Mid Michigan Quilters’ Guild

Last night I was honored to present a lecture and trunk show  at the Mid Michigan Quilters’ Guild in Mt. Pleasant MI.   It was so much fun to share what I do with such a great group!

Thanks to everyone for such a great evening! ( and delicious treats!….I was particularly fond of the rhubarb!) I hope to see you all again. I have 200-300 more quilt tops to finish so It will be a new show in a year.

Back to work on this one


Happy Quilting


Spiderweb quilt top


Today’s vintage quilt top is a String pieced Spiderweb that arrived today.


It is an interesting pattern.  It looks like hexagons with yellow sashing.  The actual piecing is done with diamonds.

Here is another from my collection that needs to be finished



Here you can see some of the individual diamonds.



With 6 diamonds together you get a star.

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These were pieced on a muslin foundation.  The “strings” in this one are straight and uniform sizes from block to block.

The strings in the new one are random and it changes to look of the spiderwebs.

These were not foundation pieced as you can see from the back.



The yellow print is consistent through the whole top.  There is a wide range of fabrics used, dating from about 1870 for the earliest, and 1930′s for the later. Here are close up pictures of some of the blocks (click to enlarge)

It might be a while before I get these tops quilted but they are fun to look at just as they are.

Back to work for me….

Happy quilting


Happy Easter


Happy Easter from the Teddy Easter Schnauzer!

I had a fun day today!  Gwen Marston was in Lansing with the Capitol City Quilt Guild and I was a student in her class on liberated baskets.


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Gwen is so talented and such a good teacher. It was great to finally meet her after all the good things I have heard…she lives up to her reputation.  Thanks for a great class Gwen!
I will post pictures of my liberated basket quilt when I get it a little further along.

Meanwhile I have one row of blocks done on the New Your Beauty Variation.


2 more full rows and One 1/2 row and I will be done….

Here are some pictures (click to enlarge)

Happy quilting and Happy Easter!



New York Beauty Quilting


I started the quilting on the New York Beauty variation.


This quilt top is beautiful but it is not beautifully made.  The person who made it back in the 30′s did not paper piece it the way a quilter of today would likely do it.  Accuracy in piecing was not what it could be so the overall design is a bit wavy and the “off”.  The result is actually quite pleasing to me.  There is a trend in quilting today for making “liberated” quilts such as this log cabin as seen on craftsy



The blocks are all a bit askew and so are the lines in the New York Beauty quilt so we could call this a liberated New York Beauty.

Given the quality of the piecing I didn’t think very fine stitching would work for the quilting.  That is not to say I want to do a messy job of it.  What I want to do is hand quilt it in a way that looks like the quilting and top were done by the same person and of the period.  If I do it right it will not be obvious that it was quilted by a different person many years after the top was made.

I am using a heavier weight thread and large needle so I get larger stitches which I feel fit the top .  6 stitches per inch is about what I am doing.  I am not marking the quilt I am simply quilting it by eye. Here it is so far.


Here are a few more pictures (click to enlarge)

The Quilting shows better on the back in pictures.

So far I really like the way it looks…I still have a way to go but it wont take long

Happy quilting



Vintage Lone Star


Today’s Treasure is a vintage Lone Star quilt top.

I would date it to 1900 or there about.  It is well made and should be easy to quilt!  Often this pattern is a chore to get quilted because it bulges out in the center….here is an example of another one in my collection that lost the battle of the bulge.


This is a rather extreme example of what can happen when you don’t keep accurate seam allowances when piecing.  I will need to totally re-make this or do some drastic cutting to get it flat.

Fortunately this new one is ready to go!  Here are some pictures (click to enlarge)

It might seem like I drive myself crazy with too many ideas going on in my head at once and too many quilts going all at once but I have long since decided that it is the only way I can work.  If I get the urge to start something I need to do it or I wont be able to focus on anything!

With that in mind here is what I started last night.


