Sep 12, 2016

Quilting Poems, Sayings, Superstitions, and Folklore

After 8 (as of 2016) years of blogging with way over 10 million blog views, what is there still to blog about?
A lot if you're me!

 I have so many articles that I have written and and so many things I have compiled and collected over the years. It's just finding the time to edit, add my own photos and do a decent job of updating and publishing that's the problem.

So, here are my previously collected (and also many of my never yet published here) list of quilt and quilting poems, sayings, and quilting folklore. It's a work in progress, just as we all are so bookmark the page and come back for again!

Thank you so much and enjoy! Some of these are hilarious and most are quite clever!


A Treasure
A quilt poem by Mildred Hatfield

It's more than a coverlet,
More than a spread,
This beautiful quilt
That graces my bed.

It's laughter and sorrow,
It's pleasure and pain,
It's small bits and pieces
Of sunshine and rain.

It's a bright panorama
Of scraps of my life-
It's moments of glory,
It's moments of strife.

It's a story I cherish
Of days that have been,
It's a door I can open
To live them again.

Yes, it's more than a cover,
This much-treasured quilt,
It's parts pieced together
Of the life I have built.

Ode to My Wife, The Quilter

(Author: unknown)

She learned to quilt on Monday.
Her stitches were very fine. 
She forgot to thaw out dinner, 
So we went out to dine. 

She quilted miniatures Tuesday.
She says they are a must. 
They really were quite lovely
But she forgot to dust. 

On Wednesday, it was a sampler. 
She says the stipplin's fun. 
What highlights! Oh what shadows!
But the laundry wasn't done. 
Her charm quilt was on Thursday, 
Green patches, blue and red.
 I guess she really was engrossed;
 She never made the bed. 

It was wallhangings on Friday,
In colors she adores, 
But she never seemed to notice
The crumbs on all the floors. 
I found a maid on Saturday! 
My week is now complete.

My wife can quilt the hours away; 
The house will still be neat.
Well, it's already Sunda.
I think I'm about to wilt
I cursed, I raved, I ranted
The MAID has learned to Quilt!!

Quilter Husband's Lament

(Author: unknown)

I've always learned that life was full of obstacles and woes. 
I've learned to live with sickness, death, taxes, heaven knows.

I've taken all these things in stride, the problems and strife.
But one I didn't count on was a Quilter for a wife. 

Come home from work, the stove is cold, the dirty clothes still there, 
The suit I wanted cleaned today, still laying on the chair.

"Where's Mama, son?" I asked my boy, 

"This house is such a mess. 

Why, all the sheets are missing, we've been burglarized I guess.
"No, Mama stripped down all the beds and took the sheets away. 

She cut them into little strips and pieced two quilts today.

"Why every pair of pants I own is cut in little squares.
"I'm demonstrating applique," my lovely wife declares. 

I show up in the office in my boxer shorts and tie.
My secretary giggles and the clerks give me the eye.

It's freezing cold, I'm shaking and my knees are turning blue. 
My boss considered firing me, but his wife's a quilter too. 

I told him what happened and he said he could believe.
I noticed that the coat he wore had only half a sleeve. 

A husband needs a loving wife to help him when he's ill.
To soothe and comfort, mop his brow and help him take his pills. 

Should influenza strike you, your life's not worth a dime.
Particularly if it hits at Quilt Convention time. 

You'll lay there in an empty house in pain and deep despair,
While the workshops and the lectures keep your wife's attention there. 

You learn to ask no questions when she smiles and drives away,
Rushing to the Fabric Shop for a big sale there today

She's gone for hours, then drags back home all bleary eyed and down,
Now who'd believe a lie like that? She must be running round. 

But I'll get by, I always do, some days are fine, some not. 
When your wife's a Quilter you tolerate a lot.

I know that when my life is through and I pass away.
They'll have to set my funeral so it's not a Quilting Day.

The Crazy Quilt
~Margaret E. Sangster

Patchwork only, did you say,
This mosaic quaint and gay,
Starred with dainty appliqué,
In confusion mazy?
Sooth it hath a high-born air,
With an easeful charm and rare,
Lightening the weight of care.
Wherefore call it crazy?

Every woman in the land
This bewitching quilt has planned;
Slender fingers, toil-worn hand,
Pulse alike with pleasure
As the curious pieces blend
This an heirloom's grace to lend,
That the souvenir of a friend,
Each a cherished treasure.

Patiently, dear grandma sets
Bit to bit, and swift forgets
All the little daily frets
Age and loss are bringing,
And we hear her softly croon
To herself a tender tune;
'Tis of youth and love a rune
She is gently singing.

Shaking heads and looking wise,
Merchants smile with doubtful eyes
When, expectant of a prize,
Maidens beg a sample.
Stock of velvet, silk, or frieze,
Like the famous nibbled cheese,
Disappears if, dames to please,
Clipped are fragments ample.

Patchwork 'tis, but glorified,
Aureoled with stately pride,
Fit to offer to a bride
As a wedding present.
Stitched with more than common pains,
Offspring of artistic brains,
Wrought in flowers, and loops, and chains,
Is this patchwork pleasant.

~Margaret E. Sangster

Quilting Bee
(Author: unknown)

In Fellowship they meet, 
Their long days to invest,
Snipping and sewing, only slowing 
To visit, to eat or rest.

Calico scraps, heaped on laps, 
Each one an exact size and hue. 
Fingers nimble with thread and thimble, 
Create pretty patterns anew.

Heads bent to the task, you need not ask 

If these ladies love to quilt.
Their talented touch, expresses as much 
As piece onto piece it is built.

Friends try to perceive who will receive 

Each quilt that is stitched from the heart,
With needlework fine, the patterns entwined 
A treasure, a true work of art.

To Stash or not to that the question?

by Juanita K Bard (With apologies to Shakespeare's HAMLET)

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous mis-organization
Or to take arms against a sea of clutter
And by opposing end it? To organize?
To give away? To sew not more?

