Q is for Quilter

Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #6 – Simple Simon

by Martha in Patterns, Work in Progress

It’s interesting that Ruby McKim decided to use the third verse of the Simple Simon rhyme for this quilt. She also used it a decade later in her Rhyme Land quilt (pattern on sidebar under downloads). Many children are probably familiar with the first two verses, having to do with the Pie Man, but this verse is less well known.

Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #6



Simple Simon went a-fishing

For to catch a whale;

But all the water he could find

Was in his mother’s pail.

Poor Simple Simon! He expects to catch a great big whale almost any minute. He has sat there a long time, but he will never get a bite. Whales do not swim around in wooden pails, and that is all that Simple Simon could find. If you will let him be a Quiltie, though, he will fish there as long as your quilt lasts.

Things have been a little hectic around here, so I didn’t manage to finish my square for this week. Hopefully by next week I’ll be back on track with two new blocks completed — Simple Simon and Jack Sprat.

Happy 4th of July and Stencil Winners

by Martha in Patterns, Random Things

How about a nice Workbasket eagle to stitch for our Independence Day here in the USA. More vintage patriotic transfers are available in earlier posts here and here.


Congratulations to the winners of The Stencil Company feather templates.



Sandra D


I will be contacting you for your mailing address. The stencil packages will be shipped directly from the company.

Embroidered Place Cards

by Martha in Embroidery

Here’s a little project for my mother-in-law’s upcoming 85th birthday. It’s easy and fun to do, and reminds me of stitching sewing cards when I was little.


Select an Alphabet
I used an old Leisure Arts booklet (20 Backstitch Alphabets, Mini Series #2). You could also use a font. These instructions are for working with a block type alphabet that will line up with a grid.

Draw the Names on Grid Paper
Pick a grid size that will work with your place card size (I used 1/10th inch). You might have to adapt the design to fit the front of your place card (some of my I letters are narrower than others). Make your lines fairly dark so you will be able to see them through the cardstock.

Cut your Cardstock into Place cards
My placecards are 4 1/4″ wide x 4″, cut from legal size cardstock with a parchment design. They will be folded in half after stitching.

Copy the Dots onto your Cards
Use a light box of some sort and position your card over your drawing. Make sure you copy the dots to the bottom half of the card, which will be the front. Place a tiny pencil dot at each point you want to insert your needle.

Punch Holes in your Cards
Using an embroidery needle, poke small holes in each dot.

Stitch your Names
Use perle cotton, floss, or any similar thread to stitch the names in back stitch. Fold the card in half so it will stand on its own.

Moving on now to making crepe paper flowers, which will serve as both the centerpieces and party favors.

Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #5 — Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

by Martha in Patterns, Work in Progress

It’s interesting to read the little comments under each nursery rhyme. The author must have been either Ruby Short McKim or a McKim Studios employee, because I’ve found the same text in several different newspapers. Of course the comments are old-fashioned, and some are a little odd  — maybe due to the recently introduced “scientific” theory of raising children.

Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #5


Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockle shells,

And pretty maids all in a row.

I wonder why Mary, Mary, or any other nice child should be contrary? Pleasant children are much happier and better loved. Mary, Mary looks like she is going to behave now and grow flowers, which are already showing on our Quiltie.

Here is my quiltie for this week. It’s a little tricky to get all the details just right using a 3 1/4″ image, especially since I struggle with back stitch. I just can’t seem to get my stitches the same length or perfectly straight, but at least I’m getting a lot of practice.


String Star Quilt and Stencil Company Giveaway

by Martha in Quilts

It took six months to complete the quilting, but the String Star quilt is finally done. I’m very pleased with the feather quilting, and it was such fun to stitch that I’m a little sorry it’s done. Two Stencil Company templates were used in the plain spaces (10″ feather square and 5″ feather wreath), while the string stars were quilted with 3 diamonds in each point, spaced about 1/2″ apart. There is more information about this quilt in an earlier post.



For the giveaway I selected two additional feather patterns, the 8″ triangular feather for corners, and the 5″ large curved feather for borders. Four commenters will be selected, so your chances of winning should be pretty good. I always want to support businesses that provide products for hand quilters, so here’s a big thank you to The Stencil Company for donating the templates for this giveaway.

To win one of the four quilting template assortments, simply leave a comment below. I’ll use a random number generator to select four winners on Saturday, July 4.

Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #4 – Old King Cole

by Martha in Patterns, Work in Progress

Mother Goose Quiltie #4


Old King Cole was a merry old soul,

And a merry old soul was he;

He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl,

And he called for his fiddlers three.

Everyone loves Old King Cole. He is so jolly and fat and not like other kings at all. He loved to sit all sprawled out in his great chair, smoking his pipe as we see him, and maybe he has just called for his three fiddlers. Maybe too, he is kind of proud to think that he is King of all the Quilties.

