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Peace Cranes Over Hiroshima made by Sally Wright in Cherrywood Fabrics. Sally took my class at International Quilt Festival in Houston last fall.

I continue my week of unabashed self promotion with this about my open-enrollment Peace Cranes Over Hiroshima class.

After seeing my quilt design as made by Sally Wright featured for a month on a prominent Foundation Paper Piecing Facebook page, I decided it was time to offer another Zoom session of this class. Toward that end, I've scheduled two sessions in an effort to provide times for those who can do weekdays and those who need evenings because of work schedules.

Both sessions will meet Thursdays, April 27 and May 4. The first session will be from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. MDT (noon-3 p.m. EDT, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. CDT, 9 a.m.-noon PDT). The second session will be from 4-7 p.m. MDT (6-9 p.m. EDT, 5-8 p.m. CDT, 3-6 p.m. PDT).

If you've always wanted to make this quilt, sign up now. You'll need to scroll down a bit to find this class. Hope to see you in class!

BTW: The pattern and a packet of resources to help you make this quilt are included in the registration, a savings of close to $20 when you add the postage to ship this to you.

This happy crowd at Everyday Quilting in Urbana, Illinois, shows off their work in the Peace Cranes Over Hiroshima class

More Illinois Road Trip Images.

A visit to Central Illinois means time with my "older" sister. She's all of 18 months my senior but that gives her wise sage status in my book. Her first love is gardening. The rich soil of Central Illinois makes this an enticing endeavor, and she's really good at growing things. I shared photos of her mid-summer flowers in a blog post last summer. Photos from this trip hint the promise of blooms galore to come. She has recently begun quilting, which I'm celebrating and encouraging.

At left and below, my sister's garden waking up

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Class sample for Stepping Beyond Drunkard's Path by Cheryl Phillips

Stepping Beyond Drunkard's Path Block of the Month Sew Along

I'm over the moon about this class. Everything is right about it, including how it came to be. Soon after I began quilting, I discovered Cheryl Phillips' amazing Cut A Round tool and method for cutting and insetting circles. I must own two dozen Cut A Rounds. It is still my favorite quilt tool bar none.

When I moved to Colorado and began working for Quilters Newsletter Magazine, I decided it was time to meet Cheryl, founder of Phillips Fiber Art. I live in the Colorado Rockies just up the hill from Golden and Boulder. Cheryl lives on the Western Slope on the other side of our state. The first time I headed west to Salt Lake City, I called Cheryl to see if we could meet for lunch when I passed through her neighborhood. Her gracious answer to meeting this stranger was yes, of course.

It was one of the best lunches ever. Not the food. I don't remember it. The conversation was the best ever. We connected at so many levels, all spurred by our love of all things quilting. That was about 10 years ago. We've stayed in touch and seen each other from time to time. Each time we've gotten together, we've talked about finding a way to work together.

Late last year, we got our act together and moved beyond talk. The result: Stepping Beyond Drunkard's Path Block of the Month Sew Along.

This class will make the best of each of our skill sets. Cheryl is a genius in seeing the math needed to create tools that make complicated-looking designs simple to execute and writing easy-to-follow books that explain her methods. I love to teach, including teaching folks to inset circles with the Cut A Round. This is a match made in heaven.

We spent several days together earlier this year brainstorming what we could do together then began work on the class sample. My contribution was minimal. I pulled fabric from Cheryl's extensive batik stash then added a few more from the local quilt shops. Then I assigned fabrics to blocks. Cheryl did the rest with her delightful and talented husband, Gary Phillips, doing the longarm quilting, and her daughter Brooke offered input into final color choices.

In true Cheryl style, she pieced the back using some the extra blocks created when piecing the front of the quilt. This is a two-for-one quilt for sure.

I've gotten wrapped up in the story of this class. I guess I'd better tell you specifics so you'll sign up. Each month, you'll learn one or more ways to use the Cut A Round tool to make Drunkard's Path blocks. You'll quickly master the Cut A Round tool as you discover it is the fastest and easiest way ever to inset circles and sew the curves needed to create the iconic Drunkard's Path look.

Back of class sample by Cheryl Phillips

The class will meet once a month for six months from June through November. Two class times are scheduled toward finding times for those who work outside the home as well as those who can do weekdays.

One session will meet from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. the third Mondays of each month. Classes will be June 19, July 15, August 21, September 18, October 16 and November 20.

The other session will meet from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. the third Saturdays of each month with one exception. Classes will be June 17, July 15, August 19, September 23 (this is the fourth Saturday), October 21 and November 18.

This is an open enrollment class. That means you can enroll from wherever you live. You just need Zoom access.

Come join us for fun stitching times as you make this gorgeous quilt. Register now. Just scroll down to find the sign ups for each of the sessions of this class. Can't wait to Sew Along with you as we Step Beyond to create a Drunkard's Path beauty.

