If you watch any of my new companion videos for the Gaelic Blessing quilt, you will see something new. What is it?

I created a set of companion videos with tips and demonstrations to go along with the Gaelic Blessings quilt. Let's have some fun and make the quilt together! The videos are in the Classroom at TheQuiltShow.com. The classroom is free, but you do have to be a TQS member, either a Basic Member (free) or a Star Member (premium) to access the videos. Just login to watch.

Click the image above to watch the introductory video on YouTube.

Patterns and kits are available now!

Purchase the Gaelic Blessing pattern only for $9.98 or get the kit
which includes 8 yards of Ricky's beautiful hand dyed fabrics for only $149.95
- a 25% savings and the pattern is included FREE!
Patterns and Kits available at www.rickytims.com.

First of all - let me say...... HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I wish you all the best in 2013!.

It happened yesterday! I finished the quilt top for my Streak of Lightning quilt. I will admit this is the most ornery quilt I've ever made and mostly because it was made by using very traditional techniques. Quilts like this with a kazillion small pieces means that the margin for error is nonexistent. The slightest changes in seam allowance will throw things off. Actually, I was VERY careful to make sure I was as accurate and consistent as possible to avoid problems. Let me tell you what I learned.

All of the columns were okay and not that difficult. It was important to mark where the columns should meet so that the ziz zag remained the same width. I did one column where I just pinned the top and bottom and a couple of places in between thinking it would just 'fit' -which it did. But that seam had to be picked out because the points of the blocks would shift and fall in odd places messing up the ziz zag - and it was visually obvious.

Notice the triangles pieced on the left and right of the body of the quilt. Those were cut the exact same size and the triangles that were cut to put onto the nine-patches. However, after piecing those, they were at least an inch (maybe slightly more) longer than any of the other columns. Still, I 'eased' them onto the quilt. At that point things were NOT looking good. The quilt was NOT flat, waving and rippling horribly. I almost decided to remove them from the quilt totally, but I didn't. So.... what did I do?

I had faith - that's what! I had faith that if I measured my length down several nine-patch columns, took the average (which was only maybe 1/4" difference at any spot) and made my border exactly that length (again easing those pecky triangle strips) that the quilt would go back to flat. It was important that my borders were cut on the length of the grain so that it was strong and stable to support the problem spots. Also, I pinned a LOT. As you know, I'm known for not being a pinner - but I DO pin when it's necessary - and this was necessary.

In this case, I found the center of the border and the center of the side and pinned that first. Then I pinned the corners. Then I tugged from center to corner to ease the fullness, and pinned in middle of that. I continued this until I had about 12 pins on each border.

After putting on the left and right borders (which I had already cut the miter corners on), then I measured across the quilt to get the best average. This measurement was pretty much exact across so I used that measurement to make my top and bottom borders. Again, I pinned to make sure everything was positioned correctly. After competing the four miters, the quilt top was FLAT - and FINISHED! Whoo-hoo!

This would not have happened if I had just sewn on a border without measuring, easing, and pinning. But now, I'm confident that it will look good when it's quilted and will be square as well. 

Today I dyed the fabric for the backing - and soon I'll be quilting it.

Have you ever had a project that, after a lot of work, you felt would simply not turn out. Did you toss it aside? Put on your thinking cap? Did if finish better than you expected?

Oh - Since the pattern is a traditional Streak of Lighthing, I was thinking of calling it St. Elmo's Fire (not the movie). St. Elmo's Fire is a weather phenomena created with electrical energy. However, a Facebook friend suggested Northern Lights. That works for me because I have a song on one of my CDs called Northern Lights and I really like using musical terms, phrases, or titles for my quilts. So. Northern Lights is is!

I'm so happy to say my shopping is done and I have time - finally - to get back to quilting. This week I started (and finished) a self-portrait quilt. Does it look anything like me?

And, I have turned my attentions back to the design wall and am plugging along to get this top assembled in the next couple of days. Cross your fingers and wish me luck.

Oh - and what did you put on your Santa's wish list?

Under the African Sky (2012) by Peg Weschke

Congratulations to Peg Weschke from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Peg has been chosen as the Ponnie Brinkman Scholarship Recipient for 2012.

As a new quilter, Peg has quickly been recognized by her guild, the Palmetto Quilt Guild, as a 'new-bee' who is "fun, talented, energetic and always trying something new and different." Her recent works feature beaches and African themes. She is described as "an enthusiastic quilter who gives back to her guild and community."

It is always a difficult decision to select our scholarship winner. To all of our nominees, congratulations on your quilting journey and success thus far. We encourage you to continue quilting with passion and enthusiasm.

Each year Ricky Tims Inc accepts nominations from quilt guilds for new quilters showing great promise and enthusiasm. This scholarship enables Peg to attend a La Veta Quilt Retreat. Her tuition will be covered and in addition she will receive $500 toward expenses. For complete details on the Ponnie Brinkman Scholarship visit this link

Please join us in congratulation Peg on this well-deserved honor.

We are having a great time at the La Veta Quilt Retreat and have reached the half-way mark. Each student finished this sentence.
"So far this week I have learned...?"

...that two boxes of Kleenex are better than one and you can learn a lot by listening. - Marion

...that an opinion is an opinion  - it's not right or wrong. - Jo

...that I have been exposed to an open, relaxing, creative atmosphere - and did I mention supportive? - Carolyn

...a great way to do blanket stitch around corners and curves! - Jill

...not to worry about how long something takes but to enjoy the process. - Myrna

...how to join fabrics in a wavy line and that I like my groove and am happy to be in it. - Karen

...to start a quilt "just putting it up there' - "Inspiration comes by doing!" - Wynn

...that while creativity is a process that can be complex, Ricky will show me the way, and my heart will guide me over the rocky parts. - Sharon

...to get rid of my fears - my inadequacy - and lack of knowledge. - Wendy

What have you learned - even if you weren't at the retreat?

More Articles ...

Quilt Luminarium

The Quilt Show

One Nation Walking Together


Let's Quilt Together