Cheddarback Block of the Month – Month 6


Lily and I made our way back to the cottage yesterday. I really need to thank my lucky stars we made it. I've had some serious computer issues pop up. The kind where you realize your "wonder of technology" is drawing it's last breaths and you pray it hangs on until a new laptop arrives and you figure out how to get it up and running. It took me almost 2 hours to print one pattern yesterday!

That meant we left late, got caught in construction traffic, watched in horror as a driver decided to pass a truck over a double yellow line. Yup, that one was nearly a head on crash at the crest of a hill. What is wrong with people?!? I won't even tell you about my disastrous stop at McDonald's for a coffee or the smashed hamburger buns from the grocery store or........................

This is what's happening to my little house today. Lots of very noisy work for the next few days as they scrape off the old roofs and put in a new one. Believe it or not, this has a quilting connection. When the water was leaking into the living room a few weeks on a Friday afternoon, I was in a panic over who to call for help.  I reached out to a quilting friend for advice. I don't have the words to thank Sharon Kaiser, one of the former owners of the Quilt'n Bee  for her help. She knew just who to call and the service we've received from IRT Commercial Services  has been fantastic on every level. The Quilt'n Bee closed a few months ago but another great quilt shop is now in their old location. Be sure to visit Tawni and her staff, including many of the Quilt'n Bee girls at Interquilten.  No matter where you live, if you're a quilter, you've got friends! Thanks again, Sharon!

Let's talk about the fun blocks we have this month. I think you're going to like them.


Block 26

This block isn't in the antique quilt. It's one I've selected to include in the layout I designed. It'll be at the bottom of the first vertical row.  As I look at this I'm so very tempted to start making blocks and catch up with you. I really do love this quilt!

This is what your first vertical row will look like. Please feel free to select another 12" block for your bottom row if you're not a fan of the one I'm using. It's your quilt - make it your way!

Block 27

Here's a great combination of red and indigo. The indigo print is as cute as can be and the red is flannel. I wonder if it is from a shirt or maybe a pair of long johns, haha. Maybe that's only funny if you're from Michigan. The town of Cedar Springs was dubbed the Red Flannel Town because of the Red Flannel Factory that operated there form 1949 to 1994. They made the best red flannel long johns!

I've given you the traditional method for piecing this block using templates. When I look at the block and think about how to make it I realize one any given day I might be too lazy to make it the traditional way. I would make a pinwheel block and applique the square over the center. Viola - it's done! I put some notes on the pattern for doing that too.

Block 28

I love, love, love this little block. It's a star! It's scrappy and just perfect. 

Look at all the great fabrics in just one 5" block. There are two shirting prints, a red check, blue check and a great maroon center. Have fun picking out fabrics for this one. It's all rotary cut and machine pieced.

Block 29

You'll have this one sewn together in no time at all. The pattern is a combination of template and rotary cutting. There are lots of great linen look fabrics available right now so check them out for the perfect light red to use in this block. The cross pieces are another sweet indigo print.

Block 30

Here's our final block this month. There's a lot going on in this small block. It's a bit unusual and has an interesting use of fabrics. 

The deep gray and brown prints are really great. I consider them texture prints or tone on tone fabrics. The red used for the hearts is the cornerstone fabric and the connector corners on the brown squares is a sweet black print we've see before. This block is a combination of techniques with connector corners, applique and traditional piecing. 


Ella Maria Deacon Quilt

That's it for this month except for some news I want to share with all of you applique lovers. Has anyone missed having an applique project to work on? I admit, I have and was trying to hold off for the next quilt in my collection until Barbara Brackman  suggested I work on a quilt she posted to the Quilts-Vintage and Antique  group on Facebook. I've admired Barbara for a long time and was so flattered by her suggestion. I've loved this quilt for a long, long time but there are extra hoops you need to jump through when working on a quilt you don't own so those usually get put toward the bottom of my bucket list.

This quilt is just stunning and has so many interesting blocks. It's in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago which is only a few hours from where I live when in Grand Rapids. The museum has been very nice to work with, quick to respond, and I have the necessary arrangements in place to let you know I've set September 15 as the starting date for this project. I'm working on a full post for the blog which should be up before the end of the week unless my current laptop dies and I have trouble getting the new one going. It'll let you see some of the fabrics up close so you can begin your searches. I am tempted to approach one of the fabric manufacturers about working together on this quilt. There's a nice variety of fabrics in the quilt and I know we'd all love to find the perfect setting and sashing fabric.  I've created an Ella Maria Deacon Quilt Facebook group for those who want to follow along on this quilt. I'll make a trip to the museum in a few months for an audience with the Ella Maria Deacon Quilt and should be able to bring a photographer with me for some great detail photos.      More information to come........................



