Flowers and quilts


I am working on the border of the star quilt.


in the picture you can see the pencil I use to do the marking.  The pencil washes out pretty easily so when the quilt is done it goes into the washing machine and then the dryer.

I took a quilt break to go look at the garden….here are pictures of the garden today (click pictures to enlarge)

I made a few more blocks from the Interplay fabrics (see yesterdays post) and I decided to set 4 like blocks together



If I were to make a quilt with just these two fabrics it would look like this (I put this picture together by copying and pasting the block several times just to see what it would look like)


Back to work for me

Happy Quilting/Gardening



I recently received a bundle of fat quarters from P&B Textiles.   It is from a new line of 12 fabrics called Interplay, a fabric collection by Nancy Heffron.


They have some really great fabrics, here are some of the other coming soon lines at P&B.

I really love the colors and the scale of the prints….not too big.   For what I have in mind the smaller scale is perfect.


Almost immediately I knew what I wanted to make with them. Even though these are contemporary fabrics I like to take inspiration from traditional blocks.

melon patch

The design is called Mellon Patch and It has always been a favorite of mine.   The fabric collection has a nice assortment of lights and darks and I think it will be perfect for this design.

I cut out some templates after figuring out the size (I want to be able to get 4 blocks out of each fat quarter) and cut out some pieces.


Many people cut out all the pieces first and then start to sew but I couldn’t wait to get sewing so I only cut out enough for 4 blocks.

I did make a change to the pattern.  I cut each melon in half and sewed two halves of contrasting fabrics together.


Don’t be afraid of curved piecing!  I did a post about it back in 2011 that you can see here .

They go together pretty fast


The block looks like a leaf to me which I think goes well with the birds and branches in the fabric


here are the 4 blocks I have finished


Once I get all the blocks made I will play with arranging them in various ways before I sew them together.

I have divided all the fat quarters into sets of two so that each block will have 2 fabrics


I will hand quilt this after I get it pieced and I will post some progress pictures as I work on it.

It really is fun to work on a new project!

Happy quilting



another vintage top

I have another vintage top to share today.


The top measures 80″ x 104″ and is in pretty good shape.    The red is really not a true red  it is more orange-red, sort of the color of a tomato.

The pattern is a version of “Carpenters Square”  but there are likely other names for the pattern as well.

Here is one single block


It is a mix of machine and hand piecing


and it needs a good pressing!  other than that it really doesn’t need much work to be ready for hand quilting.

More pictures (click pictures to enlarge)

I have made some more progress on hand quilting the star quilt


I have had a few questions about how I did the marking for the center quilting.    The marking was done in a clam shell pattern using half circles.  I started in the center with one half circle and worked out in all directions.  I did not pre mark i marked the arcs as I quilted.    I marked the largest arc and then the subsequent lines under that arc were quilted by eye….which is why they are not uniform.   I don’t mind that variation at all.  This is not intended to be a perfect show quilt.

Here is a diagram of the way  I did the marking

clam shell marking

Baptist Fan quilting is a bit different , here is an example of that


Here are some more pictures of the star quilt

Happy Quilting!


and Teddy


Vintage Log Cabins and Butterflies


I bought another log cabin quilt top.  This one is from the 1930’s


It is hand and machine pieced.

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it is 77″ x 82″ with a great variety of fabrics  (click pictures to enlarge)

Different fabrics and settings can really change the look of a log cabin quilt.  Here are a few examples from my collection of vintage tops and quilts that I have finished. (click pictures to enlarge)

Yesterday between rain showers I took a few butterfly pictures in my garden.


Since I was taking butterfly pictures I also took more flower pictures (click pictures to enlarge)

Next time some quilting updates

Happy Quilting


Sunday update


I made some more progress on the wonky quilt…..

here is the before


Here is the bowl I am using as a template


and there it is today


I have a way to go but it is going pretty fast….so back into the hoop and more hand quilting..

here are a few more pictures of the back and the front (click pictures to enlarge)

Happy Quilting


Vintage Log Cabin


Today I have a vintage log cabin top to share.   the top is in strips but will just need a few long seams to finish it.


all the blocks are the same with the exception of the center squares which alternate between 2 fabrics

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I grew up in the 1970’s and I think I remember some of these fabrics in my Mother’s fabric stash.

Here are pictures of each fabric (click pictures to enlarge)

when the strips are sewn together it will be approximately 85″ x 104″ .   I love the bright colors….it will be a pretty cool quilt once I hand quilt it.

Teddy is testing it out with his sit test


Happy Quilting


Star Progress and a crib quilt top


I am making progress on the star top.   here is the before picture


after fixing it I started hand quilting it

here it is today.


I will finish up the center  and then do something different on the border

I love the clam-shell fan design but want to add some variety


I will post more about that soon.

It might not be easy to see in the pictures but the diamonds that make up the star are made up of many pieces.   I imagine that the maker used up a lot of scrap pieces to make it .

here is a close up of one diamond before I trimmed it.

one pieced

The quilting helps to hide all that messy piecing.

Here is a look at the back.



I got a new partially completed crib quilt today


it is missing the border on the left side So I will probably make a new border for the entire top.

I have some embroidery to do to finish it (click pictures to enlarge)

I love old quilt tops and I love to finish them.   I write about these old tops very often and people forget that I do make new quilts as well. Here are a few that I have made

my quilts

I have several more planned both old and new….stay tuned ;)

Happy Quilting


Simple can be great

The Celebrate Hand Quilting Facebook page that I am a member of does a weekly show and tell where the members show their hand quilted quilts.  This weeks theme is Christmas.

