New Year, New Predictions, New Projects

Here we are again…365 days (more or less) after the first day of 2022.  The New Year is upon us, and once again (since it’s now tradition), it’s time to reflect back at my quilty predictions of 2022 and see how well I did foretelling what would happen in our quilting world.  So without further ado let’s take a look back at my 2022 prognostications and see how well or how badly I did.

  1.  Zoom will remain a major player in the quilting world.  I think I nailed this one.  Guilds are still using this option, because they’ve discovered a wealth of quilting teachers from all over the world  available with a click of the mouse.  Not only that, but quilters from all over the world can join their guild.  Many quilt instructors have decided to completely forego leaving the sanctity of their own quilt studios and comfort of their own beds and are only teaching via Zoom and other similar platforms.  For as much as we still love in-person meetings (and need them), Zoom is here to stay.  Embrace it. 

Personally, I love it.

  •  The return of in-person quilt shows.  Again, I will give myself a 100 on this one.  As more people received vaccinations and boosters, we timidly tip-toed back into small, local shows and then the larger national and international ones.  Most of us shed our masks and determined Covid would always be with us in some shape or form, and we would deal with it.  We needed to return to “normal” life and for us quilters, that means quilt shows.  We drove ourselves to local shows, boarded buses and planes to get to the large, far away ones, greeted fellow quilters with hugs, and shopped until we dropped.  We oohhhed and awwwwed over quilts and decided quilting was still the most fun anyone could have
  •  Brighter colored fabric, but more expensive.  I did pretty well with this prediction, too.  I think 2022 produced some really stunning fabric lines, although I still believe most of them lack a true dark.  The colors were bright, beautiful, and clear, hinting at the hope we had for a new year with new beginnings.  However, a lot of the fabric gave us sticker-shock.  The average price of a yard of quilting cotton fabric was $9 in 2022, with some areas selling a yard for as much as $15.  Batiks averaged $15 per yard.  However, the prices didn’t go as high as some predicted.  The cotton crops were actually better than expected in 2022, with 118.5 million bales produced, 2.7 million higher than 2021.  The 2023 isn’t expected to reach the 2022 levels, but you never know.  The weather at its best is unpredictable, and the supply chain still has major kinks to work out.
  • Organic quilting will be a player in 2022.  With so many people either returning to sewing in 2021 or picking up the hobby, I believed many of these folks would turn to quilting as a way to continue the craft.  And while we did see the number of quilters and guild members increase, most of these “newbies” remained within the traditional realm.  There were no clear break aways, no massive increase of art quilters, and no shunning of the “traditional” quilting rules.  I completely missed this one.  For number four, I get a big, fat “F.”
  •  T-shirt quilts will get an upgrade.  This one was pretty accurate.  While T-shirt quilts remain popular, they are also now known as “Memory Quilts.” These encompass quilts made from baby clothes, caps, special garments, etc., and include lots of specific events in life not marked by special T-shirts.  And gone are the uniform blocks set in neat rows and columns.  Layouts are varied and a lot more interesting. 
  • Comfort is key.  When I wrote out this prediction, I specifically mentioned a return to quilted clothing.  I believe I failed in this prediction.  While standard quilted coats such this

Remain popular, quilted clothing as we quilters know it, has remained seemingly popular only with quilters, who tend to make their own.

Okay, four correct predictions out of six isn’t too bad.  Now, let’s take a squinty look at my quilting crystal ball and see what 2023 may have in store for us.

Prediction One:  Sustainability will remain important as more and more quilting goes “green.”  I think we will see the development of certain quilting tools, such as cutting mats, made from recycled materials.  I think there will a push to use as much of the fabric as we can in our projects to keep it out of landfills (although cotton fabric has a pretty fast rate of complete deterioration).  Crumb quilting, scrap quilts, etc. may become the next hot topic in our quilting world.

