Sam Johnson and The Blue Ribbon Quilt

Thank you for bearing with us through our technical issue with Blogger. I found out that you can only create 20 pages in Blogger, and unlimited posts. So by mistake, I created pages for the blog that weren’t necessary. I just needed to create additional posts – learn something new in computer world every day. 

Last week was National Library Week. I belatedly am going to share the post I planned for the end of the week. One of my all time favorite picturebooks is about quilting and teamwork called Sam Johnson and The Blue Ribbon Quilt, by Lisa Campbell Ernst. Even thought it was published in 1983, I think it’s a classic. The cover gives the reader a clue that it is an old-fashined story.

One day Sam Johnson finds a hole in his blanket, and successfully, patches it up. He shows off his beautiful work to his wife Sarah, who is a quilter, and she is not all that impressed. Sam decides to learn how to quilt, and falls in love with it, much like a lot of people we know, lol. 

He asks his wife’s quilting bee if he can join, and they say, “no.” Sam finds some other men who try quilting, enjoy it, and they form a men’s quilting bee.
 Both bees decide to enter their quilts into a competition at the state fair.

The men work hard on their Flying Geese quilt.

The women work hard on their sailboats quilt. At first they think the men’s bee is silly, and men can’t really quilt. After a few weeks, they begin to doubt their original thoughts.

The day of the fair, both bees travel to the fair in different horse drawn carts. A big gush of wind topples the carts over and damages both quilts. So what do you think both bees decide to do?  SPOILER BELOW.

They feverishly work together and re-stitch the parts they could save and create the Flying Sailboats Quilt.

And together, they win the blue ribbon.

Happy Quilting!!  And enjoy the weekend.

Hudson Valley Quilts will be back up on Thursday

This has not been my week when it comes to computer blog issues. Last week I tried to post a review of an old fashioned picture book for National Library Week about quilting and working together. But it wasn’t posting properly for viewers. 

I found out that Google Blogger only provides users with only 20 blog pages, which are longer than a standard legal-sized page. And, no one, including Google shares this with the user, until it’s too late. You can’t even pay for more pages. 

There is a way around it, and I can’t tell you how many tutorials I read, and Utube videos I watched to figure my way around this. I don’t get stumped easily, but I am.

Those who know me really know that I have two pet-peeves; when my computer has a glitch that I can’t resolve myself, and people who are rude.
Fortunately, Erin from Designer Blogs, who was not rude at all, is coming to my rescue tomorrow. Yay!!

I am thinking seriously about changing this blog over to WordPress. Before I do, I will write an appropriate letter or e-mail to the right person at google.

If you are a WordPress user, please write in the comments box below or e-mail me at and let me know your thoughts about your experiences with it. Thank you.

Looking forward to posting on Thursday night or Friday!!

Think Spring Give-A-Way From Cuts of Cotton

As you know, many of us have been hit hard by snowstorms, severe cold, and ice this year. It’s been a long, hard winter. So it’s time to get positive and THINK SPRING with this months fabric give-a-way from Cuts of Cotton. 

This is such a happy bundle. In order to win, please subscribe to The Cuts of Cotton blog,, my blog and like Hudson Valley Quilts on facebook at,

Let me know that you did all three in the comments box below.  I will announce the winner on Friday.  This give-a-way ends on Friday, February 21, at 6:00 AM, EST.

On another note, this is National Library Week. I will be posting a short review of my favorite quilting book, which happens to be a children’s picture book I came across many years ago.  It’s very sweet and special, and I’m excited to share it with everyone.

Fabrics From A to Z The Essential Guide to Choosing and using Fabric for Sewing by Dana Willard

I came across this book a few months ago, and I really wanted to familiarize myself with it, before I wrote this review. I have to admit, I don’t  know a lot about different fabrics when it comes to sewing. Really just the basics, particularly when it comes to quilting. But now, I am no longer afraid to experiment with other fabrics and try sewing projects outside of quilting.

Dana Willard, author of Fabrics From A to Z; The Essential Guide to Choosing and Using Fabrics for Sewing,has written a sewist’s reference gem. And her encouraging and enthusiastic introduction, has made me want to try Minky, (and other fabrics), which I have always been afraid would wreck the timing on my machine because of it’s thickness. Several months ago someone gave me a large piece of it. 

Back then I had a older Bernina, and now have the 750, but I think I still would have shied away from it.  I donated the Minky to the local SPCA to keep the dogs, cats, puppies of kittens soft and warm while waiting to be adopted. I never regret helping animals in need. 

Now I think I’m going to buy some Minky and use it for the back side of a baby quilt I’m planning. My cousin and her husband are expecting their third; a new baby who’s arrival we are all excited about, due this Spring.

