Sunday, December 20, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

I Wish All the World were Quilters

I posted this four years ago today and thought it appropriate to share....

I wish all the world were quilters.
We could bind our wounds,
Mend our differences,
Harmonize our colors, and
Blend our borders. 


Monday, November 2, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015


It's much easier to sew down a binding when you don't have a Maine Coon holding you down!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

AQ09: Antique Tumbler Quilt

Alternating light and dark tumbler blocks
hand stitched - no borders
87" x 96"

Ah, a fun one in the mystery quilt bundle. Isn't it beautiful? The browns and pinks make you want to pull it up to your chin, tuck it along your sides, and settle in for a lazy Sunday.  This is another one that needs to be completed sooner than later.

The light and dark draws your eyes up

I love this moon fabric!

Making do!  Not enough fabric? Piece it!
Look at those tiny stitches!

Viewed at an angle
Again, I love the use of prints and plaids and stripes, but it was not done with wild abandon. Notice all the patterns are small the light-, medium- and dark- values really stand out.  

Just one more top to share....  Happy Sunday!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

AQ08: Nine-Patch Courthouse Steps Variation

Scrappy pink and black nine-patch with courthouse steps variation
Primary blocks are hand-stitched
Sashings are machine-pieced - no borders
79" x 79"

The reason it's taking me longer and longer to post the remaining antique tops in the mystery quilt bundle is because I'm unsuccessfully trying to identify the blocks.  This one has me stumped. And you would think with the age of the Internet it wouldn't be so hard!  No luck in my trusty reference books, either.

Lovely use of stripes without concern for direction.  Yet you can tell the care the quilter took in cutting them - they perfectly align with the seams.I love the gradient nature of the stripes - where they are positioned makes them look like a medium tone so your eye travels from the dark center out towards the light sashing.

What's bugging me is that I should know this pattern, right?  I've pulled out all my Civil War quilt books, sure that I'd find it htere.

We need to take a closer look, but, as far as I can see, there's no damage to this top.  This is a good candidate for completing first.  Now, to add a border or find some more pink to match the sashing for a thin finish?

Again, I find myself wondering how this top made it out into the world?  Did the quilter pass away?  Did she not like it?  Or is this how she envisioned it but couldn't finish it?  

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Generosity of Quilters: A Friend's Gift

I realized I forgot to share another generosity with you.

Life right now is a little stressful - nothing I will bore you with.  But I find that when I'm feeling stressed or threatened or anxious, I gravitate back to my quilt room.  Today I spent a good hour cleaning it out, and I'm stitching down another binding.  I keep running my hand over the antique quilt tops, dreaming.

This week I was surprised by a flat, square package from Utah!  My dear friend, Lauri, sent me a care package!

Aren't they beautiful?  Two quilt calendars (one for the quilt room and one for my desk) and two quilt books. The Season's Greetings make my fingers tingle! I'm itching for some holiday stitching!  And this is my kind, too!  Scrappy, country Christmas.  As for A Bit of Applique? Applique is not my first love, but these patterns transform into embroidery quite wonderfully!

Thank you, Lauri!  Your package really brought me out of my mood!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Generosity of Quilters: A Pay-it-Forward Story

I have three more antique tops to share with you, but I thought I'd share a "feel good" story with you first.

When the mystery bundle of antique quilt tops were handed to me, they were wrapped in a sheet and held straight by a solid object.  The solid object turned out to be a bolt of T-Rex panels!  Pretty fun, eh?  And totally not what I was expecting.

Well, I don't have a need for T-Rex panels anymore so I posted a message on the Michigan Quilts Facebook page.  I thought since I was given this beautiful bundle of tops that it was only right to "pay it forward".  I asked if anyone was interested, and I would send them out free of charge.  

With ten quilters requesting the nine panels, we held a drawing and then requested addresses. Several of the "winners" offered to pay for postage, but I had posted these with no strings attached.  Luckily, to the postmistress's consternation, I apparently packaged them in such a way that I was able to mail them quite reasonably.

Fast forward to today.  I received a thick envelope in the mail from Cindy R.  Oh, I thought.  A thank you note?  Yes it was, but with an added bonus!  

photographed outdoors - fabric is white
She embroidered a kitty quilt label for me!  How adorable is this! And take another look at the card!  It's handmade, too.  It's looks like the flowers were machine embroidered on the checked fabric and then adhered within the card stock.

photographed indoors - on top of a cream backing
So excited to share I didn't think to iron it first!

Thank you so much, Cindy R - absolutely adorable!  I can't wait to attach it to my 1930's-era snowball quilt! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

AQ07: Scrappy Double Pinwheel

Scrappy top using 30's-style fabric and starred sashing
Missing sashings on each side
69" x 82"

The weather has turned in Michigan.  Today's highs were only the mid-60's, which has me thinking of stitching warm quilts on cold nights.  Instead of working on my own UFO's, I'm thinking of someone else's.  Here's the latest from the mystery bundle.

The seventh quilt top I pulled off the pile is this scrappy double pinwheel.  If you look closely, you can see it's missing it's last two borders (? sashings?).  I wonder if the original quilter intended to add another border after that.

Lovely, scrappy 30's fabric. I wish I knew enough to know if it's reproduction or not.  When I asked the lady who gave me this bundle, she only knew that the previous owner bought these years ago and then she hung onto them for years.  More research is required.  

Look at the polka dots!!!

My guess is the top is an amalgam of decades of fabric scraps, but it all seems to go together. Too bad they didn't add the date of sale to the tag.  Hindsight... 

