Grandmother’s Flower Garden

I set out to find a well used, well worn, etc. etc. Grandmother’s Flower Garden (GFG) quilt that I could, with a clear conscious, cut up without remorse. Finding nothing locally I reached out to a dear friend in the “vintage” business and she came to my rescue. She sent pictures of the GFG quilts available for purchase and I chose this one.

It arrived, I looked it over and two things jumped out, 1. The black/brown flower centers and 2. The overall “drab” look. I folded up the quilt and added it to an ever growing stack of vintage quilts in the sewing room.

Spring ahead to a few weeks ago, still wanting to cut up the quilt for a project I opened it up, spread it out on the floor and realized I had a treasure before me!

I’ve seen many GFG’s but cannot remember ever seeing one with the color/blocks arranged in a circle. The first thing that popped into my head was the Trip Around The World quilt pattern, only this one was done with GFG blocks.

But…oh those really really dark flower centers. All 90 of them.

After deciding to experiment with changing the flower centers to yellow, I set up my Accuquilt cutter and hexagon die. The 1” (in Hexie speak that means each of the 6 sides measure 1”) die cut hex fit perfectly…almost, but not quite. The movement of the fabrics due to things like the dense machine quilting, fabrics shrinking (each one differently) and the day to day use of the quilt resulted in some odd shaped flower centers. The pic above shows how no matter how I placed the hexagon, there was always a sliver of black/brown peeking around at least 2 edges.

Sewing on my trusty Bernina, I selected the machine applique stitch, width 1.5, length 2.0 and thinking I could nudge the quilt as I stitched so that black brown would be covered.

Experiment fail. ☹️

Next trial: cut hexagons that are larger.

Experiment win! To deal with the dark centers and the much lighter new yellow fabric, I also cut white Hobbs 80/20 batting to place under the yellow before stitching.

The threads I used: the needle has Superior Threads So Fine, a nice strong 50 wt. 3 ply, color 401. The bobbin is Thread Arts pre-wound 50 wt. color THPS101.

Some of the centers are covered and I’m liking the look.

But let’s jump back to my earlier comment about the block colors set into a circle. Look at the picture below and what immediately jumps out? The blocks are not squared up with each other. The red blocks are offset by one hexagon width. They circle the center very dark block but the maker, either intentionally or by mistake stitched them together in this way. Does it kind of give me hives? Kind of yes, kind of no…

The little interesting things done stop…look closely at these pictures of the outer edges of the quilt.

The flower blocks gradually lose hexagons until they are just a simple row of 3 pieces. But what else is evident? The quilt top edges are all white hexagons. No color touches the binding.

And what about this larger area of white. There was room to add color so did the quilter run short of fabrics or was this a design choice?

I’m really liking the look, mentally working through the oversized hexagon in the center and slowly but surely getting all 90 applique stitched. The oversized hexagon…I had to pin a few in place, walk away and the next day re-examine my idea. The “structured” part of brain was alarmed but the need to cover wonky hexies won out.

What a change!

What would the original maker think? First I’m sure she would be very happy that I did not cut up her beautiful quilt and second, it’s nice knowing the new yellow centers could easily be removed, just a few hours and a seam ripper would take care of the revision.

Two more things, did you notice the 4 rounded edges of the quilt and the binding?

Love the “out of the box” thinking/planning/making do of this quilter! Where is this quilt now? It’s in a special spot in my sewing room waiting for a short journey to a BFF’s house, she fell in love with it! Enjoy your new old fabulous quilt Gloria!

Blessings and happy quilting to all, Rhonda

ps: needling some bits and pieces for a project, quilting, crazy quilting, collages, journaling? I’m reducing my stash and have lots to see on Instagram at: vintagelinensetc

Saving Another Double Wedding Ring Quilt

This is one of those quilts where I really don’t know how I came to own it or how much I may have paid for it but I’m guessing it might have been an online purchase because the white fabric is a poly-cotton blend. It has tiny “pilling” across the white surface and was made using poly batting. Unless it was crazy inexpensive I don’t think I would have bought it as an “in-person” purchase. In other words, I didn’t much care for it.

That opinion held firm until I began to see how I could still make my mark on this old quilt and give it new life. This quilt does not have scalloped edges created by the Melons but rather, the quilter added outside pieces creating straight edges.

I’m going to fill this blog post with lots of pictures so you can see all the work/repairs/changes that went into the project. I am disappointed that I forgot to take a “before” picture. I think subconsciously I didn’t have high expectations for this experiment?

