Into the Quilting Giveaway

The first DVDs giveaway we did was called “Out of the Heat” because it was the middle of summer here in the northern hemisphere, and the second was called “Out of the Cold” because it was the middle of winter. If the reader’s comments on yesterday’s B.C. comic strip by John Hart Studios were any indication, the weather can’t make up its mind this week no matter where you are, so we’ll just call this, our third DVDs giveaway, “Into the Quilting,” because no matter the weather, it’s a great day to be a quilter.

It’s also a great day to get some new quilting inspiration, and this week, we’re giving away three sets of DVDs, one set each to three lucky winners. The first set focuses on ways of making the quilt top, the second set on ways to quilt the quilt sandwich and the third set contains documentaries about quilting and quilters: DVDs Giveaway 3 Into the Quilting Giveaway

Set 1 includes Scrap Quilts for Babies and Toddlers by Katharine Guerrier from Rainbow Discs; Applique Angels and Hearts with Xmas Projects by Madeleine Millington from Rainbow Discs; Celebrate Celtic Patterns and Ideas for Baskets, Hearts and Stars by Angela Madden from Rainbow Discs; and Inklingo Shape Collections #1 and #2 by Linda Franz from Inklingo.

Set 2 includes Perfect Hand Quilting Without Pain by Liuxin Newmanm the Thimblelady, The Art of Machine Quilting by Barbara Shapel from Nine Patch Media, Sensational Sashiko by Sharon Pederson from Nine Patch Media, and Basting and Quilting in an Old Fashioned Frame by Joe Cunningham.

Set 3 includes STITCHED the Film by Jenalia Moreno from Frame 1 Media and Picturesmith Productions; Woman’s Work: Making Quilts, Creating Art by Charlotte Grossman; The Great American Quilt Revival from Bonesteel Films and UNC TV; and The Kansas City Stars: A Quilting Legacy from Kansas City Star Quilts, Pickle Dish and Wide Awake Films.

To enter for your chance to win one of the three prizes, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm Mountain Time, Sunday March 8, 2015 telling us which of the three prizes is your favorite. As winners are randomly selected, we don’t guarantee you’ll win your preferred prize if chosen, but we’ll do our best! Open to anyone worldwide who has not won anything from Quilters Newsletter in the past 90 days. If you are randomly selected as a winner, the email will come from with “Quilters Newsletter blog giveaway” in the subject line.

To find out about giveaways, quilting news, tips, techniques and more, visit us on Facebook, and our website. Plus, see Web Seminars on and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and

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National Craft Month Quilters Celebration Week 1

March is National Craft Month, and here at Quilters Newsletter, we’d like to spend March celebrating the craft of quilting by celebrating you, the quilter. Last week, we asked our readers to submit a photo of themselves with a quilt they made with information about themselves and their quilt for a chance to be a featured quilter. This week, the first week of March, we’re featuring the first two quilters who submitted photos: Scott Flanagan of Fremont, Nebraska, and Collin Fellows of Portland, Oregon.

Scott A Flanagan 550 National Craft Month Quilters Celebration Week 1

Midnight Garden, 2013, 65″ x 65″, by Scott Flanagan

Our first featured quilter this week is Scott with his quilt, Midnight Garden. Scott has been quilting for more than 20 years and has made more than 300 quilts. He started quilting with his grandmother and spent many hours piecing quilts with her for Lutheran World Relief. In 2011, he started his own pattern company, 4th and Main Designs. His patterns can be found at Country Traditions in Fremont, Nebraska.

Here’s what Scott has to say about this 1st prize winning quilt: “I custom designed this quilt for a PFAFF sewing machine competition in 2013 using my love of the Star of Bethlehem pattern and the popular Rose of Sharon applique designs. I named it Midnight Garden because of the way the applique and magenta star glow on the black background. I pieced and quilted the whole quilt before adding the applique. The applique shapes were cut using the Accuquilt GO! and the Rose of Sharon dies. The applique is all attached using decorative stitches that were created specifically for this project using the Stitch CreatorTM feature on my PFAFF Creative Sensation. It is embellished with free-motion yarn couching and has a piped binding using 1mm cording.”

Collin Fellows 550 National Craft Month Quilters Celebration Week 1

Super Bee, 2015, 93″ x 110″, by Collin Fellows

Our second featured quilter this week is Collin with his quilt, Super Bee. Here’s what Collin has to say about this quilt: “I really enjoyed this quilt because it was my own design, specifically made for a client who asked for ‘something to do with bees.’ As this was only my 5th completed quilt, it was a real learning experience (non-straight binding, hex construction). As for technique, it combined traditional hex construction with some log cabin. Because I didn’t use a pattern, it probably took me as long to work out all the math as unsewing the first few blocks quite a few times. I named this quilt Super Bee. I name all my quilts after cars. Best of all with this project, the client was thrilled. That’s the best part of quilting as far as I’m concerned.”

