• 24Feb
    Categories: fabric design Comments Off on Speckled Dots

    You know I love designing fabrics–or redesigning fabrics, as the case may be.

    Since I work with 1930′s prints, I often start with vintage swatches.  Sometimes–with the help of the graphic design staff at the fabric company I design for-I’ll take a vintage print use the main flower, change the background, make something larger or smaller or closer together.

    Sometimes, though, the pattern is just perfect the way it is!  That was the case about five years ago when I was designing my Wash Tub Bears line of fabric.  I always try to combine a dot or a circle in each fabric line.  Well, this piece filled the bill–it was dots inside circles!  It reminded me of speckled eggs, and I named it Speckled Dots!

    The original swatch I had was blue.  We also did it in red…


    …and lavender.

    When I first started designing fabric, I was lucky enough to have as a friend and mentor Darlene Zimmerman.  She had been designing Thirties prints for a long time.  She said to me, don’t be surprised someday if we both use the same fabric for a future line.  Yikes, I thought, I don’t want to do that!

    But I knew what she meant, because I had seen one particularly adorable duck-in-a-top-hat print produced by three different companies–AND I had an original piece of it in some of my grandma’s scraps.  This is it.

    Imagine my surprise when I was in Sisters Quilt Shop recently and spotted what I thought was a bolt of “my” fabric.

    I picked it up and discovered it was part of Sandy Klopp’s Punctuation line!

    And not only had she done it in red and blue, she had done it in green…

    …and black…

    …and ORANGE!!

    You can bet I bought some of that for my stash!  Thanks, Sandy, for the orange!

  • 15Aug
    Categories: Everything!, fabric design, quilting Comments Off on Getting to Know…..ME!

    Finally, I can tell!

    Back in April, I had a crew here from Quilts and More magazine, doing a photo shoot in my studio!  It was incredibly fun.

    The crew included Adam and Joe….

    …and Elizabeth.

    Sometimes Joe was my stand-in.  Imagine having a stand-in!

    Sometimes I had to do the work.

    It was fun to peek over their shoulders and see how fantastic their photos are.

    Now the magazine is finally out.  It’s on newsstands now, or you can order it from me.

    It has the Getting to Know Karen Snyder feature written by Linzee  McCray….

    …and a table runner that I’ve designed, called Center Piece.  They even asked me to provide kits for it!

    There’s more to this story, but I can’t tell yet!

  • 02Aug
    Categories: Everything!, musings, quilting Comments Off on Fabric Stories

    Way back in 1974, when I was 20 and my Grandma Ikey was 90, I was getting married.  Grandma Ikey had two Nine-Patch quilt tops that she had made several years before and tucked away.  One was supposed to be for my brother when he got married, and the other for my cousin Jim when he got married–her two grandsons.  However, I was the first to get married, so Grandma gave one to me as a wedding gift.

    This quilt became very special to me, because my other grandma, my Grandma Kennedy, and the members of her Ladies Aid Society, did the quilting on it.  I slept under this quilt for years, had it dry cleaned a few time–I didn’t know any better–and have always treasured it.  My brother did get the other one, also finished by the Ladies Aid, and his is in pristine condition.

    I always said that someday I’d be a quilter.  About 1993, I got a free quilt pattern in the mail.  It was from Oxmoor House and was for a Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  I thought, “I should make this.  And I should make it king sized so it will fit my bed!”  Ah, ignorance was bliss!  I also remembered that my mom had given me some old fabric and blocks from my Grandma Ikey after she passed away, and that among them were some Flower Garden blocks.  Amazingly, I opened a drawer in my storage room, and there they were–16 Flower Garden blocks, or at least the components to make them.  I knew I wanted to use them in my first quilt!  It took me 2-1/2 years, but I finished that king sized top.

    As I was working with the blocks that Grandma Ikey had made (I had to take them apart and re-cut them as they were a different size than my pattern) I began to think that some of the fabrics looked familiar.  I was pretty sure they were the same as some in my Nine-Patch.  So, I got it out and started to compare.  Sure enough, there were some duplicates!  Like this yellow and green flower print.

