Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Recently, I taught a class for this fun quilt that used paper pieced house blocks I had swapped with two friends, and floating star blocks I had swapped with 14 guild members.

The class sample:

The students learned the basics of paper piecing with the 5" houses in the morning:

After lunch, they took on the cute tiny stars, 4" finished. Their work was fun and all of them learned something:

The instructions for the Tiny Stars are in this Tiny Stars blog post. They are great blocks for a swap since they are somewhat forgiving--the star points do not go all the way to the edge of the block.

The houses and trees I designed in EQ8. This makes a great all-day class. I keep changing the name of the class: "The Village",  "Quilters' Scrap Houses",  "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"  Which do you prefer?

Let's quilt.


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Watch Free Shows

Since I am in Denver to tape The Quilt Show, I thought I would remind you that non-Star members can still watch a few shows FREE to see how great they are.

Watch Free Shows.

If you are a Star member, which means you have a paid subscription to The Quilt Show, you have access to all 12 years of shows, 26/year. It is easy to search for specific guest artists or techniques to find the show you are looking for:

Search Shows

Some of my favorites have been:

Sue Garman, Show 304 and 503
Sally Collins, Show 1602
Karen Buckley, Show 2007
Julie Silber--Antique Quilts, Shows 1611, 2010 , 2108, 2304, 2305

There are many more that I have enjoyed and learned from. Even the shows that don't particularly interest me, still teach me something. The Quilting World is huge and there is room for everyone and every technique and idea.

Enjoy and let's quilt.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Secret Sewing and Preparation

There has been a lot of secret sewing going on in my studio. The other day I finished my second Sizzle top--my Warm/Combo one:

The applique' border patterns will be released  October 1, but I have to work in advance so the blog with tips and tricks will be ready that day.

While I am making two of these quilts, I did not want to do applique' on both of them, it takes a long time. So here is my Cool Kit version, with a pieced border I designed:

I wanted to be sure whatever design I came up with could be made from the remaining Kit fabrics. If someone runs out, any blue or green that looks like these fabrics, or for the Warm Kit, fabrics that look like those, can easily be substituted in the border.

Recently, I have been hard at work on the 2020 Block of the Month for The Quilt Show. Yes, with a little help from my friends, I made it and will be heading to Denver later this week to tape the show that will reveal it. That show will air in late December. It is a commercial pattern, not my own, and I think most of you will LOVE it.

Much work goes into preparing samples and "step outs" for taping a show. Lots of coordination with the Producer, and others, and lots of practice. Here is my stack of stuff, ready for another run-through before I pack my suitcase:

As an added incentive to join or renew your membership, The Quilt Show is offering a "Taping Special" until August 20--a roll-back to the 2008 price of $42.95 for a one year Star membership. All you have to do is enter AugTaping as the Coupon Code at checkout to get this great deal. The Quilt Show.

Do you know that as a Star Member you have access to ALL the previous shows from the last 12 years? Wonderful teachers, some who no longer travel to teach, and so much great information.

If you join now, you get SIZZLE, the 2019 Block of the Month designed by Becky Goldsmith, FREE,  and get all the information as it is released for the 2020 Block of the Month--you will get that pattern FREE as well, starting in January 2020. Yes, I get paid for some of the work I do for The Quilt Show, but first and foremost, I am a FAN.

The other day I just wanted to quilt something so I created a back and batting for this cute quilt a friend gave away. It is about half done. When finished, I will donate it to my guild's Comfy Quilts program:

Let's quilt.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Heartland Quilt Guild Trunk Show

The Heartland Quilt Guild of Cullman, AL provided a gracious welcome as I gave a trunk show of a few of my quilts.

I decided to present "Every Quilt Tells a Story". I selected a wide variety of my work and presented the quilts in chronological order, starting with my very first bed-size quilt, the pink and blue Trip Around the World I machine pieced and hand quilted in 1988, so 1980's!

In preparing for this, I made a list of the quilts I thought I would take--about 20 quilts and several tops. I opened my two largest rolling suitcases and filled them, eliminating a few large quilts as space dictated. Once full, they were too heavy to lift so I got my next largest rolling suitcase and rearranged the quilts--adding no more, just making a little breathing room.

Then I typed up a list, with dates and small stories I wanted to share about each one. The program lasted about an hour with good questions. So that was just about the right number of quilts.

I finished by showing the Lifetime top, all 100" square of it. I think it'e sub-title will be Wow! because that is what I often hear when quilters see it. This one got more interest after the presentation than any other, 12,800 triangles, HST 1.25" finished:

This guild provides dinner for the members so they have a social time before the meeting. They have 50 members and more than 40 were in attendance:

Show and Tell is always something I enjoy. Here Conna shows a gift for a grand niece, I believe. The mother requested a turquoise and gray quilt--Conna added a beautiful curved edge border to soften the look for a girl. It was beautifully quilted as well:

My contact with this guild is a lovely woman who kept everything on track. Thank you, Betty, for all your help:

We got everything packed up and loaded in my car so that I was on the road by 9 p.m. After an hour of over the river and through the woods travel, I safely reached my home about 10 p.m. The quilts waited to be put away until the next morning.

