Friday, May 30, 2014

Little Quilts Annual Garage Sale...this Saturday

Calling all quilters, patchworkers, and stitchers…..

Saturday May 31st – 10am – 3pm - 1 Day only…in our classroom you will find...
 select Fabric $3 yd. – Fat 1/4ths $1 each

Books, Patterns, models, quilts, dolls. patchwork blocks, and much more….

10% of the proceeds will go to Cobb County Battered Women’s Shelter.

Treasures galore…


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Patchwork of the Crosses

We have been working on Lucy Boston blocks for several weeks now, and, I thought you might like a little information about Lucy herself.

Lucy Maria Wood was born Dec. 10, 1892 in Lancashire, England.  She was the fifth of six children with two older brothers, two older sisters and one younger brother.  In her own words, from her memoir Perverse and Foolish, Lucy describes her home life as “a typically solid and affluent middle class Victorian family of committed Wesleyans.”

Lucy’s father, James Wood, was an engineer and sometimes mayor of Southport.  He was a bit of an eccentric, but Lucy adored him and very much admired him.  He was a small, dynamic man with a great sense of humor, very religious, and 20 years older than his wife.  Supposedly, Lucy bore a striking resemblance to him.

Lucy’s mother was only 20 when she married James.  She was one of seven daughters of a Wesleyan minister, and the marriage was more of an arrangement to get one of the daughters married off than a love match.  Lucy described her mother as extremely sensitive and delicate.  She bore a child every year as was expected of a dutiful Victorian wife, but had very few maternal instincts.  Lucy always felt her mother should have been a nun – she was very gentle, but extremely rigid in her religious views and in the inerrant truth of Scripture.

Prior to their marriage, James had a house built for the family he intended to have.  It was quite a house with religious friezes and Bible verses painted in every room.  The “triumph of his eccentricity” was the study.  James had visited the Holy Land and brought back many things with the idea of creating “a holy and uplifting room.”  The walls of the study were painted in a continuous frieze of the landscape along the road from Jerusalem to Jericho.  From the ceiling hung lamps similar to those that would have hung in Solomon’s temple. Recesses in the walls were divided with Moorish onion dome arcades.  Glass fronted cupboards held beautiful brass objects and other rarities.  It didn’t look as garish as it sounds, but was more like the gentleman’s room of a near lunatic according to Lucy.

What a strange couple they must have been.  James, passionate and highly religious but with an appreciation for the aesthetic side of life, and Lucy’s mother with her devout, abstemious ways.  In her role as wife of the mayor, Lucy’s mother would have been expected to do a lot of entertaining -something that must have been very difficult for her especially since her idea of food was that it was a sad necessity.  Apparently after her husband’s death, she began to think it wasn’t even necessary and there were many times when the children went hungry.  As Lucy grew up she seems to have inherited the passionate side of her father’s nature as evidenced in her own passion for art, music and nature, while much of her development into a young woman seems to have been partly driven by a need to cast off her mother’s repressive influence.

Lucy’s father died when she was only six and his death marked a huge change in the family fortunes.  Laws of the day left the widow with only enough money to keep the house together while each of the children was left with a small fortune to be spent on their education.  Consequently, all the children were sent to school.

His death also resulted in the family’s move to the countryside.  The move was supposedly made for her mother’s health, but whatever the reason, the children loved being out of the city.  The new house was on an estuary of the river Kent where they were free to wander woods and fields exploring the cliffs and coves of the river.  And so it was that at an early age Lucy developed an awareness of plants and gardens that fueled her passion for developing the beautiful gardens of the Manor at Hemingsford Way later in her life.

When her schooling was complete, Lucy enrolled in college to become a nurse, but left the University of Oxford after only two terms to work in a military hospital in France during World War I.  She was great with the wounded soldiers, but almost lost her job when the American charge nurse became outraged to see her sitting on the bedside of one of the patients!

Lucy married her cousin’s stepson, Harold Boston, who was a flying corps officer, in 1917. After the war they lived in Cheshire where Harold was the director of the family tannery.  Their only son, Peter Boston, was born in September of 1918. The marriage ended in 1935 after 18 years.

After the divorce, Lucy left England to study painting in Austria.  With the outbreak of World War II she returned to England and rented rooms in Cambridge where her son Peter, who was now 19, was an undergraduate. When she heard the house was available, she purchased the Manor, Hemingsford Way, which is near Cambridge.  With Peter, who had become an architect, she slowly restored the decaying house and gardens with a passion that she likened to falling in love.