Cheddarback - Month 6 Patterns - CLICK HERE




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Cheddarback Block of the Month – Month 5


I've got an interesting mix of blocks for you this month. I think you'll find some of them easy and others might give you a pretty good challenge. They gave me more than a challenge or two just drafting them. I shook my head in wonder more than once wishing the quilt maker was here to ask about her construction choices. Let's get right to them -

Block 21

We're starting right out with a block that left me with so many questions. One thing that fascinated me about this block (and Block 25) is the red and blue stripe appears to have been cut from a piece of clothing. You can see the seams running through different pieces in the block. The fabric has a great texture and I wonder if it was a dress or skirt.  The blue stripe in the corners is a finer fabric making me thing it was a blouse or shirt. I also scratched my head over the construction. At first glance at the block doesn't look as complicated as it is. There's actually a ring of diamonds surrounding the center square but you'd never know it by the fabric choices that were made. You can machine or hand piece this block. I've given you as many rotary cutting measurements as I could and templates for the diamonds.

Block 22

What a great mix of fabrics in this block. There's a really interesting pink woven fabric along with a mourning purple and a black print. It's a sweet little block and you'll have it sewn together in no time at all.

Block 23


  It doesn't take a math wizard to realize things don't divide well for a 5" Nine Patch block. Don't worry, we'll still be rotary cutting and machine piecing this little gem. I want you to use a scant 1/4" seam allowance and if your unfinished block doesn't measure 5 1/2" I'm suggesting you use my trick of steaming that baby into submission to get the correct size. Trust me, it'll be fine.

Block 24

Be still my heart! This little schoolhouse block is as sweet as it can be. There are some Y seams but I don't think you'll have too much trouble machine or hand piecing this one. The windows and doors are appliqued on the block after it's constructed. There are templates and also a full size block drawing for placement. The original block was a little "kitty wompus" with it's angles making the shirting strips of the house a little more narrow. I opted to keep things a bit more lined up and think it'll be just as cute.

Block 25

Does this block look familiar? It's almost like one of the blocks from last month. The pretty one with the applique star points. I adapted last months patterns for this block and then realized the star points weren't sewn around a center square. One of them is a long strip with star points on the ends. I didn't go back and redo the pattern. It's an easy fix if you really feel the need to be historically accurate. You can tape your star point templates to opposite sides of the square template to cut one long piece (remember to overlap the templates to allow for the seam allowances).  Just like last time, I'm giving you instructions for an easier version of the block too.

This is the second block this month where seam lines run through the fabric pieces. This time it's in the purple mourning print.  Oh how I'd love to see those clothes!

That's it for this month. Have fun with the blocks!

Click on the link below to take you to the online store. The free block set is the last one in the list on the little drop down menu under the price. It's $0.00 until August 1st.



Cheddarback - Month 5 Patterns - CLICK HERE



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Remembering Dad and The $50 Quilt


Today is my Daddy's birthday. He passed away almost 20 years ago and some years when June 2nd rolls around I simply go about my day remembering all the wonderful times we spent together knowing what a lucky girl I was having him for a Dad. The year, things are different and I'm not exactly sure why.

If you're reading this chances are you're a quilter. You may not have met my father, Garrett Raterink or even heard of him but I can guarantee you he's probably touched your quilting life without you even knowing it. 

Have you ever used a slotted quilting stencil? My father invented the machine that made the first stencils during the 1930s. Do you use a raised edge thimble? That was my Daddy too! He brought that to the marketplace in the 1980s. Quilt kits? I bet if you're like me, you have quite a few. Dad's first job was with the leading manufacturer of quilt kits in the United States - a company he ultimately purchased. He sold quilting supplies for almost 70 years.  I started helping in the family business when I was only 5 years old by putting together catalogs for the quilting stencils. My father sure touched my quilting life and set it on a path I need to begin taking the time to nurture and share beyond what I've done so far.  It was almost 10 years ago when I posted the My Life in Stitches page to the blog. It's remained mostly a hidden page, rarely seen or talked about.  Perhaps it was a $50 quilt coming into my life last month that changed things this year.

