Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
I don't normally post on weekends--but when I do it's because I'm inspired by YOUR quilts!

Alice made thislovely wall hanging a few years ago and kindly shared it!  I love the applique (especially that first pumpkin) but I love the alternate pinwheel blocks as well!

Sam made this lovely house which is great for the holiday!  Yes that is Tula Pink fabric which she and Beth both love!  I love it--especially the swirling black background which takes it up a notch!

Have a safe and happy holiday!


Friday, October 30, 2020

Flower Friday: October 30, 2020

 It's Flower Friday and time to share photos of floral images to brighten up the beginning of our weekend--and of course--Halloween weekend.

Here's a smile for you!

 Sue sent this enchanting photo of her cat to us.  
The photo has the perfect title:  Linda in the Lilies!

Some of the last flowers in my garden:

On the sewing front, Suebee sent a photo of a panel she has and wants to work into a quilt.  She is looking for suggestions.  
The panel is "Venice" by Robert Kaufman.
I've seen a pattern using this panel here that I liked here.  I'm might change the side blocks to flying geese instead of the stars but anything Sue chooses to do with this I'm sure will be fantastic!  It's such a pretty panel!

For you that embroider, you might like this embroidered block design from a 1951 issue of Needlewoman and Needlecraft.  It's very seasonal and features the flowers, Chinese Lanterns and Honesty or Silver Dollar plants.

How it can look embroidered:

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween!
I won't be posting on Saturday and Friday is for flowers so I thought I would wish you a happy holiday today!  

Halloween is the favorite holiday for many people.  I noticed that many quilters right now are finishing up the Halloween Haberdashery quilt designed that features a witches hat and some pumpkins:
Beth shared a neat video that you might want to watch.   It's called "A Dress Historian Explains the History of the Witches Hat" and it's on youtube.  I found this really interesting and you might too.  You can watch it here.

I've done a few Halloween themed pieces for family members: 
I also have a wall hanging upstairs somewhere that needs to be quilted.  But to be honest, Halloween has never appealed to me like Christmas or Easter.  What's your favorite holiday to make quilts for?

Tomorrow is Flower Friday and if you have any floral images, photos, etc, to share--email me at

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Propeller Quilt--Not!

In the 1890s, banks bought some of the textile mills.  By the 1900s, people who sewed rarely bought calico because it was thin and didn't hold up to wear.  

This quilt is a great example of what happened.  I initially bought it because I thought it was unusual.  I bought it online.  One of my kids had a long hallway and were looking for some unusual pieces to hang.  I thought it would be perfect and unique.  By the way, the piece was less than $30 and when I received it, I realized why.

The fabric was so thin that it felt like batiste.  One couldn't see it on the photos but it was actually a large Lemoyne Star.  The diamonds alternate to the red ones  were completely eroded.

You can barely make out the white blades alternating the red blades.  The yellow fabric that had once been the background had faded to a beige.  At the seams I saw that it was initially a bright yellow background--much in keeping with the vivid colors that the Pennsylvania Dutch gravitated towards.

 I still love the piece because of the rick-rack style border and it's unique qualities.  Unfortunately, it's too fragile to hang but it IS another piece of our history as quilters.

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Puss-In-The-Corner and more Rainbows!

 First off, thank you Libby for emailing some photos of your Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts!  Libby's Chandelier quilt, love the background!!!

Another rainbow quilt Libby has been working on is this one; the pattern is shown below.  It is called Purple Haze, love the background in this one too, it  gives it so much movement!

So let's talk about Puss-In-The-Corner!

Yesterday I mentioned it was an easy pattern that I remember using early on in my quilting.  It was so long ago that I don't even have photos of it (it was before the digital age).  But I do know that some of our readers are beginning quilters and I found a tutorial if you want to make one here.

But names of quilts are problematic and I tried to point that out last week when we were discussing Barbara Brackman's amazing contribution to our field.  I found some old newspaper articles on "Puss-In-The-Corner" and thought I would show you what they look like!
From the Kansas City Star, 1930:

This is the same pattern, published in The Birmingham News in 1940.  But on this, the writer (Florence La Ganke for the Nancy Page Club) suggested that the square blocks were the pussycats:
I actually think that it would be fun to make this with a tiny scaled kitten fabric for the squares.

This pattern below surprised me.  It was published in 1934 in the the Daily News (NY).  I don't know that I've ever seen it in a quilt.  My interest is actually on how they assembled the quilt.
If memory serves me correctly, many 19th century quilts with an odd block like that actually used applique sewing on the block and not pieced.  It's an interesting lay-out and I've been speculating about this the last few days.

So of course I did a net search to see what I could find.
Check out this Greek Cross Plus Puss Quilt posting here.

And then, just because I thought it was cute, I found this very literal cat quilt and I thought it was adorable and worth sharing--although the boy with the gun was a little disconcerting.
1941, The Missoulian (Montana).

