Friday, December 31, 2021

New Year Quilt Blocks


Brad and I never do anything for New Year's.  I don't remember us even ever going out.  It wasn't that important to us and to be frank, we never remain awake until midnight.  

We quilters tend to have a quilt pattern for everything and New Year's isn't forgotten.  Here is a block published by Nancy Page in 1939:

When I found the Nancy Page block, I was actually looking for another.  Many many years ago, I had purchased a bag of little bits of paper.  A quilter of bygone years had saved little images of newspaper clippings all depicting quilt blocks.  I'm sure she saved them for inspiration.  Among the scraps was this one:

It certainly is festive and a bit busy but it's charming in it's own right.  I've never seen a quilt of this pattern.  Have you?

Wishing you all a safe and happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

2021: The Year in Review


I like writing this blog because I like you.  I also like escaping the often grim news on the television; I suspect that most of you like a respite from the news as well.  

So I turned off the news this Wednesday afternoon and thought long and hard about our year in review--and also mine as a quilter.

For me, I only finished 12 quilt projects this year which is not so great considering I completed 20 last year.  But family responsibilities often hinder sewing.  

Favorite quilt pattern in 2021:  Cluck Cluck Sew's "No Point Star" quilt pattern.  There is a free tutorial here.

I just like how the stars float on this pattern and it was easy and fun to make!

I'm grateful that I only have 16 tops to be quilted and more on the way.  I hope to reduce that rate next year.

My UFOS are almost all done and what isn't finished I've put in a drawer to make placemats from them.  I just got to the point that enough was enough.  

I'm hoping to reduce my 19th century reproduction fabrics next year as well.  I know that a few of my friends and family will like those prints and I have two patterns in mind for them.  

So that's enough about me.

The blog in review.

Well I certainly feel like I've gotten to know many of you better--especially those of you that I haven't met.  I think some of you might feel like you've gotten to know the other readers as well. 

I mean do you not look forward to Sue P. and her neat collection, quilts, and most of all her sense of humor?

One of Sue P.'s treasures she shared with us, a wonderful vintage apron for a child!

You seemed to love the "Story Time Stitches" series and I was so excited about your comments and enthusiasm!

Most of you love flowers as much as I do and I can't wait until springtime so we can share our gardens again!

Many of you also have a fondness for nostalgia and are comforted by trends of the past.  

The best of 2021--Judged by readers' comments and emails:

Man of the Year:
Roy Rogers, the man, the myth, the legend, and the most comments and memories of our readers!

Girl/Character of the Year:
A surprising amount of you had wonderful emails to share about your memories of Little Lulu.

Most controversial character/quilt pattern:
You loved her or you hated her, Sunbonnet Sue always initiates comments!

I wish you all the best in 2022.  May your bobbin stay full and your stitches be regular and may all of you stay safe!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Betsy McCall

 I've been reviewing old magazines for blog ideas and because it relaxes me.  One of the magazines I looked at was a 1909 edition of McCall's Magazine.  You might not know it but originally the name was McCall's Magazine The Queen of Fashion.  Here's some perhaps unknown trivia for you.  The pattern company was originally established in 1870 by a Scottish man named James McCall.  I read that the company did not publish instructions on the paper patterns until 1919.


It's interesting to note that patterns originated in 1860.  Four pattern companies of the past continue today: McCall's Simplicity, Butterick and Vogue.  I'm certain that the development of published quilt patterns owe a lot to the fashion industry.

I almost skimmed past one page in the 1909 edition I read today.  It didn't have much in the way of quilt ideas.  "Fun For the Little Folks" the headline read.

It was nice to see that even back then, McCall's included a page of merriment for children.  Perhaps the other magazines did too and someday I'll check for that.  For me, it reminded me of Betsy McCall.  

Do you remember Betsy McCall?  The one magazine that I looked forward to was mother's McCall's because I loved the story and the paper doll. The paper dolls never lasted long because they were on magazine grade paper, but I sure enjoyed them anyway!  Here's one from my collection:

The paper dolls were first included in the magazine in 1951 and I think it stopped around 1995.  
1951 Betsy McCall paper doll I found on Pinterest.

