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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Cheddarback Block of the Month – Month 4


It's June! I can't believe almost half of 2019 is gone. It's true, time goes by much faster as you get older. I'm looking forward to my time at the lake this summer and have gotten the most beautiful flowers for this year. 

Because I travel back and forth between Traverse City and Grand Rapids, I went with Calliope Geraniums this year. Ever hear of them? Calliope geraniums are a hybrid with a velvety-red color. They're drought-tolerant and easy for all gardeners to care for. Don't they sound perfect? Trust me, they are stunning and I love the old fashioned look to the yard this year. They are a much deeper red than in the picture.

I have felt so bad all month long about the troubles you've had with the Block 15 basket. Not everyone likes foundation paper piecing and that was the only way I could figure out how to get the 5" block we needed. I'm glad some of you substituted another block or just did your own thing. Always remember, it's your quilt!!!

The mathematical challenges of combining 12" and 5" blocks may be a continuing theme throughout the quilt. When I started on this month's patterns those math problems were right there to test my patience.

Block 16

This block looks easy enough - squares and triangles. What could be hard about that? It was the math, and I did not want to foundation paper piece a 12" block! Nope, not for just squares and triangles! Here's what we're doing. The cutting instructions for the triangles around the outside edge are oversize. When you sew the block together your maroon squares will be floating within the background. Square your block at 12 1/2" and you'll be all set. Your maroon squares might float a tiny bit when you add the sashing but it's going to look great.

The maroon print is lovely but I'm really curious about the black and white background fabric. I can see places in the block where there are seams across some of the pieces. This makes me wonder if they were cut from clothing. Those tiny black stripes match up pretty go though. How cool is that?!?

Block 17

Be still my heart! An easy block we can simply rotary cut and piece together. Have fun with this one. It'll make the more difficult ones easier to bear. Check out the upper right triangle - two background fabrics in one triangle!

This black print is really pretty and vibrant. I have no idea why a red, blue and tan plaid was selected for the center square but finished is better than perfect any day of the week.

Block 18

A class Bow Tie block. I would hand piece this block but you can easily machine piece it too.

If you want to match the fabrics in this block it should be easy to do. A red and white plaid with a black and white stripe shirting could have been sewn together during the 1930s so check your stash for the perfect prints.

Block 19

Be still my heart again!!! I wish I could find yards and yards of both of these fabrics. They are just stunning. There are double pink repros available buy you may have to hunt for an old Pilgrim/Roy print that's similar to the black and purple print.

I couldn't face giving you a foundation paper piecing pattern for this block so I've written the pattern using templates. I forgot to put it on the pattern and you most likely already know this, but place the templates on your fabrics so the outside edges are on the straight of the grain, especially the long edges of the black print pieces. The piecing is simple so I don't think you'll have any problems.

Block 20

This is a fun block and I love everything about it from the fussy cut center to that great red, ombre stripe. 

Did you notice the unique construction of this block? The star section is appliqued on the corner squares! Did the quilter make the block that way so she could feature that great stripe for the star points all in one piece?  I would normally cut a 6" square of the black fabric and applique the star onto it, but in this case I'm having you cut over sized squares and applique each corner individually. Don't panic! I'm also giving you the traditional construction for this block with pieced star points in case you don't want to bother with the applique. There's no right choice here - again, it's your quilt.

Now comes the most difficult part of this months blocks. As many of you know, I've been having problems with shop owners in the Netherlands copying my patterns and using them for classes, clubs and block of the month programs. It had come to the point where I had to have my attorney work on this with me. It's very expensive and difficult to challenge quilt shops in foreign countries and they use that fact to their advantage. I also know how difficult it is to be a shop owner looking for new, interesting things for your customers and I'm always willing to work with shop owners and offer patterns at wholesale prices. They just need to ask.  Now, don't assume every quilt shop in the Netherlands using my patterns is breaking the law but I've had to take steps to protect them from those who are.

Beginning this month you'll need to go through a few extra steps to get the free patterns. I am truly sorry about this and have spent the extra money necessary to make this as easy as possible for you. I've tested things several times on both my laptop and iPad and the process is working very smoothly.

Here's what you need to do -

  • Scroll down and just below the price you'll see a rectangular box which is a drop down menu. Click on the triangle arrow on the right side and go down to the last pattern listed in the menu (See below) .

  • Click on the last pattern in the list and you'll see the price change to $0.00. Click on the "Add to cart" bar (See below) .


  •  The shopping cart icon is in the upper right corner of the page. When you hover over it, a box will appear and you can click on the Checkout button (See below) .

  •  You'll be taken to the check out page. Click on the Proceed to Checkout button (See below) .

