Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Celebrate The End of 2013 With 5 Giveaways

Let's celebrate bringing in the 2014 right with five (5) fantastic giveaways!

Laundry Basket Quilts is giving away 12 bags of scraps. Doesn’t sound like anything special but if you are new to quilting and don’t have tons of your own scraps, these come in very, very handy. I would love to win them. 
 Go here to enter. 
 Giveaway ends January 5, 2014

Christa Quilts is giving away cotton thread and a bunch of pre-wound bobbins. 
Go here to enter
Giveaway ends January 1, 2014

In The Boon Docks is giving away 7 charm packs. 
Go here to enter
Giveaway ends December 31, 2013

Nonnie’s Quilting Dream is giving away a copy of the book “Applique”. You can never have too many sewing books
Go here to enter
Giveaway ends January 1, 2014 

Cindy Woodsmall is giving away an Amish Made Quilt. 

Go here to enter
Giveaway ends December 31, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 is Drawing to a Close

One more day and it will be 2014.  Wow.  What a ride it's been for this year.  I've spent more time with quilting, started this blog, started my business FaceBook page and purchased a domain.  So much progress has been made.  To make it better than ever the blog did about 2,000 pageviews more than expected.  Now that's just cool.

Thanks everyone for your readership.  Look for more dynamic things to happen in 2014!!!

Jillian Grant
The Quilt Orchard

Friday, December 27, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Giveaway

Fons & Porter is giving away a quilt kit, backing and binding to make the above quilt. Giveaway ends January 1, 2014. 

Click here to enter.

Good luck!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Holiday Greetings

Christmas Night is my favorite day of the year.  The kids have had a visit from Santa.  Family and friends have gather to share another meal.  People have sent text messages and made phone calls to wish one another Happy Holidays.  And then a peace falls over the earth and all gets so quiet.  No hustle or bustle, just peace.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Quilt Raffle Winner is Announced!

The Winner of the Raffle Quilt is LISA BARR!!!  Congratulations to Lisa.  The quilt will be shipped as soon as we verify the address information.  Way to go, Lisa, you are getting a beautiful quilt.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

History of Quilting--Part 1: The Early Quilt

The Early Quilt
Jillian Grant

Through this series we will explore the origins of quilts and learn more about the forms of quilting through time and look at the evolution of quilts.  We will also take a look at popular types of quilting.  Part 1 is a brief history about the quilt.

A Long History

The quilting has long been favored around the world as a way to decorate clothing, homes, and special places. The art of quilting has been used to decorate garments, make coverlets for beds, and art for walls. While quilting's true foundation and start is unknown, an early example of quilted clothing dates back to approximately 3400 B.C. This was a quilted garment found on a carved ivory likeness of an Egyptian Pharaoh. In 1924 a linen quilted floor covering was discovered in a Mongolian cave by archaeologists. It is believed this floor covering was dated back to somewhere between the first century B.C. to the second century A.D.

It is believed that quilting can be traced back to China and Egypt.  The original quilts were two layers of fabric with a center of padding (like a batting) stitched together.  The stitching, or tying, was to to prevent the center from sliding or lumping.  According to historians, quilting was brought to Europe during the Crusades in the late 11th century. Quilted garments were popular in the Middle Ages and knights would were these under their armor for comfort. Some used the early quilted garments to protect their armor from weather elements. The quilted garments later became doublets--a snug fitting garment.

The earliest known bed quilt still in existence is from Sicily and dates somewhere toward the end of the fourteenth century. This quilt was made from linen padded with wool and measured 122" by 106". The quilt design contained scenes depicting the legend of Tristan. In Southern France during the 17th century in southern France quilting was used to make decorative petticoats and other clothing.  These were a popular folk art.

Why Quilts Matter

Through the ages quilts have told a story of how people lived and about textile resources available over time.  They have been used to express political opinions; given as gifts; worn as garments; created as art forms; and sometimes considered the mainstay of a home.  Quilts have been made from exquisite textiles, created to make quilts, down to a way to recycle pieces of fabric.  The art of quilting is found around the world in Asia, Europe, India and the Americas.  

Regardless of how quilts began they art of quilt making remains alive and very present in many cultures today.  In our future series for this History of Quilts we will look at the types of quilting and explore the evolution of quilts through the ages.


