Caron’s Feathered Star – Completed!

“If you’re going to do something,  do it right.”   Betty Covert  (my mom)

I had planned on making a feathered star quilt for a very long time… at least twenty years.  It was always on my mind as a “one day I’m going to make that” quilt.  I spotted a few beautiful printed fabrics, and knew I wanted to use them in this quilt.  The fabric was purchased by my husband (thanks, Honey!), so I washed it and pressed it and set to work.

One of the fabrics I love, but I just felt it wasn’t a good fit with the others.  In this photo, the fabrics have been pressed and stacked.  The fabric that did not belong in this quilt is the one just above the red.  I am saving it for something else, just not sure what yet.
The quilt was pieced by hand.  That means that I did not use a sewing machine.  At all.  See all the goodies on the couch?  That is what our couch looked like most evenings.  Oh, with the addition of Stormie (the cat) most of the time.


The little bit here shows one night’s worth of work.
One block

This is one block completed. 
Multiply that by 9. 


The little red stars were made, and lattice strips were sewn between the nine blocks like a tic tac toe board.

I thought about adding a different border (shown below) but scratched that Idea.  I thought it would be too busy.  I never plan the whole quilt in advance.  I let it talk to me as I go along.  I try to listen… I usually get it right (for me, anyway!).  I wanted a certain sweetness from this quilt, and the border below just seemed too harsh for the look I was going for.


flimseyThe quilt top was completed and ready for sandwiching (which means putting the  backing, batting and quilt top together as one “quilt sandwich.”)  I hold the three layers together with little brass pins.  They are removed as I am quilting.


You can read more about how I baste on this blog post.

Jan 4.2013It took me over a year and a half to hand quilt this quilt using a lapphoto 2 hoop.  You could call this “Stormie’s Quilt,” as usually Stormie was found laying on the quilt or on me as I stitched.  However, this is MY quilt, and I will share with her from time to time.  (Note:  She doesn’t just lay there.  She hugs!)

The quilting and binding is now completed…
December 28, 2014.

IMG_5556      IMG_5554

Thank you for following the progress on this quilt!  It has been a delightful quilt to make, and has more stitches in it than any other quilt I have made.  I am ready to continue work on my Baskets of Honeysuckle quilt, and a smaller quilt that I will begin soon and tell you more about at a later date. 
Wishing you a very Happy New Year with nothing but good things to come your way!
If you are a quilter, you might enjoy the Celebrate Hand Quilting Facebook group.  This year, we will be focused on learning more about hand quilting – the traditions around the world, tips, tricks, how designs are created, and so much more.  
Caron’s Feathered Star was made with Hobbs Tuscany Wool batting,
YLI quilting thread (Sticks n’ Stones), and stitched with Bohin Sharps needles, 
size 10 and 11.

What is “Echo Quilting"?

Start with the word, “echo.”
An echo is:

  • a repetition of sound produced by the reflection of sound waves from a wall, mountain, or other obstructing surface.
  • a sound heard again near its source after being reflected.
  • any repetition or close imitation, as of the ideas or opinions of another.
  • a person who reflects or imitates another.

I think of echoes as being very similar to ripples in the water after you toss a pebble into it. 


Let’s translate that idea onto cloth or paper. Grab a piece of paper and draw a simple shape, like the blob shown here.
Next, take your pencil and go around it one time following the shape of the blog. Don’t worry about absolute accuracy in width, just do it. Now do it again. And again. Now imagine doing that with a needle and thread! That would be echo quilting!

The fun part of echo quilting for me is that I don’t have to mark my lines in advance. The freedom that provides is delightful! I am echo quilting the quilt that is currently in my hoop right now. I quilted around the edge of each applique shape once, approximately an eighth of an inch away from the edge of each shape. Once that was completed, I began the process of going around again, this time about a quarter-inch away from the first stitching line. And again. And around again. 


There will come a time in some projects where you will work yourself into an area and wonder how you are going to get out of it. Take a close look at the area in the photo below. Can you see where that happened?


There are no hard and fast rules about how to tackle a situation like this. You just do it as you think it would look best for you. I try to stick to echoes that are about the same width as I go around, but again, I don’t really worry about absolute accuracy. When this quilt is all finished, you won’t look at it with a ruler in your hand, and it won’t be noticeable.


What are you working on that could use some echo quilting?

The quilting above is stitched with Presencia 40 wt. thread, color #207, available at .

