“Slant Six” Mystery Quilt, Clue #3

1 08 2014

Be sure to click the “Mystery Quilt” tab above to access and print Clue #3 of the “Slant Six” mystery quilt. Set aside a couple of hours to complete this clue. Work with the fabric strips you placed in Bag #2 to make 16 Seven Patches.

To give you a visual, I photographed the steps as I sewed them.


Be sure to refer to your fabric swatch chart! My chart reminded me that Fabric 1 is the orange print and Fabric 3 is the mottled blue print (exactly opposite of the colored illustration in the instructions). I sewed two strip sets of these fabrics as directed. I pressed the seams toward the wider fabric, Fabric 1. After cutting away the selvage, I cross-cut in 2″ segments. Thirty-two segments (Unit A) are needed.


Notice that I placed a line of the ruler on the seam line between the blue and orange fabrics. This insures a perpendicular cut.


To make Unit B, I made two strip sets with Fabric 1 and Fabric 2. I pressed the seams toward the 2″ wide strips of Fabric 1.


These strip sets were cut in 3 1/2″ segments. Sixteen Unit B’s are needed.


To combine Units A and B, sew a Unit B between 2 Unit A’s. Press seams to either side. You need 16 Seven Patches each measuring 6 1/2″ square.


You may place the Seven Patches in Bag 2 and wait for Clue #4,


OR you may arrange all the blocks from Bags 1-3 on your design wall, in an effort to solve the mystery. Can you figure out the final arrangement of the “Slant Six” mystery quilt?


“Chevies on the Levee” Alternate Piecing and Cutting Method

29 07 2014


My son and daughter-in-law gave me a “Jellie” roll from JoAnns for Christmas. The roll of fabric contained 20 batik strips, 2 each of 10 different colors. This gift was perfect for a chevron quilt design idea I’ve had “on the back burner” for several weeks.

Chevron quilts are quite popular among modern quilters just now. I made mine the easy way with rectangular “bricks” instead of diamonds or half square triangles. To make sure my cutting technique was viable, I experimented with colored computer drawings.


First I designed and printed the stairstep diagram, then cut it apart just as I planned to cut apart the quilt. I taped it together and made the second cut and taped it together again. Satisfied that the cutting technique would yield the results I envisioned, I began to sew and cut the fabric.

I sewed each batik strip to a white-on-white strip. I pressed the seams toward the batiks and cross-cut into segments. Measurements are given in the Sept./Oct. 2014 issue of McCall’s Quilting.


Referring to my stairstep computer drawing, I arranged the square units on my design wall. I substituted blue batik squares for the black squares in my computer drawing.


Notice the blue squares. Once the quilt top was sewn together, I cut the quilt, diagonally, through these squares. In the finished quilt, the blue becomes the setting triangles all around the edge of the quilt. I guarded against stretching the bias edges by stay-stitching prior to cutting. Look closely at the picture below to see a drawn chalk line and two machine stitched lines on both sides of the drawn line.


I made the first cut from the bottom left corner diagonally upwards. This created a large patchwork triangle – the lower right portion of the quilt.


I moved the large patchwork triangle straight up and sewed it to the top of the quilt.


The second cut is through the chain of blue squares, upwards from right to left. This creates a large, patchwork triangle on the upper right. Now move the triangle on the right to the far left of the patchwork on the left (this becomes the bottom of the quilt); sew the 2 pieces together.


 I added a border of blue batik to this colorful, “too easy” chevron quilt.


Here’s a close-up of the quilt so you can see the swirly, freehand quilting.



“Chevies on the Levee” Published!

27 07 2014

Cover sept oct 2014 mccalls

My subcription copy of McCall’s Quilting Sept./Oct. 2014 arrived in my mailbox last week. I was happy to see my quilt, “Chevies on the Levee,” pictured beautifully, draped over a boat with flipflops in the foreground and a lake in the background. The staff photographers at McCall’s are awesome; they imaginatively stage each quilt, inviting quilters to read the instructions and make the quilts!


Click on the picture of the magazine; it is linked to the McCall’s website. Once there, you can order the magazine and see pictures of other projects it contains. Click on the picture of the quilt; it is linked to McCall’s description of my quilt.

McCall’s graciously sent extra copies of the magazine issue for me to share with my blog followers. If you would like to be in the drawing for a copy, “follow” my blog and leave a comment below saying which quilt in the issue most appeals to you. I’ll draw four lucky winners on August 2, 2014.

Alternate construction method: Instead of assembling the strip-pieced blocks in diagonal rows as the magazine shows, you can try an alternate and innovative piecing and cutting method. I’ll describe this method in my next blog post.

“Charmville Revisited” Finished!

23 07 2014

In recent posts I’ve blogged about the process of making a kid-friendly, scrappy quilt patterned after the original “Charmville” wall quilt published by McCall’s Quick Quilts. We left off with the patchwork houses needing a border. I chose orange to compliment the tiny orange flowers in the green “lawn” print of chicks.

Houses border

The orange tone-on-tone is printed with a directional texture that mimics European tile roofs, perfect texture for a house quilt! (Click on the picture to enlarge it and view the texture). Dilemma:  How to treat the corners of the quilt, showing the texture to best advantage. Without piecing, the width-of-fabric border strips were not long enough to miter the corners.  Rather than piecing the border strips, I decided to add Nine Patches as corner blocks. I pieced 1 3/4″ squares together with a yellow square in the center. Since the unfinished width of the Nine Patches is 4 1/4,” I cut the orange border strips this width.


