“Spring Migration” QAL – Step 6

27 04 2015


This is the final step in our “Spring Migration” Quilt A-Long. Thanks for reading along (those of you who didn’t make the quilt). And thanks for sewing along (those of you who accepted the challenge). Remember that a link to all the instructions for “Spring Migration” is on the Patterns page of this blog.

Step 6 is Finishing your quilt:  Quilting, Binding, and Labeling

I have some examples of possible quilting designs; I trust you to bind and label your quilt without my instructions.

To contrast with the straight lines of the rectangles, squares and triangles, you could select a curvy quilting design. I quilted freehand spirals on one of my quilts.


Or, to “copy” the straight lines of the patchwork pieces, you could select a linear quilting design. I used a pantograph for my second “Spring Migration.” (JRPANTO15 Modern Simplicity by Jodi Robinson & Digi-tech Designs, LLC)


Here’s a close-up of the backs of the quilts.


Which quilting design style do you favor for your quilt? Curvy or linear?

String-Pieced Star Lap Quilt

25 04 2015

How do you use extra string-pieced blocks? I had three lonely 8″ blocks leftover from my “Nancy” quilt. I trimmed the blocks to 7 1/2″ and constructed 14 1/2″ Saw Tooth Star blocks with golden yellow star points and blue tone-on-tone background. I solicited help from my Quilting Circle to make a fourth block and to string-piece a border on paper foundations. My goal was to teach my quilting friends how to string-piece as they helped me finish a charity quilt top. (Thanks, ladies!)


I tried a new serpentine (wavy) all-over quilt design on my long arm machine. Beginning at the top of the quilt, I free-handed a giant rick-rack style curve from the left edge of the quilt to the right edge. Back and forth I quilted, echoing my initial wave, keeping the lines approximately 1″ apart. I love the texture this design created!

If you try this on a home sewing machine, I suggest drawing (or tracing) a curved with chalk through the center of your quilt. After quilting the chalked curvy line, work outward from the left and the right of the serpentine line of stitching. Keep the stitching lines approxmiately 1″ apart, and don’t stress if the waves aren’t perfectly spaced.

“Soiree” Finished!

22 04 2015


I usually don’t order kits, but I when I saw “Soiree” in a Connecting Threads catalog, I was intrigued. And then came an advertrisement with a sale price. So I ordered the kit, a yard of rust red for inner border and binding, a yard of the stripe for an outer border and a bit more backing so I could make a larger quilt.

I began cutting and piecing the blocks at a retreat at the end of February. It was quick and fun and an efficient way to utilize a layer cake of 10″ squares.


Happy Times” pantograph by Lorien Quilting added interest in the plain alternate squares. For quilting, I used a medium gray thread.

soiree quilting detail

My husband’s Granny, a native of Chilhowie, VA, always kept some quilts in her cedar chest to share with neighbors in need. I plan on following the family tradition by sharing this quilt with a college friend who recently suffered a devastating house fire. I think I’ll rename it “Beauty from Ashes.”

“Spring Migration” QAL – Step 5

20 04 2015

Do you look forward to Mondays? Generally, I do; I look forward to tackling the projects and activities on my calendar and to-do list. Usually I set a goal to work on a quilt or two, and there’s always housework (spring cleaning). Other weekly goals and responsibilities aside, I hope you look forward to receiving the next step in our QAL which posts on Mondays! Today’s step marks the final patchwork border. Next week, we’ll talk about quilting options.

Step 5:  Piece the Outer Border

From Print fabric, cut 2 strips 6 ½” x 42.” Sub-cut in 2 ½” increments. You need 32 rectangles that measure 2 ½” x 6 ½.”


From Blue fabric, cut 2 strips 4 ½” x 42.” From White fabric, cut 2 strips 2 ½” x 42.”

Sew Blue and White strips right sides together. Make 2 strip sets that measure 6 ½” wide. Press seam allowances toward Blue fabric.


Sub-cut in 2 ½” increments. You need 36 units, so you may have to cut a few more Blue (2 ½” x 4 ½”) and White (2 ½” x 2 ½”) pieces from remaining fabric.

Sew Print rectangles and Blue/White units together, alternating pieces as shown below.


Make 4 border strips; each has 9 Blue/White units and 8 Print rectangles. Press seam allowances toward the Print strips.

Sew two borders to opposite sides of the quilt top. Press seam allowances toward the inner border.

From 6 ½” wide (or 7” wide) Red strip, remaining from Step 1, cut four 6 ½” squares. Sew these Red squares to both ends of the two remaining pieced borders.


Pin and sew the final borders to the opposite sides of the quilt top.

Press the seam allowances toward the inner border.


Leave a comment below when you’ve completed your quilt top.

I Love My Job!

18 04 2015

IMG_3638This past week I quilted two quilts for my friend, Anissa, one for her daughter and one for her son. Anissa found the pattern on the Fat Quarter Shop’s blog, The Jolly Jabber. Click here to travel to the August 6, 2014 blog post which details how to make “Fat Quarter Fizz.”

