Lots To Talk About

Don’t I always have lots to say? Yes! But today I made a list of things.


First of all – who uses Best Press? Our friend Gloria said her quilt guild published the recipe so I feel like I can pass it on.

24 ounces distilled water

3 tablespoons vodka – the cheapest kind

2-3 drops of essence oil such as lavender

Use in a spray bottle.

Jo in Wyoming who sews with the inmates wants me to thank all of you who sent her gift cards, etc. For those who did not include your name and address, please know she would have liked to thank you herself.

On that same subject – Connie and I worked on orders this morning – how many times do I have to remind you to tell us what pattern you’re ordering? If you haven’t specified and you get a pattern that you didn’t intend to order, there will be no refunds and no additional patterns sent.

A couple of notes about the Bullseye quilt – next Tuesday I’ll talk about borders and the following week I’ll talk about the quilting. The original finished quilt measures 58″ x 74″. I’m going to make mine bigger so I won’t have it on the quilting machine just right away but I’ll show you a couple different ways to have it quilted.

Here’s the story behind the Bullseye quilt. In 1998 we took Aunt Amy’s original sampler quilt to market because it was 100 years old that year and our friends at Martingale saw it. Here it is today.

My mother’s aunt made this quilt in Britt, IA in 1898 – it’s embroidered on a block. Martingale picked 12 blocks that they wanted us to make into quilts , one of which was a traditional curved seam bullseye block. Not wanting to sew curved seams led to this raw edge block. We had no idea if this would work but it did! After quilting and binding, we washed the quilt to come up with this soft and cuddly quilt that then appeared on the cover of our book “Quilts From Aunt Amy”.

Connie is lagging behind on her pincushions but we’ll give her a pass because she’s making two quilts for her son Joe who is a dentist in Des Moines. Connie’s husband Roy is a dentist in Garner and has always decorated his office with quilts. When it’s chilly in the office, patients can request a quilt to keep them warm while their teeth are being examined.

I am working on another Bonnie Hunter quilt using my brother Jim’s shirts. Here’s one block.

And here’s a few rows put together.

The only fabric I added was the red. Now to finish piecing and get it quilted for his wife, Barb. Hope she doesn’t read this blog – I’d like it to be a surprise!

Look at these sweet vintage Valentines sent to me from a reader.

How about making a quilted Valentine for someone special in your life? Order our I Love You pattern for $3.00 which includes postage. We’d so appreciate an address label as well. Since we have other patterns still available, you must specify what you’re ordering.

Our new book “Beyond The Battlefield ” will be available very soon. To receive your autographed copy send your check for $29.50 (includes tax and shipping) to Country Threads, 2345 Palm Ave. Garner, IA 50438.

Tomorrow I’m going to review several new books – very fun for me to really look at a book closely to see what I’m going to make next!

And I will close with a short description of Hazel’s most annoying behavior. She just has to chase the ball endlessly until we take it away from her. I had to get a Chuck-It because I can’t throw it far enough.

What makes this even more annoying is that Lucy, Connie’s yellow lab, used to have the same behavior and I always said I was so glad my dogs didn’t do that. And then came Hazel!

That’s it until tomorrow when we look at some great new books on the market!

62 thoughts on “Lots To Talk About

  1. Ann Barlament

    There was a pear tree in the back yard and any pears that hit the ground, were picked up by Buck our Black Lab. He too would want that endless toss game, except when he got tired of chasing it…Buck would sit down for a snack!

    Maybe you could change the ball into something edible? Hahaha

  2. carol

    Dear Mary, Thank you so much for the back story on the Bull’s Eye quilt, as now I can appreciate it even more. I’ve truly enjoyed quilting along with you and absolutely loved seeing the original Aunt Amy sampler – so inspiring! I just wanted to send you some warm hugs from the cold Canadian prairies.
    p.s. I have had a few ball-obsessed dogs (border collies) and completely ‘get’ Hazel’s energy
    carol xox

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Carol – thanks for your note – the story is inspiring to me even today. Someday I’ll tell the story about Aunt Amy. I think we have your cold Canadian air today with temps going to 20 below tonite with 30-40 mph winds from the NW – yikes! And those ball crazy dogs!

  3. Mary R. in Louisiana

    Love your posts, Mary. I will be sending a check for your “I Love You” pattern. Hazel looks to be a handful. I have two older labs, but both are quite different. Maggie (black) loves to chase the ball and anything you throw. Molly (white and 110 pounds) is quite lazy and doesn’t chase a thing. She’s afraid of her shadow and sleeps in the bathtub! Love all the quilts you are sewing. Wish I could find the time to finish my quilts.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Mary R in Louisiana- why does Molly sleep in the bathtub? A secure place? Maybe Maggie won’t bother her there? Any dog that loves to chase a ball is a handful, I think!

