IMG_0771It is coming together. This is the quilt that I am making from the fabric, that my daughter-in-law, Belle, used in the buntings she made for the picnic when she and Thomas got married in 2011. You can read about the quilt idea here…

I have two more of these 4 squares to assemble and add a note from Thomas to Belle and a note from Belle to Thomas. I also have a square with their wedding date on it and a message from Herb and myself.

Hopefully, this will be waiting on them, on the guest bed, when they come home for Thanksgiving.




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Quilt Fever…

A few of the squares…

Now that the wedding is over and we are adjusting to the idea of Thomas and Belle moving to Seattle, I thought I would use my evenings to start assembling the “Wish Them Well” quilt that I put out for the party here at the house in September and also at the picnic the day after the wedding in Arlington, VA. This way I could envision, while working on it, them seeing the messages that their friends and family wrote for them in their new apartment in Seattle. Their new apartment is all white, as most apartments are and I see this bringing some color into that space and helping them settle in. I envision them either hanging the quilt on the wall to look at or using it on the sofa to snuggle under while they watch movies or TV.

“Wish them Well” table

Today, I thought I would share my progress on the quilt and let you in on the fun. To start, this is an old idea. Quilters call this type of quilt a “signature” quilt and they have traditionally been made to commemorate a special occasion. I thought of doing this for my own wedding but didn’t. My idea at that time was to use it as a guest book instead of an actual book. To have guests sign a square as a way to know who shared our day with us. I have now seen, on the web where folks have done this idea to send off a co-worker, to welcome home a soldier or to share memories of grandparents. So it was only fitting that being a quilter, I wanted to do one for my son and his new bride to begin their life together.

Four inch white cotton was cut with the seam allowance drawn onto the square. Markers were put out in a basket and the sign to write them a message and we collected about 25 squares for the finished quilt. They are wonderful with some of them actually taking the time to color a drawing for the couple.

photoshop map of layout

I use photoshop instead of any fancy quilt software to layout anything that I want to work on and I put together a quick layout of how I want the squares to be placed. A twin sized quilt is about 96″ x 72″ so I used that size to scale the pattern for the squares. I am not sure if the quilt will end up a twin size or a lap quilt when it is finished because there is some white space that I need to design for and I don’t know yet what to put in there. I can be a “quilt as I go” kind of quilter sometimes. So, the wishes will be the whites squares and each of the green squares will be a traditional quilt square to add interest.

I am looking for traditional squares that might have some meaning to beginning a new life together. There are some really adorable cat and dog squares in the book that I am using and some on the web that I also want to add for their pets and a house square for their new place in Seattle. I have favorite patterns that I have enjoyed making through the years and I will probably add some of those. I have about 34 squares to play with so I am sure I can find lots of interesting options. I will get all those squares done and lay out the quilt on the floor before assembling all the squares together. This way I can make sure that there is a balance of color throughout and not have a concentration of too much of one color in any area of the overall design.

I’ve attached a gallery of the squares that I have so far and I am using my evenings to do a square a day. Not sure if the quilt will be done to ship to them for Christmas but I can certainly try. Over the years I have hand quilted all of my quilts but I may take this one to the quilt shop and see if I can have them quilt it for me. My hands are needed for other projects these days and the love that will go into the squares will show through without the added ache of putting all the stitches into the finished piece.

Enjoy the photos and let me know if there is a favorite square that you would like to see in the sample of squares surrounding all the wishes for a happy life in Seattle, WA.

Wishing Them Well…

Quilts I’ve made…1981-present

As it gets cold outside, I start getting quilting fever. Of course, it doesn’t help that my friend Jackie is always quilting and sending me these awesome photos of the quilts she is currently working on. Thanks, for sharing your wonderful quilts with me, Jac!

one of my friend jackie's wonderful quilts

So when I get catalogs in the mail that have pretty quilts in them, I never want to buy them, I want to make them. Now the thing with quilting is that it takes FOREVER to put one together. At least the ones that I have done in the past have been seriously timely affairs. So I have chosen a coverlet size to tackle this time so that I get quicker results. That doesn’t mean I will have a quilt to cuddle under next week but maybe by February.

I receive catalogs from a company called Garnet Hill and I saved one of them with this simple design.


So Sunday night, after painting on Jan’s cows most of the day, I went to the fabric stash. Quilters have a saying that “the one that dies with the most fabric, wins”. I think Jackie is way ahead of me there but I have a pretty good assortment. The key, I think is to rarely throw any of them away because you can still cut a section out and use it, especially for a quilt like this one that has lots of different patterns. So this is about a 4′ x 5′ size coverlet with a black fabric as the background and I had to cut out a total of 96 circles for the pattern on top. I used a Pyrex lid for my pattern and simply drew the circles on the fabric and started cutting.

color laid out

I love the way it looks. It is so colorful and in the winter months will be a happy quilt to sit under. Each of the circles will have to be hemmed and then appliqued to the top. This is a similar technique that I did on the quilt that I did for Thomas.

Thomas' finished quilt

My plan then, was to make each of the boys a quilt for their high school graduations. Of course,neither got  finished until they were almost finished with college. Thomas had requested a black quilt.  We compromised and put black in it and lots of color on the interior. The border on this one is appliqued and has a vine that runs around the edge with fan-like flowers on the vine. I think it turned into a quilt that he will cherish for years to come and it is also a very happy quilt.

Thomas with his quilt

Over the years, I have made many quilts for friends and family and you can see more of them  here at our family website. For awhile, I was doing baby quilts for my co-workers and one year there were so many babies born that I was wondering if they had it in for me. I finally had to resort to pillows.

John's finished quilt

John’s quilt took on a more nature theme. He is a forestry guy so I found a quilt on the web that I really liked but had to draw out the pattern because there wasn’t one available. The quilt shop in Staunton, VARachel’s Quilt Patch had these wonderful batik fabrics and the lady helped me to choose them for the pattern. The border on this quilt has appliqued trees, frogs and fish. I think it will be good to do a simple quilt now and not take on something so complicated.

John with his quilt on his birthday


detail of John's quilt

Orange and Teal

Belle has chosen orange and teal for her wedding colors are  and I absolutely love them. I mean, orange is just so happy (laughing orange) and the teal is a cool color. So, I am putting them into the party that we are doing for them on September the 24th wherever I can. Rather than try to find accessories to fit that color scheme, I thought it would be fun to make the parts to the party myself. I have purchased some things in those colors and in the coming weeks I will share some of those items with you but for today I am going to share the beautiful tablecloths that I am making to put on the banquet tables in the yard. With Herb’s help we are trying a “how to video” posting today, so please bear with us.

Hand painted Tablecloth in process

tablecloth supplies

 for this project, you will need:

  • a flat sheet or large piece of fabric. I used flat sheets that I found at a discount store. Although it seems they are harder to find these days due to sheets packaged as sets.
  • the fabric dye. I used just plain old RIT and “somewhat” followed the directions on the back
  • rubber stamps of your choice, I used the soft spongy kind but you could use a potato or a linoleum block. You just need something that will make a design with
  • paints. I used an assortment, a latex house type paint, a wall glaze and an acrylic.
  • a brayer is nice to have but isn’t absolutely necessary and a piece of glass to use the brayer on as a palette
  • a detailing paintbrush
  • an ink pen
This first video will give you an idea or how to get the orange dye onto the fabric so that the color vignettes from color to white.
And in this next video, I will demonstrate how to stamp the patterns onto the fabric using a printmaking brayer and paint.
And finally, I demonstrate how to add the details to the stamped design so that it looks more handmade and give the design more character rather than a boring stamp. A little glitter and shine make it look elegant and special.