“Painted Ladies” Quilts and an Ornament Pattern

The quilters in my church sewing group exchanged house blocks made from the “Painted Ladies” pattern by Eye Candy at our retreat in September. Many in the group began sewing the houses together, then and there! We all exclaimed with pleasure over the various colorful fabrics used. Colleen and Judy finished their quilt tops by adding borders and asked me to quilt them.

Colleen asked for an edge to edge design of numbers . . . to represent house address numbers. I used gold thread which disappeared in the gold print border but showed up nicely in the white outer border.

Judy asked for freehand hearts and loops to represent the love and friendship of the ladies in our group. I used gray thread to blend with the houses and the gray dots in the background fabric.

For the past four years we have each made a Christmas tree ornament as a reminder of our retreat. This year, I designed a patchwork house ornament reminiscent of the “Painted Ladies” exchange project. I’ll give measurements and instructions below in case you’d like to make an ornament, too.

Patchwork House Ornament, 3″ x 4 1/4,” finished

  • Make a Four Patch house with four 1 1/2″ squares. Press seams to one side. The Four Patch measures 2 1/2″ square, unfinished.
  • Sew 1″ x 2 1/2″ sky blue strips to opposite sides of the house. Press seams toward the sky blue strips.
  • Make a Flying Goose unit for the roof using a 2″ x 3 1/2″ red rectangle and two 2″ sky blue squares.
  • Sew the roof unit on top of the Four Patch house. Press the seam toward the house.
  • Sew a 1 1/4″ x 3 1/2″ grass green strip to the bottom of the house. Press the seam toward the green strip.
  • Pin the ends of 8″ of 1/4″ wide ribbon in two places on the roof unit for a hanger. Align the raw edges of the ribbon with the raw edge of roof unit.
  • Layer batting, backing (right side up), and patchwork house (right side down). Pin and sew all around the ornament, leaving a 2″ opening on the bottom edge for turning right side out. Clip the corners diagonally.
  • Turn the ornament right side out, press lightly and slip stitch the opening closed with green thread.
  • Add decorative machine stitching at the roof line for “gingerbread” decoration if desired.

Cotton Harvest

The cotton harvest in Harnett County, NC is complete. I love driving by the fields that were leafy green in the summer, were stick brown with fluffy white heads in early fall, and now boast huge bales of cotton.

Our county extension agent says the farmers in our area either harvest their own or contract with someone who owns a harvester. These bales are about as large as a tractor trailer and weigh 15,000 lbs. They are covered with tarps to protect the fibers from the rain until pick-up. I like to think that some of this cotton will come back to Harnett County in the form of colorful quilting fabric.

You Tube furnishes a video on cotton harvesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PitMbtOppro. The video is about 23 minutes in length and is replete with machinery noises, but interesting nonetheless. You might want to multi-task and glance at it while sewing or cooking as I did this morning.

Amana’s Doggie Quilt

Our “adopted” granddaughter, Amana, visited us this past summer during the week of Vacation Bible School. We particularly arranged her visit for the third week in June because we knew she would have a fantastic time learning new skills and having fun with children her age. Since our church has VBS in the mornings, I thought, perhaps, we could make a quilt together in the afternoons. She chose some coordinating fat quarters with a doggie theme which I cut into 6″ squares. We got no further than arranging the squares on the design wall because we invited David over to play each afternoon. I promised Amana I would finish the quilt, and I plan to send it to her for Christmas.

Alas and alack, two squares of the theme fabric had short slits which I did not notice until after the quilt was quilted. What to do??? I machine appliqued hearts of coordinating fabric over the rips.

Of the chosen fabrics, the teal and the chartreuse were the least busy and therefore perfect backgrounds for quilted doggie footprints and names of our dogs, past and present. Zeus, Zena, and Bruno are dogs Amana and her mom have owned and loved; Mercy, Prince, and Sugar Plum are dogs who made their home with Ran and/or me. Black thread best shows the paw prints and names.

I quilted Amana’s name and a little heart in the border. I know she will cherish this quilt . . . almost as much as she loves her doggie!

