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!


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Mrs. Bobbins


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


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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.

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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.

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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.!

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Let’s Lighten Up, Take 2

By Donna di Natale

Donna di Natale

Donna di Natale

This installment of our look at summer coverlets takes on the full-size version, the perfect seasonal replacement for the thick quilts of winter.

Coverlets are quilts without batting or filler. Sometimes referred to as counterpanes, they were made using a variety of needlework techniques. In the early 1800s, when cotton fabrics became more available and more affordable, whole-cloth counterpanes embroidered with wool yarn or cotton thread became quite popular. Flower-filled urns and curving vines were the most common designs stitched on these lightweight bed covers.

Floral designs carried over into appliquéd coverlets with solid or printed cotton used for the pieces. This method of stitching summer coverlets continued well into the 1940s. Companies began manufacturing kits for making coverlets using appliqué or a combination of appliqué and embroidery. The kits included fabric stamped with appliqué designs to be cut out and stitched to the cloth top, which was stamped to show the placement of the pieces.

blue and white COB
Here is an excellent example of a top intended as a summer coverlet. The blue floral pieces are made of standard cotton, while the cream background fabric is a slightly heavier muslin sturdy enough to stand on its own without a backing. You can clearly see the appliqué placement marks on the back. The blue flowers and leaves were appliquéd using a buttonhole stitch. The rest of the design was stitched using French knots.

blue & white applique

blue & white back

The edges were finished by attaching a wide strip of blue, folding it to the front, mitering the corners and stitching along the inside edge. It makes a very neat edge on both the front and the back of the top.

The embroidery on this coverlet is called candlewick, a form of raised embroidery brought to America by the colonists. The thread used in this technique is a thicker cotton thread, supposedly originally used for making candlewicks.

The main stitch used in candlewick is a knot stitch, either the French knot  or the Colonial knot. These knots are similar. In a French knot, the thread is simply wrapped around the needle in a circular manner. In a Colonial knot, the thread is wrapped around the needle in a figure eight. The Colonial knot is a little prettier and stands up better.

French knot

French knot

Colonial knot

Colonial knot

Another version of candlewicking uses a running stitch. These are sewn using an even heavier cotton thread. About 1/8 inch of fabric is left between stitches that are 1/2 to 3/4 inch long. The lines of stitches are sewn and snipped. The fabric is placed in warm water and laid flat to dry. This shrinks the fabric and thread and untwists the snipped threads. This resembles, and was probably a predecessor to, chenille.

quilt 2 COB
Another example of a top intended as a summer coverlet is one I think was originally a kit for a quilt top. The appliqué pieces were again stamped for cutting and stitching to the background. The background was marked for placement of the appliqué pieces and for quilting.

However, instead of the layering the top with batting and back and quilting it, the maker used candlewicking. A French knot was stitched on every dot of the quilting lines. Hundreds of French knots. This is why I think it was designed as a quilt top but made as a summer coverlet that was never finished. One of these days, I intend to finish it by simply adding a backing to preserve the pretty scalloped edge.

applique detail1applique detail 3applique detail 2

Candlewicking, like other forms of needlework, has gone through ups and downs in popularity through the years without ever disappearing completely. Embroidery is very popular right now, so perhaps candlewicking will return to popularity also. What do you think? Should we bring back candlewicking?

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

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