Wednesday, July 25, 2012


The Northland New Neighbors' Quilting Group ( we are working on a name for ourselves) I belong to decided to make a quilt of valour. When we are finished with the quilt, it will be donated to the charity who will see that a wounded soldier returning from war receives it. Our group only meets once a month at Kay's, but we decided we would try to do all of our work on the quilt together as a group.  That means some of us will have to bring our sewing machines to our meeting, but that way we will all be able to be involved and feel pride in our finished quilt.  It also means it will not be finished quickly, but that is ok, too.  At our meeting last week members Fran and Sharon weren't able to attend. Hopefully next month, we will all be together.

The first thing we did was share the fabrics some of the members had brought.  

Members (L - R)  Kay, Janice, Dorothy, Ellen, and Rita
We had talked about several different patterns we could use to make the quilt at our meeting the month before.  Now we had to get down to business and make a decision.  Rita shared a Fons and Porter magazine she had bought that had a feature on Quilts of Valour.  Everyone agreed that the one titled Patriotic Patchwork was the one we wanted to follow.

Once we had chosen the pattern, Kay decided to go check out her stash for fabrics we could use.  Here is Kay and Ellen picking out some possibilities.

Once we got started, we quickly assumed different roles and came up with names for ourselves.

Dorothy, the "Re-assure-er" here is supporting  Janice, the "Presser".  Kay had washed the material that Dorothy had brought since we wanted to work with pre-shrunk material.

Dorothy and Ellen are checking out some of the "layer cake" fabric to decide how to cut it.

Decisions have been made so it is time to get started cutting.  Ellen, aka the "Cutter" and Yours Truly, Patricia, aka "Cutter" and "Historian" get to work.

 Meanwhile, Janice, the "Presser" is still busy pressing.

Dorothy, now aka the "Counter" as well as the "Re-assure-er" is helping Ellen know what she needs to cut from each layer cake and keeping up with how many she  has cut and still needs to cut.

Janice decided to retire the iron for the day since we knew we wouldn't get everything cut that she had pressed so well.  The larger pieces that she ironed, we decided to "roll up" on a tube that Kay, aka the Hostess, had.  That way we wouldn't get folds in the material that would need to be ironed again the next time we meet to cut it.

The smaller pieces were draped over a drying rack that Kay, the "Hostess" had.  We quit for the day before some of them got cut.  So we ended up folding them and placing them in a box, but since they are smaller it won't take that much time to repress them next time.


When Rita, aka the "Multi-tasker", was busy helping Ellen cut some strips, Dorothy showed her this tip to make the cutting go faster and easier.  Dorothy took two pieces of blue painter's tape and stuck them along the line on the ruler for the width we were cutting the strips.  This saves so much time because you don't have to keep checking to make sure the ruler is lined up on the raw edge of the fabric and you don't have to worry about accidentally cutting the strip on the wrong measurement line.  This is a tip I won't forget!


The next tip also reduces time when cutting.  You no longer need to rotate the material around to have the ruler on the side for ease of cutting.  

1.  The first thing to do is line up the "marked" ruler for the width of the strip you need to cut.

2.  Bring another ruler up to the edge of the first ruler making sure you don't move the first ruler.

3.  Remove the first ruler.

4.  And the second ruler is where you need to cut for the desired strip.

Did you also notice we are using the same brand of rulers?  It is suggested that if you are using more than one size ruler for your project, that you should make sure they are all the same brand to assure measurements are the same.  So the easiest thing to do is always buy the same brand.

Well, we decided to call it quits for the day, and I, aka the "Historian", forgot to take a picture of our afternoon's work.  I will make sure I get a picture of it at the beginning of next month's meeting. I think we got the 80 red and 81 blue 4.5 inch squares cut and a few of the 2 5/8 inch strips cut.  Will let you know when we meet next month how much we got accomplished. I hope you will follow our efforts with our quilt as we slowly but surely get it made.

You can read the next installment HERE.


  1. Wow, I would love to be in a quilter group like this. I am such a novice though and a little intimidated. Great tip with the time saver on cutting. Love the quilt choice too.

  2. I hope you can find one. That's what great about our group is our members are all unique.Janice knows how but doesn't sew anymore but she's a good presser and she is great at putting colors and designs together. Fran is learning a lot and is sewing simple quilt tops in our small quilt group at church. I wish I could quilt as well as Kay, Ellen, Dorothy, and Sharon. As with most things the more you work at it the better you get. Our group is working on its third quilt of valour. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your kind words.

  3. I was a nurse for many years and we had a saying "we eat our young". For some reason, everything was a competition to be the best, at any cost, and there often were times when someone who had more knowledge would just keep it to herself. Since I have been quilting, I have never seen this. Quilters are always happy to share tips and will patiently teach anyone who is a novice to the art. Never feel like you are not good enough to join a quilt group, they will happily welcome you and teach you what you need to know! Great tip about the tape on the ruler, I have been doing that for years, it's especially helpful when cutting strips of different sizes, since I tend to get distracted!

    1. Well said, Jean. Thanks for stopping by and giving your encouraging words to the novice quilter. I learn something every time we get together.

  4. Great tip the tape on the ruler. I've made mistakes and cut on wrong ones before.

  5. Hi Lowy, I used to make mistakes before and this method really speeds up the process and prevents those careless mistakes. Thanks for commenting.

  6. I'm part of a community center quilting group. Three of the ladies are in their 90's and one is 104! And still making beautiful, tiny stitches! I'm learning from them and also consider them my friends. So glad I found this group!

    1. How wonderful Nance. I was in a group at my church in CA before we moved to MO. We were commissioned to finish quilting a quilt that a lady had started for her son and died before finishing it. We sat around it and hand quilted it. Fortunately or me no one in the group made those tiny little stitches. I could never have been in the group. Loved the experience and won't soon forget it. Thanks for sharing your story with me.