QAL Progress Report & a New Quilt

All through 2022 I have been making blocks with the “Ruby” fabric from Maywood Studio. Most of the patterns are from Sherri McConnell’s blog aquiltinglife.com. She has offered one block free each month, and I have added a few of my favorites. Sherri’s quilt will have twelve blocks; I have already made sixteen. I think I should make four more for a twenty block quilt.

If you think you might like to make these blocks, print the instructions prior to December 31st. They will be for sale in Sherri’s shop in 2023 as are her past BOMs. Here’s the link for Sherri’s BOM projects.

Sherri and her daughter Chelsi recently published a book, “Home for the Holidays.” To celebrate the publication, they are sponsoring a Quilt Along for a sampler quilt using twelve blocks featured in the book. Click here for Sherri’s blog post containing links for blocks 1-5 instructions. I am using half yard cuts of “Katie Jump Rope,” an older line designed by Denyse Schmidt.

I had planned to set the blocks side by side with no sashing, alternating framed blocks with unframed blocks. But now that they are on my design wall, I think a thin orange sashing might look really nice. What do you think?

Since I am sort of caught up with current projects and have completed most customer quilts, I gave myself permission to begin a new quilt. The pattern is “Stellar Stacks” by Canuck Quilter. I admired several samples of this design in quilt shops while visiting my friend Deb in Omaha. She bought the pattern for me, and I am so happy to begin the project.

Here’s a link for Joanne’s Etsy shop if you are intrigued with the pattern as much as I am. If the quilt turns out as nicely as I think it will, I hope to offer it as a class at Sew There! Quilts and More in Angier, NC in the new year.

Have you recently begun a new quilt project? Will it be a Christmas gift for a special friend or family member?

“Creative Scrap Quilting”

There’s a new Fons & Porter’s Book on the market – “Creative Scrap Quilting.”

Several Quilting Daily editors have gathered 18-plus projects to “use all your bits and pieces.” They chose some of the most popular quilts patterned in the magazines during the past several years. Guess which of my scrap quilts is included . . .

The pictures and instructions for “Scrap Vortex” begin on page 40. The shading and increasing width of the neutral borders from the center outward appeals to me: white, light gray, dark gray. The increasing width of the string pieced borders from the center outward echoes this movement. The black print squares placed diagonally in the quilt also garner visual interest. I really like the central Nine Patch and have often thought of making an entire quilt of this simple patchwork block.

The publication of “Creative Scrap Quilting” comes at the perfect time for you to add it to your Christmas wish list. Here’s a link for purchasing the ebook from Quilting Daily: https://www.quiltingdaily.com/product/creative-scrap-quilting-ebook/?query=Creative%20Scrap%20Quilting.Here’s a link for the paperback on amazon. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=crativescrapquilting&crid=1C1Z058A4NO8Q&sprefix=crativescrapquilting%2Caps%2C218&ref=nb_sb_noss

The book contains designs by many of your favorite scrap quilters: Liz Porter, Nancy Mahoney, and Bonnie Hunter, to name a few. I know you will be inspired by the quilts pictured and patterned in this book to use your scrappy stash to beautiful advantage!

“Crystalline Chain” Published!

If you are not a subscriber, hustle to your favorite newsstand and pick up a copy of the November/December 2022 issue of Quiltmaker. Not only does the issue contain the final clue to the year long “Ruby Jubilee” mystery, you’ll see my Christmas quilt, “Crystalline Chain,” on page 10.

This project has been hush-hush since I began cutting and sewing in late April. It is so rewarding to finally see it in print and to be able to share it with you. The fabrics are from “Candy Cane Lane” designed by April Rosenthal for Moda Fabrics. You may be thinking, “I don’t see any candy canes on the quilt.” True. All the candy cane prints were directional, and I wanted non-directional prints for my quilt. I love the red snowflake print and the white and green with tiny stars, but my favorite is the red plaid. Doesn’t that binding make the quilt?!

The red Ohio Stars sparkle against the emerald green background, and the alternate Chain blocks connect them together. I used a silver gray thread to quilt an edge to edge pantograph of snowflakes (“Winter White” by Dave Hudson).

If you make “Crystalline Chain,” I would love to see a picture of your quilt. Send it to aby.quilts@gmail.com.

