Black and White All Over–foundation-pieced triangles

21 09 2018

I have written about this piece while it was in progress in two prior posts, and it was finally finished in time to be shown at my guild’s exhibit, EBHQ’s Voices in Cloth, 2018.

During the process of making this quilt, I tried numerous times to include color of any kind, and did not succeed.  Frankly, the result is super-pleasing, to me at least.  Seems not to have impressed many others.  But then we do what we do because we are following our own compass, not to please others.

Black and White All Over, 2017


Black and White All Over, detail

I started this in Ashland, Oregon, while on vacation at a great house, attending many plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  I wanted a portable project, requiring limited baggage, so I took only my Featherweight and black and white fabrics, just to get a new quilt started.

I made my own foundations on freezer paper using an unthreaded needle on my machine.  I do not include a seam allowance on my foundations.  I learned to love foundation-piecing a billion years ago in a class taught by Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood at Houston.  I’m so grateful to them for sharing their expertise.

Freezer paper foundations

Progress started out slow, until I got into a good rhythm.

Day One

And then it got easy.

Day five


I even found a beautiful bowl for the fabric trimmings, which became its own fabric sculpture after a while.


And here is what most people commented on about this quilt, since this fabric was used often:


Still love it.


7 10 2016

I have finished 133 of these puppies, and I think that may be enough. They look kinda cool on the floor, so I am really jazzed about how they might look on my design wall.


And here is the fun one:










I will have to make a pile of half-triangles for the sides of the quilt and a few more blocks to see how I can get color into this piece.

Here is a sample, just because I happened to have this black-with-red fabric nearby. Don’t know if this will be enough color to compete with all this black and white.




And, now that I have finished all of these blocks, I am amazed to realize that I never once considered using the same fabric for all three sides of each of these triangles.  Oh, well . . .

Would have looked like this:



Maybe that is how the color can be used.  Hmmmmmm . . . .

And here’s another one of the CQP kits, just for fun:



A new project-finally

23 09 2016

Having finished a lot of previous projects, I am finally starting a new one, one I have been thinking about for a while.

I cut a ton of 2″ strips from black and white fabrics I had collected, probable cutting way too much, nothing new for me.  And next I  cut another ton of center triangles.  Loving the triangle shape these days.

Then I made about 140 of these triangle patterns using freezer paper.  These are the foundations on which the strips are sewn.


And here is the result of my sewing so far, not even halfway finished, but lots of fun along the way.  I’m still thinking about getting some color into all this neutral, but that will happen when I get all the blocks on the design wall.  Maybe some magic will happen.



And here below are all the scraps from trimming the extras off the edges of the foundations. I started throwing them into this nice bowl, and all of a sudden they were an arty project all on their own.  Gonna keep doing this and see how full it gets.




Purple Geese

29 07 2016

I just finished five quilts in time to get them photographed, quite a flurry of activity.

It was fun finally to finish this Flying Geese quilt, and I say “finally” even though I have no idea when I even started it.

When a class project more than 15 years ago did not turn out as I would have liked, I used all the fabrics I had gathered for the class and all the left over cut pieces and started sewing these geese on freezer paper, three geese to a block.  I worked on these randomly, and then there was a huge pile of them, which became this quilt top.

After that,  the top sat unquilted for the longest time.  The 2016 New Year’s resolutions to finish my projects really worked in this case, and here is the quilt that grew from that abandoned project.

artwork by Susan Dague

Purple Geese, 2016

59″ x 63″   

The quilting is very simple.  I wanted the plaids to do all the heavy lifting.  I think they do a great job.



Purple Geese Detail

And I gratefully acknowledge Gerry Roy and Roberta Horton for helping to nurture a love of plaids early on in my quilting life.  These fun fabrics are a a joy to work with, and I try to include them in everything I do.

If I had known I would love this one as much as I do, I’d like to think I might have finished it sooner.  Oh, well . . .


there’s one more, finished in 2009.  It’s probably the remains of the class project that did not please me and did not warrant finishing as a full-sized quilt.  Done. (Must have had strong New Year’s resolutions in 2009, too).

111_AllPlaids_medAll Plaids, 2009

42″ x 44″



Fans, or more fun playing with the leftovers

14 11 2014

Anyone who actually reads what I write here knows that I love to solve fabric puzzles.  Sometimes I make too many blocks for just one quilt, or just cut too much fabric.  And sometimes I feel like fitting together the leftovers from many projects into one new piece.

Fans is one of the former, because I made 28 of these foundation-pieced wedges, so setting them aside or throwing them away was not an option for me. Fortunately, Fans was  also one of the quilts that I describe as “making itself”, meaning that it went together very quickly and easily.  I only had to make two more blocks to complete the center.

Fans, 2014 59" x 68.5"

Fans, 2014
59″ x 68.5″

When making the Wheel Medallion quilt (click here to see that finished quilt), I made a classic medallion-maker mistake—I started sewing parts for the next border before finishing the center, so naturally, when it was time to add that border, it did not work for me, leaving me with this huge pile of these curvy shapes.

Here’s where I still thought this border might work:

Potential border-Phase one

Potential border-Phase one

And here’s where I gave up:

Potential border--Phase NO!