In 2000, the magazine bearing the McCall's name ceased publication and the new magazine folded in 2002.  Happily, McCall's still has quilting and other needlework magazines.

Betsy McCall was so popular that even a doll was manufactured in 1952 and dolls continued to be produced (by various companies) for many years.  I didn't have one.  Did you?

Anyway, that is it for today.  Have a safe and happy day!

Monday, December 27, 2021

Reflection Week


I'm hoping that all of you made it through the holiday safely and without covid contact!

There are a lot of names for the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.  One article I read said it was the "witching week" and that nothing you do counts (?).  I think that is a newer title.  In Britain, I read that Boxing Day has become Boxing Week--one article suggested that retailers were trying to encourage more shopping that week.  Norway calls this week Romjul and it's meant to be a time spent with family and friends. Of course, now we have covid and most of us cancelled our holidays so it's a good week to think about sewing.

I tend to take this week to review what I have and what I want to do.  Do you find yourself checking on your sewing status this time of year?  Here are some of my questions:

Time to put on our quilting hats!

I call this Reflection Week.  It sounds much nicer than "end of the year inventory".  We take a break before the symbolic changing of the year and a whole new time frame to get sewing completed.

Many quilters are sharing a few things this year that you may wish to consider:

Closing the door on 2021:

How many quilts or quilted projects did you finish this past year? 

What was a favorite pattern that you used?  Please share so that others might consider the same pattern.

For 2022:

How many quilt tops do you have that need to be finished?  How many UFOS?  This can be a depressing number but sometimes it's good to remind ourselves what needs to be done.


Stash building and using:  Is there an enormous amount of a particular fabric in your stash that is begging to be used?  Is there a fabric you are looking forward to using?   Is there a staple in your stash that is running low (for me it is usually solid black and white fabric).


Pipeline Projects:

Are there specific quilts you need completed for the upcoming year?  Have you made a list of them?


Sewing Room:
Do you clean your sewing room before the new year?  Inquiring minds want to know!

The one other thing I like to do is pick up some pretty old magazines and articles and figure out what I want to post in the new year.  I already found some fun things!

Have a safe and happy day!

Friday, December 24, 2021

Friendship Friday: Christmas Eve Edition

 Thanks for contributing to Friendship Friday!  Like many of you, our family has decided to cancel a gathering for Christmas this year.  Although Mom continues to make some progress, her breathing can become labored when she moves around a bit and we just don't want her to overdo it or become infected with anything--from a cold to covid.  So it's a quiet Christmas again and we wish you the safest and happiest holiday!

Dear Sue has again shared some wonderful things with us this Christmas.  She recently reupholstered a chair with calico and sent us a photo.  She mentioned that this calico sheds more than any other she's encountered:


Sue also sent a photo of a quilt she made for her oldest friend.  They have been friends for over 70 years!!!  It's a Christmas present quilt and her friend who lives in Atlanta.  The friend and Sue grew up together in New Jersey and as Sue said:  "Once a Jersey girl, always a Jersey girl." 
The pattern is sometimes called "Monkey Wrench", "Churndash", or "Sherman's March"; she thought the Sherman's March name was fitting for anyone living in Atlanta.
Here's a close-up of the fabrics:

Thank you Sue!!!

Nann sent an interesting tip on a blog you may want to explore if you too are having a quieter holiday.  The blog is called "The Vintage Traveler" and features an assortment of textile history.  It's fun to look at the garment history and her photos are excellent!  Here is a post regarding some textiles featured at the Kentucky Museum.  Have fun and thanks Nann!  

Finally--and this is the best news of all--dear Beth has a new granddaughter just born last night.  The baby was born on Beth's mother's 93rd birthday and I can't think of a better gift this year!

Welcome to the world Baby Ella!

Dear friends please stay safe this holiday.
Wishing you peace, joy, and good health!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The Merry Christmas Coverlet

The Merry Christmas Coverlet is from the late 1950s/early 1960s.  It is tied and doesn't have batting.  One doesn't see many Christmas quilts so I bought it locally.  d

I like the large panel that shares the names of the family on the stockings:

At the time, I thought the images might have come from a coloring book.  It was only a few years ago that I found that I actually owned the embroidery transfer packet that held the motifs.  A "duh" moment but then I have a lot of transfers.  So do you think I could find the envelope for this post?  No!  I might have given it to a friend along the way.  The colors and the motifs are very indicative of the time.