  4. Felicia Hamlin

    Love the colors on the shirt quilt! Mary, it sounds like you had to eat your words about the ball chasing dogs, wait a minute! That doesn’t sound right, but I think you know what I mean. One thing for sure, Hazel is so stinking cute!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Felicia – good morning! We think Hazel’s pretty cute, too, but she does have lots of energy – not good on these cold days when she stays inside.

  5. Cynthia Sabinske

    I am working on the bulls eye Quilt getting the squares vpcut , and wondered opif it would be okay to use the left over cut out cupircles from the back of the circles for the 4″ circle in the assembly of the block. Jipust thought it might work for re ycling the left overs we cut away.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Cynthia Sabinske – yes! That’s why this quilt never ends – you’ll always have circles to use on another block or another quilt even which is my plan.

  6. Karen Gaither

    I love that Roy & Joe use quilts for patients to keep warm. My dad is a retired Oral Surgeon and he had really soft blankets for his patients, it never crossed my mind to offer to make him quilts. I am not as nice a Connie! lol

  7. Norma

    Was Lucy the one who stood outside the shop until someone would throw the ball for her? I had a good time doing that on one of my (few) visits!
    The bullseye has always attracted me. I had started cutting squares years ago so this SAL was perfect!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Norma – YES!! That was Lucy! And thank you for taking the time to throw the ball for her.

  8. Kathie Richards

    I just lost my Jack Russell, Snickers, 15 years young to cancer. All Jacks are that way about balls and I had to put Snicker’s balls in the freezer if we were done with it! Only place she couldn’t smell them but if she saw me put them there – another story. Jacks are the best!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathie Richards – I have never had such a ball-obsessed dog – ever! It can get pretty annoying after awhile. Thank God I own two Chuck-its – one was Lucy’s that Connie gave me.

  9. Diane in WI

    My daughter’s yellow lab mix loves the Chuck-It. I wish I had invented it. Aunt Amy’s quilt is wonderful. What a lovely heirloom! We received another 6-8 inches of snow yesterday and part of today. Now we are bracing for the terrible cold that is on the way. I always worry about all the animals that are out in it.

  10. Kathy in western NY

    I am so use to precise pieced quilt patterns that the bullseyes quilt was just what I needed after the holidays. It was relaxing to cut squares of neutrals, mediums and darks that didn’t need to be matchy matchy. It was so out of my comfort zone to have raw edges, but I think it did me a world of good!!! And I am looking forward to next week for quilting ideas cause I don’t have the vision of looking at a quilt top and knowing what to do with it. One of the things that sticks out at me is the term “ quilt as desired” and I just draw a blank at that point. So I appreciate your guidance tremendously, Thank you for the time we got to catch up with you today!!!

  11. Diane Bauer

    You asked why we love the Bullseye quilt. For me, I love the freedom that comes from not having to worry about matching fabrics or corners or worrying about if my circles are perfect and centered properly. It has been so relaxing to watch it unfold with so many different fabrics all magically working together. I also love scrap quilts and this one has been an incredible opportunity to use a wide variety of different fabrics to get the look I love.
    I’m hopeful you will lead another quilt along in the future, because this one sure has been fun! I’m going to go in search of the July 2015 quilt and hope maybe that’s the next one!

  12. Kathy Roloff

    I have to laugh about Hazel and her ball obsession. Our dogs have all been workingdogs. Charlotte. A Bernese Mountain dog, looked at us like we had lost our minds when we threw a ball. She was wondering just who was going to get that! Not her!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy Roloff – Charlotte would be an easy dog to live with, I think,

  13. Jackie Baumhauer

    I was at the vets and there was someone who had a JR just like Hazel. She swears her dog is part mountain goat. I had to laugh because of all the pictures of Hazel on the table and on the top of a chair. What a little character!
    Love your quilt with the shirts. Your sister-in-law will love it.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jackie Baumhauer – I can’t wait to quilt it and then show it to you!

  14. Karen Cottom

    I would e one of them that didn’t specify which pattern I wanted. Sorry! I would like the valentine pattern

    Karen Cottom

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Karen Cotton – looks like we filled your order today – don’t remember what we sent you.

  15. Diane Bauer

    Mary, I love the quilt you are making out of your brother’s shirts. Barb will love it! The pop of red is a perfect addition!
    Aren’t ChuckIts fantastic? I use one with my Goldens and it helps me wear them out! I have to toss underhanded for Skyler, the younger one, or she can’t find the ball. We walk when the weather is conducive to my being out. I’m so ready for spring though we honestly really haven’t had anything I’d call winter yet.
    I’m running into town to check to see if I can get a pattern for a tomato pincushion—the Loopy Ewe has been out of the pattern since their staff started making them to display on the cutting table and the cash wrap. They sell the cutest pin sets called Just Pins (from Just Another Button Company)—have you seen them? I thought I could make pin cushions for gifts paired with some fun pins. Another good way to use up some of my stash.

