I find working with needle and thread to be mostly soothing by the light of day.  I listen to bird sounds and the quietness of nature.  I listen to thread ever so gently being pulled thru cloth.  I smell the natural fragrance of the fabric.  


What will it become when I first begin my newest project?  Will I give it to someone or keep it?   How long will it take to complete?  A new quilt begins first as new life, a new idea.  So many feelings go thru me about it.  It takes on a life of its own. 


Its all very exciting to live a life of simplicity and plainness.   Quilting is one of my joys.  Most I give away or donate.  A few I keep for myself, and I can always make another.


A quilt wraps you in warmth and coziness.  It gives you a hug when there is no one else to do so.  If someone made one for you, it shows the depths of how much they care about you.  


I have no pics of the quilts I have made thru the years, or given away.  I used to save a square from every fabric so I'd remember the original quilt. . . but didn't remember it anyway.  I finally put all those squares into a new quilt. . it was very pretty; then I donated that too.  I have no camera, no need for graven images on paper,  maybe its my lack of understanding how to access them in the modern world. . .and load them on computer.  I was used to the instamatic kind of photo.  Now Kodak is fighting for its very survival, if its still around, it may not be. 


I love seeing all your photos and loaded images on screen.  That is something I cannot offer, not one of my gifts.  But I can speak for quiltmaking.  It calms me down and keeps me sane.  It becomes a gift I can give or one I can keep.  It is a way I create beauty and warmth in a world that can be very harsh at times.   And I find beauty there too.  In cloth and fabric and in thread and color.   


Any thoughts?

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And isn't it so that anything done by hand takes longer than that done by machine.  I'm reminded of my first hand-made quilt. .  a little white on white, 20 x 20 or so inch square.  It looked awful the entire time I worked on it (2 years).  Finally I finished it. .  and washed it to get the markings off it.  Wonder of wonders. . . it was So Beautiful. .  and sweet. .  Its perfect in every way. .  and I love it.  So know also that sometimes hand-made projects go thru ugly stages.  (We call it "quilts only a mother could love") because sometimes they're cute, then ugly, then cute again, then ugly again. . and they keep changing until they're done. .  sort of like us. . we change until we are done - - whenever that is.    And hopefully when its done, it will be beautiful to you because its a reflection of you. .  and your gentle art.   


Barra Jacob-McDowell said:



William Penn said, "Patience and Diligence, like faith, remove mountains."


 Like Chris, I'm glad you love sewing. I get the sense that you are impatient with your hand-sewing, as if it is of lesser worth or authenticity to use your machine to finish a project. While I don't quilt, and have always been afraid to learn to use a machine--I do love hand-stitching needlepoint and crewel, and will soon venture into making an intricate shawl, knitting for the first time in 40 years!--, I venture to remind you of learning and mastering other tasks. The first time my grandmother sought to teach me to make a bed from scratch, we spent most of the morning in my room! It was incredible to me, that just by touch, my blind granny could pick out each wrinkle and unevenness, from sheets to blanket to pillowcases and spread! But today I make a bed without really thinking about it, the same way I tie my shoes, park a car, write a letter, etc. OTOH, I have changed how I do it--nowadays, the spread anbd blanket have been replaced by a comforter, and is folded back on one half of the bed, so that if my handicapped husband wishes to lie down without my help, he can do so more easily. Will the recipients of your quilts look at every stitch and deplore, loudly and publicly criticising, each mistake?

I write that, knowing my own perfectionist tendencies! But why do you make the quilts? For your own pleasure, to increase your skills, to feel a connection with past quilters and/or those who'll use them, or other reasons?


Is it the Hopi weavers who deliberately make a mistake in each piece, because only God reaches perfection? It can be difficult to be gentle with yourself, and still strive to improve.


Thank you for giving me more food for thought! And please, do let us know how it goes!





Greetings David:

I find your interest and 'radar' for quilts quite remarkable.  Can you imagine what that quilt has seen and been thru over its many years? 

I'm almost certain there would have been some destruction even if it had been properly stored.   The age of it alone. .  with any use, and it probably had much, would warrant a certain amount of destruction.  Its truly wonderful you see it for the treasure it is. 

I'm sure there are quilt restorers out there though I have no experience with them personally.  Having belonged to quilt guilds and while attending quilt shows over many years, I've seen them lecture and heard from those who have done such work.  I never kept any names as never thought I'd need such a service.  

You could probably search on the internet for quilt restoration, but do speak with them to be sure you're comfortable with them.  For most of the people I hear speak on the subject, this is a labor of love.  I honestly do not think you'd be disappointed with the end result. 

