Sunday, November 29, 2020

First Quilt of Valor

 This has been in the planning stage for several years, as quilters are likely to do. Finally finished, this will be presented to a Marine Corps friend of ours. He knows nothing about it and I think his wife may only suspect. I named this quilt Broad Stripes and Bright Stars. The Top before quilting:


After quilting and binding:

The back, which only sort of shows the quilting designs:

Quilting Details:

One side of the Flying Geese quilted, showing how necessary additional quilting is on the white parts:

Afternoon sun just adds something special. The binding is attached and ready to be stitched down by hand:

I usually err on the side to too little quilting. As I was binding this, I realized I needed to add another row of quilting between the pieced border and the red border. Before the additional line:

After the additional line. I do think it's better. Next time, I will quilt those inner and outer lines before doing the curvy vines between them--it will define the space to quilt the curvy lines in and I won't have to go back and add more quilting after I thought I was done:

The pattern appeared in Easy Quilts magazine, Spring 2019, and was called Sail On, designed by Eileen Fowler. I added the pieced Flying Geese borders. The original quilt design  had no border. 

Before I present this, I will wash it, using at least one Shout Color Catcher--most of the fabrics were not pre-washed. Wouldn't want a Red, Blue and Pink quilt.

Now to baste and quilt one more Quilt of Valor--also a surprise. This one for my husband. They will be presented together at an appropriate time when we can have a little ceremony. The back is pieced, the batting is selected, now to baste and quilt it. 

Patriotic Pineapple:

It's been a while since I have made quilts specifically to give away. I am enjoying this process.

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Going to HOUSTON this Year?

 You CAN! The annual International Quilt Festival is VIRTUAL! December 3-5, 2020, you can visit the Show from the comfort of your home. 

Four of the Special Exhibits at the VIRTUAL QUILT FESTIVAL: 

For the small cost of $10 you can see over 30 Special Exhibits, including MINE!, featuring traditional. contemporary, modern, art, landscape, all kinds of wonderful quilts. 

There are also MANY Exhibitors who will be offering special deals for those who attend--just like at the in-person International Quilt Festival. Here is the current list of Exhibitors.

In addition, there are a wide variety of Classes and Lectures offered, by the best teachers in the world, and because it's VIRTUAL, you won't miss out on the class you want--there is room for EVERYONE.

Find all the information on how to Buy A Ticket, and to  how to Enroll in Classes, Forums and Lectures right here:


I may be just a bit biased, but one of the best Special Exhibits I want you to see is mine--My Joyful Journey. Featuring my early, humble quilts to the four Best of Show winners, this follows my  journey to where I am as a quiltmaker  today. Please don't miss it:

 A look back (and ahead) at the life and work of quiltmaker Barbara Black. She began in 1985 with simple baby quilts from pre-cut fabric, and today creates challenging quilts filled with small pieces and complex design. This journey shows her progression from new quiltmaker to quilt artist. Precision piecing and beautiful color and design are the hallmarks of Barbara’s passionate quilt journey.

So, while we may not be walking through the beautiful red doors of the George R Brown Convention Center this year, we can all GATHER TOGETHER at the world's best quilt show:

I hope to SEE YOU IN HOUSTON. For years to come, we will be asking each other "Did you go to the VIRTUAL QUILT FESTIVAL?"

Let's quilt.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

It's Chutney Time

 Each year I have to publish this post about my favorite side dish, Cranberry Chutney. I made a double batch a few weeks back and it is stored in several containers in the freezer:

Here is the link to the post with the recipe:  Thanksgiving Week  I always double the recipe but DO NOT double the sugars. It is not tart or bitter, it is just not dessert-like super sweet. This dish is great with turkey or chicken, or used with appetizer cheeses, like Brie or even Cream Cheese and crackers. 

Early October it is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. I know this because I got a lovely email this year from a Canadian follower who wrote to tell me her family now insists this dish be a staple at their holiday meal. She discovered it on my Blog last year and made it then. Now she just has to make it. My family feels the same.

Chutney is like a relish but includes fruit and vegetables. Onions and celery, apples and raisins and lots of spices. As soon as cranberries appear at the supermarket, usually in early October here, I grab two bags and throw them in the freezer. When I am ready to make it, I use the berries frozen--they cook up fine. I wish you could smell the scent of spices and the ingredients as they boil into a beautiful, colorful dish. The sound of the berries popping open make me smile. If you double the recipe, be sure to use a big pot--you don't want it to boil over. 

Whatever your Thanksgiving looks like this year, I hope it is full of gratitude for the gifts you have. I will spend the day with just my beloved husband, roasting a small turkey with some simple sides. Yummy yeast rolls and pumpkin pie will round out the meal. At some point, he will say "A jug a wine, a loaf of bread, and thou beside me..." That makes me smile too.