Prediction Two:  Pieced quilts will reach a new high in popularity.  I’ll be completely honest with this one – I read this prediction on several other professional quilting blogs.  I’m not sure why this is a prediction, other than pieced quilts do take less time to construct than applique quilts (no matter if the applique is done by hand or machine).  If folks’ schedules are filling up, and time for quilting is becoming more compact, this prediction makes sense.  However, from a quilter who absolutely adores applique, I’m a bit bummed by this.  Not to say a pieced quilt isn’t a thing of beauty and a joy forever…but yeah…I do love me some applique.

Prediction Three:  Two-color quilts will be abundant.  As I perused quilting web sites and magazine this year, I began to see more and more quilts made from only two colors.  I think this trend will continue, as these quilts are crisp and elegant looking.  My biggest issue with two-toned quilts is deciding on only two colors! 

Prediction Four:  The slow-stitching trend will grow in popularity.  Again, let me throw this one in a Zone of Truth:  I love handwork.  Ever since I started quilting I had to have two types of on-going quilt projects – one for handwork and one parked under my sewing machine needle.  When I tired of one type of sewing I could switch to the other and hand sewing proved itself to be wonderfully portable during those years I ran Mom’s Taxi Service.  But as I’ve grown older, I have the heart-felt realization of just how therapeutic it has been in my life.  It comforted me when my dad was in Hospice.  It occupied my time at my mother’s bedside when she was in and out of the hospital until they diagnosed her hemoglobin and iron issues.  It (and prayer) kept me sane when my daughter was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and it re-played its sanity inducing qualities while my brother was undergoing stem cell treatments.  At a time when I could have easily turned to something else to calm me down, it was needle, thread, fabric, beeswax, prayer, and a thimble that stitched my world back together.  And these feelings about handwork – slow stitching – have only grown stronger as I have grown older.  At the end of my most hectic of days, 15 to 20 minutes of hand work calms my spirit and clears my mind so I can sleep.

We must admit, the last two years of our lives have teetered on the verge of panic, insanity, impatience, and worry.  I think a lot of quilters discovered what I have known for a long time – slow stitching is just the best. 

Prediction Five:  Dense quilting will be featured in the majority of quilts.  Most quilters with some years of stitching behind them can attest dense quilting has slowly become a “thing” over the past several years.  There are probably several reasons behind this.  More quilters have long or mid-arms.  Domestic sewing machines now have ruler feet, allowing any quilter who has no fear of dropping their feed dogs, to produce the same quilting stitches that once were only done by long arms.  Quilters have found this is fun and a lot of us have come to love the quilting part of quilts as much as we love the piecing and applique.  Since we love it, we do more of it.  I still prefer any of my bed quilts or cuddle quilts to be soft and not quilted within an inch of its life, but wall hangings, table toppers and runners, or show quilts?  Stitch them until they can stand up on their own. 

Prediction Six:  Landscape quilting will become popular.  If you’re like me, you’ve seen landscape quilts before, and visions like this

Come to mind.  These types of landscape quilts are lovely, have beautiful details, and are so wonderful to look at.

And we’re intimidated beyond measure if we think we could make one even similar to these.  Many of us wouldn’t even attempt it.   All I gotta ask at this point is why not?  The quilters who made the above landscape quilts have done this a long time, but they didn’t begin with all these quilts oozing all that talent.  They probably began with a much simpler type of landscape and gradually moved into these breathtaking beauties.  I think, since COVID kind introduced free form piecing and quilting coupled with the fact we have lots of new quilters who aren’t intimated by what they don’t know, we could possibly have a resurgence of landscape quilts which may be as simple as this: 

And there’s nothing wrong with that. 

This year should be interesting.

Now comes the time when I introduce the theme for 2023.  I struggled with an idea for this year.  We’ve covered a lot of quilty territory since I began writing my blog.  I looked at the award-winning quilts from Paducah and Houston.  I listened to my quilty friends talk about what was under their needles.  From all of these sources, I have decided 2023’s theme is (insert drumroll here)

 The Difference is in the Details.

Why this theme?

Well, as I looked at beautiful quilts, dissected the award-winning quilts, and listened to my quilting buddies, I realized the things which make the difference between a good quilt and a great quilt are the little details. Some of these you may not even think about, as they may be second nature to you.  Others may be more obscure, and they may not have even crossed your mind.  But they all have one thing in common:  they’re not hard – they just might take a few more minutes of your time.

