Sunday, May 29, 2022

Just a Few Tidbits AND Going to Texas!

 What I have been up to lately:

The other day I taught a class I call "Your Next Quilt". It uses a book by Alex Anderson titled  "Make Your First Quilt with Alex Anderson". I intend it for beginners who have a little knowledge and are ready to spread their wings a bit.

My finished shop sample on the classroom wall. It is made from 16 identical 12" blocks that can be arranged at least 13 different ways: 

58" square

To practice the technique again before class I made another sample, with 6"blocks and no geese in the border. It  also uses fewer fabrics which I highly recommend as it is much easier to understand this process if you only use 5 fabrics for the blocks, as the instructions are written:

30" square

The three students were not true beginners but each enjoyed learning tips to improve their skills in the 3 things we can do wrong in piecing a quilt: the Cutting, the Sewing and/or the P ressing. Here are their blocks:




Next, I made a small "wristlet" cell phone purse because we are going to a minor league baseball game with the Rocket City Trash Pandas and they don't allow any purses. I could carry a one gallon ziploc plastic bag OR a wristlet no larger than 6.5" x 4.5". I have a great small purse I use for traveling that is just a couple inches or so larger than that in both dimensions. My DIL told me they measure and she had to return hers to the car. SO, I made this and hope it passes muster, even though it's slightly large;

I added a small pocket on the back to hold a credit card and  my ID: 

It also can't have a strap so I will shove the strap down into the front with the phone to get in the park. I added a lobster claw hook so it can be attached to my belt loop if I can't use the strap. 

I looked at dozens of free patterns for cell phone purses on Pinterest and used a variety of methods to get this made. You can see my Pinterest feed by clicking on the button over there on the right. My saves are under Mug Rugs/ATC's/etc.

I understand the need for security but this really seems a bit overboard to me. A couple extra inches and my lovely purse with secure zipper closures would be fine and I still could not use it to sneak in outside food or beverages. Oh, well, the weather is perfect for a ball game with all my kiddos, including the grands, and there is a big Fireworks show afterwards.

Looking ahead to 2023, I am reaching out to my Texas quilter friends. The plan is for me to teach for the Tall Pines Quilt Guild in Huntsville, TEXAS, February 6-7, 2023. I  would like to piggyback on a few additional visits and there are SO MANY guilds/shops in Texas that this should be possible. If you are anywhere in Central Texas, from Houston to San Antonio, I would love it if you let your local folks know this is in the planning stages. This could be a two week trip if there is interest.

With airfare being the biggest cost now, having several guilds split the total airfare equally will save everyone money. I can fly into Houston and out of another airport, like Austin.  San Antonio, Brenham, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, College Station, Dallas--or anywhere in those general areas--if you have contacts I would so appreciate it if you let them know this is possible. My Lectures and Workshops are all listed right up there on the tabs at the top of the blog. 

I have taught for the Victoria guild a couple times and two guilds in Houston, as well as all over this great country. Texas quilters are mighty fine people and I am eager to get back among y'all again!

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Flowering Snowball Top Done

Happy to say the Flowering Snowball top is now done:

It is 60" x 60", twenty-five 10" blocks, 1" floater borders, 4" diamond borders. 

Now to make the back and get it basted. Back fabric:

I will have lots of fun quilting this one. The diamond borders will be quilted like I did on Garden Party Down Under:

The Flowering Snowball blocks will get lots of curved quilting and some straight quilting. Eager to get started!

I plan to offer this as a one-day local class this Fall.

Let's quilt.



Sunday, May 22, 2022

Flowering Snowball

A few months ago I saw a Flowering Snowball quilt on Instagram and liked it. 

The pattern has been around for some time. It is #3081 in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. She found it published in Aunt Kate  7/1965. It was probably known well before that date.

Doing a bit more sleuthing, on Pinterest, I discovered this block had been a sew-along back in 2014--I usually am really late to these things. Here is the simple block--only two shapes and a small center square:

At my guild show in March, I saw one of these quilts finished and really liked it. Made by Lynda Kronenberger: 

A friend of mine saw Lynda's at the show too, and went right home and made one:

Ellen Anson's quilt

I decided if I was ever going to make this quilt, I'd better get started.

