“Table Tiles” QAL

15 09 2014

Have you gathered the fabrics for your “Table Tiles” runner? I’m using ethnic African prints. When I opened my box of scraps collected on my trip to Kenya three years ago, here’s a sampling of what I found.

African prints

African prints

While in Nairobi, the eight people on our mission trip team stayed with families in the large church we visited. My husband’s administrative assistant and her husband happened to stay with a dressmaker, and she was happy to give me a sack full of 100% cotton scraps. What a treasure trove! Upon returning from our trip, I made three lap quilts for team members, but I didn’t get around to making a souvenir for Ran and myself. There is no time like the present!

I have several large pieces of ethnic fabric, but I intend to use the narrower scraps for my “Table Tiles” runner. Perhaps one of the larger pieces will serve as a backing.

If you are participating in the QAL (Quilt-A-Long), leave a comment below detailing your progress. Did you acquire the fabric in an ususual way as I did? If you are still sitting on the fence about making this project, please join in the fun!

You will find the pattern for “Table Tiles” in the October/November 2014 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. The editors have provided a web bonus with measurements and instructions for a lap quilt. Click here to access the web bonus pattern.



Connie’s Birthday Quilt

14 09 2014

In March of 2013, my father, a widower for nearly 10 years, married Connie. In the process of combining their households, she found several boxes of stitchery projects and notions. Included were 3 scrappy quilt tops made by her aunt. I appropriated the notions I could use, offered some to Trinity and Dawn, and placed the remainder on the “free table” at my guild.

Thinking to finish a quilt top for her birthday gift, I asked Connie which of the three was her favorite. She selected the hexagon quilt.


Talk about a random, mostly low volume design! I surmise that most of the fabrics are poly cotton, perhaps from curtain-making scraps. In the center of the quilt, the medium sized hexagons were pieced by hand with a scant 1/8″ seam allowance. Perhaps Auntie decided to hurry the project along by machine stitching the rest of the quilt!


Picking up on the blue hexagons in the patchwork, I selected a blue tone-on-tone from my stash for borders. Connie’s favorite color is pink, but I think a pink border on this quilt would appear too washed out. What can I say? I am a “high contrast quilter!” I did, however, find a pink floral for the back of the quilt.

I didn’t trim the sides of the hexagons until after adding the border. The quilt measures 53″ x 73,” a nice lap size.


I used a polyester batting in order to ease in some of the fullness in the quilt’s center. An all over freehand flower, loop, and leaf design suggests “Grandmother’s Flower Garden,” a typical name for a hexagon quilt. I used a light blue variegated thread which shows up nicely on the dark blue border and minimally in the quilt’s interior.


Won’t Connie be surprised to receive a project she thought she had gotten rid of, once and for all?


I already have plans to complete the other scrappy quilts, perhaps they will make nice family picnic quilts for Connie’s two grown children. (Note: I wrote this blog in the fall of 2013 . . . and neglected to post it. Since I am working on Connie’s other scrappy quilts, I thought you would be interested in seeing this one first.)

You can read about another vintage hexagon quilt that I finished for a customer here.

“Chippewa” Scrap Quilt

12 09 2014

One of the quilting bloggers I follow is Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew. The simplicity of her “easy” quilts is so fresh and pretty! She also tries challenging projects with angles and curves. One of her quilts that caught my eye is “Chippewa,” named after her street. Click here to read about Allison’s quilt and to view her tutorial.

Allison make her quilt with 2 1/2″ squares. I, on the other hand, had an overflowing bin of 3″ squares. I carried them to our country property (“The Quarry”) a couple of Saturdays ago, and while our husbands went scuba diving, Lynn and I played with fabric squares.


Lynn decided she could select squares better if they were separated by color and by pattern. After we sorted, we laid out the blocks on an old white sheet beginning in the center. We had enough squares to design two quilts. Then I set up my Featherweight machine and sewed the rows together.

 Featherweight at quarry

I didn’t bring white fabric with me to complete the design, so I pinned the rows to the sheet, shingling them to save space.


For the first quilt we worked on, I felt that the outermost round should be dark to accentuate the diamond shape. But then I looked at Allison’s blog again and noticed that her outer round was of medium value. Lynn and I decided that a pink round would best coordinate with the pink center of the second quilt.

Once home, I figured out the lengths the white strips needed to be cut, writing them on my white board. This was handy to have near my cutting table for easy reference.  Notes:  I used about a yard of white fabric for each quilt. If you want the quilt top to fit on a 40″ – 42″ width of backing, decrease the center design by one round or “ring” of squares.


I pressed the seam allowances in odd numbered rows to the right and on even numbered rows to the left. I began sewing the rows together in the center of the quilt, decreasing the necessity of pinning every seam allowance.


I sewed the rows for the two halves of the quilt together, then I joined the halves.


Lynn and I concluded this quilt would be perfect for a baby girl.


For the backing, I found a cute print in just the right shade of pink on the clearance rack at JoAnn’s. Unfortunately, it wasn’t wide enough, so I inserted a panel of teal hand-dyed fabric. To better coordinate with the patchwork pattern on the front of the quilt, I constructed a strip of squares for the back. As you can see, I quilted spirals, freehand, with white thread.


I plan to postpone finishing the other “Chippewa” quilt; it will be my “Bible Study” quilt this semester. I’ll ask class members to select 3″ squares each week to incorporate into a border for the quilt. (You can read about other “Bible Study” quilts by typing “Bible Study” in the search box in the upper right corner of my blog.)


