“Stirring the Coffee”, Quilt for Mary Kerr

Customer Quilts | July 1, 2016 | By

Many times a quilter needs to keep a quilt “under wraps”. I’m good at it, but it’s probably the worst part of my job! I have learned to quilt a top, then absolutely forget about it. This quilt is a prime example! Quilted for Mary Kerr’s latest book, “Twisted: Modern Quilts with a Vintage Twist”, it’s at the top of my favorites list!


In this book, Mary takes abandoned blocks and vintage fragments, then incorporates them into modern settings to create one-of-a-kind quilts. She then sent them off to longarmers across the nation, with no rules, to finish them as they desired. This book is a wonderful collaboration of many talented quilters. I am thrilled to be a part of this group!




Mary asked everyone to send pictures as we worked, so there are progress pictures from each quilter. We also shared our reasons why we quilted it a certain way or what inspired us. My ideas originated from a dream I had about the quilt! It has to do with “stirring my coffee”, hence, the appropriate title!


This top was very simply created. Mary used vintage Dresden Plates and treated them as applique on white fabric. I was thrilled I had taken a photo of the original top right from the box! I must have stared at it for a month, all that white space!!! I had so many ideas of complicated background designs. Then, I realized the simplicity of this quilt was just that, KISS……..keep it simple, sister! Thankfully, I had a dream. I was stirring my coffee, and the cream would NEVER stir in. It was making me crazy; but in the morning, I knew this had to do with swirls on those Dresden Plates. I got started right after that dream!


I used various swirls from my ProStitcher computer on my Handi Quilter Fusion long arm. The lines were created using the channel locks on the machine. My greatest feat was creating the half circle swirl in the largest area of the quilt.


You can see the texture on this quilt is outrageous! Trust me, I wanted to keep touching it; and I did, right until I packed it up. The back is just scrumptious texture!


One last closeup on the swirl. I used Glide, white thread, and two layers of batting, Hobbs 80/20 on the bottom and Hobbs 100% wool on the top. If I know a quilt will be in a show or photographed for a book or magazine, I will use double batting. You can see from my pictures that it’s automatic trapunto, without the work!


NOW, if you enjoyed this story, there are 21 other stories in this fabulous book that are must reads! You can order it directly from Mary on her website. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!


  1. Leave a Reply

    Freda Butler
    July 1, 2016

    I am thinking of all the old quilt tops that could have been saved with machine quilting. I never really liked machine quilting until I met you Kelly. You are a master at it. The circles and straight lines together are wonderful. Great job Kelly.

  2. Leave a Reply

    Alycia C
    July 1, 2016

    It is just gorgeous- I love how the circles interlock not overlap – was that hard to do?

  3. Leave a Reply

    July 1, 2016

    Absolutely amazing quilting. The circles and straight lines work so well together on this quilt to make such a stunning finish.

  4. Leave a Reply

    Leeanne Hopper
    July 1, 2016

    LOVE LOVE!!!! Dresdens are my MOST fav block and I LOVE spirals’…………..so what more could my eyes ask for!

  5. Leave a Reply

    July 2, 2016

    I can see why this is a favorite. So perfectly quilted. Genius! I like your interpretation of KISS. Never liked the stupid part. If its a guy, sir would work too.

  6. Leave a Reply

    Mrs. Plum
    July 2, 2016

    Wow! The quilting totally transforms this quilt. I’m so impressed.

  7. Leave a Reply

    July 2, 2016

    Way cool!!! Just shows inspiration comes from everywhere — including the simple, ordinary, everyday 🙂

  8. Leave a Reply

    July 3, 2016

    So awesome! I love the idea of this book, will definitely be checking it out!!

  9. Leave a Reply

    July 30, 2016

    What a fascinating premise for a book. I love the idea of giving vintage components new life in a modern format. I often wonder what served as a quilter’s inspiration. Your spirals are mesmerizing.

  10. Leave a Reply

    MaryJean Bower
    April 6, 2017

    I first saw this Quilt on Mancuso site featuring Quilt show winners. It is absolutely stunning. The simplicity of the quilting complements the Dresden plates and the overall effect is breath-taking. Glad you had that dream. I’m just wondering why your name is not listed with the winner’s name on the Mancuso site.

  11. Leave a Reply

    Brony Wiggins
    March 2, 2018

    LOVE this quilt and thought I would try it. Would two layers of Legacy natural cotton with scrim give the same effect? Don’t think we can get the Hobbs you talk about in NZ

    • Leave a Reply

      March 3, 2018

      Absolutely, 2 layers of most anything will do the same thing!

  1. Can I brag? I love seeing my friends do well. - Lori East Quilts - […] Mary set nine small Dresden Plate blocks assymetrically on a white ground with lots of negative space and movement.…

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