Posts Written On June 2009

ABC Embroidered Quilt Block – House

This house took even longer to stitch than the owl. Originally I was going to use the little roof shingles as the filler in the letters, but I just couldn’t do any more of those. I decided to do the window pattern instead which was way easier, but I wish I’d made the lines a little closer together to match the scale of the window pattern. Also, I think the wood grain turned out sort of weird in this thread. I’m never happy.




ABC Embroidered Quilt — Triangles

Preparing these quilt pieces has taken a lot longer than I thought. Of course, I’ve done this lots of times before, but I never really kept track of how much time I spent (since I didn’t have blog deadlines).

First, I only had enough of the smallest size salesman sample triangles for half of the 1,300 total printed triangles required, which meant I had to resort to the little pieces bin where I keep all my vintage scraps that are around 2″ or smaller. These are not sorted by color, so it takes a while to sift through the mess to find the the right color and size. This container is a lot deeper than it looks.


I want to end up with similar amounts of the different colors (mainly red, blue, green, lavender, yellow & pink — plus smaller amounts of teal, orange, navy, black & brown). If I can’t find enough of one color, I have to go to my bins of larger vintage scraps. I just hate to cut into a big scrap for a little triangle.

Next I starch, press, draw, cut and sort all of the triangles into color groups. Then I spread out one color group at a time and make subgroups of 4 triangles for each pinwheel. I also hand cut each white triangle, but I do these as I go since they don’t need to be sorted.

I pin each little 4-triangle group together and put them in piles.


Then I start chain piecing the pinwheels together. I’ve finished the first row, but I’m stuck on the second row since I am just finishing up H (the most time-consuming block so far) and I haven’t done F or I either. Now that the triangles are cut, I need to get back to embroidering — of course, now I wish I had stitched the letters in order.

Cat Update: Lynn reminded me that I never said anything else about the cat attack. By the time I went to the doctor, my right hand was huge and my left arm was also a mess. She gave me a 5-min. IV drip plus an injection. I was fine within a couple of days, but I had to take the unpleasant Augmentin for 10 days. Jack had to spend that night outside in his little cardboard house — we have since made up. Cat wounds are not to be taken lightly.


Vintage Anchor Embroidery Transfers

This little folder was tucked in with a group of vintage patterns I purchased from Great Britain. There is no date, and although I expect they are pretty old, they’re in perfect condition. The transfers are printed on parchment type paper and I’m sure they would iron just fine, but I’m not going to try it. I prefer to trace anyway and they’re so cute, I don’t want to mess them up.








ABC Embroidered Quilt Block – Elephant

The elephant was finished several days ago, but I have been busy pressing, drawing, cutting and sorting a gazillion little vintage triangles for the sashing strips.  Although I had settled on the pinwheel pattern, I tried several different versions — all prints, scrappy prints & white, scrappy prints & solids — but finally decided on the prints with white, but with each pinwheel having it’s own color scheme.  Because of the size of my triangles, I was forced to make the ABC blocks larger than I originally wanted — 3 pinwheels was too small, but 4 was a little big and left a lot of white around the embroidered block.  I could have cut down the triangles, but they’re already pretty small.  The quilt will end up a twin size rather than crib and I’ll just have to do some nice quilting in the white areas.




Simplicity Needlework Catalog – Baby Puff & Baby Quilt

I love both of these little quilts from the 1948 Simplicity Needlework Catalog, and I even have the original pattern for the Lilies of the Valley Baby Puff. The transfer is very faded and I’m not sure it would even work, so I would probably draw over the pattern and trace it onto the fabric — which is what I always do anyway, except this transfer is so large. The pattern calls for baby blue or pink satin, soft taffeta, silk crepe, rayon or sateen. Silk?….they must be kidding. Here is the materials list, but remember if you’re going to try this — the amounts are for 36″ wide fabric.

Crib Size: 1 7/8 yds. for top; 1 1/3 yds. for backing
Carriage Size: 1 1/2 yds. for top; 1 yd. for backing
Nylon or silk thread for quilting on silk or rayon
No. 50, 60 or 70 mercerized thread for quilting on cotton
Lambs wool in sheets, or sheet cotton made especially for quilting
6 strand cotton

The instructions on the pattern tell you to make a lazy dazy flower in each of the quilted lily-of-the-valley flowers. I’m not sure about this — I think I would pick a stitch that would provide more coverage.



The Floral Applique Baby Quilt is also adorable and of since I love bows, it really appeals to me. This is pretty straightforward applique with a simple quilting pattern. I think this one would be nice to work in cotton sateen.




Dresden Plate Quilt

This quilt was started in 2004 when I purchased 15 vintage Dresden Plate blocks on ebay. A few of the blades needed to be replaced, and I exchanged the yellow centers for pink ones. The additional 5 plates were made up from some of my vintage scraps and the blades for the ice cream cone border were purchased on ebay the following year. Although I think it would be great fun to find the quilt pieces I need at estate sales, I doubt I would have much luck. Ebay has been a great resource for vintage quilt pieces and scraps (my favorite) or old blocks and tops that I can cut up and reuse. I’d rather spend my time sewing than searching for vintage fabric. It’s gotten awfully expensive, though, so I’m glad I have a pretty big collection.

Every step on this quilt was done by hand and it took a long time, but I loved working on it — especially the quilting. I copied the quilting pattern from a photograph of a Dresden Plate quilt in McCall’s Vintage Quilts magazine.

Dresden Plate
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2007
hand pieced & appliqued, hand quilted
70″ x 85″






ABC Embroidered Quilt Block – Jack-in-the-Box

Thank you to all the people who have commented on this series of blocks.  It’s so nice to hear from other embroiderers and quilters.

This Jack-in-the-Box is stitched with my new Anchor multi-colored floss which I think looks just right on him.  For most of the block I used just one thread because of all the little details.   I am having such fun with these blocks — maybe I’ll even finish the whole group this time before I move on to something else.



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ABC Embroidered Quilt Block – Umbrella

This is the perfect Pacific Northwest item for the letter U. This one went lots faster, so maybe I will be able to post a block every other day if I continue to trade off between the easier and more complex drawings. This weekend I am going to lay out some of my vintage triangles to see if I come up with a pieced sashing pattern. Next….J is for jack-in-the-box.




ABC Embroidered Quilt Block – Nurse

My plan was to post one of these blocks every other day, but I’m finding that to be a pretty tight schedule. Anyway, here’s my new block — N is for Nurse. I think she’s sweet and I really like her hairdo. Some blocks are less complex, so I think I’ll start trading off and do a quicker one next — U is for Umbrella.




Embroidered ABC Quilt Block – Clown

This clown was made with a skein of vintage American Thread floss. I really like the colors, but when I started stitching, I realized that the sections of color are much longer than the DMC or Anchor variegated and multi-colored floss. To me this gives the clown a very different look compared to the puppet — at first I wasn’t happy with it, but I’m okay with it now. I can get pretty obsessed with stuff like that.

This is my 95th post (beginning December, 2008), and I’ve decided to have a give-away on my 100th post. I guess I will just do the comment thing — I was afraid it would appear that I am just pandering for comments, but that’s the way everyone else seems to operate theirs, so that’s probably what I’ll do. It’s been fun coming up with stuff — I have lots of vintage items to include — mostly transfers, books for children and fabric — so check back in a week or so.