Yay! One more reader participating in the Mother Goose quilt-a-long. Welcome, Mallika! Once everyone has a chance to finish, I hope to show photos of all the quilts. Here’s my doll-sized square for this week.


Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #3 – Jack and Jill

by Martha in Patterns, Work in Progress

I’m really excited that several readers are stitching along with me — Patty and Robin are making their blocks 6″, while Cathy is following the original instructions, and making her blocks 10″.

Here is Mother Goose Quiltie #3


Jack and Jill went up the hill

To fetch a pail of water;

Jack fell down and broke his crown,

And Jill came tumbling after.

Jack and Jill! They did not do anything so wonderful, yet ‘most every child in the country knows about them. They are about the best loved of all Mother Goose’s children; but it must take a lot of loving to make up for a broken head. This Quiltie picture is on the way up, before they got all tumbled. You would not want them after the spill, ’cause they would not look so tidy.

Are you saving each block carefully?



Here is my doll-sized Jack and Jill block, which I made with my own little chubby hands.


Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #2 – The Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe

by Martha in Patterns, Work in Progress

This was one of my favorite nursery rhymes when I was little (and still is). I loved imagining living in a shoe with all those siblings, and I always enjoyed looking at the variety of ways the illustrators interpreted the shoe house. I know there are people who have a problem with this particular rhyme, and some have even created new politically correct lines to replace the two about broth and spanking. I still like the original version, though, and it’s the one I taught to my children, just as my mother taught it to me. The explanation under the pattern (as to why the Old Lady is so cranky), is pretty funny.

Mother Goose Quiltie Number 2


There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.

She had so many children she didn’t know what to do;

So she gave them some broth without any bread

And spanked them all soundly and sent them to bed.

The Old Woman who lives in a shoe seems kind of cranky, but you must remember she has a lot more children than the two we see. And, having to live in a shoe is enough to make anyone cross. But she will soon have them all spanked and put to bed, and then she will be as jolly as the rest of the Quilties.

This is the second Quiltie, which is going into the pretty Mother Goose Quilt that you are all going to make, and maybe win one of the gold prizes, which are going to be given for the best quilts, as explained last week.

Here are the first two blocks for my doll quilt.



Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern – Ruby Short McKim, 1920

by Martha in Patterns, Work in Progress

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle published this McKim series in their children’s section, The Junior Eagle. I hadn’t realized they were originally meant to be made by children, and I love that the Eagle went beyond just publishing the patterns, and sponsored a contest for the little quilt-makers (prizes listed below).

Today we have a drawing of the finished quilt, along with instructions, as well as the first Quiltie in the series — Mother Goose, of course. I wanted to start on a Sunday (just like the Eagle), but I’m a little late. From now on, I will publish each new pattern on successive Sundays, and I hope some of you will stitch along with me. I am thinking of making mine doll sized, but I haven’t quite made up my mind. [Update: I am doing a doll quilt with 4″ finished blocks, and back stitch instead of the suggested outline stitch, because it’s easier to make sharp corners] Click the images to enlarge.


Here is the cunning little quilt we have been telling about, all finished to tuck around the boys and girls who love Mother Goose’s family. See Jack and Jill going for that troublesome pail of water. And can you find stupid, old Humpty Dumpty that fell clear off the wall. Who has jumped right over the candlestick?

Every Sunday, for twenty weeks, one of the little blocks, or Quilties, will be here, just the size to transfer on to a 10-inch muslin square. Be sure to save every pattern, because it takes just twenty for a quilt to fit your bed.

After they are traced through carbon paper onto muslin, big sister or mother can show you about the outline stitch, if you never did it. Use some pretty colored thread, and when the Quilties are all finished they can be set together with strips of the same color. Sure, boys make quilts too, and get tucked under them just the same as girls do.

Of course, you are all going to make one of these Quilts and try for one of the prizes. Read all about them below.


The First Pattern – Mother Goose Quiltie No. 1


Old Mother Goose now leads the way

For all her funny folks to play;

She’ll have a party, just for you,

If careful stitching you can do.

Here is Mother Goose, just as we promised, flying up to sweep the cobwebs out of the sky. The Man in the Moon is watching to see that she does a good job. By morning she’ll be all through and come sweep the cobwebs out of kiddie’s sleepy eyes in time to see the big, bright sun.

Note — To change the drawing into a quilt block, get a smoothly ironed piece of muslin, 10 inches square and a blue or black carbon paper. Lay the muslin down on a flat surface. Place the carbon paper over it. On top of the carbon paper place the above drawing. Stick rows of pins around the design so it will be held firmly in place over the carbon and the muslin. Then, so that the traced lines of the design will be perfectly straight, lay a ruler along the lines of the drawing. Trace over the lines of the drawing and the pattern will be transferred through the carbon to the muslin. Then you can outline stitch the lines on the muslin and have the pattern in thread. There are twenty drawings in all, so when the series is completed you will have enough muslin squares to make a child’s quilt.