This must-have guide/reference book is sooo well organized. The first section is about “Selecting Fabrics,” and that is divided into five parts; Woven Fabrics, Knit Fabrics, Speciality Fabrics, Blended Fabrics and Patterned Fabrics. Within those categories over 100 fabrics are covered.

Section Two covers “Notions and Tools.” That is divided into four sections; Reading Sewing Patterns, Glossary, Index and acknowledgements.

Each half page spread covers a fabric.  For example, see Lawn below. (Never knew there was even a fabric with that name, just thought it was something green outside our home. covered for the last few months with snow and ice. lol).

At the top left, check out the handy key with the icons. The dress means it’s a good fabric for fashion. The curtains indicate that the fabric means it’s good for home furnishing, and the hexagon shape tells the reader the fabric is good for crafts and miscellaneous projects.

At the bottom of each half page spread, is a very clear photo of the fabric, better than shown above. I can actually see the nubs and weaves in these photos, that’s how sharp they are.

There is a description of the fabric and a recommendation of what it is best used for in detail. For example, lawn is “…,plain-weave cotton….,” that is best used in “….blouses, dresses, shirts, curtain, nightgowns, baby clothing and quilting.”

Next the authors writes a bulleted list of the fabrics characteristics. The following paragraph is list that describes how to best work with the fabric. Lastly, comes a list of how to care for the fabric. Some pages include, “Handy Hint,” “Tip,” or “Did You Know.”  

Part Two covers Notions and Tools. This is fabulous, because each category within those topics are plentiful, with short, precise descriptions, and have simple line art drawings, that provide a novice sewer with a guide that makes identification easy, peasy.

Notions covers everything from all different kinds of threads, which is something I always need to question ,or have something to refer to, and wonderfully helpful. Pages depict different types of buckles, appliques, fastners, trims, zippers and more.

Tools is equally as excellent and complete. It covers tools for measuring, cutting, pressing, machine presser feet and more. I love the machine presser feet section.

I’m grateful to have found this comprehensive and well-written reference book, which is so perfectly executed. Spot on for all interested in sewing.

Back cover….The end.

If you haven’t read Monday’s post of an interview with Amy Gibson from Stitchery Dickory Dock, please check it out.  It includes a fabulous give-a-way, which ends on Saturday, February, 16 at 12:01 PM.

Happy reading and sewing.  And stay safe and warm, especially if you too being effected by this  huge Nor’ easter.

Interview with Amy Gibson From Stitchery Dickory Dock

I have been reading Amy Gibson’s blog since I started blogging this past summer. What intrigued me was the name; Stitchery Dickory Dock; Cuckoo for Quilting,, my curiosity about the Sugar Block Club, which immediately made me think Amy lived or lives in Texas, probably near my relatives, (wrong), and the cheerful spirit coming from the “Woman behind the blog.”

With that, I am happy Amy agreed to an interview. It was so much fun for me to research and develop questions for her. I think her answers will not only make you smile, but inspire you, to be even more creative, as they did me.

Interview with Amy Gibson from Stitchery Dickory Dock 

Tell us how you began quilting? Were there other quilters/sewers in your family?  I love those photos on your blog of you when you were sewing with your Great Grandma, and the one of you in the front of the 4H banner.

Hi Anne! First off, thanks so much for having me! What a treat to be featured! I learned to sew when I was 6 or 7 years old in 4-H. My mother and grandmother were both 4-H club leaders, and great sewers, so I learned from them, starting with a gathered skirt and moving on to other garments and home dec projects. When I was 12 years old, I decided to take the “Patchwork Arts” unit in 4-H, and joined a local charity quilting group to help me learn  the ropes. 

That was so life-changing! It was a humble little group, that met in the basement of a tiny little rural church, but was thoroughly equipped with everything a quilter could need. It was from those sweet ladies that I learned about rotary cutters and strip piecing, how to baste, and how to tie a “quilter’s knot”…so many little tips and tricks. Watching my first quilt come together was such a thrill! Wish I could have kept it, but I also felt great to give it to charity. 

Where did you grow up? Where do you live now? 

I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado! I went away for a short spell, to get a college degree in central Virginia (and a husband!), but I couldn’t stay away for long – we moved back to the Mile High City right after our wedding, and are thoroughly enjoying raising our 4 children here. It’s really a blessing to be raising my family in the same area that I grew up…taking them to all the fun spots and events that I enjoyed as a child…it’s really cool. 

How did you come up with the name “Stitchery Dickory Dock” for your blog/business? And why did you start a blog? 