My thread choices for quilting were light gray (which tends to blend with everything!) or light yellow. Unspooled, gray looked white against the orange border and darker house areas. So I settled on the yellow; it blends nicely in the orange border, the sky, and most of the house areas. The quilting design is a freehand watery ripple.


To finish off, I bound the quilt with a black print with white zigzags. Grandson Kaleb is helping me level out the clothesline during the photo shoot. “Charmville Revisited,” made with 2″ squares is on the left; the original “Charmville,” made with 1 1/2″ squares is on the right.


Constructing a home for my lonely Nine Patch house orphan block has been fun and rewarding. A toddler is sure to love cuddling in this quilt! And guess what, I have another house orphan block made with 2 1/2″ squares. It looks like we’ll be revisiting “Charmville” again in the next month or two.


Pinning Options for “Charmville Revisited”

21 07 2014


houses with roofs

I am making progress on my “Charmville Revisited” kid-friendly quilt! After attaching the roofs, and rearranging the houses several times, I sewed 2″ strips of sky fabric between the houses.

In the original “Charmville” quilt, I sewed black print strips of fabric for “streets” between the rows. This time I wanted to copy Marie’s quilt by sewing green “lawns” between the rows. I found several green options in my stash.

houses green options

Any one of them would do, but I settled on the light green print with tiny chicks and flowers. This whimsical print fits the kid-friendly theme perfectly!

The difficulty in sewing the rows of this quilt together is lining up the vertical seams of the sky fabric that separate the houses. It’s so much easier to line up vertical sashing when the horizontal sashing incorporates cornerstones!

Pinning options:

When constructing garments, I was taught to insert pins with the points toward the raw edge of the fabric as in the photo below. In this way, if the sewing machine needle happens to hit a pin, it will more likely glance off without breaking the needle or bending the pin since the pointed end is the thinner end.

House pins

Alternately, when I enrolled in a serger class, the instructor recommended we insert pins with the points inward, so we could easily pull out the pins with our right hands before they reached the cutter and the presser foot. Incidentally, I usually pin my quilt pieces together using this method.

House pinning option

There is a third pinning option which keeps vertical seams aligned even when separated by strips of fabric. I learned about Jacquie Gering’s “parallel pinning” method in the Spring 2014 Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine. Her article “I Love a Line:  The Slice-and-Insert Technique,” explains the method pictured below. (Jacquie blogs at tallgrassprariestudio.blogspot.com.)

House parallel pinning

Since I inserted the short, thin pins along the 1/4″ seam line, I can flip the top row upward and check the alignment of the vertical sashes prior to sewing. If they don’t align perfectly, I can ease the fabric and re-pin prior to sewing.

House aligned rows

Of course I removed the pins with my right hand as I sewed the rows together.

house sewing with parallel pins

Happily, the parallel pinning method kept my vertical seams aligned even though they were separated by the green horizontal sashing.

Next step– selecting a border fabric. I’m thinking orange. I’ll keep you posted!

Revisiting “Charmville”

18 07 2014

Earlier this year, my wall quilt, “Charmville,” was published in McCall’s Quick Quilts. I suggested on this post that you could make the patchwork houses with larger squares. To demonstrate, I made a house with 2″ squares. Now, months later, the lonely orphan house block is crying for attention.

house 2 inch squares

Wouldn’t it be fun to make a baby quilt of 16 various colored houses? To make it kid-friendly, I’ll try to put a playful or interesting square in each of the houses. Do you see the kitty-cat in the house block above?

house sewing sky to 9 patches

After making the 15 Nine Patches needed, I sewed 1 1/2″ x 5″ strips of sky fabric to the sides. The next step was selecting fabric for the roofs. I wanted colors that contrasted with the Nine Patches, and I also needed a balanced mix of colors.

houses, design wall

The next step is adding triangles of sky fabric to both sides of the roofs. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of “Charmville Revisited.”

July Fabric Resolution Finished!

16 07 2014

As a reminder, here’s the fabric I resolved to use somehow, someway in the month of July.Flags

I found a soccer themed fabric in JoAnn’s. The balls are imprinted with flags of the nations, perfect the quilt’s planned theme–world cup soccer tournament.


But the fabrics are very different in style and coloration.

flag and soccer fabric

So I decided to use my old fabric as the backing, and the new fabric as a feature print on the front of the quilt.

The quilt top measured 42 1/2″ square, and my backing was a mere inch wider. I sewed 4″ muslin extensions to the sides of the backing so my longarm clamps would have something to grip. The muslin extensions are re-usable; I sew them to the quilt backing by machine with a basting stitch. After the quilting is complete and I have trimmed the excess batting and backing from the top, I use a seam ripper to quickly snip and rip the extensions from the remaining narrow string of backing fabric. I have two lengths of extensions: one set for queen size quilts and one for baby or lap quilts.

July fabric resolution muslin extensions

Sorry to tease you by only showing the back of the quilt . . . but the front is a design I am pitching to McCall’s Quilting magazine for possible publication. If I receive a rejection notice, then I’ll feel free to show you the front of the quilt. Until then, here’s a sneak peak.


I really like the bright colors, the black and white circle print, the white background, and the black and white zigzag binding fabric. July’s fabric resolution . . . done!


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