Want to be a featured quilter? Send a photo of you with a quilt you’ve made to with your name and location as well as any details you’d like to provide about your quilt and quilting career.

Need some inspiration for that next quilting project? Check out our these digital quilt patterns from Quilters Newsletter:

As always, to find out about giveaways, quilting news, tips, techniques and more, visit us on and our website. Plus, see Web Seminars on and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and

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Quilt Comes to Life with Applique Created from Fabric Motif

I’ve had a busy, busy week getting ready to move. In fact, there was so much to do that I haven’t even touched my sewing machine. As I was packing yesterday, I took my beautiful wool quilt from my mom off of our bed to go to the cleaners. (You can see it here.)  I knew I had another quilt just folded in a box that I could put on the bed to keep us warm. The box wasn’t full so I needed to give it some attention anyway. When I took that quilt out of the box, I found another quilt underneath it that I didn’t realize I had at the apartment. So many of our things are in storage and I thought this quilt was in storage three hours away.

003 Quilt Comes to Life with Applique Created from Fabric Motif

I Kissed A Frog for This????

I love this quilt. Like so many quilts, it has a fun story. My friend, Linda Miller, gave me a collection of fat quarters several years ago. The fabrics were bright florals with lots of whimsical frogs. The fabric made me smile. So I decided (big surprise here) to make a quilt.

The collection of fat quarters gave me everything I needed for a quilt except the focus fabric. I had a pink floral print with a black background in my stash that looked like it would work so I cut my patches and started sewing. When I finished sewing the blocks together and stood back to look at my quilt top, I was disappointed. That pink and black floral fabric I’d used for the focus fabric was boring. The patches were so large that they just looked like holes where something should be happening. So I had to do something. It was one of those creative opportunities. I actually like it when things like this happen, when my original plan doesn’t work for one reason or another. My end product is almost always better than the idea I started with.

In this case, I decided to add large appliqued frogs to the pink and black floral patches. I cannot draw. Period. I do pretty good stick men. That’s about it. So there was no hope of me drawing a reasonable looking frog. Here’s my big hint for this week. I made my own frog applique pattern but I didn’t draw it. I took a piece of my fabric that had a good frog.

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Close-up of the Frog

Then I measured one of the pink and black floral patches to see what size the frog needed to be and I photocopied the frog fabric at 266% and there was the pattern for a frog to match my fabric.

From there on, all I had to do was prepare the green fabric frog for applique as I usually do. I used fabric markers to make the black lines and white fabric paint to make the white part of the eyes.

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My Appliqued Frog

And I like the label for this quilt. I made one extra frog and embroidered it for the label.

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The Label

Now if all of this has you thinking about applique, here are a couple of ideas for you.

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Big Block Baby Quilts

Quiltmaker, our sister publication, has a digital pattern called Big Block Baby Quilts, that would give you large patches to applique on. You can choose your fabric and photocopy part of it to get something fun to applique. The delightful part of doing this is that you can make an applique of any fabric; it doesn’t have to be a frog. You could also use Yorkshire Park from Best Fat Quarter Quilts 2014 since it has those pretty big patches in the center of the block.

Yorkshire 800 2 Quilt Comes to Life with Applique Created from Fabric Motif

Yorkshire Park

Or if you are thinking about frogs, check out the pattern for Over by the Pond for frogs, a turtle and insects to foundation piece.

Untitled 1 Quilt Comes to Life with Applique Created from Fabric Motif

Over By the Pond

On another subject, I wanted to tell you in advance so you can get it on your schedule, Alex Anderson is presenting a web seminar called Scrap Crazy on March 20th at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. I’ve learned so much from Alex over the years and I love scrap quilts so I think this is going to be a great seminar. It’s geared for everyone from beginner on up. Alex will talk about picking the right fabric for the right purpose, understanding color and value, using different layouts depending on your stash, pulling  together random quilt blocks and using red as your secret weapon to a fabulous scrap quilt.

The registration fee is $19.99. And if you can’t be there for the live event, the registration fee will give you access to the archived version of the program.

And remember to visit Quilters Newsletter on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and our website for the latest news, quilting fun and ideas. Be sure to check for more Web Seminars on, and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and

Posted in Lori Baker | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter White

I just completed my first project of 2015.

