“Black Forest Christmas” Published!

24 08 2016

IMG_0088The magazine of Best Christmas Quilts from Quilters Newsletter has hit newsstands! I spotted a handful at JoAnn’s in Fayetteville, and Deb found some at a Wal-Mart in Nebraska. Click here to order a copy from the online Quilt and Sew Shop.

Earlier this year, Quilters Newsletter editor Mary Kate issued a call for Christmas quilts. I sent digital pictures of several of my original designs, and “Black Forest Christmas” was selected for the collection. As a bonus, the quilt is shown in a red and green coloration because Deb M. also lent her quilt for photography.Deb's Black Forest Mystery

I designed this quilt as a mystery for a class I taught in Stuttgart, Germany several years ago.  Participants received one clue each month, working on the clues in class. The good news is that all the “clues” are given in Best Christmas Quilts with explanatory diagrams in full color.

IMG_0096The quilts in the magazine are organized by category:  Halls and Homes, Simple Gifts, and Bed Covers. By purchasing this special issue, you’ll get instructions for 24 projects. Such a deal, 24 patterns for the normal price of one! There’s something for everyone, no matter your decorating style, no matter your skill level. You need this magazine in your library. Small projects include mitten ornaments, table runners and pillows. Medium projects include wall quilts and a bed runner. And there is a sampling of large quilts like “Black Forest Christmas” for sofa throws and beds.

I guarantee you’ll be delighted and inspired!

Leave a comment to enter a drawing for a copy of Best Christmas Quilts. On September 1 I will notify the winner.


Vacation Sewing

17 08 2016

Do you like to take along a sewing/quilting project when traveling on vacation? I do! I usually reserve hand appliqué projects for down time when I’m away from home because I tend to be more motivated for slow stitching when away from my high speed machines. If I anticipate I’ll have time for machine sewing, I’ll pack the Featherweight Singer inherited from my grandmother.


Last week while visiting relatives in Pennsylvania, I machine sewed the FQ friendly baby quilt I posted about on Monday. In addition, I sewed a bunch of blocks for my Splendid Sampler project. I managed to hand sew the hexagon block on the road, and the others were sewn a few each day in between other family projects and outings.


For me, a vacation week is successful if hubby and I break out of our normal routine and relax. And I also like to have something to show for my week out of town. My handful of 6” blocks is my tangible take away.

Back in town again, we are excited to see progress on our house building project. Our contractor thinks it may be complete by the end of October!

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What type of sewing project did you take along on your summer vacation?

Fat Quarter Challenge–August

15 08 2016

The 15th of the month has rolled around again, and I am once more posting about a quilt project which utilizes some of my hoarded fat quarters.


The inspiration for this simple “Four Patch” quilt comes from Mari Martin’s “Snowbroth” quilt pictured on pg. 46 of the August 2016 Connecting Threads catalog. Click here to view the quilt and/or order a kit. (See more of Mari’s designs here.) I wondered if Mari’s design would morph well from her pastel white/gray/teal palette to my bright orange and blue butterfly print with coordinating tone-on-tones and prints. What do you think?


I down-sized the quilt from lap size to baby size in order to use my fat quarters. By cutting 4″ squares from four FQs, I obtained enough for 20 “Four Patch” blocks. (Each FQ yields 20  4″ squares.) With 2″ sashing, the quilt measures 36″ x 45 1/2.” Note the use of partial blocks for the border surrounding 12 complete “Four Patch” blocks; I think this feature adds interest. If you make this baby size quilt from FQs as I have described, you will need about 3/4 yd. of fabric for sashing as well as 20  2 1/2″ squares for cornerstones.

Now it’s your turn. What are you making with your fat quarters? I would love to show a picture of your project to blog readers. Send your digital picture and explanation to aby.quilts@gmail.com.

Quilt Design Inspiration–A Contest

11 08 2016

This week hubby and I are vacationing with family near York, Pennsylvania. Yesterday we enjoyed a family lunch at Hoss’s restaurant to celebrate Aunt Anna’s 80th birthday.

Quilt sightings! Not only were several framed antique quilt blocks displayed behind the cash register, there was an awesome ceramic tile and glass mosaic decorating the outside of the building.


