Friday, May 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 do more whimsical applique on another Log Cabin border. Which border it is on YOUR quilt depends on which photo you use as a reference. 

I discussed this on the MONTH 5 LIVE, see it again here: MONTH 5 LIVE

This photo is on The Quilt Show website. Find photos under SEE QUILTS.     Notice the bright aqua/purple block on the LEFT SIDE:

Here is the photo that was used with the KIT--I used it on the cover of my 2024 BOM Notebook:

My Notebook.  Now the aqua/purple block is on the bottom:

All this means is for ME, Month 6 is the TOP border, upside down. It doesn't matter what it is for YOU, we're going to make them all eventually. 

Here is mine in progress. All the stems are sewn by machine applique, blanket stitch with green thread. I wrote about that in detail in MONTH 5. Some shapes were sewn by machine, some are prepared for needle turn hand applique--the border travels with me so I can hand stitch while on the road:

Hearts and leaves waiting for hand applique

The apple and leaves ready for hand applique

Green gingham leaf ready for hand applique,
bottom motif to be sewn by hand, stem is done

Feel free to add your own whimsical flowers/shapes. This is a "magic" garden, anything goes.

On the LIVE for MONTH 6, Friday June 7, noon central, I will demonstrate how I secure the very thin 80 wt Quilters Select thread to the fine needle so it doesn't get unthreaded and how I hand applique. If there is anything specific you would like me to discuss or show, put a comment here or on the FORUM

As always, please share your progress or ask questions on the FORUM--everyone learns there.

Next month Jen introduces us to hand embroidery. I encourage you to WATCH THE SHOW--it is FREE FOR EVERYONE all year, not just Star Members. Tell your friends to watch. Jen discusses hand embroidery on the show:

Let's quilt,


Sunday, May 26, 2024


 Recently I traveled to Searcy, AR to lecture and teach a workshop. It was a good trip that I really enjoyed.

The guild has about 60 members and there were about 45 at the evening lecture, Time Management for Quilters:

This lecture is always well-received. I often hear from people weeks or months later that they have been able to get more done after implementing some of the suggestions they learned. 

The guild is fortunate to meet at Harding University. The tech side was so easy. Plug my thumb drive into the podium and we were ready to go. 

I enjoy Show and Tell. Usually there is at least one Block of the Month quilt from The Quilt Show. Here is Color My World by Ellen, she did a great job:

The next day we gathered in this same great location for Charming Sampler, a fun workshop that teaches a lot of stuff in one day. Twenty students worked hard and everyone got a lot done. Since the blocks are small, 3" finished, it doesn't look like much but they really got a lot done:

It was lovely to receive a few special gifts. Kay Sherman, my primary guild contact, gave me this spectacular clapper, made by her husband, Richard. It is truly a beautiful and functional tool:

Sarah McVey, my chauffer, gave me a lovely gift bag of coffee, honey and a spinach dip mix, for a "taste of the Ozarks":

Before the meeting Sarah took me to a new quilt shop, Pins and Needles Fabric Cottage, owned and run by the guild president, Becky Boaz. From the moment I walked in the door I felt at home. An adorable, welcoming, artistic space, a place you want to linger in. I am so glad I got to see this shop:

Wall colors are so inviting

Color everywhere you look

Painted chairs were so captivating

Becky Boaz

As it was a driving trip, my husband went with me. That's most unusual. He chose not to attend the lecture and had to amuse himself all day while I was teaching. He came upon a car show where he enjoyed a few hours. All in all, it was a good trip for him too:

After a 6.5 hour drive, we ate dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant the first night, Guacamole Mexican Grill. It was good:

The next day we had lunch at a Chinese buffet--no photos because I have trouble with portion control at such places. But I did love my meal. Dinner before the meeting was with Sarah, Becky and my husband, at Colton's Steakhouse. I had salad and a wonderful piece of salmon, so good. 

Our final dinner Saturday night after the workshop was at a Mongolian BBQ place, Hubilai Mongolian Stir Fry, very close to the hotel. It was SO GOOD. You select all the vegetables, proteins and sauces you want, from many choices, and the cook prepares your stir fry hot and fresh. Years ago the Officer's Club at MCAS Cherry Point had Mongolian BBQ every Friday night--this sure brought back those old memories. I wish there was a place like this here, we would be regulars. 

We stayed at the Hampton Inn where I got my usual oatmeal and hard boiled egg breakfast:

Each day I did at least one hour on the treadmill. I always expect to gain a few pounds while away from home, this trip I was up 3 pounds. But the next day 2 of those were gone and the second morning home I was back to the same weight as the day I went on the trip. Getting right back to my normal routine does the trick.

It was an enjoyable trip for both of us. I have already been asked if I would return so this may not be my last trip to Searcy. Thanks to the White County Quilters!

Let's quilt,


Sunday, May 19, 2024


Ten years ago when I retired from H&R Block and the Red and White--By the Numbers quilt put my name out there, I determined to spend the rest of  life teaching what I have learned to do as a quiltmaker to all who wanted to learn. And to continue making quilts for generations yet unborn.

