sewing room chair. The old one was perfectly fine except it no longer stays up. Every time I set it in the highest position, it soon sinks to the lowest one so my shoulders align with the sewing table. The arms on the new one fit under my table but I may take them off. It's just a test right now.

New sewing room chair
Christmas morning I'll act very surprised with my gift.

Enjoy the day, Ann

20 comments:

  1. I am liking the coins #5. Since I have at least seven bins of scraps I think I could get a few quilts out of using them. I will add that to my to-do list! I think the hydraulic lift in my sewing chair is starting to fail too. Your new chair looks very comfortable!

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    1. Coins is an easy way to use lots of scraps, especially since we can change the coin height and width so freely. I'm amazed how well these fabric look in this random arrangement.
      I tried to fix the lift but it didn't work. It didn't fall with a thump when I sat in it. It just deflated slowly like an air mattress with a leak. It seems so wasteful to replace a "perfectly good chair" but work goes so much better at a stable height. This one adjusts three ways. It took a while to set it up correctly for my tasks. Now I'm not changing it!

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  2. I was immediately drawn to this quilt from the thumbnail photo. I love Chinese Coins quilts, and this one in particular. It must be your use of recycled things from all over the house, plus the little bits of red and bright green to add perk. Congratulations on the new chair! Happy holidays.

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    1. How kind of you, LeeAnn. Those bits of quilting fabrics in bright colors are adding a needed spark but I'm intrigued by the overwhelming use of recycled household fabrics. That will become another fabric class to collect.
      Happy holidays to you, too.

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  3. Love how you are experimenting with Chinese Coin Quilts. Lots of interesting ideas, including the one currently in progress. How about adding more red and some yellow, perhaps the odd flash of orange or tan? Happy Christmas from me in the UK where we have snow and it's very cold!

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    1. I hope you're enjoying the snow. I love the idea of more colors although I'm finding a quiet quilt to be a good challenge.

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  4. YES on adding the RED! I notice, when looking at older quilts, how RED is often used to perk them up and give them a sense of happiness.

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    1. You're right. Red is a favorite way to perk up vintage quilts. I think red was one of the first stable synthetic dyes. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

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  5. have you seen the new bungie chairs? I kept hearing how comfortable they are. I was skeptical, but it is actually very comfortable and supports my bad back. Funny, how that works.

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    1. I hadn't heard of these, Glen, but looked them up. I'm glad they work for you. I like this chair now and hopefully it will last 10 years like the previous one.

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  6. Love how you put that 'I've found quite a bit to say'! Series {whether deliberate or self perpetuating} can be so very interesting! I've been trying to open up to the idea a little more and not be in such a rush to move on to the next thing. This version of coins reminds me a bit of my grandmother--I think perhaps the mix of fabrics and colors she wore. Looking forward to seeing where this one ends up!

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    1. I've read about other quilters' series and I've certainly done repeat scrap quilts (like Scrappy Trips) but this is my first real series where I start from the previous quilt and work on. You're right. So intriguing. I'm glad we read this quilt the same. Although none of the fabric is older, it does remind me of my paternal grandmother in color and arrangement. Like a memory of her.

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  7. Who knew there could be so many variations on a Chinese Coins quilt. Sounds like you are having fun with the series. This is how grandma made quilts and she would tell me stories about some of the fabrics used in the quilt plus she gave me ideas on how to make do while telling the stories. I just loved her stories of survival during the Depression era. So evidently you will have some memories sewn into this version of Coins.

    My go to for philanthropy/donation quilts and strings seems to be a Wonky Log Cabin of some sort.

    I think I need a new chair too since I've been sitting on two pillows on my chair for quite some time. Now the pillows are getting kind of flat!

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    1. It's becoming like the license plate game with the kids: I now see Coins everywhere. More fun when you find the hidden ones like piano keys. My grandmother taught me to sew and cook but she didn't quilt. What a wonderful memory with your grandmother. Aren't we fortunate?
      I'm amazed how long we will jerry rig a repair instead of buying a replacement. The older I get, the more my bones and muscles complain when I do silly things. DH was so kind to insist.

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  8. Blue and red play together well!
    And Chinese Coins has so many possibilities.
    I love that chair, it looks comfortable, nice Christmas present.

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    1. I'm having a great time with this quilt. And the chair is such an improvement. Hooray for wonderful husbands.

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  9. This post makes me think about using clothing! :) I have so much that I don't really wear or could cut up...I want to think about that due to you.

    As to the new chair, oh boy..my computer chair ( fake leather ) is peeling...and then since my youngest son moved in with his dog...the dog jumps in behind me in the chair to cuddle and this isn't helping the chair when he jumps off / lol SANTA are you reading this :)

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    1. It was easier once I cut into those clothes. Good luck.
      I hope Santa brings you a new chair. Now that mine is properly adjusted I’m so much more comfortable. Wish I had a dog to share the seat.

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  10. I wonder whether the fact that you made so many of those 'mindless' quilts helps now that you are working on this AHIQ series, whether being so familiar with the basic format allows you to jump into the improv more easily. No answer to this, but the question interests me.

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    1. All the previous Coin quilts helped with this but I am still amused/surprised/IDKwhat that my improvisations almost always ground in a traditional block. I know my vision is very graphic and concrete; it informed my career choice, too. I so admire your work where you make pieces then work to get them to fit together.
      Having experienced the results of the previous fabric pulls and arrangements gave me a body of knowledge to change the coin heights and randomize the placement here. I don't think I could have done this first.

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