Sunday, July 15, 2018

Baltimore Garden Quilt Layered Flowers

On the original antique Baltimore Garden Quilt made in 1848, many of the flowers were created by arranging and sewing tiny fabric petals one at a time, building up layers to form the flower. 

While making my reproduction quilt, I devised a method to make these flowers easier to arrange and applique by sewing petals in layered groups which rotate and overlap. With this method, we can assemble these flowers in layers instead of sewing single petals one at a time.

This technique is shown In the book, Baltimore Garden Quilt, for a flower with pointed petals. In workshops, I taught the technique on a flower with round petals, and with the luxury of more time and more detail, students received a detailed, illustrated, step-by-step handout to follow along. Now I invite you to give it a try! 

For those who could not attend my workshops, or want to begin their own Baltimore Garden quilt, I offer a FREE Layered Applique Flowers Tutorial (PDF).The tutorial includes a pattern and templates you can print onto freezer paper with an inkjet printer. (My method of applique is "freezer paper on top," but you can use other applique methods.) There are also helpful references to the book, Baltimore Garden Quilt, so you will want to keep your book handy as well. My books and patterns are available at my website Store. 

*Adobe Acrobat Reader can be found here:

Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham

(c)2018 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.

Monday, February 12, 2018

How to Use a Hera Marker

A HERA MARKER is a traditional Japanese tool used for marking fabric by making an indent on the fabric.It leaves no residue (no chemicals), works on any fabric weave or color, and disappears completely after quilting or washing.

Two styles of hera marker are made of hard plastic by Clover. Both styles have a sharp edge for making straight lines by pressing down and drawing across the fabric, guided along the edge of a rotary ruler. 

Press ONLY hard enough to make a mark you can see – it IS possible to mark too hard and make errors difficult to remove. (I mark a lot of background grid lines on my quilts, so I prefer this wider style; it is more comfortable to hold against the palm of my hand.)

The thin style has both a sharp edge and a pointed end. The pointed end is guided by drawing as you would a pencil, either freehand or with a stencil.

I have also used the pointed end to perforate a paper design leaving a dotted line in the quilt.

Lots of marking errors show in the photo above, but no marks were left after quilting.

* If you have trouble seeing your marks while quilting, it may help to change your angle of view.
* Make a plan on paper before beginning to mark.
* I prefer to mark my quilts AFTER basting the quilt sandwich.
* If you do not have a hera marker, you can substitute a knitting needle or darning needle for small projects. Do NOT use a butter knife, as it may leave dark marks on the fabric.

* Pre-crease applique stems and strips for ruching.
* Draw reference lines for fussy cutting.
* Crease skirt and pant hems, pleats, darts.
* Add hash marks to match up pieced curves.
* Finger press pieced seams without ironing.
* Paper folding.

Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham

(c) 2018 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Baltimore Friendship Quilt - Woman's Day

In October 1965, Woman's Day magazine published a 4-page article about the "Baltimore Friendship Quilt" which tells about the history of the quilt. 

The quilt had recently been discovered and donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. You can see the full quilt and closeups at the Met's website here: Baltimore Presentation Quilt.

There is a nearly identical quilt in the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art, which is often called "The Sliver Quilt,” perhaps made by the same quiltmaker. You can see that quilt here: Baltimore Bride's Presentation Quilt.
A pattern was made from the quilt, and at the back of the magazine was a form you could send to order the pattern set from Woman's Day for $1.00.

The pattern was produced half-size, and intended to be enlarged 200%.

This is my original pattern, exactly as it was printed. My pattern is quite old and yellowing, even splitting at the folds, poor thing. 

Back then, you had to draw out squares to enlarge the pattern. (Photocopiers were not readily available in 1965.) So, to make the full size quilt, you had to enlarge the patterns 200% by drawing squares and then drawing the pattern on the larger squares. 

Then the 8x8-inch block designs become 16x16, the 4 large baskets become 16x32, and the center design becomes 32" square. For the larger designs, I photocopied the 8x16-inch blocks and the 32-inch center onto more than one page (obviously) that I had to tape together.

Over the years, several individuals have offered the pattern (photocopied) for sale. In 2005, the Folsom Quilt Guild produced a raffle quilt made from this pattern, and sold the full size pattern for $50. I don't think they offer it any more, but I wondered about copyright, so several years ago, I contacted the magazine regarding copyright for the pattern, and the person I spoke with told me that "copyright is not a problem."

It amazes me to see how much technology has changed, yet these beautiful applique quilts continue to retain their charm and beauty.

Keep stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham

(c) 2018 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Never Enough Time to Sew?

I love this time-saving tip from Pat Sloan that I heard on her podcast.

Sew at least 10 minutes a day is her mantra. Her tip is: Always have something out. Have it ready to pick up, and a place for it, so that you don’t have to go and hunt, and clear space, and dig through stuff just to sew ... so you have a way to get to it quickly ... something small, portable. Whether you like to piece or hand applique, or embroider, or finish a binding or a sleeve, a label, etc....

It’s good advice! So I always have a bit of hand piecing, applique, or quilting near the phone or the TV, ready to pick up to sew a few stitches. You will be surprised how much you can accomplish.

My only problem is I can’t stop after 10 minutes!

Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham
(c) 2017 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.