Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Vintage Treasure - Quilters Through The Generations

Last week while at the local Farmers Market a returning customer, Kathy, walked up with a well-worn and well-loved, vintage quilt.  She had recently received a stack of 10-12 quilts from her mother.  This one in particular came from her dad's family (the Bell Family) who are long time residents of Trinidad, CO.  We have known her since we first moved to the area... she was among our first choices of baby-sitters for our children when we needed such services.  

She asked if I thought it might be able to be repaired.  I am always up for a good challenge... 

But when she opened the quilt, my breath was taken away... 

It featured blocks exactly like some of the quilts that my Great-Grandmother, Lala Teegarden, would make with the Christian Church Quilting Group!  

Below is a quilt that Lala made... It must have been one of her favorite patterns...

Lala obviously shared the pattern with some of her family members - her daughter - Luna (Teegarden) Weller - and grand-daughter - Maxine (Weller) Ashton made one together...

You can read the entire story about this quilt by following the link on Luna's name above.

Lala's daughter-in-law (Tressie Teegarden) made two...

This blue one that my mom, Carol has and 

this pink one that her brother, Forrie, has.  You can read the entire story on Carol's post.

I've not had the chance to study and examine the fabrics of the two quilts to see if there are any matching fabrics in the quilts, but I certainly plan to do so soon!

As for the repairs required on the quilt, I feel that I can "replace" the white setting squares that are worn and torn.  But there are two of the "hearts and flowers" that are in desperate need of help...

I asked the customer if perhaps there was another quilt with similar blocks so that I could combine two quilts to make one completely repaired quilt.  She is supposed to be getting back to me on this...

Another option is that take one row of blocks off of the quilt, replace the most damaged of the blocks with good blocks removed, making the quilt smaller... I could then add some borders if they want it large enough for a bed.

As my mom searched for a bit of info on the names of some ladies involved in the Ladies Aid Society of the Trinidad Christian Church at the same time as my GGM Lala, there was a Mrs. G.F. Bell that was part of the group... 

I can't help but wonder... what are the chances that my Great-Grandmother had a hand in making this quilt???

What would you do??? 
Would you try to repair the quilt? 
Do you have a suggestion for repair that I haven't thought of?  
I'd love to hear from you...

If you happen to be looking for the story of Sue Harmon's grand-children, I will be publishing their stories soon... I've been waiting to receive some further info and photos to be able to offer my readers the best possible stories... since Sue's schedule and my schedule didn't fully mesh, I thought it was best to wait just a bit longer.

Be sure to check back.

I will soon be offering the first male quilter to be included in the Quilters Through The Generations series and I am proud to say that he is a part of my family tree.  Stay tuned!

Happy Quilting,


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Quilters Through the Generations - Sue Harmon

Today I introduce to you Sue Harmon.  I came upon Sue when Karen over at Tu-Na Quilts was enjoying her 10-day Minnesota Quilt Shop Hop last month. Be sure to jump over there and read of all her adventures as she and her husband, Tu-Na Helper, traveled the state of Minnesota and visited all of the participating 66 local quilt shops.  When I read the story about Sue being at the shop with her grand-children I just knew that Sue needed to be featured here...

Have YOU ever made a quilt?  
I have made many, many quilts.  I first learned to sew when in Jr. High Home Economic classes.  But I got started with quilting in 1975 when a friend decided that we needed to take a quilting class.  The instructor rode the train from Chicago to the northern suburb where we were taking the class through community ed.  She gave us card board templates from cereal boxes and told us to mark the fabric, cut ¼” away from the line, sew on the line and bring the block back the following week.  No suggestions of suitable fabric, cutting on the grain, type of needle or thread!  We did this for 6-8 weeks.  The blocks were awful and I’m sure no one made them into anything!  At that point we decided if we were going to learn anything, we’d better take a class at the local quilt shop! 
 I made a lot of small things from classes we took at that quilt shop – like table runners, tree skirts, pillows, and small wall hangings.  My first quilt was probably a baby quilt that most likely was given away.  I really have no idea how many quilts I have made over the years.

Does your mother or father quilt? 
Neither my mother nor my father quilted but, my maternal grandmother, Edith Wallick, and great grandmother, Ellen Wallick,  made many quilts, most of them pieced, some appliqued.  I don’t remember seeing them do this, but I do have quite a few of the quilts that they made.  Most of the tops were machine quilted in the 1950’s by a man who had a commercial quilting machine for making bed spreads.

