Monday, September 6, 2021

Musical Love Birds


Musical Love Birds 

A daughter of one of our friends was getting married after postponing for a year due to covid.  We have known her for most of her life and watched her romance blossom for many years.  She is a music teacher, and so was her husband-to-be.  I knew I wanted to make them a unique gift and began my search for inspiration.

Over the past couple of years I have been researching a design motif found on crazy quilts of a rooster blowing a horn, which led me to discovering frakturs, illuminated folk art drawings made by the Pennsylvania Dutch to commemorate life events (births, baptism, marriage), house blessings and student merits.

Just recently, while doing research on quilt maker / designer Velma Mackay Paul of York, PA, I was drawn back into PA Dutch design motifs and frakturs. Since frakturs were also used to decorate song or tune books – they would provide the inspiration to make the perfect gift for a couple of music teachers!

I knew the background would be music themed and started my search for the perfect fabrics.  Thank goodness for PJ shopping on the internet!  I was able to get what I wanted after a few weeks of searching. With the remaining fabric, I made them some market bags and face masks.

Design Inspiration
I have been making quilted pictures of birds (and an angler fish) using embroidered applique for many years now (a combination of raw edge applique and crazy quilt stitches to “embroider” the motifs in place).

In my various searches on Velma Mackay Pay, Baltimore Album Quilts, Frakturs, Pecolia Warner, I came across an ad in the Spring 1993 Folk Art magazine for a baptismal certificate signed by Daniel Peterman dated  May 4, 1857.  I liked the layout of the birds with the drooping flowers, and combined it with elements from other frakturs – heart, flowers and birds – to come up with an original design for the piece.

Selected sources:
Page 60 – ad for a baptismal certificate signed by Daniel Peterman dated  May 4, 1857 

Drawing (Bird of Paradise and Butterfly) 

To View some frakturs: 
Pennsylvania German Fraktur and Manuscripts

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Embroidered Applique


Embroidered Applique

Here is my latest project, a wedding gift for a co-worker, in the unframed stage, 11x14-inches.  The background was made by placing random scraps on a craft felt base and stitching into place. I used 2 bobbin's worth of thread with a couple of top thread colors to complete the background.

The bird, branch, leaf, flower and heart shapes are raw edge cut fabric and hand sewn into place using various embroidery stitches - similar to stitches found on crazy quilts.


Sunday, August 30, 2020

My What-Not Bag and Bog Coat


My What-Not Bag and Bog Coat 

About 20 years ago I saw Rachel Clark ( on Simply Quilts and was inspired by her sense of design, quirkiness and humor. So inspired, I made a quilted coat, using the Bog Coat method. It won first place in a local quilt show in the wearable category. I remember finishing up the binding the morning of show set up. Later, during the show, someone offered me $300 for it – I of course said no – it was made for me, and I had not even worn it yet. I did for years – constantly, until it started showing signs of wear, now it comes out only for quilt shows and the local philharmonic concerts.

These past few weeks, Quilting Arts has featured Rachel Clark on our local PBS station – and once again she inspired me. In one of the episodes, she showed how to make a What-Not Wallet. I grabbed my pen and paper and started sketching along, writing down all the measurements. Luckily for me, Quilting Daily of Quilting Arts TV posted a pdf file of the instructions .

I had picked up several bags of fabric scraps at Sew Creative down in Maryland on my trip to DC last fall ( where they have a great selection of African print fabrics. I am making a Wonky Hex quilt with them, with a charcoal gray velvet center. It’s based on an antique quilt top I have - more on that another time.

Anyway, the pieces, that were too small for that quilt, were sewn together ‘crazy patch’ style until they met the dimensions needed for my What-Not Wallet.

It’s a really fun project, and a great way to use up those bits of fabric you can’t bear to part with. If I have fabric left over from the Wonky Hex quilt, I may just have to make another jacket to match my wallet!

Another web site on Rachel:

Rachel’s Blog – Whatnot Wallet:

Image Key: Front of Salt Walter Bog Coat, made in 2009, Back of Coat, Right Sleeve, Left Sleeve, Coat Label, Whatnot Wallet - Closed, Whatnot Lining, Whatnot Exterior, Whatnot Inside - Opened, Whatnot Wallet Outside - Opened.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

My Embroidered Pictures for Patchwork

Embroidery Mary by Priscilla M Warner

Embroidery Mary by Priscilla M. Warner, published in 1948 by George G. Harrap.  This is a precursor to the instructional books Pictures and Patchwork (1950) and Embroidered Pictures and Patchwork (1960, 1964) published by Dryad Press.

