Friday, September 20, 2013

Veterans Mystery Quilt - Clue 5 - The last clue!

It’s now time to put it all together! I’m going to show you how to lay out the blocks and you can assemble the top any way you wish. You can do it in rows or columns or you can start with the center and add the blocks as borders in the way I’m going to show it arranged.

The Veteran’s Quilt (48 x 60) is constructed from just the blocks that you have made.  At the end I will give you some border measurements to make the quilt larger for a Quilt of Valor.



The only tricky part is the center. Here’s the layout using the blocks from clue 1. The 2 blocks with all 4 corners in fabric 1 go where the green arrows are. Lay out the other blocks paying attention to the points where the fabric 3 pieces touch. See the yellow lines in my diagram? That shows that the fabric 2 pieces all line up on the same diagonal. Make sense? Now you have the center set right.


Now add the blocks from clue 3. There’s no tricky placement here.


Finally, add the blocks from clue 5. These do have an arrangement but I think you can easily see it from the diagram. Sew it all together and your quilt is done……unless you are adding borders in the next clue.


Here’s my veteran’s quilt version.

Here's my Mom's version. (Of course she got the clue early!)

Quilting and binding considerations: Since I have pressed all of my seams open I will quilt this quilt with an allover pattern on my longarm. Stitch in the ditch would not work well with pressed open seams. If you are quilting this on a DSM you might quilt an all-over filler type motif or a simple meander. Quilting diagonal straight lines would also work great.

 I will bind this quilt in fabric 3 (dark blue).

My second quilt is going to be a Quilt of Valor so it needs to be bigger. Here’s what I designed.


The first border is 1.5” finished (uses 5/8 yard, strips are cut 2” wide)

The second border is 4” finished (uses 1 3/8 yards, strips are cut 4 ½” wide)

The outside border is 3” finished which makes the quilt 65” x 81” (uses 1 yard fabric, strips are cut 3 ½” wide)



I was making this quilt from stash so I had to work with the yardage that I had. I was completely out of the 2 light fabrics so I had to make do with 2 borders. The narrow black border finishes at 1” and the print border finishes at 5”.

Like all good quilters you, like me, will work with what you have to make the quilt work for you.

I hope you have enjoyed this mystery project as much as I have. If your quilt is going to be donated to Country School Quilters for our veteran’s project you can send your quilt, binding and backing to me and we will quilt and bind it for the project. We will also provide the backing. Also everyone donating a mystery quilt top will be entered in a drawing for some hand dyed fabric. If you send a finished quilt you will have 2 entries in the drawing!

Please share your quilt in our Flickr group:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Friday/Saturday Sewing

There was lots of sewing this past Friday and Saturday. We made good use of all the tables so we had places to layout blocks as well as use our design wall.

Betsy started off the day with her Show & Tell of this beautiful quilt she made for a raffle to benefit the food pantry at her church. It is full-queen size and beautifully machine quilted.

Julie is all smiles as she is sewing on the last side of the binding of this king-size quilt for her son.

Linda and Becky went right to work planning and cutting the sashing pieces for Linda's quilt on the design wall. We hope to see your top next month at Show & Tell, right Linda?

Glenda (Vicki's mom) arrived with her new sewing machine and got busy free-motion quilting this adorable child's quilt.

Karen and Betsy spent time laying out Betsy's blocks for another striking quilt.

Georgie was putting together her blocks for a pig quilt - cute, pig fabric. The quilt is being made for an 8 year-old girl that is the recipient of Georgie's pig collection.

Nancy loves paper piecing and was sewing the Mariner's Compass that will be her center for her next quilt "Ladies of the Sea."

Estelle was wrapping clothesline rope to make more coasters/cloth bowls. Did you know they are in the gift shop at the VQM?

Sandy and Linda worked together to make their "Purple and Green" string quilt blocks for this month's Block of the Month.

Vicki had prepared a pile of pieces and was busy making blocks for her Fractured quilt.

Elsa brought her light table and worked on one of the borders for her "Spring Bouquet" quilt.

The tables make such a great surface for layering quilts. Kitty put this sweet child's quilt together and now it's ready to be quilted.

The Block of the Month for August was Courthouse Steps and all 30 blocks were returned at the September meeting. Great job, everyone. Now the blocks have been sewn together and it's ready for machine quilting as it will be completed and given to a veteran.

It was a great time sewing, knitting (Dot) and visiting together. Mark your calendar for NEXT month and plan to join us!

Becky - (I'm still nervous about doing these posts - hope I didn't make a big boo-boo - or leave someone out. If so, someone, please let me know, okay?)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

10 Questions - Cindy Conner

When you first join a group there are always a handful of people who make an immediate impression on you. Cindy Conner was one of those people for me in CSQ. She makes all of her quilts out of recycled clothing or other fabrics and she shares lots of stories about her sustainable garden and lifestyle. I was impressed from the beginning.

Today we will meet Cindy and get a peek into her sewing room.

If you live in Hanover (or the area), how many generations of your family have lived here and how did they come to settle here? If you moved here, where are you from and what brought you here?

My husband and I are from Ohio, having met and married while students at Ohio State University. He got a job in Columbus, Ohio as a computer programmer after graduation in 1973. We moved to Richmond in 1977 as a result of a new job offer and bought our 5 acre farm near Ashland in 1984. 

When you were young what did you plan to be when you grew up and what happened with those plans?

