Where is Liz Porter?

My Tall & Handsome and I have always enjoyed watching Fons and Porter on our local PBS station on Saturday afternoons. We usually would DVR the show and watch it later. We got a lot of good tips and inspiration from the show.

A few years ago we began to notice Liz Porter was missing from the show and wondered where she was.

Good news for Liz, but sad news for us – Liz has retired to Texas and from the sound of it is having a grand time. Catch up with Liz in this article from APQS: Up Close Quilting with Liz Porter.

Why quilting is ‘uniquely’ good for us | Daily Mail Online

I personally deal with several chronic and disabling autoimmune disorders and ailments. I’m a two times non-smoking lung cancer survivor. I’ve been quilting for 30 years or more now and I can tell you quilting has seen me through illness and a divorce. I have found comfort in quilting that is in nothing else.

The link to the article below is about a Glasgow University study that has found the beneficial quality quilting offers quilters.

A Glasgow University study found quilting improved well-being in ways physical and outdoor activities could not, offering a creativity that had been ‘stifled’ in the modern world.

See article here: Why quilting is ‘uniquely’ good for us | Daily Mail Online

How to Choose Quilt Batting: Tips to Keep in Mind

If you’re getting ready to quilt you latest quilt top, this article has some great info that will help pick the batting for your project.

From cotton batting to polyester blends, the batting choices available to quilters are vast. Learn more about your options for choosing quilt batting.

See Article:  How to Choose Quilt Batting: Tips to Keep in Mind

Oh, Those Hexies!

We’ve all had our own person experience with hexies – also know as hexagons. For the last several years they’ve been quite the rage.

I developed a fondness for hexies years ago as a young quilter when I was honing my English paper piecing skills. I’ve used them to make Grandmother’s Flower Garden blocks among other things.

Imagine my surprise to discover yet another technique for those lovable hexies. It’s a paperless hexie – that’s right, no template required. Take a look and see what you think.


© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 8 The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Diaries: Nobody Climbs Mountains for Scientific Reasons or Delectable Mountain

It’s been almost two years since I wrote my last chapter in The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Diaries. To say the least, during that time Tall & Handsome and I have seen our fair share of mountains and valleys. To borrow from Sir Edmund Hillary, “Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons.”

I can assure you T & H and I haven’t been on a long science project and we sure haven’t been on the giant whirly-gig of fun grabbing brass ring after brass ring. No, in fact, a time or two we’ve felt like Atlas, but instead of shouldering the universe on our back, we’ve been pushing it up Mount Everest with a teaspoon.

But, it got better, I promise – and I plan on it continuing in that direction.

In a nutshell in 2014 within five month T & H had an accident at work and broke his leg at his ankle. I had a car accident (no health insurance) and the vehicle was totaled and T & H had triple bypass surgery. He went from being a man who had always been as healthy as an ox to a man who missed death by a hair when we discovered his widow maker artery was blocked 100% and two others were blocked 95% and 97%. He was a dead man walking. There’s like a cholesterol problem in his family – RIGHT?! There was definitely Divine Intervention working in his favor during that time. I developed serious shoulder problems and bad plantar fasciitis.  In the era of mobility I became frustratingly immobile.

Yep, mountains…and mountains…and mountains, oh, yeah and more mountains…

I’ve never seen mountains as obstacles. In fact, I’m a mountain (and cooler weather) person verses beach person any day of the week, any time of the year. Being in the mountains make my heart sing and my spirits soar. I’ve always attributed my love of the mountains to the fact I was born in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. Yep, I’m a mountain girl from good strong, and sometime stubborn mountain stock. And, I take pride in that.


My Daddy was born in Townsend – the quiet side of the Smokies. And, that’s saying a lot, because the Smoky Mountains of my childhood aren’t the Smoky Mountains of today.

For instance, take Gatlinburg. T & H recently showed me a very 1950s-ish looking picture. It looked like a scene that had just jumped out of an old 1950s black and white TV set – only someone had added color.

