It’s a Fat Quarter but Not a Fat Quarter Quilt

I had a great weekend. We bought a Christmas tree and it’s up and the apartment is decorated for Christmas. That’s a nice thing to check off my to-do list. Then I finished a quilt. I started this quilt way back in August and blogged about it in September. I didn’t show you the quilt top at that point but I did show you the quilt back. Then other deadlines got in the way and I put it away for awhile.

In early November, Gigi and I pin-basted it, then I started quilting it. Then other deadlines got in the way and I put it away again. I’m sensing a pattern here.

Last week, I was finally caught up and was able to get it back out and finish it. Here’s the front.

011 It’s a Fat Quarter but Not a Fat Quarter Quilt

The Completed Quilt

This is my take on a quilt designed by Bev Getschel for our Best Fat Quarter Quilts 2014 issue. Bev’s quilt is called Square Dance. I changed things up a bit when I made my version. I made my quilt larger than Bev’s by simply making the squares larger. Bev’s squares finished at 3” but my squares finish at 4”, making my quilt 88” x 96”. I did not use fat quarters to make my quilt so there are more different blue fabrics in mine than in the original. So the quilt is from the Best Fat Quarters Quilts 2014 issue but it isn’t a fat quarter quilt. That’s one of the things I love about quilting – patterns are a starting point. You don’t have to follow them exactly. You can change colors, sizes, block arrangement, just about anything to what you want. After all, it’s your quilt.

I pieced the back as I often do.

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The Quilt Back

It has two orphan blocks, one machine embroidery stitch-out and one sweet little hand-embroidered block from 1970.

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A Hand-Embroidered Block

I made a baby bib for my daughter and thought it was so cute that I started making a quilt with the same little embroidered kittens. Unfortunately, I only made one block before I was bored with the whole idea. This block has been in my stash ever since.

I free-motion quilted just doing loop-de-loops. It’s an easy, mindless pattern to quilt. I have to admit that I struggled with the quilting though. This size of quilt is so much easier to quilt with one of the bigger machines. I quilted using one of my older machines and I shouldn’t have done that.

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Here’s the label.

When I told my husband Bev Getschel’s quilt was named Square Dance and I wanted something  along that line, he immediately suggested Hoedown. I thought that was a perfect name.

Now I have to give you a hint. One of the things I often tell people is not to point out their mistakes. If someone is admiring your quilt, just thank them; don’t feel like you have to show them your mistakes. However, I’m going to point out a mistake because I have a solution I want to share.

I have a couple of wrinkles on the back of the quilt.

008 It’s a Fat Quarter but Not a Fat Quarter Quilt


See this one? The squares are 1¾”. So the wrinkle is small. The ideal solution would be to take out the stitching and redo that section. But I’m not going to do that. This is a utility quilt. It is never going to be entered in a show. I could just leave the wrinkle but I’m going to cover it up. I frequently put small pockets on my quilts. It started as a joke.

Once upon a time, I started making shirts for my grandsons. I cut them out and embroidered the grandson’s names on the pockets. Then I got sidetracked and they never got finished. Years later, I cut up the shirt parts and put them into a series of quilts I made. I cut the shirt fronts so one of the patches included the entire pocket. So there were pockets that worked on those quilts. My kids thought they were great fun so now there are often pockets on my quilts.

This quilt will have several pockets. There are 4 wrinkles so I’ll make 4 pockets. I have two of them done. Here’s one.

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An Easy Fix for a Wrinkle

It’s only about 3” x 3¼” so it’s just for fun. This evening, I’m going to stitch on two more pockets and Hoedown will truly be finished. And I’ll be on to the next project.

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Bill Volckening and His Quilts

We love quilt history and were thrilled when Bill Volckening agreed to conduct a web seminar for us: Quilt Collecting 101: A Survey of American Quilts as Seen Through My Collection to be offered January 14, 2015.

VolckeningAS12b 550 245x300 Bill Volckening and His Quilts

This New York Beauty from Bill Volckening’s collection was made by an unknown Oklahoma quiltmaker around 1870. It measures 70″ x 88″ and has fewer pieces than earlier examples. The points are rendered more like dovetail joints as seen in furniture.

