Posts Tagged ‘quilts’


All who loves sunflowers will fall in love with this quilt! Raye designed this king size quilt herself and gave us the privilege of quilting it for her. It was a gift to her daughter. Note the intensive use of batiks throughout the top. She wanted it quilted in as elegant way as possible, with different designs in each of the separate area.s and borders, no trivial feat.



She was quite pleased with it, as were we.


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Lot of excess fabric right where the points come together Lots of excess fabric right where the points come together

What do you do when you are asked to quilt a top that is filled with 30 blocks, each of which creates a C-cup’s worth of extra fabric?   Return it to the customer undone?   Quilted with lots of pleats?   resew each block before quilting in order to make them lay flat?    Or attack them in a brute force way with TOOLS??   We chose the latter.

Un-ironed and unevenly sewn points Un-ironed and unevenly sewn points

The cause of the problem is the lack of ironing of the seams and intersections and well as just a general unevenness of seam construction.  By the way, this is an old ‘found’ quilt, resurrected from an abandoned family truck.   The fabrics are probably from the 1950’s or 1960s.

Mallet, spray starch and iron Mallet, spray starch and iron

Although we tried ironing the entire quilt top, hoping it would eventually lay flat, we had to resort to the heavy hitters of tools and techniques.  Out came to rubber headed mallet, a full bottle of spray starch and the hottest iron possible.   Working from the wrong side, we opened the seams, swirled the points as much as possible, beat the intersection into submission with the mallet, and starched and ironed the heck out of it on the from and back.

A lessened C-cup.  Maybe now barely an A? A lessened C-cup. Maybe now barely an AA?

All that hammering and ironing paid off!   The excess fabric was tamed into submission and now the probability of introducing pleats into the quilting was lessened.    We have not yet quilted the top so I can’t tell you the whole story but we know it will be easier than before we used the tools.


Update:  These tools made a difference and we were able to create a really useable quilt with a minimum of lumps and bumps.


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Do quilts talk?


During this Christmas season, I recall my mother preparing our home for the coming holiday. Besides window washings, floor scrubbing, furniture polishing, there was always a “special” quilt that was put on the bed in the Guest Room. As I would enter the sun lit guest bedroom, my eyes would immediately go to the colorful quilt. I would love to run my hand over its surface and imagine where these lovely pieces came from. I’d like to think they were sent here from far off lands.

In the 1870’s my great-aunt constructed a quilt made when she was employed as a seamstress for the Van Horn costumers in Philadelphia, Pa., the then leading Costume maker in the entertainment field. The costumes she made were seen on stages in Philadelphia and New York and other cities.

The fabrics used in the quilt were of the period….Victorian. They were made of satins, velvets and silks and perhaps taffetas. I believe the pattern is called “Washington Steps” or known today as Log Cabin. I don’t believe it was meant as an “utilitarian quilt” but more as a way to display her ‘sew-manship’.

It was the custom at the time to allow the ladies who worked in the sewing room to take home scrapes of fabric. These pieces were too small for any garment but perfect to be cut into various shapes. My Great Aunt would take these precious scraps and transform them into magical pieces that became our “Heirloom” quilt. We believe that this quilt was made around the mid-1800’s. A “sister” quilt was made from these same pieces of cloth and was displayed in the window, on the 4th of July in the John Wanamaker Department store on Market Street in Philadelphia.

Presently our quilt is packed away in an acid-free, air tight box. It can no longer be displayed due to erosion of the delicate fabrics.

Two of my daughters, who live in Austin, Texas are carrying on this tradition. They fashion quilts from a melange of fabrics. These can be old baby clothes, “T”-shirts, blouses, wedding gowns, dresses and suits worn for very special occasions and clothing worn at one time by family member who has since passed on. After designing a pleasing quilt top they then machine quilt them on their long-arm machine.

So it seems we have come “full-circle” Our love of this beautiful art just grows and continues.

Do you have an old quilt in your family with a similar, rich history?


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It may seem impossible, but after 7 days of experiencing the International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston, we are overloaded. In a wonderful way, of course. Quilts of all styles and shapes and colors and sizes and designs! Quilts made by sewists, modernists, traditionalists and longarmists, all so talented.

Which one is your favorite?









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Looking at the colors in this quilt, inspecting the accuracy of the piecing and seeing the overall design, you would never think this was the first quilt made by Carol. She made it for her newest granddaughter, Harper, who is a mere 9 months old.

What so impressed me about this quilt is the dramatic use of color, the mixture of fabric patterns. Look closely and you will see that the pattern design is not one usually chosen by a new quilter. I think Carol did a suburb job on this quilt. It is such a happy quilt and that is exactly how it made us feel as we worked on it.

I am sure that Harper will love it and appreciate it more and more as she begins to recognize the talent of her grandmother and her first attempt at quilting!


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