Friday, January 15, 2021

Flower Friday: January 14, 2021


Yippee it's Flower Friday!
64 days until Spring!

Above is a block from a calendar quilt I made years ago.  I think the transfer was from my Nana Elsie but I'm not sure.  Anyway, it was fun to make!

Nann said not much blooming near Chicago but she sent this interesting photo from one of her hikes.  It's a teasel seed head and isn't the structure interesting?

Nann also sent this interesting article in how the teasel seed pod was used in cloth making.  Intrigued?  It is a cool article and you can read it here.  It's a fascinating insight and the photos are great too!

Betsy and Sue shared what's blooming in their homes!

Sue said the first sign of spring at her house is when her orchids begin to bloom!

PS--how about that Pig string holder in the background!!!

Last week Sue showed us that her orchids were sprouting lemons.  This week Betsy shared that her lemon tree is still blooming and now it has fruit!!!

Have a safe and happy day!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Loving Little Lulu


When my brother and I were kids, whenever we had a windfall of money--like a whole 25 cents--we'd bicycle the half mile to the drug store and pick up a comic book each.  Jim liked Superman or The Fantastic Four.  I loved Little Lulu.

Apparently many of you loved Little Lulu too because I've gotten some interesting emails and at least one comment about my "Let's Make A Quilt!" quilt.  A few months ago, I had texted Beth about sashing choices for this piece and she called me to tell me about how she loved Little Lulu.

Beth even had a Little Lulu doll which looked just like this.  It was her favorite doll until Babe, the huge family-part St. Bernard Dog got Little Lulu when Beth was about 8 or 9 years old.  Beth's mom tried to save poor Lulu's bashed in face but eventually she had to be discarded.  Still Beth saved the dress from Little Lulu for years.  Beth said that everytime she read The Velveteen Rabbit to her kids,  she thought of her beloved Little Lulu.

Sue actually emailed me a Little Lulu scarf she had as a kid that she still has:

Sue wrote:  "I love you Little Lulu, I do!"
She thinks she had a Little Lulu doll too.

Wendy commented:  "Oh how I loved Little Lulu!  She was a free spirit and knew how to look out for herself.  I was a lot like her when I was little. My mom used to call it 'headstrong'."

Because of the response, I thought I would share with you some Little Lulu embroidery designs.  Somewhere in my big cupboards of research, I actually have a McCall's catalog with an ad for the pattern which I think was published in the 1950s.
Enjoy and go on and make yourself a Little Lulu embroidered piece!

Tomorrow is Flower Friday.  Please feel free to email me any floral images:

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Chilean Arpilleras

 "One thing was not censored:  the power of women's hands."  --Marjorie Agosin

Since last Wednesday, I've been thinking about Chilean arpilleras.  Arpilleras are folk textiles now widely sold in South America to tourists.  I have a number of them; my husband has worked extensively in various South American countries.

 Arpillera is Spanish for "burlap" and refers to the backing used:

A lot but not all have a crocheted edge.  These textiles do not have batting and aren't quilted.

In 1973 a bloody coup occurred in Chile and Augosto Pinochet took power.  For the next 17 years, Chileans suffered during a regime has been referred to as "instutional terrorism" by historians and socialists.  Thousands were murdered, and thousands "disappeared."  To this day, many family members do not know what happened to their loved ones.  

While much of the free world supported Pinochet for halting "communism" and "socialism" in Chile, a small community of women sought to support themselves by making arpilleras.  I can not stress enough to you how integral the Catholic Church was to these women; they payed them for the pieces and provided safe places for them to work.  For many of these women this work provided their only income after their husbands disappeared.  In one story, a woman gave up her place at the church to another woman:  "My children ate last night, yours didn't."

Most importantly, the arpilleras depicted the plight of Chileans.  Many illustrated the brutality of the regime, the lack of food and water, the loss or disappearance of loved ones, the torture and murder.  

These humble folk art pieces were smuggled out of the country and illustrated to the world the true oppression and barbarity of the regime.  Because of this, arpilleras were eventually banned.  Women continued to make them and as the pieces were displayed in the world, sentiment grew against Pinochet. 

