Welcome guest blogger, quilt designer, and teacher Thelma Forrest! Thelma’s quilted table runner pattern, Land of Liberty, is featured in the July/August 2016 issue of McCall’s Quilting. Read on and don’t miss the trivia contest at the bottom of the page, with a super prize!
When McCall’s Quilting told me they were going to use my Land of Liberty table runner pattern, I was so excited I bleached my hair blonde! So when my daughter said, “Why, Mom?” I was able to tell her that her mother was going to have a table runner published! She eventually got over my new look and I do plan on letting it go back to whatever color it truly is, but hopefully this is just the first of many patterns McCall’s will publish that I design.
I’ve sewn all of my adult life. I started out making my own clothes, then my children’s clothes, swimsuits for their swim teams, three wedding gowns. Then I started college at the grand old age of 35. Law school came next at 39. No time for sewing then. I practiced law for ten years and finally felt that pull of the sewing machine. One of my clients owned a quilt shop, so the next thing I knew I was making beautiful sampler quilts. Well, maybe not so beautiful in the beginning, but I learned about a 1/4″ consistent seam allowance and how to use a rotary cutter!
I finally “retired” three years ago, and started sewing full time. I hardly left my sewing machine and my poor husband was feeling neglected. One day he talked me into going on an errand with him to find some manly things he was looking for. That particular day I had been working in the garden and was dirty, sweaty, and frazzled looking to say the least.
I wasn’t even planning on getting out of the car. He picked up whatever items he wanted and he spied a “QUILTS” sign. I had seen the sign before – but the name of the shop was Creative Quilt Kits. I really didn’t want a quilt kit, so I wasn’t too interested in going inside.
But Jim drove over, stopped outside, and said, “Why don’t you take a peek? I’ll wait in the car.”
“Oh, I don’t think so, look at me,” I said. But I finally decided to go in, and fell in love with all the wonderful samples on the walls and the gorgeous fabrics on the racks. I noticed a help wanted sign. After a quick tour, (remember I’ve been working in the yard, I’m hot, sweaty, dirty!), I got back into the car and told my husband, “I think on Monday I will clean myself up and go apply for that job!”
Well, long story short, I applied that very day and they did hire me and I’ve loved every minute of it. Gaye June, the owner, has taught me so much about fabric, notions, and quilting. And I love being around all of the talented customers and other staff members. It really helps keep my creative juices going!
I love stars and especially when you can fit a star inside a star. The Land of Liberty pattern came about when I was asked to make some sample stars for the store. Gaye was kind enough to take me to Houston in the fall last year to International Quilt Market. I fell in love with the Creative Grids Strippy Stars Ruler. I talked Gaye into buying the rulers but she wanted me to make store samples of the star blocks that the ruler makes. The ruler makes 8 different sizes of the “Strippy Star”.
Of course I was excited to make the stars! I made those 8 blocks in different sizes and I brought them into the store and had them laying out on the counter. I had made them with a black background, each size star a different color. I wanted to use all 8 of the stars in something and a table runner seemed just the right size. I made the table runner with those 8 beautiful bright stars and used my walking foot and shimmer thread to quilt it. (It’s the prize for the lucky winner of my little trivia contest below.)
I sent a picture of the finished little table runner to McCall’s acquisitions editor Lori Baker. What a sweetie! I had no idea what I was doing so I told her that I was still working on the pattern when she explained the process of submitting a design to McCall’s. Imagine my surprise when a couple weeks later she said they’d like to use my design and could I do it in red, white, and blue? Of course I could! I went right up to the store and bought some very plain fabric which Lori kindly said she wasn’t very enthusiastic about. Gaye June helped me find the Studio E fabric that the table runner is made from and graciously gave it to me to make the sample for McCall’s Quilting.
Next Lori asked me if I could send them the design in EQ7 (Electric Quilt software). Whoa! EQ7? I knew what it was, we had a teacher in the store who held EQ7 classes the second Wednesday of each month. I’m a retired attorney, I raised 2 children, I can do this! I purchased EQ7, downloaded it, and in 3 days figured out how to design the table runner in it…but it was a struggle! So I signed up for a 3-day EQ7 seminar! What fun! Oh, and when I sent in the table runner, McCall’s asked for the name of my website – I didn’t have one. So now I do! It’s called MyNecessaryNotions.com. My grandson says people can’t spell necessary so it wasn’t a good idea, but you can tell, I’m a little impulsive. So I wrote a few blog posts just to practice for this one. The site has some pictures of a few other little things I’ve done. Take a peek if you’re interested.
So now you know the whole story. You can make the Land of Liberty table runner by foundation (paper) piecing it as in the magazine pattern or by using the Creative Grids Strippy Stars ruler. Both ways you’re going to get that same eye popping table runner.
To win the Bright Stars table runner, answer these 3 questions:
What was my pre-retirement profession?
What’s the name of the shop where I teach quilting?
What’s the name of my website?
Good luck to all!
Thelma! If you’d like a chance to win Thelma’s Bright Stars table runner, leave a comment below answering her 3 trivia questions before midnight June 19, 2016 and you’ll be entered into the random drawing. The winning name will be drawn on June 20 and notified by email with subject line beginning YOU WON. This contest is open to US and Canadian residents, excluding Quebec.
We have our winner! Congratulations to Terri Todd of Addy, Washington. Your table runner is on its way!
If you’d like to make your own version of Land of Liberty and don’t yet have a copy of the July/August 2016 issue of McCall’s Quilting, you can order print and digital versions in our online shop. The Land of Liberty table runner pattern is also available separately as an instant digital download.