Bill is a highly respected quilt collector who began collecting 25 years ago and now owns more than 250 quilts made between 1760 and present day. Quilters Newsletter featured his New York Beauties collection in the August/September 2012 issue. He told us then that he never intended to be a quilt collector. He was pursuing a master’s degree in photography when he attended an antique auction and bought a mid-19th century New York Beauty from Kentucky. He was drawn to the design and workmanship. Suddenly he was hooked and the collecting instincts he inherited from his family of collectors took over. He now says he’s a quilt magnet because he has an uncanny ability to unearth incredible quilts.

Bill also has a great collection of 1970s quilts that you can see and read about in the February/March 2015 issue of Quilters Newsletter, on newsstands January 27.

VolckeningQNM11 550 262x300 Bill Volckening and His Quilts

This nine-patch variation is one of Bill Volckening’s 1970s quilts and was made by an unknown quiltmaker. It measures 74″ x 84″. See more of his ’70s quilts in the February/March 2015 issue of Quilters Newsletter, on sale January 27.

During the Quilt Collecting 101 webinar, Bill will share some of the more unusual quilts from his collection and he’ll talk about what today’s quilters can learn from quilt history. He’ll also offer advice for investing in old quilts, including care, conservation and storage. In addition, he’ll focus on:

  • How specific styles of quilts were made in certain time periods.
  • What fabrics and methods of construction were popular at different times.
  • How the traditions of whole-cloth, applique and pieced quiltmaking developed.
  • And more!

The live web seminar takes place January 14, 2015, 1-2 p.m. Eastern time. The cost is just $19.99 – money well spent! If you can’t log into the live presentation, you’ll also be able to view it on demand. More details and registration information are available at Quilt and Sew Shop.

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Block Friday — Log Cabin

Black Friday has come and gone, and I didn’t get any quilting done that day since I spent most of it out shopping. This Friday however, and each Friday in December, I’d like to celebrate BLOCK Friday instead. Much more fun, I think! For today’s block, I’d like to focus on the log cabinLogCabinExample Block Friday    Log Cabin, a personal favorite that I’m sure I’m not alone in. In fact, when we asked in a giveaway a few months ago what our readers’ favorite quilt block was,  number one was overwhelmingly the log cabin. It’s not a terribly complex block and is fairly easy for a beginner, but it has enough variations that you could likely spend a lifetime making nothing but log cabin quilts and still never make the same variation twice. Some famous quilters like Emiko Toda Loeb, who we featured in Meetin’ Place in Quilters Newsletter June/July 2014, have devoted a large chunk of their quilting careers to making more and more complex and beautiful quilts using the log cabin block as a starting point.

Quilty recently aired an episode showing how to make the log cabin block with a twist, using Cynthia Brunz’s quilt Strawberries & Cream to demonstrate how different block placements can dramatically alter the look of your finished quilt (watch the YouTube video below or catch it for free on QNNtv):

Quilters Newsletter featured a very different-looking log cabin quilt block in our 9 Beautiful Blocks eBook (it’s the one in the middle in the bottom row): 9BeautifulBlocks Block Friday    Log Cabin

The log cabin block is also featured in a handful of the quilts in our upcoming Best Tradition with a Twist Quilts 2015 issue, on newsstands January 6. Stay tuned for more information and previews about those and other quilts from the issue.

Care to learn more about this fascinating block? Marti Michell has a Log Cabin ABCs Master Class you can get on DVD and QNNtv has other videos which will introduce you to a number of different log cabin variations.

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Christmas Came Early!

I recently received the most unexpected, wonderful package from my mother-in-law. She sent me an antique quilt that has been in the family for generations! She knows that I love quilting, quilts and anything related, so I’m really grateful that she sent it to me to treasure and look after. I’m thinking of it more as an honor and responsibility, rather than a gift, because I won’t use it and and I’ll just try to keep it in as good shape as possible.

The quilt was made as a wedding gift for her maternal grandfather (my husband’s great grandfather) by his maternal grandmother (my husband’s great great great grandmother). The wedding was on Saturday, December 15th, 1934 (their 80th anniversary is coming up!) in Los Angeles. Along with the quilt I received a photo of the couple on their happy day, plus a photocopy of the wedding announcement.

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Helen and Herbert Judd, 1934

The quilt doesn’t have a label, unfortunately, but in this case family lore provides the story. I was fortunate to meet Helen once before she passed away; she was very sweet and welcoming. I’ll probably hand sew a label containing all the info onto the quilt, just so it won’t be forgotten. But let’s look at the quilt!