Here are some photos and articles that you may wish to view and  here.  A video here.

Marjorie Agosin, a Chilean poet, spent decades studying and interviewing the arpilleristas.  I have a number of books on this topic and my favorites are by Agosin: Tapestries of Hope, Threads of Love and Scraps of Life.   

In 1987, I attended a lecture at Kutztown University and heard Veronica de Negri described the brutality she witnessed; her own 19 year old son was burned alive by the military police.  

In the same year, the rock start Sting recorded his song:  They Dance Alone.  It is the true story of another artistic rebellion that Chilean women performed:  they danced alone in a dance meant for couples called the Cueca.  Even now, many women still  dance the Cueca alone as a form of mourning their loved (and disappeared) family members.  You can hear the song here.  It remains one of the most haunting and powerful pop songs I have heard.

Throughout history, artists have depicted oppression and inhumanity in their works; I've spent most of my life studying this kind of artwork.  Still powerful pieces such as Guernica--made by Picasso who had money and prestige for protection--pale in comparison to the courage of the women who sewed these humble pieces and risked everything to relay the inhumanity they endured.

I have been thinking about Chilean arpilleras this past week.  How would I relay all the inhumanity, indifference, and immorality of the past 4 years which culminated in the seige of the Capitol?  How would you?

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

"Let's Make a Quilt" Quilt

Just a quick note today because my Mom has a medical apointment.

Here's my "Let's Make a Quilt" quilt.  Finished January 2021.  Simple outline embroidery and I had Terri Trotter machine quilt it.  I'm hoping to hang it in my sewing room and made it to fit a small space above the wainscotting.

Have a safe and happy day!


Monday, January 11, 2021

Men Who Quilt #6

 Today's story interested me for a couple of reasons.  Our quilter today had worked most of his life as harness maker which sounds archaic but isn't as unusual as city dwellers assume.  I remember visiting the urban neighborhood where my father grew up when my aunt pointed out where the horse troughs were (and that was in the 1930s and early 40s).  

Another aspect that you might find interesting is Eilers decision to machine quilt.  Machine quilting goes back much farther than most people assume.  Our study group has examined 19th century machine quilted textiles.  

So from Mansfield, Ohio, here is Henry's story:

Have a safe and happy day!

Friday, January 8, 2021

Flower Friday: January 8, 2021


Yes this week we need as much cheering up as possible!

It's Flower Friday!  

71 days until the first day of Spring!   

Here are some delights to brighten your day:

This sampler was made by Betsy's grandmother, Marjorie Vandling Davis.  Isn't it lovely?  I love the phrase!  Betsy honors her grandmother by displaying this on a window seat along with this pillow that she made for the seat:
It's been a long time since I've seen candlewicking (the offwhite embroidery) and forgot how stunning it is!  Thanks Betsy!

Sue reminded us of the wonders of nature--and also the resilience.  I think this is a good message for this week.  She wrote:

I water my orchids with ice cubes.  I drink lots of iced tea with lemon.  When done with ice tea I dump the leftover ice cubes into my orchids.  Now I have lots of lemon trees growing in the orchids!  One has grown quite tall.

These are some amazing messages for this week.  Stay strong, honor those that came before us, and remember we can persevere.

Stay safe and have a lovely weekend!


Thursday, January 7, 2021

Old Glory Quilt


Old Glory Quilt

This quilt pattern was published locally in 1933.  The quilt entails applique, embroidery and piecing and are actually more elaborate than it appears on this layout grid:
Each state has an embroidery motif which was published in the paper:

You can see a finished quilt here at the blog, Quilts-Vintage and Antique.

I have the pattern for this and if you want me to share the blocks, I'm happy to do so.  Just leave a comment or email me.

Tomorrow is Flower Friday and I've already received some neat submissions from Sue and Betsy.  If you want to submit any floral type of photo, email me at

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Men Who Quilt #5

We continue our quest to study men who quilt with this article from St. Joseph's, Missouri.  This article was published in 1940.  I always appreciate it when we can see some of the work of the quilter:

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The Roosevelt Rose


January 1934

You can actually look at a Roosevelt Rose quilt here at the International Quilt Musuem.  It's a stunner!

