July 20, 2014

Block 7 Free Download!

Here is the seventh 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 French Star.

Quilt_D07_1cropped_500px

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 July 20 Kansas City Star. The Star will publish a new block on the third Sunday of every month. The pattern for this block appeared in the July 20 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. 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 7, 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.

July 19, 2014

Texas Quilt Shop Owner Q&A: Dianne Ferguson, Honey Bee Quilt Store

WarehouseOnWheels-page-0Our celebration of our Warehouse-on-Wheels sale in Texas continues with a visit with an Austin shop owner.

Our special sale at seven quilt shops in the Houston, Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth areas — with books as much as 75 percent off! — continues through July 26.

Dianne Ferguson owns the Honey Bee Quilt Store in Austin.

What made you decide to open a shop?

My sisters and I had always planned on opening a shop when we were old and gray. A successful quilt store closed very close to my house. We moved up our plans, and opened our store 13 years ago. My sisters are no longer officially part of the business (Mary Ann moved to California and is a teacher. Carolyn is a nurse in Victoria, Texas), although they do models and offer ideas and opinions all the time!

What are you most proud of about your shop?Honey Bee Quilt Store Texas

I am most proud of the culture of my store. We love hearing the stories, pulling fabrics, discussing ideas for the quilts that our customers make. It has been so much fun being a part of the strong quilting community in Central Texas. There has never been a day that I dreaded coming to work.

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

The trend that I am most aware of is the movement away from fabric collections. Our color wall is shopped significantly heavier than in the past. Tastes have changed a bit – we are selling a lot of solids. There are a lot of quilts that come through with larger pieces. But we still see traditional quilts, as well – our Stack and Whack and Nine Patch block workshop filled multiple times. I find the modern twist on traditional quilts, such as Sew Kind of Wonderful’s Metro Rings, to be very exciting.

Honey Bee Quilt Store, 9308 Anderson Mill Road #300, Austin, Texas (512) 257-1269

July 18, 2014

A Cut Above

By Edie McGinnis

Edie McGinnis

Edie McGinnis

You know the name Yoshio Okada, right? Maybe not, but if you’re a quilter, I’m willing to bet the name of the company he founded in 1956,Olfa, is as familiar as your own.

In 1979, Olfa created the first rotary cutter and mat and changed the face of quilting forever. The job of cutting out many of the pieces needed for piecing quilts went from slow and laborious to jackrabbit fastrotary1

Quilters were in the habit of using templates, some made from cardboard, some from plastic and some from sandpaper. The way it all worked was a quilter found a pattern she liked. She traced off the pattern onto her template material and cut out the template with scissors. She tried to stay on the drawn line without wavering.

She then placed the cardboard template on the reverse side of her fabric and drew around it with a pencil. If the quilter was experienced, she knew to cut more than one template. She knew the template would wear down eventually and gradually become smaller by a hair’s width each time she drew around it.

She also knew the width of her cutting line would change as the lead in the pencil became dull. Before she began, she would most likely have a sharpener nearby.

Some quilters, especially if they pieced by hand, would cut two templates. The first would be a cutting template, the second a marking template. The marking template was usually 1/4-inch smaller than the cutting template and was used to draw the seam line the stitcher was supposed to follow.templates

Each piece was then cut by hand, one piece at a time. Let’s think about that for a minute. Imagine cutting thousands of diamonds or triangles for a quilt. Or thousands of any shaped piece, for that matter. Even if one just had to cut hundreds of pieces with scissors, it would be a time-consuming task.box of pieces

Okada changed all that with his invention of the rotary cutter. Now we place our fabric on our cutting mat, grab a ruler and our rotary cutter and start slicing and dicing. A quilter can have a whole quilt cut out in fairly short order.  Not only that, but we can depend on our pieces being cut accurately. Maybe that last statement isn’t really true. I probably need to allow for operator error.

Quilters have many tools at hand, and it seems as though there is a new one debuting every time we turn around. Each is touted as a “must have” item that one should not be without.  But if I had to choose the tool I value most and would not want to be without, it would be my rotary cutter and my mat. And my rulers.

I guess that’s more than one tool, isn’t it? Oh, well, let’s just consider it a package deal.

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

July 18, 2014

Texas Shop Owner Q&A: Denice Lipscomb, Common Threads Quilting

WarehouseOnWheels-page-0Today, we’re talking with another shop owner who is taking part in our Warehouse-on-Wheels sale in Texas.

Our special sale at seven quilt shops in the Houston, Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth areas — with books as much as 75 percent off! — continues through July 26.

Denice Lipscomb owns Common Threads Quilting in Waxahachie.

What made you decide to open a shop?

After many years as a nurse, running an intensive care unit, I wanted a career that was a little less stressful and emotionally draining. Unlike nursing, there’s nothing in quilting that is actually life or death! There is a connection between my two careers, though. In both retail and medicine, how you relate to the people you’re helping makes a huge impact on them. Every single one of my patients was important to me, and I feel the same way about every single one of my customers.Denice2013

What are you most proud of about your shop?

The customer service we offer would have to be first on the list. I truly want every one of our customers to feel like we care about them and their projects, and that we enjoy interaction with them, and that we want them to succeed in any project they do with us.

I’m also very proud of the relationships that have built within the shop between not only the employees themselves, but also with our wonderful customers. There are people who made lifelong friendships through meeting in our store.

common threads quiltingWhat trends do you see in quilting today? Have tastes changed since you opened your shop?

I decided early on that I wanted to specialize in reproduction fabric, and I have stayed with that plan throughout the years. I still see this as a viable market today. When my daughter joined me in running the shop, she brought a new perspective with her, and we did add a number of bright fabrics and patterns, but we continued to keep our main focus on the reproductions and florals. Although many shops are starting to focus on more modern fabrics and trends, I still feel there is a place for traditional fabrics, patterns and quilts.

Common Threads Quilting, 315 S. Rogers St., Waxahachie, Texas (972) 935-0510

Tomorrow: Honey Bee Quilt Store, 9308 Anderson Mill Road #300, Austin, Texas (512) 257-1269

July 17, 2014

Bobbins’ Bargains Shoots for the Stars

This week, Mrs. Bobbins has a heavenly offer for you.

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 (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 Stars All Around Us: Quilts and Projects Inspired by a Beloved Symbol, by Cherié Ralston.StarsAllAroundFront

Stars abound in these new and original designs by well-known primitive folk artist Cherié Ralston. Precise instructions are included to make seven quilts and 14 projects. The quilts feature appliqué and pieced designs, with easy assembly instructions. Projects include hooked and penny rugs, punch needle embroidery, book covers and more.

Click here to see a YouTube video of the book.

The book is on sale for $22.95. Your price using our Bobbins’ Bargains promotion code is just $5.74, plus your shipping on this book is free in the continental U.S.!

(SHIPPING NOTE! Please allow 14 days for delivery after Wednesday, July 23, 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.!