Quilting Class for Kids, Part 3

26 07 2015

During the month of July, I am teaching 8 to 13 year-old children about patchwork design during the women’s Bible study at Fort Bragg. I’m combining a Bible story lesson with design ideas via traditional blocks named for Bible stories. Read about Week 1 here and Week 2 here.

PWOC Baby quilt

For the Early Bird activity I challenged the children to creatively arrange simple squares each made of a colored rectangle and white rectangle. Most seemed to favor a “Simple Pinwheel” arrangement. I am sewing the blocks together and will assemble them into a baby quilt for the NICU of a local hospital. (For instructions in making a “Simple Pinwheel” quilt, click “Patterns” on my blog header. Scroll nearly to the end of the page to find the “Simple Pinwheel Charity Quilt” link.)

This week’s lesson revolved around the Bible story of the Wisemen who followed the star to Bethlehem to worship baby Jesus and give him priceless gifts.


In my research I discovered that many quilt block designs are called “Star of Bethlehem;” I chose a simple one for my sample.

Besides discussing the Bible story, the kids were also involved in pinning their placemats right side down to batting and backing fabric. Karlyn sewed all around the four sides, leaving a 4″ opening for turning right side out. She also gave a running commentary on how sewing machines work and why a seam ripper is a valuable tool and why you should keep your fingers a safe distance from the machine needle. The girls then used shears to trim away excess batting and backing. Once the corners were clipped diagonally, they were ready to turn their placemats right side out.

Pwoc trimming placemat

I’m thankful Karlyn and Karlene could come to my house on Friday to sew the turning openings closed and to machine quilt all 23 placemats. Most are stitched in the ditch for simplicity’s sake.


It was so interesting to evaluate the design elements employed by each child even though they only used squares, the simplest of all quilt shapes. Stay tuned for a blog on this subject!

“Carolina Dogwoods,” a Finished U.F.O.!

22 07 2015

DSCN7480For the Tarheel Quilters Guild U.F.O. challenge, I committed to finishing five projects this year. Pictured here is my fifth, “Carolina Dogwoods.” Begun in a workshop taught by Annette Ornales, the quilt top has languished for almost two years in a project box. Click here to read about the beginning of this project.

What hampered my motivaiton to complete such a beautiful wall quilt? Well, I knew that I needed a block of time for custom quilting, so other projects in my sewing room gently piled on top of it and all around it. In short, it was on the back burner and totally buried by other quilts with deadlines. My guild’s U.F.O. competition/commitment “forced” me to resurrect “Carolina Dogwoods,” and I finally dedicated some time between other projects and customer quilts to finish it.

Quilted veins add dimension to the blossoms and leaves. And the deep purple background is filled with gentle “S” curves. This took several hours and lots of concentration!


I’m so happy “Carolina Dogwoods” is finished. I’ll enjoy hanging it in our home, especially in the springtime.

Are you working on finishing a U.F.O. this summer?

Magazine Signing at Loving Stitches

19 07 2015

Magazine signing

On Saturday, July 18th, Irene Grimes and I were on hand to sign copies of Quiltmakers 100 Blocks from Today’s Top Designers, vol. 11 at our local quilt shop, Loving Stitches. We enjoyed chatting with friends and customers. Isn’t Irene’s display board of paper-pieced tools fantastic? The tool included in the Quiltmaker magazine is the “Handsaw.” Irene sells her paper-pieced patterns on Craftsty.com. Besides drafting paper-pieced tools, she has a line of states and countries.

My block, “Around the Bend,” is in the magazine. If you live locally and don’t yet own a copy of the magazine, drop by Loving Stitches to purchase a copy. You can also purchase a paper or digital copy from the Quilt and Sew Shop online.

Around the Bend block

Quilting Class for Kids, Part 2

16 07 2015

During the month of July, I am teaching 8 to 13 year-old girls about patchwork design during the women’s Bible study at Fort Bragg. I’m combining a Bible story lesson with design ideas via traditional blocks named for Bible stories. Last week, we looked at “The Garden of Eden.” This week, we talked about “Jacob’s Ladder.”