I wish I would have kept track of how many little Arc pieces I needed to address. Oh, and did I mention my intentions with this old quilt was to do all the repairs by machine?

Many of the Melons in the middle of the Arcs were in bad shape. I raw edge appliqued wide lace trims directly over the Melons and used a machine decorative stitch to secure them in place.

I consistently used yellow and pink threads on the vertical Melons.

And sewed a pink or a lavender applique stitch on the outside of each Melon.

Around the outer edge of the quilt but just inside the “outside melons” I decorative stitched to provide eye appeal and stability. You can also see the worn/frayed white fabric pieces at the end of these 3 Arcs.

I used commercially produced wide laces appliquéd over the white end pieces of each of the Arcs.

After finishing the outside Melons decorative stitching I decided to add a little visual color by using lavender thread in the machine applique stitch.

Miles and miles of machine decorative stitching, all the Arcs and Melons repaired, not it’s time to add some fun to the quilt.

When I was growing up the first car I can remember was a ‘61 Chevrolet Impala…with child-proof vinyl bench seats. Missouri summers can get plenty hot so to protect me and my sisters from painful leg burns, mom picked up an old Double Wedding Ring quilt at the Goodwill. We sat in the back seat on that old quilt for years! 15 or 20 years ago I found that old DWR quilt in a closet at moms. It made the trip home with me, terribly tattered, the pink flannel blanket used for batting very visible and what I’m saying is that what was left of the quilt was a mess!

Using my Accuquilt Go Cutter and Crafter’s Edge Heart Dies, I cut hearts from this very old Double Wedding Ring (DWR) in order to appliqué them on a not quite as old DWR. This makes me smile!! 🙂

Every other block center got a single DWR heart.

And then the remaining blocks got pale yellow smaller heart with a stem up to a lace bow. But now it’s time to address the white Mellon points. They’ve already been covered with white laces or fabrics but they looked so plain. I added three vintage buttons and ribbon to each of these hearts with stems.

Accuquilt cutter to the rescue again. I cut what seemed like thousands of green print leaves and began laying them out. I liked the look but they needed something in the center.

Vintage yellow yo-yo’s to the rescue!

But why stop decorative stitching now? I chose another decorative stitch for the outer edge of the Arcs. See the 2 pictures below.

But that does the back look like with all the machine decorative and applique stitching?

My threads? The small spools are 12 weight from Wonderfil Specialty Threads, and the large cones are Omni from Superior Threads,

This is now one of my favorite quilt saves! Everything with the exception of threading the ribbon through the button holes was done by machine. Not a bad way to save an old quilt! 🙂 Blessings and Happy Quilting, Rhonda

Hearts From Scraps!

If you’ve been following me for long you’ll know I love to Rescue/Save old quilts and sometimes the vintage quilts gets motifs appliqued directly on the front. These appliqués can cover a variety of imperfections and/or add interest to the quilt.

I’m always looking for new ideas for using vintage linens, especially those that are stained, worn, torn or (in my opinion) unattractive. While scrolling through the Facebook group Texas Quilter’s Group I came across the following post from Sandra Shawn Buxton, thank you Sandra for letting me use your picture/fb group post! Oh…and Sandra…I totally blame you for sending me on a crazy yet fantastic adventure! 🤣

Oh the possibilities! My brain kicked into overdrive and away I went!

I cut 1” strips from fabric scraps, damaged vintage linens, laces and trims, stitched them together with a backing fabric marked with blue pen lines. These lines helped to keep my strip piecing generally even and parallel. I then pressed using plenty of spray starch.

I cut my heart using an Accuquilt Go and the adapter pieces that allowed me to use the Crafter’s Edge nesting heart Dies.

But how did I get to the point of cutting hearts?

And down the rabbit hole I went! I cut all I could and then I had a new idea…

Rabbit hole #2:

Using my longarm I decided to create a quilted piece to be cut into heart shapes.

The backing fabric is bleached muslin that has been laundered (to shrink the fabric), Hobbs 80/20 white batting topped with another layer of bleached muslin.

With the vintage ivory and white linens laid out I started by quilting around the edges of each. What’s the dark spot in the pic above? Nail polish. No worries, I’ll cut around it later.

With each piece secured, let the quilting begin!

This longarm ruler is fantastic for quickly quilting long undulating lines which will become the stem for quilted feathers.

Yes, quilting veins in each feather took a lot of time but compare the two pics above to see how much it added to the overall look.

