Friday, September 30, 2022

Flower Friday: September 30, 2022


Our prayers go out to folks in the south who are dealing with Hurricane Ian and the folks up in Northeast Canada who dealt with Hurricane Fiona a week ago.

It's Flower Friday and soon we won't have any buds or blooms to show.  Luckily, Sue still has some blooms going in her garden which she shared today.  Look at this pretty Rose of Sharon:

Sue's lovely rose!

Sue's Toad Lily is blooming nicely!

One of my favorite autumn bloomers is the Caryopteris bush.  First of all, the leaves alone smell wonderful (similar to lavender) and it blooms throughout autumn and is always full of bees, butterflies, and moths.  Here's some with a bee of course on it:

I also like the blue/purple color of the flower.  Here it is mingling with some pink phlox:

Wishing you a safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Cool Weather=More Sewing

Autumn seems to be the favorite season of a lot of family members.  It's a season of cooler weather, pumpkin spice everything, Halloween and the upcoming winter holidays.

 When autumn arrives, it feels to me like the beginning of sewing season again.  All I want to do is make quilts again after a long hot summer--and it's been really hot here.  Does it feel that way to you?

This season I'm concentrating on making quilts for the next generation of children in my family.  There's a wide range--2 years old to 15 years old and I've been remiss on making most of them quilts.  It's actually the kids' grandmothers that have hinted about quilts for the kids.  Holy Toledo!  When I actually made my list, there were 16 kids that need quilts!

Fortunately, the wide range of kids allows me to finish some UFOs I have.  I was actually shocked when I realized how many UFOs I have...

On the other hand, the wide range of ages means that some projects are already started with UFOs...that's me seeing the glass half-full.

I do find that having a list helps me finish projects.  Do you?  Happily, my guild is doing another UFO challenge and I'll join that as well.  

What's on your list for autumn/winter sewing?

As for the garden, well it's time to cut things back and start the fall clean-up.  I've already filled two garbage cans with cuttings and I'll probably fill 3 a week for the next month or so.  

How is your garden doing?  Do you have anything to share for Flower Friday?  Please email me photos at if you do!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Rick Rack History


Nice edging on dress!

It's a couple of busy days for me and I was grateful that Sue sent this link after yesterday's post about Autumn Leaves quilts.  She was inspired by the photo of the leaf with rick rack embellishment.

This is a great history of rickrack and you can read it here!

Although I've used rickrack on quilts (mostly smalls), I can't find a single photo to show you.  However I do have this link saved on how to use rickrack to embellish your embroidery.

Have you used rickrack on your quilts?  Do share if you have!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Tuesday's This and That: September 27, 2022

 Happy Tuesday!

The leaves on the trees are predominately still green with a little color showing here and there.  When is your leaf peeping season?  Our most colorful leaf season is usually October.

Sue sent me a photo of her Autumn Leaves quilt.  As you can see, hers is the original pattern with a more circular pattern of leaves in the center of the medallion:

I thought hers was in peach but she sent another photo.  The borders are pink.  I like hers so much!  Here's the actual color of the quilt:

Over the weekend, I saw another leaf quilt that I liked on Etsy:

I just like that she made her leaves in changing colors.  
The seller has the provenance to the quilt and said it was from the 1930s--because it was made by a grandmother or great grandmother.  My initial thought was that it was a 1950s quilt.  Any thoughts from you when it was made?   Whatever it is, I like that she made her leaves changing color:

Wishing you a happy and colorful day!

Monday, September 26, 2022


 Where do you find inspiration for your quilts?

The weekend was filled with preparing four tops to take to Terri Trotter, my favorite machine quilter.  Because I wasn't actually working on a new piece, I spent the evenings looking through Etsy at antique quilts for inspiration.  It's one of my favorite ways to find ideas for using up my quilt stash. 

