Monday, March 18, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

As you continue making your blocks, I invite you to sign up for my newsletter where you'll find out about anything new coming from my Heartspun Quilts studio!  It's easy!  Just visit my website and on the home page, scroll down to find the "Newsletter Sign Up envelope".  Enter your email address and that's it!  

All the folks that are signed up for my newsletter heard about The Circa 1880 Club before anyone else!!  You can sign up to receive my blog posts via email, too!  Scroll down and look for "Follow By Email" on the right hand side bar.  That's it!!  

I also invite you to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, too!  

Hope this week's blocks help inspire you!  

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Happy National Quilting Day!

Happy National Quilting Day!!  

What's not to love about celebrating our life's passion?  Hope you all get to spend some time with needle and thread.

Last week when I was visiting the East Pasco Quilters in FL, several of my new quilting friends came to the workshop wearing this T shirt.  I loved it and had to have one!  

Even's made by Life Is Good, so you know the quality and how super soft their T shirts are.  

They come in several colors and sizes XS to XXXL.  So, treat yourself to a new T shirt on this day of quilting celebration.  Shop here.

Life Is Good and I'm so happy to have you all in my life.  

I'm off to spend some time in my sewing room....

Monday, March 11, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

You know if you have made more than 20 blocks, you can begin piecing a row together.  You should!  It feels good to see those blocks sewn into a row and will give you a great sense of satisfaction in seeing progress.

Keep those blocks coming!!  Your quilt will be so beautiful and you're making a fantastic quilt that will be an heirloom forever.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Mrs. Miller on the Plantation

With the arrival of my new Mrs. Miller's Apprentice fabrics, I pulled together a new mix of blues to make kits for my
Plantation Stars pattern!

Gosh, I love this quilt!

There's a very pretty range of prints.....
And a gorgeous range of shades for all those stars to sparkle!  (The lighting makes them look much lighter than they really are.) 
I chose this floral for the border as it has all different shades of blues and ties the quilt together so well!  

Click here to read more details about the Plantation Stars quilt kit.  
Tomorrow, I'm heading for a much warmer climate!  At home today in Chicago, it's -12 temperature, so the 80's in Florida sound wonderful!  I'll be there giving a lecture and a bunch of workshops in the Tampa area for the East Pasco Quilters this Friday and Saturday.  So, come on and join the fun!!  

I'm also working toward the deadline later this month to submit the manuscript for book #2 for my next book with Martingale, and then there's the tax returns (groan) that are due.  

I'm also working on piecing the blocks together for a new, very different, large quilt called Stars Over Union Hill that is very scrappy and has some wool applique! stuff!

 And, at the same time, working on a new Tokens of the Past pattern, called Gathering in Blue, with three quilts made from a 10 inch precut of Mrs. Miller's Apprentice and border yardage.  Loving those 3 little cuties!  And...if time allows, maybe one or two more quilts before market in May.  

So...I'd better get packing.  The signs of spring are here somewhere.  The clocks change this weekend, and it's the beginning of Lent and Punchkie time (I know I didn't spell that correctly, but you know what I mean!)  Now, if Mother Nature could see to warmer weather....

Be Well and Stitch Happy!!  

Monday, March 4, 2019

Club Meeting Pics & Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

 Block Trade at Pieceful Gatherings Quilt Shop, Fox River Grove, IL
I thought you'd enjoy seeing the awesome block trade that took place last week at the Circa 1880 Club meeting at Pieceful Gatherings Quilt Shop in Fox River Grove, IL.  (That's my friend Karen on the right...she and I traded blocks while making my quilt!)  It's an amazing pile of sweet uneven Nine Patch blocks!!!  In addition to club members in the shop, they had members who also sent blocks by mail to trade as well!!  This is everything I had imagined when I created this club!!!  Makes me so happy to see so many enjoying this process, knowing wonderful, scrappy quilts will be made from them all!!  

Here's this week's look at more of the blocks in my quilt.

If you would like to find out more about the Circa 1880 Club, click here.

To find a participating Circa 1880 Club quilt shop, click here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Hints Book Revised & Refreshed

Over the past few months, I have been doing some updating and revisions to my Book of Quilting Hints & Tips.  I first self published this book about 10 years ago, with a make-do cover in a prong folder, which was all I knew to do back then.  It was time for a change!!

The Quilting Hints & Tips book has a brand new cover and is professionally printed and spiral bound now.  The pattern for the quilt on the cover is in the book.  

If you already own a copy, there is no need to buy a new one.  But....if you don't have a copy of your own, you are missing the best hints in fabric preparation, cutting, piecing, pressing, accurate 1/4 inch seams, piecing perfection, and so, so much more....all the way to making labels for your quilts.  

