Monday, August 31, 2020

Textile Memories

So here is a post just for fun.  Most of you don't need a creative jumpstart but it's a good technique for that as well.

Years ago I subscribed to an early website called Quilt History List.  I think it stopped being active about 6 or 7 years ago.  It was a fun site and I learned a lot about quilt history there.  But the most memorable question asked there was one I would like to ask you:

What was your first textile memory?

Whenever I've asked that question of folks, they usually have something pop into their head immediately.  They don't even have to be sewers or creative.  I've always thought this would make a great quilt guild challenge.  Everyone is different and there is no right or wrong answer.  I'm just wondering if you would like to share what just popped into your head and I'll share comments on Thursday of this week.

1950s fabric ad.

Beth remembers the Ducky Blanket.  It was a baby blanket and she thinks it was reversible.  Whenever she or her siblings were ill as kids, they had to be wrapped in the Ducky Blanket.  This isn't her blanket but it's the best image I could muster:

Linda remembered a dress she made in junior high.  It was navy blue and had "really LARGE rick rack" on the bell sleeves and along the hem.  She might have used one of these patterns:

My Mom remembers that when she was very young her mother sent fabric out to be accordian pleated.  When the fabric came back, her mother made her a skirt of the fabric.

 Patti isn't a sewer but she remembers her grandmother's patchwork quilt filled with different fun fabrics (probably novelties) that she loved to study. 

When I was about 3 or 4, my mother learned to sew and she made "Mommy and Me Dresses" which were a big rage during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.  Our dresses were made of a green gingham.  Here are some patterns featuring that style:

What is your first textile memory?  Email me at  I'll share your replies on Thursday!

A bonus today is found on Barbara Brackman's website, Cloud of Quilt Patterns.  The block is "Allentown" and you can check it out here!  I would love to make a paper pieced pattern for this and whip up a small version!

Have a safe and happy day!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Flower Friday: August 28, 2019

Today is Flower Fridays to brighten your day!
If you have a floral image you want to share for next week, be sure to send it to me at


Have a safe and happy day!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Easy Stitcheries for Little Fingers

"The Sewing Lesson" illustration by Jessie Wilcox Smith

One of the travesties of modern education is the elimination of sewing and cooking in school.  Years ago, a member of our guild taught sewing at the high school in my city.  She had waiting lists of students who were eager to learn.  The poverty level in our city is near 40% and whenever supplies were needed by students, our guild member would send out an email and we would load her van up with fabrics, thread, zippers, etc.

We loved supporting these youngsters in their creative endeavors.  The kids were even hoping to hold a fashion show of their work to our guild.  And then the program was dropped.

What many people don't realize is that sewing was taught in elementary school at one time.  Embroidery was considered an essential part of the early elementary curriculum.  An 1898 manual from a Normal School cited:

Embroidery provides an educational means by which the brain is developed through the use of the hand.

Today we refer to this as hand-eye coordination.

Embroidery was taught to both boys and girls.  They often worked on sewing cards.  I have a few of these in my collection but this one is my favorite:

Because it has information on the back:
In the top corner is written: Mary 5/1906

In 1916, Ruby Short McKim won a quilt pattern competition and had her designs published in a weekly format in the Kansas City Star.  The contest was created to market a new children's book and the designs were intended for youngsters to sew.  It isn't surprising that Ruby won; she herself was the Supervisor of Drawing for the Independence School District in Missouri.
From an early 20th century "Quaddie Quilt" designed by Ruby Short McKim.

If you have a youngster in your family, I recommend teaching embroidery to them.  It's easy and fairly quick for the youngster to finish.  Many women's sewing magazines in the early 20th century featured at least one article for children sewing.  I recommend this project because it is easy and quick.  You can purchase a towel for the youngster to embroider and then display the finished piece in a place of honor in your kitchen.  You can find a multitude of easy embroidery patterns on pinterest and your youngster will love picking out their design!

Needlecraft, 1926

Tomorrow is Flower Friday so feel free to share any image of a flower (real, textile, painting, etc.) to share with us!  You can email me at 

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Happy Suffrage Centennial Day!

Today is the official centennial of women's right to vote.  The Amendment was certified on this date.  The rest is history.  

Real battles are won by soldiers, not generals.  Today I want to thank all the lesser known suffrage soldiers for their amazing work in getting our amendment passed.  We may never know what happened to many of them later in life but today we mark the day by celebrating their valor and commitment.

One of those lesser known soldiers was Kate Cleaver Heffelfinger of Shamokin, Pennsylvania.  Her poem was published in 1918 in The Suffragist.

To the Women of the Future
By Kate Cleaver Heffelfinger

In the joy of bread you give
To your children, strong to live,
If old striving be forgot,
And starvation be forgot,
Think on them that dreamed your real
And were broken on life's wheel.
It was they who stormed the gate
Open, but for them too late.
Future women, past that portal,
Keep their youth's spilled wine immortal!

Kate being assisted after she was released from the Occoquan Workhouse in 1917.  She had been on a hunger strike and was forcibly fed in prison.

Happy Suffrage Centennial Day dear readers!  Now make sure you have your voting plan in order!!!

