Pressing Concerns

Today I would like to tackle a pressing topic – and that topic is do you press or iron your quilt blocks?  I also will touch on when you do it, how to do it, and hit on some notions which may help in any tedious pressing situation.  First, let’s talk about the difference between pressing and ironing.    

Admittedly, the two terms are often used interchangeably.  Overall most everyone knows both pressing and ironing involve a hot iron and sometimes steam.  However, there is a difference between the two and I have found the easiest way to keep them straight is this:    

You iron your clothes.  Also, admittedly, few people do this anymore.  Imagine my surprise when my adult daughter asked to borrow my iron to get the wrinkles out of my grand darlings’ school uniforms a couple of years ago.  She didn’t own an iron.  Most folks throw their clothes in the dryer for a few minutes and the heat causes the wrinkles to relax. 

But just bear with me here.  If you have a wrinkled shirt, you use an iron with a back-and-forth motion to smooth the wrinkles out.  Pressing is an up and down motion with an iron.  You press your quilt fabric, block units, applique, and quilt blocks.  The reason you use an up and down motion instead of a back-and-forth motion is bias. 

A back-and-forth motion can stretch the bias, and as a result your block, block unit, applique, quilt block, and quilt fabric may be forced off-grain and stretched out of shape.  Lots of horrible wonkiness may be the end result.      At this point, I must admit I have issues with some quilt patterns and quilt teachers/books/videos.  One of two things are occurring with several of them:  Either they don’t press between steps, or they assume you just *know* when to do it and omit this step in their lessons/books/patterns/videos.  For reference with this blog, I am only dealing with pieced blocks, not applique, because pressing applique is a little different.  Anyway, here’s Sherri’s Rule of Thumb about pressing:  Press your block units every time you make a seam. And use an iron.   

I realize this may sound a little extreme.  However, keep in mind that as you’re creating your beautiful quilt top, one of the goals is to have all your blocks lie flat.  Another goal is to reduce bulk.  Pressing with an iron helps you do both.  I also know there are “iron substitutes” on the market, and they do come in handy in a pinch.  Plus I realize many quilt designers are now telling you to “finger press” seams.  This also can work in a few situations.  However, I don’t think anything works better to reduce bulk and make your block units and blocks lie flat as a hot iron.   

Most of the time we press our seams to one side – usually towards the darker fabric —  so our seam allowances won’t “shadow” through the lighter fabric.  I have found the best way to do this is to press the block unit the way it is as it comes from under the needle.   This sets the thread in the fabric.  Then press the seams to one side from the wrong side and then again from the right side.  

Press this way first…just the way the block uniti comes out from under your sewing machine needle…
Then press towards the darker fabric

That’s the short version of pressing.  Let’s examine when there are exceptions to pressing seams to the dark side.  The best quilt patterns will tell you which way to press your seams.  They may do this verbally (e.g., “Press all seams towards fabric B”) or have directional arrows pointing to the right or left.  However, not all patterns take the time to give these instructions, or you may be designing your own quilt and need to know which direction to press the seams.  This is when making a test block is a really good idea (actually it’s a good idea all the time…but that’s another blog for another day).  As you construct the test block and press each unit, then each row, finally the entire block, you can see direction the seams need to be pressed in order for them to nest.    

This nesting is important because it lines up seams and makes your blocks lie flat.  And sometimes in your test block, you may find there are occasions when the seams need to be pressed towards the lighter fabric in order for nesting to take place.  If this happens, there’s no need to panic or think you’ve broken some kind of unwritten quilting law.  The quilt police won’t show up at your house and demand you turn over your sewing machine.  If both of the fabrics are light, you may find there is minimal shadowing (shadowing happens when a darker fabric’s seam is clearly seen through the right side of the quilt top).  If you can live with this minimal shadowing, keep constructing your quilt blocks.   However, if the fabric in the seam is definitely darker and definitely shadows through in a manner you can’t live with, you can minimize this. 

Graded Seam

Carefully trim the darker fabric in the seam down to 1/8-inch and then re-press the seam.  Most of the time the trimmed darker seam is nowhere near as noticeable as the untrimmed one.  Don’t trim it to less than 1/8-inch or you may find your seam unsewing itself when you complete the top or go to quilt it.    And one last word about pressing the seams to one side – always do this when you plan any stitch-in-the-ditch quilting.  The quilting will go on the side without the seam allowances, making the stitching easier and smoother.  

All of this may beg the question, “Are there any circumstances in which you would press the seams open?”  

Again, the best quilt patterns will tell you when to do this.  However, if you’re designing your own quilt or this information isn’t on the pattern, when do you know to press your seams open instead of to the side?  There are a couple of circumstances which come into play, but remember the goals of accurate pressing are to make the block lie as flat as possible and to reduce bulk.  When you have a quilt block like this:  

And all of the points come together at one spot, there’s going to be a lot of bulk to deal with.  One of the ways to deal with this is to press all the seams open.  This spreads all the fabric out over the area. **   I also press my Y-seams open. 

Again, you have three pieces of fabric converging at one point.  Pressing the seams open not only reduces the bulk, but also helps with accuracy.  It’s easier to see the point where your needle needs to land both when starting and stopping the seam.  And if by chance I am piecing my background for either hand or machine applique, I also press those seams open – again to reduce bulk and to make the block lie flat.     

There is one other “special” pressing situation you need to be aware of, and that’s concerning four-patches of any type.  Wherever you have four blocks of fabric joined – whether they’re half-square triangles or solid pieces of material – generally you’re working with some combination of light and dark fabric.  You know your seams should nest, but no matter which way you press your seam to the side, it will shadow.  Here’s a little trick called “Spinning the Middle.”

  1.  At the center where all the seams meet, use your seam ripper to loosen a few stitches.

2.  Then twist the block at the seam until you get a tiny four-patch in the middle.  This will allow either the light seams to be pressed to the light side or the dark seams to be pressed to the dark.  This same method can be used for half-square triangles.  This method works great to reduce bulk, help the block lie flat, and prevent shadowing.

Four Patch with a Spun Middle
Two Pinwheel Blocks Made from Half-Square Triangles.
One has the seams pressed towards the darker fabric and the other has the seams pressed open. Both have the middle spun. Either pressing method works.