Click here to read more details about what is in the book.  Order your copy today!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

Are you digging deep in your stash for tons of different prints?  Have you made some blocks with fussy cut centers and corners?  We're just getting started!

Looking for a participating quilt shop so you can join The Circa 1880 ClubClick here for the list!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A Helpful You Tube Video

Last fall while I was attending quilt market, I met with the staff of Martingale Publishing and we worked together to make a You Tube video of my best tips for perfect Connector Corners.
They made a really great video of my demo and I think you may enjoy it and perhaps get some useful tips!

Click here to watch the video.

Click here to read the entire Martingale Stitch This! blog post.  They always have such great blog posts! can comment to win a copy of my Vintage Patchwork book!!

If you're interested in buying my Vintage Patchwork book and 10 inch precut, you can find them here.

Check it out....hope you find it helpful!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

A new batch of blocks to inspire you.  Notice that we don't care about matching the dark prints in the four corners of the block to the center square.  Anything goes!!!  When the blocks are in the quilt, you won't care or notice if those corners are matched to the center.  They're all beautiful!!

I've had quite a lot of questions about The Circa 1880 Club, so I'd like to answer them here for you.

I am not selling the patterns or the templates on my website.  I created this program especially for quilt shops.  You can buy any of the Circa 1880 Club items from a participating shop.  

You can find the list of shops here.  This is not a complete list, however, as I know of many shops not listed here yet.  Many more are signing up as word of the Circa 1880 Club spreads.  So exciting!  So ask your LQS if they are joining the fun.

Many of you ask me what shade of Marcus' Aged Muslin I used in my quilt.  I used sku Y139-141D.  Remember.....each bolt of this very special fabric is hand dyed.  No two bolts are the same...very close, but not exact.  There are four shades of Aged Muslin.  Some are lighter with very little aging, and some are much darker.  You should judge for yourself.  The aging is the very thing that makes it perfect for replicating a vintage, aged quilt.  It gives the soft patina passing time gives to old quilts.  I love it!  

Another you have to make the quilt in a year?  Certainly not!!  This quilt is meant to be a joyful journey.  It's an heirloom in the making.  Take your time and enjoy the process.  I am sharing many tips and hints in the Circa 1880 Club private Facebook group,  about ways to save time, organize and make lots of blocks in an hour which is how I completed my quilt in time. should make this quilt at your own pace.  Life no pressure from anyone!

Wishing you many happy stitches!  

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Escaping The Cold

My apologies for not having posted much the last few weeks.  With Mrs. Miller's Apprentice and the Circa 1880 Club both launching simultaneously, it's been crazy here.  

I also confess that my family took a cruise vacation to celebrate Nicki's graduation from nursing school and to celebrate her birthday.  We chose absolutely the best week to be gone from Chicago, escaping the bitter Polar Vortex cold!!   We basked in sunshine and 80 degree warmth the whole week.  It was a perfect break from winter!  

Besides filling orders and answering emails about Mrs. Miller and The Circa Club, my 2020 block of the month is now in the hands of Marcus Fabrics.  I'm presently working on designing new fabric additions to the Circa Basics group, which is very exciting, writing the manuscript for my second book with Martingale, and several new patterns I want to release at spring market.  Never a dull moment, but I rather like it that way!  

I'm still taking an hour everyday to stitch something.  Often Circa blocks to trade with my friends, and a new quilt for a new pattern.  It's a happy hour of stitching, for sure!  

A little piece of business....if I may.

Some of you have been messaging me through Facebook.  I know it may be an easy way to contact me, but I'm asking that you please, please email me instead.  I'll list my email address at the end of this post.  Often the questions are long and would involve me posting links which is not easy to do on Facebook with a phone in my hand.  The larger problem is I don't look at Facebook all that often, am not really familiar with all the different ways there are to send messages and often can't locate where the message is coming from to reply.  Very frustrating for me.  So I am kindly asking that you email me with all your questions, please.  I am very happy to answer you, it's just easier.

Another little frustration are the wonderful quilters who post comments on my blog and ask questions, only to see that your comments come via no-reply blogger.  I have no way of emailing you back.  For some reason I don't understand, I can't write replies on my own blog.  They just don't post!  So, I can't answer you that way either.  

If you don't have a registered Google ID listing your email address, please email your comments directly to me!!  Please!!  My contact info is listed on the blog sidebar, on my website and every pattern I print.

A shout out to have asked many questions and left lovely comments that I am unable to respond to.  Please send me an email....I have the info you are asking for!!  Would love to hear from you!!

I do read every comment that is posted to my blog and deeply appreciate each and every one.   I wish I could easily respond to your comments but just haven't figured out what is wrong that I can't leave a comment.  If you know the answer, please email me!!  

