String Melon Patch Finished


I finished the String melon top.
I made it with these vintage blocks


I used Warm and Plush batting.


Here it is after the hand quilting was finished.


the next step was to trim the edges


Next is the binding.  I used bias binding.   It was cut at only 1 1/2 inches wide , then folded in half so it was 3/4 inch then machine stitched to the top, folded to the back and hand stitched.    It makes for a very narrow binding.


It measured 77″ x 86″

Teddy tested it out.


I always wash and dry a quilt when I finish it.  so into the washer …..Teddy is waiting for it to be finished.


Here it is out of the dryer


The quilting really stands out because of the thick batting


Here is the back


The Warm and Plush batting was definitely harder to hand quilt but I love the look of the finished quilt and the weight….really heavy.   It did shrink quite a bit, it is Now 73″ x 81″

I do think I will use the batting again.


It rained most of the day today but here are some garden pics from yesterday.

Happy Quilting.


more hand quilting


More of the hand quilting done , just the left side to finish.   (click pictures to enlarge)

Here are a few more garden pictures

Happy quilting


May Day

The Bleeding Heart plants are really starting to look great

May Day, May 1st.
In some parts of the United States, May Baskets are made. These are small baskets usually filled with flowers or treats and left at someone’s doorstep. The giver rings the bell and runs away. The person receiving the basket tries to catch the fleeing giver; if caught, a kiss is exchanged.
Here is a May Basket quilt. (or at least one that reminds me of may baskets)

DSCN2866 DSCN2877 DSCN2900

you can read more about how I made it here

Spring is in full swing and there are daily changes in the garden.   here are pictures from today (click pictures to enlarge)

Happy May Day


Garden Inspection and a Pattern

I need to sniff this!

The weather is beautiful this morning so Teddy and I inspected the garden and  I took some more pictures (click pictures to enlarge)

The garden is mostly buds at this point but I will post lots of pictures in the future when they bloom.

When ever I go out in the garden I find so much more work that needs doing.   The weeds never stop growing :)     I have given myself a gardening nickname:   Seymour, because I can always see more weeds.

Yesterday I posted some vintage quilt top pictures.    This one got a lot of attention.


When I purchased the top I made a tracing of the design and a PDF file of the pattern.   If you would like to make your own here is a link to the pattern

The other favorite was the cup and saucer


I will do a pattern for that soon.

Happy Quilting and Gardening



More Vintage Quilt Tops


I have another batch of vintage tops photographed for storage.

Here are the 4 posts for all the others tops I have already packed. There are hundreds :)    quilt tops 1,   quilt tops 2/ , quilt tops 3quilt tops 4 ,

Here is the newest batch (Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Next I have to organize all the blocks … I have tons of partially finished tops and blocks that will some day be finished.

Happy Quilting


more hand quilting


I have begun the hand quilting on this top


Pretty basic outline quilting with black 40 weight thread


The hand quilting is adding a lot of dimension.


On this quilt the hand quilting doesn’t show much on the back because of the busy pattern of the fabric.


I did some more on this one as well


I have a lot more done than I thought  so this might be finished soon.

The quilting on the back of this one does stand out.


here are a few more pictures (click pictures to enlarge)

Teddy was happy to be back to work posing.


Happy quilting


Quilting Rules?


One of the Facebook quilting groups has been having a discussion about quilting rules.   The question is are there really rules and where did they come from and do we need to follow them.

Here are a few rules you might have heard (these aren’t necessarily rules I follow but are rules I have read or heard)

  1. always sew a 1/4 inch seam, or on some lists always sew a scant 1/4 inch seam (but how much less than 1/4 inch is a scant 1/4 inch)
  2. always press toward the dark fabric
  3. never press open a seam
  4. never press with steam, or on some lists always press with steam
  5. always prewash the fabric, or on some lists never prewash because the fabric is easier to work with when it still has the sizing in it.
  6. always use 100% cotton thread
  7. always pin before sewing
  8. always check for accuracy and square up your blocks
  9. always use matching thread
  10. never wash a quilt by machine
  11. always use bias cut binding
  12. always hand quilt in a hoop or frame
  13. basting is the most important step in hand quilting and should be done with thread
  14. you must use very small needles for hand quilting

There are many many more that I am sure you have heard.