    Just remember as you are dealing with any pressing situation, there are two main goals in mind:  Reduce bulk and make your block lie flat.  If you keep those two ideas in mind, you’ll do just fine pressing your block units, blocks, and quilt fabric.   Before we wrap this blog up, I want to offer a few more tips and tricks about pressing and highlight some new(ish) pressing notions on the market.

Do you use steam when pressing?  This is another one of those issues which generally divide quilters into two camps – those who use and love it and those who can completely live without it.  Personally, I like a little steam in certain situations.  If I am pressing my quilt fabric before cutting it, I will use steam.  Wrinkled fabric results in crooked cutting, so there are occasions when you will need to press your fabric even if you’re not a pre-washer (if it comes off the bolt wrinkled, or it becomes wrinkled from storage).  If there is a lot of bulk in a block or block unit, I’ll use steam to help reduce the bulk because it will flatten the seams better than just a dry iron.   

  There are two ways to utilize steam.  You can keep the steam feature turned off on your iron and spritz the fabric lightly (don’t soak it) with water before you press it.  If you’re pressing extremely wrinkled fabric, I have found (at least for me) this method works best, especially if I can use a spray bottle filled with warm water and allow the fabric to relax a few minutes before pressing.  The other method is to engage the steam function on your iron.  I’ll be honest at this point – if you always keep water in your iron, it can shorten your iron’s life span.  If you do add water to your iron, you may want to empty it when your sewing session is complete.  And be sure to read the directions which come with your iron as to whether your iron needs distilled or tap water (most are fine with tap water). 

  Is there a “best” iron for quilters?  No.  Not really.  The type of iron you like to use is the best quilting iron for you.  Irons are like so many other quilting supplies.  They can run the gamut from several thousands of dollars for ironing systems such as this:  

To this one which is just under $15 on Amazon.   

Admittedly, I am hard on irons.  They tend to get knocked off my ironing board or pressing surface pretty regularly.  Therefore, my favorite kind of iron is a cheap one because it’s probably going to have a short shelf life regardless of whether or not I put water in it.  I will recommend two irons.  First, is the Cordless Panasonic. 

I have one of these and I absolutely love it.  It re-heats quickly and has a retractable power cord.  This iron is so great when you need to iron large areas of fabric, such as wrinkled yardage, quilt tops, and borders.  There is no cord to get in the way.  It comes with a handy-dandy carrying case and is worth every red cent.   The second iron is this:  

Which, unfortunately, is hard to find.  These have no auto-off, a feature of today’s irons that gets on my nerves.  Some of these have no water tank, but they seem (at least to me) to get hotter than modern irons.  These can be found on-line (Google antique irons – a lot were made mid-twentieth century and died out in the late 1980’s), but also shop thrift stores and estate sales.  You may have to give them a little love and care, but if they work, they’re a great addition to your studio.  Just remember to unplug them or turn them off when you’re through.  

Why is my pressed seam “wobbly”?  If you’ve pressed your seam and it has curves or kinks in it, those are the result of too much pressure.  You’re pressing your seam too hard.  I’ve found this trick is useful to avoid curvy seams.  Take a permanent marker or a pencil and draw a straight line on your pressing surface (if you don’t want the line to be a permanent part of your ironing area, cover the area with a light-color fabric or muslin).  Pin the beginning of your seam to the beginning of the line, matching up the seam with the drawn line.  Then repeat the process at the end.  Now press.  If you’re pressing too hard, the seam will move off the line.  Reposition the seam and press again, this time without so much pressure.  A few times of repeating this procedure will let you know how much pressure too much and how much is just right.  

Finally, we’re wrapping up this blog with a few notions which may help you with any pressing issues you may have.  These are all notions I own and use regularly.  Standard disclaimer insert:  I am not paid by any of these companies to endorse their products.  I have used them all for several years and have found them very useful.  Some of these are fairly new, others have been used by sewists for years.

  1.  Wool Mat – This pressing surface consists of wool fibers which are bonded together.  The mat absorbs the heat from the iron and reflects it back into the fabric, literally cutting your pressing time in half and doubling the effect.  These mats come in all sizes and in rolls.  I keep a medium-sized one near my sewing area for pressing blocks, block units, and applique.  I have a small one in my sewing bag I take with me to sit and sews or bees.  My plan is to purchase a bit larger one for my ironing board. 

Couple of things you want to keep in mind about these mats.  First, they do have a bit of an odor about them when you press.  My DH says it smells like a wet dog (bless his heart).  You can drop some essential oil on the mat if the smell bothers you.  Personally, I don’t find the odor that offensive, but I’ve used my mat so long I could be nose blind.  After a period of use, you may find something like rust stains on your mat.  You can use one of these to remove the stain:

  Or you can wash your mat.  I have not tried washing my mat, but according to the interwebs, there are methods to do this.  Be sure to use a detergent which is specifically for wool and one that won’t leave a residue, such as Eucalan.    Wool mats can be a bit pricey, but I think they’re worth the expense.  

  •  Flatter – This nifty notion comes as both a soak and a spray, both scented and unscented.  It helps the wrinkles relax and freshens the fabric (which may come in handy if your fabric was stored for a while).  It leaves your fabric super-soft, smooth, and static free.  It’s also environmentally friendly and generally can be used by folks with sensitive skin. 
  •  Starch/Best Press – There are a few reasons to use these products besides the fact they can also flatten seams to reduce bulk.  If you’re a pre-washer, you know once dry, the fabric has a softer hand than non-pre-washed fabrics.  A light spritz of starch or Best Press pressed on the wrong side of the fabric helps to restore crispness.  Likewise a spray of either can help the wrinkles to relax.  A couple of words of warning:  First, if you plan on pressing your blocks or fabric with spray starch or Best Press and then storing them a while, you will want to go with the Best Press.  Regular spray starch is derived from potatoes, which may attract bugs.  Best Press isn’t, so there won’t be any buggy issues in the future.

Second, dollar store establishments often will stock spray starch.  Be aware some (not all) of these cans of starch are seconds and may have a higher water content than those found in grocery stores, big box stores such as Walmart and Target, or drug stores.   

  • Tailor’s Clapper – If you think this looks like a chunk of wood, you’re correct.  Tailor’s Clappers have been used for hundreds of years to smooth seams and fabric, as well as help reduce (or at least smooth out) some bulk.  The wood itself absorbs the steam and traps the heat inside of your fabric, instead of setting it free into the air of your sewing room. This is the magic of the tailor’s clapper. Your fabric needs the right combination of hot to cool, steamy to dry in order to make a perfectly flat seam. These are available in stores and on the web.  If you decide to invest in one of these wonderful, retro quilting notions, be sure the TC is made from a hardwood, such as tulip or maple. 