Have you ever taught someone to quilt?  
When we moved from the Chicago suburbs in 1977 to a rural community in the western part of Illinois, friends talked me into teaching in my home which lead to opening a quilt shop called “The Patchwork Corner” from 1980-1985.  In addition to teaching many classes over the years, I have taught my grandchildren to quilt, starting when they were 3 or 4.  I currently teach quilting to middle school students after school in the winter, as well as workshops for quilt guilds. I have helped “found” 3 guilds in Illinois, have been a member  of 9 or 10 guilds over the years and have quilted in a few church groups.

Have you ever sold any quilts? 
I used to do commission work but that was not fun or profitable!

Do you have a favorite quilt? 
I made a king size quilt for our bed when we were in the process of moving to Minnesota.  Instead of packing, I procrastinated by making this quilt.  My reasoning was “what if I didn’t buy enough fabric?  I’d better work on this now while I know I can still purchase the fabric!”  It is a star quilt, but since I didn’t use a pattern it became a “Harmon star” since it is not a perfect star.  But it is perfect for our new home and I love it.

Where do you get your inspiration from? 
My inspiration comes from many avenues, including books, nature and pictures of floors I have taken on trips!  Quilting is my passion! Being able to complete the whole quilt, including the label gives the satisfaction of accomplishment.

What do you do with your quilts? 
I use them on beds, hang them on walls and share them with others through the lectures I present. 

Using quilts from her collection, which continues to grow, she presents examples for each of the lectures. Some examples of lecture topics include "FEEDSACKS - More than just a bag", "Scraps from the stash - old & New", "Batting 101" and "Passing on a legacy". Her lectures also include the importance of quilt appraisals, gleaning from her 14 years of appraisal experiences. Sue has taught, lectured and appraised throughout most of the Midwest.

Sue has been certified by the American Quilters Society since 1997 and is required to re-certify every three years.  

"This means that I continue to keep informed through reading and researching, taking classes on new trends and techniques, attending appraisal workshops and staying in touch with fellow AQS appraisers".

Sue has come a long way since her first community ed quilting class.    She certainly has "Passed on a legacy" by sharing her passion for quilting and her love of fabric with her grand-children.  We will hearing from her grand kids in the coming weeks...

If you are interested in contacting Sue, simply click the link above with her name (highlighted).  Be sure to leave a comment below and thanks for stopping by.  

Have you passed on the legacy of quilting to someone?  
Tell me about it in the comments below.  I'd love to hear from you... 

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Water Bottle Carrier - A Tutorial

A few years ago as I prepared for a Community Farmers Market I had asked for ideas and suggestions of items to sell.  I have received some really good ones over the years and have great success with several of them.  items like my therapeutic rice bags and the microwave potato baker/tortilla warmer bags, as well as the wine bottle bags. 

A Sister-in-law had suggested a water bottle carrier so that both of her hands could be free as she walked.  

I did a quick search on etsy and craftsy for an idea of what others have done before me... I am not too proud to buy another's pattern... But what I found were lots and lots of crocheted carriers, but only a few sewn or quilted carriers.  And most of those were not very adjustable or adaptable to the varied sizes of bottles out there.

The crocheted carrier makes total sense as it could easily stretch to accommodate multiple sizes of bottles - standard purchased sizes as well as other eco-friendly type of bottles.

Since I didn't find anything close to what I was looking fore, I took a few ideas and started with my basic wine bottle bag as the foundation for my carrier... 

it easily adjusts to various sizes of bottles, both in height and in circumference because of the box corners and the open front.  

I decided that it would need more than just one tie at the top, so I added one mid-way as well, preventing a shorter bottle from slipping out easily.

Most of the carriers that I saw had a strap that was made adjustable - "The strap can be knotted to fit as loose or as snug to your body as you want."

Really???  I went on the hunt throughout our house for an adjustable strap "thingy". And found exactly what I wanted on an old purse.  

It was pretty successful!  But not perfect...  This prototype had batting in it... I was thinking it might offer a little insulation, but it made it a little too stiff and decided that it wasn't really necessary.

Based on the larger size of bottle I was trying to fit, the bottom of the bag needed to be just a bit bigger.

