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



Sometimes I buy a quilt top even though I know I shouldn’t. The one that arrived today is a case in point.    I saw it on eBay and loved the simplicity.   In the picture I could tell that it wasn’t flat….but I figured it would be relatively easy to fix.  This is the picture that the seller posted.


I can tell it isn’t flat, the bottom has a pretty good sized fold in it in the center, but the pictures did not show how bad it is.

This is what the seller said about it:

This is a vintage machine pieced lone star variation quilt top. Cotton and cotton blends. Some stains.  It measures approximately 84″ x 80″

I measured it.   It is 74″ wide at the top, 84 inches wide at the bottom, the left side is 99 inches, the right side is 94 inches and here is what it looks like


It is way beyond a simple fix!

I will have to take it apart and start over.  I will use all the old pieces of the star  and re-cut them to the correct size ,and the border will be cut to the correct length so that it will be closer to square.

It has a lot of potential  and I think it will be a great quilt but it is going to be a lot more work than I would have guessed.  As you know if you are a regular reader this is nothing I have not encountered before.   It really won’t be all that hard to fix and I will post pictures of how i do it soon.

Happy quilting


Borders next

I finished piecing the top


It looked like this before I added the pieces on the edge


I used the same size pieces on the edge as in the center and then cut them off


Right now it is 64″ x 80″ and I plan to add a border.   I was thinking gray but I had some green right next to me so I put it next to the top.


I like it.   I also have plenty of the print left so I might add a triple border…gray, and green and print….check back to see the finished top next time.


Happy quilting


Piecing progress


I am making progress piecing the vintage blocks for the new quilt top.

I Have one more row to add and then I will fill in the edges and then add a border.   I will need to go back and make some adjustments since every circle was a different size it takes some adjusting and a lot of pressing to make it all fit.


What I love about this is the secondary pattern that forms when the wheels are joined.

It starts as this.


and when they are joined you can see some other patterns emerge.

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Teddy seems happy with them.

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Here are few more pictures (click pictures to enlarge)

Happy Quilting



I took a break from hand quilting and did a little hand piecing today.

I recently bought these vintage circle blocks


and I showed them on a few different fabrics to show how different a block can look when the setting fabrics change.

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The fabrics I placed them on were all fabrics from other projects so I didn’t plan to use any of them….although I liked all for different reasons.   There was however a problem with all of them, they were too bold for me.  Not that I don’t like bold but in this case they made the vintage blocks secondary to the bolder fabric.

I went with a very different fabric …

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Now It is what I envisioned.   I will do big stitch hand quilting with black #8 perle cotton thread but I have a lot more piecing to do first…and then a border

Happy Quilting


Next Hand Quilting Project


I started the next hand quilting project last night.   I posted pictures of this beautiful antique applique quilt previously and I am excited to begin work on it.

I am using Mountain Mist Cram Rose cotton batting.  It is a thin batting that is easy to hand quilt and I love the results.  It washes beautifully.  I used vintage unbleached muslin for the backing and I am doing the hand quilting with a #11 John James between needle and YLI cotton hand quilting thread.

I did my normal basting.  I use pins and very few of them.  I used a pin in the corner of each block.   I really only need the pins to hold the layers together until I get it in the hoop, once in the hoop the pins are removed in the area I am working on and the top and the back are smoothed out.  I start in the center of the quilt and work out to the edges and any extra fullness is worked out to the edges as I go.


The applique fills most of the space in each block so I didn’t have a lot of space for anything fancy in the quilting.


What I don’t want is any quilting that will detract from the beautiful applique.  I want the quilting to enhance the design of the top.  I decided to do outline quilting around the individual applique pieces just inside the seams and then echo quilt around the applique.  I then decided to add a line of feathers at the edges of each block…the feathers act as the sashing to frame each block.

I am drawing the feathers as I go …the seam acts as the spine and I am using my embroidery scissors as the template.  I trace the curve of the finger hole and then draw in the rest.  For the drawing I am using a #2 disposable mechanical pencil.  I get them at the office supply store for very little money.  If the marking is light it is very hard to even see the lines once they are quilted and remaining lines will wash out when I am done.


You can see my marking in this picture above, but once quilted the lines are much less apparent.


One other note about this  you can see that there is some staining on the right side.   I did not make any attempt to remove that.  So what happens if when the quilt is finished and washed the stain remains?  It will be a clean stain and I will live with it.  I do not like to wash before quilting.  I have many vintage quilt tops and blocks that have been destroyed by washing before quilting.  The quilting adds strength because it is now attached to a sturdy backing and batting.  If it is just too dirty to deal with I might do a gentle soak and then air dry and press  but never use the washing machine!  I use the machine when the quilt is finished but never before.

This is not going to be a short project. There are 20 blocks and each will take at least a few days, and then there is a wide border and as I am working on this I think that the feathered sections would look great with Trapunto added….will see how it looks when the quilting is done and then decide.

Happy Quilting



Liberated Baskets Finished


Back In April I started a liberated basket quilt. see that post here

I finished hand quilting it today.

I used Aurifil 12 wt thread and a big stitch Quilting needle (Colonial Needle Co.) for the quilting.   The Batting is Mountain Mist Creme Rose, and the backing is unbleached Muslin.

After I got it out of the wash I took it outside to get some pictures.   (click pictures to enlarge)


It finished at 64″ x 78″

Teddy gave it a test inside on his chair.


While I was outside I took some more garden pictures

Happy Quilting/gardening