Two vintage quilt tops–eye-popping color

7 08 2015

Here are two of my vintage quilt tops that I love a lot.  These are perhaps the oldest in my collection.

Beware–if you stare at these too long, your eyeballs might start to wiggle.

I decided to photograph them as tops and not quilts, since I don’t know when I will have a chance to get them quilted, and also because I might sell them and want to remember these two beauties.

artwork by Susan Dague

When looking at the detail photograph, I can see the really wonderful fabrics used in the half-square triangles of the main blocks without the distraction of the yellow and the cheddar overwhelming them.

artwork by Susan Dague


The second quilt top is a postage stamp pattern with really fabulous fabrics playing with each other.  Included in these small blocks are many lovely plaids and stripes.

artwork by Susan DagueThe plaids and stripes coordinate so well with each other..


I’m beginning to understand why I really like the Civil War reproduction fabrics, since they have much the same character as these authentic vintage fabrics.



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.

Vintage Fans Quilt

8 08 2014

Another from my vintage quilt collection, this former fan quilt top is now a quilt.  It is filled with really great vintage fabrics, some of which are strikingly unusual, and I wish I had a few yards of some of these.  These complementary colors of lavender and bright yellow create a very strong contrast, and provide a good background for these great fabrics.


Vintage Fans, date unknown 81" x 81" Photography by Sibila Savage Photography by Sibila Savage

Vintage Fans, date unknown
81″ x 81″
Photography by Sibila Savage

This detail shows some of the great fabrics.  This is a great quilt for the summer.

Vintage Fans, Detail

Vintage Fans, Detail

Also, if anyone interested in owning one of the cross-stitch pieces from the previous posts, contact me for details.


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.

The Laundry Girl

10 05 2013

Following the example of vintage squares as seen  in the most recent post, The Laundry Girl is also full of fabulous squares, but is a much more recent creation.

I wanted to experiment with the medallion format for quilts, which focuses on  a central motif, surrounded by different borders, usually made from varying sewing techniques.  When I started working in this form with a few fellow quilters, we found that adding these additional borders was not as simple as we had originally anticipated.

For this quilt, I cut apart an unused, vintage laundry bag found in an antique store and used  it for the center of the quilt.  The image and the writing were printed on the muslin, as was the pattern for hand embroidery.  I completed the embroidery, and chose the fabrics for the first border.  All the fabrics are from my vintage collection.

As soon as I put on the third border, the blue floral with patchworked corners, my original ideas for the remainder of the quilt no longer worked.  This medallion technique has been wonderfully challenging every step of the way, and it’s so much fun that I now have at least two new medallions in progress currently.


The Laundry Girl, 2013                57″ x 63.5″                 Photography by Sibila Savage

Here is a close-up of the charming laundress.


The Laundry Girl, detail 1

Here is a close view of some of these wonderful vintage fabrics.  I think these are great fun to look at.

LaundryGirlDetail2The Laundry Girl, detail 2

In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that there is one fabric in Detail 2 above that is not a vintage fabric.  Can you find it???   (Hint: it appears twice.)

My vintage feed sack stars

12 04 2013

I made this small quilt in hopes of its inclusion in Mary Mashuta’s book Cotton Candy Quilts, her book of quilts with a depression-era focus, and I was very pleased when she selected it for the book.

02-scan-Dague_2-2012smlEight-Pointed Star Lattice, 2000          34″ x 34″       Photography by Sharon Risedorph

For this quilt I used the same feed sack for the large squares, and the same vintage fabrics for the burgundy red stars at the posts.  However, there is a lot of  variety in the choices of the blues for the shapes in the sashing.


since I still had plenty of the blue patches left over from making the first quilt, I later made this next quilt, using for the large squares and rectangles all the wonderful feed sacks from my collection that had some blues and pinks on light backgrounds.

Quilt 6

Feedsack Stars, 2009                      43.5″ x 43.5″             Photography by Paul Hennessey

The prints are really fascinating up close (see detail below).  The burgundy stars here are all made from one feed sack.

Quilt 6a

Feedsack Stars, detail

For this second quilt, I loved designing an interesting quilting pattern for the feed sack squares.  I feel this added a little something extra to the piece.

The Latest News:     Just two days ago I got into Sibila’s studio for another photo shoot, so more, newer (and some much older) quilt stories will be coming soon.

More English paper piecing

5 10 2012
Mistakes ? ? ?

Some of the tessellated quilts in the previous post were made with 60° diamonds.  And I have another, currently stalled, EPP project-in-progress using these diamonds.  It has lost its momentum, and may be permanently abandoned.  Who knows??  This happens sometimes, and I’m trying not to feel as though I must finish all the projects I start:  too heavy a burden.  Feels good to work on the ones that sing to me.  These little guys are silent right now, and have been so for more than a year. 

I love all the vintage fabrics here, and I think I got stuck when I decided  I should have put sashing of some kind between the diamond units, but it is much more likely that I just ran out of gas and started something else.

A blog subscriber recently suggested that I include in this blog those items I considered “mistakes”, since we all make them and few of us celebrate them as part of our process.  Perhaps this one is a mistake, but it may be too early to tell.  Anyway, here it is.

Definitely not a mistake

Also made from vintage fabrics from my collection, and also using the EPP method, this time with hexagons instead of diamonds, this quilt is a current favorite.  I just kept sewing these one-patches together until it got to this size, and then threw on the borders.  The border in a button pattern was the only dark print that I had enough of to be able to frame this large piece.

Hexagon Charm, 2012
63″ x 75.5″
Photography by Sibila Savage

Through this blogging process I am beginning to see the body of my work take shape.  Previously it has been hard to wrap my visual brain around 215 quilts, so writing about them and showing the photos helps me do that.   As it stands now, I don’t see a consistent style, and wonder if that is necessary.  One of these days I may pick a style and stay with it.  Until then, I’ll  just keep dancing back and forth, in and around,  all sorts of styles, eras, motifs, techniques, etc.—doing what I’m doing.