I started my quilting business in 2008, and actually started off as a small Etsy shop selling quilts, retro-inspired aprons, and other little patchwork items. 

I have to give my husband credit for coming up with the name though! I remember we were having a burger at our favorite little local spot, and I was dreaming aloud of the things that I wanted the name to embody…”it needs to be whimsical, vintage nursery rhyme-ish, and somehow stitching related”…he immediately shot out Stitchery Dickory Dock” and we both said THAT’S IT!

It really was a great fit, because clocks (like in the Hickory Dickory Dock nursery rhyme) have a really strong place in my family heritage. My grandfather was an engineer who spent a lifetime restoring beautiful clocks- his home was filled with them. And my grandmother, on the other side of the family, had an old German cuckoo clock in her kitchen for as long as I can remember – brought to America by my great grandparents. 

That clock was absolute magic! It had heavy weights that hung down low and looked like pine cones, and a funny little bird that popped out every hour… Magic. I love my heritage full of tick tocks! Once I began blogging, I found my true passion, and the Etsy shop quickly fizzled away. I had no interest in making quilts to sell, but every interest in designing and making them for myself and friends, and have always been a bit of a writer at heart…the rest is history. 🙂 

I love the monthly personal challenge posts on your blog. It’s so original and authentic. How did that idea come about?  

I can’t tell you what joy it brings me to hear how folks are excited and moved by the personal challenge portion of this month’s Sugar Block Club. So much,  partially because I felt it was a risky direction to take. Folks would either love it, and join me, full hearted, or they’d hate it, and be annoyed that we were straying so far from quilting. 

In the end, my heart won and I went with it. I suppose I craved an excuse to write about something deeper than wonky stars and paper piecing technique. Yes, I will always be hopelessly in love with quilting, but what really moves my heart is the relationships and growth that I see in the online quilting movement. People coming together, supporting one another, making things with meaning and love and passion, overcoming self doubt and learning to be fearless. To me, this is such a big part of quilting – personal growth – so it felt so natural to pair it with the community I have come to love so much. 

Tell us about the Sugar Block Club? How it begin, and how is it evolving? Were there really 1000 quilters from all over the world and now 100,000? How did that happen? 

Well, the Sugar Block Club really came into being as the 2012 Craftsy Block of the Month was nearing an end. That year was AMAZING – so many quilters coming together, making the same blocks but with their own unique twist – and it boggled my mind at how diverse the group was. About 175,000 quilters came together over that sampler, modern to traditional to art quilters – everyone found a place – and I just couldn’t bare to see that momentum and enthusiasm end. 

We were having way, way too much fun to stop! So I decided I’d continue it by creating a monthly BOM subscription that was full of all the things I loved – classically inspired blocks, yummy recipes, pretty fabric, and now the even deeper challenge of looking inward and doing a little piecing of the heart. As it continues to grow, I am so grateful and inspired by all those who have decided to join in. 

How did you become a Craftsy instructor, and tell us more about this experience? 

Oh, what a joy to work with Craftsy! What an enormous blessing to have the opportunity to be part of that wonderful family. They came onto my radar back in 2010 or 11 I think, when Jenny Doan of The Missouri Star Quilt Company released a class for them called “Quilting Quickly.” I actually won enrollment in the class in a giveaway (crazy, right?!), and I was just delighted by the unique advantages that their online class platform had to offer. 

When I met the Craftsy folks in 2011 at a sewing event, and discovered they were also based in Denver, we really hit it off. I designed a couple of workshops for them first, and then when they asked if I’d be interested in working with them on a monthly series, I was like, “Cool, I’d love to be involved! Who’s gonna host it?” Ha! She said “You!” Totally stunned. Totally excited. When I told my mom, I think she just about had a heart attack- “You can finally put that acting degree to good use!” 

How did you learn to create and write your own patterns? What would you recommend to those who want to learn how to design fabric and patterns? 

As far as quilt design goes, for me it was pure trial and error…and a whole lot of math. A ton of math. And boy did I hate math in school, but now that I use it every day to make quilts that I love, I actually kind of enjoy all the number crunching. It can be a brain bender at times, but once you get a strong grip on the basic formulas for calculating patch sizes and fabric requirements, it’s liberating. 

As far as inspiration goes, the sky is the limit for me – I’m constantly taking photos on my phone of tiled floors and woven rugs…pretty garments or architecture that contain an element I love, and think I could incorporate into a quilt. I’d also advise anyone interested in designing their own quilts to pick up a sketch pad – I love the White Lines graph paper pads – and some colored pencils. Sketching is a really helpful step because when you have a cool idea in your head, it’s important to put it on paper right away. No need for the sketch to be perfect or even the right colors, scale, etc. For me, it’s just getting it from my head to the paper. 