You can make out some of the hand stitching at the bottom of this picture.  I think I have more of the starred fabric in my stash.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

AQ06: Blue and White Shirtings

Two-tone scrappy top using blue and white shirting fabrics
Both hand- and machine-stitched with mitered corners and Y-seams
Minimal damage - a few minor brown spots
76" x 82"

I have a weakness for the sixth top in the mystery bundle.  I've seen this one called "X's and O'x" before, but this isn't made from cheater blocks.  The solid blue squares are solid and not pieced.

The quilter who made this top hand-stitched y-seams to form the block sections. Imagine how careful she was when cutting these fabrics - all the lines even.

Here's a close-up of the back. Do you see them?  The Y seams?  I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around how you'd put this together.

Quilt back
And look at the scrappyness!  The eye tricks you until you look closer and see the different fabrics.

Need it a little longer?  Just add a row!  Not enough of a shirting?  Piece it together.  Nobody will notice that the lines in the fabrics don't match up.  Make do!

And here you can see the mitered borders.  Just lovely.

Oh, yes.  This one is a keeper.  Can you imagine it quilt with a thin, cotton batting and draped over your lap while reading a book?  

Friday, August 28, 2015

AQ05: Green Four Patch Variation

Scrappy sashed 4-patch using 30's fabrics and solid green sashing
All blocks, sashing, and borders handstitched
Corners are mitered
74" x 87"

Next up in the mystery bundle is this 30's beauty. All hand pieced, including the sashings and borders.

The dark green is a little thick and a little jarring against the plaid fabrics, but, in a way, it seems just right.

Although a little wavy, it's in mint condition.  Might be nice with a puffier batting to hide some of the bunching.

You do have to appreciate perfectly mitered corners - and done by hand!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

AQ04: Appliqued 8-Pointed Stars

Scrappy 8-point stars appliqued to cream background squares
Applique by hand - squares joined by machine
77" x 91"

The latest antique quilt top is a beautiful, scrappy affair with hand-appliqued 8-pointed stars on a solid background. I love the mixing of the polka dots with strips and checks. 

So many thoughts running through my head! Look how crisp those points are! The seams must be tiny as there is no bulk at the points.  Each star lays perfectly flat.  Were these pieces cut using cardboard patterns or did a modern-day acrylic ruler ensure the precision? I really need to get more information on the provenance of these tops!

Did the original quilter intend this to be a picnic quilt or grace a spare bed?  The playful colors invite a nap in the grass, but the top has a lovely weight to it - the type you snuggle under on a crisp, Winter night.

As I pass the pile, I can't help but run my hand over these soft fabrics and smile.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

AQ03: Six-Pointed Stars

Six-pointed pieced scrappy stars with pale pink solid alternating blocks
Brown polished fabric is deteriorating
All handstitched
71" x 85"

This is the third of the collection of 10 antique quilts passed into my care.  Lovely matched points and the fabric has such fantastic patterns!

Late 1800's?  The tag says so, but the detail doesn't appear expert. It is all hand-stitched - even the long seams.

The fabrics seem right and the brown has deteriorated (the old brown and red dies were very acidic and notorious for deteriorating the fabric), but so many of the reproduction fabrics now a days are very believable.

You can see a glimpse of the blue tarp peering through
the hole.  All the stars with this fabric has deteriorated.
 Although pink is not my favorite color, I love how beautifully it pairs with the scrappy fabrics.

I haven't quilted much this year; it lost some of its appeal after making them as a commitment for other people and not for fun.  But the stripes and plaids and paisleys really make me itch to get back to my machine.

Monday, August 17, 2015

AQ02: Blue with Pieced Sashing Quilt

Blue Solid Squares with Pieced Sashings
Hand and Machine Stitched
No noticeable tears or stains

Here is the next installment of the mystery quilt bundle. Again, I hesitated posting these as I feel I should know the name of the quilt pattern.

The "Patch Quilt" tag in the corner listed it for $45.00

Can't you just imagine some beautiful design hand quilted in these squares?

The pieced sashing is all hand pieced, but they are
sewn to the solid squares with a sewing machine.

I LOVE scrap quilts.  Can't you imagine this on the bed or the back of a couch?
I don't feel my candid snapshots do the tops justice, but they get progressively more beautiful as we unwrapped the bundle.  I'd love to see this one completed and given to Steve.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

AQ01: Antique Blue Stars

The big reveal of the Mystery Quilt bundle!

I should've checked the weather before making that last post - who knew it was going to rain for 5 days? But finally, yesterday, the clouds parted and we laid out the quilts (in 97 deg direct sunlight - ouch!).  The photos aren't the best because we were working in oppressive heat, and I didn't want to tug and pull at the fragile tops anymore than necessary.

So, on with the quilt show!


Blue and off-white quilt
hand-pieced and machine-stitched
Has brown spots on one end

This is the first of the ten quilts in the bundle. The blue stars were hand-pieced, but the larger blocks were machine-stitched together.

Washed out a little in the bright light

Close-up of the front

No longer for sale

Back of the block
I like how the background of the pieced stars is whiter than the alternating blocks.  Intentional or not, it really makes the stars pop out!

Another close-up of the stars.
I'm sure this quilt has a better name than "blue stars", but I can't reach my copy of Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.  Any idea?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Mystery Quilt Package!

Do you like surprises? I love them! Especially when you discover it's a bundle of antique quilt tops! And one has a tag dating back to 1898!

I received a message from a friend this week that her parents were moving and had a bundle of tops. Her mother had acquired them from her boss's wife who used to collect them!

Steve and I picked them up tonight, but it's too late to unwrap them. So, to share in my anticipation, I will share them with you as we lay them out. Cross your fingers for fair weather this week!