We’ll talk about a lot of those little details this year!  And I’ll keep you up to date on what’s under my needle.  My fruit blocks are finished, and I will begin assembling this quilt with a new technique I want to share with you.  I have designed the borders for my alphabet quilt and will raw-edge applique those – they’re pretty detailed, so this is gonna take a while.  I will also finish my Colors of Springtime Quilt and my reverse applique project.    As far as new projects go, I want to finally begin my long-put-off Sunbonnet Sue Quilt and Windblown Tulips.  However, my biggest challenge this year is quilting my tops.  I have three laying on my long arm, gently reminding me they’re not quite done.  I have a feeling my personal theme for 2023 is Finishing, as I have several quilts which are really in the home stretch.

Happy New Year from My Studio to Yours!

Love and Stitches,




Bethlehem wasn’t a winter wonderland.  It was mild, with dusty roads and scrubby bushes and trees.  A manger was a far cry from a baby bed, and He wore swaddling clothes, not cute onesies or warm pajamas.  His mother was an exhausted young woman, who gave birth in a stable, not a sterile hospital room.  Her only birthing companion was her husband, not a midwife, doctor, or nurse.  Instead of a waiting room full of anxious and excited family, there were shepherds, a few sheep, and  later some Wisemen from the East, bearing the only baby shower gifts received:  Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

Humble beginnings for the King of Kings. 

But yet hope sprang eternal in that Baby’s cry beneath a bright and guiding star.  Hope for redemption.  Hope for an abiding grace and unfathomable mercy – not deserved, but certainly hoped for.  Hope for peace during a time when the world was such a violent place.

This year has been a whirlwind of events which have taken our breath and worried our souls.  It’s been a year when peace of mind became a precious commodity.  But now…during this time of giving each other gifts, spending time with treasured family and friends, let’s pause and remember the hope which took on a human form one night in Bethlehem of Judea, thousands of years ago.  And as we face the New Year, let’s remember no matter what it may throw at us, we still have that Blessed Hope.

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the Kings and Princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flocks

The real work of Christmas begins.

To find the lost

To heal the broken

To feed the hungry

To release the prisoners

To rebuild the nations

To bring peace among brothers and sisters

To make music in the heart.

— Howard Thurmon

Merry, Merry Christmas, from My House to Yours!

Love and Stitches,



So You’ve Got Ugly Quilt Blocks…

We’ve all probably had this happen.  At some point, in our quilting journey (especially if you’ve quilted for a while), it happens.  And if it hasn’t happened to you yet, you can be pretty sure it will.

What am I talking about?

The ugly quilt square.

You’re not sure how it came about… you were so careful in picking out your fabric.  So exact and tedious with the construction…but somehow, something went terribly wrong. 

I have two universal theories about ugly fabric:  Can it be used somehow in applique?  Can it pass for grass or a flower center or something?  If you don’t applique, there’s only one other thing you can do with ugly fabric – cut it in small pieces.  And if it’s still ugly, the pieces are too big.

But ugly quilt blocks are a whole different matter.  The colors could have looked great in the fabric shop under the florescent lights.  But in different lighting the material may look off.  You may have honestly believed the quilt block would look better with more of the same quilt blocks surrounding it, but no, those just ramped up the ugliness about 500 per cent.  So now you have an ugly quilt block (or three…or more) and don’t know what to do about it.  I know some of you would just throw them in the circular file and move on with life – make something different with the fabric or put it in your stash for another day.  But for some of us, once we’ve made a few blocks, we feel like we’ve made a commitment to the cause. We’re bound and determined to perservere, even if it means we’re surrounded by ugly quilt blocks. This blog will offer a few suggestions about what to make with an ugly square or some squares you have no idea what to do with.

