Posts Tagged With: Linens; Lace

All about the PLAN!


L=listen & learn

A=arrange and agree

N=now go get it done!

PLAN=Sister 1 came for a visit this spring and we both love our planning sessions.  My DH leaves the room during these sessions because he can barely listen to one conversation at a time, let alone more than one!  But my daughter, Megan, hung around a bit and watched us struggle with sketching on paper and photographing a layout to remember and trying to the digital ideas to synch.

Seriously? This is a plan?

LISTEN AND LEARN=Behind a smile she told us of a cool tool that combines all our efforts and introduced us to the Rocketbook.  (No this is not an affiliate link).  So cool.  I know it’s been around a while but so have we.  It “erases” in the microwave (some erase with water) and you write in it with a Frixon pen (yes, the same that we mark our quilts with) and you can take a photo on your phone and it sends it to the “shared cloud” of your choice!   All that is AMAZING–if it works or the operator knows how to make it work.  We may go back to graph paper and snail mail.

Round Robin plan

AGREE AND ARRANGE=We spent a long time playing with lace and buttons.  That’s the part we agree on.  We both love lace and buttons.  The arranging can be VERY different.

It all starts with buttons

As different as two sisters. 🙂  We made the popular 10-minute runner (see pinterest) with linen and burlap as a backdrop for some favorite lace pieces.

Vintage trim

Balance the buttons

Can there be too much lace?

Of course we each made one and played with the arrangements.

NOW GO GET IT DONE! We did!  It’s all part of the plan.

Burlap and beauty


Version #2 – not to much variety

Tip:  Easily stored without wrinkles on a roll rather than folded.

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Extended Contracts & Cigar Box Treasures

FL Sister id tag

I’ve decided to extend his contract indefinitely. The list of reasons for the contract extension is very long. And this summer the list has just grown longer and longer.

You may already know about Dietz and his amazing feats making and setting up quilt racks

quilt rack Jim

He can make it happen – and he smiles while he does it!

and the old sewing machine he turned into a vanity

vanity m

He does amazing things to bring concepts into reality!

and the blue bird bath he found at an estate sale.

bird bath sm

He offered to paint it any color I wanted but somehow the blue was just right!

And now this summer he raised the bar way high with a road trip through the Smokey Mountains

which took us through Pidgeon Forge,

pidgeon forge

Look closely in the lower left corner. Yes, outside our restaurant that is a pigeon at Pidgeon Forge.

the Biltmore,

biltmore library sm

They didn’t have a sewing room so the library was my favorite room.

zip line adventures …

zip line sm

Yes, I did close my eyes the first time and after that I did scream.

and a lake boat ride.

boat ride sm

And the day ended with ice cold watermelon!

And I brought home a hummingbird for my back door.

humming bird bell sm

The perfect souvenir!

I need to mention the quilt shop stops along the way, too.

quilt shop sm

They had wool on sale!


quilt shop1 sm

This one was right next door to a quilt retreat venue!

And now in the middle of summer’s heat, he caps it all off with a cigar box.

box sm

I couldn’t wait to open it!

I know nothing about cigar boxes, Cuban or otherwise. But this box is valued because Dietz found it for me (of course!) – and because of what is inside.

box full sm

These are a few of my favorite things!

This treasure box is filled with hankies of all kinds! He knows what warms my heart!

hankie sm

Bouquets of flowers!

puppy sm

A cuddly puppy!

mono sm

Delicate simplicity!

What will I do with more hankies? Oh, the possibilities are endless. And the Colorado sister is giving me inspiration as she works on a quilt for her smallest granddaughter. It looks like a dress-up fashion show to me!


Photo cannot be viewed at this time by order of the Colorado sister. Check back in a couple of weeks.

I plan to sign myself up for a hankie project as soon as I finish the Sisters round robin and the August class I’m signed up for and the To Do list for the fall show …

But most important, I’m signing up for 41 more years with this guy!

jim small

I think he’s saying, “What is she going to get me mixed up in next?”

You can see more inspiring ideas on our Pinterest Old Linens board.

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Sisters’ Challenge

Let’s be very clear about the title of this post.  I’m saying that my sister and I are doingCO Sister id tag

a challenge together.  I’m NOT saying that my sister is “challenging”.

I want to state that before I being to talk about the problems involved. So hear me,  my sister is offering to do this quilt challenge with me. I’m not forcing myself upon her.  We have established a few ground rules to guide us.  But before we got through the first round we had a misunderstanding.  (about the wording of the guidelines, not with words).

