Thursday, December 31, 2015

Welcoming 2016

We had a quiet News Year's Eve.
Dinner out and a little bubbly at home.

So what's planned for 2016?
No resolutions - just fun plans.

Still collecting - watch for big news here!

We have new patterns planned as well.  All very exciting!  But no stress - so no firm dates.  That's part of the magic of working with family.

There are travel plans too - as I share parts of the collection across the country.  There may even be plans outside the US!

Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Sew Along Month 4
Star In The East

I will also be enjoying my Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt project with the Virginia Quilt Museum.  Working with Doreen has been a joy.
This month the block is "Star In The East".  You can get all the details HERE.
If you have not already, please jump in and join us.  I found one block a month very manageable.  Some days it is hard to stop stitching!  My applique area is about 8", and I will probably trim down the finished blocks to 9".  You have unlimited options for your block size.   I am still amazed with Esther Blair Matthews skill every time I look at the pattern.

So much to be thankful for - I am wishing you peace love and joy in 2016!  Oh, and a little extra stitching time would be nice...Dawn

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Seasons Greetings

Merry Christmas 
    &    Happy New Year

We had snow last week, it was the wet kind that clings to the windows.  Pretty, when you aren't clearing walk and driveways.

Makes for nice stitching days, sitting by a warm fireplace.

We have a few runs to the airport, baking and other holiday preparations to complete.  

The snow brought with it - quiet, reflective time to stitch and reflect on the past year.

Thank you for support and friendship.  

Wishing you and yours all the best this season of holidays!   May the new year be filled with joy, peace and stitching goodness.

Kind Regards,


Monday, December 7, 2015

Swapping Then and Now

Over the years I have had great fun meeting quilters and bloggers around the country.

I was speechless when I met Maureen from Pursuit of Quilts and she gifted me with this beautiful quilt.

I have it on my desk and enjoy it daily.  The variety of fabrics is amazing, as is her hand quilting.  How can I not start each day with a smile looking at this treasure?

Maureen has generous heart and is just as wonderful in person as she is 'online'.  That has been true of all of you I've had the pleasure of meeting in person!

This is the backing fabric Maureen used.
Look at all of that wonderful quilty texture.

Who doesn't love an orange label?
She has both our names on the label - since I know this quilt will be treasured forever, it's well documented.

Beautiful Maureen!  I still cannot thank you enough Maureen.  I hope we meet again and can share some hand sewing time.

Since this post is about swapping and sharing, I thought I would include an old top I finally had long arm quilted.

Last year I found a long arm quilter who does a nice all over fan that is subtle.  The thread color is neutral and worked on the light and dark fabrics.

For years I thought I might hand quilt this collection of swap blocks.  Some participants had inked their names on the back of the blocks so I even considered NOT quilting it.

The very outer edge is the binding I don't have stitched down.  It is the same print I used in the setting triangles.

I wanted you to see the border print.
I love this print!  It is a stripe that looks like a double border.

Maybe after the holidays I will get the binding stitched down.  The label is another matter - I have to figure out the year of the swap.  I am guessing it could be 10 years ago??

The blocks are from the ReproFabricLovers Yahoo Group many, many years ago.

The scrappy setting is suitable for the variety of prints in the stars.  I did opt for one print in the setting triangles and a consistent border.

It turned out quite nice.  I've been doing so much applique lately it's fun to consider some piecing for 2016.

Have a great week - and thank you quilting friends near and far!


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Catherine's Garden Final Block Set

Catherine's Garden Pastel Fabrics
Thank you for your feedback last month on my pastel Catherine's Garden layout.  Because it is a class and lecture sample, I decided to keep the alternate block quiet.  That seems to keep the applique the accent.

I don't have all the rows together yet, but I pinned this combination up to show you the potential accent strip for the border.  I am also auditioning a favorite bias stripe for the border.

Catherine's Garden Orange Ground Fabric

The last twelve months have flown by!  Thank you to all of you who have followed along - both stitching and in support.
The final set of blocks for the Catherine's Garden block set are available HERE.

My yellow version is in the stack of tops for hand quilting.

The orange set is waiting for decisions on the alternate blocks.  I played some with a 16 patch idea.  I still have not ruled out keeping it simple and using more of the orange for the setting squares.