  1.  Make a pillow.  If you’re only dealing with one large, unattractive square, frame it with some other fabric and make it into a pillow.  If you have a few small squares, join those together and make a pillow.  Even if you’re still not thrilled with them after constructing the pillow, a pillow is much easier to hide than a quilt. 
  2. Put it (them) on the back of a quilt.  Even the most unattractive blocks can add a little spice to a plain quilt back.
  3. Make more of the same ugly block, then cut them up.  I have found one of the best ways (and one of my favorites) to use both ugly fabrics and ugly quilt blocks is to cut them up and make a Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt

Not only is this super fun, it’s also really easy.  Add some dark or light fabric to unify the blocks and quilt and you may find those ugly blocks aren’t so ugly after all.

Another way to cut up the blocks for use is to make them into 5-inch charm squares.  Cut them down into 5-inch squares and then peruse the patterns on the internet which use these charms.  Once again, altering the blocks from what they were supposed to be into something manageable and useful may be all you need to do.  When these 5-inch charms are paired with a consistent 5-inch charm (all the same color) to create half-square triangles, you may discover you’ve made an awesome quilt you absolutely love.

  •  Make more of those ugly blocks, sash them, and make a table runner or table topper.  I have found that with both ugly fabric and ugly blocks, the color fabric used for sashing is crucial.    Black, dark-ish gray, and white seem to make everything play nicely together.  And with a small project such as a topper or runner, at least you don’t have to make a ton of those ugly blocks.
  •  Make them into another project.  They can be used for appliance covers, bags, iPad holders – the list is as endless as your imagination.  
  • When all else fails, give the block(s) and the fabric away.  My regular readers know this is an escape route I’ve used more than once.  When the I dislike the project so much I have to force myself to stitch it, when I have lost all interest in it, or I really fight with myself to try and like the fabric, I’ve been known to kiss that project good-bye. I will leave it on the free table at my guild, turn around, and walk out.  I will toss it in my box of donation goods for the thrift store.  If another quilter really likes it and mentions that to me, it will be in her backseat before she pulls out of my driveway. 

There is no shame in that game.  You’ve unburdened yourself from an albatross of a project and it’s found a welcome home somewhere else.  It’s a win/win. 

  •  Throw the block(s) away and put the remaining fabric in your stash.  Believe it or not, you’ll probably use it.  It may work great for a quilt back, applique, or wonderfully match a future purpose. 
  • Use them for quilting practice.  Sandwich them up with backing and batting.  Stack them near your sewing machine.  One evening a week, drop those feed dogs and practice quilting on your sewing machine.  If you have time, do this daily.  I can’t even begin to tell you what a confidence building exercise this is and how much it will improve your quilting. 

So, with all the escape routes marked for ridding yourself of unattractive quilt blocks, how do you avoid making them in the first place?  It all pretty much boils down to the basics.

  • Be careful purchasing your fabric.  In this blog: I discuss how different lighting can alter the appearance of the material.  Most stores have florescent lights and those can really throw colors off – especially blues and greens.  If possible, take your fabric to the window and look at it.  Sunlight does little to alter the fabric’s true appearance and it’s your best friend if you have some doubt about a choice.  Also be careful what fabrics you have next to each other.  The adjacent colors have been known to throw a color “off” a little.  If you place a lime green or purple next to a warm color, they tend to heat up.  Likewise, if you put them adjacent to a cool color, they’ll cool down.  If you place a white next to a red, it may appear pink.  The blog I mentioned earlier covers all of this. 
  • Be careful about the complexity of a quilt block.  The more pieces a block has, the more opportunities there are to make mistakes.  Those blocks will have more seams, more fabric placement, and more block units.  My go-to for complex blocks – even after 35 years of quilting – is paper piecing. For me, it simplifies everything and lowers the chances of making construction mistakes. 
  • Make sure you have a range of true values.  Lights, mediums, and true darks should go into any quilt/quilt block to show true contrasts.  Often the very reason a block looks ugly is because only mediums were used or lights and mediums.  This will make a quilt/quilt block look “muddy.”
  • Search for a border fabric to pull all the fabrics together.  Sometimes a great border fabric will cover the many sins of the blocks.  Some of my long-time readers know I have problems with brown fabrics.  Brown is probably my least favorite color.  If I have to use it in piece quilts, I tend to automatically search for a border fabric with some brown in it.  It will soften the color and make (at least in my mind) everything go together.  For whatever reason, I’m okay with brown in applique quilts.  Probably because it serves a function such as stems or vines. 

