The Humble Tomato Pin Cushion

If you haven’t made one or two tomato pin cushions in your quilting life what are you waiting for? I bought this pattern from Birdbrain Designs several years ago and set about making several of their Big Fat Tomato projects. Here’s a link to their website:

The pattern is for one size tomato pin cushion, a needle strawberry and a darling little needle keep booklet.

In order to made many different sizes of pincushions, I placed the master pattern on my printer bed and after printing one copy of the pattern at 100% (so I could cut it up), I went on to reduce the pattern to the following sizes: 90%, 80%, 70%, 60% and finally to 50%. Now, the 50% reduction makes a tiny yet darling pin cushion!

In the picture below you’ll see I’m using the pattern reduced to 70% of the original. Important math: if you want a pattern to be 70% of the original size, you reduce it by 30%. Your desired final pattern size (say 60%) plus the amount you reduced it by (40%) always equal 100 if the numbers are added together. Got it?

So you cut out 4 football shaped paper pattern pieces. (1 pattern piece cut out 4 times.) I cut the above pieces “on grain” with the fabric weave. It’s always fascinating to fussy cut on the bias each of the pieces so they are exactly the same. They sew up into great visual patterns like the red and blue plaid tomato below.

I also discovered that if the 4 pieces are cut on the bias, they are easier to manipulate into unique shapes as you fill and finish them.

So here I am sewing 2 of the football shapes together. I’ll then sew the other 2 shapes together and finally, with right sides together, I’ll sew these 2 halves into a sphere. Now remember, you’ve got to leave about a 3/4″ space open in your seam in order to fill them. I have found it easiest to have this 3/4″ opening about 1/2″ away from where the 4 seams meet up at the top and bottom of your sphere.

See how the fabric changes up when the 4 pieces are sewn together and stuffed!

Here’s one I made from a man’s flannel shirt I picked up at a resale shop:

But what happens if you decide you need a tomato pin cushion made from a vintage dresser scarf? I laid the full sized pattern strategically on the embroidered designs and cut out each. The fabric is old and rather on the thin side so I doubled up by also cutting 4 additional pattern shapes out of the middle of the dresser scarf. 

I did a running stitch on my sewing machine to hold the embroidered piece and the bleached muslin together. After stitching they become 1 unit.

The lovely hand crocheted edging of the dresser scarf was saved as I realized it would look great inset in the 4 seams of the pincushion.

So below you’ll see my sphere with the crocheted edging in the seams.

Here’s the 3/4″ opening I’ve left unstitched in order to add the filling.

But you’re probably wondering what I’m using as filling? Crushed walnut shells purchased from the pet store. I believe I may have bought this bag at Petco. Ground walnut shells are used as cage bedding for both lizards and some birds. Who knew! But what about the little Strawberry Needle Keep that’s attached to the Tomato? For the fill I’m using 0000 (Super Fine) Steel Wool purchased from Lowes. When stuffing your little Strawberry, work over a table covered with newspaper, as when you pull tiny bits of Steel Wool off of the pad you’ll get quite a bit of shedding. Stuff your Strawberry as tight as you can but use caution not to burst the seam.

I’ve got a funnel (very necessary) and a scooper and I just slowly fill the entire sphere as full as I can get it. Continue to pounce, squish, manipulate your sphere to pack the ground shells in tight. Once I think it can’t hold one more speck of lizzard bedding, I slip a small (maybe 1″) square of quilt batting in to cover the opening and then carefully and tightly hand stitch the opening closed. Do a very good job of stitching this closing! The last thing you want is pits of shell working their way out.

This little cone below will become my pin cushion needle strawberry.

In the example below I’m cutting 3 fan shaped patterns that will make the large (think about 4 1/2″ tip to top) Strawberry pin cushion.

The fabric I’ve chosen for these giant Strawberries is a 2 sided gauze-like fabric right off the bolt at JoAnn Fabrics. The weave of the fabric on the red side makes it look like the little black dots are strawberry seeds. Even though it’s a double layer fabric I’m still concerned that some of the ground walnut shell filler might filter through so I’ve added 1 layer of muslin to the process.

When you’ve filled your Strawberry with as much of the ground walnut shells as you can and have drawn tight the cord at the top, you’ll probably find that the top of the strawberry looks flat. You’ll also find that you still have maybe a 1/4” hole at the top. This is ok. I found some small pieces of batting, cut the batting into about 1/4′ by 1/2′ pieces and using tweezers, I stuffed these batting bits into the Strawberry. You’ll find that this will fill up the top very nicely! Keep stuffing batting bits into the top until you’re happy with the shape.