Let's quilt--after we eat.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Ready for Fall

 I know it's Fall when it's time to turn on the heat. Low's in the 30's, highs in the 50's, the air is crisp and the sun sparkles on the fallen leaves:

The Knock Out roses are still blooming and the sky is so blue with such clean air: 

There are a few little Fall quilts I use to decorate and some pumpkins, not a lot because I just don't get excited to rearrange things to decorate seasonally:

Our bed is dressed for cooler weather too:

And I got this in the mail--so excited. I have wanted these stamps since I became a quilter. They were issued in 1978, 7 years before I found my passion and bliss as a quiltmaker. The Quilt Show Store has a few of these left, and they won't last long:

I hope your weather is grand, wherever you are!

Let's quilt.


Sunday, November 15, 2020


Often, I find that a lot of people don't know about all the Tutorials I have on my Blog. Or how to Search for something they are looking for.

Let's have a Lesson. The Pages that are circled in pink here are full of information. As I don't have a website and don't plan to, these Pages make it easy to find some basic things on my Blog. 

The Workshops sand Lectures pages are designed so guilds and shows who want to hire me can easily see all the current classes and lectures I offer. These change over time--in fact, two great new workshops will be added soon. 

My Teaching Calendar shows all the places I expect to be teaching for the next couple years. This makes it easy to see where and when I might be near you. I know things have changed a bit in 2020, but we will be getting back together again, I am sure of it:

The one Page I would really like you to look at is TUTORIALS:

There are currently 19 different Tutorials posted here, at least a few of which might be very helpful, regardless of your skill level. From the simplicity of BASIC MATH FOR QUILTERS to the complexity of calculating a lot of math for FLOATER BORDERS, there is something here for you.

In 2017 I did a 5 week Sew A Long that is perfect for the beginner to intermediate quilter, loaded with photos all the steps I use all the time in making a quilt. It is all still here: HOW TO MAKE A QUILT IN 5 EASY LESSONS.

If you are getting excited to start the 2021 Block of the  Month quilt COLOR MY WORLD by Wendy Williams--take a look at FREEZER PAPER FOUNDATION PIECING . It features the Mariner's Compass which is the center of Color My World. The pattern will only be available to Star Members of The Quilt Show but you can see the amazing process of using Freezer Paper for piecing, right now, right here:

My most popular and beneficial Lecture in recent years is Time Management for Quilters. Many who have heard it asked me to write about it. So I did. Find my Top Tips for TIME MANAGEMENT FOR QUILTERS right here in the Tutorials. 

Lastly. most Blogs and Websites have a SEARCH feature. If you remember you read something here but can't remember when it was, use the SEARCH BOX in the upper left corner to find it:

Here are a few fun things to SEARCH for:

String Swap Block Tutorial
Sunday Sew and Sews
Tiny Star Blocks

This blog has been a part of my life for almost 10 years now. I use it to keep track of what is important to me, mostly in my quilting life. And to spread my passion for the art of quiltmaking to you. 

If you are fairly new here, I recommend you read the Blog that I think means the most to me of all of them:

RED AND WHITE--THE WRAP UP  This quilt changed my life and this blog post pretty much sums up why:

I hope you find something here that is helpful. And if you do, I hope you'll tell your quilting friends to take a look. I try to post only twice a week, Sunday and Wednesday. You can easily follow me by email or with Bloglovin' or other blog readers. We are closing in on 3000 followers and I am getting eager to get to that milestone.

I do this Blog because I love quilting. I hope you do too.

Let's quilt,


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Big Top Finished

 Ever since I saw a photo of an antique quilt I loved on a friend's post I have wanted to make that quilt. Fortunately, a published pattern already existed for it so I didn't have to reinvent the wheel.

This is my version, 111" square, of the wonderful old quilt:

Here is the original photo that inspired me:

The primary change I made, other than size, was to add cheddar cornerstones at the sashing intersections instead of the double geese in the original. I really struggled with that decision. I really wanted to be true to the original maker's design. But, as I tell my students all the time, "It's Your Quilt--You Get to Decide". So, I did.

Eventually, I'll get this really BIG quilt basted and begin quilting it. The back took 10 yards of fabric--good way to empty a bolt that has been in my closet for years.

Now, since I really want to be true to the original, I have started a second one--a much smaller sample that can easily travel when I get to teach this to some lucky guild, sometime in the future. Here is just a taste:

Big, bold, bright--very different. All the geese are the same dotty fabric, all the star points in the blocks are the same fabric, a white/black print. The blocks will have a wide variety of bright prints. 

Often, people cannot picture what a quilt will look like made with fabrics different from the sample. For those who don't love Civil War reproduction fabrics, here is an alternative. This sample will be 45" square.

For more information about this quilt, see an earlier blog I wrote about it Here.

And, just one more thing--today in the US is Veteran's Day, set aside to salute all US veterans of all branches of our military service. As a former United States Marine, I salute all who have served in the past, are serving now, and will step up to serve in the future. Semper Fi!

A few years ago...

Let's quilt.


Sunday, November 8, 2020


 The good folks at The Quilt Show decided to release Month 12 early so you can finish the last four applique blocks and get to the layout process. 

BIG REMINDER: If you haven't done it yet, be sure you save and/or print all 12 months patterns. They will no longer be available from The Quilt Show after December 31, 2020. After that date you will have to buy them from Sue Garman's website: Come Quilt.