19342 Christmas Came Early!

The full quilt. It measures about 68″ x 86″.

The pattern is a combination of a nine patch and wedding ring patterns. I did a quick internet search and found a couple of quilts that looked similar, most of them from the 1930s, so I think it was probably a popular pattern at the time. It seems to have multiple names, like a lot of quilt patterns do, but improved nine patch is the most common. I love the white center patches in each of the blocks, as well as the solid/print placement.

From what I can tell, it’s pieced by hand. There is also hand quilting but it’s pretty minimal, just enough to hold the layers together. I guess g-g-g-g’ma liked piecing more than hand quilting and I can identify with that! There isn’t a separate binding; it looks like the front was trimmed then the backing was folded over and stitched to the front by machine. It was definitely used, as there are a few light stains and worn spots, but it’s in really good shape.

19343 Christmas Came Early!

The backing is folded over and stitched to the front.

There are quite a few feedsack prints, along with some prints that seem more like dressmaking scraps – twills and lightweight textured woven fabrics with larger prints. I tried to get a nice sampling in the detail shots.

19344 Christmas Came Early!

Up close. You can sort of see the hand quilting at the block corners, and there’s some quilting in the ditch too, around the center white patch.

19345 Christmas Came Early!

More details. Here are some of the larger prints. I wonder if, at some point, all those pink patches were the same color.

19346 Christmas Came Early!

I would love to have a bit of that boat fabric.

19347 Christmas Came Early!

Those stripes are part of the weave of the fabric, not the print. I wouldn’t mind a bit of that fabric, either.

19348 Christmas Came Early!

More details!

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And some more details!

So I guess my next step is to invest in some acid-free storage for the quilt. It would be nice to display it, but I’d hate for it to fade or tear or for anything at all to happen to it, so it’s best to be cautious, I think. I’ve never had an antique quilt to look after so I want to make sure I do it right. Any advice is welcome!

Quilting joys are meant to be shared, so let’s share on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and our website. Have a heartwarming weekend!

Posted in Gigi, Inspiration, Staff Quilts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

My Best Fat Quarter Quilt Challenge

If you have your copy of Quilters Newsletter’s Best Fat Quarter Quilts 2014, you may remember my letter from the editor.

FQ letter My Best Fat Quarter Quilt Challenge

Do you see that final paragraph, in which I challenged myself to make a pattern from the issue using fat quarters from my own stash and to blog about it in November? (Click the image to enlarge it for easier reading.) Well, I may have missed posting this in November by a few days, but I want you to know I made good on my pledge.

When I wrote that letter, I had a pretty good idea that I wanted to make Yorkshire Park designed by Amanda Murphy.

Yorkshire 550 My Best Fat Quarter Quilt Challenge

Yorkshire Park by Amanda Murphy, from Best Fat Quarter Quilts 2014

From the moment I started looking at the quilt closely I was intrigued by the block design itself and how the hourglass units around the blocks create a continuous design across the surface of the quilt. It has more of the feel of an ornate tiled floor to me than it does a traditional quilt design.

I also had a certain bundle of fat quarters — Divine by Rosemarie Lavin for Windham Fabrics — in mind when I wrote the letter from the editor, one I really had been holding onto for the past two or three years because the fabrics just looked so pretty all stacked together.

FQ1 My Best Fat Quarter Quilt Challenge

fat quarters from Rosemarie Lavin’s Divine collection for Windham Fabrics

Those two ideas bounced around in my head for a few weeks, and then I started to second-guess myself. Maybe I could pick an easier pattern that wouldn’t require quite so much cutting and piecing. Maybe I could dig out different fat quarters from my stash, or even take home something we had in the office so I could avoid having to cut into my pretty Divine collection. After all, nobody would be any the wiser if I didn’t make a real effort to use a bundle I’d been saving, right?

Well, I must have felt bound by some unspoken honor code, because I went ahead with my original plan. And I am so happy I did.

The first thing I did was plan my fabric choices based on what I had in my stash. I put the wide stripes and linen-texture blenders from the bundle away since I didn’t think they were well suited for this pattern, and searched my stash for complementary fabrics.

Amanda’s original design calls for pink prints and blue prints for the blocks and a green print for the accent “leaves.” Because there is a pink colorway and green colorway in the Divine collection, I decided to flip-flop the fabric placement and use blue as the accent color instead. And I just happened to have about three yards of a pale blue solid (Kona Cotton Solid in Sky) that I’d bought for a different project but that I knew would be the perfect background fabric in place of the pale yellow in the original.

