Only 50 Days Until Spring!

The seasons on Cape Cod have certainly changed since I was a child and the weather is a bit confusing right now. If you’ve been here this winter, you might think spring has already arrived. Temperatures have been hovering around the high 30s to upper 40s, sometimes reaching 50 or more, and the rain has been constant. We must have already made up for the severe drought we had last summer. I think we may have only had one or two actual frosts.

This may all be a tease because the past 20 or so years it’s no surprise to get our most severe snowstorms in February and March. We even had an April Fools Day snowstorm in 1997. However, as long as a quilter has electricity, they’ll find something to keep them busy while the weather rages outside like working on UFO projects (Unfinished Objects aka Quilts), which is the perfect segue into this next piece.

Crazy Quilters participating in the six month UFO Challenge brought in their #2 Project to share at our January meeting. Projects this month included creating a calendar wallet from a kit that had been purchased some time ago, finishing up several quilts for family, friends, self, utilizing a “found” star that needed some TLC, incorporating a heart block share into a quilt, completing a project that was a UFO pick from our December Yankee Swap, and seeing how many bags can be made from fabric sitting at the back of a closet purchased years ago. What an accomplished month and group!

If that wasn’t enough, we were treated by Penny and Denise to a trunk show of their mother’s gorgeous quilts. Their mom, Eleanor Mueller, is no longer with them but she has certainly left her family an amazing legacy of enough quilts (I believe they figured over 200) to fill their own museum. Unfortunately, I don’t take shorthand so I was not able to write down all the interesting stories of the hows and whys these quilts were made but let’s leave it to say it would make a wonderful book for any quilter’s coffee table or sewing room! These photographs don’t do them justice! And did I say, all but a few are hand quilted? Amazing!! (click on photo to enlarge)

Eleanor began her quilting journey as many of us have, by making a fence rail quilt. She was hooked! After that, there was no stopping her!

And if an applique quilt in blue wasn’t enough, she made another one in red. Even though Eleanor made lots of pieced quilts, most were given away as gifts. Hand applique was her true passion.

Eleanor did not have an opportunity to finish this next quilt. Denise plans to finish it and give a go at her mother’s tradition of hand quilting.

This last masterpiece might be consider a typical Dear Jane quilt. However, the original Jane A. Blakely Stickle quilt had 169 blocks making up the center. Eleanor wanted a king-sized quilt so she took some liberty and added twenty six additional blocks such as Sun Bonnet Sue, Overall Bill, and the little bird at the top, to point out a few. She also added inside borders and I’m sure adjustments were made to the triangle border to work with the added blocks. Brenda Manges Papadakis was the first to formally draft and publish the patterns for all 169 blocks and 52 border triangles, which can be found in her 25th Anniversary Dear Jane book. At the time Eleanor made her quilt, there were no patterns. So she and several of her friends would meet regularly and work out each block as they made their way through the quilt. Another amazing accomplishment and heirloom for her family.

Thank you Penny and Denise for sharing your mother’s quilts and stories with us! It was an enjoyable evening!

Lastly, I’ve got a couple of photos of Show & Tell projects that were shared. Lori has completed another quilt to gift and Susan has finished her Dresden Neighborhood wall hanging. Nice work ladies!

Until next time, keep your bobbin full and your rotary cutter sharp!

Young Sewers Class – Big Success!

The Barnstable Recreation’s Beginner’s Sewing class just finished last week and these adorable young ladies are obviously proud of their accomplishments.

With assistance from members of the Crazy Quilters Guild and a few other volunteers, the girls honed their skills over a 5-week period and created their own pincushion, Christmas stocking, potholder, table runner and these colorful drawstring backpack bags.

Each time, the girls were allowed to pick their own fabrics. In spite of having a variety of used and/or donated sewing machines that at times didn’t cooperate, everyone worked their way through each project with determination and it was great to see their confidence build each week.

