Q is for Quilter

Little “O” Feedsack Charm Doll Quilt

by Martha in Quilts

This is a sample that I made for a quilt kit that I used to sell in my Etsy shop. Since the shop was closed long ago, I thought I should finally quilt some of these doll quilt tops. Here’s my description of the pattern from an earlier post about the top:

The only place I could find this pattern is on the first page of Maggie Malone’s 5,000 Quilt Block Designs.  She calls it “Big O”, but the name doesn’t have a reference to any publication. I thought I should change the name for this little quilt.

The pattern reminds me of Kansas Dugout (here is mine — also made with feedsacks), but Kansas Dugout has many set-in pieces and is usually hand sewn. Little “O” is pretty simple to sew on the machine, even in this reduced size, because you only have to sew one partial seam (Thanks, Dottie!). I drew several different layouts, but finally decided on this one with blocks in vertical rows separated by sashing; then vertical rows offset and sewn together without sashing. To me, this mixes up the blocks and makes the quilt more interesting, but it’s still relatively easy to put together.

The quilt has 46 blocks made with 184 different feedsack prints, plus a feedsack border. For the background fabric, I used a vintage muslin with a slightly coarser weave, which is very similar to the feedsacks. The finished blocks are 2″.

The back is made with leftover pieces of the feedsack border fabric, and the binding is a vintage percale. The quilting is very simple with a square grid in the blocks and straight lines in the border.

Little “O” Doll Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2014
Machine Pieced, Hand Quilted
17″ x 21″


September Apron Winner

by Martha in Random Things

Congratulations Commenter #9, Beth F!  You are the winner of the September apron.


Thank you to everyone who participated — there was a big group this time.

For October’s apron, I am planning to make this cute Betsey Johnson apron from the 70s, but there are some competing projects:  recreating the 1970s iconic jacket worn by Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan for Emily’s Halloween costume (just ordered the fabric); making 120 red and black crepe paper roses, and a large paper mache gargoyle for Emily’s Goth-themed 30th birthday bash in November (30 flowers completed); and finally creating 40 “rustic winter wonderland” centerpieces using white crepe paper flowers for a local charity event that we support, also in November (only one sample arrangement made). Of course, there are also Christmas gifts to be made, so I’m afraid there may not be much quilty stuff going on in the Gray home for the next few months.


ABC Coloring Book for Labor Day

by Martha in Children's Books

Here’s a cute undated coloring book which includes four different alphabet sets (jobs, fruit/vegetables/flowers, simple objects, and animals). I thought the jobs one would be perfect for Labor Day, with its quaint worker illustrations featuring children. Some of these jobs would surely be unfamiliar to children today (ice man, organ grinder, valet, yeoman, zinc worker), and they wouldn’t have been familiar to the childhood me, either. When my children were little, they would probably have associated several of these jobs with me (baker, laundress, quilter, upholsterer, and possibly junkman) or their dad (carpenter — since there’s no banker, candlemaker, cook or stained glass artist).

I love ABC books in general, but I have a soft spot for this one because I stitched the Q is for Quilter illustration in 2008 for part of my blog header. Sometimes I think about changing it, but I never do — I really like it.

ABC-Coloring-Book-A ABC-Coloring-Book-B-C ABC-Coloring-Book-D-E ABC-Coloring-Book-F-G ABC-Coloring-Book-H ABC-Coloring-Book-I-J ABC-Coloring-Book-K-L ABC-Coloring-Book-M ABC-Coloring-Book-N ABC-Coloring-Book-O-P ABC-Coloring-Book-Q-R ABC-Coloring-Book-S ABC-Coloring-Book-T ABC-Coloring-Book-U-V ABC-Coloring-Book-W-X ABC-Coloring-Book-Y-Z

September Apron Giveaway

by Martha in Other Needlework

The apron giveaway for commenters is a little early this month, but I won’t have the drawing until Wednesday morning, September 4. Some days you just wake up and feel like making an apron — I’m sure some of you know what that’s like.

I did end up sort of copying the pattern illustration I posted when I announced the August apron winner, although I decided to make the full apron version instead of the half. My pleats are not pressed flat like they are in the drawing, because I ended up positioning my pockets more to the side where the pleats are. Anyway, I’m pretty confident this one will fit any size, and I made it with really long ties, just in case you like to tie in the front.

