National Craft Month Dedication – Margo

“This was my first paper-pieced project. Once I got 10 blocks done, I was exhausted already, but it wasn’t necessarily the technique of building this block. The blocks and remaining pieces were put away in a box to be hauled around from one place to the next. It took 12 years before it saw the day of light — after divorce, graduating school, kids grown up, and a new love in my live gifting me with a new sewing machine.

With every piece, I remembered my journey. The small bits of fabric from my grandson’s quilt, or the piece of fabric from my new love’s quilt, even the “dark time” fabric that my ex said was a waste of money. The different fabrics reminded me of my children growing up, my ex, new grandchildren, and memories of the FARTs (Fabric Acquisition Road Trips) with my new love!

While sewing, I would remember the painful past, but learned how to forgive and move onto the new with grace. It is the quilt I am most proud of and love. I couldn’t think of a better person to dedicate it to than my oldest daughter on her 30th birthday! I think she gave up on it ever being finished, but when I placed it in her arms, we both shed a tear or two. It was a journey that reminds me that through everything we experience, we can mold into something beautiful!

This quilt was started in 1996 from a pattern by Karen K. Stone “Lady Liberty Goes to Hawaii” that my oldest daughter fell in love with! The sheer terror of  making all the blocks to fit a queen size bed didn’t hold me back. I came up with modifying it by placing borders around the blocks and adding a larger border to the outside.

The trees were to have significance as well. The top number of trees signify the month my daughter was born in and the bottom would be the date. As for the trees on the side, I decided to place an equal number to balance the quilt out.”

Margo from Calgary, Alberta Canada
Quilting by Karen of Airdrie, Alberta

Quilt 1

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BLOCK Friday: Rainbow Quilts

It’s the first day of Spring! I know some of you are still dealing with snow storms and others haven’t seen snow at all this year, but I’m at the office in Winterset, IA, looking forward to my favorite part of Spring and Summer – thunderstorms.

It’s really what comes after the storms that is the inspiration for this week’s “quilt block.” Ok, it’s actually not even a quilt block, it’s a type of quilt. It’s the Rainbow quilt. You know, those quilts that have “every color of the rainbow,” literally.

Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet.

Rainbow Tonga Treats

Remarkably charming and always stunning, there’s a unique challenge of Rainbow quilts in getting just the right gradation from warm to cool colors. My teacher in elemetary school helped me memorize a mneumonic, and to this day I won’t forget it: he asked me if I knew a guy named ROY G. BIV.

Roy G. Biv made it easy for me to remember what colors make up the rainbow. You can make a Rainbow quilt in any variety you feel. Because rainbow-colored items normally stand out in your home as it is, you can really play with the style of your patchwork as well.

Rainbow Stripes digital pattern

You can go for a modern variety. Modern rainbow quilts would be beloved by a young girl or a young boy. The contemporary style of rainbow against a clean, white background is popular with a younger crowd.


Or you could make Rainbow colors the star of the show (as if they already weren’t) like in this gorgeous quilt below called Bee’s Rainbow. This one is my personal favorite. I like the simplicity of the quilt, and it still makes such a bold statement.

Thomas Knauer actually made this quilt for his daughter based on her favorite color, “purple, but really all of the colors.”

Bee's Rainbow

When you are working with a color-packed quilt like a Rainbow quilt, it can be overwhelming. Because of this, you’ve got to be intentional about your color placement, and sometimes that means adding a neutral color to break up the rainbow.

This quilt, After the Storm, is a good example of breaking up your rainbow. Designer Susan Emerson put a dark and light gray between the rows of Rainbow.

After the Storm bonus quilt After the Storm bonus quilt

Maybe some of these quilts looked a little too challenging and you’re looking for something just as colorful, but a little bit easier. So I bring you to Tekno Rainbow, also designed by Susan Emerson. We’re noticing a pattern here.

Tekno Rainbow comes from Easy Quilts Spring 2013 issue and has hues of rainbow woven into a striking composition. Look closely and you’ll see there are only two easy quilt blocks to piece.


I hope you find a little bit of gold at the end of this Rainbow quilt. Leave a comment about your thoughts on Rainbow quilts.