With the quilted piece off the longarm and trimmed, the cutting begins.

I used all four heart dies and what’s left of my quilted piece? See the little pile of scraps! Just so you’ll know, you can easily use Crafter’s Edge Dies with your Accuquilt, you’ll just need to purchase an adapter plate set.

Enter rabbit hole #3…I’d previously cut hearts from a very damaged Double Wedding Ring quilt piece. I had left over scraps… hum…

I began sewing these scraps together.

I chose Superior Threads Bottom Line thread because it so closely matched the old white-ish quilt fabric and also because it has more of a matte finish. No need for the thread to visually take center stage.

The results look a bit like Crazy Quilt hearts and I love them!

These hearts will make wonderful applique pieces for a future “quilt save”.

My left over scraps. Yes, I will most likely throw them away, they’ve served me well.

Then here’s my post to a wonderful fb group: Quilting Vintage, where I learn my grand ideas were yesterdays news! 🤣 Seems that awesome quilter/artist Martie Frazier-Stern (of Martie’s Quilting Creations) is light years ahead of me with this quilting technique! Thank you Martie for letting me post about your work!

Want to see more of her work?

It’s always fun to experiment and this time I think it was a very successful. I’m still mulling over how I will use these hearts on a future project, the sky’s the limit when it comes to saving an old quilt!

Blessings and Happy Quilting, Rhonda

Land That I Love, Part 2

Life got busy and here it is March all of a sudden. Lots of things happening with the Land That I Love patriotic quilt top.

As a reminder, my friend Diana and I made two almost identical quilts, she did all the pieced blocks for each of us and I did all the machine applique.

The first picture is my finished quilt top minus the borders I plan to add. It’s hanging on my design wall. Diana’s quilt is on my longarm, maybe a little more than half quilted.

We began our project a few weeks before a Texas quilt shop offered this as a Block of the Month. It’s been fun to see quilters across the nation post their progress.

Need the link for the pattern again?

Diana and I combined our stashes of patriotic fabrics and last time I weighed the bags we had 22 pounds! Enough to make 50 quilts at least!

As a side note it you decide to make this quilt…the pattern forgot to include the Dresden Plate, or as they call it, the Americana Rosette.

The pattern called for the words in this block to be hand embroidered. I decided raw edge appliqued letters would be the way to go.

And a bit of Diana’s quilt on the longarm.

Hopefully each of these quilts will be finished by July 4th!

Blessings and happy quilting, Rhonda

Land That I Love, my newest quilt project, Part 1

Taking a step away from vintage, just look at this quilt pattern! I fell in love at first sight!

My friend Diana showed me the pattern and suddenly things escalated, we devised a plan: she’s not crazy about doing applique and I’m not crazy about piecing so by combining our efforts we are making two quilts, I’m the doing the applique and she’s the piecer.

Want your own pattern for this fab quilt? Click on this link:

Ready for some pictures of our progress?

We’ve raided our respective stashes, spent a few hours together reviewing blocks and choosing fabrics.

We realized we have enough red/white/blue/ivory fabrics to make 50 quilts! 🤣🤪

And the first block is born!

I thought about doing needle turn applique but came to my senses a day or two later. This project is going to be raw edge machine applique all the way.

How cute is this sail boat!

Oh I’m loving this one!

The tiny red circles…33 of them…two identical blocks means I’ve got 66 of these to machine applique! Yikes!!

But what are the prep steps for my machine applique? I’m a big fan of Heat ‘n Bond Lite fusible. I buy it by the bolt (with a coupon) at JoAnn Fabrics. When my fusible is more than 3/4” wide I “donut cut”, see the melons above and the number 4 below.

Why “donut cut”? It greatly reduces bulk, especially when there are overlapping applique pieces.

The fabulous Carpenter’s Square block!

If you look carefully at the above and below pictures you’ll notice I changed the background fabric for the Heart in Hand block.

These blocks are going to be so much fun to machine applique!

This is the Heart in Star block:

And oh be still my heart…just feast your eyes on this bicycle block:

I’ll add the tire spokes later.

Once the star is appliqued in the cabin window this block will be finished!

What’s up next? The block below has 50 applique pieces! I’ve got all the fusible pieces traced and cut out, now it’s on to choosing the fabrics!

Yes this is a huge project but when you break this down into manageable segments things progress nicely!

Stay tuned for future updates… Happy quilting and blessings,

Rhonda (and Diana!)

Saving the Crow’s Nest Vintage Quilt, blog post 2 of 2.

