Wednesday, December 30, 2020

My Journey--QUILT #4

 Another quilt from the Special Exhibit My Joyful Journey, part of the Virtual Quilt Festival, December 3-5, 2020.

QUILT #4 Pieces of the Past--Circa 1875, 82" x 82", machine pieced, hand quilted, 1995:

The Story: The most complicated piecing I had done to date, the four patches were set-in at the sashing intersections, with lots of partial seams. It is a replica of an antique top I bought at a yard sale a week after moving to Alabama. The antique was dated as Circa 1875 by a quilt expert. This is one of my most favorite quilts and is on my bed today. The wool batt I used was a joy to hand quilt and sleeps really well. 

I hand quilted this with rows of triple stitching, as I thought this was appropriate to the time period. And using 1/4" masking tape made the job of marking very easy:

Let's quilt.


Monday, December 28, 2020

Leftover Afternoon Delight Blocks

 Recently, while cleaning up my studio, and putting away the patterns and fabrics for Afternoon Delight, the 2020 Block of the Month quilt, I discovered 4 spare blocks., two applique', 2 pieced. If I made 4 more pieced blocks I could create two small wallhangings and use up more of the leftover fabrics.

So I did. They are each about 20" square. The first top:

The second all finished. 

I can't really say that it used up much of the leftovers. Still looks like plenty of scraps. I will cut these into logs for the 3" It's a Puzzle blocks I am currently working on as my Leader/Ender project:

After I've had my fill of cutting these, they go into a zip-loc bag and get put in the "Free to a Good Home" box for my friends. Somebody will love getting these bits.

What do you do with your small leftovers?

Let's quilt,


Sunday, December 27, 2020

My Journey--QUILT #3

 Another quilt from the Special Exhibit, My Joyful Journey, part of the Virtual Quilt Festival, December 3-5, 2020.

QUILT #3 Waste Not, Want Not, 66" x 86", machine pieced,  hand quilted:

The Story: My first Log Cabin quilt, made as a teaching sample from all my scraps, 1993. I found someone to hand quilt for me so I could put my time into piecing tops ad teaching quilting classes. 

I think every quilter should make at least one Log Cabin quilt. Seeing this always makes me want to make another. Such a great way to remember favorite fabrics:

Let's quilt. 


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

My Journey--QUILT #2

 Another quilt from the Virtual Quilt Festival, December 3-5, 2020. 

QUILT #2  Charm Quilt, 96" x 104"  Hand and machine pieced, hand quilted

The Story: Begun in a Friendship swap with my first guild in Virginia, triangle blocks were sent to me after I moved to Alabama. The top was finished March 1991 and hand quilted by December 1992. It was in the frame in front of a window for so long the border is badly faded. 
Subtitled: Quilt Shop Nightmare--I Want a Quarter Yard of Everything Please.  My love of fabric, the more, the merrier, had begun.

I designed the hand quilting motif and cut the template to mark it. Many of these blocks are signed by the makers, my first quilting friends who took me under their wing:

Here is the stencil I made--designed to avoid all the intersections. The one tip is chopped off because of the size of the template plastic--I just turned it when marking that tip. I have not used this design again, on any other quilt, but it was perfect for this one:

Let's quilt.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

My Journey--QUILT #1

 Virtual Quilt Festival, VQF, was held December 3-5, 2020 instead of  the usual Festival in Houston. I was honored to have a Special Exhibit of my life's work, 25 of my quilts from the earliest to most recent. It was entitled My Joyful Journey. 

Attendance for VQF was excellent but not the 55,000 or so who would have attended in person. And, please note, if you attended, all 30 of the Special Exhibits remain available to you until March 6, 2021. It is too late to enroll but those who did enroll have plenty of time to enjoy all the quilts still.

For the next few months I will show the quilts here for you to see. Here is a screenshot of the opening frame of My Joyful Journey:

The quilts will be presented here in chronological order, not the way they were shown in the Gallery. I begin with the oldest, but not my first quilt. 

QUILT #1: Christmas Around the Country, 51" x 73", machine pieced and quilted, 1989:

The Story: I won 10 Fan blocks at a guild swap raffle shortly after joining the guild in 1988. Making 3 more blocks allowed me to use the Garden Maze setting. Guild members were surprised when I showed the quilt top at the very next meeting--no one had ever made a quilt from the blocks although the swaps had been going on for 2 years. 

I designed the quilting motifs and cut a template from freezer paper and cardboard--that's what we did in 1989 if we had no template plastic. I still have that stencil in case I might use it again someday:

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Working 9 to 5, and Then Some

 Considering my kids think I'm "retired" and have nothing to do, I work a lot of hours. 

