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


Quilt classes at sea

When I travel a lot of stuff goes into my suitcases in zip-lock bags. They are light weight. My make-up bag is even a zip lock. I label them with sharpie markers like, Shower.

It was natural that all my fabrics also were in zip-locks and marked which class they were for. For a light weight tote to get them to class I used a simple fabric tote:

lite weight tote

lite weight tote

For me traveling is all about that 50# weight limit and how to get back home with added purchases.

I thought my bag looked nice and then I saw a gal with this bag:


Now I get to my Di Ford class and all the gals have these neat small totes for their hand stitching supplies.:



The gals gave me the source of the pattern and mentioned that they found the pattern a little tricky to figure out.  But it is worth it with all the different slots to sort the supplies.

organized storage

organized storage

Meanwhile all my plastic bags are sliding off the table onto the floor.

For a break we would slip into one of the other two classes to see what they were doing.  I showed you the carry-on suitcase of one of the gals in my last post. I missed getting a photo of her purse, but this is her sewing tool tote:




Day 3 of classes I decided to have some fun and not have my plastic bags sliding all over the place:


Yep, this wash tub was my tote of the day and I showed it off with pride! I also bragged of the price. $2.33

I also explained all the travel uses. The main one is doing hand laundry especially on a cruise ship with tiny sinks. What’s more, I leave it behind when packing for home along with grubby PJ’s and other throw away clothes.

If you are interested in making one of the totes, I did find the pattern after returning home.


Happy organizing for your fall retreat!

Valentine in the Sun

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day

February is the shortest month of the year, but for those who live in the northern states, it seems like the longest. I often try to find a way to escape for at least part of the winter. My husband’s cows start calving in February therefore he cannot leave. It is fun when I can find a traveling partner who also is ready to escape winter for a week or two.

Carol's first project

Carol’s first project

This year we were able to find a condo on Padre Island. I am sitting on the balcony with the sound of ocean waves in the background. The humming of Carol’s sewing machine makes the harmony perfect. We set up our sewing studio in our living room. The above photo is that of her first project. She had purchased the kit sometime ago.

A Jo Morton pattern

A Jo Morton pattern

The above is my first project. It was started at a Jo Morton class years ago. Jo taught hand piecing where you make no stitches into the seam allowance when joining two pieces. Thus you have more freedom when pressing the block. You may press the seam allowance any way you want or it wants.  The hand sewing was done to make the star blocks. I finished them up after getting home from the class. Then I packed up the kit and put it away.

The perfect HST?

The perfect HST?

The one inch finished HST was probably the reason for the stall. I have now made them using a roll of paper piecing which makes a mountain of HST with speed. I really did stitch on the lines perfectly. I finger  pressed the blocks prior to the iron pressing. I came down on the block like a helicopter to prevent stretching it. Then why do I have such an assortment of sizes?

The little 17″ square quilt is finished due to a lot of fudge work. It is not perfect but it has left the UFO drawer.

My first block that finishes at three inches

My first block that finishes at three inches

My second project comes from shopping at a quilt show a couple of years ago. The samples all look so great there. But as I have another project already going at home, any kits purchased come home and get neatly put away. My frustration in getting this kit out is that I forgot to ask if I could take a picture of the sample after I bought the kit. That should be standard proceedure.

Once again I am sewing on a line yet not everything is coming out perfect. We have discovered that the same error appears on all four blocks I have finished. Could the paper piecing paper have an error? I am going to play with it a little when I proceed.

Carol's blocks

Carol’s blocks

Carol is making faster progress. She is working with Little Black Dress II fabric. There are three of us that are using the same fabric and pattern.

Most winter guests in Texas find the Rosa Markets fascinating.  All the garments are in a heap and you climb around in it hunting.  I was looking for wool garments as that has become a fad to felt the wool and then make a craft item with it.  It has become so popular back home that the used clothing stores rarely have ony wool on the racks.  We will see if I do anything with my finds, but it was a fun outing on a drizzling day.

marge at top

Another fun find has been quilt shops.  We did some research before we left home to provide us with stops along the route.  Of course there are some disappointments.  One had gone out of business and another was closed as they were moving.  It would be wise to call ahead.   Another had fabric that was on the market over ten years ago.  The price had been changed to 11.99.  It should have been on a sale rack and long gone!