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Winter Geese pillow sham

I’d had this project in mind for a few weeks; I think it first occurred to me after the holidays when I wanted something that would allow me to decorate for winter without being Christmas-y. And I wanted that something to refer to winter as I experience it here in Colorado.

The image I kept coming back to was that of the Canada geese that don’t seem to make it any further south than Denver during their annual migration — the city is lousy with geese this time of year –so doing something with flying geese was a natural fit. I also may have been influenced by the flying geese exchange some of my coworkers participated in. Clearly geese have been everywhere, both indoors and out.

IMG 0805 300x300 Winter WhiteWe have a quilted 16″ pillow that, well — let’s just say it’s seen better days. It’s something my husband had before I married him, actually. I was impressed he had a quilted anything despite the fact he didn’t buy it for himself. Even though it’s clearly mass-produced and the colors aren’t my preferred decorating palette, it’s functional if a little bedraggled. I have an autumn-themed pillow sham I made for it years ago, but didn’t have any other seasonal shams for the rest of the year.

I turned some ideas around in my head for a few weeks and even wished I had quilting supplies with me during my recent trip to Los Angeles. I decided I wanted the background to represent a snowy, cloudy sky, and maybe play with scale or value — or both — with flying geese in V-formation. The Friday after I returned home, I went to the QN sewing room to look at our batik stash.

Before I go any further, I should say that although I’ve always liked and appreciated batiks and batik quilts, I wasn’t a quilter who always swooned in their presence. That is until recently. We’ve seen some collections over the past year or so for which I’ve unabashedly proclaimed my love. And right before I left for L.A. I was assigned to write the pattern for a batik quilt made by someone else that’s slated to appear in our June/July issue (you’re going to want to keep an eye out for that one — it’s bee-you-tee-ful).

It’s possible that my approach to choosing batiks was influenced by the quilt I was assigned, but I was already thinking of using them anyway. There’s just something about how their watery, amorphous backgrounds create a depth and a texture you don’t get with screen-printed fabric that was right for my project. Sort of like this batik:

artisan batik 1024x1024 Winter White

I’m fairly certain this is from Artisan Batiks by Lunn Studio for Robert Kaufman Fabrics

How pretty is that? Really pretty, right? I know!

As I was saying, I went to our fabric room and went through our batik stash, looking for small samples I might be able to use (a definite perk of the job). I found most of what I was looking for in some coordinated Bali batiks from Hoffman Fabrics that included four different patterns in what I interpreted as a white-on-white colorway. More about that later.

That night I pulled out some graph paper and started playing with what I could do in such a small, contained space. Let’s see: I have a 16″ pillow, I want 4 blocks with sashes and borders, which means each block should probably be… 6-1/2″. Eek. Not much room, but let’s give it a try.

I sketched out six different approaches before I decided on one. On Saturday I made one block and was confronted by the reality of patches that finish at 1/4″ wide when you haven’t really thought about how you’re pressing your seams. Even though I could have gotten by with it, I went back to my graph paper for one last block redesign.

But hey, enough of my yakkin’. Let’s look at some pictures.

pillow 1 1024x1024 Winter White

patches laid out in rows to keep them straight

My redesigned block called for 37 patches, some as small as 1″ x 1-1/2″. This was only slightly simpler than my first version, which required 38 patches, some of which were 3/4″ x  1-1/2″. Template or foundation piecing could have simplified things even more I’m sure but I went the quick-corner piecing route.

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Two blocks down, two to go

The brown-and-white block in the upper right corner is the first version I made. I realized I didn’t have enough background fabric to scrap that first attempt and start afresh so I decided to use it. If you look at it carefully you can see that the V-formation is more gradual.

pillow 3 1024x1024 Winter White

blocks and sashes all joined

After a few days of working on it in the evenings while binge-listening to the “Serial” podcast, I had the four blocks and sashes put together. All I had left to do to finish the top was add thin borders. But alas, I didn’t have any scraps of the background fabrics large enough to cut as many uninterrupted strips as I needed. I could have pieced borders from my scraps, but I was a little tired of seams by this point and just didn’t want any in the borders. So I tried to work with what I had on-hand. Do you see those very pale blue geese in the bottom rows of the blue-and-white blocks? I had more of that fabric so I thought maybe they could work for the borders.

pillow 4 1024x1024 Winter White

Abandoned attempt at borders

Nope. Don’t get me wrong, I love that pale blue, just not as borders for this. Where the color almost disappears into the white (ivory? cream?) when used in small patches, the difference is stark when long strips are used. And this was just not the look I was going for.

