Cheaters and Honest Quilters

Barbara Beckman posted an article yesterday about cheater fabric; fabric printed to look like quilt piecing. Some quilters think it is a new thing. Barbara is so good at documenting the truth. I am sharing news prints that she used to prove that “cheater” fabric has been around for a long time.


This is one that I happen to own:

45 inch square quilt backing

Barbara showed this same print.  And this was her report on it:

Printed patchwork, about 1880.  Probably from the Cacheco Mills.

Below is the front of the quilt. It is very nice, but I mainly purchased it for the backing.

Front of Antique Quilt

A friend and I discovered this piece at an antique flea market.  While we were holding it, a lady finally asked if we planned to buy it.  We have learned that if you are thinking about making a purchase, keep it in your hands.  If you lay it back down, someone else might grab it. We answered that we were just determining which one of us was making the purchase.

Barbara also posted this ad from 1910 and it is actually called “cheater” fabric.  This one is dated 1910.

America's Textile Reporter 1910

Now for the real thing.  While I was in France the only cotton fabric I saw was at a linen store. I purchased a different 100% cotton printed napkin for each member of my small group. Then I purchased additional napkins of more solid colors. I cut these up and the gals were given two inch strips of these. They were challenged to do something with them. They could add one other fabric. They had three months to do this. I am not sure when each of them started, but I started very early ……..the morning of the meeting day.

Most of the gals did table toppers. My picture of one of them turned out very fuzzy, so I will have to try to get someone else’s photo. Here are the others:



French linens

The last photos are of Linda’s and she struggled just as I did. Her printed napkin did not harmonize with the 2 inch strips. She solved it by making two items; a tote bag and a clutch bag.  How clever and she did not break any of the rules.  She said she cut apart a paper gift bag to use as a pattern.

Linda’s challenge

I am so proud of all of them. Great Creativity!

They have also been working on other projects.  Show -N-Tell is always good.  I will share Linda’s first as you just saw her other creations.  She has been trying very hard to finish some UFOs and she even does the quilting on her regular sewing machine.

Carol has sent some of her quilts to Missouri Star to have the long arm work done.  She keeps busy doing binding.

The navy and cream quilt was worked on at a retreat.  She stayed on task but was disappointed she didn’t seem to be making a lot of progress.  She really was as this block pattern has a zillion pieces.  The quilter used a dark thread and it really enhances the quilt.  I was surprised.  When you think about it, a light thread on the navy would have probably been a distraction.  The Christmas quilt was a small group project a while back.  I love the way she used the strip border on a diagonal cut.  She did a lot of starching before she cut it.  She had enough fabric to do great intersections.  She explained that she started at the top, then did the right side, bottom, and left side last.  The last one would still be tricky as she had to match two corners.  Great Job, Carol!

Below are Sherry’s work completed. The first one is called “FQ Shuffle”  and requires 12 FQ.  She said that you use every piece of them.  We all buy those little treasures, but when do we actually use them?

The second one is made from a purchase at a show.  Most of us have seen the booth with a package of a yard of each of five fabrics.  They also provide you will a variety of patterns to use with the set.  And, Sherry got hers done!

The next photos are of what I have been working on.  It is a Di Ford pattern that appears in her new book, Primary Quilts…2.  She is an Australian quilter and designer.  This book is just arriving in the states.  I was privileged to take a class by her.  I purchased the needed fabrics, but later decided to make it a little longer.  When I went back to the local store to buy more of the red fabric, there was no more.  I had enough information to go on-line and hunt.  I found the right fabric line, but alas, they produced 3 or 4 shades of red.  I now have some of each one except the one I needed!    Instead I worked with every scrap I had and it will now fit on a full sized bed.

The pattern name is Jane’s Garden.

You are seeing the same border, cut two ways.  When it returns from the long arm magician you will see which way I choose to cut it.

Have a Blessed Easter!

Bunnies quilting. 1316547900_happy-animals-abc-6


Show Time at the Iowa Museum

The Iowa Quilt Museum opened a new exhibit as we moved into October.  It is a fun one as it’s focus is the all time favorite of quilters: STARS.  Not all quilters like to make stars but everyone likes them in quilts.


Wow did some ladies like to add the sparkle of color to their quilts.

The above  one is dated 1890.  Have you ever heard, “Old quilts are so drab.”?

Here are some more drab color combinations from the same time period.


