Friday, July 20, 2018

My Book Antique American Needlework Tools

Project Start:  2014
Fed Ex just delivered a very special box!

The "Printers Proof" for my Book - along with a celebratory bottle of wine.  Quite exciting to see it in print - I think you will like it too.

So what's next?

In the next 6-8 weeks the books will arrive.
I have a listing in the Etsy shop for signed copies along with a free postage & bookmark.
There are preview pages on the listing.
HERE:  Book.  ON VACATION - will reopen the Etsy shop at the end of August.

Along with the book we have a line of patterns related to special sewing accessories - also available soon.  Our new appliqué pattern is also at the printer and we have decided to offer it digitally as well.
Details to follow!

I have lectures and book signing events scheduled this year and next. Including Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and The Netherlands.  I would love to visit your group! Contact me and I can work with your events coordinator - or have them contact me directly.
I can custom tailor a lecture and workshop just for your group! Quilting and or Embroidery.

Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Happy Stitching,

I have distributor information for International shops - contact me, I'd love to have you stock the book.
US Shops:

Friday, July 6, 2018

Harrison Rose Finished

Congratulations to Michelle for her wonderful finish of her quilt, Harrison Rose.

Michelle gave permission to share this photo of her finished quilt on a king sized bed. Yes, many early appliqué antique quilts were very large!

Beautiful Quilt!
Beautiful Room!

We are so honored Michele used our pattern!

Michelle hand appliquéd and hand quilted her quilt.

She used all solid fabrics.

She chose to run her straight line quilting through the appliqué.

She used the feathered wreath motifs included with the pattern in her quilting.

She used Hobbs Heirloom batting.

The border is quilted in coral colored thread, the main center of the quilt is quilted in cream thread.

She used a "straighter" feather motif in the border than the one included with the pattern.

She also changed the color pallet of the applique, making the quilt "her own" - adding her own choices!

Didn't she do a wonderful job?
She's created a beautiful heirloom!

Happy Stitching,
Our Harrison Rose Pattern is available HERE.
Read more about Harrison Rose HERE.
See other Harrison Rose finishes HERE and HERE
If you have a finish you would like to include, please us know!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!!
Maybe a little stitching time here!
Have fun,

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Proud Finishes

Some wonderful finishes to share.

Florence finished her Catherine's Garden quilt.

She used reproduction fabrics.
Hand Applique
Hand Quilting - following the original quilting lines shown on the pattern.  She then went back in and added even more!

Isn't it beautiful?
Three years on and off with other projects in between , including moving.

For the ground fabric she used 'Lately Arrived' by Barbara Brackman from her stash.

She reports it was especially nice to hand quilt and she wished she bought more.

All cotton batting.
She quilts in a hoop - the same hoop she's enjoyed for the past 30 years of quilting.

The center of her quilt.

 "I will say it was the most fun quilting project ever - the background fabric was just wonderful for quilting and so much space quilt on and I just kept adding more and more!"

It was fun to see photos of Flo's quilt as she worked on it.  It was an honor for us to have a collector of magnificent antique quilts, make one of ours.

Thank you Flo for sharing your work!

Lee Anne has her Calico Paradise ready for quilting.

She is planning to hand quilt, possibly with pearl cotton and maybe a big stitch.

She had a very special red that is hard to find for the border.  In order to stretch it, she added 8 blocks to the border.
Great look!!

Lee Anne you captured the original look perfectly - thanks for sharing.

Send more photos of the quilting, we'd love to see it.

The choice of fabrics is perfect.

They sparkle in the summer sunshine.

There is a new line of fabrics due out soon - similar color ways perfect for this quit - stay tuned for more details this summer.  I'm particularly interested in the double blue - could be stock up time!

Joy shared her quilt all hand stitched by her.
She combined three or four old patterns in a way that appealed to her.

It measures 71" x 71"

Perfect to hang behind a king size bed.  She has a king size Pot of Flowers/Pride of Iowa quilt she has planned.  What a room that will be!

The fabrics are all from a reproduction fabric line from Laurene Sinema of Phoenix.

This quilt was exhibited in Chicago and Houston in 2017 in "Traditional Appliqué".

Joy uses wool batting.

Incredible quilting - look at the wonderful texture!

Thank you for sharing Joy!

Pip has her Calico Paradise well under way. I have ALWAYS wanted to see this quilt in

She swapped out some of the madder for turquoise.

Don't you love the multi colored leaves?

For the very center she used a classic Kaffe print.

Fun combination of dots and stripes!

Pip lives in Australia. I often think about the original maker and how she would have marveled at our fabrics and the distance we can share our quilting projects.

The color glows!
Love the variety of prints and how they all work together.