Once I’d pulled all the fabrics I laid them out on my table to see how well they played together. Mixed in with the Divine fat quarters were a few from FreeSpirit Fabrics, including large-scale florals by Martha Negley and damask-style prints by Jennifer Paganelli and Tanya Whelan.

FQ2 My Best Fat Quarter Quilt Challenge

Fabric choices round 1

It looked pretty good to me, but after I measured that turquoise dot fabric I realized I didn’t have enough of it. Back to my stash I went.

FQ3 My Best Fat Quarter Quilt Challenge

Fabric choices round 2

Now you’re talking! Not only did I have enough of the other blue dot shown above (from the Knick-Knack collection by Karen Combs for Troy Riverwoods), its brighter robin’s egg color was better for this quilt.

Now there was only one choice left — to start cutting. I filled up my spray starch bottle, put a brand-new blade in my rotary cutter and got to work.

FQ4 1024x682 My Best Fat Quarter Quilt Challenge

Because this pattern takes full advantage of quick-corner piecing techniques, I took the time to mark the diagonal lines on the backs of all the patches necessary (approximately 272 patches total, but who’s counting, right?). That’s a step I’ve skipped in the past in the interest of time, but since I don’t have a laser light on my sewing machine it’s easy to deviate from sewing perfectly on the diagonal when I’m just trying to eyeball it, which can result in wonky block edges.

FQ5 My Best Fat Quarter Quilt Challenge

Once I had everything cut and marked, the blocks came together quickly, as in maybe 30 minutes for each one. Before long I’d finished all the blocks and had moved onto the square-in-square units and hourglass units.

I’ll admit, I did need the extra time afforded me by the long Thanksgiving weekend to finish up the quilt top. Most of my sewing typically happens after my kids are in bed, which is OK since I’m a true night owl; I sometimes sew when I’m home on weekends but after an hour or so I start to feel like I’m taking time away from my girls. Either that, or they’re starting to get too much in the way in my sewing room, playing with my pincushion or putting stickers on my acrylic rulers or arguing over one scrap of fabric, and I can’t concentrate anymore. But over Thanksgiving I decided to feel less guilty about how many Christmas movies they were watching and just kept sewing.

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My version of Yorkshire Park

Ta-dah! Yes, it does still need borders. I want to use this as a twin bed quilt, so I’ll add wider borders than what the original pattern called for, meaning I need to do some math and figure out what I can manage with what fabric I have left. And then there’s the quilting, of course. Amanda’s original quilt was quilted with an allover motif, but since I’m still not a confident free-motion quilter I’ll probably rely on my walking foot for some geometric lines.

But those steps will come in due time. For now, I’m enjoying the sense of accomplishment for having gotten this far with such a lovely quilt top to show for it. I would actually recommend this pattern to anyone who considers her/himself a confident beginner. The only place where you really need to match seams is where the corners of the “leaves” (the blue dot in my version) meet in a V in the blocks.

FQ close up My Best Fat Quarter Quilt Challenge

You don’t even need to worry about matching the “leaves” to the hourglass units when you put the rows together, since the hourglass units finish 1/2″ longer on either side by design. It’s fantastic! Thank you, Amanda! By the way, you can see even more color options for this pattern on Amanda’s blog (note that the giveaway she mentions has ended).

FQ7 1024x767 My Best Fat Quarter Quilt Challenge

I’ll post a photo when the entire quilt is finished. In the meantime, I hope this has inspired you to pull some treasured fat quarters out of your fabric collection to use them in some way. You won’t be sorry — trust me!

If you need more inspiration you can see photos of the other quilts in the issue in recent posts from our blog tourBest Fat Quarter Quilts 2014 is still on sale on newsstands, in quilt shops and book stores and in our online

Posted in Mary Kate Karr-Petras, Staff Quilts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Altering Quilt Patterns

Here at Quilters Newsletter, we often suggest quilters alter quilt patterns to fit their own tastes, whether it be a different colorway, a bigger or smaller size, rearranging blocks, perhaps using just one block for another quilt project, etc. Such alterations are second nature to some while others lack confidence to make changes. In particular, the last couple of years we suggested using the individual blocks and foundation patterns from Tina Curran’s amazing Christmas-themed block-of-the-week series quilts that we offered on our website – Christmas Flag, My Christmas Album and First Snow.

