Tag Archives: patchwork quilts

Proud to be a BIG DOG!


Paul Pierce’s wife describes him a “bigger than life.” This man, who passed away at age 57 in 2012, was adored immensely. And, he adored so many things immensely in return: the Air Force, the Phillies, his motorcycle, his children and grandchildren, Hawaii, and, of course, his beloved wife, Diane.

Paul and his motorcyle.

Paul and his motorcyle.

I say all of this to explain why making a quilt out of Paul’s clothing is a huge undertaking. Usually, I can process a shirt for a T-shirt quilt in a bout an hour. For this project, each shirt is  taking me 1.5 hours! But I am enjoying every minute of the process. As I spread out the shirts and determine which parts will be used in the quilt and the wall hangings, I think about Paul and his interests.

Each shirt needs to be cut along the neck, armholes and sides.

Each shirt needs to be cut along the neck, armholes and sides.










Because Paul was so large, he often wore Big Dog clothing, a line of shirts tailored to the very big and very tall. It makes sense, then, that I include a the size label from the neck of one of the shirts in the finished product.

The size label from a Big Dog shirt.

The size label from a Big Dog shirt.









I love including the front buttons of a shirt in a quilt. Every time someone looks at the squares made from this part of the shirt, they will think about the person who buttoned and unbuttoned this garment again and again.

I don't toss away the buttons...I use them in the squares of the quilt!

I don’t toss away the buttons…I use them in the squares of the quilt!


Sign-up stations for Wedding Signature Quilts


Here are a couple great shots of signing stations for signature quilts.

Love the way this station has a "sample" square indicating the need to keep the message inside the 1/4" space around the edge of the square.

Love the way this station has a “sample” square indicating the need to keep the message inside the 1/4″ space around the edge of the square.

So cheery and inviting!

So cheery and inviting!

Look closely--the sign reminds people to write in the middle! (any writing that goes to the edge will not show up on the quilt.)

Look closely–the sign reminds people to write in the middle! (any writing that goes to the edge will not show up on the quilt.)

Prayers for Juliette

Members of the Clifton Quilt guild holding nine-patches for Juliette's Hope Quilt. From left: Kim Verthelsen, Evelyn Post, Michele Kopack, Agnes Dembia, Dale Rice, Rosemary McGuire, and Jo Ann Tropiano.

Members of the Clifton Quilt guild holding nine-patches for Juliette’s Hope Quilt. From left: Kim Verthelsen, Evelyn Post, Michele Kopack, Agnes Dembia, Dale Rice, Rosemary McGuire, and Jo Ann Tropiano.

This evening I did a talk for the women of the Clifton Quilt Guild, in Clifton, NJ. They wanted me to talk about the ways that quilting connects me with lives of other people. I had many stories to share, but the one I focused on was the story of little, 11-month-old Juliette who has been suffering from a seizure disorder since she was about a month old.

Julilette will be undergoing surgery on Friday, July 5 to remove a part of her brain on the left side. I have been making a quilt for her. Her mother calls it “Juliette’s Hope Quilt,” which is a great title because Juliette’s middle name is Hope. (Who could have guessed that she’d need such a profound name?)

Nine-patch blocks for Juliette's Hope Quilt.

Nine-patch blocks for Juliette’s Hope Quilt.

While I was doing my talk, I took out all of the nine-patches I made recently and passed them around the room. The women of the guild laid hands on the patches. Some even prayed for Juliette.

I want to do everything I can to bring people together through quilting. Tonight was a lovely chance to do just that. I hope Juliette can feel the love that was expressed for her tonight in a town a continent away.

Uniform Woes


I’ve been asked, by a group from a private school, to create a quilt that can be auctioned at a fundraiser in May. The quilt needs to incorporate the school colors of blue, yellow and white, as well as pieces of the uniforms.

I’m having some difficulty and could use some help.

The first photo shows blue 9-patch blocks with a piece of uniform fabric in the centers. The crest in the upper corner will appear in all four corners of the overall quilt.

