True Vine

Wooo Hoooo! Found two more! I liked this project so much I did it again for a gal who was leaving. I might have to do one for myself one day. This one I challenged myself to use one piece of fabric, one very small piece (the grapes) as fully as possible. In the border is a quote from the gospel of John about the True Vine:


This one was a farewell quilt/hanging: 

I Left My Heart in Africa: The Original Map Quilt

This is the quilt I told you about earlier, the Africa Quilt. It took me so long to get a photo up because the quilt is humoungus. When I was busy cutting out all the fabrics for the quilt, carefully collected over the years, one of my friends said “It shouldn’t be called ‘I left my heart in Africa’, it should be called ‘I left my BRAINS in Africa.'”

It was a labor of love. I was still fairly new to quilting, and so unsure of my machine quilting skills that I actually did a lot of hand quilting – I hand quilted 1/4 inch all the way around the continent, I hand quilted a hand of Fatima in the upper NW quadrant, along with a Tunisian tea pot and a caravan of camels going in and out of Ouagadougou.

(When we were at the Embassy in Amman, one of the state-department wives jokingly told me that if you were bad, you got sent to Ouagadougou, and it always gives me a big grin to think of it.)

While making this for my husband, I had to hide it every night before he came home. One night I was still working – he hadn’t called me – and I saw him drive up. I was still desperately trying to stuff it all in the closet when he got home, and he got a fairly cool and distracted welcome, something like “you didn’t call me to tell me you were coming!” which hurt his feelings.

At Christmas, when he opened the quilt, I told him that’s what had happened and we both got a good laugh. He loves this quilt, and he has told me he wants to be buried in it.

We often go to Africa. We love to go there, and every time we go, we sew another heart on. We have been to Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia. Lots of hearts! So we say the quilt is still a work in progress.

I machine stitched in the ditch for the continent, and then did a wave stitch in the ocean, which is actually about half of the quilt. You can see how using a very light blue at the coastline, and then graduating into the darker blues makes the continent really pop out.


Northwest quadrant:


Hearts across South Africa:


This one is entirely 3 inch squares (there is a giraffe fabric that I couldn’t go any smaller, and that drove the size of the entire quilt) and half squares. What was really fun is after getting over being aghast at the scope of the quilt, many friends came up with fabrics for it, especially Egyptian themed fabrics, all of which adds to our joy in using the quilt. I have some fabric bought many years ago in Tunisia with Berber symbols on it which I used in North Africa, and Sudanese fabrics I used in the West African sections. There are a very few pure black squares, in places where truly awful things continue to happen in Africa.

Did I mention we love this quilt? 😉

Update: If you want to make a map quilt, just click here. If you want to see other map quilts I have made, click Map Quilts under the Categories on the right side of this blog.

Mom’s By the Sea Quilt

This is an early quilt from my love affair with Kaleidescope quilts. Although the quilt looks blue, it is predominantly purple in one corner, green in another, arctic ice in yet another and blue in one. The trick is to blend these colors and make them flow, at the same time creating a sea-like motion.


I have done several variations on the sea quilts since. I have an entire shelf of fabrics of sea colors. My delight in the kaleidescopes is using the same piece of fabric in one place as a dark, and in another place as a light.

In the bottom left corner, I quilted sea grass. I hand appliqued fish and sea horses, and even an octopus on the finished top, then quilted in a huge octopus in the purple corner, (the appliqued octopus hints to the location) and sea horses in another spot, and swarms of fish in various other places. I don’t tell people about the quilting, I just leave it to them to discover it for themselves. Some do, some don’t. I always tell them there is a secret or two in every quilt.

You can see some octopus tentacles if you look closely, but it is hard to see the entire quilted octopus:


My pre-digital camera photos of this quilt were taken on a clothesline in a small farming village in Germany. Gone! Gone forever!

Sweetheart Quilt

I know this pattern originally came from one of the Quilting magazines. As I never do anything the way I am told, I changed the block size and created my own quilting patterns to accomodate my growing machine quilting skills. This one his half hand quilted and half machine quilted.

I made it for my son, for the girl he would one day marry. Thanks be to God, he chose a wonderful woman, and I was delighted to send him the quilt to give to her. Then, I forgot it until I went to photograph the Seminole quilt, and found this quilt next to that! I wonder how many other quilts are out there that I can’t even remember?

When I teach this quilt, I show the class, and then fold it and ask what color it is. When they say “red and white” we look at the quilt again, to see the huge variety of colors that qualify as “red” in this quilt, all the way from deep purples to orang-y oranges, and the entire range of prints and solids in between. Scrap quilts are fun that way – they can fool the eye. And there is a real art to making sure the colors blend, and that no one color draws the eye and attracts too much attention to itself.


Whirling Tulips


The Center medallion for Whirling Tulips was designed as the world was whirling, September 11, 2001. Although glued to the TV, I couldn’t bear all the grey and all the despair, and I countered it with a bright fuschia/orange batik and deep green leaves, whiriling around a center left blank for some hand quilting. I used freezer paper to get exactly the curl and bend I wanted the leaves to have, and a very stylized tulip form.

I loved working on it. I use it for a card table tablecloth.


As I unfolded this to photograph for this blog/journal/record, I reminded myself to fold at angles, and never the same way twice, to avoid those deep folds that are forming from storing too long folded one way.