The Slow Movement – Another Perspective

In June of 2014, The Slow Stitching Movement became an “official entity” on the Internet as a blog, podcast, magazine, gallery and a Facebook Group. The Slow Stitching Movement was launched by Mark Lipinski to adapt the principles of the Iinternational Slow Movement to the fiber and needle arts. You can read about it on his blog, or watch his presentation online for $19.99 through details found at

You can read about the International Slow Movement at without spending a dime, and I encourage you to do so. Four basic principles of the Movement are:

1. We need to stop rushing through life so fast that we lose track of ourselves

2. We need to stop applying the same turbo-speed to everything that we do.

3. We need to stop doing everything at once.

4. We need to slow down and find the energy to get involved with the world that we live in.

Since you are reading this post on, then chances are pretty good that you might be a hand quilter, and that you have no trouble supporting these ideas. I know I totally agree!

As a hand quilter for going on 40 years, hand quilting provides me tranquility, peace, time for meditation and contemplation, and a chance for creativity and use of my hand sewing skills. I have always said that if I didn’t have time set aside each day for some hand stitching, I would go crazy.

A hand quilter needs very little in the way of supplies and tools for his or her craft. You can get by with fabric that you have on hand! Think back to the quilts of the 1800’s, made out of old clothing, scraps of fabric left over from clothes which were made at home, and basic thread that was already in the house. You need scissors, a thimble to protect your finger, batting or something to put in the middle of your quilt for warmth, and a backing fabric of some kind. A quilt frame or hoop would be a good thing to have, but many quilters get by without one. (I don’t know how they do that, but they do!)

On July 6, 2014, Mark Lipinski posted an article on his blog called “What is Ethical Shopping, Why it Matters, and How it Benefits You.” You can find it at . He talks about:

  • Ethical Consumerism
  • Shopping from Your Stash First
  • Supporting Your Local Businesses
  • Being a Courteous Shopper
  • Buy Quality and The Very Best You Can Afford and
  • Shop Thoughtfully.

Don’t we all want to be ethical, supportive, courteous, quality-driven and thoughtful? Gosh, I would certainly hope so! I’d like to add a few points that he missed (or expand on what he said):

  • Know the difference between a WANT and a NEED. Mark mentions this, and I totally agree. I am a graduate of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and proud of it. Dave stresses knowing the difference between WANT and NEED.  When I start a new quilt project, I know what thread I NEED (because I’m out of it or don’t have that color). I also know that when I shop online, at a local quilt shop or at the quilt show vendor area, if I see a gadget or special fabric or quilty thing that I like, it is a WANT, not a need. I WANT it, but if I don’t get it, it won’t kill me. Oh, I might pout for a while, but I will survive. Do you really NEED that fancy new gadget that Tremendous Trixie the Famous Quilter pushes at her workshop? Or is that gadget just something she’s pushing to make money, and you really don’t NEED it at all?
  • Choose your quilt business wisely. Get to know the owner. Whether the business is an online or a brick and mortar (LQS) shop, if you have problems, can the owner help you? WILL the owner help you? Does the owner have the knowledge and time to assist you? Or is the shop and its owner(s) such a large corporation or entity that you are just one of a gazillion customers? Or is the owner a friend or fellow quilter who will take the time to sit down with you and help you? Many local quilt shops are closing as the cost of a brick and mortar shop is difficult financially. But it’s a different world today, isn’t it? Many of us purchase items online, but we just have to do it wisely and know who we are buying from.
  • Be yourself. Don’t feel like you have to follow the crowd. Quilters are easily sucked into trends… trends in fabric choices, colors, and patterns. You can go to any local show and see quilts with similar patterns – because groups of quilters are all working on the same pattern (often with the same fabrics!). I bet if I mention one word (just one!) you will know what I mean… hexies!


  • Every quilter is different. Every quilter has his or her reasons for what they do. My reasons are as important to me as yours are to you. I rarely buy patterns, I seldom publish them. I like to do my own thing with quilt design. I’m the same way about quilty trinkets, stencils, and fancy notions. I usually don’t buy them. I’m a pretty simple person. If you were to ask me how to create a pattern or transfer a design onto fabric, you and I would sit down together and get the task done. If you live far away, I’d walk you through it by email or blog or phone. The way that I do something might be totally different than the next quilter, but it’s not wrong… it’s just how I do it. And I’m happy to share how I do it with you, as long as you understand that.