Recently we decided it was time to practice what we preach, so creative editor Lori Baker came up with some really cute Christmas projects based on the quilt blocks and foundation patterns in those Christmas quilt projects.

Tree Mendous Altering Quilt Patterns

Tree-Mendous is a quilted wall hanging that measures 16” square. Lori photocopied the foundation pattern for tree #2 from Christmas Flag at 200%, then she pieced the tree, added borders, machine quilted and bound it. A few glued-on embellishments finished the project nicely.

Kindle Cover Altering Quilt Patterns

For the Kindle case, she used the tree #1 pattern from First Snow. Lori pieced the tree and turned it into a lined, zippered pouch. She added a single button to the top of the tree. Her hint: remember that the zipper tab will take up ½” of the opening. I wonder why she said that.

See the original quilts by Tina Curran and other projects on our Christmas and Winter Quilt Patterns page that includes both free and for-purchase winter and Christmas quilt patterns.

And for more inspiration and news from the quilting world, be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramGoogle+Youtube and our website!

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

200 Quilts? YES!


I mentioned last week that I was nearing a big milestone – my 200th quilt. And here it is. Number 200. It’s done and I’m ready to move on to the next project.

009 200 Quilts? YES!

#200 – Frog Went A-Courting

Frog Went A-Courting is the fun string quilt I was working on last week. I finished the quilting, made a label and bound the quilt. It’s all done. I’m so delighted.

The possibilities with string quilts are amazing. Change the block size or add sashing and borders and you have a whole new look. Most of my strings were a consistent width but you can get a really fun look using “wonky” strips – strips that vary in width from one end to the other. You can also get an interesting look by using the same fabric as the middle strip in each block and then setting the blocks together with no sashing.  And don’t forget to play with rotating the blocks. There are multitudes of different ways to set them together. For more ideas, check out the Daily Craft TV String Piecing 7 Ways DVD

I’ve been thinking that I need to concentrate on using some more of my scraps – I found two books this morning that have some fun patterns for scrap quilts, Crazy for Scraps by Sally Schneider and Slash Your Stash from McCall’s Quilting. After the long 4-day weekend, I’d just like to go home and sew some more.

To celebrate my 200th quilt, we want to give away something fun. In fact, we’ve made 3 prize packages.

012 200 Quilts? YES!

Package #1

The first package contains a Twister Frosty pattern by Need’l Love and five quilting stencils from Quilting Creations and Golden Threads.

013 200 Quilts? YES!

Packages #2 and #3

The second and third packages are Twister Owl patterns by Need’l Love.

To enter for your chance to win one of these prize packages, leave a comment on this post below by 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time Sunday December 7, 2014, telling us how many quilts you have made. Open to anyone worldwide who has not won anything from Quilters Newsletter in the past 90 days.

If you’re looking for more inspiration and news about the quilting world, make sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramGoogle+Youtube and our website!

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Quilt exhibits to visit this winter

news page 768x1024 Quilt exhibits to visit this winter

Page 12 of the Dec/Jan 2015 issue of Quilters Newsletter

Every issue of Quilters Newsletter starts with five pages of our “What’s New” section, in which we show the big winners from recent major quilt shows and offer other tidbits from around the quiltosphere. We also regularly include news and images for quilt exhibits at museums that are currently on display. Of course, because we write the news a few months before an issue is published, we don’t always know about all the exhibits happening in a given month, nor would we have room for them all if we did.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of a few more quilt exhibits happening around the U.S. that you may want to visit in the next month or two.


Erin Wilson’s Color Stories at the Art Quilt Gallery NYC, New York City
through December 13, 2014
“What began early in life as a natural connection to color & textiles has developed into an intense, long term study of the built environment. It wasn’t my specific goal to live in and make quilts about the city, but here I am, & here they are.”


HudsonQuilts ExhibitFlyer Quilt exhibits to visit this winter

Warmth and Creativity: The Hudson Family Quilts at the Institute for Community Research Gallery, Hartford, Connecticut
through December 19, 2014
The exhibit displays masterful traditional southern African American hand-sewn quilts made by the late Laura Hudson, as well as new multi-media art works crafted by members of her family today, including son Robert Charles Hudson and husband Joseph Hudson.  ICR’s Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program (CHAP) has worked on several projects with Laura Hudson and her family since 1992, documenting their artistic creativity and community activities.


