“Rows Parade” BOM #4 – Plus Signs

This month we are making “Plus Signs” for our row quilts. I chose this design for April because the pluses remind me of crosses, and Easter is in April this year. You might like to listen to “The Glory of the Cross” by Scott Brenner on You Tube as you contemplate your fabric choices for this row.

My “Plus Signs” are the bottom row of my quilt, but you may choose to place them elsewhere according to your fabic colors. Notice that the blocks seem to bounce up and down due to an extra strip of background fabric sewn either above or below the block. Thus, the blocks are 6″ wide but 8″ tall. If making the queen size quilt, make 12 “Plus Signs.” The twin size requires 8 blocks, and the throw or lap quilt requires only 4 blocks which do not have the added background strip because they alternate with “Flying Geese” in a vertical row.

Find instructions for “Plus Signs” by clicking on the “Rows Parade BOM 2023” tab in the menu. Happy Sewing!

“Nine Patches” – BOM #3 Wrap-Up

It has been so much fun to see the various colors and arrangements of “Nine Patches” for the “Rows Parade” quilt along. Thanks for sending pictures of your progress; your take on an age-old patchwork design may inspire another blog reader to make a “Nine Patch” table runner or lap quilt gift.

It’s not too late to join the QAL – just click on “Rows Parade BOM 2023” in the menu. Once on the page, you’ll see downloadable instructions for all the blocks to date.

Rochelle sent a picture of her row. Notice her alteration of tone-on-tones with prints. She wrote, “I have to say this is such a fun row quilt.  The way you’ve scheduled the steps I have plenty of time to work on other projects, including a 2nd row quilt.”

Helga is making the twin size quilt with flannel fabric from her stash.

Valerie is planning an alternate lay-out of her blocks. At our BOM met-up at Sew There! Quilts and More in Angier she showed me her plan on graph paper, but I can’t wait to see how it all comes together “in person.”

Jean is making two quilts; the longer row is for the queen size quilt, and the shorter row is for the twin size.

Lucy’s blocks are made with “Happy Days” fabrics designed by Sherri and Chelsi for Moda.

Have you made the “Nine Patches” for your “Rows Parade?” If so, comment DONE below and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a free quilting magazine. Tune in tomorrow for BOM #4 instructions.

“Giant Dahlia” Finally Finished!

My grandmother, “Gaga,” pieced this quilt top years ago, circa 1985. I am pretty sure one of the clothing pattern companies, like Simplicity or McCalls, produced the pattern. I am also pretty sure that Gaga’s quilting buddy, Minnie O’rell, also made a similar quilt. What a lovely central design topped off with the Four Patch on-point border! You can see that there is a wider band of white on the right of the picture than on the left – that’s for the “pillow tuck.”

During her lifetime, hand quilting was “the” way one finished quilts. We worked together on quilting several, in fact, on wooden frames that filled the entire living room. After she passed, my mom inherited at least ten unquilted tops. We commissioned several, right away, to be longarmed. (This was before I owned a longarm machine.) Somehow, this top was overlooked and was given to me several years ago. Last spring at a retreat, I designated it as the-quilt-I-will-finish-by-spring-2023 in a UFO challenge.

Most “Giant Dahlia” quilts are prime candidates for hand quilting or custom machine quilting. I opted instead to quilt an overall meander which drew in fullness in the central medallion, figuring “finished is better than perfect.” I found a pink print of the same shade in my stash for the binding and attached a label that contains both our names.

Gaga’s piece de resistance is finally finished!

Tea Party with Oreos

I recently completed a fun friendship quilt for my friend, Kim K. which features teacups and teapots. Kim and I met when our husbands were stationed in Stuttgart, Germay. We both enjoyed “hanging out” at the Patch Barracks craft store, where Kim enrolled in several of my quilting classes. We also joined the Black Forest Quilt Guild composed of American and international quilters.

The Guild had a wonderful tradition of giving quilt blocks for special occasions. For example, if you celebrated a “round birthday” – meaning a birthday ending in a zero, you could request blocks of a certain type from the guild members. And if a move was in the imminent future, you could request blocks to remember the group by. Kim requested teapot and teacup blocks.

