Laura in Redwork (and Bluework) Wall Hangings

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My younger daughter has been a life-long devotee of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her books (Little House on the Prairie et al – the TV series, not so much).  She has always wanted to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, MO, and had a chance to make the trip with her sister last month.  Her excellent report on this trip is here.

One of the souvenirs she brought home was a gift for me – a pattern for a wall hanging called Laura in Redwork by Johanna Wilson (Plum Creek Patchwork*).

I like to do simple embroidery and had red-checked gingham on hand, so I made up the original pattern for my daughter.

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I made a label that incorporated a picture of my daughter standing in front of Laura’s house in Mansfield.

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I gave her the quilt on Mother’s Day and she was very happy with it.  It measures 38×38 inches – a big wall hanging or a small lap quilt.  Her dog, Daisy, looks anxious to have it on the couch where she can get cuddly with it.

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I wanted to make a wall hanging for myself but not that big and I didn’t want to work with the same materials again, so I reduced the pattern by 50% and came up with a wall hanging in blue that is 22×22 inches.

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I like both versions very much.  It would be a good pattern for a quilter with a bit of experience rather than a beginner since the instructions aren’t too detailed.

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*Plum Creek Patchwork – 1410 County Highway #5 – Walnut Grove, MN 56180

Modern Sunbonnet Wall Hanging

For my birthday in 2009, my oldest daughter made up a bunch of hand embroidered redwork pieces featuring sunbonnet ladies doing various phases of quilting.  She got her patterns from Quilting Bee Designs.  I made up the first wall hanging using some of the panels in 2010:

Sunbonnet Quilters

Busy Quilt Room

Airing the Quilts

I was down to my last seven panels and used six of them to make a final wall hanging.  I like these blocks which have old-fashioned sunbonnet ladies working with all of the modern conveniences – designing on the computer, unloading fabric from the trunk of a car, washing in a modern washing machine, using the latest rotary cutters and sewing machine.  I used an alternate block called Road to Oklahoma from my Electric Quilt 6 software.

After I had assembled the top, my daughter took it back to hand quilt.  Her work is so beautiful.

I finished the quilt off with label, sleeve and binding.  For the label, I printed a recent picture of my daughter and me along with the description on fabric.

It makes a beautiful wall hanging and a fitting finale to working with some wonderful redwork embroidery.

I made up the 7th block as a mini-quilt for my tabletop rack and did some very simple machine quilting.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Easter Rabbit Wall Hanging

About 15 years ago, my oldest daughter and I had a booth at a large craft mall.  My contributions were all decorative painting and I did a lot of design sketches inspired by  photos, greeting cards, calendars, etc.  I used my sketch of an Amish girl feeding rabbits to make a 6×6 inch redwork panel.

The log cabin blocks surrounding the redwork are 3×3 inches.  The finished piece, made to fit my mini quilt rack, is 12×15 inches.

It’s not the typical Easter bunny quilt, but I like it.

My daughter made the beautiful crocheted doily.

Happy 77th – to me!


Actually, my birthday isn’t until Wednesday, but my two daughters and I like to celebrate birthdays the entire weekend before the big day.  So, on Friday evening my oldest daughter showed up for her usual weekend visit with flowers and two pints of gelato – let the fun begin!

When I went to the kitchen on Saturday morning I found a gift on the table to think about until my daughter got up for breakfast.


It was two towels, hand-embroidered redwork with horses – I’m sure they’re harness horses.


We met my youngest daughter and her two children for lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant and did some shopping in the afternoon.

On Sunday morning, on the kitchen table was the most gorgeous box that was shaped like a book – and I wondered if it might be a book or a box with something wonderful in it.


It was indeed a box with some amazing contents:  An 1883 autograph book that belonged to a woman living in Cozaddale, Ohio – a small town close to where we live.  Each page was filled with sentimental verses in the most elegant handwriting.  Did everyone write that beautifully in the 1880s?  In addition, there was a handwritten list by the woman’s daughter identifying the people who had contributed to the book.  Then, my daughter had taken it further by finding census records for the people and information on Cozaddale, as well as locating a book written in 1960 about the founder.