This quilt “save/rescue was one of the most challenging projects I’ve worked on in a long time. I had offered the quilt to 2 of my different retreat groups and with no takers I decided to work on this worn out piece myself. A great decision!

Let’s start with a picture of the finished project:

You will remember from the previous blog post, I addressed the necessary fixes to all the seams in the quilt so this post will be all about the items added to further embellish the blocks and sashings. Also as a reminder, I’m doing all the work on my sewing machine, nothing by hand.

I alternated traditional shaped and square on-point doilies.

Then there was this unusual shaped doily. The first picture shows you the extensive damage and the size is far too large for this quilt. I decide I’ve got nothing to lose by experimenting and cutting it apart into 4 sections.

I’ve now got 4 unusual shaped doilies from one large damaged piece. In order to keep any of the crochet from unraveling I apply a liberal bead of Elmer’s Washable School Glue to the cut edges and either allow the glue to dry naturally or set with a dry iron. Why a dry iron? Had I used steam I would be adding liquid to a liquid and the glue would take much longer to dry. What about the damaged areas? They will be covered in the next step by applique hearts.

The two cut edges are top right and left. A very small machine zig zag stitch both attaches the doily to the quilt and secures the cut edges nicely. If you’re still worried about the cut edges, stitch 2 rows of zig zag stitches instead of just 1.

The 10 partial blocks (5 top and 5 bottom) present another challenge. I had a very large and in my mind a very unattractive white doily to experiment with. Why unattractive? If you’ve ever crocheted you will know the look you get when you use a crochet hook a bit too large for the crochet thread. I think that’s the case with this 12” doily:

Folded in half I’m ready to make the first cut on this approx. 12” round doily.

For added interest I wove a quarter inch white satin ribbon into the cut doily and as before, I machine stitch this piece to the quilt with a very small zig zag stitch. From this 12” round doily I was able to cut 8 pieces. But if you remember, I have 10 partial blocks that need doilies.

Not the best picture, but this shows an ivory oval doily I cut in half. I placed 1 piece in the center top partial block and the center bottom partial. Worked perfectly!

I always keep bits and pieces of previously used vintage linens and in this case this piece will allow me to cut several heart shapes.

Just to give you an idea of the size of these hearts. You can also see that I have machine applique stitched this heart to the quilt. I was so excited to stitch down my first heart that I forgot to change the needle thread to a nice medium pink color… to remedy this I, without removing the white stitches, stitched directly over them later with pink thread

I also cut a few hearts from a lovely white embroidered fabric I purchased at JoAnn Fabrics a year or two ago.

Now you can easily see the nice medium thread I used to stitch down the heart.

The project is taking shape! I’ve sewn hearts to every block, hung the quilt on my design wall and have begun to plan my next step: ribbons!

While not actually ribbon, this Snug-Hug seam binding makes a lovely ribbon substitute.

For added interest I attached a commercially produced ivory ribbon rose .

More commercially produced ribbon roses. To give them a more vintage look I flattened them with a steam iron before machine stitching them to the quilt.

Each of the “other than on-point square” doilies got a ribbon bow with streamers.

An eBay purchase, these cut up vintage quilt scraps will be perfect for cutting heart motifs of all sizes.

Next step: buttons!

Have you ever sewn buttons using your sewing machine? I sew on a Bernina so the Button Foot is the #18. There is a very specific stitch found with the sewing machines buttonhole stitches. By taping the buttons in place first, I don’t have to worry that they will shift out of place.

Here’s a very good video clip about using your machine to sew on buttons:

See the little metal bar between the black toes of the #18 foot? This little bar adds a “thread shank” to the button. I need this thread shank! Without it the button would be sewn tight to the quilt and weaving in the ribbon shown below would be difficult.

Once my button swags are stitched I can then add narrow ribbon button to button. To add interest I often will knot the ribbon both at the start and finish of the button swag as well as in the middle of each button.

A trip through the washing machine and the quilt is ready to be blocked. Why block? The quilt I started with is old, well used and well laundered. As such it has shrunk a bit. When I machine stitched the vintage light ivory damask tablecloth binding to the quilt, the very act of stitching and the presser foot causes the quilt to slightly stretch out to more of its original size. Does this make sense? As such, the body of the quilt remains slightly smaller while the edges are now closer to the original quilt size. The result: wonky/wavy quilt binding edges.

By washing and then blocking the quilt you will be able to tame this misshapen quilt. If I am blocking a Show Worthy Quilt I block pin at least every 1/2”. For this fun utility quilt I pin about every inch.