I have often said that there are no quilt police and no rules but I have changed my mind.    I do have rules that I apply to MY quilts.    I do always prewash, I do use 1/4 inch seams, I do use steam to press, I do wash finished quilts, I always hand quilt in a hoop or frame, I always pin baste very sparely. I use whatever size needle is best for the thread and stitch I want.   MY rules for MY quilts are what I find work best for me.

So where do all the rules come from?    If I were to teach someone how to quilt I would teach them how I do it.  My rules would be what I teach.  I would naturally teach the way I do.   My practices , at least initially, would become the rules for the new quilter.    They get passed on and that quilter may add a few new rules and take away a few but the rules come from the experiences of the quilters.  They aren’t meant to be restrictive, they are meant to help!   I have made a lot of mistakes but once made I learn not to do it again and I add to my personal list of rules.

Here is an example:    I made a whole cloth quilt and I really do love it.    When I made the top I didn’t have an extra wide piece of fabric so I had to piece it.    I ran the seam right down the center and every time I look at the quilt that seam is the first thing I see.   It really detracts from the beauty of the quilt.   I should have followed the rule of not piecing a whole cloth top down the center.   Here is the quilt


That seam down the center does show.  I should have either bought an extra wide piece of fabric or pieced it as the “rules” tell me.


That way the seam would not be down the center and would not bother me as much.   (also it turns out that quilt judges do not care for center seams) I put a lot of work into it and I love it, but It could have been better if I had followed the rules.   New rule for my list….always use an extra wide fabric for whole cloth quilts.

Another example is my snowflake quilt.   I didn’t plan to ever enter the quilt in a show, I just wanted to give it try to see how it would work.   I used fabric I had on hand and I used batting I had on hand.   Unfortunately I didn’t have a wide enough piece of batting so I joined two pieces together.   I zig zag stitched them together with an edge joining foot and it looked great.    but when I started the very dense quilting I saw my error.   The seam in the batting shows.   Here it is

reindeer pad

do you see that thin line going through the center reindeer’s heads?    So there is a new rule for me.  Don’t piece the batting if the quilting is going to be very dense or the quilt will be entered in a show.

Those 2 rules are not meant to be off-putting to people, or to make me feel like I know everything.   They are rules that I hope will help others avoid my mistakes.

Now what about breaking the rules?

I spent many years teaching floral design both to college students and to professionals for the floral association.   Like quilting floral design is an art, but it also has rules.    In floral design there are rules for balance, proportion, scale, color harmony, rhythm, suitability, unity etc.    The rules are the building blocks that make a pleasing composition.    I always teach the students the rules.   After the rules are established and understood you can begin to break them in an informed way.   You need to know the rules to break them.  (some day I will do some posts all about floral design rules)  There are also some rules that should not ever be broken.   If I do not follow the proper care and handling rules the flowers will die and the customer will not be happy.

Many of the quilting rules are there to make for a more sturdy quilt ( I want my quilts to be used so being sturdy is always a concern for me) The rules are really about construction more than design.

The rules of quilting that many feel are oppressive or limiting are there to help make your job easier and keep you from making mistakes. The rules are the result of the experiences of generations of quilters.

Do I follow all the rules?  NO   But I am often sorry I didn’t.   The rules I follow for my own work are those that I have learned through experience. I honestly do not think that they hinder my creativity.   The quilt that I have been posting about the last few days might look like it doesn’t  really follow what might be considered traditional rules, but it does.


I am following all my rules.    The top is one piece, the batting is not pieced,  I am quilting in a hoop, I pin basted it, I will wash it when it is finished, and I don’t feel at all restricted.

Happy quilting