Tuesday, December 29, 2020

End of the Year Mini

 Well, what can we all say, 
but farewell 2020.

One of the nice things that
happened this year was the continued
sewing of a monthly mini.
I have really enjoyed exploring and
challenging myself with new techniques,
colors and patterns.

This month I was planning
on doing something simple.
I had received a new book 
through the Martingale book club.

 by Martha Walker

I decided to give one of the patterns a try.
It involved fusing, Christmas, and
some simple whip stitching.

The thing I fast discovered was that
there were a lot of pieces, small pieces

I stitched around the bigger shapes, but decided to
forgo the small circles.

Then I rediscovered the border
was made up of lots of pieces.
Remember I wanted something fast and easy.

That's when I learned about Cluck, Cluck Sew's

There have been other products
 that have worked as guides
when sewing diagonal seams,
but Allison's product is great.

I loved how easy it was
to set up and start sewing.
The tape is thick, 
sticks well, comes off easily,
 but doesn't leave a residue. 
My pieces came out perfect.

In order to get this last mini finished,
I opted to keep the machine quilting 
very simple,
in the ditch and around the applique.

"A December to Remember"
32" x 32"

When it came to adding the black binding
I had just a small piece of the black left.
I cut what I thought I would need and.....

I did have a 4 x 3 inch piece left,
but doesn't this kind of thing drive you crazy!

Another year of mini's completed.
This wonderful year long project has been directed
and coordinated
Thank you Wendy, for your time and effort
and to all the other quilters who participated.

I did complete a sweet little
cross stitch designed by
Brenda Gervais who gifted it
to so many as a free chart
for the holidays.

"Merry and Minty"

It was a fun little stitch.
Thank you, Brenda.
a new year awaits us.

May it be a positive, healthy,
and kinder new year. 

Until Next Time-

Monday, December 21, 2020

The Autograph Quilt: Chapter 4, Now What?

 It has felt good to get
the story of this unique quilt written.
It's something I needed to get done
for quite awhile.
Thank you for following along.  

Our group of three mothers and three daughters
kept up the letter writing for almost 3 years
and then 
we all came to the same conclusion: 
We were done.

Now what?
How to do come up with a design
that is simple enough to allow 
all those special names to be the stars,
yet make the quilt interesting.

At the time, I was thinking patriotic and 
chose a deep rich blue and a red with stars.
If I were choosing today, I might 
have chosen differently.
1996 verses 2020  
Colors and styles have changed.

I drew out a simple sketch

and thought a simple 6" blue square
surrounded by the signature rectangles 
and then using the red star
fabric as the connector squares
would work, allowing
our huge pile of signatures 
to each find a place of honor.

I began to sew them together in no particular order.
And it grew and grew.

The center was now 74 inches by 74 inches

It was there I stopped.
I didn't know what to do with the rest 
of the names.
So I put it all away
for a very very long time.

Now fast forward about 20 years
One day out of the clear
I decided to simply sew the remainder
of signatures into a piano key border.

After almost 20 years of starting this quilt,
 the top was finally finished in 2016.

Autograph Quilt
1994 -2016
91 inches by 91 inches

Are you wondering about the big white square?
One of the other mothers of our group, asked the touring company
of the Phantom of the Opera to add their names to our quilt.
She boldly went to the stage door at the Buell Theater in Denver
and left 3 squares which someone placed somewhere
and someone returned to us.

Amazing, isn't it.

In order to keep track of where I
had sewn names, I had to draw out a chart.
I should really do it over, but kind of
like my cut and tape version.

And now fast forward another 4 years to 2020.
The question is:
What do I do now?

I have really wrestled with this.
How should this unique quilt be finished?

Should I hand quilt it?
I really don't want to spend 
another decade doing that.  hahaha
Of course, this was my original idea back in 1996 and 
 quilting something fancy in the blue squares?