So...that concludes my little business request.  I hope you understand that emailing is much easier (and private) than Facebook Messenger.  

I read email everyday -

Here's hoping your cozy at home, warm and comfy, with something lovely to stitch.  

Be well......

Monday, February 4, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

More lovely blocks to get your creative wheels turning.  I see many of the new Circa Prairie Basic prints in the blocks and those fabrics are coming to your LQS very soon.  A must have for your Circa 1880 Nine Patch blocks!!  They're a sweet collection of little prints sized perfectly for the Circa blocks! 

Wanna find out more about The Circa 1880 Club?  Sure!  Click here!! Look for the list of participating quilt shops at the bottom of the page.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

Here's another batch of Circa 1880 Nine Patch blocks for inspiration.  More and more and more shops are signing up to offer this club!!  Yay!!  Have you joined the Circa Craze yet?!!

Whatcha waiting for???

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A Nurse In The Family

This is not my usual subject for a blog post, but please indulge this Mom in my proud moment.  

My daughter, Nicki, just graduated college with a BSN.  It took 6 long years because of some health set-backs, but she persevered!!

All Nicki ever wanted to be is a nurse from when she was a little girl.  She loves babies and wants very much to be a labor and delivery nurse.  

I hope she gets her wish someday!  We now have a nurse and firefighter/paramedic in the family.

We could not be more proud or happier!!  Congratulations, Nicki!!  You did it!!!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

More blocks to inspire you!  I adore the fussy cut center of the block in the lower right corner.  Love fussy cutting fabric motifs!  There are a whole lot of them within the blocks of my quilt, and as I sit with it on my lap, I enjoy searching for those little gems.  They're little surprises waiting to be discovered.

If you enjoy putting fussy cut fabric motifs in your blocks, check out my new Fussy Cut Template set.  You can read more about them on my blog and buy them on my website.

Hope you've considered joining the Circa 1880 Club to make blocks and the heirloom quilt for yourself.  I imagine some of you are thinking it's way too hard and that you don't want any part of making blocks with little pieces.  Truth don't make the blocks with little pieces!!  Really!!  Join the club and become a part of the private Facebook group where I share all my secrets about how I made this quilt in less than a year, working on it about an hour a day!!  

Monday, January 14, 2019

Circa 1880 Blocks

Here's another set of Circa 1880 Nine Patch blocks.  Are you seeing fabrics you have in your stash!  It's great to pull fabrics and cut them up to make the blocks.  It's like seeing an old friend.  We all have our favorite prints and I enjoy pairing them with other fabrics.  

Have fun cutting and sewing.  We've only just begun!  You can read more about the Circa 1880 Nine Patch club here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


Impressed with my fabulous photo of squares??  Teehee!  I always need a photo for a blog post, and I want to share the winners for my last post, and honestly couldn't think of anything....until, I looked around to see all the projects I'm currently working on using squares.  While I can't show the projects yet (always frustrating for both of us!), I can tell you....if you don't do this already, start cutting and saving 1 inch and 1.5 inch squares.  From friend to friend....just sayin' (wink, wink.)  I think you'll be really happy if you do.  And...while you're stash diving, be sure to read my post on The Ohio Principle.
I really enjoyed reading your comments about your stash and organizing tips.  If you have time, look them over, there's a lot of great advice there!  

Here are the three comments chosen to receive a Heartspun Quilts pattern of your choice.  They are....


I didn't know it had a name, "OHIO" but I love it! I try, I mean I really, really try to be organized. But, I find I still make little piles after a project. I do get to them and cut them into strips to put in drawers of that strip size. I have found that works best for me...well so far. Never thought of the cutting ahead for the specific project idea, but I really like that concept. My 3 year old Granddaughter thinks the drawers of strips are for her to put up on the design wall. Hahahaaa...I don't mind handling those scraps a million times because watching her play is priceless joy to me! 


Hi Pam, Love this system!! I feel I'm pretty organized, I have to be because my sewing and storage space is quite small, so I really wouldn't be able to function if I weren't putting things back in their own spot right away. I do have to say I love scrappy quilts, but I really love block and fabric exchanges. I have found myself using the same fabrics in lots of quilts and that concerns me. That's also why I usually only buy fat quarters or snippets of fabrics. And there are always new fabric lines coming out that I really love, especially yours!!

Traditional Quilter....

I sort all my fabrics by colors and put them in totes I can see through and place them on shelves. I mostly make scrap quilts. Whenever I cut into new fabrics I like to cut some into strips in widths I use often and I have smaller totes that I organize these in by color and size. I keep a tote for narrow scraps for string piecing. I have totes for scrap pieces and also keep totes for bonus triangles and squares. I like to keep all my fabrics wrinkle free, so I am careful to place all my fabrics flat in my containers neatly. You had some great tips in your post Pam thanks!

