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Retire or Repair an Old Friend?

My mother taught me to sew when I was seven and we made many of our clothes during the subsequent years. Mom especially liked to make pajamas for us kids, while I enjoyed making the outfits I would be seen in. A few years ago I put together a lecture comparing some of my quilts with garments from my youth (yes! I still have many of them  😀 ). The lecture is called “Gone to the Dark Side”  and you can find information about it at

When I graduated from high school my parents gave me a brand new Sears Kenmore sewing machine.

I was thrilled! I decided my first project should be a quilt for my “hope chest”. I cut a 6″ square from cardboard and dug out all of the scraps from our sewing projects. There were cottons, denims, flannels, crepe d’chine, seersucker and even some wool! I traced around the cardboard on the wrong side of each scrap and cut out all the squares with a scissors. Once the squares were cut I laid them out in 9-patches (I didn’t know that’s what they were called then) and sewed them together.

I assembled these blocks into a top and it ended up being king sized. I couldn’t wait to use some of the fancy stitches on my machine (my mom’s old Singer didn’t have any of those), so I did a line of decorative stitching over the seams of all the blocks.

Once the top was finished I layered it with a sheet, and a sheet blanket for the filling, and sewed all the way around the outside – leaving an opening for turning; only to find out I’d layered it incorrectly (the sheet was on the inside). So I ripped it apart, sewed around, and turned once again. To finish I tied it with knots of 4 ply polyester yarn at the block corners. What a delight for the eyes!

Even though it’s pretty ugly (don’t you love oxymorons?), it’s kept Mike and me warm for 42 years!

But lately it’s showing it’s age. Many of the fabrics are just plain disintegrating.

The green wool from a vest I made shrunk up years ago, but that didn’t keep me from tossing it into the washing machine many, many times.

Yet the fabrics are filled with memories. The pink denim with doves above was used in my favorite pair of hip hugger, bell bottom jeans (just picture that – it was the 70’s). In the following photo the brown floral was a sundress, the light blue flannel was a nightgown of mine, and the purple with flowers was from an apron I made for my German “mother” when I did a class trip to Germany my junior year.

So… do I retire it to the actual cedar chest Mike bought me as an engagement gift (at the foot of the bed)? or ???

While taking these pictures I realized the worn blocks are all around the outer edge. Perhaps I need to remove the last row of squares all the way around, add a binding and use it for another 42 years. What do you think?

April 29, 2018, Vintage Quilts
Paducah 2018!

Linda and I are driving home from another wonderful trip to Quilt Week in Paducah! As I mentioned last week – we had a snowy start, but it was all up hill from there. The sun shone almost the entire week and the tulips were blooming (although the dogwoods were only just beginning to bloom).

As I do every year, I’m going to share a few pictures of some of my favorite parts of the trip, and I need to begin with the sign that “we’d arrived” – the Flying Goose Bridge!

We got to the 1857 B&B in the heart of Paducah, unpacked and then put up a display of my Mariner’s Compass quilts in the front window of Tribeca restaurant, just downstairs from our living quarters.

What a blessing to be able to show my quilts during Quilt Week. We helped to hang the show on Tuesday and I couldn’t wait to see my friend Lori Schloesser’s quilt.

I’ve featured my friend Evelyn in quite a few of my posts and this year she was part of a new group slice quilt that was awarded a third place (Evelyn – tell me again – which of the 5 strips was yours 🙂 )?

There were so many incredible quilts and it was a privilege to see them all.

This year AQS hosted a special exhibit that I feel was one of the most interesting I’ve ever seen. It was called “Art in Denim” by Ian Berry. The pieces were not quilts, but they were fiber art. He uses only denim, scissors and glue to created portraits and landscapes that truly amaze.

My picture doesn’t do this piece justice. To really experience Ian’s work you need to visit his website at Linda and I had the chance to meet and talk with this endearing young man. His work is incredible and yet he is funny, soft spoken and very approachable.

We set up our kitchen studio and did some sewing, but our special playtime this year was with alcohol inks.

I’d taken a class at Sew Much More in Waukesha this winter. It was so much fun I bought the supplies and have been sharing them with my quilting friends. I’ll be doing a post on this in the near future, but I wanted to show you our Paducah creations – plates and trays!

We had to do our traditional bubble tea stop at Etcetera (actually we had to do that twice).

As we left this morning, I couldn’t resist just one more picture – the compass quilts are back in my suitcase and the rain is gently falling.

It was such fun to catch up with friends, find some new treasures at the vendors, eat fun food and escape the snow and “reality” for a week. Thanks, Linda, for a great time!