Maybe now is the time to have it machine quilted?
(no stitching over the writing)
Quilting in the ditch and a star patriotic pattern 
in the blue squares?
Or maybe leave it simply as a top?
(It would take up less room and no creases
from folding the quilt)

Awhile ago, I had written to a well known quilt historian
asking if she felt the quilt had any historical value
and how I should proceed.
I was told signature quilts are quite common
and I should go ahead and finish it so my family 
could enjoy it.

So I'm not sure if it will ever find
it's way to any place other than with my family
and that's okay.
We had made it for and with our daughters
as a snapshot in time.

You might be asking what the other 2 friends
have done with their signatures.
Sadly, nothing.
Although, one of my friends
is committed to working on it in 2021.
Me too!

Here are the fabric she had originally chosen
 and the design is more 
of a Chinese Coin strip layout.
It really has been on overwhelming project.

So I need your help.
What do you think?
What would you do?
Any opinions?
I'm committed to getting 
this quilt finished.

I played detective the other day
and guess what?
I figured out who belonged to the mystery scribble!


We had written to Le Var Burton in 1994
and thought he had never written back.
Our family were big "Star Trek, 
The Next Generation" fans.
Le Var was also popular on a series 
for children called "Reading Rainbow".
We're so excited.
I'm surprised I figured it out, but
thank goodness, for the internet!
Until Next Time-
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

Monday, December 14, 2020

Chapter 3: Who's Who on the Autograph Quilt

 Well, now you might be wondering just
how many autographs have we included 
on our quilt.

We actually have 259 signatures.

How many letters did we send out?
Well, at least double that, 500+

It wasn't too long after we started
that we realized we might have a problem
identifying some of the signatures that were returned.


I tried to figure it out by the process of elimination
and thought I had it,  
until recently, when I actually looked online at
their signature and realized I was wrong.

So I'll do more sloughing through our
records to see if I can eventually figure it out.
(All 3 fabrics were signed the same)

In order not to have this happen again,
we began putting a small number on
the return envelope to correspond to our lists.
It came in handy several times.

David Copperfield,  Magician

We received many encouraging and lovely
note from signers.  I really appreciated
how these individuals honored our request
and took the time to include a personal  note.
Some letters were lengthy, others
 just a note on a post it, and others were humorous. 

American Actress, Comedian

Pete Seeger, 
American folk singers, political activists

Ice Cream Founders

The last block we had returned 
had been sent out over three years prior 
and over a year since we had sent out anymore.  

Where had that letter and fabric swatches sat for 3 years
is a mystery .

Mary Travers, Paul Stookey,  Peter Yarrow
American folk group

Who were some of my favorites
other than some I have shared already.

George Burns
American entertainer

Bob Hope
American Entertainer, 

Child Actress, Ambassador to Ghana

Luciano Pavarotti, Italian Operatic Tenor

Dr. Benjamin Spock
American Pediatrcian 

Jane Goodall
Known for her study of Chimpanzees, Conservation
and Animal Welfare

Ken Burns
American Filmmaker

Dick Clark
Host of American Band Stand 

Fred Rogers
Host of a Children's TV series

Chuck Yeager, American Test Pilot, 
who broke the sound barrier. 
He passed this last week, age 97

John Travolta,
 American Actor, Singer and Dancer

Ruth Handler
Do you know who she is?

Ruth Handler was an American businesswoman and inventor.  She served as the 
president of the toy manufacturer Mattel Inc.  In 1959 she invented the Barbie doll, which
sold over a billion copies world wide.

I could go on and on with names

Bill Gates
Martha Stewart
Susan Love
Jackie Joyner Kersee
Madeline Albright
Robin Williams
Jerry Lewis
Diane Sawyer
Bob Woodward
Mike Wallace
Ann Landers
Woody Allen
Carrie Fisher 
 Dick Van Dyke 
Milton Berle
and Angela Langsbury

Every time I look at
the quilt top, I'm in awe all over again.

I hope you'll stay tuned for Chapter 4.

"It's a quilt top, now what?"