These Strawberries need a green wool top and I (most often) do the leaf stitching at the edge before they are added but on the strawberries, I want the greenery stitched down to the berry.

I was recently at a Retreat, one of my new favorite ventues:

The 1914 Boehm House in Moulton, Tx.  


I made most if not all the pin cushions below at the Retreat. Starting at 12 o’clock you’ll find a Strawberry in the gauze-like fabric, a felted wool plaid Tomato with a golden felted wool needle keep, again a Strawberry, a flannel Tomato and solid red needle keep Strawberry, another large Strawberry as before and finally a Tomato out of the gauze fabric.

While retreating, my sweet friend Anita and I traded fabrics and I was on the receiving end of this wonderful orange-ish brown-ish wool!

Here’s another tomato in the works, a flannel of red and black. I’m finishing the “wrapping” of the sphere using a nice heavy weight wheat colored Pearl Cotton.

You’ll need a long needle with a big eye when using the Pearl Cotton. Just keep in mind that a big needle with girth is not your goal. You’ll find it leaves quite a large hole in the tomato and sometimes the crushed walnut shells can filter out. Just find a needle with a big eye that’s maybe 3-4″ long and you’ll be fine.

There’s a word picture below. Do you get it?

Yep, Fried Green Tomatoes! The Lodge company makes these tiny cast iron skillets. Their intended use is a Spoon Rest. They are priced at around $4.50 each and while available at many places, I found these at my local Academy Sports store.

When will I stop making these? Who knows! They are addictive!

They’re also a nice addition to my already growing collection of Vintage Tomato Pin Cushions. The giant pin cushion at the top is the very first one I made years ago. I followed the pattern exactly for this one made of felted red and felted green woolens.

And I can’t finish out this post without including this picture of 3 of my very favorite people!

Happy New Year and Happy Quilting to everyone! 

The final edition of My Primitive Garden Quilt blog posts!

Remember I said mom and I decided to make this amazing quilt? She finished her light years ahead of me but finally we had them in the same room! Hers is hanging on the wall, mine is across the bed. We know we had a hit on our hands when her cat made himself comfortable! If you hate cats on quilts, turn away for a few more pictures as you scroll down.

So very much the same, so subtly different here and there.

I have scanned all my “add-on” patterns. If they are something you’d like, send me an email and I’ll send you the file. I’ve scanned each pattern with a 6” ruler in the pattern so you’ll know if your printer is to scale.

My email address:

That’s it! This is officially the end of blog posts about My Primitive Garden! This quilt remains one of my favorite projects, so much so that I’m mulling over starting a new wool on cotton quilt top but this time I’m thinking about designing my own pattern. Lofty idea but possibly doable…possibly…

Here’s a little sneaky-peek of my next blog post:

It’s time to consider the New Year, it’s quickly approaching. I’ve been blessed beyond measure this year and come mid to late February, more blessings await me as hubs and I will be first time grandparents! I can hardly wait!

Happy quilting,


Primitive Garden Quilt: Patterns for All the Little Extras…

I’ve scanned and commented on most all of the following pictures of the “Add-Ons” to my Primitive Garden Quilt, just as a reminder, this is a wonderful pattern by Lisa Bongean of: Primitive Gatherings.

Why is there a 6″ ruler in each of the black and white pattern pictures? For scale! Often times our printers do not print full scale. This way if you print, you can use your own measuring devise to determine if you’ve printed full or 100% scale.

😦 I cannot find the patterns for the 3 little gourds at the bottom of the left block but they should be very easy to replicate on your own.

I also could not locate the pattern I used for the Carolina Wren on the Birdhouse Block. You can easily use the House Wren pattern, enlarge it a bit and make the tail feather pattern piece stand up.

The Queen Anne’s Lace flowers in the picture above… they are just lots of ivory wool 1/2″ squares that I’ve cinched/gathered in my needle and embroidery floss. I put a pale yellow french/colonial knot in the center of each of the cinched squares. You’ll need 12-15 little squares per blossom head to get the same look. Once the blossom heads were in place I embroidered stems where needed.