The fun thing about this quilt is that only one of the nine blocks is pieced correctly.  It happens to be Quilt Week in Des Moines Iowa with AQS in town.  This fun quilt would not have earned a ribbon at a show, but it is still a winner and has been preserved longer than mine will probably be.

The curator for this show, Virginia Berger, reproduced a smaller version correctly for the American Quilt Study Group a few years ago.


The one below comes from 1930.  Pink has gone in and out of quilt styles.  It really faded out about 1890 -1920.


This one really accomplished a quilter’s desire:  first you admire it from a distance and then you are drawn up close to enjoy the details.  Pink was definitely a 20s-40s thing.  but this quilter must have had some darks from earlier times.  And she used them wisely.


What I like about this museum is that it provides for a lesson through time.  It even appreciates us who like to reproduce quilts from the past.  The one below was  done by Liz Porter.


The pattern for this quilt was available in Fons and Porter magazine.

The Iowa Quilt Museum also appreciates the quilt patterns being created today.  The next photo is a pattern designed by  Barbara Cline in Simply Triangles.  I pieced it a few years ago.


I thought that I was so cleaver to flow the stars into the side borders.  It was not that way in the pattern.   Isn’t that a new idea?


The last quilt I am sharing was made in 1930.  That is 90 years ago!


You will be able to see these and many more if you make the trip to Winterset, Iowa.  Fall is a great time to drive the winding roads that way.  Plus Winterset also hosts the John Wayne Museum.  And the Covered  Bridge Festival this this coming week-end.



Iowa Quilt Museum

Winterset, IA

Winterset, IA

Iowa now has it’s own quilt museum with thanks to Marianna Fons, the city of Winterset and many others. The building is right on the town square and in between two quilt shops. What more could you want?


The first exhibit is Red and White and what a great choice as these two color quilts are always so striking.


My friend, Virginia Berger, is a co-curator for this first exhibit.  The below photo is that of a Sunflower Variation. c 1945- 1955.


It is well worth the drive and the small admission fee. The building at one time was a

J C Penny store and much of the charm, like a tin paneled ceiling, is still intact.


The below quilt is a Melon Patch Variation made in 1901.  It was one of my favorites at museum.

There are fun coffee and lunch spots also in this rural town. It is the original home of Love of Quilting. What quilter is not familiar with this magazine?


This next quilt is for all the current rage for “hexies”.


And for those who like “modern quilts” how about this one?  This baseball or Drunken Path Variation was made about 1880s-1890s as a wedding gift.


A quilt I own is also in the display.  I purchased the hand pieced quilt top at an antique show.  I hired the Methodist church ladies of Anita, IA to hand quilt it.  I did do all the marking and the binding.  I rounded the corners as the fabric there was fraying badly.  By seeing it at the exhibit I learned that the pattern is a Single Wedding Ring.  There are a couple stains on the quilt, but I am afraid to wash it as red likes to travel to the while in old quilts.

IMG_3666The Feathered Star quilt below is the oldest quilt of the exhibit.  1849 is stitched right onto the front of the quilt.  Why are we hesitant to put our name and date on our quilts?  We love it when we find some information with quilts.  This one traveled from the east coast just for this exhibit.


This last quilt I am sharing is so special as the story of the quilt is documented.  A man of rural Iowa appeared as a clown in local and nearby towns for their various celebrations.  Then he got married.  When the wife became pregnant, she cut up the clown outfit and said, “No more clowning around.”  The fabric was placed in the red and white quilt in 1922.  How fun is that!  I am sure the Pinwheel Quilt will stay in this family for many more generations.  What a reminder to all of us to put the story with the quilt.


I So want to be Sewing


However this is what I am doing:



I am washing Nick-Knacks.  How boring.  Every Nick-Knack and a lot of wall pictures come down for Christmas decorations.  I love the festive look, but the tear down is not fun.


I know I make it more work than is should be, because it is when I do Spring/Fall Cleaning.  Do you remember those days in your past life.  I was a good farm wife.  The whole house got scrubbed twice a year.



Now it never all gets done, but a lot happens in January after Christmas gets all packed up.  Every nick-knack, or should I say “Collection” as to sound less junky, gets a good washing.  All wood furniture gets a good lemon  oil treatment.  Every picture frame also gets a clean up.  It really looks nice when it is all done.  But it takes so much longer than it did 20 years ago.


It could be worse as I remember my childhood and the storm window/ screen switch.  I had five brothers so at least one of them had to help.  There was a lot of scrubbing taking place twice a year.  In fact when we were first married we did this.  Thankfully windows gradually got replaced in the old farm house.


