News and Musings

Miniature Quilt Show

Later in 2017 I have been asked to judge a miniature quilt show (another part of the Legacy Grant). That should be an interesting experience and, probably, an uncomfortable one for me. I am much less impressed by physical perfection in quilts and more impressed by visual impact and innovation. Like most quilters, when I go to a show I am sometimes befuddled by why a certain quilt won and another one didn’t even get an honorable mention. This may be my first and last attempt at judging.

Youth Quilting Classs holding quilt blocks

Legacy Grant program with the Evening Star Quilters of Red Wing

In early 2017 I participated in a Legacy Grant program with the Evening Star Quilters of Red Wing. What is a Legacy Grant?

In 2008 (yes, in the middle of the economic downturn), Minnesota voters took a bold and historic action by imposing a three-eighths of one percent tax on themselves for 25 years, until 2034, in the name of cleaner water, healthier habitat, better parks and trails and sustaining our arts and cultural heritage. The funds raised by this tax have funded numerous grants and programs, including ones for the arts. (more…)


LeDuc Quilts

In 2016-17 I finally finished a project I started in 2004. At that time a museum opened in my hometown of Hastings, Minnesota. The LeDuc House Museum was built during the Civil War for General William G. LeDuc. In 1958 it was donated to the Minnesota Historical Society but a series of events delayed its renovation and opening to the public until 2005. So when it finally did open up to the public, it was a big deal. (more…)

Fan Hexagon Quilt Blocks

Original Pieced Hexagon Design

Late in 2016 I created an original pieced hexagon design. No, it’s not another pieced hexagon design with dozens of itty-bitty pieces. Don’t get me wrong… I am in awe of millefiori quilts and some of the other intricately pieced hexagon designs. I’m just never going to make one. I make BIG quilts; queen- sized is my standard size. I also like to complete my quilts in a reasonable amount of time, say less than a year. Those millefiori quilts have got to take several years.

So when I was designing the Fan Hexagon, I made it big enough so you can easily and quickly sew a large quilt and the individual pieces of the Fan Hexagon are large enough to show off medium to large scale fabrics.

It was quite an education to produce this set of templates. I sincerely feel for the guys in the Art Department at T&T Graphics who were unfailingly professional and courteous through my dozen or so revisions. At times it was like speaking two different languages: quilt-speak to engineering-speak. Anyway now it is done and I invite you to visit my For Sale page and see the template set.

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Quilting Frustrations

Tuna Can Pincushion

Tuna Can Pincushion

Leftover strips of wool?

Use them to make a Tuna Can Pincushion.  I teach a class on making pincushions and my favorite stuffing is some form of wool (wool roving, shredded leftover wool batting, snipped wool yarn or strips of wool fabric).  Here’s how you can use leftover strips of wool: (more…)


The Frankenstein Quilt

by Cindy Thury Smith 1985

I started out with a simple block design—
And thought I’d add just one or two more lines—
To come up with a quilt that’d be all mine.

Then I started playing with complex borders and sashing—
And through my mind new ideas kept flashing—
Until now my hopes have gone a-dashing!

I’ve created an impossible pattern, a monster—
Anyone who’d try it would be a fanatical quilter—
Who’d probably end up cussing out the designer!

Since I created it I’d better give it a try—
As I ripped out stitches I kept asking myself why—
If I ever get it done I’ll take this one with me when I die!

Now it’s finally done and lies displayed on our bed—
Hundreds of hours, yards of fabric, and miles of thread—
One of those, “It’ll never work” ideas that just popped into my head.


Fabric Scrap Twine

Have you seen the You Tube video on making Fabric Scrap Twine?  I always end up with leftover strips of fabric (and you can only tie up so many tomato plants); this is a good way to use them up to create a pretty twine. (more…)


Quilter’s Birthday Song

by Cindy Thury Smith

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Have you finished that quilt yet?
Happy birthday to you!

How old is your stash?
How old is your stash?
Did you pay plastic or cash?
How old is your stash?

Did you see the new Hoffman?
Did you see the new Hoffman?
Did the price make you cough, man!
Did you see the new Hoffman?

Have you bought the new book?
Have you bought the new book?
So many UFOs, shouldn’t even look!
Have you bought the new book?

Will you make the show deadline?
Will you make the show deadline?
One hour left, plenty of time!
I can make the show deadline!


The Quiltin’ Times are a-Changing

by Cindy Thury Smith 1999

For our Great-Great Grandmothers, in quilting times past—
A frugal quilter had to scrimp, make every scrap last—
Today wasting fabric is not such a crime—
Today what’s scarce is a quilter’s TIME.

Patterns used to travel with pioneers going west—
Now we swap and share instantly on the Internet—
Once templates were traced, fabric carefully scissored—
Now we slice multiple layers, we’re all Olfa wizards.

At one time a two fabric quilt was a sign of status—
Now Watercolor quilts have hundreds of prints comin’ at us—
Quilters used to gather at small local quilting bees—
Now we congregate at conferences, national teachers to see.

Like our Great-Great Grandmothers our lives are busy, we’re stressed—
But with the beauty of our quilts, we feel we are blessed—
As with Great-Great Grandmother, our quilting serves many goals—
To give us warmth, grace our homes, and feed our souls.