    There was also this cute little blue flower.

    You can see it’s more faded in the Nine-Patch.

    Sometimes there were only enough hexagons for a half block, but that worked great for the edges of the Flower Garden.

    Well yesterday, Bob and I and my parents visited our cousin Betty, whom we rarely see.

    She had two quilts that our Grandma Ikey had made!  This star quilt.

    And this fan quilt!

    I was thrilled to see them, but even more excited when I started recognizing some old friends among the prints!  The white daisies on this pink background really speaks to me–I’ve always loved daisies.  Here it is in Betty’s star quilt….

    …and in my Nine-Patch quilt…..

    …and in my Flower Garden quilt!

    This very abstract blue print was in one of the stars…

    …and in my Nine-Patch.

    The other print in this star was also familiar.

    It’s not only in my Nine-Patch….

    …Grandma Ikey made my baby doll a dress from this print!

    And here it appears with a blue paisley…

    …which is also in my Nine-Patch.

    This fan blade had lots of matches to my quilts.  The center blade with the little Lemoyne Stars print….

    …made its way into my Nine-Patch, although it’s much more faded here.

    And the dark brown with the aqua flowers….

    …is REALLY faded in my quilt.

    Did you notice the little tulip print in the above block?  It turns out Dolly has a dress made from that print, too!  I love her rick rack!

    INSERTED 8/3  My sister emailed me last night.  She had gotten her dolls out to check out their dresses, and here’s what she found–and said.

    Here are Chatty Baby and Chatty Cathy all decked out in their tulip dresses.  Please note that my dolls can stand up by themselves, because they are not missing any legs.  Chatty Baby is upset, because she can’t find her scarf.  (I suspect the reason Chatty Cathy is looking away from Baby is because Cathy lost her own scarf and stole Baby’s.)

    Then this morning Sally emailed me this….Chatty Cathy has a headache this morning from wearing the scarf too tight. Serves her right, I think.

    How do you like the blue gingham sundresses?

    I love the pink gingham — wide rick-rack for Cathy and narrow rick-rack for Baby.

    Does the white fabric with yellow roses look familiar, SW?

    As a matter of fact, it does.  It’s in my Flower Garden quilt!  Thanks, Sally, for sharing!

    The dainty blue flowers, next to the bottom blade…

    …make an appearance in the Flower Garden quilt.

    And the last blade, with it’s wild pink, red and black combination…

    …shows up in the Flower Garden quilt.  I think Dolly had a dress from this, too, but I don’t seem to have it.  Maybe my sister does.

    And one of my favorite prints, which I remember is in my brother’s quilt too, is the gray and red one.

    It’s in both of my quilts….

    …and Betty’s fan quilt.

    It’s amazing the connections among these four quilts–five if you count my brother’s.

    Yesterday my mom told me that Grandma Ikey once said that when she and her niece, Elsie (who was two years older, but that’s another story) would buy fabric for a project, before they even cut into it, they were planning what they’d make from the scraps!  Spoken like a true quilter.

    And I have one more quilt to show you that’s from Grandma Ikey.  This is the crib quilt she made when my brother was born, and that Mom used on all three of us kids.

  • 23Jul
    Categories: Everything!, quilting Comments Off on Amazing Dresden Plate

    I had a super fun day on Wednesday.  Nan stopped by the studio, we visited, we “did” lunch and then we went to the Klipsan Antique Mall!

    Look what I found!

    I had forgotten my glasses, and at first I thought this was machine quilted.

    But no!  Just incredibly tiny hand quilting.

    It was too great a treasure to pass up.

    And the ice cream cone variation on the border just makes it that much more special.

    Added July 25…….

    Thanks to my friend, Melinda.  She recognized this as a Ruby McKim pattern, right down to the border!  Thanks, Melinda.