Click on the picture above to take a closer look. Which part of this crazy quilt style mosaic inspires you? Which section could serve as a springboard for your next quilt? Comment with your design ideas, please. I’ll send a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks from Today’s Top Designers, Vol. 13 to you if your design idea piques my interest.


“Propeller” Baby Quilt Finished!

4 08 2016

IMG_0011I’m happy to say the airplane-themed quilt for my grand-nephew is finished! (Read about the beginning of this project here.) The 10″ blocks were not complex, and a strip-piecing technique sped construction. I discovered the fabric pieces for this size “Propeller” block lend themselves to 5″ squares and 2 1/2″ strips. Perhaps a Charm Pack and Jelly Roll “Propeller” quilt is in my future. Wouldn’t polka-dots or bright solids or the saturated tone-on-tone prints by Cotton and Steel be striking? But I digress.

IMG_0013After making the nine blocks, I auditioned fabric for sashing. White would have been okay, but I found an off-white with teal dots at Web Fabrics in Purcellville, Va. which pleased me more. An all over spiral quilting design subtly adds to the idea of whirling propellers, and a navy tone-on-tone binding makes a definitive finish.

Welcome, Baby Dolinger. Your family stands ready to offer you roots and wings!

Calvin and Hobbes Baby Quilt

2 08 2016

FJ9A7880Isn’t this the “funn-est” quilt? Tricia made the top for her expected granddaughter and sent it to me for finishing. I love the cheerful yellow, red, and orange patchwork blocks, but I’m fascinated by the alternate squares. Tricia’s daughter and son-in-law have decorated the nursery with their favorite comic characters, Calvin and Hobbes. To follow the theme, Tricia used a specially treated fabric and her ink jet printer to make Calvin and Hobbes fabric for the alternate squares. What a great idea!

photo transfer fabric pkgIn the past, I have used photo transfer paper-backed fabric for photographs to include in quilts, but I never thought of using it for drawings like comics. This idea opens up a world of possibilities:  Children’s drawings, hand-written letters, sports team logos, wedding invitations, anything that is printed on a piece of paper. Please note that fabric or projects made using copyrighted drawings like Calvin and Hobbes should not be sold; it’s just for one-of-a-kind, personal use.

Click on the picture and zoom in to observe the quilting. At Tricia’s suggestion, I used orange quilting thread for the patchwork blocks, freehanding various designs. I used off white thread to meander in the alternate cartoon squares. A curl design nicely fills the inner border, and double loops complete the outer border.


Comment with your ideas for creative ways to use Photo Fabric.

Sewing Shenanigans

29 07 2016

This past month I’ve been sharing my sewing space with my visiting daughter, Trinity, and granddaughter, Krystine. Would you like to see the progress they’ve made on their projects?

Trinity finished a queen size Americana star quilt for her sister. She became quite adept at making half square triangles while completing the sixteen 16” blocks. I love the subtle contrast of the regular black print in the tan shirting sashing fabric as well as the scrappy “Piano Key” border. Trinity cleverly created a patchwork column to enlarge the backing fabric.

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Trinity also made a baby quilt for her dog-sitter who is expecting a baby girl in September. She was inspired by the Who Loves You owl print designed by Michele Scott for Northcott. The squares on the owl print panel measure 8,” so she cut 3” squares for the “Nine Patch” alternate blocks. (If you’d like to make a similar quilt and you live near Loving Stitches in Fayetteville, NC, you’ll be pleased to know that all the fabrics were purchased there.)


In addition, Trinity is making 12” blocks for Lori Holt’s “Vintage Farm Girl” sampler.

IMG_0003 (1)Krystine worked diligently to complete 50 “Nine Patches” and 49 “Snowball” blocks for her full size quilt in fall colors. The tone-on-tone fabrics coordinate so nicely; I would love to make a similar quilt for myself. And now that her “fall” quilt is nearing completion, Krystine can begin planning a winter/Christmas quilt using the basket of fat quarters she won at the guild meeting last Sunday. (The FQ theme this month was “Christmas in July.”) Lucky girl!

Don’t we all feel as happy as Krystine when we complete a quilting project?

As they depart for home in Texas, both Trinity and Krystine have to be proud of all the quilting projects they worked on during their visit!


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