Lots of rectangles and squares . . . irridescent colors . . . the spring time colored fabrics remind me of glittering dragonflies. I asked Anissa if her daughter might like an all over quilting design of dragonflies and flowers. Yes! Now take a look up close and view the transformation quilting makes to a design of simple rectangler shapes. I used a variegated thread of bright colors. I love the effect!



IMG_3642Anissa selected different colors for her son’s quilt. I like the way she arranged the fabrics in diagonal stairstep rows, alternating cool colors with warm colors. Brainstorming for quilting design ideas, we looked through my box of pantographs. We found several that might work for a young guy. Anissa settled on spiderwebs because her son is a fan of Spiderman. Again, from a distance, the quilt looks like rectangles and squares of vibrant color.



The close up view adds a surprising textural layer. It’s as if the colors and shapes now have something meaningful to say.


I love my job . . . adding that extra layer of stitched interest . . . giving lively zip to colored rectangles and squares . . . enticing the viewer to come closer and see what the quilt will communicate.


Skinning the Proverbial Cat

17 04 2015

Have you tried “Slice and Dice – Uneven Nine Patch”? The link to the instructions is on my Patterns page.

Slice and Dice, Karlyn 1

My friend, Karlyn, decided to biggie-size the directions to make 12 large blocks for a lap size quilt. She bought 1 yd. each of a cabbage print (Kaffe Fassett), pink tonal, gray print, and purple tonal. Instead of cutting fat quarters into 4″ wide strips as the directions call for, she cut 6 1/2″ wide strips from yardage, selvage to selvage.

Slice and Dice, Karlyn 2

I really loved the color value placement in Karlyn’s quilt: bright large-scale print for the center of the blocks and sashing cornerstones, softer medium values for the rectangles and corner squares of the blocks, and a strong bold tonal for the sashing. I liked the repetition of using the gray print in the border. Karlyn selected a gray spiral print for the backing.

One of the charitable organizaitons I support needs twin size bedding for men, so I scoured JoAnn’s for four manly fabrics to simulate the values in Karlyn’s “Slice and Dice.” I found a fish print for the block centers (1 yd.), a light gray swirl print for the rectangles (1 yd.), a gray/tea/orange print for block corner squares and border (1 1/2 yds.), and a strong teal tonal for the sashing (1 1/2 yds.).

Since Karlyn mentioned that cutting through the biggie-size width of strips sets was a bit unwieldy, I decided to strip piece the “Uneven Nine Patch” blocks instead of following the “Slice and Dice” method.

Fish q - strip pieced

From the fish print, I cut two strips 6 1/2″ x WOF (width of fabric). From the light gray swirl, I cut four strips 3 1/2″ x WOF. After sewing them together and pressing toward the fish print, I cut away the selvages and then cut the two strip sets into twelve 6 1/2″ segments.

fish q - cuts

To make the side rows for the blocks, I cut two strips 6 1/2″ x WOF of the light gray swirl and four strips 3 1/2″ x WOF of the gray/teal/orange print. After sewing them together and pressing toward the print, I cut away the selvages and then cut the two strip sets into twenty-four 3 1/2″ segments. Pinning and sewing the rows of the “Uneven Nine Patches” together was a breeze!

Fish q - blocks

Cutting 3 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ sashing strips and fussy cutting 3 1/2″ square fish-y cornerstones was simple. I laid the 12 blocks out on the floor near my sewing machine, spreading the varieties of pictured fish throughout the quilt.

Fish q - layout

Several hours later, my quilt top was complete.


I selected a gray print for the backing and binding. In keeping with the aquatic theme, I quilted a freehand water design.


 So, you see, there is more than one way to skin a cat, er, to make a quilt!



“Spring Migration” More Progress

16 04 2015

Several more participants of the “Spring Migration” Quilt A-Long have sent pictures of their projects. I know you’ll enjoy seeing them!

First up is Judy’s quilt top — all done because she worked on it at the recent Black Forest Quilters retreat. Way to go, Judy! The brown and tan fabric coupled with the teddy bear print, definitely make this a quilt suited for a baby boy.

spring migration, Judy

Suzie upcycled two shirts and a skirt to make her quilt. The plaid with dark green looks so classic! I can’t wait to see the pieced border Suzie will add next.

Spring migration, Suzie H.

Karlyn is making her quilt as a gift for her sister, a cancer survivor. She is going to appreciate the love Karlyn stitched into this quilt. Can you spot the modification Karlyn made to the “Spring Migration” pattern?

spring migration, Karlyn

Roxann’s perky, pink pansy quilt is looking awesome! Once she adds the borders, it is going to look right at home on her sofa, don’t you think?

spring migration, Roxann

If you are quilting along with us, remember to check the blog on Monday for the final sewing step. Until then, Happy Quilting!

Reminder:  All the instructions for the quilt are on the Patterns page of the blog.




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