I did an experiment yesterday with this quilt. After it was blocked and 110% dry I didn’t like the overall feel. It wasn’t super soft and snuggly so I sent the piece through the washer again and then on to the dryer with wool dryer balls and half a sheet of unscented fabric softener. Ooooohhhhhh it came out perfect and the edges were not wonky!

Ready for close-ups of the 30 finished blocks?

And the back? Remember in blog post #1 I said I was super careful to use thread that matched the back fabric? This is why, I wanted the green and the orange original quilting thread to remain the focus of the quilt back:

As a reminder, above is the original sad but well loved quilt and below is the finished piece:

I made this piece to be used (or sometimes termed a Utility Quilt) and I’m hopeful that will happen. I’ve had a few people express an interest in purchasing this piece but so far it remains available, e-mail me if you’re interested, the price: $525.00 My email address can be found in the pic below.

Are you challenged to save/rescue a quilt? I sure hope so! Blessings and Happy Quilting, Rhonda

Saving the Crow’s Nest Vintage Quilt, blog post 1 of 2.

I’ve had this vintage quilt for about 2 years, offered it twice to my retreat groups for purchase but with no takers I decided to take on the “save” challenge myself. Checking Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns I believe this pattern is called either Crow’s Nest or Attic Windows.

Want to know more about this amazing quilter/author?

Tap: Barbara Brachman Blog link

Freshly laundered this quilt measures 67×80.

Yes, this is a very rough quilt…but it has potential! I encased the bad areas in tulle before sending this piece to a 2 day soak and the front load washer and dryer. I first contemplated repairing both the top and bottom edges but in the end I trimmed them away.

I am replacing fabric with some of my stash, most from the Marcus line named Aunt Grace. By machine applique stitching the raw edges of the fabric down to the quilt the bad or missing fabric areas of the quilt are quickly repaired.

This quilt will get miles and miles of machine stitching directly through all three layers. For this reason I chose Superior Threads So Fine color #401. This thread matches perfectly the solid slightly off white backing and quilt front fabric. It also has a mat (or not shiny) finish.

What to do about an index finger sized hole straight through the quilt? Elmer’s Glue and a commercially produced daisy flower will mask the hole from the back side.

The daisy is first glued into place, the glue is dried with an iron and then stitched in place, machine straight stitch. I will place a slightly larger “something” on the quilt front later.

Lots and lots of vintage commercially produced flat trims/laces are up next. I machine stitched the trim in place, most often using a very small zig-zag.

My quest to “save this vintage quilt” continues. I’ve secured EVERY single seam by stitching directly over the seam line with machine decorative stitches. Yes it took forever but well worth the effort. I like the soft feathery look this stitching created.

I also did a machine decorative stitch in the sashing swirls choosing a thread that matches the original green hand quilting found throughout the quilt.

And now onto attaching (by machine) the vintage hand crocheted doilies, the really fun part. Each doily was secured to the quilt using Elmer’s Washable School Glue. I ran a bead of glue around the entire edge of the doily and then dry pressed it with my iron. Because this quilt will be laundered when I am finished, and because this glue is “washable” I know (with hands on experience) that no glue will remain in the finished quilt. If you were wanting to hand stitch the doily to the quilt, skip the glue and hold the doily in place with straight pins. Why? It is quite difficult to hand stitch through the dried glue.

I have quite a few of these square crocheted doilies in both white and ivory. I’m planning to use these doilies on every other quilt block, randomly choosing between both colors.

Here’s a close-up to show the doily being machine stitched to the quilt. I am sewing on a Bernina 550, the zig zag stitch set to a very narrow width.

This project is moving along quickly with the machine stitching and the added doilies giving it a wonderful soft look. Stay tuned for more info as I continue working with this lovely very old quilt.

Blessings to all, Rhonda

Machine Embroidery Christmas Ornaments, a Tutorial.

My “Machine Embroidery Ornament Construction technique”.

It’s June so why am I posting about Christmas ornaments? It’s never too soon to begin creating personalized ornaments. Think gifts for family, friends, teachers etc. etc. If you start now you’ll avoid the stress of making sure you have everyone (including your own Christmas tree) covered when the holidays arrive.

I made this ornament in 2009 for a very special family.