Happy Quilting!

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National Craft Month Dedication – Beverly

“I have attached a recent ‘cheddar’ quilt (Cross and Crown) I made after seeing a photo of an antique quilt with this pattern. I generally make a series of quilts in the same color genre until I run out of blocking ideas; then move on to something else.

The first cheddar quilt I wanted to make was a Burgoyne Surround. The second was 16 half-square triangle squares using cheddar for the common background color and mostly Civil War prints for the darks.

The third was this Cross and Crown, using cheddar in the background and Civil War and some other prints for the darks. Each “square” of the five that make up the Cross and Crown are 5” blocks. This is a queen-sized quilt and made with simple quilt blocks of nine-patches and half-square triangles.

Over the years, my quilts have tended to look more ‘antique-y’ with my piecing getting smaller and smaller, and I think this one fits the bill.”

Beverly from Lee’s Summit, MO

2ubT3YsEkJCJGNRELNYDbgSx6bPbYPyz2fweCA0awR5lr7nhdc47Bc0K_b0C2EuzwpH6RgLum-VX3i_Lg044TpQnqyHuPJbsU-p46OeOhCE1XESmj5oF6rldUmXWAj2rWi9DdOMz0CHMGM_SV2IGlNnlR0wdHM4ELARtYiREy73Gt-dUwJcw2SLN7bQTdM_NQlZjSuXqBxn8VSuuJFbJqC2KZdlvg3 cheddar cross and crown, BJVD

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National Craft Month Dedication – Julie

“I just saw your National Craft Month giveaway post on facebook. What fun! I’m attaching photos of a quilt I made that I’m most proud of.

A couple years ago our son’s best friends’ wife, Kyla, was diagnosed with breast caihLTBcHQDr5cykN72yAPiaG1-49SuUTaZRzQq4L8bPIYeUmMyq1Wy0gWAdim4r-fskCYDVXVE1KaiNDeR4255lM-vbSBiH8XSL_xfN7x1_crUQsubNolLMFnyodiZsMFJ2HXigD_pZethYrha9ZMm1_0jKIHspg9tnJriBQfgCK9sLq7LRJRZ-lQrqAwokVyUCGSI4p6WuuM9Cceos_A7SHB7inmQqncer. It was a complete shock to everyone as Kyla had had no symptoms and only found out about it from a random mammogram. Needless to say for the next year or so their lives were turned upside down and sideways! They are also parents to two handsome special needs sons, so finding care for the boys while they traveled for Kyla’s surgeries and treatments was very tiring and stressful as well. They are loved by so many folks near and far and it was impossible for everyone to be near them to offer support in a tangible way.

So I got to thinking that a “Healing Quilt” would be a wonderful way for all their friends and family to express their love and prayers to Kyla and Todd and sons, and I wanted the quilt to be a complete surprise. I cut out 100’s of white 4.5″ charms and divided them up and mailed them to several groups of family and friends of Todd & Kyla, including a bunch in Canada. I ironed freezer paper onto the back of the white fabric before I cut it into squares so that it would be easier for folks to write on them. I also drew seam lines on each square so that folks would know where to stop writing; I didn’t want their messages to get lost in any seam allowances! I included detailed instructions as well as several permanent fabric markers. I told people to write anything they wanted such as:  encouraging words, scripture, jokes, funny memories, etc.

It took awhile for me to receive all the squares back from all the locations I’d sent them to but fortunately I had allowed a couple months time for the project. And in the meantime I began cutting and sewing a gazillion colorful HST’s for the quilt. I wanted to keep the pattern very simple because I wanted the messages to be the focus rather than a fancy quilt pattern. I added a scrappy dark border, then another border where I couldn’t resist doing some folksy applique flowers and vines. (Kyla loves flowers!)

By this time Kyla’s hubby, Todd, found out about the project and he arranged for a big get-together at their church for us to surprise Kyla with her quilt. Unfortunately that day Kyla was feeling very ill from her recent treatment so the get-together had to be cancelled. I really wanted Kyla to have the quilt asap. Instead of waiting until the get-together could be rescheduled I wrapped it up pretty, put it in a box and mailed it to her. One of her friends who live near them was able to be at their home the day the quilt arrived and she snapped these photos for me.

