The third Saturday in March is National Quilting Day. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the tradition of quilting, its significance, and the ways it connects people. The Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society’s 1989 Quilter’s Day Out was the inspiration for this annual event, which the National Quilting Association approved as a national event in 1991.
You can participate by hanging a quilt outside your house and sharing a photo with the tag #nationalquiltingday.
Here are 5 more ways to celebrate:
Download a free quilt pattern. Click here and scroll down the page.
My friend, Kendra, owns The Stitching Bee, a shop that specializes in counted cross-stitch handwork, as well as other needle and thread techniques. Whenever I’m in town and have a few minutes to spare, I stop in for a visit.
Such was the case in the fall of 2019. My time was limited, but it had been a while since my last visit, so I stopped. Kendra changes the samples on the walls and display cases regularly. The shop was filled with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas samples. The holidays, by design, are reason enough to entice the stitchers to buy a pattern and the necessary supplies.
The day I stopped she had a non-holiday sample of a pattern called “Baskets,” designed by Karen Kluba from Rosewood Manor, hanging by the register. I couldn’t look away. I liked everything about the piece; the colors, the symmetry, the use of space.
Kendra and I talked for a bit catching up on families and friends. But I kept looking at the sample on the wall. Kendra smiled. She knew she had a sale.
“Get everything I need – pattern, floss and fabric. I’ll pick it up when you call that it’s ready,” I told her. I didn’t remember much of the drive home. I kept thinking about the “Baskets” and how much I would enjoy stitching the piece.
I wasn’t able to begin stitching when I got the supplies home. Life has a way of changing plans in our house. Often, it seems. The holidays came and went, then the pandemic arrived. When the scientists recommended limiting gatherings and celebrations and suggested a stay-home policy I knew it was time to start my “Baskets” project.
This was a large piece to do, not one that could be finished in a weekend. So I read the directions, threaded my needle and made the first cross-stitch. After finishing the top row of baskets, I realized that there was no place in our house that was open enough to hang the finished piece. Then I knew that an antique picture from my Grandmother’s house would be the perfect frame and place for it to hang. For many years the picture had hung in my office, but now was the time for a change.
I needed to rearrange some of the design elements to make the stitched piece fit the frame. So I photocopied the pattern, cut it apart and put it back together so the dimensions matched the frame.
Now I was really excited to stitch. I worked on it every day, more hours some days than others, until it was done.
Kendra’s husband framed my hand-stitched piece using Grandma’s frame. When I step into my office my handwork reminds me that I was able to successfully complete my 2020 COVID project. I get to enjoy it every day.
What entices you to buy a book? The author? The cover? The description? Reviews? Favorite themes or tropes? Some combination of all of these elements?
When I encounter a new author, the subject matter is often a compelling motivator to buy the book. Women’s fiction that includes small towns and independent women always gets a second look. If the book also involves quilting, it moves to the top of my list.
If you feel the same, check out these books that feature quilting as part of the story.
Welcome to San Fernando Valley, California, where Martha Rose and her coterie of quilters are enjoying life on the good side of retirement—until murder pulls a stitch out of their plans. . .
Martha and her besties Lucy and Birdie are set to expand their Quilty Tuesdays by inviting newcomer Claire Terry into their group. Though at forty Claire’s a tad younger than their average age, her crafty reputation could perk up their patchwork proceedings, especially as they prepare for the fancy quilt show coming to town. But when they arrive at Claire’s home and find her dead inside the front door, and her exquisite, prize-winning quilts soon missing, Martha is not one to leave a mystery unraveled. Especially if she wants to stop a killer from establishing a deadly pattern. . .
Enjoy this new series from Ann Hazelwood, The Door County Quilt Series. This first novel introduces you to Claire Stewart and her life in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin.
Claire Stewart, a new resident of the county, joins a prestigious small quilting club when her best friend moves away. Claire is a watercolor quilt artist, and the beauty of Door County captivates her right away.
Claire’s new friends and her quilt group provide fun, but it’s the man with the red scarf who intrigues her. As she grows more comfortable after escaping a bad relationship, new ideas and surprises abound as friendships, quilting, and her love life all change for the better.
A stranger’s murder in the dark alley behind May’s Flower Shop is causing the residents of Park Place, South Carolina to keep their children inside and their doors locked at night. Banty Hen Antique Shop owners, Sam and Valerie Owens, are caught right smack dab in the middle since they were the last ones to see the victim alive. Valerie’s new venture, the Sweet Tea Quilting Bee is comprised of an eclectic mix of women, calling themselves ‘newbies’ and ‘oldies’ in the art of quilting. Their weekly meetings help keep Valerie’s mind off the murder, but it’s hard to keep the secret from the ladies that the victim was killed over, of all things, a quilt! The murder suspect has been described as tall and thin, a pitifully vague description, but Police Chief Jess Hamilton and his new detective, a self-described Columbo, are on the case, questioning every tall and thin person in town. Even Sister Margaret, a nun who has just begun her mission at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church, doesn’t go unnoticed. But it’s hard not to notice a nun who dances, and sings along with country music when she thinks no one’s watching.
This exciting box set includes the first three adventures of Miranda Hathaway and Cutler Quilt Guild Number One:
Book One – The Quilt Ripper: Miranda gets involved in the search for a burglar who simply tears apart vintage quilted pieces and seemingly steals nothing.
Book Two – The Missing Quilter: While helping daughter Zoey search for her missing friend, Olivia; Miranda goes missing.
Book Three – The Quilt Show Caper; To raise money for the school, the guild is holding its first ever quilt show with the oldest quilt in Pennsylvania on display when someone turns on the sprinklers—and steals the cash from the show.