Thanks to all the quilters who shared their beautiful work.
Email me if you have photos you would like me to share.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Loaning Quilts

My Franklin Stars Quilt
I like to think I am generous when it comes to loaning and sharing my quilts.  Although, some might say I am not when it comes to sharing photos.  It is all personal choice.

This quilt, Franklin Stars is currently on loan at my cities community center.

They have a rotating quilt every month to share with the community.  I chose this one because I think it appeals to men and women.

It also reminds me of my friend Jeananne - who owns the original.  She is very generous sharing her quilts.

The more you look at this quilt, the more you might find...unusual today by modern standards.
* Bordered on only two sides
* Even scrappier as it gets towards the bottom rows
* Inset setting diamonds, rather than pieced triangles
* Wide back to front binding
* Home dyed osnaburg backing
The more you look, the more you see...
It was a fun project to do with Jeananne and we both came away with quilts we love!
She purchased the vintage quilt in Franklin, Tennessee years ago.

I also loaned this quilt for the Minnesota Quilt Project "Ruby Anniversary" exhibit at the Minnesota Quilt Show this month.

They are very organized and professional with their paperwork regarding loans and insurance.  Must be the 40 years of experience!

See the circle? I pinned a ribbon on so viewers could see the date in the quilting.

I have been able to read the year, 1888.

However I have not been able to make out the letters above the year.  I used photoshop and other tools to no avail.

I am guessing it is her name or the month.

This is the alternate block without the lettering.

Beautiful hand quilting.

All hand sewn - piecing and quilting.


The name comes from Brackman's Encyclopedia of pieced blocks.

The block has other names in later eras.  No Wonder.

Imagine the conversation..."I made the wandering lover quilt for..."

Always a fun quilt to share.

On the subject of sharing, I recently declined to share my quilt and sewing tools. It was a great opportunity to review my insurance and network with others who share their collections.

In the paperwork I received I noted the following clause:
Hold Harmless Statement: I agree to enter the above item and abide by the quilt exhibit rules and decisions of the jury. I understand the XYZ Museum will take every precaution to protect the entry exhibited and that no responsibility for loss of damage to my entry can be assumed by the XYZ Museum or any other entity.

This was highly unusual - I've seen a lot of agreements for shows and exhibits.  I contacted my insurance companies.  Both my home owners and a specialty company for collections.  Both saw HUGE red flags.  Both said by agreeing to a hold harmless I would not be covered, regardless of the policies or appraisals.  One said if I were desperate I could exhibit but wouldn't be insured.  The other offered a special policy but the museum would have to provide their loss report and I would have to pay a large premium.  Not worth the hassle or expense. I declined exhibit. 

I thought about it - and contacted my "network" of quilt appraisers, lawyers, collectors and exhibitors - maybe I need new insurance?  Is this a new trend?


All responded (graciously with long responses) that this is highly unusual and they wouldn't loan under a hold harmless either.

The other thing I learned from my insurance discussions is in the event of damage to one of my quilts, I still want the quilt.  That isn't always possible.  It pays to ask lots of detailed questions!

Bottom line:
* Review the paperwork you sign and do not trust the borrower to look out for your interests

* Talk to your insurance company with the details

* An appraisal doesn't mean you are covered

Let's keep loaning our quilts, and expect them to be treated and like the works of art they are!

Have a great week,

Monday, May 21, 2018

Pennsylvania 2018

Part of Boat House Row
I just completed my annual whirlwind trip to Pennsylvania.  My son used to row crew in the summers for the Penn Athletic Club on the Schuykill. After his career changed, I kept going adjusting the dates to textile activities.
While the Philadelphia airport and car rentals leave a lot to be desired - the city and surrounding areas make up for it.

After arrival I only had about a half day left for shopping, but I made the most of it.

This was an interesting button cabinet.
The drawers slid open from the back. All customers could see were the samples on the front.  The button cards were replacements, all the rest was original.
If you enlarge the photo, I think you can see the claim, "Either Side The Right Side - Both Sides The Same"

It is all metal.

I saw lots of tempting display cases and small counter display units.

I can always count on seeing lots of dolls and clothing.

This dealer also has lots of interesting trims and accessories.

I bought a small silk reticule I will share on a future post.

The samplers are always tempting. 
This one is quite large, but still colorful.

Cross Stitched on canvas
Some small losses in the threads

I love tiger maple and the grain on this doll bed
is spectacular. Unfortunately I pledged before I left - no 
more doll beds. Stay tuned to see if that pledge worked!

There were ample temptations in 
antique quilts.  This example was entirely hand stitched.

Day 2, I met up with Ann Hermes - 
Notes From The Quilt Lab
(On Instagram and Facebook)
We had a great time - I took fewer photos.

Even the buildings are fun.

Beautiful burl maple cabinet.
Finely made - Possibly original hardware.

