Category Archives: traditional block

Dreaming of Spring Reprise Again

“I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few or freedom for a few” William Morris


(Just an update – – I just got word that this quilt will hand the the “500 Traditional Quilts Exhibit” at the Internation Quilt Festival/Chicago, April 7-9, 2016.  It has also  hung in Internation Quilt Festival/Houston, 2014 and at Quilt!Knit! Stitch! 2015 in Portland, Oregon.  Then it will come home!!  I’m so excited about the attention that this quilt has gotten)

At the urging of a friend, I entered this quilt in a competition to be published in a book “500 Traditional Quilts-500 series” by Karey Patterson Bresenhan. This quilt was accepted for publication in the book and it may be on display with other quilts from the book at the 40th Anniversary of Houston’s International Quilt Festival this fall. I sent it off this morning on its journey (and mine). I am so excited about this and also still pretty unbelieving! Here’s a link to the actual book

dreaming 2

Another friend of mine, Danny La, took the professional photos for the book (these aren’t Danny’s photos!)

The quilt is hand appliqued, hand quilted and the design behind the tulips is stenciled on with Paint Stiks.



Filed under applique, historical quilt block, quilting, quilts, traditional block

Waiting, and waiting some more

“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?”
― Edgar Allan Poe

Thank goodness that there are quilts and quilting to think about. The vigil would be for less tolerable without color, design, and fabric to think about while listening for changes in respiration.

Life is kind of like a group of sampler blocks, with unique experiences and friendships of all different sizes and shapes.

This quilt was made about 15 years ago and center around French provincial colors.

The appliqué blocks are machine appliquéd with a satin stitch with Sulky threads to give them some sparkle and definition.


The quilt is hand quilted from the backside of the quilt. It measures approximately 50×60 in.


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Filed under hand quilting, machine applique, traditional block

Tumbling blocks and Dragonflies

One of the great joys in life is welcoming grandchildren into your life.  In them you can see the flickers of all those around them.  It’s miraculous to watch your own children grow, but watching the next generation simply takes your breath away.  Creating  a new quilt offers the chance to focus on that new life and all of its possibilities.

dragonflies copyThis quilt was created for the first grandchild.  It was inspired by the dragonfly fabric and enhanced with the tumbling blocks.

Finished: 2003

Size: 54×54

Machine pieced, machine appliqued, hand quilted

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Filed under applique, baby quilts, hand quilting, machine applique, original designs, quilting, quilting design, traditional block

Retirement and the joy of quilting

Retirement. What are you going to do with yourself? How are you going to stay busy? Are you going to travel? All well meaning questions, but not to worry. Now I can quilt as much as I want. All the ideas floating around in my head can finally see the light of day.


This is the first to come to the light of day as my work space is taking place. The gift certificate for retirement went right to the quilt shop!


The appliqué work on each corner is cut in one piece overplayed over each corner and hand appliquéd into place.

Size: 54×54
Finished: 2009

Quilt square around the compass is a modified “A Design in geometrics” published in the Kansas City Star. Oct. 24, 1956

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Filed under applique, hand applique, hand quilting, quilting, traditional block

The circle of life

We were told there would be good days and there would be bad days. What you can understand intellectually and the living of it on an minute by minute and hour by hour basis are concepts that exist in different dimensions. The cycling of hope, despair, anger, resentment, and unfinished business is incredibly painful. And to be sharing that experience with a group of people (brother in law and niece ) that don’t have common backgrounds and experiences are in the least eye-opening and can be painful and hurtful. Which reminds me of another quilt that I made and brings me back to the basics of life – my needle, my thread and my thimble. I’m not fully dressed or prepared for the day without my thimble. It goes on before my glasses!


The compass of life is shattered into the four corners but the circle of life condenses into the beautiful. Except, when you are experiencing the circle of life from a macroscopic perspective you can’t see the beauty of the circle.

I know that my sister’s circle will soon be beautifully complete but I am struggling with why it is so hard and painful to join that circle into completeness.

Finished: 2009
Size: 60×60
Machine pieced, hand appliquéd, hand quilted


Hand quilted from the back in variegated, multi colored thread with a similar design to the circle of life. Back is solid back.

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Filed under applique, art quilt, dying with cancer, original designs, quilting, traditional block

Surviving end of life with a loved one

My sister continues her journey with this vicious disease of cancer. I’m not sure right now which times are easier or harder—the times of lucidity and realizing where she is —or the times of drugged hallucinations. There is no better with this disease.

So I am left struggling with some thread of sanity in this journey. And that is my needle and thread.

I’m looking back today at some completed projects to try to find a thread of life free from pain and struggling.