Here’s where my perception of the background fabrics as “white-on-white” batiks got in the way.

I spent time online looking for “white” batiks, including the Hoffman website, which I’ve used before at work. But computer monitors being what they are, it was just too hard to match colors between the screen and the actual fabric. While looking at the Hoffman website I started to wonder if maybe what I wanted wasn’t described as white but instead as oyster.

Even so, I called a quilt shop in the area (The Quilt Store in Broomfield) that has an entire wall of batiks to ask if they had white-on-white batiks. Of course the answer to that question was no, but the woman I spoke with said they did have a number of very pale batiks in different shades and patterns.

This was on Presidents’ Day, and I knew that if I didn’t take advantage of my day off to at least go look I wouldn’t have another chance at finding the right fabric until the following weekend. So off I went with my little quilt top in my purse.

The employee who helped me (not the one I had spoken with earlier in the day) went with me to the end of the wall to look at the pale batiks. We talked about the different tones in the fabrics I’d already used and what sort of options I might have.

I was about to depart from my original idea and go with something with more contrast than I wanted when we started sifting through the fat quarters displayed above the bolts. I figured the selection would be the same as what I’d looked at, but there were a few fat quarters I initially overlooked that turned out to be just close enough to what I already had.

I estimated I could get what I needed out of one fat quarter, so of course I bought two. I mean, you never know, right?

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Pillow sham top completed

If you look closely, you can tell that the new fabric is actually a skosh warmer than the background in the blocks. But just a tiny bit, and not at all enough to bug me.

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close-up of the difference between the original cream/ivory/white/oyster/?? fabrics in the blocks and the new one used in the border

Oh yes, I also bought some other fabric at the shop: a remnant of a Fig Tree & Co. print for Moda because it needed to come home with me; a print from Timeless Treasures’ Reclaimed West collection designed by Judy & Judel Niemeyer, who I interviewed at Fall Market for a feature in our February/March 2015 issue (apparently I had flying geese in muted colors on the brain); and a soft, lovely batik that I believe is from Timeless Treasures’ Tonga line. I ended up using the batik for the backing panels to make the envelope pillow closure. It was just too pretty to fold up and put away.

IMG 0817 1024x1024 Winter White

more fabric

So now that the designing and piecing was done, all I had to do was quilt it. I spent a few days just looking at it. I briefly considered hand quilting it, but again, lots and lots of seams, and I didn’t want to worry about seams anymore.

For this project, I decided to go dense and geometric to accentuate the angles of the flying geese. I started by using my 7″ square acrylic ruler and a water-soluble pen to outline the geese 1/4″ away from the seam lines. And then I re-marked, such as above the largest geese where I spaced the lines 1/2″ apart. After some more work to figure out how the lines would meet and intersect across the sashes, I was ready to start quilting. The actual quilting went more quickly than designing the quilting pattern did.

IMG 0807 e1425066511263 1024x1024 Winter White

Quilting the geese

I used Warm & Plush batting from The Warm Company, wanting any extra ‘oomph’ the additional thickness might give to my quilting. I used up the last of a spool of Coats cotton machine quilting thread, then switched to a Presencia 40-weight cotton thread.

pillow 7 1024x1024 Winter White

Lots of thread tails to bury

I worked on burying thread tails during “Downton Abbey.”

pillow 8 Winter White

quilting completed

I had cut the borders wider than necessary, figuring the quilting would cause the top to shrink a little, and I was right. Between the quilting and dampening it to remove the marking pen, it shrank almost 1/2″. For a quilt I wouldn’t worry about it, but for a pillow sham that’s being made to fit a specific size pillow form, a difference of 1/2″ would be significant.

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Improvised binding clips

I used my daughters’ barrettes to hold all the layers — backing panels, quilted pillow top, and binding strips — in place while I joined the binding to the front.

IMG 0787 Winter White

living room curtains

I wasn’t until I was almost finished with the project that I realized I had coordinated my fabric selection with the curtains I made for the living room after we bought our house years ago. I must like that combination.

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Once again, the finished pillow

Et voilà! It may have taken almost three weeks from start to finish, during which time Denver experienced some weather so warm and unseasonal I started to feel that maybe the design would no longer be relevant (don’t worry, we’ve had plenty of snow in the past week). It now sits on a chair in my living room, next to the coffee table that my kids use for coloring with crayons and pens… I think I need to make those non-washable markers go away for a while. At least until winter’s over and I put this baby away.