I’ve got both the front (the wreath) and the back stitched. I used a nice white medium weight Cut-Away embroidery stabilizer with my natural linen fabric. Each of the two separate embroidery designs measure approximately 5” square. For those of you new to stabilizers, for machine embroidery the two basic kinds are Tear-Away and Cut Away. Tear-Away is removed when the design has been stitched out, Cut-Away does not tear, you leave behind whatever you deem necessary. In this case I will leave quite a bit of the stabilizer as detailed in a picture or two below.

I use Embird software to manipulate (think increasing, decrease etc.) the commercially produced embroidery designs. Embird also gives me the option of adding a basting stitch around the entire design. I love this feature. My machine, a Janome 11000 does a fabulous job stitching out the designs.

To the best of my remembering, these are designs from Embroidery Library,

Yes! I just had time to do a bit of searching and here they are:


You can see I only used the two outermost borders from the picture above, the sweet candy canes with the green ribbon and the red/white banded border.

Matching all four corners and each side, top and bottom basting stitches, pin securely. Using a zipper foot, stitch around both sides and bottom of the design. ***Do not stitch across the top of the design. I used the basing stitch line as my guide for my sewing machine stitching. Why do I suggest a zipper foot? If you have embellished your designs with beading, trinkets, etc. and these embellishments are near the design outer edges, a standard sewing machine foot may be hampered by these embellishments. A zipper foot will allow you to stitch very very close without hitting an add-on.

Begin and end your stitching 1⁄2” above the design top as shown by the blue arrows above.

With sewing machine stitching completed, trim top of ornament 1⁄2” from basting stitches and both sides and bottom 1⁄4” from basting stitches. Your ornament will look similar to above.

Trim each bottom corner as shown above. When you trim the corners, use extra care so as not to cut through the seam you just sewed. On both the front and the back, trim away the white stabilizing material as shown above.

To provide stability, you will need a firm and lightweight form inside your ornament. I use several different things to accomplish this. In this example I am using plastic needlepoint canvas. (In the example at the end of this blog post you’ll note I used a more sturdy product. Use what makes you happy.) The needlepoint canvas is inexpensive, easy to cut and flexible. Always cut the inside pieces 1⁄2” smaller than your design. You need to allow room for the seam allowances once your turn your design right sides out.

In the above picture I’m showing you the ornament before I “turn” it. As I said before, it measures approximately 5” square so I cut my plastic needlepoint canvas to 4 1/2” square.

Wrap your plastic needlepoint canvas in batting. You will need several thickness of batting in order to properly fill out your ornament once the canvas and batting are inserted inside. How many layers of batting around your center is up to you. I’m sorry the next picture is so blurry but you get the idea:

So to get started on the next step, using a great deal of care, slowly turn your ornament right sides out. You will need to use a blunt object to get the bottom corners to look good, just remember to never use force against any of the corners or seams.

Slightly squeeze the sides of your batting wrapped plastic canvas together very gently and insert into the ornament through the top. Use caution so as not to catch any of the threads from either the machine embroidery or the beading thread if you embellished either/or the front or back.

This step will take time, don’t hurry. Towards the end, in order to get the wrapped plastic canvas completely to the bottom of the ornament, you will need to “work it down” until the canvas is securely along the bottom stitched seam.

Here’s a picture of how things should look once you’ve inserted the batting/canvas:

Fold the front and back top pieces down into the ornament and whip stitch into place. Leave at minimum 1⁄4” – 1⁄2” at each side to accommodate the cording that will be stitched to all sides.

Here’s what your ornament top will look like when your hand stitching across the top is complete:

Do you notice that my hand stitching does not go all the way to the end on either the right or the left side of the top?

You need to leave two openings for the cording. When working with this cording, always remember to tape the cording before cutting!!!!!

Insert one end of the cording into the top left corner. You may need to use a narrow object to assist inserting the Corning into the opening. I use either the point of small scissors or tweezers, just use care so as to not poke a hole in the side, front or back of your ornament.

Following the outside seams, pin the cording in place as shown below:

Remember!!!! When you’ve pinned the cording round the ornament, you may want to continue the cording across the top once again to create a “hanger” for your project. Don’t cut the cording without first taping! This last taped end will then be tucked into the opening you created on the front top right of your ornament.

Using monofilament thread and following the curves of the cording, stitch the cording to the ornament on all four sides. There’s no picture of this because I learned that it’s difficult at best to photograph monofilament. If you’re going to bead the outside cording, that will be your final step, otherwise, congrats, you’re finished!!!

But remember way up above I mentioned using something more stable in the inside, something other than plastic needlepoint canvas? I will show you how to use foam core board inside your project.

