Kansas City Star Quilt 2015

For those of you unfamiliar with Kansas City Star Quilt patterns, they started out as quilt block patterns published in Kansas City’s newspaper, the Kansas City Star.  From 1928 to the 1930s, they were a weekly hit.  After that time, they were published less frequently, with the final ones being published as a Block of the Month in 2015.  You can read more about it here.  With so many of us getting our news from TV and the Internet, the Star newspaper has been slowly losing its popularity and customers.  Many quilters were saddened when the newspaper no longer added quilt patterns to their Sunday House & Home section.  But, I am going to share with you a quilt made from the final Kansas City Star’s year of quilt patterns.

If you remember me posting before about Wilma, you will remember how she has a gift for putting colors together.  Wait til you see this quilt…


The colors just popped right off this quilt.  But, what color of thread would YOU choose for quilting it?  Wilma decided on a medium gray thread, and I think that was the best choice!  And, how would you quilt it?  She didn’t want feathers, so I took the flower and vine applique that goes around the center medallion and, drawing it on onion skin, made a design from that.  Then, I stitched right over the paper (onion skin).


Before I go on the rest of the quilting, I want to show you one of the strategies I use for getting the quilts squared.  First off, let me explain that I load the quilt backing first and make sure I have it rolled on there, smooth and with no creases.  Then, I lay the batting on top of the backing and use my Horizontal Channel locks (channel locks “lock” the carriage in place so it only moves side to side) to stitch a straight line across the top, attaching the batting to the backing.  After that, I run the quilt top along that stitched line, pin it in place and then baste it to the batting and backing. I like to baste about 1/4 inch from the edges of the quilt top to hold it in place.  The clamps on my quilting frame hold the backing and, with the basting along the edges, I am more confident the quilt will not stretch out of shape.  Note: I leave the clamps off the backing until after I’ve got the top stitched down.

This next picture shows a very long pink tape measure that I stretch across my quilt frame and attach to the sides of the quilt frame with Velcro.  As I roll the quilt forward with each pass of quilting, I make sure the quilt top is in the same place on that measuring tape all through the quilting process.  I don’t have Vertical Channel Locks, so I cannot use them to help me keep the sides straight – the measuring tape helps with that.  In this picture, I am at the bottom of the quilt.  I have, again, stitched a straight line across the bottom, using my Horizontal Channel Loks.   I am about ready to take off the measuring tape, so I put a pin at the corner to mark where that side should be.  And, then I pin it and stitch the final basting lines along the bottom and sides.


So, on to pictures of the quilting…

Corner, with the applique flowers stitched in place.  I used swirls for the black sashing.


Here’s another shot that also includes the swags quilted into the inner border.


The middle medallion… see where I got the idea for swags in the inner border?


One of the blocks, but it shows what I call “eyelet lace” quilting.  This would be a bed quilt, so I didn’t want to put too much quilting on it.  If I had mashed it down with tight background filler, it would have weighed a ton.  As it was, it was pretty heavy.


I added swirls and leaves to the vines… and bugs.

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There were cornerstones and half-square triangles that needed to be filled, so I used the flowers in the rest of the quilt to make quilting patterns, like I did when tracing the flower/vine.

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Here is the back of the quilt.  Wilma machine embroidered a special label for it.  That fabric running down the length of the backing is red.

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What “fitting” colors for the final year of Kansas City Star quilt patterns.  “Sorry to say good-bye” (grieving) black along with a lot of cheerful colors for the cheerful memories.  I really like this quilt and the quilt pattern!


Author: cowtownquilts

Professional longarm quilter and thread artist in the Kansas City area.

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