Before I was even old enough to go to school I would tell people that I wanted to be a mother when I grew up. (Jarod was born 10 months after we were married, followed by Travis four years later, then Betsy after another four years, followed by Luke five years after Betsy.) By the time I went to college I had decided to major in home economics and become an extension agent so that I could help people become more productive at home. I have used everything I ever learned in college and expanded on it. I never became an extension agent, but I do help people be more productive at home.
What do you do when you aren’t quilting?

You can usually find me in the garden. I learned to garden organically because I wanted a healthy family and that interest has grown tremendously. Beginning in 1992 I sold vegetables for 10 years, helped start the Ashland Farmers Market in 1999 and taught at J. Sargeant Reynolds from 1999-2010, establishing the sustainable agriculture program there. I’ve produced two garden DVDs with the help of filmmaker son Luke. We offer them for sale through our website at I write a blog at which is free continuing education for folks following my work. I’ve written a book—Grow a Sustainable Diet—that will be out in March 2014. It is being published by New Society Publishers.
What hobbies or activities do you do other than quilting? Where do you do them? How did you get involved with them?

In my exploration of fiber I began growing cotton in my garden. I’ve written about it at .  Presently when I speak at sustainable agriculture events I wear a quilted vest. I use it to represent diversity. Also, it is distinctive and no one else has one like it, making me easily recognizable. I’m learning to spin my homegrown cotton on a hand spindle. I still need to learn to weave. My goal is to make a vest from my homegrown cotton that I’ll wear when I give presentations.

As a child what was your nickname and how did you get it? Do people still call you by that name?

No nickname, although I have a twin sister (not identical in any way) named Sandie. People would mix up our names, even though I was taller and we didn’t look alike. I was in college before I was only known as Cindy.

What saying best describes how you like to live your life?

My current favorite saying is “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, but how to dance in the rain”. 

Show us a photo (or photos) of where you create.

I have been making changes in my sewing space over the course of the past year and am excited to talk about it. In 1988 I made this cabinet myself by putting a top on my childhood desk. The cabinet opens up to one space behind the two left panels (which fold open). My sewing machine was stored there. Behind the right panel are shelves to hold patterns and such. I would open the cabinet doors and bring my sewing machine forward to sew. There is a hole in the back of the cabinet for cords for the electric and foot pedal to connect to the machine. My notions and supplies were stored in the drawers. This cabinet has been all over the house in the years since 1988. When it was in a corner of the kitchen cookbooks were on the top shelf.

Once our children were all out of the house, I realized that I could actually have the large bedroom (last one vacated) for a sewing room, but I still needed space for guests. There were two bulky twin beds there that were originally bunk beds that my husband built for our boys in 1981. I had fabric stored in plastic bins under both. I took those beds out and painted an old twin bed that had been in our family almost forever. I wanted to keep the extra long mattress left from our 6’4” son, so I bought extra long bed rails for that bed. I bought a pop-up trundle that slides underneath. We put the little bookcase on wheels so that it can be easily moved to bring out the trundle. The quilt on that bed is the one I made for our grandson in 2010. Although he’ll probably take it eventually, he has chosen to leave it at our house for now, maybe because it establishes a place for him here. He’s 16 now.          


I had eliminated all the storage space I had under the beds, so I found this large used blue/tan cabinet at the Boaz and Ruth thrift store in Richmond. It is a cabinet with shelves that fits over a chest of drawers. The top drawer is skinny and just right for storing my quilting rulers in. To put things in proper perspective, the ceiling in that room is only 7’ high. Until I get my stash down, I still have fabric stored in bins. Actually, some of that is old clothes intended for quilts and some is denim. There is a quilt frame that I’ve acquired and I’m beginning to accumulate spinning/weaving things that need a resting place. You can see those things under the window to the right in that photo.

My homemade sewing cabinet is gone now and my sewing machine is in the closet. The wooden boxes under that window contain fabric and batting. (There is another closet to the left of the wooden boxes.) When we were working on the garden plan video in 2009 Luke needed studio space for his computer while he did the film work. He didn’t need to live here, just his computer and equipment did. We made this closet over for that purpose and I kept in mind that maybe someday I could put my sewing machine there. I got him to take the last of his things out of there this spring and moved my sewing machine in. The sewing machine can be moved back and table extension folded down so the closet door can be closed, turning the room back into a guest room.

I’ve had the dress form since about 1976, but it was stashed away in a closet for years. I brought my grandmother’s shadow box down from the attic. I’ve had it for many years but had no place to put it. I have photos of my grandparents and other little odds and ends that are meaningful to me on the shelves. Now if I could only find time to sew.
 Show us a photo of the quilt that’s on your bed right now.

 I made this quilt using lap quilting methods-one square foot at a time. It took two years from 1995-97. It has polyester batting which is thinner than the cotton filled quilt I made, so this one is on the bed through the summer. I call it Summer Sunshine. I had a lot of yellow cotton fabric to use up and this project accomplished that. I had mostly blue scraps so you might notice that alternate rows of nine patches all have blue in them. The rest of the rows are mixed colors. That evenly spaced the blue in the quilt. Other than the yellow, it is made of scraps left from my sewing projects over many, many years. I made clothes for the children when they were growing up and still make my own clothes. I started to quilt to use up the fabric leftovers. (Our bedroom is larger than it appears in that photo. The head of the bed is in an alcove.)

What quilt is your least favorite quilt. Not necessarily the ugliest but the one that you liked the least or struggled with the most or just plain hated making. Why did you choose this one? Do you have a photo of it?

Everything has value to me and is special, so I don’t have a least favorite.
What is your all time favorite quilt and why? Do you have a photo of it?

I like so many things I usually don’t play favorites. However, I’m partial to my grandson’s quilt that’s on the bed in the sewing room.