A Stitch In Time

CO Sister id tag


As the saying goes, “A stitch in time, saves nine.”  So if you get the right stitch, in the right place, at the right time, it is supposed to make things easier.  That was certainly true as we stitched the crazy quilting on our Parlor Pillow (from the Mother’s Medallion Line).for printing

And shortly after the first of the year, I thought that was what I was doing – getting the right stitch at the right time.  But the Doctor was obviously NOT a quilter.  He did an excellent job with the double knee replacement, but let’s just say his stitches were a bit off.  Life certainly wasn’t immediately easier because of his work.  The only thing that helped was that Sister 1 came to the rescue.  She put aside her sewing needle, put on her nursing cap and flew to the rescue.  nurses


I wouldn’t be back on my feet now without her tender loving care.  Thanks, Sister!  Proof that I am making progress: I actually picked up a needle to sew this week!  I want you to know that though we have slowed down a bit, we have been working on some new (HINT) IDEAS that are soon to follow.  Everything will be (HINT)  JUST DUCKY very soon. So stay tuned….rubber-ducky


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INSPIRATION: Myrtle’s Pansy Apron

Evelyn Graham 1942 Middletown IllWe love aprons. There is probably some deep psychoanalysis behind that, but for now we’ll just say it’s because they remind us of some special women in our family history.


Two women have inspired the design of our new pansy apron: Grandmother Myrtle Elmore Graham (That’s her at the right in her bonnet and apron. There are more vintage apron pictures coming at the end of the post.) and Great Grandmother Myrtle Susanna Clea Perrine (That’s our mother with her in the picture below as she pats her sister, Nellie, on the shoulder.).

aunt nellie & GP & Leona



Both of the Myrtles loved flowers and both were known for something special from their kitchens. (Grandma Graham: French cookies and the Tom Brownfield candy. Grandma Perrine: applesauce) 





We’ve had the Pansy Apron pattern finished and for sale at shows and now it’s time to launch it on the web store! You can get your pattern HERE.

MM Pansy Apron sm

Design inspiration for the apron skirt came from vintage patterns we got from our Grandmother Graham and the center panel is a precious piece of her fabric.

MM Pansy Apron vintage fabric

paper pieced pansy

The bib gives you an opportunity to do some paper piecing.

apron pocket

We’ve added some chenille around the pockets (also inspired by a vintage pattern of Grandma’s.)

button loop

And the one-piece neck adjustable strap is held in place with a loop and a button.



Because we love aprons, we were delighted to find a great video showing amazing vintage aprons along with the poem “Grandmother’s Apron” by Tina Trivet.

We’d like to add this picture to the collection:

our Great-grandmother Eliza McCubbin Graham and her sons. Of course, she has on her apron.

GGrandma Elisa Graham and sons

Then, when we found this well-loved poem entitled “Mother’s Apron” (author unknown) which explains the importance of an apron, we were delighted and inspired. We hope you find inspiration, too!

Mother’s Apron

My mother wore an apron, a clean one every day.

A part of daily living, it served in many ways.

When she hung the wash to dry, her pockets held the pins.

The apron was a washcloth that cleaned our dirty chins.

When days were hot and humid, ’twas used to mop her brow.

When hands were wet from laundry, the apron was a towel.

Her pocket hid a needle to sew the rips we’d get.

In Mother and her apron our many needs were met.

Sometimes it was a basket for eggs or baby chicks,

A bag for garden bounty, and apples that she picked.

At suppertime, the apron protected Mother’s hands,

When taking bread from oven or lifting lids from pans.

It was a fan in evening to shoo away the flies,

But the apron’s greatest use: to wipe tears from childish eyes.

Unknown author

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Terminology–Tomato vs. Tomahto

CO Sister id tag

“No—Stop—Wait! Don’t put that on my refinished wood table/counter/desk.  Put something under it.”  So the something is highly debated around our house.  It might be the closest magazine, letter, napkin, bib, or whatever. (Yes, I’ve seen it be fresh laundry!) Something slides under the offensively dripping glass and is supposed to make everything alright.  Oh cont-rare!

Sister and I are actually selling a pattern to make such a something-that-goes-under-device but the point is – what do you call it?

cup thingCup thingy=hubby’s words

Coasters 010

Crocheted Coaster = Granny’s words

Saucer=Queen Mum’s term

final hexagon mug rug croppedMug Rug=DIY’er slang

So the reader poll begins…what do YOU call it?  What is the strangest one you’ve seen used?  Is it really necessary? (Guess who added the last question…he shall remain nameless to protect his identity.) But please protect my table!