“Bloomer” Workshop with Tarheel Quilters

On Saturday, October 22, I enjoyed teaching my design, “Bloomer,” to Tarheel Quilters in Fayetteville, NC. Some of the ladies opted to make the wall quilt (or table topper) based on 5″ charm squares, and others opted to make the throw size project from 10″ squares. I know you’d like to see pictures of the fun we had and the progress achieved.

First up is Karen who was happy to have an excuse to use some of her 10″ square collection of batiks.

Rosa chose a lovely blue floral line and made great strides on her project.

Drusilla is making a table topper with “soft” colors perfect for fall.

Debby loves the rich hues of Kansas Troubles and is looking forward to snuggling under her quilt.

Here am I with Colleen, my “kick the crayon box” friend. She used grunge gray for a background to good effect.

I am so proud of these ladies, and it was fun to visit with them as they sewed the day away!

“Favorites” BOM QAL Wrap-Up

Today is the day you can comment “Done” if your “Favorites” quilt top is complete. Here is a picture that Karen sent. She plans to give her quilt to special friends. I love the way these tan and blue fabrics play together.

Vicki also finished her quilt and asked me to quilt it for her. We chose a pantograph with large sunflowers and leaves, and I quilted it with pale yellow thread. I am intrigued with the outer border of off-white.

Trish is also proud of her finish! She pulled all the colors from the floral print. The deep purple grounds the other colors perfectly.

I would love to show a picture of your “Favorites” quilt. Please attach it to an email (aby.quilts@gmail.com).

The “Favorites” Block of the Month Quilt Along is officially over. If you missed any instructions, click on “Favorites BOM QAL” in the menu. Just this weekend I finished sewing the top of the 2023 Block of the Month! Stay tuned for details of this fat quarter friendly quilt.

“Home for the Holidays” QAL

One of the blogs and You Tube channels I follow is “A Quilting Life” with Sherri McConnell. She and her daughter, Chelsi, have recently published a lovely book, “Home for the Holidays.” And they are currently moderating a Quilt Along based on the patchwork block designs within the book. Sherri and Chelsi produce a weekly video and PDF for each block. Each of them made a twelve block quilt; Sherri’s is multi-colored and Chelsi’s is red, pink, gray, and green for Christmas decorating.

I have been saving a collection of “Katie Jump Rope” (designed by Denyse Schmidt) for just such a project. I have eight half-yard cuts. I plan to modify Sherri and Chelsi’s design by framing half of my blocks and perhaps setting them side by side rather than adding sashing.

Would you like to quilt along? The third block went live on Wednesday. (I am working a bit ahead as I have time and inclination.) Click here for the You Tube list of the videos to date. Check the descriptive show notes for links to the PDF instructions.

“Short but Sweet” Published!

Valerie Uland, editor of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting, tells me that the November/December issue is in subscribers’ mailboxes and is on newsstands. Have you procured your copy? (Click here to order a digital or print copy from Quilting Daily.)

You will find instructions for my quilted stubby stocking on page 10. You could use the stocking as a kitchen or door decoration during the winter holidays. Or you could pack the stocking with homemade cookies, muffins, or bread as a gift. Alternately, you could enclose the ingredients for holiday baking, using the stocking as a gift bag. The “toe” is roomy enough to hold a cookie or muffin mix, muffin papers, measuring spoons, cookie cutters, potholders, or other holiday baking must-haves. The shortened “leg” length of the stocking is perfect for some of those gadgets to peek over the cuff, piquing the interest of the recipient.

The darling fabric line is “Postcard Christmas” designed by Robin Davis Studio for Clothworks. To make the stocking pictured above, you’ll need to quilt a fat quarter of holiday print for the outside. Remember to reverse the pattern when cutting out the second stocking shape! You also need a fat quarter for the lining, a strip of contrasting print for the cuff and hanging loop, and some fun trim.

A bit more time consuming, but just as cute, is a quilt-as-you-go, strip-pieced stocking. Consider adding rick rack, lace, or other trim, tailoring the stocking to your décor or the interests of the recipient.

I am super excited about this “Short but Sweet” décor and/or gift packaging idea, and I hope you will try your hand at making one or more. I’d love to see a picture of your stubby stocking(s). Email a picture to aby.quilts@gmail.com.