  16. Dianne H. in Ohio

    Hi Mary,

    I love the Bullseye quilt. I plan to make one eventually. Last week I decided that I would not start a new project, ( I really wanted to ) but instead finish several quilts that I started making this year and even one from two years ago. I had set them aside to start on something new and never got back to them. I just finished a Christmas lap quilt for my daughter that I started in 2017 for Christmas that year. She will be getting it this coming Christmas. Now, on to a king size quilt that was started three years ago. I know I will feel better when these projects are done and off my mind. Oh, I will still have UFOs, but they are projects for my own use and can wait a while longer.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Sandi Globus – OMG! Now I remember it – I’m going to go find it again. We should all make this quilt! July 2015 – thank you, Sandi!

  17. Ellie

    I made a bulls eye about ten years ago and love it for snuggling while I watch tv or take a brief snooze! It is so cozy and homey.

    I emailed you a picture of a quilt I made from your directions I think from one jelly roll. I couldn’t figure out how to attach it to my commment.

    We had a white shepherd who would chase balls or a soft frisbee until he dropped from exhaustion. He never gave up first. Even when he was old and arthritic (like we are) he still wanted to play.it was the highlight of his day! What a joy he was.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Ellie – I don’t remember your exact quilt because I get so many pictures – I’m sorry. Yes, Hazel would drop from exhaustion first, too. In hot weather we really have to be careful!

  18. Sandi Globus

    Bridget, I bet it is the 16 patch quilt! I love that quilt! I’ve made a couple of them and have referred many friends to that post. Will try to find the link.

  19. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

    Hi Mary,
    Just got my copy of Quilts from Aunt Amy in the post: purchased it over the internet from a second-hand book store in the UK! I enjoyed reading about your aunt.
    I haven’t made my bullseye yet (got to finish the memory quilt first) but what I love about it is the soft organic look within the framework of blocks. Also! I thnk it will be very relaxing to just cut the circles by eye and not worry about being precise!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Fiona – I think so, too. It’s that casual approach that I like so much! Second hand book stores are right up there with thrift stores! So much fun!

  20. Tanya

    I thought I would be helpful and go back through some posts to see if I could find the quilt Bridget asked about. No luck finding it, but what fun to have a quick overview of all the fun we have had on this blog. I also stopped and closed ads whenever I noticed one so maybe that will be helpful in itself! My bull’s eye blocks are all together and ironed; I think I love it because it has so many colors, uses up so many scraps, and does not require much thought! In fact, I went online to Half Price Books and found a used copy of Quilts by Aunt Amy and bought it…so many more great quilts to make it in that title! The fun just continues…

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Tanya – lucky you! An Aunt Amy book at half price! Yes, as I looked at it again I thought the same thing – I’d like to make this one and that one! I’ll have to keep thinking about the quilt Bridget is referring to.

  21. Bridget

    I am throwing myself on the mercy of all you Country Threads readers! Just in the past year or so Mary made a quilt using just a single jelly roll. I think her young friend also made the pattern. I failed to note the directions at the time (silly me!!) and now I can’t find them in the archives (I am sure they are there but I am not finding them :)) As it happens I have a jelly roll that would be perfect and a school teacher that needs a gift. Now what I need is for someone to point I’m to the directions. Please help me!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Bridget – can you describe the quilt I made at all? Give me a hint.

  22. Pat Smith

    The look on Hazel’s face says it all. We had a golden retriever who also chased the tennis ball, but he didn’t have the mania about it that I’ve seen in some labs. Still, I had to take him to a big park every day and throw the ball with the chuck it until I got “chuck it elbow”, very painful! I met a lab at our dog park that was a wash out from seeing eye dog school because he couldn’t resist the urge to go after balls. You can imagine what a problem that would be for a working seeing eye dog.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Pat smith – I love the story about the sewing eye dog – he flunked the course, huh?

  23. Cindy Nelson

    Good afternoon. Which of Bonnie’s book is today’s quilt in? I looked through the free ones and did not see it. You and your blog, faith , your friendship with the young man next door are such a blessing to me. Thank you, Cindy Nelson.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Cindy Nelson – the quilt, called Four-Patch X, is in Bonnie Hunter’s book “More Adventures With Leaders And Enders”. It’s a great pattern if you like making scrap quilts which I do. I have also taught Reed about leaders and enders- he’s like a little sponge that absorbs anything I tell him. And on the subject of faith, I don’t know how people manage their lives without it, do you?

