January 2011 - Posts

Some things in life ARE free!!

We just can't pass up sharing this great value, from our sister magazine, with our readers.

Quilter's Home if offering a free e-book for download! Yes- it's free— Just click here!

Modern quilting, as they call it, are simple and easy projects for your home that can be completed on our busy modern time schedules.

Face it—as quilters, we like to be challenged, but how many times do you want a quick gift, want to use up scraps, make something with that bundle you bought and not sure what to do with,  or just a project that doesn't take all of your concentration.

We invite you to check it out! 

Happy Quilting!

The Fons & Porter staff


Are you inspired by travel or nature in your quilting? Sue Spargo spoke at our local Des Moines quilt guild.

Besides the fact Sue Spargo is a wonderful wool artist, her quilts speak, telling stories of places Sue's traveled and places she's lived. Through her quilts, she shows us how to find inspiration in nature, travel, and textures. We're exposed to this every day, but so often we never stop to notice!

The wool work which Sue blends with layers of velvet, silk, and embellishments of all kinds, is amazing. You can check out what I'm talking about on her website Sue Spargo. This is a woman who certainly isn't afraid of color. That's something I have to work on more, since I have this picky Capricorn personality...

Maybe we all need to try her playful techniques and crazy fun embellishments—I've certainly been inspired to think about her use of color in my Crayon challenge, and I'm getting a little braver... Thank you, Sue!

Happy quilting!

Diane, Assistant Editor







The cruise quilt is started and check out those Timeless Treasure batiks!

Jean, our Editor, started her quilt last weekend, and has found a great way to piece the strip units with squares on point that she will be sharing, both on the cruise and in the magazine. 

Wow! Do those Tonga batiks look great with that neutral batik or what?  

Speaking of piecing the strips together, Liz and Marianne have always talked about how important it is to have accurate cutting and piecing. Taking the extra time to be precise and careful are so worth the time!  If seams are off, you can unsew them and resew, but if you cut a piece incorrectly, you can't add that piece of fabric back on.  

Another tip is to use the same rulers throughout the entire project.  Don't switch brands in the middle of a project.

Check out the  Fons & Porter rulers  for great quality and accuracy. We think you'll be pleased with the care that was taken in designing these rulers. Using these rulers is like having a helping hand from Marianne and Liz themselves!

Happy Quilting!

Diane, Assistant Editor



How do you work out a quilt design?

A design wall is a great tool. I know I've talked about it before, but it bears repeating, especially in this stage of the quiltmaking process.

I'm more visual, so seeing the colors together, rearranging them, switching out colors, and staring them down really tells me how they will look together.

For my turquoise crayon color challenge,  I've been auditioning fabrics and blocks ideas. I've always wanted to do something with the New York Beauty block, but I want my version to be unique. Of course, I also wanted to use a version of that beautiful block that was doable, especially if I repeated it.  I want something I won't get tired of because it's too hard or so time-consuming I get sick of working on it.

I worked up some blocks and parts of blocks last evening to play with—kind of like research!

I also like these fun Square-in-a-square blocks too, which got me thinking... Today, I'm wondering if I can incorporate them into my New York Beauty idea without it looking like I just slapped them together. 

Bit that's part of the fun process for me. I love taking what I like and figuring out how to put it all together. Maybe I'll get out my EQ and play a bit this weekend. 

I hope you have a fun project planned for this fine winter weekend too!

Happy Quilting,





Sneak Peek at one of the quilt projects for the Alaskan Cruise!

We are really excited about our next cruise—to Alaska May 21–28—especially our Editor, Jean Nolte, who has been working on a great quilt for the occasion! 

On a trip to New York City last spring,  Emily Cohen, at Timeless Treasures teased us with their new Tonga Treats strips and squares. When Jean started designing a quilt for the cruise, she immediately thought of  the Tonga collections, and planned a quilt design that could be used in several color variations.

Jean chose the Sugarplum Collection, a rich purple for sashing, and a border fabric that brings all of the colors together.   

We'll see if we can get some photos of the quilt as she's putting it together to share with you. 

I hear it's also going to be in Love of Quilting this summer, so stay tuned!

Check out the items that just went on sale in the Fons & Porter store!  There are some great values out there!  I see a few I just want the fabric from and at these prices, who can pass them up? 

Happy quilting!

Diane Tomlinson, Assistant Editor


Are you color challenged?

I've been working on the guild color challenge that I blogged about last week, and auditioning my turquoise crayon with some of my fabrics.

I am also remembering the best workshop I've  gone to on color—by Karen K. Stone. She asked us to take a range of fabrics we might use for one of her quilts.