What do you need for this method? Foam Core Board purchased at any hobby/crafting store, an Exacto Knife, a mechanical pencil and a ruler/template with 90° corners.

With my ruler/template I draw a 4 1/2” square.

Using the Xacto Knife, carefully cut through all layers of the foam board. This will take several “swipes” with your knife, be patient. (Never use scissors or a rotary cutter on foam board!)

Once your Foam Core Board has been cut to size, as in the picture above, and with your Exacto Knife, carefully trim away the two top corners. What’s up with this step? Your Cording need space. If you don’t trim away the corners you will end up with thick lumps at each top corner.

After your Foam Core Board has been wrapped sufficiently with batting, use scissors to trim the top two corners to the same size as the board inside.

Your next steps will follow exactly as up above, you will hand stitch the top closed but will remember to leave small openings at both the right And the left edges for the cording,

Now just a side note, I’ve talked about machine embroidery throughout this tutorial. Hand stitched embroidery pieces would be just as beautiful and would follow the same steps. The only thing than would not be present would be the machine embroidery stitched basting outline.

Are you excited to get started? Let me know if you have questions!

Blessings to all and happy ornament making!


Jellystone, My Bear Paw Quilt

I woke up one day and decided I needed a king size quilt. Here’s the journey beginning to end.

I purchased this book as a download maybe a year ago and this quilt intrigued me.

This book is full of great quilts/patterns.

First I needed what seemed like 10,000 half square triangles. I cut and paired one light and one dark fabric square, made sure my bobbin was full and the sewing commenced!

Did I chain piece? Yes! Did I remember to take a picture of this chain piecing? No. In fact I forgot to take pictures of a bunch of the steps.

The next step was this part outlined in yellow. There are great instructions about how to make two at a time.

This template I made out of a plastic 3-ring binder cover came in super handy.

Each Bear Paw block needs 4 half square triangles and these hst’s need their light and dark fabrics strategically placed.

Like I said, excellent instructions!

Now…sometimes I follow a pattern, sometimes I go rogue. It was at this point that the “rouge-ness” began.

If you scroll back to the top you’ll see the pattern calls for block sashings made from lots and lots of small rectangles.

I decided on a 1” finished dark red print sashing. My quilt top finished at approx. 51×51. I folded it up and put it into the stack of quilt tops to be quilted.

Enter the idea for a king sized quilt. Now just let me interject…I was also on a 2 week prescription drug that gave me insomnia…really bad insomnia.

I’ve quilted before when exhausted…think most quilting retreats…but never on 2 or 3 hours of sleep for days running. My solution: WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN IN STEPS!

So the transition from 51×51 to about 90×90 began. I decided to add borders, at least 20” of borders to each side. Below you will see I added a 1” finished border of the red sashing fabric, a 2” border (and black print cornerstones) of an ivory fabric and another 1” finished border of a brown print.

At this point I decide to add a border of 3×6 Flying geese. I needed 84 of these blocks. It was at this point things got fuzzy. Fuzzy as in “How on earth did I end up making 252 Flying Geese blocks???” People!! Sleep is important!

I liked this layout for the Flying Geese border but I need to address both the corners and the 2 inches in the middle where the Flying Geese don’t quite come together.

I made 8 more Bear Paw blocks to use as border cornerstones, add a 1” border and then another round of the Geese blocks. I addressed the gap issue of each Goose border by adding a 2” pieced strip of a red and 2 white 2” blocks. There’s a final 2” border to be added but at this point my design wall is just too small. You can see the final border below on the longarm.

But first, look at this backing fabric. I love it!

My batting choice for this quilt? I always love Hobbs 80/20.

A hand guided panto or edge-to-edge is my quilting choice.

This paper panto is by Urban Elements and is titled: Santa Ana Grande, a 10” pattern.

The needle and bobbin thread is by Superior Threads, the So Fine product, variegated color #701.

I’m not terribly keen on actually doing pantos…I find myself bored. Was I ever happy to take this picture! Quilting finished! All 6 hours and 35 minutes of quilting. Which reminds me…do you keep a journal of your quilting? I do, because without it I would have no idea what I did, what I used and how long the quilting took! No idea!!

Off the longarm and trimmed.

All 90.5” x 4 of binding finished!

My quilt took a trip to the DortWorld Day Spa (the washer dryer) and it came out all soft and cuddly. I knew I had some temperamental fabrics in the quilt so in the washing machine rather than use laundry detergent I used 1/8th cup blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid, selected a cold water wash and added an extra rinse cycle. Why blue Dawn? Head over to my blog post of July 2021, grab a cup of coffee and read all the details.