You can see the original quilt from our collection HERE.

I hope your December is off to a great start!
Happy Stitching,

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

For my American friends....

From Our House to Yours....Have a Happy Thanksgiving
Vintage Wooden Needle Cases

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Blanket Statements Exhibit

Gallery Views
This weekend I was able to visit the "Blanket Statements" quilt exhibit at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

The exhibit features 15 historic quilts from the UK Quilters Guild Collection (dating 1780-1949) as well as 20 quilts by Kaffe Fassett (and team).  Kaffe is a patron of the Quilters Guild and worked with their curator to select quilts from their collection for interpretation.

The exhibit is a stunning collection of quilts spanning 236 years - all successfully combined in brilliant color.

Can you find the antique in the trio?
Hearts and Crosses Coverlet, Organic Radiation
and Citris Zigzag Ribbon
The antique quilts are displayed by the interpretations so viewers can make comparisons as they enjoy the quilts.

Two Books Are Available:
Kaffe Fassett's Heritage Quilts
Includes beautiful colored photos of all of the quilts in the exhibit as well as patterns for the interpretations.

Blanket Statements
Exhibit Catalog is a 32 page full color catalog
The 6"x 9" booklet is laid out with the quilts paired when the book is open for easy analysis.
Contact the gift shop HERE.

The museum also has a companion exhibit, "Pattern Pieces:  Can You Make A Quilt Out of Wood?

Some of my favorite wood pieces were by artist Laura Petrovich- Cheney.

Laura works with selvaged wood from hurricane Sandy creating these beautiful pieces of art.  Great color, texture and design.

Can you tell she also quilts?

Rustic Checkerboard Medallion by Sidmouth Quilt

The exhibit at The Michener Art Museum runs through February 21.
It then travels to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.  Exhibit dates there are March 12 - June 28.

Be sure to check for any Educational Programs during the exhibits.

English and American Quilts - 12/1 - Jean Lury
Piecing Together Cultures - 12/15 - Patricia Herr
(Sign up in advance with the museum)

I hope you get a chance to enjoy the quilts as much as I did.

Get the Free Blanket Statements Mobile App (Crowd Funded) at Google Play or Apple's App Store
       Listen to other quilters as they view the quilts.
My Kaffe Quilts HERE
Nancy's Quilts with Kaffe Fabrics HERE
Our Radical Rose pattern in Kaffe Prints HERE
More on the Exhibit HERE
Next Stop - San Jose HERE

Bonus Photos:
Earthy Herringbone Stripes, Chevron Strippy, Sunshine Herringbone Stripes

Ridehalgh Quilt, 1860-1890
Silk, Brocade and Velvet, each piece outlined in gold silk braid
All hand sewn

Detail from Sunset Stripes
Have a great week!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Looking For Clues Part 2 wBlue Flag Update

I had so many questions I thought I would answer them for everyone here.

Yes, I rescued the quilt and it now lives with me.  It will not become a cutter or craft project.

The binding is original and was hand applied on both sides.

This photo shows the binding on top, worn so you can see hints of the original green inside.   The outer border with triple line quilting.  The triple lines continue through the outer border, the green and narrow white center border.  The is no hand quilting in the repaired narrow yellow border.

The maker treated the corner by ignoring the border seam.

The triple lines go right through the seam until they meet the adjoining edge.

You can see the yellow does kind of look a little "off".

I was also asked about the original red.

It was a red print, not a solid red.
It s a little golden eyelet/sunburst print.  Similar prints have been reproduced.

The green was a dot style motif.

The green was an over dyed green - you can see the hints of blue.

I can easily restitch what I took out.  For now I will use it as a quilt study example.

While the hand quilting is exquisite - the piecing was a challenge.  By today's standards this might not even make it in a juried show, let alone win a ribbon.
There are small seams with pieces filling in the block piecing.  The corners didn't meet very well and they were 'quilted' into place when she stitched into that area.
So glad she didn't give up and leave the blocks as an unfinished project.

The back also has places where smaller pieces were hand stitched together so there was a large enough piece.

There is no sign of the yellow thread on the back.
All of the "cover up" applique was done in yellow thread.  The yellow stitches only going through the top and batting.  Quilting in the covered sections also only the top and batting.
The hand quilting seen on the back is the original stitching.

