Posts Written On May 2014

Lemoyne Star Medallion Doll Quilt Top

Today I finished the top, but it took a little longer than I thought. I was really scrounging for border fabric, and had to piece the pieces to get the length I needed. I’m in love with the weird gold border fabric, though, and wanted to use it even though I only had one Album pattern block to work with. Because there are tons of seams in this quilt and I plan to hand quilt it, the seam allowances are only 1/8″. Even though I changed the pattern a little, I think it still resembles the original doll quilt, and I’m happy with the result.

The top is both machine and hand pieced (no paper piecing), using antique fabric from my collection. It measures 17″ x 17″, and the Lemoyne stars are 3″.



This is the original quilt I copied from the book, Small Endearments, by Sandi Fox. It is approximately 23″ square.




Lemoyne Medallion Doll Quilt wip

The inspiration for this little doll quilt was found in the book, Small Endearments, by Sandi Fox. I drafted the pattern on a large sheet of grid paper, which I used to trace my templates, and which also works as a guide when adding new rows. I’ve always wanted to make a pieced medallion quilt, and I’m really enjoying this process. My quilt design will be a little different (I’m changing the four-patches into rectangular pieces so the prints display better). Still, I hope to maintain the look of the original quilt, and it’s been fun trying to find similar scraps from my collection of antique tops and blocks. There are six more rows to add, plus the corner stars. My quilt will be 18″ square (the star is 3″), while the original is about 23″.


Here is the original quilt.



Around the World Quilt — Beginning

All of the Around the World pieces needed to be taken apart and recut. The original quilter’s template was a little off, so the fan units did not form a 90º angle. I drafted a pattern which would allow for the largest wedge-shaped piece I could get away with (because vintage fabric is precious). These pieces were all cut from 1940s and 50s percales (no feedsack), and most of them are cut at odd angles — probably just any old way she could get the most wedges out of a fabric scrap. Spray starch helps when cutting bias pieces — I use lots of spray starch.

Here I have finished drawing around the new template and trimming the 540 original pieces (only a few were stained and had to be discarded).


Next, I needed to cut 324 more wedges from my own vintage prints, because I want to make a larger quilt than the original quilter had in mind. Fortunately, I had two big pieces of yellow and green vintage percale that matched the solid colors in the original blocks.


Here are the first four blocks, which I stitched together by machine. Because there are lots of bias edges in these blocks, it helps to cut the sashing on the straight grain, which keeps the blocks from stretching. My plan was to add half blocks around the outside edge, to mimic the original quilt pattern, but now I’m thinking that I like it the way it is. The center of the quilt will still have the look of the original Around the World blocks, but the yellow sashing will be on the edges.  What do you think?



Looking into the Mind of a 1940s Quilter

Here’s what I imagine the maker of this UFO was thinking:

“This Around the World pattern is so cute — I’m going to try it.”
Around The World-KC Star

“First I’m going to cut and stitch 192 3-piece arc units.”



“Now to construct a block. Hmmm . . . I like this, but I’m not sure about the purple.”


“Oh, I like this green better, but now I have to add those tricky corner pieces.”


“Okay, this is hard, and the muslin background spaces are going to have a bunch of seams which will make quilting more difficult. There must be an easier way.”



“Will this work? I could make the blocks this way, and add the yellow as sashing with green cornerstones.”



“No, that doesn’t work.”



“What if I just forget about the original pattern, and sew four of the units together in a circle?”


“I give up!”


I’ve had plenty of conversations like this, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this was similar to what happened. Instructions were minimal on these old newspaper patterns, and the KC Star patterns had no directions at all. I think if the quilter had drawn a picture of several blocks, she might have discovered an easier way to piece this pattern, because she seemed very close to figuring it out. Of course she could have just appliquéd the block to the background, but that didn’t seem to occur to her. I’m going to piece the quilt as shown below (blocks outlined in red, background one piece without seams). The pattern would probably be called a completely different name when it’s sewn together like this, but what the heck — it looks the same, and eliminates a bunch of seams. Sometimes you just have to think outside the block.


This large group of quilt pieces and partial blocks was purchased on Etsy. Although some larger green pieces were included in the group, there’s not enough to complete the quilt, so I’ll be replacing it with a vintage fabric from my stash. Also, every block and arc needs to be taken apart, re-cut and re-sewn, because the pieces were not cut precisely.  My background fabric will be off-white, as the quilter imagined in the fourth photo (I notice that she cut that corner piece with bias edges).