Throughout these adventures, Miranda is assisted by Gabe Downing, a former FBI agent; and Harry, her cat, who always knows when something is wrong.
When Emma Byrd moves into the house of her dreams in the small mountain community of Sweet Anne’s Gap, she knows that making friends may prove to be her biggest challenge. Her husband loves his new job and her kids are finding their way at school. But Emma — no natural when it comes to talking to strangers — will have to try a little harder, especially after the sweet, white-haired neighbor she first visits slams the door in her face. Luckily, a few of the quilters of Sweet Anne’s Gap adopt Emma and she soon finds herself organizing the quilt show for the town’s centennial celebration. With Birds in the Air, Frances O’Roark Dowell (winner of the Edgar Award, the William Allen White Award and the Christopher Medal) creates a warm, funny novel about fitting in, falling out and mending frayed relationships one stitch at a time.
With the uncertainty we are facing now and into the unknown future, we are forced to do more planning than we have had to do in the past. Our shopping mainstays – grocery and all-purpose stores – have limited items on their shelves, forcing us to adjust our meals and activities. Never before in recent years have we’ve seen empty spaces in our stores and wondered when they will be restocked.
As we focus on our homes, I’m reminded of a quilt block known as the Log Cabin design. Popular in the late 1800s, this block was traditionally made with a red square in the center of the block to represent the hearth of the home. Around that square, strips of light and dark fabrics were added in sequence. The light fabrics on one side represent the sunny side of the house while the dark fabrics are the shadow side.
It’s known that quilts with black center blocks were sometimes hung outside homes to indicate a safe haven for runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad trying to make their way north to freedom. After the Civil War ended in 1865, there was a dramatic migration to settle the West. During that time, brides-to-be often used yellow center squares, thought to represent hope for their lives ahead.
New quilters often used this design to develop their skills for accurate cutting and sewing. They find the sewing requires attention to seam allowance, and it’s easy for a block to become slanted if the sewing is not precise.
Recently I made a wall hanging using the Log Cabin pattern It was important to me that the cutting and sewing were accurate so the wall hanging would be square with the wall when it was done.
In my latest release, The Quilt Company, Deanna Westford uses the Log Cabin quilt design to describe the way she’s building her company, with each strip representing a different part of the business. She knows that each “log” of her business needs to be added accurately or her business will become out-of-line and collapse.
Our current lives require us to give accurate attention to the many aspects of our lives – the light and dark “logs” around our hearth – to make it through this difficult time.
I wish your family well keeping your Log Cabin safe.
In Wisconsin, we talk mostly about the weather during
March. The adage, “In like a lamb, out like a lion,” or vice versa, is
mentioned often from day one. I’m afraid that if this is true, with the
beautiful days we are having now, we will pay big time before the end of the
month. So, when conversations lag, weather is an easy subject.
Nationally, we transition into Daylight Savings
Time in March. How wonderful to have an extra few minutes of daylight in the
evening and more time as the months pass. I love those warm evenings when it is
light after supper.
Wisconsin – the beer capital of the U.S., maybe the
world – transitions to “green” beer on St. Patrick’s Day. Even if you
don’t claim Irish heritage, the meal that day is corned beef and cabbage served
with a mug of green beer. One meal each year is enough for me, thank you.
My favorite transition in March is the changing
of the closets. I am not a person who embraces winter, so when warmer temperatures
arrive this month, I am happy to put away the heavy coats, hats, and mittens
for another year. It’s like the weight of the cold weather is also being packed
This month I transitioned to include sewing and
knitting along with quilting. Our local help organization needed baby items, so
I opened totes of yarn, cabinets of flannel fabric, found patterns, and got
busy. Boy, did I have fun. Look at my assortment of booties, beanies, bears,
By the time you read this, all the items will have
been given to local families in need. I’m so grateful to be able to help.
Before I sign off, I want to tell you Miss Opal, the recipient of the quilt from the January blog, arrived on schedule. She and Mom are doing fine. Dad is sporting a huge smile and offering a helping hand.
Keep well this month and enjoy a touch of the Irish.
Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much, and reach for that
Pot o’ Gold.
Historians aren’t 100% in agreement as to the
beginnings of this holiday. Many believe it started as a Pagan ritual known as Lupercalia when goats and dogs were
sacrificed and their skins, soaked in the animal’s blood, were used to slap the
women of the village. The women welcomed the treatment, believing it helped to
make them more fertile in the coming year.
Around the 3rd century A.D., the Catholic
Church banished the Pagan ritual and recognized three different saints named
Valentine, but, here again, there is no consensus among the researchers.
It is known that Americans began exchanging handmade valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, a woman began selling the first mass-produced valentines she made with lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures. In 1913, Hallmark Cards offered premade valentines, and in 1916, began mass producing them. It is estimated that 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.
We have friends who save their money all year so they
can celebrate Valentine’s Day in grand style. They buy special gifts for each
other, spend the evening with dinner and dancing, and playfully renew their
wedding vows. Hubby and I are lower key in the celebrating—maybe a card, maybe
a dinner out, or not. It all depends on the activities surrounding the day.
My quilt project for February was done as a challenge
from the aforementioned husband. He said, “Do something that you haven’t done
in a long time.” I immediately thought of a miniature project. And what better
subject than a heart?
Each of the squares of red fabric in the heart finish
as one inch squares. To keep the challenge going, I hand-sewed all of the red
squares together, then added the background fabric using the machine. The
fabric heart is in a 7 x 9 inch frame.
With the leftover fabric, I made two-sided hearts and
put them on florist wire. I put the hearts into a red and white artificial
flower arrangement I put out in February.
I hope you enjoy the month of love and romance and make
every day a Valentine’s Day.