I hope this blog does two things.  First, I hope it gives you some ideas about what to do with an ugly quilt block – or several ugly quilt blocks.  There are some options out there for you if you find yourself between the rock of not being able to throw the blocks away and the hard place of not know what to do with them.  However, I hope the second thing you may get from this blog is this — it’s okay to throw those blocks away if you need to.  There are no quilt police.  It’s not a wrong decision.  Sometimes ridding yourself from the blocks is what you need to move forward with the next project.

Until Next Week, Make Your Quilt Yours!

Love and Stitches,



Little Ways to Make Your Quilt Yours

 This year is quickly drawing to a close.  Most of us (despite all the Christmas hullabaloo) are looking at 2022 in the rearview mirror.  There’s less and less of the calendar on the wall and the shiny new one is just waiting to be unwrapped and hung up in its place.  With this in mind, I’d like to take some time to review this year of “Make Your Quilt Yours!”  We’ve covered a lot of territory in 52 weeks.  However, I would feel remiss if we didn’t review a few of the ways we can take a quilt pattern and make a quilt from that which reflects our tastes, our personalities, and our concerns.

  1.  Substitute the colors.

For some quilters this comes easy.  They take a look at the pattern, review their stash, and make a list of what fabrics on hand matches the yardage and value requirements.  They may let this simmer over night to make sure they’re in quilting Zen about their choices, then grab their rotary cutter and get down to business.

For other quilters, this may not be as easy.  If a quilter has been used to picking out fabric which resembles those used in the pattern (or purchasing a kit), the decision to stray from this can cause some anxiety – will the quilt look right with my fabric choices verses the designers?

Let me reassure you, there is a way to make sure your quilt will be just fine.  It all has to do with color value.  Color value is defined as:  The value (also called lightness or luminosity) of a color is a measure of how light or dark a color is while its hue is held constant. The lightness of an object depends on the reflectance of that object.     As a former physics teacher I could go into color waves/particles, refraction of light sources, etc., but I won’t.  The concept of value which is important to all quilters is this – the lightness or darkness of a fabric.

That’s it.  That’s all you need to be concerned with.  And now the question you may have is, “How do I tell what the value of a fabric is?”  As quilter, it’s important to know all quilting fabric falls into three value categories – lights, mediums, and darks.  As a matter of fact, if you have an older quilting pattern, when the yardage is listed it may only note so many yards of lights, so many of mediums, and so many of darks.  However, these directions were written back in the day when fabric manufacturers actually produced true darks.  Most of what masquerades as darks now are really mediums.  So how do you feel comfortable about the choices you make? 

It’s honestly not hard.  Most of us are in possession of this:

A cell phone. And one of the neatest features on a cell phone is a camera and the camera plays a major role in determining the color value of fabrics.  Let’s say we want to make this quit:

But we want to make in a different color way.  No problem.  Take a picture of the quilt pattern front.

Somewhere in the camera settings on your phone, you have the ability to change the picture’s appearance from a colored photo to a black and white one.  You want to find that setting and flip the picture to a black and white appearance.  I have an iPhone 12 Pro.  I simply pull up my picture, tap edit on the top right-hand corner of my screen and find the saturation button at the bottom.  I click this on and lower the saturation level to -100.  The colored picture changes to a black and white one.    This black and white image is very important.  The areas which show up as white or nearly white are the lights.  The gray parts are the mediums, and the nearly black sections are your darks.  Simply reference the black and white picture against the yardage requirements in the pattern directions and you’ll be fine. 