Happy Valentines Day to you and yours!



My small group met again and we always have such a good time and inspire each other to better things. Of course my teacher instint always kicks in and I make them learn or try something new. We have lately been studying the color wheel and getting out of our comfort zone.

color wheel lessons

color wheel lessons

I did let them start by selecting their favorite color. Wasn’t that nice of me? The top row going acrosss is Monocromatic. Tints and shades of the favorite color. The columns belong to the different gals. The first two columns are using pure colors. However, most of us don’t use the pure colors very often so I allowed them to use what tones they liked. The first colomn with the black ground really shows off the pure colors. The second one with the poka-dot ground allows me to make a kid quilt when the lessons are finished.

First Row: Monocromatic
Second Row: Analogus going clock wise
Third Row: Complimentary
Fourth Row: Split Complimentary
Fifth Row: Triads. This was the new lesson and they cut their squares to take them home and make the block.

Carol's blocks

Carol’s blocks

We meet for the day and bring sack lunches so we get a lot done. In January I presented my self imposed Christmas block of the month. Several of the gals decided to join me.

Sharon's blocks

Sharon’s blocks

We all are tempted to buy Christmas fabric in November and December, but when do we have time to sew it up? Our goal is to dig in the Christmas box and see what we can do.

Donna's blocks

Donna’s blocks

It has been good as each month we have reviewed ways to make standard blocks: flying geese, Square-in-a-square, mirror images, etc.

Joyce's blocks

Joyce’s blocks

Joyce’s is so fun as she loves pink and can make it work to be Christmas and fit into her home decor.

Carolyn's Santa

Carolyn’s Santa

Friend Carolyn joined us for the day and brought some show-n-tell. She is making Santas all year long to sell in a bazaar this December.

Sharon's Christma

Sharon’s Christma

Sharon is the only one who has finished piecing our Christmas project from back in December. We all need a reason to get up each morning and one of mine is to see what happens in the sewing room! I sometimes surprise even myself!

Donna's quilt top

Donna’s quilt top

Other Show-n-tell was Donna’s quilt top. She selected the fabrics herself. She thinks she struggles with this, but didn’t she do great?

Sharon's Grandmother's Flower Garden

Sharon’s Grandmother’s Flower Garden

Sharron likes to have a sit down project and her current one is Grandmother’s Flower Garden. Seeing her progress brought up the issue, whether our children will understand our quilts and appreciate them. I think Sharon need to add a note of hours required to make a quilt like this one.

Sandi and Helen have had to miss a couple of our meetings for health reasons. I trust that they have found some comfort as Sharon does in hand stitching.

Flag Day and Pineapples

Last week was small group time and one of the gals had a flag for Show-N-Tell. It was perfect for the season. On my next post I will direct you to the pattern source.

Flag another way!

Flag another way!

Yesterday was so fun as I was able to watch a sweet group of quilters make pineapple blocks.

Scrap Pineapple

Scrap Pineapple

It is often thought of as a scrap quilt, but most of these ladies had other plans and they turned out so charming!



batics even work for this vintage block.



bold will also do.


Civil War pinks and browns

Civil War pinks and browns

Two gals were working with Civil War prints. Of course I loved them.


More modern fabrics choices

More modern fabrics choices

A couple gals were more into the modern fabrics. I enjoyed all the fabrics and creativity of these gals.

It was a fun day for me and I trust the Williamsburg ladies went home as pleased as I was. The technique for this block is not paper pieced and not hard. The squaring up the block is a little tricky to start, but after a few rounds these gals were spinning the block around and trimming it perfectly!

My small group was here and we did several fun things. We tried the Disappearing Pinwheel. It is a u-tube by The Missouri Star.

Carol showed a couple projects she has done using the Missouri Star patterns.



The one above has some raw edges! It will be interesting to see it when washed.

Seeing what others are doing is what gets us all back into the sewing room, doesn’t it? It is a rainy day here and I look forward to going there very soon!