To use a TC, you need steam, so you’ll either want to spritz your fabric with water (or spray starch or Best Press) and then hit it with a hot iron or engage the steam function on your iron.  Press your seam or bulky area, remove the iron, and then press with the TC for 5-7 seconds.   

  •  Pressing Tools When an Iron Isn’t Available – As much as I try to plan ahead, sometimes I forget my iron when I attend different sit and sews or find out I can’t bring one.  If either of these are the case, there are a couple of smaller pressing tools I keep tucked in my portable sewing back which work to flatten an area until I can get home and give it a proper pressing with an iron.  The first one is this:

This wooden tool, when run down either a seam pressed to one side, or an open seam can deal with the bulk and flatten seams.  The same goes for this:  

Which you may have used to help seal seams in wallpaper.  Side note on this notion.  This is the one iron substitute which works well with paper piecing.  It’s heavy enough to make the paper and the fabric behave.   And if all else fails, a fingernail run down a seam works well enough until you can gain access to an iron.

I hope this blog has cleared up any confusion between pressing and ironing.  I also hope I’ve given you some tools and notion ideas to make pressing easier.  Whatever iron, pressing notion, or iron substitute you use, just be sure to press those seams.  Accurate and consistent pressing is part of the Holy Trinity of quilting (along with accurate cutting and keeping a consistent seam allowance).  

Until Next Week, Remember the Details Make the Difference!  

Love and Stitches,


**Here’s a helpful hint if you have a block like where there are lots seams coming together at one point. 

With a block like this, it’s almost impossible to get all the seams to open up fully so you can press them accurately.  My standard go-to in this situation is a circle.    I simply trace a circle template over the area where all the points converge, then I cut the bulk out slightly inside the tracing line.  I make a circle applique patch out of another fabric and applique it over the hole (either by hand or machine).  Bulk is eliminated and I’ve added a bit more interest in the block.   


From Pig Weed to Prince’s Feather: How the Princess Feather Block Got Its Groove

Take a look at this quilt:

And this quilt:

These quilts (and dozens of similar designs) are popularly known as “Princess Feather” quilts – graceful plumes spiraling out of a center circle or other applique piece.  Most of these quilts are made of either large blocks with the applique design centered in each block or the quilt has one large Princess Feather in the center, serving as a medallion.  Surrounding the medallion could be smaller Princess feathers, pieced blocks, or other applique blocks.   This quilt hit its heyday from 1840 – 1900, but according to the Quilt Index, quilters are still making them today.  Personally, I haven’t seen any made in my quilting career, and none currently in the area of North Carolina I live in, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t being constructed somewhere.  Kim McLean, an Australian designer, has a current Princess Feather pattern out, as well as a kit to go with the pattern made up of Kaffe fabrics.  EQ 8 has two different Princess Feather blocks in its library.  So who’s to say modern Princess Feathers aren’t being made?

Kim McLean’s Princess Feather Quilt from her Kit with Kaffe Fabrics. Seriously…what’s not to love about this glorious quilt?

What’s fascinating to me is the history behind these blocks – its origins, its name, and its color scheme.  All of these are moving pieces behind a block that’s had more than its share of name changes.  What may be hard to believe is that this block with the eight graceful, curving plumes may have had its origins in a little plant called….


Let’s park it here for a minute or two and talk about Pigweed.  Its scientific name is Amaranthus retroflexus and there are two kinds – Lambsquarters and Redroot Amaranthus.  These plants are tall and have smooth, oval leaves or serrated leaves.  Each plant can produce as many as 100,000 seeds, and Pigweed is found from as far north as Prince Edward Island, Canada, California, and throughout the southwest and southeast.  The plant is believed to have originated in tropical America, but easily spread to other parts of the world as the seeds are tiny and easily airborne.

In other words, if quilters do quilt what they know, it’s easy to see they would be quite conversant with Pigweed and its appearance.  And you must admit there is a strong similarity between the leaves of the Amaranthus retroflexus and the Princess Feather block.

Pigweed may have possibly been the origin of the Princess Feather block, but I think we’re all pretty glad quilters decided not to name the block Pigweed.  The block actually went by several names until around the early part of the twentieth century.  It was known as Feathers, Ferns, Washington Feather, Feather Rose, California Plume and Kossuth Feather.  All of these begs several questions – Did Washington ever wear feathers?  Who was Kossuth and did he wear feathers?  Is there such a thing as a Feather Rose?  Does California have a Plume? 

As far as George Washington goes, we do have one painting of him wearing a feather in his hat.

This was a portrait made of Washington when he was a Colonel in the Virginia Militia.  Yes, he wore a feather, albeit a small one.  So maybe, possibly we can see why the block was called Washington Feather.

What about Feather Roses?  Well, such a plant exists, but it’s actually a Double Fringed Feather Poppy.

Double Fringed Feather Poppy

And from what I could gather, this is kind of a persnickety garden flower.  It likes certain temperatures, certain soils, and it doesn’t like its roots to be too wet.  Definitely a cultivated flower.  So could this flower possibly be the source of one of the block’s names?  Maybe.  But probably only in certain areas of the country.  More than likely some quilters took a look at the applique and decided it looked kind of like a rose with feathers.

Lajos Kossuth

Now the Kossuth Feather has some possibilities.  This is Revolutionary Lajos Kossuth and his feathered hat.  If you’re trying to remember his name from studying the American Revolutionary War and are coming up blank, don’t blame yourself.  Lajos Kossuth was a Hungarian and was the governor-president of Hungary during their revolution from 1848 – 1849.  Couple this information with the fact that there were a few quilts labeled Kossuth Feather and dated around 1859, and it throws some credibility behind this label. 

Finally, let’s consider the California Plume.  Such a plant exists, but it looks like this:

California or Warrior’s Plume

Which is nothing like spiraling feathers sprouting from a center.  It is a parasitic plant and is more commonly known as Warrior’s Plume and seems to have resigned itself to living only in California.  I guess if you squint hard and look at the plant from the top you may understand why some folks called the block California Plume.