I would also repeat the same photo process for the fabric.  I would do this because, like I stated earlier, fabric manufacturers are producing fewer and fewer true darks.  Most of the fabric families on the quilt shop shelves are actually mediums, even though they may “read” dark when compared to the other fabrics.  Take a picture of the fabrics you want to use, flip it to black and white, view it with a critical eye.  Make sure you have a fabric which will work as a true dark.  The use of only lights and mediums in a quilt can result in a “muddy” looking quilt top.

  •  Change the size of the quilt.

When I started quilting, my target patterns were always small quilts.  There were reasons behind this:  smaller quilts took less fabric, therefore cost less; smaller quilts took less time to make; and smaller quilts were easier to quilt on my regular sewing machine.  The longer I quilted, the bigger the quilts became and soon I was making bed quilts almost exclusively.  Now I have more bed quilts than I need, and I’ve gifted quite a few to family and friends.  So, my quilting has gone back what was in the beginning – primarily small quilts I can use as table toppers, table runners, cuddle quilts, and lap quilts.  I still make a few bed quilts, but not nearly as many as I did years ago.

However, what hasn’t changed is the appeal of certain quilts.  I still make the quilts I like, only I tend to make them smaller. 

You may find yourself in a similar situation.  You may not need bed-sized quilts or may not want to invest in the expense of all the fabric.  If you quilt your own quilts on a domestic machine, it’s certainly easier to handle the bulk of a smaller quilt than a queen-sized.  If any or all of these conditions describe where you’re at in your quilting journey, don’t be afraid to shrink the quilt.  Make the blocks smaller or make fewer blocks.  Just adjust your borders accordingly.   Or leave the borders off entirely. 

The same holds true with enlarging a small quilt pattern.  You can increase the size of the blocks or add extra borders.  The only word of caution I would issue is this:  be careful with applique quilts.  Sometimes the applique pieces lose their characteristics if enlarged or shrunk too much. 

For a more detailed description on how to do this, go here: where I have all the math formulas there for you.

  •  Alter the borders.

Personally, I think borders can be the most underrated part of a quilt.  If a quilt was a sentence, the borders are the end punctuation.  Therefore, borders can be a question mark, a period, or an exclamation mark.  Let me explain.

It’s super-easy, once you get to the end of the construction of the quilt center, to just measure it for the borders, cut out some fabric strips, and sew them on.  At this point, you’re probably ready to bring closure to a project which may have taken weeks or months or years, but who’s judging?  I call these borders periods.  Even though the fabric may be lovely, you may have added a flange, or even multiple borders, but they’re all still just fabric strips, measured correctly and sewn on.  They’re the Friday sigh of relief after a long week at work.  Nothing particularly ugly, but nothing really eye-catching either. 

Border question marks are those quilts without borders.  Is the binding large enough to serve as a border?  Should it be considered a border?  Does the quilt need borders?  Why doesn’t the quilt have borders?  So many questions…

Then there are the borders which are exclamation marks.  These are the ones which not only frame the quilt center in the loveliest possible way but are works of art within themselves.  You can tell the quilter took the time to plan and execute borders which aptly draw a conclusion to the quilt.  They not only frame the center, but also pull the eyes to and from the center.  They complement it and repeat certain elements in the quilt which brings both cohesion and conclusion to it. 

Next to substituting color choices, altering the quilt border can be one of the easiest ways to put your signature on a quilt.  If the quilt pattern has some applique on it, it’s easy to repeat the applique in the border.  If the quilt is pieced, use some of those blocks in the border.  Allow the border to echo what’s in the center of the quilt.  Not only will it add a bit of pizazz, but it will give the quilt cohesiveness. 

  •  Develop some signature elements.

If you’ve walked in the quilt world long enough, you know there are some quilts you can look at and just know who they belong to.  Judy Neimyer is one.  Most of her quilts have this dazzling center with lots of spikey elements and flying geese, softened by some circular motion or elements.  Kim Diehl is another.  She can take traditional quilt blocks and turn them on their heads or put them in such a sweet setting that it makes you immediately want to make one of her quilts.  These designers have consistently used these “trademarks” to their advantage.

There’s no reason you can’t do this, either.  This can be approached in so many different ways but let me offer a few suggestions.