Once again, I used part of the bolt of Waverly fabric I purchased last year at the Goodwill — you might recognize it from my sewing room, where it covers my chair and ironing board, and is also a curtain. I had lots of fabric to play with for this apron, which allowed me to line up the front, skirt and pocket pieces just the way I wanted, even though the print is fairly large. The fabric to make the trim was also a Goodwill purchase, so it’s a completely recycled piece. Let me know in the comments below if you would like to enter the September giveaway.





Woman’s World Book of New Designs in Needlework,1922

by Martha in Vintage Finds

On Saturday I received a package from my friend, Patty, with two cute feedsacks I’d purchased from her Etsy shop (Patalier). Patty always includes a few vintagy surprises for me, and this time there were skeins of vintage perle cotton, gathered eyelet edging, two sweet hostess aprons (for a later post), and this l922 soft cover book. I know . . . she’s an amazing friend!

The poor book was in kind of rough shape with lots of tears, but Patty knows how much I love these illustrations from the 1920s, so I spent several happy hours digitally restoring my favorite pages. As usual, click to enlarge the images.









Chintz Quilts for Baby Girls — Done

by Martha in Quilts

The quilts for Eryn and Megan are packed up and ready to mail. Most of the glaze disappeared when I washed the quilts after the photos were taken. It was a little sad, even though I knew it would happen, but the quilts look nice now that they’re all clean and puffy. I always wash quilts as soon as I finish them — especially baby quilts.

I think I prefer the petal quilting on the squares in this quilt, but my favorite border is on the first quilt. Anyway, it was fun to mix up the quilting designs since the quilts themselves are pretty similar. I’ve really enjoyed working with the heavier linen thread, and will certainly use it again, although probably not on glazed chintz. Having to use pliers as a thread puller was kind of a drag.

Chintz Baby Quilt #2
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2014
Machine Pieced, Hand Quilted
37″ x 45″


Here are the two quilts side-by-side.


Vintage Embroidery Patterns — More Nursery Rhymes

by Martha in Patterns

Here’s another cute Mother Goose newspaper series. This group was published in 1941, and was illustrated by Laverne Bartos. Click thumbnails to enlarge.


Vintage Embroidery Patterns — Nursery Rhymes

by Martha in Patterns

Newspaper series of nursery rhyme patterns published in the 1930s. Click for full size.

Chintz Quilts for Baby Girls – One Finish

by Martha in Quilts

So . . . I had this idea to quilt these baby quilts with some vintage linen thread I found at the Goodwill. The thread is heavy-ish — a bit thicker than perle cotton, and it has a nice sheen to it that looks nice against the chintz. However, actually stitching with it was a real challenge. The fabrics in this quilt are thicker than normal quilting cottons, and I had to use pliers to get that fat needle and thick thread through the glazed decorator fabrics. Also there was no way to pull a knot through the fabric, so all ends had to be woven in and out of the seams.

My quilting stitches are pretty big – not really what I’d call “big stitch,” but larger than my normal quilting. The squares are quilted with straight lines (no stitching through those thick intersections), the pink border has a zig-zag, and the chintz border has overlapping half circles. On the second quilt, I’m plan to reverse this, with curved quilting in the squares and straight lines in the border.

The back is half of a large pale pink damask tablecloth, which turned out to be a pretty great idea. The damask design is pretty, the fabric is soft, and it would be very easy to needle if you weren’t using crazy glazed decorator fabric to make your quilt.

Chintz Baby Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2014
machine pieced, hand quilted
37″ x 45″




Vintage Embroidery Transfers — Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

by Martha in Patterns

Over the weekend I dove into the giant box of cut and loose transfers.  I suspect these were published by McCall’s, because they are the Disney version. Click images to enlarge.

UPDATE:  I added a new Dopey image below with a few changes to the original that I think make him look a little happier and less deranged.

Snow-White-transfer-Snow-White Snow-White-transfer-BashfulSnow-White-transfer-Doc Snow-White-transfer-Sneezy Snow-White-transfer-Sleepy Snow-White-transfer-Happy Snow-White-transfer-Grumpy Snow-White-transfer-Dopey



Here’s the Dopey design with changes.

August Apron Winner

by Martha in Random Things

Congratulations, Carla! You are the winner of the August apron.

Even though I love the style of this apron, I now realize it was a mistake to make an apron with this type of fit. Going forward, I promise to only make “one size fits all” aprons, so everyone can enter.

