Monday, January 28, 2013


Isn't that a great name for a happy quilter?  A quick sew-along posted by Lori on  her blog Humble Quilts caught my eye and I just had to get out those bags of scraps and create two of them.  They are just 12" square and would make sweet doll quilts:

So easy, so fun! 

I'm keeping up with the block of the week from Barbara Brackman called Grandmothers Choice.  She provides a lot of interesting historical information about the women's suffrage movement of the late 1800's and early 1900's.  Here are the first 3 rows sewn together:

Have a great week and let's quilt!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Wedding Quilt

Our niece is getting married in March and she asked me about making a signature quilt for guests to sign instead of a guest book.  There will be 80 blocks for people to sign then I'll assemble and quilt it as their gift.  Here is the general idea:

I'll iron freezer paper to the back of the white squares for stability in signing.  First, I'll draw straight lines on the back of paper as guidelines--they will be visible through the white fabric.  I'll trim all the blocks to size after the signatures are done. 

Take a look at Patchwork Times blog to see what others have on their design walls.

Let's quilt!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Scraps Anyone?

The other day I read a blog by Kathie, Inspired by Antique Quilts, about these grab bags from Homestead Hearth.  Now, I have a sinful amount of fabric in my huge closet but still, who doesn't love going through scrap bags?  Yep, I ordered 5 of them and was thrilled with the bounty in each bag.

Most strips are wider than 3", some as much as 6" wide, a few fat eighths appeared, some squares, some strips, lots to love.   There was such a wide variety in each bag, and they are neatly folder, not squished.  Each bag weighs about a pound.  I received almost no pieces I already own--what  a plus!

Here are a few photos to show the loot, each is the contents of one bag.  You can't tell but most of it is folded once or twice:

I wasn't the only one to be persuaded to add to my stash.  Kathleen Tracy, The Sentimental Quilter, posted to show her grab bags--love those purples!  And when she let Homestead Hearth know she was going to blog about their grab bags, they said that due to recent high demand (!) it would take 7-10 days to fill most orders. 

These are the perfect fabrics for me to use in my Antique Rose star blocks:

I'm hand piecing them and will teach a class on this in the summer--the perfect grab-and-go project! 

It's snowing in Huntsville, Alabama today--yeah!  It won't last long, 40's tomorrow, 50's for the weekend, but it's a great day to be indoors sewing today.

Let's quilt!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lessons to Learn from an Old Quilt

I planned to show this in December but just got these photos taken the other day.  My son, Joshua Black Wilkins, is a professional photographer.  He found a few hours to shoot a lot of my quilts and this antique.

I found this at a trade day, sort of like a flea market, September 2009 in Scottsboro, AL.  Unfortunately, the seller had no information on this quilt:  who, what, where, or when.  It is in excellent condition, very bright colors, no holes or tears, and nicely quilted.  I've had it appraised and think the date on this is most likely 1875-1900.  I hope I look this good at that age!

The lessons I think today's quilters can learn from this quilt:

1.  Create a LABEL--by hand or computer, please sign your work.  Someone in the future WILL want to know who made your quilt, when it was made, where you lived, and why you made it. 

2.  Don't be so hard on yourself it things are not perfect--notice the four corners on the four sawtooth borders--each is different.  That is part of charm of this quilt for me.  The quilting motifs change direction--three rows point in one direction, two rows in the other--probably so it would look "right" on the bed.

3.  Take care of your quilts--don't store them folded up for years.  Don't store in plastic bags or against wood in a chest or drawer.  Watch the amount of direct or indirect light your best quilts are exposed to.  This one is in such excellent shape it must have been stored out of light and I don't think it had been washed.  I'm currently storing it rolled up, around several other quilts, inside in, out of direct light.

4.  Put a "secret" hint into your quilts.  There are two interesting motifs quilted into this--a dragonfly and an initial--it might be a "W" or an "M".  Since my husband's last name is Wilkins, it's now a "W".  I am a huge fan of dragonflies, often wearing one of the many dragonfly pins I've collected, and so you can imagine my surprise and delight when I got this home and discovered those two motifs!  Here are shots from the back so you can see them--they are almost invisible from the front.

5.   Make a record of your work, with photos, and notes.  Make a journal, a photo album, some kind of record to tell the stories of your quilts.  As I often say, when non-quilters see the labels I put on my quilts and wonder why I did that:  "I'm not going to live forever" and I want generations yet unborn to know a little about who I was, what I created with my hands, and why I made the quilts I did.  With today's technology, it's easier than ever to have such a record.

6.  Finally, keep your eyes open at flea markets--you never know what kind of treasure you'll find right around the corner!

Let's quilt!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Design Wall Monday January 7, 2013

A big Happy New Year to all!  Life is almost back to normal, which means tax season starts for me this week.  Here's a look at what I've been doing:

I enjoy the Grandmother's Choice block of the week published by Barbara Brackman--she tells the story of the suffragist movement less than 100 years ago. Here is the current row:

A new block and history lesson appears each Saturday.   She is also starting a new Civil War block of the month project I am trying to convince myself NOT to do, but I still might: .Civil War Dixie Diary--after all, it's only 12 blocks and you decide if you'll make them 12" or 8", and there's only 12 of them--see, I'm talking myself into it.

A class I'll be teaching soon is the Trash 2 Treasure Pineapple quilt using Gyleen Fitzgerald's book and ruler.  I've got these 30 blocks sewn together--just from my stash strips.  With a project like this, I cut strips to the sizes needed from any fabric I'm working on so I keep feeding the project box.  Then when time permits, I make more blocks:

Lastly, here's my latest "new" project, a hand pieced block called Victorian Antique Star:
I got turned on to this when I happened on the blog of Barbara Chainey, a terrific English quilter I met a few years ago when she taught at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  It uses a terrific template from Matlida's Own, an Australian company.  I plan to teach this in May or June--the perfect traveling project, once your pieces are cut and marked. 

My biggest challenge since Christmas is learning Windows 8 and trying to figure out my new desktop computer--we're still trying to determine if it has "issues" or it's just "operator error".  Time will tell...

Take a look at Judy L's design wall Monday blog to see what others are doing. 

Are you a Downton Abbey fan?  I saw the DA Revisited special in early December and told my husband I was sorry I'd missed the first 2 seasons.  Bingo!  Santa provided them on DVD and I got to watch both seasons, almost back to back.  Last night was the start of the n3rd season and there was a great special before it on the actual Highclere Castle, where it is filmed--very interesting!

Have a great week and let's quilt!