“Little Dutch Girls” Vintage Project

24 03 2017

My friend, Jenn, procured 30 “Little Dutch Girls” blocks hand stitched by her paternal grandmother, Leoma. We estimate that the blocks were made in the 40s or 50s. Look closely and you will see several distinctive design elements. Note that the blanket stitches are a long stitch alternating with a short stitch. Also note that the girls have two arms (or an arm and a hand); most Dutch Girl patterns that I’ve seen show only one arm. In addition, Grandma Leoma positioned the arm shoulder height toward the edge of the dress rather than in the center of the dress as most patterns of the era do.


Jenn gently washed the blocks by hand using “Retro Clean” whose motto is “safely brings age-stained textiles back to life!”  The dolls were appliqued onto thin muslin rectangles that had been ripped rather than cut with scissors. The “fraying” resulting from ripping the blocks actually helped preserve their shape through the years. After pressing and measuring them all, I trimmed them the size of the smallest block, 7″ x 9.”

To “share the wealth” among family members, Jenn decided to split the blocks into three projects. Her mother sewed pillows of one Dutch Girl each for Jenn’s siblings, I made a wall quilt with four of the blocks for Jenn’s mother and father, and Jenn designed a quilt using the remaining 20 blocks. Although Jenn likes to decorate with muted, earthy tones, we had to choose sashing fabric that would coordinate with the primary tones of the Dutch Girl bonnets and dresses. Most Dutch Girl quilts of the 40s and 50s were sashed with solid colored fabrics; we followed suit with a turquoise/teal and rich brown. Here’s a photo showing the steps used to make the sashing pieces.

For the outer border and star centers, we found a dainty print in Edita Sytar’s “Color Daze” line that paired the turquoise with the brown.

Since hubby set up my long arm machine last weekend, I’ll soon be quilting “Little Dutch Girls.”  I plan to use tan thread and an edge to edge clamshell design. Jenn is excited to see the project begun so many years ago completed. The quilt is doubly precious because Grandma Leoma passed away at the age of thirty when Jenn’s father was eight. I feel blessed to have a hand in making an heirloom quilt for Jenn’s family.

Save the Date!

22 03 2017

Tarheel Quilters Guild is hosting a quilt show on April 7 and 8, 2017. Come one, come all! “Symphony of Quilts” is the theme; the quilts will be displayed in the gymnasium of Methodist University on Ramsey Street in Fayetteville, NC. In addition to viewing beautiful, intricate quilts, you can shop with 15 vendors, buy tickets for our raffle quilt, meet up with quilting friends, and purchase wall quilts in a silent auction.

My quilt, “Vintage Farm Girl,” will be in the show because I finished the binding just in time for turn-in.

#QF17, #Quilt Fest 2017, #Tarheel Quilters Guild

Guest Blogger for McCall’s

17 03 2017

I promised to let you know when I would be blogging about “Travel Plans” on the McCall’s Quilting magazine site. Yesterday was my day, but I was too busy unpacking, cleaning, and visiting with friends to sit down at the computer. Not to worry, you can still travel to the blog and read about my inspiration for the table runner. If you have a minute, leave a comment on the McCall’s blog; the editors want to know which published designs appeal to you.

Click here to travel to McCall’s Quilting blog for March 16, 2017.

First Quarter Challenge–More from Blog Readers

15 03 2017

Just a little reminder about our First Quarter Challenge–make something with your secret stash of Fat Quarters or Quilter’s Candy (packs of 2 1/2″ squares) and share a picture to inspire others.

Kathy used her stash of Fat Quarters to make a darling 60″ x 68″ heart quilt which she may eventually give to her granddaughter. “The pattern is Blended Hearts by Judy Dohrman of Black Cat Creations. The pattern calls for 32 fat eighths but I used 16 fat quarters.”

It took me a minute to notice that the red hearts are right side up, while the pink hearts are upside down. Don’t you love the lime green heart? It adds fabric bling!

Maridee has been busily using Quilter’s Candy to good advantage. This table runner would look great with white dishes or blue pottery as well! (Maridee is unsure of the pattern info for these runners.)

A second runner by Maridee is equally appealing. Floating the Nine Patches on a light background certainly adds interest.

“I have 6 more Quilter’s Candy packs to use, but think they’ll get put on the back burner for now. I’m busy working on the bzillion charm packs I have!”
Thanks for the inspiration, Maridee. I sometimes wonder what substantial project I could make with the tiny package of squares I was tempted to purchase. You have inspired us with attractive table runner projects which stretch the minimum to the maximum.
Helga transformed a package of 2 1/2″ squares from Zen Chic into a modern wall hanging. For inspiration for this quilt for her brand new grandson, she turned to the October 2006 issue of McCall’s Quilting. Click here to see Lise Neer’s quilt, “Skyward Nines.” As you will see, Helga downsized the design by substituting 2 1/2″ squares for the Nine Patches Lise’s design calls for. The squares show up so nicely against dark blue solid linen.
Stephanie is working on a scrappy table runner. “On the Bright Side” is a free pattern from All People Quilt. “In keeping with the first quarter challenge, I pulled out two packages of Quilter’s Candy and used them for the Nine Patches.  If you want variety, it becomes a slight challenge.  This table runner requires 90 2 ½ inch squares. Each 42 piece package of Quilter’s Candy has 21 different fabrics.  With two packages, I ended up with four squares of each fabric.  There were several black fabrics ‘discarded’ from consideration.  There was a little cheating – I cut some squares from yardage.  The Churn Dash blocks are cut from Fat Quarters.”

