More Books To Talk About 1-17-2020

With treacherous weather outside I am happily sitting at my table in front of all the windows looking at quilt books – again. What’s not to love about reviewing books?

Why haven’t I ever made a blue and white quilt? I honestly don’t know and I have some really wonderful blue fabrics! This might move to near the top of my list – I prefer those quilts in the book that used multiple blue fabrics. THIS IS MY PERSONAL OPINION! I am not attracted to two fabric quilts – one blue fabric and one light fabric – very boring. It might as well be made in black and white – no depth or interest. Now that we’ve established my preferences, ha!, I remembered a blue and white book from years ago – home dec, not quilts but this is such a pretty book published by the editors of Victoria Magazine. I spent time enjoying it again this afternoon.

Since I’m on the subject of two color quilts I thought I’d show you a pieced pillow cover that I think is so perfectly pieced that I continue to admire both the front and back and hate to hide the back.


Treasure Hunt by Linda Collins and Leah Zieber

Antique quilts and remakes of antique quilts are a favorite topic with Connie and me. In fact I get just a bit of a deja vu feeling studying this book because Connie and I have purchased many antique blocks over the past 35 years. No, we don’t always know what to do with them but we love shopping for them. We could never afford premium antique quilts but were happy with old blocks. There are some very well thought out uses for old blocks and the remade quilts are lovely.

Meet Alex P Ninny, my nephew’s cat – Danny and Virginia have Alex and their dog, Ruby who visited on Christmas Eve. I loved this picture!

Here are a couple Dirty Dozen finishes. Don’t forget to put your name on the quilt for the picture – and big enough so we can read it!

Look at this perfectly pressed back!

NOW LISTEN UP! We’ve been playing Dirty Dozen for 7 months now and still I have readers (are they really readers???) ask me what it is. My blood pressure spikes when I get some of these questions because I have written about the game repeatedly. No, I don’t know the dates when I wrote about it and I don’t have the time to go back and read 7 months of entries. I have reminded you in the past to bookmark subjects you think you will want to return to in the future.

The Dirty Dozen game is a game of inspiration to finish up older projects. Pick 12 unfinished quilt projects and number them. On the first of each month I will draw a number and will post that number which tells you what project you will work on. You have 30 days to finish and then label with your name and take a photo. I will post your finish – it has been a great way to reestablish your interest in the project and you’ll feel so accomplished when you do finish it.

I’ve been asked once again how I wash quilts. I do not make premium quilts – most lean towards utilitarian quilts and I use my quilts. I wash my clothes with Tide so that figures, doesn’t it, that I also wash my quilts with Tide. I know many will disagree with me but the way I look at it is this – there are more quilts where these came from and I love making them. Depending on how dirty the dogs are will determine how often I wash the quilts – it could be every few days or maybe stretch to two weeks before they head to the laundry.

And now for a final question – one that several of you asked after you saw the quilt in Telly’s chair.

This quilt was made by me about 35 years ago so I needed some time to look for the original book – also by Martingale. This quilt was made with templates! Yes, this is pre-rotary cutters and most of you probably don’t even know HOW to use templates. Do you remember when I taught you how to draft a quilt block?

We will talk about this quilt tomorrow when we will be experiencing a good old Iowa blizzard. This quilt brings up so many questions and we’ll talk then!

46 thoughts on “More Books To Talk About 1-17-2020

  1. Gloria from CC

    The Blue and White in Your Home book reminded me of something I read on Martha Stewart’s blog last week. Homes with blue walls command more dollars when sold than any other color. Interesting.
    I used to wash my show horses with Orvus soap way back when and it’s what I use when I wash my quilts. It even removes stains from antique quilts. I buy Orvus from a Farm Fleet store which is much less expensive than a quilt shop.
    I’m in Wisconsin this week and we’re having the same snowstorm that Iowa is having. I think we’re supposed to have more snow however. ☹️

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Gloria from CC – Orvus Soap is great and I should keep some on hand.

