An Early Valentine Gift for You

Free Hearts and Flowers Redwork Pattern with Daffodils

A hearts and flowers redwork pattern designed by Betty Alderman. This darling redwork heart is just in time for Valentine’s Day and will stitch up fast.

I have provided a free Valentine’ Day redwork heart pattern for you to stitch. I hope you enjoy it. I think it is easy enough to have completed in time for Valentine’s Day. The heart encloses springtime daffodils, and I’m pretty sure most of us are looking forward to spring when we see the real deal. I love daffodils and their sunny dispositions.

This heart design was one my mom (Betty Alderman) created for redwork. She was fairly well known for her redwork. Mom wrote an article, titled, “A Look at Redwork Past and Present.” I am unsure of the date or where it was published without going through gobs of stuff, but I thought perhaps you would like to read some of what was in the article. Here it goes:

“…Redwork, sometimes called Turkey work because of the red thread used, has been known to exist since the late 1800s and remained popular well into the 1930s. (Fortunately for quilt historians, it was often common for the makers of these quilts to embroider the date into one of the quilt blocks.)”

Early redwork quilts were, “made as fundraisers for local churches or charities such as the Red Cross. For a few pennies one could place one’s name on the quilt and when the quilt was completed it was raffled off to the highest bidder. Some of these fundraiser quilts contain names only, which are arranged in an artistic manner such as the spokes of a wheel, while others include more ambitious and, often, lovely artwork such as renditions of local churches or other architecture, inspirational quotes from the Bible, or simply familiar designs like flowers and tools used in everyday living.”

“In addition to the fundraising redwork quilts being made at the turn of the century, women were making redwork quilts for their homes as well. In many instances they used the same commercially available transfer patterns that were designed to be used on the concurrently popular crazy quilts. Kate Greenaway designs, historical figures, botanical prints and anything to do with the Orient were popular motifs…”

“Redwork quilts made during the 20s and 30s often have a more childlike appeal than earlier redwork quilts. Sunbonnet Sue replaces Kate Greenaway figures. Nursery rhymes and fairy tales were popular design sources. Barnyard figures and pets as well as state flowers and birds are all found on redwork quilts from this period…”

“One need not restrict one’s palette to the color red, though. Many quilts of this genre are also embroidered in blue, especially the quilts done during the 20s and 30s, as pastels became the favored color scheme for decorating.

“Other household items such as pillow shams, tray covers, and tablecloths were frequently embellished with redwork embroidery…”

Enjoy your pattern and Happy Valentine’s Day from Sew, O’Susannah! – Betsy


Secret Stitching Society is Here!

The secret is out! Sue is offering her first online class and it should be a fun one.

The Secret Stitching Society consists of over 180 motifs, absolutely tons of projects and patterns and a monthly YouTube video hosted by Sue that explains everything you’ll be doing in detail. Take a look at the video here and also the pictures below. I was in the shop soon after the models arrived and were just coming out of the box. They sold me, that’s for sure. I’m hoping to participate to increase my embroidery AND sewing skills. Besides, The patterns are wonderful. I especially like the mantle cover. It has embroidered pinecones. Love them!

The models are created in wool but you can also use cotton if that’s your preference. Check it out and call the shop or email Sue if you’re interested in signing up. It will probably start mid-February – Betsy.

Sue Knapp of O'Susannah's Quilts

They’re here! Sue Knapp of O’Susannah’s inspects newly arrived models for her first online class to be offered from the Secret Stitching Society.

Secret Stitching Society Models

Newly arrived models for the Secret Stitching Society online class being offered by O’Susannah’s Quilt Shop.

Mantle Scarf Model from Secret Stitching Society

Loving this model of the fireplace model from the Secret Stitching Society.


Family and Friends

Family and friends are the best!  And I couldn’t run my quilt shop without them.  Every couple years we try to sneak away for a retreat at The Upstairs Inn ( heard of it?) and enjoy a couple of days sewing, eating and laughing.  This weekend was it and a couple of days with these wonderful women (and girls) is so relaxing and just plain fun.  Our group ranged in age from 8 months to 75 years young! Babies were played with, stories told, advice given whether it was for paint colors for my remodeling projects or fabric selections for a new quilt and plenty of sewing.  I finished two projects and got a great start on a third.

Here’s a few photos of our weekend.  If you ever have a chance to get away with friends do it – don’t hesitate-leave the kids-leave the husbands, the laundry, the cleaning, the grocery shopping, the checkbook balancing, the cooking and every other daily household chore you do and get away – nothing, absolutely nothing beats it!


Our two youngest retreaters, Della and Alayna.


Alayna just loving fabric



Fancy retreat attire !


And fabric shopping attire and yes, there will remain nameless and headless !


Do you strip (quilt)?

Go ahead—respond any way you will. To each her own, I say.

I wanted to share with you some miscellaneous blocks I made up a few days ago. I had a box of random strips of fabric leftover from some projects. The box was getting too full so I decided I would try to make something of it. My blocks are the result.

