Inspiration Series: Celtic Cross Stitch

Use what talent you possess, the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.

henry van dyke

I love the Henry Van Dyke quote in the margin to the left. I think it is especially relevant to quilters. We all fall into the average, good, better, best, elite spectrum somewhere in the quilting craft – whether it be piecing, applique, quilting, embellishing, etc. It is important to remember we can all create something beautiful at any skill level. We should refrain from comparing our work to other quilters, and appreciate our own talents. I recently listened to a pod cast with Angela Walters on Sit and Sew radio. In this podcast, Angela talked about when she teaches her classes, she doesn’t want her students to try to make their quilting look like hers. She wants them to have their own style and appreciate what they made. I love that message!

green is the new black

There are all different shades of green in nature, so why not put all different shades of green in a quilt? Fabric choices don’t always have to be matchy-matchy!

I had the idea to begin using discarded cross stitch pieces in quilts, so I began by doing an Ebay search for discarded blocks. I came across these Celtic squares and I snatched them up. Then, I attacked my scrap stash of green 1930s fabrics. I wanted a design that was easy and would make a big quilt. I used the snowball block idea to cap off the corners of the cross stitch squares. Next, I cut one inch strips and sewed 4 layers around and around the large cross stitch center, like you would a log cabin block. When I had extra ends leftover of the green strips, I simply sewed them end to end, and used them as one strip and kept going. There is a closeup picture of this in the trio of pictures below.

Insider Info

I had the idea to use discarded cross stitch pieces in a quilt. I found these Celtic squares on Ebay and snatched them up. I had not observed in the photos the dye dots for cross stitch placement still very much visible. This added a lengthy process of getting the dots off the fabric. I used a product called Simple Green and it worked very well. I added some to warm water to dilute the Simple Green, and left the blocks to soak for a few minutes. I then vigorously rubbed the fabrics together to get the dots out. It eventually worked and the chemicals did not damage the threads or fabric at all.

I had just taken Patsy Johnson’s Feather Quilting class on Craftsy and I was ready to try my hand at feathers. This was the perfect quilt to practice on because the busy fabrics prevent anyone (even me) from noticing mistakes and inconsistencies.

I had fun using up scraps for the backing. This fed my frugal soul! I cut all the scraps simply the size of my acrylic ruler, to make things easy. The result is a backing that is almost as attractive as the front! It took some time to piece, but the piecing was easy and it was great to use up fabrics.

What about you?

How has the color green influenced your fabric choices? Have you used green much in quilts?



I echo quilted around the cross stitch design.


This pieced backing was a great way to use up scraps.


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Don’t miss an opportunity at the folk school!

Click the photo to see Jo Glover’s You Tube video tutorial

An excellent book about incorporating culture and quilts

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