My Swap Doll Quilt Arrived!

by Martha in Quilts

A package arrived from Margaret today, and you can imagine how excited I was to open these cute presents.


First, the adorable quilt — such a great pattern and colors with those little pinwheels and cute striped border, and look at that amazing quilting.


And there was more — cool pins to hold thread spools and bobbins together, and some beautiful note cards by Kim Diehl.


Check out the gorgeous fabric on the back, and the professional label — she made a border for her label and she even mitered the tiny corners!


I feel like I won the doll quilt lottery!

More Nancy Page Hand Quilting Designs

by Martha in Patterns

I apologize for the quality of these images — the designs are from 1930s newspapers and were only tiny drawings used as an example of the mail order pattern you could purchase. Unlike the more familiar Nancy Page series quilts that were published full-size in many newspapers, the individual quilt patterns and quilting designs were mail order only.

The images have been cleaned a bit and enlarged, so hopefully you will be able to print and trace the designs. Additional information and a group of more geometric Nancy Page quilting designs is available in an earlier post. Click images to enlarge.


Vintage Briggs Quilting Transfers

by Martha in Patterns

This large paper folder contains more than the stated 3 dozen transfers, but, other than the design on the cover, I’m not sure they are original to this folder. Five of the patterns are identified as English quilting, and one is identified as Italian (the 5th pattern with double lines). They are quite large at 17″ square.

I’m confused by the whole concept of iron-on transfers for quilting.  I never use iron-on transfers for embroidery, because I think the lines are too thick and it’s tricky to cover them with stitching, so I can’t imagine using them for hand quilting, where the ink would be impossible to cover. At first I thought this might be some special kind of transfer ink that would wash out (pretty unlikely since the transfers are so old), but I tested it, and it’s permanent blue ink.

The designs are pretty, but a couple are very elaborate and look more like embroidery patterns to me. That’s not unusual, since I find that quite a few antique embroidery patterns (especially those intended for braiding and beading) make good quilting patterns (see previous post for 5 examples). Click patterns to enlarge.








Album Doll Quilt for Swap

by Martha in Quilts

Finally I have finished this little quilt for the swap organized by Lori at Humble Quilts. The quilting is about as close as I can get it, which I think suits the scale of the miniature quilt (block size is 3 1/4″). The blocks are stitched with a diagonal grid, and the sashing is ditch stitched on either side, with a wavy line down the center, following the leaf design in the print. You may be able to make out some of the quilting if you enlarge the last photo.

I’m in the process of embroidering a label, and then I’ll pop it in the mail to my swap partner. I really hope she likes it.

Update:  Two readers asked about the sashing for this little quilt, which was made using a small scrap from a previous quilt project — a remake of an antique Album quilt top. When I took the old top apart, I discovered the original sashing (which was a similar stripe) had rotted, so I replaced it with a reproduction. For the little version, I just used a small section of the repro stripe.

Album Doll Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2015
machine pieced, hand quilted
18 1/2″ square



Pillowcase Embroidery Transfers

by Martha in Patterns

All of these patterns are from 1910-1915 newspapers, although the last one looks very contemporary. Click to enlarge.








Photograph Frame Embroidery Patterns

by Martha in Patterns

I’ve never embroidered a frame, but I think these would be very pretty. They were designed by Sarah Hale Hunter, whose column appeared in a number of newspapers in the early 1900s. I always enjoy reading the original instructions, so I have included those as well, since they are minimal. Click on the images to enlarge.

“An effective photograph frame to be made in colored or white linen, embroidered in this design. The dots and leaves, also the figures at top and bottom, are worked solid. The stems, scrolls and straight lines are done in outline stitch. Mercerized cotton No. 25, or twisted silk, should be used.”


“This photograph frame may be decorated with the pattern published today. Colored mercerized cotton No. 18 is used on this design with good effect. The leaves and dots are worked solid, with the tendrils in outline stitch. The scrolls are embroidered in the long and short outline stitch. The scalloped design around each corner motif is worked solid, and the interior lines are done in outline stitch.”


“This design should be worked on heavy linen in white or colors. Work the edge in the long and short stitch, which forms a heavy outline. The scroll inside the edge may be worked solid, also the dots and the veining done in outline stitch. The dotted line indicates where the linen should be cut and pasted back on the foundation. The frame must be mounted on heavy cardboard, and a solid back, covered with linen, is pasted to the frame at the sides and top, leaving the bottom open for the picture to slip in. Mercerized cotton No. 15 or twisted silk may be used for the embroidery.”