Hawaiian Quilting: Traditions Continue at the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum, La Conner, Washington
through December 28, 2014
Exhibit of Hawaiian quilts by Washington resident Grace Hawley, who learned how to make them while living in Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. Many of Grace’s original designs include flowers and leaves. The quilting lines on traditional Hawaiian quilts often echo the applique design, both on and outside of the applique work and Grace’s quilts feature this wonderful style of hand quilting. Hand applique and hand quilting are time-consuming processes, which require the maker to give of themselves. Grace has two projects underway at all times; one a take-along project and one a large project for work at home.


Amish: The Modern Muse at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, San Jose, California
through January 3, 2015
Come see what Amish made Modern looks like! Three Bay Area Modern Quilt Guilds — East Bay Modern, Bay Area Modern and South Bay Area Modern — present a juried exhibition of quilts made by MQG members who were inspired by Amish quiltmakers. Juror San Francisco artist Joe Cunningham has chosen almost 20 quilts that best represent a 21st century interpretation of late 19th- and early 20th-century Amish quiltmaking traditions.


Let Me Quilt One More Day at the New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut
through January 4, 2015
Let Me Quilt One More Day explores the long-standing practice and art of quilt making in the United States. This exhibition, curated by Dr. Douglas Hyland, brings together an extraordinary selection of over 40 historical and contemporary quilts ranging from traditional to modern designs and demonstrating both the practical application and artistic range found in this medium. The themes of Industry, Emotion, and Art loosely group quilts that vary greatly in material and artistic style.


AQMADetail Quilt exhibits to visit this winter

Quilts at the MUZEO Museum and Cultural Center, Anaheim, California
through Feb. 15, 2015
More than 35 historic and contemporary quilts are on display, including 26 from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum that are dated between 1870 and 1940, and a group of quilts from contemporary Californians including Linda Anderson, Cindy Cooksey, Joe Cunningham, Jamie Fingal, Sheila Frampton-Cooper, Sherry Davis Kleinman, Kerby C. Smith, Lura Schwarz Smith, and Terry Waldron.


b1689a9f 6c6a 4a2a 89ae 7b00e3394b9b Quilt exhibits to visit this winter

Modern Marvels: Quilts Made from Kits 1915-1950 at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska
through February 28, 2015
Modern Marvels: Quilts Made from Kits features some of the designers, companies, and publications that were well known for their kits from the 1920s until about the middle of the century, when quiltmaking become less popular generally. The exhibit includes quilts designed by the famous Marie Webster and Anne Orr, among others, and from ever-present magazines like McCall’s Needlework and Craft. Many of these designs would look great in today’s homes — Come marvel at the fresh, modern quilts of a bygone era!


Be sure to check out our website,  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, PinterestInstagram and YouTube for the latest updates from QN, and visit us on for great deals on our regular issues, special issues, exclusive digital downloads and more.

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Thankful for Fabric Giveaway


Here at Quilters Newsletter, we’re thankful for a great many things, greatest among them being our subscribers, our followers, our fellow quilters, and our friends and families. We’re also grateful for fabric, thread, needles and the quilting craft which brings us together, and today we’d like to share some of those material things we’re thankful for with some of those people we’re thankful for. Two lucky winners will each receive one of the two fabric bundles pictured below, both from collections which were featured in our Staff Picks section in our October/November 2014 issue. If you missed the issue while it was still on newsstands, you can still get your copy online at Quilt and Sew Shop, and if you’re more interested in the current issue, December/January 2015, it’s available on newsstands, at bookstores, quilt shops, and also online at Quilt and Sew Shop.

Kahuna Batiks by Fresh Water Designs for EE Schenck:KahunaBatiks Thankful for Fabric Giveaway

Somerset by Fig Tree & Co. for Moda:Somerset Thankful for Fabric Giveaway

To enter for your chance to win one of these two lovely fat quarter bundles, leave a comment on this post below by 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time Sunday November 30, 2014, telling us which of the two bundles you would prefer and what your favorite article or pattern you’ve found in any issue of Quilters Newsletter was. As winners are randomly selected, it’s not guaranteed you’ll win your favorite bundle, 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 the winner, the email will come from with “Quilters Newsletter blog giveaway” in the subject line.

If you’re looking for more inspiration and news about the quilting world, make sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramGoogle+Youtube and our website!

