Sunday, March 31, 2024


 PICK A PETAL is the 2024 Block of the Month quilt designed by Jen Kingwell exclusively for The Quilt Show. It is FREE to Star Members, join today to take advantage of this great bonus. WATCH Jen's Show to see how she makes this quilt--it is FREE for EVERYONE all of 2024: Jen Kingwell Show 3401

This month we make the Log Cabin blocks from light neutrals/low volume prints. They will form a border that gets lots of applique and embroidery embellishment. 

Jen's blocks from her quilt:

The idea is to use very low contrast fabrics for the log cabins so the embellishments can really show. For those using the Kit, there is a large supply of very lights for this purpose. I used 28 of them. A few others I used on some of the Month 2 and 3 blocks so I didn't use them here.

The center square is cut 2.5". There are 20 blocks so we need 20 2.5" squares. I started with 7 fabrics and cut a 2.5" x 9" strip from each, lengthwise grain, parallel to the selvedge. This gives 3 squares from each strip so you will have one extra square: 

Using the fabric that remained, I cut 7 strips 1.5" x 9" for some of the Logs from EACH OF THOSE 7 FABRICS.  Since they were already on the table for cutting the squares, I cut them now. This gives 49 strips, that's a small start. 

Next I used 21 more Neutral/Low Volume fabrics to cut lots more strips, 1.5" x 9". Again, lengthwise grain. How MANY STRIPS? 7 strips from EACH of the 21 fabrics--I cut 4 layers at a time. This gives 147 strips--now you have about as many strips as you will need for all 20 Log Cabin blocks:

The pattern instructions give the specific size of each log needed for a block. That is how I chose to do it, cutting two blocks at a time, not repeating a fabric within the block. 

NOTE: I DID NOT  cut all the strips up into all the sizes needed AHEAD OF TIME. I cut for TWO BLOCKS at a time, using any "leftover" pieces as I could. For example, cutting a 5.5" log from a 9" strip leaves a 3.5" x 1.5" log leftover--perfect! You can use that in another block.

The two at the top are ready to sew, the two at the bottom are complete:

A few of the fabrics are directional, like the one with words. Try to keep them all the same or just "wing it"--whatever makes you happy. I am a "symmetrical" kind of girl, so I kept them all "readable" in the quilt. You do you.

Yes, I know there are other ways to make Log Cabin blocks, like chain piecing all the squares to a long strip of fabric 1. Do whichever method you like that gives you the result you want--accurately sewn blocks. 

By cutting accurately  using the instructions, you will quickly see if your seam allowance is off. Remember the 3 things we can do wrong in piecing a block: the CUTTING, the SEWING, and/or the PRESSING. Each of these steps is very important in making these blocks.

Occasionally, I was off a little bit. I see it while pressing the newly added log. Upper right corner is not quite there, off by less than 1/8":

When I added the next strip I was careful to keep the block straight--the missing part is in the seam allowance and only I know it's there. The problem would come if I insisted on keeping the block raw edges aligned with the newly added strip--this would cause the block to be more "out of whack" with each new round: 

I measured each block as I added EACH round--with 1" finished logs it's easy to know what size the blocks should be as each log is added. For example, when the first log is added to the center square, it should measure 2.5" x 3.5" including seam allowance. When the second log is added, the unit is now 3.5" square. And so on... Yes, I checked every seam, every time. 

When the block is done, it is 8.5" square, including seam allowance. Make 20. No rush, you now have several months to make them as we start embellishing the first FOUR log cabins next month: 

IMPORTANT TIP: even if you make ALL 20 BLOCKS RIGHT NOW, do not sew them into borders and add them to the center as soon as you have the center all done. The embellishing with applique and embroidery is done while the Log Cabin borders are NOT YET sewn to the quilt.

Here is how far I have gotten. The borders are complete, (except the final small fan borders) but are not sewn to the center yet. Each border is labeled Top, Bottom, Left or Right:

On the FORUM I posted a photo of how much Kit fabric I now have left for the appliques--find that TOPIC HERE

I will do the Facebook LIVE broadcast Wednesday April 3, 2024, noon Central Time. It will also be on YouTube on The Quilt Show channel. And as always will be recorded to watch whenever convenient, find the links to all the LIVE broadcasts HERE.