***And just as a reminder, create all your “multi-pieced” motifs on a teflon pressing sheet. Once they are fused together and have sufficiently cooled off, gently peel them from the pressing sheet, audition them on your quilt block in several different places. Once you think you have the perfect placement, walk away from your block for a few minutes. Once you return if you’re still happy with the placement, then it’s time to press them in place. Keep in mind that if you’re working with felted wool, don’t use the hottest setting on your iron!***

The turtle is only 3 pieces, the shell, the body and the front leg on the left. The additional details are highlighted by the hand embroidery.

If you vary the size of the leaves in this block, you will add visual interest. You can choose to place any number of birds in your tree branch, I just decided that 2 of them would be enough for me.

About the Tree Branch pattern, you should feel free to add or subtract branches, whatever fits your needs.

I had intended to put a couple of Walking Stick Bugs in my quilt as I used to be both terrified and intrigued by these bugs growing up. Sadly I forgot to include them but thought you might like the diagram for them anyway.

Mr. Field Mouse. He is tiny but cute! The exploded pattern pieces are down below the Blue Jay pictures, they are unmarked but you’ll find them in the top right hand corner of a black and white pic.

The Bumblebees and the profile Dragonfly.

This pattern underwent some serious changes but I stayed true to the intent of the original design. I added undulating ivy, extended the cone flower blossoms to almost touch the bottom of the feeder and redesigned the structure to include the roof. Using my rotary cutter, I placed pieces of “bird seed looking wool” on my cutting mat and sliced them almost to bits. I laid them carefully on the background fabric and placed smoke colored netting/tulle over-top. The netting holds the pieces generally in place. You could use a bit of very light weight fusible directly under the bird seed wool bits if desired.

The Left Cardinal pattern

Are you surprised the Robins are only 5 pieces? Again, its’ the hand embroidery that creates excellent detail. I’m sorry to say I think I have lost the pattern for both the beak and the feet but they are easily re-created.

Above you’ll find the pattern pieces for the Robins.

The top right 3 pieces are for the House Wren.

The Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird is one of my favorites!

The exploded pattern pieces are the Hummingbird. The little tear-drop looking thing is a pattern for tree leaves.

I love the Blue Jays. They have a lot of pieces but I feel like they were well worth the effort!

The top right 3 pieces (ignore the cone shape with the X in the middle) are the Field Mouse.

The left pieces are for the sitting Blue Jay.

And finally, the frog/toad. You will need to enlarge him to create both the large and small frog/toad on the Garden Tools Block.

I also can not find the individual pieces to the American Gold Finch. He is composed of: yellow body, black tail and head cap, white spot at the top of his tail, his beak and his feet.

While I liked the original pattern for the Hollyhocks, I decided to use a graphic I found instead. They are fuller flowers and leaves. I added a lot more of each to the left border.

This pattern addition is my favorite. Mr. Baltimore Oriole is feeding his 3 babies. The nest is just a bunch of pieces of brown felted wool layered on top of eachother. The hand embroidered chain stitch creates the “branches” that hold the nest onto the tree. I added a worm in the dad’s mouth.

If I was doing this over again, I would have the plant stem coming out of the dirt and angled much more sharply off to the left. I didn’t have a pattern for the spilled soil, just wing it, it’s easy.

Mr. Grasshopper

The pattern for the darling little grasshopper is found way up in the black and white picture that also had the Field Mouse. He is 3 pattern pieces, the body, the front and the back leg. Again, it’s the hand embroidery that finished this one!

You may remember, mom made and gave me the Squirrel so I don’t have a pattern for him either.

Does this help you in choosing to personalize this wonderful pattern? I hope so!

Do you have questions? I’m ready to answer anything I can, just send me a comment and I’ll answer back as soon as possible.

If you find that you cannot print the black and white pattern pages from this blog, email me ( ) and I will sent you all the patterns of my little extras.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone, and of course, happy quilting!


All the little extras in my Primitive Garden quilt.

By now you already know how much I love this pattern and what a wonderful time I had creating each and every block and border. But with each pattern I tried to add a personal touch or two or three. This blog post is jam packed with pictures, 41 I think, and each one is included to show you the details of my additions.

The 2 pictures above show 2 of the 7 House Wrens I added to the top border. Below you’ll see I added a tree branch (to the upper left border) featuring a male Baltimore Oriole feeding a worm to one of the 3 baby birds in the hanging nest. Just for fun I added several clumps of red cherries to the tree branches.

