Sharing with others

One of the things I love about quilts is how they seem to bring everyone together.  Almost everyone I talk to, when discussing how I’m a quilter, will ooh and ahh; then with a wistful look in their eyes recall a quilt their relative had or made for them.  Its a magical moment for them, and for me, because we’ve bonded over pieces of fabric and the warmth they bring us.

Because of these moments, I’ve incorporated my hand quilting into a living history demonstration and display.  So few people hand quilt anymore, and sewing in general isn’t something that happens in every household as it did 50 or 60 years ago.  So several times a year (hopefully more in the future), I put a quilt frame in the car, along with a quilt top I purchased at a yard sale or antique shop, and set it up at an event to quilt upon.  Everyone is invited to try their hand at quilting, though rarely do we ever get anyone who actually is willing to try. But I also will set out coloring pages of quilts, or lacing cards for kids to try sewing on, so that at least they’re getting to try something they may not be exposed to elsewhere.

A few years ago with sewing practice
Last year with lacing cards

One of the best things, apart from allowing the public to try their hand at a new skill, or remembering the joy in one they’ve lost, is that my Aunt B joins me on many of these demonstrations.  She is the one who taught me how to quilt,  and has been quilting for over 60 years.  This week she celebrated her 77th birthday, and tomorrow she’ll be joining me again at Middletown Heritage Festival to share her quilts and her passion.  She really enjoys getting out and quilting, and talking to others about their quilts, families, etc.  While the history part is my area of expertise, she’s invaluable in talking about how she learned, how to teach others, and showing people how its done.  Also showing folks that you’re never too old to get out and have fun.

Aunt B and I at Barnstormers 2016.

While some might call our work traditional, I love the lines and love that just call from every one of Aunt B’s quilts.  From the time she taught me, we now have this connection – we talk on the phone about weekly, and everytime I come down she shows me what she has in the frame, and what she’s been working on.  And I then start piecing something similar because I love how it looks, and want the challenge.  Which is why I now have several tops waiting to go into the frame.  Aunt B displays her work at the events we do, and hearing people admire it I think also makes her glow a little more than she usually does too.  I love that, and I love that I’m able to do that for her.

A quilt in Aunt B’s Frame
Some of Aunt B’s finished work









In addition to quilting demos, we also will bring out hand crank sewing machines, to let children and adults alike try their hand at using a sewing machine.  So many times I’ve heard of people (myself included) being afraid or intimidated by sewing machines.  This is a great way to have people gain familiarity with the machines, and perhaps even be interested in trying to sew on their own, or take a class.  Hand cranks allow for better control of the machine, and also keeps little fingers from getting under the needle better than having a motorized machine or treadle available for them to use.  I also have practice sheets made of paper for folks to try before trying to use actual fabric, unless they’ve said they’re a long time sewer.  One event, I had a lady spend 20 minutes making quilt blocks on one of the hand cranks because she enjoyed it so much!

A visitor trying a handcrank

If you’re interested in trying a handcrank, seeing some quilting, or even trying to hand quilt, Aunt B and I will be found at the following places in the next month:

Saturday September 30- Middletown Heritage Festival Middletown, MD

Saturday October 7- Harvest Festival – Montgomery County Agricultural Farm Park

Saturday October 21- Centreville Day – Centreville, VA.  We’ll be in the Sears house.


And if your quilt guild, historical organization, historical site, homeschool group, etc would like to have us do our demo or have a hand crank sewing class, please feel free to contact us with the information on the contact us page!

Keep stitching!

Projects in progress

I recently went to join a bunch of awesome sewing enthusiasts for a retreat in the wilds of Minnesota.  They’re all members of a group that enjoy using people powered machines ( Treadles and Handcranked sewing machines.) So I’m trying to get some things together for that, and realized I need to keep a running tally of the projects I have in progress.  My goal is to share the patterns and progress of my projects as they go along, so a master list is probably a really good idea, and now is a great time to start that as I left with several projects in tow, and returned with a ton more fabric for more projects!

My Davis Vertical Feed is my favorite Treadle right now.

As a hand quilter, I don’t tend to work projects as fast as some of my counterparts who use machines to quilt, or have a longarming service perform their quilting.  So a lot of my projects are  in stages.  But I also have other projects I’m starting that aren’t related quite to quilting, so I’ll be listing them as well.

Project 1 – The Great Circle Quilt

Currently in the quilting frame is a quilt for a dear friend’s daughter, who is almost 2.  This quilt is the size of a regular single bed, so hopefully it’ll last her for several years.  It is a pattern from a book called “Aunt Martha’s Favorite Quilts” which my aunt gave me, but you can still purchase it  from Colonial Patterns.

The Great Circle in progress on the quilt frame
Project 2- Grandmother’s Fan

Another fantastic quilt that I have finished piecing, but still needs the border put on.  This will be the next quilt to go into the frame.  Most of the pieces in this are from my feedsack collection, and I’m really excited to quilt it.  Another one from an Aunt Martha’s book, but I was inspired to put it high on my list to complete thanks to Aunt Becky’s work on hers.

Aunt Becky’s finished Grandmother’s Fan



My Grandmother’s Fan- piecing finished.







project 3 – Summer Days

This quilt is in the assembly stage, but its also special because I’m trying to do it all on my treadle machines, which is a first for me.  The pattern was purchased at Traditions at the White Swan in Hagerstown, but you can also find it online at Timeless Traditions.  Here’s what it will look like when piecing is finished.

Summer Days Quilt Pattern
Project 4- hummingbirds

This pattern was found by my Aunt Becky in a stack of unfinished projects/ pieces that belonged to either my Grandmother or Great Grandmother (she’s not sure which.)  She made a copy of the pattern for me and it is my first hand piecing project, which I take with me on travel and when I’m going somewhere to sit and listen for a long time.   This will be a long term project because of the hand piecing and then the hand quilting.

Hummingbird squares

What’s neat about this quilt block is that its very small, but also looks like a Snowball quilt, but it isn’t.  The colored pieces are more like arrows, and dart into the center, which is why I call it the Hummingbird.




Project 5- the Feedsack database

This is a pet project of mine, that I’m currently working on in my spare time (ha-ha.)  I am taking all of my feedsacks, scanning the pattern into Jpgs, and saving them in  a file to later be recorded in a database.  At present I have over 350 feedsacks recorded, but I still have many more pieces of feedsacks in my collection to continue scanning in.  As I have a passion for these fabrics, and teach a history lesson/trunk display of them (see my Classes page for more information.)  So this is an ongoing labor of love, so to speak for me.  I’ll be delving more into Feedsacks at a later time.

Project 6- cutting new quilts

I currently have several quilts in the cutting stage.  I tend to be a very scrappy quilter, so curring for me can be done for multiple quilts at the same time.  Whether or not these quilts will be completed is totally a yet to be determined, but they’re being done.

Quilts in the cutting stage:

  • Joseph’s Coat
  • Nosegay
  • Starflower
  • Faithful Circle
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Mayflower
  • Draped Dresdens, or Ferris Wheel.
  • Baby quilt for a friend

Cutting is one of those things I can do while watching Television in the evenings when my fingers are sore from hand quilting and I’m not in the mood to sit behind a sewing machine all night. I tend to not be a rotary cutter type person, preferring to use a pencil and a vinyl pattern piece to trace and cut. I’ll go into that on another blog post too.


So as you can see,  in addition to working on my blog posts here, I have a lot of projects on my plate, but I’m excited to share their progress with everyone and hopefully encourage you to work on your UFO collection!