  24. Jenny

    I started working for Martingale in 1997 and the Bull’s Eye quilt was one of the first quilts I ever made! I adore it still, after all these years. However, as a beginning quilter, I taped the backing to the kitchen floor using packing tape – and somehow I accidentally left some of that packing tape inside the quilt. It’s my “humble” quilt, and I like how it makes a crinkly-tape sound here and there. Thank you for such a timeless and fun-to-make pattern!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jenny – what a terrific story about your quilting start! What is it about this quilt that we all like so much? Is it the casual approach that charms us? Readers out there – why do YOU like the Bullseye quilt? We’d love to know!

      1. Mary

        Hi Mary and Connie (and Jenny),
        I started working at Martingale in 1998 and while the Bull’s Eye Quilt was not one of my first, it was the first one I made after moving to Washington State. It’s still one of my favorites. Yes, the casual approach is appealing—it’s still the only raw-edge quilt I’ve made and the only one I cut freehand—but I also love the scrappiness and the unpredictability of the end result. It’s obviously a winner, since we’re still talking about it all these years later!

  25. Dee Winter

    I got an email from Martingale today about a new book, Big Book of Lap Quilts. It says it’s a compilation with several companies including Country Threads. I’m off to sew, got one project done that was a millstone around my neck, and now I’m on to fun things! Graduation will be here before you know it and I need to be ready. Stay warm, pet the babies inside and out for me.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Dee Winter – yes! That’s one of the books I’m going to talk about –

  26. Carol Brooks

    Mary, I love the quilt you are making from your brother’s shirts. His wife will be so touched by your gift. I just watched a video on the internet about a lady in Turkey who gave her scarf to a stray shivering dog outside a restuarant. The day was cold and rainy and the dog was curled up outside. She had no idea that a surveillance camera caught her generous act. But someone recognized her and the video has gone viral.
    This story warmed my heart. We may never know how our acts of kindness can make such a great difference in the lives of others.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Carol Brooks – I so hope the video reached out to someone who could give the dog a home! One of my favorite ideas is – small acts of kindness could change the world.

  27. Betty Snyder

    Your messages are just like a visit from a Friend Thank you for the enjoyment you put into my life.

    1. Linda Schluchter

      I love reading about your farm, seeing your chickens, goats and all the other critters, especially Hazel. I lost my white golden retriever this past summer and even though she was a love, it’s hard to keep dogs white on a farm! Bad enough my golden and yellow lab are tough but white like Hazel is hard on a farm. I do have a black lab as well, but with him you can’t tell if he’s clean or dirty! I don’t know which is worse.

      I am going to order your beyond the battlefield, civil war fabrics are my absolute favorites. And someday I’m going to collect some men’s plaid shirts for a quilt, love what you are doing with your friend’s shirts.

      Thanks for the daily visits, I look forward to seeing what is happening on your farm, mine is always busy.

      1. CountryThreads Post author

        Linda Schluchter – where’s your farm? Do you have livestock? Hazel doesn’t get many baths – it probably rubs off on her blanket because she Is not careful about where she goes.

        1. Linda Schluchter

          My farm is southwest of Saginaw Michigan. It’s cold and frigid here like you suffer, but I try to keep my chickens warm with heat lights too. I now have one big gelding named Bear (his registered name is so impersonal and the Amish children that had him before me called him T-Bear), two mini donkeys, Norman and Albert, a rooster named Willie and eight chickens, all named too! I now am down to two cats and three dogs and everyone of my brood is spoiled rotten!

          By the way, my dogs don’t get bathed often either, I can’t keep them out of the pond in warm weather but they think going out in the rain and getting a bath is shear punishment.

          I’d love to have goats but my husband saw my friends little goats climb onto the roof of my friend’s car and that put the kabosh to having goats. I am thinking of adopting a couple of baby sheep this spring just so the little kids across the road can watch them grow. There is a little girl, Zoey and her brother Christopher that make their grandpa bring them almost daily to visit my farm.

          Please keep letting us know what goes on at your farm, there are so many people who aren’t fortunate enough to have our share of God’s gifts. Linda

          1. CountryThreads Post author

            Linda Schluchter – I guess I can understand why people like to hear about the farm because I loved reading about yours! You can keep goats from climbing on anything if you feed them till they get fat – like mine – haha! I love spoiling my animals- that’s why I have them – to enjoy them!
            Is your husband a farmer? Crops?
            So how did you become acquainted with Country Threads?
            Our cold weather is probably headed your way. I don’t actually care as long as the animals are not without heat.
            Thanks for writing – I love hearing about your animals!

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