Caron at Hand Quilting Supplies

Your “online” LQS


Purple Reign hand quilting progress

Lest you think I have been slacking off, here is proof that I have been quilting.  I started working on the quilting on this in early winter.  It’s going to be roughly 60 inches square when it is finished.  Normally, you would quilt a quilt from the center out.  I have done that.  However, in the center what I did was quilt just a smidgeon around each shape (smidgeon is a little more than a thread’s width and less than a quarter-inch; it’s a technical term). Then I began working on the borders, where most of the hard work is.  When the borders are finished, I will go back to the center section and echo quilt about every 1/4 inch or so.  It’s okay to do that last, as the quilt will have enough quilting in it to hold it in place.  Nothing will shift on me!

Here are some photos of what has taken place thus far so you know I’m not making this up. Clicking on a photo will open it up to a larger size.







Do you see all the little brass pins in the quilt?  Those were put there before I started quilting.  It’s called “pin basting,” and is something a hand quilter does to hold the three layers of the QUILT SANDWICH together during the quilting process. (You could thread baste I guess, but it wastes thread, takes a lot longer, and you have to keep threading the needle over and over.  Why bother?!?!?  I have had these brass pins since about 1978.  The same box of them.  They don’t die.  They last and last and last and last.  I bought a new box a few weeks ago to share with you! 


coffeepinsAs I am quilting and get close to a pin, I carefully remove it and drop it into this fancy container (a “Bin O’Pins”).  So why brass pins?  Because they last forever!  They are thin and won’t leave holes in your fabric.  Seriously!  So I bought a box of them at wholesale cost, and divided them up into 5 snack-size zip lock bags.  One of these bags might have YOUR name on it! is open for business, and five lucky people get to purchase a bag of brass pins at WHOLESALE cost!  All you have to do is visit the shop and place an order for $20 or more and receive a bag of brass pins at wholesale (half-off) cost.  Place your order and use the code BPB-5 to receive your discount.  Pretty easy!  Fancy “Bin O’Pins” not included.

Hope to see you in the shop soon!

Why I am a hand quilter


I am a traditional hand quilter.  I have a beautiful full-size frame that my husband made me years ago, as well as several hoops on stands and different sizes of lap hoops.  I love them all! 

I also have a Pfaff Grand Quilter Hobby 1200 on a Next Generation frame that I purchased a few years ago.  I love the machine, but can do without the frame. If you are interested in a frame, contact me and it could be yours!  I am not a machine quilter.  It’s just not who I am.
Machine quilting my quilts would certainly get them finished faster!   But for me, speed is not the issue.  In fact, it goes against the main reason why I quilt!  I love the quiet of quilting.  I enjoy sitting in my chair, taking one little stitch after another.  I like to use my hands, and in doing so, my brain relaxes, along with most other muscles in my body.  It is a beautiful, peaceful time to meditate or talk with my family, or listen to television or stereo or my iPod.  It is “me time.”  And I’m not willing to give that up for speed.  It surprises many people when I tell them that most of my quilt tops are also made by hand.  Not all of them, but most of them.



The hardest part about hand quilting?  Finding good hand quilting supplies, and finding quilt shop owners who appreciate hand quilting, and aren’t afraid to talk about it!  
If you are a hand quilter, please join the Facebook group Celebrate Hand Quilting.  We have over

from all over the world who are fun, thoughtful, helpful and oh so talented!

Thanks to Amy for hosting yet another great Blogger’s Quilt Festival, and for including hand quilters in the mix. 
We are alive and kicking!


What are you working on?

It’s spring in Michigan, and the weather is finally getting warmer.  I try to divide my spare time between enjoying the outdoors and quilting. 

My quilt “Purple Reign” is getting my attention right now, and I’m enjoying every moment hand quilting it.  Well, almost every moment.  I hate quilting around and through seams.  You too?



A friend on the Celebrate Hand Quilting Facebook group asked me how I did the applique on this quilt.  I wrote up a tutorial for her to follow and thought I’d share it with you here.  If you’d like to know how I do “Double Applique,”

click here to download the tutorial.

More tutorials will be coming in the future… but probably on a different blog.  Stay tuned for the exciting details!

Amish Center Diamond Quilt – Hand Quilted


Fleur de Caron II 2014

Fleur de Caron II    58 x 58 inches

It’s no secret that I love Amish quilts.  I have made several in my almost 40-year quilting career.  I love the simplicity of the design, and the solid colors which were mostly used in true Amish quilts.  I think what attracts me the most is that without the quilting design, the quilt doesn’t have zing.  It is just solid colors sewn together in what is often a boring pattern.  The hand quilting gives the quilt life.  It is the hand quilting that I most enjoy as a quilter, thus an Amish-style quilt provides me a canvas for my stitches.