“I may change the center block before quilting.  The light blue flowers on a white background blend in with the white background too much for my liking.  This table runner is a great way to use up an impulse purchase of Quilter’s Candy found on a sale table.”

Thanks, ladies, for sharing your projects. You have reminded us how fun it can be to accept the challenge!

QQ Magazine Winners

12 03 2017

Last week you were invited to comment about my “Travel Plans” table runner which was published in the April/May 2017 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts.  Thanks for your enthusiastic comments! Karla and Lynn won the copies graciously provided by McCall’s. (I have emailed you ladies requesting your USPS addresses.)

If you did not win this time, consider subscribing to Quick Quilts. Every other month you’ll receive a full-color, glossy magazine chock full of speedy, inspiring projects. If you prefer to order only this issue, click here to travel to the online Quilt and Sew Shop.

Did you know that most of the quilting magazines have blogs for your edification and enjoyment? This week I’ll be guest blogging for McCall’s about “Travel Plans.”  I’ll keep you posted when the date rolls around.

Thanks for all the comments recommending a quilting thread color for “Conflagration.” I appreciate your help in solving my dilemma. I have to say that Sana’s suggestion of lime green was the most unusual, and I had not thought of Lauri’s suggestion of light pink which would disappear on the white areas and blend with the orange and red areas. I will unspool all the colors you suggested onto the quilt top and by process of elimination select one. I’ll post “Conflagration” again when it’s totally finished.

“Conflagration” Quilt Top

10 03 2017

This is a wedding quilt for a young couple whose favorite color is orange. But since they bought red couches, the bride asked if I could combine red and orange in the quilt. She said, “I have always liked red and orange together.” Well, personally, I generally do not combine red and orange in the same quilt. I use either red, or I use orange. However, I concluded, after an online search, that orange and red could look really nice together. To see what I saw, search for “images of red and orange quilts.”

I found inspiration for this quilt from a “Nine Patch” quilt on Pinterest made by Leslie with black and white and lime fabrics. I changed the alternate blocks, putting a “Four Patch” on point, square-in-a square style. I purchased quarter yard cuts of 3 red tonals and 3 orange tonals, and I repurposed black and white prints I had saved for a different quilt project. All squares are cut 3 1/2,” and I cut white triangles over-sized so I could easily trim the alternate blocks to 9 1/2.”

I plan and edge to edge quilting design, and the backing is an orange/red and yellow print. But I’m in a quandary over thread color. Red or Orange . . . or Yellow? What is your opinion?

My “Splendid Sampler”

7 03 2017

About this time last year, I decided to join the “Splendid Sampler” quilt-along hosted by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Did you also sign up to receive the 100 emailed pattern instructions? They have published two 6″ blocks per week; over eighty quilt block designers contributed to the project. The official QAL is nearly complete, and you can still access the patterns online by clicking the “Splendid Sampler” button in the right hand column of this blog page.

At the outset of the QAL, Pat and Jane showed samples of their bright, modern fabrics and promised that a variety of techniques would be employed for the sampler blocks. You can read about my fabric selection on this blog post. As the weeks progressed, I began to realize that not all of the patterns were suitable for my muted traditional fabrics from the “Chocolat” line by Moda. At some point, I decided to make only the blocks that correlated well with my fabrics, and to include other favorite patchwork designs.

After making 56 blocks, I decided to set the blocks together. I am sure the desire to finish the project prior to moving into our new home weighed heavily in my decision. My quilting buddy, Karlene, suggested that I arrange the blocks with darker tan background all around the edges of the quilt. I really like the effect! The darker blocks act as a pieced border of sorts. After arranging and rearranging the blocks on my design wall, I sewed the vertical 2″ x 6 1/2″ sashing strips between the blocks in each row as you can see in the photo below.


Tip (from my daughter, Trinity): Prior to joining the rows together, measure and sew the top border strip above Row 1, and sew the bottom border strip below the last row. This means less “heavy lifting” work when adding the borders after the rows are sewn together.

I added horizontal sashing rows and left and right border strips. Now to find the perfect print for an outer border.


Later:  Again, my friend, Karlene, came to my rescue. She gave me a yard of paisley “Chocolat” fabric. Since it is a large scale print of muted colors, it doesn’t draw attention itself. The viewer’s eye is rightly focused on all the patchwork and applique blocks in the quilt’s center. I draped the quilt top over the kitchen porch railing of our new home. (We are hoping to procure the certificate of occupancy this week and move in!)