“Blue Sky” Progress

17 08 2017

“Orange Peel” blocks from “Blue Sky” fabrics is my current take-along hand applique project. Click here to read my original post about the planned quilt. I have completed 19 of the 25 required appliqued blocks for my quilt, and I plan to work on a few more during layovers in airports today as I fly home to NC from TX.

What has been your take-along project this summer?

Third Quarter Pre-cut Challenge

14 08 2017

Several quilters are new followers of this blog, so at the risk of boring most of you, I’d like to reiterate the details of this year’s challenge and invite you all to participate this quarter. The following is an excerpt from the original blog post in January.

We are all tempted to buy Jelly Rolls (2 1/2″ wide strips), Charm Squares (5″ squares), Quilter’s Candy (2 1/2″ squares), and Layer Cakes (10″ squares), right? And many times they simply become colorful decorations on the shelves in our sewing rooms. This year let’s change our languishing pre-cuts into lovely quilts!

Rather than issue a monthly challenge, I’m issuing a quarterly challenge. Here’s the schedule:

January – March:  Quilter’s Candy or Fat Quarters

April – June:  Jelly Roll

July – September:  Layer Cake

October – December:  Charm Squares

Toward the beginning of each quarter, I’ll blog about my pre-cut choice and explain my intended project. When I finish the project, I’ll share a photo, and toward the end of each quarter, I’ll ask you to email me a digital picture of your challenge project.

Yikes! We are half-way through the 3rd Quarter and I have yet to share a picture of my project. I’ve been busy hosting grandchildren and indulging in other summer activities instead of prolifically sewing and blogging, and I bet you have, too. But summer is fast coming to an end, and back-to-school time is a great time to find time in the quilting room sewing a Layer Cake project.

I used my “Arcadian Garden” pattern to make a fun lap quilt with Benartex’s “Nordic Holiday” line designed by Amanda Murphy. The line features a large scale design of snow white Artic creatures garlanded with wreaths accompanied by beautiful holiday prints. The color palette, as you can see, includes red, white, gray, green, and teal. The quilt is on display at Sew There! Quilts and More in Angier, NC. If you live locally and want to make this quick and easy quilt, call the shop to sign up for the two class sessions in September.

Here is a Work in Progress photo on the “design floor.” Aren’t the elegant prints so vibrant and cheerful?

My friend, Lori, made an “Arcadian Garden” quilt for her daughter with pastel fabrics from Connecting Threads. She achieved the larger bed size by adding a wide border which she quilted with a lovely cable design.

If “Arcadian Garden” would not suit the fabrics in your layer cake, may I suggest “Thrifty Stars”? It is photographed in a beautiful setting at Peace University in Raleigh.

Happy sewing on your 3rd Quarter Challenge project! Quilt shops and magazines are great sources of designs for using your package of 10″ squares, so settle on a pattern, tear off the cellophane, untie the ribbon, and begin. If you would like to order either “Arcadian Garden” or “Thrifty Stars,” send an email to aby.quilts@gmail.com. 



“Garlic Knots” Hack

11 08 2017

I am a fan of Bonnie Hunter, the queen of scrap quilts. (You will find a link to her Quiltville blog in the right column of this blog.) I have purchased most of her books and have constructed nearly a dozen of her quilt patterns. Bonnie provides a mystery quilt to her blog followers each year in late fall, and she launches a Leader/Ender challenge in July. (This year’s design is “Rail Fence.”) Bonnie designs blocks for the bi-annual publication, Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks from Today’s Top Designers, and one of her ideas for blocks using scraps is regularly published in the “Addicted to Scraps” column in Quiltmaker magazine.

Currently, I am captivated by the simple block, “Garlic Knots.” Bonnie’s instructions for this block were published in the January/February 2014 issue of Quiltmaker. Click here for a diagram and explanation. You will find more photos on Pinterest and when searching “images of Garlic Knots quilts” online. In order to respect copyright laws, I will not publish detailed instructions for making this block. However, it is simple enough to figure out the math for yourself. If you want to make 6″ blocks, divide 6″ by the 4 squares in each row to reach the finished square size of 1 1/2.” If you want to use 2 1/2″ scrappy squares, you’ll end up with an 8″ finished block.

Instead of cutting oodles of 2″ squares for the blocks, I am using 2″ wide strips of Civil War reproduction fabric leftover from another project. The “hack” is strip-piecing 3 blocks at a time by cutting my 40″ long strips in thirds. To zoom in, click on the picture at the right. You will see that rows 1 and 4 are cut from the same strip-set. Row 4 is merely rotated 180 degrees. And Rows 2 and 3 are cut from the second strip-set. Similarly, row 3 is rotated 180 degrees. The 6″ blocks work up in a jiffy, and my pile of finished blocks is growing steadily. Several years ago I bought about 2 1/2 yds. of shirting which will be the background for all my blocks. When I use up all that shirting, I will quit making blocks, and my quilt size will thus be determined!

If you made a “Garlic Knots” quilt, what style of fabric would you use?

