Feathered New York Beauty?

featheredstarWe all have lots of ideas for quilts that are collecting dust in our brains.  Have you ever tried to combine several of those ideas into ONE QUILT?  I love Feathered Star quilts, and did a wall hanging for my oldest son a few years ago with one large Feathered Star on it.  But I want to do more – on a quilt for me.  I also like New York Beauty quilts.  If you’re a regular reader of Michigan Quilts, you’ve seen me mention my recent fascination with the color gray lately.  Santa brought me some beautiful fabrics, and I added more to the pile when I went shopping on Saturday with a friend in Lansing.

1E-3D-126C-234-MichiganMSUMuseum-a0b8i6-a_8092I think I’m going to combine all of those ideas into one quilt and see what happens!  Kind of a “Gray and Red Feathered Star Beauty.”  Yeah, I think I like that idea!  I don’t have EQ, so I need to get busy with some graph paper and see what develops.
Yes, I know, I need to just invest in EQ and take the plunge.  I love working on computers, and I like being able to see the design in front of me, rather than just relying on my (aging) brain for details.  But learning a new program takes time, and I’d much rather be fondling fabric that touching the keyboard of my computer.  I’m on the computer all day, for goodness sakes!All of the fabric is washed and ready to be pressed.  I think that’s what I’ll do tonight while I watch television! 

So after I post this article and picture, the computer is going off and the iron is going on.  Wish me luck!

   Sean’s “311” Quilt (Hard to get a good picture of it, as it hangs over their stairway) with Flying Geese border

So after I post this article and fabrics1picture, the computer is going off and the iron is going on.  Wish me luck!

The beautiful red fabric in my pile is called “Angels Watching Over Me,” and it has a very faint pattern with gray swirls on it.  The song by that same name keeps going through my brain and won’t leave (I think they call that an “ear worm”).  But I opted to hand wash the red fabric, and I’m glad I kept it separate from the other fabrics.  I threw it into the sink with hot, hot, hot water, and it ran, ran, ran.  Four washings with detergent until the water ran clear, the another washing and sitting with Retain, then a dunk in cold water.  Please do not EVER use your fabrics without prewashing them!  If I had put that into my quilt without washing, it would eventually have run all over my lighter fabrics and ruined the whole thing.  I know, use “color catchers.”  I will still use them, but that much red dye isn’t good no matter how many color catchers you have.

Don’t say I haven’t warned you!


You can see more Feathered Star pictures here,
And more New York Beauties here.

Mom’s Featherweight Singer, circa 1937


Special thanks to the Woodworker for detailing mom’s old Singer Featherweight sewing machine for me today.  This machine (Model 221-1)has been in my basement since 2008 when Dad told me to take it home with me.  Mom passed away in the spring of 2007, and for awhile he didn’t want to part with it.  Mom always intended me to have the machine, but I honored his need to have it in their house. 

My mom received this machine as a gift from her Aunt when she graduated from high school.  She sewed all her own clothes, and when I was adopted, she sewed most of mine until I was about 8.  She made all my dresses for high school dances (except for one), including my prom dress.  Everything was sewn on this machine.

So Mom’s machine has been in my basement for a few years.  I couldn’t bring myself to bring it out and put it to use, as it brought back so many memories.  Now I want to let the machine continue her work, so dear hubby was kind enough to go over the machine today and clean it up.  It was in pretty good shape and fairly clean.  Now I need to learn how to use it!  It threads differently than my old Bernina and Pfaff machines, and it has only two stitches:  forward and backward. 

I know I can do this.  Mom’s up there watching over me. 

Thank you, readers, with a GIVEAWAY!

A big thank you to all my readers for reading and supporting this quilting blog.  I love writing and sharing about quilts, and appreciate you being there to follow what has been going on in my world.

As a special thank you, I’m hosting a giveaway of my second book “Contemporary Quilts From Traditional Designs. I don’t like blogs that make you jump through hoops to win something, so just leave a comment and say hello, and you’ll be included in the drawing on February 1st.  It doesn’t matter where you live, as long as you’re on our planet.  Passing the word along to your friends would be appreciated as well, but I’m not going to hire the blog police to make sure you do.