My mom told stories about the spring wallpapering.  The old furnaces produced enough smoke that a lot of wallpaper was replaced each spring.  Actually it was just covered up as they did not strip off the old paper.  I learned this lesson in the old farm house as I once started tearing off wallpaper and plaster came with it.  You just added another layer and it helped with the insulation issue.

I have shared this all to make myself thankful that housekeeping has really become easier over time.  It also has been a great procrastination as I still have work to do in our lower level.


This is were my large design wall is and I covered it with red and white quilts for Christmas.  You might also notice some Nativity flannel graph on the wall.  I get it out for the grands to play Sunday School while here. I add this picture so this quilt blog will have a few quits in the post.

Now I get to go into my sewing room!  I have pillow cases to iron as I finish up cleaning up the guest rooms.

May you enjoy some sewing moments this winter.


is a favorite week for quilters in our town. Oh the vendors! They are most gals favorite part of the show and for good reason. The vendors have worked hard to prepare the newest samples.

However….my favorite part of the show is the Des Moines Area Quilt Guild annual quilt show. I love seeing what my quilting friends have made in the past year. I get so motivated!

One of my favorites

One of my favorites

The above quilt did get me to shop the vendors! I want to make something like this! Mary Martin earned a blue ribbon with this wall quilt. What I really liked about it was the quilting was “edge-to-edge” quilting. Most of us cannot afford to have our quilts custom quilted all the time.

Best of Show long-arm quilting

Best of Show long-arm quilting

However, custom quilting is awesome at this show. It certainly has its place in our craft. Debra Kimball earned the purple ribbon on this creation. Deb Treusch was the long-arm quilter. She had done the work for many of the ribbon winners.

Best of Show bed quilt

Best of Show bed quilt

The above quilt was also made by Debra Kimball and earned a purple ribbon. Deb T. did the long-arm work on it as she did the next quilt photo.

best of show wall quilt

Best of Show wall quilt

Mary Shotwell earned the above purple ribbon. Our guild certainly has great appliqué workers.

The next winner was hand quilted, pieced, and appliquéd by Karen Woten. She deserved the best of show hand quilting.

Best of Show Hand Quilting

Best of Show Hand Quilting

Karen was inspired by a quilt at the New England Quilt Museum.

Blue Ribbon with an Edyta Sitar pattern

Blue Ribbon with an Edyta Sitar pattern

Every quilter is wowed by Edyta’s designs, but this one is a real challenge! Christine Rounceville took on the challenge and did it well enough to earn the Blue Ribbon. She even did her own quilting. I was so impressed.

I had five entries and one of them earned a blue ribbon. I was so pleased as I had been periodically working on it for four years.

My ribbon winner

My ribbon winner

Jessie Ziegler had done my quilting. Her work is awesome!

I will try to show you some of the AQS part of the show.  These quilts had to be juried in.

May you enjoy your October.


Getting Caught Up

Quilt Week in Des Moines Iowa starts tomorrow!

It is well worth the drive. There are actually two shows at the same location. The Des Moines Area Quilt Guild has their annual show and it is included with the AQS Quilt Show.

The umbrella is actually a large shopping bag in disguise.

The DMAQG does a lot of volunteer work for AQS to make this happen. Many members have been busy already with the judging and hanging of the quilts. Today the vendors move in. Those of us that volunteer for a few hours during the show attend free that day. I select volunteer time in the middle of the day as a break.

beautiful appliqué work

beautiful appliqué work

The above quit top appeared at our small group last month. It was discovered while cleaning out the quilt stuff in dear friend Sandi’s home after she died. It is a result of a kit from the 1940s or 1950s. The dots to mark the quilting are still visible. We enjoyed seeing it and offered many suggestions as what to do with it.


The lime green makes me want to say 1950s.

The lime green makes me want to say 1950s.

The above quilt top also appeared and looks like the same time period. This one might be made into a table cloth.

hand quilting

hand quilting

I had found an old quilt top at a flea market and had hired a church group to hand quilt it it. I have a deep respect for old quilts and those that did not make it to the finish line. I would love to know why, after all the work, did it not get finished. There are some great quilt stories untold.

The spot isa light shadow, not a stain.

The spot isa light shadow, not a stain.

My issue now is the binding. Where will I find fabric to match? I am thinking of a tiny red piping and then muslin binding. The red will be too small to see that it doesn’t match and it will separate the muslins to hide a mismatch.

I should also say that red and white quilts are hard to date as they have always been a favorite.

