Q is for Quilter

Countdown to Christmas – 4 Days

by Martha in Children's Books

Merry Christmas Paint Book
Whitman Publishing, 1941
Drawings by JLS





Countdown to Christmas – 5 Days

by Martha in Children's Books

Merry Christmas Paint Book
Whitman Publishing, 1941
Drawings by JLS




Countdown to Christmas – 6 Days

by Martha in Children's Books

Merry Christmas Paint Book
Whitman Publishing, 1941
Drawings by JLS


Countdown to Christmas – 7 Days

by Martha in Children's Books

Merry Christmas Paint Book
Whitman Publishing, 1941
Drawings by JLS


Countdown to Christmas – 8 Days

by Martha in Children's Books

Merry Christmas Paint Book
Whitman Publishing, 1941
Drawings by JLS


Countdown to Christmas – 9 Days

by Martha in Children's Books

Merry Christmas Paint Book
Whitman Publishing, 1941
Drawings by JLS


Countdown to Christmas – 10 Days

by Martha in Children's Books

Merry Christmas Paint Book
Whitman Publishing, 1941
Drawings by JLS


Embroidered Christmas Stocking — Woodland Animals

by Martha in Other Needlework

I decided to take my own advice and make a stocking using Lois Lenski’s illustrations from Christmas Stories. One tree design and a few other elements were used for the embroidery; the animals and the name were tinted with colored pencils. I just noticed in the photo that my squirrel looks like he’s leaning backwards — oh well. The main fabric is an old khaki twill skirt of mine, and it’s lined with a vintage postage stamp cheater print. The vintage candy striped  binding just arrived in the mail as a bonus with several other items I ordered from the Etsy shop of my friend, Patty (she always throws in a bunch of extra goodies for me), and I think it’s the perfect finishing touch for Aaron’s stocking. Thank you, Patty!



December Apron Winner

by Martha in Random Things

Thank you so much for all your nice comments on the December apron giveaway. The winner this month is commenter #15, Sharrie.


Next month I’m going to make a more subdued apron. I recently saw this photo on ebay, and it reminded me of my husband. Gordon is a wonderful cook, and does almost all of the cooking (my feeble efforts usually involve defrosting a pot of something he has made earlier). I feel a little guilty that he always ends up having to wear the girly aprons I make, even though he does look pretty cute in them.


So, I will attempt to make a more manly apron for Gordon for Christmas, and  a gender neutral apron for the January giveaway. This is going to be a challenge!

Antique Embroidery Designs — Poinsettias and Holly

by Martha in Patterns

Newspaper patterns from the early 1900s were usually designed to be stitched on linens and garments that nobody uses anymore, but I still love finding and restoring these old patterns. The designs themselves are beautiful, and I feel they can look modern in the right setting. Sometimes I’ll stitch a whole pattern, but when I need something small, I just copy one element from a larger design. As usual, click images to enlarge.

Holly Centerpiece
E.F. Washington, 1910

Holly Cushion for Brother
Mary V. Fox, 1910

Poinsettia Design for Tray Cloth
Eleanor Norris, 1912

Poinsettia in Outline
E.J. Buckman, 1912
1/4 of pattern

Holly Sprays and Corner Design
Sara Hale Hunter, 1908

December Apron Giveaway

by Martha in Other Needlework, Random Things

Today is the six year anniversary of my blog, so it’s fitting that there should be a giveaway. This month I an offering an apron for those of you who celebrate Christmas. I am very fond of the “apron with an apron” style, and for this hostess apron I used a piece of vintage ornament fabric as the scalloped overskirt and a red dot Michael Miller print for the skirt.

Please let me know in a comment below if you are interested in entering the giveaway. I will use a random number generator to pick a winner on Wednesday, December 10. And finally, a huge thank you to all the commenters who have kept me going these past six years!



Christmas Stories, Lois Lenski

by Martha in Children's Books

If you’re anything like me, you’re looking at these adorable Lenski illustrations and thinking they would make wonderful embroideries. I would love to stitch any of the horizontal patterns on the yoke of a little girl’s dress or maybe on the bottom of an apron — curve and enlarge the design and you could embroider or appliqué a tree skirt. The trees with the little animals would be cute on Christmas stockings or apron pockets/bibs. The two vertical illustrations could be adapted for a stocking as well, or some of the small elements could be stitched on napkin corners. There are so many possibilities. Click on the images to make them full size.









Happy Thanksgiving!

by Martha in Children's Books

The Golden Almanac
Pictures by Masha
Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1944

Lemoyne Star Medallion Doll Quilt

by Martha in Quilts

This medallion quilt was inspired by a photo of an antique doll quilt in Small Endearments, by Sandi Fox — the quilt in the photo is 23″ square, while mine is smaller at 16″. The top is made with fabrics cut from my stash of antique tops and blocks; the backing and binding are reproductions.

Quilting is always a challenge on these little quilts, because I like the stitching to be as close as possible to maintain scale, but all the seams can make that difficult. On this top I decided to use a different quilting pattern on each row, and I like how it looks with all the dense quilting, even though my stitches are not perfect.

Lemoyne Star Medallion Doll Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2014
machine pieced, hand quilted
16″ x 16″


Here is my inspiration quilt from Small Endearments, by Sandi Fox.


Designs Worth Doing, Ruby Short McKim

by Martha in Patterns, Vintage Finds

Mickie asked about other individual RSM patterns, so here is a newspaper design from 1926. Although I love these butterflies, I can’t imagine wanting to stitch them in all white, or even with “spots of color” as suggested below. I would probably stitch the whole butterfly in jewel tones.

Nothing is more nearly a universal favorite among needleworkers than butterfly designs. They have been fashioned of finest lace, embroidered on sheerest mull or brilliantly blazoned in colorful silks. Here are three graceful butterfly motifs that may be traced onto guest towels, scarves, pillow slips, girl’s frocks, and aprons — either as separate motifs or to use with flower designs. They are readily adapted to either all white, madeira style, or to use with color spots of blue, yellow, orange and black.

This is a McKim Studios catalog from the period. I often think how wonderful it would be if one could order stuff from vintage catalogs, and in this case you actually can. Some of these patterns are available at the McKim Studios web site, which is maintained by Ruby Short McKim’s granddaughter. The thumbnails will be readable if you continue clicking on the images until they are full size.