Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Something Quilty at the Top!

Isn’t this just SO lovely?

Yesterday’s 100 mile drive from Mouth of Wilson, VA home to Wallburg, NC was dotted with stops on the way.  And still, the only thing I’m missing is a wide brimmed safari hat that I can tie under my chin.

I think my departure to the airport in Greensboro may happen EARLY because there are a couple of places I can try before I check in.

But THIS beauty!

String blocks, wide sashings and cornerstones -

Notice the sashings don’t go all the way to the edge on the sides –The quilt was wide enough as it was without worrying about symmetry.  And those fans – SO much great teture!

These fans were quilted from the long sides toward the center – they just met in the middle wherever they came in contact with each other.

I cam imagine a simple wood board and C clamp frame propped up on chair backs, Quilting the long sides, rolling them closer to the center, quilting quilting quilting some more.

If you look at the bottom left – that would be the right edge of the quilt as  the quilting began.  The fans run all the way to the upper left of the photo and just stop at the edge of the quilt.  Then roll the quilt and start the next row of fans back at the right side.

Of course the other side of the quilt is in mirror image – because the upper right of the photo is where that row started, and it came across the quilt from right to left, ending at the edge of the quilt in the bottom right of the photo.

Block close up.

Can you tell these blocks were pieced as quarter square triangles?  There was some effort to keep the center strip and the two strips either side of the center in each triangle the same – working in sets of four.

But not always!

I see some variations!

This area of North Carolina/Virginia was dotted with fabric mills in earlier days.  Alamance plaids are well known in this area - Alamance Plaid was one of the signature fabrics produced by Alamance Cotton Mill in Alamance County, North Carolina. The plaid was one of the first colored fabrics produced commercially in the Southern United States. There were many many quilts made using the scraps.

If not Alamance plaid – could it be Dan River?

The Dan River mills were in nearby Dan River, Virginia - only about an hour's drive from the Alamance Mills.

Postcard, 1923
This card was postmarked on July 30, 1923, and shows the New Riverside Cotton Mill along the Dan River in Danville. Opened in 1882 as the Riverside Cotton Mills, the company manufactured apparel fabrics and home fashion products. It grew to become the largest textile firm in the South and was renamed Dan River Mills.

of course we all know that the mills are long gone –And the textile industry no longer thrives in the south like it did for generations.  But there are evidences of this industry in the vintage quilts and quilt tops that I find when I am out and about.  The south is a treasure trove of vintage textile history.  Could the string quilt me made of Dan River plaids, checks, stripes and others?

Did you notice the pieced backing in the top photo of this post?  The color is very true in that photo – I was close enough that the light from the windows didn’t fade out the color.

What is that lighter rectangle in the upper left of center?

I love looking at the quilt backs as you can see the wheels of the maker turning, trying to figure out just to make what she had on hand work for her.

Close up -

Think with me here.  The backing is turned to the front and stitched down as binding.  if she wanted the SAME fabric to show as binding all the way around the quilt, she had to frame the smaller piece of yardage with what she wanted to show as binding –not just piece it hodge podge until it was big enough.  I’m sure it took more work to do it this way, but the effect on the front was – uniform binding!

Now whether this was the maker’s reasoning or not we will never know – but it works in my mind!

A fairly buried New Home.

Free the MACHINE!

just say NO to plastic slip covers!

Who wants to sit on a hermetically sealed couch!?

Don’t worry – the vinyl is not calling me!

Oh look! 

I spy a SINGER CASE!!!

Ooooh--- could it be, something wonderful???


Not a Sewing Machine.  SO NOT a Sewing Machine.

1950s film projector.

Total Fake Out of the Day!

beautiful Wilkes County Courthouse -

Now the historical museum.  Look at that sky!

Lunch HERE with Mona!

The old Wilkesboro Hotel.

Dooley’s Rocks!