And the day had just begun.  At lunchtime, my youngest daughter, her husband and children came for dinner, after which there were more gifts including a Garrison Keiller CD, a Minnesota State Fair book, microwave steamer dishes, a big brass alarm clock with an alarm I can actually hear, a new garden flag and a set of solar lights for the front yard,

flaglts…a candle, a Jadite hen covered dish, mini loaf pans, a drop cookie maker, embroidered pillow cases and embroidered redwork panels for me to use to make a quilt.

The grandchildren, known here as Jellyfish (10) and Dolphin (6), made their own special gifts.  They each made molded, fragrant soap and they made decorated boxes to hold the soap.  Dolphin also made a horse light catcher and Jellyfish worked with his mother in assembling a book of his photographs of my “favorite things” – family members, of course, and all kinds of neat things that are in my house.


As usual, the youngest daughter brought her renowned Best of Show White Cake with Caramel Frosting.  After cake and gifts, the girls, the grandchildren and I took a drive to – where else? – Cozaddale – a pretty drive on a late September day.

I was sorry to see everything end – and I don’t think it could all have been done in less than a weekend.


Back-to-School Redwork Wall Hanging

fulltwoTo commemorate back-to-school time, my oldest daughter gave me a redwork panel she had embroidered with a charming old-fashioned schoolroom scene.  She got the pattern from Quilting Bee Designs and used her usual excellent embroidery skills to make it special.


I thought the size of the panel would make it an ideal piece for a wall hanging and started thinking of what I could use as a border that would frame the work without overwhelming it.  I found a block pattern on Judy Martin’s Stars and Sets software that I adapted to use as a border.  The name of the block is Virginia Backroads and typical of Judy Martin’s designs, it takes a relatively easy pattern and adds an extra twist or two to make it interesting – to sew and to view.  I like the way the star overlaps the adjoining blocks and I extended the 9-patch portion to make the size I needed on each side of the embroidered piece.


I used a lot of scraps in red and white to piece the backing and the quilting is made up of very simple outline stitches and stitch-in-the-ditch with machine embroidered feather stitching along the edge of the panel.

The finished size of the wall hanging is 20×26-1/2 inches.

Above the wall hanging I like to place a small picture or piece of needlework.  My daughter adapted an internet drawing to make a design of a schoolhouse and tree with falling leaves which she did in redwork.  I simply framed the piece with a border.


These cheerful, colorful pieces are a nice addition to my living room.

Valentine’s Day in the 1940s


In the 1930s-40s, I lived in downtown Cincinnati and attended old Raschig School on Central Parkway.  In those days, Valentine’s Day was a major holiday in school.  A week ahead of time, the teacher brought in a big cardboard box which we decorated with cutout hearts and bits of paper lace doilies.  A slot was cut in the top and we were encouraged to bring a Valentine for each person in class and put it in the box, waiting for the big day.  The Valentines were “penny Valentines” and probably cost less than a penny apiece in those depression-World War II days.

Then on February 14, it was time to get the Valentines out of the box and distributed to the class.  A boy was chosen to be mailman (never a girl!), outfitted with a paper hat and mailbag.

In 1993, I wanted to make a Valentine for family members and did a sketch of the scene, incorporating my memories of two boys in my class.  Rollo was the only black boy in the class, always well dressed in knickers and argyle socks.  Otto was from the poorest part of the school district and seemed always to be a little grungy with a sole-flapping shoe.  I was a proper little girl with waist length finger curls and a dress made by my mother.  In 1993, I didn’t have a color printer and printed the cards in black and white, then hand watercolored each one.


Imagine my surprise when about 10 years later, my oldest daughtergave me a Valentine gift of my sketch in redwork.  I had just started quilting at that time and put together a wall hanging with the redwork as the centerpiece.



The dress on the card was actually a black and white check which my mother later made into a doll dress.  I took a picture of the fabric and printed it in a nine-patch to use as two of the blocks…..


I also printed fabric blocks with vintage pictures of myself and old Raschig School to add to the history.  I wish I had pictures of Rollo and Otto, but they didn’t take class pictures at our school in those days.


When I see my grandchildren laboriously writing their names on their little Valentines to take to school and pre-school, I remember musty old Raschig and all the fun of Valentine’s Day.