Thank you to Kellie Crawley, Program Coordinator for the Barnstable Recreation Program and her mom, Lori Crawley, Crazy Quilters President for putting this program together and keeping sewing alive in our young people. Many of the students have moved on to the Advanced class where they will complete a small lap quilt.

Winter Solstice

The winter solstice occurs on December 21. It is the day when the North Pole reaches its farthest tilt away from the sun, resulting in the shortest period of daylight of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, followed by the longest night. What that means is that over the next 30 days, you will begin to slowly see the days getting longer. Around January 18, we will have gained about an extra hour of daylight.

In the meantime, take advantage of the time you don’t have to work in the yard, plant new flowers or tend to vegetables, or even mow the lawn. Start a new quilting project or better yet, finish at least one UFO (unfinished object) you’ve had sitting in the pile! It’s also a good time to plan out your quilting year – what annual quilt shows you might want to attend and will you need hotel reservations, are there retreats or classes you’d like to go to, is there a shop hop that might give you new inspiration. Whatever it is, don’t let the shorter days of winter bring you down. Stay busy with your needle and thread!

Annual Winter Potluck Dinner

At this month’s Crazy Quilters meeting we had our Annual Winter Potluck, which was enhanced by a good old fashioned Yankee Swap. However this time, it wasn’t a purchased gift. The swaps were UFOs and there were some pretty nice projects among the mix. Some had been partially started and others were brand new kits in a package. As with all Yankee Swaps, there were a few favorites that were passed around a few times.

The food was varied and delicious and a cute tray of mice made from half an Oreo cookie, a Hershey’s kiss, a cherry dipped in chocolate and some almonds were a big hit.

The Next Generation

Members of the Crazy Quilters, along with some friends, have been teaching youngsters to sew. The five classes, which have been offered three separate times, were organized by Kellie Crawley, Program Coordinator for the Barnstable Recreation Program and Lori Crawley, President of Crazy Quilters of Cape Cod. With donated and borrowed sewing machines children ranging from fourth to fifth grade, with little to no experience in sewing, are gaining confidence as they create a new project each week. First they made a pincushion, the second week was a stocking and you can see by the smiles how proud they are of their accomplishment! Each week a new skill is introduced.

And lastly, Jacob Stapledon of Children’s Cove shared some photos of our Santa Sacks being filled for distribution to families. We’re hoping our small contribution will help to make a child’s Christmas a little merrier.

We wish everyone a very happy holiday season no matter what or how you celebrate. It is the one time of year that we hopefully can think of others more than we think of ourselves!

Reduce Your Fabric Backing

A couple of weeks ago one of our members forwarded a video she saw on the Calico Mermaid Quilt Shop’s Facebook page. I then shared it with our membership. It was a fascinating video showing how you can reduce the amount of backing fabric you need to purchase by cutting your fabric diagonally. Here’s the link on YouTube.

One of our members asked, “That’s great but how do you determine the amount of fabric you actually need to purchased based on the size of the quilt you are making?” Good question! I did a little research on the Calico Mermaid Facebook page and found the formula provided by John Flynn of

I challenge all the math wizards out there to give it a go! Happy Quilting!

November Rushing By

This time of year it always feels like the clock has sped up. You blink and half the month is over, Thanksgiving is around the corner and all of the December preparations and holidays will be crashing into us.

Well, the Crazy Quilters decided to do some looking back during our November meeting. Members brought in the first quilt they made and we heard some great stories about why they decided to try making a quilt.

Members also participating in a UFO (Unfinished Objects) Challenge dug into their closets and bags of stuff to pull out projects that had never been completed, and in some cases never even started. They are challenging themselves over the next months to bring the past into the present.

Go to our Events page to view photos of the quilts and projects that were brought in.

We were also pleased this month to once again donate Santa sacks to Children’s Cove, the Cape & Islands Advocacy Center. Children’s Cove does an extremely important job coordinating services for some of our most vulnerable children; those who have been subjected to sexual abuse. Jacob Stapledon, Community Engagement & Education Coordinator informed us that they served 230 families last year. It made us realize we needed to make a lot more sacks!

