Friday, December 5, 2014

The joys of cold weather!

I am a California girl on the inside.  I was born and raised there, and didn't leave until I was 40.  My internal seasonal clock still revolves around summer.  As in, "We just finished summer," (in November), and, "Only 3 months til summer," when we hit spring.  So when we moved to the northwest, I had to learn to find joy in the often cool and rainy days, especially in the late fall and winter when the cold outside doesn't agree with me.

So I do a lot of piecing and quilting in the "dark months."  And I love it.

Here's a teaser for a project I've started with small blocks.  Stay tuned!

Happy Quilting!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday at the Quilt Museum!

Ocean Waves

You know that feeling when you see a quilt, and somehow it speaks to you?  And pretty soon, you just know you have to make it?

That's how it was for me with this green Ocean Waves quilt that I saw at The Quilt Index. It even ended up on our website header!

Here is the EQ7 version I created based on the original.  It has a divided center block, with one row of triangles around it.  A sea of green......

Original Quilt Information:

  • 76.5" x 78"
  • It was hand pieced and hand quilted by a Scott family member in New Jersey.
  • It is dated 1850.
  • You can see the original at the Quilt Index here.

And this is another one that speaks to me.  I recreated it in EQ7, as well.  I love the rich colors and the play of lights and darks that almost seem to reflect the nature of sparkling water.  You'll notice that the blocks are made differently from those in the green one above.  The quilter used a solid center, surrounded by two rows of triangles.  Isn't color amazing?

Original Quilt Information:

  • 71" x 79"
  • Hand-pieced and hand-quilted by an unknown quilter.
  • It was made in c1870.
  • It resides in the New England Quilt Museum's permanent collection.
  • You can see the original at the Quilt Index here.

If you're interested in looking at more Ocean Waves quilts from the 1850-1875 period, you can follow this link to take walk into the past and rejoice in the diversity and creativity of our quilting fore-mothers!

Thanks for joining me on our jaunt to the Quilt Museum!

Happy Quilting!

PLEASE NOTE: I am not a quilt historian.  I simply enjoy finding interesting quilts and sharing them with you!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Civil War Sampler

So, last week when I was messing around with the cactus basket pattern, it occurred to me that it might be fun to share the Civil War Sampler I mentioned in my last post.

In May of 2013, I started blogging about the quilt that my good friend Annie and I started together.  We decided to make Barbara Brackman's Civil War Sampler, and do it together, kind of like a friendship quilt.  We divided up the blocks and made two of each and shared with each other.  So my quilt has blocks from her, and hers has blocks from me, as well as our own.

As you can see, we've been at this for awhile!  Our hope, after the first of the year, is to get the backs together, get them basted, and then start on the hand quilting so maybe we'll be finished before 2020!

Here are EQ7 renditions of the finished tops.  I don't have actual pictures at this point, but I'll share them when I do.

This is Annie's

This is mine.

It's been such a treasure working on these together.  Maybe that's why it's taking us so long!

Here's a link to the blog with the whole story.

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cactus Basket

Today I was playing around with making another block for the block designer on our website, and I decided to do a cactus basket variation.  I first saw this pattern on Barbara Brackman's blog.  She called it Grapes of Wrath and it was part of her Civil War Sampler quilt, which I have made.

The Texas Cactus Basket is very similar, looking like this.  There are a few lines changed, is all.

  I really like how the block for my Civil War sampler quilt came out, so here is a rendition of it in blue and brown where I've used the block in a complete quilt.  I like how the baskets stand out from the neutral background.  And I always enjoy making a quilt that looks as if it is "matted" like a photograph.

I think I'll have to make this one!

You can play with the Cactus Basket block here in our Block Designer.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam

This quilt has always been part of my life.  It goes back as far as memory, for me.

I grew up sleeping under it at our cabin at Pinecrest, in the Sierras of California.  It was my favorite quilt.  I loved all the different colored dresses on the little girls and the funny boys in overalls.  I didn't know its story then, but I loved it.

