23 09 2009




Welcome to the journal of my work.  I’m looking forward to chronicling both the old and the new. Ideas, inspirations, mistakes, and progress will all be celebrated.



Cross-stitch I: the roses

18 07 2014

I need to confess that I have needlework loves other than quilting.  I have showcased my  embroideries in previous posts, and herein are the cross-stitch pieces with which  I was fascinated about 30 years ago.

I was introduced to cross-stitch by friend jackie peters, the wife of my accounting mentor Paul Hammond.  Turns out this was a perfect craft for someone with obsessive leanings.  I made small gifts, birth announcements, samplers, etc., using commercially designed patterns for many years.  These were great projects for someone concentrating on a career;  I could pick them up at anytime and then neglect them, if necessary.   I also combined a number of different motifs and designed this huge sampler for my son’s birth.


Later  in my cross-stitching “career”, I discovered quite a few patterns that I just loved  by The Lilac Studio , and I subsequently got much more crazy for cross-stitch.   I’m trying not to count how many of these I made.  Here are just a few of the roses I made to decorate my living and dining rooms.

from pattern Rose Duet II, The Lilac Studio


Gorgeous pale pink:  one of the first I made.

And when I found this line of patterns at Needle in a Haystack in Alameda CA, I also discovered their many batches of hand-dyed, mottled-looking  linens in all different colors.  Most of these beauties are stitched on either 32- or 36-count linens using two strands of DMC floss.


What attracted me to these particular patterns was the detail with which the colors were selected.  This, of course, made the patterns a bit more challenging, and the result of this challenge is a sophisticated realism that few other patterns exhibited.  The detail below shows the subtlety of the mix of all these colors.


a fun small one


from pattern Rose Duet II


An even smaller one


Another small



I contacted Cindy Rice, the designer of all the Lilac Studio patterns, to thank her for her work, and to see what she was working on currently, only to find that she has moved on from cross-stitch to a totally different art-form, namely doll clothing and accessories.  To see a sample of the absolutely fabulous creations Cindy is now making, click here.  And take a second to view her galleries, etc.;  quite amazing.

These roses represent approximately half of the stitchery I sewed.   Stay tuned for more flowers next time.




Vintage Double Wedding Ring

11 07 2014

Another quilt from my vintage collection, this large Double Wedding Ring quilt shows a wonderful array of vintage fabrics, held together by the jade green and pale orange dancing four patches.  This is another of the quilt tops I  purchased, and it was a bit wonky, which may have been the reason for its never having been quilted before now.

Vintage Double Wedding Ring 80" x 90" Photography by Sibila Savage

Vintage Double Wedding Ring
80″ x 90″
Photography by Sibila Savage

Melissa Quilter took on the challenge of making it all work, and her quilting detail does this one proud.  Click on the photo to see a closer view.

It has been a long time since I have bothered to fuss with a curved binding like this, but I think it really makes a statement.  I was pleased to have found a new Kona cotton that is almost a perfect match to the original from 70+ (?) years ago.

Double Wedding Ring, Detail

Double Wedding Ring, Detail

Since it is so bright and cheery, this quilt has been a nice “summer” quilt for the house.


A non-quilting project

I could not resist this fabric at my local shop;  I really never know what will catch my eye, and this one turned out to be perfect for a shirt for my brother Dave.  There is a possibility he might actually wear it on occasion.




Scrap quilts: more leftover fun

27 06 2014

Sometimes,  when I am working on a challenging or laborious project, I feel as though I just want to sew something simple, a project that does not require a lot of brain power.

This is one of those quilts.

My daughter Maggie made a quilt for her college friend Kristin (see that quilt at the bottom of this post), and she gifted me all the leftover pieced scraps, as well as some of the remaining yardage.  Just sewing one piece to another, squaring them up, and sewing on something else was very relaxing and gave me this quilt.

Kristin's Leftovers, 2013 39" x 47.5"

Kristin’s Leftovers, 2013
39″ x 47.5″


I quilted wavy lines up and down the pieced columns, put diamonds in the spacing columns, and double diamonds in the borders–very simple.

Kristin's Leftovers, Detail

Kristin’s Leftovers, Detail

Just another example of the wonderful philosophy of never throwing away anything, especially if the scraps are  already matched and sorted and were previously used for a proven winner!


And just one more for the scrap quilts and leftovers categories:

After making a pile of quilt kits for the Children’s Quilt Project from a small bundle of donated miscellaneous batik fabrics, there was fabric left over, so I cut it all into 2.5″ squares, made this small top, and added a kicky border from my stash.  Whoever receives this quilt when it is finished will never know that because of what I was doing when it was made, I have named it

World Cup 2014, Group Stage




Vintage Scrappy Triangles

20 06 2014

Blue Triangles is another from my vintage collection of quilt tops that have been made into wonderful quilts that we use.  As I have described before, I love to complete the work of someone who has come before me;  it feels right somehow.