I'm pretty much a mediocre quilter...I'm very honest about this even when I do speaking engagements.  That comment prompted my neighbor to give me a t-shirt that reads:

World's Okayest Quilter

So I found two quilts that used striped fabric and one with plaid fabric that made me stop and study them.  Fabrics like stripes and plaids tend to stop me in my tracks.  I'm always afraid the direction will be wrong.

I had never thought of using stripes or plaids as an alternative block:

Or using it as a sashing for the whole quilt:

To me the alternate blocks detract from the lemoyne stars.
The striped sashing however, even though it visually pops out at me is more acceptable, I even like it.  Maybe because I'm in love with the fabric?

The quilt I found most interesting was this plaid quilt described as a "cutter quilt".  I won't bore you with my rant on cutting up old quilts.  Let's just be honest and suggest that the "cutter" is actually the vendor.  Still the pieces interested me.

Two plaid fabrics were used to compile the quilt.  Intriguing!  But it works!  The background fabric is a pastel plaid that is barely discernible:

"See," I told myself, "this maker didn't worry about matching up the plaids!"

I did find one quilt that gave me real inspiration!

I'm thinking about reversing the colors on this 19th century quilt and making green stars with a red border for a Christmas quilt.  I've had some green with small red dots reproduction for ever so long and this would be the perfect quilt to make.  This week I will measure how much of the green I have to see what size quilt I can make!

Where do you find inspiration?

Have a safe and happy day!

Friday, September 23, 2022

Flower Friday: September 23, 2022


Happy Flower Friday!

Sue shared her African Violets.  She said that the secret for getting lots of blooms on her violets is to adorn the plant with...CAT HAIR, lots and lots of cat hair!  😂😂

This time of year usually features chrysanthemums and asters.  My mums are a bit stunted from the drought but beginning to bloom:

I stopped using asters years ago because I found Boltonia that I like better.  The plant is in the aster family but blooms much longer.  Mine have been blooming since June!

Unfortunately, the storms yesterday blew over a lot of my plants but the zinnias made it through!

Wishing you a safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Happy Autumn!


Well it's the first day of Autumn and soon the leaves on the trees will begin to change colors.  We've been enjoying fresh apples and the cooler weather and are grateful for the little rain we have been getting!

"Autumn Leaves" quilt from the 1930s.

The days may be shorter but the flowers seem brighter these days.  The bees and the squirrels are more active as if in anticipation of the cooler weather!  The zinnias in particular are blooming like crazy!

One disappointment this year were the cosmos.  Although all the seeds I planted germinated, only one plant bloomed:

The rest of the cosmos grew taller than me (and I'm 5'6") with thick stalks but didn't bear a single flower.  I'm ready to pluck them out of the garden and be done with them.

Tomorrow is Flower Friday and if you have anything to share, please feel free to email me at!  

As always, have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Centennial Quilts: What's in a name?


On Monday I discussed Centennial Quilts that celebrated the 100th year anniversary of our independence.  But there are other "centennial quilts" and some I understand and some I don't really know what defined a "centennial quilt".

Some centennial quilts refer to the age of the quilt.  The quilt shown below was published in our local paper in 1952.    This particular quilt was displayed at the first Allentown Fair in 1852 and won a prize.  It would also win a prize at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893 where it reportedly won first prize.

According to the newspaper, "the quilt was made by two sisters:  Eliza and Anna Hewson made the quilt between 1825 and 1845...the Hewson sisters were originally from Philadelphia but spent most of their lives in Lehigh County."  Now some of you quilt historians might be wondering if they were related to John Hewson, the Philadelphia calico printer  (read here).  I have no idea and I doubt I will be able to research that.  

Another type of centennial quilt was made by women who were over 100 years old.  I found a few examples of this like the Ohio woman featured below:

Still another version of a centennial quilt would refer to anything that celebrated an one hundred year anniversary.  It could be an organization; some commemorated the founding of a town or area; other versions celebrated a state.

Texas Centennial quilt.

Sometimes I simply don't know what was meant by a centennial quilt.  I found prizes awarded to "centennial quilts" throughout the early part of the 20th century and as late as 1938 in articles that featured local quilt competitions in my area.