However, remember the name Princess Feather became generally universal among quilters in the early twentieth century.  Coinciding with this was an event in 1860 — which was not that far from the beginning of the twentieth century – the Prince of Wales visited the United States.  This would have been Bertie, Queen Victoria’s oldest son and heir apparent. 

Prince Albert…also known as Bertie, and not to be confused with Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband.

Along with all the hoopla that preceded and followed his visit, the Heraldry for the Prince of Wales became quite well-known.

Prince of Wales Heraldry. If you look closely at some of the jewelry Queen Consort Camilla and Katherine, Princess of Wales wears, you will see this image reflected in their jewelry.

In my mind (and in my opinion), quilters picked up on the similarities between the Heraldry and the quilt block and honored the Prince of Wales in their own way by naming the block the Prince’s Feather.  Through the years we got a little sloppy with the spelling and the pronunciation and it became The Princess Feather.

Now with the (possible) origins of the design and the block name settled (sort of), let’s take a look at the construction.  Most of the Princess Feather blocks are fairly large.  As a quilter who appliques quite a bit, I understand why.  The smaller the background block, the smaller the feathers would need to be.  And with all those curves, I would want my feathers big, so the concave areas wouldn’t be so tight, and it would be easier to control my points as well as deal with the bias – remember the feathers are curved, so bias plays a part in the applique. 

Most antique Princess Feather quilts are red and green with maybe touches of yellow.  This was a very, very popular color combination with all quilts during the second half (and especially the second quarter) of the twentieth century.  Historically you must remember that at this time, commercial dyes were becoming better and more stable – especially Turkey Red (Go here for more details:  It makes sense that quilters would want to use the latest color combinations in their Princess Feather quilts.  What we also observe is quilters playing with the color arrangements.  Some of the blocks opted for a solid color of feathers, and some would alternate colors. 

Still others would divide the block in half and use red fabrics on one side and green on the other. 

This was done both vertically and horizontally.  I think the feathers which are split in half horizontally by color resemble a bud with a calyx.

So…if all this discussion about the Princess Feather block has you thinking you’d like to make a few blocks and assemble them into a quilt, let me throw out a few suggestion which may help.  The first set of recommendations are for a Princess Feather Quilt made of four large blocks.

  1.  If I planned to construct a Princess Feather quilt, the very first consideration I would undertake would be the block size.  All of those feathers are slightly curved and most of the feathers have lots of curves on them.  Undertaking all of those curves on a small scale would just be…a major headache.  I would plan my quilt so my background fabric blocks would be no smaller than 16-inches square (finished).  So I would cut them out at 17-inches and plan to trim them down.  Since the blocks would be so large, they would be apt to fray (because even if you’re working on a flat surface, you’ll bunch your fabric up at some point and this will cause it to fray).  I would either zigzag the edges or treat them with Fray Stop.  Either of these would be cut off when the block was trimmed down to 16 ½-inches before sewing them together.
  2. I would cut my feathers on the bias.  Remember what bias is: 

Cutting those feathers on the bias makes turning the curves under easier.  This is assuming you will either needle turn the applique or use the freezer paper or Apliquick method.  If you plan on raw-edge machine applique the bias doesn’t matter so much.  However, if you want to do finished-edge machine applique, still cut the feathers out on the bias, because the edges must be turned under.

If you want to make a Princess Feather Quilt, with the block serving as a medallion, such as the one below, there are a couple of ways I’d approach construction, depending on the size of the center.  If the center was not much larger than 20-inches, I’d treat the medallion the same way I did the 16-inch (finished) blocks mentioned above.  However, if the medallion is larger than 20-inches, you may want to break the feathers into quadrants, applique each quadrant, and then sew the quadrants together to form the medallion. This would cut down on the amount of bulk either in your hands or puddled around your sewing machine.  I still would treat my feathers as stated above, depending on how I wanted to applique them. 

I hope this blog has given you a little more insight into one of the most intriguing quilt blocks – one which underwent lots of name changes, but whose construction depends on the skill level of the quilter.  The Princess Feather is an old quilt block, but it’s still both beautiful and challenging.  There’s no need to stick to the traditional green and red fabrics – these blocks look just as wonderful in modern prints. 

And don’t let the curves intimidate you.  You know how to handle them!

Until next week, remember, The Details Make the Difference!

Love and Stitches,



Paper Piecing Has Gone to the Birds

One of my quilt goals this year was a temperature quilt. I’m not sure why this particular type of quilt tickled my fancy in 2023, but I decided back in November 2022 I wanted to make one. The premise behind a temperature quilt is to tell the weather story for an entire year. You pick a range of temperatures and then assign a color to each range. My range goes like this:

24 degrees and below — dark blue

25 – 29 degrees — royal blue

30 – 34 degrees — blue

35 – 39 degrees — light blue

40 – 44 degrees — ice blue

45 – 49 degrees — lightest turquoise

50 – 54 degrees — light turquoise

55 – 59 degrees — turquoise

60 – 64 degrees — yellow green

65 – 69 degrees — yellow

70 – 74 degrees — orange

75 – 79 degrees — red orange

80 – 84 degrees — red

85 – 90 degrees — magenta red

90 plus degrees — magenta

I wanted the five degree breaks in the range so I could use a large variety of fabric colors. Range decided, I began scrolling through Pinterest (you know that place…the place where you literally lose hours of your life you never get back) and Google. I saw temperature quilts made of squares and rectangles, and others made of circles. Some quilters decided to use a Cathedral Windows and others opted for Yo-yos. Each day the quilter makes one square (or Cathedral Window, Yo-yo, etc) representing the low temperature of the day and another representing the high.

That’s right. You heard correctly.

Two. Every day. One for the high temperature and the other for the low.

I know me, and I know no matter how well I planned out my time, making two whatevers a day wouldn’t always work. And even if I decided to push my temperature quilt to a weekend-only project, that leaves 14 units to make over a 48-hour period. Nope. Definitely wouldn’t work for me. There are other quilts I want to make. So I searched for alternatives and found this pattern:

These adorable birds are brought to you courtesy of the extremely talented Bethanne Nemesh (pattern can be purchased as a download at The birds come in two sizes and two different levels of complexity. I used the bird in the picture above. The head and back represent the average highs of the week. The cheek and tail the average lows. Now take a look at the wing. There are seven “feathers” in the top row and seven in the bottom. Each of the feathers on top represent the daily high temperatures, beginning with Sunday. The bottom feathers represent the daily lows. All which means instead of making two blocks a day, I just make one bird a week.

