August 5, 2022

The Exact Match - One More

Just a little while ago, I wrote about how exciting it is to find an exactly matching fabric when patching vintage and antique quilts.  I told the stories of 6 times that has happened for me in nearly 40 years of repairing quilts.  

And lo and behold, number 7 just happened!  

The quilt in question is a 1930s Dresden Plate with what today is known as an ice cream cone border.  

Not only is the fabric exact, but it is a piece taken out of an old quilt and very nearly the same shape as well.  

And there is also a piece of the same print in blue on the quilt.


 Such fun!


July 14, 2022


Back in August 2017, my husband and I traveled to Paducah, KY.   The city shared the happy coincidence of being the home of the National Quilt Museum and also being located, not only in the path of totality for a solar eclipse, but also at the point of longest totality.  Perfect!

Soon after, I posted the story of the journey and the marvels of viewing a total eclipse.

And now, quite a few years later, I've completed a quilt to commemorate the magic and beauty of the eclipse.

June 6, 2022

Hawaiian Quilt

The category "Hawaiian quilt" probably conjures up the well-known style of quilt developed in Hawaii.  These quilts use two large pieces of solid-color fabric.  One piece is folded like a paper snowflake, cut in an intricate botanical pattern, carefully unfolded onto the base fabric, and appliquéd down.  Then, it is quilted in parallel lines that echo the shapes of the appliqué.  


This quilt was made in Hawaii, as the machine embroidered label tells us, but varies from this famous design style.  

The pattern is three ribbon-like strips entwined with a leafy vine.  The quilting is the signature style, echoing the appliqué shapes.  And like the famous Hawaiian style, the technique is top notch.  Both the appliqué and quilting stitches are small and even, and points on the appliqués are smooth and not lumpy.  

One of the ribbon strips was showing some wear in just one area of the quilt. 



I had a very closely matching fabric in my stash - one of the reasons I have a room full of fabric.  I hardly ever have to go shopping for patch fabrics these days.  I generally only shop when I need yardage for backs or bindings.  The other reason the room is so full is that I love fabric!

In fact, I had three near matches, and spent some time looking at them under both day and night lighting in order to pick the closest one.

I traced the appliqué shapes and then added turn under allowances as I cut the fabric shapes. 

I then appliquéd the shapes in place, carefully working around leaves and stems that had been appliquéd over the ribbons when the quilt was made.


There also was a small burn hole, caused by an incense stick spark.  I went through the same process of looking for the closest color match to fill the hole.   


I snipped the edges of the hole and turned them under, slipped a small bit of patch fabric underneath, and held everything in place with tiny couching stitches.  

You can see the full quilt and more details of the beautiful stitching in a video I made mid-way through the repair process.   

May 24, 2022

The Exact Match

Finding just the right fabrics to restore a vintage or antique quilt can be a challenge.  The chances of The Exact Match are slim.  It's almost always about finding fabrics that blend in as unobtrusively as possible.  This is true whether using vintage or modern reproductions.

Sometimes fabrics that blend perfectly into the existing set of fabrics seem to fall into my lap, but sometimes a lengthy search ends up with settling for the better of several options.  

My restoration of this Lone Star quilt (1930s) serves as an example of the fabric search stage of quilt restoration.  I found these two potential greens at Reproduction Fabrics, my favorite source.  (I have no affiliation....)  One lacked the orange accent in the original fabric, and the other had a red accent, maybe too bright.

May 11, 2022

Video Skills Update

My January blog post on developing video skills for workshop teaching and YouTube outreach is in need of updating already! 

I splurged (lucked into a sale!) on a great ring-light designed specifically for filming top-down demos.  I'm glad I waited until I'd done some filming without much investment past my DIY equipment.  That way, I knew what my situation and video goals needed. 

April 21, 2022

Double Wedding Ring Times Two

A customer sent me two Double Wedding Ring quilts made by her grandmother.  She asked if I could take pieces off of the more “loved up” quilt (great words!) and use them to restore the less damaged one.  The quilts were both totally scrappy.  Some fabrics appeared in both quilts, but not all.  This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to try that scenario! 

The owner told me:
My grandmother... used my mom's little dresses and probably her sisters' dresses also. My grandmother had 5 girls.

March 16, 2022

Memory Quilt


Here is why people treasure quilts.  This quilt holds so many loving memories, symbolizes such a great story, and inspired this beautiful essay.  (Notes and photos on the repair process follow the story.)

My paternal grandmother made this quilt in the mid-1990s.  It was born from love that went back one long lifetime, and love that she wanted to carry forward several more lifetimes.

Grandma was a proud, tough “Okie.”  Born in 1919, she came of age in the worst hard times:  on a homestead farm between Hough and Guymon, Oklahoma, during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.  She was able to do some college.  But she left early, to join the WAVES during WWII.  Then, she married and had two kids.  She was stubborn, but she had a sweet streak, too.  Acutely aware that she was my only living grandparent, she tried to be all of my grandparents, all of the time.  She lived an hour away, but she often came to important school assemblies and birthday celebrations.  We spent every holiday together.  And I spent lots of time with her, at her old farmhouse.  We gardened, read, exercised, played piano, sang, danced, listened to opera, cooked, quilted, and crossworded together.  As she approached 70, she set her heart on finishing her bachelor’s degree.  She went back to school at an HBCU, where she connected with people from very different backgrounds and took down challenging advanced algebra classes.  She did well until she slipped on ice, broke her hip, and was never quite the same afterward.