My dad sold the cabin in the 70's, the quilt was packed in a trunk, and I saw it now and then at my folks' place.  And then one day, after my mom had gotten sick and couldn't tell me where things were anymore, I went looking for it and couldn't find it.  I asked my dad.  No idea.  Whew.  I wondered where in the world it could have gone.  Several years passed, and still no sign of it anywhere.

Then one day when I was helping my dad move stuff out of the old barn, I caught a glimpse of green and white and thought, "What in the world???"  I pulled that green and white off of some old boards, and there it was.  "My" quilt.  Very dirty, but still intact!

I took it home and it sat for awhile.  I wasn't sure what I should do to care for it.  Eventually, it started smelling moldy and I decided it was time to take it apart and see what I could do with it.

It was a tied quilt, so I took out all the ties and separated the top from the back.  What I found inside was amazing to me.  Several old wool sweaters had been taken apart and opened up flat and then stitched to a flannel sheet to form the batting. I recognized  two of them from pictures.  One had been my uncle's and one my mother's.  Truly a Depression Quilt.  I washed both the top and back and then set them away again, waiting until I knew what to do next.

In the meantime, I talked with my uncle, and he told me that it was their aunt - his and my mom's -who had made the quilt for my mom in 1937 or '38.  I got inspired to restore it, but still didn't really know what to do.

In 2011, Maggie and I were blessed to fall into an incredible quilt group.  I took the quilt top and asked them what they would do with it, and I was given good advice, which I followed.

So, after soaking it in Oxyclean, repairing some of the embroidery, then using some of the uneven border fabric to patch the holes caused by the ties pulling through, I sandwiched it with cotton batting, and basted it.

I started with outlining the Sues and Sams and the four sides of each block with hand quilting.  I thought that would be as far as I would take it.  I hadn't been a hand quilter until then.  But with the gentle encouragement of my compatriots at our quilting group, I decided to crosshatch all the blocks, as well.  Then when that was all finished, I added the twisted rope border in the sashing.  And then I bound it.  The only fabric that is not from the 30's is the binding.  If ever I find an original 30's piece of museum green that matches the sashing and border fabric, I'll probably replace what I've used.

The fabrics in this treasure are a wonderful representation of the patterns available in the 30's.  The prints are sweet.  The solids wonderful.  The back is a delightful patchwork of 3 different fabrics.  I just love the historicity a piece like this contains.

So, in memory of my mom, Winifred Brown Thompson, I have this fabulous reminder of her childhood and mine because Helen Moe took the time to make and gift to Mom a quilt during the Depression.  Thank you, Aunt Helen.

Happy Quilting!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jane Stickle Quilt

Well, it's Saturday, but I'm not able to take you on the type of museum tour I had hoped to do.  Finding permissions has proven to be much harder than I had anticipated.  I will continue to pursue that, and as I have the time, I will create facsimiles of original quilts in EQ7 and share them with you.  Maybe it will be a once-a-month treat!

In the spirit of the same, though, I want to share a story with you.

During the Civil War, a woman named Jane Stickle created an amazing quilt.  Many of you know of it because of Brenda Papadakis' work, "Dear Jane," and there are many webistes and blogs that have information about it.  My favorite is this one, by Kathleen Tracy:

All  Roads Lead to Bennington

When I say "amazing," it's as if the word is wholly inadequate to describe this work of art.

At first glance, it looks like a very full sampler quilt.  At second glance, it shows a complex border of pieced triangle blocks.  At third glance, it becomes a long, long look, and the realization dawns that this woman had a marvelous sense of color and balance and that she must have come up with many of her own designs and made patterns for each of the little blocks.  Then the questions start rolling......What did she use for those patterns? Newspapers, holding accounts of the War raging to the south of her? A pencil she sharpened with her paring knife?  Where did all the fabrics come from? Was she well-off and therefore had many beautiful fabric scraps at her disposal?  Or was a close and generous friend a dressmaker?  How was her sense of color and placement developed?  Was she gifted with that sense?  Was she educated by the women around her?  Did she have an artist mother or father?  What were her circumstances during War Time?  Did she have loved ones on the battlefield?  What responsibilities did she have in her daily life?  How many hours did this take her???

