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Star Quilt Guild









Next week, I’m headed to the Prairie Star Quilters Guild in St. Charles, Illinois. I’m looking forward to my visit!

While there, I’ll be teaching my Patchwork Illusions class and presenting my Quilts of Illusion lecture.



quiltmakerWhat a delight to find my Belle Fleur fabric used in the latest issue of QuiltMaker!

The article, “What’s Black & White and . . . ” by Carolyn Beam is filled with good information and wonderful patterns.

Patterns for these blocks are available on their website.

Look for Belle Fleur at your local quilt store! If you can’t find it locally, we have Fat Quarter bundles on our webstore.

Today, I was writing an email to my Aunt Vonnie.  She has sewn all her life, but is starting to learn to piece and quilt. I’m having so much fun helping her.

As a “seasoned” quilter, there are just things I take for granted. Chatting with my aunt helps me to remember these things.

For example, a Fat Quarter. I throw this term around and realized not everyone knows what a Fat Quarter is and why we like them.

A 1/4 yard is normally 9″ x 44″”. As a quilter, this is not a very useful piece of fabric. A Fat Quarter is better.

A Fat Quarter is a piece of fabric that is 18″ x 22″. To make one, cut a 1/2 yard of fabric (18″ x 44″), cut this piece of fabric in half. This makes a Fat Quarter, 18″ x 22″.   (I keep a list of Common Yardage cuts on my website.)

I recently sent my Aunt some of my Gilded Greenery fabric.

I was explaining that this fabric is a basic. That means it is a coordinate, it “goes with” fabrics with more texture. For example, here is a Variable Star with Gilded Greenery in the background of the Star.


By placing the Gilded Greenery fabric in the background, the more textured Chelsea fabric is allowed to ”pop”.

This contrast or difference in value is important. It lets each part of the block be seen. If the values are too close together the parts of the star and background will blend together. I often use this trick in my quilts. I like to see a strong contrast between parts of my designs.

In the block below, the value of the background and the star points are close to each other. The patches blend into each other.


Here is the Variable Star block with stronger contrast, set into a quilt. I’ve played with the coloring. Each background is the Gilded Greenery collection and each star is slightly different. Notice how the background “pops” the star pattern. The different colored backgrounds also add a secondary design to the quilt.


 While the colors are beautiful, it is really value that is doing all the work. I like to say, in my quilts, “Value does all the work and color gets all the credit.” A Value Lesson can be found on my website.

Back from the farmer’s market with lots of veggies and some free-range eggs.  It is going to be hot today and nothing sounds better for lunch than fresh tomatoes layered with fresh basil from the garden, deviled eggs and a tall glass of iced tea.

Years ago, I learned how to make eggs from Julia Child. While it is a bit “fussy”, the result is a beautiful boiled egg, without the green edge around the yolk.




INGREDIENTS: (Yields one dozen)

6 fresh eggs
1/4 cup  mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip for a sweeter taste)
1 teaspoon Dijon or other good prepared mustard or 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Dash of cayenne or hot sauce
Optional extras (see below)


1. First, hard-boil your eggs. Julia Child’s procedure involvss simmering the eggs, shocking them in a bowl of ice, then reheating, all in an effort to make them easy to peel and to eliminate that purportedly unsightly green edge around the yolk. All that’s necessary, really, is to avoid overcooking the eggs. Put them in a saucepan with plenty of water to cover. Bring it just to a boil, then cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit undisturbed in the hot water for 20 minutes, no more, then cool them under cold running water until they’re cool enough to handle. Crack and peel immediately. (INGREDIENT NOTE: I’ve become a true believer in fresh free-range eggs, preferably locally produced. They can’t be beat for color and flavor, and extra credit for freshness if your supplier openly dates the packages.)

2. Using a sharp knife, cut the eggs neatly in half lengthwise. Carefully lift out the hard yolks and put them in a bowl. Mash them with a fork if you like a coarse texture, or push them through a strainer with the back of a spoon if you prefer a silken-smooth puree.

3. Blend in the mayo, the mustard and the seasonings to your taste. Now’s the time to think about those optional add-ins if you like them: A few snipped chives or scallions, a little bit of pickle relish, a few capers, a dash of soy sauce or Worcestershire or even something more exotic. (NOTE: a secret ingredient I add is a spoonful of dill pickle juice. It gives a layer of favor that is hard to beat.)

4. Put the filling back into the whites, using a spoon or pastry bag as noted. A colorful sprinkle of paprika is a traditional garnish, or chopped parsley. You can go non-traditional with cilantro or thin-sliced basil or other fresh herb.

Karen Combs is a internationally known quilt teacher, author and fabric designer. Visit her web site at

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