Category Archives: quilt books

There’s a new one everyday it seems! Some of us want them all.

Say sha-tock-qwa

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I was surprised to find that title phrase at the top of one of the blogs I periodically visit. When I sounded it out, I thought “is that Chautauqua?” and I was right. All of us around here know about the fall Chautauqua quilting weekend. Mary Fons, daughter of quilting rock star Marianne Fons, who is taking up the reins that Liz Porter put down for retirement will be at Chautauqua with her mom this fall. See her post about it here.

Many of you have tasted and loved Linda Hunter’s easy butterscotch cake. She sent her recipe to me to share with all of you.Click here Butterscotch Cake Recipe for the recipe.

Are you into English paper piecing? Love those Grandmother’s flower garden quilts made with gazillions of hexagons? You might be interested in this new book Hexa-go-go and the blog tour about it. Click here to see what it’s all about.

Babysitting a five year old all day today-wish me luck. I know I’ll sleep well tonight!

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antique quilt patterns

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I have admired antique quilts for years. Our family has a few, and I own two. One was made for me before I was born, and sadly I must admit that is enough to make it antique. It’s a very simple polka dot quilt. My great-grandmother had set herself a goal to make a quilt for each of her great-grandchildren. Mine is the last one she finished.

The second is an Iris applique quilt that the same great-grandmother made for my mom to celebrate her 16th birthday. In our family quilts were used, not saved. Sadly this iris quilt is in bad shape. The edges are so tattered that there is no saving them-and there are irises appliqued all along the edges. The center of the quilt is a large iris medallion. I have been searching for the pattern and designer of this quilt for many years. It is very similar in style to some of the “kit” quilts that were popular in the 40’s.

When I ran across this index of antique patterns mentioned in another blogger’s post today, I was so excited. I think I’ll be purchasing one or two of them-if I can narrow down to the likeliest to contain the iris pattern. Perhaps if you are an admirer of old quilts, or are interested in the old-time designers, these may be of interest to you too.

The indexes will only contain black and white drawings of the blocks, no directions for how to construct them. Another fun past time of mine is to analyze blocks I come across to determine how to piece them. I know that when the old blocks were designed, templates were the rule of the day. (I continue to be amazed by the geometry skills that those designers had-no computers to help them, and maybe no protractors or compasses either!) I learned to quilt drafting my blocks on graph paper first, then converting them either to templates or sometimes “ruler cut” blocks. This was prior to the dawn of rotary cutters and strip piecing. In my mind those two innovations were like the discovery of fire, or the invention of the wheel! Not every block can be strip pieced but it sure helps speed up the process, and definitely helped my accuracy of piecing. Sometimes those antique blocks adapt to strip piecing so easily and sometimes not so much. That’s the challenge for me. (I know–kind of geeky, but aren’t math teachers supposed to be geeks?)

Maybe I’ll find another star for our quilt-a-long in one of the indexes. I have the third one for us all ready for July. Don’t forget to take your Lucy blocks to the guild meeting this week, or send photos to Don, our webmeister.

BTW, here’s a link to a flickr group of Nancy Cabot blocks made in modern fabrics. (Nancy is one of those old-time designers. She designed blocks for the Chicago Tribune.) What would you think of a quilt-a-long of some of those antique blocks? Or we might use one of the many books that are out with collections of blocks-the Elm Creek series come to mind, or the Farmer’s Wife book? No need to decide yet, Lucy Goosey will run until October and then we’ll break til the end of the year so we all can finish our quilts! (TFPIC!) Guess what that acronym is for!

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Make It Monday

Hello all, it’s ME again.

The brownies were a hit yesterday. Very rich! About 1/2 of a regular brownie size and a bit of vanilla ice cream and you’re good to go. Definitely a keeper recipe. I’m going to write it up, and figure out how to start a recipe file. Oh! I’ll just send it to the file over at our website for now, and get to the file here eventually.

first loosey goosey blockFinished my first block for Loosey Goosey. Not real happy with the slight hole at the center, but I think when I take all the paper off the back, I’ll be able to fix it up with some steam. I’m leaving the papers on until I attach this block to something else. I’ve used all sorts of scraps with no regard for grain so I’m sure my block’s edges would get really wonky if I take the paper off now. Here’s a photo. I’m going to pick a nice easy pieced block, maybe with a twist, for June.

Today I’m working on a scrappy table topper using 4 blocks from the pattern for a jelly roll Irish chain quilt. It’s from the book Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott. I made the throw size and liked how it turned out. I’ve made several quilts from this book. The directions are well written, and I particularly appreciate the pressing plans. The quilts go together so well, with nicely opposing seams. I came upon a tutorial on-line for a “cathedral edge” binding that I want to try out on this topper. I made my blocks red and white, with assorted red Christmas prints and white with gold prints for the backgrounds. With only 4 blocks it was harder to combine the strip techniques of the pattern with my desire for randomness in the placement, but I think it’ll do for my experiment.

I’ll also do some more of the hourglass blocks I need for my sister’s signature quilt. Those go quickly, I just need a quantity so I’m doing a few at a time.

