Archive for History Repeating Itself

Old Quilts, New Life & Old Friends

::cough:: ::cough:: Pardon me while I blow some of the dust off the blog. You’ll probably know that this is important if I’m of a mind to post again. And this is!

I’m helping to celebrate the launch of Sarah Fielke’s new book, Old Quilts, New Life! First, congratulations, Miss Sarah, for a fabulous, fabulous book! Yours are always to be looked forward to because they are chock full of quilt goodness and they are lovely books to boot. In this one, Sarah chose nine quilts from The American Folk Art Museum collection and made two versions of each quilt for the book — one is a close interpretation and the second a more contemporary take. You will note with a deep breath, I hope, the tremendous amount of work that goes into such an endeavor. I am always in awe. Sarah always makes me want to be a better quilter. And not a slacker…ahem. So, yes, the book has all the instructions for 18 beautiful quilts.

I hope I am a known appreciator of antique quilts. I find lots of inspiration looking at quilt history books and photos of antique quilts. So, of course, I awaited Sarah’s latest book with great anticipation. I so greatly anticipated it that I pre-ordered two copies (one early on, one more recently — completely oblivious….).


See, gorgeous from the get-go! And I am a lucky, lucky girl because I was this close to Sarah just this past week:


See, there she is — the lime and gin on the left. She was able to autograph both of my books in person. Lucky, happy girl!

But on to quilt business. Sarah asked us to select an antique quilt we admired. I knew immediately which quilt to choose. I don’t know that it is my favorite block (I always say the churn dash), but it is a very fine example of the circles that I like. I also don’t know that it is truly antique but more of a vintage find via eBay. Yes, I acquired this and another treasure from a seller a few years back.


It is in great shape and is nice and big. The collection of fabrics in it is wonderful. I’m guessing it’s from maybe the 1950s based on the fabrics.

Oddly enough, when Sarah asked, I had just completed this Hot Wheels quilt from Kaffe Fassett’s latest book, Heritage Quilts.



And, so, history has repeated itself, and I’ve shown my continued affinity for all things circular. I hope you’ll have a look at Sarah’s new book and around you at quilt history — there is so much inspiration to be found whether you want to re-write it verbatim or edit it to suit your tastes. Our quilting forebears left us with lots of inspiration and so has Sarah!

Congrats on a spectacular new book, old friend, and cheers to revisiting history!

You can see more of Sarah’s latest:

Instagram: @sfielke (and be sure to search for the #oldquiltsnewlife posts of favorite antique quilts.

On her website:


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She’s Kind of Pretty


Here’s a Grandmother’s Flower Garden top that was sitting pretty on eBay. I think it was the hot pink in every flower that hooked me. The pink and blue gingham and the bit of limey green didn’t hurt. She needs to have some flowers re-potted in order to complete the top and she needs a good pressing, but she is a bright spot on a rainy day.

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Everything old…

Lately, I’m most inspired by traditional quilt patterns gussied up in new ways. Not that they need gussying–they are grand just the way they are, no matter the fabrics. But isn’t it interesting to see them in some of these large-scale prints and retro colors? This weekend I indulged in some used book shopping (rather, DH indulged me…) that has the creative juices flowing in that direction. In downtown Detroit there is a used book store par excellence, John King Books. It’s in an old glove factory, floors and floors and rows and rows of books. When you walk in it has the same smell our old small town Carnegie library had. I really think that’s my favorite smell. The third floor contains, among other things, the textile and needlework section. These are my restrained purchases:


It was difficult to pare down my selections. I always love the Maggie Malone books. I’m still thinking of the ones I left behind for another visit. The quilting section has scads of old Quilters Newsletter Magazines and lots of the grand old titles of quilting instruction (SuperQuilter, anyone?). You can also embroider yourself silly with all of the embroidery books; no technique is too obscure for that collection of books! However, I remained focused on quilting.

One traditional pattern that has been on my mind lately (credited to lots of modern inspiration here and here), is grandmothers flower garden.

I’ve used Brandy’s mylar pieces to make some flowers in the past (these are similar to what looks like the sold-out-everywhere Quilt Patis). But then I saw this Most Beautimous Quilt (hmm, it looks like I broke Swoon. Slap a cRaZy sticker on my head. Yes, let’s take a lovely, time-consuming handwork project and make it just plain nuts by adding some tiny 60 degree triangles. However, if one should so desire to go nuts, Brandy’s is there to help with matching 60 degree triangle mylar pieces!

And, finally, the bookstore trip was capped off with Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns ice cream. Who’s responsible for this? It’s just wrong that it exists.

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