This is a project completed a couple of years ago that I especially enjoyed. It started with a beautiful floral design in a Dover publication. I frequently try out a design in a small piece prior to starting a larger piece. I had these lovely, rich brown colors is my stash. One was a batik and one a paisley (which I am a thorough sucker for!). This is currently hanging in the hall in my sister’s house and I am passing it every day as I am trying to provide her some comfort.


I liked the way the original design worked. So I put the rich browns together with some creamy beiges and did a modified falling blocks design for a background, with the flower appliqué in the center. Then I added some corner appliqué. It was finished with a piping of deep purple paisley.


Sorry about the basting pins—the photo was taken before it was quilted.

Here is a close up of the central appliqué.


My final thoughts are —-Cancer sucks! And why does dying have to be so ——-hard!

Finished: 2010
Machine pieced, hand appliquéd, hand quilted

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Filed under applique, art quilt, cancer, dying with cancer, hand quilting, inspired by other design, quilting, traditional block

Dreaming of Spring

My sister continues her struggle with cancer, right now we’re working on trying to find the right balance for more effective pain control. This has meant giving up some decision making on her part because of the fuzziness caused by the pain control drugs. We did have a wonderful couple of day visit from her niece- my daughter and grandson. It was wonderful to see my sister light up and laugh and share good memories! This seemed to me like a little springtime in the midst of some ugly weather on our journey. Here is my interpretation of springtime.


If I am recalling correctly, I think the blocks are called railroad tracks. I love Jinny Beyer’s. Quilters album of Patchwork Patterns
and always turn to that resource for inspiration. I arranged the blocks to go from lighter to darker top corner to bottom corner. Then I stenciled a feathery plant with purple berries onto the upper left corner. Well actually, the berries weren’t stenciled but put on with a pencil eraser! On top of the feathery plant, I the appliquéd tulips.


Today, I needed a little spring in my life. So this was it!

Finished: 2000
Size: 60×72
Hand appliquéd, hand quilted, additional surface design


Filed under applique, art quilt, cancer, dying with cancer, inspired by other design, quilting, shiva paint stiks, stencil, surface design, traditional block

The Journey

Our journey with cancer began for my sister in 2007. She was so young (54) and had so much going for her. A PhD chemist with a long and successful career in research. A beautiful daughter. We were all stopped in our tracks. I made this quilt for her during her long diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Every stitch was filled with hope and optimism. I was able to spend the last week of chemo and radiation with her to try to buoy her confidence and just to get through that last week.


There were four years of celebration and recovery. The last year has had some major ups and downs. Two weeks ago, the latest round of chemotherapy was stopped because it was determined that it was probably doing more harm than good. What a shock! We were all hoping for another recovery. Hospice is now involved and we’re all trying to find our way on the next part of this journey.

When I got to Ohio last week, I found the quilt that was made with so much hope, laying over the back of the rocking chair in her bedroom. It’s still got all the stitches of hope and optimism, but they look a whole lot different now. The hope now is for peace, lack of pain and a safe and loving journey for all of us…..but especially for my little sister.

Size: 50×50
Machine pieced, hand appliqued, decorative machine top stitching on appliqué
Finished: 2007

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Filed under applique, cancer, dying with cancer, original designs, quilting, traditional block

Spirit Path

My sister has been battling cancer for the last five years. She has recently been taken off any active treatment and is in hospice. Despite living nearly all the way across the country from her, I have been able to spend quite a lot of time with her. When I am not with her my thoughts often are on the path that we are taking and I can see it reflected in my quilts. This quilt is in a traditional star pattern. American Indians often use the star in this arrangement to indicate the “Spirit Path”. We all are at some point along this path. The overlaid appliqué on the star is also of American Indian design and is meant to suggest the gradually growing blooming of our lives.


Both my sister and I love quilts and we’ve often talked about a trip through Amish quilt country. I went to Aunt Ruth’s Quilt Shop yesterday and came home and shared my treasures with her. I’m afraid that is as close as we’re going to come to our plan….
Size: 72×72
Finished: top finished, layered and ready to quilt! 2012

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Filed under applique, cancer, dying with cancer, quilting, quilting design, traditional block

Aztec pinwheels

This quilt started when I found the fabric that looked like mesoamerican inspiration. I loved the colors and choosing coordinating colors for the pinwheels.


I used the sand colored fabric to back the quilt. I treated the back almost like a whole cloth quilt and used an Aztec inspired design to quilt with variegated thread from the back.


Size: 50×50
Finished: 2007
Machine pieced, hand quilted
Fabric purchased at Stitchers Garden in Franklin, Tennessee

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Filed under Aztec, quilting, quilting design, traditional block