BLOCK Friday: Ribbon Star quilt block

Today’s quilt block is versatile and delicate– an unlikely combination and the description I’d like to use to describe myself. It’s the Ribbon Star quilt block. The name of this simple block comes from the four V-shapes (the ribbons) at each corner.

Truthfully, it was a little tough for me to find the name of this block. Why? Because it’s a star block, and there are many star blocks. But it’s much more than just a star block. I knew there had to be a more specific name for this block than “star block”, so I researched it.

I’m really quite fond of this block for a few reasons. First, it’s an easy quilt block because it only requires half-square triangles and squares. Second, changing up the color patterns creates a completely different looking quilt. And third, when you put lots of these blocks together, you get a secondary diamond and square design.

Exhibit A:
Lil Bits quilt kit

You see it there? I like that. I might be a little biased since I have this quilt, Lil’ Bits, hanging out with me while I work. It’s true, I’m quite fond of it.

I do love the classic Ribbon Star block, but I also love its adaptations as well. For those looking for little more of a challenge, but wanting to keep the elegance of this quilt block, Katie Clark Blakesley’s Super Star wall hanging is the perfect choice. Better yet, Mary Fons and Ellen Graf get together for a video tutorial on how to make Super Star.

Super Star digital pattern

Throw in another half-square triangle block in place of the square and you’ve got yourself an envelope quilt block. That’s one’s pretty cool too. It’s called You’ve Got Mail.

You've Got Mail digital pattern

What are you picturing when you see the Ribbon Star quilt block? Do you like altering each “ribbon” color or would you make them all match for a real star-looking quilt block? Have you made a quilt with this block before? Share some of your inspiration!

Fons & Porter Sheyenne

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Free. Free. Free.

Free! It’s one of our favorite words, and we’re giving you 12 hours of it. December 18th is National Free Shipping Day, but we’re going to do one better with a Day of Free.

Every hour between 8am and 8pm CST, we will post one free product for you to enjoy. That means free patterns, free designs, free videos, and free tutorials. And because it’s National Free Shipping Day, of course we’ll have free shipping all day at We’ve never done something like this before, so join us and tell your guild about it. You won’t want to miss this!

Follow Fons & Porter on Facebook for your ticket to the Day of Free on Thursday, December 18.

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See you there!
Fons & Porter Sheyenne

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BLOCK Friday: The Churn Dash Quilt Block

Today’s Block Friday has all types of elements: a history lesson, an art lesson and a bonus at the end. Take your seats pupils!


The block we are celebrating is the Churn Dash quilt block. I researched a little history about this block and came up with these interesting bits of information. (Use this to impress your quilt friends at a Christmas gathering!)

  • The block’s name comes from the resemblance of the triangle and rectangle perimeter of the block to a butter churn and the center square to the stick (or “dash”) of the butter churn. Apparently quilters have always had an affinity for food!
  • The Churn Dash was one of the first blocks girls learned to quilt.
  • Folklore says the Churn Dash was used as a symbol to help runaway slaves in the Underground Railroad. However, scholars have found no proof of this.

Now, for a little art lesson. The Churn Dash quilt is so versatile. It can be scrappy, modern, traditional, kid-friendly or masculine. At Fons & Porter, we are huge fans of the Churn Dash quilt block. For your viewing pleasure, I’ve curated a lovely art gallery full of Churn Dash quilts!

The Scrappy Churn Dash- Daisy’s Picnic


The Girly Churn Dash- Neapolitan   



The Mix-it-up Churn Dash- Oasis



The 16-Patch Churn Dash- 1/16th Monkey Wrench



The “I wish it was warm again” Churn Dash- Simple Joys



For the visual learners, we have a Love of Quilting video on on how to make the Churn Dash block. That is one entire episode dedicated to this lovely block. To learn more quilt block techniques and tips, be sure to check out our collection of video tutorials on

Bonus Time! As part of our 12 Days of Christmas deals, today is 50% off Quilt Patterns. All the quilt patterns included in the Churn Dash gallery are half off. In fact, all patterns on our shop site are 50% off! PATTERN50 is the key to savings at checkout!

Happy Block Friday!

Fons & Porter Rachel

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Block Friday: Rock The Old Sawmill Block

In the quilt world, it’s not about Black Friday. It’s about Block Friday. We’re putting the spotlight on our favorite blocks. My favorite is found in Old Sawmill, a quilt by Tony Jacobson from Quilting Quickly.