Ran’s Retirement Quilt Finished!

8 08 2017

Hubby retired from active Army service as a chaplain two years ago. My daughter and I thought the perfect way to mark such a momentous occasion was to make him a quilt. So, we made a deal. She would construct the top, and I would quilt it on my longarm.

Trinity is a fan of the “Carpenter’s Star” patchwork design. She constructed the star around a U.S. flag and used pieces of several types of the camouflage uniforms Ran wore during his 30 years of service to make the star. The patchwork star blocks surrounding the central medallion measure 16″ square and are made with various Americana prints. Completing the quilt is an outer Piano Key border of “cheater” striped fabric. This fabric was a gift from Ran’s mother several years ago meaning three generations had a hand in making this gift.

Trinity artfully placed flags and printed Scripture verses within the pieced back.

I enhanced the star points with quilted feathers. And a simple continuous curve design securely holds all the camouflage triangles in place. I bound the quilt with blue-on-blue polka dot fabric leftover from the backing. Click on either photo to better view the quilting designs.

A belated congratulations to you, Ran! We know this quilt will warm you figuratively as well as literally each time you snooze in its comfort.

Quilting with the Grands – a Summary

6 08 2017

A quick look-back at previous blog posts tells me that I need to bring you up to date on what’s been happening in my sewing room. I have been hosting grandchildren . . . and they have worked on sewing quilts!

Krystine enrolled in a “Prest-O, Change-O” class that I taught at Sew There! quilt shop in Angier, NC. I designed the pattern which uses two packs of 5″ charm squares and some yardage. Krystine sewed the squares together, and then we cut the quilt apart diagonally. Moved the pieces. Sewed it together again. Moved the pieces. Sewed it together again. And Prest-O, Change-O, the squares are on-point. She had fun selecting an inner and outer border, discovering that batiks are a favorite fabric to work with.

Kaleb worked with a Star Wars panel that his mom purchased at a quilt show. We used Electric Quilt software to figure out border widths, designs, and colors. Notice that the stars in the four corners of the second border are actual star colors: red, blue, yellow, and white. The corner blocks in the outer border are stylized X-Wing fighter jets. Kaleb plans to enter this in a 4-H fair next spring.


Not to be left out, 4 year old Aidan decided to make a rocket ship quilt for his little brother. I’ll post more about his quilt in the future.

I had a grand time sewing with the grands during the past few weeks!

Have you worked on a quilt project with a child this summer?

Interview by Shannon

1 08 2017

My friend and fellow quilt guild member, Shannon, recently asked me some quilt related questions which she posted on her blog, aquiltingmomma.com. It was fun to reflect on my beginnings as a quilter and to express my thoughts on my favorite art/craft/hobby/occupation. Click here to travel to Shannon’s blog. Feel free to read her previous posts and “follow” along if the content of her blog appeals to you. 

Merry Christmas – in July!

25 07 2017

Welcome to the final day of “12 Days of Christmas in July” blog hop planned and hosted by Sarah Craig who blogs at confessionsofafabricaddict.blogspot.com.  Travel to Sarah’s blog for a list and description of the other bloggers on this 12th Day of Christmas (in July). Remember to comment on each of today’s featured blogs in order to be entered in a give-away.

My contribution to all the wonderful gifts, crafts, and holiday décor projects presented in the blog hop is a quilt, of course. Actually, I’m showing two quilts. One is throw or twin size, the other is baby or wall hanging size. Take advantage of your local quilt shop’s Christmas in July fabric sales and begin making one or the other of these quick and easy Star quilts.

You will find pdf (printer friendly) instructions for the quilts on the Patterns page of this blog. The throw/twin size quilt measures 72″ x 72.” The baby/wall quilt measures 40″ x 40″ and is fat quarter friendly. Both are in one document listed as “Christmas Triple Star Quilt” on the Patterns page.

For a playful finish, I quilted meandering loops in white thread all over the baby/wall quilt. Using aqua thread, I quilted a snowflake pantograph on the larger quilt. I was a little unsure about using aqua thread, but I love the results; the snowflake motifs show up nicely and add interest in the large white background triangles. You can best see this in the close-up photo below.

Yes, it is July 25th, exactly five months until Christmas! Celebrate by making at least one of the blog hop projects as a decoration or gift. I would love to see a picture of your finished project.

To re-cap, here is a list of links to all the blog hop participants.

Friday, July 14th

 Saturday, July 15th
 Sunday, July 16th
 Monday, July 17th
 Tuesday, July 18th
 Wednesday, July 19th
 Thursday, July 20th
 Friday, July 21st
 Saturday, July 22nd

If this is your first time visiting abyquilts.wordpress.com, welcome! I invite you to “follow” for lots of quiltmaking fun and encouragement. I have an on-going pre-cut challenge for 2017. The challenge for the third quarter is using a Layer Cake of 10″ squares to make a quilt. There are frequent drawings for quilt magazines, and occasionally I host a Quilt Along or Mystery Quilt project.