Vintage View: Applique Beauties


There were just a few applique quilts amongst those on display at Living History Farms the weekend before last.  But they were all full-size, detailed hand applique, and worth taking the time to show you… even if you never make a hand applique quilt yourself!

This one was a simple, two-color quilt, roughly Queen size, in ivory and a dull brown (they probably would have called the color “drab” at the time it was made–which is very close to what many of us would describe it as today):


I think the label called it a “Rose of Sharon” variation, but if it is, it’s a very simplified variation.  I think it resembles more closely a poinsettia applique pattern I have seen before.  Any thoughts on that?

This is close to the applique butterfly quilt my Mom made just a few years ago, but this is made with 30s solids and feedsacks.  Each butterfly is blanket-stitched by hand in a darker shade of embroidery floss, that coordinates with the fabric of that butterfly:

It looks like it is just a top (or a flimsy), but it was quilted, without batting and therefore referred to as a summer coverlet/quilt.

This one is an older example of applique using chintz fabrics (c. 1850).  The brown spots are from moisture staining over the years, and the fact that they believe this quilt has never been washed.  A quilt collects dry soil (dust, etc.) over time and when exposed to small amounts of moisture (humidity, etc) the dust/soil leaves a rust-like mark.  There were at least nine of these large applique “bouquet” motifs, and this was the least stained example I could find to photograph.

As you can see, some of the fabric petals have disintegrated or been worn away, but it is still a gorgeous example of chintz quilting!

I hope you enjoyed seeing these vintage examples, and that they inspire your modern quilting!  If you have a museum or library, etc., in your “neck of the woods” that displays vintage quilts from time to time, I’d highly recommend making the effort to go see them.  Just admiring the hand work from a century ago is worthwhile, and it always pays to support our cultural institutions by utilizing them.

Do you do applique projects at all?

If so, do you hand-applique, or only by machine?



Spring 2012 Bloggers’ Quilt Festival

A little late throwing my hat in the ring (what’s new?!) but here is my entry into the Spring 2012 Bloggers’ Quilt Festival:

One Big Cabin

In mid April, I announced here that my friend Trina and I had published our first pattern.  It was a long time coming.  As quilt shop employees, we travelled to Spring 2010 Quilt Market together, and we got along so famously, as we always had, we spent the four hour drive home brainstorming ideas for a new business venture together.

It took us a year to actually form Row House Creations, LLP, and another nearly 8 months to actually get that first pattern printed, but it was worth the wait.  We designed this quilt together, brainstorming the layout over iced coffees at Caribou Coffee, I went home and drew the critters, and eventually transformed my sketches into this applique pattern drawing:

I’ve always loved drawing, and this pattern venture is one of the first times I’ve utilized that love and that talent for professional purposes.  I’m so proud when I show people my artwork on this new pattern cover:

One Big Cabin is made using a very simple raw-edge applique technique that anyone can do!

We are both so fortunate to have found such a like-minded business partner.  And, she’s an awesome friend, too!  Trina went to the Machine Quilters Showcase in Kansas City last week, I was travelling with another friend.  She went to Angela Walter’s book signing, and was second-to-the-last person to receive a copy of Angela’s book, for free, signed by Angela.  She texted me this pic of her with Angela Walters (notice the book under her left arm):

When I saw Trina that evening, she gave me the book!  It’s inscribed “To Doris”!!!  Love that girl!

 Visit the rest of the Festival Quilts at Amy’s–Enjoy!
For a chance to win a copy of our pattern, visit the Row House Creations blog before Friday.

Pillow Talk

Our Modern Quilt Guild Chapter just completed a pillow swap, based on the format and rules of the Pillow Talk Swap. We had two months to make our pillow, after being assigned a member, given a list of their likes and dislikes (fabrics, colors, etc.), and having a mosaic they created to use as inspiration.

I’ve been trying to sew more with scraps of late, so I started with my box of white/beige/cream scraps and made a bunch oh wonky four-patches…Pieced them together randomly, adding strips to fill in where needed…Until I ended up with a 17″ square, which I added an envelope back to, sewed it into a 14″ pillow size, with an outer flange, quilted, and then added a fabric ruffle flower to for interest:Emma, the member I made this for really likes fabric flowers, as a matter of fact, she presented a program to our guild in January about how to make origami style fabric flowers.

The flower is made from scraps of bindings leftover from other quilt projects, sewed into one long strip, ruffled, sewed to the pillow in a circle with a quilted, trapunto style flower center appliqued on:I made the entire pillow on my Featherweight, including the quilting (because my Janome is set up with a quilt that is partially free-motion quilted and I didn’t want to change the settings):Quilting on a Featherweight…it’s possible! Actually, it worked quite well for this small project.