  •  You'll need to enter your name and address information. Click on the Continue to payment method button (See below) .


  •  You'll see that is says Your order is free. No payment is required. Click on the Pay now button (See below).
  • You'll be taken to an order confirmation page which means the ordering process is complete (See below) . 

  •  Within a couple of seconds you'll receive two emails. The first is simply an order confirmation email from Sentimental Stitches which is not pictured. The second email you receive is from SendOwl and has a link to your patterns. Click on the link in the email (See below) .

  • It'll take you to the page where you can download your patterns. Click on the download button and the pattern file will automatically download to your computer. You can then open and print the file or move it to a different location on your computer (See below).

Across the center of each page is the copyright statement for the pattern. It includes your name and order number. Will it prevent the pattern from being copied? No, but it will let quilters know that if their name isn't on the pattern, it's an illegal copy. That's the best I can do.

I really dislike having to do things this way. I have at least 5 or 6 more fantastic antique quilts set aside for patterns and bought another one last week. I want to be able to share those designs with quilters all over the world in a way that protects the integrity of the patterns.  As much as I love what I do, it is my job and how I pay the bills so I hope you'll be understanding of these necessary changes.   I've received so many emails in the last few weeks asking why there were no longer digital pattern options in the online store.  If you live outside of the United States, the postage costs on printed patterns is really expensive. Sometimes it's more than the pattern itself and there's another postage rate hike coming this month. I want to help those quilters with an affordable way to access as many Sentimental Stitches patterns as I can.  I will slowly be adding some of the digital patterns back into the online store. They'll all go through the new process and have your name, order number and copyright statement on each page.  

Now, on to the thing we all love to do - make quilts!


If you have any problems at all getting your patterns, please email me and I'll do everything I can to help. 


Cheddarback - Month 4 Patterns - CLICK HERE



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Cheddarback Block of the Month – Month 3


It's May Day! Sure doesn't feel like the first day of May to me.  I'm at the cottage, it's pouring down rain and I'm listening to the furnace run for the umpteenth time since I arrived. I'm ready to plant some flowers and enjoy a little sunshine!

I do have some interesting blocks for you today. I'll admit they have taken me longer than usual to write the patterns because this group is challenging to construct within our 12" and 5" measurements. Let's just dive in and you'll see what I mean.

Block 11

Things started right off with a challenge with this block. It's a 12" block but if you look closely you'll see the block is a 5-patch block. If you divide 12 by 5 what do you get?  - 2.4 inches. That's not on any ruler I work with. What should I do? This happens a lot with antique quilts and many times I'll foundation paper piece the block but I really didn't want to do this with a 12" block. Here's what you'll find - A block with a finished size of 11 7/8" can be rotary cut. That leaves us short by 1/8" overall. I made the executive decision to present a rotary cutting pattern for a 11 7/8" block asking you to use an extra scant 1/4" seam allowance when sewing the block sections together so we can get that 1/8" we need. Don't let this scare you - you can do it. Many times we can press a block into submission and get an extra 1/8". If you feel you need a foundation pattern for the 12" block please email me and I'll send you one but I truly don't think it'll be necessary.

On the positive side, there are lots of beautiful indigo prints and an amazing red, striped ombre background fabric to looks at. 

Block 12

This is a pretty little basket filled with maroon print diamonds. The blue check homespun check is perfectly matched in the construction of this block. This quilter continues to amaze me with her attention to detail. I would choose to hand piece this block but know many of you would prefer an easier machine pieced version. I've included patterns to make the block in two ways and you can decide which one is right for you.

Block 13

I love the way the quilter took care with how she positioned the strips and the squiggles in the shirting when constructing this block.  At first glance this looks like an easy block to put together but it has it's challenges soooooo once again I'm giving you two options for putting this together. One that's an easy machine pieced version and a second one just like the original block.

Block 14

Oh my goodness! Just look at that purple and black print! I wish I had yards and yards of that one. The red polka dot is pretty cute too. All in all, an adorable block you'll sew together with ease.

Block 15

A basket block - what's not to love about a basket block? It's adorable and just look at all those pretty fabrics. Look closely and count the half square triangles along the edge. Yup, we have a 5" block with 6 units. It just doesn't divide out for rotary cutting and with all those small pieces I'm not going to ask anyone, including myself to try and fiddle with seam allowance to get this one to work so we're going to have to foundation paper piece this one.  There are three red fabrics in this block even though it looks like more. Three different parts of the cornerstone fabric was used along with a red solid and an interesting red textured print. Have fun with this one. It really is a sweet little block.


Cheddarback - Month 3 Patterns - CLICK HERE



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