If you’re a fan of batiks, you may want to check out our new QN Batik Club. Participants receive a monthly shipment containing approximately 3 yards of fabric in a variety of precuts, including fat quarters, strips, squares and more, as well as access to two free quilt patterns designed with batiks in mind. Whenever we survey our readers and followers on the types of fabric they love, batiks regularly top the list. And now I can see why!

As always, to find out about giveaways, quilting news, tips, techniques and more, visit us on FacebookTwitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and our website. Plus, see Web Seminars on and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and

Posted in Mary Kate Karr-Petras | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Caswell County Giveaway


Every issue of Quilters Newsletter has something in it to inspire future quilting projects. Sometimes it’s a pattern, of which there are four in the February/March 2015 issue. FebMar15Cover 200 Caswell County Giveaway My favorite of these four is Groovy by QN creative editor Lori Baker. I made a small nine-patch block to help further explain some of the directions to a subscriber a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m thinking about making more of those small nine-patch blocks and turning them into a doll-size quilt version of the pattern. It’s a reversible quilt pattern, and deceptively easy once you’ve done each of the steps the first time. If none of the four quilt patterns in Quilters Newsletter February/March 2015 appeal to you, I’m sure there something in the Readers’ Quilt Show from the Hands All Around exhibit or the article on 1970s quilts (check out the quilt which inspired Groovy within).

Another place for inspiration in each issue is the Staff Picks section where we feature new fabrics, notions and quilting books. This week from the February/March 2015 Staff Picks fabric selections, we’re giving away two bundles of fabric from the Caswell County collection by Andover Fabrics, one bundle each to two lucky winners. Each piece of fabric in these bundles is slightly larger than a fat quarter. Caswell County Caswell County Giveaway

Not sure what you might do with Caswell County fabrics? Check out this quilt block made from the collection for inspiration: Caswell County Block Caswell County Giveaway

Before we get to the giveaway rules, I’d like to share one more thing with you. February is almost over, and next month, March, is National Craft Month. To celebrate the craft of quilting, we’d like to make you, the quilter, the star of the month! Want to be a featured quilter? Here’s how:
1) Send a picture of a completed quilting project you’ve made to Feel free to include yourself in the photo. If you wish for your project to also be considered for the Quilting Bee feature in an upcoming issue, please send us the photo as a large/high resolution image.
2) In the email, tell us why you love this project.
3) Give us a short description of how you made it: techniques, tools, templates. We want all the details. If it was from a pattern and you remember which magazine/website it came from, let us know.
4) Make sure to include your name and location so we can give you credit.

To enter for your chance to win one of the two bundles of Caswell County, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm Mountain Time, Sunday March 1, 2015 telling us how long you’ve been quilting and whether you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate or advanced quilter. Open to anyone worldwide who has not won anything from Quilters Newsletter in the past 90 days. If you are randomly selected as a winner, the email will come from with “Quilters Newsletter blog giveaway” in the subject line.

To find out about more giveaways, quilting news, tips, techniques and to see all the beautiful quilts we like to share, join us on FacebookTwitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and our website. Plus, see Web Seminars on and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and

Posted in Contests | Tagged , , , , | 573 Comments

Snowy Days

Here in Colorado, the weather forecast for this past weekend was for a huge, gigantic, enormous winter storm. I was actually looking forward to it. I thought to myself, “I’ll be trapped in the apartment and I’ll just have to spend the whole weekend sewing.” So I got up Saturday morning and did my shopping and was home well before 11 a.m. I started sewing. I’m still working on the floor quilt for our new home. We have hardwood floors in practically the whole house so I need some big area rugs.

I designed this floor quilt two weeks ago. You can read a little about that here.

I finished the top and started on the pieced back last week, which I also mentioned on the blog.

Here is the top of the quilt.

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The Quilt Top

And here is the finished back.

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The Pieced Back

Isn’t it interesting to compare the final back with the photo of the first time I put pieces of it on my design wall?

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The Beginning of the Pieced Back

Part of the difference is that after I blogged last week, I realized I’d forgotten to check my box of orphan blocks. I hit the jackpot there.  There were several pieced blocks, an appliqued block and one that I made to check a pattern to be certain the pieces fit correctly.

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A Framed 9-patch Block

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A Pineapple Block

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Another Pieced Block

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This block is appliqued.

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A Flying Crow Block

Look again at the completed back. I think it is so much more interesting with the addition of the orphan blocks.

I brought the quilt top, batting and back to work today in hopes that we’ll have time to baste it so it will be ready to quilt. I think the quilting will need to be mostly straight lines that run the length of the quilt so I don’t have to try to turn it as I’m quilting.