The pillow Jill made for me was SPOT ON as far as my likes/dislikes, my colors, and my studio decor (where the pillow will live)…I practically jumped up and down when I found out this was mine!

If you’d like to see the rest of the pillows that were swapped Thursday night, visit our flickr swap group. And go tell Jill how fabulous her/my pillow is!

Little Monsters

On Friday the 13th, my business partner and I co-hosted a baby shower for our friend Dawn. The theme was Little Monsters, based on this quilt, by Kellie at Don’t Look Now:
Dawn is decorating her son’s nursery with a quilt made from this pattern; and making window valances, a bed skirt and accessories to match.

We went all out with the theme, and we even made our first “diaper cake”… bought a pack of 36 newborn Pampers, rolled them, tied them with a small strip of fabric:Stood them on end, wrapped them tightly with a band of fabric around a plastic container (it definitely took FOUR hands to do this!), and made a second smaller layer atop the first:We bought the few “monster” themed baby items we could find, and decorated the cake with them:a bib, a monster onesie, a teething ring (I think it’s an octopus, but he looks kind of monster-like!), linky rings, and Cookie Monster and Murray Sesame Street plushies as cake toppers.

I found a “happy birthday” monster tablecloth that I cut the monsters out of, used Mod Podge to glue them to cardstock and added colored rings of paper around them to make them look like Kellie’s Little Monters. These served as table and wall decor, as well as decorated the food table. (I was glad I had the chance to recycle them for my nephew’s birthday party again the following weekend!)

My favorite decoration might have been the monster cupcakes I made and decorated the night before:I had a lot of fun creating all those different faces and looks!

Trina, my business partner, made this sweet banner that Dawn will hopefully be able to use in the nursery:
It’s appliqued, and uses some of the same fabrics in the quilt. It hung above the gift table, along with the baby’s Little Monster quilt:We had fun putting this together, and I think everyone had a good time at the party!

When you host parties, do you plan around a theme, food, decor and the works? Or do you just put out the food and drink and go with the flow?

Designing Women

I showed you sneak peeks of some raw-edge applique I was working on back around Labor Day (YES, that long ago…) and never showed you any more. Not really fair, now, is it? This was one of them: Which is really this guy:But there’s more: After a few delays, lots of road blocks, not enough time away from our real jobs, yada, yada… I am happy to announce the first pattern release of Row House Creations, LLP! and show you the rest of the work: What started out as a dream between two friends on a long car trip nearly two years ago, eventually transformed into these sketches at my kitchen table… and, this week the reality of a printed pattern! The tagline of our company is “Built Upon Classic Foundations”; our designs all start with a traditional quilt block (this time, a half log cabin block) interpreted with a modern quilting aesthetic… My partner, Trina, has 12 years of long arm quilting experience; Quilting guidelines for all of our cover quilts will be provided as an added bonus! No more mind block when it comes to deciding how you should quilt your quilt! Together we have 9 years of quilt shop management and service experience, and 22+ years of sewing and quilting experience! Knowing what quilters want, and anticipating solutions to problems are strengths that come from our experience! Our patterns are written with those qualities in mind.

One Big Cabin is made using a very simple raw-edge applique technique that anyone can do! One jelly roll, or Bali Pop, as we used, will yield enough strips to make two quilts from this pattern. On our website, fat quarters cutting instructions will be provided, and of course, a scrappy “One Big Cabin” would be adorable as well!
For more information on these cute critters and this sweet baby quilt pattern, check out our website and our SHOP!

Ides of March

…is tomorrow, actually… (The word Ides comes from the Latin word “Idus” and means “half division”, used widely in the Roman calendar indicating the approximate day that was the middle of the month. The Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars and a military parade was usually held.) Mars is the god of war, fitting as I felt like I was fighting a battle with the change over of the blogs these past days–and have often felt “half-divided” tlately!!.


I have it straightened out now, but what a hassle.

So, let’s look at something cute, shall we?! A little minkee backed baby blanket I made for my niece…

Very simple quilting, a large grid to hold the layers together, and a sweet giraffe applique cut from a piece of red Katie Jump Rope fabric:

and binding is a pretty turquoise from the s’mores collection for Moda:

I don’t have a photo of her with it, but her she is, on the day she turned 7 months old:

That smile melts my heart! She’ll get a fancier quilt eventually, but probably a little bigger one that she can use on her big-girl bed when the time comes. For now, this giraffe blankie will provide her some cuddly goodness.