Jean Duffy’s Girl Quilts

I had the honor to help Jean Duffy show her collection of girl, lady and doll quilts at the Falls Quilt Guild Meeting in June. Most of these quilts are hand applique and/or embroidery.

It was fun learning the history of these patterns, a bit about dating fabric and how to restore these quilts.

Thanks Jean for letting us see and learn about these wonderful quilts.

Return from Travels

Ok, I’m back home and recovering from a nasty cold. I went to Phoenix to attend a digitizing 2 cay class and then off to Tucson to see the Gem and Bead Show. Boy do I want to go back there next year and I will need a lot more than 2 days! That is unbelievable. Next I was off to Texas for the 7th year attending the Master Art series put on by Hollis Chatelain. If you know me you know that I think she is the best quilter in the world. If you don’t know her work check out her website at She has taught me lots but then there is so much for me to learn. This last class was on using thread. Not your typical quilting class. 5 Days of machine quilting for about 10 hours each day. This was the first year I took a machine (which I shipped, and is another story) I knew we would be sewing constantly so I shipped my Juki (Sews So Fast). I don’t have an extension table for the Juki and knew one would be helpful so I made one from a piece of foam core. I cut out the space for the machine and measured the height I needed. John cut me 6 legs from some 2×2’s and I duct taped them to the bottom. Some blue painters tape on the top to hold it in place and it was very helpful.
I thought I was pretty clever! Unfortunately about half way through the week I started coming down with a nasty cough/cold. I think I picked it up on the airplane going down. Anyway, I wasn’t about to miss any of the class but I was feeling really crappy. One afternoon I was very pathetic and Hollis took my picture, it was the first time someone in class was quilting one handed. I think I needed the other hand to hold up my head. The other students had already been giving me a hard time because I Sew So Fast (my Indian name).

Today was the first day I was up and about for very long and the shipment of machine and threads had arrived, so I spent 4 hours organizing thread.

This is just the polyester, rayon and metallic threads. The cotton and other threads are another wall. At least these are now sorted by color and are ready to do more thread work.

Needle Felting Class

Just finished the needle felting class at The Square last night. Thought I would share some of the student and class projects. It was fun and we got a good start on a few projects. Some of these pieces are destined to be for hats. All they need is a little more felting and some beads.

Discharge Class

Join me for a class to play with removing color from fabric. You start with a dark fabric and by applying various types of bleach you remove the color. You can spray it on or paint it on. Just make sure that you use a chemical to stop the bleach action or you will make the fabric disintegrate. Regiger for the class at Paris Gibson Museum of Art.

Come and join us, it will be a good time.

Almond Rocca

I told someone today that this recipe was on the site. OOPS! Now it is. It was in the December newsletter.

(Almond Rocca)

1lb Butter
2C Sugar
2T Corn Syrup
1/3 C Water
1C Sliced Almonds
8 oz Hershey Bar (or equivalent)
Candy Thermometer
1C Chopped Almonds

Melt butter in heavy kettle. Add remaining ingredients. Heat to hard crack stage (300°) stirring constantly, takes 15-25 minutes. Add sliced almonds and stir well. Pour into large nonstick or lightly greased jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides. Wait 5 minutes.

Break apart 8 oz Hershey bar and put on top. Let sit a few minutes, when chocolate is shiny spread it. Sprinkle with chopped almonds. Cool and break apart.


We lost a dear quilting friend last week. Unfortunately we have lost several ladies from our guild in the last year. Most recently Pat Mattix left us, she was such a joy to be around and I couldn’t wait for her next story. She made beautiful quilts and was a retired kindergarten teacher (who doesn’t love a kindergarten teacher!). This beautiful poem was give to us at her service and I thought it would be something you might appreciate.

Like A Patchwork Quilt
Life isn’t given us all of a piece,
It’s more like a patchwork quilt.
Each hour and minute a patch to fit in,
To the pattern that’s being built.

With some patches gay and some patches dark,
And some that seem even dull,
But if we were given to set some apart,
We’d hardly know which to cull.

For it takes the dark patches to set off the light,
And the dull to show up the gay,
And somehow the pattern just wouldn’t seem right,
If we took any part away.

No, life isn’t give us all of a piece.
But in patches of hours to use.
That each might work out his own pattern of life,
To whatever design he choose.
-Author Unknown-

When ever losing a quilting friend I brings back memories of Mom. Mom was my best quilting friend, she taught me so much and I miss her terribly. When she left this world I created this memorial for her. I am sure that she and Pat have hooked up in heaven and are quilting together.