Thank you allowing me to share about my favorite quilt project.”



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The Paper-Pieced Home Blog Hop – Review

Work your way into the paper-piecing whimsy of a totally handmade home in the most enjoyable way possible. I’m talking about The Paper-Pieced Home by Penny Lyman. This book is written from one sewist to another. It’s easy to read, which means it’ll make learning or perfecting your paper-piecing skills enjoyable and unforgettable. In her introduction, Penny writes:

Hi, friend! I’m so glad you decided to start at the beginning to get a good foundation and understanding before you start your paper-piecing journey with my book. In this first chapter, you will find invaluable information about what supplies you will need, the basic paper-piecing steps, and tips on choosing the right fabrics for your blocks and projects. A good understanding of these three topics will help to streamline the process as you begin your journey.


You’ll start with the basics: printed foundation paper, scissors, the cutest fabric you’ve ever seen, a sewing machine and thread. Penny wants you to know anyone can become a paper-piecing artist. And they can!

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What she does next is shows you how incredibly easy it is to make the most impressive paper-pieced works for art in your sewing career. Of course it will take a lot of practice and maybe a couple of mistakes (but not too many), and before long, you’ll have fabric creations you can show off to all your guild friends and family. Here are a couple of my favorites:

McCall's Blog

Remember this one from McCalls’ blog?

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Stay tuned for the rest of the blog hop to learn more about all the fun paper-piecing lessons you’ll get in this well thought-out book. And when you’ve done all the paper-piecing a single sewist can handle, treat yourself to a relaxing bubble bath.

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Here’s the rest of the blog hop schedule. If you’re just joining us, make sure to go back to past blog hop blogs and make your way through from the beginning. It’ll be worth it as it’s been a journey for us all!

Most of the participants have made blocks from the book, so bookmark this page and click the links to stop by as many as you can!

3/16       McCall’s Quilting / Sewing Machine Block
3/17       Love of Quilting / Review
3/17       Sandi Sawa Hazlewood  of Crafty Planner / Watering Can Block
3/18       Quilty Pleasures (Quiltmaker blog) / Review
3/18       Imagine Gnats / Rotary Phone Block
3/20       Verykerryberry / Lion Block
3/21       Artisania / Cast-Iron Skillet Block
3/23       Where the Orchids Grow / Lamp Block
3/24       Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt / Layer Cake Block
3/24       House on Hill Road / Oven Mitt Block
3/24       Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced / BBQ Grill Block
3/26       Pink Penguin / Allie-Gator Block
3/26       A Happy Stitch / Giraffe Block
3/27       Bijou Lovely / Jar Block
3/27       Two Little Banshees / Saucepan Block
3/27       Charise Creates / Espresso Mug Block
3/30       Karen Lewis Textiles / Couch Block
3/31       Poppyprint / Clawfoot Tub Block
3/31       One Shabby Chick / Stack of Books Block
3/31       During Quiet Time / Sleeveless Dress Block
4/06      Pat Sloan The Voice of Quilting / Author Podcast Interview

Happy Paper-Piecing!

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Tip Tuesday – Quilt Safety Tips

Between the sewing needles and the rotary cutter, the sewing room can be a dangerous room. Not only do we want to protect our fingers, but we also want to protect our quilting tools and fabrics. This week we have a few quilting tips that will ensure youMedium Klutz Glove don’t suffer any disappointments or trips to the emergency room in any quilt project now or in the future.

Tip #1: Point Protectors
I use pencil grips to protect the points of my small pointed scissors. They also help prevent poking and cutting fingers.

Tip #2: Basting Tip
When safety pin basting, use a crochet hook or a grapefruit spoon to help catch the points of the pins as they emerge from under the quilt. These tools save your fingers and help close the safety pin.

Tip #3: Acid Protection
If you use a wooden hoop to quilt, consider sealing the wood with a good polyurethane finish to protect fabrics from the acid in the wood.

Tip #4: A Washing Caution
Avoid using fabric softener in the washer or dryer when you prewash fabrics that you later intend to fuse. Fusible web will not adhere properly to fabrics treated with fabric softener.

