August 4 ~ Hand Sewing Photo of the Day

on August 4 | in Sewing Inspiration | by | with 76 Comments

Kansas Dugout Quilt
By Martha Dellasega Gray, Q is for Quilter
Hand pieced & hand quilted in 2003, 70″ x 80″

Martha writes, “I fell in love with this quilt when I first saw it in McCall’s Vintage Quilts (Fall, 2002). It was made with feedsacks and I loved them. Also, since I grew up in Oklahoma and Kansas, the name appealed to me…”

“…My older sister gave me a few feedsack scraps, but I wanted more… Lots more. Fortunately, there are quite a few collectors who sell assortments of 6″ squares so I started purchasing these at quilt shows, web sites and eBay. The quilt required over 1,000 of the elongated hexagon pieces. I didn’t manage to collect quite that many, and since I am the impatient type, I substituted some other vintage fabrics that I thought suited the quilt. Because of all the set-in pieces, this quilt was hand pieced and then hand quilted inside each piece. I don’t usually copy quilts exactly the way I did here (although my blocks are quite a bit smaller), but I just had to use a purple. It may be my most garish quilt — I didn’t pay too much attention to matching colors or anything — but I like the look.”

Martha has more views of the quilt in her blog post about the piece on Q is for Quilter. She also has a truly outstanding collection of quilts in her Flickr stream. Martha writes, “I enjoy making quilts with vintage fabric (mostly from the 30’s and 40’s). Most of my quilts are hand pieced and hand quilted.” Hand pieced and hand quilted! We’ll revisit hand piecing later in Hand Sewing month with some hexagons, so visit Martha’s sites for inspiration.

Comment in any post this week for a chance to win a SMS Deluxe Hand Sewing Kit or one of 4 $20 gift certificates to Sew,Mama,Sew!

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76 Responses to August 4 ~ Hand Sewing Photo of the Day

  1. Chrisi says:

    Beautiful. I love that it’s hand stitched too. I love hand stitching both admiring it and the relaxation of doing it.

  2. Raheli says:

    those fabrics are so beautiful! I am beginning a wedding quilt for a close friend, and was hoping to have a similar theme, though I was going to use old bed sheets. What I find at the thrift store will dictate what direction the quilt goes.

  3. Courtney says:

    handpieced! I wish I had the talent or the patience!! I think it’s so gorgeous!!

  4. jennsquared says:

    This is really neat!

  5. I have an aunt who passed away last week who has been hand sewing 3″ squares into queen size quilts and hand quilting them. It always amazed me that she could do that. Fortunately, I sat down with her about a week before she died and she showed me how to applique and to quilt. I just wish I had started visiting her years ago.

  6. ellen says:

    I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the quilt. It is simply gorgeous!

  7. Jennifer says:

    Oh my gosh! I can’t imagine how much time that took… So lovely!

  8. Sara says:

    wow, this one’s definitely going in my “save for later” folder! 🙂

  9. Alana says:

    My goodness, what an undertaking! But it has certainly paid off, that quilt is simply adorable!!! I wish I had the patience to do that.

  10. Bean says:

    beautiful work!

  11. mary says:

    It is beautiful. Love the vintage look.

  12. Queen of Procrastination says:

    I Love the Purple! Wonderful and cozy. Such a beautiful quilt!

  13. sarah says:

    Wow! I’m wondering how long it took to make this quilt?

  14. Rochelle says:

    What an inspiring piece! I love all the color.

  15. wendy says:

    I love this style of quilting. It makes me feel like a kid getting under the covers when you are so tired from playing that day, and you ate 2 red popsicles because it was hot.

  16. Martha says:

    Thank you Beth and SMS for including my quilt in your “Month of Hand Sewing” and thanks to all the readers who visited and made such wonderful comments. I’ve never had so much attention, and it’s sort of overwhelming.

    The Kansas Dugout quilt probably took about a year to complete, although I was working on some other projects during the same period. I always skip around a bit (I am easily distracted) and sometimes I even put a quilt away and come back to it years later if there’s no particular deadline.