Mom has completed her greatest quilt of all time, it is the masterpiece that will hang in the Lord’s house. It is a work of art that has been painstakingly completed through all of her life. My guess it the quilt is predominately blue, mom’s favorite color. I see the blue of her eyes and the blue of the sky throughout it. A white background would set off all of the pure colors she loved. It has to have plenty of pink in it as well and would include lots of flowers of all colors, especially all of the wild flowers of Montana. Lots of green leaves and 4-leaf clovers are scattered through out the quilt. The bright yellow of the sun is reflected in the blocks and will bring brightness and cheer to all who enter God’s house, and will be comforted by her masterpiece.

This quilt is a sampler quilt with each block being different and representing a different part of her life. Tons of flowers in all colors of the rainbow represent all of the people in her life. Each flower represents someone she has touched by teaching them to sew, make a quilt, upholster a chair, or selling them a part for a John Deere. The 4-leaf clovers represent the years she spent in 4-H and at Cloverleaf Farms, haying, horsing around or her least favorite chore, moving irrigation pipe. A border of rail fence blocks surround the hay fields and keep the Belgians from running loose.

Some where in the quilt she has managed to work in a log cabin, castle wall, Dutchman’s puzzle, and she has surrounded the whole thing with delectable mountains A school house block represents all the years she spent teaching. Teaching came natural to her as she spent countless hours as a 4-H leader and as a sewing and quilting teacher at the college. A trip around the world represents her love to travel, either with her family or to a quilting event around the country. She has used ever kind of star imaginable but the ones most precious to her are the friendship stars.

A large double wedding ring is the center focus of the quilt and shows the commitment and love she had for Bob, her husband, caregiver and business partner. Each of the rings in the double wedding ring is made up of lots of fabric pieces in a variety of color representing the members of her large family that meant so much to her. Each corner of the quilt has a 4 patch block representing her 4 strapping grandsons sh was so proud of.

The quilting is done with gold and silver thread, which represents the sparkle in her eye and her infectious smile.

Somewhere on the quilt is a beautiful butterfly that represents Mom herself. A butterfly lights beside you and for a moment brings joy and excitement and you don’t know how long it will stay. For a brief moment its glory and beauty belongs to our world but then it flies away. Though we wish it could have stayed longer we feel lucky to have enjoyed it in our world.

Tree Table Runner Tutorial

Tuesday about 11:30am I was called by Eileen Torgerson asking if I could present a program for the Falls Quilt Guild that evening. Evidently the planned program had to be canceled. I told her I would come up with something. I had been thinking about a technique that I had presented a few years ago when we made bookmarks. Over the weekend I saw a variation on the technique that got the ideas going. So, here it goes.

Select 3 fabrics ,I will call them a top fabric, flip fabric and base fabric. You will want contrast between the top fabric and the other 2 fabrics.
Cut 13 x 25 piece of each of the 3 fabrics. Cut a piece of fusible web 12.5 x 24.5. Use your preferred brand of fusible web. I used Wonder Under because that is what I had on hand. If you are using a fusible that does not have a paper backing you will need to apply it using a Teflon pressing sheet or parchment paper. Refer to product instructions for appropriate application.
Apply fusible web to back of top fabric, let cool and peel off paper.

Fuse the flip fabric to the top fabric with wron
g sides together. Press well so that the 2 fabrics are completely fused together.

Draw a line down the center of the topper on the flip fabric side.
Make a stencil from your pattern by cutting away the appropriate area as marked on the pattern.

Line up the stencil center line with the bottom of the tree 2 inches from the side of the topper. Mark the cutting lines.

Mark the other end of the topper in the same way.
With sharp scissors, cut on each of the cutting lines, from the center line to the center line.
Flip the cut fabric over so that the flip fabric is on the top fabric and you have open space where the fabric was flipped.

Press flat. Place base fabric under top fabric so that it shows through. Pin the flipped part down.
Square up the topper to the size you would like it.

Layer it on batting and a backing fabric.
Stitch the raw edges with your preferred method, I used a straight stitch but if you prefer the buttonhole or zig-zag go for it. By stitching this after it is layered you are securing the raw edges and quilting at the same time. Quilt as you prefer. I placed holly berries and leaves and then filled in with a background stitch but that is way more quilting than you need. I didn’t quilt in the trees because I wanted then to puff out.

Bind the outer edge. What a quick and easy project to use up some of the Christmas fabric that seems to accumulate. I think this would be cool to do on a tree skirt. I would make wedge shapes with the trees on the outside edge, alternating colors.