My quilting friend Pepper Corey sent me some thread to try out.  It is Presencia 40 weight thread (website here http://www.presenciaamerica.com/ ) and while it is not labeled as hand quilting thread it does the job.  It is different from the other hand quilting threads in that it does not have a glace finish so I find that using a thread conditioner like thread heaven (the little blue box in the picture) makes it work for me.  It is available in a lot of colors and hand quilting thread is not easy to find in more than just a few colors.  I will be buying more and I think it will also be perfect for hand piecing…it is a good strong thread.

I used the blue thread to test because a contrasting thread color really shows the stitches.  The real coincidence is that Just a few days ago I was at my local quilt store, Country Stitches,  and purchased a stencil.  I thought it was beautiful but didn’t know what I would do with it. But I had to buy it!

I read the label after I had this started this and it was designed by none other than Pepper Corey!  small world we quilters live in!

The stencil is called Elizabeth’s Star and it is #PCW 147  Ask for it at your favorite quilt store.

This is in an 18″ hoop and using a piece of fabric I had on hand, so shall we call it an 18″ whole cloth quilt?  Eventually I will make it into a pillow.  Now that I have played with the stencil and thread I plan to use them both in future quilting.

but for now back to work on some of the many already started projects

Happy quilting


Prep for hand quilting


I said i was going to finish the Basket of Lilies quilt before I started work on the next one….well I lied…I couldn’t wait.  Last night I spent 3 hours pressing the New York Beauty variation.

This is the quilt I wrote about here http://timquilts.com/2014/04/03/the-next-challenge/


It is a top that I really like but it has some real issues with construction.  It is not square, or flat, and it has at some point in its life been machine washed which is never a good idea for an un-quilted top.  Washing causes frayed edges and it causes distortion as it twists around in the machine.

Pressing was a long process and I found that starch was a big help in getting it to cooperate.

I did the pressing from the back so I could try to get the seam allowances to lay the correct direction.  Most quilters follow the 1/4″ rule.  all seams are 1/4 inch from the edge of the fabric.   This quilt was anything but that!  in some areas it was over an inch.


My first inclination was to trim off all the extra fabric.  If I leave it I will have to quilt through it so in some areas I will need to be quilting through several layers of fabric.

I didn’t cut it off.  This is hand pieced and if I cut off that fabric I will also cut off the knot at the end of the seam and weaken the whole thing.   I decided it was better to leave it as is and deal with the extra rather than have the entire thing fall apart.

My goal is to finish it not re-make it.  I want it to still look like the original maker envisioned it.

After I got it all pressed I moved on to basting it.  I got the muslin backing down and the cotton batting and laid down the top

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and then I pinned it

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I am torn about the quilting.  I had planned a Baptist Fan quilting but I think I can do better.  A different quilting design might do better to flatten it out.  I am undecided so I need to think about for a day or so before I start.

Meanwhile I hung up one of the new vintage tops to get a picture…here it is


Needs a good pressing but I think it will make a nice little quilt.

back to work for me

Happy Quilting


Fruit Salad


A few weeks ago I made a quilt I called Easter Stripes



I said I would make a quilt like it with some fruit fabric



For this one I used the traditional Roman Stripe block.

roman stropes


And played with the layout until I came up with this


I have the blocks all set on the floor…so I to get them to the sewing machine and not mess up the order….I use masking tape


The tape will hold them enough to get to the sewing area and not mess up the order.  I do one row at a time.  With this layout I do the rows diagonally.


The row comes out and goes to the machine for sewing


Do all the rows, join them and add a border if you want and there you have it…a finished top


A quilter friend called it fruit salad because the fabrics are all fruit so that is the title “fruit Salad”

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This finished at 80″ square.  I used one package of 2.5″ fabric strips.  28 strips in a package. The black strips are from my stash and the orange is new.  I have enough leftovers to make another, I will try out a different color solid fabric…I love the orange, but I can’t make myself do the same quilt twice so maybe I will try a red, or purple, or green.  with these fabrics I think a batik would be great


Now I need to do the hand quilting….as soon as I finish some that are still in progress

Happy Quilting


Happy Quilting



Lily Quilt Update



I am getting close to the end of the Basket of Lilies quilt.  3 more lily blocks and a few setting triangles and the shashing need to be quilted.  When I get to the point where it is over 1/2 done I start to get very anxious to finish!