  2. Anna m

    Oh my gosh Mary, I just love you!
    I also make my quilts to be used. they’re not perfect but they are well made.
    We’ve had about 6 inches of snow here today and WIND all day! I did a little sewing and even made cinnamon rolls. First batch of dough didn’t rise but second batch was great! Tomorrow colder and windier. I imagine you’ll be getting the same, as I am in SE South Dakota. Stay warm.. love your blog!

  3. Katherine Gourley

    My Mother-in-law was a fabulous hand quilter and would not allow anyone to sit on her quilts or touch them without gloves. In her mind, the was only ONE WAY to quilt — the thought of machine quilting or streamlined piecing was disgusting to her. Her two daughters are still the same. Not me, I want my quilts to be used and washed until the seams split and are faded beyond pretty. I just finished for my 9 year old grandson. It is an I Spy quilt with 126 different novelty fabrics. It is larger than twin size and I named it “Ugliest Quilt in the World.” He loves it — he puts it on his bed and the floor. He helped pick out the 2 different fabrics in each pinwheel block.

    I also purchased the Blue and White book and I ask myself the same question — why on earth haven’t I made one out of the huge blue stash I have accumulated

    We are in the middle of the same storm system — stay warm and safe..

  4. Jo in Wyoming

    How I remember making templates, and drafting patterns. Most blocks I can still figure how they go together before reading directions.
    We had to use a certain brand of scissors too. Those days are long gone, but nobody can take away your education. I use it and am able to work with fractions. Thanks to quilting I can figure 7/8 of 15”.
    When you said “All reds go together “, I now use that with every color. I love you for that expression.
    Your words of wisdom are so inspirational.

  5. Margie

    I have always been a person who loves blue. Not sure why. What is funny is I have never made a blue and white quilt. We are expecting snow overnight, we have a weather advisory here in Ohio.

  6. Joy in Nw iowa

    In Nw Iowa it’s been blizzarding all day and now freezing rain! Than the wind is going to switch to the NW and roar from midnight to Sunday morning! Ugh! Good day to hunker down and read your blog and see more dirty dozen! Take care and stay safe!

  7. Kathy Roloff

    Thank you so much Mary for more information about this quilt. I have every confidence that you can translate this quilt to rotary cutting instructions. Such a classic quilt. Stay out of the snow. No falls allowed.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy Rolodex – I can translate it in my sleep but it’s not my design to do so without permission. That’s why I suggested you draft it yourself.

  8. Carol at Pin Oak Quilting

    I just finished my version of blue and white, it’s actually a navy reproduction fabric with very tiny bits of yellow (dits for flowers), with cream, and a brief shot of mustard… ha ha, I taught it to a group and called it the “Almost Two Colored Quilt”. I was determined to do a blue and white, but I couldn’t find fabrics I liked, so I went to the reproductions and found what I liked.
    Western New York is expecting some snow, but we are so behind on snow it’s fantastic. Fingers crossed we’re bypassed again,

    So sorry people cannot pay attention, let’s hope they’re newbies and haven’t been hanging out but reading for detail!
    Enjoy your day “stuck in” in an Iowa blizzard!

  9. Kathy Hanson

    I made a blue and white star Hunter’s Star quilt that I just love. I have it over a chair as well. I did enjoy making it. So wonderful to get projects finished so Ibhave really likes Dirty Dozen! Sounds lime you are getting around well, fantastic! Loved seeing Alex P. Ninny in the bathtub, I want a kitty!!!

  10. Rosalie

    Stay warm. I’m a Texas girl and I lived in Alaska for 2 years in the early 1970s . I wished for a blizzard (of course I also wanted to be warm inside while it happened!). I never got my wish so I just depend on other people’s accounts of blizzards.
    I read about Treasure Hunt on Martingale site. Looks interesting.