Have a safe and happy day!

Monday, January 4, 2021

"Let's Make a Quilt!"


During this past holiday, I spent a lot of my free time marveling at the resilience of quilters.  By resilience, I mean the psychological definition:  the ability to adapt well in times of adversity, trauma, tragedy, or any type of significant stress.  

Although many quilters did mention that the year was very traumatic, they ended 2020 focused on the positive:

"These were my favorite quilts I made!"

"I used us XXX amount of my fabric stash in 2020!"

"I finished a number of quilts this past year!"

No sooner had the year ended when the blogs and social media sites began to fill with other optimistic topics:

"I've already started my new quilt for 2021!"

"I've joined such and such challenge for the new year!"

"I'm already working on my new quilt for ...."

It's true, hobbies are a great source of comfort, especially in tumultuous times.  But for those of you who read my blog and don't quilt, let me tell you:  you are missing all the fun.

Whenever I sew or engage with quilters online or via text, I feel like I've entered a new realm.  It's not unlike reading a book.  Suddenly my attention from the anxieties of the world disappear and I'm transported to a happier place.

I'm proud to belong to a community of folks who support each other and each other's work.  We are not people who wring our hands and lament when the world has problems.  We do something.  

The majority of us are not curing cancer or first responders.  We make hugs comprised of fabric.  Giving a textile hug may not stop the pandemic or change the political climate but giving love in any form is a good enough reason to do anything.

We adress the problems and joys of our world with four simple words:  "Let's Make a Quilt."

The notion is as old as quilting itself:

From a children's story published in 1885 called Ruth's Secret.

 "Let's Make a Quilt" was a favored advertising slogan before and during the depression.  Quiltmaking became even more popular when it was supported by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1934:

The idea of doing something was key during the New Deal.  It wasn't merely important for people to perceive their politicians as doing something, it was important for citizens to be working as well...not merely for financial reasons but for morale.  

Rolling one's sleeves up is the best medicine for adversity.  I've never met a quilter who succumbed to helpless and hopeless feelings while working.  Our rallying cry is simple:

(1935 ad)
Sometimes we pursuit noble causes and when our community is in trouble, we pull out our rotary cutters and thread our needles.  Some of what we sew is in a different form than quilts--like the mask making that we all did at the beginning of the pandemic.  

We've also kept the textile industry in this country alive for decades.

Want to provide comfort to the infirmed, children, seniors, or hospice patients?

We quilt things that make us happy and because of things we wish we could change.  Each quilt is like a different chapter of our development, not only as makers but as human beings.  We don't even need big problems in order to quilt.  Sometimes we just react to environmental factors.  These are the kinds of posts  I noticed this weekend:

"Oh goodie!  It's snowing (or raining)!  Time to quilt!"

Or in the case of one quilter:

"It's sleeting, I have to sew now in case we lose power!"

1933 ad

Even when we are annoyed, our quilting comforts us.  Mad at your boss, husband, politicians?

Most quilters know this not-so-old adage:

I've been in email conversations through the weekend with some of you.  Many of us have made so many quilts that our family has had enough.  I learned from my friend Jeanette a clever tactic: always keep some lap quilts on hand.  When one of my kids' eloped, she immediately sent a lap quilt as a gift.  She had a stockpile for unexpected gift giving. 

I loved this idea and adopted it.  When I hear that someone's friend has cancer, I give them a lap quilt for the patient.  The chemo rooms are cold and the quilts come in handy.  I've given quilts to shut-in seniors, new neighbors, and anyone who may need some support.  Giving quilts as unexpected gifts to uknown people may be my favorite quilts to present.  The world needs more love and quilts are the perfect symbol of comfort.

I finished my sewing themed wall hanging yesterday.  I can't get good photos right now because it is so cloudy.  It didn't occur to me until last when I finished the binding that this quilt had a name.  It will be called "Let's Make a Quilt!"

Have a safe and happy day!