The design focus this year has been old linens and lace and we are only at the beginning stages but you can get a glimpse of a runner from old blocks here or a display scarf from vintage linens here.  We took it a step further and started a round robin exchange between the two of us using old linens and lace in our quilts.


Center with pieced blocks

The rules: (that was the beginning of the “issues”-one of us likes rules and one doesn’t)

I’m not telling which sister made which “challenge” but here are the facts as they stand.

  1. Make a center 15 1/2″ unfinished — one ended up 20 1/2″
  2. Deadline was April 15th — one of us wanted to wait until May 2nd so we could open them together
  3. First round of borders would be 5 1/2″ unfinished — one ended up 5 1/2 inches “divided between two sides”
  4. One was designed with a verbal description– one changed her mind
  5. The borders would include the following in any order:

    Old linen

    Pieced block

    Old lace




    — one now says that one of those is included in her center

  6. Each sister would design and complete a border and then exchange — one designed the entire quilt!

    Center with old linen

    None of that is the challenge! 


The real challenge is that now I want HER quilt instead of mine!  How do I break the news to her that I might not give hers back?  She really stepped out of her box and designed her own center with MY favorite color scheme.

red floral

Red and brown floral

Don’t you LOVE this combination?!  It will really shows off the old lace doilies and trims.  I’m more excited about working on hers than on mine.  Well, I need to go tell her that I’m facing a moral challenge of trying not to covet but have excused myself with just whining a little to you all.

A word to the wise…be careful when you accept a challenge it may be more challenging that you think!


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Lace Languages

Tutorial Tuesdays header

From the royal halls of castles to the humble cottage abode, lace adornments always were and always will be a favorite decor item.  It may adorn a collar or cuff of clothing,


Lace Collar

or grace an arm or back of the chair ,

chair web

Antimacassar Set

possibly a cushion, pillow or curtain

curtain web

Machine made curtain


Hand crocheted portiere

but most certainly it is cherished wherever displayed.

The term “lace” is used to cover a broad spectrum of textures so let’s break it down into a more definable art form.


Tatting: knotted lace made by hand with a shuttle of linen or cotton thread

tatting web

Made by a fellow needle-worker

Crochet: needlework lace done with a needle having a small hook at one end for drawing the thread or yarn through intertwined loops; varied sizes of hooks or thread will alter the appearance greatly


Personalized gift from my nursing home friend. She uses NO patterns.

Irish lace or Irish crochet: very fine steel crochet hook and fine crochet cotton or linen thread. Uses an outline of the pattern on a piece of cloth. The cotton cord is for volume and shaping. The finished motifs are then basted onto a cloth in the shape of the pattern. Is is a raised dimensional design.

Irish web

“Bumpy” doily

Machined lace: mimics several styles of lace but all reproduced by machine; early ones looked like this




Bobbin lace:  lace made by hand with bobbins of thread, the thread being twisted around pins stuck into a pattern placed on a pillow or pad; usually with an elevated pad


Bobbin Lace

Another type of handwork that some refer to as “lace” is actually drawn work; threads of the linen are pulled together to develop a pattern


Mexican Drawnwork

Cut work: cotton or linen, are cut away and the resulting “hole” is reinforced and filled with embroidery or needle lace.


Vintage cut-work set

So whatever you decide to embellish or adorn you can use the term “lace” with confidence. But you should also know that you can never have too much of it.



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New Tips for Old Linens

Tutorial Tuesdays header

The monthly Sister’s Challenge this year is featuring patterns from our Linens and Old Lace Collection.  If you want to follow along each month you can check out the previous posts here and here.  Or watch for upcoming challenges on our blog the last Tuesday of each month. But as it says in the previous blog, first things first.

How to Care For and Prepare Linens

  • Hand wash, using a GENTLE quilting soap (Orvus -8 oz. for $10 or Retro Wash – 1 lb. for $14)
  • Treat stains with mild additives (no bleach) We like lemon juice or the above Retro Wash
  • Use a “color catcher” if washing old reds
  • Line dry (or if it is larger-upside down on CLEAN green grass)
  • Use spray starch and steam as you press and re-square; prevents “waves” on the bias
  • For quilt blocks that will be inserted into a project or have applique applied, it is helpful to iron a lightweight interfacing to the back for stability
  • Use cotton or silk thread to stitch or applique as they won’t break the more fragile fibers of vintage pieces (polyester is OK for quilting, but it isn’t the best choice)
  • Best to have crocheted lace encased in a seam before cutting
  • Fussy cut frames are helpful for a perfectly centered cut (available from Sisters by email request)


    Squares, hexes and triangles

  • Use a basting stitch around edge or diagonal cuts to hold the bias


    Baste before bias cutting.