Besides learning about Jacob’s vision of a ladder reaching from earth to heaven with descending and ascending angels and God’s promises to Jacob, the girls put together construction paper puzzles of the block. I encouraged them to experiment with the shapes prior to showing them the tradional “Jacob’s Ladder” block. This design has possibilities!

Paper puzzle

Another activity was designing a placemat with 35 squares from my 3″ square bin of scraps. (After 20 girls rummaged in the bin, it now contains mostly dark “ugly” fabrics!) I asked the girls to attach each square to a sheet of newsprint with a dab of washable glue.


My job is carefully removing the squares and sewing them  in the proper order into placemat tops. If you live locally and have time to help me with the sewing, give me a call!

July Bitty Block from Quiltmaker

15 07 2015

Beginning in January Diane Harris, an editor with Quiltmaker magazine, has published a Bitty Block on the Quiltmaker blog. This month, the featured design is a 3″ sailboat. Click here for a step-by-step tutorial.

Bitty Blocks - Sailboats

Oh, my, aren’t they darling? I must try my hand at making Bitty Sailboats!

McCall’s Quick Quilts Magazine Winners

15 07 2015

Congratulations to the winners of the magazine give-away!

McCall's QQ Cover Aug. Sept. 2015

The top winner was Bonnie– who receives a magazine and 1/2 yard of black and white polka dot fabric. The fabric is  enough for the inner, accent border of the “Polka Tot” quilt.

Two additional winners are Susan and Beth T. I will email you ladies asking for your street adresses so I can send the magazines to you.

If you didn’t win this time and your newsstand doesn’t carry McCall’s Quick Quilts, you can order a copy from the Sew and Quilt shop. Just click on the picture of the magazine cover above. Paper and digital copies are available.

“Polka Tot” Variation

8 07 2015


“Polka Tot” is published in the August/September issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. On July 9 I am the guest blogger on the McCall’s blog, writing about my inspiration for the quilt. Click here to link to the McCall’s blog.

Bowties come in many sizes, and I thought you’d like to see a larger quilt made in manly fabrics. An overflowing container of homespun plaids as well as some stash fabrics that look like bowties served as the colored portions of the blocks. I auditioned several shirts (thrift shop finds) for light background. I was all set to use squares of the mostly white shirt you see in the center of the picture.


Prior to sewing, however, I realized that I needed a more subdued background to complement the muted homespuns. If I used white, the viewer’s eye would be overly attracted to the white rather than to the dark, rich plaids. Fortunately, another shirt in the bin suited (pictured lower center).

DSCN7459The traditional “Bowtie” block has a set-in center square. This is tricky for a beginning quilter and a bit time consuming for a speedy sewer like me. So I opted for a quick, uncomplicated method of construction. A small colored square is placed in one corner of each large background square and sewn together on the small square’s diagonal. The resulting triangle is flipped toward the corner and pressed. Excess seam allowance is trimmed away. The the background squares with “snowball corners” are joined with large colored squares to make “Four Patches,” i.e. “Bowties.”

If you would like to make a lap-sized version of “Polka Tots,” cut the larger background and colored squares 4 1/2″ and the small colored squares 2 1/2.” This yields 8″ finished blocks. I cut the red plaid inner border strips 2 1/2″ wide. I made 35 blocks, and the quilt measures 44″ x 60.”

When planning the quilt, I knew I wanted a red inner border; therefore, I did not make any red plaid bowties so the blocks would contrast with the border. Now that the quilt is complete, I realize that the red plaid border does not show up with as much contrast as the black polka dot border does on the baby quilt. Maybe I should have used a bright orange and green plaid instead of the red, or maybe the red plaid is just fine. It is subdued in hue like the rest of the rich, muted fabrics. What do you think?


Enter the drawing for an Aug./Sept. issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts by leaving a comment below. The top winner will receive 1/2 yd. of black and white polka dot fabric in addition to the magazine. The drawing will occur on 15 July.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 227 other followers