Friday, December 27, 2013

Belated Holiday Message

Christmas was difficult for me this year.  I just couldn't get in the mood. So right up to dinner on Christmas eve, I was still wrapping gifts, delivering them, shopping for last minute items etc. My style has always been prepare early, but this year I was a "goddess of the last minute," to borrow a phrase from Robbi Eklow.

Christmas is over, and I never finished getting ready. I need a nap.  But before I go upstairs for my nap,
I thought I'd share with you some of the Christmas tree quilts I've made in the past.

Ginkgo Christmas Tree 20 x 26 inches a pattern by Ann Fahl
Loving the ginkgo leaf I developed this little wall hanging. It's great for using up scraps.  I used a number of different green fabrics for the leaves, fused them onto the background and embroidered them with my favorite green variegated thread. Using the same thread on all the different fabrics helps to unify the quilt. A bright red 4 inch border gives it a holiday feeling.

Ginkgo Christmas Tree with Snowballs
Here is the same tree in a much smaller size. This time I've added little white snowballs over the embroidered surface. Because of its size it makes a great gift. This one is 9 x 12 inches.  You can lay this one on top of a piece of foam core and set it on a small easel to decorate for the holidays. You could also put the smaller size tree on a table runner or topper.

Christmas Jewels, 1988, made by Ann Fahl and Linda Honsberger 67 x 81 inches, hand quilted
To make a long story short, long ago, my friend Linda and I decided we'd make a sampler quilt together.  We purchased the fabrics at the same time. We each made 6 different blocks, making an extra of each to exchange. There were few rules, the blocks had to be 12 inches and use the fabrics we purchased, but we could set them together any way we wanted.  It was fun to see how they turned out. Linda's was very different than mine. She set hers with a lighter print, setting the blocks on square with 3 across and 4 down. (sorry no photos of hers.) Both the quilts were entirely hand quilted!
A closeup of the center medallion.
Behind the Christmas Tree, by Ann Fahl  24 x 30 inches
Some years ago, I was asked to demonstrate my machine embroidery techniques, so I took the ginkgo tree pattern and set it in a home environment.  I added a little Oreo, her favorite toy and a coneflower to fill the space. This demo piece turned out really well, so I quilted it, bound it and added it to my traveling cat show. You can read more about it by going to the link under the photo.
Here's the red and green tulip quilt again.
Here's the old quilt again, it is my current holiday quilt.  This time I am only 20 stitches short of finishing block 15 of the 20 on the quilt.  The left corner is in the worst condition of any on the quilt.  For the most part, the red fabric was in good shape, but this one edge is falling apart. Perhaps it was exposed to the most wear or sunlight.  As I get to a red border strip, I baste a thin strip of batting on top of the existing piece, and hand applique another red strip on top.  Eventually I will hand quilt over the new appliques.

There are still a few days left of this holiday season.  Have a wonderful one.

I'll see you next year!

Ann Fahl

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Last Update on Jeremiah Lochry

My project to replace the grave marker for Jeremiah Lochry has reached its conclusion. All the pieces have come together; the spelling of his name was determined by research, and what information to include on the memorial has been made.

Jeremiah now has a proper marker. He came to the New World about 1740, with some of his grown sons and perhaps with his wife whose name is not known. He started a new generation of Americans on land he purchased in 1741 which was located originally in the colony of Maryland, that later became Pennsylvania. His children were Jeremiah, William, Archibald, Margaret, John, James, Rebecca and Mary.  William is my ancestor.  Father Jeremiah took part in the early wars of the colonies, and some of his sons to part in the Revolutionary War. He owned quite a bit of land, and raised children that became responsible active citizens.

Jeremiah's birth in Ireland is not documented. He died December 4, 1749 and was the second person to be buried in Lower Marsh Creek Cemetery in Adams County, PA. Today it is a beautiful quiet old cemetery; the nearby Presbyterian Church has been a good caretaker of this historic site. Jeremiah's grave was in considerable disrepair several years ago when I first called for information about him; they asked if I would be willing to replace his stone.  After considerable thought and research, I did.

New gravestone installed Nov 2013.
Rest in peace, Jeremiah.

Ann Fahl

Friday, December 6, 2013

Taking Care of Old Quilts: A New Resource

Have you ever met Ann Wasserman, or heard her speak about quilt history or restoration?  She has more experience in working with old quilts than anyone I know! She has been restoring them for 30 years.  What a coincidence that she should publish her book, at the same time I am restoring my red and green tulip quilt!
This is the cover of Ann's book.
Ask your local quilt shop to order it for you, or better yet, have Ann sign one for you by ordering it at

This book is packed with ideas and photos of how to preserve a quilt. You will learn from an expert.  There are 106 pages, a color cover, and some color pages within. She mentions that when restoring a quilt, do as little as possible! Ann has done an extremely thorough job in giving the reader many options on how to handle repairs. The illustrations and photos are carefully detailed so her techniques are easy to understand. 

 Here are some of the topics she includes in the book:

  • Supplies, basics and fabrics
  • Types of stitches, many illustrations on how to make them
  • Varieties of holes, tears, and slits (who knew there were so many different sizes and shapes?)
  • How and why to repair, patch, applique, reverse applique (how to tackle the tricky ones)
  • Hand, machine work
  • Cleaning, washing, spot cleaning, why not, drying flat
  • Display
  • Storing
  • Musty odors
  • Record keeping
  • Supplier list
  • Bibliography 

The above list is brief, the book includes too many subjects to mention here.  You will see that she has found all of these issues in her historic restorations and knows just how to handle them.  If you want to work with old quilts and textiles, this book is a must read for you. Put this on your Christmas list.

Ann Fahl