  • Have a signature color.  I admit, this one is one of mine.  Most of my quilts (not all of them, but most), have purple in them somewhere.  Purple is my favorite color and is usually found somewhere in my quilts – even if it’s just on the label.  This one has gotten so bad that if my quilty friends can’t find purple in one of my quilts, they’re a little disappointed.  It’s kind of like Find Waldo, but with fabric.
  • Add some sparkle.  I don’t mean actual sparkle, such as is in metallic fabrics.  Adding sparkle to a quilt means finding a fabric which may be unexpected and adding it to your quilt top in small amounts.  Some quilters call this their “zinger” fabric.  It adds just a bit of a different twist to a top.  For instance, let’s say you’re making a quilt which is primarily purples and greens.  Your sparkle may be an over-dyed orange fabric, used sparingly in the smaller pieces of blocks.  It adds spice to the quilt top and helps the eye move across it. 
  • Have a signature quilting motif.  This motif doesn’t have to be large.  It can be worked into the quilting in some way – it doesn’t have to be the primary motif.  For instance, mine is hearts.  Most of the time – especially if I quilt my own quilts – somewhere on the top will be quilted hearts.  I have a friend who quilts her name into the quilt.  I chose hearts kind of by accident.  It was one of the first quilting motifs I learned to do by hand and machine.  I have gotten really good at making them and use them judiciously. 
  • Quilt your conscience.  This one can be a little tricky, and truthfully, it may be the one signature element about your quilts only known by you until word gets out.  I came upon this idea when researching a blog I wanted to write about Quaker Quilts (which I shelved – not enough information available and I felt an actual person with Quaker beliefs could do it better and more accurately).  During the pre-Civil War Era, Quaker women refused to purchase fabric or cotton for batting which was produced by slave labor.  They held steadfast against the enslavement of any persons and could not in good conscious use anything produced via slave labor.  Therefore many Quaker quilts were made of woolens, linens, silks, and fabric imported from England (which had outlawed slavery years before America did).

Today, the idea of quilt your conscience may include quilting “green.”  It could mean using batting produced by environmentally friendly methods, or fabric dyed in such a way it doesn’t hurt the environment.  It could mean upcycling left over quilt blocks or making scrap quilts in order to reduce the among of fabric in landfills. 

This also could mean quilting current events – goodness knows enough of us did during Covid.  These quilts not only are a historical marker, but also provide quilters an emotional out for their feelings, their fears, and their thoughts. 

  •  Design a signature label.

I hope by now I have drilled into your mind the importance of labeling your quilts.  The label should list your name, city and state, the date the quilt was completed because the date it’s started and the date it’s completed can be years apart, and who the quilt was made for and the occasion (if any).  This is the minimum which needs to go on the little fabric label on the back of your quilt.  However…you don’t have to stop here.  The printing can be done in your favorite color.  You can handwrite the label, embroider it (by hand or machine), use a favorite applique element, or ink in a small picture.  The wonderful designer Tula Pink includes an esoteric fact on her labels – something I started including on my label several years ago.  Somewhere on my label will be the average price of some household good that particular day.  It could be a loaf of bread, a cup of coffee or a gallon of gas. 


If you’ve made the quilt during some kind of  major crisis, such as COVID, it’s good to indicate that somewhere on the label, too.  It puts the quilt in historical perspective. 

By adding more than the standard information on your quilt label, you’ve made that element of your quilt uniquely yours.  All changes don’t necessarily have to go on the front of the quilt.

I hope this blog helps you in two ways.  First, I hope it assists you in overcoming any anxiety you may have about changing up quilt patterns.  Remember, it’s just fabric and it’s just a quilt – and honestly, there are very few things which can’t be “fixed” on a quilt.  Secondly, I hope it inspires you to make each quilt you construct uniquely yours.  These design elements don’t have to be large or complicated.  They can be small and tucked away in a corner or on the back of a quilt.  Dream big, start small, and then work your way into making a quilt truly reflect you, your values, your sense of humor, and the love you have for quilting.

Until next week, Make Your Quilt Yours!

Love and Stitches,