Gave the godsons their eye-spy quilts yesterday. They seem to be a hit, but not the eye-spy side! The boys like the roadway panels that I used for backing better. Just right for little matchbox cars and super hero toys. They did like that their names are in the blocks on the front. I told their mom that these quilts are to be played with and worn out, since she tends to “save” quilts so they won’t get ruined. I want these to get used up, frayed, and dirty from being played with everyday. How do you feel about the treatment of the quilts you make? Should they be used hard, or do you prefer that they be special?


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seminar spotting

Hello all, ME here.

Did my weekly grocery run yesterday. Instead of going to the small Tops near me (where I can buy just the basics), I went to a Wegman’s. I’ve avoided Weggies lately, since I find I buy way too much “fun” but not “necessary” stuff when I shop there. I picked up 2 quilting magazines. (Which group do they fall into?) The first is the summer issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks. Both of our seminar teachers for this fall have blocks featured in this issue. Beth Ferrier’s block is called Butterfly Dance-a lovely appliqued piece. Anita Grossman Solomon’s is called Ginger and Fred, an interesting and versatile pieced block. I’ll bet there is a quick trick for cutting it as well. Maybe she’ll share it at seminar. One of our future teachers, Bonnie Hunter for 2014, has a block in the issue too. Her block is called Talkin’ Turkey! I’m scouting the blocks for a star or two to include in our first bloggers Quilt-a-Long.

The second magazine I purchased is the inaugural issue of Quilty. Mary Fons, daughter of Marianne Fons, is the editor and made several of the quilts. I haven’t finished a full review of the magazine yet, but I like what I’ve read so far. It’s obviously aimed at a younger demographic, but if you’re young in outlook rather than chronology you’ll still enjoy it. Have you seen any episodes of her free “tv” series on QNNtv? Watch one or two, especially if you are trying to get some younger quilter hooked. It’s described by Mary as “a home for rookie quilters”.

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getting back to real life

Hello all, Mary Ellen here

Aren’t those photos on Marija’s post fun to look at? It’s nice to have time stand still for a moment in each shot, so I can really give a good look at everything in each photo. Somehow when it’s all happening in real-time, things go by so quickly they can’t be savored. How did Marija find time to take all those shots, with everything else she was doing at/for the show?!

Real life is back–getting caught up on laundry, tried to catch up on yardwork but the rain intervened yesterday (will finish when it dries out), grocery shopping, dog training class, sewing for an upcoming class, ya-da, ya-da, ya-da.

When I chose the pattern I will next be teaching, I was looking for a small-scale project that used some traditional blocks and could be made up quickly for gifts. I chose one that uses just 2 traditional blocks (half square triangles, and shaded four patches) with two borders and cornerstones. Definitely has a traditional feel to it. When I got into the making of the sample, I discovered that the designer is into triangles! She has cut individual triangles for her half square triangle blocks (I used “Triangles on a Roll”™ for those) and for her shaded four patch blocks she has you cut 5 triangles. Out came a Billie Lauder book (remember her visit to seminar a few years ago) Quick Quilt Tricks, and that block got simplified as well. Now this little table topper is really quite easy and will definitely end up on my list of “go-to” projects for gifts. I love a pattern that looks more complicated than it actually is. (The pattern is called Table Cozees II from Clothesline Quilts)

Perhaps when I have the topper complete, I’ll take a photo and share it here. It’s about time I learn how to insert photos into the blog–we’ve got so much going on that could be shared. If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, that saves me a ton of typing!!

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Slow down Sunday

Good morning all, Mary Ellen here.

Do you remember when Sundays used to be a day of rest? Stores were closed, not much was happening outside of the family. Maybe a musical performance, a club get together but generally it was a day to reflect and rewind. Couldn’t we please go back to that?

Catching up on a few of my favorite blogs this morning. I tend to follow a group of rather “modern” quilters in blogland. I think it’s the fabrics they choose that I like so well. The blocks are generally just traditional ones done in a slightly tweaked way. Sometimes they are improvised or wonky, sometimes the pieces are skewed a bit-rectangles instead of squares, ovals instead of circles for example, often they are just as they’ve been made for a hundred years. One quilter I’ve always associated with free form wonky blocks is Gwen Marston. Her book Liberated Quilting was my first introduction to blocks that were made “off” deliberately. Here’s a link to some photos of Gwen in NYC giving a talk to a modern guild. Look at those traditional quilts. Who’d a thunk it? I wonder if up close they are a bit freeform. I have heard that a few years ago now, Gwen and her husband then, Joe Cunningham, came to AMQG for seminar. I’d love to have either one of them, or both, back again. Anybody?

Here’s a link to one of the first modern blogs that I began with, done by a group of bloggers: fat quarterly.  They have come a long way from their start-now publishing an online magazine, and many of the quilters in the group now are published authors. Lots of free things available at their sites. I don’t always agree with their techniques-sometimes it seems quality construction gets lost, but I’m a bit of a stickler regarding bias edges-but the final products are usually bright and fun. Have a look if you’re not familiar with them.

I just got a book from authored by the group from Fat Quarterly called Shape Workshop for Quilters. It’s organized by shapes used in the blocks and quilts-such as circles, polygons, diamonds and a few more. Just getting into it, but it looks good so far. Again, I like the modern fabrics, bright colors and free-spirited quilting. Will let you know more after I give it a thorough read.


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