More Nancy Page Hand Quilting Designs

I apologize for the quality of these images — the designs are from 1930s newspapers and were only tiny drawings used as an example of the mail order pattern you could purchase. Unlike the more familiar Nancy Page series quilts that were published full-size in many newspapers, the individual quilt patterns and quilting designs were mail order only.

The images have been cleaned a bit and enlarged, so hopefully you will be able to print and trace the designs. Additional information and a group of more geometric Nancy Page quilting designs is available in an earlier post. Click any image for slideshow.



Vintage Briggs Quilting Transfers

This large paper folder contains more than the stated 3 dozen transfers, but, other than the design on the cover, I’m not sure they are original to this folder. Five of the patterns are identified as English quilting, and one is identified as Italian (the 5th pattern with double lines). They are quite large at 17″ square.

I’m confused by the whole concept of iron-on transfers for quilting.  I never use iron-on transfers for embroidery, because I think the lines are too thick and it’s tricky to cover them with stitching, so I can’t imagine using them for hand quilting, where the ink would be impossible to cover. At first I thought this might be some special kind of transfer ink that would wash out (pretty unlikely since the transfers are so old), but I tested it, and it’s permanent blue ink.

The designs are pretty, but a couple are very elaborate and look more like embroidery patterns to me. That’s not unusual, since I find that quite a few antique embroidery patterns (especially those intended for braiding and beading) make good quilting patterns (see previous post for 5 examples). Click patterns to enlarge.









Album Doll Quilt for Swap

Finally I have finished this little quilt for the swap organized by Lori at Humble Quilts. The quilting is about as close as I can get it, which I think suits the scale of the miniature quilt (block size is 3 1/4″). The blocks are stitched with a diagonal grid, and the sashing is ditch stitched on either side, with a wavy line down the center, following the leaf design in the print. You may be able to make out some of the quilting if you enlarge the last photo.

I’m in the process of embroidering a label, and then I’ll pop it in the mail to my swap partner. I really hope she likes it.

Update:  Two readers asked about the sashing for this little quilt, which was made using a small scrap from a previous quilt project — a remake of an antique Album quilt top. When I took the old top apart, I discovered the original sashing (which was a similar stripe) had rotted, so I replaced it with a reproduction. For the little version, I just used a small section of the repro stripe.

Album Doll Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2015
machine pieced, hand quilted
18 1/2″ square




Photograph Frame Embroidery Patterns

I’ve never embroidered a frame, but I think these would be very pretty. They were designed by Sarah Hale Hunter, whose column appeared in a number of newspapers in the early 1900s. I always enjoy reading the original instructions, so I have included those as well, since they are minimal. Click on the images to enlarge.

An effective photograph frame to be made in colored or white linen, embroidered in this design. The dots and leaves, also the figures at top and bottom, are worked solid. The stems, scrolls and straight lines are done in outline stitch. Mercerized cotton No. 25, or twisted silk, should be used.


This photograph frame may be decorated with the pattern published today. Colored mercerized cotton No. 18 is used on this design with good effect. The leaves and dots are worked solid, with the tendrils in outline stitch. The scrolls are embroidered in the long and short outline stitch. The scalloped design around each corner motif is worked solid, and the interior lines are done in outline stitch.


This design should be worked on heavy linen in white or colors. Work the edge in the long and short stitch, which forms a heavy outline. The scroll inside the edge may be worked solid, also the dots and the veining done in outline stitch. The dotted line indicates where the linen should be cut and pasted back on the foundation. The frame must be mounted on heavy cardboard, and a solid back, covered with linen, is pasted to the frame at the sides and top, leaving the bottom open for the picture to slip in. Mercerized cotton No. 15 or twisted silk may be used for the embroidery.



Meet Sasha

A huge thank you to everyone for your birthday wishes. We had a wonderful girls night out and many karaoke songs were enthusiastically (if not perfectly) sung. My daughter, Emily, is an expert at event organizing, and I look forward every year to what has become a birthday tradition.

Then, on Sunday, we had another Mother’s Day/Birthday dinner here, and I received a special surprise gift from my son, Elliott, and his girlfriend, Cirilia . . . a 3-month old white kitten with strawberry blonde patches, who is about the sweetest little boy I’ve ever met. He’s incredibly affectionate, and would cuddle up and start purring the minute anyone picked him up.