Periodically spreading it out and looking at it is also a good motivation.  The side benefit of spreading a quilt on the floor is that teddy always thinks it is time to pose!



As soon as a quilt hist the floor he come running to pose for a picture.

Here are some pictures of it without Teddy (click pictures to enlarge)


I posted a few days ago about fixing the bulges and waves that were caused buy the bias edges in the big triangles.  If the original maker had cut the pieces correctly it wouldn’t have been a problem but since they did I had to fix it. You can see how I did that here http://timquilts.com/2014/04/05/a-fix-for-the-bias-bulge/    The fix virtually disappears .once the quilting is done..after it is washed it will be even more difficult to see.


I am glad it worked because the alternative would have been to take them out and try to find matching fabric (it is surprising how hard it is to find a modern-day match for 80-year-old white muslin) cut them correctly and sew them back in.

I have a few new (old) quilt tops to show off in the next few days…here they are


I have had questions about my quilt hoop so here is a picture of it


I bought it at an AQS quilt show.  the vender is Yoder Department Store.   They do not have them in their online catalog but you might be able to get one if you call them http://yoderdepartmentstore.com/

Back to work for me

Happy Quilting



Something Old Something New


Today I have something old and something new.

The old is this beautiful quilt top from late 1800′s.


Unfortunately It has suffered a bit of damage.  When in storage (where ever that was) it got attacked by mice.  Mice like to chew holes into fabric.  When folded up the way it was originally stored the holes line up…they chewed through all the layers.  Here are the damaged blocks (click to enlarge)

How do I fix them?  The top is large enough that I can take off one row of blocks and use the fabric from them to repair the damage.  when I am done it should look like new.

There are some beautiful fabrics in this top. Each block has matching white and pink, and a different brown/rust  (click pictures to enlarge)

I will post pictures of the repairs as soon as I get going on it…..It might be a while since I have so many projects going already.

The new is a new top I am making.  I love the old rescue vintage and antique tops but sometimes I do enjoy making something new.

The new one is based on the Roman Stripe Block.

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The traditional layout for the roman stripe block is this

roman stripes

But I rarely feel like I can stay totally traditional and follow a pattern.

If you remember back a few weeks I showed some fabrics I was planning to use.


I have to blocks cut and they are ready to be sewn together into a top. Not quite the same as the traditional.


this layout gives me a quilt about 80″ square to which I will add a border.  The bonus for me is that It gives me a lot of room for hand quilting in the orange spaces.

Here are a few more pictures …click pictures to enlarge

I am getting near the end on the basket of Lilies


I will post more pictures of that next time.

For now I need to get back to work!

Happy Quilting


A fix for the Bias Bulge


As you may recall I have a problem with bias bulging or stretching in the vintage Lily quilt I am currently working on, whoever made it didn’t cut the pieces the best way…see the post where I started it here http://timquilts.com/2014/03/05/now-for-a-little-spring/

Those setting triangles on the edges are puckered because there is such a large bias edge. If I were making a new one I wouldn’t have the problem because I know not to cut the pieces this way but It is fun to figure out how to fix the problems on these vintage and antique tops.

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I fixed one of those setting triangles today.  Here is how I did it.

First I had to get the blocks on either side of it quilted so they wouldn’t be distorted as well.  Next I pinned it to the rug with T pins..the idea is that the backing is not on the bias so it won’t stretch.  If I make the backing tight and smooth I can see how much extra fullness I need to deal with.


Next I take out the basting pins and smooth the fullness to the center working from both  sides


Next I pin that extra pleat flat.


Next I baste it and the bottom edge down.



Next I draw in the grid using the pleat as one of the grid lines.


Then quilt it and remove the basting stitches


Can you see it?  here are a few more pictures

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It isn’t hard to do and sure beats trying to quilt it by distributing the fullness across the whole length of the edge.

Back to work for me

Happy quilting