Sunday, June 30, 2019

SIZZLE Block 7

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

Last month we made the diamonds in two halves, a top and a bottom half. This month the diamonds are again made in half--a Left half and a Right half. As usual, keep your fabrics organized and you will be fine. Here the right sides are sewn and the left sides are prepared and ready to sew:

The large pieces are cut 4.5" x 5"--these look like squares but they are not. Be sure you place them so the shape they need to cover is really covered. I recommend the first few times you lay out Fabrics 1 and 2, pin them and check that you have the fabric in the correct position--it is a 60 degree angle and that can be tricky to position.

Notice the wrong side of Fabric 1 touches the wrong side of the paper pattern. Fabric 2 is placed along the edge of Fabric 1, right sides together. On the upper left you can see that shape 1 is completely covered with Fabric 1. The lower unit shows how the Right side diamond half looks after sewing Fabrics 1 and 2, before trimming Fabric 2:

Trim Fabric 2 so it is ready to receive Fabric 3--I use the Add-a-Quarter ruler with a handy-dandy postcard I get almost weekly in the mail for credit card offers--the offer goes in the shredder, the postcard goes in my studio:

Fabric 3 in place on top of Fabric 2. Again, use a few pins the first couple of times to be sure you have the long edge of Fabric 3 on top of Fabric 2--so that Fabric 3 will completely cover shape 3:

What could possibly go wrong? This happened 3 times over the course of sewing 16 halves--I always check the seam as soon as the piece comes out of the machine, finding these "oops" spots quickly--remove a few bad stitches and sew again:

Right Side Diamond ready to be trimmed:

 I found it helpful to use a dab of glue stick on the long spiky ends to keep the paper in place on those very narrow ends--try not to put the glue on the seam allowance:

Trim the narrow point at both ends of the Diamond halves:

Once both the Right and Left halves are made, join them to create one complete Diamond. There are two important joins on the long seam, where Fabrics 2 touch each other. The first couple times I machine basted those places to be sure I had them lined up. Once they were correct 99% of the time, I stopped basting:

Make the Wedges as we did with Block 5. Join the Wedge to the Diamond and then make the entire block in two halves, just as usual:

Becky discusses all the bulk in the center of the block--there are 16 points at the center and that is a LOT of seam allowance. She machine appliqued a 1.25" circle on top of the center exactly as she did with Month 6. If you are happy with your center, show it off. If you want to applique a circle on top, go for it--the choice is yours.  My lumpy center was not pretty so I covered it up.

Add the corners and call it DONE!

Only two more blocks to go--let's quilt!


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Fun in FL

Recently, I traveled to Ft. Myers, FL to give a lecture and teach a two-day workshop. It was a great trip. Come along.

My luck is holding--this was my fifth trip by air in the past 3 months. Just as in the past, all flights were on time and I even got an upgrade on one flight going and one flight coming.

The Summer residents ready for the meeting

VP for Education MJ--my contact for this trip

Quilts laid out for the lecture

Lyn who saved the day with her technical skills and equipment
As is true in a lot of FL, there are year-round residents and "snowbirds"--those who go North for the summer. The guild attendance is less in the summer but they are an enthusiastic group and the lecture "Time Management for Quilters" was well-received.

The next day 11 happy students began learning "Two for One":

Make fabric

Cut it up and lay it out

Un-sew it

Success! Pat used her least favorite colors and was happy with the result

Melissa with half blocks that match her dress

Don't you love black and white?

Light complete and dark half blocks--Therese, a new member, did great!
Phyllis, also matched her blocks--she kept us on track, always ready for the next step
I've learned to take a class photo at the start of the second day so everyone is included. Students start to leave as the day goes on. Here they are showing their first day's progress:

I had the afternoon of the second day off so was able to relax at the pool of the Hilton Garden Inn, Ft. Myers airport location. I had the place to myself:

It is so nice to sleep under my own quilt in a hotel:

The guild was a lively group, the students were fun and each did so well in class. And the food was top-notch! I love seafood and was treated to really great meals throughout the visit. 

What a wonderful job I have, being able to share my passion for quiltmaking while visiting different parts of our great country and meeting quilters from all over.

Let's quilt!


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Road to California 2020

Next January I will be returning to Ontario, CA as part of the Faculty of the Road 2 California Show. They are celebrating their 25th year and I am very excited to be a part of that. What a great way to start off the new year--teaching!

There are more than 50 Faculty members and classes run from Monday to Sunday, January 20-27, 2020. The show is open Thursday to Sunday, preview night Wednesday. Many vendors, a beautiful judged show, and more than 40,000 attendees make this a "not to be missed" West Coast show. I hope to see some of you there.

My classes are:

Wednesday January 22, 8:30-3:30, The Village, one of my new classes, this has been very popular:

Thursday January 23, 8:30-4:30, Antique Rose Star by Machine--this class sold out last time I taught it here:

Friday January 24, 8:30-4:30, Southern Super Star:

Saturday January 25, 8:30-4:30, Smitten--this class sold out very quickly last time:

You can find all the information you need right here, enrollment starts later this month--plan now:

Road 2 CA

Let's quilt!


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Teaching In Florida

Today I am teaching a two day workshop for the Southwest FL Quilters guild. One of my most favorite workshops and a great favorite with students--Two For One.

This is one of mine, I have made several of these:

 Student work:

How about a Teeny, Tiny Two For One? These squares are 1/2" square:

We will be having a great time these next two days. If your group would like to do the same, let me know.