But now for the bad news … once I had the back completed, I decided to play around with how our furniture will work in the new house. We’re closing soon so I’m trying to get organized for moving. I drew a scale drawing of the living room/dining room on graph paper. Then I made the furniture (also to scale on graph paper) and started trying different arrangements. At some point, I drew the outline of the floor quilt in the center of the room. And drat it all anyway, it’s way too small. I think my floor quilt needs to be about 2 feet bigger than it is. I was already concerned about quilting and how I’ll manage the bulk. I use a domestic machine, not a longarm. According to my original plan, the floor quilt would measure 6’ x 9’ and that is a lot of bulk to work with on a domestic machine.

So here is my new revised plan. I am going to go ahead and quilt what I have done to within an inch or so of the edge. Then, I’ll add a 3” red border and then a 10” piano key border. I’ve added borders to quilted centers before and it works. I have to pay attention when I’m adding the extra to be certain that I only stitch through the appropriate layers. I add the batting first, then the backing and press thoroughly. Then I add the front and stitch through all the layers so it is almost like stitching in the ditch.

I did pack a lot this weekend. My sewing room is nearly done. I still have to get the things from the top of the fabric storage and the craft cabinet in boxes.

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I thought my photography was pretty clever; you can see the stack of packed boxes in the mirrored door of the closet.

Do notice that I still have much of my thread available (in the storage containers on the shelf in the closet), along with pins (in the metal bowl in my craft cabinet) and needles, rulers and scissors (in the wire mesh basket next to the pins). I know myself well enough to understand that I won’t be able to go very long without sewing.  I’ve moved enough times to know there are some things you don’t pack until the last minute; coffee and the coffee pot, bandaids, screwdriver, pliers and the alarm clock. For those of us who are compulsive about our sewing, I add the very basic sewing supplies. Being able to sew after I’m just plain tired of packing helps to keep me sane.

Before I go, I do want to remind you about Bill Volckening’s web seminar about quilts of the 1970s on Friday, February 27th at 1:00 p.m. eastern time. I love those old quilts from the ’70s. In fact one of my very favorite quilts is one I made with polyester double knits. In the days before rotary cutters and fancy sewing machines, a whole new segment of the population started quilting with polyester double knit often being the fabric of choice. Bill’s seminar promises to be wonderful. He’ll talk about how to recognize a 1970s quilt, popular fabrics and methods of construction, how quilts have evolved, the relevance of 1970s quilts today and more. The registration fee is $19.99. And if you can’t be there for the live event, the registration fee will give you access to the archived version of the program.

And remember to visit Quilters Newsletter on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and our website for the latest news, quilting fun and ideas. Be sure to check for more Web Seminars on, and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and

Posted in Inspiration, Lori Baker, Staff Quilts | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Top winners at QuiltCon 2015

Are you attending QuiltCon 2015 in Austin, Texas, this weekend? If so, count yourself lucky. Tickets to the second large conference produced by the Modern Quilt Guild  were a hot commodity before they even went on sale, and our Facebook and Instagram feeds have been “blowing up” (as the kids say) with #QuiltCon-tagged images and updates.

Winners in the juried competition were announced Thursday morning, and the top three prizes shown below demonstrate both how modern quilters define their aesthetic and techniques as well as how the movement continues to evolve. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

york iquilt 1024x1015 Top winners at QuiltCon 2015

i Quilt by Kathy York of
Austin, Texas, Best in Show at QuiltCon 2015

Best of Show went to Kathy York of Austin for iQuilt.

pederson divinggeese 894x1024 Top winners at QuiltCon 2015

Diving Geese by Katie Pedersen of Seattle, Washington, Best Machine Quilting at QuiltCon 2015

Best Machine Quilting was awarded to Katie Pedersen of Seattle, Washington, for Diving Geese.

varner coralreef 819x1024 Top winners at QuiltCon 2015

Coral Reef by Marla Varner of Sequim, Washington, Coats Award of Quilting Excellence at QuiltCon 2015

The Coats Award of Quilting Excellence went to Marla Varner of Sequim, Washington, for Coral Reef.

Congrats to all who showed their quilts at QuiltCon! We look forward to seeing more from the show and the people behind it.

For more, be sure to check out QuiltCon magazine and some fantastic modern quilt kits.

Even though none of us got to attend QuiltCon in person, we feel as if we’re there in spirit via collector Bill Volckening, whose collection of super-groovy quilts from the 1970s is one of the special exhibits. Bill wrote an article for our current February/March 2015 issue about the collection (click here to learn more) and is also doing a live web seminar called “Modern Materials: Quilts of the 1970s” on February 27.