After that, I usually take my sketch and create the design in a quilt design software program. I use EQ7 by the Electric Quilt Company. The software allows me to tweak things and play with the design and fabrics, without having to re-sketch it every time. Definitely a major time saver, and admittedly, a whole lot of fun! 

How would you describe your design style? Traditional, modern, other? 

You know, I don’t know quite where I fit in. I wouldn’t say I’m modern because I love the classic vintage piecing, but then again I’m not entirely traditional because I love bright, poppy colors and modern prints. 

I was with Leah Day when someone asked her this same question, and I loved her reply, “I’m just a quilter.” 🙂 

Tell us what inspires you? 

Oh my, so much! Rich colors, meaningful stories, nature, history, family… Everything and anything. 

What is your favorite part, and least favorite part of the quilting process? 

Favorite part is probably design and piecing. Least favorite…mmmm, probably cutting. Especially on larger quilts, it can get sorta tedious. I’ve definitely suffered sore arms the day after cutting patches for a great big quilt! 

You have a large family and a thriving business. How do you juggle it all?

Sshhhh…the secret to my madness is a messy house and totally unorganized schedule! Seriously though, I wish I had some amazing tips to share. The reality is, I don’t quite know how it works. Sometimes it works because I spend all day in pajamas and let the kids enjoy movies & popcorn in bed. And sometimes it works because I “get it together”, and actually do organized things like freeze-ahead meal planning and task lists. 

Usually though, it’s just day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute survival. When the kids are in school or napping, I have to prioritize – what can I not do when they are around? Work on this quilt, or fold this laundry? The quilt always wins out. And when they are all home and awake, I just have to go with the flow. Sometimes that means a family outing, or room cleaning extravaganza, and sometimes it means we’re all working on something…a quilt, a blog, homework, a beaded necklace…or scattering food about the floor. You know, work things. 🙂 

Quilters love fabric. What are some of your favorites and why?  

Oh goodness, this is a tough one. Designers? Collections? I’m a major sucker for modernized vintage reproductions – love sweet dainty flowers in poppy colors and funky little geometrics. And really any bright small scale blender prints are my friends, as well as great low volume neutral prints. Oh, and dots! Tiny pin dots- I can’t get enough of them.

A Great Give-a-Way – Amy is offering two great give-a-ways for two lucky winners. All you need to do is leave a comment in my comment box below, telling us what online class you would like to see in the future. Please leave me your e-mail address as well, so we can contact the winners. This give-a-way ends on Saturday, February 15th at 12:01 AM, and the winner will be announced on Saturday morning.

The first of these prizes is a free Quilty Class that Amy is teaching, called….

for more details about this very cool class click on the link below;

The second of these two prizes is a is a beautiful  bundle of fabrics, True Colors by Joel Dewberry.

Thank you so much Amy, for sharing your thoughts, your life, and quilting and sewing inspirations!!

What a Difference a Snow Day Makes

Yesterday we had the wintry mix storm, which is the one I stay home and inside for sure. Within a second, you could find yourself on black ice. I don’t love staying home all day, but I finished all twenty-five of my Lighthouse Quilt blocks, and am very excited about that.

Pattern design from‎  QAL.

Tomorrow I go to a weekly open quilt studio at Pins and Needles in Mt. Kisco, when I am not scheduled to be at work at the library. I am planning on squaring them all off, and will hopefully begin to sew the rows together. For the back of the quilt, I am planning something modern and fun.
Also something I’ve never done before and will share soon.

 Our sweet boy cat, Biscuit fell asleep and used the stack of blocks for a pillow shortly after I finished them.  He loves to hang out near the sewing machine, even when I’m not using it. I started a tradition about ten years ago. I always make a single-sized bed quilt, and dedicate it to one of our cats.  Biscuit is sitting on his below.

When I finish Emma’s I will post it. She is the cat in the masthead sitting on my sewing box. I still have a long way to go on that one.

Next week I hope to show a lot more WIP, and I will be posting a book review of a sewing book, which no quilter or sewist should be without.

And, I believe I have an addition to make. In an earlier post, I mentioned that these were the spring, 2014 colors home dec colors, Today I received an e-mail from Panetone Fashion Color Report Fall 2014, because it is fashion week, and the colors are somewhat similar.

Have a great weekend.  

Enjoy the Olympics. 

Go USA!! 

The Winter Olympics are my favorite. I would have a tough time choosing my favorite event, I really enjoy so many. I would love to hear what your favorite is, so please let me know in the comment box. I think if I had to pick one, it would be the figure skating events.

Happy Quilting.