I know the quilt in your possession is truly happy that it has found a home where it will be appreciated, loved and cared for. 

most kind regards,



     Chris is right, there are quilt restorers. I would imagine that a museum with a textiles collection, or a history center/period house museum in your area, could suggest someone. I know that there's a national coverlet musem in Bedford PA, http://www.coverletmuseum.org/ that might be of help, and perhaps Jennifer Chiaverini, http://elmcreek.net/, could suggest someone too. She is the author of the Elm Creek Quilt novels about a quilt camp, which is how I heard of restorers. I hope this is helpful! We have a quilt made by my husband's grandmother or great-grandmother, not moth-eaten, but worn from use, and I should look into this too. Thank you for reminding me! --Barra
David Nelson Seaman said:

I go crazy over quilts, and recently fell in love with an old quilt I uncovered in the back room of an Antique Shore.   I must have some type of built in radar, which zooms me straight to quilts in those types of shops.  The one which drew my attention looked to be made around the 1920's or 1930's, was a heavy as a bale of hay, but had the misfortune of having a couple panels deteriorated becasue of the wool fabric used in its construction became moth worn.  The quilt was apparently passed on to someone who did not store it correctly.   I cannot sew on a button to save my life, and have wondered it there are people who restore quilts.   The quilt I layed my eyes on begs to be restored and patched, and being priced at only $60.00, the thought of restoring it seems resonable.  Has anyone else been down this road and enjoyed successful restoration ?   This quilt is so special, beautiful- and warm !

And just an observation. .   I make all my bed quilts and pillowcases and such.  Several years ago I made a quilt for our bed.  I made it well, all cotton, good fabric, very sturdily sewn and made to last. 

Yesterday when washing the sheets and putting it all back together I noticed how worn it was on my husband's side. . . while my side was virtually untouched.  Certainly it makes no sense to me. . we just sleep under it ..  yet his side had so much more wear than mine, dirty and wrinkled.  I thought, "What on earth is he doing with it?"  Yet my side was fresh and new as the day I finished it.  

When I hear you have these old quilts from gran-mama or other found treasures I truly am amazed they are still together in any way. . . because my own, just with regular use. . is showing signs of wear.  I'm already thinking of having to cut down the  part that is disintergrating on my husband's side. .  thinking that perhaps in just a few short years, his side will disintegrate completely.   Tis a puzzlement, indeed. 

I began quilting a year ago (I am 41 years old) and have finished three quilt tops and just started hand quilting the first "finished" quilt. So far, they are all of a "checkerboard" pattern. 

I began mainly as a way to make a thrifty, long-lasting blanket in fabrics that are calm and pleasing to my eye and use up a lot of expensive, vintage fabrics given to me by the bolt.  I am still hoping to get to the point where I receive a calming comfort from it, but I do love looking at a finished top. The first one will be given to my nephew's baby--I guess the baby and the quilt will be due in a week. 

Thanks for sharing--

Lanie Fox

Warm greetings Lanie:

Your comment brought a smile to my face for sure. .  I truly understand what you are saying.   There's nothing like a finished top for sure.  And if you gift it away its almost like saying goodbye to a friend because you've spent so much time with it. 

Its probably not as calming to make one for someone else.  You may be under time constraints. . or wanting it to look a certain way upon completion. . and those cause a measure of stress for sure.  The calm comes more when you make it for yourself. .  have no time constraints about finishing by a certain date. . (and are about 20 years older because by then you see thru a different set of eyes).  To me, there's nothing like curling up on the couch with a quilt, a cat and a cup of tea, and usually a book . . but the warmth of the first three mentioned here are truly calming - - and I nod off to sleep under the quilt and cat before I drink the tea and read the book.  : (  I highly recommend this, especially when you're feeling chilled. 

In the interim though please do trust that the calm will arrive.  Do appreciate every step of the process - - the smell of the fabric, the sound of the thread going thru the fibers, the warmth of it on your lap as you're quilting it - - the sound of the sewing machine, if you use one, the fluffiness of the batting.  All of it is a part of the process that we quilters appreciate so much.  I call it my addiction of choice.

I look forward to hearing more from you about your quilting journey.     


  Lanie Fox said:

I began mainly as a way to make a thrifty, long-lasting blanket in fabrics that are calm and pleasing to my eye and use up a lot of expensive, vintage fabrics given to me by the bolt.  I am still hoping to get to the point where I receive a calming comfort from it, but I do love looking at a finished top.  

I couldn't figure out how to write a description. This is my first hand-stitched lap quilt. It measures about 42 inches square. 

Beverly, How lovely! What is the name of the pattern?

The pattern is a sampler quilt. Thank you.

Barra Jacob-McDowell said:

Beverly, How lovely! What is the name of the pattern?

Oh, its very sweet!  It has half square triangles, flying geese and a Kaleidescope. .  very charming.  Its like a cozy home quilt. .  or Shaker Village. .  lovely.   I'm sure you enjoyed every moment working on it. .  and it shows. 

Beverly said:

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