Here’s the quilt draped over my sofa.

Most of the blocks were paper-pieced with off-white background. Kim’s vision was placing the colorful cups on a black background, so she carefully cut around the cups leaving a margin of the background fabric. She placed the cups on wide strips of black fabric and zig-zagged around them with silver metallic thread. The sashing is “Fairy Frost” with silvery sparkles. Isn’t the teacup print border fabric perfect?

I selected a dark gray thread and quilted meandering with loops, hoping the design would suggest steam rising from the pots and cups. The dark gray blends well with all the fabrics.

Another wonderful guild tradition was the refreshment table at every meeting which we sampled midway through the meetings. We Americans enjoyed tasting international recipes of salads and finger foods. And our German friends particularly enjoyed foods we could purchase in the commissary but were not available in their grocery stores. Kim’s claim to fame was bringing Oreos purchased at the commissary, all varieties and flavors. Many of the ladies affectionatley referred to Kim’s Oreo bringing tradition on the hand-signed label which I stitched to the back of the quilt.

Oreos are the perfect cookie for a tea party, don’t you think?

Nine Patches – BOM QAL Participants Share

I am so proud of you who are participating in the “Rows Parade” Block of the Month this year! Thanks to all who have shared pictures of their progress. They serve to inspire us all.

Karen P. sent pictures of her Nine Patches. Aren’t these fun prints?

Beth M. moderates a quilting group and emailed a picture of blocks made by several in the group. I think it’s great that they get together in person to show and tell their blocks and to encourage one another. (Several in the group who are vacationing in southern states are keeping in touch by quilting “Rows Parade” blocks long distance.)

Ann R. is going strong on her project. I love all the colors and prints!

Vickie G. made her Nine Patches in shades of blue and teal. How calm and serene!

To wind up this blog post, I’ll share a quilt made by Joan O. Although she is not quilting along this year, she was inspired by the January block, “Simple Windmills.” She made a lap quilt with blue prints and a white background. I love the border of squares as well as the scrappy binding.

If you are a new blog subscriber and wish to join the QAL, click on “Rows Parade BOM 2023” in the menu. You’ll link to the page with downloadable instructions. I hope you’ll join the fun!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I’m wearing green, are you? And I’m sewing with green, too. A sweet, twenty-something, medium green print in my stash claimed my attention and suggested the perfect project – a Buffalo Plaid table topper in green. Referring to a previous blog post, I cut strips 3″ x 21″ of medium green print, white on white, and dark green curls. I strip-pieced and pressed all seams toward the medium green print in both strip-sets.

I cross-cut at 3″ intervals and sewed the top together, alternating the strip-set sub-cuts. Because all seams were pressed toward the medium green print, the seam allowances nested nicely.

After layering the patchwork with batting and backing, I quilted 3/8″ from all seam lines with light sage thread. The straight line grid quilting accentuates the plaid patchwork wonderfully. Bound in the dark green print, the quilt is ready for my table for St. Patrick’s Day and for the spring season.

Remember to check the Sew There! quilt shop Facebook page (Angier, NC) Saturday morning at 9 a.m. EST for the first clue of a mystery table runner that I designed especially to celebrate National Quilting Day 2023.

Memory Quilts for Cheryl

My friend and former colleague, Cheryl G., contacted me in January with a special request. She asked if I could make two baby quilts for expected grandchildren from her deceased husband’s dress shirts. I am honored that she thought of me for such a special project. I suggested that she look on Pinterest for ideas of “easy quilts,” “baby quilts,” “memory quilts,” and “quilts from shirts.”

Cheryl found a design of nine Pinwheel blocks that fit the bill. Her husband, Robert, had flown helicopters for the Army, and Pinwheels reminded her of the rotors. We selected several shirts with blue overtones to use for the grandson’s quilt, and I added some Civil War style shirtings and a star print. A purple shirt, and light pink shirt, and several white shirts were set aside for the granddaughter’s quilt. I added some coordinating prints from my stash.

Cheryl loved receiving the progress pictures I emailed her as I worked on the quilts. I finished them in January, but we decided to keep images from social media until after the parents-to-be received the quilts. Cheryl chose “Becker’s Shooting Star” quilting pantograph for the grandson’s quilt to represent her husband’s Army career.