She instructed us to drag our focus focus fabric over the top of the rest of our fabric, noting what fabrics we particularly liked with our focus fabric and what stuck out as questionable. For instance, if we had a jewel-tone fabric, clear-tones worked well with it,  and grey-tone fabrics stuck out. As we took those questionable cousins out of the mix, the rest of the pile unified like magic! 

There are a lot of books and tools out there, but I've come to the conclusion it's your own personal preference! It's what makes the world go around! It affects our moods and makes an artist stand out from the rest of his or her peers. 

I hope you are thinking more about challenging yourself. As for me—I'm going to tack these up on my design wall and look at them awhile. 

Now the fun begins as I to decide what I'm going to do with this palette! 

Happy Colorful Quilting!

Diane, Assistant Editor



Do you belong to a small group? Check out some of our special interest groups here at QCA! The Civil War Ladies group is now forming!

Small groups are a great way to share a common interest ! 

We have a very large group in Des Moines that has numerous small groups. It helps members with common interests focus and share their ideas and knowledge with like members. Topics can range from applique, Feedsack quilts, Baltimore Quilts, reproduction fabrics, even a specific quilt pattern.  

We have just recently started a Civil War Ladies group that ties into the 3 part project running in our Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, and May/June issues of Love of Quilting. There are also groups like Little Houses and the Farmer's Wife Sampler.

Check them out, meet other quilters with like interests or start your own!

Happy quilting!

Diane, Assistant Editor

Our Afghan Quilt Project


What started in the beginning of November as a phone call between our publisher, Kristi, and her deployed husband Jason, turned into a month-long project in our office. Our goal was to create 29 quilts to ship to Jason's unit!

These soldiers were cold!  Government issued sleeping bags are short.  Especially for these six-foot-plus soldiers who are stationed in the mountains of Afghanistan, where daytime temperatures hover in the 40s, dropping into the 20s at night.  

After some discussion, we decided the best solution was of course, quilts—large ones!  We figured they needed to be a generous 72 x 90 inches to provide the warmth needed. We also needed to make these quilts quickly, and easy to care for and light enough for the soldiers to pack. We raided the flannel inventory in our quilt shop, and added to it with our personal stashes. We went to work cutting a lot of 6 1/2 inch squares and brick shapes. Soon after the blocks were distributed, employees completed all of the quilt tops. 

We had show and tell every morning when quilt tops came in, each one unique in color and design!  

We decided to back the quilts with fleece for warmth. When our friends at Fabri-Quilt  heard about our project, they graciously donated some of the fleece backing, and our friends at YLI donated thread for quilting. 

We realized quilting these quilts was going to be a big job. So with a little help from our friend Heidi Kaisand at APQS, who put the word out, we had quilters volunteering from all across the states. What a wonderful dilemma!  

A very special thank you to the first of those many volunteers, Jane and Dave Brown, and Maria Davis. They quilted 14 of our quilts and bound 4.




The rest were all quilted and bound by our staff on their lunch breaks, before work, and at home—all on their own time. Cutting parties were organized, and we shared laughter in the sewing area where our sewing specialist, Cindy is shown here with scissors and rotary cutter in hand!





Even our accountant, Kim, got in the act of cutting binding before she left on maternity leave!





During this process, Tiffiny, our Customer Service Manager and a beginning quilter, has quickly blossomed into a full-fledged quilter. We're so proud!











And hey! Who let Kristi loose on that machine? We're trying to convert her, but with two little ones at home and her husband Jason deployed, but we'll let her off the hook—for now!  










Each quilt was labeled with a soldier's name,and the quilts were sent off before our deadline. They arrived a week later in Afghanistan to welcoming hands. We want to thank our parent company, New Track Media, for picking up the shipping costs.








Here are some of Red Bulls with their quilts. Hey- who's the extra guy? He's an American-born Afghan there to help out the unit!

We hope these quilts keep you warm and safe, and thank you for serving to protect the freedom we are so thankful for!

The Fons & Porter Team


Challenge yourself in 2011!

What is your comfy color? Do you gravitate towards any certain color or colors when choosing fabric?

 My favorite batik color is Hoffman 128 Midnight.  It makes other batiks sparkle and I have still, to find a color it doesn't set off.

I belong to a quilting group that has challenges for members for their  bi-annual quilt show. This last year, the president chose a color challenge.  She passed around a pail of Crayola Crayons. Everyone excitedly pulled out a crayon and had a look of puzzlement as they examined their color, thinking of how they would use it. The only rule she set is that at least 50% of the finished quilt needs to be in shades of that color.

My color is turquiose and I can't wait to get started!  It's a great companion to my favorite midnight blue. And I'm seeing a lot of possibilities! 

I challenge you to challenge yourself or set a challenge for a group. Choose a color, pattern or design, fabric time period or technique that you haven't explored yet and try something new. 

Challenge yourself to quilt outside the box this year!

Happy New Year!

Diane, Assistant Editor