Have a safe and happy day!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Rainbows and other inspirations


Last week I talked about the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and I was surprised to hear from Sue S. who is also participating!  She even sent photos which she said I could share on my blog!  
From Sue:

Thanks for the mention in your blog!  I'm sending you pics of my RSC blocks- based on a pattern I saw somewhere called Chandeliers. I have re-sized them and made one a week of the monthly color. Like I said, it's a start! I've been saving ideas for next year.
I do also plan to make the half-log cabins at some point. 

There's a couple of things I like about the rainbow challenge.  First of all, you can do bright, pastel, or muted rainbows--whatever you fancy!  Also if you do one block a week, you have 52 blocks by the end of the year.  

You can check out the possibilities here on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge blog!

I've actually never done a rainbow quilt which is why I think I should.  I think this would make a fantastic themed quilt for donation, children, or even just to cheer up someone!  

Now about those chandeliers:

I had seen this pattern on the internet lately too.  I just hadn't seen the actual blocks assembled.  Sue's blocks reminded me of an antique pattern that was sometimes called Puss in the Corner.  I found an antique example on pinterest:

The fun part of quilting is what you can do with a quilt block.  The possibilities are infinite which is one of the exciting aspects of quilt design!  Change the background and look at what happens:
Looks closer to Sue's chandelier quilt, doesn't it?

But what you'll notice is that the side blocks are missing from the chandelier pattern.  In my mind, I would call this a variation of Puss in the Corner. 

If you google "Chandelier Quilts" you'll find lots of inspiring photographs!  If you are looking for a book for the pattern, I found it in Charm School by Vanessa Gomez.  There are a lot of neat patterns in this book and I recommend it, especially for beginner quilters!

But what's in a name?  Another woman did a video tutorial of her quilt pattern called "Beads" quilt.   You can watch the tutorial of the pattern here.  

Tomorrow I'll talk about pattern names.

Are you considering joining Rainbow Scrap Challenge?

By the way, I do want to mention that sometimes I'm not getting your comments or emails because something is going on the fritz these days.  I just found an email from Nann who talked about making patchwork clothing.  Nann said:

I've made, hmmm, a dozen patchwork jackets. I own all of Judy Murrah's Jacket Jazz books but I've never made one that elaborate. Since the style is sleeker, less padded, now, I don't suppose that I will get jazzy.

Sorry Nann!  At least I found your comment this weekend!

Have a safe and happy day!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Flower Friday: October 23, 2020


Happy Flower Friday!

It's always good to take time to smell the flowers!
 Just ask Alex, the Bedlington Terrier and Scout's dear friend!

Sue sent a photo of a Toad Lily!  Isn't it lovely?

Betsy sent a photo of gorgeous nasturtiums and Shefield daisy mums.  What a combo!
Betsy saw this plant growing in an alley and asked me if I knew what it was.  It is an orange morning glory!  We don't see the orange ones here very often!  So perfect for the end of October!

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2020


Scout as a puppy

I love dogs!
So it's no surprise I love dog quilts too!  I was delighted when Sue emailed me a photo of the quilt she is working on!
Just look at her amazing handquilting!
Sue wrote in her email that she wasn't sure how she wanted to quilt the dogs themselves so she made a pillow to sample quilting and found a solution.  She's working on finishing the quilt now.

The pattern is one of Elizabeth Hartman's and called Dog's in Sweaters.  It is absolutely adorable!  Thank you for sharing Sue!

Kathie won the fabric from yesterday's giveaway and I'll be mailing that out to her tomorrow!

Tomorrow is Flower Friday and we have a few photos already ready to go.  Please email me your photos:

Stay well and safe!  Have a great day!


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Folks to Know: Barbara Brackman


There are people we should know and acknowledge their contributions to our field.  Some of these people we may know, others maybe not so much.  Anyway, I thought it would be good to focus on some folks that have improved our quilting world.  

The first person I feel deserves recognition is Barbara Brackman.  You may have heard of her.  She has published a variety of books on quilting, usually historical in nature.  Your guild library or regular library probably has some of her books.

She also is a fabric designer and you can find many of her fabrics online.

I can hear some of you thinking: "Oh yeh, I heard of her but there are a lot of fabric designers and quilt writers."  To me, Brackman is unique.  I've never met her, I don't know anything about her but her work as a quilt historian is to me, without compare.

Among her other achievements as a historian in quilt history, Brackman codified our quilt patterns.  She created an Encylopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns and an Encyclopedia of Applique ones.  Quilt appraisers use her system to distinguish quilts.   I think she began this is the 1970s and that folks is one of the thing that astonishes me.

The hexagon or mosaic quilt above is found in her pieced quilt pattern book:

Quilt history is a very young field.  It was only in the 1970s that true academic methods were applied to the history and folks it wasn't easy then.  I was a young researcher in the early 70s and spent most of my time in libraries, writing letters (and hoping the letters would be responded to), and searching for folks to interview.  There was no internet which has made our world so much easier.  Barbara Brackman was a leader in that field and she collected as many quilt patterns as she could--an astonishing amount actually--gave them each a number and published where the pattern originated.  She writes in the preface of Enclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns:

"Pattern names, like all vocabulary, change over time.  The right name for a pattern is what you call it.  This encyclopedia is, however, the most complete index to published names for American quilt designs."