Beth and I often mused about making a centennial quilt that featured fabrics from the 20th century and would end with millennium fabric.  If you don't know what millennium fabric is--it is fabric that celebrated this new century and was widely available.  Often the fabric had "2000" printed somewhere on it.  The quilts made from these fabric are often referred to as "Y2K" or millennium quilts  (see some here). Beth and I have an extensive collection of these fabrics.

Did you make a Y2K quilt or collect these fabrics as well?

Wishing you a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Tuesday's This and That: September 20, 2022

 Tchotchkes--I love them but in moderation.  Actually I like to collect things but contain them in one place--and preferably a place with a glass door to reduce dust.  Like these bisque dolls I collected for a while.  

The two I originally had were from my grandmother but I now wonder if they were actually hers or her mother's.  Nana never liked the color red.  But I love these little red dolls in the center of the shelf:

Nana also collected little wooden figurines.  I think they may have been from Denmark but I'm not sure.  This is my favorite figure of the girl cutting what I think is fabric (or maybe a box?) anyway she has a nice doll and spool of thread aside of her.  She is featured in another box (with a glass door of course):

This shelving unit has more sewing features than anything else:

A sewing caddy that was made in Japan.  I think this might have been made before the war and was given to me by a friend.  One of her baskets is a pin cushion and the other basket has one's thimble in it (the lid comes off to get to the thimble).  

Another friend gave me a sister to the one above.  Her baskets were long lost and someone replaced them with vintage spools of thread.  Both of the figures have measuring tapes in the back of them that you can pull out:

Also in this collection are my poodles caddies which are pin cushions from the 1950s:

Thimbles are also featured.  My kids used to buy me a thimble when they travelled (the one from London is tipped over a bit for you to see).  Sometimes they would pick up some from flea markets.  I never told them that I don't use thimbles 😄

So this is Tuesday's light weight fluff for your viewing pleasure.  Do you have any collectibles that you cherish?  Do tell!

Have a safe and happy day!

Monday, September 19, 2022

Centennial Quilts


The year was 1940 and our local Allentown newspaper reported about a quilt that was being assembled for a local woman:

Initially, I thought there was an error in the reporting.  I still think that the newspaper got the dates wrong (our local paper was never really known for accuracy) and the dates the women found in the fabric were 1776 and 1876.   Like this:

Centennial prints were popular in the 1870s during the time of the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.  I'm fortunate to own one family quilt that has a variety of centennial prints: 

The print is so small that no one in the family ever realized what was in the quilt!

Photo of the actual quilt.  The centennial prints are featured in a place of honor--in the center of the textile.

About ten years ago or so, reproduction fabric was printed of some of these prints and the handkerchief that was popular during the time.  The scale of the prints was bigger but it was still fun to use the fabric.  I made a wall hanging that I use in some of my programs:

This is an original handkerchief I have in my collection:

The reason I have been thinking about the centennial is a surprise that I found when I was researching Nancy Cabot patterns.  In 1938, this pattern was marketed in newspapers:

I've never seen a quilt that was based on this quilt.  Have you?  

The description from the ad:

"'Centennial Block' is a combination pieced and appliqued design adapted from an old piece of printed material belonging to one of our readers, Mrs. William S. Giles.  The Liberty Bell is of a deep blue background against a pale blue background.  The corner blocks are red with white appliqued figures.  The three inch white bands have red stars and one-half inch red bands appliqued before they are joined to the center square.  The combination block is set together in an alternate arrangement with plain white blocks, and finished with an eight inch pale blue border bound with a one-half inch white bias binding."

Now back to our quilting ladies---I'm not sure what fabric would be printed with 1886 woven into it.  The one major event of that year was the dedication of the Statue of Liberty and I've never seen antique fabric that memorialized that occasion (have you?).

We will revisit Centennial quilts on Wednesday but for now, have a safe and happy day!