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Maija Isola

We love flowers!
We love fabric!
We love rebellious women!

Here's a bit of all three:

Many years ago I attended an estate sale in my neighborhood.    No quilts or embroidered goods but there was fabric.  Most of it was vintage garment fabric.  I kept digging and when I hit the motherload, I filled a garbage bag.  I think the whole lot was about $6. 

It wasn't traditional quilting fabric.  I knew the fabric was from the 1960s.  I remembered it and so probably will you.  I thought that maybe I would make something for the kids who loved that retro look.  I wasn't really sure what to do with it.  I brought it home and studied the selvages and began to do some investigating. 

Most of the fabric was made by a company named Marimekko.  Maybe you heard of them.  The company had been created in 1949 in Finland.  The fabric featured bold and modern prints, often large scaled. It was very graphic and VERY modern.  The fabric was initially inked by hand.  According to the Marimekko website, this process was used until 1973!  

I wasn't the only one who wasn't sure what to do with the prints.  The Finns reportedly didn't know what to do with the fabric either.  So Marimekko reduced the size of the print and held a fashion show to illustrate what could be made with the fabric.
The company really took off when Jackie Kennedy began to wear their designs!  According this article, Jackie actually loved colors particularly pink.  Who knew?  Most of us grew up in a black and white world.  There's a great article here about Jackie and Marimekko.

Some of the Marimekko fabric I purchased:

This is the rarest of the fabrics I purchased.  It's called Musta Lammas and was printed in 1957.  Years ago I saw a photo on the internet of a skirt made of the fabric.  It was charming!  I wish I had saved the photo because I can't find it now.  Here's a close up:

Maija Isola was an artist and became one of the main fabric designers. Born in 1927, she became the primary designer of popular Marimekko prints.  Many of her early prints were  nature inspired.   

No one likes to be told what and what not to create, especially artists.  

In 1964 a mandate came down from the owner that Marimekko could never produce fabric with floral designs.  Maija was known to be unconventional.  One source cited that Maija  "provocatively defied" the order.  It's pretty rebellious to defy any order from your employer but artists tend to rise to such challenges.  Maija responded and designed an entire line of floral prints.  Among the designs was Unikko or in english, Poppy.

Unikko is a bold statement and a bold print!  And guess what?  56 years later, the print is still manufactured and still popular (check out etsy and pinterest for ideas).

The 1960s was a time of "flower power" and graphic designs.  The theme owed a lot to Marimekko and Maiija.  Melooni (below) was a print that many of us remember and there were an abundance of variations of this design during the late 1960s and 1970s.

Apparently these bold prints were sold even at our local fancy department store, Hess's. Hess's had a fabric department until sometime in the 1970s.    I just love that the lady who owned the house where I shopped kept the receipt on this fabric:

Among the fabrics was "Tuuli" which I think translates to "wind" I have a few yards of this bold print which is often made into wall hangings.

This pattern was designed by Maija and her daughter Kristina in 1971.  It is still popular!

Maija passed in 2001.  I've read that her granddaughter now designs for Marimekko!  Three generations!  Wow!

Score 1 for artistic freedom!

Have a safe and happy day!

Monday, August 24, 2020

Why We Need to Bloom Where We're Planted

There's a reason why I chose this theme and it's not because I'm a passionate gardener.  It's the same reason that I chose to publish more lightweight suffrage posts after the pandemic hit our country.  I did so because I felt we needed happy posts versus more negativity in our lives.  It turns out I was right.

I'm an historian--not a psychologist.    I've been doing research on a concept called Psychological Resilience.  I wasn't even going to write about this but changed my mind after some discussions with friends.  When I began to talk to friends about the concept of resilience, it seemed to help them.  So here I am talking to you about it.

So far many of us have been strong and productive during the pandemic.  But I do perceive cracks are beginning to surface.  Many of my friends are telling me they are having problems sleeping at night.  They can't turn their brain off.  Some experience during the day.   

Sometimes being off kilter manifests in other ways.  Two weeks ago I spent more time ripping out seams from stupid mistakes than I did sewing.  I noticed this has also recently happened with my blogging friends.

So l what is this resilience thing?

Psychological resilience  defined briefly on wikipedia:  

Psychological resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly.  Resilience exists when the person uses "mental processes and behaviors in promoting personal assets and protecting self from the potential negative effects of stressors".

Doesn't that sound like something we all need right now?

Most of us are creative or gravitate to visual images so here is the image that I thought of  while reading scholarship on this concept:

Imagine your emotional well being like this scale.  The right side is heavier-- that's the stress side.  Every person on this planet is facing enormous and realistic anxieties--the pandemic, economics, health, and family.   

It's the other side we can work on.  The theory suggests that we need to pile more weight on the positive (left) side of our scale.  Those things include positive factors and the things we can control.   The more we pile on the  positive left side, the more likely we are to cope and function better.

Imagine your well being as a garden and the soil is what grounds you.  Gardeners know that the soil  is as important as the seed itself.  One of the first tenets of resilience is the ability to calm oneself.  I imagine that as soil.  Without good soil, plants--or creativity and coping in our case--are endangered.