  • 19Jul

    I’m so far behind on my posting, but I just have to share these wonderful quilt with you.

    I love historical villages, and we were lucky enough to hear about Kolona Historical Village while we were in Iowa.

    And even luckier that in one of their TWO quilt galleries, they were having a display of Depression Era quilts!

    Like this beautifully embroidered and hand quilted basket quilt.

    I thought the border was stunning!

    These blocks really reminded me of the Kate Greenaway children that the original Sunbonnet Sue is based on.

    I loved that she was doing all kinds of chores, including harvest!

    How’s this for a Dresden Plate.  And who says they didn’t use orange in the Thirties!?!

    This sweet little doll quilt was made special with a scalloped border.

    Postage Stamp quilt like this one fascinate me.  Even the white background is pieced 1″ squares.

    This Trip Around the World quilt was probably a kit.

    This is the same star pattern as the first quilt I ever hand quilted!

    I thought the applique and quilting were superb on this quilt.  I don’t think I’ve seen this pattern before.

    The salmon pink in this Grandmother’s Flower Garden is a bit unusual.

    Another Flower Garden.

    This quilt is from a Nancy Page Quilt Club serial design.  Each week instructions for a new flower was printed in the newspaper.

    I love how this maker coordinated her prints in the birds and flowers of each block.

    You can see another Garden Bouquet quilt on the foot of this bed.

    This beautiful design is from Marie Webster, who contributed quilts to Better Homes and Gardens Magazine for years.  She also ran her own mail order company selling patterns and kits.

    I thought this bluework quilt was charming, but loved the bed skirt even more!

    The traditional Sun Bonnet Sue.

    What a pretty orange and blue print.  😉

    Dogwoods.  I’m not sure, but I think this might also be a Marie Webster design.

    A beautiful Ohio Rose.  This quilt is on my list of “to make” quilts.

    I’m not sure of the name of this quilt pattern.  Anyone?

    There were even some feed sack dresses and aprons on display.

    Quite stylish, don’t you think?

    I have a crocheted apron like this!

    You might be poor, but you could still look good!

    The staff here was wonderful.  If you’re anywhere close, I suggest you visit!

  • 07Jun
    Categories: brilliant ideas, Everything!, fabric design Comments Off on Quilt Market

    A belated Quilt Market post.  Why? Because I spent the week after Market in Iowa!  Yes, IOWA!  And I loved it.  But more about that in an upcoming post–or two.

    The day before Market starts is a crazy day of classes and presentation called Schoolhouse.  I presented two Schoolhouses, one for Fabric Shop Network on a program I’ve written called Stash Pot Pie.  The other was for Timeless Treasures, who manufactures my fabric designs.  My friend, Karen Montgomery, also designs for Timeless.  Her  presentation was right before mine.  We both showed up in the hallway a little early, only to discover we had dressed alike!

    My new Dear Dorothy fabrics and quilt looked great in the Timeless Treasures booth.  It’s so fun to see my name up there–almost as much fun as seeing it on the selvage!  The quilt is a free to download pattern on my website, and, of course, kits are available!  The dresses are from patterns by Izzy and Ivy.

    I also discovered some of my toile fabrics used by the talented designers from Beach Garden Quilts.

    There was a new exhibitor there, Chitter Chatter Designs.  Mom’s the designer, but her daughter and her mother were both there helping her.

    This was my favorite new booth, Hemma Designs.

    I don’t know what I liked best–the fact the “Hemma” is Swedish for “At Home” or their fresh, new designs.

    Make new friends, but keep the old…….

    Here I am with Jill Mead, editor of Quilts and More, Elizabeth Stumbo graphic designer for Quilt Sampler, Linzee MacRaePam Viera and Monica.  Hmm, I wonder what’s afoot?

    You probably already know that my sista friend, Monica, had her first fabric line debut at this market–Holiday Happy.

    Her Gnome-A-Claus is so adorable!

    I know someone who’d love a green sewing table!

