Thursday, August 20, 2020

Self Taught

Quackadoodle Quilt: Irish Chain Quilts   Have you ever thought of what is means to be self taught?  I have. Is it self taught when you get help from all the sewers and quilters that you know?

  I started sewing around the age of 12 and got my first sewing machine at 13.  My mother taught me what she knew about sewing and my father showed me how to run my first sewing machine.  Friends and family, like my Aunt Carol and college roommates, gave me pointers from time to time.  I became a seamstress who dabbled in quilting.  No formal education such as Home Ec or classes, no 4-H either.  Then, the quilting bug really took hold of me when I purchased my first quilting book, Quilt in a Day's Irish Chain.

  On occasion, we have had quilters come into the shop and proclaim that they are self taught.  They don't need our help because they say that they know how to quilt.  When you ask them about their quilt, you find out that they saw a picture and copied it.  Sometime, it is just an idea that they have.  They are very proud of the fact that they have never use a pattern--never read a book--never took a class.  I guess they learned by osmosis.  When we get the chance to see their quilt, it doesn't lay flat and is not square.  The seams don't match and the seam allowance varies from an 1/8" to 1/2".  

  The thing that I like about quilting is that we enjoy sharing.  It maybe a new pattern or technique or the show & tell of a finished quilt.  Of course, we enjoy discussing the quilts that were at the last quilt show.  Maybe, we are talking about colors, fabrics and the latest design.  One is always trying out a new trick or using an old one with a new twist.  From all this we are learning and expanding our quilting knowledge.

  In some ways, we are all self taught.  It all depends on how you receive your information and share it with others.

  Happy Quilting,


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Crown Royal Quilts

Crown Royal Quilt Patterns




    This week I have been working on a Crown Royal quilt.  For those that don't know what a Crown Royal quilt is, don't be embarrassed.

  About 20 years ago, I had a lady call and ask if I would make a Crown Royal quilt.  She said that she had the bags.  I said "yes" not knowing what it was.  It is a quilt, right--it cannot be that hard.  The next day, she came in with a box of purple bags.  Her and her husband owned a bar and had saved the purple bags for several years.  She wanted a queen size quilt, a checkerboard layout with gold satin.  That was my first Crown Royal quilt.

  Crown Royal is a Canadian whisky.  It comes in a purple bag with Crown Royal embroidered on it.  Over time, the whisky doesn't come in just the purple bags any more.  The quilt that I am working on has 14 different colors of bags and 4 different fabrics.  They celebrate different things such as NASCAR, football, or have a states silhouette.  They can be purple camo, burlap, polyester, cotton, faux suede or velvet.  The size of the bags range from cutting a 3 1/2" sq. to a 5" sq. of the design.

  Since that first Crown Royal quilt, many have been sewn on my machine.  The first thing that I do is clean my machine because the bags create a lot of lint.  Next is to wash the bags to remove any odors from the bar or be stored.  Then, cut them apart.  I remove the seams because sometime the stitching melts when it is ironed.  Now, I have three pieces--the front with Crown Royal on it, the back and the side pieces.  Once that is done, I create a layout for whatever number of bags the customer has give me to work with.  If they have given me enough of the same bags, I can used one of the patterns that I have written as a layout.  The nice thing about it is that each Crown Royal quilt takes on a look of it's own.  When the quilt is done, it is time to clean the sewing machine again.

  Check out the purple bags pattern on our website at

  Happy quilting,



Friday, July 31, 2020

The Bee's of Quilting

Honey Bee Bumblebee Drawing Clip Art, PNG, 570x596px, Bee, Artwork, Beak,  Beehive, Black And White Download  Have you ever thought of the Bee's in quilting?  We know about the Quilting Bee.  Those type of Bees refer to a group of people getting together with a common interest, such as quilting, knitting, sewing or etc.
  I am talking about how many B's we use in the process of making our quilt.  Lets start with a Book that contains the Block designs that we will use.  Next, is picking the fabric.  Will we chose Batik or Broadcloth?
  Along with our sewing machine, needles and thread, there are Brass pins and lots and lots of Bobbins.
  As we cut our pieces, some will be on the straight of grain and others will be on the Bias.  Are we going to use the Blind hem stitch on our applique or another stitch?  Maybe, we will add Buttons to the quilt when it is finished.  How many Border are we going to add to our quilt?
  Maybe, we are not making a quilt today but a Bag.
  As we continue with our project, we will need some Batting and Backing fabric.  Are we going to Baste it or use Basting spray so that we can tie it with cute little Bows?  This all depends on how we plan on finishing.  If we are taking our quilt to our long-arm quilter, there we can pick a quilt design of Blossoms, Bubbles, Berries or Birds.  Maybe, Butterflies are chosen this time.
  The quilt is back from the quilter and it is time to Bind it.
  The quilt is finished for us to admire.  It is Bold and Beautiful.
  Happy Quilting,