Nay...To sew I must..perchance a new patchwork
Or try a new paper piece pattern
For who can bear the whips and scorns of
The ever present 1/2 price sale ads
That makes a calamity of our credit cards..

To file or not to file my patterns
To group by pastels and darks
And by organization to say we end
The heartache of rummaging around
For just that right piece of fabric

That our sewing is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish' organize,
To conceal in boxes...and boxes galore
In plastic containers that overflow on the floor
To organize, perchance to achieve it....ay, there's the rub;

For in that great organization of fabric what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal unorganization
Must give us pause there's the respect
That makes calamity of so organized a sewing room;
For who can bear to whittle down her Stash...

The pangs of that separation of fabric
To grunt and sweat under the strain
Of not seeing forever the beloved Stash...
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd boxes...from who boundary

No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And make us rather think we have
To give to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make swappers of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution

Gives way to the pale thought and enterprises
Of that great moment with this regard
To our current Stash...Organize...give away!!!!
And lose the name of clutter... Soft you now!
Oh, fair quilters... in they orisons
Be all my Stash remember'd.....

Mother Pieced Quilts
by Teresa Palomo Acosta

they were just meant as covers
in winters
as weapons
against pounding january winds

but it was just that every morning I awoke to these
october ripened canvases
passed my hand across their cloth faces
and began to wonder how you pieced
all these together
these strips of gentle communion cotton and flannel
wedding organdies
dime store velvets

how you shaped patterns square and oblong and round
then cemented them
with your thread
a steel needle
a thimble

how the thread darted in and out
galloping along the frayed edges, tucking them in
as you did us at night
oh how you stretched and turned and re-arranged
your michigan spring faded curtain pieces
my father's santa fe work shirt
the summer denims, the tweed and fall

in the evening you sat at your canvas
our cracked linoleum floor the drawing board
me lounging on your arm
and you staking out the plan;
whether to put the lilac purple of easter against the red
plaid of winter-going-into-spring
whether to mix a yellow with blue and white and paint the
corpus christi noon when my father held your hand
whether to shape a five-point star from the
somber black silk you wore to grandmother's funeral

you were the river current
carrying the roaring notes
forming them into pictures of a little boy reclining
a swallow flying
you were the caravan master at the reins
driving your thread needle artillery across the
mosaic cloth bridges
delivering yourself in separate testimonies

oh mother you plunged me sobbing and laughing
into our past
into the river crossing at five
into the spinach fields
into the plain view cotton rows
into tuberculosis wards
into braids and muslin dresses
sewn hard and taut to withstand the thrashings
of twenty-five years

stretched out they lay

knotted with love
the quilts sing on


This poem is reprinted from Good Housekeeping, October 25, 1890

Dolly sits a-quilting by her mother,
stitch by stitch,
Gracious, how my pulses throb, how my
fingers itch,
While I note her dainty waist and her slender
As she matches this and that, she stitches
strand by strand.
And I long to tell her Life’s a quilt and I’m
a patch;
Love will do the stitching if she’ll only be my

The Crazy Quilt

Oh, say, can you see by the dawn's early light,
What you failed to perceive at the twilight's last gleaming;
A crazy concern that through the long night
O'er the bed where you slept was so saucily streaming;
The silk patches so fair,
Round, three-cornered and square
Gives proof that the lunatic bed-quilt is there.
Oh, the crazy-quilt mania triumphantly raves,
And maid, wife, and widow are bound as its slaves

On that quilt dimly seen as you rouse from your sleep
Your long-missing necktie in silence reposes,
And the filoselle insects that over it creep,
A piece of your vest half-conceals, half discloses;
There is Kensington-stitch
In designs that are rich,
Snow-flake, arrasene, point russe and all such.
Oh, the crazy-quilt mania, how long will it rave?
And how long will fair woman be held its slave?

And where is the wife who so vauntingly swore
That nothing on earth her affections could smother?
She crept from your side at the chiming of four
And is down in the parlor at work on another.
Your breakfasts are spoiled,
And your dinners half-boiled,
And your efforts to get a square supper are foiled
By the crazy-quilt mania that fiendishly raves,
And to which all the women are absolute slaves.

And thus it has been since the panic began,
In many loved homes it has wrought desolation,
And cursed is the power by many a man,
That has brought him so close to the verge of starvation,
But make it she must,
She will do it or bust,
Beg, swap, and buy pieces or get them on trust,
Oh, the crazy-quilt mania, may it soon cease to rave
In the land of the free and the home of the brave.


(Author: Ray Hartsell (husband of a quilter))

A quilter's husband died on Friday.

Her heart was torn and wilting

To have the funeral on Monday,

She'd have to miss her quilting.

She asked her sister to fill in,An act so torn and wilting.

"To him it makes no difference --

So why miss out on quilting?"

A Legacy of Stitches

Sandra E. Andersen 2001-2008

A Legacy of Stitches is what we leave behind;
the imprint of our very soul that lasts beyond our time.

The heart that quilts knows, oh, so well the peace that can be found,
as needle meets with fabric, for there is no sweeter sound.

Whether quiet piecing done by hand or on our sewing machine,
there’s rhythm to our stitches as we sew along each seam.

Those stitches tell the story of our lives as they unfold
as we think of quilts that Grandma made with stories left untold.

The humdrum of our daily lives grows elegant and grand,
when we start to cut the pieces, then stitch the fabric in our hands.

And whatever is the reason for the quilts we piece and sew,
and whoever is the maker, there is one thing that we know.

Each quilt is full of memories, and is a treasured thing.
If quilts could talk, imagine how some quilts would surely sing!

For some quilts are sewn in happy times and others when we’re sad,
and some are sewn in laughter and others when we’re mad.

Some are sewn to warm us, and some sewn just for fun,
and some are “works in progress” that never quite get done!

Some quilts are sewn for beauty, a quilt made just for “show”,
but the heart of the true quilter is the one who really knows~

That no matter how the quilt is stitched, we leave our mark in time.
This Legacy of Stitches is what we leave behind.