  11. Carolyn Boutilier

    Hope you are healing from this last surgery. My favorite color is blue and I have not made a blue & white quilt. that is on my bucket list for this year. Like you i collect old quilt blocks but even those are getting priced. I have been working on cloth Valentines. the work in that red & white pillow is impressive. we are in the same storm blasting across the country. Tomorrow we can expect snow, sleet, ice and rain. Stay safe.
    Carolyn b Shenandoah Valley VA

  12. Felicia Hamlin

    The kitty is gorgeous, Mary. Is still blowing here, it had quit snowing around five, but it is snowing again.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Felicia – we’re getting freezing drizzle/sleet now – might as well go to bed, huh?

  13. Nikki M in Tx

    I too use Orvis to wash quilts ( from feed store) & if out use Gain.. I wash in washing machine & dry in dryer…don’t yell at me…. I also don’t prewash the vast majority of my fabrics. However I do use dye catcher sheets in my wash.
    I have not made a blue & white quilt but it is on “ The “ list. Did just finish a red & white (scrappy red) quilt & while thought would get bored working on it I didn’t. Is a 6 inch finished blocks of alternating 9 patch & large hand appliqué hearts. I am so pleased with how it turned out. Signed up for a mystery quilt workshop in March ( usually not my thing) from a local teacher that is such a good teacher & so fun & funny. 4 fabrics…I usually do scrappy… so not me. As of today my choices are for focal fabric a green background purple & lavender floral (again not me) 2 accent fabrics..1 cream with tightly placed placed purple bubbles that are floral looking and a green with purple dots.. background fabric in cream with purple & black small slashes /… & a deep purple to bind the quilt…backing to be decided later…Fabric definitely out of my comfort zone…definitely challenging myself.
    Sorry for your bad weather but great for reading.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Nikki M – Connie and I have always said the hardest quilt to make is a 4 fabric quilt. Just so hard to know if they will work well together until you’re done and then it’s too late. I couldn’t get over your wild weather that you mentioned in your last comment. And I just think we have wild swings. Today we’ve had a bit of snow and high winds from the East. Now it’s drizzling/sleeting. And the wind is going to move to the northwest and increase to blizzard conditions. Yikes!

  14. Diane and Squeak

    Ahhh , Mary, such lovely quilts. I made the blue and white Hugs and Kisses for my daughter’s mother in law. In the picture, it looked brown, but was actually many shades of blue. I need to get busy with my DD. The Bullseye I made for our son was because his old flannel is very worn and I am soooo pleased. It is well used and loved😃😃. No snow yet in Central Ohio. Our grass is still green! Stay warm with all of the critters and quilts.

  15. Helen Jane (TX)

    Hi Mary…good to know you are home and on the way to much improvement. About colors, blue is my favorite. I agree multiples of blue fabrics (whenever I get to that). First I want to make a red/white snowball quilt then maybe a blue/white snowball. On the current cover of AP quilt magazine there is an antique blue/gray snowball with flying geese border. Quite appealing to me. Right now I can’t seem to get going on much even tho I read about quilts each day. Enjoy quilt books and looking for another book (misplaced) with a blue quilt idea. I’m sticking to your red/white snowball quilt to start. I do appreciate the advanced ways in quilt making as I started with templates/scissors and so on (meaning pre-rotary). Also I appreciate all the handwork of the past and present. Anyway enough of that, today was dreary/rain/cool in Texas (at least here) so that must mean it is snowing in Iowa and the North. Get Well wishes…Mary & Connie

  16. Ginger

    I can not believe how neat the backside of that quilt is on the ironing board. Just amazing. I am new to your blog and I appreciate the explanation of the Dirty Dozen. After reading several previous posts, I kind of figured out what you all were doing. I tried to see if I could find an explanation in previous posts but wasn’t able to, although i really enjoyed reading them. I also love blue and white quilts but have not made one. On my list of “want to make”. Thank you for the blog. I am really enjoying it. Hope your recovery goes smoothly!