RickRackTiles 300x296 Top winners at QuiltCon 2015

Polyester quilt top with rick rack, from the collection of Bill Volckening

“When I first saw 1970s quilts, I was completely infatuated with the strong colors, but there was something more,” Bill said. “The quilts were remarkable cultural artifacts representing a great quiltmaking revival in America. I think you will discover the quilts of the 1970s to be relevant as they are vibrant.” Join him* to learn more about this increasingly popular area of quilt collecting (before they become scarce and the prices go up!). Click here to learn more about the web seminar.

*If you can’t attend the online event on February 27, you can still register for the web seminar and access it afterward on-demand and at your convenience.

Posted in Mary Kate Karr-Petras | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stepping Stones Quilt Finished!

Do you remember the quilt top that I made on a whim recently? Well, in a fit of productivity, I went ahead and finished it! Would you like to see? Here’s the top, in case you missed it the first time around.

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Quilt top

For the quilting I did a combination of free-motion circles and wavy lines done with a walking foot. I put the circles in each of the little charm square patches first, so they sort of link all the way down the quilt. Then I switched to the walking foot to go back and forth across the surface, a whole bunch of times.

stepstones1 Stepping Stones Quilt Finished!

Completed quilt. Stepping Stones by Gigi Khalsa

We can look at some spots up close, if you like.

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Here we are in the lighter section.

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More in the middle now.

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Now the darker section. I love how the metallic fabrics really pop with the quilting.

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Back to the lighter section, but now there are no squares, just strips and wavy lines.

I like the wavy lines a lot; they really complement the simple piecing, plus they are pretty much the least fussy design to do. If you veer a little to one side or another, it really doesn’t matter since it will blend into the overall pattern. I made sure to sew the wavy lines over the seams, both to keep them secure and to enhance the visual effect of the colors flowing in and out of one another. I’m kind of excited to wash it and see how that affects the look of the quilting.

Here’s the back!

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Quilt back!

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Close up of the fun pieced section on the back because why not?

It’s much more sparse but I didn’t have quite enough of the gray and pink print for the entire back, so I had to piece a part of it. I used leftover strips from the front, as well as strips I cut and rejected for the front because they didn’t really work.

stepstones6 Stepping Stones Quilt Finished!

Here’s some of the binding. When the binding is different all around the quilt, it’s difficult to take detail shots of it.

For the binding, I used leftover strips. Some colors, I just cut too many strips for the front, and others had little bits left over that would work. I tried to follow the general color and value placement of the quilt in the binding, but without too many different binding pieces.

I liked the quilt top so well that I had to finish it instead of putting it in a pile to finish later. Like Lori, sometimes I’m very distractible, except those times when I’m not.

How are your quilt tops coming along? If you’re taking a break from working on them, come visit us on Facebook, or Pinterest, or Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and our website. Have a quilteriffic weekend!


Posted in Gigi, Staff Quilts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

So Many Books Giveaway Part 7!


Around the Quilters Newsletter office, there’s been a bit of talk lately about making quilts to decorate a new home and projects that we can complete just over the weekend since we’re all so busy during the week (see what Lori got up to this past weekend). More than one of our co-workers across our sister publications and video team have had a baby somewhat recently as well, which makes all three sets of books we’re giving away this week a set that would help inspire currently relevant projects. If none of them appeal to you, you might be more interested in the quilting books in the staff picks section of our current issue, Quilters Newsletter February/March 2015, though I have a feeling the below giveaway might have something for everyone. Three lucky winners will each receive one set of three books.

BooksPt7 1 136x300 So Many Books Giveaway Part 7!  BooksPt7 2 146x300 So Many Books Giveaway Part 7!  BooksPt7 3 140x300 So Many Books Giveaway Part 7!

Set 1 includes Home Sweet Quilt by Jill FinleySet the Table — 11 Designer Patterns for Table Runners and Best Wall Quilts from McCall’s Quilting, all from That Patchwork Place.

Set 2 includes Sweet and Simple Sewing by Carrie Jung, Jessi Jung and Lauren Jung, Fabulously Fast Quilts by Amy Smart and Easy Weekend Quilts, all from That Patchwork Place.

Set 3 includes The Big Book of Baby Quilts, Cuddle Me Quick by Christine Porter and Darra Williamson and Modern Baby, all from That Patchwork Place.

To enter for your chance to win one of the three prizes, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm Mountain Time, Sunday February 22, 2015 telling us which of the three prizes is your favorite. As winners are randomly selected, we don’t guarantee you’ll win your preferred prize if chosen, but we’ll do our best! Open to anyone worldwide who has not won anything from Quilters Newsletter in the past 90 days. If you are randomly selected as a winner, the email will come from with “Quilters Newsletter blog giveaway” in the subject line.