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INSPIRATION: Sister’s Choice or Sisters’ Choice???

FL Sister id tagChoosing with my sister (and sharing with my sister) has always been the way life gets done.

At first we needed a little guidance to work it out. So Mother had a rule of thumb that helped us (like when the last piece of cake was under discussion): one of you can cut it in half and the other one gets to choose first.

But, most of the time we just took turns choosing.

That habit carried on from the time we were choosing doll clothes to play with through the wardrobe choices we made when one of us went off to college-

 and took half of the closet with her.

packing trunk

(This is closer to reality than I, rather the un-named Sister, would like to admit. Seriously!)

dish towels

Just this summer we kicked into that choosing/sharing mode when we found a stash of hand embroidered dish towels at an estate sale.

chicken towel“You take the blue one and I’ll take the chicken.”

bear towel“Okay, then, which one do you choose next? Great. I love the little bear.”

So, it’s not really a big surprise that one of our favorite blocks – found in more than one of our joint projects – has long been Sister’s Choice. It inspires us!

Sisters Choice block line drawing2

Matter of fact, we are working with Sister’s Choice right now for Project #11 in the Mother’s Medallion collection. It’s the base block for our Sister’s Idea Board.

We’ve had great fun choosing fabric for the samples

red dot smgold smturquoise smmulti sm

- and lots of laughter in choosing what elements to include in the design of the board.

Pompoms?!? Are you kidding me?  Well, how about you put the ric-rac on your board and I … well, I won’t.

Magnets? Pins? Clips? Bunting? Chalkboard fabric? What about pockets?

maybe some pockets1 sm

 ….  OOOOO this is sounding fun!

The board will be great as a Family Command Center or a Seasonal Photo Board or even a Celebrate Someone Special board in an office or classroom.

(I’m not sure my sister wanted me to let that project news out just yet. So, just between us girls, okay? And maybe I haven’t ruined the surprise by only showing you part of what we’re up to.)

We’re hoping that you’ll keep an eye on the web store so that you’ll be one of the first to make Sister’s Choice project – and perhaps you’ll choose to share it with a stitching sister.

As is often the case, I’ve forgotten – was it Sister’s Choice or Sisters’ Choice (my choice or our choice) – to use the vintage kitchen color scheme?

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Meeting adjourned: new year planned

The first of the year planning meeting has adjourned.

Sister 2 boarded the plane with her Rancher and is back to country life in Colorado.

airport exit

Don’t know that we could prove it scientifically, but it sure seems like the sun moves quicker on the days when we are together.

But, we made every minute count so we can declare that our official annual meeting was … um … full.

We started with morning coffee and good talks about a book we are reading.

(The really important things go beyond the stitching we do together.)

sisters hands sm

We drafted and sketched and designed.

ducks sm

We debated tone and value; we voted and vetoed styles and methods;

we plotted and planned via charts and schedules.

fabric sm

Then we …. (Sister, I think we should skip some of the details.) ***

And we laughed (again) at our different assumptions and approaches.

In summary: We are excited about the new lines and collections that we’ll be posting in the coming months.

So stay tuned for more opportunities to stay connected with stitching sisters.

Okay, here’s the part we left out of the official minutes ….

shopping sm

***In the interest of full disclosure, we confess that we did shop for fabric — and clothes.

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Inspired by … COLOR & Angie

We might as well admit it: there are some things that we don’t know very much about.  Hand dyed fabric is one of those things. So when Angie Madden shared her work in the vibrant colors she had produced, it was a moment to be inspired!

color swatches

The brilliant colors and the feel of the different fabrics she uses – almost beyond description. And then when she places the one-of-a-kind fabrics into quilts … OH. MY. GOODNESS.

Here’s what we’re talking about …

Autumn lighting sm

Autumn Lightening is the name of the quilt.

Almost hidden are these sweet little spiders with their webs.

(Did I just use the words “spider” and “sweet” in the same sentence?)

spider sm

The appliqued leaves on the edges are just the perfect finishing touch!

leaves appliqued sm

There is much to be learned from this stitching sister.

angie madde with autumn lightening sm

Her quilting is a fabulous example of the importance of thinking in terms of tonal value in our fabric placement. Even with her love of color, she was quick to refer to the old artist’s adage:

[Tonal] value does all the work and color gets all the credit.

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and for a weekend … NOT miles apart!

FL Sister id tagEveryone within a 100 mile radius  is aware that my sister is coming to town. They know because I tell them. It is obviously BIG NEWS to me. And I want to share the joy of it – even with random strangers.

We are used to working in spite of the geographical distance but we get our best work down when we are together. And we will be working. Really we will.