"A Hymn to Prosperity"

Celestial maid receive this prayer!
If ever thy beam divine
Should Gild the brow of toiling care,
And Bless a hut like mine:

Let humble worth, without a fear,
Approach my ready door
Nor let me ever see a tear,
Regardless, from the poor!

O bless me with an honest mind,
Above all selfish ends,
Humanely warm to all mankind,
And cordial to my friends.

With conscious truth and honour still,
My actions let me guide,
And give no fear, but that of ill

 No scorn, but that of pride.

Thus form'd, thus happy let me dare
On Heaven's dread King to gaze
Conclude my night in ardent pray'r,
and wake my morn with praise:

That hence my soul may hope to prove
The utmost saints can know,
And share His gracious smile above,
Whose laws she kept below.

It's Your Quilt

- Nancy Riddell

It's OK if you sit on your quilt.
It's OK if your bottle gets spilt.
If you swallow some air
and you burp, don't despair;
It's OK if you spit on your quilt. 

There are scraps old and new on your quilt.
Put together for you on your quilt.
If your gums feel numb
'Cause your teeth haven't come,
It's OK if you chew on your quilt.

We expect you to lie on your quilt.
If you hurt, you may cry on your quilt.
On a cold rainy night,
Don't you fret; you're all right.
You'll be snug, warm and dry on your quilt. 


by Patricia Everson

Sit down and I'll tell you a story
Wrap yourself up in my quilt.
Here's a cup of my coffee
The wood stove is filled to the hilt. 

Quilting is more than a hobby.
To me it is a record of life,
Recording for me all the good times,
Remembering for me all the strife. 

This patch was made from a bunting.
The baby had now moved away.
And this one came from my sister,
From a dress that was yellow and grey.

Below this one from my brother
Is one from my aunt who just died.
If you look close you can cipher
Her signature on the left side.

And here over next to the corner
Is a piece from my mother's old skirt.
And this one right in the middle
Was made from my father's red shirt.

This one came out a bit crooked.
The material was faded and worn.
No wonder it looks so dejected,
It was woven before I was born.

Beneath this one at the bottom
Is one that is worth more than gold.
It came from my old winter jacket,
It kept me safe from the cold.

This blue one I found in the cellar
When we moved to this house long ago.
Who knows what story it covets,
This old, faded, worn calico.

Above the green one in the center
Is my most favorite one of all.
It looks like the leaves by the river
Just after they drop in the fall. 

And let's not forget this pink gingham,
I know that it's seen better days,
But I like the way that it mingles
With the yellows and purples and greys. 

Before you finish your coffee
And you have to be on your way,
Take a look at this one near the bottom,
It came from my Great Uncle Ray. 

He traveled the world in a schooner,
He brought back such wonderful things.
The material is of the richest,
Fit only for princes and kings. 

Some store their treasures in bank vaults,
Some keep them hidden away,
But I keep mine here on my quilt top
Where I can enjoy them each day.


by Pauline Havard

In the little white house her husband built,
She sews the pieces of a patchwork quilt.
Three, she has made, just since November,
All rich colors and fine to remember --
The Wedding Ring pattern and the Evening Star
(Quilts that are lovely, as all quilts are
Which are sewn in the twilight in a firelit place).
Through bits of cloth she sees
his well-loved face
He keeps her company,
and she turns the seams
With a needleful of patience,
a thimbleful of dreams.

14,287 Pieces of Fabric 

*Written by Jean Ray Laury

Behind the painted picket gate
There lived a quilter known as Kate
Sthe had one son, a boy named John;
One daughter, whom she doted on.
She had one husband and one house
One pup, one cat, one little mouse…
And 14,287 pieces of fabric.

Many Thanks to Virginia Lane who let me know that this poem is the first poem in the book "14,287 Pieces of Fabric and Other Poems," which is both written and illustrated by Jean Ray Laury, published in 1994 by C&T Publishing.
"Whenever anyone needs just a piece of fabric - her husband to flag cargo extending from his pickup, the neighbor child to bind an injury, and so on, there's not one piece that Katy can spare. That color is special, her sister gave her this piece, she got that one at the quilt show, and so on. She finally gets a reason to use her fabric, sews madly, falls asleep, and dreams that she's used all 14, 287 pieces."

Thank you, Virginia! I so appreciate my readers!

Grandmother's Parlor

by Priscilla Schrock

I remember the quilt, made with loving care,
Draped over the back of her favorite chair,
In my Grandmother's parlor. 

A quilt full of pictures, a quilt full of love,
With birds stitched in gold, seen flying above,
In my Grandmother's parlor.

Made with purples and reds and colors so bright,
The browns and the greens and even some white,
In my Grandmother's parlor.

As I sat on the floor my fingers would glide,
Tracing designs over threads narrow and wide,
In my Grandmother's parlor.

I would give all I have for a chance to be there,
In my Grandmother's lap, in her favorite chair,
In my Grandmother's parlor.

Just For You

by Kathy Sherlock

This quilt is made of cloth and thread
To place upon your little bed.

It's not an heirloom just to keep,
But to lie upon as you count sheep.

Or perhaps the floor's the perfect place
For a Doll and Teddy picnic place.

This quilt can be anything you can dream
From Superman's cape to the robe of a queen.

Pretend it's a raft adrift at sea,
Or just cuddle up when you watch TV

So use it up and wear it out.
I promise I won't yell or pout.

Just tell me when its days are through,
And I'll make another one just for you.

My Fingers aren't so nimble,

And my sight is failing fast.

But for future generations,

This quilt will share their past.

World wide the cloth was gathered

With "swaps" galore, a pattern was set.

Friendships, made with love and sharing,

through Cyberspace on the Internet.

Some lines are a little crooked,

a few corners not quite square.

But every stitch was taken,

With tender loving care.

So rest your head and dream away,

As worries and turmoil fade.

Let this quilt extend its love,

And wake to a beautiful new day.

Baby's Quilt

 Author: M. (Marilyn) Robinson 
from the book, "P.S. I Love You")

The sun came up this morning
 It's promise sweet and long 
A new child shares this day with me 
The birds begin their songs.
A special gift of squares and strips 
Was sewn for baby's cover 
The sparkling patches quite reflect 
Our feeling for each other.
The beauty of the days ahead
 Are sewn in every seam.I'll wrap you up and hold you tight
And anticipate the dream.

