Posts Written On June 2014

Vogart Embroidered Lambs Quilt

As I was looking through my new book, Childhood Treasures: Doll Quilts By and For Children (2008) by Merikay Waldvogel, I came across this quilt.


and I was so happy because look what I have.


The blocks are older (1932) than I thought, and I was so lucky to find them without any stitching, because I want to do that myself. The maker of this quilt didn’t bother cutting the blocks apart, but just used a running stitch on the cutting lines. I’ll add sashing or alternate blocks to mine.

Now, if I could only find a backing fabric as cute as the one in the book. Maybe I’ll have to start searching for a vintage lamb print.


Ocean Waves Quilt

This top was completed a long time ago (I wrote about it in this post), and it has been stuck in the queue all these years because I couldn’t figure out how to quilt it. Because the yellow is Kona cotton, which is heavier than the solids I am used to, coupled with the fact that there are about a gazillion seams in this pattern, I wanted to avoid sewing through the points of those little triangles. Finally I forced myself to sit down and sketch some designs, and I finally came up with something I was happy with — basically just a square grid though the triangles, with a geometric pinwheel in the solid space. For the borders I ditch stitched the flying geese, and then echoed that shape in the solid border. I bet you’re wondering why it took so long to come up with a pretty simple pattern. Not sure — maybe I had quilter’s block. You can see in the last photo that I had to fudge a little in the corners, which can happen when you don’t plan a quilting pattern when you’re designing the top, which is what I almost always do.

It’s been a long time since I’ve quilted a bed-sized quilt (and this is just a twin), but I’m so happy I was able finish it with very little pain in my hand and wrist. Taking almost a year off from quilting, wearing my brace both at night and when quilting, and alternating different types of stitching have all helped to combat my carpal tunnel and tendinitis. I now limit my hand sewing to 2-3 hours a day in the evenings, and I should switch to something else now (embroidery, hand piecing or appliqué), although I am itching to make a another dent in that pile of tops.

Ocean Waves Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2014
machine pieced, hand quilted
64″ x 78″





July Apron Thingy

The aprons are finished, so we’re doing this early. I’m calling it the Thingy instead of that other word, hoping I can stop the comments from people who obviously troll the internet searching for sites using that word. Even when I carefully explain that this event is meant to be a thank you to readers who have commented on my (non-g******y) posts, I still get these random entries. Some of these people have made comments every single time I have conducted one of these events, and it’s pretty clear they don’t read my blog. Oh well . . . on to the aprons.

This month two readers will each receive an apron. The fabrics I chose this time are not old, but are based on antique designs. They are sample pieces of decorator fabric from Brunschwig & Fils, which were part of a lot of large samples (around 26″ x 36″) I purchased on ebay last year. I’d never heard of B&F before, but that’s probably because I just found out their fabrics are crazy expensive at $100+/yard. They are beautiful, though, and these samples, which are fairly heavyweight, make lovely pillows, bags or chef style aprons. Here’s a quote from the B&F home page:

From grand rooms in the White House and the Palace of Versailles to romantic country retreats in cottages and seaside homes, Brunschwig & Fils fabrics, wallcoverings and furnishings have appeared for more than a century in the world’s most beautiful and iconic interiors. Brunschwig & Fils is the canon of high quality decorative textiles in the home furnishings industry, and today its many other products include wallpaper, trimmings and upholstered furniture.

The first fabric is Theodora (cotton/linen blend) in the espresso and bittersweet colorway. B&F states “This 18th century French interpretation of an Indianne design, heavily laced with color, brings out the best of French complexity and Indian imagination.” The other colorways are more subdued, but I like this wild one. I used a small brown and pink print for the bias neck treatment and the small doubled ruffle which goes all around the apron. The ties are grosgrain ribbons.




The second fabric sample is Egremont (cotton) in robin’s egg, which I believe is out of print. The label claims the pattern was authorized by the Society for the Preservation on New England Antiquities in Boston, as an adaptation from a block-print sidewall paper, France, 1815-25. On this apron I used a 19th century reproduction brown to make the bias binding, and I added a little vintage lace trim, which was a gift from Joyce Carter, a reader who won an earlier apron.




If you have not yet won an apron this year, and you have ever made a comment on my blog (other than for a you-know-what), you are eligible to enter. Simply let me know in a comment below which apron you would prefer. I will use a random number generator to select the winners on Tuesday, July 1. NOTE:  If you are the second person chosen, you may or may not receive your preferred apron.


Another Medallion Doll Quilt?