    When I was young, I did not have the patience to hand sew a quilt that would take this long to finish, but now I find it very relaxing and calming. I do handwork in the evenings when we are watching tv, and I always carry a little bit of work with me (embroidery or hand piecing) so I can pick it up if I have a few extra minutes. Probably because my paying job is technology related, the simplicity of making something with just a needle, thread and a little bit of fabric is very appealing.

    Thanks again everyone — this has been such an honor — and now I am very excited to visit all of your blogs.


  17. Nima says:

    wow…amazing piece of work

  18. Kristy says:

    That quilt is amazing! All done by hand, wow.

  19. Sara says:

    HOw long does it take to hand piece and hand quilt a quilt like this?

  20. Stacy says:

    Oh, wow! The patience that must have taken to make… Beautiful!

  21. Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful! I love the cheerful colors and all of the work and love that clearly went into this 🙂

  22. Liz Fenwick says:

    That is gorgeous.
    My mother does a lot of hand piecing and quilting, I have 4 of her quilts, and I treasure them.

    One day I want to do a project like this, just for the endurance test!

    it’s absolutely beautiful.

  23. Erica K says:

    I think it’s gorgeous! I love those feedsacks…the colors! wonderful!

  24. Elaine says:

    Wow, what an awe inspiring quilt. I personally love hand quilted and pieced quilts and enjoy doing them. I have found myself with 4 king size quilts, 5 baby quilts and 3 table runners to make for Christmas and bought myself a new machine today…awesome machine. I truly would rather hand piece/quilt each one but no time, darn it.

  25. Leslie Lansdowne says:

    What wonderful fabrics! I am working on starting to hand piece a quilt, I made a crib quilt for my girlfriends baby shower gift years ago, hand pieced and hand sewn. I actually prefer to hand piece over machine piecing, I just haven’t had time to do so—until now! I have a Grandmothers Flower Garden that my husbands’ Great Aunt had started back in the 30’s. I plan on finishing and hand piecing and then I will hand quilt it—it’s gonna be quite a project but I’ve been holding onto it for 15 years now so I’m ready to get started!

  26. Mindy says:

    I love almost anything made with feedsacks! This is very pretty, the colors are wonderful!

  27. Beatrix says:

    Oh my gosh, matching fabrics or not, this is a beautiful quilt. I would never have that much patience to finish a quilt by hand.

  28. Missy says:

    what a cheery quilt…can’t help but smile while looking at it.

  29. megan says:

    wow. impressive. i do handquilting, but handpiecing is a whole other world. beautiful quilt.

  30. Debbie says:

    It is so lovely and reminds me of my Grandmother’s work.

  31. Leslie Newton says:

    This is beautiful. It reminds me of my childhood.

  32. Gina says:

    I love how all the fabric scraps meld together to create a unified look – just beautiful.

  33. Nancy Mc says:

    I love vintage quilts. While I admire the work and thought that goes into the modern art quilts, it is the vintage quilts like my Grandma used to make that really speak to me. This one is beautiful.

  34. Kelli says:

    All I can say is Wow!! I am so impressed! Really, all I can says is WOW!

  35. Aimee says:

    LOVE the feedsacks…just beautiful!

  36. Krystina says:

    what a beautiful quilt! and i’m so amazed that it was all done by hand! you guys werent joking around when you said it was hand-sewing month!

  37. ayumills says:

    I am in love with this hand-sewn quilt!!!!!!!
    I love how all the different kinds of vintage fabrics are working together to create this happy-look.
    Makes me want to collect moere feedsacks!!

  38. qsogirl says:

    Oh wow. wow wow wow. I am so in awe of the work that went into this quilt! We have a quilt that my husband’s grandmother hand pieced and hand quilted, and I just can’t believe the time that must have been devoted to these beautiful pieces.

