500 Traditional Quilts: look for the new book

22 08 2014

Soon to be released is this fun new book 500 Traditional Quilts by Karey Patterson Bresenhan, which just happens to contain 3 of my quilts.

Click here to see the book’s preview online, featuring my Food Quilt on page 19 of the preview.

I have written about these quilts before, but I’d like to brag and showcase them again here.

The Food Quilt, made entirely of vintage “kitchen” fabrics, reminds us of an era when all women sewed and made their own kitchen curtains, tablecloths, dish towels, and aprons.   I featured this quilt in this blog when I was describing my love of all things vintage, as well as my fascination with foundation piecing techniques.  Read the entire story of this quilt here.

The Food Quilt 74" x 86" Photography by Sibila Savage

The Food Quilt
74″ x 86″
Photography by Sibila Savage

A second quilt featured in this book is Dot to Dot, made for my daughter’s high school graduation.  It features only dotty fabrics and was a joy to work on.    Read its full story here.

Dot to Dot 74" x 83" Photography by Sibila Savage

Dot to Dot
74″ x 83″
Photography by Sibila Savage

The third quilt selected is Redwork Revisited,  which continues my celebration of all things vintage, this time incorporating vintage embroidery transfers..  This one was another in the labor-of-love quilt series, and please do not ask how long it took to make it.  Read this quilt story here.

Redwork Revisited, 2011 71" x 89" Photography by Sibila Savage

Redwork Revisited, 2011
71″ x 89″
Photography by Sibila Savage

I am very proud of all three of these quilts and quite pleased  they have received this recognition.

You can see these quilts in person at the International Quilt Festival Houston 2014.  Redwork Revisited will be shown in the Ruby Jubilee: Celebrating 40 Years exhibit, which will showcase red and white quilts.  The Food Quilt and Dot to Dot can be seen in the 500 Traditional Quilts exhibit, along with other quilts from the new book.

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.

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.


The Food Quilt: In My Grandmother’s Kitchen

16 11 2012

All through the 80’s and 90’s I collected vintage fabrics from a variety of sources.  The only fabrics I collected had to have two characteristics:   I had to like the prints and the fabrics had to be inexpensive.  I collected a lot of feed sacks and feed sack pieces, as well as cotton broadcloth, and soon I noticed I had quite a pile of fabrics with food themes, “conversation” prints, in the quilter’s jargon.  After making a couple of other quilts from vintage scraps, I started on the Food Quilt in 1995, finally cutting into some of the larger chunks of these “precious” fabrics.

Food Quilt: In My Grandmother’s Kitchen, 1997
73″ x 84″
Photography by Sibila Savage

[Don’t forget to click on the pics for viewing details of these quirky fabrics.]

The block pattern I used was this simple Square in a Square, after rejecting many, many other blocks that had a central square for showcasing these great prints.  Getting all the blocks together in a pleasing array was a challenge.

Even more challenging was the zigzag border.  When originally applied, the border made a mush of the design of the quilt block.  Adding the red check inner border did the trick, separating the two elements.  Removing the border, redesigning the corner and adding the new inner border was relatively easy because I had used foundation piecing for the original border.

Just beginning to try more machine quilting, I was fortunate to find a commercial quilting template that fit into the sashing of this quilt perfectly.  It seemed to take forever to quilt, but I love the finished product.

Food Quilt, detail

This is one of the first quilts when I was becoming aware of just how much fabric activity I could get into one quilt, lots and lots of shapes, colors, prints.  Still LOVE it.

Bragging rights:  This quilt was juried into the American Quilter’s Society show in Paducah in 1998.  Mary Mashuta wrote about The Food Quilt and my musings about it in her book Cotton Candy Quilts,  and the border and its construction are featured in Foundation Borders by Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood.

Kitchen Parade-A small quilt was made from the leftovers.

Kitchen Parade, circa 1998
19″ x 19.5″
Photography by Sibila Savage

It is fun-sized because the backing for this little piece was a single kitchen dish towel that had “Kitchen Parade” printed on all four sides, so the quilt was designed to be exactly the right size for the backing to be turned around onto the front to make a border.

I wish I could say that I had used up all the leftovers I had collected for this quilt, but there is still plenty of  vintage “food fabric” in fabric stash.  Surprising how little was used up for both of these works.  Plenty still for you–any takers???  Make me an offer.