I haven’t made a half apron in a long time, so I’ll be constructing one in vintage fabric for the September giveaway. Maybe it will look like one of these cute 1940s McCall’s aprons . . . or maybe not.



Vintage Embroidery Transfers — Sunbonnet Sue

by Martha in Patterns

It’s sad . . . I’ve never embroidered a Sunbonnet Sue pattern, although I have a lot of cute Sue transfers. Here are a couple of designs published by Vogart and Alice Brooks. There is another Sunbonnet pattern by Laura Wheeler on an earlier post. As usual, click images for full size.

Vogart 105, Little Susan





Alice Brooks 7078, Sunbonnet Girl

“Easy Stitchery Resembles Applique”

Sabrina Potholder

by Martha in Other Needlework

Tonight I’m going to the Central Cinema to see Sabrina, which is one of my favorite Audrey Hepburn movies. Central Cinema is a small theater with booths instead of seats, where you can watch a movie while also having drinks and dinner. As a little surprise for my companions (my daughter and my son’s girlfriend), I put together two small gift bags with a homemade potholder and a little bag of a gummi eggs.


This short clip is the egg scene from Sabrina.

In case you would like to make your own Sabrina potholder, I have added my image below. The yoke was machine appliquéd onto a piece of white canvas fabric, and the text was embroidered with 3 strands of black floss using stem stitch and two French knots (Century Gothic is a great font to use for simple embroidered letters). Next, I sandwiched two scraps of batting between the embroidered front and plain canvas back, and machine quilted straight lines between the lines of text. The bias binding is a tiny black/white check. My potholder is 7 1/4″ square — click image to enlarge to full size.


Now I want to make more movie food quote potholders. I’m thinking “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” Any other suggestions?

August Apron Giveaway

by Martha in Other Needlework

PLEASE NOTE:  These monthly apron giveaways are for readers who have taken the time to comment on my blog. If you have left a comment on any non-giveaway post, simply let me know in the comments below if you are interested in this particular apron.

I’m excited because I have a new apron design that I hope you’ll like. Last week I received a special gift in the mail from my friend, Patty, who loves to rescue old tops and blocks which she transforms into beautiful quilts sold in her Etsy shop, Petalier. The gift was a vintage 1920s embroidered apron, probably a stamped design ordered from a Herrschners-type catalog. Once I finished admiring all the elements of the apron, I went right to work making a pattern, because although the design is a simple one-piece full apron in the front, the back is unusual and so cute.

I decided to use another one of my Brunschwig & Fils sample fabrics, but this time it’s not a historical design like I’ve used in the past. This is a contemporary print called Tahiti, and I think it looks refreshing and summery. The straps and bias binding are made with a cotton lawn fabric, which I backed with cotton canvas. The original apron maker used tiny buttons with hand-stitched buttonholes, but I was worried about being able to reach back and fool with trying to fasten those buttons. I ended up using heavy snaps under my buttons, which also have the advantage of being able to swivel, so the apron seems to hang better.

Unfortunately, because of the style of this apron, it won’t fit everyone. It was made to fit my size 10 dress form, and I would call it a medium size.  The easiest way to get into the apron is to undo the middle snap before putting it on — it’s not too difficult to then reach back and snap that one.

A drawing will be held on Friday morning, August 8.





I almost forgot . . . I made a little bonus — a matching 8″ potholder from the scraps and small samples of other colorways in this pattern. Here’s a photo of the front and back.

August-potholder-1 August-potholder-2

Vintage Embroidery Transfers — Bluebirds

by Martha in Patterns

Here are some sweet bluebird designs from two different manufacturers. Click images to enlarge.

Vogart 671 — DOW Bluebirds

Vogart-671-Bluebirds-Sunday Vogart-671-Bluebirds-Monday Vogart-671-Bluebirds-Tuesday Vogart-671-Bluebirds-Wednesday Vogart-671-Bluebirds-Thursday Vogart-671-Bluebirds-Friday Vogart-671-Bluebirds-Saturday



Laura Wheeler 676 — Kitchen Towels

LW-676-Bluebirds-1 LW-676-Bluebirds-2 LW-676-Bluebirds-3 LW-676-Bluebirds-4 LW-676-Bluebirds-5 LW-676-Bluebirds-6