Sunday, December 31, 2023


It's a new year. Let's get started! 

The 2024 Block of the Month Quilt for The Quilt Show was designed by Jen Kingwell exclusively for Star Members of The Quilt Show. Join today to get access to the patterns, once a month throughout 2024, along with almost 500 shows featuring the best and brightest movers and shakers in the Quilt World. Membership is $49 for the entire year, the best money you will spend on your quilting journey.


Each month I do a LIVE broadcast on Facebook and YouTube, recorded to be watched when convenient.  I offer tips and tricks and answer questions from members and viewers. It is intended to supplement the pattern and enhance the written instructions. Find all of the LIVE broadcasts at this one location, available as they happen. The first one will be January 1, 2024, noon Central Time: LIVE Broadcasts

Each month I also dedicate one of my monthly Blog posts to the Block of the Month. This one is posting Sunday December 31, 2023 so everyone is ready to go with the release of the Month 1 pattern. You can follow me by email or Google or Bloglovin--use the links right over there on the right side. I also post a reminder on the Block of the Month FORUM when the new blog is posted.

BEST TIP BEFORE YOU BEGIN: WATCH Jen's Show on The Quilt Show FIRST! The show is FREE TO EVERYONE, all year, watch and learn and get excited to make PICK A PETAL. It airs starting December 31, 2023. 

MONTH 1 The Center (Centre) Block   Find the Pattern HERE--available to STAR MEMBERS ONLY

1. Acrylic templates are currently available for purchase from The Quilt Show STORE  If you don't buy them, you will simply make your own templates from plastic. It is ESSENTIAL that they be as accurate as possible. 

2. ACCURACY starts with printing the patterns the correct size. Always download the pattern to a computer/device and print from the Download. Set the printer for ACTUAL SIZE, not "fit to page" or "scale". The 1" scale box must be exactly 1" if you want your templates to be ACCURATE!

UPDATE: Use this photo to help determine if your printed Template page is accurate. The sizes shown are FINISHED sizes, not including seam allowance. Printing is always an issue when accurate templates are required:

3. All of Jen's instructions are for hand piecing. I prefer to machine piece so I will show you how I made the center block. Do whatever you prefer, try both methods, combine both methods--I call that the "hybrid method", machine and hand piece, using whichever method works best for a particular step. 

4. I assembled my star differently, the way I usually machine piece Lemoyne/8 Pointed stars with Y seams.

TIP FOR USING THE KIT FABRICS: Fabrics in the KIT are similar but not the same as Jen's sample quilt. She used some of her stash. I had plenty of leftover fabrics from Homeward Bound and Garden Party Down Under, the 2023 and 2022 Block of the Month quilts, so I added some of my favorites of those. This quilt is very scrappy--everything goes! I used Jen's quilt as a guide to select my fabrics. For the fan blades, I just cut a 3" strip of almost all the fabrics and made blades. If I run out of something, I will substitute something else. 

First, I cut a variety of fan blades and handles for the Fans. Trace around the template and be sure to include the dots at the intersections. I use a Micron Pigma pen size 05. The ink is permanent so you might not want to use it for the dots if they will show through to the front. A sandpaper board helps hold the fabric as you trace around the template. Fine grit sandpaper taped or glued inside a manila folder works fine too.

 Be sure to cut off the drawn line when cutting out the pieces--if you keep the line you are making the piece a bit larger than it should be: 

It is easy to machine piece the four blades together. 

The "handle" can be hand or machine pieced, you decide. 

A member on the FORUM suggested using Glue Basting for all the curved piecing. Thank you, Sonia! If you are not familiar with this I strongly recommend you watch two videos that clearly show the process. I tried it and had pretty good success, and expect to get better at it with more practice.

How to Sew a Curve  I am not nearly that fast!

The back side showing how I pressed

Front side

Join two diamonds, stopping and backstitching at the Dot where the Fan will be inserted. I pressed seams open:
Add another Fan at the middle: 

Before adding the side Fans, I joined the Star halves together, again, stopping/backstitching at the Dot: 

Before sewing the center seam I "test" the center by machine basting about an inch across the 8 diamonds--simply turn the stitch length very long: 

Check to be sure you are happy with it--if not, remove the basting stitches and try again. Once happy, set the stitch length back for regular piecing and sew the entire center seam, dot to dot, backstitching at both dots: 

I am happy with this

Center seam sewn

For me, there isn't a lot of extra fabric around the outside of the templates so I cut the pieces bigger than the template, to allow me to "trim to perfection" after the block is complete. 

MY BIG MISTAKE: I cut the outside angles off following the template. DON'T DO THIS. My block came up just a bit short and I had to add just a tiny bit more fabric to each outside corner. I would also cut the pieces even larger than shown here: SEE BELOW 

NOTE: The KIT includes one fabric that is a fat quarter for the background. All the other fabrics are fat eighths. The star background fabric in the Kit is directional, plan your cuts carefully if it matters to you how the lines run: 

What I should have done:   

Mark Dots and trace around template

Extend outside edge beyond template and I added about 1/2"  on the long edge

Leave extra on the long edge and the left outer edge, trim away drawn pen line

Now you can join the 8 wedge shapes together to form the background Frame.

