• 09Oct
    Categories: Everything!, musings, quilting Comments Off on ABC Quilts

    I had an email from a local woman two days ago.  She said her dad sent her some unfinished quilts and she’d heard from Andi at Jelly Bean Quilts that I was the one to talk to about them.  Thanks, Andi!  I love to see old quilts and quilt tops, and these were a treasure.

    She had two nearly identical tops with alphabet blocks embroidered and appliqued.  This top is finished except for the last block on the bottom right which seems like it should be XYZ.  I’ve seen quilts made from this pattern before but don’t have a quilt or the pattern in my collection.

    The second top has a few problems with its border and sashing strips, but luckily, she has extra fabric and I think she will be able to fix it.  She believes her grandmother started these quilts and that her mom worked on them at some point.  She wondered what I could tell her about them.

    I was pretty sure that it was a serial quilt.

    A serial quilt was a series of blocks that were published, one at a time, in the newspaper.

    Women would clip them out, collect them all and make a quilt.

    This was a great promotion for the papers.

    No woman wanted to miss a block!

    The Kansas City Star was famous for serial quilt patterns.  But I didn’t think this was a Kansas City Star Design.

    The blocks are certainly charming, though, and the stitchery and applique are nicely done.

    I’m not even going to mention there was orange!

    After Cheri left, I did a little web search and learned that this was a Florence LeGanke design.  She designed under the name Nancy Page, and her patterns ran under the name “The Nancy Page Quilt Club.”

    It turns out the last block wasn’t XYZ, but YOU.  Nancy suggested you personalize the quilt for whomever you were making it for.  Seems odd to me!  Perhaps she offered some other options.

    I did find some photos on the net of other vintage ABC quilts.  This one was finished with XYZ.

    And here’s a combination of the You and XYZ.  I think I like this best.  This is actually a preprinted fabric available from Grandma’s Attic.

    I thought I’d share a couple other photos I found.  I like the alternate setting blocks used in this one.

    The quilting in the setting blocks is simple yet effective.

    It looks like these letters were chain or stem stitched rather than satin stitched.

    Here’s a pretty yellow version.

    I think the crosshatching on it is perfect!

    But this quilter had the most unique setting.  She made her own ‘X’ and ‘Z’ designs, and used the original YOU as well.

    And she personalized it, too.  How clever!

  • 15Sep
    Categories: brilliant ideas, Everything!, quilting Comments Off on Monograms and More

    Our theme last week at Redwork Club was monograms.

    Here’s a beautiful “M” to start us out.

    Happy E brought these two “P” linens.  When we asked her why the “P” she said….

    “Oh, these were Mrs. Fishers!”  Well, that cleared that up.

    I believe this is teeny, tiny cross stitch.

    Another “M”…

    …and a pretty pink “H”

    The white-on-white is very pretty and subtle.

    I’m sure women weren’t supposed to draw attention to themselves!

    One of our members had made this for her aunt.

    And now for the “More.”

    Cortne’ had recently been given this 1930′s postage stamp quilt.

    It was a feast of fabrics!

    Loretta finished her Flower Basket quilt top.

    She decided to do her butterflies in gold floss.

    I think it turned out great!

    And I just had to share with you the labels that Linda puts on her quilts.

    These are hand embroidered.

    She does an amazing job!

  • 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!

  • 11Jun
    Categories: Everything!, musings, quilting Comments Off on Iowa #3 – Genealogy Quilt

    Lucky for me, one of the temporary exhibits at the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah was on area quilts.

    The squares on this quilt are simple, but the embroidery was beautiful.

    At the top it says, “My Uncles, Aunts and Cousins/Made By Lena Wernson/Quandahl, Iowa.”

    I wonder if she made all the blocks.  The writing on them differs, so she may have asked her relatives to each embroider a block.

    Of she may have had them write on a block and she did the embroidery.

    I guess we’ll never know for sure.

    At least she signed and dated it!

  • 08Jun
    Categories: brilliant ideas, Everything!, travels here Comments Off on Iowa #1 – An Overview

    Bob and I have gotten into the habit of taking a weeks vacation every year after Spring Quilt Market.  For years I’ve wanted to vacation in Iowa, and I finally, finally got to do so.  Not only was I happy to get to Iowa, it appears the people of Iowa were happy to have me!

    We traveled through several Amish communities, including Harmony, Minnesota.

    And, as you might expect, there was lots of corn in Iowa–lots of corn!

    Right now it’s growing 2″ a day.  Imagine!  It was obvious to us in the week that we spent there.

    We found some great antique stores.  I loved the displays.

    Among our favorite things were the museums, like the Hardin County Farm Museum in Eldora.  The signs here indicated this is part of the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area.  It isn’t open except for special occasions, but we met a nice old gentleman there and he asked if we’d like to see inside.  Two hours later, we were wishing him goodbye and sending him home for a late dinner (he had called his wife, though!).

    I’ve known about Vesterheim, the Norwegian/American Museum in Decorah for years, and was finally able to visit–don’t tell my Swedish relatives!

    We happened upon this old mill after closing, but they were expecting a vintage car group, so invited us in for a tour.

    We got a personal tour of a turkey farm.

    Here’s a beautiful view of the Skunk River in Ames…..

    ….and the Mississippi River, which divides Iowa and Wisconsin.

    Of course we got to visit lots of tractor collections.

    And even the National Farm Toy Museum.  Did you know there was such a place?

    We went to quilt exhibits…….

    …….and saw quilt barns…….

    …..and visited quilting friends in their shops.

    We even crossed the Mississippi so we could visit Stockholm—Wisconsin, that is!

    And we saw Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods.

    Iowa was great.  Stay tuned.  There will be more of our Iowa Adventure to come…..

  • 28May
    Categories: Everything!, musings Comments Off on Nasturtium Quilt

    I try not to look at quilts on Ebay.  Really, I try not to!

    But sometimes, they pop up on my screen anyway.

    And sometimes there’s orange in them.  And nasturtiums (along with California poppies) are my favorite flowers.

    What’s a girl to do but look.

    It was sooooo beautiful.

    I didn’t intend to buy it, but I did send the photos to my friends and family.

    They encouraged me to “go for it!”  So I did!  The quilting on it is amazing.

    And it looks great on my Aunt Gloria’s old bed.

    And in case you wonder if I’ve always liked orange, this is the dress Melissa wore when she was flower girl in my wedding in 1974!  The bridesmaids wore the same.  Yep, I’ve always loved orange–and nasturtiums and California poppies!

  • 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.