This quilt design, which uses scrappy squares, has lots of visual appeal, don’t you think? Incidentally, Allison has designed a newly released line of fabric, “Oh Clementine,” manufactured by Windham Fabrics. You can read about it here on Cluck Cluck Sew.

“Slant Six” Mystery Quilt Finished!

10 09 2014

Have you found time to sew your “Slant Six” blocks together? The mystery is over, but now the fun begins in earnest . . . sewing your blocks into a lap quilt. And do you need to go shopping for border fabric(s)? Or do you have that on hand already?

I can’t wait to see your quilts! Please send pictures so I can share them with blog readers. aby.quilts@gmail.com

By way of motivation, here’s a picture of my “Slant Six.”


In keeping with the flip-flop beach theme, I quilted sea shells edge to edge with variegated aqua thread. You can see some of the shells in the picture of the back of the quilt. The Pattern Man has the pantograph; click here to see it.


For binding, I had just enough of the stripe fabric. Now to decide which of my relatives or friends should have this quilt. Definitely someone who likes bright colors and who likes the beach!


Launching “Table Tiles” Quilt-A-Long

8 09 2014

Quick Quilts OctNov 2014 Cover

As previously written, my table runner, “Table Tiles,” was published in the October/November 2014 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. I hope you have been able to find a copy of the magazine at a newsstand or your favorite fabric store. If not, you may order a copy (paper or digital) from the McCall’s website. The McCall’s editors posted instructions for a lap quilt version of the design. Click here to find basic measurements and instructions.


Several blog readers commented that they would be interested in participating in a QAL for “Table Tiles.” That means several more of you are also interested even though you preferred not to comment. Am I right?

If you are like me, you are more likely to work on a project if you have a deadline or an accountability partner. When I state to a friend, “I am interested in working on this quilt,” I am more likely to follow through and actually do it because I know she will ask me about my progress, cheer me on, and compliment me when I finish. I challenge you to participate in the QAL; by signing up to participate, you’ll be motivated to make a lovely quilted table decoration for yourself or for a special person on your holiday gift list.

Roman Stripe table runner

This is a relatively small and easy project, so the QAL will finish up at the end of October. Each Monday between now and then I’ll post about “Table Tiles.” I’ll need some pictures of your quilt in progress to make the blog posts more colorful. So please send me pictures: aby.quilts@gmail.com

Step One: Select a fabric or color palette. Blog readers, anxious to win a copy of the Quick Quilts magazine, commented with some fantastic ideas: Patriotic, gray and yellow, pastel, scrappy red and blue, baby quilt size, Southwest batiks, black and red, blue with white and gray, 1930s reproduction, red and green for Christmas, reds, primary colors with black.

Here’s the “Accountability” part—leave a comment below if you will participate in the QAL stating your fabric or color palette. I’ll be first: I am going to use some ethnic prints I obtained on a mission trip to Kenya three years ago. I’ll pair these with black, and this will also be my Fabric Resolution for September. (Yes, I am multi-tasking!)


“Jelly Roll 1600 Quilt” Finished!

6 09 2014


Autumn will soon arrive, and here’s a quilt to herald the season.

Since our Quilting Circle’s “Jelly Roll 1600″ race a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been working on completing the quilt. Adding top and bottom borders of the autumn leaf print was no problem. However, the sides of the quilt were uneven due to the speedy way the quilt was constructed. Instead of trimming the sides with rotary cutter and ruler, I allowed the border strips to be my straight edge. If you look closely at the picture, you can see that the interior of the quilt extends past the border in places.


Guesti-mating by eye is one thing, but verifying with a tape measure made sure my quilt was the same width from top to bottom. Before sewing the side border strips onto the quilt, I measured from the outer edge of the left border strip to the outer edge of the right border strip in five places through the width of the quilt. After some minor adjustments, I sewed the side borders to the quilt.


I used gold thread to quilt an edge to edge design of various leaves. Click here to see the “Falling Leaves” pantograph I purchased from The Pattern Man.

This is the perfect quilt for curling up under in front of the fireplace with a good book on a frosty evening!

“Four Patch X” Finished!

4 09 2014

“I’ll take the rest of the bolt.” Do you ever say that at the fabric store? Here’s the bolt that came in handy for my “Four Patch X” quilt.


I love to shop the Red Tag clearance section at JoAnn’s Fabrics and Crafts. I especially love it when the Red Tag clearance is marked down an additional 50%! That is when I search for premium quilting fabric yardage for backing my quilts. Sometimes I have a needy quilt top in mind; many times I’m buying in advance even of planning the quilt. It’s just nice to have yardage on hand; and bargain shopping stretches the fabric budget immensely.


You can read about the beginning of my “Four Patch X” quilt here. After making 24 scrappy blocks, I trimmed them to 7 3/4″ square. (Who says blocks have to measure 12 1/2,” unfinished?)


 Then I  began searching in my stash for sashing fabric. I considered yellow, the suggested color in the Sept./Oct. 2010 Quiltmaker magazine. I also searched among my blues because Bonnie Hunter used a light, vaguely stripe-y blue in her quilt pictured in her book “More Adventures With Leaders and Enders.” Nothing in my stash enthused me until I spied my bargain bolt leaning nonchalantly against my fabric shelving.

Four Patch X, design wall

 At first, I didn’t like it; the fabric was so different than the other pictured quilts. But with orange cornerstones, it turns out being just right for my quilt.

Four Patch X, needs borders

With print borders, meandering quilting with orange thread, and orange binding, this quilt is ready for snuggling under!

Four Patch X, finished 2

Just wondering what bolts of fabric you have purchased. Have you found a use for them, or are they stacking up in your sewing room?


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