The Giving Quilt

The Giving Quilt 2Each month a group of quilting friends meet at a local firehouse for a day of sewing. We have gone by many names – Sew and Sews, Second Saturday Quilters, Block of the Month Group, and Firehouse Group. Obviously we meet on the 2nd Saturday of the month, every month and have been meeting for 12 years. Some of the faces have changed along with the names but there are a few who have been here since day one.

A little history of the group, we started as a spin-off from the Thimbleberries Club that had been meeting at my quilt shop. I believe this group started in 2000. Remember Thimbleberries? Quite popular line of pattern, books and fabric! I believe that Lynette Jensen, the brains behind Thimbleberries retired in 2012, along with her designs. But there are still lots of Thimbleberries fans out there, along with the merchandise.

Firehouse Christmas 2014 2

The group was all for continuing outside the store and met at my house for about 6 months. After that, we found this wonderful group of firefighters who were generous enough to let us use their training room once a month. The room is large and bright and has many tables so that we can bring our machines, irons and supplies and even lay out blocks on the floor. The most important thing about this group is the friendships that have formed. Each month we catch up on what’s been going on and twice a year enjoy a themed pot luck lunch. At the holidays we hold our annual Christmas party and began a Cookie Exchange in 2014.

Firehouse Christmas 2014

We’ve probably done everything imaginable for holiday grab bags over the years, fat quarters, ornaments, charm packs, and now none of us needs any more fabric! So this past Christmas, we all brought skeins of yarns to donate to our local children’s hospital. Many of the group have sewn pillowcase and knit IV covers for these kids. The yarn collection goes a long way throughout the year.

As we’ve evolved over the years, we have been a UFO group as well as offered various classes. Most of the classes have been Block of the Month but we’ve also had machine quilting, mini bags, tote bags, pretty much anything that is requested.

For 2015, I am teaching The Giving Quilt, a pattern based on the book of the same name by Jennifer Chiaverini and a part of the Elm Creek Quilts series. This pattern/kit/fabric line (Red Rooster Fabrics) actually came out in 2012. When we decided this quilt would be a great block of the month, some people purchased kits, some chose their own fabric. I made the sample and we began this January.

When I teach a quilt like The Giving Quilt, I like to re-write the steps, having everyone make the components of the quilt all at one time. This way when we work on these steps in class, they can got a lot accomplished and get a little assembly line going. When the components are finished and the quilt and blocks are ready for assembly, everything seems to just fall into place.IMG_4655

The ladies had instructions in December to do a large amount of pre-cutting before the official start of class. Labeling was key because there were many fabrics, many pieces and some similar fabrics to keep track of. They were also instructed to draw diagonal lines on all the half-square triangle pieces. Januaury’s class consisted of half-square triangle construction. All the HST’s are now complete and ready for block assembly. The center of the quilt is made up of two different blocks for classes in February and March.


I think you can see how the components are coming together. I have also scheduled some catch up time during the summer months as vacations take over.

Everyone seems to be enjoying the class and it will be so fun to see the different fabric combinations when the quilts are finished.

One more thing . . . today is National Quilting Day so have some fun with your quilting!



Connect the corners and more!


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Connecting Corners and More

Yes, it has been awhile since my last post . . . and . . . the promised Fast Flying Geese video. Due to some technical difficulties there has been a problem uploading my video to You-Tube. I am hoping to get that up soon but until then I thought I’d share a fun tip with all of you.

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HST’s for Ava’s Quilt

You may remember that I’ve been working on a lot of half-square triangle units for my granddaughter Ava’s quilt and also working on The Giving Quilt which I will be teaching in 2015. The Giving Quilt has a LOT of connecting corners. “Connecting Corners” are typically constructed by sewing a square onto the corner of another square so it appears that a triangle was sewn on the corner.

 A quick tutorial:

1. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the wrong side of the square to be placed in the corner.

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2. Place the square in the corner, sew on diagonal line.



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3. Cut 1/4″ away from the cut line, Press toward the corner.


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My tip for today:

1. When drawing your diagonal line on the square, draw an additional line 1/2″ away from that line.


2. Sew diagonal as in Step 2 above and sew again on the 2nd drawn line.


3. Trim between the two lines, 1/4″ from main diagonal.


5. And press . . .


You will have your connecting corners and more – a half square triangle unit perfect for a mini!!!

When I teach connecting corners, I NEVER let my students throw away the trimmed pieces. You never know what you can use those HST’s for.

Here is a mini I made from the leftovers from my Ruby Slippers quilt – SO CUTE!

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And one more thing, even if you forget to draw that second line, you can still sew those triangles together. But if you plan ahead, that mini will be finished in no time.

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March Madness

Its that time of year, March Madness for college basketball and what seems like March Madness, quilt related, for me.

I typically start a project and follow through to the finish before starting something new. For some reason, this month, I have been working on a lot of different things at once. That is why I’m calling it March Madness.

So here is what I’ve been working on:

Lots of cutting! With this never-ending winter in Chicago, I’m hoping to have all my projects cut and ready for sewing. That means more time outside when the weather FINALLY gets warmer.


My granddaughter Ava is getting ready to move from crib to her “big girl” bed. She wants purple! I’m working on the cover quilt from the latest issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. I made a test block which I’m very happy with and now making ALL of the half square triangles.


I also finished the binding on my Basket of Flowers Quilt, ready for the Quilt Show in the Garden in June.

.basket of flowers

Looking ahead to 2015, I’ll be teaching The Giving Quilt (based on the book by Jennifer Chaiverini) to our Firehouse Group. All the pieces are cut and there are more HST’s to be made.


I finished stitching the March block for our Breakfast Club project. So far, this one is my favorite.

Making a lot of flying geese and preparing for a program for the Algonquin Quilter’s Guild. I’m showing them flying geese three ways: traditional, fast flying geese and using Open Gate’s Fit To Be Geese Ruler. Hopefully my flying geese YouTube video and post will be finished too.


Finally, I finished one of my favorite quickie patterns, with more geese – The Flying Geese Panel quilt. Here’s a sneak peak, can’t show you the final picture as its a surprise!