Tip UnderThimble#5: Accidents Happen
If you have accidentally fused an appliqué in the wrong place, use a fabric softener dryer sheet as a pressing cloth to loosen the web so you can remove the appliqué to reposition it.

Tip #6: Finger Protection
For when you don’t have a thimble, wrap a strip of ordinary, white adhesive tape around the end of the finger that you use under the quilt when hand quilting to help protect your finger.

Tip #7: Clean and Heal
Use a dry, nylon kitchen scrubby to clean your cutting mat. It will clean away all the lint and threads and help heal the mat as well.

When your quilting mentor taught you how to quilt, did he or she always have a rule of thumb for quilting safety? From all the Fons & Porter quilting tutorials I’ve seen, I know a quilting safety glove is an absolute must. Fons & Porter editor Jean Nolte says, “We are always safety conscious when it comes to rotary cutting. This glove will help prevent serious cuts. No quilter has time for a trip to the emergency room!”

Happy Quilting and Stay Safe!

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National Craft Month Dedication – Carol

My Daddy’s Ties

“My Father was always dressed in a suit and tie for social occasions. When he passed in 2013, I wanted to create a memory quilt for each of his five children. I returned home with a bag full of ties and an idea.

After recruiting my daughter to help, we began disassembling the ties. They were then pressed and grouped by color. I decided that each quilt would feature a center block honoring my Dad’s Scottish heritage, and so we chose a piece of tie for that square and sewed it to a foundation fabric. We continued to add ties until we achieved a 15″ square.

My dad also loved to take photographs, and when I found fabric with old cameras printed on it, I knew I had found the back of each quilt. I chose black to frame each square and the blue seemed like the perfect transitional fabric for the border.

We recollected so many wonderful memories and made new ones as we shared this project.”

Carol from Rantoul, IL

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National Craft Month Dedication – Linda

“I am most proud of this quilt top that I’ve just finished in my favorite colors of red, white and black. A few weeks ago I was checking out my favorite quilting sites and I found a Fons & Porter YouTube tutorial for a Bento Box block.

After I watched it, I went to my stash and within an hour I had completed my first block and that was all I needed to get me going. It was so easy! I’ve only been quilting a couple of years and this is the first pieced quilt – and the largest  one I’ve made thus far.

It has given me the confidence to try other large pieced projects. I have some batiks that I will use next and that should give me a whole different look. The quilt block I made is really pretty. As always, Fons & Porter produced a quality tutorial that was very clear and concise and inspirational. Thanks for all you do for us quilters!”

Linda from Palm Bay, FL

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BLOCK Friday: Snowball quilt block

I’m sure you’re as pleased about the “heat wave” (50 degrees qualifies as a heat wave in March) we’re getting this week, melting the snow away, but I’m bringing you back to the winter season with this week’s quilt block, the Snowball quilt block.

This is a simple scrap quilt that shows a beautiful display of the Snowball quilt block. This Snowball quilt is by Liz Porter and is a simple, traditional quilt.

Liz's Snowball quilt digital pattern

If you want to give a quilt block the Snowball treatment, you’ll start with a square of fabric and four smaller squares that become the corner units. To learn how to stitch a Snowball block, you can watch either one of two free video tutorials. Learn how to make a Snowball block with Mary Fons and let the staff at McCall’s Quilting teach you how to make the Snowball quilt block.

Depending on the level of contrast you use for the corners of the snowball block and the arrangement of the blocks, you’ll create a secondary pattern across your quilt. This quilt, simply named Snowball, makes it readily apparent that there are chains across the quilt in addition to the white snowball units.

Snowball digital pattern

The quilt below, Four Patch and Snowball, is a similar design, but with quite a different appearance. When you look at just the white parts, you see a bunch of Snowball units. When you look at the colored parts, you loosely see patchwork chains. In this quilt in particular, I find it’s actually easier to see the Snowball blocks.

Four Patch and Snowball digital pattern

It’s almost more of a challenge to create a quilt using Snowball quilt blocks that don’t form a secondary pattern. This block is particularly good at tricking the eye. The optical illusion of the Snowball block is that from a distance, the block appears to be a circle, and up close, you can see it’s actually an octagon shape.

