Friday, June 9, 2017

The Halo Sunday Sew and Sews

In December 2016 two of my quilt students, who are sisters, asked me if I thought they were capable of making the 2017 Block of the Month quilt from The Quilt Show The Halo Star Medallion Quilt. A Sue Garman design, this quilt is not for a pure beginner or someone who wants to zip through a quilt in a weekend.

These two women have taken a lot of classes from me and others in the past few years and have really gotten the "quilt bug"--they are hooked! Add determination to that and you have quilters who can learn to do anything. I told them they could do this, one month at a time, and not to expect to rush through it or to find each part really easy. Even to me those curved flying geese blocks looked challenging. They were relieved and excited, they both signed up as Star Members of and got fabrics ready for January 1, 2017 when the first month's pattern would be released.

As much as I love Sue Garman and her patterns, I wasn't going to do this quilt, now, I really wasn't. BUT. I started thinking about it as a few other students told me they were going to do it too. What if, a famous phrase Sue used very often, what if I offered to host a small group, once a month, at my house, for those students who might want some help? I posted a note on our guild Facebook page and quickly had 15 people, when 10 was going to be my limit. I still had to say no to several more. Now I was committed...

Sunday January 1 the first month was released and the show that aired that day featured Carolyn Hock, who was the "stunt sewer" for the Kit/Pattern. I sent a quick note to Alex Anderson, telling her how well I thought Carolyn did and what a great BOM this would be. I mentioned my group--by now I had named us the Halo Sunday Sew and Sews. Next thing I know, Alex asked if I would monitor the Forum, the board where people ask for help--I would be watching for questions about this quilt and answering them. A teacher at heart, I said "sure".  I also sent a note to Sue, telling her how much I loved this pattern and how I appreciated all the work she put into it during 2016, a year of great difficulty for her. She sent back a lovely note--we have been real friends for several years.

The following Sunday, 14 intrepid quilters came to my house, loaded down with fabrics and notebooks. eager/petrified to get started. I began by explaining who Sue Garman is, and what she meant to me, most of them didn't know who she was. We all shared our fabric plans, asked and answered tons of questions, and began the process of getting to know each other. Our guild has over 200 members and I was the only person who knew who everyone was. 

The next day the quilt world learned that Sue passed away--the afternoon before, during our first meeting. It is still so sad. But what a wonderful life she lived and how much she enriched the world. Now I was glad I was making this quilt, her last design. 

Here is how things are progressing for our little group:

Pam has a plan! She also fell a month ago and broke her wrist and arm so has been held back a bit
Donna got the halo effect beautifully

Brenda and Rhonda--keeping up 

Janet and Susan, ready to add their curved flying geese

JoAnne who is not afraid of color

Sheila, winner of the "most dramatic fabric" award--we are all loving her quilt
Terri has such a bright and lively color scheme

There are 5 more who either haven't started, or didn't bring theirs last week or didn't send me a photo. As photos come in, I'll update this.

They are all doing GREAT--I am so proud of the effort they are all putting in and how much the newer quilters are learning. About half these women have been quilting less than 5 years. Some of us are more "seasoned". 

I am a bit ahead as I test all the instructions and write a blog for the first of each month with tips and tricks so here is mine; next up are straight flying geese borders:

Starting a small group is a terrific way to make friends, encourage each other, and learn new things. It's easy to do, all you have to do is ask.

Let's Quilt!



  1. Barbara, what a touching story about your group getting started on Sue's quilt just as she passed. This quilt is really intriguing, and I think everyone in your group is doing a beautiful job! I hope they know how lucky they are to have you gather them together and offer your expertise. I might have even been tempted to join if that had been available to me. : )

  2. Sue Garmon was such a fabulous designer.
    Your students did a great job!

  3. I have been following along with your blog as I work through the Halo quilt. I think your posts are quite helpful! I live here in Huntsville, and although I quilt lots, I have never joined the quilt. I am looking forward to attending for the first time this month. Thanks for your inspiring blog and your beautiful work.

  4. Thank you for sharing so many of your group's quilts. I enjoyed the variety of fabrics and it's interesting that no one used the TQS kit. Lovely! I am quite sure that I would not have stuck with it this far were it not for your blog posts. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Barbara.

    1. Thank you. Rhonda is using the TQS kit, it's just hard to see in the photo.

  5. Each and every quilt is beautiful! Great job, ladies!!!! I may have to put this quilt on my "Do Someday List"

  6. Barbara, thank you so much for hosting our group and for all your words of encouragement and great teaching. I love being in the Halo Sunday Sew and Sews! Every time I look at my quilt I think, "I can't believe I did that!"

  7. I am working on Halo with a group of three other friends, and our fabric choices are equally varied. Thanks for your blog and helpful suggestions. I think this is my seventh Sue Garman quilt. Always learning on each and every one.