UPDATE 11.21.22 In an article in today’s Cape Cod Times, Mr. Stapledon stated the number of children’s abuse cases referred have increased by 55% since last and therefore they are planning an expansion.

At this time of year particularly, we should reflect and appreciate how lucky we are and think about those that don’t have the ability to help themselves. Children are our greatest investment and the time spent now helping them grow up to be productive adults is really everyone’s responsibility. It does take a village.

Now’s the time to JOIN or RENEW Memberships

It’s that time again when the guild begins to look forward to another fun year of activities and friendships. If you haven’t received your renewal form at a meeting, you can download a new form HERE. We ask that all members, current or new, complete a 2023 form so we can be sure to have all your current information.

We have attempted to contact several people who expressed interest in joining as a result of attending our Open House and/or a recent meeting. Unfortunately, the emails came back undeliverable or some other error. If you might be one of those people and have not received a membership form in the mail, you can download one from the link above. We’d love to welcome you to our group!

If you’re new to the area and are just looking to meet with people of like interests, we’d love to see you! We are an easy going friendly group. We’re doing our best to make sure everyone can participate and at this time we are able to offer meetings in-person and via Zoom. We’re doing our best to make sure everyone can participate and at this time we are able to offer meetings simultaneously in-person and via Zoom.

Hope to see you soon!


A Beautiful Day in the Dresden Neighborhood

Michelle Banton,, was the guest speaker at our October meeting. Michelle is an authorized teacher for the Dresden Neighborhood pattern designed by Kim Lapacek, and has been teaching the design since it was first released in 2015. Michelle also instructed a class for interested Guild members on the Dresden Neighborhood the following day. Unfortunately, since this writer was in the class . . . I forgot to take pictures. Hopefully, we’ll be able to have a reveal at one of our future meetings and I can capture everyone’s projects at that time.

Michelle started off her presentation with some of the history of the Dresden plate pattern. The name Dresden originates from the city that lies in the northeast area of Germany. Nearby Meissen was know for it’s porcelain and it is thought that the beautiful painted porcelain plates that were created there became the inspiration for the quilt pattern we know today.

A pattern can be considered a Dresden if the designed is created in a circle, half circle, or even a quarter circle. They can have rounded ends, pointed ends, or pretty much anything in between, as in the Dresden Neighborhood designs.

She explained that the Dresden has also been referred to as Grandmother’s Sunburst, Friendship Ring, Aster, Dahlia and Sunflower but Dresden is the most recognizable and used name. The pattern really started to become popular at the end of WWI and gained speed around the time of the Great Depression in late 1929. Since money was very tight, industrious farming wives began to make clothing and quilts utilizing the fabric sacks, which feed, flour, and sugar came in. Michelle relayed a story that her grandmother passed down to her. She would send her grandfather to the store with directions on what pattern/color sacks to buy, since one sack wouldn’t be enough to make a dress or quilt. In the 1930s Sears and Montgomery Ward companies began selling “cheater panels” printed with Dresdens.

Into the 1930s, younger women considered the Dresden a “fad pattern” and began creating them in bright colors. Women began home machine quilting businesses to supplement income. By 1934, over 400 newspapers were including quilt patterns into their publications but unfortunately, the patterns were created by writers and not quilters so very often they didn’t work.

As part of the Century of Progress theme for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, Sears, Roebuck. & Co. decided to sponsor a national quilt contest and put up $7,500 in prize money. That’s nearly $140,000 today. Margaret Caden was announced the winner but it wasn’t without controversy. Read what happened HERE.

Below are some of the samples Michelle brought along. You can see how varied the Dresden Neighborhood can be; from color wheels to themes of all types, even sizes of the spokes. The pattern calls for using an 18 degree template, which makes 20 spokes. However, by changing the degree of the template you can increase or decrease the number of spokes while also changing their width. The only limit is your imagination.