I was quite happy with the results and I had this lovely feeling that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers must have felt when they saw the remnants of their past sewing projects reincarnated in their patchwork quilts. When I saw my finished blocks, I said to myself, “yes, that was from Bailey’s pillowcase, and that was from the border on a wedding gift, and that was from a quilt I made and that was fabric from my friend, Michelle.” They all had meaning to me.

Last night I saw a quilt made up entirely of strip-pieced blocks sewn together – no sashing at all and I loved the look. If I keep saving my scrap strips, eventually I would like to make more blocks and put together a quilt like that. Have any of you done strip piecing? Have you made a quilt using it?

How about string piecing? Have you used this technique to make a block or a quilt? — Betsy

strip scraps for making quilt blocks

This is my little box of scrap strips after I made my blocks. I actually now have room for more.

IStrip Pieced Blocks

Betsy’s strip pieced blocks using an odd assortment of strips from various quilting projects.

My Weekend(s) Projects

My lovely little OLD house is still under major remodeling one year (and more) after I bought it.  Last weekend I spent Sunday removing wallpaper from my living room


This weekend its the dining room.

ImageImageMy hands and shoulders are aching but I guess I’m getting closer to painting but I have no idea what colors to paint the rooms.  I take that back – the dining room is going to be a paprika color and the kitchen will eventually be a neutral color with blue accents but what about the living room? My couch is linen colored, the guest room (off the dining room is sandstone or beige).  Here’s the fabric I’m using to make my curtains for the living room – I love it – its designed by Nel Whatmore for Free Spirit.  I love it and have had it for ages just waiting for my living room to be ready for curtains.

Image and you can see the paint chips but I’m just not loving them.  Ideas, thoughts? Come on guys – help me out here!



You are my sunshine, my only sunshine!

You make me haaaaapppy, when skies are gray….. Yes, dear blog followers, you make me happy. And now I hope this little post will make you or someone else happy, too.

As promised a few days ago, here are the directions for making this adorable piece of wall art that Sue made for her little granddaughter. It’s as easy as pie.

TRIVIA: “You are my Sunshine” was originally written in 1940 by Louisiana Governor Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell. Louisiana has two official state songs and, by golly, this is one of them! (Source:

You are my sunshine wall art

You are my Sunshine easy wall art to decorate your children’s or grandchildren’s bedroom walls

Here are the instructions in 10 easy steps – straight from Sue…

16” x 20” artist canvas
White fabric large enough to cover the canvas
Yellow fabric for the sun
Frixion pen
Cosmos embroidery floss in colors of your choice
4 buttons
Batting – a piece large enough to fold over the canvas


  1. Stretch the white fabric over the canvas and temporarily hold it there with masking tape.
  2. With your Frixion pen, draw your designs. Suggestions include flowers, trees, sailboats, dogs, cats, bunnies, birds, houses or whatever makes you happy. (Both Sue and I can strongly recommend taking a beginning art class. You will learn so much and gain a lot of confidence. My local library offers a Saturday Studio once a month which my husband and I attend regularly. They are wonderful and very inexpensive. Check you your library and see if they offer something similar.)
  3. Once you’re happy with your design, start stitching.
  4. The stitches Sue used were the running stitch, back stitch and French knots. There are many resources online for how to work stitches but if this is something you would like to see here on the blog, leave a comment and we’ll see what we can do to oblige.
  5. Appliqué your sun to the white background fabric.
  6. When you are happy with your stitching, add the buttons.
  7. Remove your piece from the canvas.
  8. Cover the canvas with your batting and then your stitched piece on top of that.
  9. When in place, staple it all to the back of the canvas to secure.
  10. Hang it up!

It’s just me !

A New Year – a new adventure – blogging!  I never thought I’d be doing this because I can’t write a single sentence without an exclamation point but with Betsy’s professional help I should be able to get past that!  Maybe!  Our little blog hopes to offer you a little entertainment, knowledge of quilting and a chance for you to get to know O’Susannah’s Quilts & Gifts a little better.  We’ve been busy rearranging the shop and putting up new samples.  Last week we hung this new quilt using the Downton Abbey fabric collection.  Isn’t it pretty?  Did you all watch the show last night?  Can you believe poor Anna?  I’m not liking her story line for this new season but I am curious if Mary is going to find a new man and if she and her father come to blows. 

And I have to tell you the most exciting thing that has happened to me this new year.  Meg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill Studios is one of my favorite designers.  Four times a year she holds retreats at her studio in Washington State.  They fill very fast! (there I go again!) Reservations for the 2015 retreats opened on January 2, 2014.  My sister, Margaret spent 5 hours calling trying to get through and finally did.  They had only 6 spots left and thankfully it was the July retreat which was the one we wanted to attend.  I’m still pinching myself to think I am going to spend 3 whole days with one of my favorite designers.  But I have to wait over one year to do it! (there I go again).