House Construction

17 01 2017

img_0531Perhaps you are curious about the progress on our retirement home. The photo shows the back of the house; just one more warm day is needed for the bricklaying. In addition, wood under-layment is installed for vinyl in kitchen, bathrooms, and my sewing studio. And I have been shopping at Lowe’s for lighting fixtures and bathroom towel bars. Decisions, decisions, decisions!

For a textile rather than brick and mortar update, I’d like to show you the 6″ houses I made for a block exchange. The guidelines stipulated bright fabrics as well as black and white on a white background. The 12 participants each made 12 blocks of various sizes and one small wall quilt for a lottery exchange. I was ecstatic to find a fat quarter of the striped fabric for a border in the bottom of my sewing basket. The mini quilt is hand quilted; click the picture to zoom in an see the details.

img_0532I can hardly wait for our home to be complete, and I am on pins and needles to see the blocks my friends made for me!

Vintage Farm Girl Tp Complete

15 01 2017

I am so pleased with my adaptation of Lori Holt’s quilt, “Vintage Farm Girl.” The appliquéd leaf borders turned out nicely, don’t you think? I used most of the remaining 2 1/2″ wide strips in constructing a Piano Key border. It was fun to share my quilt during the Tarheel Quilt Guild meeting this afternoon.

2017 Quilt Alongs

12 01 2017

Recently I have been wondering if any quilters are offering Quilt Alongs on their blogs. Like I need to begin another project! But . . . it’s a new year, and it would be fun and motivational to join a new Quilt Along!

Quilt Fabrication is one of the blogs I follow. And, on January 7, Susan posted a list of free QALs.  Take a look, For example Barbara Brackman offers “Yankee Diary,” an alternate grid quilt with various size blocks for Civil War Quilt lovers. Pat Sloan plans a 25 block Quilt, “182 Day Solstice Challenge.” And there are others.

Which QAL from Susan’s blog most appeals to you? OR Are you participating in a QAL in 2017?

VFG Leaf-y Borders

9 01 2017

Vintage Farm Girl, a popular sampler quilt designed by Lori Holt, continues at the top of my WIP (Works in Progress) list. You can see a picture of my patchwork blocks on this blog post.

Lori includes a pieced block with 4 leaves to represent farm crops in her book. However, I am customizing my quilt with a leaf-y border. Instead of piecing 100 leaves, I decided to hand applique them next to pieced stems. The applique borders of the quilt are my current take-along project. Since hubby and I are traveling, hand applique is perfect for quiet evenings in hotels.


An explanation for piecing the stem:  My border is 6 1/2″ wide, unfinished. I cut the green print 1″ wide and sewed it between two white strips, each cut 3 1/4″ wide. I pressed the seam allowances toward the green stem. This means I will not have to push the needle through the seam allowances when appliqueing, and it also means my stems will puff with a bit of dimension after quilting.

img_0508Preparing the leaves:  The leaf template included a generous 1/8″ seam allowance. I cut out about 4 leaves from each fabric and worked on placing/pinning leaves on all four borders at once to evenly distribute the fabrics/colors. I considered using a ruler to measure the distance between the leaves and to make sure the center “veins” of the leaves intersected the stem at 45 degree angles. This proved too fussy! Instead, I eye-balled the 1″ distance between the leaves and simply made sure to orient them at a quasi 45 degree angle, pinning them 1/2″ from the edges of the white border fabric. I overlapped by 1/8″ the section of the leaves that touch the stem.

img_0507Appliqueing the leaves:  Since my leaf is a simple shape, I elected the “needle turn” method of hand applique. (Sometimes I use freezer paper or pellon stabilizer as an aid, but not this time.) I did not need to clip around the leaves since the curved bias edges naturally result in a smooth finish. Selecting spools of thread that most nearly matched the fabric colors of the leaves, I began stitching the leaves to the borders. It was easier to maintain the orientation of each leaf if I began at the point that touched the stem. I folded under 1/8″ so as not to sew through the leaf and the stem and continued bit by bit, tucking the seam allowance under and stitching all around the leaf.

I can’t wait to attach the borders and pieced corner squares to the quilt’s patchwork center!

If you’d like to learn more about needle turn applique, I recommend the Craft University class, Sew-on-the-Go with Needle-Turn Hand Applique taught by Deanne Eisenman.

First Quarter Pre-Cut Challenge, Fabric Pull

3 01 2017

If you read my post on January 1, you were invited to participate in the 2017 pre-cut challenge. Between January and March, I’m challenging myself (and you!) to turn some Quilter’s Candy or Fat Quarters into a quilt. At the moment, I don’t have any packs of 2 1/2″ squares, so I choose to make a quilt with several Fat Quarters purchased at the year-end sale of Loving Stitches, my local quilt shop. I’m sure I’ll add white fabric and colorful scraps from stash. The fabric with vehicles is for backing the quilt, eventually.


Now begins my search for the “perfect pattern.” I’ve seen some intriguing ideas on Pinterest,, and Moda Bake Shop. What other online sites or books do you recommend for idea shopping?

2017 – Pre-cut Challenge

1 01 2017

Happy New Year! And with the new year well-wishes comes a new year abyquilts blog challenge. As a reminder, we had a monthly Fat Quarter challenge in 2016. Although I still have a container of unused FQs, I want to change it up a little, proposing a different challenge this year. After conferring with Maridee, a regular participant in the 2016 challenge, I’ve hit upon a pre-cut challenge for the coming year.


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.

Are you game? Do you have an idea already for the pack of Quilter’s Candy or stack of Fat Quarters that’s simply collecting dust in your sewing room? Game on!

“Sock Monkey Circus”

30 12 2016

Today I want to share a picture and comments from Caty who made my modern baby quilt design, “Sock Monkey Circus.”


Caty made this cute quilt for her friend’s baby who is due in February.  It took one evening to cut out all the pieces and about two evenings of sewing.  She found it very easy to chain piece, and since she backed it in 58″ wide minky fabric, she was able to add a 2 1/2″ yellow border to enlarge the quilt. Don’t you love the scrappy binding?

If you would like to make Modern Baby Quilt – “Sock Monkey Circus,” you will find a link to the instructions on the Patterns page of this blog.  You will notice that Caty replaced my monkey feature fabric with an adorable dinosaur print. The bright, fun fabrics will definitely provide visual stimulation during “tummy time.”

Way to go Caty!  Thanks for sharing a picture of your quilt.  Your friend and her baby are going to cherish it.