She lived at the Manor for over 50 years until her death at age 97 on May 25, 1990.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

WWII Show and Tell treat

Sue stopped by looking for a backing fabric for this quilt top she finished with plaids, homespuns, and tiny blocks. While she was here, another customer who is a Native American, identified the pattern for the quilt as the Navajo Code Talker Quilt. During World War II, when military codes were being deciphered too easily, Navajo Native Americans were used to code the messages into their language – a language that only they could understand. The Navajo language is extremely difficult to understand except by those raised speaking it. Its tonal qualities and syntax make it almost unintelligible to anybody without extensive training and exposure. Also, there were no books available in Navajo for anyone to learn the language. It turned out to be the perfect coding system and the same code system was used in the Korean War as well. The tiny blocks in the quilt represent some of the code symbols. It was an interesting part of World War II history and was eventually made into a documentary.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Of Thee I Sing Quilt WINS

One of our teachers, Dena submitted her quilt to the quilt show sponsored by the Smokey Mountain Quilt  Guild. She got "the call" that her quilt won a prize.  She won third place and went this weekend to see it displayed. Way to go Dena.

Memorial Day Inspiration

Making pieced letters has never been easier using the book “Spell It With Fabric!” by Moda. Use JellyRoll strips and fat eighths to make all the letters of the alphabet. Book also includes a cute alphabet quilt. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to put a child’s name in big letters on the back of his quilt? Or make a quick banner like ours for the patriotic holidays!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wool Applique wonder

Paula loves primitive quilts and working with wool. She always brings fabulous Show & Tell to Primitive Club. Here is an assortment of some of her work - wall hangings, candle mats, even some wool Easter eggs!

Paula also brought this small quilt using scraps of homespuns and wool. Cute as it can be!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Patchwork of the Crosses

Block 3 will involve some fussy cutting for the center shapes. 

The fabrics I used for this block:

One of our blog participants sent some pictures of her four-hour round trip commute to and from work.  The beautiful ocean ferry ride takes only twenty minutes. . .

The not so fun part - waiting in the queue - unfortunately, takes the longest.  

Her commute has gotten a lot more fun now that she's doing POTC blocks!  Her first block is shown below. I love the bright colors, Annie!

If you'd like to see our Pinterest board with more blocks from other bloggers, click here.
Click here for the begining of our Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses Blog Along. Stitch along with us - it's addictive!
Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Who Loves Sunbonnet Sue?

Such a sweet Sunbonnet Sue quilt! Joyce embroidered all the blocks and chose a simple setting to highlight them.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Congraulatioins to Lisa Bongean

Mary Ellen was in Paducah and took picture of the First Place winner in the Longarm/Midarm Machine Quilted category. Winner is our good friend Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings shown here with her machine quilter, Linda Hrcka. We can’t stop looking at the quilting - it’s beautifully patterned and superbly done! Way to go, Lisa and Linda – it’s a work of art!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ready for Memorial Day

We love stars and everything patriotic here at Little Quilts and when summer gets here with the 
 Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day holidays all in a row we just want to stand up and cheer!   

There's still time to get patriotic wall hangings, table runners, and towels ready for the holidays with our quick and easy kits. The table runners and towels take only ten minutes to finish and they make great hostess gifts! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Patchwork of the Crosses

The first two blocks we’ve been working on have been fairly simple blocks to cut and piece.  From here on, many of the blocks will involve fussy cutting or custom cutting each shape.  Fussy cutting is the technique of cutting identical shapes from the pattern repeat, which, when stitched together will give you a totally new geometric or kaleidoscopic pattern. Sometimes the new pattern is so intricate and different it’s hard to recognize the original fabric it came from. 
 To be honest, it’s a technique that has always seemed a little wasteful to me because finding the exact same repeat may involve cutting out chunks all over the fabric leaving “Swiss cheese” when you’re finished, but the finished designs are so exquisite it is well worth the effort.  Fussy cutting is what makes these blocks!  Look closely at the blocks in Lucy Boston’s quilt and you will see many great examples of fussy cutting in her crosses.
Fussy cutting is a lot of fun, but it can be time consuming because the options are endless and sometimes it’s hard to make a decision from all the choices available!  As you practice this technique you will find it gets easier and faster.  
Here is the method I use for fussy cutting:

Use the acrylic honeycomb template.  The inside marked line is the exact same size as the 1” honeycomb papers.  Because the template is clear plastic, you will be able to move it around and see the pattern clearly in the center “window”.  The space between the inner window and the outside of the template is the seam allowance.  Notice that the seam allowance is 3/8” – slightly larger than the normal ¼” seam allowance quilter’s normally use.