I considered this a win.

This is also a paper-piecing pattern. Which I considered another win. And as I have been sewing through my birds (and I’m happy to report I’m not behind on this project), I begin to wonder how many of you like to paper piece and if you’d like to know how I work my way through the process.

I love to paper piece, but that has not always been the case. When I was first introduced to the technique, I couldn’t wrap my mind around reversing everything in my head. I struggled through a couple of blocks and then decided paper pieceing wasn’t for me. A few years ago a certified Judy Neimyer instructor offered classes at my local quilt store and several of my quilty friends pressured me encouraged me to sign up. In case you are unaware, all Judy Neimyer patterns are paper pieced. I took the class, and was taught some different techniques. All in all, I came away from the classes and the quilt with a different attitude about paper piecing. I had found my Zen.

Now let’s see if I can help you find yours.

One of the biggest reasons to chose paper piecing over traditional piecing is that it is exact. Your blocks will turn out nearly perfect, all the same size, every time. Yes, it does take a bit more material than traditionally pieced blocks, but you’re trading fabric for precision. Paper piecing also allows you to make blocks which possibly couldn’t be constructed any other way — like these birds. The first step I take once I have the pattern in hand is to write down on each unit of the pattern which color of fabric goes there.

Let’s park it here for a few sentences and talk about the medium I use for paper piecing. I don’t use copy paper — although it can be used. I prefer June Tailor’s Perfect Piecing Paper. It is non-woven (which means it will tear away cleanly), and feels a bit like interfacing. It is available on Amazon for around $17.80 for a 50-sheet pack. It comes in 8 1/2 x 11-inch pieces, and will run through your ink jet printer, laser printer, or copier just fine. Personal note — I have found it works best if you empty your paper tray of regular copy paper and use one sheet at a time of the Perfect Piecing Paper in the paper tray. It is sheer (see picture above), which means you can see your pattern clearly on the back as well as the front. I always remove my papers from my quilt top before quilting if the quilt is meant to go on a bed. However, I have left these papers in if it’s a wall hanging. It adds a bit more stiffness and I think it helps the wall hanging lie straight and flat against a wall. Also a personal note — If I am quilting any top with these papers on my long arm, the paper come out. My long arm doesn’t like them. The needle speed tends to shred the papers. However, my domestic stationary machine has no issue with them. Added plus, I have found removing the Perfect Piecing Papers a lot easier process than copy paper.

The second step for me is trimming down the pattern to a manageable chunk. With most paper piecing patterns, the solid lines are the sewing lines and the dotted lines are the trim lines. Notice when I cut my pattern out, I left about a 1/4-inch of pattern margin around it. You want your fabric to overhang the trim line. This way when you trim your pattern, it will come out the exact size needed, with all areas filled with fabric. Also noticed the small pile of scrappage on my cutting mat. If I am working with patterns like these birds which have a lot of small pieces, I can often find a scrap of fabric which will fill the area just fine and conserve my other material for larger areas.

After my pattern is prepped, I attach my walking foot. I prefer to use this foot when I paper piece. If the pattern is intricate, or has several seams crossing at the same point, bulk can build up between all the fabric and the paper. The walking foot helps keep everything moving along at the same pace, expecially if you’re able to add dual feed into the equation.

Now it’s time to add the first piece of fabric to the pattern. Some quilters simply pin this piece into place, but I’ve always preferred glue. Elmer’s Washable Glue School Glue Stick works perfectly wonderful (and can be purchased at many dollar store establishments).

Paper pieced patterns are numbered. Find the part of the pattern with the number 1 on it and cut out a piece of fabric which will not only cover the section, but also overlap it by at least 1/4-inch. With my budgie-bird pattern, the first piece is the beak. I cut a triangle larger than the beak…

and glued it into place. You can see how the fabric overhangs the sewing lines all the way around the triangle by at least 1/4-inch. Once that’s done, locate the second section of the pattern, which in my case is the ridge above the birdie’s nose. Now I have to prep my fabric for that.

We need to trim down the fabric just a bit to reduce some of the bulk. Here’s where all those advertising postcards come in handy. Line the edge of one of these postcards up with the sewing line of the next section and fold the paper pattern over the edge of the cardboard to expose the fabric.

We want to trim the fabric to have an 1/4-inch seam allowance. There’s a handy-dandy little tool which helps a lot with this — the Add-a-Quarter Ruler. It’s not too expensive and generally most quilt store carry them. If you’re LQS does not, they’re available on Amazon for $8 — $12, depending on if you purchase a single ruler or the dual ruler pack (this has a 6-inch ruler and a 12-inch ruler). The ruler has a ridge on it. You simply lock the ridge against the edge of the paper and cardboard.

Then you trim the fabric off with a rotary cutter.

Let me also add you can purchase Add-an-Eighth Rulers which can be used to trim fabric down to 1/8-inch. If I have a pattern with lots of seams converging on one spot, I have used an Add-an-Eighth to reduce fabric bulk as much as possible. However, usually that is the exception and not the rule. Most of the time I reach for the Add-A-Quarter.

With the seam allowance trimmed down to 1/4-inch, now it’s time to add the second piece of fabric. When you’re cutting fabric to fill the paper pieceing areas, it’s always better to err on the side of being a bit too big than being too little. To check and make sure your fabric will fill the designated area and hang off at least 1/4-inch for the seam allowance, place it over the spot and then flip your patter over tomake sure the area is covered and you have an ample seam allowance. This is one of the reasons why June Tailor’s Perfect Piecing Paper is so wonderful. I can clearly see that the fabric for the bird’s nose ridge fully covers the area.

Flip the paper back over and place the two pieces of fabric right sides together, matching the fabric edges. Pin if needed. You will flip the pattern over again before sewing.

However, before we sew, let’s talk about stitch length. You’ll need to shorten the stitch length a bit when paper piecing. The shorter stitches will perforate the pattern medium a lot, making removing the papers easier. Most sewing machine’s default stitch lenth is around 2.5. My M7’s is 2.4.

I lower it to 2.0. I find this length stills allows for good preforation, but if I do have rip out stitches, the stitches aren’t so close together that it makes the task nearly impossible.

With the fabric pieces next to the feed dogs, begin stitching. You don’t want to begin right on the stitching line. Begin about 1/4-inch away, and backspace or use the knot function on your machine. Stitch along the line, and stop 1/4-inch beyond the end of the line. Then back space or use the knot function on your machine to tie off.

