February 16, 2015

Mrs. Bobbins

bobbins sports section

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

February 15, 2015

Block 2 Now on Store Site

The second block in our Kansas City Star Quilts block-of-the-month project is called Summer of ’51. This colorful block reflects an eventful summer as chronicled in the diary of a teenage girl.

02Block2015webShelly Pagliai of Wien, Missouri, designed the quilt, Hazel’s Diary, which tells the story of her mother, Hazel Ilene Hyde, who was born Sept. 19, 1936. Hazel’s parents gave her a diary for Christmas 1950. She faithfully wrote in the book every day for the next few years.

Look for a new block the third Sunday of each month in The Kansas City Star. To read about the block in the newspaper, go to kansascity.com. Go to the Living tab, then House & Home.  Nonsubscribers should get five free clicks a month.

Click here to read about the second block, which is 36 inches finished.

We will no longer offer a free download of the patterns. We realized that over time it’s not fair to the authors to give away their creative efforts.

If you’d like to participate in the program, the blocks will be available for purchase on our store site, KansasCityStarQuiltsStore.com. To buy the second block, click here.

To read the complete transcript of the diary, including more stories and pictures, with recipes and additional quilt patterns, click here.

February 13, 2015

Some of My Favorite Things

edie_mug1By Edie McGinnis

This week I thought I would share some of my favorite things with you. Pardon me if I go a little off my usual topic of quilts every now and again.

Here is my favorite Marie Webster quilt, Magpie Rose.

marie webster


The quilt show I loved the most was Infinite Variety held in New York. It showed the collection of red and white quilts owned by Joanna Rose.

quilt show


Who can resist a Featherweight sewing machine? Here is my favorite, a free-arm.


Here is my favorite cat named Earl. He is an alarm-cat and makes sure I roll out of bed in a timely manner every morning.



I have a favorite box of pre-cuts, too. These are Red-E-Kuts and were a gift from Gloria and Roger Nixon. Each packet makes one Dresden Plate block.

my fav pre-cuts


This feedsack is my favorite from the thousands I have collected over the years.



Here is a photo of my favorite thimble. It’s such a perfect fit and so comfortable to wear while I’m sewing.



This is my favorite kaleidoscope quilt. I named it Cafe au Lait. It was made using Daiwabo fabrics. Many of the yarn dyes have little slubs of wool running through them.

cafe au lait


I usually design my quilts on a computer. I used graph paper for this one, and it turned out to be one of my favorites. It’s called As the Crow Flies.



This is my favorite cat named Ally. She is much calmer than Earl and is not nearly as cranky.



This is my favorite rotary cutter. I like it because it locks and the blade slides back as soon as I let go of the handle.

rotary cutter


This is my favorite red and green quilt. It’s called Bird in a Cherry Tree and is a replica of a quilt from the 1840s. The original quilt lives in Davis County, Iowa. I love the border on this quilt!

bird in a cherry tree_2


This is my favorite red and white quilt. I never thought I would use yo yos on a quilt until I made this one.



This is my favorite picture of my three sons. It was taken on the beach on my youngest son’s wedding day. He’s the guy being carried by his two brothers. This picture has nothing to do with quilting. (I did give you fair warning!)

my boys


This is my favorite sewing bird. I only have a few, but I dearly love the shape of this one.

sewing bird


Here is a photo of a kit quilt that I thought was a one-of-a-kind quilt for the longest time. Then I found out there were quite a few made just like it. It doesn’t seem to matter to me that there more out there, because I love the movement in this.

t know came from a kit


This is my very favorite spool cabinet. OK, it’s my only spool cabinet, but that doesn’t make it any less special.

spool cabinet


As long as I have already gone off topic with my boys and my cats, I might as well show you a picture of my favorite dessert. These are apple roll-ups. My grandma used to make them, and just the smell of them brings back treasured memories of her.

apple roll-ups


I’m going to wrap this up with a picture of my most favorite quilt of all, Whirligig Pinwheel. She is a humble beauty made from feedsacks and is so soft and warm. I pieced this quilt by hand and quilted it by hand as well. I never get tired of this quilt.

My very most favorite quilt


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


February 11, 2015

A Quilt With History

By Donna di Natale

Donna di Natale

Donna di Natale

One of the oldest quilts in my collection is called Sybil’s Civil War Quilt because I purchased it from a woman named Sybil, and she provided a provenance along with the quilt. As you can see, the provenance states that it was made by Sybil’s great-grandmother, Martha Jane Crutchfield Christopher, in1850. Further on, it is mentioned that Martha was born in April 1829 in Kentucky.

Microsoft Word - Document1

Microsoft Word - Provenance.docx
I bought this quilt shortly after I attended a three-day Quilt Camp, where I learned to identify quilts by the fabrics. Some of the fabrics in Sybil’s quilt looked a tad more recent than 1850, but the quilt was beautiful, I loved it and the price was within my budget – the criteria I base purchases on when it comes to my quilt collection.

Having an interest in genealogy and knowing a bit about how to trace someone, I searched for the quiltmaker on Ancestry.com and found an 1870 census that listed Martha and her family living in Nine Mile Prairie, Callaway County, Missouri. Details from that census confirmed other statements in the provenance, so I had indeed found the quilter. However, there was still the question of the fabrics.

First let me say that the quilt was not very pretty when I purchased it. It had been fairly well cared for, but had turned brown with age. This block shows a bit of that aging.

unwashed block

It took two years to get up enough courage to wash or soak it. When I did, the water from the first several rinses was disgusting – dark brown and muddy. I let the quilt soak overnight and gently washed it the next morning. The quilt was much cleaner, but had also lost some of its character. This is something you must be ready to accept when cleaning an antique quilt.

similar washed block

Now that the quilt was washed I took a closer look at the fabrics. One fabric that stood out from the rest was an over-dyed green. I know you can’t tell from the photo, but there are two different green prints. One has small yellow arrows, the other has a tiny floral print with black outlines and a yellow center. This dates the fabric to around 1850, again consistent with the provenance. The blues, definitely some indigo and possibly some Prussian, are also consistent with this time frame.

green block

Blues and reds copy

However, there are several black fabrics in this quilt that move it into the 1880 to 1890 period. The black with white dots shown in the unwashed block is a good example. Other black and white prints, some of which were known as mourning prints, are shown in this block. There are also examples of shirtings – white background with small prints mostly in black – which became popular after 1860. The solid Turkey red, so prominent in this quilt, was more common after 1860 than before.

multiple fabrics

reds and pinks

The quilt pattern is a variation of the Pickledish design. This pattern was popular in the mid-1800s. No argument there, but nothing definitive, either.

Pickledish block

So, just when was this quilt made? Like many quilts, it may have taken several years to make. Martha was 21 and a newlywed in 1850. She may have made it for her dowry; she may have worked on it during her travel from Kentucky to Missouri. The stitching, all of which is by hand, is excellent. I only wish I could piece points as perfect as Martha’s.

Martha died in March 1915, so the only thing we can say for certain is that the quilt was made before then. Family lore often becomes skewed as time passes and can’t always be trusted, but the story is at least consistent with an era. My best guess is that the quilt was finished sometime in the 1880s. That still makes it a very old quilt and one that is in remarkable condition for its age.

Thank you, Martha, for making such a beautiful quilt. It is an honor to be its caretaker.

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

February 9, 2015

Mrs. Bobbins

bobbins batting battles

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