Mary Grant, age 12, visits her Aunt Helen and Uncle George in Tolton for vacation with her little dog Hamish.  Candy, the friendly cat lives on the farm.  Aunt Helen teaches her niece and her friends how to embroider and sew useful objects.  Stitch diagrams and project illustrations are woven throughout the story as they enjoy their visit.  There is even a bit of math involved as they measure fabric needed and draw hexagons.  Mary turns 13 while there and receives a hexagon patchwork quilt, and then plans to make a doll-sized one for her little sister Penny.  It is a very endearing story and the projects are designed for beginners – both sewing and embroidering.

Earlier this spring, I started making the embroidered hexagons from  Pictures and Patchwork.  I traced out 48 hexagons on a piece of muslin and began stitching.  There are only 40 designs in the book, but I am going to incorporate images from Embroidery Mary and Dryad Leaflets 136. Embroidered Dresses for Children and 141. Embroidery for the Nursery – both by P.M. Warner.  Here is my work in progress.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Hexagon Quilts (Cot Cover) – Pictures and Patchwork

Embroidered Pictures & Patchwork Cot Cover
In 1950, Priscilla M. Warner wrote and illustrated a book called Pictures and Patchwork, published by the Dryad Press Leicester, and by 1964 the third edition was published, under the name Embroidered Pictures & Patchwork.  The latter version has a slightly larger format, and the crucial difference is the “eye” of the squirrel motif is added (not sure if this was corrected in the second printing, as I do not have that version). 

The 1950 version has a colored image of the project on the covers, along with a black and white photo/illustration in the book.  The 1964 version has a graphic of the pattern on the front. 

I've done some measuring, and the motifs in the book fit nicely in the 5-inch wide hexagon fabric die cutter by AccuQuilt (2.5-inch sides) - though I will probably hand-cut my embroidered blocks to size, rather than process through the machine - I would be nervous about shifting, centering, etc.  The fabric hexagons, on the other hand, I am going to die cut.  You could make a twisted hexagon block, by cutting the die-cut hexagons in half and surrounding the embroidered hex.  This is probably what I am going to do, I might even add some setting triangles, like on the quilt top I just recently received. 

You can see that vintage hexagon quilt top, done with embroidered centers at:

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Meeting Some Quilters in Maryland

Meeting Some Quilters in Maryland
This past week my friend and I went to a quilt conference at the DAR Museum in Washington, DC.  While there, we were invited to attend a meeting of a local quilt guild, the Uhuru Quilters Guild in Lanham, MD.  The guild is celebrating 25 years as a guild and a wonderful display of their quilts is on exhibit at the Prince Georges African American Museum and Cultural Center in North Brentwood, MD until the end of January 2020.  More information on the guild and the show can be found at:

SHOW AND TELL at the quilt show opening.

Home For the Holidays 2019 at the Roberson

2019 Home for the Holidays at the Roberson - Binghamton, NY
Once again our trees are up at the Roberson, brimming with hand made ornaments from local quilters and fiber artists.  I added photos of some other whimsical trees - Dr. Seuss and Peanuts were my favorites.  The image on the left show my latest needle felted star, we had a workshop at the November Lamb to Loom meeting, hosted by Ann Merriwether.  I added a bit of blue roving for eye make-up and added some stitched eye lashes - she's my "Fallen Star."  There are several examples of back-strap weaving - Santa garland and other needle felted gnomes.  The Stepping Stones quilt guild tree is showcased in front of one of the member's quilt on the wall behind it.  There are numerous quilts on loan from the guild throughout the exhibit.  Both groups will be giving demos this year at the Roberson.
Stepping Stones Quilt Guild - December 8 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Stepping Stones Quilt Guild will be putting on a demonstration of their amazing craft on the first floor of the Museum.
Lamb to Loom - December 15 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Lamb to Loom will be putting on a demonstration of their amazing craft within Roberson’s halls.