And it’s not too late for you to join us.

Grandmother's mug rug sm Here is a sneak peak at the English Paper Piecing Class that we will host at Martelli’s in Pensacola on Friday, January 17 from 6:30-8:30.

This English Paper Piecing class is one of several classes that spotlight the techniques used to complete the Mother’s Medallion quilt. There is also foundation paper piecing, stained glass, dimensional flowers, needle turn applique, crazy quilting and a couple of others still in process. (Look carefully and you’ll be able to see the individual projects created with the different techniques.)

quilt with projects sm

Then on Saturday, we’ll be doing the Apple Core class using the Saucy Chef collection. That class is at A&E Variety Store in Pensacola from 10am-2pm. You can register directly with the store or by contacting us via email.

Details on that class can be seen on the Sept. 11, 2013 blog post.

 So, come join us for one of these classes – cause my sister is coming to town!

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A time to celebrate!

Even though the blog part of Sisters at Heart, Miles Apart has been quiet for a bit, we’ve been working, really we have. And though there is a time to be quiet, there is a time to CELEBRATE!

We have been waiting for this to become a tangible reality so that we can announce to all of our blog friends — and it’s finally really, truly real!  Nancy’s Notions (You know, the same Nancy as “Sewing with Nancy”.) has chosen to include two of our Starry Night patterns in the latest catalog. You can see it HERE. That’s us under “Sew New” on the right hand side.

Starry Night post

They’ve done a great job of posting so that you can really see the finished project. When you get to this page, you can click on MORE VIEWS and you’ll be able to zoom in on the details of the patterns and also on the quilt and the tree skirt. These patterns hold a special place for us – they are two of the first patterns we worked on when Sisters became an official business almost 3 years ago.

We hope that all of the customer reviews our friends leave on that tab (subtle hint) will encourage the folks at Nancy’s Notions to choose other Sister patterns in the future. In the meantime, you’ll find us celebrating by dancing in the fountain! (You are absolutely right - we’re too old to dance in the fountain and retain our dignity. Easy choice.)

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Last Stitch Efforts & Last Stitch Friends

FL Sister id tag

This week when I was FINALLY stitching the last of the Mother’s Medallion Quilt, (I know, it’s been quilted a while and all I needed to do was the binding and the dimensional flowers. But I got distracted by … life.)

Anyway – I needed some reliable friends to celebrate my last stitch efforts. Because Sister2 is SO very far away from where I now live (as has been the case for much of our lives), I couldn’t dance in the fountain with her. So, I turned to a group of women who made my transition to this new address so much easier.

photo2 croppedsm

The Sew-and-Sews gather weekly in the community where my husband works to share progress made on their stitching projects of all kinds – crocheting, knitting, quilting, etc. Their years of stitching and their personal histories add rich meaning to their questions and comments.

photo 3 cropped

As a group - and as individuals - their warm welcome was a priceless part of making us feel at home so quickly. So let the official record show -  they were there, cheering me on, as the Last Stitch Effort was made.

Thank you, friends, for celebrating that last yoyo!

last yoyo

We anticipate that the book of patterns for the quilt will be in our web store in January. In the meantime, you can find patterns for smaller projects from the Mother’s Medallion collection HERE.

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Mama’s Hands

CO Sister id tag


Our mother could cook, sew, garden AND watch four mischievous children.  Yes, I know there are only 3 in the photo, one is off climbing a tree.  So you can see why we remember her hands as being everywhere at once.

3 siblings a

She always claimed she couldn’t be a hand model because of the arthritis and eczema in her hands.  But to me, they were hands to BE modeled.  She held babies with tender care.  She disciplined with loving concern.  Lest you think she was perfect, when the biscuits were “high brown” she could scrub the pan without a care.

Not only were they busy hands, they were fast, too.  So several years ago, when I needed to show some progress on my hand quilted Double Wedding Ring, I called mom for our own quilting bee and the stitches went in fast.  (PS: This quilt came from Grandma Myrtle Evelyn of the Myrtle’s Pansy Apron which will appear in our store soon.) 

Mom quilting

 Because Mama’s hands WERE all around, it seemed very natural to include that title on a project in our Mother’s Medallion collection. She loved the warm colors of the antique quilts so we chose the civil war reproduction fabrics to add her touch to this Mama’s Hands All Around coverlet and then photographed it on her mother’s treadle machine.  Mama's Hands All Around  As I was rubbing some soothing lotion onto my achy hands after stitching for a few hours on this weekend project, I took a good look at my hands and
…there were our Mama’s hands!

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