Ask Jo: Baptist Fans and Charity Fabric

Every so often questions or comments come to me that I think everyone might be interested in learning the answer to.  Then I address them here on the blog.  Today is one of those days.

Chris wrote:
I too love baptist fans. How do you quilt them on your long arm? Do you have a pattern you follow?

This comment came after I talked about this quilt and my idea to use Baptist Fans on another quilt of mine.  Read about the quilt here.



Here’s another quilt I did Baptist Fans on.

I was a LONG a Baptist Fan lover but with a long arm I thought it wasn’t possible to do them.  I was aware of pantographs for them but I don’t use pantographs…so I figured they weren’t for me.

After reading a blog, Mary Quilts, I learned that I could do them free motion  style and I do them very regularly now.  Almost all of my quilts that are Civil War printed get Baptist Fans.  Here is a link to the PDF file that shows how to make them.  (Please remember that you need an Adobe Reader to view the file)

Once you do them over a whole quilt, you’ll have the muscle memory in place and find it very easy to do.  I recommend giving them a try.

The next comment came after I told you about this haul of fabric.Remember, this was from the auction I went to that had all of the fabric.  Read about that here if you missed itHere too!

Bridget wrote:
Love it! There are a LOT of quilters in my area so there are not a lot of auctions where I would win :( but I would rather the charity group that buys get the bargains :) They make quilts for the homeless shelter and a few other places in town which need the fabric hugs. When I see a yard of fabric which I love I think of it as 4 fat quarters to use in my scrappy quilts. Nobody says the yardage has to be used in the same quilt. Sometimes I bring the yard home and cut it into fat quarters. I give away one or two and put the others in my fat quarter bins.”

Bridgets comment really got me thinking;  Ah…I never thought of yardage as “just a bunch of fat quarters”…but it is, isn’t it.  Hmmm.  I love thinking of it that way.  I’m going to take idea with me and keep it tucked away.

The other part of Bridget’s comments got me thinking too….
Should I be leaving the fabric for charity groups?  Hmmm.  I thought on this for quite awhile.  Thinking and thinking.  How is it that I can best help other organizations that are doing charity quilting?  My final conculsion was that it’s okay to keep doing what I’m doing.  Quite a bit of the fabric that I purchase via the thrift stores ends up in the hands of charity quilters.  If I buy a bag of fabric from the thrift store and love one piece, often the rest goes to charity.  At the auction I was at, I have no idea which, if any people, were buying for charity.  This was, I bought this box….

of this…7 1/2 yards went to charity plus the 20 fat quarters plus the started stack and whack quilt top.  This went to charities free of charge.

The other boxes, I kept most of…but that’s okay.

I do think that being I buy so much thrifted fabric myself, it allows me to have more money that I can more easily donate to charities.

Well…that took me a bit to think through but I think I’m settled.  I have my way of helping charities…others have their ways.  I don’t believe there is any one best way and isn’t that awesome.  I love that we can all give in ways that are best suited to our own style.

Thanks so much for the comment Bridget.  I really did appreciate having a chance to think through my charitable givings.  That set a little fire in my to try to do even more.  THANKS!!

If you have a comment or question that I haven’t gotten to, please email at  THANKS!!

P.S. I have a blog reader in Michigan that would like to donate some quilt tops to a charity group.  They would like to try to keep them in Michigan.  Are there any groups there who could use some quilt tops?  If so, please email me at and I will pass your info on to her.  Please also provide an email contact and note what group your charity donates to.  THANKS!!

5 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Baptist Fans and Charity Fabric”

  1. Mary’s pdf is no longer available. She lost a lot of her tutorials when she changed her page. I did contact her and asked if she could recreate it.

  2. Patricia Boelens

    I think each does her charity work in her own way. Please don’t feel the slightest bit guilty for the way you choose to do it. You do way more than most! And personally I don’t see how you have time for any, what with your day care and health and family and on and on. More power to you!!

  3. I too was interested in Mary’s tutorial on Baptist fans, but when clicking on the link, it said “Oops, that page cannot be found”. Hopefully it will be reposted sometime so I can try it. You do such nice work, both piecing and quilting. I enjoy reading about your adventures!

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