Spring is officially just a few days away, but this week the weather has made me think we’ve already arrived. The sunshine and 60’s and 70’s have encouraged my day lilies and peonies to start their push up through the soil, and I’m seeing signs of budding leaves on the honeysuckle and spirea. Spring weeds have begun to sprout as well, but that’s a story for another day! All of this new growth in the garden inspired my Easter Buds Quilt – a very sweet and shabby chic quilt with a vintage vibe.
The quilt block in this quilt is called Magnolia Bud, and was first published in the Kansas City Star in 1932. The pink/lavender and blue checked fabric is a vintage find, as is the tablecloth that I used for the back of the quilt. I fell in love with the spring pastel colors and the white outline stitching of the tablecloth, and was tickled to incorporate it into an Easter quilt! The machine embroidery in this quilt is subtle in the solid lavender buds, but I love the intricate stitching of bunnies, chicks, and eggs. There’s lots to discover in this quilt!
Easter Buds Quilt by Katie Longsmith, 2021 / Size: 56″ x 70″ / vintage and new fabrics / Rabbits and Chicks machine embroidery design by Kreative Kiwi / folk-art lilies quilting design
I’ve had some fun Easter egg fabric in my stash for several years. Here’s what I finally did with it!
Hippity Hop Quilt by Katie Longsmith, 2021 / Size: 44″ x 49″ / 100% cotton fabrics / Hippity Hop machine embroidery design by Embroidery Library – Easter alphabet machine embroidery by Kreative Kiwi / Bunnies quilting design
I was looking through machine embroidery designs and came upon this one : Mightier than the waves of the sea is His Love for you – Psalm 93:4
It’s what inspired this little prayer quilt – from the quilt block called Storm at Sea to the watery-colored solids in the top. From the graphic, modern look of it, you would never know that the Storm at Sea quilt block is an old one. It was published in the Kansas City Star in 1932, but the pattern was known and used by quiltmakers long before its publication date. I took some poetic license by adding the wide, asymmetrical border on the left and enlarging the star motif so that the two right points extend out over the patchwork and the two left side points are cut off!
Mighty Waves Prayer Quilt by Katie Longsmith, 2021 / Size: 45″ x 49″ / 100% cotton fabrics / Psalm 93:4 machine embroidery design by Embroidery Library / Ocean Waves quilting design
Second in my Prayer Quilt “series” (only 2 so far, so I’m not sure that qualifies as a series yet!), this quilt was made with my daughter in mind. I gifted it to her last night.
Prayer for my Daughter Quilt by Katie Longsmith, 2021 / Size: 49″ x 49″ / vintage silk ties and new cotton fabrics / God is Within Her machine embroidery design by Embroidery Library / Cabbage Rose quilting design
I have to-do lists but they are not written anywhere – they just roll around in my head. I know, I know – my mind gets a bit cluttered at times! These lists are of all of the different quilts I want to make. If I write them down in an official list, I fear that I’ll become too structured in my own plans to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit. So each morning when I enter my studio, I try to check in to see what comes to mind, and that’s what I work on.
Last week, I remembered this pattern that I printed out and stashed away, months ago. I usually don’t work from patterns. Rather, I’ll study the picture of the quilt and start thinking about how to construct it. It’s fun to do the “quilt math” myself, and most of the time I make modifications all along the way. Can you see my scribbled calculations?! What I loved about this pattern was the simple elegance of the 9-patch blocks on-point, and the cathedral windows style quilting design that was used.
I had an ah-ha moment when some red silk ties, found at an estate sale, came to mind. The white background was changed to a marbled black, since that’s the fabric I had on hand. And the Our Father, embroidered on the back, has made this the first of a series of prayer quilts, just now added to that ever-lengthening list in my mind!
Red Ties Prayer Quilt by Katie Longsmith, 2021 / Size: 53″ x 53″ / vintage silk ties and new cotton fabrics / The Lord’s Prayer machine embroidery design by Embroidery Library / Cathedral Windows custom quilting design
We are parishioners at St. Ann Catholic Church, and over our 16 years there, we’ve seen quite a few families grow up, with new babies and kids turning into young adults. For the last few Sundays in church, we’ve sat across from a young mom and dad and their new little baby girl. She’s a real cutie – we find ourselves making “ah-boo!” faces at her (even with our masks on!) to make her smile. I look forward to watching her grow up.
This Sunday, I am going to gift her with a valentine – a baby quilt full of love – from my heart to hers.
Valentine Pals Quilt by Katie Longsmith, 2021 / Size: 43″ x 49″ / 100% cotton fabrics / valentine pals machine embroidery designs by Kreative Kiwi / Hearts quilting design
Happy New Year! December was a bit of a whirlwind – I was bound and determined to finish several Christmas quilts for the season, and I did, but it took every minute at my sewing machine to do so. Which means I’m behind on journaling. So here’s a recap of December’s quilts, a part of The Penny Square Project, now listed at the bottom of the website. Enjoy!
This past summer, I found a quilt top at an estate sale. It was simple hand-pieced patchwork, made from vintage fabrics and feed sacks that appear to date from the 1930’s and 40’s. Based on the randomness of the design, the frugal maker most likely had decided to just use up the scraps in her sewing basket. Several squares of fabric had shredded and disintegrated with time. The quilt top was an impulse buy, and I’ve had it hung up on my design wall for weeks, wondering what I would do with it. And then a flash of inspiration! I decided to use it as the back for this machine embroidered Redwork quilt, since the Redwork consists of vintage floral designs. After I cut out the part of the quilt top that was damaged, I was able to use some leftover feed sack squares for the cornerstones in the sashing for the front. For the binding, I just pulled the back over to the front of the quilt, which really helped to tie in the patchwork back to the floral embroidered blocks on the front. And an embroidered quilt label on the back was the finishing touch!
Vintage Florals and Feedsacks Quilt by Katie Longsmith, 2020 / Size: 60″ x 60″ / 100% cotton fabrics, new and vintage / vintage florals machine embroidery designs by Kreative Kiwi / Spring Vine quilting design
I’m busy these days, incorporating machine embroidery into my quilts. I’ve found quite a few lovely designs in Redwork, and each one inspires yet another creation! Here’s my latest. I’m calling it Acorn Squash, for the dark greens and oranges in the quilt. And for my mom.
While grocery shopping last weekend, I spied a bin of acorn squash in the produce department, and found myself mesmerized by the luscious rich dark greens with tinges of orange. I was flooded with memories of my mom, and her fondness for acorn squash in the fall. She would take the small, dark green orb and cut it in half to reveal golden orange inside, then place both halves cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake them in the oven.
Mom’s been gone for a few years now, but I just love how she keeps showing up in my life and in my heart and in my quilts – and did you know that pumpkins are squash, too?
Acorn Squash Quilt by Katie Longsmith / Size: 38″ x 44″ / 100% cotton fabrics / pumpkins machine embroidery designs by Kreative Kiwi / Pumpkins quilting design