The pattern is a Thousand Pyramids variation, set sideways.  Using a slightly different dark/light arrangement, it would be Streak o’ Lightning or Lightning.  Almost all of the lights in this quilt are vintage men’s shirtings.  And I am just guessing that at some point it needed to get just a little bit wider, and additional scraps were found.

Blue Triangles, date unknown

Blue Triangles, date unknown


I used this quilt top to help me learn to machine quilt, managing to quilt the whole thing without marking.

Blue Triangles, Detail

Blue Triangles, Detail



Back to the present—A Sneak Peek

Remember the wheels from the Wheel Medallion in the most recent post?

In addition to the many other preconceived notions I had regarding that quilt, I also thought it would have a snaky border of these fan sections, but that did not turn out to be the case.  Sooooo, I had 30 of these block parts leftover.  I LOVE leftovers, because they challenge me to solve the puzzle of dealing with them.

So here is a glimpse of how I am working on with them.

Seriously, people:  Never throw anything away!


Wheel Medallion

13 06 2014

My most recently completed project, this Wheel Medallion represents a true labor of love, which included my continuing to learn all the do’s and don’t’s of the medallion process.

Wheel Medallion, 2014 77" x 77" Photography by Sibila Savage

Wheel Medallion, 2014
77″ x 77″
Photography by Sibila Savage

There were two inspirations for this quilt.  The first was finding this brown fabric on the discount table at a local fabric store;  I bought all they had.  When I started working with the medallion concepts, I thought this fabric would be a good one to use, mainly because of all the different colors included in the fabric.

I loved the deep blues in the print, so my original assumption was that this would be a predominately blue quilt.  FAIL   As with all of the medallions I have made so far, assumptions made at the outset of the project fall by the wayside almost immediately.  This quilt definitely wanted to be brown and rust.

These wheels were foundation-pieced, and I made so many that you will see quite a few more of them in a different configuration in posts to come.  Anyone who knows my work understands that I discard almost nothing leftover from a project, using as much as I can for some other use in the future.

Wheel Medallion, Detail D

Wheel Medallion, Detail D

This quilt was also one of my first attempts at a large applique project.  Turns out I love the look, even though the hand work is a bit time-consuming.

Wheel Medallion, Detail C

Wheel Medallion, Detail C

Quilting this piece was also quite a challenge for me.  Each different area of the medallion seemed to call for its own special quilting, so I tried to oblige.

Wheel Medallion-Detail A

Wheel Medallion-Detail A

Below is a photo of the second inspiration for my Wheel Medallion, a vintage quilt seen in a showing at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek, CA.  I continue to be inspired by the quilts from past eras and am most grateful for the art and the skills of the quilters who have come before me.

Vintage quilt inspiration

Vintage quilt inspiration


Wheel Medallion sneak peek

18 04 2014

Finished days before it was to be displayed  at my guild’s Voices in Cloth 2014 quilt show late last month, my Wheel Medallion has been one of my most challenging endeavors in recent times.

Having taken a class with Becky Goldsmith of Piece o’ Cake fame, I felt I was much more able to execute this applique technique.  So I incorporated the applique border into a medallion quilt I had been struggling with working on.

Not yet photographed professionally, this quilt can only be seen in these partial shots for now.


Stay tuned for a better picture of the complete quilt.


I love the result, and this quilt already has a cousin under construction, using all of the leftover pieces that did not fit into the design of this quilt.  So stay tuned for that, too.


And, on a recurring note, I am finding that I have not yet shaken the fabric postcard bug.

These are a particular favorite here where I live:

bears cards


And these were made for a friend’s Cinco de Mayo-themed engagement party:

Cinco de Mayo cards

I will probably keep doing these wonderfull little gems, just because they are soooo fun (and are completed sooooo quickly).

Triple Irish Chain in Peach

11 04 2014

Another special piece from my vintage collection is this quilt done in the Triple Irish Chain pattern.   Masterfully pieced, this quilt has many extras that make it stand out from others of its kind.

The solid fabrics  in the centers of the pieced blocks add diagonal interest, as well as perfectly representing the reigning range of classic solid colors out of which many quilts were made in the 1930’s.

And all these colors, along with the patchwork piecing, pop right out of the pale peach background.

Peach Irish Chain, date unknown

Triple Irish Chain, date unknown

Helping with the diagonal focus are the solid bright yellow patches, strategically placed to run across the quilt, right through the middle of the solid blocks.

If my eyes put the bright yellow right next to the pale peach, I see a dissonance, so I am quite impressed that this quilter could see that the finished quilt would be quite powerful using these two fabrics.

Peach Irish Chain, detail

Triple Irish Chain, detail

These yellow blocks also form the center of the pieced borders, help to unify the piece, and create a fabulous spring/summer quilt.




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