Quilter's Poem

 (Author: unknown

Love is a quilt - a quilt is love . 
Both love and a quilt should be:
Soft enough to comfort you,
Bright enought to cheer you,
Generous enough to enfold you,
Light enough to let you move freely,
Strong enough to withstand adversity,
Durable enough to last a lifetime,
And given gladly, from the heart.

Disappearing Act

Author: unknown

Where do all my pins disappear to?

I've picked up all the ones off the floor.

But when I put them back into their box,
It looked as though there ought to be more.

What became of the needle I had in my hand
When I picked up the spool to thread it?
It seems to have vanished into thin air,
But that explanation I can't credit.

How does my thimble disappear
From the basket where it was laid?
I haven't heard it rolling 'round on the floor
As it did when the cats with it played.

What did I do with that fabric I need
That I had just an hour ago?
I put it away, but in what place?
It's somewhere that it doesn't show.

The magazine with the pattern I liked
Was right on top of that pile.
I guess it's sunk, but how far down
In such a little while?
I know that book went back on its shelf

And should be with books of its kind.
But I just can't find it, though I've looked five times.
Can it be that I'm going blind?
It's a very good thing that my sewing machine

Is something that's too big to hide.
Not being able to find something as big as that
Would really humble my pride!
I don't know why things I know that I had 
Disappear when I put them away

.I find it annoying but I very much fear
It's a problem that's here to stay.

A Christmas Quilter

By Pat Everson

T'was a few weeks before Christmas and in my head was a plan
To make all of my Christmas gifts by my own hand.
Away to my scrap box in a flash I did fly.
With patterns in my head and a twinkle in my eye.
I cut and I sewed as merry as an elf.
Making things for others and not for myself.

A quilted vest for a teen-aged niece.
Quilts for the grandparents with love sewn in each piece.
Quilted covers for aunts' tabletops, 
Away I go with hardly a stop.

On scissors, on needles, on thimble and thread,
Oh, hurry I must, for Christmas day is ahead.
A quilted diaper bag for the baby so new.
I may even quilt Santa a coat before I'm through.
Quilted bedspreads for Mother and Sis.
I still have a few left on my list.

Cushions with quilted tops and potholders done.
It's now Christmas Eve and I have a gift for each one.
So I sprang to my Volkswagon and made quite a clatter.

The neighbors ran to the windows to see what was the matter.
From one house to the other, I leaped like a deer.

Leaving my presents and hopefully cheer.
With best wishes to each for a Christmas so bright.
A tired, happy quilter drove away in the night.

Many Starts, Mini Finishes

Author: Bee Neeley Kuckelman

There once was a quilter named Min
Whatever she'd see, she'd begin. 

A large quilt, a small quilt,
A doll quilt, a wall quilt.
"I'll finish these later," said Min.

"Now what shall I start on today?
I guess it will be applique.
Some birds in a group,I'll frame with a hoop.
Today, though, I'll put them away.

I think I will make a new vest,
In silk, or cotton would be best 
Trapunto I'll do,Then Sunbonnet Sue!
But now I will give them a rest.

A tote bag I've wanted to sew,
And then I'll try quilt-as-you-go.
A radiant Star
For next year's bazaar 
Just when they'll be done, I don't know
For Christmas I've got projects galore 

A tree skirt, a wreath for the door.
I'll make a soft box,
And red quilted socks,
And what's not completed, I'll store.

 "Is anything finished?" asked Son. Her answer could only be, "None.
"So, Min made a vow:She would not allow 
More new projects -- well, maybe just one.


All quilters start out as beginners. 
No one is born knowing how. 
But all who would be good quilters 
Should make this solemn vow: 
I will buy only quality fabrics. 
I will keep clean my sewing machine.
 I will help my fellow quilters 
Be they eighty or seventeen. 
I will carefully follow directionsThat I am given in class 
So that what I'm trying to make
Will truly come to pass.
I will try never to feel guilty 
About my stash or my UFOs: 
These are part of the quilting mystique 
As every quilter knows. 
Above all, I will embraceThe joys that quilting imparts
 Of friendship, fun and sharing 
That cheers and fills our hearts. 
And when I'm no more a beginnerI won't hold in disdain
Those who know less than I do--
 Who knows what heights they may attain? 

(Author: unknown)

The Deadline

by Dallas Reed

T'was the night before the quilt show,and at the sewing machine
was the biggest organized clutter,that you have ever seen.

There was fabric on the table.Fabric on the chair,Fabric on the floor,
There was fabric everywhere.

I couldn't find my rotary cutter,couldn't find my mat;
I couldn't find my scissors,And I'm wondering where they're at.

It's an hour before the show,Then I'll get up and leave.
All I need is a few more stitches,The binding.....and the sleeve.

But I'm not about to worry,Everything is going to be fine.I'll get it done in time -- 
But,I really hate a deadline.




Secrets of the Old Quilt

Author: Dallas Reed

Today, I went up to the attic,and found a quilt that grandma made.

The binding was worn, the pieces tattered,and the colors had begun to fade.

There were silks and wools and calicos,in a pattern of the nine patch kind.

They were precision cut and precision sewn,with an intricate quilting design.

She pieced the top and the quilting bee,helped her quilt the days away.

And they talked about everybody,Who didn't help quilt that day.

Only if that quilt could talk.Oh, the words that would be conveyed,of the gossip at the quilting bee,
in the quilt that grandma made.....




(Author Unknown)

My neighbour is washing her windows

,And scrubbing and mopping her floors,

But my house is all topsy and turvey,

And dust is behind all the doors.

My neighbour, she keeps her house spotless,

And she goes all day on a trot:

But no one would know in a fortnight

If she swept today or not.

The task I am at is enticing - 

My neighbour is worn to a rag -

I am making a quilt out of pieces

I saved in a pretty chintz bag.