    And in the quilt exhibit area, was this quilt, entitled Remembering Sweden by Helena Sheffer.  If you’ve ever been to Stockholm’s Old Town, you’d recognize it immediately.

    And, oh, I even had dinner in Hell’s Kitchen!

  • 19May
    Categories: brilliant ideas, Everything!, fabric design Comments Off on Dear Dorothy
    Categories: Everything!, fabric design Comments: 0

    Carol Osterholm is a member of my Redwork Club.  Some time ago, she brought in a stack of blocks that her mother, Dorothy, had made in the 1930’s.  She was wanting some advice on how to put them together.  The blocks were adorable–cats, pigs, dogs, elephants….  Some were familiar to me, and others I’d never seen.  The prints in the appliques were very nice, too.  ”Hmmmm,” I mused.  ”These would make a great fabric line.  Would you mind?”  Carol said she wouldn’t mind, Timeless Treasures Fabrics loved the idea, and now the fabric is here!

    First, the fabrics.  I always like to have a large scale print in my lines.  Of course large scale in the Thirties is different than, say, Joel Dewberry large scale.

    There was a great large scale print in the elephant block, but it was a small piece, and not really big enough to see the repeat.

    I had the perfect substitute–this laundry bag.  Isn’t it fabulous.  Every laundry bag should have feet!  This, and Dorothy’s original blocks, served as the inspiration for the color palette.  The green is a great Thirties green, the pink is very raspberry and the orange, which is in this print and the little boy block of Dorothy’s, is a very muted orange, like it’s been washed and washed.  The yellow in the blocks is very buttery, and the blue is a clear, sky blue.  I just love the way they work together.

    I wanted a medium floral print, and the duck block provided that.

    I always like a monochromatic print, and there was one in the bunny block that I fell in love with.

    And what would a line be without a dot!  The kitty block had a great dot.  So, there you have it!  Those are the fabrics in the line.

    Now for the blocks.  I think Timeless Treasures did a fantastic job with the artwork on the panel.  The printed blocks look just like they’ve been stitched around.  Below are the different blocks, first, Dorothy’s original, then the reproduction under it.

    For the elephant, we changed his trunk, because an upturned trunk is the sign of a happy elephant!

    I’ve seen this cat with the big ribbon in other old quilts, but we took away part of the ribbon for our version.

    We didn’t need to do a thing to the dog.

    I’m not a big pig fan, but I have to admit, this one is pretty cute.

    I think the bunny is my favorite, both the animal and the print.

    Here’s the duck.  I’m not sure why we closed his mouth!

    There was a cute Sunbonnet Sue, but to me, there’s only one Sunbonnet Sue–the one my Grandma Kennedy made, so we substituted her.  I hope Dorothy understands.

    And I loved this boy.  His hat reminds me of a sombrero.

    When Carol saw the original blocks among her mother’s things, she asked if she could have them.  Her mother referred to them as, “Oh, these old things!”  I wonder what she’d think of them now.

    Here are Dorothy’s original blocks up on my design wall.  Carol is putting them together now, and I’ll share a photo of her finished quilt when it’s complete.

    Here’s the panel.  I designed it so it could be used just as it is, or the blocks could be cut apart and set together differently.

    Here’s how I chose to put them together after I cut a panel apart.  The free pattern for this is up on my web site.


  • 02Feb
    Categories: Everything!, musings Comments Off on The Sue Rescue

    I didn’t mean to buy another quilt.  Really, I didn’t.  But it was only $45.00, and it was so sad–but beautiful at the same time.

    It was really in bad shape, with lots of spots, fading and disintegrating fabric.

    This quilt was such a study in contrasts.  The Sue’s were all appliqued on flour sacks.

    But the stitching was amazing.

    And there was an incredible variety of stitches around the girls….

    …and on their hats.

    And did you notice that each sleeve has a little white cuff?

