Quilted “MISSOURI”

My Own Quilts, Tutorials, Vintage Linen | September 23, 2016 | By

I have TUBS of linens and embroideries! One of my good friends, Shelley, mailed me this linen she found in an antique store recently. This did not get to the tub! I was compelled to stitch it the day I got it, but oogled over it for a few weeks before loading on the longarm. Originally, this was a 100ish year old pillow cover.

Having found a few of these, they date somewhere between 1900-1920. They were pre-printed/tinted pillow covers and were dyed in the areas where you would stitch. Some ladies chose to embroider the whole area, while others did smaller areas, leaving some of the printed colors showing. A few companies that produced these were Richardson’s, Royal Society and Vogart. I love when the selvage has the name of the maker as it can also give me clues to the date of the embroidery. This one did not have that information.

This treasure had quite a few stains when I received it, but I’m never bothered by smell or stains as I’ve experimented plenty with great results. My favorite cleaner is called Retro Clean.  It is a powder that is dissolved in warm water for best results. You can find it in antique shops and quilt stores, also on the internet. I soaked this piece for 24 hours and it sparkled when it dried! The heavy stains were gone and it brightened the linen considerably.


I always begin by basting around the edge of the entire piece. I work like that is my frame. Then I stitch around all of the embroidery, as you would stitch in the ditch around applique. I use my very favorite palm size ruler to use as resistance against the hopping foot to guide the machine.


Once I have all of the outlining done, the fun begins! I did a very small fill in the center and the outside felt like it needed some flowing feathers to move with the stalks of what I think may be milo. I’m pretty sure I created the movement I wanted.


I always begin with what the linen is “telling” me. They don’t all speak the same way, but I definitely get a feeling from each one. The density of the knots (called Colonial knots) made me start with the pebbles and spirals in the center. The trapunto effect was caused naturally by using two layers of batting, 80/20 Hobbs Heirloom on the bottom and 100% Hobbs wool on top. This double batting will cause some drag on the machine when starting, but the effects are dramatic!


I made sure to work the feathers into the same direction as the stalks of milo. Beginning with a spine to follow that line, I worked the feathers right up to the original embroidery.





What was I thinking when I made a 1/2″ grid! It was a bit tedious, but the end result is fantastic! This ruler is so great for small areas. For design purposes, I often balance straight lines and circular forms. You don’t want too much of anything!


I can’t decide which is my favorite, the checkerboard or the feathers!


AAAAAAND the almost finish! I can’t ever wait to share these things, so no binding yet. For traveling purposes, I’ll put a tiny binding on so it lays flat in my suitcase! Have a fabulous weekend folks!


  1. Leave a Reply

    Janice Holton
    September 23, 2016

    Thank you so much for sharing in detail how you quilted this piece and why! The reason you can’t choose whether you like the check or the feathers better is because neither one would be nearly as dynamic without the other one! This is just incredible! Do you have an Etsy shop or somewhere where you sell your art?

  2. Leave a Reply

    Donna Cousino
    September 23, 2016

    That is absolutely beautiful!!! Thank you so much for the step by step tutorial. I really learn a lot from that. I dream of developing that kind of skill! Thank you.

    • Leave a Reply

      [email protected]
      September 23, 2016

      Thanks Donna! I’m a visual learner, so I always know that photos help! Not much dreaming, just practice 😉

  3. Leave a Reply

    Joan P
    September 23, 2016

    What a wonderful artist you are!

  4. Leave a Reply

    September 23, 2016

    It is hard to believe the difference in the piece from the time you started until the “almost finish.” You have an amazing ability to transform a piece as you have done, It is beautiful!

    • Leave a Reply

      [email protected]
      September 23, 2016

      Thanks Diane! This one look kind of rough when I got it and not as “fancy” as some of the others I’ve done. The finish, however, even made me gasp 😉

  5. Leave a Reply

    Sandra D in Joliet
    September 23, 2016

    Gorgeous! I love the small checks and if you had made them larger I don’t think it would have looked as nice. I love feathers and also french knots although I’ve never made anything with that many. Bless her heart whoever did the embroidery. Just awesome.

  6. Leave a Reply

    Becky Collis
    September 23, 2016

    Still amazes me to see these pieces “transformed” into something even more beautiful than the original work! I love everything about it!!!

  7. Leave a Reply

    Kaye Hlavaty
    September 23, 2016

    Just wow! I wish the creator of the original piece could see it now. You truly have a gift.

    • Leave a Reply

      [email protected]
      September 23, 2016

      Thanks Kaye, I always think about the maker when I quilt things. Sometimes I tend to make up stories 😉

  8. Leave a Reply

    diane wingo
    September 23, 2016

    Kelly, I love this piece. Love the step by step you give I have learned so much from you. Thank you. I never thought about quilting linens until meeting you. They are always so beautiful. I have a couple of my grandmother’s linens that I can’t wait to quilt. Can’t believe the before and after, such a difference.

  9. Leave a Reply

    Lesley Morris
    September 23, 2016

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful pieces. Your design and execution is inspiring.

  10. Leave a Reply

    Duane Wiley
    September 23, 2016

    Kelly, you did an absolutely fabulous job on this little linen piece. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Leave a Reply

    September 23, 2016

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so intricate and beautiful. All I can say is WOW! Maybe my world is small but I’ve just never seen these vintage pieces or would have imagined them so beautifully transformed.

    • Leave a Reply

      [email protected]
      September 23, 2016

      Thanks Marlene! Not many people doing this. A few of us are on a mission to pull out those vintage pieces and not let them sit in drawers 🙂

  12. Leave a Reply

    September 23, 2016

    This is absolutely TOO beautiful. You are a genius and wonderful, perceptive artist. Thanks so much for taking the time to document your progress!

  13. Leave a Reply

    September 23, 2016

    When I saw the first picture I thought what does she want with that dirty and stained thing but you brought out the beauty in it you are a wonder worker sure wish I had a little of your talent.

    • Leave a Reply

      [email protected]
      September 23, 2016

      Ha, thanks Janice! Exactly what I thought when I opened the package. Most times I see the beauty hiding in the background!

  14. Leave a Reply

    Maria Gardner
    September 24, 2016

    OMG!!!! What a beautiful imagination you have. The first picture? I doubt I would have thought to buy this. But the final picture? Absolutely fantastic, beautiful. You just made my day.

  15. Leave a Reply

    Caroline Carnathan
    September 24, 2016

    What an Inspiration. I also am a visual learner, seeing the creation you made of this vintage piece made such an amazing impression. The possibilities are endless. Thank you for being an artist that will share your secrets with use.

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