And the quilt, I know my descendants

Will exhibit with credit to me

"So lovely - my grandmother made it

Long ago in 1933."

But will her grandchildren remember

Her struggles with dirt and decay?

They will not -

they will wish she had made them

The quilt I am making today.

(Author: unknown)


by Cindy Thury Smith 1983

The husband of this quilter is a very special, patient guy
Who doesn’t complain about how much fabric his wife may buy.
Through the years he’s picked up a lot of quilting lore
Because on this subject his wife can get to be quite a bore.
He’s learned better than to throw away any old odd shaped scrap
Because it’s likely that’s the one she’ll need to fill her design gap.
He know if he enters the quilting room his feet will get pins in
And he’s learned there’s not just red, but brick, rust, scarlet and crimson.
He knows how she snorts when she sees an ordinary bedspread
Cuz in HER house there’s only personally designed quilts instead.
He knows when she meets another quilter there’ll be fast and furious talkin’
And at a quilt show there’ll be lots of scribbling and gawkin’.
He thinks of quilt-mania as a kind of creative affliction
That can only be controlled by regular doses of stitchin’.
He knows she quilts for enjoyment, not for money,
Cuz she does quilts that are traditional, modern and some just plain funny!
And though all my cutting, designing, sewing and quilting through the years
He’s always been interested, supportive, patient, and very, very dear. Thanks, honey.

The Frankenstein Quilt

by Cindy Thury Smith 1985

I started out with a simple block design
And thought I’d add just one or two more lines
To come up with a quilt that’d be all mine.
Then I started playing with complex borders and sashing

And through my mind new ideas kept flashing
Until now my hopes have gone a-dashing!
I’ve created an impossible pattern, a monster

Anyone who’d try it would be a fanatical quilter
Who’d probably end up cussing out the designer!
Since I created it I’d better give it a try
As I ripped out stitches I kept asking myself why

If I ever get it done I’ll take this one with me
when I die! Now it’s finally done and lies displayed on our bed

Hundreds of hours, yards of fabric, and miles of thread
One of those, “It’ll never work” ideas that just popped into my head.

Quilting Frustrations

by Cindy Thury Smith 1986

First I lost my thimble and stuck the needle into my thumb
Then I figured the yardages wrong, so I’m short, how dumb!
And I can’t understand this piecing diagram ‘cuzmy brain’s gone numb
Sometimes quilting just doesn’t pay.
Now the tension’s goofed up on my sewing machine
The four yards I bought aren’t the right shade of green
And how am I to get Grandmother’s unfinished quilt top clean?
Sometimes quilting just doesn’t pay.
I’ve pressed under bias until my fingers are all burnt
Can’t quite remember that finishing tip I thought I’d learnt
Tried to do an edge in scallops, but they weren’t
Sometimes quilting just doesn’t pay.
I’ve sewed on this quilt for what seems like a hundred weeks
Bringing my quilting skills to a new sewing peak
And, surprisingly, getting pretty close to the design I seek
Well, maybe quilting’s not so bad.
Hey, I’ve finally got it on the quilting frame
As I bend over and stitch my back will never be the same
In the corner I’ll label it with the date and my name
Well, maybe quilting’s not so bad.

Now it’s proudly displayed in all its pomp and glory
Conveniently forgotten is how its construction was slightly hoary
Currently I’m telling the “masterpiece of needleart” story
Yeah, I guess quilting’s not so bad.

Quilter's Birthday Song

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Have you finished that quilt yet?
Happy birthday to you!
How old is your stash?
How old is your stash?
Did you pay plastic or cash?
How old is your stash?
Did you see the new Hoffman?
Did you see the new Hoffman?
Did the price make you cough, man!
Did you see the new Hoffman?
Have you bought the new book?
Have you bought the new book?
So many UFOs, shouldn’t even look!
Have you bought the new book?
Will you make the show deadline?
Will you make the show deadline?
One hour left, plenty of time!
I can make the show deadline!

The Quiltin' Times Are A-Changing
by CindyThury Smith 1999

For our Great-Great Grandmothers,
in quilting times past
A frugal quilter had to scrimp, make every scrap last
Today wasting fabric is not such a crime
Today what’s scarce is a quilter’s TIME.
Patterns used to travel with pioneers going west
Now we swap and share instantly on the Internet

Once templates were traced, fabric carefully scissored
Now we slice multiple layers, we’re all Olfa wizards.
At one time a two fabric quilt was a sign of status
Now Watercolor quilts have hundreds of prints comin’ at us
Quilters used to gather at small local quilting bees

Now we congregate at conferences, national teachers to see. Like our Great-Great Grandmothers our lives are busy, we’re stressed

But with the beauty of our quilts, we feel we are blessed

As with Great-Great Grandmother, our quilting serves many goals
To give warmth, grace our homes, and feed our souls. The following 10 rules for quilt teachers were the result of various discussions on the Quilt Teachers list. We were discussing proper attitude.

Coping With UFOs (unfinished objects)

Jacquie Scuitto. aka The Muse

Many are the quilts I have begun,
Far fewer those I've finished.
The UFO collection just keeps growing
It needs to be diminished!

I could send them to be quilted by machine
But that would take money I lack.
I could let someone else quilt them for me,
But would I really get them back?

Not starting quilts would, of course,
Be a sure UFO preventive,
But not having the will power that requires,
I must rely on some deadline incentive. 

red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet

By Jacquie Scuitto 

I went to a quilt show
And what did I see
But more kinds of quilts
Than I thought there could be:
There were huge ones and minis
And lots in between,
Combinations of colors
That I'd never seen.
Some quilts were just triangles,
Others all squares.
I saw appliqued angels, Rabbits and bears.
I saw fanciful shapes
And stars all aglow,
All the quilts with no ribbons
And the grand Best of Show.
I never have known
Such excitement before.
When is the next show?
I want to see more! 

the blocks of the builders
by Jacquie Scuitto 

I've sought inspiration
A quilt for to make.
There's a wide choice of patterns,
Now which should I take?
Here's Baltimore Album
And Sunbonnet Sue,
Seven Sisters, Clay's Choice
And Log Cabin too.
Anvil and Churn Dash,
Birds in the Air,
Country Crossroads,
City Square.
Broken Dishes,
Tree of Life,
LeMoyne Star,
Contrary Wife.
Mexican Star,
Pickle Dish,
Cherry Basket,
Thousand Pyramids,
Irish Chain,
True Lover's Knot,
And Airplane.
Tangled Garter,
World's Fair,
Kansas Troubles,
Windblown Square.
Also Hovering Hawks
And Flying Geese.
I really don't know
What to piece!
Four-Patch, Nine-Patch,
Tumbling Blocks,
Grandmother's Fan,
There must be one.
I've not lost hope.
I've thought and thought,
I'm ready to wilt.
I'll make a sampler quilt! 