This is exactly what Christmas trees looked like when I was a kid.  Chubby and full of bright ornaments.  

Santa doesn't show up well because he has so much white embroidered on his beard and coat.

Personally I prefer the two animal motifs:

My neighbor has two kittens under a year old and yesterday we chatted on the phone.  "Are the kittens after your tree?"  I asked her.  She said they have not been climbing the tree like her late cat George did when he was a kitten.  Probably the tree was less fun to play with than the kittens have together.  I mean who didn't like torturing playing with their siblings as a child?

This is my favorite image from the quilt because I love dogs.  Unfortunately this is also how my dog looks today.  She injured her leg earlier in the week.  The leg is doing better but the vet suggested x-raying her hip and leg while she was under anesthesia yesterday.

Scout had a cracked tooth (never had that problem with our dogs before) and it was already scheduled to be extracted yesterday.  To make a long story short, the tooth was a bugger to get out and she had to have extra anesthesia which has left her groggy even today.

Today I am fussing over her and binding a quilt.  I don't like that she's so under the weather but on the other hand, it's good to have a day to just breathe instead of the Christmas stuff I've been doing.

What are you doing today?  If you want to share ANYTHING for Friendship Friday, email me at!

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Old Hen's Christmas Gift

Here's a fun story that was published in a New York paper in 1925:

The Old Hen's Christmas Gift

An attorney who was also an enthusiastic chicken fancier spent much money and time coddling blooded hens that did not begin to pay for their keep.  He had several pullets that were guaranteed to be the best kind of layers, yet every morning for almost a year he returned empty-handed from his search for eggs.  Finally he had given up hope.

On Christmas morning, however,  he was astonished and delighted to find four beautiful pearly eggs in one of the nests.  He quickly gathered them up and ran triumphantly to show them to his skeptical wife.  Not until he had emerged from the dimness of the hen-house did he notice that each egg bore the neatly penciled greeting:

"Merry Christmas from the Old Hen."

Have a safe and happy day!


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Tuesday's This and That: December 21, 2021

 Happy Tuesday!  Here's the Christmas edition of Tuesday's This and That!


Here's an addition to Men Who Quilt!  Dr. Raymond Flavius Bellamy took up quilting in his retirement.  He was featured in the Tallahassee Democrat in 1965.  The former college professor became interested in quilting so he could have something to do while watching football games.  He created a variety of applique quilts including "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and these other quilts:
Here he is with his December block from his Calendar Quilt.

Wildflower Quilt above and my favorite his bug quilt below:


As we all know, quilts are synonymous with comfort and warmth.  This 1933 cartoon is still moving to me:

In 1940, junior high students were featured in The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California.  They were celebrated for having created 11 quilts for the needy as their Christmas project:
This is a bit ironic to me.  Years ago, most of the high schools in our area required that students do community service.  About the same time, they discontinued teaching sewing and shop to students.  Just imagine what good students could do if they were taught quilting and other skills that could contribute to the community!


Anything can be made into a Christmas quilt if you have the right fabric.  Here are two Christmas quilts I finished this past year:

The top quilt was made with a Mary Engelbreit jelly roll that I had for years.  Linda asked for that quilt.  The second was all scraps and made for Jenny (she was married in December and loves Christmas).  I'm certain I got both patterns from free tutorials offered by Missouri Star Company but I can't remember the names of the pattern.


And just one last note, I'll be posting more Romper Babies in the New Year.  I just haven't had time to tackle cleaning up the images.


Have a safe and happy day!

Monday, December 20, 2021

Bridal Quilt

This weekend I was browsing through Etsy and admiring vintage and antique quilts.  One set of quilt blocks stopped me dead in my tracks: quilt blocks from a Bridal Quilt.  

Those of you who applique may already know the name of Marion Cheever Whiteside Newton.  She was a quilt maker and designer in the 1940s through the 1960s until her untimely death in 1965.  Quilts and even blocks of her designs rarely come up for sale.  I only own one, it depicts Hansel and Greta and was embroidered instead of appliqued:

Here is the set I found on Etsy.  It is incomplete but depicts different cultures and how weddings were performed.