Elliott and Cirilia freaked because they couldn’t locate any shelter kittens — everyone said “call back in a month.” They ended up answering a Craigslist ad, and the owners (who were Russian) claimed their kitten was a Siberian mix. E & C knew I wouldn’t care about the kitten’s breed — they just wanted a young kitten, but they really liked him, of course, because he was so friendly and adorable. As a nod to his alleged lineage, we decided to name him Sasha.

Now I am going through the slow process of introducing him to my 5-year old cat, Elvis, who is currently not very happy about this whole situation.




Happy Birthday To Me!

Tiny Tots Paint Book
Illustrations by Dorothea J. Snow
Whitman Publishing, 1941

It’s a beautiful day in Seattle for the 4th annual Girls Night Out Birthday Dinner followed by singing karaoke at Rock Box until the wee hours of the morning. Tomorrow there’s another Birthday/Mother’s Day party at home with family. Lucky me!


Replacement Album Doll Quilt for Swap

If you happened to read the update on my last post, you know that I ran into a problem on the Shoofly doll quilt for Lori’s swap. I was about 3/4 done with the quilting when I encountered a block with weak fabric. It’s not unusual to run across unstable fabric when you’re purchasing antique tops and blocks, so I try to be very careful when I’m selecting fabrics for a quilt. This time one slipped right by me. At some point in the future, I’ll probably take out all the quilting and replace the damaged block, but for now I just had to put it away and think about making a replacement quilt for the swap.

While I was pondering a design for the new quilt, I walked by my remade 1886 antique quilt which hangs in the living room. I remembered that I had a leftover strip of the sashing fabric, and thought I could make a small version of the Album quilt using reproduction Civil War fabrics. The Album block is simplified for the little quilt, but the diagonal set is just the same, and I plan to use a similar quilting pattern. The top should end up about 19″ square once it’s quilted.

I have to say that it was a nice experience working with new fabric for a change — there are so many prints to choose from, and the fabric is much easier to work with. I still love the authentic stuff, but from now on I’m going to be a lot more rigorous about testing the strength of the fabric before I include it in a quilt.



Shoofly Doll Quilt Top for Swap

UPDATE:  What a drag — I was nearly done with the hand quilting, when I encountered a block with an unstable print. This is always a risk when working with these very old fabrics, and although I try really hard to catch any little pieces with issues, I missed one this time. 🙁 Now I’m going to start over with a new swap quilt, but this time I’m going to use reproduction fabrics.

Here is my little quilt for the second doll quilt swap sponsored by Lori at Humble Quilts. This time I decided to make a double-pink utility quilt using the simple Shoofly pattern. On my first attempt I made the sashing about twice as wide as it is now, and I was not happy — it was too much pink, and the scale was all wrong. Now that I’ve taken it apart and cut down the sashing, I’m much happier, although it’s still very pink. I just hope whoever gets this quilt likes old double-pinks as much as I do.

All the fabrics in this 20″ square top are from my collection of antique blocks and tops, but the binding and backing will be reproductions. I’m planning on hand quilting with the Baptist Fan pattern, because that just seems right for a utility quilt. Click to enlarge the photo if you want to get a closer look at the individual prints.




Denim Applique Coverlet Update

I’ve decided to call this a coverlet, since it doesn’t really fit the definition of a traditional quilt sandwich held together with stitches, and it’s not particularly warm and snuggly, either. It’s going to be a sort of bedspread for a twin bed, but not floor length, and I’ll crochet a scalloped edge around the outside.

Now that we’ve got that straight . . . here are the first 16 of 164 6″squares all crocheted together. It went pretty smoothly once I figured out how I wanted to join the squares. I had planned to space the letters in order across the quilt, but then when I was sewing these first two 8-square sections together (the upper left corner of the coverlet), I accidentally placed the section with the A on the bottom and the D section on top. I did not want to rip out any more stitching on this project, so now the letters will be completely random, just like the pictures, and it’s going to make it easier going forward. Seriously, I’m always making stupid mistakes like this — it would worry me that I am getting Alzheimer’s (like my father and grandmother), but I’ve always been this way, so that’s a comfort, I guess.

I’m going to take a break from this quilt now so I can finish the quilting on the String Star Quilt, and also make a little Civil War quilt for Lori’s quilt swap. I know I said “no new quilts,” but it’s just a little one, and she only does this exchange once a year.

There is more info on the making of the denim quilt in a previous post.