I wasn’t planning on doing another medallion quilt in my doll quilt series. There are so many others on my list (two-color, whole cloth, sampler, or even Hawaiian), but then I found the photo below in the book Great Little Quilts by Eleanor Levie. The original is about 45″ square, but mine is going to be just 18″, which required a few hours of drafting with some 1/10″ grid paper. My design is not perfect, but the original is also a little funky, and I think that’s just fine.

My templates are all traced and cut, but it’s going to take some time to gather the antique fabrics for this little quilt, because I need some larger pieces of red and brown for a couple of the borders where the prints are the same. If I can’t find exactly what I need, I’ll use reproduction fabric for those sections.

As I was drawing this pattern, a couple of things came to mind about the advantages of using template patterns. First, you can design a quilt with any weird size piece you want (like 7/10th”), and it’s very easy to reduce or enlarge a pattern by simply scanning and re-sizing the template pieces. There are instructions in the book to make this quilt in a 48″ size, which is similar to the original. If the author had provided templates, it would have been a lot easier for me to shrink this pattern.





Nancy Page Summer Garlands Quilt, 1936, Pattern #17

“And now, one more beautiful quilt is added to your heirlooms. Really, isn’t it the prettiest thing? Do you suppose Nancy can ever do anything so nice again? Just you wait until next week, and the answer will be in the paper.”

Finally, we have arrived at the last pattern for the Summer Garlands Quilt — the quilting design. As promised, I have created links to all the previous pattern pages. Clicking on the thumbnails below will take you to the original page for that section of the Summer Garlands quilt pattern.





Patriotic 4-Patch Doll Quilt Top

To celebrate Flag Day, I just finished the second doll quilt in my series “Quilts Styles I Will Never Get Around to Making as Bed Quilts, so I’m Just Going to Make Them as Doll Quilts.” The first quilt is this series was a Lemoyne Star Medallion based on an antique doll quilt. This latest one is 21″ square, and each small square is 7/8″. My inspiration for this little quilt came from two of my favorite quilters, Lori at Humble Quilts and Karen at Log Cabin Quilter, who both enjoy making folk art and holiday themed quilts, although they are experts at appliqué, while I am more of a piecer.



It’s funny to me that I avoid most technology when it comes to quilting, since I worked for 16 years as a Technology Assistant at my children’s former elementary school. I do spend a lot of time on my various devices — just not for designing quilts. My process is low tech (just like my method of making a quilt), and for this design involved only graph paper and some colored pencils, although I often use a compass and protractor as well. I’ve never been good at math, but I’ve learned how to draft a pattern, and I’m not sure why, but sketching design ideas seems to help in the creative process.

To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, below is my final drawing for the above quilt, after several failed attempts. I notice the diagonal design in the center is more obvious on my drawing than it is on the actual top, because I used all those scrappy fabrics (especially the shirtings). The quilt is mostly made using antique blocks and tops from my collection, but the indigo border is a repro, as are a few of the shirtings in the 4-patches.



Dyeing Crepe Paper Streamers for Flowers

When I was making the wedding flowers for our friends, Kyle and Marcia, I found some instructions online for dyeing crepe paper streamers, which was appealing since there weren’t that many shades of crepe paper in their wedding colors, blue and yellow. The process was pretty easy, requiring only streamer rolls, food coloring and some shallow bowls, but it took several days for the rolls of crepe paper to dry, and I just don’t have that kind of patience.

Last month I was making another group of flowers for a friend who will be using them at her church. She requested pastel colors, and once again I ran into the problem of limited colors available in pastels, so I tried the dye technique again, and it worked really well. The instructions I found this time called for using alcohol instead of water, because it dries much faster. I didn’t have enough alcohol, and besides, I had another idea I wanted to try — using my convection oven to dry the rolls.


crepe paper streamer rolls in white or pastel colors
Although the rolls from the dollar store were cheapest, I found that for some strange reason they did not soak up the dye nearly as well as the ones I purchased elsewhere — I did end up using them, but it took longer, they are paler than the other brands, and I wouldn’t use them again.

food coloring
The paste type was difficult to dissolve in water, so I tried the grocery store McCormick brand which worked well but only came in 4 colors — the best was the Wilton gel, which I found in 8 colors at Michaels.

shallow bowls that will accommodate the diameter of the crepe paper roll


I used the instructions from Brianna at CraftThyme (substituting water for the alcohol and using the food coloring mentioned above). For already colored streamer rolls, I only dyed one side of the streamer — the white rolls I dyed on both sides, sometimes with similar colors (pink/red or blue/teal) and other times with completely different colors. The colored water should soak into the roll almost immediately — if the color doesn’t come up as high as you would like, you can add a little more water to the bowl.