Friday, July 24, 2020

Go Denim


  Occasionally, we long arm a quilt made from denim jeans.  Some of them are easy and lay very nice and flat, others are heavy, bulky seams and nasty old—old denim.
   Several years ago, I made an all denim (old jeans) quilt for a customer.  She insisted that it had to be queen size.  I let her know that it could be very heavy for sleeping under but queen size was what she wanted, so a queen size is what I made.  A few months later, she brought the quilt in and asked if I could cut it in half and make it into 2 quilts for her.
Yes, I could do that and she told me that it was too heavy to sleep under.  The first thing to think about when making a denim quilt is the size of the quilt versus the weight.
  A few weeks ago, we had an all denim (old jeans) quilt was brought in to be quilted.  It was huge and made with denim squares.  They had included D-rings and belt loops within the quilt top.  We can handle the size and stitch around the D-rings and loops but it was the seam intersections of the squares that were the problem.  They were bulky and didn’t lay flat.  This made it impossible for the machine to go over them so we had to go around them.  Slow and steady we got the quilt done. 
  My point is that if you are going to tie the quilt, the bulky intersections are not as problematic.  Maybe consider a design or layout that will stagger the seams for easier quilting.  Adding a cotton fabric to the mix can make the seam allowances less bulky also.
  When working with old denim jeans, use sharp scissors or blade maybe pinking shears to help with the fraying.  A heavier needle like a 14 or 16 and a 1/2” seam allowance can be helpful.  Lengthen the stitch length by .5 (go from 2.5 to 3). Any of these adjustments may help make the sewing your denim quilt easier.
 Find that old denim and have fun.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Is it Square or Not?

Is it Square or Not?
   Not long ago, I was long-arm quilting a pieced quilt top for a customer.  It was not square.
   To have a quilt measure up to 2” off has happen before but this one takes the top prize.  Most quilts are not square because of how the borders are added.  This quilt had a pieced border on the top and bottom.  (or so I thought it was the top and bottom.)  Then a single small border around the whole quilt top.
   When we long-arm, we measure the quilt through the middle both for length and width.  This quilt measured 90” x 92”.  No problem, you are thinking.  The backing and batting are attached to the quilting machine.  Now to add the pieced quilt top.  While placing the pieced border across the top of the machine, I noticed that the sides seemed to move inward like a hourglass.  A quilt can have a hourglass look until it is smoothed out and basted.  I proceeded to baste the quilt across the top.  Now, baste down the sides of the quilt.  The sides moved inward by 2” on both sides.  Luckily, I had picked a design that could easily be adjusted to fit the quilt as it shrink.
  As I continued to stitch the quilt, I also measured the quilt to make any necessary adjustments as needed.  When the quilt was all quilted, it looked fantastic.  What I thought was the top and bottom was actually the sides.  The quilt stayed a consistent 91”-92” long but the sides went from 98” to 90” in the middle to 96” on the opposite side.  No way could I square up an unsquareable quilt.
   So much for being square.
          Terry                                (The quilt pictured is one of mine)

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Don't Destroy My Quilt

Don’t Destroy My Quilt

  As I was listening to all the destruction that is happening, quilts and quilt blocks came to mind.  (My mind wonders to quilting often.)  Do you realize that a lot of our quilt blocks were named for famous people, places or events.
  Every U.S. state has its own quilt block and many of the cities or places within that state does also.  Such as Ozark Trail, Rocky Mountain Puzzle, and Savannah Star to name a few.
Clay's Choice
  Some blocks are named after everyday people as Aunt Eliza’s Star, Kelly’s block and Clay’s Choice.  Who was Aunt Eliza, Kelly or Clay?  How great it is that a quilt block was named for them.
  Some blocks describe people as Old Maid’s Ramble, Farmer’s Daughter, Little Giant and Contrary Wife.  How about the quilt blocks that are named for objects like Snowball, Shooting Star and Lucky Clover.  That list can go on and on and on.
Lucky Clover
Some quilt blocks have ethnic names in them as Mexican Star, Greek Cross, Irish Chain and Indian Trails.  None of these are indented to insult anyone.  With what is going on today how are we suppose to know?
  We have quilt blocks that depict politics—Tippecanoe & Tyler, Too, Eisenhower Star or Lincoln’s Platform.  Historical places or events—Whitehouse Steps and Lindy’s Plane.  Religions—Walls of Jericho and Jacob’s Ladder.  Battles—Hull’s Victory, Battle of the Alamo or Burgoyne Surrounded.
Hulls' Victory
  We name quilt blocks based on that moment in time, whether it be a person, place or thing.  For us, quilters, they are beautiful blocks that we enjoy putting in our quilts.  You don’t have to be from Ohio to like the Ohio Star or be Irish to make an Irish Chain.  Are we now suppose to eliminate those quilt blocks because they might offend someone?  If we do, will there be any quilt blocks left?
  Even baseball has a quilt block called Baseball.  But if you are not a baseball fan maybe you will be offended.
  So PLEASE don’t destroy my quilt.