Thanks, also, to Annemart for her great article on me.  I’m blushing…

So leave a comment, then go quilt something.  By hand, please.


Yes We Can, Jane quilt update number 6

I have three pretty UNglamorous and UNexciting pictures for you today to share the quilting progress thus far.  Showing the back of the quilt actually makes the progress easier to see than the front, as the quilting that I have done since update number 5 is all straight lines at the seams. 




Because these pictures are so boring, here’s one to make you smile (at least it makes ME smile!)

Our little biker baby Fischer…


Sound asleep…

An Adopted Album Quilt

This is a quilt top that I purchased back in the late 1970’s – early 80’s.  I loved the scrappy look of it, so I hand quilted it as it was and kept it for several years until I sold it.  You can still find some good buys on quilt tops if you know where to look.  Tim Latimer, also a hand quilter from Michigan, has found many beautiful tops and blocks and given them life by hand quilting them and seeing them to completion.  It’s kind of like adopting a rescue dog or cat.  You take it the way it comes to you, you give it love and attention so that it can be the best it can be.

Go ahead – adopt a quilt!

A Smattering of Fabric


A pretty applique quilt I sold years ago on Ebay…It looked like a kit to me.


This quilt was fairly heavy with a thick cotton batting.  I no longer have this one, either.


I found this photo on the Internet years ago… the person who owned it lived in Greenwich, Connecticut.  I love the layout, but my!  What a lot of work!


I love a good Snail’s Trail quilt!  This one caught my eye…

Isn’t this a cute border?!?!


These pictures came from random folders on my computer.  Now, I am keeping photos like these on Pinterest so I can capture more information about the photo.  If you want to be on Pinterest and need an invitation, let me know.

Random Thoughts on a Saturday

I miss George Carlin.  Really! Click on his name to watch one of his clips.


My old Bernina needs a trip to the doctor.  Going to call him Monday.




This quilt on my bed needs to be replaced.  It’s getting all frayed, and has a few places where the seams have come apart.  SIGH.  I have a new one in mind, but I just need to create it.




I like this leaf.  I have a quilt in mind that uses this leaf.  Stay tuned… for a few years.  It will happen.



It finally snowed in Michigan.  It took a long time, but there’s snow out there.  In my mDSC02271ind, I went walking along the river in the snow.  It was so serene.  In my mind.  Outside of my mind, I cuddled with the cat on the couch all day and studied.




Please say a prayer for the Nickell family from my town.  They are preparing to bury their Eagle Scout on Monday.  God, please wrap your arms around them all.

The Applique Stitch

Let’s take a quick look at the hand-sewn applique stitch used on quilts. 

What should it look like?

First, it might be good to look at what it should NOT look like.

Note:  Brass pin is 7/8 inch long.  This is a ‘photo slice” of a section of applique’ that someone sewed.  The applique’ is very loose and  stiches are between 3/16th to 1/4 inch apart. If this applique were on a quilt on your bed, it could very easily get caught by something – your toe, a cat or dog’s claws, a clothes hanger… and pull it right off.  Seriously, I can put my little fingernail between the applique and the background fabric.  Applique should be sewn with very tiny stitches, very close together and in such a way so that the thread is barely visible. 

When I first looked at this sample, I thought the maker had used pearl cotton instead of regular sewing thread.  The thread looks thicker than regular thread.  But after close inspection at the front and back, I can see that it is quilting weight thread, DOUBLED. Applique thread should be of regular sewing weight or lighter.  The goal is to not SEE the thread at all.  The thread should also match the fabric color of the piece being stitched, or as close to it as possible.  For a multi-color fabric, use a neutral color such as grey for your applique. 


The thread has been matched to the fabric color, and stitches are barely visible.  You have to really look hard to see them.  Stitches are approximately 1/16th inch apart.


Thread matches fabric color.  Stitches cannot be seen and are approximately 1/16th inch apart. Amazing and perfect! 

And yes, I know, there is a grey cat hair on both photos above.  Bad Stormie, Bad kitty!

Go pull out some of your applique and take a close look.  How does your work compare?


Published by Caron Mosey at Michigan Quilts! 2012.