Not only is it in a very cool old building in Downtown Wilkesboro, North Carolina, but it offers Gluten Free options on ALL ITEMS.  We had such a good visit and a long long chat catching up.

JT Furguson building across the street.

I was curious so I looked up what I could find.  This building is 1880s!  The building is best known for the decorative classical and Victorian details of its prefabricated cast iron and pressed metal façade, with “J.T. Ferguson” inscribed at the top.

Prefabricated Façade??  I just fell down the rabbit hole and learned more about this building and its history – it housed a masonic lodge on the 2nd floor for a while, it has been a drug store, a print shop, an electrical and plumbing business, and once also had a beauty salon on the second floor.  More info HERE.

The new owners have done a fabulous job of painting the building and restoring it to eye captivating beauty.  The article shows an earlier gunboat gray paint job – it looked so sad! So glad that downtown Wilkesboro, NC is thriving with loads of shops, restaurants far enough away from “the strip” of highway 421 that sports all of the chain stores and fast food restaurants that you can find anywhere.

This came home for $45!

It’s destined for a bedroom – likely the turret space in bedroom #3 at Quiltville Inn.  Or maybe next to the book cases as a place to sit and browse?

Soaking up some Lola Love.

Lola and Dresden have been happily living with Jeff –but I love that they are happy to see me when I come walking through the door.  Lola is a chatter box.  She carries on conversations through chirps and meows and hums.  If I only knew what she was saying!

Things are packed and ready for Africa.  I’ve spent time pouring over the various destinations and 10 day weather info for each place.  Looks like temps will be headed toward the high 70’s low 80’s in the day time and a bit cooler at night.  Dress in layers they say.  Okay, layers I have packed!

And as usually the case, I’ve likely not packed the right things, but I did pack a rain jacket and an umbrella because one place said 80% chance of rain for every single day that we are there.  We will meet that head on and live it and love it no matter what mother nature throws at us.

Sometimes it feels like – Somebody’s watching me!!

These fun Punkin Patch Runner  blocks were in progress while at Alex Anderson’s retreat in California earlier this month!  There is nothing more fun in the month of October than stitching up something orange and Halloween-y!

I’m not sure what my connectivity will be after tomorrow when we leave for Kenya – so let this be a reminder to you that for the entirety of October, my Punkin Patch Runner digital pattern is half-price in the Quiltville Store at only $4.00!  You can be stitching within the hour!

And with that - it's time to get a move on!

Quiltville Quote of the Day

The greatest fear (and trigger) for many is the opinions of others. Don't let those opinions drown out your own inner voice. You know yourself better than they could. The only opinion you need to listen to is your own.

Autumn Leaf quilt made by me in the early 1990s from scraps and vintage pieces. Quilted on my domestic machine.

It's seen many an Autumn season as it stays up on my table through Thanksgiving.

Every stain, every faded piece holds memories of my sons growing up.

Do you have special quilty things you bring out for the holidays?

Have a wonderful Tuesday, everyone!


  1. Safe and happy travels, Bonnie! Enjoy every moment!

  2. yes, reminds me i have a wall-hanging, witchy, dark, haunted house, to bring out and hang... as always your trips and shares fascinate me. Thank you for your contribution to my life, Cats in Carlsbad, CA... Love the kitties, some are such wonderful conversationalists!

  3. You're so sweet, Bonnie. Thank you for taking the time to take and post all of the wonderful photos that you put on your blog. And for going to the trouble to look up local history on these beautiful buildings. And for sharing your life's journey with us...well done.

  4. Thank you for sharing information on "my town, Wilkesboro".

  5. Hey Bonnie -- Thanks so much for all you do. I really like learning about antique quilts. I do appreciate you sharing your expertise. Have a great time in Kenya.

  6. Wishing you safe travels, much fun and joy! Unplug and take time for yourself, we will all be waiting for details when you get home!