Look at the title of this auction listing - It was a Buy It Now listing with the following pictures - 

The description read -

this quilt is a vintage machine made it does have a little discolor but in great shape see pictures


Before I tell you what I already knew, what would you think? Machine made................really? All that applique........ machine made? All that quilting..............machine made?  Seriously???

What in the world made this seller think this was a machine made quilt? I knew the applique design of the quilt was made from a Wurzburg quilt kit even though some of the quilting designs were different. I also knew it was kit #3555 Formal Garden which was their most popular kit. I already own two of this design but just had to gamble the $50 to check it out.

The minute I took it out of the box, I knew there was something very special about this quilt! There was not one machine stitch in the entire quilt! The border strips were even sewn on by hand as was the tiny pink binding.

There was a slight color difference between the center section of the quilt and the borders. It shows up much more in this photograph than it actually is. Look at that amazing pineapple quilting design.

Look at all the feather quilting - it's just beautiful! The quilt is quilted in a style similar to the kit but using designs that are slightly different. There are some added designs I really like and haven't seen before. This quilt maker chose to make the quilt her own by using her own quilting designs - bravo!!!

A sweet butterfly looks at a very nicely tinted and embroidery embellished flower, appliqued by hand with buttonhole stitch!

Embroidered stems, satin stitched centers, variegated embroidery floss - all by hand!

I love the tinting on these old quilts. Sometimes it was air brushed and other times it was done by stenciling the color.



There was a palette of 6 or 7 solid colors of pre-cut binding that was included in the kits. Don't quote me on that being the exact number of colors because I'm at the cottage and don't have my binding samples in front of me to be sure. You received a little roll in your kit and both outside edges were turned under a scant 1/4" so it seems logical to me that you'd sew down one folded edge by hand (like applique) and fold over to the opposite side and applique that down to finish the edge of the quilt.  When I get home I'll add a picture of a binding roll to this post. If I forget, someone remind me.

Look at this quilting - look at it again - and again. Those are the tiniest stitches I have ever seen in a quilt. That cross hatch is about 1" square and I counted 16 stitches to the inch in several places. I couldn't achieve that in three lifetimes of hand quilting. Yes, there is batting in the quilt! So much for a machine sewn quilt!!!


My Dad was a real pack rat when it came to things from the Wurzburg Company. If it had something to do with quilting or hand embroidery he stashed it away. He always joked he was saving it for posterity. As a kid I always thought, "ya, whatever that means, Dad". As the years went by and I followed in his footsteps, staying in the quilting industry, I realize the truly amazing thing he had done by saving what he did. I was in the 8th grade when we moved from our house on Eldon to the Oakwood address some of you may have visited. My Mom must have put her foot down and told my Dad they were not moving all that Wurzburg Company stuff to the new house. My Dad filled an entire trailer full of patterns and ephemera and took it to the dump. How lucky we are he saved everything that had to do with quilting and hand embroidery.  In the Oakwood house he had the attic and basement for storage and operations and he used every inch!



I fear my husband and children may feel as my Mother did. I don't have a walk-in attic but if you could see my basement, you might shudder in fear.  I took on the responsibility of storage for a great deal of those things.  I haven't used every inch of space but when you add my own quilting treasures  - yikes - it's overwhelming! 


I think the $50 quilt may be my reminder that I really need to focus on all of this, share it with those who are interested and find the right museum to truly save these things for posterity. I remember my Dad asking me what direction I'd like to take my quilting and remember my answer too -  I told him "my future is in the past". I really do need to tell the stories, of who did what and when and why. There are so many prominent families linked together, working together, having a great deal of fun together and quilting! 

I keep saying I'll work on this and never seem to get to it. Some of you can probably relate to the problems of time and money - we never seem to have enough of either. There are bills to pay and regular work takes priority. I'm sure it's the same for every generation but these stories will end with me so I'm feeling the weight of that responsibility. Where's a winning lottery ticket when you need one?

It's not just time and money, I still have so many 1800s quilts I want to share. If that era is your passion, don't panic. There are lots more to come but I'm going to try to put the spotlight on my family history and 1930s in a special way while we continue to make 1800s quilts. I have some ideas on how to do that and hope you'll like them.  Some will be easy and some a bit more complicated. I'll keep you posted but for today....................   

Thank you Dad, for always being there to support me, guide me, encourage me and make me believe I could do anything in the world I wanted to do - even today!  Happy Birthday!



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