So... Here you go - A Tutorial for an Adaptable/Adjustable Water Bottle Carrier

Cut two pieces of fabric 11" high by 12" wide.

Mark the top 1/2" from each side - trim.  

Press in the side seams 1/4".  Place right sides together and sew along the top seam.  


Mark for the drawstring pockets.
1/2" from top, 1" from top, 5-1/2" from top and 6" from top.  

Sew as indicated in photo, leaving the openings for the drawstrings.

Mark bottom center, fold sides in so that they overlap in the center.  Sew bottom seam.

Make box corners.

Insert drawstrings.

Make handle/strap - cut 2-1/2" strips width of fabric (60" to 80" long). 

Fold and press as indicated in the photo...

Fold over so that the raw edges align on the inside... Sew along edge to secure.

Cut a 3" section from the strap and sew the rectangular loop to the carrier.

Attach one end of the strap to the other side of the carrier.  Slip on the Tri-glide (adjustable slide-y thing), loop strap through the rectangular loop and then back through the tri-glide.  Fold under the raw edge and sew.

And there you have it... An adjustable strap water carrier that accommodates multiple sizes of water bottles!

One customer asked about the possibility of adding a small pocket for some tissue or a key...  

The pocket was cut to 4" x 6" with the edges pressed in and the top sewn down. Center on the bag between the drawstrings and sew  the sides and bottom of the pocket into place.  

The pocket will easily fit an id, credit card, hotel room key or small regular key.

I will be trying out my carrier while we vacation in The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone in a few weeks.  As my sister-in-law stated, "there is no better way of knowing how well something works than by using it yourself."

If you make one, please let me know what you think and/or any changes you would make... 
Simply leave a comment below - 
kind critiques and suggestions are always welcome!

Happy Sewing!


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Quilters Through the Generations - Zia Part 2

Today I pick up with Zia's story...  

You can read Part I here...

"Zia’s Quilt Shop was on Main Street, Bastrop, Texas.
We were living in Victoria (our home town) and I drove 103 miles twice a day to and from Bastrop, 5 days a week for 3 years.  
My sister Kay wanted to go into Real Estate full time and because I had varied retail experience I told her I’d help for 3 years.

We rented an old house and the front rooms were her offices and I had the large enclosed back sun porch and a side porch for retail gifts, notions, and custom order ceramic items from Marshall pottery. 

We had a grand open house and the place was packed all day.  I held classes there where anybody could come in, visit, have a cup of coffee, stitch and chat.

After the 3 years, that was it."

In Victoria, I also had a custom design shop where I designed very elaborately appliqued garments, mostly skirts and shirts. The fabric appliques were machine satin stitched with variegated thread. I sold most all skirts to an upscale boutique. A-line wrap skirts will fit a slew of people…No I didn't keep any pictures nor my file of designs and pattern pieces. Foolish maybe but I got tired of that work.

Why did you give up quilting? 

I was tired of it and (it was) time to move on to other challenges. That is my nature to work like crazy for the “blue ribbon” so to speak.

Sometime in the ‘90s, I took over the farming operation for Miller Brothers LLC. You can’t "play house" and run a farming operation doing much of the labor yourself. Again I was on the road every day for 5 years and yes, I got very tired.

We decided to build a beautiful home in the coastal town of Matagorda on the very same property location where my husband Jack’s great-grandparents lived from 1841 until 1887 when they moved to Victoria.  After I gave up my position on the Alamo board in San Antonio and our house was finished, we moved in May 2001.  The ranch house was there but we never lived there. It was more of a camp house retreat near Bay City. Besides it was JACK’s HOUSE and I didn’t mess with his treasures.

In 2001 Jack and I greatly expanded our ranching operation covering 4 locations with the main ranching headquarters on the west side of the Colorado River at Bay City. Still on the road at least 50 miles or more a day. I usually drove Jack.  In January 2004 Jack had a close call that required major heart surgery so he handed me full reins of our ranching business. I have enlarged my herd inventory and cow calf operation. Daniel, my youngest son, has a working interest and cows on the Miller Ranch. I could not handle the operation without his help. We are a good working partnership team. Of course, I am the senior partner!!

Daniel has traveled the world with his work in the oil industry and would purchase some of the hand-dyed fabrics from the various countries - Nigeria and Indonesia, for example.