We get  a little peek into who she was from the inscription on one of the corner blocks:

"In War Time.
Pieces. 5602.  Jane A. Stickle."

It was War Time.  She finished it in 1863, which would have been about halfway through the War. She counted the pieces.  Her name was Jane.

Oh, to meet this woman.  I would love to have these questions answered, as would many others of us!

From the book, Dear Jane
Photograph by Ken Burris, Shelburne, Vermont

So, this past week, we received a message from a woman named Barbara looking for fabrics to create her own "Dear Jane" quilt.  She wants to use colors and patterns as close to the original as she can, and was on the hunt for what might be found.  She asked if we had such things, or perhaps a kit.

That really got the wheels turning for us!  We went through our inventory and discovered that we had more than 60 fabrics that would work for her.  We also realized that we had new stock coming in this week that would most likely fill out a collection.

So we wrote back and forth, sent pictures of what we had, and settled on a 70-piece fat eighth bundle that is true to the feel of the original quilt.  We sent that off to her on Thursday.

In response to this collection, she has posted in her online Dear Jane group about the bundle, and we received another order yesterday for the same.  We are delighted, of course!

So, I spent yesterday cutting more bundles, getting ready for the introduction of our "Dear Jane-Friendly Fat Eighth Bundle" in this week's newsletter.

In the process, I have become more and more interested in this quilt.  If I ever go to the east coast, I will hope to time my trip to coincide with the time when the original quilt is on display each year at the Bennington Museum.  It would be truly amazing to be able to sit and look at it in person.

What a national treasure.

Here are pictures of the collection we put together.  We are grateful to Barbara for the initial question about fabrics for a Jane Stickle quilt that gave birth to this idea.

I hope you have a wonderful week.

Happy Quilting!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturdays at the Quilt Museum - Baskets



Over the weekend, in talking with some folks about this idea for the blog, I realized I had "spaced" on the necessity of obtaining permissions for the use of the images I had originally included with this post.  In this increasingly "social" age with all the sharing of information on Facebook, Pinterest and the like, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that I need to ask, as I would want to be asked, for the use of others' photographs.  So, I am on a quest to obtain the permissions I need.  In the meantime, I'll be doing two things.  One, I'll be creating a facsimile of as many of the quilts as I can in EQ7 so you at least have an idea of what they look like right here on the blog. Two, I will be linking to the original photographs and posts, which makes an extra step for you in looking at these beauties, but well worth the effort. Thanks for understanding!

* * * * * * *

Okay, so I had this idea yesterday.

I love antique quilts.  I look at them online and have found inspiration for my designs among those I've found at the Quilt Index and other sites.  I've also looked at online museums, and even gone to see Civil War era quilts that are housed at the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, Oregon.  Wow, was that amazing.  The history represented in such works of art just stops me in my tracks.  My favorite reading has always been historical fiction, the history of our country being foremost.  And here in front of me were quilts made during the early years of our republic.  Amazing to me.

So my idea is this: "Saturdays at the Quilt Museum!"

On Saturdays, I'll take us on an excursion to see quilts from a variety of museums and private collections, focusing on either a particular era, quilt pattern, type of fabric, or technique employed.  And who knows what else as we explore what is out there!  I am so grateful for the Internet which enables us to see things we would never get to see otherwise.

So, on this week's jaunt, we're off to see Basket Quilts.  For those of you who know me, it will come as no surprise!

Basket - 1858

This one was the inspiration for my Little Blue Baskets.
It was love at first look. ☺

Click here for the original picture on the Quilt Index. When you're finished, click your "back" button to come back to this page.

Hand-pieced and hand-quilted by Mary A. Morgan
Dated November 22, 1858
Made in Buchanan, Michigan
73 x 83
Cotton Fabrics

* * * * * * *

Baskets & 1000s of Triangles - c.1870

Did you count the triangles?? 1075 is what I came up with!
What a palette of fabrics from the period!  It kind of makes me
wonder what's up with that blue block....

This one is in the works, but rather complex.  Coming soon!

