Monday, April 21, 2014


16" x 21.5"
I have just a mixture of things to share today!

I recently finished this little bow tie doll quilt. It is a printed patchwork ("cheater" print) which is a good thing as the blocks are only two inches! Now I have an example of a cheater quilt in  my growing collection of styles in doll quilt size.
Of course, these little quilts are nice for table toppers or wall decor until the right little girl and her dolly come along!

I chose the simplest possible treatment to finish this one. I machine quilted along the 'faux' seamlines between blocks and brought the back to the front, top-stitching in place by machine.

Here's the most recent addition to my vintage quilt collection. I found it on the way from Arizona to Minnesota last month. I don't know for sure what about it attracted me to it but I just liked it! Notice the placement of light and dark value blocks......c. 1945

The blocks with darker fabrics paired  (instead of a light and dark)  are set around three of the edges forming a wide visual border. It is hand pieced and hand quilted.  Along two sides pieced squares have been added.
 As my friend said, 'It may have been more aesthetically pleasing without that blue and white block... but I'm glad it's there!" I gives us something to ponder!

The backing is mostly the aqua print but there wasn't quite enough so she has put a band of the white print at both the top and the bottom.  The size of the pieces she has seamed together may mean she used feed sacks.

...and I found two little articles of children's clothing I couldn't pass up...

Isn't this a sweet little dress? The amount of work put into a garment for such a young child is amazing to me. Bias trim, lace and little button closures.
Several pieces of fabric have been pieced together to get enough for the back!

 ...and  a precious little 'romper' in blue chambray and a woven plaid. I do mean little. It measures only 12" long.  Again, the detail; matched plaids on the front of the collar, a little pocket, pleated 'tie' and elasticized puffy sleeves. What the moms of that day wouldn't have given for the knit 'onesies' of today! I bet the babies would prefer them too. It doesn't even have snaps at the crotch! Yikes.

Both the dress and romper have hand made button holes.

Rompers or playsuits like this were popular wear for children the first half of the 20th century. 

Thanks for visiting! Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Introducing Inspiration.......Evelyn Nall

Today I am honored and proud to introduce you to my very special friend, Evelyn Ridgeway Nall.
I first met Evelyn when she requested a quilt appraisal many years ago. The very first time we met, we just 'clicked'. There was something special about our relationship and we both felt it. We always ended our time with a hug. Over the years I looked forward to getting a call to appraise yet another of her masterpiece quilts. The more I got to know her, the more she inspired me.

The  Save Our Stories program of the Quilt Alliance, is dedicated to documenting, preserving and sharing the stories of American quilters. I knew that Evelyn's story must be saved, too!
I asked her if she would be willing to sit down sometime and let me interview her. Last December I went to her home with my little hand-held cassette tape recorder (I taped over an old Linda Ronstadt tape!) and after a wonderful soup and salad lunch, complete with apple pie, all homemade by Evelyn, we sat down to talk. With her permission I am pleased  to share with you just a bit of her story. (link to full interview transcript at the bottom of this post)

In her eighty-nine years she has made both pieced and appliqued quilts - she estimates over two hundred. She likes traditional quilts best - quilts made to be used on a bed. She does fine hand applique and hand quilting. She especially loves appliqued borders - on either pieced or appliqued quilts. Failing eyesight does not stop Evelyn from having several projects going at a time. She has rigged up a magnifying glass that helps her with machine piecing.

She started making quilts by making a cardboard template and tracing around it; cutting with a scissors. There was no rotary cutter. There were no quilt shops. You bought your fabric at the Five and Dime. Today she calls herself  a 'gadget person'. She told me she recently bought a Precision Trimmer and some papers to make half-square triangles without stretching your fabric. If there is something that makes it easier she says, "Why not?"
She taught her daughter, Sandra, to quilt. They attend retreats together several times a year attend quilt shows, including the big show in Houston, Texas.

Bed Turnings:
She  showed many of her quilts in a bed turning at a local quilt shop and a crowd of over eighty people came. It was so popular that she received more invitations and traveled to several other cities and guilds across the state for encore presentations.
She begins her talk with the quilt she is holding in this picture. It has a very special place in Evelyn's heart as it is one of the few surviving quilts made by her dear mother, Bessie Lee Tanner Ridgeway. She was a an excellent seamstress and quiltmaker and a major influence and inspiration to Evelyn as she was growing up.
Then she shows her quilts, starting from the first quilt she made - a Sunbonnet Sue - which she laughs about. It was not at all square! She paid a woman $25  to quilt and bind it. She describes how the binding was tucked at the corners and how the family loved it but 'knew something was wrong! Even so, her granddaughter Erin loved that quilt and used it for many years. Evelyn laughs as she tells the story. She calls that quilt a 'hoot'!
Showing her quilts from the earliest efforts to her most recent creations allows her to share her philosophy about this craft that she  loves so much. She tells her  audience, " quilting there’s always something to learn...and you grow by doing it."

Not Anonymous!
Evelyn makes a label and takes a photo of each quilt she finishes. Unlike the fate of so many quilts, future historians will know who made it and where and when. She is proud of her work and believes it is important for people to know who made it.
All of her four children have quilts she has made. She has fourteen grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren and believes that all of her quilts will be passed along and cherished by her family in years to come.

A few examples of her beautiful work:

I hope Evelyn as been as inspirational to you as she has been to me. I believe she personifies the creative spirit of quiltmakers everywhere; learning, growing, sharing and loving the whole process.

 I intend to follow her footsteps and still be learning and quilting when I'm 89!

Have you compared your earliest quilts to more recent projects?
How have you grown and evolved?

To read the entire interview Click here