Sunday, January 17, 2016

Barbara Brackman, John Hewson, and Me

Here it is, my first quilt top finished in 2016:

It is the Stars in a Time Warp blocks with a pre-printed John Hewson panel in the center.  It measures 99" square.  The stars are from Barbara Brackman's Stars in a Time Warp Quilt Along.  I wrote about John Hewson, a Philadelphia textile manufacturer during Colonial times here.  Completing this top took a lot of time this past week and I am very glad it is done.

Here it is on our King size bed:

Oops--it's just a little too small.  Another border of 6 inch stars would be perfect.  BUT that's 72 more stars and that is just NOT going to happen.

SO, here it is on a Queen size bed:


Now, here is the IRONIC part of this story.  During the year Barbara Brackman was presenting these blocks online and giving so much historical information about fabrics and colors and design styles, she also posted lots of suggestions for how to set the stack of blocks we were making.  I had several options I really liked.  And of the finished tops that are appearing online now, I have found two I just LOVE:

This is by Lori DeJarnette of Humble Quilts.  I had the good fortune to meet Lori in person last summer in Portland, OR.  We've followed each other online for a few years now.  I love that yellow/cheddar and isn't this just a happy quilt?!  Simple, cheerful, warm and wonderful.  What a great quilt, Lori!

This one is by Edith Shanholt, a Facebook friend.  She  used alternate blocks of many of the great reproduction fabrics used in the stars.  I would love to have her scraps!  The dark perimeter triangles set off the bright blocks brilliantly. Once again, it's a simple set, on-point, a style I really like and have made often.  This is a fabric lover's treasure and will be an amazing historical piece 100 years from now.  Well done, Edith!

SO, why did I make mine so complicated??  Well, the quilt collage at the top of my blog shows I've made more than a few Medallion-style quilts over the years.  They've become my "trademark".  How did that happen?  When I first started quilting in 1985 I saw a picture of this quilt, Ray of Light,  by Jinny Beyer:

From Jinny's website:

Ray of Light is one of the most-recognized American quilts. In 1977, at the height of the resurgence of quiltmaking, it won the Good Housekeeping and U.S. Historical Society contest for The Great American Quilt, besting 10,000 entries.

I clearly remember saying to my quilting friends at the time:  "Someday I want to make a quilt like this."  I became a fan of Jinny Beyer from her first fabric line designed for RJR Fabrics. And I have all her books--I've even read them.

I love the complexity of Medallion quilts.  I love the math that goes into making those borders.  I love the design work it takes to pull it all together.  And I love all the fabrics that go into these quilts.  In my world, there is no such thing as TOO MUCH fabric!  

Speaking of fitting those borders, I learned how to do that from Sue Garman, and the quilt she designed for The Quilt Show in 2009.  You can find her patterns here.  Sue has become a dear friend and I am in awe of her talent as a quiltmaker, designer, hand and machine quilter.  An amazing woman.

My high school yearbook used a quote from Alfred, Lord Tennyson that I took to heart:

"I am a part of all that I have met."  That is true for me, maybe in quiltmaking more than in any other part of my life.  The people who I have had the good fortune to cross paths with, the well-known and the everyday quilters, have made me the quilter I am today.  I thank them for all they've shared with me.  I hope I can do the same.

What am I working on now?  Something easy for the next few days!  Like my Lifetime Quilt:

This is coming along quickly.  Last night one of my best quilting buddies, Ellen, said: "If this is your lifetime quilt, you must not plan to live all that long."   These blocks are like Doritos, you can't stop at one.  First, those tiny half-square triangles practically make themselves as Leaders/Enders.  Then it's fun to put four rows of four HST together.  That block of 4 x 4 want friends, so I make another 3 sets of 4 x 4, and voila! A 10" block is done.  So far, the 10" blocks are just sitting there.  I'll decide later where and how to sew them together.

And yesterday I finally finished my own We Wish You a Mini Christmas from Temecula Quilt Company:

We'll just say I'm early for next Christmas.

Barbara Brackman has a new Quilt Along coming soon,Westering Women.  Read more about it here. I'm sure it will be full of wonderful historical information and great quilt blocks.

Let's Quilt!



  1. Love those stars!! Such a volume of inspiration for all of us.

  2. I can't imagine any other setting of Stars in a
    Time Warp being more beautiful than's gorgeous! Julie

  3. I think your quilt looked perfect on the king size quilt too! My quilts hardly ever cover my butt! LOL LOL Your finished top is amazing and my favorite so far of all the SIATW quilts.
    Thanks for including my quilt in your post. I can't wait to get it quilted, but alas, it must wait in line. I have a 9 patch similar to Edith's and it is one of my favorites.

  4. This is such a perfect way to showcase your beautiful blocks AND the historic repro block of John Hewson. Makes it a true historical masterpiece!! Really love the setting.

  5. Great finish, Barbara -- it looks fantastic on the bed! Your mini-Christmas looks lovely, too! I am anxiously awaiting the Westering Women QAL!

  6. Fabulous! Congratulations! I have one batch of stars in a time warp already committed to a layout, but have a second batch still looking for a setting; yours is most inspiring!

  7. Barbara, your quilt is stunning! I can't believe what you have created from a pile of stars. I never would have envisioned it!
    Lori's quilt really caught my eye, too! And Edith's is very beautiful!
    Love seeing the progress on your lifetime project, and your Christmas mini is very sweet. :)

  8. Your finished quilt is gorgeous and certainly a masterpiece ! Bravo Barbara !
    And it's perfect on your bed ! ;)