And I quilted numbers on the granddaughter’s quilt because, according to Cheryl, Robert was a numbers guy.

After completing the two baby quilts, I asked Cheryl if she would like a remembrance for herself. My idea was to make a quilt using the shirt pockets. My request for an additional shirt of a bold or bright color for the sashing and border reminded Cheryl that Robert had a couple of Hawaiian shirts. Perfect!

I used some of the plackets and buttons for embellishments. Simple quilting 1/4″ away from seams stitched on my home machine adds a classic look. The pocket from the Hawaiian shirt is hand appliqued on the back of the quilt which is composed of large pieces of the shirt fabric. Cheryl just received her quilt in the mail, and she loves it!

Coming Soon – National Quilting Day, March 18th

In conjunction with the Sew There! quilt shop in Angier, NC, I have planned a free mystery table runner project with clues posted throughout the day on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/sewtherefabricstore/).

I hope you will celebrate National Quilting Day with us. All you need is a package of 5″ charm squares (42, total) and a yard of background fabric that contrasts well with most of the squares in the package. This pattern design works well with a charm pack that contains duplicates of some of the fabrics in the line. However, if your charm pack doesn’t contain seven pairs of duplicate fabrics, just pair two squares of the same color.

So . . . go shopping or search your stash for a package of charm squares and mark this Saturday, March 18th, on your calendar for a mysterious and fun project. Yes, it is beginner friendly!

Magazine Winners & Nine Patch Inspiration

The “Rows Parade” Quilt Along participants who complete the monthly assignments have the opportunity to comment “Done” on the last day of each month. Those who comment “Done,” are entered in a drawing for a free magazine.

The winner for completing “Simple Windmills” in January was Judy Valentino. Judy, I sent you an email but did not hear back from you. Please email me, stating your USPS address so I can mail you a magazine: aby.quilts@gmail.com.

The winner for completing “Hearts” in February was Norine Henke. Be sure to respond to the email message I sent you, Norine, so I can mail you a magaine.

Congratulations, Judy and Norine!

The free pattern for March is “Nine Patches,” and you can find instructions on the “Rows Parade BOM” page of this blog.

Eilene emailed me a picture of her rows and blocks to date. Her quilt is going to be so cheerful!

Marianne K. dug into her bin of 2 1/2″ squares. I love the totally scrappy blocks; they will add a lot of interest to her “Nine Patch” row.

Linda G. is making the lap quilt, so she sewed her “Hearts” and “Nine Patches” column together. Applaud the fussy-cutting!

These quilters will tell you that “Nine Patches” are quick and easy to make. If you haven’t made yours yet, perhaps you’ll have an hour or so to make them this weekend. Happy Sewing! — Aby

A Quilting Life 2022 Sampler Finished!

For the past several years, Sherri McConnell has designed a Block of the Month quilt and published instructions via her blog. I quilted along in 2021 and again in 2022. Sherri blogs at aquiltinglife.com and also has a You Tube channel by that name. The BOM is free during the year it is published, and afterward the patterns can be purchased from Sherri’s Etsy shop. Incidentally, the 2023 March block was published today.

For the 2022 Sampler, I used fabric from the “Ruby” line by Maywood Studio and supplemented from my stash of dark brown prints for the skinny Churn Dash frames.

I added four blocks to Sherri’s twelve designs including two English Paper Pieced appliques. Can you spot the six-point star in the photo above and the hexie rosette in the photo below?

When choosing a fabric for sashing, I auditioned all the tan yardage in my bin of neutrals, and none were the correct shade except the tan print I purchased for backing the quilt. I cut judiciously and almost had enough for the backing as well as the sashing. Almost.

To expand the back, I sewed together 6″ Sheepfold blocks. I make these blocks from scraps and store them in a roomy shoebox for just such an occasion. The quilting design is “Drunken Feathers” by Barbara Becker. In my opinion, this motif is perfect for quilts with a vintage vibe.

The success of this quilt encourages me to work on Sherri’s BOM for 2023. First on the to-do list is printing the instructions followed by cutting and sewing the patches.