Posts Written On November 2014

Lemoyne Star Medallion Doll Quilt

This medallion quilt was inspired by a photo of an antique doll quilt in Small Endearments, by Sandi Fox — the quilt in the photo is 23″ square, while mine is smaller at 16″. The top is made with fabrics cut from my stash of antique tops and blocks; the backing and binding are reproductions.

Quilting is always a challenge on these little quilts, because I like the stitching to be as close as possible to maintain scale, but all the seams can make that difficult. On this top I decided to use a different quilting pattern on each row, and I like how it looks with all the dense quilting, even though my stitches are not perfect.

Lemoyne Star Medallion Doll Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2014
machine pieced, hand quilted
16″ x 16″


Here is my inspiration quilt from Small Endearments, by Sandi Fox.



Designs Worth Doing, Ruby Short McKim

Mickie asked about other individual RSM patterns, so here is a newspaper design from 1926. Although I love these butterflies, I can’t imagine wanting to stitch them in all white, or even with “spots of color” as suggested below. I would probably stitch the whole butterfly in jewel tones.

Nothing is more nearly a universal favorite among needleworkers than butterfly designs. They have been fashioned of finest lace, embroidered on sheerest mull or brilliantly blazoned in colorful silks. Here are three graceful butterfly motifs that may be traced onto guest towels, scarves, pillow slips, girl’s frocks, and aprons — either as separate motifs or to use with flower designs. They are readily adapted to either all white, madeira style, or to use with color spots of blue, yellow, orange and black.

This is a McKim Studios catalog from the period. I often think how wonderful it would be if one could order stuff from vintage catalogs, and in this case you actually can. Some of these patterns are available at the McKim Studios web site, which is maintained by Ruby Short McKim’s granddaughter. Click on any image for slideshow.



Winner — Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads



The lucky winner of the book giveaway is Commenter #28, Benne. Thank you everyone for participating, and for your nice comments about Cirilia’s book. This was the biggest response I’ve ever received for a giveaway.

Please check back in December when the usual monthly apron giveaway will resume.


A Gift Bib That Will Do for Thanksgiving or Christmas — Ruby Short McKim, 1925

You are probably familiar with the wonderful series quilts published by Ruby Short McKim and McKim Studios. Perhaps less familiar are the individual patterns which were published weekly in various newspapers. Here’s a cute embroidery pattern that caught my eye, because that’s an awfully big turkey he’s wrangling.




Here’s a design for a gift bib or tray cloth for the youngster that certainly smacks of the season. Being as his majesty, the turkey, is just as popular for Christmas as Thanksgiving, this could be used as a gift for either occasion.

Where time is precious, designs like this are hour-savers. There is sure to be a scrap of some material right size in the scrap bag; transfer the pattern through carbon to the material selected and embroider in “turkey red.”



Mariner’s Compass Doll Quilt

I can hardly believe I finally finished this little quilt, which has been hanging around here for about 15 years. I had quilted about two-thirds of the top with a diagonal grid, and I just wasn’t happy with it, so I ripped out the quilting and it took another 4 years for me to pick it up again. Although I had planned an all-over quilting pattern again, I changed my mind and settled on a circular pattern, which meant I didn’t have to worry so much about the wonkiness of my blocks and the fact that the angles don’t line up. This is a fairly challenging pattern to make in this size, and I think I could probably do a better job now that I’ve had more experience working with miniature blocks.

The pattern is from Mini Quilts From Traditional Designs, by Corcoran and Wilkinson, and I tried to make mine look just like the one in the book, which is something I don’t normally do now. The top was made when I first began using vintage fabric — the brown and tan background fabrics are reproduction, and the compass circles are vintage. Several of the prints in the compasses and the sawtooth border are much more contemporary than the period represented by the repro backgrounds, but I didn’t know much about vintage fabrics back then and was just thinking about the colors. The compass circles were hand pieced with a running stitch (I don’t do paper piecing), and then appliquéd onto the background squares.

Mariner’s Compass Doll Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2014
hand pieced, appliquéd & hand quilted
17″ x 17″



Book Giveaway — Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads: A Modern Knitter’s Guide to Discovering and Exploring Style

This week we are celebrating the much anticipated release of Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads, written by the lovely and talented Cirilia Rose. In addition to being a published author, Cirilia is a Brand Ambassador for New Zealand Mill Woolyarns, developing and promoting singular yarns for hand knitters, and she also happens to be the girlfriend of my son, Elliott.

In Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads, Rose takes readers behind the scenes of her design process, showing them how she curates and organizes ideas and translates them into knitwear designs. Through 25 projects that fall into three categories—Magpies (accessories for- the small amounts of precious yarns that knitters inevitably collect), Homebodies (garments for time spent close to home), and Nomads (garments to wear when venturing out into the world)—Rose shares her modern aesthetic and invites readers to develop their own.

Magpies is brimming with adorable projects, which you can check out on Cirilia’s Ravelry page, but you’ll definitely want to buy the book anyway, because there’s so much more to it than just the patterns.

Leave a comment below to enter the giveaway for this gorgeous book — even if you’re a quilter and have never knit a stitch, I bet you know a knitter who would love to receive this book as a gift. The winner will be announced on Saturday, November 15.

Photography by Jared Flood
Cirilia is modeling in photos 2 and 7