It was a big push but I got the Wild Western Sun done in time to take it to a local quilt shop as a class advertisement. This is the size the pattern makes, about 45" square:

I followed the pattern, for the most part; I chose to use only 1 fabric for the flying geese sashing, with a variety of black/white prints for the "wings". I did change the small perimeter triangles that were supposed to be two flying geese sewn together then cut at an angle as if they were just flying off the edges of the quilt. After making one unit as a test, I just could not bring myself to make perfectly good geese then chop them up. So I substituted a black solid for those 8 triangles. My plan is to bind the quilt in that same black solid.

Looks a lot different than the first one I made, from Civil War reproduction fabrics--this baby is 110" square. And I completely changed the path of the geese and used cheddar squares and triangles instead of pieced units for the cornerstones and perimeter triangles. I love this quilt:

Once I took the big Western Sun off the wall and photographed the small one, the design wall was just too bare. When I see my design wall empty, I feel like I have an empty mind. So I threw a few things up there to make me happy. This will be my backdrop for a while:

This Friday I am doing the December Facebook Live, at noon CST, to encourage members of The Quilt Show to get ready for the 2021 Block of the Month, Color My World. It can be found on Facebook at The Quilt with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims . After the Live airing it can be found on the The  Quilt Show Playlist on YouTube. My sample: 

The patterns start January 1, 2021, the Show I taped in August goes up that day, I will have a big blog about the steps for this first month, AND, there will be a Facebook Live January 1, 2021, noon CST. Each month I will do a Live to support the pattern instructions. Many people around the world will be making this quilt and I look forward to being their "assistant".

I will also be teaching Color My World locally, at Sweet Home Quilting. A two-hour lecture/demo class one Saturday a month all year. All sewing is done at home. This is a very popular class plan for teaching these year-long projects. Having the class on their schedule helps students keep up. Saturday December 19, I will be there from 12:30-2:30 to help students with fabric selection. It's  not too late to jump in. 

Let's quilt.


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Christmas Quilts

 Decorating for holidays, any holiday, just isn't something that thrills me. It means I have to stop quilting, dig stuff out of deep closet storage, and rearrange my house. Then a few weeks later I have to reverse it all. I know, bah, humbug! Those who love to decorate in a big way just don't get it, and that's fine.

I dug out my Christmas quilts and will get them up in the next few days. That always makes the house look festive and if I don't put out any other decorations, I am fine with that.

Here are the quilts for your enjoyment.

1. The Stack: 

2. The Littles:

 3. The 12 Days of Christmas--I love this quilt and have made several as gifts over the years. Each 3" block has 1-12 pieces in it. The pattern is from Temecula Quilt Company and is still available free:

I even hand quilted it: 

4. The chair. An old Morris chair I took from my parents attic when I left home--it had been up there my whole life. It had old horsehair cushions that were scratchy. My husband refinished it in the early 1980's and I had new cushions made--they were mauve/pink, to go with the colors of the day. When a friend, Bonnie Spencer, came to help me decorate this new home years later, she suggested we cover the chair with a quilt, did I have anything that would work? You bet--this twin size quilt I made from blocks received in a swap was perfect. I had machine quilted it not so well but it covers the cushions and I think of Bonnie frequently because she knew just how to solve this problem. And at this time of year it looks like Christmas:

5. The Antique Ohio Star.  My best find ever! I got this at a Trade Day, like a Flea Market, some years ago. I loved it the instant I saw it and the price was incredibly low. I had it appraised--for 30 times what I paid for it. Hand quilted beautifully and with some of my favorite motifs, feathered heart wreaths and large cables, often seen on old Amish quilts. Upon closer inspection at home, I found two motifs quilted in two corners--a "W" and a dragonfly. This quilt was truly meant to be mine. My husband's last name begins with a W and I adore dragonflies and decorate with them frequently.  Enjoy:

The lighting is overdone here but you can see the entire quilt:

Funny/scary story about this quilt. When showing it to someone who knows nothing about quilts, she said, "Look at those spots. I would throw that right in the washer!"  My holler of "OH, NO!" startled her. As the green appears to be home dyed fabric, a few places of blue appear, washing this would likely ruin it. As is often said, if you ever get a notion to wash an antique quilt, lie down until the urge passes. I love it just the way it is, spots and all. If you were this old, you would have a few spots too.

When I do put up a small tree, it is covered with quilt-y ornaments, many gifts from friends over the years. And this quilt I designed and made in 1997, sets the mood. This quilt was featured on the cover of McCall's Quilting magazine, December 1997 issue, and the pattern is in that issue:

For my friends who decorate to the nines--have at it! I will enjoy your efforts from afar. As for me, I have quilts to make right now, and some cakes and cookies to bake. And grandchildren to love on. 

Happy holidays to you and yours, let's quilt.


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Thursdays at 3

 Technology is a wonderful thing. For the most part. 