We want to thank Michelle for her time and patience and would welcome her back to our neighborhood any day!

He’s A Winner Baby!!

If you follow our blog at all, you may have seen a post on August 19 regarding Joey Santangelo, son of Holly, a Crazy Quilters member. Joey qualified to enter his amazing Asian inspired jacket, titled Goldfish, into the Pacific International Quilt Festival, which ran from October 13-16 in Santa Clara, CA. This is a juried and judged competition. Juried means your art piece will first be reviewed and evaluated for it to be included in the event. Judged means approved works for exhibit will be evaluated to determine which pieces will win and at what level, ie. first, second, etc. So basically, you have to first qualify before your artwork is even accepted. This creates a highly competitive standard and showing of works of the highest quality.

We have just learned that Joey has won 1st Place in the Wearable Art Competition in the Vest, Jacket or Coat category. This does not surprise us and as we said in our first post, we are all so proud of him as if he were our own son or grandson! The link to the winners gives little information other than the category and name of the quilt. I have searched for the artist’s statement describing his jacket but to no avail.

I would try to see if Joey could provide us with more details but he is busy again in London working as a costume designer. I’m sure he referred to many of the skills he’s learned designing costumes for the theatrical shows he’s been involved in and yes, from his experience working as part of the costume team on the production of Bridgeton – seasons 1 and 3 for the character Daphne. Use this LINK to look back on some of Daphne’s season 1 costumes. Joey had a hand in making 7 of Daphne’s 100 costumes worn. Here’s another LINK with a follow-up article from his former college with a little more of Joey’s history regarding how he got involved working for the Bridgeton team.

UPDATE – JACKET CONSTRUCTIONS FROM JOEY SANTANGELO: It’s a quilted doublet made from a self-drafted pattern. Although it’s not period accurate, I think it definitely evokes the correct period.

The fabric was made by me by cutting strips of red fabric and then arranging them in an ombre pattern from the bottom to the top. The red scraps were arranged and held in place by a few little dots of tacky glue. It’s on a base layer of muslin. I placed red tulle over the piece. Together with a layer of batting and cotton as the base I quilted through the layers with gold thread. Where the gold thread quilting lines crossed, I stitched a gold seed bead.

The fish were created using the collage style quilting where you cut scraps of fabric and then arrange them into the shapes you want. It was a lot like painting. After the fish were made, they also got a layer of tulle over them and different lines of machine quilting were added to create the intricate features of the fish.

Finished with gold buttons embellished with Swarovski crystals and gold aglets at the end of the shoulder ties.

Again, we wish Mr. Santangelo (Joey to his quilting “moms”) all the best in his future endeavors and will look forward to many more beautiful works of art whether they are on stage, the screen, or in another competition.

See You Next Year

Our 2022 Open House/Quilt Show is in the bag and it was a huge success! Lots of happy visitors and great feedback.

The winner of the 2022 Raffle Quilt was a very shocked Ginger Rabesa.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to post the walkthrough video of the show but if you go over to our Facebook page, Crazy Quilters of Cape Cod, you’ll find it there.

Hope to see you next year!!

It’s Show Time!

We’ve been hard at work cutting, sewing, creating, and hanging quilts and we’re ready for you to come and visit us today, October 8, at our Open House/Quilt Show at the Gus Canty Community Center, 790 Main Street, Falmouth from 10:00-4:00.

This is the largest number of quilts we’ve ever had on display and quite a few are for sale so come take a look. We also have our Raffle Quilt and will be selling tickets for the last time today as the drawing will take place at the close of the show, so don’t miss your chance to win this beautiful quilt.

RAFFLE QUILT – $1 for 1 Ticket / $5 for 6 Tickets

Thank you to everyone who worked really hard to hang the quilts and price and set up the Boutique Table. Your hard work is really appreciated and we’re going to have a great show!!