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Striped Pinwheel Topper

Last week’s post was a popular one. Many quilters asked if I was teaching my Stripped Pinwheel Topper class again, or if I had a pattern for the project. I don’t have a pattern for it as I made up my own class handout, not a stand alone pattern. I did some research on the internet and found many Amish quilts with this design by the names of Amish Spinning Star and Star Spin. There is a pattern available called Sew Easy Strata Star by Ruthann Eckersley. So, if you’re anxious to try it – there are options available with an internet search. I plan to teach it again at WCTC, but we schedule months in advance, so it will be 2019 before my next class. I’m also thinking of proposing to teach a variation of the design for the Madison Expo next year.

I’m calling this variation Striped Pinwheel Topper because it uses a striped fabric – thus avoiding having to piece all those strata. I already have made a sample quilt, and it’s super easy and fun to do!

The trickiest part was matching the stripes when sewing the pieces together. I was able to surmount this obstacle with the use of Elmer’s School Glue™. I attended a lecture at the Madison Expo last year by Sue Heinz. She was sharing her passion for basting with this product, and gave credit to Sharon Schamber for introducing it to her (Sharon has a number of Youtube videos on-line on this topic). She said the white school glue is not actually a glue, but a form of starch. Because of this it washes out of fabric with no problem.

I needed to piece my striped fabric to get the length I needed and wanted the look of a straight seam. This is how I made sure things matched up perfectly:

Choose a stripe fabric.

Cut strips so each is of the same portion of the stripe and lay them on top of each other, right sides together.

At one end fold back the top strip and run a thin line of glue less than 1/4″ from the edge.

Lay the top strip back in place and press to dry the glue. When the glue is dry, sew the ends together with a 1/4″ seam.

It’s as simple as that!

Next week I’ll share how I use this technique to piece strips with a mitered seam. Stay tuned :-)!



January 28, 2018, Piecing
Stripped pinwheel Topper

Last semester I taught a pinwheel table topper class at WCTC.

It was the first time I’d taught this class and I’m always a bit anxious about timing, and the possibility of handout errors. It can be hard to gauge how much students can accomplish in the time allotted. I had them cut their fabric strips ahead of time, and there were no problems with the handout, but I really underestimated how long it would take to sew all the strips together. After lunch everyone still had more strip sewing to do and I was getting nervous.

As some of the students finally began to reach the triangle cutting stage it became obvious that the triangle cutting and sewing was actually fun and it was great to see how the fabrics were coming together. But half the class was still sewing away on their strips and I could sympathize with their frustration. Well… by the end of class Carmen had her top done.

A few more were close to done, but – praise the Lord – everyone had at least 1/4 of the topper cut out and sewn or pinned together. I felt sure they all knew what they needed to get them finished. On the way home I still felt uneasy about the class – I always want it to be a good experience for everyone.

That night I received an email from an address I didn’t recognize that began: “It’s all your fault!!!”. I gulped, but I knew it was not spam because the rest of the message (readable prior to opening) said “I came home and the one we made in class”. That’s all I could see, but I felt I had to read the rest of the email and when I opened it this was the entire statement:

“I came home and the one we made in  class was too large for our table so I shrunk it. Thanks for the technique. Deb”

She made a second, smaller one that same day! And here’s the picture  🙂 :

Wow! What an overachiever. I responded with how impressed I was, and congratulations. When I asked Deb how she did it and if I could include it in my blog she wrote: “Sure. I cut 3-1″ strips. I’m a goof ball who went home and made more. 😊 Turned out!!  Thanks again!”

This made my evening. I then wrote to the other students and asked them to send me pictures if/when they got their tops done. Here’s what I received back!




Mary Ann




Great job ladies. I’m so impressed with the results! They’re all lovely and it’s fun to see them in so many different colorways.

January 21, 2018, Classes Piecing
Anything Goes – Fiber Art Exhibit!

Before I get to today’s topic I’d like to apologize for last week’s email link error which affected quite a few of you. If you would like information on our Sew We Go cruise to Hawaii in January 2019 – please click on this link:




And now for my “Topic of the Week”:

I’m very pleased to announce that Threadbenders, a new fiber art group I belong to, has an exhibit of challenge quilts hanging at Sew Much More in Waukesha, Wisconsin!

(formerly known as Frank’s Sewing Center – 2140 W Saint Paul Avenue).

I belong to two art quilt groups and in 2017 they both held Anything Goes Round Robin challenges. I’ve participated in these before and it’s a great learning experience. In essence each member puts something in a bag, passes it to someone else and does anything they want to what’s inside the new bag they get. After 4 or 5 rounds the originator gets their bag back and the only rule is “you can’t be upset over what you get back”. The originator then is encouraged to finish theirs.

Many participants in our Threadbenders challenge did finish theirs and the results are quite interesting. Those results are what is hanging at Sew Much More (here are two pics of the exhibit, but they really are much more interesting “in the cloth”).

We took pictures each step of the way and have posted them on our blog. To see all of the finished quilts and all of the step-by-step pictures go to:

Here are the pictures of my challenge piece’s transformation. Laura got my bag first. It contained an unfinished class sample from my silhouette appliqué workshop.

Laura – round 1

Connie – round 2

Sonja – round 3

Brenda – round 4

I was a little befuddled about what to do with what I got back. After staring at it for a while I decided it might be fun to use it as the focal point of a “Modern Quilt”, using the shapes in the challenge piece to inspire my quilting designs. I was pleased with the results (red – I know – who would have thought it???).

If you didn’t link to the Threadbender’s blog above, to see all of the Anything Goes quilts, please do so now at:

And to see the finished projects – go to Sew Much More! It’s a great store and you won’t be disappointed!

January 14, 2018, Challenges
Sew We Go to Hawaii


One year from today Wendy and I will be sailing the waters of the warm Pacific! Doesn’t that sound wonderful? We’d love to have you join us and we’re ready to share the details!

All of the information, including dates, pricing, and the reservation form are in our Hawaii cruise flyer which may be opened by clicking on the following sign:

We’ll be traveling from January 4-12, 2019.
As always, we are including a lot of extras along with our seven days in paradise to make this trip a great value:
♦ Shore excursions in five different ports especially tailored to the interests of our group.
♦ A night in Honolulu prior to the cruise to take the stress out of arrival and boarding.
♦ Pre- and Post- trip gatherings, along with friendship block exchanges and on-board projects for everyone who wants to participate!
♦ And, as stated in the flyer, our goal is to include fiber related activities where possible. This may include meeting with local guilds, visiting shops that carry fabric, yarn, native crafts or other fiber arts, taking part in workshops, or featuring guest educators/speakers. We’ll share what we come up with as it becomes available.
♦ All of this in addition to everything the Aloha State and Norwegian Cruise Lines have to offer. It’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss!
So please read the flyer, reserve your spot, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
With warm thoughts,
Chris, Wendy and Kristi

January 7, 2018, Travel