Free Orphan Quilt Blocks for Adoption! Get a head start on Mary Kerr’s Classes!

By Arlene Kindel, Cindy Herring and Susan Schwandt

GAAQG members! Do you wish you could sign up for Mary Kerr’s Twist & Shout class in November, but you don’t have enough orphan quilt blocks?

Do you love the modern look of Mary’s Wonky Stars but don’t have time to piece them?

Do you have fond memories of guild member Cindy Herring’s Quilt Rescue 911 exhibit at the 2020 online quilt show and wish you could learn how to quilt like Cindy?

Your wishes can come true and you’ll save a lot of time, thanks to Cindy! Sign up for Mary Kerr’s class and get free quilt blocks! Cindy will share her orphan blocks for the Twist & Shout class and a few quilt tops for the Wonky Stars — Improv with a Twist class. Getting these pieced fabrics for FREE will give GAAQG members a head start on Mary’s supply list!

These orphan blocks and tops are ready for adoption! Contact Cindy by leaving a comment in this blog post, email Cindy or drop a comment in our guild’s Facebook group. Cindy will meet up with members, or drop the blocks at someone’s house, within reason. Contact her soon so you’ll have time to pick out the background fabric before class.

While both of Mary Kerr’s classes in November will include tips for working with vintage fabrics, Mary emphasizes that you can use any fabrics you wish. She says, “Vintage can be as late as yesterday!” Anything students want to use is fine.

Quilt from “Recycled Hexies” exhibition

Quilt from “Twisted” exhibition

Mary’s passion for “twisting” vintage pieces into modern designs, is reflected in her teaching. She loves using the old fabrics and designs, but vintage means different things to different people. Students use her techniques to showcase old linens, bits of clothing that belonged to family members or friends, or unfinished projects.


The Friday, November18 “Twist & Shout” class uses a twisted template as a way of setting vintage bits of quilts (or any fabrics of your choosing) into a new “compilation” quilt. Check out the Twisted exhibit  for inspiration.

Sunday’s “Wonky Star” class combines vintage (or any) fabrics in a modern aesthetic with lots of negative space for showing off your quilting skills.

Cindy Herring’s version of Wonky Star with 3 stars would need 2 yards of fabric to make it 54” square. Cindy will bring her layout for the bigger star to class. Her star sizes are: 12 ½”, 9 ½ and 6 ½”. She made her quilt by sewing a dozen or so old blocks together. They had not been made well and she did not match any seams – just made fabric.

GAAQG member Cindy Herring’s interpretation of Wonky Stars


Mary Kerr’s supply list says a yard of background for both classes. Consider how big your blocks are and how big you’d like your quilt.

Both classes are for a 40”-ish wall hanging.





We hope you will join us for Mary Kerr’s workshops!  Arlene Kindel, VP Programs, really appreciated Mary’s willingness to talk with her and share some of her experiences. Mary is very knowledgeable but also pleasant and friendly.  In talking with her Arlene sort of felt like she was talking with an old friend—just one she hadn’t yet met!









About Mary W. Kerr

Mary Wilson Kerr has been involved in quilting for most of her life and in the quilting business since she started teaching classes in 1987.

Her husband was in the Army, and they had three young children. Quilting gave Mary a much-needed creative outlet and a way of making connections when they moved to new locations. Teaching quilting was a way of making some “egg money,” and putting gas in the car.

Both of Mary‘s grandmothers, her great-grandmothers, and several of her aunts quilted, and many of them also did other kinds of needlework: knitting, crocheting, and embroidering.  One of her grandmothers used to say, “We didn’t have much, but we made it look pretty.”

As the elders passed on, Mary ended up with most of their old quilts as well as lots of unfinished quilts and pieces of quilts. One day, one of her daughters asked her how they would be able to tell which quilts or quilt fragments were important. This spurred Mary to begin making new quilts out of the old; her “compilation” quilts.  She realized that it was OK to finish the old unfinished projects in a new and different way, to add her voice to that of the original maker. It was a way of using the old pieces, an opportunity to pass on the memories, and to honor the women who had made them.

Mary has a long list of qualifications and volunteers for many influential organizations in quilting arts (see Camie Roper’s blog post). She has been teaching for well over 30 years, is a sought-after speaker, the author of several books and an AQS certified quilt appraiser.

One of Mary’s primary interests is Quilts of Valor, and she is currently the Vice President. When asked about this organization, the excitement and passion in her voice clearly shows her dedication. The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is “to cover Service Members and Veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.” All-Star Quilts of Valor: 25 Patriotic Patterns from Star Designers, a book featuring QOV patterns by 27 well-known quilt designers, is being released this fall.

Mary is also involved in many other quilting organizations, including the American Quilt Society, National Quilt Museum, and Sacred Threads Quilts. Not surprisingly, she is friends with Meg Cox, our wonderful speaker for our GAAQG “homecoming” event in July.

“A Woman’s Voice” – Mary Kerr’s Lecture November 19

Mary’ presentation at our Quilt Day meeting on November 19 will be “A Woman’s Voice.” She will talk about the ways women throughout history have used their needle skills to express their opinions, political view points and dissatisfaction with the social circumstances of their times.

While women were frequently discouraged from publicly speaking out, many influenced the world around them through needlework, quilting patterns and quiet determination. Join Mary as she presents numerous antique and contemporary quilts from several collections. Together we can explore the historical voice that women have employed in American history.