    1. Judy

      Ginger, Not only is this blog TOO FUN! ********Ya GOTTA read the comments!********
      I find that is not the way with many other blogs.
      Mary, you are SO GOOD about commenting and hitting-the-nail-on-the-head! You are so refreshing!
      Texas has had many days of fog and rain. Today we woke up to sunshine and brightness. All the rest of you with snow and blizzards, take care!
      Judy in Texas

      1. CountryThreads Post author

        Judy – I couldn’t agree more! Without all of you joining in on the comments, this blog wouldn’t be much fun! It’s like a successful sitcom on TV – Rick and I always say this! There is probably one main character but without all the supporting characters, it would be a flop. Look at Young Sheldon – I love his grandma and Georgie’s arrogant self is just too typical, isn’t it? Love that show.

      2. Ginger

        Yes Judy. It is a fun Blog. I not only love seeing all of the quilts and being inspired, but I love all of the farm animals. I also enjoy reading about the wonderful community spirit! Love the country life!!!!

  17. Sunflower from Michigan

    Mary, the cat in the bathtub photo is so funny. Reminds me of the cat our kids had growing up. He lived to be 18. We have a video of our daughter at age 2 crying because her brother, age 4, wouldn’t share the kitten and she is hollering, “ I want to pet the kitty!” It’s priceless.
    The blue and white quilt book looks wonderful. Very nice finishes on UFOs today, too. Michigan and Iowa in quite a game tonight. I trust you’re watching.
    We are set to get a lot of snow tonight. Our hometown having a Fire and Ice winter festival this weekend. We went done for the fireworks and to walk Main Street to see the ice sculptures. Cold but fun. Take care, hope you’re doing your exercises, resting, using ice, and elevating your leg. Happy sewing.

  18. Vickie in Davidson, NC

    Mary, I’m so happy to hear that you are doing well and recovering nicely. I think you knew what to expect this time and what needs to be done. It makes my heart happy that you’re contemplating fabrics and quilts just a week after your latest surgery! You are a true inspiration to us all! We look forward to this blog daily and I don’t want to think about what life would be like without hearing your daily musings. Thank you!

  19. Sharon Ray

    I love reading your blog. So much better than the “other social sites”. We are having a mild winter in Florida, very windy yesterday. The clothes almost ripped off the clothesline. I am the only person except my mother that I know uses a clothesline! Love blue and don’t have a blue and white quilt but I’m working on it. I saw one in a museum I’m copying. Instead of just 2 fabrics I will use many blues. The multi-color ones are so much more interesting. Thanks for your sharing your little bit of heaven.

  20. Anonymous

    Hi Mary
    I wash my quilts with Tide also on delicate cycle. Always admire the blue and white quilts maybe someday I’ll make one. Working on a red and white o e now during blizzard.

  21. Becky in AR

    I am in awe of the back of that quilt – so neat and no stray threads! I also started quilting before rotary cutters, way different back then. I have made a couple of blue/white quilts with scrappy fabrics, somehow they seem to end up in my son’s house. Guess that tells you his favorite color too. And I agree, quilts are to use. Makes me very sad if a recipient puts it away to “save”. Stay warm, the storms sound dreadful.

  22. Patti in W Barnstable

    Mary, you’re the best! Inspiring us even when you’re recuperating! Thank you for the picture of Alex the Cat. It made my day. Snow expected here tonight. It’s very cold and windy. I’ll be inside sewing.

  23. MartyCae

    My Mother in Law made beautiful blue quilts. On my bucket list to make one too. I am for scrap quilts. I have a hard time limiting myself. I find myself making red quilts and my favorite color is green??????

    Glad you are on the mend and hope this snow is ovr soon.