Until Next Time-

Monday, December 7, 2020

Chapter 2: Autographs, The Details

Chapter 2

I was excited to see that so many of you
were interested in our
 3 year autograph quilt project.

Our daughters rallied to the 
idea and as names and people continued
to come to light, 
they would send out more requests.

Collecting autographs of celebrities
isn't any thing new.
There are many popular categories.

George Bush


General Norman Schwarzkoph

General Colin Powell
4 Star General, Politician, Diplomat  

Larry Bird
Basketball player

Billy Jean King
tennis player

Movie Stars
Robert Redford

Geena Davis 

Television Stars

Carol Burnett

Captain Kangaroo
American Children's TV show 1955 - 1984

Mary Engelbreit

Maya Lin
Architect and Sculptor 
designed the Vietnam War Memorial

Social and Religious Leaders
Gloria Steinem
spokeswoman for the feminist movement

Jesse L. Jackson
American Civil Rights Activist

Dr. Gertrude Elion
American Biochemist, Noble Prize 1988 in Medicine

Carl Sagan


Ted Kennedy

Sandra Day O'Connor
Supreme Court Justice, 1981 -2006


John Glenn

Sally Ride
First Woman to fly in space


Aretha Franklin

Neil Diamond


Children's Authors

Author and Humorist

Influential Women

Julia Child

Ruth Baden Ginsburg
Supreme Court Justice  1993 -2020

Liz Claiborne
American Fashion Designer and Business Woman 

Local celebrities

Thomas Sutherland, Dean of Agriculture at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, was kidnapped by Islamic Jihad members near his Beirut home on June 9, 1985. He was released on November 18, 1991 at the same time as Terry Waite, having been held hostage for 2,353 days.

Anne Dal Vera
1992 lead the first all female team to cross Antarctica to the South Pole
without dogs or motorized vehicles


One of the big questions is:
Are these signatures authentic?

There is actually no way of knowing
for sure other than if we had seen them
being signed in person.

Many celebrities use a rubber stamp.

Julie Andrews
Actress and Singer

Maya Angelou
American Poet

Clint Black
American Singer-Songwriter, Country music

Another means of signing a person's name 
is with an autopen which is a robotic machine.

First  woman to hold Secretary of Commerce, cabinet position
under President Carter, an American Economist 

Some celebrities authorize secretaries to sign
or another trusted person.

Big Bird

Bugs Bunny

And many sign with a few simple strokes.

Jay Leno
Comedian/ Late Night Talk Show Host

On a few occasions the person from whom
we requested an autograph signed the 
backing paper rather than the fabric.  
In that case, and in a couple other situations,
 the signature was copied
 onto a heat transfer paper
and applied to the fabric.  

My thoughts were that we weren't selling
the signatures or the quilt. The project  
was for our own personal use and I believed it was okay
for that to be done.

One signature that I wanted to include was
Mother Theresa's.  She had sent her name on
a card and I wanted to include her name, of course,
because her very important contributions.

She died a year after we finished collecting.

 Who didn't sign

We had many rejects.

For some we were never able to
find a reliable mailing address.  Some
of them were returned as undeliverable

and others, 
I believe, were simply disposed into
someone's circular file.

Many of them were returned with a note
and an explanation as to why someone
was not able to fulfill our request.

Our first denial was from Charles Schultz

and we were very disappointed. 

Here are a few other letters that we received.
Notice the dates.
American Chemist, Biochemist,  the importance of Vitamin C

A note from the White House

The reject letters added a wonderful chapter 
to our story as well.

So here's the question:
If you could think back to 1994 -1996
who would you have wanted to include in the quilt?

Next time I'll share some great stories
around some of the signatures and then who 
were some our favorites.

Here are a couple others
that you were interested in seeing. 

Roy Rogers
Singer and Cowboy

Gene Autry
Singer , Cowboy

Hopefully, you'll stay tuned for the rest of the story.

Radio Broadcaster
Famous for "the Rest of the Story"

Until Next Time-