We were finishing up our Penny Haren blocks and each of us was to share what they would be doing with them.

Donna's project

Donna’s project

Donna had already used some of hers and made a wall hanging or table topper.

marge's quilt top

marge’s quilt top

I had made each block in multiples to make one of Penny’s designs. It is now at the quilters.


Joyce had missed most of our gatherings while we did the PH project so she worked on a ‘really want to make‘ project. She earned a prize for a finished top! This pattern comes from Love of Quilting by Fons and Porter.

boy's room thank-you

boy’s room thank-you

After making two complicated quilts I was ready for some relief in easy sewing. Our son and his wife had hosted all of the family in their home for July 4 week-end. It was not an easy task. Eight adults and ten children. They did a great job with sleeping accommodations and meal planning.

adorning gray walls and bedspreads

adorning gray walls and bedspreads

Stan and I took over the girls bedroom so I made some shams and throw pillows to decorate their beds. I have yet to decide which I like least; ruffles or piping. I do know that I enjoy quilt making much more.


SHOW TIME and Quilt Traditions


Its that time of the year when quilt shows and meetings really thrive. Last week-end I traveled to Topeka, KS for the MOKA (Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas) quilt study group. Every thing about it was so fun. Friday night we met at the local museum for wine and cheese. We got reacquainted with past friends. Then we saw their quilt display that created a time line of quilts that represented some of the different trends in quilt making.

old prairie town

Saturday’s session was at pictures Old Prairie Town. The flowers were all in bloom and it was a lovely setting to study quilts.

The focus of the day was red and green quilts and we enjoyed seeing part of the Poo Collection with the guidance of Lori Lee Triplett. Her presentation was fun and informative. Unfortunately I cannot share any of the pictures of the Poo Collection.

Susan Martin's quilt

Susan Martin’s quilt

Susan Martin showed one of her antique quilts on the theme of the day.


photo 2
Susan is also an avid maker of reproduction quilts and sells some patterns.

Of course we stopped at quilt and antique shops going to and coming from Topeka. No great finds came home with us, but it is always fun to look and get out of the car to stretch. At least that’s my story!

All Iowa Shop Hop Banner

All Iowa Shop Hop Banner

Adel Quilting and Dry Goods recently had their quilt show they call Little Sisters as it is an outdoor show and very charming.



When you visit the show you have the opportunity to vote for your three favorite quilts.

And the winner is!

And the winner is!

I think this years winner was the above appliqué quilt done by Cyndi Craigmile.

upgrade of the race quilt

upgrade of the race quilt

The 12 quilts that get the most votes will be featured in the 2015 shop calendar. It is a fun competition.


The above quilt was made from the block contest at last years Dallas County Fair. It was auctioned off this year at the fair. Fund raising has always been a part of the quilt world.

Generational Quilt

Generational Quilt

Another part of quilt history is the fun stories of a partial quilt that gets handed down through generations and then finally get completed. The above photo is one of those treasures. Marci Jenson finished up this one her grandmother, Grace Pickering, pieced. Another part of quilt traditions is that it was hand quilted by a church group of ladies as a fund raiser for their church.

Pineapple Quilt

Pineapple Quilt

The above is a pineapple quilt. I have taught a class on the pineapple block several times and ladies always enjoy it. There were other lovely quilts but it was a very windy day and not all my photos turned out.

My value quilt

My value quilt

Another tradition of quilters is meeting in small groups in homes. The group that comes to my home is awesome. The above is a swap project that we worked on for almost a year. We were to get into our scraps and stashes and find blues of various values. A little purple and green could also be included. We cut the strips various widths and made rough blocks about 9 inches. Each month a different value was assigned. We swapped the blocks and then squared them up ourselves. The pattern comes from an oldie but goodie book by Evelyn Sloppy: Strips and Strings. Hopefully this will get finished up in time for another quilt show!


Today is a good day to give pause and thanks to what has become known as the GREATEST GENERATION.  The young adults of 1944 understood what it means to sacrifice for ones country.  Their parents did likewise.

Patriotic Quilt made from a kit.

Patriotic Quilt made from a kit.

The quilt above is one I recently purchased.  It was made from a kit and might have been made in the 1930s rather than the 40s, but it is my way of honoring the families mentioned at the beginning of this article.   Some young women also joined up, but most of them went to work at the jobs left behind by the men.