Thank you, Heartland Quilt Guild for a fun evening.

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Annual Three Amigas Quilt Retreat

For more than 10 years, three of us spend several days together, sewing, talking and catching up. Two of us live here, one two hours away.

Ellen, to the left, Sharon, to the right...

We had a plan to all work on the same very cute project, with our own patterns Sharon bought for us all last year. 

I have been under the weather the last few days and important deadlines are looming.  So I had to work on my things and Ellen and Sharon worked on the project--a half size version of the pattern "Stitch Happens". Ellen, as is usual, finished hers in two days. Isn't that adorable?

Sharon  followed Ellen's lead as she recalculated what size to cut each piece. She also made progress:

I basted a quilt I have to get quilted soon--having tables to work on is very helpful:

And I prepped and cut and glued many applique' pieces for a border that has to get finished this week:

We start each visit with Ellen's Show and Tell where she shows us some of her year's production. She retired from teaching a year ago so she has had so much time to create:

The first few

A favorite for all of us

Her beautiful Antique Rose Star on top of another good one

We have one more day to enjoy together. Then we start talking about doing it more often and for longer each time.

Quilting friends are the best.

Let's quilt,


Sunday, August 4, 2019

Photographer in the Family

It is great to have a professional photographer in the family. My son, Joshua Black Wilkins, shoots all my quilts that are too big for me to easily photograph:

Ruffled Roses, 2011-2019, pattern by Sue Garman, available at her website,

Check out his website:

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

SIZZLE Block 8

This is the  2019 Block of the Month from The Quilt Show. This quilt pattern designed by Becky Goldsmith is FREE to Star Members.  Join Today  to be part of the fun.

Be sure to READ ALL THE GENERAL DIRECTIONS and WATCH ALL THE VIDEOS. Each month's pattern has detailed instructions as well. 


Block 1
Block 2

Block 3
Block 4
Block 5

Block 6
Block 7

CUTTING NOTE: for the last few blocks, I check to see if I have leftover pieces of the required fabrics I can use to cut some of the pieces BEFORE I cut the strips called for in the pattern. I have been able to save at least one strip each month--this will come in handy for the pieced border I will be doing with my Cool Kit version.

Here we are, with only two blocks to go. This month we have the pieced-in center circle again, as we had in Month 4:

Remember, the paper patterns for the center circle were printed in Month 4. You saved them for this month and Month 9. They are not printed again now.  Becky has provided specific instructions for the circle on page 16 of the General Instructions:

 I use Karen K Buckley's Perfect Scissors to trim the curved edges:

This block has wonky angles so be sure you have the fabrics placed correctly to cover the paper pattern. Here I have a pin on the seam so I can open the dark fabric BEFORE SEWING to be sure the positioning is correct:

Once I knew I had the fabrics in the proper place, I stacked up all the white #1 fabrics right sides together on top of the dark #2 fabrics, being sure the lower right corners were lined up. This made it very easy to chain-piece all the units one right after the other.

Once the 4 fabrics are sewn on the Diamond paper pattern, I used a small dab of fabric glue to secure the fabric to the paper before trimming the outer edges, at the tip of fabric #1 and #4, avoiding the seam allowance:

STOP! Now is the time to go back and READ THE DIRECTIONS--both on the Month 8 pattern and in the GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS, pages 16-19. If you did not print them, you can find them under Month 1. There are 27 pages of excellent advice and photos. Think of it as FREE book of directions.

Before trimming the paper, READ those directions. The lines are NOT STRAIGHT--they have slight angles. Here I used a red pencil to show where to stop as you cut the long edges in 3 steps:

Only trim as far as the line is straight, being careful not to over-cut beyond the seam allowance. Becky also advises to tear the paper where it changes direction:

Once the diamond segments are trimmed, join them in pairs, then pairs of pairs, then into two halves:

What if you really didn't enjoy piecing in that center circle in Month 4? You don't have to make this block just like this. Replace it with one of the blocks you liked, changing color/fabric placement.

OR start with the Diamond shape from Month 1 and  change the lines. As long as you draw the lines in exactly the same place on all 8 Diamonds, they will fit and you will have your very own Block design.

You may choose to applique' the center circle rather than piece it in. Choose the method you like, that gives you the result you want. It's your quilt, you get to decide!

Happily, I followed Becky's instructions, putting pins on the Circle and then lining them up with the intersections on the Ring. I sewed slowly, using a stiletto to hold the edges in place and was completely satisfied with the pieced in Circle when sewn. Slow and steady is the way to go here. It is a lot of bulk but with the Circle on the bottom, the bulk is on top, use your hands to control it.

Hopefully, you won't find this as daunting as in  Month 4 and can now look forward to doing it one more time in Month 9.

Let's Quilt!