Irish Crochet Ladies Reticule
Silk ribbon drawstring top

While we shopped the dealers were setting up 
at Penn Dry Goods Market.  They posted temptations like this
to Facebook.

Did I mention saw a lot of quilts?

In fact, there were racks and piles of quilts!

The next day we also shopped.

I made many purchases I will get posted.
Ann posted hers - so look for her on Instagram and FB
for great photos.

Vibrant Orange - my photo looks gold
Fantastic Quilt!

I decided to buy another suitcase rather 
than pack and ship a box home.

Rosewood sewing box
Chrome yellow paper lining
Mother of pearl heart inlays

The next day was the Penn Dry Goods Market
It is two days of solid Lectures and shopping - 
you determine your own schedule.
I started the day with Linda Baumgarten and quilts
from Colonial Williamsburg.

Then I shopped the vendors for an hour.
Yes, I did find treasures - some from that case I 
showed you above.
Then it was back to the lecture room.

Beverley Evans shared her private collection
of Virginia quilts and asked for input. 
She is writing a book so we can't share much.
The quilting is this example is wonderful.

Fringe Detail
Evans Collection

Lunch was on site and I did some more shopping.
In the afternoon I attended a lecture by Lynn Tinley, Adjunct Professor,
American History at Oglethorpe University
"Frolicking People and Fantastic Bands: 18th Century Rhode Island Samplers"
Some of THE MOST beautiful samplers

Then, because we needed to see more quilts...

A group of us went to Ann's to see her enchanted home!
She shared a portion of her quilts - maybe 50 crib quilts.
All delightful.
You can see Ann's reproduction needle work in many
current quilt publications.

The Schwenkfelder Gallery had a beautiful exhibit of samplers

The next day I attended a lecture by dealer and scholar Bill Subject.
His topic was missionary samplers.
See an example HERE.
(Scroll down to Dwight Mission Sampler)

I shopped some more

Velvet Cap Pincushion

Two more lectures

American Quilts in the National Collection - Madelyn Shaw
See online photos HERE.

Dressing For The Heat - 18th Century Summer Clothing
Neal Hurst, Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles 
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
See Colonial Williamsburg Quilts HERE.
Clothing HERE

All too soon it was time to say goodbye!
I hope you enjoyed the post, if so do you have a favorite photos?

Happy Travels,

Friday, May 11, 2018

Needlework Guild of Minnesota

This week I spoke at the Needlework guild of Minnesota.  I have another presentation for them later in the month.  They are a wonderful group, "Our mission is to foster the highest standard of excellence in the practice of needlework through programs of education and study."

I presented a history of girlhood sewing and brought many examples to share.  I setup in advance so attendees have time to look at the examples before and after the PowerPoint slides.  I also bring magnifying glasses so stitching can be closely examined.

I had so much fun I only took one photo!  Busy talking!

At the end of the table is a quilt, made by a girl aged 8. Also included were samplers, mending examples, sewing school lessons, books and a little table top box loom.

Lesson 5
Here are some close ups.
This is a mending sample for holes from a school lesson.  The more solid ares were holes in the fabric.

The girls had to use high contrasting thread so they could see their stitches and so the teacher could see to grade their work.

Clothing was precious and holes were mended to extend their life.

Darned ares in wool - Lesson Example

This is mending on a long tear in wool.  Can you find it in the mending threads?

Again high contrast threads are used in the lesson.

You can imagine a girl saying, "My life has been one long sewing lesson"

Plain sewing wasn't always fun or a desired activity.  Not all girls were willing participants.

Sorry to say, we don't know who F.V. was.
She did lovely work and I'm happy to own her final sampler.  It is one of many pieces I bring with the lecture and trunk show.

Dated Example
Cross stitch


Marking Practice Piece

Girls were also taught to mark their linens. For this they used high contrast colors on purpose.
After working on school sewing samples they were ready to mark linens in their home and perhaps to build their trousseau/hope chest.

The year wasn't always included. Sometimes a number for household inventory purposes was used.
Sometimes the letters were formed by counting the even weave of the linen ground.  Other times they used coarse buckram or waste canvas over the ground fabric. The grid was removed when the stitching was completed.

4" Apron

Quarter sized garments were sewn as samples.  These are sometimes mistaken for doll clothing.

This small apron includes plain and fancy stitching.

While it might appear machine stitched, it is all hand sewn.

L.W. was a developing wonderful needlework skills.

Sampler stitched on perforated paper

This is the date on a school girl sampler.

Stitched on perforated paper and date 1852, it includes her name.

I was able to get lots of information on her and her life in Missouri and Colorado.

Before doing conservation framing, I took photos of the back. They are vibrant rich red and green threads with many other colors.

When did you do your first needlework?
Happy Stitching,

Contact me if your guild or sewing group is interested in a program.