This can be a fun "leader/ender" project if you have to be working on another quilt at the same time. I was doing Ricky Tims' virtual class, Papaw's Choice, while making these. It was nice to switch between the neutral blocks and the deep/dark blocks. Here is my Papaw's Choice, 82" square:

I hope this helps as you make the Log Cabin Border blocks.

Next month we start embellishing them, FOUR of them!

Let's quilt.


Sunday, March 24, 2024


More than two years ago I was invited to teach at EMPTY SPOOLS SEMINAR held every year at Asilomar Conference Center on the Monterey Peninsula in central CA. I have been looking forward to it since then. This is the 39th year, it began the year I became a quilter.

See my post about the place and the experience here: Empty Spools Seminar Part 1

The class I was asked to teach is FULL CIRCLE, a pattern by Wendy Williams. This is a great project for a 5 day Seminar--it has lots to teach and would keep the students engaged for the entire time. My sample turned out great and the quilting by local longarmer extraordinaire Patty Wilson made it that much better:

I have written several blog posts about this quilt, read them here for more info:

What You Can Learn

See the Quilting

Class Taught Locally September 2023

Each student bought the pattern and my 10 page addendum with tips and clarifications. 

I was thrilled to have 21 students, one of the largest classes that Session. They came from all over the country: OH, WI, HI, WA, UT, CO, and CA. The two from Hawaii had taken Western Sun with me in Houston last fall--I was so pleased they wanted another class. The two from Colorado took class with me in Durango last spring--so great to see familiar faces again. 

This class had to be fast-paced as I had to be sure we covered all 9 of the patterns in Quadrant A as well as how to assemble the outer borders and complete quilt. "We advance for the swift and repeat for the deliberate." Everyone was encouraged to ask all the questions they might have, as frequently as necessary until they "got it". 

The first day was 1.5 hours of instruction before dinner and the evening welcome program. They got right to work drawing their patterns. The first full day, Day 2, we spent the morning on more pattern drawing. After lunch it was time to sew and sew they did. 

Here is what I saw before class began the morning of Day Three:

Wow! I was so happy to see so much progress. Everyone was cheerful, eager to learn, fun to talk to and kept up with what is a pretty fast-paced class. 

A couple showed me quilts they were inspired to make from my blog:

Suzanne made X blogs from Charm Squares from my tutorial

Susan was happy to have the outer road on Color My World, another Wendy Williams pattern that was the 2021 Block of the Month quilt for The Quilt Show

And here are the photos I took at the end of day 5:

And there has to be a CLASS PHOTO. I would be delighted to see any of these students in class again. They worked hard, learned more than they know, and will be able to make the entire quilt now. Although a couple plan to make only Quadrant A. I look forward to seeing their completed quilts sometime in the future:

Empty Spools Seminars is such a magical experience! I will teach there as often as I am invited--it's just that kind of place. I came home with my cup of creativity full to overflowing. I am working on a new sample or two for future class offerings.

AND IF YOU WANT TO LEARN THIS QUILT, YOU HAVE ONE MORE CHANCE: I am teaching this at Southern Charm Quilting in Huntsville, AL as a 5 day SPECIAL EVENT May 6-10, 2024. The fee includes the pattern, my addendum, 5 full days of class instruction, lunch the first day and $100 toward fabric purchases. Don't miss this opportunity. Fifteen students attended the first of these Special Events last September. There is a great hotel nearby if you are traveling from out of the area. I hope to see you there. Register online today.

Let's quilt!


Sunday, March 17, 2024


 Recently I had a BUCKET LIST experience, teaching at EMPTY SPOOLS SEMINARS. There is so much to share I will write two blogs--this one on the event and another on the class I taught.

This is the 39th year for Empty Spools Seminars. I have always wanted to attend but couldn't for various reasons. When I was recommended for Faculty there, more than two years ago, I knew this was my dream come true.

