Yes We Can, Jane quilt update number 15

I spent yesterday morning at work (my day job) moving into a new office.  It is one I will be sharing with three other people, and it meant downsizing for me, which is never easy.  But I’m becoming comfortable in my new space, and anxious to see who will be sharing it with me.


Here are the most recently completed blocks in the Obama quilt:

wrench Monkey Wrench by Cindi Pucci
Challenge, Kathy Timmons IMG_0917
IMG_0918 Hawaii, Kathy Timmons
Meeting Place, Kathy Timmons IMG_0912
IMG_0910 Thousands of Diamonds by Sue Sweeten
Reflections Abound by Nancee Marchinowski IMG_0908


Suggestions for making a quilt with an online quilt group


logoOn Feb 8, 2009, the Yahoo group “Yes We Can, Jane” was started by a few quilters who wanted to make a quilt for the newest President of the United States, Barack Obama. We are now nearing the end of our project, as the quilt will be completed within a few months when the hand quilting and binding are finished.  The project has been filled with a mixture of emotions, from elation, excitement, joy, friendship, creativity, frustration,  competition, and yes, anger.  There are probably some feelings I have left out, but all-in-all it has been a pleasurable undertaking.

I’ve been hand quilting for almost two days solid now, and as I let my fingers relax a little, I thought this might be a good time to provide you with a list of suggestions for any future online group endeavor, should you wish to create your OWN group quilt.

1. You will need, at a minimum, 2 moderators for the group.  The moderators will serve as leaders and organizers, setting guidelines and deadlines.  The moderators should be well-matched, as they will need to lean on each other for the duration of the project. They need not live in close proximity to each other; as ours was an online quilt group, we were connected by email, texts, etc.

2. Before you ever begin, set the timeline, rules and guidelines for the project.  While the timelines may be somewhat flexible in scope, the rules and guidelines must be iron-clad. 

3. A group quilt needs something to tie it together.  In our project, we were able to provide each individual quilter with a piece of fabric from the same cloth (see photo below).  Our ivory colored fabric was a donation from a generous individual; if you don’t have a donor, make sure you over estimate the amount of fabric you will need, and purchase accordingly. 

4. Since each quilter will probably use his or her own fabric to go with the background fabric to make their block, it is CRITICAL that all of their fabric be prewashed and checked for color fastness.  That should be RULE #1.

5. RULE #2 must state that upon mailing finished blocks to the “keeper of the blocks,” a 2.5 or 3 inch square of each of the fabrics used in the block be cut to the predetermined size and be mailed with the finished block.  These fabrics will then be used  by a member of the team to check for color fastness.  This is done by making a small patchwork quilt, alternating the background fabric with every single fabric that has been included in the quilt.  Once this small patchwork quilt has been sewn, it should then be tossed into a sink full of very hot water and left to soak for 30 minutes.  It is then rinsed, dried, and examined for any dye runs.   If any fabrics have not passed the color fastness test, any block with those fabrics should be eliminated without question or guilty feelings.  If any quilter does NOT include the sample swatches, their block should also be eliminated without question.

6.  Guidelines for quality control must be stipulated. Take time to think about what you want the finished quilt to look like.  What color theme?  What color style?  Traditional?  Contemporary?  Modern?  Civil War?  Pastel?

7.  Provide all quilters with the basics of applique and piecing.  Discuss thread type.  discuss size of stitching.  NOTE:  To eliminate this step is a major mistake, as every quilter on the planet has been taught different techniques or has been self-taught.  It is wise to discuss the kind of thread to use.  Thread used for hand quilting is NOT suitable for hand applique or for piecing. 

8.  Determine what jobs are needed for your project.  Who will sew the top together when your blocks are completed?  Who will receive the mailed blocks?  How will the quilt be quilted?  Who will quilt it?  Do the members of the group need to make afinancial contribution to assist with the quilting or the purchase of the background fabric?

9.  Make sure that each block arrives with the full name and address of the maker, their email address, and name of their block.  NOTE:  It is wise to stipulate that if any quilter does not wish his or her full  name to be used in public, this is not a project they should participate in.  It is too difficult to bend the rules for some and not for all, and it is hard to keep track of any variations. 

10.  Take a photo of each block as the envelopes are opened by the “keeper of the blocks.”  Each photo should then be assigned a number, and the name of the quilter and the block should go with each photo.


#28 Caron Mosey, Auto Industry.


11.  At all times, keep good communication with your group members.  Let them know what is going on, share the progress, discuss any issues or struggles, and let everyone have input.  Not everyone will agree 100 percent of the time.  Be prepared for that!  When your project is completed, have a celebration together.  In some way, you all need to celebrate your victory. 

A group project via an Internet quilting group is a fun activity that will bring quilters together from all walks of life and all parts of the globe.  Enjoy the process!

If you have participated in or organized an Internet quilt project, please leave a comment below and share your thoughts and suggestions on the process!  We’d love to hear from you!

Yes We Can, Jane quilt update number 14


It’s allergy season in Michigan, much to my dismay.  I spent the afternoon yesterday quilting and dealing with itchy eyes and drippy nose, but got a lot of stitching accomplished.  More quilting will happen today, as nothing has changed regarding my allergy symptoms. But it does give me almost a full day of quilting, listening to podcasts, and watching HGTV.

