Circle circle, dot dot. I got my chemo shot.

Although at my age I don’t recognize birthdays, this year I did celebrate the fact that I am a 10 year cancer survivor.  This quilt helps me remember that.  The quilt is a combination of block projects, all in bright colors.


My Worker Bees designed an exchange that required participants to make 12.5″ blocks (any pattern) using dot or circle fabric. The block in the upper-right corner looks like just a solid white but it is actually a white and pale pink 9-patch.  No matter how much I fooled around with the exposure, I could not darken it enough to get a good image.


I happened to have enough fabric from over 3 decades before from the Delta Xi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Greek Sing costumes.  I know we did songs from 42nd Street and I think we wore black leotards with cummerbunds made from pink and white polka dot fabric.  42nd Street became my favorite musical and my kids were subjected to the entire score throughout their childhood.


These two designs are a sample of the exchange blocks. You can see one was two simplistic swirls and another was a candy popper design.


When I got sick, I started getting super-cute 6.5″ cupcake blocks around my next birthday.  They were sent to me anonymously through the mail and I loved each and every one.

A couple of months after the first post-diagnosis birthday, the American Cancer Society had come up with their One More Birthday campaign which made these blocks even more meaningful.

I actually had to use 2 green fabrics in this quilt as I did not have enough of either.  One was random swirls and circles on a bright green background, the other was a Kelly green calico from the 1970s that my aunt had given me when she was cleaning out a closet.


Although it was machine-pieced, I did hand-quilt the entire quilt which ended up being about 77 x 77 inches.

Hear the beat of dancing feet, It’s the song I love, the melody of Forty-Second Street.

Many of the recipients of my quilts have seen my work elsewhere and then want something created to reflect his or her life.  This quilt was no exception..The person who received this quilt was a classmate of a fellow LB Bruin.

We decided to veer away from the typical sashing grid design by making the quilt look like a Broadway Playbill. while sticking to a twin/tarragon size.  Both fonts were sized up to scale. The letters for the larger word were appliqued onto the yellow background.  The smaller word was drawn with permanent fabric markers.
Most playbills usually have white borders but since this quilt was headed off to college, we went with grey as it would be easier to keep clean.
This shirt was designed as a plain white shirt with the black lettering.  The kids involved in this show had wanted to tie-dye the shirts but never got around to it.   I drew a rainbow on both the big design and mini design using permanent fabric markers.

We’re giving you soul power I like it sweet and sour When it comes to lights and set designs I’m at the control tower.

This t shirt quilt is one of the few that doesn’t involve athletics.  Most of the recipients are either lovers of sport teams or athletes themselves.

This recipient is a Theatre Design & Production and Stage Management major at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts I don’t know if they have a specific name for the drama-related majors but if he was at my alma mater Carnegie Mellon, he would be known as a dramat (emphasis on second syllable).  He was the set designer and overall technician for many shows at his high school and received quite a few Cappie Awards for his work.
The shows with which he was involved ranged from Orwellian serious drama and Japanese plays to Broadway musicals and children’s favorites.

This young man is a formidable talent and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him awarded a Tony in the next decade or so.

She said “You call yourself a doctor?” I said “This is true.” She said “Explain to me really what doctors must do.”

This was a wallhanging-sized quilt that was commissioned by four adult sons in memory of their father.  The dad was born in Italy, came over the US at age 13 and apparently learned English quite rapidly as he went to Rutgers at 18 followed by Jefferson Medical College at 22.  Being a member of a more formal generation., the good doctor was given a tie by each of his four boys on every gift-giving occasion.

I received 3 bankers file boxes full of ties and the instructions to make a modern, vibrant quilt with this fairly sedate neckwear.  We went back and forth with different designs and it was actually both of our sons who came up with the final layout. My kiddo has a strong artistic sense and the recipient’s son is an Industrial Design major at Carnegie Mellon, go Tartans!  
I used 132 ties in this wallhanging which barely made a dent in one box. The vast majority were silk which involved a lot of prep work to get them to behave properly in a quilt.  Each 4″ right triangle was separated by 2″ sashing so that the busy patterns would not clash with each other. I incorporated plaids, stripes, Italian brocades, skinny ties, wide ties.  I used the boldest prints in the boxes staying away from browns and tans. The sashing was quilted but the ties were left unquilted so they could pop a bit.