Asilomar Conference Center is 105 acres on the Monterey Peninsula, built in 1913. Originally a YWCA center, much of the property was designed by Julia Morgan, the first woman architect in CA, who later designed the Hearst Castle. This place is MAGICAL! Here are just some of the photos I took:

My view each morning at 5:45 am when I started my power walk

Even beautiful when it rained

My classroom straight ahead

Path to the Beach

Excellent walking paths everywhere

West coast beach--so different from the Gulf

Pacific Ocean, my happy place

Architecture shot

Main Lodge

Main Lodge, Guest Check In area

I arrived the day before classes started at 4 pm the following day. This gave me time to get my routine set. I was up about 5:30 am each morning to power walk for an hour, starting on the grounds, using a flashlight to supplement the well-lit property. I saw no one else until about 6:30. Once the sun was starting to rise I headed to the beach, my most happy place:

It rained a good bit the first few days. Fortunately, the Park Shop had really good rain jackets at a very reasonable price. Once I added that to my wardrobe I was set for the week. Umbrellas are not helpful because when it rains, it blows, so being able to cover up was best.

The food was really good and plentiful, with set times for each meal in the large Crocker Dining Hall. There were always vegan and gluten free options for those who needed that:

Breakfast, the fresh berries were so good:

Lunch, there was always soup and salad and usually an entree:

Dinner, fish was served several times during my 7 nights, which suits me fine:

I ate well, much more than at home, and expected my weight to be up, I guessed 8 pounds. I was right. It took 6 days of being back on my usual diet/exercise plan to drop those. I enjoyed all those desserts but the weight had to go. 

All of my teacher friends who have taught here told me it was a great place to teach. The students are energized with creativity. Many return year after year, including one in my class who was there for the 20th time. They reconnect with old friends from all over the country. I had students from MI, WI, HI, OH, UT, WA, OR, CO and many from CA. Four of my students came to take class with me, having been in my class in Houston or Durango, CO last year. It was so fun to see familiar faces!

Each evening except one there is Show and Tell and a short program. At the first Show and Tell, two of my students showed off their Garden Party Down Under Quilts, the 2022 Block of the Month quilt from The Quilt Show:

On the one evening off most of the teachers go out to dinner together as it is the only time we get to visit with each other. The Fishwife restaurant is very good and we could walk there:

Maria Shell, Libby Williamson, me, Betsy Habich, Deborah Fell, Mel Beach, Gloria Loughman, Sue Benner, two others were not with us

What made this so special for me? Power walking in sight of the ocean was magical. Seeing wildlife like deer everywhere was amazing. The birds were new to me and so colorful. A family of bunnies saw me walk by each morning in the pre-dawn light. The landscape is so different from home. Each morning I was in the zone, with my Airpods in playing my favorite music, singing to my hearts content. I told a friend it was "contemplative". 

More scenes to inspire you:

My room, 650 steps from the Dining Hall, I loved it!

Much to learn

Yes, they get this close

Deer are everywhere if you look

After a few days of rain, we had spectacular weather

I am SO LOOKING FORWARD to next year. The classes are set and registration will open in May 2024. I encourage you to make plans now. This is such a special place and learning experience. Here is the Faculty for next year:

The only hiccup was on my trip home. Thunderstorms in Dallas left me stuck there for two nights. There are much worse places to be stuck than an Embassy Suites in walking distance of a huge mall, remember malls? Grapevine Mills is a super place to get a few things--I had little with me as the checked baggage went on home without me. I had work to do, books to read, and got in a long power walk on a beautiful day:

Dinner at Embassy Suites

Hotel can provide essentials

Dinner and next morning breakfast--frig and microwave in the room saved the day

All spaces filled

Prom anyone?

Food court

Lunch at Whataburger

Sad to see the Sunset on this beautiful experience but I will be back next year, and maybe in 2026, for a "back to back", two weeks, two different classes. Truly my BUCKET LIST place to teach and so worth the wait:

The sun sets in the west...

Let's quilt,