Retreat Weekend

Don’t forget that in celebration of National Volunteer’s week we’re having a retreat weekend this Saturday and Sunday.

Work on HeartStrings Blocks to send in for group quilts

Work on Chinese Coins sections for our short term project for April/May

Work on any HeartStrings project you have in progress.

Make sure you let us know what you accomplish!

Email Mary

(For those of you who may have picked up that National Volunteer’s Week was April 15th -21st, you’ll have to excuse us being a week late – my calendar had the 23rd through the 29th)

A Team Effort

Melva’s first HeartStrings top quilt by Cher

At the start of the project Melva was one of the first to have a top completed and ready to send off to a volunteer quilter. This one was quilted by Cher and donated to Wrap them in Love. Melva was also the first to create the HeartStrings *logo* quilt – it was her 2nd one for the HeartStrings Project.


She soon wrote us that she had her husband Guy making string blocks along with her and posted photo’s of her 3rd and 4th HeartString tops.


In a recent email she wrote ….I got the HandiQuilter set up and have one quilt quilted…have another all loaded but haven’t had a chance to work on it this week…We have done 5 tops plus the one that Cher quilted. I have a group of blocks ready to send to SueF…and did make some Chinese Coins I’ll probably send on also…just need to get the 5 I have, done. Then can start more blocks.

And here are a couple more finished tops.

In Memory of Louise Casey

(click photo to see a larger version)
One of our members, May Sisk of New Jersey, wrote “this Heartstring top was made in memory of my sister Louise who passed away 2 weeks ago. Making the this quilt top was good therapy during the past few weeks.”
May mailed the top to me for quilting and it will be sent back to her to donate in her sister’s memory. Can you see the quilted hearts? Appropriately enough this pantograph by Jodi Beamish is called Heartstrings.

Make a Blanket Day – HeartStrings for Project Linus

Cheri Sullivan is a member of Illini Country Stitchers Guild in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois and co-chair of the Project Linus Committee.

She emailed “I found your website from a heartstrings logo on someone’s blog, and thought the string quilt would make a great project. I cut the muslin squares and attached the center string (with one adjacent string, since they are stitched together) because I thought that was the only critical strip to have placed correctly. As it turned out, some of the people who came to Make A Blanket Day (a Project Linus event) could not really sew (one woman was the grateful mom of a blanket recipient), so I was glad I had started each block. Still, they did a GREAT job on the blocks!”

Cheri posted directions for making string blocks on their group blog and shared the HeartStrings quilt in progress with her members.

She recently emailed the above picture of the finished quilt and these photos of the Illini Country Stitchers work night at Sew Sassy where they were making another string quilt for Project Linus.

The Quilt that Love Built

Many of you may have already read about this quilt on Bonnie’s blog but I wanted to share it with those of you that don’t belong to our Yahoo HeartStrings group and follow our progress here on this blog.

Bonnie talked about the dilemma of having a sick friend and wanting to make a quilt to comfort her but being torn between trying to find the time to make the quilt or spending the time she had with her friend.

The HeartStrings blocks in this quilt had been made by our quilters, sent in to Sue who grouped them together and sent them to Becky. Becky assembled the top and when Bonnie needed a comfort quilt, sent it to her to quilt and give to her friend Marie. I won’t rewrite what Bonnie has expressed so well – you can read the story by clicking on the 3 links below.

Stuck between quilts and a hard place

This is the quilt that love built

Marie’s quilt delivered

Minnesota Sew-in/Virtual Retreat

April is National Volunteer Month and what better way to celebrate it than making more HeartString blocks?

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the last weekend in April. On Saturday April 28th, those of us in Minneapolis and surrounding areas are getting together in person and will be meeting at Sue Frank’s house in Stillwater MN. Please email Sue for the address/directions if you plan to attend.

Meet at Sue’s house starting around 9:00 AM (She’ll have coffee and pastries)
Sew till 12:00
Lunch break and shopping 12 – 1:30 /2:00
More sewing !

Sue says she can make maps of the local shops and people can decide to come back and sew after lunch or take off on a shop hop.

For those of you not in the area, plan to sew along with us on Saturday making HeartStrings blocks or working on your current HeartStrings projects. We’ll all continue on Sunday and participate in our virtual retreat.