Flip the pattern over and make sure all the areas of the second piece are filled in and then press. Continue filling in the spaces in numberical order until complete.

Once all the spaces are filled it, give it one more last, good press. Notice I haven’t trimmed all my thread ends. I generally don’t do this until I remove the papers. If any of the knots somehow come lose during that process, there will be some thread ends to keep the piece together until I can get the block back to the sewing machine and secure the seam again.

After the last press, I line up my Add-a-Quarter Ruler with the dotted trim line and trim usimg my rotary cutter.

Prep the next pattern piece and continue the journey.

Below are the first two columns of my budgie-bird temperature quilt. This pattern is a little different because you don’t assemble the blocks in rows, but columns. I have always found it easier to assemble the quilt as I go rather than wait until I have a pile of blocks to begin the process.

I hope this blog encourages you to try paper piecing. I use it for complicated blocks or small blocks. I paper pieced nearly all the blocks for my Dear Jane quilt and all the blocks for my Farmer’s Wife Quilt. And if you’re working with bias, paper piecing really helps to stabilize the fabric (at least I think so).

Until Next Week, Remember the Details Make the Difference (and paper piecing might help make those details easier!).

Love and Stitches,



Are There Quilts Which Set Standards (Part 2)

Last week we began a discussion on quilts which set standards for quilters and some historically significant quilts. I decided (at least for myself) the Log Cabin, Broidery Perse, Grandmother’s Flower Garden, and Sunbonnet Sue were some of the quilts which set standards. We had just begun our discussion on historically significant quilts. We covered two out of eight: The Jane Stickle Quilt and Harriet Powers’ Bible Quilt. Today we pick up with number three.

3.  The AIDS Quilt

The Quilt That Brought Us Together

In 1978, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated.  Cleve Jones, a long-time activist, author, and lecturer organized an annual candlelight march to remember these men.  Over the ensuing years, Jones learned over 1,000 San Franciscans had lost their lives to AIDS.  In 1985, he asked marchers to write the names of loved ones who had died from the disease on a placard and carry the placard with them as they walked.  At the end of the march, Jones and others taped the placards to the walls of the San Francisco Federal Building, resulting in a wall which looked much like a patchwork quilt. 

That wall inspired the quilt.  In June 1987, Jones teamed up with Mike Smith, Bert McMullin, and others to formally organize the NAMES Project Foundation – birthed because folks wanted to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS and to help people understand the devastating impact of the disease.  Due to the influence of the placard-laden wall, the AIDS Quilt Project was born.  Public response to the Quilt was immediate. People in the U.S. cities most affected by AIDS — Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco — sent panels to the San Francisco workshop. Generous donors rapidly supplied sewing machines, equipment, and other materials, and many volunteered tirelessly.

On October 11, 1987, the Quilt was displayed for the first time on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., during the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It covered a space larger than a football field and included 1,920 panels. Six teams of eight volunteers ceremonially unfolded the Quilt sections at sunrise as celebrities, politicians, families, lovers, and friends read aloud the 1,920 names of the people represented in Quilt. The reading of names is now a tradition followed at nearly every Quilt display. Half a million people visited the Quilt that weekend.

The overwhelming response to the Quilt’s inaugural display led to a four-month, 20-city, national tour for the Quilt in the spring and summer of 1988. The tour raised nearly $500,000 for hundreds of AIDS service organizations. More than 9,000 volunteers across the country helped the seven-person traveling crew move and display the Quilt. Local panels were added in each city, tripling the Quilt’s size to more than 6,000 panels by the end of the tour.

The Quilt returned to Washington, D.C. in October of 1988, when 8,288 panels were displayed on the Ellipse in front of the White House.  With a small seed grant from the World Health Organization, Quilt organizers travelled to eight countries to mark the first World AIDS Day on December 1, 1988, with simultaneous displays broadcast from six continents.  Throughout 1989, more than 20 countries launched similar commemorative projects.

In 1989 a second tour of North America brought the Quilt to 19 additional cities in the United States and Canada.  In October of that year, the Quilt (now more than 12,000 panels in size) was again displayed on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C.  HBO released their documentary film on the Quilt, Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, which brought the Quilt’s message to millions of movie-goers. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary of 1989.

By 1992, the AIDS Memorial Quilt included panels from every state and 28 countries. In October 1992, the entire Quilt returned to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  In January 1993, the NAMES Project was invited to march in President Clinton’s inaugural parade where over 200 volunteers carried Quilt panels down Pennsylvania Avenue.  The last display of the entire AIDS Memorial Quilt was in October of 1996 when the Quilt covered the entire National Mall in Washington, D.C. with an estimated 1.2 million people coming to view it.  The Clintons and Gores attended the display, marking the first visit by a sitting president of the United States. 

Since 1992, the quilt has received 8,000 additional new panels and has become too large to display in its entirety.  In 2012, the quilt was displayed once again on the National Mall and 1,500 panels were shown each day, with volunteers rotating the panels out each morning over a two-week period. 

In November 2019, the National AIDS Memorial became the permanent caretaker and steward of the Quilt, returning it to San Francisco, where its story began during the height of the AIDS epidemic.  At that time, the Quilt’s archival collection of 200,000 objects, documents, cards, and letters that chronicle the lives remembered in it were transferred to the prestigious American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, making this collection available through the world’s largest public library.  This announcement, made at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, featured special guests House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Representatives John Lewis and Barbara Lee, who recognized the Quilt as a national treasure that must be preserved for its ability to teach for generations to come.  Currently the entire quilt can be seen on-line as part of the Interactive AIDS Quilt project.  It is well-worth noting this quilt weighs 54 tons, has nearly 50,000 panels, and represents over 110,000 individuals who died with AIDS.  It is also still a quilt in progress, as new panels are added every year.  The National AIDS Memorial is entrusted with its care, protection, and preservation.

4. Rose Kretsiner’s Paradise Garden

The Most Perfect Applique Quilt

I realize I covered this quilt in a lot of detail in this blog:, I think this one quilt, even more than Marie Webster’s beautiful applique, pushed the art of applique to its heights.  I adore Marie Webster’s work, and her Sunflower quilt is on my bucket list of projects, but keep in mind Marie owned Practical Patchwork Company and her business was developing quilt patterns and quilt kits for folks who had little to no applique experience – which she excelled at.  And I’m still angry with Mountain Mist because you can’t tell me they didn’t directly copy her most popular designs and printed the patterns without giving her a scrap of credit. 