This book alone features over 4,000 patterns and names.  It's an astonishing work and a new updated version is about to be released!  See here for details.  

All history is dynamic, we learn new things and different perspectives we find.  This is particularly true of quilt history.

Brackman also has blogs where she shares her research.  You can hit the title to see her blogs:

And now for a giveaway!

In August, Barbara posted a question on her Material Culture blog and asked folks what they were doing for the Suffrage Centennial.  In return, she was going to choose 2 folks to giveaway some of the sample fabrics from Spoonflower where she is having some suffrage centennial fabric printed.  

I responded on her blog that I didn't need the fabric but was so thrilled she was reminding people about the centennial and told her what Beth, I, and you readers were doing.  A few days later, I received an email from her:

Loved your comment on my blog and reading yours. The suffrage garden is brilliant

I know you've bought some (thank you very much---love those Spoondollars I earn) but I am sending you more. You can have a giveaway.

I'm having a rather late giveaway because I knew I wanted to feature her during the bloom series.  These are two pieces of the four she sent me and they are approximately 10 or 11 inches square (sorry I'm keeping two of the other pieces, more on that later).  You can make a little wall hanging or something with yours.  Just leave a comment or email me and the first person to respond gets the fabric.

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Cheerful Cherubs

This tiny panel was reprinted in Needlecraft magazine in the 1930s.

Rebecca McCann was only 20 years old when she submitted her portfolio to the Chicago Evening Post in 1917.  The editor fancied her one panel cartoons and published them in the newspaper.  In 1932--after McCann's death--a book of her panels were published in a book, The Complete Cheerful Cherub.   You can find a number of her cherub panels if you Google them.  I've always thought they would be interesting to embroider.

The cherubs may remind you of Kewpies:

The difference is that McCann's images always resonate a type of wistfulness.  I often think that her illustrations remind me more of The Little Prince published in 1943.  The illustrations aren't similar it's just a feeling that they resonate.


Yesterday Sue S. commented that she doesn't have a blog but is working on the rainbow blocks that I wrote about yesterday.  Feel free to email me photos of whatever you are working on!  It's getting more and more imporant to remain at home and safe.  Sharing your work allows us all to visit and be inspired by each other's work.  My email is

Have a safe and happy day!


Monday, October 19, 2020

Half Log Cabin and Fabric Inspiration!

A tired dog in the sewing room is always a good thing!

I want to talk about Libby's comment last week.  She concluded with: "I let the fabric be the star."  This sentence really resonated with me and maybe it does for you!  

Whenever my friends and I visited our local fabric store, I would always tease:  See the fabric.  Smell the fabric.  Stroke the fabric.  Visiting a fabric store for many of us is a therapeutic experience.  The colors! The designs!  The samples!  INSPIRATION BABEE!
Fabric does inspire us!  I'm sad that I don't feel comfortable going to fabric stores but I have to look at the positive side of things.  These days I'm looking at my stash as my personal fabric store!

For probably the first half of my sewing years, fabric really dictated what I did with my sewing.  The internet has really opened up the craft/art world to other possibilities.  

Large scale fabric can be a problem for most quilter and I usually shy away from those prints.  Of coure there is always an exception and years ago, I fell in love with a poppy fabric.  I decided to feature the fabric with some zig zags of corresponding fabric and I failed.  The sashing I chose to use changed everything.

But failures lead to other opportunities!   I liked how it looked so I kept the design.  Because I didn't spend a lot of time on the internet at that point, I didn't realize people were calling it by a name.  It's an easy pattern called Half Log Cabin.

Sorry it's blurry but it's an old photo!

Anyway, I made a few different versions of this quilt with a few big print fabrics.  Another fun pattern for big prints are the BQ (Big Quilt) patterns; there is a quite a variety, see here.  

I had actually forgotten about these half log cabin patterns until I was on Instagram the other night and this image came up from someone called "Angela_beloved_quilter (don't ask me how, I really don't understand Instagram at all because I'm technically challenged--so much so that I have to use my camera to photograph what I want to remember).

What a fun scrap quilt!  Our friend Diann who frequents this blog has a wonderful blog called Little Penguin Quilts.  Each week she shares some of the blocks she makes, particularly for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (referred on many blogs as RSC). I find Diann's blog very inspiring and have long been intrigued by the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Each January, the challenge begins again.  Every month a different color is featured.  You can read about it here.  I'm thinking about joining this challenge in January and I'd like to use the little half log cabin for my pattern.

For some of our beginning quilters, this is an excellent pattern to try.  There are lot of free tutorials on the pattern (just google it).

Have a safe and happy day!