  24. Holly in Two Harbors

    I sure don’t miss the days of templates and scissors. Just thinking of all that cutting with scissors makes my hand ache! I love the kitty in the bathtub, and the pressing job on that quilt? Outstanding! If there was a gold medal for ironing, that quilter should get one!

    Good luck with the storm today. We’ve had over ten inches of snow and heavy winds last night, but are now in the calm before the big winds blow up our way. It’s nice to know your animals are cozy in the barn.

  25. Kristie M Michalowski

    Great cat name ;o)
    Love the books …still need to buy them.
    Lots of great inspiration.

  26. Dot

    My first piecing was done with sandpaper templates. Of course, our mothers and grandmothers used the cardboard from cereal boxes. Then some clever person took a good look at the piece of plastic from the bacon package.

  27. Diane in WI

    The wind is howling, and the snow is blowing here in southeast Wisconsin. It’s the same storm you have in Iowa. My poor birds are being blown away. I haven’t made a blue and white quilts. I have made blocks with those colors. I really do like them, and as you said I like them with multiple shades of blue. The pictures of Telly and Alex P. Ninny are wonderful. They made me smile and laugh. Have a good weekend.

  28. Judith Ann Jaques

    I am very sorry if my question made your BP spike. I have followed you for a long time.Then my husband got sick and died so I missed the dirty dozen explanation. I do enjoy your blog.
    Yes we are in a good old Iowa blizzard. I am praying the electricity stays on so the green house stays warm.
    Thanks judy. in Hardin County.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Judith Ann Jacques – obviously pain has affected my level of tolerance – ha! Guess I should make a post with Dirty Dozen as the title so anyone can refer to it.

      1. Brenda archambault

        And anesthesia makes us goofy (speaking for myself, as if I really needed to admit it!)
        I do find a date in the title makes it easier to find your current post as I have to search google each time I look.
        Hope you’re not frozen in, as it looks like the upper half of the country is winter bound. It’s up to 65 here in Phoenix and we’re finally getting the weather I moved here for many years ago. I hope we get more spring-Like weather before summer arrives, but it’s preferable to winter, any day. Glad you’re moving ahead with your healing and will soon be doing all the things you enjoy. It will be March madness before we know it.

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Brenda A – I will continue putting the date in the title. It’s very cold here – we must be living in the tundra!

  29. Paula in Texas

    I hope you and all of your animals are staying warm today. Your weather is so Windy and Cold!
    Thank you for sharing the Blue and White quilts with us. I like two color quilts, but I think I would get very bored while sewing and there is a good possibility it would become an UFO. I am working on Bonnie Hunter’s Frolic. I am struggling with the flying geese. I do wish I was close enough to come over for a lesson. Stay Warm my Friend!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Paula in Texas – I thought her ironing instructions for the flying geese was what made them come out perfect. I have never ironed one triangle towards the goose and the other triangle to the outside – is this where you’re having trouble?

  30. Mrs. Goodneedle

    I love those books, particularly the one of quilts inspired by antique quilts. I learned to quilt in 1983 and used templates for my first sampler. I saved cardboard and plastic sheets that were placed beneath packaged bacon strips to make them. I cut out all the quilt pieces with shears and I remember our teacher telling us about rotary cutters (they were still fairly new) and how she wasn’t sure if she could trust them! 😉 Wow; times have certainly changed in the quiltmaking world; we’ve all evolved and adapted! Actually, I am so glad that I have that experience under my belt as I am unafraid to tackle anything; since I started with templates I am not afraid of drafting and can figure out and construct most blocks, one way or another. I love your quilt on Telly’s chair.

  31. Pat

    I love reading all your blogs. We recently moved out of the city to our new country life. We have 5 chickens and 1 mean rooster. I have been told I spend too much time with the chickens.

    I am not familiar with all of your books. Have you ever. Done any on the underground railroad. We recently found our there is an area in Ohio where they crossed into Canada. Thank you for any information you can share with me.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Pat – not specifically Underground Railroad – just a Civil War in general.

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