  39. GTM says:

    that’s beautiful! very impressive…

  40. Frogdancer says:

    Thanks for including the link to the photostream. there are some wonderful quilts there (particularly the hexagram one.)

  41. Sara Hemmeke says:

    That is gorgeous! I can’t imagine doing something so massive by hand!

  42. anja says:


  43. Ammie says:

    Lovely! I can sympathize with the draw towards things reminiscent of home and farm life. My parents are farmers. However, I’ve not seen pretty floral feedsacks before. 🙂

    I love the hand quilting. I know it’s much more time consuming, but the intimacy, the precision, and the portability all inspire the hopes of this novice quilter!

  44. Libby says:

    Amazing work.

  45. Margie says:

    Wow thats alot of hand sewing but oh so worth it! That quilt is gorgeous!!

  46. Gwen says:

    garish is the last word that I would use to describe it! I think that it is lovely.

  47. Kadybug says:

    I love the vibrancy of this quilt. I think the purple is perfect!

  48. Ellen Ban says:

    I love hand piecing and hand quilting…unfortunately it takes so much more time! I love feedsacks too…talk about “recycling”…

  49. Sarah says:

    I just love her sit. I’m working on her alphabet quilt right now. I’m really beginning to appreciate how much love and work she puts into her hand sewing.

  50. Stacy says:

    This quilt is so pretty. I wish I had the patience to accomplish something like this! Great job!

  51. MaryAnn says:

    That’s an unbelievable accomplishment. Contrats on finishing it!

  52. Deb V says:

    I love your quilt. I especially like the purple fabric.

  53. Ananda says:

    Wow, I can’t even imagine the time spent on the quilt. It’s lovely!

  54. donnag says:

    Hand sewing is soothing because it doesn’t “get away from you” the way machine work does sometimes …. though I do love my machine.

  55. __L__ says:

    Such a beautiful work !!

  56. Amy says:

    Simply stunning!

  57. Emily says:

    Wow- those are some amazing quilts. I might need to do some hand piecing this winter….

  58. molly says:

    wow. its beautiful.

  59. Natalie says:

    I am in total awe. What a colorful and lovingly made masterpiece. Thank you for sharing this.

  60. alisha says:

    What a beautiful quilt!

  61. Hannah says:

    Wow, hand pieced and hand quilted. I’m impressed.

  62. Helena says:

    Love it, your quilt is beautiful.

  63. amy says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! And to think it’s all hand done! Impressive.

  64. Ellie says:

    Amazing! I’m super intimidated to even start my first quilt much less one like this! I guess it’s something to work towards 🙂

  65. Paula in NH says:

    What a gorgeous quilt!

  66. Hand-pieced AND hand-quilted! What a feat especially these days when everyone is in such a hurry. I’m hand-quilting a top that was hand-pieced by my grandmother. Not sure I’ll ever finish! What a treasure though when it’s all done.

  67. Jen says:

    Amazing! Hand pieced and hand quilted – just wow!

  68. Crystal says:

    wow. beautiful. absolutely inspiring.

  69. Whistlepea says:

    That’s dedication!

  70. Andi says:

    Wow!! I am about speechless. Martha’s quilts are amazing – and hand-pieced, I just can’t imagine. They are beautiful.

  71. Coralee says:

    Wow, what a lot of work… but it looks like a great payoff!

  72. Jen V says:

    Wow! I have fantasies about hand piecing & quilting something but I don’t think I would ever set out to do something so detailed. What a treasure!

  73. Linnea says:

    What an incredible amount of patience Martha! I think the purple matches the vintage theme so well. I have one of my great grandmother’s quilts and it too has a lot of pink and purple.

  74. Shannah says:

    Just lovely! Inspirational.

    And I don’t think it’s garish–isn’t purple a neutral? 😉

  75. Bethany says:

    Wow! What impressive perserverance to ahnd piece all of that! Kudos to you, Martha!

  76. Amy says:

    What a fabulous accomplishment! The purple background is perfect.

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