The quilt above is based on an Amish “Center Diamond” pattern.  You can see more Center Diamond quilts here:

“Fleur de Caron II” features a traditional outer cable border, four yellow squares (hand dyed by the artist ) with  spiral circles, four large dark grey triangles in a vine designed by the quilter accompanied by a circular design (Linda Macho, “Quilting Patterns”). The lime green center contains “Fleur de Caron,” designed by the artist. The lighter purple in the quilt has also been hand dyed by the artist.  All fabrics are Kona cotton with the exception of the hand dyed fabrics mentioned above. 

See additional posts featuring “Fleur de Caron II” here:

Photos of “Fleur de Caron II” Under Construction:

“Fleur de Caron II” is FOR SALE.  If you are interested, please see


As always, this quilt has passed inspection.


I thought I was finished…

but then I took a good, hard, last look.  And I listened closely.

I wasn’t finished.

A few evenings of additional stitching will do the trick.  The problem was that the area circled below (back of the quilt showing) does not have enough quilting to suit my tastes, compared to the rest of the quilt. 


So I will add a line of quilting where the borders touch, just as I did in the lime green area.


You see, I let my quilts talk to me… they tell me what they need. 

This one just isn’t ready to be done quite yet.  And that is perfectly alright with me. 

Stay tuned!

The Way We Were and Why I Hand Quilt

Do you remember Barbara Streisand singing the song “The Way We Were?”  Those four little words are stuck in my head today as I sit in my house (not at work) listening to the radio with no Internet service or cable television.  I live in mid-Michigan, where we just had a record amount of snow and sub-zero temperatures.  People are being told to stay inside and not drive, and all schools, government offices, senior citizen centers and many businesses are closed.

I am lucky (at least, at this moment).  I have power, and while I can’t get on the Internet, I do have a laptop with power which allows me to at least write this post (which will be uploaded when everything is back in working order.)  Many other people don’t even have power.  My radio is on, and my clothes are tumbling around the dryer, almost ready to be hung up. 

I snuggled in my leather chair this morning enjoying the quiet and hand quilting on my latest creation.  I thought about technology and why it is that I love hand quilting so much.  So many people wonder why anyone still quilts by hand when we have fancy, huge sewing machines designed to do just that.  Why do we applique or piece by hand when most of us own a sewing machine?  Are we insane?
We live in a busy world.  It isn’t what I experienced when I was four years old, that’s for sure.  In 1960, we did have a television, albeit a black and white television.  I had to get off the couch to change the channel.  TV shows went off at midnight with the National Anthem playing (if you lived in the United States). Milk was delivered.  Microwaves had not yet been invented, so warming up a meal meant in a pan on the stove, which took more than a minute.

In 1960 our minds weren’t cluttered up with technology.  If we wanted to listen to a song and were lucky enough to have a stereo or hi-fi, we put on a record but had to turn the record over to play the other side.  We couldn’t plug our iPhone headphones into our ears and sit for days on end before we ran out of songs.  We drove our cars down the road with very few radio stations to listen to, that is, if our car had a radio. We couldn’t talk on our phone in the car.  We didn’t have Facebook or the Internet to communicate with other quilters from all around the world. We MAYBE had a few friends in our community who quilted who we could spend our time with. 
If you were a quilter back in 1960, a lot of pattern creation was done by the trial and error method.  Patterns were made out of cardboard templates (the back of cereal boxes) that were drawn by hand over and over to make them perfect.  Quilters used a yardstick.  They didn’t have plastic templates.  They didn’t have long arm quilting machines on frames.  If you needed something quilted, you did it by hand.  And it was relaxing, and it gave you time to think.

For me, the best part of hand quilting is having the time to think.  To ponder.  To go slow.  To unplug.  Lately, I have tried turning the television off more while I quilt just for the silence.  I enjoy watching what my hands can do all on their own.  I have remembered more things from the past by allowing myself this quiet time.  I have found myself being more creative in my thinking, which I can only think will help me improve as a quilter and artist. 

In being a hand quilter, I have restricted the quantity of quilts that I produce (as compared to what a long arm or regular sewing machine quilter can do). That means I don’t have as many photos to share on the Internet with my quilting friends from around the world.  That means in my quilt guild’s Show and Tell time, I rarely have something to show.  But I ask myself, 

What is the rush? Perhaps it is time we slowed down and got back to 
“The Way We Were.”

Note:  No cameras were harmed in the publishing of this article.