Posts Written On May 2012

New Blog Post Schedule

I’ve been writing this blog for 3 1/2 years, and I’ve decided it’s time to make a change.  Starting today, I’m going to try out the following schedule (subject to change at the author’s whim):

Monday:  ongoing projects and other miscellaneous stuff

Tuesday:  vintage quilt patterns

Wednesday:   vintage fabrics

Thursday:  vintage embroidery transfers

Friday:  vintage children’s book illustrations

Since today is Thursday, here is the first group of embroidery transfers which came as inserts in The Workbasket Magazine.


Antique Album Quilt – Remade

It’s been wonderful to be able to hand quilt again.  My carpal tunnel has improved after taking a 4 month quilting break and wearing a wrist brace to bed.  I was so happy to get back to this project, and I’m looking forward to quilting more of the insane amount of tops I have waiting in the queue.

The original quilt top and another top from the same period were purchased together on ebay for $9.95 with a “buy-it-now” option.

This quilt has a rather long story, which I have talked about in earlier posts.

Chapter 1:  I purchase the antique top and check out the amazing fabrics.

Chapter 2:  A quilt historian contacts me and advises me not to take the quilt apart.

Chapter 3:  I begin taking the quilt apart and remaking the blocks (no small task as many of the individual block pieces contained one or more seams).

Chapter 4:  I make more blocks.

Chapter 5:  The top is completed, and I make a mistake.

The sashing and some of the blocks contained rotten fabric; the new sashing is a reproduction fabric, and some replacement blocks were constructed with period fabrics from my collection. The quilting is a simple diagonal grid in the blocks, and straight lines in the sashing.  My favorite fabric is the 1876 centennial commemorative print in the second photo.

Antique Album Quilt – Remade
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2012
machine pieced, hand quilted
56″ x 70″


Emily’s Heart Doll Quilt Top

This is a miniature version of Emily’s Heart Quilt which I made for her as a bride quilt.  For the blocks in this small quilt, I used similar dress prints from the 1930s – 1950s, and the smaller heart block from the border of Emily’s original quilt.  I would have liked to add the heart border to this doll quilt as well, but I just couldn’t work it out.

To sort of make up for the missing heart border, I want to do some fairly elaborate quilting.  The design will mostly be copied from the original heart quilt — a diagonal grid in the hearts and a flower design in the bottom triangles; the exact same pattern in the sashing; and a similar heart and flower design in the outside border which I made wider for that purpose.

The heart blocks finish at 3 1/4″, and it’s pretty big for a doll quilt at 20″ x 25″.  I am contemplating adding scrappy prairie points to the edges, but I’ll decide that later.



Chintz Aprons with Appliqued & Embroidered Pockets

I enjoy making these aprons so much that I am continuing to sew them even though I’ve only sold a few.  They are very nice to have on hand for gifts.  I have used one for a hostess gift and Emily has taken taken a couple for bridal shower presents.  For these two aprons, I decided to try something a little different, and add some hand embroidered elements.

The first apron is made with the most wonderful chintz fabric that has a high glaze.  The name “Textron”  is printed on the selvage, a brand I have not seen before.  The cute motifs remind me of embroidery transfers, and I scanned each one for future projects.  I selected two designs for the big pockets which I embroidered in black floss.  The diagonal plaid is new and, although I know it is a sort of odd companion for the novelty print, I really like them together.  I wish I had made the bird flying the other direction.

The next apron is made with the softest, smoothest chintz.  It’s a vintage 36″ wide Waverly print called “Stockholm” with a sort of folk art leaf pattern.  This is the second apron I’ve made with this beautiful fabric, and I still have some left (thanks, Barbara!).  I copied the two largest designs from the print and appliqued them to the pockets using a blanket stitch and embroidery floss.  The brown polka dot pocket trim fabric is a vintage scrap, and the waistband is a grosgrain ribbon backed with a solid yellow.  The waistband ribbon thing was really a drag, mostly because of the way I decided to attach it.  I don’t think I’ll ever do this again.


Bloggers’ Quilt Festival – Charley Harper Water Drop Quilt

It’s time once again for the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival over at Amy’s Creative Side.  Although it’s only been a few months since I posted my Charley Harper Water Drop Quilt, I am using it as my entry because it’s my current favorite of all the quilts I’ve made.

The idea began when my husband gave me the book, Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life, which contained beautiful photographs of Charley Harper’s work, including several from the 1961 book, The Giant Golden Book of Biology.  I love using vintage illustrations as inspirations for quilts, and I was immediately drawn to the water drop illustration with its abundance of interesting organisms.  I decided to make the quilt for my nephew, Chris, who loves biology.

The organisms were stitched using a combination of hand applique and embroidery (no fusible), with a little paint for some of the tiny details.  The outline of the drop is white bias tape, and the top is hand quilted with amoeba shapes within the drop and echo quilting on the outside of the drop.

Charley Harper Water Drop Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2012
illustration from The Giant Golden Book of Biology, 1961
hand embroidered & appliqued (with a little painting), hand quilted
48″ x 62″



Appliqued Baby Quilt – Vintage Novelty Toy Fabric

The quilt top is smaller than I originally planned.  I decided to use each of the toy motifs only once, and then make two bead blocks.  The blocks are 8″ with 2″ sashing and a 4″ outside border.  Because I have so much of this novelty fabric, I might add this to my shop as a kit.  The quilt top is 36″ x 46″.



Alice in Wonderland Redwork Quilt Blocks #5 and #6

This is the project I took on my long vacation immediately after my daughter’s wedding last year.  This type of embroidery is so perfect for traveling; it’s even better than hand piecing because there are no little pieces to keep track of, and only one color of thread.  The Alice blocks go very slowly (especially the fish footman), and I was only able to finish 2 blocks the whole time I was gone.  The blocks are 6″ x 9 3/4″ (click for closeups), which is the same size as the antique painting book pages.  I’m using one strand of DMC 498 floss on a vintage cotton sheet.

The book was published by Platt & Munk Co. and is undated, but if I compare it to my other old paint books, I would guess it’s from the 1920s or maybe even earlier.  Unfortunately, the illustrator is uncredited, which is sad because I love these drawings.  Of course, the Tenniel illustrations are fabulous, but these are easier to embroider, they’re very cute, and I had never seen them before.

Here are the four previous blocks.