    As you can see, I took the quilt apart.  It was tied, and the edge of the top was folded to the back and zigzag stitched.  The filling was a worn out old blanket.  Boy, did I make a mess!  And, of course, as I worked, I made up a story about the origins of this quilt.  Here it is:

    Tillie, the maker of the quilt, was born in the late 1800′s.  She had four brothers.  Tillie was the youngest.  By the time her four brothers were married, her parents were in failing health, so Tillie remained at home to care for them.  By the time they passed, Tillie was past marrying age.  She had no marketable skills and no resources.  It fell to her brothers to look after her.  Tillie would spend a month with each brother.  Of course, this didn’t thrill their wives, but Tillie tried to make herself useful.  The one skill she possessed was sewing, so she passed the time at each house sewing clothes for members of the family with whom she was residing.  Her sisters-in-law would purchase fabric before Tillie arrived and have a list of things for her to make.  Tillie enjoyed this and felt that she was contributing to the household.  One brother had a little girl, Matilda, that was Tillie’s favorite.  Tillie asked Matilda’s mother for fabric to make a special quilt for Matilda, but her mother said that would be a frivolous thing and wouldn’t buy the fabric.  So, Tillie saved scraps from her other sewing, and at each household where she stayed, she gathered discarded flour sacks.  In her spare moments, she would make another Sunbonnet Sue block until she had 36 beautiful blocks.  She had even saved enough flour sacks to piece a backing.  Back at Matilda’s parents house, she was ready to baste the quilt together when she fell ill.  She soon realized that she wouldn’t be able to finish Matilda’s quilt.  On her deathbed, she pleaded with her sister-in-law to finish the quilt.  Her sister-in-law begrudgingly promised that she would.  After Tillie’s death, her sister-in-law found an old blanket, laid it between the quilt top and backing, turned the edges of the quilt top to the back, not caring that she caught some of the pretty applique in the seams, and zigzag stitched around it.  Matilda loved her quilt and the memories of her Aunt Tillie.  She enjoyed looking at the pretty fabrics and beautiful stitching and slept with the quilt every night for years and years, eventually passing it down to her daughter.  Of course the ungrateful wretch thought it was just an old rag, sold it at a garage sale, where an antique dealer bought it, put it in her booth at the antique mall and it found its way to me!

    And I love these blocks.  They’re really inspiration to me.  Thank you, Tillie.

  • 21Dec
    Categories: brilliant ideas, Everything!, fabric design Comments Off on Magazine Time

    Wow, I’m in the new Fons and Porter magazine–and I didn’t even know it.

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    I got suspicious last week when I started getting lots of orders for the Sweet Pea bundles and dress panel.  Then my friend Loretta came for our Redwork Christmas Party, and she had a copy of the magazine!  Jean Nolte designed the quilt, and all the little dresses are embellished with ribbon or rickrack or lace or aprons or pinafores.  It’s just adorable!

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    I always have fun making samples with my own fabric lines, but it’s so exciting to see what other people do with it.  Thank you, Jean.

  • 01Nov
    Categories: brilliant ideas, Everything!, quilting Comments Off on Little Selvage Bag

    I’ve been saving the selvages from my fabrics and I’m getting quite a bin full.

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    A long time ago I made this fun Quilt In A Cup, but I haven’t done anything else–until now!

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    It’s really fun to see my name and Anna Lena’s on the selvages.  I’ve been wanting to do something with them, but it seems like there’s never time for a project that isn’t FOR something–to support a fabric line, for a class, for a book.  So, a few days ago, I decided to heck with everything else, I’m making something with my selvages!  The result is this little bag.

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    It was more of an experiment than a real project, and I’d do some things differently if I did it again. But it’s kind of cute and I did learn a cool thing when quilting the orange polka dot fabric for the bottom.  If you look at the polka dots just right, they make a perfect diagonal line!  So, I sat down at my Elna and just followed every other line of dots to do my grid quilting, and it worked perfectly.

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    I think you can see it better from the back.

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    I’m going to remember that for a future project!