Place the dripping rolls on several layers of paper towel and put them in a convection oven at 175º until they feel light and dry. This may take 4 – 5 hours, and it helps speed up the process to turn them over halfway through. You might be able to use a regular oven to do this, but it would probably take longer.

Once they are out of the oven, peel off several of the outer layers, which are darker and kind of crunchy. This also removes the glob of wax, which sort of melts into the underneath layers.

Here are the rolls right out of the oven — they look darker on the outside than they actually are inside.


This is how they look once you have peeled off a few layers.


Here’s the flowers made from the dyed streamers . . . .


And here they are mixed in with the other solid colored flowers.


I managed to make some larger streamer flowers this time by sewing an extra half-width of streamer to my original strip before cutting and ruffling it. I’ll take some photos and write up a little tutorial, because the flowers turned out nice, and it wasn’t a big deal to add one more small step to the process.

You can also check out my earlier tutorial for making crepe paper flowers using streamers and a ruffler foot, Part One and Part Two.


Farm Journal Quilt Patterns, 1937 and 1939

The patterns got all mixed up when I was grouping them by print size. Only a few of the individual patterns include a date, so I am no longer able to tell which envelope most of them came from, but it’s either 1937 or 1939.

This group includes two pieced patterns and two appliqué patterns; one of the appliqué patterns (Summer Flowers) has geometric shapes giving it the look of a pieced pattern. I’ve never liked stitching these, because I think it’s very difficult to keep all those angles straight. I’d rather sew a complicated pieced pattern than one of these.

These instruction sheets have only a tiny illustration of the finished block, so I enlarged it for each pattern. Click twice on the template page to enlarge, then right click to save the image which can be printed in the original size on 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper.

Turkey in the Straw



Connecticut Star



Summer Flowers

Farm-Journal-quilt-pattern-Summer-Flowers-2 Farm-Journal-quilt-pattern-Summer-Flowers-

Christmas Rose

Farm-Journal-quilt-pattern-Christmas-Rose-2 Farm-Journal-quilt-pattern-Christmas-Rose



June Apron Giveaway Winner

The winner of the June apron giveaway is Nancy (comment #4). For those of you who didn’t win this time, please consider entering next month — I plan to continue this monthly giveaway until all of my loyal reader/commenters are winners.




Farm Journal Quilt Pattern – Rose Wreath, 1937

‘The most beautiful of all rose wreaths, if made with care, will result in a quilt that will be a joy forever.”

The instructions for the Farm Journal Rose Wreath are really good for a pattern from this period. Many times there were just template pieces and a drawing of a finished block. I’m not sure about the accuracy of FJ patterns, but I believe mail order patterns in general are more reliable than newspaper patterns, which had more strict space requirements. Also, because this is an appliqué pattern, as opposed to a pieced pattern, there is more flexibility in the design.

The FG pattern pages vary in size — this template page is 8 1/2″ x 11″, and I scanned it at a resolution that should just fit if you save and print it on that size of paper.


Farm-Journal-quilt-pattern-Rose-Wreath-1937-1a Farm-Journal-quilt-pattern-Rose-Wreath-1937-2


Farm Journal Quilt Pattern Catalog, 1937

Farm Journal magazine was established in March 1877, and is still published today. According the the Farm Journal history page, the intended readers were “farmers in the bountiful agricultural regions within a day’s ride of the publication’s office in Philadelphia.” Susan Wildemuth, a quilt historian who from 2009-2012 authored the wonderful blog, Eye of the Needle, wrote an interesting post about the quilt patterns published in Farm Journal.

The catalog below was part of a lot of vintage quilt ephemera purchased on ebay, along with two fat envelopes of Farm Journal patterns from 1937 and 1939 addressed to Mrs. John Kreinbrink of Flushing, Michigan. Thanks to Mrs. Kreinbrink, I will be posting several patterns each week until I get them all scanned. Click any image for slideshow.


June Apron(s) Giveaway

June is a two-for-one apron giveaway. Keep one and give the other one to a friend, or keep both for yourself.

These two aprons were made out of one vintage tablecloth, and are trimmed with new fabric — little green polkadots for the bib apron, and checks for the half apron. I like to make the ties extra long so they can be tied in the front.

My monthly apron giveaway is for commenters only, so if you have ever made a comment on a non-giveaway post on my blog, and you would like to win these tablecloth aprons, please let me know in a comment on this post.

I will use a random number generator to select a winner on Friday, June 6, at 6:00pm PDT.  Good luck everyone, and thank you for your support.