When I first began this sampler quilt a couple of weeks ago, I envisioned working on it along and along – maybe making just one block a week or whenever I had a few spare moments. It was going to be one of those long-lasting, ongoing projects that, once complete, I would refer to as the quilt that took me a year to make… but even when I was a child, my dad used to describe me as having a “one-track” mind… and so I have found myself working exclusively on these little 6-inch quilt blocks during my studio time each day.
All of the quilt blocks date to the 1920’s or earlier, and although I’m familiar with some of them, there are quite a few that I’m meeting for the first time. Some of their names are interesting…like “Contrary Wife”, and “Buzzard’s Roost”!
I’ve been working on a sampler quilt. My first. Actually, this is my second attempt at the same one, and it’s going better than the first time. The first time, I quit after the 7th block or so. Second time around, I have 21 blocks done so far. But yesterday I experienced a roadblock… I’m sewing these blocks on my mother’s antique Singer Featherweight sewing machine, and yesterday the machine just all of a sudden locked up. I examined all the parts with a fine-tooth comb and couldn’t find the problem and since I value this little machine so much, I was fighting down all sorts of feelings of stress, anxiety, frustration, even failure and despair. I had to walk away from the thing – with all of its pieces and parts strewn about like a sewing machine junk yard. Later that day when I had settled down enough to listen, the Holy Spirit prompted me to Google my problem! I typed in “bobbin case lockup in Singer Featherweight” and voila! Carmen from the Featherweight Shop made a video that showed me exactly what to do. And now I’m back in business with mom’s sewing machine and my sampler quilt project. Praise God!
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!