Working with EQ8 or BlockBase, you can easily find #3081 and print templates any size you like. I printed 6" and 10" templates but decided the smaller one was just too small. I created plastic templates from the printed patterns,  and added 1/8" holes for dots at the seam intersections. Later I created two additional placement holes on each side of both templates to give me more alignment marks. Here they are laid on light fabric so you can see both templates:

I used a Pigma Micron .05 pen to draw around each template and make the dots at the holes. It is permanent so be sure it doesn't bleed through to the front. It was easier to see than a pencil:

You can cut the shapes out with scissors or a rotary cutter--I used the rotary cutter most often, just being very careful to cut just INSIDE the drawn line. 

NOTE: If you have an ACCU CUT die cutter, they have a 12" die for this block. And there are plastic templates available for sale online--Google Flowering Snowball Templates to find them. 

Curved piecing is slower than straight seam piecing but I was up to the challenge. I tried sewing the curved seam both with and without pinning. I found I was more consistently accurate with pinning. Try both ways to see which works better for you.

Pinning could be done while "watching" TV at night or on a ZOOM call:

About the time I committed to making this quilt, I learned there was a Sew-Along getting ready to start, put on by Oh Kaye Quilting. I saw this on Instagram and signed up to receive the blog posts with information and joined the Facebook group where many people are sharing their progress.

This pattern lends itself to wonderful design possibilities, using color or fabrics to creating amazing patterns. If you are going to do that, it REALLY HELPS to have a plan. On the Sew Along page there is a link to a coloring sheet--that would help a lot: Oh Kaye Flowering Snowball Quilt Along 2022

I decided to just start making blocks--a variety of lights for the background shapes, and my favorite leftovers for the X shapes, two different color X's in each block. The center square was always lime green, a variety of those. 

As the blocks were made I threw them on the design wall. Once most were done I decided it was time to work on the design. An early photo of some blocks on the wall:

I just kept going and made more blocks. Once I decided it was going to be 25 blocks I made the design wall bigger. I also decided it would get a pieced diamond border, smaller than the one in Garden Party Down Under, but the same idea. 

As of today. all the blocks are pieced and positioned where they will stay (I think, probably, yes, not moving them anymore). And one diamond border is pieced:

Now to sew the 5 rows together, complete the remaining diamond borders and get the top assembled.

I think this will be fun to quilt--lots of ruler work and curves. Stay tuned.

Let's qult.


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Student Work on Garden Party Down Under

 I am teaching a year-long local class on Garden Party Down Under, the free block of the month pattern for Star Members of The Quilt Show--find  Information Here.

We meet every other month for 2 hours of Show and Tell, and Lecture/Demo. I look forward to seeing their work and having a deadline can be helpful for keeping up. Life intervenes and we get behind, but seeing everyone's work is very inspiring.

Take a look. It's not too late to start--all the patterns remain available until December 31, 2022.

Claudia found a way to use the black fabric with birds from the kit and her month 1 and 2 center is beautiful:

Sally is using some wool and lots of embroidery and her fabrics are stunning:

Cyndi is using her great fabrics for a great quilt: 

Julie has a lovely palette and incorporated Sunflowers in her design:

Sandra has wonderful fabrics and she came up with a clever solution for the center square of the pieced block--she did one Dresden and decided that was enough: 

Phyllis has two pieced blocks done, one has a 3-dimensional flower in the center, the other has 9 pieced blocks: 

Beverly is making progress on the big center block after working hard to finish her Color My World, the 2021 BOM. The small flowers are pinned to the vase so they don't get lost--they go on stems/background later:

Mary-Louise is wowing us all with her use of men's silk ties on a black background:

Leila is doing her stitching with the back basting method for needle turn hand applique and is very successful. She explained how to do that to the class. If you are not familiar with this technique, this helps explain the process: Back Basting Applique

Last, but certainly not least, Victoria is making special additions to her block--love the bird! 

She has also discovered a love for English Paper Piecing--great Dresdens!

These women are wonderful people who I truly enjoy spending time with. We had two who couldn't make it this month--I hope to see them in July.

I am happy to see them all "bloom" as their stitching skills become second nature.

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, May 11, 2022


 LOCALS--Here are a few offerings for you to take at our local shops. You don't have to travel to take great classes--I am here. 

I changed a NEW class offering from two full days to one. That lowers the cost in both time and money. YOUR NEXT QUILT, features only ONE BLOCK--really. Beginners will learn how to cut, sew and press accurately. More experienced quilters will learn to play with colors and design. 

