Posts Written On December 2009

Santa’s Follow the Colors Embroidered Quilt

After finishing up all my Christmas preparations, I felt like working on something festive. My daughter, Emily, suggested I make a Christmas quilt we could hang in the living room during the holidays. Of course, I can’t bring myself to make a quilt that’s not for some kind of bed, so it will have to be a crib or twin-sized quilt.

I thought about the vintage Christmas coloring book I posted last year when I first started blogging. It’s a “follow the colors” type book from 1964. The drawings are so cute, and I was thinking I would fill in the colors with crayon (it’s a coloring book, after all), but as I began designing the quilt, I changed my mind about the crayon and decided to just do the outlining — they are so cute just the way they are.

Some of the designs are two pages, so some of the blocks are rectangular. Actually, I had to put two rectangular blocks in each row (to make the sashing work), and there weren’t that many, so a few of the rectangular blocks I just made up by combining two coordinating pictures. The sashing squares are vintage and I have had a hard time finding just the right jewel tones — I could always add some reproduction fabric, but I’d prefer it to be all vintage. The process of prepping the squares actually takes about as long as the embroidery by the time I locate a suitable scrap — then soak, starch, draw and cut out each little square. It took me about a week to stitch this first row.

The scanned images from the coloring book are available in another post here — just in case you want to get a start on a Christmas project for next year. The page with the shepherd and sheep is titled “The First Nowell.”






My Favorite Christmas Ornaments

My mother made these ornaments for us when Elliott and Emily were in elementary school. It was a happy coincidence that they match our Christmas stockings which were made years earlier. My mother was obviously attracted to these Charles Ross designs, just as I was.

Mother was self taught in all kinds of needlework, and since she was left-handed, all of the instructions had to be interpreted for a lefty (no big deal for some things, but I remember it being pretty tricky when she was learning how to knit). Everything she made was absolutely perfect — if there was even a teeny, tiny mistake that no one would ever notice, she’d rip it out anyway and do it over. My father was not one to hand out many compliments, but I always knew that he was really proud of the things my mother created. I was pretty proud of her, too.






Filet Crochet Baby Pillow

I found this filet crochet piece on ebay.  I’m not sure of it’s age, but it is in perfect condition and not yellowed at all.  It makes a perfect little pillow to go with Marjorie’s Rhyme Land Quilt, which I made for her when she was born last December. I think the pillow looks pretty cute with her quilt.




Diamond Field Quilt Blocks

One of the things I love about making scrap quilts is selecting each little print for a block.  Having so many different fabrics to work with makes the process much more fun.  Every step  — prepping the pieces, cutting, piecing, quilting — made more interesting because I am always looking at a different little vintage fabric. Some of these hexagons were purchased on ebay, and I added many more cut from my stash of vintage scraps. The age range of the fabrics is quite large since the pieces came from many different sources, but there probably isn’t anything later than the 50s.

This quilt is going to have 98 blocks, all separated by a row of white hexagons — a pretty traditional set.  I once saw a Diamond Field top on ebay with each block surrounded by white hexagons and then a scrappy hexagon path between the blocks — I would have never thought of that, but I really liked the effect.

I scanned my two planning pages so you can see how crudely I work.  The plan started out with a smaller quilt, but I just kept adding more rows.  I have 80 of the 98 full blocks completed and all of the partial blocks.  You probably can’t make out the darker lines on the hexagon paper — this is where I figure out exactly how to add the white pieces.  It’s a lot like working on a puzzle, and I like that.



Embroidered Basket Quilt

The basket quilt is finally done, and I’m very happy with it. You might remember that this quilt started out with a print border, but I just wasn’t happy with it. After I decided to do the blue floss quilting on the white border, it seemed like a good idea to add some blue quilting to the interior. In the end, I did a little machine quilting in the ditch, some hand quilting with white thread in the basket blocks and the blue quilting with embroidery floss.

Embroidered Basket Quilt
machine pieced, hand & machine quilted
vintage embroidered blocks
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2009
56″ x 56″



Vintage California Tablecloth Quilt

Gordon and I decided to forego the usual Christmas gifts since we just finished a remodel of our kitchen.  Of course, I have to give him some little presents, so I decided to make him his own little quilt to use on the couch.

Because we lived in California for 11 years and our kids were born there, we have a real affection for the state — particularly  Los Angeles.  When I saw this vintage souvenir tablecloth on ebay, I snapped it up.  It was like new and had never been washed, and I think it must be pre-Disneyland since it doesn’t appear on the map.   Gordon loves maps, so the green roads are cool and also the missions we have visited.

I just used fabrics from the stash and quilted it on the machine in a diagonal grid.  It was quick and easy and it’s very soft and comfy.



More Vintage Christmas Embroidery Transfers

I realize the posts have been a little thin the past couple of weeks — mostly because of the events (some good and some bad) that are taking place in my life right now.

We are in the last stages of a complete kitchen remodel 🙂 and have to be out of the house for the Swedish floor refinishing 🙁

My cat, Jack (the biter) was just diagnosed with chronic liver failure 🙁

My Bernina had to go into the shop for repair 🙁

For now, here are some more vintage transfers.  I hope to have some more interesting posts next week.  This is the first time I have used the gallery feature on WordPress — just click on the image to enlarge.


Cross-stitched Christmas Stockings

These stockings are Charles Ross patterns and were all stitched in the 80s. I made Gordon’s stocking first, then he cross stitched all the rest — I sewed them together. It’s funny — the decorative alphabet letters provided in the booklet are all upper case. Elliott’s name was too long to fit in the space, so I had to draft some lower case letters.

Poor Emily had to wait until she was five before she finally got her real stocking (in the interim she made do with a ballerina stocking). Fortunately, I was able to find the girl pattern and I had enough of the original lining fabric and trim to finish Emily’s stocking.