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April 23, 2014

A Lovely Distraction

By Donna di Natale

Donna di Natale

Donna di Natale

This past weekend, I tried and tried to think of a topic for my blog, but Mother Nature kept distracting me.

Spring is in full bloom here in the heartland. The crabapple tree in my backyard is loaded with sweet smelling pink blossoms. Hyacinths add their perfume to the air.

Baskets of pansies, petunias, impatiens and lantana made their way from the garden center to my car, along side pots of geraniums. Looking at these beautiful flowers, it is easy to see why they’ve made their way into so many quilts.




Whether you look at quilts from the early 1900s or today’s modern quilts, you will find flowers. I have a book that dates from the late 1940s or early 1950s that is a combination catalog and pattern book by Taylor Made. This was before rotary cutters, freezer paper and inkjet printers. The instructions said to trace the patterns onto sandpaper or blotting paper and to use the exciting new “scientifically layer-bilt batting.”



On the cover is a lovely Morning Glory quilt. The quilt combines a full blossom block with an almost art deco design of a sideways bloom. Other floral patterns in the book are Rose Bud Wreath, Buttercup, Dutch Rose, Grandmother’s Flower Garden and Grandmother’s Tulip. Designs related to flowers or gardens are Butterfly, Mystic Maze (or Garden Maze) and Palm Leaf.

May Tulips

May Tulips


Rose Point

Rose Point





Dresden Bouquet

Dresden Bouquet


Examples of flower quilts from my collection are May Tulips, a Marie Webster design; Iris, by Ruby Short McKim; Rose Point; Dresden Bouquet; Spring Tulips; State Flowers; and the list goes on. If I were to include flower basket quilts, the list would be even longer. Seems that baskets full of flowers – appliquéd, embroidered, or a simple floral fabric background -– have never gone out of style.

bouquet quilt

A favorite flower quilt is this gaily ribboned bouquet design. This was a kit quilt from the 1930s. In fact, it shouts 1930s with its Nile green, candy pink, sky blue and lemon yellow solid fabrics. The quilting is also 1930s – 1-inch grid in the center and diagonal lines spaced 1inch apart in the borders. If this quilt doesn’t say spring, I don’t know what does.

Bouquet Block
It’s time for me to stop daydreaming and get back out outside. If I get my spring flowers planted today, maybe Mother Nature will help by bringing a bit of rain tomorrow.

Donna di Natale is an author and editor for Kansas City Star Quilts. She writes every Wednesday.

April 21, 2014

Mrs. Bobbins


For more quilty laughter from Mrs. Bobbins, get The Big Book of Bobbins by clicking here! Just $16.95!


April 21, 2014

Free Block 4 Download!

Here is the fourth block in Kansas City Star Quilts 2014 block-of-the-month project, a tribute to those who served in World War I. This block is called Ladies Delight.

Where Poppies Grow … Remembering Almo commemorates the Great War, which started almost a century ago, in July 1914. Denniele O’Kell Bohannon of Louanna Mary Quilt Design in Harrisonville, Mo., and Janice Britz of Bee Merry Farms in Peculiar, Mo., designed this year’s quilt as a remembrance of Almo Ebenezer O’Kell, Bohannon’s great-grandfather.

Angela Walters of Quilting Is My Therapy in Kearney, Mo., did the free-motion quilting.

The finished quilt is 72 inches by 83 inches.

The pattern for this block appeared in the April 20 Kansas City Star. The Star will publish a new block on the third Sunday of every month. Go to the Lifestyle tab, then House + Home. To read the story about the quilt and this month’s block in the online version of The Star, click here.

Every month, we will offer the current block on this site as a free download for one week. The blocks then will be available for $3.95 at the Kansas City Star Quilt Store.

To download Block 4, click here.

(Be sure to download the file to your hard drive before attempting to print it out. Because of the file’s large size, you might not be able to simply open the PDF on your screen and print from there. Instead, please open it on your screen, then click the download button to load it on your hard drive. Once the PDF is on your hard drive, open your Adobe reader, find the file, click on it to open, then print it from there.)

One free download per person.  This pattern is available for personal use only — not commercial use — by the person downloading the pattern.  It is a violation of the authors’ and The Kansas City Star’s copyright to copy this pattern and give it to others, or to re-purpose it in any way.

April 18, 2014

Bits of Paper

By Edie McGinnis

Edie McGinnis

Edie McGinnis

They don’t look like much to the casual observer. Just a bunch of old, yellowed clippings from years gone by that had been carefully saved and placed in a green loose-leaf notebook. And not just saved but cherished and used, as well.