Originally an artist and muralist, Marion studied in the U.S. and Paris.  Marion began her career in quilt making and quilt designing when she made a quilt for her nephew depicting Bible scenes.  Her nephew loved the quilt so much that she started a "cottage industry" from her Manhattan apartment.  She called her company, "Story Book Quilts" and most of the quilts featured children's books and later expanded to other assorted subjects (like the Bridal Quilt and The Football Quilt).

Her quilts were sold in local stores and also local galleries:

According to a 1946 newspaper article, Marion's clients included Queen Wilhemina of The Netherlands and her daughter Princess Juliana. 

During these early days of her business, the company focused on making quilts and prided itself on the uniqueness of each quilt.  Clients were consulted about theme and color.  Marion had quite a few assistants and the quilt blocks were actually made by needlewomen all over the country.  The quilters would submit their blocks to Marion and she would decide if the workmanship met her standards.  By 1948, she had already sold 1,000 quilts.  

I'm not sure when she expanded to include quilt patterns but I know her patterns and quilt kits were featured in most of the leading women's magazines.  In all, she designed over 50 different quilts before her death in a car accident in 1965.

Marion's quilt patterns are still sold today.  For more viewing of her fascinating quilts, check out this pinterest site for more works or simply google her name.

Have a safe and happy day!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Friendship Friday: December 17, 2021

 Happy Friendship Friday!

Sue shared this photo of her spectacular sunrise.  All I can say is WOW! WOW! WOW! and thank you Sue for sharing!

We've had some warmer weather her in eastern Pennsylvania. Nancy shared this photo.  Her clematis is beginning to bloom again!

The one project I did get done this season was the Danish Ribbons that I made for the kids.  I delivered them on Tuesday so they could use them for the 12 days of Christmas. The kids loved them and both sets of parents said they liked they liked that they could reuse them or hang them for holiday decorations later.  Candy and little toys were featured on the ribbons:

My favorite part of this project was finding these curtain clip rings and learning the rings could hold a lot of weight!  I love these!

Wishing you and safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Kindred Textiles and Kindred Spirits

 I love getting to know each of you!  That is why I often ask you questions when you comment on the blog.  It's so interesting to hear your experiences!

About the time I had decided to talk about kindred textiles, I received an email from Louise.  I didn't know Louise was reading my blog but she is the author of the well-known blog, "Quilt Papers."  She initiated the email because of my Story Time Stitches post about G. Selma Sauer (here) who she is also researching.

We then began discussion on a quilt that we both have in the Wagon Wheel pattern.  You can see Louise's here.  Here is mine:

One embroidery motif that Louise and I discussed was this little Dutch Girl with braids.  Neither of us know who published the embroidery transfer:

Louise did considerably more research on this Wagon Wheel style quilt.  She cited a variety of websites that had similar quilts on her blog.  Neither of us could ever find an ad or reference to styling the quilt like this with the embroidery.

Coming from Pennsylvania, I'm accustomed to challenging hunts for embroidered quilts.  For years I've been collecting images for a unique sunbonnet pattern that I call "Liberty Belles."  The pattern features adult women in embroidered scenarios and are often highly decorated.  Here is an example from one of mine:

I have found so many of these style quilts with a variety of embellishments and settings.  One of the main features is the similar embroidery transfers, and the bonnets the women wear.  The Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center has a kindred quilt similar to mine.  Many years ago, the curator, Candace Perry and I spent a lovely afternoon comparing our two quilts side by side and noting the similarities.  

Here is a more primitive version from a set of quilt blocks I own.

Once I even found an online auction that featured an unfinished quilt with pattern.  I didn't buy the quilt but asked for a copy of the pattern which the seller graciously sent me...but it was a cardboard template and no transfers were featured.

The thing about Pennsylvania quilters is that we know that often patterns were passed on from one quilter to another.  I have done so much speculation on how the embroidery transfers came to be shared but never have found definitive proof.

Finding kindred quilts is so much fun but it is even more fun to find kindred spirits like I did with Louise!

Have a safe and happy day!