DP140214   LQ140053

The only problem? The block doesn’t have a name! Tony self-titled the block “Buzz Saw,” but I think our readers can get more creative than that. I proclaim the best idea for this quilt block name will be added to the library of quilt blocks! (I don’t think I actually have that power, or if there is a real library of quilt blocks.)

The thing about this nameless block is that it’s so versatile in this quilt. Pick seasonal fabric to make a holiday quilt, use flannel for a warm winter quilt, or use bright colors or pastels for a kid-friendly quilt pattern. Perhaps it should be called the “Anything Goes” quilt block?

Let’s get the specs on Old Sawmill:

  • It’s SO beginner friendly. Wide strips of fabric make for easy piecing. There’s also a free YouTube tutorial from our staff in case you need a visual guide.
  • It has the potential to be a masculine quilt. My dad is always the last person on my Christmas list I buy for. His wish list only includes a fishing boat. I’m making him this quilt with deep brown and blue fabric. Perfect for his man cave!
  • Since it’s from Quilting Quickly, it’s a time saver. I’m also a last-minute shopper. Last minute quilts are my thing!
  • Tony Jacobson is the designer. I’m a bit biased because I work with him, but the quilts he turns out always catch my eye. Insider fact about Tony: Batiks are his favorite fabric!

All my best,

Fons & Porter Rachel

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Black Friday Personal Shopper Finds

The people have spoken. You told me what kind of quilt products you’re on a mad search to find this holiday and I’ve found them for you. And best yet, at great prices because it’s Black Friday. That’s right, it’s the “holiday” after the holiday, and you either love it or you hate it. There’s no in between. I lean toward the latter, but only when it comes to the thought of standing in long lines and pushing past droves of people. No, thank you.

Thank goodness for the popularization of online shopping. If I don’t have to get dressed or even take a shower before getting all my Christmas gifts taken care of, you bet I won’t. Before much more ado, I give you your Black Friday personal shopper requests:

Silvia was looking for a pen that has a stiletto on one end and a seam ripper on the other. This 4-in-1 sewing tool is about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t know what says “I’m kind of an expert quilter and I know what I’m doing” like this does.

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And while we’re talking about stilettos, this one was just too cool to keep to myself. Do you have those friends who seem to have everything? Well, I bet they don’t have a gorgeous brass stiletto. I’d venture to say they would be afraid to use this tool because it’s just too pretty.


While we’re still on quilting tools, let’s talk about the quilters’ square. This is the square up ruler. It’s for making perfect corners, perfect squares and clean corners. Use it in combination with my favorite log cabin ruler and you’ve got yourself the most professional log cabin quilt blocks of your career.

Square Up Ruler

Many of us are members of quilt guilds, so we often play games or do white elephant gift exchanges so everyone can share a little something. What works best for exchanges and raffles are always cute little, inexpensive gifts like these:

A mini key chain quilting tool

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A quilt pattern – this one called Crazy Eights is all pre-cut fabrics


A CD with back issues of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting (they’ll think you spent a whole lot, but you didn’t– thank you, Black Friday)


And last, but certainly not least, the AccuQuilt Go! Fabric Cutter. This is one of the most desired items among quilters this year. I had many of you asking where to find one, and for good reason. This fabric cutter can make cutting up to 90% faster than using rotary cutter and scissors. Even more, you can cut out complicated shapes that would have been nearly impossible without it. You can get two sizes of this fabric cutter: the full-size fabric cutter and the baby size.


Right now, Shop Fons & Porter is offering 30% off products storewide* plus free shipping with code BLACK30. In particular, small quilt projects like wall hanging quilts, table runners, stockings and lap quilts are popular right now, so give them a look-over. Let me know what amazing finds you discover this season, and help each other with hard-to-find items in the comments.

Fons & Porter Sheyenne


*restrictions apply


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Fons & Porter’s Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Welcome! It’s Day 3 of the Ho-Ho-Holiday Blog Hop and if your holiday to-do list looks anything like mine, you’re probably also kicking up your sewing projects a notch. The holiday season doesn’t have to be a stressful timeHo Ho Holiday Blog Hop. The holidays can as much a gift for you as for the lucky receivers of these cute and thoughtful handmade gifts, and best of all, you get to spend overtime in the sewing and quilting room.