History of Quilting; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_quilting

History in Quilts: Edsitement; National Endowment of the Humanities; http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/history-quilts

History of Quilts; Emporia State University; CENTER FOR GREAT PLAINS STUDIES;  http://www.emporia.edu/cgps/tales/quilte~1.html

QUILTS: FROM ANCIENT EGYPT TO AMERICA'S SHORE; Patches From the Past: Scraps of Fabric, Sewing and Quilting History;  http://www.historyofquilts.com/ancient.html

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Fabulous Giveaway Full of Joy

Your last chance to win is Thursday, December 19th at midnight. One WINNER will be randomly selected and announced this FRIDAY from those who shared and liked the above photo ON FACEBOOK. 
Click on the link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Moda-Fabrics-United-Notions/336301100246
This will take you to the MODA Facebook Page so you can like and share.
And don't worry, the winner will receive this stocking in time to open it on Christmas morning. *Sorry, limited to U.S. residents only.

When you win will you keep all the goodies for yourself or
Share the Joy with quilting friends? :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Quilt Raffle is Ending in Five Days

Just five (5) days left to purchase a chance to win this beautiful quilt. Thank you to those who have donated by purchasing a raffle ticket, or two or eleven. For those who are still wishing to buy a raffle ticket they are available until Sunday, December 22. The raffle will close at midnight and the winner will be chosen on Monday, December 23 and the winner notified at that time. We hope to ship the quilt that day so it will reach the winner just after Christmas.

Remember the funds go to Mercy Covers and are ear marked to help the ladies of Mercy Covers sew waterproof blankets for their local homeless people.

Merry Christmas to all and again Thank You for your generosity.

To see the quilt and or buy a raffle ticket click on the link below:

PayPal is accepted.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Giveaway Tuesday--Multiple Giveaways

Quarter Incher is giving away a free copy of all their BOM patterns.  You have till December 17, 2013 to register.  Go here.

Open until Tuesday 12/17 til 11:59pm PST

Another Giveaway

McCall’s Quilting is giving away the above fat quarter bundle. Giveaway ends December 31, 2013

To enter click here

And Another

Sew Can Do is giving away a yard each of the above fabric. She is also featuring a tutorial to use. Be sure to check out here site. Giveaway ends December 17, 2013. Click here to register.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Choosing The Right Quilt Fabric--Part 4: Choose Your Fabric Store and Products Wisely

This is the fourth and final installment in our series entitled Choosing the Right Quilt Fabric. The series is about helping quilters make better decisions about choosing quality fabrics. In this segment we will look at how to source quality cotton fabric, make informed choices and learn about avoiding pitfalls in purchasing quilt fabric.

Where to Buy Quilt Fabric

Where you purchase your quilt fabric can have an impact on the type of quilt fabric that is available to you. A true "quilt shop" often understands the need to have top quality goods available to a quilter. This is so the quilter has the best fabric to ensure a higher quality final quilt product. All the things discussed in previous articles would be a concern to most quilt shop owners. They are in the market to assist their customers in making purchases that will yield satisfaction.

Before you can know if your quilt shop of choice is offering good quality product you must first know a little about the fabric lines offered in these types of shops. There are many labels/manufacturers and all are not equal.

Learn more about the manufacturers who make our quilting cottons. View their current fabric lines and read more about their designers. Here is a list of some of the more prominent textile manufacturers. Click on the name to go to the company site.

ArtGallery--Includes Angela Walters
Cloud9 Fabrics
Hoffman Fabrics
Maywood Studio Fabric
Red Rooster Fabrics
SouthSea Imports 
StudioE Fabrics 

  • Free Spirit--Includes Tula Pink and Joel Dewberry 
  • Rowan Fabric--Includes Amy Butler and Kaffe Fasset lines 
  • Ty Pennington 

Ask Questions

Don't be afraid to ask questions of the shop where you plan to purchase your quilt fabric. Some of the questions you might ask are:

1) Are your fabrics all first quality or do you also carry seconds?
  • If they carry seconds or thirds ask where they are located so you will know up front what to avoid. 
2) What fabric lines do you carry?
  • Most store buyers have favorite lines they carry. It's good to know what they are so you can make a decision about whether you like that line. This is especially true if you have found something online you like by a particular manufacturer and you want to find out if it's available to you locally. 
3) Do you ever have sales on your fabrics?

Get Feedback From Others
Every time you speak to a new quilter or visit a new quilt shop ask for clerks, owners, and other quilters' opinions. What are their favorite fabric manufacturers and why? In time you will see several companies emerge as favorites over and over. As a quilter I have my tried and true favorites. Typically, I will look for Westminster Fabric lines, Moda, Timeless Treasures and Hoffman Fabrics. Their lines fit my designer choices and their quality of fabrics are in keeping with my desire to create heirloom quality quilts. By doing your research you will also develop favorites and come to know where to purchase these.

