I’ve always had an affinity for telephones. My mom and dad started dating while they were both working at the local phone company. Mom was an operator and knows a lot about area codes and geography because of it. Dad was a cable repair technician and retired from the phone company after over 35 years. He would call the house sometimes while he was checking a customer’s phone for a daytime chat.

So I have a tendency to notice telephone quilt patterns. There are several cute ones, but this paper-piecing pattern by Cynthia Frenette struck a cord (ha!) because it looks just like I remember the phones at our house looking.

I decided to try my hand at the pattern by making a mug rug for Mom. The phone is red, of course.

It’s really a fun block to make. The finished block is 10 inches square, so most of the pieces are large and even the small ones are manageable. It’s also a great way to use up scrap fabric. The circles for the dial need to be appliquéd on. I wasn’t trying to make a masterpiece, so I just fused them on for raw-edge appliqué. Easy enough.

The block was so fun that I decided to make a wall hanging for myself. I picked solids from my stash in some of my favorite colors. I used two different fabrics for the dials. Neither has numbers, but I think they get the idea across.

Next, I needed to figure out how to quilt it. I really prefer simple quilting that emphasizes the piecing, so I ended up just outlining the phones.

I did a tiny zigzag around the circles to keep them from fraying too much.

And look! There’s the outline of the phone on the back!

I did the same quilting on the wall hanging. I used quilting to separate the earpiece and mouthpiece from the handle because, as a kid, I liked unscrewing those pieces and looking inside.

I was looking for an easy project that would make me happy. And these telephones definitely did the trick for me.



Wisconsin Wall Hanging

WI finished

As a girl who loves her home state, I was super excited when a member of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild brought in a paper-pieced Wisconsin block for another member who also happens to be from Wisconsin. I had no idea such a block existed.

So when I had a little down time last week, I found the pattern on Craftsy and dreamed of all the Wisconsin-themed gifts I’d be giving this Christmas. Then I made the pattern. It turned out to be the most difficult paper-piecing project I’ve attempted. So, FYI, those Christmas gifts aren’t going to happen.

I played it safe with my fabric selections, choosing one solid that looked the same on the front and the back. And I colored the pattern pieces so I could easily see which sections were to be state and which were to be background.

WI colored pattern

As is always the case when I’m paper-piecing, I tried to skimp on fabric, using my smallest bits for the small sections. And as is always the case, I regretted it when those small pieces didn’t quite fill the area needed and had to be taken out. Between that and just messing up the pattern, it was rough going. Especially for the southeastern part of the state.

WI take one

Nothing really matched up the way it should as I struggled with putting the large lettered sections together. And I accidentally used a different green for the large triangle in the middle. But I could see where I could do better, so I tried it again.

This time did go more smoothly. In addition to coloring the state sections of the patterns, I stitched the perimeter of each section after I pieced it. This made sewing those sections together so much easier because the edges of the fabric weren’t flopping over.

WI take two patterns

I still made a few of the same mistakes that I made the first time through, but overall it was much easier. And it turned out looking nicer, too. Although southeastern Wisconsin still has its struggles.

WI take two

After a bit of thought, I decided to turn the block into a wall hanging. I added a gray and white polka-dot border and then added a wider border of Amy Butler Violette fabric.

Before I started the quilting, I decided to locate Waupaca, my hometown, on my newly pieced map (and I had Greg verify it so that it would be reasonably close). I made a red French knot there (per Greg’s suggestion) and then sewed a free-motion spiral out from there. As with my mug rug from last time, my circles are nowhere near perfect, but I just wanted them to be fun.

WI quilting

I used a piece from the same Amy Butler collection for the backing. The finished piece is about 16 inches square.

WI back

WI finished

Despite its imperfections, I kind of love the way it turned out. I really like the colors. Now I just need to figure out where to hang it. Somewhere that’s in my line of vision during the day. To remind me of home.