Posts Written By Martha

Liberated Basket Medallion Quilt-a-Long — Log Cabin Border

I freaked out when I read the theme for this border. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to make log cabin blocks when the vintage scraps I selected for this project are all small squares and triangles, with only a few larger pieces, and No Strips!

Then I remembered the good old pineapple block with its short strips — my pieces were just long enough that I could pull off a 6″ block. I gave them green centers and plain muslin lights to coordinate with the rest of the quilt. With this border, the top is 34″ square.

I don’t think it’s very Gwennie-looking, but stitching a wonky pineapple block is beyond my capabilities. Since I don’t paper piece, these blocks were sewn without a foundation, and most don’t match up perfectly. Also, I mixed in a few newer stripes and plaids. I guess that’s as liberated as I’m going to get.

Now I’m excited to see all the other wonderful borders on Lori’s blog (Humble Quilts).




Tops From the Trunk — Antique Nine-Patch Variation

This is one of two tops that I recently purchased from a seller who bought them at an estate sale (the other top was featured in an earlier post). She thought they were made by the same person, and I suspect that’s true. The hand piecing is similar, and several prints are repeated in both quilts. Like me, this scrappy quilt maker made up some rules for her design — 9 patches containing 4 darker and 4 lighter squares with a double pink center. Of course, the eye-catching detail in this top is the colorful cheddar cornerstone in the unusually wide double-pink sashing. The top is 73″ x 89″, and there are two narrow double-pink and cheddar borders on the sides of the quilt, but no borders on the top and bottom. I like to think this was intentional, and not because the quilter ran out of fabric. Either way, I intend to keep it like this.

There is a huge variety of brown, madder, double-pink and shirting prints in the nine-patches, and the fabrics appear to be stable. There are 3 small nine-patch squares with stains, which I plan to replace, but it won’t be noticeable because this is a true scrap quilt, with many fabric substitutions.





McCall’s Monday — Kitchen Revue, Six Designs for Dish Towels

Turn dish drying into a rollicking show with glassware, dishes, pots and pans staging a gay outline-stitch revue on your dish towels. Here are saucy dancing girls (plates and teacups), an urbane vaudevillian with high hat and cane (the pot), a boy and girl dance team (glasses), the scatter-brained comic pair (skillets), and the sure-fire fat comedian (tea kettle). Work trims mainly in outline stitch in bright colors. Finish towel edges in fancy buttonhole stitch in a contrasting color.

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Free Pattern Friday — More Mother Goose in Filet Crochet

From the Winnipeg Tribune, 1923

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sitting on the wall can be adapted to a variety of uses in making gifts for the little ones. This motif can be developed in either filet crochet or cross stitch.


Little Bo Peep

The little Mother Goose shepherdess, whose picture in filet crochet appears here, will be very much at home in nursery or play room, and will make herself useful on bedspread, curtains or cushion.


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McCall’s Monday — Wrap-Around Apron with Rick-Rack Trim

These politically incorrect “squaw dresses” were a fad in the 50s, and my mother made elaborate versions for me and two of my sisters. This involved sewing yards of rick-rack on blouses and 3-tired skirts made with vibrantly colored wrinkly cottons marketed, of course, as “squaw cloth.” When I was growing up in Oklahoma, and living in a neighborhood where all the streets were named after Indian tribes, I didn’t realize that this was an offensive term. I still like the style, though.




Free Pattern Friday — Mother Goose in Filet Crochet

From the Louisville Courier-Journal, 1925

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

For the children’s room, here is an interesting filet pattern adapted from the old reliable Mother Goose. If you are very ambitious, you might consider making a crocheted spread of Mother Goose medallions, but for most people, one medallion in the center of a spread involves labor enough. The pattern will also serve as a guide for cross stitch.


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Liberated Basket Medallion Quilt – Childhood Border

In an earlier post, I explained why this border was inspired by my childhood . . .

“I grew up in the 1950s in a small town in Oklahoma. We lived in an old neighborhood of modest homes, where there were no fences and children were free to play wherever they wanted (with a few exceptions, like flower beds and vegetable gardens). There were lots of kids, and quite few retired couples, some of whom were almost like grandparents to me and my siblings. Sometimes I complained because we weren’t allowed to play in the house unless the weather was bad, but I consider it a pretty idyllic childhood.

Although there were newer homes being built in developments on the outskirts of town, I didn’t envy the children who lived there. We had something in our neighborhood that they didn’t . . . trees . . . huge trees. Every house in our block had at least 2 or three very old trees — we had four (one with a treehouse). In spring and summer the trees on the parking strip would form a beautiful, shady canopy over our street. There were oaks and maples and a catalpa on the corner, but mostly there were giant elms. In 1966 we moved away, and I didn’t go back for a long time. When I did, most of the elm trees were gone — killed by Dutch Elm disease — and the neighborhood was almost unrecognizable.”

My border is made up of elm leaves, cut from early 1900s chambrays, plaids and stripes. It is a struggle for me to do any kind of liberated quilt design, but I’m proud to say that I successfully resisted drawing a design, and just sewed the leaves randomly as I went around the pinned bias vine. You probably recognize this design from Anne Orr’s lovely Autumn Leaves quilt — I could have never come up with this on my own.

Free Pattern Friday will be on Saturday this week.



McCall’s Monday — Betsy McCall Paper Doll

My dad worked in advertising, and one of his perks was free magazine subscriptions to just about every type of magazine you could think of, and there were tons of magazine titles when I was a kid in the 1950s. I liked looking at the pictures in Life, Look, and the Saturday Evening Post, but my favorites were the women’s magazines, especially McCall’s, because my younger sister and I loved paper dolls.

Teri Pettit has a wonderful web site where she shares all the Betsy McCall paper dolls from 1951-1961, plus many other vintage paper dolls and activity books. Her images are high resolution and have been scaled to print on letter-sized paper. Head over there by clicking on her image below.




McCall’s Monday – More Quilting Motifs From Old Favorites

Here are more quilting designs from my 1936 McCall’s Needlework catalog. I can’t believe they suggest using carbon paper to transfer the pattern to your quilt top. Do not do this! More McCall’s designs are available in an earlier post. Click images to enlarge.

No. 1980. Printed Pattern for Quilting Motifs. Prics, 40 cents. Here are some of the popular old favorites used in quilting that have been handed down from generation to generation. There’s the interesting old Anchor motif, and a design that will fit the squares of the popular Double Wedding Ring patch work quilt. There are also several variations of the old feather design, in a wide and narrow border, and in squares. You can trace them on your quilt by means of carbon paper, or else make a perforated pattern on the sewing machine following directions in the pattern. Women who make patch work quilts will appreciate these interesting old quilting designs.

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