Here is my Afternoon Delight, made with the Kit fabrics that were available from The Quilt Show. One IMPORTANT thing to NOTE--I increased the size of the narrow black border. Sue's instructions had it cut at 1", for a 1/2" finished narrow border. Mine was cut 1.5" to  finish at 1". I also increased the size of the outer blue border, cutting mine 5.5" while the pattern has you cut them 4.5". It's your quilt, you get to decide:

I had amazing help from 7 of the Sunday Sew and Sews in cutting up the fabric for all the blocks so they made the fabric choices for the applique blocks. As I mentioned in the Month 11 blog, Sue Garman created this quilt with X and O applique blocks and laid them out in an alternating placement. You will decide how to lay your blocks out based on the fabrics you selected as you made each block. 

Make your placement choice and take a photo. Do that BEFORE you ask others their opinions. After they rearrange your quilt many ways, you can put it back the way you like. 

What if you've gotten tired and just don't want to make the entire quilt? That's OK. I made a small one earlier this year because I had to  make some demo blocks for this blog:

Here are two smaller versions made by students I had in a local class:

Anna Lee

How about if you just don't want to do applique at all? Or you have leftover Double 9 Patches? I made a baby quilt from all the leftover Double 9 Patches that came back to me from the Sunday Sew and Sews who worked on this top:

The Sunday Sew and Sews who  helped on this project deserve one more thank you now that we have come to the end of this project. They made it possible to get the top made in 5 weeks so it could be sent to the quilter. I can't thank them enough for their help and friendship:

You might be thinking about the quilting. Here is a detail of what was done on mine by the longarm quilter, Lois Kindley. The crosshatch over the Double 9 Patches works very well. There is a swirly circle pattern over each applique block, very similar to what is in the perimeter triangles. You can't really see it but with the raw edge applique I wanted a good bit of quilting on those blocks and this was a good choice. I really like the border quilting designs, I just would have preferred the thread color blend with the blue background. The interior of this quilt is most important, not the border. There are lots of decisions to make when having someone else quilt your quilt, try to think of as many as you can. And try to learn something from each quilt you make, so the next one is even better:

When it was time to quilt my smaller, red, white and blue version, I did a diagonal line through the Double 9  Patches, skinny orange peels in the white squares of the Double 9 Patches, stitch in the ditch in the Shoo Fly Blocks and I free-hand echo-quilted the applique blocks. The borders were fun to quilt with curved crosshatching and scallops. In fact, the entire quilt was fun to quilt:

And just so the last four applique blocks from Month 12 don't feel left out, here they are. Sue said these were the easy ones so she saved them for last:

Block 37
Block 38

Block 39

Block 40

I hope you had a good time on our Journey this year, as we celebrated the great Sue Garman, who I miss every day. This quilt had been on my bucket list for years so I am glad I now have two of them.

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, November 4, 2020


 Finally! I can show the world the 2021 Block of the Month quilt for The Quilt Show.

Designed exclusively for The Quilt Show by award-winning Australian designer, Wendy Williams, this quilt is only available on The Quilt Show through all of 2021. Color My World is a fun quilt that has so much to offer! It features Small buildings, Tall Buildings, Little Houses in the City, four landmark Skyscrapers and a beautiful Mariner's Compass center. All contained by Inner and Outer Roads and surrounded by Trees:

Here is my Sample quilt top, with my granddaughter, Stella, for size reference. I changed the Mariner's Compass center fabric choices to make this my own:

And here is mine, completely finished:

In the coming weeks, we will talk about Fabric Selection, the Kits that are available from The Quilt Show if you want them, and how to prepare now so you are ready on January 1, 2021 when paid Star Members of The Quilt Show will be able to print the first month's patterns for this quilt, absolutely FREE!

The Introduction  is up now under Download Instructions and my Fabric Selection Video is up under Instructional Videos. These are open to all. The patterns will only be available to Star Members, beginning January 1, 2021. 

My usual pitch--if you are not a Star Member of The Quilt Show, I can think of no better time to Join Now! Between now and December 31, 2020, you can download and/or print the 2020 Block of the Month Quilt, Afternoon Delight, designed by Sue Garman--an $80 bargain. It leaves December 31, 2020 and on January 1, 2021, this new Block of the Month becomes available--patterns are posted on the first of each month, throughout 2021. And you get access to ALL the shows ever produced, over 300 of them--you can learn so much for such a small cost.

I made my sample Color My World quilt in 8 weeks, start to finish, from the day I washed the fabric to the day I sewed on the label. I learned a lot:

1. How to use Freezer Paper Patterns--so many advantages to this method
2. Precise piecing means the circles all fit into each other--really!
3. Designing buildings any color I want them is fun
4. Machine Quilting this quilt myself was fun and easy

Each month I will have a Blog post with tips and tricks for that month's patterns. There will be Facebook Live posts, later shown on YouTube and videos showing exactly how I made this. Having someone walk you through this will add to your quiltmaking Journey.

I hope you will join me and many others as we create a bright and colorful world going forward into 2021. It has been SO hard to keep this under my hat all this time. Please let me know if you are as excited as I am about this one!

Let's quilt.