Posts Written On February 2009

Simplicity Needlework Patterns “Linen Suggestions For Children”

Here are two more of the darling patterns from the 1948 Simplicity Needlework Catalog. The puppy dogs and kitty cats pattern is going to be tricky to draft, but I’m going to try. I love the idea of embroidering sheets as well as pillowcases for a toddler, although I’m not sure I could make those scallops on the “Sleep Tight” Sheets. My embroidery stitch repertoire is limited to a few stitches — I need more practice.






Hello Kitty Birthday Treats

Since I’m on this Hello Kitty thing, I thought I would post some photos of Emily’s last two birthday treats — both Hello Kitty themed. The cake I designed myself — copying some ideas on the web from other HK cake makers. The skinny licorice is really hard to find — I ended up buying these little rolled-up wheel looking things and then tearing them apart. The cupcake toppers were bought on ebay from a seller in Japan — I’d never seen them before. There are two sets (16 different designs) and each Hello Kitty sits on a little base. I have no idea what I’ll do this year — I’m running out of ideas.

Hello Kitty Cake
Emily’s Birthday 2007


Hello Kitty Cupcakes
Emily’s Birthday 2008


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Hello Kitty Redwork Quilt Top

My daughter, Emily, loves Hello Kitty so I decided to make a little quilt for her using the pictures from a HK coloring book. Hello Kitty is really fun to embroider — I used both 1 and 2 strands of floss, depending upon the level of detail in the picture. My favorites are Hello Kitty in foreign countries — Emily likes the animal costumes. The alternate block is a variation of Puss in the Corner with an additional row on the outside. I’m sure it has a name, but I don’t have my book here to look it up. I plan to add a white border so I can quilt Kitty’s hair bow and maybe some Hello Kitty lettering.

Hello Kitty Redwork Quilt Top
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2008
hand embroidered, machine pieced
49″ x 63″








1948 Simplicity Needlework Catalog

I am so excited to have won this old catalog on ebay for only $15, which was a great deal in my opinion.  It is big (11″ x 13″) and although the cover is shelf-worn, the pages are pristine and the illustrations are wonderful.  The catalog contains pictures of every Simplicity needlework pattern in their 1948 library.  The pictures are very detailed (they appear to be the illustrations/photographs on the original pattern envelope), and it would be easy to duplicate many of the embroidery and applique patterns from the pictures.  There are 192 pages separated into 4 categories:  Modern & Miss, Children’s Section, Women’s Section, and the Household Section, with 2 pattterns on each page.





Workbasket Embroidery Transfers – Cats

Here are some more transfers which used to come stapled to the inside of your Workbasket magazine. I like these cats because they’re a little different — more realistic than I generally see in vintage transfers. Workbasket transfers are red ink on a craft-type paper and the paper (which originally was probably a light tan) darkens to brown with age and also becomes brittle. It takes a bit of playing around in Photoshop to get the scans to look decent.



Bow Tie Quilt

This quilt was made with some hand pieced vintage bow tie blocks purchased on ebay. Although the ties themselves were very cute, the background muslin pieces were badly stained, and I couldn’t use them. I took the blocks apart — washed, pressed and re-cut them ending up with a slightly smaller block. At the time, I only had a few vintage shirting scraps for the background, so most of those pieces are reproduction fabrics. This is the 5-piece traditional pattern which is usually hand pieced because of the set-in pieces. You can machine sew this block if you use the 6-piece pattern with the 2 little triangles to form the knot, but it just doesn’t look right to me — I think the knot piece should be square. This quilt was hand quilted inside each piece.

Bow Tie
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2007
hand pieced, hand quilted
63″ x 78″





Bark Cloth Market Bag

Here is my first bag using the Portabellopixie pattern. I used vintage fabric to line the straps and some other vintage scraps for the interior and pocket. Since the outside strap fabric had a grid, I decided to do a little cross stitch there. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out and it only took one day (as opposed to the larger tote bags I’ve made which take two days). I’m sending this little bag to my friend, Bunny (When Life Hands You Scraps), who lives in Newfoundland….SURPRISE! I hope she likes it.



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Artex Mushroom Embroidery Transfers

Since I haven’t finished adding the verses to my Mother Goose quilt blocks, I thought I would share a couple of designs from one of my favorite Artex transfer sheets (0248-A). It has five different mushroom designs, three cute owls and a couple of mice with acorns and leaves. Maybe these are available online, but I haven’t seen them.





Mother Goose Quilt Block #1 (with words)

Rather than make another quilt block yesterday, I decided to add text to the blocks. I just finished this Jack and Jill block which was the first one I colored/embroidered. I like the having the verses and it’s nice that most of the rhymes have four lines (although some of the blocks are going to have rather small lettering). I used a geometric font (Century Gothic) because I like the simple design, although my letters look a little primitive. Anyway, now I’m excited to add words to the other four blocks I’ve made.

UPDATE:  Four more blocks with words are located here.
Adapted from The Very Young Mother Goose, illustrated by Margot Austin



Mother Goose Quilt Block #5

I can’t believe I’m making another Mother Goose quilt when I just finished one last week, but I love these illustrations from The Very Young Mother Goose. I am trying to match the colors to the originals because that’s one of the things I love about the pictures — also the shapes of the trees and the blue trunks. These are so simple and go quickly. If I could stay on track, I could finish one every other day (one evening to color, and one to embroider). I have no idea what kind of set I’m going to use for this quilt which is weird for me — I usually have a plan for the top, although I almost never know how I’m going to do the quilting. I don’t even know how many blocks to make.


I like little pussy, her coat is so warm.
And if I don’t hurt her she’ll do me no harm;
So I’ll not pull her tail, nor drive her away
But pussy and I very gently will play.

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Emily’s Heart Quilt

This Heart Quilt was made for my daughter, Emily, as a bride’s quilt.  She isn’t engaged yet, but she and her boyfriend, Aaron, have been together since high school (they are 24 now) and I’m sure one of these days they will be getting married.  Of course, I wanted to have a bride quilt ready to go. It’s one of my favorites.

Emily likes hearts, so I decided to figure out a heart pattern rather than the classic wedding ring or nosegay (even though I love those patterns).  I had a big box of vintage squares from the 30’s and 40’s, and they ended up being perfect for this pattern.  It’s made up of two different heart patterns, separated by white sashing strips.   It was tricky getting the smaller heart border to work.  I am not all that good at math, and getting the 4-square small heart border to fit on both sides with the 6-square large heart was challenging — I had trouble figuring out the width of the white border to make it all work.  I wanted to put a heart in the corner, but I just couldn’t make it work.  The hearts are quilted with a diagonal grid in the heart and flowers in the white corners.  The border is quilted with hearts and flowers, and the corners with bows and hearts.

UPDATE:  Emily and Aaron were married in September, 2011, and I was finally able to give her this quilt.  I have also made a doll quilt based on this pattern.

Emily’s Heart Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2006
machine pieced, hand quilted
72″ x 83″