You could use this technique with any shape and any fabric. My friend Jenny suggested making snowflakes or pumpkins. I can’t wait to try hearts for Valentine’s Day. I added a heart design to the pattern for you to play with.

Ok, so that got me thinking about placing the trees around in a circle so I tried this second option. I cut 3 squares 18 x 18. Cut fusible web 17.5 x 17.5, not rocket science since the fusible web is 17.5 inches wide. Fuse the top fabric to the flip fabric so that you have wrong sides together. Square up the fabric so that it is 17.5 x 17.5.

Mark lines corner to corner and center to center so that all 4 lines cross in the center.

Using the smaller tree pattern create a stencil to mark your fabric. Place the tree stencil so that the bottom of the tree is ¾ inch from the edge of the fabric on either the horizontal or vertical line. Mark the cutting line. This time there is only one cutting line.

Measure the distance from the top of the tree to the center where all lines cross. Move the stencil so you are marking on the diagonal line placing the top of the tree the same distance from the center point and mark the cutting line. Continue around the piece until you have all 8 trees marked. The top of the trees should all be the same distance from the center point.

Cut along the cutting line. Flip each tree along the center line and press in place. Place base fabric right side up under the fused fabrics to fill in the holes. You can make this an octagon or a circle or leave it square, your choice. Layer and quilt as desired.

Class Kick Off

I’m so excited about the up coming classes at the Square. I have been busy getting samples ready for different techniques and finishing up UFOs (unfinished objects). The first one I started at a class in Sisters, it is from the basic pattern Windows from the book Piping Hot Curves by Susan K. Cleveland. I decided it needed a few extra pansies floating down through the window and they should have beads on them.

I have been thinking about needle felting with wool yarn in addition to roving. I had some loosely spun wool yarn that I wanted to experiment with. Worked great, added some beads and used hand dyed Perle cotton for a beaded buttonhole stitch. I can see lots of possibilities here! Will prepare a separate post with a tutorial on how to do the beaded edge.

It is October, I can’t not create something seasonal. My friend Kari gave me a charm pack with beautiful fall colors. We were talking about making a pumpkin table runner with snowball corners. This was my rendition of the idea. I used the rest of the charm pieces on the back. Made a cute table runner that I gave to the newlyweds for their fall table.

John and I are making plans for a nice relaxing vacation in Hawaii. That made me kick into gear to finish up the Hawaiian projects I started from our last trip. This quilt uses the charm packs of Hawaiian prints. I like this design, i think the flowers look like Hawaiian flowers and with the bright prints. When I look at it, it takes me back to the islands! Used white to set them off and quilted with my rendition of a Hawaiian flower and leaves. Really like how this turned out, might write a pattern for it.

Totally Tubular


Had the opportunity to take a class from Rita Hutchens ( this last weekend sponsored by Falls Quilt Guild.  It was based on her Book Totally Tubular.  This photo is of my class project using strips cut at 45 degree angle and using mirror images.  Her instructions are very detail and involve more measuring and marking than I prefer to do, consequently mine didn’t turn out as square as I would prefer.  It is always exciting to take classes and learn someone elses techniques.  I really loved her trunk show and some of her other quilts.  I especially liked her bear paw block and how she cut it to create a kaleidoscope block.  These photos are of her samples. She has taken this technique and using her creativity come up with some awesome quilts.  Check out her website for others.


















From this bear paw block she made this kaleidoscope

Scones To Die For

Didn’t get much quilting done this weekend but did manage to make some Scones.  This recipe is from a friend and better than any I have tasted.  Thought I would share it with you. THis is the original recipe and I always atleast double it, even triple or quad… They freeze well and the cream comes in a pint so there is no waste.

White Chocolate Apricot Scones

2 cups flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt (can omit if using salted butter)

1/4 cup chilled butter

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 large egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

6 oz white chocolate chips

1 cup  hoppeed dried apricots

oven 350 degrees

Ina a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, cut in butter until the mixture of bread crumbs.  Mix in apricots and white choc chips.

In another bowl, mix well  the cream, egg and vani lla.
Add liquid to dry ingredients and mix with a fork.  When well mixed, turn onto a lightly floured board.  Knead about 8 times until it is consistent texture.  You canpat it into a large circle about 9 inches in Diameter place on ungreased pan. Use a serated knife to cut into wedges.  I prefer to drop spoonfuls of the dough onto a cookie sheet for baking.


























Bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges are slightly brown.  See photo. I use an insulated baking sheet.



They are awesome!  They really do taste better the second day if they last that long.