Potential border–Phase NO!

Using these “fans”  for the Wheel’s border seemed to detract from the center of the Wheel Medallion quilt, so I moved on to find something else, and I really love what this “mistake” helped me to create.

I had originally thought that Wheel Medallion would be a blue quilt, and, in the making, it turned out not to be the case.  So here I finally got the blue quilt.

Some details of Fans, a fun quilt all on its own:

Fans-Detail 1

Fans-Detail 1

Fans-Detail 2

Fans-Detail 2

Does this mean I now have started a series??


Adaptation—a vacation saga

3 10 2014

I had the privilege of vacationing in Ashland, Oregon for a week of relaxation and five great plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  The only difficulty was that I mistakenly left this lovingly-packed basket of travel handwork projects on my dining room table.  Nooooooooooooo!!!  The error was noticed immediately, when I wanted to relax at the cottage we had rented.

I wonder if anyone else would feel lost without something to keep the creative fingers entertained.

One lonely basket

One lonely basket

Soooooo,  bright and  early the next morning, I headed off to Sew Creative, an exciting quilt store on Main in Ashland.  I found this cute kit for paper piecing, which included a handful of pre-cut papers, as well as heavy plastic templates for cutting the fabrics.  I also bought a bundle  of Marcia Derse fat quarters, needles, some thread, and a few pins——-PROBLEM SOLVED!!


Progress by Day Three, peacefully working on the screened porch—very relaxing.

paper piecing process

paper piecing process

Now that I am back home I realize that I have created a monster.

Firstly, how did this project jump to the top of the To Do List?  Others have been waiting patiently, some for years.

Secondly, having chosen these very dramatic fabrics, how do I get them to play with each other without fighting?  I think these blocks look too crowded, although I really do like some of the triangle shapes that are created where the three hexagons meet.  Squint to see these.

Crowded blocks

Crowded blocks


I think these blocks will need to be separated.

Separated blocks

Separated blocks

Thus, thirdly, what can I possibly use to separate them that also does not fight with them?  My current solution is to keep making more blocks and hoping that things will all work themselves out eventually.  That’s about all the planning I can hope for right now.



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.

Red, white, and blue . . and brown???

12 07 2013

Even though my very first quilt ever was red, white, and blue, I have never been very fond of this color combination, especially after I discovered the power of yellow.

Perhaps the extra depth, created by the addition of yellow (in the form of brown), is part of what drew me to this vintage quilt top in Houston in 1994.

05-Dague_12-2012medVintage Foundation Pieced Octagons      71″ x 77″      Photography by Sibila Savage

 Just because I also love quilts that showcase a wide variety of prints and plaids, I include here two details here, so you can get a closer look at these gems, many of which are now being reproduced as “Civil War” fabrics.  Click on photos to get even closer.

05-Dague_12-2012_2Foundation Pieced Octagons, detail 1

This is truly a scrap quilt, and the below detail shows how some of the pieces in the octagons are also pieced together with even smaller scraps.

05-Dague_12-2012_4Foundation Pieced Octagons, detail 2

Collectors of vintage quilt tops will note that I have destroyed the value of the quilt top as an antique by having it hand quilted by Quilting Plus in the ’90’s.  Oh, well . . .

Because the top was so old and delicate, it was quilted sparingly, through the dotted square patches and around the edges of the pieced hexagons.

At least I remembered to take a photograph of the back of the top.  This photo shows how these hexagons were hand pieced onto scrap fabrics and homespun before being sewn into the finished quilt top.

VintageOctagonQuiltFoundation Pieced Octagons, detail 3

Yes, just one more.  Since it no longer exists, this quilt can be viewed only in a few candid photos of my first quilt, shown here in the process of being completed.  A select few of you will know exactly where this photo was taken.


Vintage Log Cabin Quilt

28 06 2013

A vintage quilt from my collection, this Log Cabin quilt shows the quintessential Barn Raising layout for the log cabin blocks.

This wonderful quilter has found a way to incorporate many, many fabrics that one initially would assume could not fit into this color palette, such as the greens, oranges, and yellows, as well as the dancing brown-and-white diagonal check.

The quilt as a whole reads pink and burgundy, and the addition of all these other sparkles makes it a much more complex and interesting work.

07-Dague_4-2013medVintage Log Cabin           75″ x 75″                  Photograhy by Sibila Savage

The detail view shows the bold colors, as well as the (for me) fun vintage fabrics.

07-Dague_4-2013_2Vintage Log Cabin, detail

Since many vintage quilts that I love have been an inspiration for my own work, I know that I have wanted to make one of these very, very traditional quilts myself, using my colors and fabrics.

After taking the foundation piecing class from Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood at the Houston festival, I learned all the techniques for executing such a project efficiently, but I have yet to start on such an adventure.

Still deciding whether to make the Barn Raising set or to try the more complicated Pineapple variation.  Hmmmmmm. . . . .


Callback to a previous post about “mistakes”:

Here’s an excerpt from Richard Diebenkorn’s Notes to myself on beginning a painting, seen at the current exhibit at SF’s DeYoung:

“Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.”


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.