It makes me happy that I get to travel all over the country, seeing new places, making new friends, as I spread my passion and joy as a quiltmaker. The recent Texas Tour 2024 is just a part of that travel.

Teaching locally still happens some. But I am surprised how few people take advantage of my local classes. Coming up this summer I have a few classes offered at Patches & Stitches--enroll in person or by phone today!

Quiltmaking 101 is my beginning class--one I have taught there to thousands of students over the past 35 years. Learn everything a new quilter needs to know in 3 all-day sessions:

with a pieced border

without a pieced border

TWO FOR ONE:   my most favorite class to teach, I call this a "Dorito quilt" because it's hard to make just one. I have made 3 bed size and two teeny-tiny-two-for-one quilts. Do not miss this chance to make this quilt, it won't be offered locally again for the foreseeable future:

SLOW STITCHING:   a brand new 3 hour class on hand piecing--learn how to use found bits of time to create a work of beauty. Learn the Y-seam, easy by hand, and I will also demo and discuss hand quilting, both fine and big stitch--easy and fast:

about 24" square

3 Yard Quilt--Byzantine Door:  want to learn the basics of quiltmaking in JUST ONE DAY? Here is a fast, simple quilt design that can easily be enlarged. Three fabulous fabrics you love make it truly your own:

46" x 61"

Local classes are the lifeblood of local shops. And teachers depend on them. The last few local classes I have offered have been lightly attended or canceled due to not enough students. If you want local classes to continue, please support them. Ask a friend to join you to double the fun and learning. And if you know someone who wants to learn from the beginning, encourage them to take either of my beginning classes discussed here.

Recently I taught FULL CIRCLE--A SPECIAL EVENT at Southern Charm Quilting. When I taught it there in September 2023 we had 15 students--they did an amazing job! Read about that class here:

This time we had 4 happy students. They had plenty of space and got lots done. Here they are at the end of the week, a bit tired but they learned a LOT:

Carol, Cherie, Evelyn, Leah

I taught this at Empty Spools Seminar in March 2024 to 20 students; see that amazing venue and class experience here:

Registration for EMPTY SPOOLS SEMINAR 2025 opened May 13, 2024 and classes are filling FAST! Some classes filled the first day. People who attend every year, wouldn't miss it. People who attend for the first time know they have to come back. I cannot describe adequately what a MAGICAL and SPECIAL experience this is, for students and faculty. 

I am teaching TWO-FOR-ONE in the 5th session, March 30-April 4, 2025. The weather will be spectacular then and I just can hardly wait to get back there! More samples of this great quilt which students are likely to complete during our class time:

Twin size

Queen Size

Student work King size

Student work Queen size

And if waiting until 2025 seems too far away, I am thrilled to say I am teaching at Houston this Fall, classes Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday October 28-30, 2024. Enrollment opens in June and I expect my classes to fill completely, as they did last year. Make plans to attend this 50 year Celebration and I hope to see you in class:


Mine was made with Neutrals

Tuesday SLOW STITCHING  as described above. Having handwork ready to go is so soothing and satisfying:

Wednesday CHARMING SAMPLER: one of my most popular classes at guilds all over the country. Use those Charm Packs and learn a variety of great and useful tips for piecing, sure to improve all your future quilts:
about 34" square

See student work from last year here:  Houston 2023 TEACHING

Teaching on QUILT CRUISES is another passion of mine. The next two I have scheduled, Alaska 2024 and New England/Canada 2025 are both SOLD OUT but there is a BRAND NEW CRUISE, to BERMUDA!, that has just been added to my schedule:

FRIENDS AT SEA, September 13-18, 2025 on Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas. Not sure you would love a quilt cruise? This 5-Day cruise is perfect. Two at-sea days where we will be in the classroom--work on the optional class project OR bring your own project. Either way, you will have your own new Bernina sewing machine to sew on. The other two days we are docked in Bermuda so you can come and go, on and off the ship, for two complete days.  What could be better?

Register NOW, this cruise will fill up:  FRIENDS AT SEA with STITCHIN HEAVEN and ME

I do love teaching as many students as possible and plan to continue as long as I can. When you see a class you want to take, the time to act is NOW. Enroll as soon as you can so you don't miss out.  I hope to see you in class!

Let's quilt,


Sunday, May 12, 2024


I love Texas! I can see myself living there.  I love the landscape, so vast and so different throughout the state. I love the people, so welcoming, fun and engaging. I love the quilters, such good people there, many I am proud to call "friend". 

In planning the TEXAS TOUR 2024, it became apparent there would be logistics in getting me from Beaumont to Victoria. And there would be 5 days of "free time" between jobs. My contact in Beaumont, Susan, had the perfect solution: a side trip to Austin. I really love Austin, having visited twice before briefly, so that was perfect. 

