On Saturday I was invited to do a trunk show for the Rosebud Quilt Guild during their semi-annual quilt show in Burke, South Dakota. I was there all day so I had plenty of time to look at the quilts.
Fourteen hardy quilters joined me for a retreat in Arapahoe, Nebraska last week. Ruth Haarberg and Gretchen Kubik of Wagner’s Quilts & Conversation hosted the retreat at Hunt Nebraska Lodge, and I was the guide.
We explored string piecing, an improvisational technique using strips or “strings,” so named long ago to describe the narrowest of leftovers.
You may know that I worked as an editor for Quiltmaker magazine until about a year ago. During that time, I managed the QM Scrap Squad, a team of quilters who made scrap quilts from our patterns.
Beth Helfter was one of the people chosen for the Scrap Squad in 2014. I knew from the start that she had talent. She’s smart and wickedly funny, and she makes dynamite scrap quilts. She designs quilts under her business EvaPaige Quilt Designs, and from what I hear, gives entertaining guild programs with lots of quilts for inspiration.
She recently released a series of short videos showing a great trick for making scrappy half-square triangles. I hope you’ll take a look. I’m going to try this soon!
Does your quilt group need a speaker? Please consider me, Diane Harris of Stash Bandit. I have more than 30 years of quilting experience, including 11 years in the quilt industry as an editor for Quiltmaker. I’m booking for 2018 and 2019 now. Let’s talk quilts!
Some of the best emails I get are from people who make a quilt that I designed. It’s a great compliment for someone to spend the money, time and effort to complete one of my designs! You can imagine how it makes my day.
When this quilt appeared on the cover of Quiltmaker last fall, I did a little giveaway that included a stack of novelty fabric charms, so the winner would have them in order to make the quilt.
Helen Bailey from Doveridge, Derbyshire, England was the winner. And last week, Helen sent me this photo of her finished quilt. Isn’t it wonderful?
Another reader made the quilt larger and sent a photo to Quiltmaker over the summer. Susie Schoen of Granite Bay, California donated her version to a fundraiser auction in support of research on Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a genetic disorder.
If you’ve made a quilt from one of my designs, I’d love to see it. Email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Always delighted to hear from you!
Find the pattern for this quilt.
Recently I heard a wonderful guild program given by two local quilters. They have quilts made by women over six generations of their family. You read that right—six generations! It was an unusual and interesting approach.
I’m getting things ready for a String Piecing Quilt Retreat next week in Arapahoe, Nebraska. I decided to make a few more samples because you can never have too much inspiration.
String piecing is generally done on a foundation. The “string” name came about when people used their narrowest strips of leftovers—so narrow they could be thought of as strings. The charm in these quilts comes from using many, many different fabrics. Variety is what counts. A relaxed, easy attitude is essential!
By the time I finish piecing a quilt’s center, I’m ready to be done. In the past, sometimes I’ve attached plain ol’ borders and called it quits. But when I’ve given more thought and effort to a border, it has paid off. Scarlet Spin is a good example.
I’ve learned not to rush to the finish line, but to take time to do the border justice. Bonnie Hunter influenced me with her borders, which can be as involved as the quilt center. I don’t think she has ever slapped on a plain border and called it good.
One of the last jobs to complete when you’re making a quilt is to add the border strips. It’s not my favorite part of the process but I’ve learned to do it so that I have good results. I dislike measuring long border strips for my quilts, so here’s how I cheat to get my border strips to the right length. This method helps avoid unsightly wavy borders which do not lie flat, which is what you get when the border strips are longer than the edges of the quilt.
I have a new easy quilt design in McCall’s Quick Quilts! You can make it look like Christmas, or you can choose different colors for any time of year.
It’s called Very Merry, and it was fun, fast and simple to make. You’ll find it in their Oct/Nov issue, available in paper or digital versions.
I live a couple of hours from the nearest Barnes & Noble, and it’s probably just as well because when I go, I spend too much on books and lately, on magazines. I’m interested in quilting magazines because I worked for Quiltmaker for 11 years.