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Four-Spool Weekend

My sewing mess just creeps up on me sometimes, getting bigger and bigger until one day, I look at it and can’t do anything else until I have tackled it, wrestled it to the ground and tied it into neat and tidy bundles. I have a bedroom in the apartment that is supposed to be the sewing room but the lighting is not wonderful so I sew on the table in the dining area. That means I have sewing spread over both areas most of the time.

We knew we had company coming on Sunday and there will be more company on Thanksgiving Day so this weekend, I took on the sewing mess. Part of it was easy, just folding and putting away pieces and parts from projects I’ve finished in the last couple of weeks. But as I was nearing the end, I needed space in the closet for one more box and there simply wasn’t any space. So I started evaluating what I had in there.

Several years ago, I read someone’s organizational idea of sorting scraps and cutting 2½” strips and squares, as well as  3”, 4” and 5” squares and storing them separately. So I had small boxes with patches of those sizes. I also had a box of 9½” squares. The idea didn’t work for me. Pretty much I had four boxes of squares and strips but I never remember to look in the four boxes. I cut the 9½” squares into 4” and 5” squares. There went one box.

Then I pieced a handful of 4-patch blocks with the 5” squares. It didn’t make a dent in the three boxes that I was trying to use up. I put the blocks on the design wall but somehow, it didn’t inspire me. I was just thinking of a throw for when we’re watching TV or reading but this is just too boring.

002 Four Spool Weekend

Four-Patch Failure

Looking at the photo, I can see that maybe if I work at the arrangement of the blocks it will be better. It’s supposed to be a quick quilt, a utility quilt but I’m just not impressed so far. On second thought, I’m going to look at Devoted to Scraps to see if I can find a way to rescue it. Devoted to Scraps is a super book by Quiltmaker, our sister publication, with lots of nice scrappy patterns.

But check this out. Here is the reason I wind up with so many PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks). I didn’t work at making those 4-patch blocks into something I liked. I left them on the design wall and moved on to something else. I justified it by saying I was trying to use up the scraps in those boxes.

I made 42 blocks by simply string piecing strips of different widths onto a paper foundation and sewed the blocks together and I had a quilt top.

003 Four Spool Weekend

String-pieced Top

Then I took a length of fabric for the back and cut it so it was in two unequal sections. I pieced one long strip and put it in between the two sections and voila, I had a back to the quilt.

006 Four Spool Weekend

Simple Pieced Back

I removed the paper foundations from the front of the quilt; spray basted the three layers together and started quilting. I’m just doing one big spiral. I’m not thrilled with the quilting but it will work for a watching-TV, snuggly quilt.

Most of the time, when I’m making a quilt, I struggle with the name. Not this time. This is Froggie Went A-Courting. There is lots of the one blue-and-green frog print in the quilt and I found myself humming the song as I was sewing.

004 Four Spool Weekend

Scrappy Memories

I love making scrap quilts. The frog fabric was supposed to be shirts for the three oldest grandsons; the black-and-red strawberry print was a dress for our oldest granddaughter; the smiley faces with the medical caps and equipment print was hospital scrubs for our son-in-law; the turquoise, lime and black print was a pair for shorts for our youngest son, all made in the early ’90s. So as I was sewing I was having fun remembering.

I did get the scraps that started the whole process stacked into two small boxes so everything fits in the closet again.

And when I am piecing scrap quilts, I just use whatever color of thread. I use good quality cotton or polyester thread. And because I have so much thread and I am trying to consolidate things, I take the spool with the least thread on it and sew until it is gone. My bobbin thread and my top thread don’t necessarily match. My machine is adjusted well enough that I can’t see the thread once the block is pressed and I am looking at the right side so I just use up spools. I emptied four spools this weekend. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t suppose that’s a lot. I have 400-500 spools of thread. I have so much thread that it’s crazy. But nevertheless, a four-spool weekend is a good thing.

Just for fun, I keep track of how much thread I use in a year by throwing the empty spools in a container, then I can count them at the end of the year. I should have used a larger container this year. I can’t wait to count at the end of December.

And this week, I should hit a BIG milestone. I keep track of all the quilts I make and I finished quilt number 199 last week. This simple little quilt I started this weekend should be quilt number 200 for me. I’m excited. Watch for my blog post next week and I’ll tell you more.

Until then, check out our pages on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube and our website for quilting fun and inspiration.

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