April 22, 2018, Uncategorized
A Quilter’s Rest Stop

It’s time for Quilt Week in Paducah! This will be my 29th trip in a row and I’m very excited. But the start to this year’s trip was quite unique from every other. Yesterday we had freezing rain and today it turned to snow. This was my driveway as I left this morning.

It was the worst winter storm this year. Oh how glad I am to be heading to Kentucky with my dear friend Linda. The snow was letting up by the time we got to Rockford and tonight were staying in Champaign, IL. – not a snowflake in sight and it’s 43 degrees – hooray!

Next week I’ll share some of our Paducah fun but this week, since I’m talking about travel, I have a quilt and travel related post:

My friend Connie recently returned from a driving trip to Texas and New Mexico with her husband. On the drive home through Iowa they happened to stop at the Cedar County rest stop on I-80 between Iowa City and Davenport. She was very excited about it because the entire building was filled with quilt blocks!

Iowa is in the process of updating 38 of it’s rest stops and each one has it’s own unique theme! This one was designed to resemble a train station with an Underground Railroad theme.

Here are a few of the pictures she shared with me: The exterior blocks:

Some interior blocks:

And an entire interior wall:

I found a great website about this fascinating project, with pictures of all the themed rest stops at:

It looks like a wonderful stop! Thanks Connie!


Linda and I will be staying in the B&B above Tribeca Restaurant in Paducah again this year. I’m planning to hang a display of my Mariner’s Compass quilts in the front window. Please stop by and visit them if you’re in the area!


April 15, 2018, Uncategorized
A New Trick for Attaching a Quilt Label

I did a series of posts earlier this year on using Elmer’s School Glue™ to baste things together while quilting. I’ve discovered one more use that’s been a real help when stitching labels onto my quilts.

It’s really quite simple:

Create your label in any way you like. I usually design them on the computer and print them onto colorfast printer fabric.

Press under a 1/4″ hem all the way around.

Scribble a line of glue all over the wrong side of the label.

Place it on the back of the quilt and iron in place to dry the glue.

Now stitch it down without worrying about the label shifting, or the thread tangling around any pin heads! In the picture above I haven’t stitched it yet, and you will notice corners of the pressed hems peeking out along the edges. This is not a problem because I’m able to use my needle to tuck these corners under the label as I appliqué it in place.

I backed this quilt with a fabric I got in Alaska a few years ago. It was the perfect back.

I’m currently putting this label on my Winter Window quilt because I didn’t add a label when I finished it back in 2015. It hangs in our “master bath window towel rack” (to read my post about this quilt click here).

At the end of that post I stated that I already had an idea for my “Spring” quilt. The picture I used for this new quilt was the view from my kitchen window.

Working on a Spring quilt helped me to endure portions of this very cold winter, and this week I decided it was time to replace the winter quilt in my window (and finally add a label – two winters after it was completed).

Now if we could just warm up past 36 degrees!!!

April 8, 2018, Uncategorized
A Dragonfly Retreat

I’ve been invited to teach at a wonderful venue in Bangor, Wisconsin this Summer! It’s called:

It’s located in an elegant colonial home built in 1935.


With a big and bright workroom:

Lovely accomodations:

including dragonfly quilts on the beds:

A beautiful dining room:

And to top it all off – a Sweet Sixteen mid-arm machine is available for you to use to free motion quilt your projects! (It’s the same machine I quilt on  🙂 )

I’m scheduled for July 19th to the 22nd, and my focus will be BORDERS!

I’ll kick off the weekend with my Border Boutique lecture in which I’ll share a plethora of ideas and techniques to add just the right “frames” to your quilts. From pieced to appliquéd; from threaded to embellished; there’ll be something for everyone!

Then I’ll present my Seminole Borders workshop. In it students will make samples of 5 different Seminole techniques that would add excitement to any quilt.

I did a blog post on this workshop a few months ago. To read all about it click here!

There’ll be plenty of time to design and create borders for your own projects over the course of the weekend – and I’ll be there to help and encourage you in any way I can.

I’m very excited about this opportunity and I’d love to have you enjoy it with me. For all the information go to:


Hawaiian Cruise 2019 Update!

While we’re on the subject of traveling with quilters, we recently had a quilter sign on for a balcony cabin on our next Sew We Go adventure – and she’s looking for a roommate!

If you are interested, let us know. What we typically do in these situations is give the interested parties each other’s contact information. These two quilters then talk on the phone and, if they make a good connection, they meet for coffee or lunch and find out if they’re compatible. It’s worked well for many of our travelers in the past. Please email me at or contact Kristi through the link to our flyer:

Wishing you a Happy Easter Sunday celebrating the resurrection of our Savior!


April 1, 2018, Travel