Monday, April 20, 2015

How to Take Care of Your Vintage Quilt

All of us who love quilts hope recipients will take good care of them. A dear friend of mine made a quilt for her daughter and later learned her son-in-law washed it every week in the washer along with the rest of the bedding ...

So here is how to take care of your vintage quilt. Treat it carefully - don't let big dogs jump on it, don't drag it through the dirt in the olive orchard (like Finn did in How to Make an American Quilt, while I shuddered and shuddered). If you store it, make sure to wrap it in cotton, not plastic. Get it out occasionally and refold it.


When it's time to wash the quilt, fill up your bathtub with cool water and a small amount of gentle quilt soap (I use Orvis). Fold the quilt so it fits in the tub - submerge it and let it soak. Gently move it around in the water. Drain the tub and fill it with rinse water. Again, gently move the quilt around to make sure all the soap and dirt get out. Rinse several times if necessary.

Carefully/gently squeeze excess water from the quilt. I use a large washbowl to transfer the quilt to my washing machine. Place it there carefully - you don't want to let the weight of the wet quilt pull on any of the stitching. I set it to spin only - then it is light enough to lift out.

I dry my quilts on our deck railing. Spread a sheet on it first and put the quilt on it. On a warm spring or summer day, your quilt will dry quickly. If needed, I put if in the dryer for just a few moments to fluff it and make it softer.

Close up view of the amazing quilting by Kelly Cline

Friday, April 10, 2015

Kate's Wedding Quilt

When my girls were little, we watched the 1995 movie How to Make an American Quilt together. We had the VHS tape so we watched it often. It is a story about marriage and I'd say we'll watch it again when you think you are ready to get married.

Well! Our daughter Kate is getting married next week. Not only did she remember watching the movie, she remembered how the stitch group made a quilt for the young bride in their midst.

Kate wanted a quilt - and not any quilt: she wanted a double wedding ring quilt.

I told my stitch group. They said un-uh, no way! That is a hard quilt to make (and it was just months before the wedding).

Linda Frost, Carol Jones, Georgann Eglinski, Barbara Brackman, Roseann Smith, Kathe Dougherty


Quilt historian to the rescue. She pulled a 1930's vintage double wedding ring top from her collection. A back was assembled and off it went to trusty local long-arm quilter Kelly Cline. She quilted it beautifully, despite the fact that the quilt turned out to be predictably wonky.

I stitched on binding and we hand stitched it in place at our weekly meeting. Georgann made a label and stitched it on while Kate watched.

We gave it to them a little early - maybe it will show up in some of the wedding photos.


Kate and Nick Kuzmyak

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Best Polyester Quilt Ever


My friend Carol Ingenthron showed off this quilt at guild this month. I nominate it for best polyester quilt ever!

It comes with a great story. Carol's grandma, Nina Unruh, made these back in the 1970's in Enid, Oklahoma. She made one for each of her nine grandchildren, plus more for future grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They were cleaning our Carol's mom's house recently and found 2 more (the quilt shown is one of them) so those are going to her granddaughters ... She also made many, many more quilts for overseas missions through the Mennonite church in Enid.

The quilt is large - it measures 86" x 72". Each block is about 7" square. It's tied with yarn and backed with flannel. Notice the pillowcase style edge (no binding).

What I really really love about this quilt is the very bright colors. And it's clear the strips were cut with scissors, which adds to the wonky wonder.

Thanks to Carol for sharing all this with all of us!

Close-up view of the pillow-case edge and flannel back

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rag Darlings

Dolls. You either love them or not. I fall into the category of loving them, so working on a book about them was a joy for me.

And now you can enjoy it too! Hot off the press is Gloria Nixon's latest book, Rag Darlings.

Gloria combines her talents as a researcher, historian and collector extraordinaire to tell the story of dolls. The history is fascinating, as are the photos of all the dolls and doll ephemera in her collection. And she keeps collecting! She is showing off her latest Aunt Jemima here, one that arrived after the book was done.

I had the pleasure of delivering some dolls to her recently. She let me photograph her feedsacks on hand. I'd also like to report that she is one of the most fun, dearest people on the planet. Her home is nestled in a dream-like spot in our beautiful Flint Hills.



Do run out and get your copy of Rag Darlings today, you won't regret it. I predict and hope that Gloria has many more books in her future ...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Truly No Scrap Too Small



A sewing friend just had surgery and I decided I'd make a card to cheer her up.

Luckily, I had some vintage scraps on hand that I'd saved for just such an occasion. Yes, they are shards that should have gone into the trash can but being from the 1800s, I just couldn't do that.

I put the card on my sewing table and attached them as I stitched. The pieces are about 1/4" wide and 1 - 2" long.

She can look at the fabrics and chuckle a little at this madness. And I can let the rest of the shards go now that I have created something useful with them ...

Here's a closeup look:


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Festival Improv


We had leftover scraps from our Festival of the Trees project so of course I could not help but piece a bunch of them together, adding in some fabrics from my stash. I was feeling extra bold when I added the border print, a wonderful home dec fabric from Premier Prints.

I passed this little quilt on to my friend Georgann Eglinski, who organized our Trees project. I didn't measure it but I estimate it's about 30" square.

The detail shot shows the tiniest piece in the quilt, the tiny chartreuse shard. More proof that there is no scrap too small to use!!

Oreo blessed this before it left. He always gets in the picture ...


Monday, January 12, 2015

Three Toothbrush Hats



Anytime I get to make toothbrush hats, I am very happy! What, you might ask, is a toothbrush hat? It starts as a tiny round toothbrush rug. When you get it to a desired size (the top of one's head), you stop adding stitches, and voila! It becomes a hat (or a bowl for the less adventurous fashionistas).

My daughter, Betsy (right), has had a toothbrush hat for a while. She likes it because it is warm and such a fashion statement. I made one for Betsy's friend, Jen. I gave it to her at Christmas.

Jen's mom and daughters liked it! They tried the hats on for size and chose colors. Here they are - finished! I mailed them Friday.


They can always use them as bowls when they are not wearing them. I'm thinking of making a larger, shallower version of this to use as a bowl ... I want to make a few trivets too. If you already know how to make a toothbrush rug, they make up very quickly. Try it!