The red, blue and yellow triangle is from a pharmaceutical company tie. Many people know that Depression-era quilters used feedsacks in their work. Many dry goods at that time came in a fabric sack that was printed decoratively. What I did not know was that pharmaceutical companies would give away ties to physicians, many times with an enlarged print of the microscopic image.

Although I am glad I accepted this challenge as it caused me to push my creativity in a new direction, I am somewhat relieved that my own father rarely wore a tie to work as he was a research scientist in a lab and did not dress up except for lectures.

They say I’m a Kappa, womanly and true…but wait a minute, I’ll ask my mom to see what I can do!

What to do with shirts you can’t bear to give away even though you haven’t worn them in literally decades? Make a fullsize fennel quilt of course! Lots of sweatshirts, sweatpants, hoodies, a Province Meeting totebag, even some cross-stitched images went into this full-sized quilt.

This t-shirt quilt is made for an old, ancient alumna. 🙂 She was initiated into the Delta Xi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma at Carnegie Mellon University.  Note her homage to the Carnegie Mellon Tartans with her plaid letters on the left block that has been cut off.  The block that is centered in the picture is from a cross-stitch pattern booklet that was in print in the late 80s.
The sashing fabric is a mostly blue iris design but there are plenty of pink flowers and green leaves to provide a bit more visual interest.

The blocks above were not from normal t-shirts.  The blue section is from printed boxers and the hawaiian print was a surgical scrub.  The gold key below the white Kappa was a random embroidered applique that I unearthed in my quilt studio.

This shirt was from Spring Carnival. The booth and buggy events were very competitive. We always had a couple of sisters who were majoring in architecture or art which ensured our booths and shirts always looked great.
As usual, this was all machine-pieced and machine-quilted.  All the cross-stitching was by hand.    This grid of 5 x 6 shirts is really for a full-sized bed but works well as a topper on a queen.  It is an excellent size for a college twin bed that has been lofted with cement blocks as it is sufficiently wide enough to hide all the suitcases, refrigerator, and other stuff stored under the typical student’s bed.

To All The Mothers And The Sisters And The Wives And Friends I Want To Offer My Love And Respect To The End

I posted about my dear Kappa Needleworkers over a year ago.  Our group recently finished yet another one of our fabulous Raffle Quilts. This queen-sized quilt with its bold plaid thistles not only speaks to me as a sister of KKG, but as a Carnegie Mellon Tartan as well.
The quilt took 3.5 years to complete.  Our group only meets once a month so much of the handwork is done at home.  The thistles are all hand-appliqued  and embroidered with a buttonhole stitch.  It is machine-pieced and machine-quilted.

The proceeds from the yearlong raffle will go towards the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.


Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame Wake up the echoes cheering her name

This Fighting Irish Tarragon Twin incorporated 20 shirts that an avid alumnus had given to his niece’s children throughout the years. Because the generous uncle had outfitted the kids at a very young age, several of the shirts were too small for a 15″ by 15″ block so I framed them with coordinating backs from other shirts. We were short two Notre Dame shirts for a 4 x 5 quilt so 2 generic Ireland shirts were added to the bottom.  I kept two of the hoodies intact with the pockets which made them very long blocks. That was not an issue as two shirts lent themselves to be shorter blocks.

One of the short blocks was a baseball henley shirt which had the buttons at the neckline. Like the other Tarragon depicted in this blog, I retained the buttons to add some visual interest. The client even supplied a child-sized sweater with the ND monogram.

I incorporated a great flannel that was navy blue, bright yellow and kelly green for the sashing. The binding was made from a blue Moda cotton with little yellow hearts. The client wanted a scrappy back so I used various shamrock prints as well as a football motif.

There are so many trivia stories about Notre Dame, I would not know where to begin.  One thing that impressed me about this institution is that not only are all the dorms still single-sex, there are still parietal hours in place!

And yes, the trivia is…in 1926, my alma mater Carnegie Mellon, then-named Carnegie Tech, had a football team that beat Knute Rockne’s Notre Dame Fighting Irish 19-0.  Apparently this game was ranked the fourth-greatest upset in college football history.