Instead of spending your time standing in line at the stores on Black Friday, order some of the cutest small projects online and make them at your leisure.

As if that doesn’t sound like the sweetest deal of the season, keep reading to find out how to win one of five prizes worth over $75 of quilting supplies including fat quarters, a quilting DVD, a Love of Quilting magazine and a quilting book.

Him. Her. Kids. Grandkids. Cuddly. Warm. Quilts.

For Him:

Navy quilt hanger Blaze of Stars quilt kit Hourglass table runner digital pattern

Men can be hard to shop for, but everyone likes handmade gifts. Make a small, themed quilt for the veteran in your life and hang it from a military quilt hanger. We’ve got a hanger for every branch of the military and holiday themes. A masculine quilt like Blaze of Stars is a steel gray throw perfect for matching dark decor or brighten up his “man den” with a handmade spruce of color.

For Her:

Woodland Meadow quilt kit Yoga Mat Bag digital pattern Crisscross Laptop Bag digital pattern

I always have fun making gifts for the women in my life. I can make colorful, creative, handy and cute things and trust they’ll be used and appreciated. Pretty little table runners, a yoga bag, wall hangings, throw-sized quilts. It can be anything. We even have a tote bag made especially for carrying around a cutting mat and ruler.

For Kids, Grandkids, Baby:

Little Ark quilt kit Ladybug Ladybug quilt kit Fly Me to the Moon digital pattern

What will it be, a boy or girl? Make a cuddly quilt for them both! This flannel rag quilt for baby works for either a boy or a girl. Liz Porter’s ladybug quilt with appliqued ladybugs is perfect for a little girl. Fly Me to the Moon is a great quilt for an aspiring astronaut. Appropriately framed in star blocks, the space-themed print will be part of your youngster’s life for years.

Small Projects:

Confetti Party Pillow digital pattern  Gift Card Ornament digital pattern  Wool Projects digital pattern

Small sewing and quilting projects are great because they can be made and gifted in great quantities. Make 26 quilted pillow covers or 300 wool coasters; these fun small projects are cute and quick to make. They’re great little gifts for the family, friends or book club.

For the Learners:

Fons & Porter's On Demand web seminars   Join QNNtv Join Craft Daily

It’s like getting a gift card for Christmas. You’re thinking “Wow, I get to choose whatever I like best!” or if you’re like me “Free money!” Sometimes it’s hard to know what kind of gift to buy for the quilters in your life. Instead of making something for them, give them a gift that keeps giving. Fons & Porter has online web seminars for every topic from quilting basics to perfect curved piecing and using colors in your quilts. Or give them a subscription to and Craft Daily and let them choose what videos they want to watch. has over 2,500 quilting videos to choose from and Craft Daily has over 500 videos for the crafter on subjects like weaving, paper crafts, jewelry, quilting and more.

Below is the schedule for the Ho-Ho-Holiday Blog Hop. Hop along to each of the remaining blogs for a chance to win more great prizes and get more gift ideas.

Sat. Nov. 1 – Sew News
Sunday, Nov. 2 – McCall’s Quilting
Monday, Nov. 3 – Fons & Porter
Tuesday, Nov. 4 – Quilting Daily
Wednesday, Nov. 5 – Quilter’s Newsletter
Thursday, Nov. 6 – Quilters Club of America
Friday, Nov. 7 – Quiltmaker
Saturday, Nov. 8 – Creative Machine Embroidery

What crafty, handmade projects do you like making friends and family for the holidays or have made in the past? Leave your answer in the comments for a chance to win one of five prize packages from Fons & Porter. Prize winners will be announced Monday, Nov. 10th.

And the winners are…

Thank you all for your comments! You all had great gift ideas, and they’re much appreciated by me and the other readers.

Happy Gifting!
Fons & Porter Sheyenne

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Congratulations, Craft Daily, on 500 Videos!

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This just names a few of the videos Craft Daily has to offer. This is a video site for the whole crafter. Craft Daily is so excited about this momentous occasion, they’re offering a risk-free weekend of videos at no cost to you!


