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Meet Kathreen Ricketson, Author of Little Bits Quilting Bee

So you may wonder what got me thinking about all these Sewing and Quilting Events? For my birthday my sister bought me Little Bits Quilting Bee by Kathreen Rickteson, founder of

This book has 20 Quilts using Charm Squares, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, and Fat Quarters. All of these quilts are absolutely fantastic, but one of my favorite things about this book, is that Kathreen explains different Community Quilting events. Reading this section of her book sparked a serious interest in sewing events and caused me to start our Sewing & Quilting Events 101 Series

Meet Kathreen Ricketson

So today I'd like to introduce you to Kathreen. She is the founder and editor of, which is a popular craft blog that draws over 12,000 unique visitors monthly. She is the Author of Whip Up Mini Quilts (Chronicle 2010) and Little Bits Quilting Bee (Chronicle 2011). She also publishes a children's e-magazine Action Pack. She lives with her husband and two children in Canberra, Australia. 

Currently over at she is having a 2012 Guest series. She has asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I have been following this and have met some very talented individuals. 

I asked Kathreen if she would share with us her knowledge about Sewing and Quilting Events, and she graciously offered to share an extract from her book Little Bits Quilting Bee (Chronicle 2011).

Quilting Bee:

The romanticized version of the Quilting bee brings up these lovely visions of quilting tea parties, ladies in the drawing room drinking iced lemonade and gossiping around the quilting frame. This though is only a small part of the truth, a Quilting bee did, and still does, mean all sort of different things - sometimes just a few woman getting together at the local church hall on a regular basis, giving a lifeline to women from isolated areas or a gathering of the top stitchers in the neighborhood helping to complete a special occasion quilt. In all these cases, getting together to help each other finish their quilts was one of the few opportunities women had to exchange recipes and news, gossip about children and politics, learn new skills and swap patterns and fabric - in short supporting and helping each other.

This sounds a bit like the online craft communities to me - teaching, learning and sharing knowledge. Of course women (and occasionally men) do still get together to quilt - there are hundreds of quilting guilds in America alone. At these guild meetings woman share skills, admire each others work and collaborate on group projects - many charity quilts, wedding and new baby quilts get made here too. But the online quilting community has the added bonus of being global, where there is this incredible diverse pool of ideas, traditions and histories to tap into. In this online quilting community you are able to get involved in quilt-alongs, quilt block and fabric swatch swaps, charity quilt drives, join virtual quilting bees and meet like minded quilty folk just like you.

 Virtual Quilting Bee:

A virtual quilting bee is a bit like those quilting bee parties, where many women would gather to help one person finish their quilt. A virtual quilting bee is an online group (between 12-16 members), where each member contributes toward a quilt for each of the other members. Participants take it in turns for it to be 'their' month and the rest of the group makes a block or two in a pre-specified color range, fabric range and/or block design, which are then sent via mail to be made up into one quilt. If it all works out well, then all members of the group get a turn to have the others make blocks for their quilt. There are many variables with a virtual quilting bee (just as there are with a quilt), and it is up to the group to work out the specifics beforehand. Skill levels are not generally an issue - but if you are joining a group that has been going for a while you might need to prove that you are up to the job, and that you are committed to the group for the time it will take for all members to complete their quilt (this can be a 12-16 month commitment), before you are accepted.


Kathreen also goes into detail about Swaps, Quilt Alongs, Guilds and Sewing Circles, Block Clubs, Friendship Quilts, Charity or Fundraising Quilts. It is a wonderful book with amazing inspirational photographs by John Paul Urizar and has wonderful how-to illustrations and ready-to-use patterns in a pocket at the front of the book.

Here is what two fellow quilters have to say about the book…

"An indispensable resource for both local and online groups of quilters. Thank you, Kathreen, for reminding us that the most beautiful quilts are those made with friends." 
—Weeks Ringle, cofounder of and Author of Quilts Made Modern 

"Pre-cut fabric bundles look so tempting on the shelves, but what does one do with them? Ricketson answers that question with instructions for fabulous quilts that draw upon a diverse range of quilt-making techniques. The accompanying stories of bees, swaps and quilt-alongs remind us how enjoyable quilting as a community can be." 
—Elizabeth Hartman, founder of and author of Practical Guide to Patchwork and Modern Patchwork 

I could not agree with these ladies more! Without Quilting and Sewing Event's, the online and local quilting community, I would have never had started quilting and even if I did I would probably have stopped. I am so thankful for the friends I have made, and their constant encouragement and inspiration! Yes, reader I am talking about you :) So glad you are here and I appreciate you greatly!

A Giveaway! (CLOSED)

Little Bits Quilting Bee Giveaway

Today Chronicle Books is going to be giving away TWO! copies of Little Bits Quilting Bee to two of my lucky readers! 

Enter to Win!

Here's how, use the Rafflecopter Widget below. Simply add a comment to this post telling me what Sewing or Quilting Community Events you are involved in, and if none yet, which you would like to be involved in.

For Bonus Entries

  • Signup for Chronicle Books enewsletter (and receive 20% off your first purchase!)
  • Follow Kathreen @whipup on Twitter
  • Subscribe to the Pile O' Fabric RSS Email Newsletter
  • Follow @pileofabric on Twitter

a Rafflecopter giveaway at Pile O' Fabric

This giveaway will end Thursday, July 12th, at 12 a.m. EST. Mr. Random will choose one winner and I will announce the winner in a new post here on the blog, later that Thursday. * Note * This giveaway is open to anyone near or far. If you're a "no reply" or an anonymous commenter, remember to include your email address in your comment so that if you win I can contact you!


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Welcome to the Pile O’ Fabric blog, my name is Alyssa Lichner, I live in sunny Gilbert, AZ. I am a freelance web and graphic designer turned avid sewist. I write modern quilting tutorials and share techniques and inspiration here at Pile O’ Fabric… Read More

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