Zia had started a quilt for her husband Jack.  Jack was an avid duck hunter.  In this quilt top she had used a pre-printed panel (possibly a shower curtain?) and added borders of some of the beautiful fabric Daniel had purchased for her from Indonesia.  It was placed aside unfinished.  I picked up where she left off and finished the borders and quilted it with a pattern that resembled ripples in the water as a duck swims.  When finished it was returned to Zia and Jack for his pleasure.

"While caring for my husband Jack, I decided to go back to knitting and crocheting something I had given up 30+ years ago. While I was sitting with Jack in the nursing home, I would work and he would watch my hands. I made so many hats, afghans and stuff. Fun stuff to give away. I have a new patterning I am trying to master now. It is the Catherine’s Wheel. I am working on a nap cover.

My great hobby and passion is genealogy and history. It is something I work on a little every day. I wrote my first paper in 1959. I have compiled and published three family histories. Helped numerous people with their research which I love to do. Several years ago I compiled, typed and had published a cookbook for the Blessing Hotel Foundation (Blessing, TX). It is now in its 4th printing and still going strong. I didn’t tell you that I wrote a weekly food column in the 1970's and again starting in 2001 until I had enough in 2005. It was published in the Victoria Advocate.

Quilting is  truly an American art form where you are limited only by your imagination. No, I don’t quilt anymore but appreciate the beauty of others."

Were there other quilters in your family before you?

Here is a snippet of a well worn quilt made by Margaret E. Hamrick Crowell (1834-1917) (See Photo) while living in Lewis County Tennessee. It was made for her second child Marion Jethro Crowell (1872-1945), who was my grandfather. The family and this quilt came to DeSoto, Dallas County, Texas in 1875. My eldest aunt was the caretaker of the quilt until her death in Durant, Oklahoma in 1976. Her daughter who lived in Iowa, Louisiana saved it and in 1990 lovingly entrusted me in Victoria, Texas with this well traveled heirloom. 

It is truly a fine example of 1800's Tennessee quilting art. It has very thin fine thin combed cotton batting. The stitching is incredibly fine by anybody's standards. Not much remains of the red binding, but it was beautiful. It's a treasure to have and admire. My great Granny Crowell was a pioneer woman who found time to be an artist. 

As Mrs. Miller stated... "Think of all the work that hand saw in her 83 years."

I offer many thanks to Mrs. Miller for the various photographs included in her story as well as the memories and stories shared.  I am sure that you would agree, Zia is a multi-faceted Lady... and I hope that you have enjoyed her stories as much as I have.  Be sure to show some love to Zia by leaving a comment below.

Happy Quilting!


By the way, remember if you know a family with Quilters Through the Generations  that could be featured here, please let me know by emailing me at  THANKS!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Quilters Through the Generations - Zia Miller

Today I introduce to you Zia Miller.  She is a Southern Lady through and through and I have come to know her over the last few years as the friendship between her son & daughter-in-law, Jack & Jamie and my husband and I has grown closer.

My first "interaction" with Mrs. Miller was when a box arrived upon my doorstep via Jamie.  It was full of fabric, patterns and some unfinished - abandoned projects (some quilters would refer to these as UFO's (un-finished objects) or PIGS (Projects In Grocery Sacks).

You can read about some of those projects from 2015 at 

Rescued Stars 

When I contacted Mrs. Miller with a few questions about her quilts and quilting I got an honest and concise response from her...

"In kind respect to your time consuming project, I don’t quilt any more. That is the reason I sent you stuff and have more in the closet. Cutting mats under the bed, etc. but I still use those occasionally."  

She did very kindly answer a few questions - 

How old were you when you started sewing and who taught you?

I cannot remember not sewing and playing with fabric. I still have the doll quilt my maternal grandmother made for me and she died when I was 5. She was an accomplished seamstress and made quilts. By 4 or 5, I was embroidering as a summer activity. I had a “playroom” when I was about 7 with an oasis as I called it, including potted banana trees and a wash pot fishpond. This is when a loving friend gave me her mother's Golden Star treadle sewing machine. What fun! Before “electronic baby sitters”, people had time to play with and teach their children, etc. and my mother was truly my mentor both spiritually and socially.   