100 Ways to Hide Your Stash

(Song by Cathy Miller on her "One Stitch At A Time" CD)

 He doesn't' have to know everything 

A few secrets keep a marriage fresh as spring 
 I'll have it in, and out of sight in a flash 
There are 100 ways to hide your stash. 
Fill up the cupboard, hide the evidence 
Pile it in the pantry spare no expense 
Keep it with the kids' clothes, lay it with the wine 
Keep it all together where the sun don't shine! 
Put it in a Safeway bag, 
bring it in with the groceries Call it "Christmas presents - and don't you peek!" 
You're "keeping it for a friend" who's gone to Calgary She'll be back soon - no there's none for me! 
Don't tell him what you owe the store He might start looking in the dryer or the drawer 
It's an affliction breeding secrecy These quilty pleasures that won't let me be 
Pack it in the wardrobe, under the chair 
Stack it with the linen, with the silverware Cram it in the cellar, under the stair
  With the winter clothes, with the underwear. 
A woman stored hers in the ceiling overhead 
For years it stayed there, overtop the bed 
Her husband never ever heard a sound Until the day it brought the ceiling down

He's got golfing and his auto parts You've got fabric He's got cigarettes and butter tarts You've got fabric! 
Pad it in a pillow, buy a bass violin 
Cram it in a corner, tuck it in a tin 
Turn off your freezer, fill up your bin
Unplug the oven, you can fit it all in 

Buy a few quarters, while you're at the store 
Get a little extra - more more more 
Slip it in the mattress, hide it under the floor 
No more room in here: buy the house next door! 

(Author: Cathy Miller)


Toss the Cat

(Song by Cathy Miller on her "One Stitch At A Time" CD)

The bridal quilt is done, take it out of the frame Don't forget to sign it and give it a name 

Sew on some binding and that will be that Only one thing left to be done, and that's play toss the cat 

We've sewn in our good wishes for the bride and the groom The red pomegranate, the hearts and the moon

Our vines are unbroken and our apples are fat Now's the time for our good luck when we play toss the cat

Grab your corner of quilt, in the middle she stands
The next one to get hitched is the closest to where she lands
The kitty doesn't like it much, well fancy that!
That's the price you pay when you play toss the cat 

The cat has been a pest from the very first day Pawing the fabric, and clawing the fray 

And when it's time to work, she's got to lie in your lap It's only just desserts when you play toss the cat


From this day forward she can lie in the sun with a lifetime supply of catnip She can have a nap whenever she wants one and maybe she'll forget... Because I've got a few friends and their chances are good For holy matrimony and motherhood It won't be too long before they're buying their batt And another chance for us to play toss the cat. CHORUS
(Author: Cathy Miller)



It Ain't Finished Yet

(Song by Cathy Miller on her "One Stitch At A Time" CD)

    It ain't finished yet
    I'm making this quilt for a wedding gift
    But it ain't finished yet
I've spent a small fortune on the fabric and thread 
Just to cut it up in little squares 
Now I've gotta sew it back together again 
With my own individual flair 
I've laid it out 57 different ways I can't decide what looks the best 
The wedding day has come and gone, I'm still in a maze 
And I need more of that fabric I bought in Tibet!
I'm ripping out seams that didn't fit just right I've gotta do them over again 
My eyesight is fading, working late in the night 
I hope this thing is done before the marriage ends! 
I thought it would be easy when I got the idea 
I even used her dress from the day they met
If anyone had told me how much work it would be I'd have volunteered to cater the banquet! 
My husband has had to learn to cook and to bake While I'm fighting with the tangled thread 
But I've bought the fabric for the next three I make
There must be something wrong with my head!
In final desperation I went down to the guild To get a few tips from the "pros" 
Everyone had pages there for show and tell A listing of their UFOs!

(Author: Cathy Miller)

Follow the Stars

Song by Cathy Miller on her "One Stitch At A Time" CD
Follow the stars to freedom 
Flying geese stay on the drunkard's path and 
Follow the stars to freedom
The quilts will tell you when to get your bag packed 
Follow the stars to freedom 
There are secrets hidden in plain view 
If you can see them, this train is for you And freedom's waiting at the end of the track 
Follow, follow, follow the stars to freedom 
The monkey wrench turns the wagon wheel 
At the blacksmith's word, the way is revealed 
Take the bear's paw trail through the wilderness 
Through the Appalachian mountains, the underground express 
Soon you'll be tasting a free man's meal 
Follow, follow, follow the stars to freedom 
Danger! Don't say it out loud S
ew it in a pattern, or sing it in a crowd 
They'll think you're just making a joyful sound 
Till you follow, follow, follow the stars to freedom. 
The slave's chains are double wedding rings 
Your mind and your body get free of those things 
The crossroads block means Cleveland's docks 
Where Peg Leg Joe'll open up the locks 
And sail you across to where the angels sing 
Follow, follow, follow the stars to freedom. 

(Author: Cathy Miller)


by Jacquie Scuitto

Where can I store more fabric? My sewing room shelves are crammed!

There's no more space beneath my bed And the guest room closet is jammed.

I have a friend with an attic Who would let me store some there,

But such separation from my treasures Would be more than I could bear.

Meanwhile there are three bags full From the big sale I went to today

And I can't think where to put them -- Or what my dear husband will say!

