Category Archives: Uncategorized

2017-18 Baby Rail Fence

This baby quilt was made from a purchased kit with pre-cut strips.  it was a convenient package of fabrics to use when I was at the cottage this summer.  It went together easily and quickly.

When I got back home in the fall, I quilted it with a digital quilting design by Anne Bright with ABCs and teddy bears.  Really cute and it coordinates with the ABC border.

2015-12 Christmas Star Wall Hanging

xmas-star-1This little wall hanging started with one leftover block from my Christmas Scenes quilt (2014-15).  I don’t like leftovers!  They take up space, clutter my work area and interfere with my creativity.  Through experience, I have found it is much better for me to make another quick project with the leftovers or simply give them away.  For this little block, I decided on a quickie project.  To complete it, I added a red inner border and a fussy cut Christmas themed outer border that picked up all the colours.  The custom quilting  finished it off nicely and the green print binding echoed the star points.  With the added hanging sleeve, it makes a nice little wall hanging that will either be a hostess gift or a donation to my guild’s boutique sale.

2013-17: Double X Quilt

Double X QuiltThis Double X quilt started out as a flimsie I purchased on EBay.  It did not look too bad when I saw the tiny photo online, but when the packaged arrived I was rather dismayed when I saw the quilt.  It had holes where seams had frayed in the wash, stains from tiny four footed night-scurriers, childishly large hand stitching and the piecing was significantly challenged.  Big sigh.

I liked the blocks, but the setting strips and cornerstones left something to be desired.  On closer examination, I determined that the blocks had been hand pieced by one quilter and the sashing and borders were added at a later date by machine, likely by a different quilter.  This is what it looked like:


Embarrassed that I had purchased such an awful quilt top, I put it out of sight in  a sewing room cupboard for several years.  Since retirement, I have been committed to clearing all UFOs off my conscience, so I pulled it back out of hiding and began to work on the rescue process.

Since I liked the blocks, I set to work separating them from the rest of the quilt.  Once reclaimed, I repaired seams, reinforced stitching, stabilized bias edges, squared up blocks and eventually discarded two blocks that were beyond repair.   The remaining blocks were heavily starched and pressed and then had green coping strips added to each side.  Then I squared all of the blocks to a consistent size.

Working with blocks that are true and square makes everything else so much easier in the quilting process.  From that point, it was straightforward to add the red sashing and cornerstones and then to apply the navy border.  I chose fabrics with an antique feel that echoed the old fabrics of the Double X blocks.

I chose a Warm and Natural batting because I wanted it to shrink and crinkle up like a well loved antique quilt.  Warm and Natural shrinks about 3%, so after the first wash, it will achieve exactly the look I want.  The quilting design is Jacobean by Anne Bright.  I have quilted quite densely over the quilt for two reasons – to mimic an old fashioned quilt and also to give extra security to the  hand stitched seams of the blocks.  On top, the thread is Superior So Fine in a Dark Olive colour with Superior Bottom Line in the bobbin.

The red binding is applied to the front and stitched to the back with a tiny blanket stitch using Superior MonoPoly.  I hand stitched the corner miters both front and back.

All in all, I am quite pleased with the results of my quilt rescue efforts.  However, I have sworn off buying any more quilt tops on EBay.  I still have three remaining tops from that imprudent buying foray.  I am forcing myself to finish them all so that I will be thoroughly inoculated against impulsive EBay purchases!  As one wise quilter told me…”There is usually a reason why some quilts are left unfinished.”  How true.  Unfortunately, some of us learn our lessons the hard way!  I derive comfort from the saying that “Life is a series of lessons.  You keep repeating the lesson until you get it.”  My consolation is that lessons learned the hard way rarely need repeating.   (Grin!)

2013-9: Vintage Nine Patch

Vintage Nine Patch

Several years ago when I was busy with work related travel, I had little time for piecing tops.  I got the bright idea to purchase tops on eBay so I could quilt them as I had time.  It sounds good in theory, but the reality is quite different.  I purchased a dozen tops, but the quality of the fabric and condition of the tops left a bit to be desired.  When I opened the packages, I was somewhat dismayed by my impulsive and imprudent purchases.  Chagrined, I stuffed them into a cupboard for several years, but since my retirement, I have forced myself to bring them out of hiding and quilt them.

This vintage nine patch quilt is one of those infamous e-Bay flimsies.  The vintage cotton top is hand pieced and showed evidence of unprotected storage in an attic where little four footed creatures scurry.  Sigh!

I prepared a backing of a greenish grey shirting and quilted it with a tan thread in a pattern called Pretty Posie, designed by Tammy Finkler, which suited the old fashioned nature of the quilt.  The batting is Warm and Natural – 100% cotton.

Once quilted, I soak-washed the quilt, using a healthy dose of Fantastic on the stains on the top.  After a good rinse, I dried it in the dryer.  It came out soft and puckered, like a well-worn old  quilt.  I then bound the quilt with a slate blue cotton shirting.

