"Maison de Garance" by French General

….Nancy Sue.  Congratulations Nancy Sue  I’m going to get your fabrics together and put them in the mail to you.  Hope you enjoy working with these bits and pieces.


"Maison de Garance" by French General

For the past week and a half I’ve been watching the French General blog website, checking back at least twice a day, to see when Kaari Meng was going to begin offering the quilts that my friend Keiko and I worked on with Kaari and her husband Jon.  Well, I’m a few days late in announcing this but the kits are up and ready for viewing (and purchasing if you are so inclined).  Kaari has given me pictures to post here so that you can see the full quilts in all their glory. 

The first quilt I’m showing you is the Maison de Garance quilt, which was designed by Jon Zabala and Keiko Clark.  I did the piecing and appliqué and Debbie Thornton from Prairie Queens Quilts did the machine quilting.  If stitching this chateau doesn’t make you want to thow on a beret and book a trip on Air France, then nothing will.

"Reine des Abeilles" by French General

The second quilt (to the right) is the Reine des Abeilles quilt that Keiko designed and pieced with the help of Ayako Yamazaki.  Again, Debbie Thornton was the machine quilter.  Keiko has developed a nifty way to piece the large hexagons, so it’s worth it for the educational experience alone. 

 What you don’t see in the photos, however, are the extra goodies that French General will include as part of the “kit”.  Each kit will come assembled in a tote bag made exclusively for this project, and will also include a hand silk-screened (and numbered label).  Since there are only 50 kits…you’ll have proof that your quilt was spawned from one of the few issued.

 So, tell us what you think — We’re excited to know.  And, to encourage your comments I’m going to pull together the leftovers from making the Maison de Garance quilt for a little giveaway.  Just leave a comment by Wednesday November 17th and I’ll pick the lucky winner. 

And if scraps aren’t enough and you are inspired to pick up one of these wonderful kits…you can easily order them through www.frenchgeneral.com.  Just click on the words “Quilt Kits” and look for the horse.   I just wouldn’t wait too long.   They will be gone soon.

— Penny

New Blog on Welsh Quilts

This past weekend, my friend Mary Jenkins (who lives in Wales) emailed me that she had begun a blog and would I take a look at it.  So, I immediately popped over and was pleased to find that her new endeavor is primarily focused on Welsh quilts, both those that she has made and antiques.  (http://littlewelshquiltsandothertraditions.blogspot.com/

Making Welsh Quilts by Mary Jenkins

But, before you go running off to her new online journal…let me take a minute to introduce you to Mary.  She is the co-author of one of my favorite books, Making Welsh Quilts, as well as other articles that have appeared in various publications on the topic.  In her book, Mary and her co-author, Clair Claridge, incorporate photos of antique Welch quilts as well as patterns for inspired reproductions.  Best of all, they include elaborate whole-cloth quilting designs which brings the experience full circle.  If you don’t have this book in your library, you may want to look into finding a copy.  I believe that they are still available on most major online books sources. 

Not that this wasn’t enough in terms of credentials, Mary was also instrumental in getting the Welch Quilt Study Group off the ground and has also told me that she  is in the  process of writing her second book on the subject Welsh quilts…this time small ones.  Can’t wait to get a copy. 

Mary and Cindy Hamilton

 But, don’t just pop over to her blog for the quilt information and inspiration.  Mary is also a master of collecting wondering British treasures.  Everything from Staffordshire pottery, tartanware, and  red house samplers are items that Mary collects with great zeal.  I know…I’ve witnessed the wonder of her collections and only wished I could stay in her beautiful home for months at a time to admire each and every treasure. 

The picture at right was taken when Cindy Hamilton, my friend Pam and I joined Mary at St Fagan’s in Wales for an afternoon of private antique quilt viewing earlier this year.   The day was magical but the lighting poor, so please excuse the poor quality of the photo. 


You Heard it Here First

Fabric Shopping at French General

 I wrote earlier of my holiday weekend in Los Angeles, but I was keeping it under wraps that Pam and I spent the entire day on the Monday hanging out with Kaari Meng (and her entourage) at French General (www.frenchgeneral.com).  It’s always a treat to visit Kaari’s shop…not just for the wonderful vintage supplies available for purchase, the fabulous French General fabrics, and the wonderful fellowship…but for the pure inspiration.  

Maison de Garance Quilt

 For this trip, however, I had a slightly different agenda.  You see, I’ve been secretly working on an appliqué project.  I was so good as my undercover stitching that folks were beginning to wonder if I was still a “dedicated appliquist”.    But, I’ve gotten permission from Kaari to reveal that for the past few months, along with my good friend Keiko (designer extraordinaire), we’ve been working with Kaari to realize her quilt designs into real quilts.  So, here you will see a small tidbit of the quilt I stitched that will be offered as an exclusive, and limited edition, kit by Kaari on her website French General.    

