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August 21, 2014

Mystery Apron

By Donna di Natale

Donna di Natale

Donna di Natale

OK, so you thought I was through talking about aprons, but here’s one last one. This apron got missed when we were photographing the others, but because it is worth at least a small laugh, I decided to go ahead and show this one, too.

I’m guessing this apron is from the ’50s, but that is purely a guess. It could be later than that. I also don’t know if this one was store-bought or homemade using a border fabric. I’m leaning toward store-bought. What do you think?

MH apron(1)

The whimsical design is the nursery rhyme Old Mother Hubbard. Just what you want to have on your apron, right? The rhyme is presented in words and pictograms. Can you read it?

MH detail(1)

Old Mother lady wearing silly shoes and funny clothes went to the fancy looking cupboard to get her poor expensively trimmed French poodle a bone with a design painted on it. Now I’m the one being silly, but you get the picture.

MH pocket(1)

While I think this apron was store-bought, I don’t think it was purchased already sewn. I have a pillowcase from about this same time period that was purchased as a flat piece of fabric with instructions for making the case. The fabric was 36 inches wide, and you simply purchased twice the width of your pillow. Then all you had to do was sew a seam on two sides, turn the hem under, stitch it down, and you had a lovely faux-appliqué pillowcase.

Pillow casepillow detailI think the apron may have been made the same way. You bought a yard or panel of the border print fabric, cut out the pocket and ties, and sewed it together. Another clue to this is that the ties are the same length as the apron, and only about half as long as they should be. This might all be conjecture, but you can still buy apron panels in holiday themes that are constructed in this same manner.

Tell me what you think. Do you recall buying yardage or panels for aprons like this? Let me know, and I promise this will be the last of my apron blogs. At least until I find something really special.

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

August 18, 2014

Our Warehouse-on-Wheels Sale Comes to Iowa!

WarehouseOnWheels-page-0If you’re in Iowa this week and next, be sure to look for our special sale at four quilt shops throughout the state.

Kansas City Star Quilts is working with the shops to bring you great prices on 30 beautiful books during our Warehouse-On-Wheels sale Aug. 18 to 31.  During this special sale, books will be as much as 75 percent off, with prices as low as $5.50.

In the next few days, we will run interviews with the shop owners on this blog site to give you a behind-the-scenes look at these great shops.

The shops are:

Brooklyn Fabric Co., 116 Jackson St., Brooklyn, Iowa 641-522-4766

The Quilt Block, 325 Fifth St., West Des Moines, Iowa 515-255-1010

Expressions in Threads, 208 S. Cody Road, Le Claire, Iowa 563-289-1447

Quilted Strawberry, 107 Commercial St., Strawberry Point, Iowa 563-920-1449

For more information and a list of all the sale books, click here. And if you’d like to see our Warehouse-On-Wheels sale come to your state, let us know on our Facebook page!

If you have questions, please call the shops for more information or send email to weaver@kcstar.com.

August 18, 2014

Mrs. Bobbins


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


August 17, 2014

Block 8 Free Download

Here is the eighth 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 Winged Square.


Where Poppies Grow … Remembering Almo commemorates the Great War, which started a century ago, in July 1914. Denniele O’Kell Bohannon of Louanna Mary Quilt Design in Harrisonville, Missouri, and Janice Britz of Bee Merry Farms in Peculiar, Missouri, 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, Missouri, did the free-motion quilting.

The finished quilt is 72 inches by 83 inches.

The pattern for this block appeared in the Aug. 17 Kansas City Star. The Star will publish a new block on the third Sunday of every month. Go to the Living tab, then House & Home.

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 8, 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.

August 15, 2014

Scissors and a Bird

By Edie McGinnis

Edie McGinnis

Edie McGinnis

I take great pleasure in antique sewing objects. Some I own might be very old, but they are still useful. My antique thimbles are a case in point. Each one I bought fits me and fits me well. They are comfortable and as handy as can be.

Other things, I have to confess, are really as useless as – no, wait, I can’t say that. Some things no longer serve their original purpose. And it’s not because they can’t still do what they were meant to do, it’s just that people have moved beyond that technique.

For example, I love sewing birds. Sewing birds were clamped to a table and served as a “third hand,” if you will. If a seamstress was stitching something like a hem on a sheet, she could put the end into the sewing bird’s mouth, and it would hold that length as she used her hands for the area she was working on. Today, we would pin the hem in place and zip it through the sewing machine. Exit the sewing bird.

Sewing birds are still sweet reminders of how we used to have to sew. I enjoy having my little flock clamped to my cutting table.birds1

I found another one to add to my collection a couple of months ago. It’s the one in the center, and it doesn’t look much like a bird. As a matter of fact, it looks more like an alligator. I don’t even know whether I get to call this one a sewing bird. It may fall more into the category of sewing clamp. Whatever it is, I like it.



When I found the sewing “bird,” I found a pair of scissors that don’t really work. They are very old and were handcrafted. I’m sure they were once one of the most valuable tools in the sewing room. The maker took great pride in his work and did a marvelous job of fashioning the handles.scissors

The years took their toll on this pair of scissors. Instead of sharpening them when they got dull, it looks as though the owner  used them roughly. I think the treatment went far beyond being used for paper, because the blades don’t even come close to touching each other.  blades

So here I am with five sewing birds, or four sewing birds and a sewing alligator, and a pair of scissors that don’t work.  No, really, this is the only pair of scissors I have that don’t cut. The others work like a charm.

I think about my kids cleaning out my stuff when I am gone. I can almost see their look of puzzlement as they pick up the scissors that won’t cut. I wonder whether they will see the same beauty in them as I see. I wonder whether they will pick them up and understand how wonderfully they fit a hand. Will they notice that there is a lot of room for their fingers and thumb? Will they feel the weight and balance? Will they appreciate the craftsmanship that went into the making of these scissors?handle fastening

I’m pretty sure I know the answer, and the scissors could be headed for a trash can.

My hope is that I will have my wits about me and will be able to label and notate these things I am so crazy about. And even if they don’t understand why I like my little treasures so much, they will at least know the worth of each item.

But the most important thing about this is, no matter what happens, I have enjoyed being able to marvel over these little treats every day I’ve had them. And that’s not the half of it. I intend to keep on doing that for years to come.

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