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.



Feed Sack Log Cabin

18 10 2013

Made from another of the vintage tops I had collected, this quilt is made almost entirely of feed sack fabrics.  The red centers of the blocks give a big punch to this quilt.

Unfortunately I have no record of when I got this top;  it may be another from Eli Leon.  Regardless, I know I waited a long time before I had it quilted, and when it was finished by Nina Farrell, I saw how wonderful it really was.

Also quite wonky, this quilt’s appeal for me is not in the precision of the sewing, but in the fabric.  I know I’m nuts, but I love these old prints.

Feed Sack Log Cabin, date unknown

Feed Sack Log Cabin, date unknown

Here is a detail of the machine quilting done by Nina Farrell, who got one of these lovely flowers in each red center.

Feed Sack Log Cabin, detail 1

Feed Sack Log Cabin, detail 1

For the back of the quilt, I used feed sacks and feed sack scraps from my collection.  I tried to use the wildest prints I could find, so they could be showcased on this big back.  Click on the photos to enlarge, and also see the detail below of some of the prints–crazy, crazy stuff.

Feed Sack Log Cabin, back

Feed Sack Log Cabin, back

Feed Sack Log Cabin, detail 2

Feed Sack Log Cabin, detail 2

All photography by Sibila Savage unless otherwise noted.

“Kinda vintage” quilt and more postcards

13 09 2013

Blue Check Sashed Squares

I describe this quilt as “kinda vintage” because all the pinks are vintage feed sack fabrics from my collection, and the multicolored plaid in the sashing is also a vintage fabric. These coarse feed sack fabrics often have wild designs, and I wanted to keep the square large to showcase these fun patterns, as well as to mimic the 30″s “utility quilts” , the quilts that the family actually uses, as opposed to those put on the bed in the guest room when company was visiting.

The blue gingham is the odd ball here, since it was found on the sale table at a local discount store.  The store had multiple bolts of this fabric available in October as the perfect choice when making a Wizard of Ox Dorothy costume for Halloween.  But it was perfect for my intended use as well.Blue CheckBlue Check Sashed Squares, 1999   61″ x 72″     Photography by Sharon Risedorph

And because the fabrics are so dominant, the quilting needed to be plain.  Simple single and double diagonal lines made interesting patterns withing the blocks and sashing units.

DetailBlue Check Sashed Squares, detail

This quilt was photographed for the wonderful book Cotton Candy Quilts by Mary Mashuta,  and my only regret is that I did not think to photograph the back of this beauty, since it, too, was made using vintage feed sacks, the really wild ones.  Click here to read more about the humble feed sack  and its place in quilting history.

This quilt has recently found a new home and I hope it will give some pleasure.

More fun EBHQ fabric postcards

Speaking of Halloween, I have gone a little crazy recently with these Alexander Henry Halloween fabric scraps from a long-ago (and still unfinished) project.  I love the wild graphics of the heads, and the color combinations are right up my alley, so I played and played.  I don’t think these are out of my system yet, so there may be more.


I even found a way to use these scraps when part of the image was missing.  This postcard thing is addictive.b

And just one more for some special relatives:

cEBHQ postcard people:  Send me pix of your postcards for this site.  I’d love to see what you have designed!

Red Baskets, a vintage quilt

31 05 2013

I know I have written this a thousand times, but I just LOVE this quilt.  Perhaps the key is that it is RED.

I found this quilt top on a trip to the quilt festival in Houston in 1995, and the sales tag indicated that it was made in Ponca City, Oklahoma.  Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia calls this block Unnamed Basket. This seems too vague for such a powerful form, but then I couldn’t come up with anything more creative either, so I kept it simple.03-Dague_4-2013med

Red Baskets                     69″ x 82″           Photography by Sibila Savage

Since I loved this top so much, I sent it off to Quilting Plus for hand quilting right away.  They did a wonderful job.

Here are some detail photos showing the great vintage fabrics.  Click on any photo for and enlarged view.



Red Baskets was featured in Mary Mashuta’s book Cotton Candy Quilts, which also includes a pattern for the block.

I also made a copy of this quilt for Mary’s book.  I used the foundation piecing technique, making the blocks in a manner similar to Fan Block construction.  For my small quilt, I wanted to use as many original vintage solids as I could find in my collection, as well as some of my favorite vintage fabrics and feed sacks.  This piece was both hand and machine quilted.

01-scan-Dague_2-2012medRainbow Baskets, 2000           33.5″ x 34″           Photography by Sibila Savage


Rainbow Baskets, detail

And while I was photographing the top for my journal, Maggie got in the picture, too.


Vintage Scraps

11 01 2013

Old Business:  I keep forgetting to add this, so here it is.   For anyone still guessing which fabric is non-vintage in the Dresden Plate detail photo in this previous post,  the correct answer is the multi-colored pansy fabric just below the blue plaid at 3 o’clock on the plate.  Somehow I connect this fabric with Debbie M., whom I helped make a Double Wedding Ring quilt top, but I could be wrong.  Ahhhh, memories built right into the fabric.

Slightly Newer Business:  And now on to more of my works using the vintage stuff.  To continue the history, once I had cut into the pieces in my vintage fabric collection for the Dresden Plate quilt, the floodgates were open.  I sought more ways to use these fabrics, while learning more about piecing and quilting.  What better way to self-teach than to find quilts that you love, and to make them for yourself.

Indian Hatchet String Quilt


Indian Hatchet String Quilt, 1993      59″ x 72″     Photography by Sibila Savage

Having taken a wonderful foundation-piecing class from Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood, I knew this would be a relatively simple quilt, using up many small scraps as well as strips cut from larger yardage.  The square blocks are made by sewing right angle triangles on either long side of a wedge that has been covered with fabrics using the flip and sew method.


Indian Hatchet String Quilt — Detail

Putting all the blocks together, with a solid inner border the same size as the original blocks, was quite simple.   The quilting was the hard part for me.  Since I had never done free-motion quilting before and knew this pattern was right for this quilt,  I had to create a “just do it” moment at an Empty Spools retreat at Asilomar, and then the work was done.  So much fun.  I wish the quilting showed better in the photo, especially so you could see my new favorite meander shape—the Mickey Mouse hand with four chubby fingers—scattered liberally in this quilting.  Also, any scrap that was at least 2.5″ wide ended up as part of the binding.  Usually I don’t think this works for a border, but it certainly works here.

At Sibila’s suggestion, we shot this on a black background, and I think this choice makes a big difference in how vibrant the quilt looks.

This quilt is featured in Mary Mashuta’s book Cotton Candy Quilts.