I took one look at it and said, “That’s Gatlinburg! That’s the Gatlinburg of my childhood!” Remember, my T & H is a native New Mexican so that’s why I was being a little emphatic.

Here is a similar picture to the one he showed me. (I would love it if the photographer would contact me so I could get more details and add an attribution to the photo.)

Gatlinburg of the 1950s

This is what Gatlinburg looked like when I was a child. There was no Titanic floating downtown, no Rebel’s corner, no neon light – nothing to make it look like a misplaced Las Vegas hiding out next to a UN protected biosphere. And, half of it certainly had not being bought up by Arabic investors changing the face of a good solid Southern mountain town. This town was quiet, peaceful and beautiful. It was natural. It had been settled by people who were from my Momma’s side of the family and many of the business were owned by those families. It was kind of like Mayberry.

We would drive up to visit my Daddy’s parents and take drives through the mountains. Go on wonderful little hikes, wade in ice cold mountain streams and picnic under stately old trees that offered shade in the summer and a kaleidoscope of color in the fall.

We would drive over to Kinzel Springs where my great Aunt Ruthie lived to visit her. She lived in a big green house that was perched on the side of a mountain. We had to cross a little foot bridge over one of those cold mountain streams to get to her door. One thing I’ll always remember about Aunt Ruthie’s house was how cool it was in the summer time. Was it because of all the shade of those lovely trees, the side of the mountain and the cool mountain stream coursing its way a few feet from her door?

I don’t know. I just know Aunt Ruthie’s deserved a place in a C. S Lewis tale. A tale where an Aslan like mountain character takes sisters from the `burbs on an adventure dodging creepy mountain haints, saving the forest, learning a good morality lesson,  guided and nurtured by a tall, thin, loving great-aunt’s wise mountain ways.

If you’re Southern mountain folk you pretty much know you’re Scots – Irish. Since I’m a genealogist I knew I was Scots – Irish with a good smattering of English and German thrown in. During the past two years a fun thing I participated in was a DNA testing. Included was an ethnicity breakdown. It confirmed a lot I knew or suspected, but, my oh, my did I also get some surprises!

Check – Scots, Irish, English and West European (which includes Germany). Surprises – 12% Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), 9% Scandinavia – (seriously?!), 7% East European; 1% Finland/Russia and traces of south Asia (this may account for my secret guilty pleasure of Bollywood) and traces of the Middle East.

Lawdy, lawdy – I’m a one person melting pot!

But, when I look at all these location I realized something  – they’re all marked by wondrous mountain ranges. The Alps in Germany, the fjords of Scandinavia, the Pyrenees that separate the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Europe, the Himalayas of India. It seems mountains have marked my ancestry for generations and centuries.

My love of mountain truly is in my DNA…

So, for a little girl who grew up in the suburbs, those visits to Gatlinburg and the Smokies of days gone by was like visiting a magical, mystical place. You could almost expect to see Bonnie Prince Charles step out of the Smoky mist…

And, now you know why Delectable Mountains had to be one of the blocks in my diary quilt.

This block is a 6 inch pieced block. Use a quarter inch seam allowance when piecing. Below you’ll find directions for rotary cutting and placement for piecing.

delectable mountain.jpg

Delectable Mountain – Pieced


© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Documenting Your Work

For years I’ve been an advocate for documenting you work. I’m always sadden to see an antique quilt and  find nothing on it that tells me anything about the maker. Who was she? Where did she live? Why was the quilt made? When was it made?

Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to have a quilt that has been passed down in a family or by caretakers who have kept the history alive. But, in so many cases that isn’t so.

I began documenting my quilts early on by placing a label on the back of the quilt. You can even quilt information into the quilt – make that part of the quilting design. When I was president of a local quilt guild, I tried to make quilt documentation a program every so often.

Over at All People Quilt they have some great ideas to get you started. I’m sure you can take some inspiration and go from there. The options are only limited by imagination.

For this quilt that my husband and I made, South by Southwest:


I made this label:

South by Southwest Label

Not one of the best pictures but you get an idea.