I have a few but I decided to show this one.


It has been folded for a while so it has creases. They will come out after being opened up for a while.  When I re fold it I will fold it differently so they the creases are in a different place.  It is a good Idea to re-fold quilts periodically so that they don’t get permanent folds.

It is not really a Christmas Quilt but being red and green it has a Christmas feel to me.    This was an Antique top that I bought from eBay and then hand quilted.

What I love about it is the simplicity of the pattern and the secondary designs.   Even the most simple pattern can create secondary designs when the blocks come together.

Looking at it one way I see green stars with a red background.


or red stars with green background


The actual blocks are quite simple,  a square in a square.   There are 2 blocks in alternating colors.

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when you put them together like this


they create a very different looking design


I did simple hand quilting with dark burgundy thread which shows better on the back


I have another vintage top in the same pattern but in this one there are many different fabrics used.


It is amazing how different the same blocks can look with different fabrics!

Happy Quilting



Blocking a quilt


I need to get my quilt in the mail for the AQS show in Grand Rapids

The event is Wednesday, August 20 through Saturday, August 23, 2014,DeVos Place Convention Center,Grand Rapids, Michigan but they need the quilts in Paducah by Friday.   So once again I am scrambling to get it together on time.

I have to add, for people who have not seen this one before, it is hand quilted.

I had to wash it because I have brought it to several lecture/trunk shows and it got a bit dirty.    I wash it in the washing machine and dry in the dryer but that tends to contort it a bit.

I take the quilt out of the dryer while it is still a bit damp and pin it to the floor pulling out the wrinkles as I pin.   I pin it directly to the floor using T-pins.   Now don’t be scared that I am ruining the floor.  The floor is not a perfect hardwood floor.   It is pine and has lots of imperfections, cracks, gaps, scratches etc.  The house is 130 years old and there were 2 layers of linoleum and carpet and sub-floor nailed over it  so it it full of holes.   A good thing to use if you don’t have a floor to pin it to is Styrofoam insulation sheets.   They come in 4 x 8 foot sheets and are easy to pin into….but then you need to find a place to keep them.

Anyway I use T pins


They go into the floor and I add as many as It takes to get it to look nice and flat. (if this we just going on my bed, which it will after shows, I would just fully dry it and let the wrinkles work themselves out naturally)


After it is fully dry I will take out the pins and then any extra wrinkles will be steamed…that should take care of it and it will be ready pack for shipping.

I also have to pack this one


This one needs to have its hanging sleeve adjusted so it hangs better….right now it bunches up a bit on the right.

If you plan to go to the AQS show in Grand Rapids I would love to meet you.    I plan to be there for sure on Saturday Aug 23.  I will plan a time that I will be hanging out by my quilt and let you know when that will be in a later post.

Here are a bunch more pictures of the quilt drying (hopefully more entertaining than watching paint dry)….click on the pictures to enlarge

If you want to see how I did the Trapunto I did a short Video here 

Happy Quilting


The Quilt Top Told Me

I couldn’t wait to start hand quilting the  vintage star top that I just re-made ( see post here  ) .

Remembered a piece of fabric I had that would be perfect for the backing and I had a wool batting waiting to be used so I got it basted and ready to go.

I always pin baste on the floor.   I start by pinning the backing fabric to the floor (you can use masking tape but I use push-pins) .  next I add the batting and smooth that out, then the top smooth again, then I add the safety pins.  I do not use a huge amount of pins, they are at least a foot apart.


You can see in the picture that the top is not even and square.   The reason for that is that I did not re make the borders.   I used wool batting because it is easy to quilt but also has a good loft which will help to fill in the bumps puckers in the top.

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Here, folded over the corner, is the backing which I purchased a few weeks ago….I intended to use it to back a much older top but it was too dark.


I think it works great with this top.   It is not a color match with any of the fabrics in the top but is a good coordinating color.

On to the quilting.  I have described how I select a quilting design in the past but often I don’t plan at all.   That was the case here.   I put the quilt in the hoop and I said “how do you want to be quilted?”.   This sounds crazy and I really didn’t say it out loud but I did ask the quilt how it wanted to be quilted.    The quilt told me “I’m not a fancy quilt so don’t get carried away”.  The quilt was right …it is a basic scrap quilt, the star it made up of lots of scraps all pieced together to make the diamonds, the fabric is very coarse, the border is very wonky, it is NOT a fancy quilt.   Elaborate quilting on this would look silly.   As Mammy said in Gone With the wind:

” we could give ourselves airs and get ourselves all rigged up and we were like race horses and we were just mules in horse harness and we didn’t fool anybody. “

So I’m not going to pretend this mule is a race horse.  A mule is a fine animal and this is a fine quilt.   So simple it is.

I went to the cupboard and took out a plastic bowl (this came from a healthy choice frozen dinner and I call them my fancy eatin dishes) to use as a guide


I used a pencil to draw the line around the bowl and then just did the inside arcs by eye.


I think it is going to look just right.


It adds texture and movement without being overly done.


And Teddy approves.


I have made some progress on the applique quilt as well.

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This one is a race horse ….so I want to take my time and do it justice.

Both are beautiful but in different ways.

Happy Quilting