I do plan to leave the quilt as it is.

Now you know!
If you have more questions - feel free to ask!

On the stitching front I am working on the Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt (SVBAQ).  You can see the progress of many participants on the dedicated sew along blog HERE.  There are many pages on the blog dedicated to the history of the 1859 original.

All proceeds from pattern sales benefit the Virginia Quilt Museum.  You can join in at anytime.

My blocks are smaller than the original, but I'm trying to stay close to the original colors.  Stitchers are making it in wool, batiks, brights...Amazing and beautiful support for the museum.

Happy Stitching,

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Turkey Tracks or Wandering Foot - Looking at Clues

Out and about this weekend and discovered this mid 19th century quilt.

There's something suspicious here!
Do you see it?

No, it isn't the bicycle trying to sneak into the photo.  Although displaying a quilt on a bicycle with the chain oil etc. should be a crime...

It's the yellow.

This quilt required additional investigation.

Are you with me?

First, the hand quilt is exquisite.

All the signs of an 19th century beauty.

Feathers, double and triple line quilting, double line cross hatch...

I think the texture created by the hand quilting is lovely and really 'makes' the quilt.

The block is sometimes done with appliqué, sometimes inset seams.

Known by many names, I'm calling this one Turkey Tracks.
Brackman Applique:  5.36
Brackman Pieced:  3109 variation

This style and era were usually done in red and green, why is this one yellow and green?

Let's look closer.

The green is worn in places.

The hand quilting keeps it stable.  All seams are hand sewn, including the binding.

See how uniform the stitching is?  The hand quilting goes right through the appliqué.

The tip of the leaf goes to the seam so it is difficult to confirm if it is applique or pieced.

The seams at the tip of each yellow flower petal confirm they were pieced blocks.

From the tip of the petal the seam can be seen.

What's the red?  A hint from a past life?

YES!  This has been repaired - the worn red covered in yellow.

Checking the back there are more signs of red.  Could have been an errant fiber caught in the quilting?

Note the lower thread count backing fabric, helps with getting small stitches.

A few visible knots on the back.

Held up to the light, the red is very obvious.  Perhaps less so in my photograph!

Some of the red is still fully in tact, some is completely gone.

I would GUESS the 'repair' was done in the 1970s or so based on the yellow print.

Still a lovely quilt, I hope you enjoyed exploring it with me.
Have a great week,

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Catherine's Garden BOM Month Eleven

I have been busy in the studio working on my second and third colorway of our 2015 Catherine's Garden BOM.  Since I have three block sets completed, I want to finish them all differently.  This week I focused on the dots.

This involved digging in the stash - deep.  I have been able to mix some reproduction fabrics in with the brights, pastels and Kaffe prints. The oldest print I used in a yellow pin dot from 1985 - really!

I would love to have your opinions - fresh eyes please.

I will most likely machine quilt the blue dots, and want to use fabrics that compliment the appliqué.  I am fairly certain I will add a busy print border, I did the appliqued border on the first two.

So, here we go....

I am keeping the layout the same - 4 x 4 applique blocks, but will mix up the order of the blocks.

I like the Kaffe print for the border, do you?

I am thinking of using the prints from the applique for the alternate blocks.  Are they too much?  Do prints help the applique detail pop?
What would Catherine think of her 1855 flowers?

Or, is keeping it all 'dotty' better?
There would be texture in the alternate block after quilting.  Is it more soothing to the eye with the pastel Kaffe print?
I think I've decided, then looking this morning I changed my mind again.

Your thoughts please?  TIA for taking time to leave a comment.

Month eleven blocks are posted HERE.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

More SVBAQ Pineapple Blocks

Deanna's Red Pineapple block
Happy Day!  I am here to share more pineapple blocks from the Shenandoah Botanical Album Quilt.

The first picture is a block belonging to Deanna from Colorado.
Her blocks will finish at 17"
She back basted the block.

Deanna does beautiful hand stitching.
Her quilt, "Le Petite Pomegranate" is currently touring with the AQSG exhibit "In War Time: A Study of Civil War Era Quilts 1850-1865".

Isn't the red print she used fantastic?

I am looking forward to sharing more of Deanna's blocks.