The frame machine pieced and ready to sew around the center star: 

Pin at each dot, adding pins in between:

Sew slowly, using a stiletto to keep the raw edges aligned. Have the Frame on top, the Star on bottom:

Back side of the block all done, showing how I pressed: 

My OOPS--what you don't want to do and how I fixed it. This puts lots of bulk at those 4 corners:

Work at your own pace, don't rush. The object is to have a beautiful center block that is the correct size and lays flat. 

My Center Block

TIP FOR WORKING AHEAD: The outer border uses 64 of the Fan Blocks, the exact size used in Month 1. If you make an extra 8 fans each month you will have those 64 done and ready after 8 months. I would much rather do that than have to make 64 all at once. 

The FORUM has two categories for each month. See MONTH 1 -- ASK QUESTIONS HERE  and MONTH 1 -- SHOW YOUR PROGRESS HERE .  You can also ask questions here on the blog. I check the FORUM several times a day and can give answers there for all to see.

Have fun and Let's Quilt!


Sunday, December 24, 2023


 Colder weather gives me lots of time for quilting and baking. Here is some of both activities.

1. Bean's Baby Quilt--all it needs is the binding hand sewn in place and a label. He/she is due March 23, 2024 and we are excited for a new grandchild. Baby shower is in late January and I will be ready:

I always quilt at least one heart into every quilt I make--can you find it?

Flannel Baby Feet on the back

2. Proposals for International Quilt Festival Fall 2024--I had such a great time teaching at Houston this year and the students were exceptionally gracious in their reviews that I want to do it again. The proposal process takes time so I jumped in and got it done.  Many hours are spent at the computer writing Class Descriptions and Supply Lists. 

Acceptance letters are received in late February 2024 so it will be a while before I know if I will be teaching.  My proposals include a few new classes, a couple that are hand work, a couple that sold out quickly this past year, and Sampler demonstrations. I love to attend Samplers so hope to be a presenter this year. Here is a teaser shot:

3. The 2024 Block of the Month for The Quilt Show starts January 1, 2024. The Show that features designer Jen Kingwell starts to air December 31, 2023 and is FREE TO ALL. I encourage you to watch it, you might get excited to join in. Jen does a lot of hand work and her instructions feature that. I am machine piecing as much as possible for speed.  

I have to work ahead so I am ready to write monthly blog posts and do the LIVE broadcasts each month--the first LIVE will go up January 1, 2024, noon central time. I will pre-record it as we are now spending the day with our family. So it will be "not so LIVE". The broadcasts are always recorded so you can watch when convenient. Find them HERE

Here is my middle so far--months 1-3:

4. Now that Pick a Petal is to this stage I have to make Antelope Canyon Dit Dot Evolution for an upcoming class at Southern Charm Quilting, a local quilt shop. Sign up now if you are interested. Please support local classes if you want to have them in the future. Shops and teachers depend on it:

5. Cookie Baking time is here. Just a few of my favorites. Find ALL the recipes up there in the RECIPES tab above:

Mexican Wedding Cookies, aka Snowballs or Sandies

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti logs before slicing 

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti ready to eat--love these with coffee or cocoa

Forget 'Ems

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pecan

Old Fashioned Butter Cookies

I will probably make a few more batches--using cake mix is an easy way to make cookies. Red Velvet is up next...

Cake Mix Cookies

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, however and whatever you celebrate. My best wishes to you for a happy and healthy New Year!

Let's quilt.


Sunday, December 17, 2023


 And the stockings were hung. The house is now ready for Christmas. It always takes me a while to get in the mood to decorate but once it's done, I'm happy with the results.

Enjoy a little Christmas cheer from my house to yours!

Cross and Crown quilt and my "quilty" tree
My favorite ornament, an A6 from my USMC days


Mini stockings, gifts from dear friends, and other special gifts on the mantel

The Funny Frog and a beautiful carved Santa from a cypress stump, a real treasure

Hand made Teddy Bear in his sleigh and The 12 Days of Christmas quilt

Even the hubby's carvings display gets a Christmas touch

The Dining Room is kept simple this year

12 Days of Christmas quilt--first block has 1 piece, second block has 2, etc...
 I have made several of these, and given a few as gifts. Pattern from Temecula Quilt Company   

Front door--and each window across the house has a simple white candle, lovely at night

Living Room

Detail of an antique quilt from circa 1875

One of my most treasured antiques, a Flea Market find, on the Non-Guest bed

Read much more about this antique Ohio Star quilt here: Christmas Quilts   and  It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas  

Even the guest bed gets a Christmas quilt--I made this in 1989, one of  my first hand quilted bed quilts

1880 Sampler quilt, pattern from Temecula Quilt Company Sew A Long 2018

However and whatever you celebrate at this time of year, I wish you the best!

Let's quilt.