If you have trouble visualizing how your fussy cut shapes will look together, use a Magic Mirror to preview the patterns.  Hold the two mirrors at right angles and the image in the mirrors will show the complete pattern of the repeat.  Slide the mirrors along the fabric and watch the patterns change just like a kaleidoscope.  Playing with the mirrors and fabric will give you ideas for repeats you may never have been able to visualize on your own.  Check out our web site here for information on purchasing a magic mirror.
Once you have identified the fabric motif you want to use in the center of the acrylic template, cut out the shape with a small rotary cutter. 
Tip:  The acrylic templates can be very slippery – I line the back of mine with InvisiGrip which helps to keep them from sliding around so much when I’m cutting. 

InvisiGrip is a clear, non-slip material made by Omnigrid that clings (like static cling) to the back of your rulers or templates with no gluing or residues.  Once it is on the back of your rulers, you can't see it, but it does help to prevent slipping. It is great for all your rulers.  Call the shop to order.
Revolving cutting mats also make the job of rotary cutting less awkward.  Call the shop to order.
If you find rotary cutting the shapes too scary, simply draw around the template with a pencil and cut on the line using a scissors.

For the Lucy Boston blocks you will need four (or multiples of four) identical shapes for the fussy cut blocks.  Once a repeat has been identified, try to look for identifying marks in the corners of the template window so that you’ll know exactly where to place the template to get the exact same repeat on the next shape.
In the picture below, the acrylic template has been placed on the fabric using the repeat I've chosen.  Look at the inner window and notice the red tips at the points of the shape, the centering of the flower, and the location of the stripes. 

Place the template in exactly the same spot and repeat the cutting process until you have the number of shapes you need.

It’s sometimes helpful for patterns with an intricate design to lay the first cut-out fabric shape on top of the acrylic template as the template lays in place on the fabric.  If you have it in the exact same spot on the repeat, the fabric on top of the template will just “disappear” into the fabric below.
After the shapes are cut from the fabric, center the papers and baste.  Be careful!   It's easy for the repeat to be slightly off if you don't get the paper centered properly or if you stretch the fabric.  This is why I really like using the glue to baste - it's easy to pull up the glued edges to reposition the fabric if necessary.
When the basting is done and you're ready to start stitching, pay close attention to the placement of each honeycomb to make sure they're positioned correctly.  With some shapes it doesn't make a difference, but with the fabric illustrated, the stripes on the edges are a little different and require careful placement (see below).  Also, notice how those red tips came together to form a flower right in the center.

And that’s all there is to fussy cutting!  It takes a little practice, but you’re going to love the designs you come up with!

Fussy cutting is possible with Inklingo.  Click here and scroll down to the video to find out how.

If you’re new to this Blog Along, click here to start at the beginning of the Patchwork of the Crosses series.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Great Block...

They say great minds think alike and in this case it’s Little Quilts and Fons & Porter. The cover picture of the April/May Fons & Porter magazine features the same Cross and Crown block we just used in Second Saturday Sampler. The block is so versatile and we love this patriotic version!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Beauty is...

Terry stopped by and showed us this wonderful quilt that she just finished. The quilt is our block of the month program from 2013 called “Bouquet for a New Day” by Sue Garmin. The appliqué is exquisite!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Patchwork of the Crosses

This week we will be working on another block. 

These are the fabrics I used for the block. For those of you who purchased fabric packs, these fabrics were in the April packs.

The floral center cross shapes were cut from the floral section of the stripe fabric and can be fussy cut or not – your choice.  The diagonal units were cut from the stripe portion of the same fabric.  To accent the blue in the striped fabric and to add additional color to the block, I surrounded the central cross section with a brighter blue fabric.   You will need four floral honeycombs, four stripe honeycombs, and 16 blue honeycomb units to make this block.

New fabric packs will be shipped on May 13.  Call to sign up if you’re interested in receiving some of the fabrics I’m using.  Fabric packs contain a combination of fat quarters and vintage eighths to total ¾ yd. of fabric and can be shipped to you monthly or picked up in the shop for those of you who are local.  Most of the fabrics I'm using are in the packs, but not all - I'm using some fabrics from my stash.

If you’re just joining us, check out the beginning posts of this “Blog Along” here.

If you’re hand piecing rather than English Paper Piecing, check out Inklingo  for a quick and easy method to get cutting and stitching lines on your fabric using an inkjet printer.