My traveling companions and now, friends:

Penni and Susan

Penni and Susan picked me up on a beautiful Saturday morning and we headed to our first stop, Katy, west of Houston, just under a two hour drive. By happy accident there was a street festival going on and that was a fun way to spend some time: 

We were looking for Kantha clothing. The one boutique we found that had a few garments was great, but none of the jackets were perfect for any of us. But this jacket made from a kimono silk WAS  perfect for me, except it was way too small. I really wanted it but it was just not ever going to fit so I kept looking. And I DID buy the red silk long kimono vest seen on the hanger:

I also liked this lovely metal sign but it didn't come home with me either, it's about 2 x 3 feet:

Next we headed for La Grange, an hour or so drive west. Home of the Texas Quilt Museum and The Quilted Skein fabric and fiber shop. There were great exhibits as always in the Museum, my fourth visit there:

It was time to head to Austin, an hour drive to the Airbnb. It is owned by a friend of Susan and Penni, Deb, so she joined in the fun now. We unloaded and headed out to Matt's El Rancho restaurant, nearby:

Authentic Tex-Mex 

A stop at the supermarket got us set for the visit. The Airbnb was perfect, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a full kitchen and laundry. Once my clothes were washed I was ready for this vacation:

The AirBNB

Breakfast each day 

Each day I did a minimum hour and a half power walk in the neighborhood. I knew I had missed Bluebonnet season by a few weeks--it is my dream and goal to return while they are in full bloom. On my last morning walk I spotted this--at a house I had walked past at least a dozen times--my first time seeing Bluebonnets "in the wild"--I was thrilled!:

Just a couple hanging on

The seed pods getting ready for next year

I spent Sunday with longtime friends and had a lovely meal at Steiner Ranch Steakhouse, with a view of the sunset over Lake Travis. Awesome!

Monday was the most perfect weather day--sunny, low humidity, 75 degrees--Chamber of Commerce weather. We ventured downtown, about a 30 minute drive, and toured the Capitol and the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum. I loved everything about this day:

The Capitol Rotunda features a Lone Star at the top of the dome--it is 8 FEET across from point to point. It is so tall the Statue of Liberty would fit under it with room to spare. Penni, Susan, Deb and I did what everyone else did--take a timed shot as we stood under the dome. Another super FUN thing to do is to stand directly under the star and say something. It reverberates back to you, sounding like the entire room can hear you--so amazing!

That late afternoon we walked from the AirBNB to Kerbey Lane Cafe, very nearby. I heartily recommend it. I had grilled salmon with tamarind glazed Brussel sprouts and basil mashed potatoes, so good! I would go back there any time. It was so good I didn't take a photo. So, here is their photo from the website: 

The next day we headed to Wimberly, less than an hour's drive. It is a nice little town with many small shops, tea/coffee houses, fun to browse and enjoy this last full day with my new friends. Some of the sights:

A kitchen store had LOTS of great stuff, from foods to gadgets. I love flavored oils and vinegars, I use them to make a wonderful salad dressing. Find my recipe on this blog about my favorite foods: My Favorite Recipes. I was delighted to find these to bring home--the dressing is yummy:

A visit to a quilt shop is always welcome, even if I am on self-imposed fabric restriction. I did find two "must have" pieces for a future "Stella Quilt":

We were hungry now and the entire day had been planned around going to SALT LICK BBQ in Driftwood for lunch, my most favorite Texas BBQ place, since I was there years ago. It didn't disappoint; it was so good I bought more for dinner to share with friends I was meeting that night:

Penni, Susan, me and Deb

There was one funny, unexpected thing that happened on this trip. The day after I left home a package came in the mail for me from Woman's World Magazine. It was 3 copies of MY issue--the one that tells how I lost 110 pounds. I had mentioned on Instagram and Facebook I had done a professional photo shoot but not why. I had to wait for the magazine to come out. Here it was, the April 29, 2024 issue. My husband sent me photos and I got excited. 

We started going to supermarkets and drugstores trying to find it, not sure when the weekly issue actually gets released. I wrote a quick blog post to alert friends as they would no longer be on sale after I got home:

I came back from my walk one morning and Penni surprised me with this--I love that woman! She found them at Walgreen's on her morning Starbucks run:

A copy for each of us. AND I was featured on the cover--that was not the case on the issues mailed to my home

I sure had fun telling the guilds about this and I signed many copies once folks were able to find them at local stores.  If you want to read the article, find it in full here on their website: Battle of the Diets Winner.  It is an excellent article with a lot of good information on nutrition. And links to sites I use and find helpful.

They chose the outfit and shot I particularly liked. My son, professional photographer Joshua Black Wilkins was hired by the magazine to do the photo shoot. Chelsea Thompson did my hair and makeup--I loved it and her. Here are a few additional images from that day:

All in all, my Texas Tour 2024 was wonderful! This mini vacation was so good for my soul! It filled my cup for a while until I can return. Let's go to Texas!

And let's quilt,