June 18, 2019

Antique Wedding Dress, 1872

This dress was worn by Margaret Jane McCornack at her wedding to Myron Gage on May 14, 1872. The dress has been passed down in her family, and is now in the possession of her great-granddaughter.  She told me that the McCornack family came from Scotland to the Elgin, IL, area in 1835 for religious reasons.  Margaret’s father Alexander McCornack was born in St. Luce parish south of Glascow.  The Gage family came to the US in the 17th century.

The dress is now headed to the Elgin History Museum.  Margaret's great-granddaughter brought it to me for mending before it goes to the museum.

To add to the fun, here's a family portrait taken the day after the wedding.  Margaret is sitting on the far left side in the second row.  Her father and mother are seated on the right of the second row.  

The dress is a textured silk, in one of those colors that just won't stay put in any one category.  Is it an olive-greeny grey?  Or is it a greyed olive green?  We shall never know for sure!  It is lined with a medium brown polished cotton.

June 3, 2019

Tree Sisters


A Facebook group called Tree Sisters put out a call for 12" blocks to be joined into a quilt to be displayed next year, the "Year of the Tree".  An idea popped into my head, so I went for it.   

(Submission deadline is July 1. And there's room for some more blocks. Here's info on making and submitting a quilt block. )

I remember being fascinated when I first learned that trees and other plants have just as much size and spread under the ground with their roots as above ground with their branches.  Up until then, I guess it was kind of out of sight, out of mind.  So my design represents that.  And by showing a more complete view of a tree, I've also included the earth and all those underground process of growth and nourishment.

May 26, 2019

I See You

I finished this little quilt a few days ago.  It is now en route to the Sacred Threads exhibit, to be held in Herndon, VA, July 11-28, 2019.  From the website:

"Sacred Threads is an exhibition of quilts exploring themes of joy, inspiration, spirituality, healing, grief and peace/brotherhood. This biennial exhibition was established to provide a safe venue for quilters who see their work as a connection to the sacred and/or as an expression of their spiritual journey."

This year in addition to the main exhibit, there is a special project called Eye Contact: Creating a Connection

"There is a famous quote by Cicero (106-43 B.C.). 'Ut imago est animi voltus sic indices oculi' (The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter). 'The eyes are the window of the soul' is a variant form of the proverb..."

I find the whole idea so intriguing.  That, coupled with the small size - 23" wide x 5" high - made the decision to make an entry so easy!  The only direction is that the quilt show "two human eyes looking at the viewer".

The project also seems to have a secondary name (it's in the link to the Eye Contact page) of "I See You".  I've been studiously avoiding political comments on my posts, but in this case, I touch in with politics just a bit, as this is a big part of what drew me to participate.  The desire (necessity) to be truly seen seems to me to be so crucial to the divisions and angst that currently plague our political/social discourse.  Everyone on both sides of the aisle seems to be clamoring to be seen, heard, honored, represented.  "I see you" may be the most powerful tool we have to mend our interrelationships.

I had so much fun creating this little quilt!  It was one of those wonderful flow experiences where the right fabrics were at hand, they interacted just like I wanted, and little flashes of extra inspiration kept appearing.  I even made up a way to indicate my curly grey hair with thread!  I used white, metallic silver, and iridescent threads.

I worked from a selfie, isolated the eyes, overlaid a grid to enlarge to the required size, cut and stitched appliqués, embroidered facial lines and eyelashes, quilted around the appliqués and to attach the curly thread/hairs.

 I See You!

May 11, 2019

Visible Mending

Generally, whether repairing clothes or quilts for my customers, my goal is invisible mending.  But with visible mending being all the rage these days and I enjoy embroidery, so I thought I'd give it a go.

I've been looking at all sorts of mends that folks are posting on social media.  I've decided that what I like best are mends that neaten up the tears and holes.  And what I like even better are mends that make something artsy and fun out of the patches and mending stitches themselves.

April 10, 2019

Garden Paths

Here's the quilt currently on my work table:

Quite honestly, Grandmother's Flower Garden is not one of my favorite patterns.  And I do get quite a few of them coming in for repair, so I spend quite a bit of time looking at them. 

If I ever make one, which is not at all likely, it'd be like this one.  I like the addition of the tiny diamond paths between the flowers.  These hexies are about 7/8" inch on a side, and the piecing and quilting are quite nicely done.

Also, I really love this particular print.  Firstly, it's green.  And secondly it's got curvey, viney lines.  My favorite kind of print in my favorite color! 

April 1, 2019

A Fun Couple of Weeks

I've had a bit of a lull between repair projects these last couple of weeks, and have been enjoying working on projects that are mostly for me, meaning they mostly don't have anyone waiting at the other end for me to finish them.  So relaxing!

Here's what's been on my worktable:

March 20, 2019


My friend Julia of Basya Berkman Vintage (the person who supplies me with all the fun clothes needing creative repair solutions that you see in these posts) has told me that I need to do this bit of shameless self-promotion.  This is not in my nature.  At all.  But I am following Julia's advice.....

Firstly, my book has celebrated its first birthday.  And there is Big News here in the land of self-publishing:  My book is now on the shelves at both the museum shop of The National Museum of Quilts in Paducah, KY, and the shop at the Museum of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington, DC!!!  I am absolutely thrilled!!!  And I am very grateful to these organizations for their votes of confidence in my work.

A Book With My Name On The Cover.  It's still a source of much amazement for me. Wow!