Molly's WWII quilt

Molly’s WWII quilt

This would change the status of women in America forever.  A lot of women sought comfort during this anxious time by making quilts.  There are a lot of WWII quilts.   Sue Reich has a large collection of them and has written a book about her collection.  I have seen her collection several times and it is worth a drive to have the opportunity.  The above quilt is one I designed and made for the American Girl Doll , Molly.  It is my V is for Victory quilt.

Victory Quilt Book

Victory Quilt Book

Above is Sue’s book, World War II Quilts.

Omaha Beach

Omaha Beach

Today I will celebrate my freedom, in the same way  most of the vetrans did.  They came home, went to work, and went about establishing homes and families.  In so doing we celebrate America!


More Pennsylvania Treasures

Textile history is one of my favorite things.  This lovely child’s dress came home with me.  It is all hand stitched.  It had to be!  It was made before the sewing machine was invented!

Child's dress 1840 - 1860

Child’s dress 1840 – 1860

All hand stitched is a good clue to when it was made.  For those who ever took Home Ec, I will say the gathering would earn an A+; perfectly even and no puckers, no pleats.  Below you will see the reason I can date the dress so easily.  Portraits from the past!

dress portrait

On this trip we visited  several museums in DC and Williamsburg.  I could not resist taking a few pictures of children’s portraits.  And they were dated!  My traveling partner had once read that there was a time period when it was thought children would be healthier if  the upper chest was exposed.

I should add here that we also saw memorable quilts in the museums but the rule was no photos!  I am sure the rule is in part because they want to sell the museum books.  Sometime one is allowed photo with no flash, but not this trip.

Another portrait

Another portrait

How did they keep this low shoulder thing in place, specially on an active child?

back of dress with draw string

back of dress with draw string

If you look real close at the above photo you can see the draw string at the neck!  I wonder if it was comfortable.  There were two buttons at the top and another two at the waist.  The space between the sets of button had no closure.  From the close up picture you can also see all the piping.  I have been told that it helped reinforce the seams whereas today it is a decorative addition.  And more work!

Hand pieced apron

Hand pieced apron

One more child’s apparel.  This one is harder to date.  Pink was first popular and very available as early as 1830.  The madder brown of the triangle trim has that copper-toned look which mainly appeared around 1860 – 1880.   The other clue has to be the hand sewing.   No sane woman would have hand stitched this if she owned a sewing machine.  By 1890 most homes had a sewing machine or access to one.

One more fun thing about the apron:  The dealer said that she originally had two of different sizes.  What a mom or grandma to have made sisters matching aprons!

Below is a quilt block that I have that shows the copper-toned madder a little more clearly.

quilt block from 1860 -1880

quilt block dated 1860 – 1880

Another treasure I purchased before we left Penn.  is the doll quilt made with cheater fabric.

cheater fabric

cheater fabric

It is probably a doll quilt with no batting or quilting.  Some ladies made  pretty “wall hangings” that they hung over the wash pan to catch splatters, but this is probably to small to catch all the splatters so I will stay with a doll quilt.

Cheater fabric appeared as early as 1830!  This one was probably later but I love adding it to my collection.

I was so glad that I had been saving up for this trip!  And I think I better stay out of Penn. for a while!




Lancaster County Penn.


Amish clothes line

Amish clothes line

You know you are in Pennsylvania and Amish country when you see the clothes lines that reach to the barn roof.

Hand Quilted Quilts, only!

Hand Quilted Quilts, only!

Lancaster county is one of my favorite places to visit.  I love their comfort food restaurants.  I love their bakeries.  I love their antique shops.  A real special shop is one that has new Amish made quilts and a back room of antique Amish quilts!

This fun shop was once a home.  Now the first floor of the tiny house is full of quilts!  We did not buy any but it was fun to look.


More looking took place!  It was Spring Antique Extravaganza.  All the antique shops offered a discount and there were tented venders everywhere!  The antique Penn Dutch doll quilt did get purchased at one of these.


Amish doll dress

Amish doll dress

At a special antique shop we were given a recommendation of another shop in another town.  We made time to stop there and Amish doll dress and apron were found there.  It is the same dress in both pictures.  The picture of the back of the dress was taken in day light!  I so enjoy the fine workmanship in the small dress.


Amish doll apron

Amish doll apron

Then there is the apron that went with the dress.  I do not think the dress would need much washing with an apron that covered all!

There will be more treasures in future posts.  I did return home to discover a graduation party was the first Saturday in May!  The card shared our congrats and best withes for the future.  And that the gift would come in the mail!  Now I need to get to the sewing room!