When I looked at this sample section from across the studio, I worried that the 9-patch blocks would seem to heavy and solid.

The second photo shows how I revised the 9-patch blocks to have white centers, with some of the centers being the crest. (I don’t have enough crests to put in each of the 9-patches.) For this version, the crest in the corner will come out.

But, where do I put the plaid uniform pieces?

Any suggestions? Do you have a preferences between the first version and the second?

Not bad for a basement corner!


It snowed this past Saturday and to stave off any  “stuck-in-the-house” blues, I decided to do some cleaning and sorting and reorganizing work in my sewing studio. Two of my stepsons made some racks for my fabric bolts over Christmas and I finally had a chance to get them in place. Here are are some photos.

Making a box of chocolates


I was sitting in a meeting this morning and my mind wandered a bit (doesn’t that always seem to happen to me?). I’m glad it did because all of a sudden I remembered that I have a whole bolt of chocolate-candy themed fabric I picked up last summer and planned to use for birthday table toppers. The fabric is from  Robert Kaufmann’s “Confections” collection.

Once I remembered that I still had the whole bolt to use, I began to think about how perfect this fabric would be for Valentine’s Day items. So, as soon as I got home from the meeting, I started pairing up the candy fabric with some coordinating prints (a pink and a chocolate brown).

I now have the tops of a table topper and 6 placemats. Tomorrow I will do the quilting on them, add some coasters and mug rugs, and then list everything on my Etsy shop, http://www.secondsanctuary.etsy.com.

The Caring Quilt


My mother-in-law was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2007. I knew that chemotherapy and radiation would be hard on her tiny frame. I wanted to help her be comfortable, and even cheered up, during the treatment process. So, I found a whole bunch of novelty fabrics that related to parts of her life. Fabrics about bowling and cards and painting and music and teaching..and so much more. I stitched them all together in an arrangement much like the one in the photo here and called it her “Caring Quilt.”

I have since created a listing of this kind of quilt in my Etsy shop, http://www.secondsanctuary.etsy.com. Each year, at the holidays, there is at least one person who orders one of these quilts from me. What an incredible experience it is for me to learn about some beloved family member for whom a Caring Quilt is ordered and what a privilege it is for me to labor in the process of bringing this gift to life.

Here are some other photos  of Caring Quilts.

A pattern of my own.


Several years ago I was in a meeting in Chicago and was getting bored. This was the last day of three straight meetings and I would be leaving that afternoon to return to my husband and child in New Jersey. As I sat there at the table, my mind wandered to a packet of fabrics I had at home. This packet was purchased because the theme, robots, was one of my son’s favorites. I began doodling quilting patterns that would work with the robot fabric. Finally, I had a plan!

When I arrived at home that night it was close to 10:00 pm. I was too jazzed about the quilt pattern and the fabrics to go to sleep. So I set out to cut the fabrics and sew them into the idea I had in mind. By 11:30, I had a quilt top completed. The next day, not only did I have a complete quilt to give my son, but I also had the start of a pattern design that has been a favorite for me, my customers and my friends for four years now.

At one point along the journey of this pattern, I contacted the editors of McCall’s Quick Quilts magazine and told them about my original quilt and the other quilts it led to…like the one right here:

The editors liked my idea and paid me to make a version of the quilt using Alice Kennedy’s Strawberry Fields fabrics from Timeless Treasures. Here’s the link to that feature:


Just goes to show you that daydreaming is not always wasteful.

Calvin’s Classic Quilt


About a year ago, a woman from Maine ordered one of my Classic Americana quilts. “It’s what I’ve been looking for for years,” she wrote in the message to me when she made her purchase. The quilt I made for her and her family is the one in the photo below. That’s her son, Calvin, checking out his crayons as he colors  away his afternoon.

Since the time I made, and sent, this quilt, Samantha (the mother) and I have become pretty good friends. And, since she is an excellent photographer, she’s been willing to do product shots of a lot of my quilts.

It’s funny the paths that quilting can lead to.