Here’s how it looks on the back.denim-applique-quilt-16-blocks-back


Hand Quilting Designs from Vintage Embroidery Transfers

I recently purchased folder of large vintage Briggs transfers which are labeled as quilting patterns. As I was looking at the designs, I realized they looked a lot like the large patterns I’ve seen which were intended to decorate cushions. After looking around online for cushion patterns that might also work for hand quilting. I found a rose design that was perfect as is, and four others that I felt would work, but needed a few changes. Now that I’ve added a few elements to a couple, and subtracted some details from the other two, I think these would look wonderful as alternate blocks. Click images to enlarge.

Next, I will clean up the Briggs transfers to share — no changes will be required for them, as they were designed for hand quilting.

Quilting-Design-from-Cushion-Embroidery-Transfer-1 Quilting-Design-from-Cushion-Embroidery-Transfer-2

Quilting-Design-from-Cushion-Embroidery-Transfer-3 Quilting-Design-from-Cushion-Embroidery-Transfer-5


Denim Applique Quilt — Progress

After much trial and error, I think I have finally come up with a plan for this quilt. The process of figuring out how to embellish and join these blocks required lots of stitching and almost as much unstitching. For some reason, it’s just about impossible (for me, anyway) to envision how embroidery and crochet is going to look on a project without actually doing the stitching. So, on with the plan . . .

Find and Fuse the Appliqués
Initially, I thought I would browse through some of my old coloring/paint books for patterns, but even the simple designs were too detailed. Because I wasn’t planning on adding any additional embroidery beyond the blanket stitching, the designs had to be recognizable just by their shape. I ended up using images I found online of silhouettes and die cuts, and some I actually drew myself — a talent I do not possess, but these are pretty simple designs.

With a light fusible web (something you can hand sew through), I fused the design to vintage fabric pieces and then to my denim squares. I just wanted something that would prevent the edges from fraying.


Finish the Edges of the Appliqués
This is regular blanket stitch using a pretty big embroidery needle (to get through the denim and fusible) with 3 strands of floss.


Back the Squares with Cotton Fabric
For backing, I pulled scraps of new, mostly reproduction, fabric from my stash. I didn’t bother sewing up the small open area where I turned the fabric inside out — it’s closed up in the next step. And I know . . . my cat’s ears and tail ended up too close to the edge, but I’m going to try and fudge it.


Blanket Stitch Around the Squares
Using Pearl Cotton #5, I grouped three stitches together to make it a little more interesting. It’s important that there are the same number of stitches on each side — I made a template so I could mark dots for each triple blanket stitch.


Crochet a Border Around the Squares
The border is made with double crochets, although I need to maybe add some triple crochets to the corners to make the blocks more squarish, which should make them easier to sew together.

Because there’s a lot of black thread in this quilt, and Pearl Cotton is not cheap, I ordered a large cone of 5/2 mercerized pearl cotton (mostly used by machine knitters and weavers). I think the wpi (wraps per inch) is just a tiny bit less than the DMC#5 pearl, but it should be fine. When I get the new thread, I’ll rip out the borders on these two blocks and replace them.


Sew the Blocks Together (no photo because I freaked out)
Update: Click here for a photo of 16 blocks sewn together.
Honestly, this was the hardest part of this project. Since there are about 50 little stitches on each side of the square, it’s a bit more like joining crocheted bedspread squares than granny afghan squares, and everything is black! I hate sewing black on black!

Eventually I realized, after trying about 8 different techniques for joining my squares, that just sewing them loosely with a whip stitch (appliquéd sides together) worked really well.

I’ll include all the alphabet letters and maybe some numbers, but the pictures will be random — both in the selection and placement. Hopefully I’ll find be able to find at least one picture for each letter of the alphabet, but I don’t really consider this an alphabet quilt, so I’m not going to obsess about it.

This is a pretty fun project because there are so many different steps involved. It takes a while to make each block, but when they’re done, they’re really done. No batting or backing to add, and no quilting of any kind required.


Vintage Embroidery Designs — Fuchsias

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we struggle to grow a decent zinnia, but we have beautiful fuchsias in so many amazing color combinations, which are particularly suited to our mild climate. My husband says to be safe, I should wait until Mother’s Day, but today is a gorgeous day, and I couldn’t wait any longer to hang my new fuchsia on the porch.


These matching Art Nouveau designs are from 1910 newspapers, and meant to be used on a blouse and a skirt panel (hence the odd shapes). These are the only fuchsia embroidery patterns I’ve ever seen, and although they are quite large, I think you could just use small elements of the designs. As usual, click on the images to enlarge.