Truthfully, the linens or laces do NOT have to be in perfect condition to incorporate in a new project.  This bright, happy pillowcase is making a comeback from spotted, dirty linens.  It was seamed and embellished for best use of the embroidery.


Bright & beautiful!


Large tears or stains can be cut around, patched over, or embellished on top of.  You can use only the portion that fits your project.sewing basket s

Once washed and pressed you can store in acid free tissue or rolled on a cloth covered tube.  This antique linen roller was for storing STARCHED laces and linens. If you don’t have an antique tube, think about keeping your starched pieces wrinkle free by using a wrapping paper tube.


Tassles! on your storage items that were hidden in the closet!

Plastic bags, cedar chests, or vacuum sealed storage systems are not recommended as fibers need to breathe.

These special holders were for the ironed hankies awaiting their owner.


Textile fibers that breathe.


Ok, here it is…

Are you ready for our most important, best-ever, wisdom-filled, need-to-know tip for vintage linens and laces?  ENJOY THEM!use-web


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Weather Warning!

CO Sister id tag

This is so NOT a Colorado day.  It is sort of warm-ish (38 degrees) and the sky is overcast gray.  The snow has reached that “dirty” stage and frankly, I’m having a case of the blahs!  I blame it all on the weather.  I just can’t work in these conditions!  Storm-gray-gray-skies

So I threw the job list away and went to the sewing room.  That in itself is like having the sun come out from behind the clouds.  I finished a project and that is like having a spring blossom come up through that muddy yard.  I’m not going back to the job list but I can face the mending and ironing that are in the sewing room.

I thought I would share my “forecast” with you for curing a weather induced case of the blahs. It is really the beginning of spring cleaning.  You could tell yourself that

I spruced up my computer work area with a decorative mouse pad, made one for the guest room, and then one for the sewing studio. We all have those ugly, advertising mouse pads around the house and why advertise for something we don’t want when it takes 5 minutes to make your home more beautiful and match your own decor.

Gather some supplies:  pretty fabric, ugly mouse pad and your favorite fusible web.


I picked the purple for the guest room (sister stays there when she comes), which is done in 1930s, and the floral for my own room.

Follow fusible web manufacture’s instructions for drawing around the mouse pad.  Better to keep it a little generous as you can trim the fabric later but you can’t put it back on.   (Don’t ask how I know)draw web

Press (without steam) the fusible web to the wrong side of the fabric.  I even adjusted on the floral fabric so I could fussy cut some roses.fussy-web

Remove the paper backing and test for placement. Using a WARM iron, no steam, press the fused fabric to the advertising side of the mouse pad.  Trim edges from the back side if necessary.iron-web

Ta-da!  The sun is shining and the birds are singing.  You’ve finished a project!3-web

PS: I have used the brown one for a couple of years and there has been no wear or lifting.

How do you spend your gray days?


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First Things First

CO Sister id tagOk, Sister, I hear ya.  Candle is lit, linens are washed, and I’m ready to sew.  Oh, STOP!  The bookkeeper just called and YOUR relative (Uncle Sam) wants his papers filed.  So first things first.

Accounting clipart







Now, I’m ready:

  •  I’ve gathered some vintage accessories as well
  • Added ric-rac to the supply list
  • Got my half of the linen
  • Found a new (old) fabric line to use

Yes, that’s vintage ric-rac

Oh, STOP!  First things first.  What am I making? Oh, right, that IS the challenge.  Each sister is designing a runner from her own perspective that will include 1/2 of the same linen.  No restrictions on how you use it. Limits are only that it is to be the “size of a runner”.  I’ve got an idea on the back of an old envelope.  (Yes, I know I have an app for that.)

Now, I’m ready:

Oh, STOP!!! I had the new/old fabric mailed to the WRONG address. Seriously, I must get this idea off the ground! It is sketched out and ready to sew.  I will add a photo of the top next week.  Really, I will.  But first things, first.  I have to make it before I can photograph it.


Finally arrived and FINISHED!

While I wait for the fabric to be re-sent to me, I thought I would mention a couple of things you mustn’t cut!

  • Sister blocks that you got for your birthday from said family
  • Crocheted Lace from your grandmother (it will unravel), but I did put it on display. Those are her buttons at the waistband, too.


  • Your finger!  But you don’t want a picture of that and you have probably guessed how I know that.

So we want to know what you do with your vintage linens as well. Sisters At Heart has a whole pin board just for hankies! Wait til you see those projects this year!


Categories: Patterns and Projects | Tags: | 1 Comment

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