In this video, you’ll learn to:

  • Make placemats using the stich-and-flip technique
  • Assemble basic tools that are best for stitch-and-flip quilting
  • Make three types of placemats with step-by-step instructions and demonstrations
  • Use panels to create placemats
  • Create an opening in a placemat for silverware





In this video, you’ll learn to:

  • Create symmetrical earrings in every way: body shape, ear wire configuration, and the design displayed on the body
  • Mix, color and pour resin successfully within narrow, cut-out spaces
  • Design ideas for cured resin: how to drill into it, add rivets, incorporate multiple colors, and more


In this video, you’ll learn to:

  • Cast on using the long-tail cast-on method
  • Join in the round and the correct placement of markers
  • Work the picot pickup round
  • Anticipate and correct for mistakes
  • Work the lifted increase for the thumb gusset


Visit where you can have risk-free access to these and 497 other craft videos, now through October 13, 2014. Just enter promo code CDFT500 after selecting the risk-free trial for your cart at checkout. Note: This is a Risk-Free Trial.  Sign up now, then immediately log in and uncheck the ‘auto-bill option.’ You won’t be charged for anything and you’ll enjoy your full period of free access.

Enjoy your crafts!
Fons & Porter Sheyenne

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Come to Fons & Porter’s Warehouse Sale!

It’s that time of year again and we want you to dig into our fabric inventory. Fons & Porter’s home base in Winterset is hosting a HUGE warehouse sale Wednesday, October 1st through Saturday, October 4th from 9am to 5pm each day.

That means you have every excuse to shop, gather, forage and fall in love with all the fabric a quilter could imagine. We have over 1,600 bolts at $6 per yard from top quality brands, such as Moda, Timeless Treasures, Benartex, Northcott, and many others, and we want you to take them off our hands!

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Here are the details:
What: Fons & Porter’s Warehouse Sale
When: October 1st – October 4th at 9am – 5pm
Where: 113 North John Wayne Drive, Winterset, Iowa (go visit John Wayne’s birthplace while you’re here!)

If you’re driving from Des Moines, take I-35 S to highway 92 W to Winterset. Due to construction, highway 169 is completely closed right now.

Come visit us! We’re right around the corner and we’ve got the exclusive Fons & Porter Sisterly Love quilt in the window display. Hope to see you there!

Fons & Porter Sheyenne

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We’re Getting Ready for TV!

Taping for the 2500 Series of “Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting” started this week! We have thirteen episodes all ready to go, the set is assembled and decorated, and the lighting is just perfect. We use four cameras when we tape our TV shows, so viewers get several different angles on the action.

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Marianne and Mary go over every episode with the crew before taping begins.

This series has lots of great quilts, techniques, and, of course, tips. We’ll be making Log Cabin blocks, a Storm at Sea quilt, a tote bag that features leather accents, some mug mats, and more! Our special guests for this series are Jodie Davis, Patrick Lose, Sara Gallegos, Maria Pate, Amy Ellis, and Angela Huffman.

These episodes will air in January 2015 and beyond. Check with your local PBS station to see what time they are on in your area.

Happy Quilting!
Fons & Porter Jean

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Watch Quilting Videos for Free This Weekend

“The truly free man is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse.” ― Jules Renard

I agree with that, but we’re not talking about a free man here, we’re talking about a free weekend. A free weekend of quilting videos!

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.50.44 AMStarting today, Thursday, Sept. 4 through Sunday, Sept. 7, Craft Daily is offering you a completely free weekend of the most informative craft videos you can imagine. What crafts interest you most? Craft Daily has over 350 videos on everything from jewelry making to quilting and weaving to spinning. Each video offers a one-minute preview so you’ll never have to buy blind or waste your time on a video that doesn’t interest you.

And here’s the deal. You get 4 free days of all Craft Daily content. All you have to do is click the Subscribe button on the homepage and type in coupon code CDPREVIEW before checking out.

One of my absolute favorite videos on here is about adding interesting edges to your quilts. I love host Darlene Zimmerman’s soft voice and learned many different options for finishing my quilts– some I had never ventured to try. Other things included in the video:

  • how to make a bias binding
  • mark and bind scalloped, wavy, and notched edges
  • learn how to mark and bind various corner treatments
  • learn how to make prairie points and ice cream cone borders
  • bind the edge on a grandmother’s flower garden quilt

If you preview this video, you’ll want to click on the “Subscribe to all videos” button and enter the code to get your free weekend on Craft Daily.

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Please note, you can cancel your subscription any time, and be sure to cancel your subscription before the free preview weekend ends if you do not want to be subscribed for the $19.99 membership.

Happy Quilting!
Fons & Porter Sheyenne

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