Above is a pic of a tiny field mouse that’s found a home at the base of the left fence post in the Birds on a Wire block. In the 2 pictures below you can see close-ups of the beautiful Bumblebees buzzing the Morning Glory vine flowers.

Sorry this pic isn’t clearer, but this is my tiny garden variety snail crawling along the lower edge of the Geranium block.

This sweet little yellow and tan butterfly is flying around in the right upper border, just above the Zinnias.

Here’s one of 2 male Ruby Throated hummingbirds flying around in the quilt. This one is finding nourishment amongst the Zinnias.

The Garden Hoe block features this tiny spider dropping down from his web at the head of the hoe and below you’ll see 1 of 2 green grasshoppers resting on the top left of the same garden hoe.

Here’s the 2nd yellow butterfly hovering above the robins in the Shovel block and below is the 2nd of the 2 hummingbirds searching for nectar in the flowers of the orange Trumpet Vine.

The Shovel block also features 2 male Robins observing their surroundings as they perch on the Trumpet Vine tendrils.

Below you can see I made several changes to the bird feeder design in the left border. I revised the design of the feeder structure, changed from one blackbird to a male and female Cardinal, placed chopped up wool pieces behind smoke colored netting/tulle to resemble bird feed and added a green Ivy Vine that winds its way up the feeder pole and onto the roof.

Here’s the 2nd of the 2 green grasshoppers making an appearance on the Seed Packet block.

More Bumblebees and a tiny little Dragonfly are additions to the Sap Bucket block.

Oh the Rake block! I had a great time creating these 2 male American Goldfinches! They replace the original 2 blackbirds in the original pattern. And, am I the only one that thinks the leaves in the Rake block look like moose antlers?

Mr. Squirrel is at the bottom right of the rake handle. I must confess, my mom made the squirrel for me during one of my visits to Missouri. I was thrilled! It was only because I was not paying attention to things that created the circumstances of the vine appearing to be growing out of his nose 🙂 At least I remembered to provide him with acorns to eat.

Another “tree branch” addition features 2 more House Wrens perched in the right quilt border.

Oh the Blue Jays! I love both of them! Dad Blue Jay is coming in for a landing to join mom Blue Jay on the edge of the birdbath bowl.

In the above 2 pictures you’ll see a small Carolina Wren addition to the Birdhouse Block and look closely and you’ll find a Chameleon resting in the leaves of the plant at the left base of the birdbath base.

Below is one of many red LadyBugs I’ve added to the quilt.

A tipped, yet still flourishing plant in the flower pot on its side and below at the left base of the Hollyhocks is the 1st of 2 turtles.

3 very small gourds round out all the additions to the left border. Below is the 2nd little turtle underneath the Wheelbarrow. You’ll notice I added a second set of leg supports to the wheelbarrow.

A very tiny little yellow butterfly is visiting a flower in the Seed Packet block.

A tiny LadyBug on a leaf in the Garden Tools block.

In the picture above you can see I added 7 bunches, both large and small, of Queen Anne’s Lace blossoms atop the sunflowers.

Below you’ll note I changed up the right border to include a stylized American Flag with vining ivy to replace the original green garden hose.

The top border also got a few more flowers: 2 more red flowers and 1 more purple flower on each side.

And finally, again in the Garden Tools block, I added 2 little green toads, a blue butterfly and deleted the garden clippers.

I’m sure given more time and concentration I could document 1 or 2 more changes/additions but I think I’ve covered the majority of them.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, I thoroughly enjoyed making this quilt, many thanks to Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings for such. Wonderful pattern!

Are you still with me? Please know that if you’d like any of my bird/animal/insect patterns, I could scan and send them to you, just let me know.

As a closing note, take time to remember that as we approach this blessed Christmas Season that Jesus is the reason we have this “season”!

Blessings to all and Happy Quilting,


My Primitive Garden Quilt

img_1584Way back in probably sometime around 2007, mom and I were at Festival and in the Primitive Gathering booth had just the body of this quilt on display. The borders weren’t finished yet but we liked what we saw! Liked it enough that we both bought the pattern and decided then and there that we’d each create our own quilt and compare blocks when we could as Mom lives in Missouri, I’m in Texas.

I’m going to present the pics in this blog post as follows: 1st will be a picture of the pattern as purchased and then my interpretation in the completed and quilted block. Are you ready?