 Now before you head over to the website and wonder why you can’t order it yet…well, the fabric is from Kaari’s newest fabric collection, Maision de Garance, which isn’t out yet.  (Visit www.unitednotions.com for a preview.)  I believe that the kits will be available sometime in early November.   But, if you are interested I would encourage you to check her website towards the end of October for full details.  These kits will go quickly…I can guarantee you. 


The Quiet Quilter

Cindy Vermillion Hamilton


I never had to learn the lesson about feeling fortunate about having friends.  It seemed to be in me to appreciate those with similar interests from the time I was born.  And, as friends have moved in and out of my life, I have gained something from each of them….even those good-for-nothing boyfriends of years ago.  But, I must admit that quilting has brought me some of my most cherished friends. 

One of the things I gained from an old boyfriend was the craft of quilting.  I had been an embroiderer for years, and never really settled in on quilting.  But, it was with his prodding that I bought my first fat quarter and dusted off my sewing machine.  I remember the two of us visiting a local quilt show where I purchased a number of older Quilters Newsletter magazines.  I had purchased the issues based on the cover quilts, and soon learned that there was a quilter that I was totally inspired by.  Her name was Cindy Vermillion Hamilton and never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would consider her one of my dear friends. 

Medallion Quilts by Cindy V HamiltonThis past Spring Cindy and I set out (with a few others quilters) to England to attend the famed V&A exhibit.  It was my second trip with Cindy to the country we both have loved for decades.  I won’t go on about all her quilts that have graced the covers of magazines, or all the high awards she’s earned at Paducah, etc.  But, I will encourage you to search out a copy of her book, Medallion Quilts — Inspiration & Patterns published by AQS.  

 So, here is a picture of her…my quiet quilter friend…who is happy to sit for hours stitching in the window of her hotel room in Barnard Castle, North Yorkshire.  Wish we were there right now. 


Fabric Hoarders Beware

Shopping at M&L

Once again, my friend Pam and I celebrated our birthdays (which land about two weeks apart) by taking an overnight adventure.  This time, we decided to go back to Los Angeles again since we’ve been having so much fun there…and take in some of our favorite haunts.  So over the Labor Day holiday we went, with the necessary equipment and supplies – GPS, iPhone, Water, Chocolate Chip Cookies – in search of fabric, beads, and pay-per-view in air-conditioned hotel rooms. 

The first landmark we wanted to visit while in the LA area was M&L Discount Fabric.  I learned about this fabric store a few years ago from my friend Julia Z who casually mentioned that it was “where all old fabric goes to die”.  And, it is just that.  Housed in what looks to be an old grocery store, it is on the “gotta go” list for quilters looking for a bargain (or quilt backs) who just happen to be in Southern California.  

The shop is chock-a-block full of fabric.  As you enter, you’ll be greeted by the latest fabric lines at regular prices…but, fear not.  As you progress through the aisles and aisles of everything from quilting fabrics, dress linings, tulle, and various upholstery fabrics you’ll notice the prices drop, and then drop again.  And, they even continue to drop further as you approach the unknow…or the flatfolds…that are stacked neatly in a dozen aisles as much as 5 feet high.  For your efforts there you just might find a treasure oldie but still amazing fabric for $1.98/yard.  

If you are planning a trip to the LA area, see if you can’t squeeze a trip.  The store is located at 3430 W Ball Rd, Anaheim, CA 92804.  Turns out that Disneyland is just down the street.  So, drop the kids off first, but remember to leave room in the car to pick them up.   And, if you don’t have a chance in the world of going to LA…my condolences.  You can see from my full basket above that I had a successful hunting trip.  Now for Pam’s basket…well, let’s just say that I’m a lightweight.  


English Basket Quilt by Corliss

I know…I’ve been hearing from so many people as to why I’ve grown silent.  Well, sometimes work (as in that thing that I need to remind myself actually pays my bills) takes precedence over all other things…including talking to all you lovely folks. 

So, just so that people will know that I didn’t drop off the face of the earth, I’m going to post this little update on the English Basket Quilt I wrote about a couple of months ago.  It seems that the story of this wonderful quilt continues.

Corliss from Threadbear Patchwork and Quilting in Australia has given me permission to post the above picture of her rendition (and pattern available to all of us) of the fabulous antique.  Corliss had in progress pictures on her website and included in her pattern…but I had not seen it entirely done.  Bravo….is all I can say.

If you want to check out Corliss’ website, hop over to  http://www.threadbear.com.au/ and take a look.  You’ll be happy you did.  Included in the pattern section of her website are many of the wonderful quilts that Di Ford has designed, along with Corliss’ Civil War Brides Quilt pattern that has captured the imagination of many an appliquist.

Give me a little more time and I’ll certainly have some new stuff!


P.S.  And a special thanks to Pam who bought me the Basket Quilt pattern for my birthday.  Yippee…more to add to my retirement plans.