But Rose Kretsinger’s applique quilts were at an entirely different level than Marie’s.  They pushed the limits (and sometimes seemed to defy the art) of applique.  Exquisite to look at and exuberant in detail, her Paradise Garden presented a set of applique standards which today’s quilters still strive to match.  She continued to push well-defined rings of white space (which adds “breathing room” to any quilt) and stepped away from using the pastels which dominated quilting in the 1930’s.  She used bold fabrics – primarily all calicoes – in her quilt.  She also set the standards for applique medallion quilts we still try to adhere to today:  Use plenty of white space, use complementary colors, use several values of each color, frame the circle, use graceful curves, and keep a good ratio between the center medallion and the border. No one did this better than Rose Kretsinger.  And Paradise Garden is the best example of a nearly perfect applique quilt.

5. The Quilts of Gee’s Bend

The Quilts That Shook Up the Quilt World

Nestled down in Alabama, is a little town called Boykin.  The name Boykin may not ring any bells with you as far as quilts and quilters go, but the name Gee’s Bend certainly should – which is the nickname of Boykin, Alabama.  Through a series of events, this area of Alabama remained largely isolated until 2006 when ferry service was finally reinstated to Gee’s Bend.  Around 1960, quilts from this area began receiving some national attention.  Collector William Arnett brought additional attention to the quilts and quilters with a 2002 exhibition, “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend” in Houston, Texas.  This show contained 60 quilts from 45 different quilters and drew both national and international attention to the quilts.  Arnett founded the Souls Grown Deep Foundation to organize and collect the Gee’s Bend Quilts.  The organization supports the quilt makers as well as provides documentation, marketing, and fundraising.  Some of the money raised provides education and other opportunities for the quilters.  The foundation is also involved in a multi-year campaign with the Artists Rights Society to gain intellectual property rights for the quilters of Gee’s Bend.

For years the women of Gee’s Bend pieced strips of cloth together to make warm bed coverings for their families.  These quilts were heavily influenced by Native American and African textiles.  The colors were bright.  The quilts were geometric in design, yet highly improvisational. 

The quilts have been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Turner Contemporary in the UK, among others. The reception of the work has been mostly positive, as Alvia Wardlaw, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston wrote, “The compositions of these quilts contrast dramatically with the ordered regularity associated with many styles of Euro-American quilt making. There’s a brilliant, improvisational range of approaches to composition that is more often associated with the inventiveness and power of the leading 20th-century abstract painters than it is with textile-making”.The Whitney venue, in particular, brought a great deal of art-world attention to the work, starting with Michael Kimmelman’s 2002 review in The New York Times which called the quilts “some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced” and went on to describe them as a version of Matisse and Klee arising in the rural South. Comparable effect can be seen in the quilts of isolated individuals such as Rosie Lee Tompkins, but the Gee’s Bend quilters had the advantage of numbers and backstory.

In 2003, 50 quilt makers founded the Gee’s Bend Collective, which is owned and operated by the women of Gee’s Bend. Every quilt sold by the Gee’s Bend Quilt Collective is unique and individually produced. In recent years, members of the Collective have traveled nationwide to talk about Gee’s Bend’s history and their art. Many of the ladies have become well known for their wit, engaging personality and, in some cases, singing abilities.

In 2015, Gee’s Bend quilters Mary Lee Bendolph, Lucy Mingo, and Loretta Pettway were joint recipients of a National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the United States government’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. In 2023, the quilters collaborated with generative artist Anna Lucia to create digital works of art on the blockchain in a project called Generations.

While the Gee’s Bend Quilts have not been without controversy (a few of the quilters sued William Arnett, claiming he had swindled them out of thousands of dollars), for the most part they breathed fresh air into the quilt world.  Their quilts are made from recycled clothing and fabric.  They are abstract, improvised works of art which shook up the quilt world.  They pushed the boundaries of “normal” quilts – you don’t need a pattern, your corners don’t have to meet, and everything doesn’t just have be matchy-matchy.  They’re scrap quilts with a new glory added to them.  They demonstrate the great beauty found in so-called “imperfections.”

6.  Quilts by Denyse Schmidt

Quilts That Cultivated the Modern Quilt Movement

Unless you’re a quilter who has quilted under a rock for the past twenty years, you have heard about the Modern Quilt Movement.  The MQM is defined as “Quilts which include a minimalist style; they emphasize negative space rather than intricate patchwork. They may feature bold colors and graphic designs that give a high-contrast pop. And modern quilts often feature asymmetry and use unusual block placement and off-center motifs.”

According to quilt history, the MQM began in 1998. However, it is the quilts by Denyse Schmidt which really pushed the MQM into the quilting world’s consciousness.  Denyse is a former graphic designer and a graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design who began quilting in 1996.  Other folks, like Weekes Ringle and Bill Kerr may have begun constructing Modern Quilts before Denyse, however, it was Denyse who brought the movement to the attention of quilters and non-quilters everywhere.  Her designs are modern – they’re bright, clean, and use negative space well – but they are based on “traditional” blocks and quilts.   Since 2003, Chronicle Books has brought to market more than a dozen stationery and gift items based on her work, as well as her first how-to book, “Denyse Schmidt Quilts, 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects”. With FreeSpirit Fabrics, Denyse designs fabric collections for independent quilt and fabric stores. In 2011, her DS Quilts Collection fabric line debuted with record-breaking sales in JoAnn Stores (US) and Spotlight Stores (Australia). In conjunction with her DS Quilts Collection fabrics, Denyse launched quilt patterns featuring her signature style with the venerable McCall Pattern Company. Denyse’s newest book, “Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration” (STC Craft | A Melanie Falick Book; April 2012) is an elegant homage to quilting’s rich heritage.

Denyse continues to teach her highly successful improvisational patchwork piecing workshops in her studio. Schmidt’s studio is located in a historic factory building in Bridgeport, Connecticut. And while I can’t put my finger on just one quilt of hers which flipped the “on” switch to the MQM, in my opinion she is the one quilt artist which bridged the gap between “traditional” quilters and “modern” ones.  Her quilts are simply lovely. 