Let's quilt!


Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Tribute to a Friend

Last week a wonderful woman passed away. Bonnie Spencer was such a great lady. Her loss in this community is immense to so many. If you knew her, you loved, appreciated, and admired her. If you didn't know her, let me tell you a bit about her.

Bonnie was born in 1944. She was a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, all the things a lot of us get to be. She had a long and strong marriage to her beloved husband, Richard. Together, they had two amazing daughters, who married terrific men, and the family grew to include four delightful grandchildren, who were the apple of Bonnie's eye. She was so proud of all of them, and rightfully, so. It is a great family.

Bonnie taught school for many years, inspiring and loving many students over her career. How lucky they were to have her as their teacher.

Bonnie retired from teaching and took on the role of caregiver to elderly relatives and then the young ones as they came along. She taught them the joy of reading, the wonder of the physical world, and a love for travel. She provided a firm foundation for her grands, that will serve them well going forward. The world is a better place because Bonnie was here.

She loved to read and had a voracious appetite for books. Gardening was a special love and she was really good at it. Cooking and entertaining folks in her home was never a chore, but a joy, and if you were invited, you were so excited to go to see what special treats she had planned, both food and activities.

Bonnie loved Christmas. She had a fully-decorated, themed Christmas tree in EVERY room in her home, including the bathrooms. Being invited to see her home decked out for Christmas was such a treat--I didn't want to do what she did, but I sure loved seeing the sparkle in her eye as she shared her excitement and love for the holiday with many friends.

Bonnie was a quilter. She served as President of the Heritage Quilters of Huntsville, from 1997-98. She served with me on many quilt show committees, always so willing to decorate for a special exhibit in creative ways only she could dream up. She was a joy to be around.

She built a cabin, all by herself, learning all she needed to know from books. It had no plumbing, but it has everything else you need. She called it the "Quilting, Poetry, and Pout House". The original "She Shed", the first "Tiny House". How amazing and awe-inspiring she was--to  think she could build a cabin and then do it. I looked forward to Fall visits there on their property to see it and dream of how lovely it would be to spend quiet days reading and stitching there. It was perfect.

Many years ago I wrote Bonnie a letter. Over the years she told me from time to time that it was a special letter and she kept it. Two months ago she called to tell me her battle with cancer would soon be over and she was "putting her affairs in order". She asked me to do her one last favor, to read that letter at her Memorial Service. Yes, of course, I would, but how would I be able to get through it, in the grief that would accompany her passing? She said, "Barbara, you can do this, I know you can".

That day came this past week. In my mind, I  had written a note. Instead, her daughter sent me the two page, typewritten letter. For three days I practiced reading it out loud until I could do it without breaking down. I thought I was ready.

Then I walked in the funeral home and saw this, all the pews covered with Bonnie's quilts:

The newspaper article about the Cabin
When it was time for me to speak, I pictured Bonnie holding my hand, saying "You can do this". My voice cracked a bit, the raw emotion just at the surface. But at least I didn't breakdown in sobs and the ugly cry.

The service was wonderful, a true celebration of Bonnie's life and all she meant to so many. She would have loved it.

I leave you with the closing paragraph in my letter to Bonnie, from October 6, 1997:

Now, let's quilt.


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

What Did I Keep?

Last time, I told you about a friend who gave away untold amounts of fabric. If you missed that, check out

So, what did I keep from the 3 banker's boxes I brought home?

Some yardage, some batiks, a few of my favorites I had used up, some wonderful greens to round out my collection:

The front two items are quilt tops ready for quilting. These will provide great free motion quilting practice and then I'll donate them to my guild's Comfy Quilts programs.

What was left from the three boxes I brought home? Well, three boxes became two to give away:

Those who missed the event will be happy to get some of the bounty--Holly, I'm talking about you!

Someday I may have to purge my entire stash too--just not any time soon...

Let's quilt!


Sunday, June 9, 2019

Do I NEED More Fabric?

No, of course, not. But when a friend is giving away her lifetime supply of quilting fabric and works in progress, well, I just had to help her out.

Promptly at 2 pm, about a dozen of Janet's quilting friends showed up, mostly Sunday Sew and Sews. Rules were passed out, the garage door was opened at 2, and about 100  banker's boxes were revealed--free for the taking. We were asked to take no more than 4 boxes each, and you had to take the whole box, no sorting through--you got the entire box. Most were color-coordinated already or full of things like batiks.

Here is what I got:

Those who arrived at 2:12 got nothing! Yes, 95% of all the boxes and bags with tops and works in progress were gone in 10 minutes.

Now I will sort through these boxes and decide what I really want. The rest will go to the Sunday Sew and Sews meeting today--a couple of the latecomers will be delighted to still get some. Stay tuned to see what I keep.

The one thing I was most excited about:

Two and a half yards of this old fabric. Years ago, my son, Andy, had the nickname "Mr. Flameshoes" because he had black shoes with this flame pattern on them. He was, and still is, a skateboarder so I made him a "Mr. Flameshoes" quilt. The fabric is long gone but now I can make his little boy, Sam, a "Mr. Flameshoes" quilt someday--this fabric alone was worth the trip!

Andy's quilt, "Mr. Flameshoes":

Janet will continue making quilts but not at the pace she had. She was thrilled to have the burden of all this great stuff out of her house. I can relate but am not ready to go that route yet...

Remember, your kids don't want your stuff.

Let's quilt.