 Foot Note

This foot was made for walking.
But not on my machine!
It turns out the weirdest quilting
That I have ever seen!
It sews along quilte nicely,
I stop holding my breath,
Then it does a little dance step
And scares me half tio death!
I see a section of stitches
Too small for ripping out,
Then a leap and then a skip --
What is this all about?
A seam on top? The batting?
Am I doing something wrong?
I didn't dream that machine quilting
Would ever take this long.
The answer's out there somewhere,
I'll seek till I understand,
But until I get it sorted out
I just must quilt by hand!
by Jacquie Scuitto aka The Muse

Our Family

Our family is like a patchwork quilt 

With kindness gently sewn

Each piece an origina

lWith beauty all its own

With threads of warmth and happiness

Its lightly stitched together

To last in love throughout the years

Our family is forever.

(Author: unknown)

Little bits of fabric 
Sewn into a quilt
 Form a warm and loving blanket 
From which memories are built. 
And when you seek peace and comfort
 In the quiet of the night
 It will keep you warm and snug
 Until the morning's light.


Quilt Teacher's Ten Commandments

by Cindy Thury Smith 1999

1. Thou shalt not ridicule a student’s choice of fabrics nor their colors; a student’s taste should be reflected in their work.
2. Thou shalt not require excessive expenditures for a class; thou dost not know a student’s financial situation.
3. Thou shalt provide students with clearly written and illustrated handouts. Thou shalt be able to explain a construction step with more than one method (written, verbal, visual).
4. Thou shalt provide value for their money; at least one other variation of the quilt in addition to the standard design.
5. Thou shalt be on time, start on time and provide time for questions.
6. Thou shalt circulate amongst the students, checking progress, even if thy feet dost hurt.
7. Thou shalt find something positive to say about each student’s work. Thou shalt not have a “My way or the highway” frame of mind; creativity comes in many forms.
8. When a student makes a good suggestion, thou will announce it to the class and give credit where due.
9. Thou shalt allow some time after class to help anyone who sews at a more leisurely pace.
10. Thou shalt show numerous samples; and if thou dost not have numerous samples done, make suggestions for other applications of the pattern.

Short Quilt Sayings

A family stitched together with love seldom unravels.

A Quilt is a blanket of love.

Blessed are the Quilters for they are the piecemakers.

Friendships are stitch at a time...

Good friends are like quilts, they never lose their warmth.

God put me on this earth to sew and finish a certain number of things.
I am so far behind now.....I will never die! 

Any day spent sewing, is a good day!

Will work for FABRIC!

Asking a quilter to mend, is like asking Picasso to paint your garage!

Sewing forever, housework whenever!
Sewing and crafts fill my day, not to mention the living room, bedroom, and closets.

Hubby calls me his "sew & sew".
I think sew!

Itching to be stitching.
My husband is a human pincushion!

Creative clutter is better than idle neatness.
Good friends are like quilts. They age with you, yet never lose their warmth.

Sew much fabric, sew little time!

Friendship is sewn with love and measured by kindness.

Constant use has not worn ragged, the fabric of their friendship.

LOST: Husband, dog, and sewing machine. Reward offered for sewing machine!

She who dies with the most fabric.....wins!

"Fabricologist Resource Center" does that sound more impressive than "fabric stash"?

Sew on to success!"

My husband lets me buy all the fabric I can hide!
One yard of fabric, like one cookie, is never enough!

My husband said if I were to buy any more fabric, he would leave me. I'm going to miss him!!!

A quilt is something you make to keep someone you love...WARM!

Anytime is stitchin' time.
Memories are stitched with love.

In the crazy quilt of life, I'm glad you're in my block of friends.

Quilters never cut corners.

I'm in therapy and SEWING is cheaper than a psychiatrist.

Quilts are like friends - a great source of comfort.

Behind every sewer is a huge pile of fabric.

You're SEW special!

Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing...the days pass quickly when I am sewing!

Love is the thread that binds us.

Quilts are like mom's cooking - they both give comfort.

Quilts connect the past with the present and the future.

Quilting is sharing yourself with others.

A quilt is a present you give yourself.

To quilt is human, to finish divine.

Quilt Fever.
Scrap Happy.
Just Sew It!
Material Girl.
Scraps Happen.
Quilt till you wilt!.

If life gives you scraps, make quilts.

So many designs, so little time!

So many fabrics, so little money!

A stitch in time is right before the quilt show deadline.

I only quilt on days that end in Y.

It's not just a stash: I am a hoarder/gatherer.

A creative mess is better than idle neatness.

A block a day keeps the shrink away.

Quilters aren't greedy, they're just materialistic.

A penny saved is a penny to spend on fabric.

God, in Her infinite wisdom, does not deduct any time spent quilting from your allotted span.

And More Quilt Sayings!

- May your days be "pieceful"

- Do not run with scissors

- As ye 'sew', so shall ye rip

- Days stitched with love rarely unravel

- When life gives you scraps, make a quilt

- A stitch in time saves nine

- Memories are sewn together by friends

- You keep me in stitches

- Don't snip it, if you can't stitch it.

- If you feel a little "down", stuff it in a quilt.

- "A warm quilt makes for a far happier life"

- "On a cold winter night when others are counting sheep to get to sleep you count quiltz"

- "A quilt a day keeps colds away!

- "Two in a quilt are warmer than one in a bed"

- Life is quiltisentially about being together

- May your days always MEASURE up.

- Make the SCRAPS in your life beautiful.

- SHEARS to you.

- Memories are stitched with love.

- Love is the thread that binds us.

- A family stitched together with love, seldom unravels.

- May your bobbin always be full!

- Two threads are better than one.

- As ye Sew, sew Shall Ye Rip
- A day hemmed in prayer seldom unravels.

- Blessed are the piecemakers, for they shall quilt forever!

- In the crazy quilt of life, I am glad you are in my block of friends.

- From my hands to your heart!

- The soul is fed with needle and thread.

- May your sorrows be patched and your joys quilted.

- Count your blessings, stitch them one by one.