Over the years I have taught myself a lot--Google is my friend. And I never hesitate to ask those who know how to do something I don't for their advice.

In this time of "Safer at Home", I am thrilled to be able to "meet", "chat", "visit", "teach" and "learn" from the comfort of my home.

A quilter friend I met years ago at Houston when she was teaching hand quilting there, was looking for some friends to "talk" to from her "Overseas Office" in the south of Spain. I jumped at the chance since seeing her live is so much better than just email and Instagram contact.

Meet the group of us who meet "Thursdays at 3":

Sometimes there are more, or fewer. We chat about our current projects and what is being planned in the future. We discuss where they live, where I live, what is happening in our lives. Most are in the UK, two are currently in the south of Spain, waiting out the English winter.

What we do not discuss is politics or the virus. Except obliquely, as they pertain to what is happening in our lives. 

I love their accents and learning about quilting in Spain and the UK. 

Being given the coordinates to Barbara C's home in Spain, I was able to go on Google Earth and SEE HER HOUSE! Isn't that amazing?!! Another of the ladies lives two doors down from her, so I saw HER house too. These are things that can make the world a smaller place and keep us a bit more connected.

There is a 6 hour time difference, so for me it's "Thursdays at 9 am". And I am "American Barbara" and that's fine with me. 

I look forward to our weekly visits and perhaps a project together in the new year. 

How do you use technology to make your life and quilting better? 

Let's quilt.


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Time for Gifts

I spent Thanksgiving weekend working on small gifts--Mug Rugs. These are fun to make and fast to finish:

Finished, they are about 8" x 10", the perfect size for a cuppa and a cookie or two:

Isn't this great fabric!?  "Live the Life you Imagined", "Do What you Love and Love What you Do". Wish I had lots more of it. Janet had a great eye for fun fabrics:

Several times this year I have written about my friend, Janet, who passed away from a stroke this past February. All the fabrics used for these mug rugs were from Janet's stash. She even made all the "Beach Cottage" houses. When I got these at the Estate Sale for Janet's belongings, I knew they would be perfect gifts for a special group of women.  

Janet continues to inspire many of us. One of the Sunday Sew and Sews shared a label for the quilt she made for her son and his bride. It includes a quote from Dr. Janet Noever that Donna says she will now include on all her gifted quilts going forward. "When you sleep under a quilt, you are covered in love."  

Labels should tell the who, what, when, where and why of a quilt. Donna got it all covered:


Several of those who bought quilt tops at the Estate Sale have now finished them and are enjoying the work of Janet's hands in their own homes. I have seen several featured on Facebook. Janet's legacy lives on in these completed quilts. 

When you give a quilt to someone you love, your Legacy lives on.

Let's quilt.


Tuesday, December 1, 2020


 We have come to the end of another wonderful Block of the Month quilt, Afternoon Delight, designed by the late Sue Garman.

Margo Clabo, a Star Member from the very beginning, has completed hers and posted it on Facebook:

As people get this quilt top finished, there is discussion about how to quilt it. I have written two blog posts about how mine are quilted: My Afternoon Delight quilts  and Ruler Work on My Red, White and Blue smaller quilt

Here is the edge-to-edge design Margo used on hers. The quilt design is very busy, the pieces are very small so edge-to-edge is perfectly acceptable for this quilt:

A quilt is not done until it has a LABEL--I firmly believe that. I have written about this here: Label Your Quilts. Margo made a beautiful label:

As you get your quilt done, please post it on the Forum---it is really inspiring to see these quilts get completed. Even several years down the road, people post their completed Block of the Month quilts--we can all understand why some projects just take longer to complete than others. The 2020 Block of the Month Forum is The Quilt Show Forum for 2020 BOM.  When sharing on social media, use #afternoondelight2020bom so lots of folks can see these quilts.

Don't miss the super DISCOUNT price for a one year membership--only $39. Very soon this deep discount will be replaced by the standard price, $49.95 for a year. Join NOW and save.


If you are a Star Member of The Quilt Show and have not downloaded, saved or printed the 12 months of patterns, be sure you do so before December 31, 2020. After that date, the rights to the pattern revert to the designer and will no longer be free for Star Members. The cost to buy these patterns is about $80--so your membership to The Quilt Show comes with a terrific added bonus. 

If you are considering becoming a Star Member so you can make Color My World, the 2021 Block of the Month quilt, designed by Wendy Williams, join before December 31, 2020, and save the 2020 BOM--in case you ever want to make this beautiful quilt--you have FREE access to the 2020 BOM until December 31, 2020 and on January 1, 2021, you will get FREE access to the 2021 quilt pattern:

I look forward to working with all those eager to make Color My World--a fun and entertaining quilt that teaches a lot. See you January 1, 2021, when the Show rolls out and the first month's pattern becomes available.

Let's quilt.