"I helped my mother using our family heirloom quilts, in many museum exhibits. I would read about a show so off we would go across the state and the country to attend quilt shows. Sometimes, we would stop at a house if we saw a quilt on the front porch or fence!!!  Rogers, Arkansas and that area was wonderful fun.

My projects were hand quilted. I really like the machine quilting but just never got around to buying a machine."

Zia shared with me that she owned a quilt shop in the 1980's and taught quilting; she judged many shows large and small; made and sold quilts; entered shows and won many blue ribbons and gave many programs. We will learn more about this next week in Part II...

Quilting is part of my past. Many quilts have come and gone. I have given a number of them to different family members and friends.  It is my nature to work like crazy for the “blue ribbon” so to speak.

Mrs. Miller is quite a busy lady and concluded her first message to me...

This is it for today. Working cattle and the cow crew are already working and I am “burning day light.” I still have a ranch to run and lunch to get on the table for 8 hungry men and same tomorrow. Again, thanks for thinking of me. Maybe I will box up some more stuff and send you someday.

I so greatly appreciate her taking the time answer a few questions... Next week I will wrap up her story.  Trust me... She is a multi-faceted lady!

Happy Quilting!


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Thursday, August 24, 2017

It's All About A Boy...

Just over two years ago our niece and her husband welcomed a bouncing baby boy...  It was a joyous day for them and his big sister, as well as the rest of the family.

As the birth announcement arrived, we (Dave & I) were apparently knee deep in something called life, and I failed miserably as the "aunt that showers all with quilts" and didn't get one made and sent to him.  

The even bigger fail was that it wasn't until his second birthday that I realized this!!!  I set forth with a mission to create a special quilt for Ford - All things boy was my goal...

Little Ford (actually, that should be big - over 10 lbs at birth!) shares the birthday of his Great-Grandma, Sandi Nolan, who passed away in 1995.

And because he shares the birthday with his great-grandma, and she loved and collected owls, one of the first blocks I made represents her.

His Mom (Jessie) shared with me that Ford has a special love for ducks... check.

I also know that his Mom loves dragonflies and ICE CREAM! (that is "we all scream for ice cream") - she needed to represented as well... check, check.

The family lives in Kenosha - "One of Kenosha’s most appealing features is public access to Lake Michigan. You won’t find highways or industrial buildings on the lakefront. Instead, the shoreline near downtown consists of miles of beaches, parks, walking trails, bike paths, and festival grounds."

Here are a couple pictures from our visit five years ago...

A lighthouse may have seemed obvious, but a sail boat seemed more appropriate for a little boy. 

I am certain that somewhere along the line  Ford will become familiar with Dr. Suess (if he isn't already)...One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish!  These little fish were inspired by Karen over at Tu-Na Quilts.  

His Grandma Hopp loves lady bugs... and they are supposed to bring good luck.

Ford's Great-Uncle Dave "once-upon-a-time" owned an orange truck... Jessie may remember that it was used for hunting - a lot!... so it became camouflaged. (Our girls loved to use it as a chalk board)  

As I write this, I realize the car in the quilt should have been a little Chevette - that is what Ford's Mom and Uncle were escorted around in by their parents when they little.  

But, seriously, what little boy doesn't love to play with cars and trucks??

The hot-air balloon, pin wheels and air plane are some traditional things that little boys enjoy playing with...

The Kite, as I made it, brought back to me the stories of Dave & many of his siblings... their Mom (Sandi) would occasionally tell them when they stated that they were bored to "Go fly a kite"... another nod to Great-Grandma. 😉

The pine trees were fun to add... Ford's mom, Jessie,  enjoyed camping.  There were numerous "family camp outs" that involved S'mores, dough boys and laughter.  Here is one of the "camp letters" we received from everyone after we had moved to Colorado from Illinois... Such memories!

And to wrap up this quilt, the backing features the character from Dora the Explorer, Diego.  Jessie & Jon met and were married in San Diego.  They even have a cat named Diego... It was meant to be!

Many of these blocks came from QuiltMaker magazine or their 100 Block publications... and some of them I just made up as I went along, based on the size of space I needed to fill, like the the fish blocks

So, there you have it... All things that a boy loves!  I hope that Ford will love them too!  All with a special story and memories that represent a few family members.

What sort of "boy blocks" would you include?  

Happy Quilting,


Linking up with The Inquiring Quilter