Participation in the HeartStrings Quilt Project

A recent post on the HeartStrings Yahoo group reminded me that one of the best features of our project is the ability to participate at whatever level you choose.

There are those quilters who make a few blocks and send them in to be assembled into group quilts and there are those quilters who make multiple quilts for the project. Participation at any level is appreciated and helps us make and donate more quilts. No contribution is too small and quilters will not always participate on an ongoing basis.

Carol recently left our Yahoo group saying that although she’ll continue making and donating quilts to charity, string quilts just aren’t her thing. Before she left the group she made this string top which I’ll be quilting and donating to a charity of her choice – an Assisted Living facility for Veterans in the NH/ME area. Strings may not be her thing but she made a beautiful top that I’m happy to quilt and donate as part of the HeartStrings Quilt Project – Thank you Carol.

You can visit Carol’s blog by clicking here.

Playing with green

The baton has been passed to Robina, who is now working on the first two Australian HeartStrings quilts.
She’s elected to add two borders to one of them. It was assembled from blocks made from the project guidelines, all with red centres. However, because we had such a large stash of blocks, I was able to pull out 48, all of which had one or more green strings in them.

My objective was to create greater cohesion in the assembled quilt than was created by the red centre strips alone. I’m not sure that I’ve succeeded, although I’m quite pleased with the look of the quilt anyhow!

Since then, I’ve started (and now almost finished) another quilt top where all the blocks have red centre strips and at least one yellow strip in them. I’m expecting to have it finished in the next few days, and will post a photo.

Chinese Coins

Since we’re going to collect some Chinese Coin sections for the months of April and May I thought I’d share how I make my sections for those quilters who haven’t made these before. They’re very quick and easy.

First, just to review the guidelines.

  • This is a short term project just for April and May
  • Sections should be 5.5 inches wide by however long you choose
  • For AUS participants they should NOT be pieced on a foundation; US participants can either piece them as shown below without a foundation or may use a muslin foundation.

First I pulled out some of my short strings – these happen to be about 6-7 inches but as long as they are an inch longer than I need to trim my section I’ll use them.

second, I sewed the strings into pairs

then I sewed two of these pairs together and had 4 strips, then sewed 2 of those and had 8 strips – last I added an additional pair. (As I’m sewing my pairs together, I’m careful to keep my left edge fairly even so that when I go to trim the section I won’t end up with a shorter strip not being long enough to square up.)

When the section was as long as I wanted it, I ironed all the seams in one direction

and trimmed the section to 5.5 inches wide – trimming some off of each side to get straight edges on both sides of the section.

I keep my sections shorter than my ruler so I can trim them without having to scoot my ruler along the edge but other than that I don’t worry about how long the sections are.

Any questions? Email me at mmcjohnson@gmail.com

These sections will be mailed to Megan in AUS and to me in the US. If you are sending some in, email me for the mailing addresses.

June and Al – String quilting for Quilts of Valor

June has been sharing with us the work she’s been doing with Al making string quilts for Quilts of Valor. She recently reported that she’d completed the first quilt made using string blocks that Al had contributed and that he’s already made enough blocks for more quilts.
“Al keeps a journal, so we know that I first brought him supplies and showed him how to make the blocks February 9. He made his first block February 10, and since that time has made enough blocks for 5 Quilts of Valor, and two lap quilts for his family. He has the materials prepared for 5 more lap quilts for his sons, grandkids and great grandkids.”
As June posted a photo of their first quilt she shared a bit about Al with the group. “I posted a picture of the first top made from blocks sewn by me and Al, my89 yr old former WWII POW block maker. He has made at least 100 blocks by now. Sunday his neighbor brought him out to see my studio and to pick up some more fabrics. I sent him home with a tub of fabric and 1 1/4″ and 11/2″ strips. He wanted a greater variety of light colored strips.”

June and Al’s first HeartStrings Quilt for Quilts of Valor

Close-up showing June’s quilting.

June emailed me photographs of her and Al and told me “I visited with Al and Helen (his wife) yesterday and showed them the finished quilt. They loved the quilt, the backing, the label and the whole idea. Each of them thanked me for getting him started making string blocks. Together they made a small lap quilt and tied it. They are going to make them for their sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”