Friday, December 23, 2011

1930's Christmas Cactus

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a most Happy New Year!

Happy Stitching Always!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Santa's Helper

My daughter in law mentioned that cutest grand baby in the world was in a new big bed and she needed a bedspread, would I make a quilt?

"Would I make a quilt?" Hmmm, let me think about it a few minutes...of coarse I would.

This request was made not to long ago with no time limit, but don't we as quilters love to work under pressure? I, on my own, decided this quilt needed to be done by Christmas, so...I enlisted Grandpa in the process and last weekend he very willingly rotary cut and ironed half square triangles, cut out snake eyes, etc. while I kept sewing. It was the funnest weekend, Jasper the dog kept watch - sort of - wondering what we were both doing in the sewing room.

Ta Dah we did it! A whole top sewn in a weekend. I quilted it on my long arm on Tuesday and worked on the binding the next couple evenings.

The quilt is wrapped and on it's way to Texas to be opened Christmas morning. This pattern was called "Snoozin with Snakes" in the book Quick Quilts by Fons and Porter in the early 90s. I found this pattern at under their free patterns page. I increased the half square triangle size from 3 to 4 inch finished blocks and drew a new bigger head to make the quilt large enough for a full size bed.

In all this last minute quilt making craziness I did manage to get some Christmas cookies decorated. My sweet daughter baked them a couple weeks ago and I just had to pull them out of the freezer and decorate. The doves are my favorites because they turn out so pretty and are soooo easy. Royal Icing and a toothpick used to drag the blue icing to create the feathering. All of the recipes and cookie decorating instructions are found at:

I hope you are also enjoying the last few days before Christmas, what ever you take on, have fun!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What Was She Thinking?

I came upon this old quilt (circa 1880 to 1890 from the Pennsylvania area) at a recent quilt show and it really tickled my funny bone. I love red and green applique so I was drawn right to it.
The quilting is lovely, double line striping.
A simple pretty border.
I do not mean it in a mean way at all, but really I wonder what happened?

I stood there and just had to smile. My first thought was maybe the quilter just got sick of the applique and cut that third block in half and said "this is it". My friend could imagine the quilter saying "that bed is only how big?" It became a game, another friend thought maybe the quilter's husband got into her fabrics and used her red fabric on a scarecrow and she did not have enough for the quilt.

Whatever happened, it is still a lovely quilt and my quilt buddies and I enjoyed it. So if you are working on a quilt that is not going quite right you never know, you may be working on a quilt that sometime in the future just may give quilters a giggle. Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quilt Show For The Soul

I have been rather blue lately over my daughter's upcoming move out of town. I recently went to a local quilt show with some friends. The Lauritzen Gardens (Omaha, Nebraska's wonderful botanical gardens) started Quilts in the Garden three years ago. I have not been able to attend before as it is usually in early November when we are generally out of town, but this year it was a little later in the month.The small quilts were hung among all the mumsSpending time with my best quilting buddies was just what I needed and wandering around the beautiful gardens was good for the soul.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Mayflower

Two weeks ago I was starting a new Ladies of the Sea (Sue Garman's pattern) block and realized The Mayflower was in the unfinished pile. Well, with Thanksgiving right around the corner that gave me motive to get her completed. What a ride she must have been, only 63 feet long and 11 feet wide with 102 passengers and the crew on board. They were at sea for two months, September and October in 1620.

I now have half of my ladies completed.
I am on call at the hospital for part of the upcoming weekend so I will not be able to have anything in the oven Wednesday evening. Pumpkin pie and pumpkin bars are on my agenda for today but for now I am going to sneak in an hour or so of sewing. Under my needle is The Turk, a Mediterranean coastal fishing vessel from the mid 18th century.
Happy Thanksgiving All, I pray for calm weather and smooth "sailing" if you are on the road to be with family and friends.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Applique Quilts at the International Quilt Festival

I had a very short visit to the International Quilt Festival this year. The above quilt caught my attention because it reminded me of my own grandchild. This quilt was by Japanese quilter Hiroka Miyama, a recreation of a private conversation she witnessed between her grandchild and her golden retriever.
I also was fascinated by the next two quilts with their all over applique, it was like looking at tapestries. The first was by Deborah Kembel from Santiago, Chili. I came back to this quilt several times and saw new details each time. The next quilt was by Liz Jones from Herefordshire, United Kingdom (it really is an INTERNATIONAL quilt festival) and her applique method was the satin stitch,beautiful work.
Because applique quilts are my favorite I really wanted to study how they were quilted, especially the background quilting or fillers behind the applique blocks. For the rest of this post I am going to show a picture of the quilter's name and quilt description and then a picture of the whole quilt picture, and finally the close ups of the quilting. I thought it was interesting the quilter divided the block in quarters and did simple parallel quiting lines in different directions on opposing quarters.

The feather quilting with the flower motif corner stones was a good hiding effect over the block seam lines. The applique background was a dual line cross hatch
I really like traditional applique quilts and was happy to see this red and green four block applique quilt. The quilting does not show wellbut there were feather motifs surrounded by echo quilting.I did not get the picture of the entire quilt on this next one, but I was so glad to see that just a simple stipple is still used as the background.
The next quilt was quilted with cross hatching as a background filler.

In conclusion, as I work on two applique album quilts and wonder how I am going to quilt them, I have decided you can not go wrong with the classics: cross hatch, echo, or stipple, but a few feathers or other quilting motifs thrown in for interest is always fun.

I have saved my favorite quilt designer for last, the applique background quilting is a cross hatch. It was a joy to see Sue Garman's Friends of Baltimore in person.

Happy Stitching All