"Circle of Friends" class at Everyday Quilting in Urbana, Illinois

Teaching at Everyday Quilting Company in Urbana, Illinois

Teaching at Everyday Quilting Company in Urbana, Illinois, was amazing, truly amazing. I rarely use this many adjectives but there's no exaggeration here. I taught three classes with each one more fun than the last. Shop owner Zeba Iman has created a space of joy for her customers. You feel you have come home from the time you walk in.

Block designed by Joyce Day in Demystifying Design for Foundation Paper Piecing class tiled

When on the Road

Being on the road usually means my Honda Pilot is packed to the roof with teaching supplies, kits, class samples, my sewing machine and table, quilting tools, several books to read, and, of course, clothes. Heading to Illinois was no exception to this. My car was full.

Often when traveling, I'm pulling my high-maintenance BFF Emma, my small trailer. With snow possible between Colorado and Illinois, March was not Emma's road season. She'll take her first 2023 trip when we head for "sunny?" California next week. I did encounter significant snow along Highway 36 in western Kansas and eastern Colorado. Emma would not have been a happy camper.

Hitting the road usually means an overfull car.

Being on the road without Emma means finding places to stay. My Air BnB in Urbana was lovely, bright and super clean. It was two doors down from a place I lived for a year when a student at the University of Illinois. It looked out on Illini Grove where I remember studying and picnicking. It may sound odd but I enjoy doing my laundry on a day off from teaching because you learn about the community from the folks you meet at the laundromat. Urbana was no exception.

At left, Portillo's was founded in 1963 in Villa Park, Illinois, as the Dog House. It is now a chain with numerous locations. Above, Hardee's in Urbana is my fav breakfast spot.

One last note: I pretty much ate my way through Illinois. Between meals out with family and friends, I had to grab a bite at two of my favorite Midwest fast-food restaurants: Portillo's and Hardee's. Love those hot dogs (Portillo's) and breakfast biscuits (Hardee's). Yes, I'm dieting this week.

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Block for "Warp Speed" by Dana Jones

I'm going to break my cardinal rule of not leading off a blog with promotion of my upcoming classes. I'm really excited about the slate of new and returning classes I've scheduled as open enrollment offerings — anyone, anywhere with Zoom access can register. I'm going to share one a day for the rest of the week. I'll not send emails each day but hope you'll tune in. I'l keep the reads short. Promise.

I'll also share a few images and thoughts from my recent road trip to Illinois each day. The two weeks in Illinois were so full I was too exhausted most evenings to blog. So I'll play a bit of catch up this week.

Registration is open for the following classes:

  • Finding Your Design Sense

  • Stepping Beyond Drunkard's Path Block of the Month Sew Along

  • Peace Cranes Over Hiroshima

  • Finding Your Color Sense

First off is Finding Your Design Sense. This five-session class begins Thursday, April 20. It will meet for three hours once a month through Thursday, August 17. You can plan to attend from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. MDT (noon-3 p.m. EDT, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. CDT, 9 a.m.-noon PDT) or 4-6 p.m. MDT (6-9 p.m. EDT, 5-8 p.m. CDT, 3-6 p.m. PDT)

You'll learn and practice design principles through in-class and home-play exercises. You'll learn where to find inspiration, new ways to work with color, what nature has to say about efficient design, and more. You'll learn and practice methods for claiming your identity as a designer, including use of thumbnail sketches, keeping a journal or design notebook, joining in helpful critique sessions, and more.

At right, "Will It Go Round in Circles" by Dana Jones

Finding Your Design Sense exercise by Martha Ritter

Several participants in the inaugural offering of this class last fall said it was "life changing." Another said the class, originally titled Quilt Design 101, went beyond basics in an expected way. I only take 10 students so sign up now.

Because the class meets over five months with the possibility of additional critique sessions, class participants become a community that encourages each other. Register now to expand and develop your design skills and find other folks to accompany you on that journey.

Going Home

In northern Illinois, I spoke to the Northwest Suburban Quilters Guild about the International Honor Quilt. What a welcoming and interesting group of quilters! I grew up in the northeast corner of Illinois so while there, I caught up with several high school friends and grade school BFF Andi Tranter Bedell. Such joy to be with such a special person. We had to tip our server big as our early lunch extended almost to the dinner hour.

From left, Andi Tranter Bedell and me.

At left, Andi and I both lived in the "Cape Cod" model in our vintage 1940s-50s suburban neighborhood in Libertyville, Illinois. Above, the house my family moved to when I was in high school, also in Libertyville. It is now owned by Condell Memorial Hospital.

My visits home always include a visit to the cemetery where my parents' ashes share a plot. My father died first, way too early from pancreatic cancer. When my mother, sister, brother and I were faced with what marker we should put at the site, we knew Dad would want it simple. I don't know whose idea it was, but the wonderful direction that emerged was that we engrave Dad's beautiful signature and the dates he was on this earth. Nothing more was needed. I love this decision. We followed suit when we lost Mom. Visiting their grave is a sacred time for me.

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