Category: hand quilting



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Dear Morgan,

This frame holds some of your history.

I will tell you what I can, the quilt blocks were pieced by your great-great-great-grandmother.

She used those cardboard cutouts to make the smaller pieces to sew together by hand as you can see from the one I left upside down. those pieces and the cutout are from a pattern called double wedding ring.

The full block and its pieces are called Dresden Plate.

You might notice your great-great- great grandfather’s name and address on the pattern pieces I included.

The fabric in the back was from her ‘fabric stash’ as quilters call the fabrics saved or purchased for making their treasures.

The red flowers is from an old feed sack, the way many ladies got their fabric. Often they would make a child a dress or shirt and then use the remainder for quilts.

I came by this from someone who had purchased it at an auction and passed it to me. I saved some of the old fabric and blocks, because they are treasures.

Your Great-great grandmother, Bettie, told me they were made by her mother-in-law and asked if I would fix some for you. So here it is, I do hope that you will find it a ‘treasure’ and as you grow up something you will always love.

Mary Shipman


I was looking through a box of ‘gifted’ fabrics and hand-made quilt blocks the other day. Many of the blocks are made of polyester and double knits. Fabrics of the 1960’s and 70’s. Few  quilt makers today would even consider using these as we have returned to traditional cottons. It doesn’t mater if I never use them, I will hang on to them, at least for now.

The effort and care put in to them by the maker is enough reason to keep them, if only to look at from time to time.

I had, at one time, a lovingly appliqued “Sunbonnet Sue” top made by my maternal grandmother from the beloved feedsack fabrics of the 1930’s and ’40’s.  The  hand stitched blocks arrived and I put it together after her death. A good friend hand quilted it. Sadly, it was lost when our house burned. A treasure that can never be replaced – but always remembered.

There have been others, made from sewing  scraps, old clothing cut into pieces and these days fresh fabrics bought just for the purpose of making a special quilt. Not just in my world; I happened onto this blog post from Tipper Pressley this morning. Like the quilts she mentions and refers to Vintage Vera’s remarks, most of the quilts I have loved were more for use than show.

Testimonies of someone’s love and the frugality that ‘used to be’ . http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com/blind_pig_the_acorn/2011/02/appalachia-through-my-eyes-quilts-feel-like-home.html


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This pattern is called ‘improved nine patch’. A lady in one of the nursing homes I worked at, had made one and I was very impressed with the design.
I did not make this one completely, it was partially finished and it is vintage fabric. When I came upon it, I could not resist. I did finish it, and learned a lot about doing curved seams. It is small, about 45 inches square, so will be a lap robe to snuggle under when DH turns the air conditioning up too cool to suit me, and this fall when it’s too warm for heat and too cool for comfort. I plan to hand quilt it.

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This is my ‘storm at sea’ wall hanging.
I found that paper piecing the blocks worked better than trying to cut and sew the pieces.
It is another venture in hand quilting. My stitches are getting more uniform and smaller, so improving.
This pattern intrigues me, with its feeling of motion, and the optical illusion of curves in the block.
The colors are still another attempt to use up the trash bag of scraps that I have collected.
The problem is: now I want a larger quilt in this pattern and these colors. One of these days I will get around to it!