Shona's Red and Pink Pineapple Blocks

These are Shona's first two pineapple blocks.
Shona is also from Colorado and is currently stitching away in South Africa.  Her 9" blocks are the perfect size to stitch on during long flights.  She also back bastes.

Shona also does fantastic hand work.  Her quilt, "Cheddar Bites" was on exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.

Only a few more days until the next block is announced on the SVBAQ blog - November 1.
If you subscribe to the blog, the announcement will come directly to your inbox!

Feel free to join in anytime!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Anne Orr

One of the things I bought on our recent road trip  was an Ann Orr quilt top, pattern and fabric.  Published by Good Housekeeping Magazine, there are enough squares to complete the top and yardage to add the border.

This photo shows the top on a hotel room bed.  I bought it in a box filled with all kinds of needlework and patterns.  I think the maker was very comfortable working from charts.  She had fillet crochet patterns and counted thread designs.

Page Measures 7.5" x 10.5"

Ann was an female entrepreneur who found financial success in needlework even through the depression years of the United States. She didn't sew herself, she designed and employed other women to stitch for her.  She often designed complimentary pieces; a quilt, bureau scarf and doily might all reflect the same floral basket from a chart.

This is the chart included with my purchase as well as the instruction sheet.  The basket design is 43 squares x 53 squares = 2,279 squares.  The floral bow for the pillow area is 11 squares by 39 squares = 429.  That's 2,708 for just the design section.  There are instructions given to sew in large strips between the designs and out to the border.  For a quilt, the instructions suggest a 3/4" finished square with the template square measuring 1.125" square.

85" x 96" Finished Heirloom Basket Quilt
Includes the Blue Border

The instruction insert offered a pattern for the hand quilting motifs for 28 cents.  You could also write to her and she could arrange for the quilting.  Her quilting designs were very elaborate.

Also available for mail order were the fabrics to make the quilt.  The first suggestion was to match fabrics yourself to the colors on the chart.  To purchase the fabrics you mail in $4.55, if you wanted the backing fabric add $3.51.

The instruction sheet states, "To hand down to our daughters and grand-daughters, nothing would be lovelier than this basket design"

The entire instruction sheet is about 5 paragraphs.

Creased paper page from Ann Orr Pattern page

The pattern sheet also includes instructions for the Oval Wreath Quilt, Star Flower and Debutante's Pride Quilts.
Ann Orr patterns also offered ideas for matching accessories like towels.  The same charted motifs were suggested for use on other linens.
"Several of these designs are practical for quilts as well as for cross stitching"

Also included was an alphabet for adding monograms.

Ann Orr Squares for Quilts

The maker of my top appears to have had plans for making the full quilt.  Also in the larger yardage box was this candy box filled with squares hand cut from the yardage.

I placed a pencil there to give you an idea of the square size.  Remember, this is before the days of rotary cutting fabrics.

The top is entirely hand pieced.
Very nicely stitched.  For now I have no plans to finish it.  I think with all of the components seen together it makes a nice study set.

Loving applique the way I do, I can't imagine making a pixeled top.  I love seeing all of the approaches available to make a quilt.  I have dome lots of needlework from charts and like all of them.
 I appreciate Ann's business model and reading about her success was fascinating.

Do you have a finished Anne Orr quilt?  A Kit?  Cross stitched towel?  I would love to hear about it.

Have a great week!

Anne Champe Orr Tennessee Encyclopedia HERE
You can read more about Ann Orr at 'The Quilter's Hall of Fame HERE.
Also read:  'Softcovers For Hard Times' by Merikay Waldvogel Rutledge Hill Press
Anne Orr Star Flower Quilt for sale HERE
Anne Orr Books HERE

Sunday, October 4, 2015

First Place Winner

Ribbon Still Attached
One of the quilts I purchased in my travels is a first place winner.

A First Place County Fair Winner!
Macoupin County Illinois 2002

Beautiful isn't it?

Hand pieced and hand quilted - the maker had a gift for color and placement.

Another special feature - it is 100% Polyester.

That's right, double knit top and backing and filled with polyester batting.  I had so many questions I started researching as soon as I got back in the car.