This a pic of the pattern cover:

And here’s a pic of my finished quilt. I had a hard time finding various background fabrics of the right scale and color. To help solve this problem, I concentrated mainly on the fabric scale when making my choices. To help them all “play well together” I mixed up a light tan dye vat and over-dyed them all together. All the background fabrics except the Sap Bucket went into the dye for several minutes. It worked like a charm!


But first, where did I get my woolens? This entire project is felted hand over-dyed wool applique on cotton. 95% of the felted and dyed wool came from second hand store garments that I took apart, felted in the washing machine and dryer and then individually hand dyed as I needed specific colors. When searching in second-hand stores I would concentrate on clothing where the wool had a nice weave and texture.  It was such a satisfying journey start to finish! Yes I made a mess in my kitchen but thankfully everything cleaned up nicely. The felting and over-dying of the wool was one of my favorite parts of this amazing project!

Let’s begin with the Shovel Block:

Right away I have taken some liberties with the block composition by adding additional leaves, a butterfly and a hummingbird and also revised the blackbirds to robins.

The Rake block:

The blackbirds were revised to American Gold Finches and I added a Squirrel and acorns to the bottom right side. I should mention right here that mom made my squirrel, thanks mom!

The Watering Can block:

I added quite a lot of hand stitching to this block, especially to all the small purple flowers, leaves and a tiny ladybug.

The Birds on a Wire block:

For my adaptation I revised the fence posts to be smaller, added additional flowers and leaves, gave the blackbirds a bit more character by cutting their wings separately, added a tiny field mouse at the base of the left fence post as well as embroidering 2 bumblebees.

The Birdhouse Block:

I tried to give the birdhouse more detail to create dimension, added additional flowers and buds, leaves and changed the blackbird to a Carolina Wren.

The Garden Tools block:

This block had 2 frogs a ladybug and a blue butterfly added and I did not make the secateurs part of my block design.

The Geranium block:

I revised the placement of the flower stems, added additional flowers and leaves and found the perfect spot for a little garden snail.

The Garden Hoe block:

I had trouble with this block because while I knew why the flowers were upside-down but my brain didn’t like them that way. I dressed up most of the flower edges, added a little grasshopper on the left of the hoe handle as well as a spider and web on the right.

The Sap Bucket block:

This was one of the first blocks I tackled. If I was to do it over again I might change up the bird to a more realistic one. I added 2 bumblebees and a little dragonfly. Otherwise, it follows the pattern rather closely.

The Seed Packet block:

This block also follows the pattern quite closely. I added detail to the flowers, the yellow butterfly and the little grasshopper.

The Sunflower basket, top border:

I made many many changes/additions to the top border: added the Queen Anne’s Lace white flowers above the sunflowers, increased the number of the purple and the red flowers as well as adding 7 House Wrens.

The Wheelbarrow border:

I added a second set of leg supports to the wheelbarrow, the vining strawberry blossoms intertwined through the letters and the little turtle.


The Hollyhock border:

I made lots of changes/additions to this border. I added the tipped and overflowing flower pot, tweaked the bird feeder design, revised the design of the hollyhocks, changed the birds to Cardinals, added the tree branch with the male Baltimore Oriole feeding the young in the hanging nest, added the grouping of gourds at the bottom and the larger turtle at the lower left corner.

The Watering Hose right border:

I also made lots of revisions to the right border, replacing the watering hose with a stylized American flag and ivy vine, added another hummingbird, butterfly and a tree branch with House Wrens. I kept the birdbath but changed the birds to Blue Jays and added a flowering plant at the bottom right of the birdbath base. If you look closely, you’ll find a chameleon hidden on the leaves.

I’ve got a lot more to tell you about this project but I’m going to save it for my next blog post, look for it in a few days. I have to report for Federal Jury Duty Monday morning, I’m taking my computer and hopefully during wait times I can get the next blog post ready to upload. And yes, I longarm quilting this on my Innova. It was one of the first “serious” projects I quilted and yes, I was nervous!

I was fortunate enough to have this quilt win several awards: Best of Show at the Quilt Guild of Houston’s 2015 show, accepted into competition in 2016 in the International Quilt Festival, Houston, Quilts of Beauty, and in 2017 it won First Place, Best of Division, Judges Choice and Best of Show at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo.

This project was a complete joy! One of those where you wonder how you’ll know when you’re finished. Until next time, hope you have enjoyed the journey thus far through My Primitive Garden quilt! In the next blog post I’ll show you a picture of mom’s quilt next to my quilt! We both finished our amazing project!