Sometimes the Snowball quilt block makes a fun game of “spot the Snowball” because the blocks can be so shrouded in the design of the quilt itself. This quilt, Piece Out, is a great example of that.

Piece Out digital pattern

What are your thoughts on the Snowball quilt block? Have you ever made a quilt with this block? I know quilters who love every quilt they see with this block simply because of the versatility and creativity it allows. In the end, we’re artists and quilt blocks like the Snowball block allow us to do what we do best: create.

Happy Quilting!

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National Craft Month Dedication – Lisa & Michelle

“Lisa and I have been friends since college. She lives in Maine, where we went to school, and I now live in South Florida. She just took her son off to college for his freshman year this past fall. I thought it might be fun for us to do a project together and give her something to take her mind off her son going away.

We spent about 6 weeks emailing various patterns back and forth. We knew we were going to do a scrap quilt and that it would be pieced but other than that, we were pretty open to just about anything. We had the pattern picked around Labor Day and hat-cKpFcs4nYy3KrULjGjNU3M1uSHc0sYirWJqy9ePmmKBbcWQKl3CKZhPHiY_gWZMGNHeYBX_r81as9G6eNwdu2hKqBvoQTFm_4Q_Fu2jVd1xvFyBKndfYU7r_u110mVjpIJ-nD0t4yXHehkNPAiLD0t6s5kMBDb9qpLh3Rh6sNguCdL5mj5D0GhhsY4D1nylKlmW_dgT9Ehxou0fMb4_hWloWKAU8d decided on an October 1, 2014 start date with a target completion date of January 1, 2015.

We spent the month of September getting our fabric collections ready. Lisa was going to make this for her bed and was going for blues and tans as a starting point. I wanted to use the scraps I had gotten from the scrap bin at my local quilt shop as a starting point, which included a lot of purple batiks. I was intending my quilt to be more of a throw that I could use on the living room couch or use outside to curl up in when the weather was cool.

The techniques used were some strip piecing, a lot of half-square triangles, and as far as cutting the fabric, it just depended on whether we were using yardage or if it was a small scrap that we were just getting one or two pieces from. A did I mention all the half-square triangles?? :-)

Lisa plans on machine quilting hers herself and I plan on using the big stitch technique to hand-quilt mine. We both considobsgOjWTMr8rEnANXj0bFehB8agHOoam3j1ilggytWSt0TMPjj7muNpfOAD-GU5Yc9DXZL5kZ1TQRqrqEHAg_EZN9qbgZxJki-3cI1IWV9RFfWXmguOEoEh6-vf01nAuufOq-VTTSac_8Sj-TXIUB2qzKFNQSd-u7GuLkKHusnbITfkTTZVcSyOQqWdeBlMUFl0-tDd-7gG52zj2CyejmZc_aoIqqyered sending them out to be done on a longarm machine but we both want to finish them ourselves.

We both love the way we did the same pattern but how the different fabrics gave them completely different looks. We both loved doing a scrap quilt. For me, it’s my favorite kind of quilt, and it gave me a way to dig into the stash I had from my quilt shop’s scrap bin.

For Lisa, each piece of fabric reminded her of a different quilt she had made for someone else. Since she is keeping this one, it’s like having a history of her quilting experience. For each of us, these are one of the few quilts we have kept for ourselves, which I think made it an even more personal experience.

I will say, this project started as a way to help distract her from her son’s leaving and while I am always up for a scrap quilt, I was startled (in a good way) by how much this project added to my healing from a recent divorce. And, of course, we both love that we did it together. Even from far away, we kept in touch with our progress and shared photos. We always looked forward to the next picture like seeing a mystery quilt unveil.

For those wondering, Lisa met our January 1, 2015 target even after throwing in a few other projects along the way to slow down to give me time to catch up, LOL!! I finished over President’s Day Weekend.  Not bad at all, I’d say.

Thank you for the opportunity to share our quilts with you!”

Michelle from Wilton Manors, FL & Lisa from Orono, ME

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