For this baby quilt named Addi’s Ark,


I made this label:

Addi's Ark label A

I’ve made many others including cross stitched ones, but these and the ideas over at All People Quilt should start the creative juices flowing.

© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

Bettye Kimbrell and Indian Leaf Pounding

Many years ago when I first took up quilting I met a quilter who unknown to her became a mentor of such to me. Her name is Bettye Kimbrell.

Bettye was the president of the North Jefferson Quilters Guild that met at Mount Olive, Alabama at that time in the old community center that was the big old white school house. It has since been demolished. Bettye is a no nonsense type person, but will help anyone. That’s my kind of person. As the Good Book puts it, she’s no respecter of person – in other words everyone is treated with the same respect.

At the time I was kind of a rarity. I had taught my ex to quilt and he was a rare bird – a man that quilt. Today, that’s not so rare – many men quilt, including my current husband, who yes, I taught, but, he was very eager to learn. He had been an art student in college, so you can see why quilting appealed to him.

So, here I was this half of a quilting couple with a “qubby” that tagged along. Bettye wasn’t phased by that unlike some of the other little ladies who did adjust over time. Bettye incorporated a “men that quilt” exhibit into one of the quilt shows because eventually more men began to trickle to the surface and admit they quilted.

Bettye is an exceptional quilter in her own right. Her quilts have been exhibited at home and abroad. In 1995 she was awarded the Alabama Folk Heritage Award and in 2008 she received the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. 

A few years back I took a class a class of Bettye’s called Indian Leaf Pounding. Every once and a while you can catch her demonstrating it on Alabama Public Television. Here’s a YouTube video of Bettye and her grandson doing a little leaf pounding.


Bettye made a whole quilt using this technique and it is stunning. I thought you might enjoy seeing that today. Also, if you get a chance, read the book Out of Whole Cloth: The Life of Bettye Kimbrell, by Joyce H. Cauthen. It’s a great little book and Bettye’s leaf pounding quilt is on the cover.

Enjoy the videos!

And, by the way, Bettye, I’m still a hand quilter!

© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Quilting in the Digital Age

Recently we had a double water whammy downstairs. First, the newly installed water filter for the refrigerator failed and leaked –unknown to us until I walked into the kitchen hours later and saw water puddled under the fridge.

Long story short, I discovered the problem, took the filter out and mopped up the water I could until T & H could get home and pull the fridge out and reach the rest of the water.

What we didn’t know was water had seeped down below into – *drum roll* – the quilting studio! Well, isn’t that just peachy?

Unfortunately, there was a was wet spot in the middle of the floor that we had to dry up and my first edition of Quilts, Quilts, Quilts was water-logged.

After a Shop Vac, hours of fan power and dehumidifier AND some really excellent carpet deodorizer, all was well with the world again.

Until…about three days later when T & H went downstairs and discovered the condenser on the AC had run over and we had a rather large damp area. This time one box of vintage quilting magazine was soaked.

So for about a week, I walked down quilting memory lane – one that spanned 20+ years of quilting. It was amazing – sometimes stunning to see how much and how far quilting has evolved during that time. One of the most obvious evolutions was the use of computers and the digital age in quilting.

I went through each of those soggy magazines and saved articles I thought might be useful resources. My process was to tear the pages out, lay them out on a dry towel, the iron them – yes, I said iron them, punch holes in the pages and curate them in binders.

What I ended up with was a ton of inspiration…much I which I’ll be able to convert to my digital addiction/library.

Speaking of which, I’m always on the lookout for anything quilt related for my tablet, smartphone or computer. Today as I was browsing Amazon I happened upon this Kindle edition quilt book I thought I might share with yall. The title is Cornish Hedge Patchwork Quilt Design, by Jo Colwill. What’s one of the best things about this little eBook? It’s free!

I love this digital age of ours – freebies and instant access!

A damaged stack copy

Waiting to be salvaged

waiting for rehab copy

Waiting for rehab

salvaged pages copy

Salvaged Pages

the old and the new

The Old & the New  – 1st edition and 3rd edition

© 2014 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.