To find out about more giveaways, quilting news, tips, techniques and to see all the beautiful quilts we like to share, join us on FacebookTwitter, Google+, Pinterest, InstagramYouTube and our website. Plus, see Web Seminars on and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and

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Love Those 3-day Weekends

Isn’t it amazing how much extra you can get done in a single day? Weekends for most of us are busy with shopping, housekeeping, laundry, etc. If you are like me, you get some quiltmaking done but it has to fit around all those mundane tasks. And don’t forget the visits with the children and grandchildren. Give me an extra day and I’m in heaven.

This weekend I worked on my floor quilt. I talked a bit about it in last week’s blog post. Here is a photo of it hanging on my design wall.

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The Top Ready to Sew

The top is done. I’m sorry, I didn’t remember to take a photo of it all stitched together. It’s big, 6 feet by 9 feet, so as you can see it doesn’t all fit on my design wall. The bottom 3 rows are lying on the floor.

Let me explain to you a bit of my thought process when I’m planning a floor quilt.

  1. These quilts are meant to be walked on. I don’t want to use a really special quilt for a floor quilt; no Baltimore albums, no Double Wedding Rings, no special family quilts.
  2. I like to use big, simple blocks so the quilt will go together quickly.
  3. The closer the quilt will be to an outside door, the more I think about the color and pattern being able to disguise any dirt that might get tracked in.
  4. It makes sense to me that heavy quilting will make the floor quilt more durable.
  5. Most of my quilts are reversible. That’s an especially fun idea for a floor quilt.
  6. I do think about washability when making a floor quilt. This one is large enough I’ll have to take it to a large commercial machine when it needs laundering.
  7. Since this will be on a hardwood floor, I’ll have to put a no-skid backing of some sort under it. There are products you can paint on the back, but then it wouldn’t be reversible.
  8. Style can be anything that goes with your decorating style. My quilts tend to be pretty traditional but anything works.

We took a bit of a break after I had the top pieced and my husband and I went to the Home and Garden Show. It made me wish for spring.

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One Display at the Home and Garden Show

When we got home, I started pulling fabric for the back of the quilt. Because I’d used a layer cake for the quilt top, I didn’t have the usual pile of leftovers. The first thing I found was a piece of beautiful yardage. I hung it over the quilt top.

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Here’s a possibility.

I have 3½ yards of this lovely fabric but after thinking a while, I decided not to use it. It’s too pretty to just chop up willy-nilly. It needs to be the focus fabric for something beautiful. So I just got all the small pieces of brown, gold, tan, even orange, from my stash and started sewing them together. I put the pieces on the design wall to get a feeling for how much of the back was done.

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Beginning the Back

I started with the smallest pieces first and as I worked, I started incorporating larger pieces.

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Making Progress

At this point, I’d used all of the small scraps of fabric. I’d started picking my fabrics from the larger pieces in my stash. Toward evening last night, I added a couple of ½ yard pieces of dark fabric. I’m mostly avoiding light fabrics since this will be on the floor. I cut those ½-yard pieces in strips so they are not all in one big glob.

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Still Not Done

Do notice that I’m not sewing the rows together yet. I have the two rows at the top nearly completed but as I add new fabrics, I want to put at least a little of that new fabric near the top of the quilt so the colors/fabrics are spread throughout the quilt.

I have a ways to go before this is done. I really want to finish this quilt in the next couple of weeks so it will be ready when we move into our new home. I’m at that point where I’m thinking that 3½-yard piece of fabric was a good idea – why didn’t I go with that? That’s the one downside of piecing backs. I get pretty anxious to see the completed project by the time I have pieced both the front and the back.

One more thing about floor quilts. It’s really important that they lay flat so I make an extra effort when I bind them to make sure the binding fits exactly right and doesn’t make them curl. Binding is such an important part of the quilt. I can still remember when Mom looked at one of my finished quilts and said, “Would you like me to show you how I do my binding?” That was her diplomatic way of saying my binding needed help. If you’d like help with your binding technique, this evening (February 17th) from 6-7 p.m. Eastern Time there will be a web seminar by Jenny Kae of Jenny Kae Quilts entitled Machine Quilt Binding Made Easy. The cost is $19.99 and the finished look of your quilts is so worth it.

Do visit Quilters Newsletter on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and our website for the latest news, quilting fun and ideas. Be sure to check for more Web Seminars on, and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and

Posted in Lori Baker, Staff Quilts | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments