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Hello! From here you can access your My Star Collection subscription (button on the left) and visit our bookstore (button on the left or top menu). Also, enjoy your favorite cartoon Mrs. Bobbins, read some fun blog posts, and get to know our authors. Enjoy!

September 1, 2014

Mrs. Bobbins

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August 30, 2014

Iowa Quilt Shop Owner Q&A: Mary Miller, the Quilt Block

WarehouseOnWheels-page-0Our celebration of our Warehouse-on-Wheels sale in Iowa continues with a visit with a West Des Moines  shop owner. Mary Miller, who was 8 when her grandmother taught her to sew, opened the Quilt Block in 1987.

Our special sale at four quilt shops  — with books as much as 75 percent off! — continues through Aug. 31.

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What are you most proud of about your shop?

We’re a Bernina dealer and feel the Bernina sewing machine delivers consistent quality day after day. The machine is easy to use, and it becomes a tool allowing the sewer to create spectacular items for her home, quilts for her family and friends and handcrafted gifts. And second, we have tons of models. We make our own out of current fabrics.

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What trends do you see in quilting today? Have tastes changed since you opened your shop?

1. Lots of machine quilting, either long-arm or with their home machine. Very little hand quilting. Can’t remember a time when I reordered hand-quilting thread.
2. Shift from polyester batting to a cotton blend or 100 percent cotton batting.
3. Not many three-color quilts. The focal print is usually a floral, neutral background, and then an accent color fabric. Now the more prints and colors, the happier they are. Lots of scrappy quilts.
4. Quilters/sewers are more adventuresome, willing to try new techniques using lots of color.

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

August 29, 2014

Worth the Effort

By Edie McGinnis

Edie McGinnis

Edie McGinnis

Labor Day weekend is upon us. It is the day set aside to honor the contributions American workers have made to the prosperity and strength of our country.

I often think of how hard my dad worked. He was a cooper and made barrels for the American Distilling Co, in Pekin, Illinois. He packed his lunch and a thermos of coffee and set off to work every day without fail. His job required great skill and a lot of manual labor. There is no question that his job was labor intensive.

Labor intensive – that is the perfect phrase to describe my dad’s work. But a person doesn’t have to do manual labor to do labor-intensive work. Quilters can fall into that classification as well.

I don’t know who made this quilt top. I bought it in Branson, Missouri, one summer. I was enthralled with all the different fabrics that had been used in the quilt. Think about the work and time it must have taken to cut all those 1 1/2-inch squares with scissors. This quilt was cut and pieced long before rotary cutters came into our lives. The pieces were sewn by hand, so I would guess that the stitching line was marked in pencil around a template on each square.

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This Grandmother’s Flower Garden is just a top. A friend of mine gave it to me because she said she would never get it quilted. I want to quilt it by hand because I think it richly deserves it. Not only is each “flower” made up tiny hexagons that measure 1-inch finished, but the little green diamonds that make up the “paths” are 1/4-inch finished. I look at my big hands and wonder how anyone works with pieces that small. This has to be labor-intensive piecing at its best.

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Cutting and piecing aren’t the only areas in quilting that can be labor intensive. Check out this Marie Webster Cluster of Roses quilt for time-consuming appliqué work. Think about turning the edge of each of those leaves under with your needle and then sewing each in place. I would love to know how long it took the maker to complete this quilt.cluster of roses

 

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The Morning Glory Wreath crib quilt is one of the finest examples of labor-intensive hand quilting that I have in my collection. The cross-hatching is spaced a mere 1/4-inch apart. It is a stunning example of how much fine quilting adds to the overall look of a quilt.MorningGlory

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The Bird in a Cherry Tree quilt epitomizes the very phrase “labor-intensive.” The border, with its 1/2-inch finished berries placed strategically on tiny stems, makes a quilter think twice about embarking upon this adventure. The quilt, the berries, the appliqué work all demanded that the best quilting be used to finish the quilt, and long-arm quilter Brenda Butcher stepped up and did exactly that. I’m afraid to ask her how many hours she put into quilting this lovely thing.BCT

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Each of the pieces I’ve shown may have been labor-intensive but, oh, the results? Simply magnificent!

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

August 28, 2014

A Bobbins’ Bargain to Grow On

This week, Mrs. Bobbins brings you a book that will help you mark the special occasions along the way as a girl grows from a baby into a woman with a baby of her own.

bobbins bargains logo - 200 wideMrs. Bobbins 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 (from five different sales), 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 Cradle to Cradle, by Barbara Jones.CradleToCradle

Quilts have always celebrated the biggest moments in our lives – from births to weddings. But what about all the other wonderful moments? Join quilt artist Barbara Jones as she celebrates many of the milestones in a girl’s and young woman’s life – moving into her first big girl bed, getting her braces off, getting engaged and more.

Inside you’ll find seven charming quilts honoring a young woman’s life from her birth through the birth of her own first child. Barbara teaches you a variety of appliqué methods for all skill ranges, so even the beginner can make these delightful quilts!

Click here to see a YouTube video of the 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.!

(SHIPPING NOTE! Please allow 14 business days for delivery after Wednesday, Sept. 3, the last day of this week’s sale.)

Be sure to use this promotion code before checkout:

BOBBINS75

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.!

August 27, 2014

Dirty Rotten Quilt Thieves

By Donna di Natale

Donna di Natale

Donna di Natale

I don’t have anything fancy for you this week. No photos. No antique quilt stories. No fun. Because theft isn’t fun.

Lately, I’ve heard too many tales of people having quilts stolen – from their cars, from their homes and from their studios. And not just one quilt. Lots of quilts. For example, Kansas City Star Quilts author Nancy Rink’s studio was broken into and all of her quilts were taken. Stolen. Filched. Pinched. Snatched. Thieved. The dirty rotten thieves even used her toilet and forgot to flush.

Another quilter had her car broken into and all the quilts she was going to show at a guild presentation taken. You can’t give a trunk show if your trunk is empty. That was her livelihood that was stolen.

Getting your quilts insured isn’t as easy as you might think. While we may think we know what they are worth, insurance companies want proof. You need a signed appraisal by a qualified appraiser and photographs of the quilts.

Be sure to mark your quilts. Put a label on the back (preferably before it is quilted) and write your name directly onto the quilt. It doesn’t have to be big, but if you write your name directly on the quilt with a permanent pen, no one can remove it.

Even if your quilts are insured, a quilt is an investment of time, money and emotion. No amount of insurance can cover the sentimental loss of a quilt, especially family quilts. But if you are concerned about having your quilts stolen, check with your homeowners and auto insurance companies today to see whether they provide special coverage for works of art such as quilts.

And please be on the lookout for stolen quilts. Websites such as Lost Quilt Come Home, The Appliqué Society and Quilter’s Cache that list stolen (and found) quilts. Some quilters post photos of stolen or missing quilts on their blogs or Facebook page. What happens to these quilts is truly a mystery, as is why someone would feel the need to take the quilts in the first place.

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