IMG_0906 Pinwheel  by Andrea Koziol
Jewel Star by Kathy Timmons IMG_0794
IMG_0799 Bachelor Buttons by Linda Boyle
Michelle’s Medley by Barbara De Nike
IMG_0807 Arizona Cactus Flower by Susan Mina
Star  of  Destiny by  Jean Amundsen IMG_0896
IMG_0898 Doris’ Dilemma by Kathy Timmons
Reflections Abound by Nancee Marchinowski IMG_0900
IMG_0903 Maze of Madness by Kathy Havelka
Church Windows by  Barbara De Nike IMG_0904
IMG_0905 Doris’ Dilemma  Andrea Koziol


Yes We Can, Jane quilt update number 13

I can’t believe I haven’t posted an update on the Obama quilt since March 4, but I haven’t.  I’ve been busy on many things, and I have been quilting, just not daily on this quilt.  Don’t you wish there were more hours in the day?  We watched our newest grandson the past 4 days.  It was my intention to quilt whenever he was taking a nap, however, he just turned 5 months old today, and is teething.  Very few naps were taken by anyone while he was here, so very little quilting got done.  And now, Grammy needs a nap!
Here is what has been accomplished on the blocks since May 4th.  Additional hand quilting HAS taken place in the sashing as well, but that is boring to look at!


Stephanie’s Snowflake by Cheryl Camp

Dresden Plate by Linda Starkey


Malle Star 1 by Liz Ewing


Malle Star 2 by Liz Ewing

Star by Jean Amundsen

Honey Bee by Gayle McKay

”Thanks to the Obamas, we now have honey bees in the White House garden for the first time since FDR was in office.”


Left and Right, Black and White by Gayle McKay

If you want to hand quilt, you can use a hoop like I do for most of my quilting now, or you can use a large frame.  If you don’t have a frame, take a look at the great tutorial Sara has put on the Celebrate Hand Quilting blog.  What a GREAT idea!

Yes We Can, Jane quilt update number 12


Another update of the quilting progress on the Obama quilt:


Visit to Town by Susan Sweeten

Hannah Lou’s Hearts by Ruth Gregg


Trooper Green’s Badge by Caroline Van Maele

Melissa’s Cross by Elizabeth Brandt


Proof Through The Night by Nancee Marchinowski

Remembering Columbine
Patti Baymiller


Bear’s Paw by Linda Boyle

I think the hardest part of a project like this – one in which people from all around the world contribute blocks – is in the gathering of information.  I still don’t have names for many of the blocks that were submitted, though we have determined the maker of each block. 

Photos are being taken as I finish quilting each block, and while the block is still in my quilting hoop. At times, it’s difficult to photograph the block so it comes out square.  All blocks ARE square in the quilt, but the photo sometimes skews the photo.  It is especially difficult to photograph when there is a heavy weight on part of the quilt that will not move.


Official Quilt Inspector, Sleeping on Duty

Yes We Can, Jane quilt update number 11

I’ve been a little busy with little blocks!  Check out these adorable little blocks from the Yes We Can, Jane quilt for President Obama!

E2 Colorado Beauty by  Cheryl Camp

F5 Point Star by Kathy Timmons

F1 Star Struck by Jeannine Hanner

American Chain by Kathy Timmons

A4 Land of Lincoln by Susan Mina

Voter’s Choice by Susan Mina

B2 Ladies Aid by Kathy Timmons

Brandon’s Star by Ferande Authuys


Stay tuned for more updates!

Yes We Can, Jane quilt update number 10

I’m still spending a lot of time in the evenings quilting along the sashing… there is a lot of straight-line quilting to do, and with blocks that don’t have a lot of pieces to them, it goes fairly quickly.  However, considering these blocks are 4.5 inches square, many of them have a lot of seams to stitch through which really slow a hand quilter down.  So when I get to blocks with very few seams, I giggle like a school girl and sometimes quilt the entire block, even though I had hadn’t planned to yet. (For those of you who have been following the progress of this quilt, my goal was to first quilt the entire quilt along the sashings, and THEN quilt the individual blocks.)  But it’s fun to cut loose and throw some inner block quilting in occasionally, which is what I did with this block. I’m getting used to using the Black Gold needles now… persistence pays off, and they are becoming one with my thimble and don’t bother me as much as they used to.  I am also noticing my stitches getting smaller the more I use them, which is nice. I’m not a “hand quilting snob” that thinks you have to have 20 stitches to the inch, but since I’ve been quilting since 1976, I do try to at least keep my stitch length consistent and look to improve as I can.

If you click on the photos below, they will open larger on your screen.

C2b Water Lily by Sue Mohr
Apple by Judy Lindsay B7
B8 Maple Star by Liz Ewing
Indianapolis by Sue Hilton C1
B1 Nonesuch by Jean Amundsen
Palm Tree by Sue Mohr A1
back1 Perhaps you’d like a peek at the back of the quilt for a better update of progress.  Click on these to enlarge the photos… Photos beautifully taken on my freshly-vacuumed living room floor.
back2 back3