Avoiding Attractive Pitfalls

Sometimes the need to take advantage of a sale or a really catchy print overwhelms the desire to be practical and make quality choices about your quilting cotton. If you favorite store, or any quilt shop, has a sale offering folded flat goods ask if these were shipped from the manufacturer as flat fold goods. They may be bolt ends that a store has flat folded for convenience but often flat folds shipped from the manufacturer are not first quality goods.

Between the 1920's - 1940's textile mills would test their prints on low quality (greige) goods. The products produced on these low quality goods would later become feed sacks. The feed sacks sometimes would be the only cottons available to home quilters, especially during the depression. Today, this first, or test run, is sold to discounters in the form of flat fold goods that you can purchase in discount stores. These may look somewhat like the finished product but they are often produced on lower quality greige goods to save money in the set up for final printing. Sometimes they are printed on good fabric but the colors and design are not up to the manufacturer's specifications. Some flat fold fabrics are deliberate knock-offs of popular designs. Expensive fabric in the form of flat folds have often missed some of the final finishing of good quality fabric. Unless you are purchasing fabric for a craft or product that will not have much use or will be somewhat disposable, avoid flat fold goods whenever you wish to create a quality product. It old adage of "you get what you pay for," rings true over and over in the world of choosing quality cotton fabric.

Last, but not least, avoid box stores for your quality fabric. Many will run sales over and over using pricing from quality yard goods then discounting these to make you feel like you are getting a good deal. In fact, the goods do not compare to what you will find in an established quilt shop. Many box stores are actually selling seconds and lower quality goods but are making these sound like first quality. If you use the field test on fabric (Choosing The Right Quilt Fabric--Part 2: Field Check for Fabric Quality) you will quickly discover the difference.


The production of quality cotton goods is complex. Designers and manufacturers work together to create concepts and designs up to a year in advance. Once complete these designs are sent out to the mills where they are test printed and await the final approval. As a rule, almost all fabric is now milled overseas in Korea and Japan. Having the final product milled overseas does not equate to a lower quality fabric. This process has kept the yard goods pricing affordable for quilters. The point is to a quilter, looking for quality goods, do be afraid of textiles printed overseas.

Spend time to know your quilt fabric vendors and stores as well as your manufacturers. This will lead to a higher quality of quilt and one that will withstand time, as we all hope our quilts will. You will ultimately be a great resource to other quilters and have the opportunity to share what you know. Your friends, family, and fellow quilters will appreciate your time spent seeking the best product you can buy for your money as the quality of your product will show.

Happy buying quality cotton for quilting and most of all happy quilting.

To read previous posts in this series, click on each article below:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Quilt Raffle Update

Posted on 12/12/2013 by Organizer Jillian Grant
Thank you to everyone who has purchased a raffle ticket. Currently Mercy Covers is raising money so they can purchase the supplies necessary to create blankets for the Homeless. These blankets will be waterproof on one side so they can keep out some of the weather elements during the rainy season. We have a way to go to meet the goal to make this happen. If you were thinking about purchasing a raffle ticket now would be the time to do it. Remember you can donate using Paypal if you wish.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Another Giveaway!

Aurifil Quilt Patchwork and Embroidery Threads

An amazing array of rainbow colors offered in this Sew Mama SewGiveaway hosted by Deborah from Simply Miss Luella! Ends 12/13/2013

To read all the details and to enter for your chance for this happy colorful bundle please visit


The Ultimate Giveaway. Longarm Giveaway!

Hurry To Enter The Great APQS Longarm Giveaway

Have you dreamed of owning an APQS longarm quilting machine? What about a longarm machine with an automated quilting system? Here’s your chance at both!

APQS is giving away a Lucey longarm machine equipped with Quilt Path, the computerized quilting system. This is our biggest giveaway yet with a value of $21,900!!!

And that’s not all! Every month, one lucky entrant will receive an APQS Quilting Gift Basket full of thread, patterns and other great APQS goodies.

One grand prize winner will be selected at random during the week of Dec. 16, 2013. The winner will be notified via phone. Enter once a day for your chance to win.

To enter go to: http://www.apqs.com/longarm-giveaway

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Giveaway Tuesday--Product Giveaway

Enter to win a set of three Clam Shell Accessories Case kits from Clover Needlecraft (the same cases featured on page 61 of our Fall 2013 issue). Each set includes one small, medium, and large kit. These three-sided clamshell cases are perfect for storing small items and make great gifts. We'll select two winners, so enter by December 20, 2013, for your chance to win!