It’s ironic that I depend upon the UFOs of old quilters for my quilt fabric — sometimes I can see that the quilt wasn’t finished because of frustration in attempting a challenging pattern, but many times it’s unclear why the project wasn’t completed. Maybe the quilter died, which is something I think about a lot, being 67 and wondering if I am ever going to be able to finish all the quilts I have in progress. I need to focus and get busy quilting!



And the Winner Is . . .


Congratulations, Chris, and thank you for entering my giveaway.  For everyone else who entered, do not despair — another apron will be offered next month (and for many months thereafter), so please enter again.  My hope is that, eventually, all of my commenters will be winners.


Thank You!

How wonderful to receive all of your sweet birthday wishes. I had an enjoyable day of sewing and junking, and am looking forward to the weekend celebrating my birthday and Mother’s Day with my family.

The drawing for the May apron is tomorrow, and I wanted to talk about my reason for adding rules about who can enter. I know lots of bloggers have giveaways to attract new readers, although I’m not convinced this actually works, but my motivation was to thank the people who read my blog and take the time to make a comment. Meeting other people who share my enthusiasm for needlework or vintage books and patterns is the best thing about blogging, plus you’ve given me some great advice on my projects. One of my goals for my 67th year is to be a better blogger and follower — commenting more on the blogs I love, writing more posts, and rewarding readers who comment with silly giveaways.

Okay, so all of you who wished me a Happy Birthday, and have not entered the May apron giveaway, should enter now. Even if you don’t wear aprons, I bet you know someone who does.



May Apron Giveaway

Hopefully some you of like pink, because the May apron, which was made from a vintage embroidered linen tablecloth, is very pink. Because I wanted to utilize as much of the tablecloth as possible, I constructed the apron front with two pieces, which means I have enough fabric left for another apron. I didn’t realize I had positioned those flowers right over the boobs until I put the apron on the dress form for photos.

This linen is heavyish, but I lined the bodice and neck pieces anyway just to give them a little more structure. The bias trim is made with a geometric print that I thought looked nice with the cross-stitching, and there’s a bit of vintage rick-rack inserted in the front seam. The ties are grosgrain ribbons.

The monthly apron giveaway will run for the rest of this year (and maybe longer), and I’ll try to post the apron in the beginning of the month.


I must know you — meaning you are a reader/commenter on my blog (and not just for previous giveaways).

You have not already won an apron in the monthly apron giveaway (if you’ve won an apron before this year, you can still enter).

If you would like to enter to win the May apron, please let me know by leaving a comment. The winner will be announced on Sunday evening, May 11, at 5:00 pm PDT.









Fold-Up Houses — Make Your Own Village, 1934

As I’ve mentioned before, I loved making things from paper when I was young, and the cut-out and paste crafts, which usually came in activity/coloring books in the 1950s, were some of my favorites.

These particular houses were published as a series in the Sunday edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1934, and were illustrated by E. R. Higgins. The Sunday paper contained around 125 pages, and in addition to the usual news, also included a large women’s section, fiction, and a 6-page supplement entitled “Junior Eagle” with puzzles, games and crafts.

The fold-up house series lasted 15 weeks, and I will post the rest as I clean them up. The originals, of course, were black ink on newsprint, but I changed them to sepia since I wanted to print them on some tan parchment card stock left over from Emily’s wedding. You could change them to grayscale in a photo editing program, or just print them in black ink.

The directions call for pasting the newsprint on thick paper or thin cardboard, but it’s much easier to just print the images on card stock. The houses go together quickly, and I think it’s clever the way the illustrator used chimneys and awnings as tabs; the corner building and the curved roof house are also unusual. Although the houses took up the same amount of space in the paper each week, you can see that they are not all drawn to the same scale. I tried to change the sizes of the images so they print a little more to scale. My houses were printed landscape mode on legal-sized card stock (click on images until they are full-sized).

This week I hope to have an apron completed for the May apron giveaway.  Also, I’m finishing up the hand quilting on a large quilt, so hopefully something quilt-related to show soon.

UPDATE:  Click here for the remaining 12 fold-up houses.