I’m quite pleased with the final result.   The stains are mostly gone and it looks like a well loved vintage quilt.  My son has asked me not to give it away and I have agreed.  This quilt will find a home at our summer cottage where it will be a great snuggle quilt for cool summer evenings on the screened-in porch.    Now I am sorry I left this top hidden in a cupboard for so many years!

Back in the Sewing Room

Freehand meandering on Shoe Fly Quilt

Ahh… It is great to be back in the quilting studio!

Labour Day marks the end of the cottage season.  I am now back to reality after three solid months at the cottage. It was great, but I admit to missing my quilting studio, fondly known as my “Woman Cave” where I can indulge my creativity.  I did take piecing projects – mostly UFOs – with me to the cottage and was able to assemble most of the projects.  I do like piecing at our lakeside cabin, but it is not quite the same as my Quilting Studio where I have my big cutting table, lots of counter space and plenty of tools at hand.

Tuesday, first day back, I tidied my sewing room, vacuumed the summer crop of dust bunnies, unpacked and put away all of the supplies and projects I took north.  I did finish a few small projects over the summer, but mostly I pieced flimsies which I now need to quilt.

Tuesday evening, I quilted one large top for the guild’s outreach program to ensure my machine is working happily, and my quilting arms are all warmed up.

Wednesday and Thursday, two custom quilts I had promised for others were first on the list.  Friday, I judged quilting at a fall fair.

So today, finally, I get to do my own quilting. First thing I loaded is a Shoe Fly quilt in jeweled tones on a solid black background.  These blocks were made from leftovers of another project.  I wanted to spice it up a bit, so selected a Variegated Valdani thread in coordinating jeweled tones.  The quilting pattern is my own version of an oak leaf and loop meander, the results of which is quite pleasing to my aesthetic sense.  Can hardly wait to get it finished!

It feels good to be back quilting again.  The creative outlet in quilting gives great scope for the imagination and is very satisfying!

Being back in town with internet access, posting project completions becomes possible again.   Over the next while, I will post the small projects I finished over the summer and as I get the large ones quilted and bound, will post those too.

Paducah: Appraisal Day 2

Hands on appraising was the order of the day as we were divided into groups to appraise quilts.  We used the standard AQS format and style to record our written appraisal and with the information gathered, we determined a value.  Once the group determined the value of the quilt, the scribe reported the value to the whole group and then the four instructors, who of course are all certified appraisers would tell us their opinion and how they would have valued it.

We got a lot faster and more accurate as the day went on.  We appraised both antique and new quilts and learned the difference between the two types of appraisals. The day was packed with information and learning.  By the end of the day, we were both exhausted and exhilarated.   Wonderful day!

Gerald Roy explains a key point on a quilt

Marie Webster Poppies Quilt – a kit quilt

Antique Quilt being appraised

Some of the purple fabrics have faded to brown on this quilt

Detail of the purple quilt

Pine Burr, an unusual pattern for a 30’s quilt adds to quilt value

Gerald Roy explains the difference in value between four doll quilts

Lone Star – unusual corner blocks adds to the value of the quilt

Antique quilt in pristine condition has additional historical value because it came from the estate of a Michigan state senator

Label attached to the back of the border would have come from the mill on the fabric. Much of the label has been removed, making it difficult to identify the mill where the fabric was made.



Paducah: Appraisal Classes

Learning new things expands one’s horizons.  Taking classes at Paducah has been a mind-expanding experience for me.  I opted to take a couple of courses on Quilt Appraisal with instructors Carol Elmore, Linda Honsberger and Gerald Roy.

Gerald Roy explains a key point on this 1930’s quilt

The instructors explain the importance to appraisal value of viewing a quilt hanging to get the full visual impact.

Appraisal class participants examine a pre-1840 quilt.

Detail of the quilt showing a block with pre-1830 Chromium blue fabric.

Chromium Blue fabrics – Pre-1830 fabric

Gerald Roy gave us a quick lesson on dating fabrics with  quilts that illustrate the major styles from 1840s through to 1970.   Pictures could not be taken of these quilts, so I can only tell you that they were wonderful to see and helped us to understand trends and put the periods into perspective.

During the class, Sheila Holland, a quilter whose work appears in miniature quilt display in the AQS museum came to the door to give a miniature quilt to Gerald Roy.

Sheila makes miniatures exclusively from vintage fabric.  He appraised some of her work and was so impressed with her work, that he went home and pulled numerous yards of tiny print vintage fabrics from his collection to give to her.  She made this quilt for him as a surprise thank-you gift.  The cheddar fabric, which Gerald calls Chromium, is dated from 1870.  The blue is called Lancaster Blue and it also dates from 1870.  Gerald said he would probably donate the quilt to the AQS Museum, and laughingly added, “but not until after I die!”

Update: Sept 7, 2012:  You can check out more of Sheila’s work on her website at .  Her work also appears in the “Oh Wow!” exhibit of miniatures at the Museum of the American Quilters Society.