To enter: http://www.quilttrendsmag.com/giveaways/index.shtml

Monday, December 9, 2013

Quilting Classes Coming Soon!

Hello All!  This is the season for magical times and celebrations.  For me its the advent of a new phase in my life.  In February I will start offering quilting classes at Shawn's Sewing Center.  My first class will be on Quality Quilt Materials, Supplies and More.  The second will be a quilted bed runner for the beginning to advanced quilter.  I can hardly wait for this to happen.  Yeah.  This is where I have wanted to be for a long time.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 Remembered--Grant Women Sewing Retreat

Here are pictures of our first annual Grant Women Sewing Retreat, held the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving in Monticello, Illinois.  We had a lot of people stop by to support us.  We are doing it again next year for sure.  Every family that has sewers should try this tradition.  Many photo opportunities got missed.  Next year we will make sure we have a lot more pics to post.

Laura Smith, Wilma Grant and Georgia King
Kiersten Grier

Gaye Grant

Dean Grant, a true gentleman

Georgia Grant

Our projects waiting for us to finish lunch.
Lynnette Grant and Kiss

Friday, December 6, 2013

It's Quilting Time

As the U.S. suffers from a December blast of cold it's time to pull out the quilt projects!  Put on a pair of fuzzy slippers, make a cup of hot cocoa, then sew away.  Before you know it, you'll have a quilt done and be ready for the next cold spell.  Happy sewing, happy quilting.  Stay warm and be happy!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rotary Cutting Basics

McCalls Quilting Tutorial: Rotary Cutting Basics

Picture from McCalls Quilting 
Click following link for a FREE video lesson offered by McCalls Quilting

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Choosing The Right Quilt Fabric--Part 3: Judging the Color, Pattern and Finish

This is the third installment in our series entitled Choosing the Right Quilt Fabric. The series is about helping quilters make better decisions about choosing quality fabrics. In this segment we will look at how to judge the color, printing and finish of quality fabric.

Colorfast Fabric

In Part 2: Field Check for Fabric Quality we talked about The Rub or the process of rubbing the fabric between your fingers to check for separation of threads. The Rub can also be used to check color. When you "Rub" the fabric between your thumb and forefinger if you have color come off on your fingers this means the fabric color is not sealed. This typically is a sign of inferior fabric or processing. It also means the fabric is not colorfast meaning when you wash the fabric the color will bleed. Check for the word "colorfast" on the label.

Another color check process is to wrap a small piece of white cotton around your finger then rub it back and forth across the fabric. Look to see if color has transferred from the fabric you are testing onto the white cotton. Even if the color found on the white fabric is slight it is better to avoid purchasing this fabric. The color will not remain bright and vibrant when washed over and over.

Color or Pattern Overlap

Unfold the fabric so you can see a yard or so. Look at the pattern to see if there are overlapping points of image in the fabric. Check to see if the design skips or if there is ghosting of the pattern meaning the pattern looks like there is a slight shift in the pattern away from the rest of the print. Do the patterns overlap one another? Or do you see where the pattern skips from time to time? Does the color fade or disappear? These are all signs that the manufacturer may be using an inferior process to apply the color and pattern to the fabric. Your colors and pattern should be crisp and free from unintended shifts during the process of applying the design to the fabric.

The Finishing

Another test for the quality of the fabric you are considering for purchase is the feel or "hand" of the fabric. In the final process of applying color and design to fabric goods the manufacturer often applies a final finish that seals the dyes and makes the fabric softer. Cheap or inexpensive fabrics don't get the final finish. This makes the cost of manufacturing of the fabric less expensive but also cheapens the quality as the fabric will be stiffer and will not hold it's color well. This would be a fabric you want to avoid. To test the finish you simply need to feel the fabric and crumple it a bit. If the fabric feels stiff and when crumpled remains wrinkled then this is a fabric that has not finished. Don't waste your time using this type of fabric.

Why Color and Finish Matter

When spending the many hours required to make a quilt you don't want to be disappointed with the end product. You don't want to get your blocks or pieces together and discover flat points in the colors or skips in patterns. This lessens the beauty of your quilt. You also don't want to have your quilt bleed during it's first, second and/or third wash. The results will be a lackluster quilt. Checking the quality of your fabric choice and ensuring it is free of process defects and finished properly will help ensure you are pleased with your choice when finished.

A good quality cotton quilt fabric should be soft, with vibrant or distinct coloring. The pattern should never skip, ghost or disappear and the color should be colorfast.