Blessings and Happy Quilting,

Rhonda 2018

Wool on Flannel Appliquéd Holiday Basket Panel

Here’s an “on the fly” new tutorial:


About an hour ago I posted a picture of this basket on a great Facebook Group called Wool Applique. I got lots of pm’s and questions about how I made it so I decided to do a quick blog post about what I remember…because this was another one of my experimental projects from about 8 or 9 years ago.

I picked up this basket from Hobby Lobby because it had almost perfect horizontal and vertical lines. I knew that any angle other than 90 degrees would cause me some headaches. Plus, it has these great dividers! A win-win!


This is a wool on flannel appliqued project. It could easily be wool on wool, flannel on wool, wool on cotton…you get the idea.

Ok, so the picture below shows you how and where I joined the completed appliqued panel. Knowing what I know now, I could have and should have adjusted the brown stems to perfectly meet or at least appliqued a motif over their joining.


Once you’ve chosen your basket/box/container you’ll need to decide on your applique intentions, ie: your motifs, your sizes, your colors, etc. Your wool or flannel project should be stitched thru a single layer of batting. I used a white 50/50. This batting also gives the panel some “grip” and helps to hold it to the basket when you’re finished.

With your basket/box/container in hand and a medium weight non stretchy fabric, make a pattern of the needed panel. I used a medium weight natural muslin fabric.

The height of my panel needed to be minimum 5″ finished and 29 1/4″ wide around the top of the basket, 28′ at the bottom. In other words, my basket has a slight flair bottom to top. Make sure your pattern needs to fit perfectly. Remember, don’t stretch your pattern fabric.

Once you’ve recreated your basket panel onto your pattern fabric, add an additional 1/2″ to all sides. You know that the more hand work/applique you do to your panel, the more it has the chance of being “drawn in” in both height and width.


The sawtooth borders: they go on last, so don’t worry about them now.

Do all your handwork on your panel and when finished, lay it out on your basket. You can use long straight pins to hold it by sending them thru the panel and the spaces in the basket weave. You’re just interested in knowing how much of an overlap you’ll have at the center back at this point.

Determine where your center back seam should be located. Using white chalkboard chalk or something similar, mark and sew your back seam.

Very carefully easy your joined panel, from the bottom onto your basket body. Carefully!

You can either tuck under or carefully trim away any flannel and batting overhand, top and bottom at this point. Remember, both these edges will be covered with the sawtooth strip you’ll make next.

If you’re happy with the fit, gently pat it into place. Here’s where that 50/50 batting helps tremendously!


The sawtooth edge does double duty: it covers your raw edge of the basket panel and it gives a nice finished look to your project. Cut 2 strips of black wool/flannel/etc. 1″ larger than your BASKET TOP measurement. Using white chalk again, I marked every 1/2″ and then using some very sharp scissors, I cut my sawtooth edge.


Once my sawtooth borders were cut, using Roxanne’s Glue Baste, I glued the top and bottom borders in place, cutting away any excess. If you’re worried about the glue baste holding at the sawtooth joining edge, take a stitch or two in a matching thread.


Let me know if you have questions, and until then: Happy Stitching,


IMG_4386 (Edited)


The Downton Abbey Garden Party quilt.

The Downton Abbey Garden Party quilt, named for the fabric line and the quilt pattern by Laura Heine. You’ve seen the pattern, the one made of bright colors in a 20+ inch quilt block? I bought this pattern about a year ago, started choosing bright color fabrics and set it aside when a few other projects took precedent.

The pattern:

Fast forward to June of this year. I’m not terribly fond of purple fabrics. Sometime for a break in vintage quilting I actually piece a quilt top. Often times I try and use a fabric color I don’t like just to understand the color and how it reacts with others. That’s what happened here. The Downton Abbey fabrics are all in purple colors-colors that kind of gave me hives…

So what’s up with the laundry hanging in my doorway? I decided to do all the quilt block applique in white eyelet and where best to find a good variety of white eyelet than the many thrift/second hand stores in and round northwest Houston.

I bought 9 different eyelets in either clothing and/or pillow shams and bed skirts. As soon as I got home, everything went straight into the washing machine with a very generous amount of Clorox.


Once washed, sanatized and dried, I spent some time with my scissors and seam ripper taking everything apart.