Invest one day to improve your skills and create a really fun quilt. Sign up online today: Sweet Home Quilting Class is Thursday May 26, 10-4. 

This won't be offered again this year so I encourage you to jump onboard now:
Made with sixteen 12" blocks, 48" square

Then I played with 6" blocks--24" square before borders:

At  Patches & Stitches there is a fun, one day class, It's A Puzzle, Saturday June 11, 9-3. Hard to figure out the layout, easy once you know it. Blocks can be 3" or 4", your choice:

Also at Patches, a NEW beginner class, two full days of instruction on all the basics of patchwork, the cutting, sewing and pressing. Designed for new quilters, 9 Patches So Fast is also a great refresher for more experienced quilters. It makes a great baby quilt. Friday June 10 and 24, 9-3, fee $75: 

In July there is a three-day beginners' class at  Southern Charm Quilting. Start Quilting--Soup to Nuts, provides instruction on the complete process of making a quilt--all the way to the quilting and binding. The last session this was taught all the students were quilting their quilts at the third class, check them out here: Soup to Nuts. Tuesday July 5, 12, and 26, 9:30-3: 

Many of you are experienced quilters. If you know someone who wants to learn, let them know about these offerings now, so they don't miss out.

Let's quilt.


Sunday, May 8, 2022


 I had a wonderful time at Celebration!--the bi-annual 5 day quilting retreat/function  in western Virginia. I wrote a bit about this a few weeks ago, find that post HERE.

Held at the Skelton 4-H Center in Wirtz, VA--a beautiful, hilly place, in the Blue Ridge Mountains:

A tribute to the Armed Forces: 

The view of Smith Mountain Lake, WAY down below: 

On the mountain, you need a water tower: 
All the many buildings in the complex:

Not sure you can tell how hilly this place is. Photo is taken from half way up to the dining facility down to my classroom: 

In the mid-1980's I was a "baby quilter" and a member of a small guild, the Virginia Star Quilters of Fredericksburg, VA AND the Virginia Consortium of Quilters, VCQ. As a statewide guild, VCQ met 3 times a year for a sew-day, at different locations around the state. I attended several of those gatherings and learned so much from all the workshops I took.

In 1988 I attended the first Celebration!, a 5 day event full of classes and fun. It was a breath of fresh air for this young mother of two active boys. Then I moved to Alabama. In 1990 I flew back for the second Celebration! and rekindled friendships.

Life comes full circle and now I returned again--as part of the Faculty. I wondered if there would be any people there I knew all those long years ago. And there was! I got a photo with Susan Fulton. When she came to talk to me at "Meet the Teachers" she said "I wondered if you would be "our Barbara Black".  Yes, I am. I didn't get a photo with Marti Moon, but shared several meals with her: 

Susan and I 

I had great students who worked hard during class and got a lot accomplished:

5 Easy Pieces

Kisses + Hugs
Student work after lunch in Kisses + Hugs: 

I went ga-ga over these beautiful Daiwabo fabrics Susan had--she got them at an Estate sale for a great price. I am very eager to see her finished quilt: 

In 5 Easy Pieces we explored a variety of ways to make Flying Geese:

I made a great new friend--Betty had beautiful fabrics and is a delightful person 

Gloria is a hoot, she loves life and quilting and speaks her mind

John kept his  head down and worked diligently on his blocks--love his fabrics! 

This quilt is a replica of an antique top I bought at a yard sale, dated circa 1875. I laid it on the floor so any students who wanted to could take photos. It rarely leaves home:

There were two great lectures in the evenings. First, Suzi Parron talked about the Barn Quilt Trails around the country--she has written two books about them. Her classes were full both days: 

The next night Patty Murphy gave a trunk show of her beautiful patterns and quilts. Here is some student work:

First, make the background

Next, add the orange peels

The pattern is Aether and I was so taken with it I came home and ordered it. This is Patty's photo:

One other photo to share is this Memory Quilt on display when VCQ gathers. Every red leaf has the name of a VCQ member who has passed away. I knew several of those women, who encouraged me as a young quilter. They are an important part of my joyful journey:

It was a good trip, even with the long day of travel home--arriving at my home airport at midnight.  Traveling to teach quilting is still something I want to do, for a few more years. 

Let's quilt.