MORE Quilt Sayings Added in As I Find Them!:


Old quilters never die, they just go batts.

Old Crafter's never die, they just get more bazaar!

Old quilters never die, they just go to pieces.

Quilt 'til you wilt!

Quilts are like friends - a great source of comfort.

Quilters don't do buttons

Quilters never cut corners.

Quilting forever...housework whenever!

When life gives you scraps - make a quilt.

Quilting is my passion (chocolate comes in a close second)

Quilting with a friend will keep you in stitches.

Our lives are like quilts - bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.

Blessed are the children of the piecemakers . . for they shall inherit the quilts !

I am a quilter and my house is in pieces

Those who sleep under a quilt, sleep under a blanket of love.

May your sorrows be patched and your joys quilted.


A Quilter's Blessing:
May your rotory cutter always be sharp, may your seams be straight and true. May your points be perfect, your blocks square and even, and may you always see well enough to thread your needles!  

Quilting Superstition and Folklore

Needleworking: "I knew an old lady who, if she had nearly completed a piece of needlework on a Thursday, would put it aside unfinished, and set a few stitches in her next undertaking, that she might not be obliged either to begin the new task on Friday or to remain idle for a day." (1883)

Quillting superstitions are closely tied to the creation of  quilts and the final quilting. As with many other activities that started centuries ago and have been passed down the generations.

Just as with all of our many quilt and quilting patterns and techniques, they were passed down from one to another...a mother to her daughter, a grandmother to her granddaughters, by friends in a quilting bee and so on.

Quilting was often the one social time in the lives of women and such an important part of their lives. And as they quilted, they shared..stories and tales, things that had gone wrong or turned out wonderfully well based on what they believed to be the causes...and superstitions and folk lore about quilting began!

Superstitions regarding making quilts are tied to religion and other deep seated ideas about faith and faithfulness. A quilt should never be started on a Friday, as this day was “the devil’s day”, so any project started on a Friday was likely never to be finished.The only time one might quilt was on 'Good Friday' but only if one was making the quilt for reasons of faith.

There should be no quilting done on Sunday, as this is the day of rest for Christians. Strange  penalties or punishments were then associated with this superstition. Any stitching done on this day needed to be ripped out with the sewer’s teeth only. (you see how things start? now how many times have you done this ;-)

And associated with this, another superstition that reminds us that if we use our teeth to cut thread, they will rot and fall off. (well, that explains any of our missing teeth ;-)

Another very well known superstitious custom associated to quilting is the idea that since only God can create perfection, quilts should include an intentional or purposeful mistake. The idea of the Amish block...where one deliberating tilts it the wrong way and so on.

Many superstitions have to do with brides and the making of  a “hope chest” full carefully sewn linens for her future household . Family members would help the young girls and women to prepare a “bakers’ dozen” quilts. The last of these was the bridal quilt, which was not supposed to be started until the bride was engaged to be married.

The bridal quilt carried many superstitions surrounding its creation. For example, hearts should not be used as design elements in any of the other quilts in the hope chest, but could be stitched in the bridal quilt, to be used on the first wedding night.This ensured that all of young couple's dreams would come true as they slept under it their very first night.

A girl who had no bridal quilt by the time she turned twenty-one, would never marry and therefore be a spinster or old maid. And to go along with this superstition if, a girl started a quilt for her hope chest and didn’t finish it, she would also never be married.

Furthermore, there should not be any breaks or disruptions in the patterns on a border. This would create bad luck for the marriage . And great care needed to be taken that when a bridal quilt included a border, should have no breaks in the design.So vines, flowers etc. must maintain their flow as one design all along and around the border..just as they desired in life and marriage.

The bridal quilt, started and pieced by the bride would then would quilted at a special bridal quilting bee with  family and friends. And any as yet unmarried female should never do the finishing stitches on this quilt, for superstition has it that she should never be married.

Tossing the Cat

Then began the idea of  "tossing the cat". Once the wedding quilt was complete, the folklore directed that all of the unmarried girls in the party would hold the quilt by the edges and a cat would be thrown on the quilt. The closest girl to the spot where the cat would jump down would be the next to be married. The quilting version of tossing the bridal bouquet!

Also, if the quilt were wrapped around an unmarried girl, she would be married within a year. Oh, all you quilters who wrap quilts around you now for your blog's profile photos..did it work?

And young men did not escape quilting superstitions either!

When a young man reached the age of 21, he needed a 'freedom quilt". No longer under the domination of his parent, he was now considered an adult and free from his parents.

The pattern for this quilt had to be very carefully chosen. Patterns like the “Wandering Foot” block pattern was deemed to be bad luck. If a young male was given a quilt made with this pattern, he would move away. Perhaps this was what caused the name of this block to be changed to “Turkey Tracks” and this way, the superstition could be avoided. Although men who behave badly are often considered to be turkeys ;-)

"The Underground Railroad"

Not really superstition, but rather part of quilting folklore and a subject that has been argued by quilt historians is that of quilts being used as signals in the Underground Railroad.

This myth was fueled by the publication of a book on the subject during the latter part of the twentieth century and has been debunked for the most part by quilt scholars and historians. It all began with an interview and a lot of misunderstandings. The article was published, the book was written and all this quilt folklore with its many ideas of certain colors or patterns used on quilts that were hung in clotheslines in “safe houses”as signals to runaway slaves was begun.

Experts have disapproved these stories with evidence of falsehood reporting. Sorry to say.

Do you have any personal superstitions?  And additional quilting poems?
Share them and I'll add them in. 
Until then, I'm going to lay down and rest...surely I can't get into trouble that way? Besides, I love to lay under all of my quilts and appreciate every stitch that went into them ;-)

Happy Quilting With Heart and Hands!
Michele Bilyeu


Carol- Beads and Birds said...

"A creative mess is better than idle neatness."
THIS gives me license. Thank You!!
Such a great collection about quilting. Too many to read right now. I'll be back!!
Thank you Michelle for continuing to blog and promote quilting and sharing oh so much.
xx, Carol

Michele Bilyeu said...

Thanks, Carol!