Now’s a good time to tell you about that 20″ block of Laura’s: I took the pattern it FedEx/Kinkos and using one of their “big machines” reduced the 20″ to a 6″ block:


But how did I get all the pattern pieces drawn on the Heat ‘n Bond Lite? I used blue painters tape to attach a piece of the fusible onto card stock. I then laid out all the reduced pattern pieces on my printer/scanner. I copied the pattern pieces directly onto the Heat ‘n Bond Lite by using my ink/jet printer.  Key word in that last sentence: ink/jet! This technique will not work no how no way with a laser printer!!! Can’t stress that enough! Laser printers work with high heat!


This was a HUGE time saver! Using a medium/high temp on my iron, I pressed all the Heat ‘n Bond Lite printed sheets to pre-cut pieces of bleached muslin. Why bleached muslin and not directly onto the eyelet? I needed a visual barrier between the eyelet and the purple fabrics. Without the muslin, the intense purple fabrics shadowed behind the eyelet.


So… how to hold the eyelet onto the bleached muslin without adding another layer of fusible? Behold the adhesive spray! I googled this brand of spray and it is easily available at several online retailers. Why did I choose this particular one? Because it can easily be stitched thru with my domestic sewing machine with little to no sticky buildup on my needle.


But this spray should only be used with good ventilation! This deep cardboard provided just the right setting for an outdoors successful spray operation. Before I began, I did a short/quick shot of spray on the inside bottom of the box. This shot of spray then allowed me to “stick” my fabric piece to the box and thus keeping the piece positioned to receive the more thorough and uniform blast of adhesive. Don’t leave out this step, it’s important!


Once the muslin side has been sprayed lightly with the adhesive, I carefully played the eyelet fabric on the sticky/tacky side and gently patted the fabric into place.

At this point I’m ready to cut out all the applique pieces.

You’ll note that I don’t have to cut out each flower petal separately, I can leave them attached at the very bottom. This helps tremendously when it’s time to lay them out on the purple fabric.

Peel away the Heat ‘n Bond Lite paper backing and position the flowers and butterfly on the fabric. Once I was happy with the placement I ironed/pressed the eyelet applique motifs into permanent position and began to raw edge machine applique using Glide white thread in my needle. I’m using my Bernina 1630 and my applique stitch is set at  default.

If you look closely you can see that the design/patterns of the eyelet fabric flow nicely when the petals are cut as one unit rather than separately.


Why am I using a design board with a chartruse fabric? Well, it was handy. Don’t worry, this green will not make its way into the final project.

So what would I use for sashings? I auditioned this white trim below. I liked the look but found I didn’t have nearly enough.

With all my second hand eyelet garments, I found I had plenty of one particular kind and that solved my problem. And yes, it order to have some consistency, I backed all the sashing eyelet pieces with bleached muslin.

You might remember from a past blog or two that I’m a huge fan of Elmer’s White School Glue. Just a tiny dab and a hit with a hot iron works wonders when matching seams is very important! The nice thing about this particular Elmer’s is that is washes out completely. Just remember to buy the white School Glue if you want to give it a try.

You can’t go wrong by paying close attention to how you press your seams. Consistency is key!

I’m strip piecing my sashings and cornerstones:

And sewing my rows together:

But… some of the purple fabric is very ravelly! And from experience I know that stray dark color threads can show through quilt tops! Again, Elmer’s to the rescue.

I draw a fine line along the problematic fabric and then with my index finger, smear the glue along the cut fabric edge.

To dry the smeared glue I lay my teflon pressing sheet on top of the fabric edge and quickly press until dry.

Some close up shots of the finished quilt top:

The back:

And finally the front! This quilt top measures 37×44″. The sashings are 1″ finished and the borders will measure 4″ when complete.

All of the block background fabrics are Downton Abbey. The cornerstone and border fabric is something found at Hobby Lobby.


I’m looking forward to the time when I can load this on my longarm and get it quilted. Of course I’m sure it will be full of quilted feathers 🙂

As a wrap up, you’ll find:

A Laura Heine quilt pattern, Andover Fabric, the Downton Abbey line, second hand eyelet garments and bedding, Hobby Lobby fabric, Heat ‘n Bond Lite and Glide thread in this project!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post! Let me know if you have questions and of course, Happy quilting!


And… I just found out last evening that this quilt took a ribbon at the MQX Springfield! I’ll find out where it placed later this evening!!

IMG_4386 (Edited)