  7. Hope your trip is fantastic! That quilt you picked up is fabulous - love how the fans in the quilting just lie as they lie. :]

  8. Enjoy a fabulous adventure to Kenya, safe travels, and we'll look forward to hearing from you when we do. Love the eyes in your "pumpkins".

    1. Med too! Have to keep my eyes PEELED to that kind of fabric. Thanks for sharing

    2. I graduated from Elon College in 1970, studying Home Economics. We visited one of the mills in burlington. It was very loud and noisy with cotton balls misting in the air. They weren't concerned about ear plugs and noise back in those days. It is a shame the mills closed.

  9. Love the antique quilt. Being left handed, the quilting looked more "normal" from the back LOL.

  10. Beautiful autumn leaf quilt. Thank you for all the work you put into your blog. I enjoy it so much. Have a wonderful trip to Kenya.

  11. That chair is gorgeous! Your mind is amazing as you cherish history, analyze quilts and their fabrics, let your creativity run full blast, and prepare for the trip! Have a great time trying out your camera.

  12. I so love when you share the history of these places. What they were an what they have become. Safe travels. Can't wait until you return so that you can share some more of the world we live in.

  13. Bonnie, if you can find it, get a Wallaroo hat, they have built in sunblocks as well as being wide brimmed! Wonderful hats!!!

  14. Have a wonderful trip! Thanks for reminding me it's nearly time to bring out the turkey magnet made out of painted tongue depressers that my 30-year-old son made back in the second grade!

  15. The plastic covered sofa, oh boy! One of my aunts covered her furniture that way. She also about had a heart attack if we flipped up a corner of an area rug as we walked by. Everything must remain perfect you know and we weren't allowed to set foot on her hardwood floors. Memories!

  16. I have to find my Pumpkins. I need to find my Lotto Leaf blocks, then I could have a Leaf quilt. Be safe on your trip. We're gonna just wait and watch for the Colors of the Mystery!

  17. Love the quilt! Wish someone would make it into a pattern. I remember the plastic wrappings on all the furniture. It made squeaky noises when you sat on them and they stuck to the backs of your legs.

  18. safe travels and a reminder to listen to your own advice. Don’t let the ignorant negative Nellies bring you down like they did yesterday

  19. So excited for your trip. Safe travels.
    Getting ready for shipsuwana retreat. Finishing binding last side of My Frogs and Birds on Ringo Lake.still sewing rows of Good Fortune. Thank you for all you do to inspire everyone.

  20. The antique scrap quilt is SO lovely. Lately, as I've shopped for thrift store shirts to cut up, I've been drawn more to the light, soft, summer colors, and less to the darker fall/winter plaids. I can definitely see improvising a variation on that old quilt in a similar palette of recycled shirts. Thanks for the inspiration, and for the historic tour.

    Also love your autumn quilt at the end. It's very similar in style to one of the first queen-size quilts I made, and the first time I really embraced earth tones, which I did not think I liked very much. But a more established quilt mentor gave me a bunch of scraps when I had very little stash, and those were the predominant tones, so I 'made lemonade.' Now I love earth tones as much as I do my more usual cool colors, and that's still one of my favorite quilts. Time to go put it on the bed, come to think of it. Thanks for the reminder. ;)

    Safe travels this week. Have a wonderful time.

  21. When my mom passed away we rejoiced in removing the miles of cellophane wrapper around her 40+ year lampshades only to watch the silk shatter to nothing. Mom had the last laugh.

  22. Hope Kenya is all you hope for. I must say I am a bit envious! I guess I’ll stay back here and enjoy whatever you can get to us.

  23. Have Fun on your trip, Bonnie!
    A couple of our local quilter's from the Soldotna/ KPQG are going to be w/ you on the trip. I hope you all have a wonderful time!

    Kasilof, AK
    Where we have had sunny days, but COLD nights!

  24. Drar Bonnie Thank you for your wonderful Posts of autaum. Frauke from north Germany

  25. Have a fantastic trip and live your days for us.

  26. That new camera is outstanding.


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