Illinois Map - Macoupin in Red

Macoupin County is in Illinois.  The county seat is in Carlinville, Illinois.
The fair has a Facebook site and they responded to my inquiry within an hour.  Would I be able to access fair records from 2002?   Maybe.
The responder gave me a name and phone number for the Fair Board where I left a voicemail.
I did a little research on the fair.
The county fair has a rich history - 163 years making it the oldest county fair in Illinois history.

The polyester of my youth was never a quilt.
It wasn't a jumpsuit either - let alone backless.

No, it was pull over shirts with stretchy ribbed necklines, mini skirts and stretch pants.

There were colors and textures, polyester could do so much!
I don't think I ever saw a polyester quilt.

The quilt my grandmother made for my wedding in the 1980's had poly blend fabrics and poly batting.  She never would have hand pieced and hand quilted polyester double knit.

The maker of my new found treasure made a work of art out of her polyester double knit - and all by hand.

In subsequent phone conversations the fair board representative was able to confirm it is highly likely the ribbon belongs to the quilt.  It was entered in the 'Hand Quilted - Small' category and the measurement fit the entry description based on her 2002 Fair Book.
The writing on the back of the ribbon provided the numeric code representing the entrants name.  Unfortunately the fair is only able to keep their records for 10 years - they are not digitized and stored.  She also mentioned once an entrant gets a number representing their name, they keep it for life.  The number on my quilt has been retired, meaning the maker is deceased.
The maker remains a mystery.  I've tried the newspapers and found livestock and 4H ribbon winners.  I am holding out hope someone might recognize the quilt. With this skill - this wasn't a first project.

She may have entered her project more than once.

Was the quilt made decades ago when double knits were so popular?
Did she buy yardage or cut up clothing?
What other quilts did she make?

This is another example - why all quilts need labels!

The backing is green, and was folded to the front to create the binding.

I will link this post on the Fair Facebook page hoping maybe, just maybe, someone knows more about this quilt.  My goal is to identify the maker and preserve her name with this beautiful quilt.  Her work in polyester double knit just might last forever and it deserves to carry her name.

Have you made a polyester double knit quilt?
Own one?
Want to collect them?
I'd love to her your polyester story.

Read more about polyester HERE.
Polyester in Fashion HERE.
Wonkyworld Polyester Quilts HERE.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Finish, More Flowers and Catherine's BOM Month 10

It is always a joy to report a finish.

Shona finished her Catherine's Garden 2015 top.

Isn't it fantastic?

She used Moda Mustard solid for her background.

All hand applique - using back basting.
This week she is layering it for hand quilting using the templates from the pattern.

old design wall photo

Now, you might be asking...It is the end of month nine - how did she get all twelve months?

Shona has connections!

You can get your patterns HERE.
You have connections too.  If you have all nine months stitched, send me a photo by October 3, and I will give you a coupon for month 11 & 12 FREE.

Karen (Log Cabin Quilter) has a beautiful colorway going too.  See her flowers HERE.

I have two more colorways going - and plan to finish each differently.

The RMQM 25th Anniversary quilts are on exhibit in the museum gallery.  I thought I would show a few here.

There is a wonderful assortment - traditional, modern and art quilts.

45 of the 53 are being auctioned on the Benefit Bidding website.

Will update once I get the maker's name on this one!

Beautiful stitching, all in a compact 25" square.

There is a book in the museum with the artist statements for each of the quilts.

The name of Shona's wall hanging is 'Cheddar Bites'.

All entries measure about 25" x 25"

You can read more about this quilt, and 45 others on the Benefit Bidding website, HERE.

Bidding is open now, just register and start your holiday shopping...

This is the center of one block in 'Cheddar Bites'

Just one example of her beautiful HAND quilting!

Beautiful piecing and hand stitching in lovely reproduction fabrics.

A generous donation to the online auction to benefit the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.

'Raspberry Limeade' is made primarily from the Pomegranate fabric line RMQM did a couple years ago.  I think an In The Beginning bird toile nicely worked in.

Sewn and donated by Doris DeGenova, another beauty packed into a 25" square.

"More is More" sewn by Joan Duncan.

A wonderful riot of color and motion.

Thank you so much to Shona for sharing her amazing needlework!  Did I mention she does samplers too?  Don't even get me started on her doll quilts - tiny hexagons!

Maybe, if we ask, she will allow me to share more of her work!

Wouldn't that be great?

Have a great week,