How do YOU clear your head?  I asked some of my friends because anything we share may be of assistance to the rest of us.  Most of the ideas aren't really even hobbies but activities  they aren't likely to mess up or become frustrated by.

Linda gardens and reads fiction.  Beth watches sewing youtube videos and researches the history of sewing. 

For Joanne and Nancy, life is more limited due to their age and health.  Nancy and her husband tackle intricate jigsaw puzzles together.  "It helps to focus on something when I can't stand the news anymore," Nancy told me.  

Joanne sends mail to family members; when she heard that Bugs Bunny was about to turn 80 years old, she copied her favorite carrot recipes and Bugs Bunny coloring pages and sent them to the family.  

Lori told me she escapes with charcuterie.  "Chacucu wha?"  Charcuterie is apparently prepared meats, vegies, etc. that are served in an artistic format on a platter.  

Lori was hoping to learn how to make salami or prosciutto roses yesterday.  I like this kind of calming technique because you get to eat the results!  😋

I'm more mundane.  I clear my head by weeding my garden.   I started using this technique a few decades ago when the kids were teenagers and driving me crazy 😁.  Nana Betty advised, "Go weed your beds.  You can't control all the kids' choices but by God, you can get those dang weeds!"  It helped then and continues to be useful to me. 
As I told you when I first talked about the bloom theme, I'll be filling the blog with all kinds of stories and anecdotes I've collected.  A lot of them fill me with inspiration or make me laugh.  Inspiration and humor are important aspects of resilience.  I'll be sharing photos of my antique quilts and textiles and even my own creative process while quilting.  

I welcome you to share your stories, coping techniques, or the projects you work on with the rest of us. As always, you can email me at  
So let's build up our garden and get blooming!  Have a great day and stay safe!

Friday, August 21, 2020

Flower Friday: August 21, 2020

It's Flower Friday and our first Friday of our new blooming theme!  Linda sent me this photo from her garden, lovely morning glories Linda and love your sign!

Beth sent this link which you have to see!  It is suffrage themed but oh what a glorious field!!
Hit here.

Here are some other lovelies to brighten your day!

Flowers are like human beings, they come in a variety of colors and shapes--and in our case, textures.  This is a Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt I bought years ago at a yard sale down the street.

 Actually there were two of them.  One I gave to Beth and the other I have here at home.  Our neighbor was a sweet old man who walked his little white dog faithfully.  He was one of the original families of the neighborhood and when he was in his 90s, he sold his house and moved in with his son.  The son couldn't remember who made the quilts but found two of them in the closet.
If you would like to share a flower or floral anything with us, email me a photo at  PS--It doesn't have to be a vintage piece, just something that speaks to you!

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

This and That: Wrapping Up

If you've been watching the Democratic Convention, then you may have seen the Tennessee delegates place their nomination on Tuesday evening.  The delegates were all women and they were at the historic Hermitage Hotel.  The hotel is  where suffragists established their headquarters and tried to convince lawmakers to join their cause.  Apparently there was a lot of fistfighting in the hotel as well between "Suffs" and "Antis" supporters.  There is a great article about it here.  It's also where the amazing young ladies (above) attended the suffrage centennial event.  Libby wrote to me that the girls were more impressed with the ballroom than one day being able to vote (LOL!!!)  They deserve to be seen twice because after all, they are the reason we continue to fight for equal rights!

Rarely are women memorialized in this country.  But there is a great statue of Febbs and Harry Burns in Knoxville, Tennesee.  There is a wonderful image of it here that you should check out!

Late to The Party!

Connecticut ratified the 19th Amendment on September 14, 1920.

It wasn't until February 8, 1921 that Vermont ratified the amendment.

Florida finally ratified the amendment on May 13, 1969.  

Louisiana followed and approved on June 11, 1970.

North Carolina joined the following year.


Mary Church Terrell continued to fight for women and civil rights after the amendment was passed.  As an original founder of the NAACP, she continued to fight--even at age 86 when she challenged segregation in public places in Washington DC.  It was a fight she won in 1953, in an historic ruling that stated segregation was illegal in public spaces.  See:  District of Columbia vs. John R. Thompson Co.

The National Association of Colored Women's Clubs continues to fight for equality and is housed in Washington D.C.

Catherine Chapman Catt, president of the National American Association for Woman's Suffrage founded the League of Women Voters on February 14, 1920.  She served as it's president until her death in 1947.  Her home in Iowa is now a museum.

Alice Paul authored the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923.  It has yet to be passed.  She also spent her life advocating for women and equal rights.  The building where the National Woman's Party was centered is now a national monument, The Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument.

Lucy Burns retired from public life after the amendment was passed.  The Lucy Burns Museum was established most recently and highlights not only the struggle of white women but of the African American suffrage movement.

On August 26, we will celebrate the centennial of when the 19th Amendment became official.  

On November 2 of 1920, approximately 8 million women voted in the Presidential election.  It seemed like women had finally achieved citizenship rights.  Or had they?
The Morning Call, Allentown Pa, November 3, 1920.