7.  Baltimore Album Quilts

The Elevated Album Quilt with Methodist Connections

Before we jump into Baltimore Album Quilts, let’s revisit the definition of an Album Quilt.  According to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, “An album quilt was a collection of many designs sewn by different women and then joined to form one large quilt. Sometimes the makers even signed their names. Creating album quilts gave women a chance to socialize and to demonstrate their artistry.”  Sometimes these Album Quilts were made from the same pieced or appliqued block and sometimes they weren’t.  The ladies of Baltimore took the Album Quilt concept and elevated it to the next level.

Baltimore Album Quilts originated in 1846 in Baltimore, Maryland.  At this particular time, Baltimore was a Methodist church center – more Methodist churches were located there per capita than anywhere else in our nation.  So many of the quilt makers were Methodist congregants that early BAQs were called “Methodist Quilts.” The women who made these quilts were called “Ladies of Baltimore. This type of quilt had a pretty short shelf life in terms of popularity.  Once the trend started began 1846 it was over by 1852.  This is one of the shortest (if not THE shortest) quilting trends in history.  And while Album Quilts were certainly not a new type of quilt, the style of the Baltimore quilt was.

Quilt historians believe Achsah Goodwin Wilkins (1775-1854), a convert to Methodism who married a Methodist in defiance of her father, a wealthy merchant, actually began the Baltimore Album period.  She designed quilts and was a patron of quilters, to whom she supplied money, materials and the use of her home. The research has also identified one needlewoman, whose expert stitching is its own signature in quilt after quilt, as Mary Evans Ford, daughter of a bricklayer. So far, at least 50 quilts with one or more blocks by Mary Evans Ford have been identified.

Why did the production of these quilts stop in 1852? Some say that album quilts were no longer fashionable in the 1850’s. It’s also likely The Ladies of Baltimore probably dispersed and that some married. Then, in 1854, Mrs. Wilkins, its guiding design genius, died. Though this burst of creativity was short, it was one of the most important needlework expressions in this country’s history.

Technically, these quilts are among the finest of any kind produced in this country. And from quilt to quilt there are recurring devices favored by the quiltmaker. The padding and rouching add sculptural effects to the surface. Three-dimensional white roses appear again and again. The cut work is deft, especially when used to create the bent cane of baskets. The eyes of birds have been so carefully inked in that they seem almost alive, and the bodies of birds are crafted of moire fabrics to suggest feathers.

It’s also important to remember that lots of album quilts were made before, during, and after the 1846-1852 Baltimore Album period.  Many of these quilts look very, very much like Baltimores, but three different style of blocks set Baltimore Album Quilts apart from the others:

 Style One:  These blocks are highly styled multi-pieced blocks which are elaborately appliqued with floral wreaths, baskets of flowers or fruit, monuments, cornucopias, patriotic designs, eagles with the American flag, and birds and butterflies.  These blocks can consist of between 100 to 175 individual pieces. 

Style One

Style Two:  These are simpler blocks with fewer applique pieces – generally between 10 and 30 pieces.  Many, but not all, of Style Two blocks are red and green.

Style Two

Style Three: These blocks consist of primarily solid fabrics with 35 to 50 applique pieces involved in the setting.  These blocks have been found in Baltimore Album dating from1846 to 1848, but a few have been discovered dated post-1848. Many of these blocks have a stylized rose we call “The Hotdog Rose.”

Style Three Blocks. The “Hot Dog Rose” is demonstrated on the first blocks in the second and third rows.

As gorgeous and truly wonderful as these quilts are, it’s easy to see how some writer could throw out the statement, “These are the quilts which set the standards for all others.”  However, that’s not completely true.  While I do think these quilts set quite a few guidelines and near perfect techniques for applique quilters to live up to, I can’t see why this one set of short-lived, geographically locked quilts could be “THE Standard.”  Yes, they are important.  But no more important than the Stickle Quilt.

8.  The Beatles Quilt

Raw-Edge Applique Perfection

I was introduced to this quilt several years ago when I was in Paducah for the AQS show.  This happened to be my first pilgrimage to the Mothership of AQS Shows and Quilt Town USA.  Friends who had made the trek before mentioned no pilgrimage would be complete without a tour of the National Quilt Museum, which I dutifully undertook.  This quilt was hanging in the center of the museum, and you just couldn’t miss it – all the bright colors made it stand out from the rest of the quilts on display.  I also found out another wonderful thing about the NQM during quilt week.  The creators and designers of the quilts on display can drop by, unannounced, and talk about their quilt.  There really isn’t a time schedule, they just come by, and they’re handed a mic and a speaker.  I was lucky – so, so lucky – to be there the day Sue Nickels and Pat Holly (The Beatles Quilt creators) dropped by for a chat. 

They explained their creative process and who does what.  Since they’re sisters, they think alike on many aspects and encourage each other.  They divided the work equally and used the folk-art styles of the 1800’s for inspiration. There is a Tree of Life in the center, and each of the four album blocks represents one of the Beatles – the blocks have guitars, hands, and each Beatle’s name and birthdate.   The applique is done using a stitched raw edge fusible machine technique.  Pat did most of the precision piecing and Sue did most of the machine quilting.  The quilt took about two years to complete and took Best of Show in 1998.  Every section, every detail of this quilt means something…the Beatle’s wives…Yoko…each musical hit.  It’s all somewhere in this quilt.  See if you can spot the Yellow Submarine, the Octopus’s Garden, and Penny Lane. 

So why do I think this quilt represents raw-edge applique perfection?  Well, it did win best of show.  But beyond this, if you closely examine the quilt, it’s filled with the tiniest of tiny pieces of applique, each one stitched down with near perfect stitching.  It’s bright, it tells a story (the best quilts tell stories), and it’s fun.  And if something’s fun, it encourages you to try it.  Even the quilter who is most reluctant to try raw-edge applique would want to give it a go after viewing this quilt. 

This blog has covered a lot of ground and a lot of quilts.  All my choices are probably not all your choices.  As a matter of fact, some of you may disagree vehemently with me.

And that’s fine.  When I began writing this blog over 6,000 words ago, I hoped it would open up some dialog between us about the quilts which set technique standards and historical quilts.  Don’t agree with all my choices?  Let me know in the comments.  Want to add a quilt for consideration?  Put that in the comments, too. 

Until Next Week, Remember the Details Make the Difference (they certainly did concerning the quilts in my blog)!

Love and Stitches,