It was just a little over a week ago that I spoke to the Prairie Quilt Guild in Wichita, Kan. My topic was Kansas City Star Quilt Patterns and Scrap Quilts. It’s a subject near and dear to my heart.

On Sept. 18, 1928, The Star ran its first quilt pattern, called the Pine Tree. The pattern was completepatterns and ready to use.  It included templates and instructions and even recommended color choices. Ruby Short McKim supplied the pattern.

From day one, quilters collected The Kansas City Star quilt patterns. They saved them, used them and passed them around to their friends, neighbors and family members.  They put them in boxes and bags and notebooks. I even saw one collection in which the patterns had been pasted on the back of the pages of a wallpaper sample book.

A few people managed to collect every single pattern. Some say more than 1,000 patterns were published, but it is hard to prove exactly how many were printed throughout the 33 years the feature ran. No matter the number, the timeless patterns have never lost their charm for quilters.

I have accrued quite a collection of the original patterns. Friends have contributed to my collection. A few here, a lot there, but all prized by me. Years ago, my landlady stopped by one day and handed me a grocery bag full of clippings and fabric scraps. She had been to an auction, and the bag had been set out by the curb to be picked up by the trashmen.

GoldfishAnd while I was in Wichita, Lois Stewart told me about a green notebook she had that was filled with Kansas City Star patterns. Then she took my breath when she smiled and gave it to me, saying she was glad to know it was in good hands.

I went to my hotel room that night, and I turned the pages of the notebook. The patterns were filed so carefully. Patterns that were exactly alike but had been printed under different names were together. The Fish pattern printed in 1929 became Goldfish in 1931. That wasnt too big of a leap from one name to another, but then in 1947, it was printed as Airplane Motif.

In the back of Lois’ notebook are a few patterns tucked into baggies. Included with each pattern are templates cut from cardboard. Each template has been labeled with the number of pieces needed for each block. They are sturdy templates and must have been difficult to cut so precisely from such heavy card stock.

I look at the pages again and again. One of the beautiful things about the notebook is that I can read snippets of yesterday’s news. The back of one pattern published in 1930 had an article that said good seed corn would be scarce because of the drought. Little did the farmers know what hard times were in store for them in the coming years or how history would be affected.

I found a pattern in the notebook that I have never seen. It is the pattern for a quilted sun hat called “hard times” sun hat by Mrs. E. M. Baker, a member of the L.T.L. Club near Enid, Okla. She had had many requests for the pattern, but she was too busy to answer all the letters she had received, so she sent the pattern to The Star.Hard times sun hat

A notebook filled with yellowed clippings, brittle to the touch, a little bit of nothing to some but a treasure to me. And I will never look at it without thinking of Lois and her sweet smile, nor will I be able to thank her enough.

Edie McGinnis is an author and editor for Kansas City Star Quilts. She writes every Friday.

April 17, 2014

Bobbins’ Bargains goes primitive!

Mrs. Bobbins loves quilts and projects that are comforting and inviting, and this week she has found a book sure to warm your heart.

bobbins bargains logo - 200 wideShe is always one to find a good deal out there in the quilt world.  Now she brings her amazing talents to you with her weekly Bobbins’ Bargains!

Every Thursday, Mrs. Bobbins will select one of our books and offer it to you at a very special price – 75% off the current listed price!

Better yet, your shipping is FREE in the continental U.S.

Better, better yet, “Five Gets You a Freebie!” If you order a Bobbins’ Bargain just five times, you get a free copy of any of our books! Take your pick. We’ll contact you by email once you’ve qualified for a free book and take your order.  Plus your shipping on that one is free as well. Easy as pie!

This week’s Bobbins’ Bargain is Cotton and Wool: Miss Jump’s Farewell, by Linda Brannock.

Beloved primitive artist Linda Brannock is saying farewell to Miss Jump in this book full of gorgeous designs for cotton and wool projects. Besides the new designs,  Linda also shares instructions for some of her all-time favorite quilts.CottonAndWoolFrontCovScan

After you’ve admired all the quilts, table runners, rugs and placemats, curl up in a comfortable chair and enjoy Linda’s musings about growing flowers, her quilting tips and lore, and her childhood memories that feature her somewhat mysterious neighbor Miss Jump.

Click here to see a YouTube video about this book.

The book is on sale for $19.95. Your price using our Bobbins’ Bargains promotion code is just $4.99, plus your shipping on this book is free in the continental U.S.!

Be sure to use this promotion code before checkout:


Please make sure to click the “Apply Promotion Code Now” button after entering the code. The discount won’t apply unless you do so. Please verify that you’ve received the discount before checking out.

Click here to order.  And remember – your shipping of this book is free in the continental U.S.!