Please email your mailing address to me at along with the pattern of your choice.  

Thanks, everyone who left a comment.  Means a lot to me, ya know!!  

Back to work and hope you spend at least a little time sewing and feeding your soul!  

Monday, January 7, 2019

Circa 1880 Blocks

Welcome to a year long show of the Circa 1880 Nine Patch blocks.  Once a week I will post photos of all of the blocks I used in my Circa 1880 quilt.  I hope it will inspire you to use nearly every scrap of fabric you own and head on over to your LQS to buy more for the biggest, most gorgeous variety of fabrics to make your quilt the best ever!!  
Join The Circa 1880 Club at your LQS.  If your LQS isn't participating, there are several dozen shops all around the country (the world, really) who are participating.   It's an exciting adventure and I hope you are tempted to participate and make this heirloom quilt for yourself!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The OHIO Principle

Many, many years ago, while watching a TV news magazine program about organization tips from organizing pros, one of them talked about The OHIO Principal and I've never forgotten it.  It has been very good advice that I've used in every area of my life but never more so as when making scrap quilts.  

What is The OHIO Principle?

It simply means.....Only Handle It Once

It is a way of thinking that makes the best use of your time where applicable.  Here's an example.  You go grocery shopping and buy four boxes of tissue.  We might normally bring them into the house, unpack them from the bag, and set it on the counter.  Then, later we pick them up from the counter and bring them to the linen closet for storage.  The OHIO Principle says to take them from the bag and put them directly in the linen closet.  Not the most astute example, but you get the idea.  

Basically, what it really means is that we waste a lot of time moving things around.   Instead, only handle it once and put it where it belongs right away.  

How does this apply to quilting or making scrap quilts? does in a big way!

We all love scraps quilts and we love using up our scraps.....BUT....scrap quilts are very labor intensive.  Choosing all the different fabrics and cutting from each one for just one quilt is extremely time consuming.  

But.....what if you apply The OHIO Principle and only handle it once??  What happens is nothing short of amazing!

As many of you are about to embark on The Circa 1880 Nine Patch club journey, you will probably be handling a whole lot of new fabric and lots from your stash.  Now is the time to become organized and make the most of handling each piece of your beautiful stash!

From the first cut of my fabrics for The Circa 1880 Nine Patch and every fabric I laid hands on after that, I cut pieces for several scrappy quilt projects.  Each and every time I handled a piece of fabric, I made the cuts necessary for the other quilts.  Hence, I only handled each fabric print once but made the most of it.
I always started with my WOF strip.  
Then I cut the strip in half on the fold.
I then made cuts for seven different scrap quilts.  Before I started cutting anything for the Circa Nine Patch, I made a list of what other quilts I wanted to make and the cuts I needed for them.  I cut squares for Half Square Triangles,  a piece for a Tumbler quilt I'm working on,  a scrap for blocks for a quilt I am hand piecing, two squares for a Four Patch blocks, a strip for Log Cabin blocks, 1.5 and 1 inch squares for Postage Stamp quilts and the strips for the Circa Nine Patch blocks.  

I know many of you have been cutting squares and a variety of different width strips for years before I wrote this post, and I have never done that because I didn't want to spend my time making cuts for quilts I wasn't presently planning to make.  Knowing exactly what quilts I wanted to make made all the difference.  That's just me.  

During the year I worked on the Circa Nine Patch blocks, I made nearly 400 Four Patch blocks sewing them together as leader/enders!  It felt effortless.  I am still making Circa Nine Patch blocks and am using leftover strips as my new leader/enders for a postage stamp quilt I've designed that will be released later this year.  I don't have to cut anything new!  It was all done months ago, and now I just sit and sew!  What a great feeling it is to have all those glorious scraps waiting for me!!  

And while you're at it, it pays to have my 
Fussy Cut Templates handy for the fabrics with great motifs!  

I hope I've given you something to think about as you begin a new year and continue making quilts.  The OHIO Principle has made a huge impact on how productive I am and I'm loving it!!

I invite you to leave a comment about your best tips for making the most of your fabrics for scrap quilts.  I'll chose a few winners who will receive the pattern of their choice!

Very soon, I will begin traveling for lectures and workshops.  

My first visit will be to the North Suburban Quilters Guild in Arlington Heights, IL.  I'll be there February 22nd and 23rd.  You don't have to be a member to attend workshops at the member discounted rate!!  Click here to find all the details of my visit.  I would love to see you there!