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)

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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


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


Basting the next one


I got the next quilt pin basted today.

I used this fabric for the backing.


I had a few questions about a source for the fabric.  You can see all the information on the selvedge to do a search for the fabric.

I got mine at Marshall Dry Goods for $4.99/yd It looks like they are sold out of black, but have it in a few other colors here

A lot of books and “experts” tell you not to seam the backing in the center.  I always do.  It seems like extra work to cut one of the lengths in half and sew it on , one on each side like this.


I do a center seam and I don’t worry about the quilt police. I do press that seam open.
I tack the backing to the floor right side down.


Then lay out the batting and smooth it out.

This is the batting I used.


It is easy to work with the wrinkles come out easily


now I lay out the top and smooth out the wrinkles.


Teddy inspects the work.


I add the pins.   They might be hard to see in the picture because there are very few.   I don’t find the need for nearly as many as most sources suggest.


Ready to hand quilt.   I plan to use black 40 weight hand quilting thread.  I will do it without marking anything.   I will use the piecing as a guide.   More on that when I get started.

I did a bit more hand quilting work on the Mackintosh Rose.

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Happy quilting


Next project


A few weeks ago I finished this top


I ordered some backing fabric for it.


And today I bought the batting.


I have used it before and I really like it.   I will post pictures when I get started on it.

It has been cold the last few days but the weeping cherry tree is in full bloom.    When I got the camera and told Teddy to come outside for pictures he just stared at me.


I guess he wants to wait for it to warm up again.

Here are some garden pictures without Teddy (click pictures to enlarge)

I said I was done working on the Mackintosh Rose ….but I did a little more

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Happy quilting


New York Beauty


A Google image search for New York Beauty quilt will show you how popular these quilts are.

My friend Bill Volckening (see his blog here ) has a terrific collection of New York Beauty quilts that spans over 150 years.    He has written a book, due in April, about these great quilts. The coffee table book will have over 300 pages with 70 quilts made between 1850 and present day; all examples and variants of the complicated patchwork design best known as New York Beauty.

I was lucky to have a part in a few of the quilts.   I hand quilted a few of the vintage quilt tops that he collected. remember this quilt?


and this


and this


here is a preview of the contents


I am really looking forward to reading it!   Advanced copies can be ordered here

Happy quilting and reading


Just found out they have more pages to see at this link:





I have been working on this quilt today.


All those colors.  and I started thinking about how changing a color changes a quilt.

Remember this?


and how changing it by adding red it changes the whole look


I thought it would be fun to look at the melons with a few other colors

It really changes the whole look to change the background fabric.

green-orange orange purple

So now I have a ton more quilts to make :) LOL

Happy Quilting


Quilt Design


Yesterday I wrote about this quilt top


I posted it to a few Facebook groups and had some comments about the design.   Since I so often work on vintage or antique tops, made by someone else years ago, I don’t usually need to be concerned about the design.  It is fun to make up a design myself.  When I teach floral design I tell the students that 80-90% of a design’s success is based on the selection of materials. Quilting is much the same.

This quilt top stated with the previous quilt top.


Cutting out the setting pieces left me with a pile of melon shaped leftovers in solid black and red print.

starting with that I selected fabrics to go with the melon pieces.


I selected these because I wanted variety in scale of the prints and I wanted to keep it all red and white and black.

The large print (Hello Dahlia by P&B)  was a great find.   The shape of the petals in the print mimic the shape of the melons.


going back to what I teach in floral design;  One way to create “rhythm” (visual movement) in a floral design is repetition. Visually our eyes play connect the dots looking for repeated elements of color, shape, material etc.

For the red dot fabric I selected  black with red pattern.  I almost used solid black but selected this because I didn’t want the center to be that visually heavy..


Solid black would have overpowered the center.

In floral design we try to use a variety of textures and scale.   Think of roses and baby’s breath.   The Rose is large and velvety and the baby’s breath is small and feathery, the contrast adds a lot of interest..   I selected fabrics of various scales and visual textures for the same reason.

Now for the quilt layout.

When I first posted the top I had the center 9 blocks


My plan was just a few little sketches.  I do not make a fully developed pattern before I start but I do visualize in my mind how it will look.

Here are my simple sketches


The one on the post it was the first thought.  I have little post it pads everywhere so I can write down ideas before they disappear.

The top left picture was next.   but it would have made a quilt way larger than I wanted so I simplified the plan and that is the 3rd sketch.

I will make up a pattern when I am finished but it is very simple.

I started to get the corner pieces ready to applique.   I am not a fan of needle turn so I pressed  under the edges and starched


I have a tiny little iron


It helps prevent burned fingers but I find that it doesn’t do the job as well as I would like so I re press with the big iron after I get the edges turned under with the small one.

Teddy is Dressed for St Patric’s Day


His groomer always has seasonally appropriate fabric.

Happy quilting