When’s the next time I will make a king size quilt top…probably never! These things are HUGE! 🤣

Happy quilting and blessings, Rhonda

A String Quilt!

I save scraps…lots and lots of scraps. This March I decided it was time to make a plan for all those scraps.

A search in Pinterest offered up several String Quilt Tutorials, I chose this one, a tutorial from:

A very easy straightforward tutorial that produced perfect results.

When you look at the above quilt, initially it appears that you will be making 4 strip triangles, sewing them together into a square and then adding white sashing. Look again! What appears to be white sashing strips are actually the center strip of a square block! Who sits around and thinks up these things!

How did I decide on my block size? My standard sized ream of newsprint. The largest square from a 8 1/2 x 11” sheet of newsprint is an 8 1/2” square. I stitched directly on the newsprint just as the tutorial shows, knowing my blocks would finish to 8” squares.

The fact that I already owned this versatile quilters ruler helped tremendously with the block trimming once the fabric strips were sewn in place.

But my influences also came from another quilter: Bonnie Hunter! You may know she recently created a wonderful tribute to the Ukrainian people with her Hearts of Hope Sew-Along.

It was her outside border from this wonderful quilt that inspired me to create something similar and that’s how the outside 4 1/2 x 8 1/2” rectangles came to be.

A couple of things: I constructed all the interior 8 1/2” blocks at a retreat in Moulton, Texas. My absolute favorite retreat venue!

Here’s me at home making the outside rectangle blocks.

Only one more border block to go before I’m ready to finish the quilt top but how did I decide on the size of the border rectangles? I reduced only the width resulting in a 4 1/2 x 8 1/2” finishing to a 4×8” rectangle. Can you see that these calculations also resulted in 4” finished cornerstones?

What about the newsprint on the back of each block? I constructed the entire quilt top leaving the paper in place. Only then did I begin the rather satisfying process of peeling the paper away. I sew on a Bernina and to make this paper removal easy I reduced my sewing stitch length to 1.7. Sure I had a huge mess in and all around my recliner but a few minutes with the vacuum cleaner solved the mess in a snap!

Finally before loading on the longarm, I decided a “visual stopping” white final border was in order. All the diagonal lines of this quilt top send your eye in a thousand directions. The white (or any same fabric color) border stops your eye and holds it to the quilt.

No need for custom quilting, a nice hand guided “edge-to-edge” is the perfect choice.

This quilting design is from Urban Elements: specifically the pattern titled: Highland.

I used variegated thread in both the needle and bobbin, specifically Superior Threads So Fine numbers #705 in the needle and #711 in the bobbin. I also used a single layer of white Hobbs 80/20 batting.

A nice orange binding works well with the royal blue bandana fabric on the quilt back. If I recall correctly this orange fabric is: Freckles by Andover. CORRECTION: (thank you Paula) This fabric is Dimples by Andover! The bandana print fabric…pulled from my stash, purchased years ago.

A couple of things to keep in mind: if you want to utilize this border block idea your interior blocks will need to be rows/columns of even numbers. My quilt body is 6 blocks wide by 8 blocks long. Odd numbers of blocks will not allow your outside border rectangles to visually line up properly.

After the trip through the washer/dryer. Because I had so many different fabrics of undetermined age/maker, I laundered the quilt in cool water, 1/8 cup of Blue Dawn Dishwashing liquid and 2 color catchers. The dishwashing liquid acts as Synthrapol to capture errant fabric dyes that are released during the washing process. This keeps those floating die particles from redepositing on surrounding fabrics. I forgot to take a picture of them but the two color catchers were very reddish pink in color after the quilt was laundered. For THIS laundry cycle I only used Dawn…no laundry detergent.

And have you noticed: the outside rectangle border blocks are mirror images of each other. One block has the white center strip running top left to bottom right, the next block has the white center strip running bottom left to top right. Very important!

Oh, and another thing…is it noticeable that all my center white strips in the quilt body are not the same size? Picture me furiously stitching away for a few days only to suddenly realize I had cut two different widths of white strips. While most are cut 1 1/2” wide, many are cut 1 1/4”. Would you have noticed without my pointing this out? Maybe not.

I love the idea that I made a quilt from pieces of fabric that many would have tossed! The finished size after quilting and laundering: 58×75”. Perfect as a throw for chilly evenings!

Save your scraps! Blessings to all and happy quilting, Rhonda