Click here for the picture on the Quilt Index.  When you're finished, click your "back" button to come back to this page.

Unknown Maker
Hand-pieced and hand-quilted
c. 1870
77 x 77
Cotton Fabrics

* * * * * * *

Madder Basket - 1874

This one has the most beautiful madder paisley fabric used to great effect.
If you follow the link to more information about it, you'll be able to zoom in
and see the fabric in more detail.

Click here for the original picture on the Quilt Index.  When you're finished, click your "back" button to come back to this page.

Hand- & machine-pieced, and hand-appliqued by Harriet Bowerman
Wonderful information about the quilt-maker at the above link.
1850 - 1874
Made in Como, Colorado
74 x 84

* * * * * * *

Basket Design - 1870-1880

The simplicity of this is striking to me, and the inscription is interesting.
So much history wrapped up in these gems.

Click here for the original picture on the Quilt Index.  When you're finished, click your "back" button to come back to this page.

Hand-pieced, machine appliqued, hand quilted by Delia Birdsey Crocker
79.5 x 80
Cotton fabrics
For John R. Reese
Bed quilt made by Delia Birdsey Crocker
Born 1812, sister of Eli Coe Birdsey I, Squire
Gift of Lillian Birdsey Frost

* * * * * * *

More than 150 years have passed since the pink and green basket quilt was made.  It makes me wonder what it's seen in that time.  It has lived through the Civil War, the Industrial Age, two World Wars, the onset of the information age and the quilting revival of our time.

"If these quilts could speak....."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A new chart and a sneak peek!

I don't know about you, but I really enjoy reference charts.  I'm forever re-figuring an equation for something-or-other as I'm quilting along.  Here is another of the charts I've put together.

Diagonal Block Measurements

You can download it for free from our website on the Tips Page here.

* * * * *

On other fronts, my little blue basket quilt is coming along!
I've used these cute little blocks.

And this is how the center looks.

I'll have more to show you very soon!

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I've been having fun putting together informational charts for quilting-related things.  I've found myself going again and again to Google a formula or "how-to" on commonly used math in quilting.  I finally decided it was time to put together my own set of charts.  Here's one of them!

Bed & Quilt Sizes, Batting, Backing & binding Chart

I'm starting to post them on our website as free High Resolution PDF downloads, too.  They're on this page and I'm adding new ones often.  Enjoy!

Happy Quilting!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Woot! First order shipped!

Today is another red-letter day.  Our first ship-able online order went out this morning!

When it came in last night, we did a happy dance and then worked on processing through all the steps.  Such fun!  And I took a picture of the package, of course!

Thank you, Julie!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Up and Running!!

It has turned out to be a red-letter week!

For the past 6 months, Maggie and I have been working on a business start-up, and our website went live last Tuesday. We've been tweaking and getting broken links to work and the like, and having fun with it!

And thinking, “How did we get here??!!”

Back in February, an email in my inbox announcing the sale of an online discount fabric business got us to thinking. At first we wondered if we might want to buy that business, and started the process of working with the seller. But the more we thought about it, the more we realized what we really wanted was to start our own. Thus began our quest for information about online businesses, small business in Washington State, market research, website building companies, and on and on.

What we discovered has conveyed us to this point of actually pushing the “go” button!

Both Maggie and I love quilting. We have been blessed to be part of what we believe to be one of the most amazing quilt groups ever. Kindness, encouragement, and creativity abound and we have reaped the benefits of all of that, and more. You can check out our In Stitches Blog here and see what we mean!

Not only do we love quilting, we love designing. I can't think of a time that either one of us actually used a ready-made pattern “as is.”

We also love reproduction fabrics and recreating traditional quilts.

Add all that to the love of finding a good deal, and a passion for really good customer service, and there you have our business goals:

To provide:
  • The highest quality reproduction quilting fabrics
  • The most winsome traditional quilting patterns-
    • from our own design table
    • and from other wonderful designers
  • Good Old-Fashioned Customer Service
  • Affordable prices with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
We hope you enjoy keeping up with us here on the blog and that you have fun visiting our website.
We'd love to hear from you!