As always, questions and comments are welcome.  Let me know how you’re doing with your blocks!  If you email me pictures, I’ll post them on our pinterest board.

Happy Stitching! 

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Big Time Hexies

Mary is working on this bright cheerful hexagon quilt for her three year old niece, Grace. 
Forget that!! as good as it is, what about the purse!!

Sunday, May 04, 2014

You don't want to miss this..

Jennie finished the first quilt she made in the Marti & Me Club. The club is taught by Dena and features tips and techniques for accurate piecing using rulers and templates by Marti Michel. Looks like Jennie followed the lessons well – what a beautiful quilt!

Friday, May 02, 2014

And there is MORE....

Show and Tell #4!. No I am not kidding. We had snow and ice storms, remember?

Eleanor and her friend both went on a retreat to John C. Campbell Folk School. Eleanor had fun making the Carpenter’s Star Quilt and her friend, Flo made a gorgeous beaded bracelet.  

Sondra made this 90” x 108” T-shirt quilt top in one week! Her mother is retiring after 30 years of teaching and Sondra made this to surprise her. I’ll bet there will be a few tears shed over this gift from the heart.

  Susan made this beautiful tumbler quilt from a kit from Primitive Gatherings. The backing was made from fabric from her stash and left-over tumbler blocks. Gorgeous!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Patchwork of the Crosses

Thank you to all who have commented, called, or stopped by the shop to let me know how much you’re enjoying this “Blog Along”.  I’m just blown away by the huge response and very much appreciate all the positive feedback!  I personally, find making the blocks addictive, and it sounds like a lot of you are having as much fun as I am.   If you’re new, the Patchwork of the Crosses blog posts started on April 3, 2014, and continue to be posted every Thursday.   Check out older posts for tutorials, tips, techniques, and pictures of my progress on making this beautiful quilt.  It’s not too late to get started!

Many of you have asked about pre-washing the fabrics for this quilt.  There are several schools of thought on prewashing with advantages and disadvantages to both.  As you know, cotton fabric will shrink and, while it’s not a great amount, not all of it shrinks the same.  Because this quilt uses small amounts of a lot of different fabrics, it seems like it would be a good idea to prewash just to avoid the problem of uneven shrinkage once the quilt is finished.  Prewashing will also alert you to any fabrics that are not colorfast.

Some people prefer not to prewash because they simply don’t like to deal with all the fraying that occurs in the washer no matter how gentle the wash cycle.  Also, pressing all the prewashed fabric is not the most fun part of making the quilt!   Waiting to wash the fabrics after the quilt is finished means that the shrinkage occurs at the end of the process resulting in the fabric puckering up around the quilting stitches giving it an “old-timey” look that our grandmother’s quilts had.  Another big advantage of not prewashing is that the sizing remains in the fabric giving you nice crisp fabric to work with.  The crispness makes cutting easier with clean, smooth edges on your shapes. 

So the choice is yours!  Should you decide to prewash, fabrics should be washed the way you intend to wash the finished quilt. 

Adding Retayne (available in the shop) to the wash water will set the dyes to prevent bleeding.  Color Catchers (made by Shout and available on the laundry aisle of the grocery store) will absorb loose dyes floating in the wash water so they won’t deposit on your fabric – I recommend using these whenever you wash a quilt.

When pressing prewashed fabrics, I like to use Mary Ellen’s Best Press which adds the sizing back to the fabric – it’s not starch, but a starch alternative that comes in several different delightful scents (also available unscented) that makes the pressing process much more enjoyable!  Did I really just say that about pressing?  You have to try it to believe it!  Call the shop to order.

We received a beautiful book in the shop this week you might be interested in!  Imported from England where the book was written by Lucy Boston’s daughter-in-law, Diana Boston, “The Patchworks of Lucy Boston” is a fascinating look at all the quilts made by Lucy Boston.  There are no patterns in the book, but there are whole pictures of each quilt exquisitely photographed by professional photographer Julia Hedgecoe and accompanied by details of each quilt along with interesting stories about the inspiration for the project and how fabrics were obtained to make some of the quilts during wartime England.  Extracts from Lucy Boston’s letters and writings, a biography, and pictures of some of the rooms from the Manor at Hemingsford Way where Lucy lived make this a book you will enjoy from the first page to the last.  A limited number of the books are available on our website ( or in the shop.

Join me next week when we’ll be making another block.  Don’t forget to check out Inklingo if you’re planning to hand piece your blocks.  Even if you’re planning on using the English Paper Piecing method I’m using, you may want to consider Inklingo for printing your paper shapes.

Happy Stitching!