Quilt of Valor Sew Day

10 02 2016

This past Saturday (Feb. 6) my local quilt shop, Loving Stitches, hosted a sew day for making Quilts of Valor. Susan and Kathleen planned an awesome event, from the decorations, to the name badges, to treats and chocolate, to door prizes. Fun was had by all! And, more importantly, progress was made on several quilts for deserving veterans!

I actually spent several morning hours at home rather than at the shop. I long armed this patriotic quilt foundation-pieced by another quilter. Then at the sew day I prepared and attached the binding.


Kathleen displayed a string pieced lattice quilt. And several of the ladies were working on strip-pieced quilts with stars.

                      IMG_20160206_130123_483  IMG_20160206_130052_163

One young woman brought her grandmother who displayed her second quilt top ever – a wonderful Bowtie design. We all remarked that the gray background made the patriotic colors pop. The next quilt, jointly made with her granddaughter, will be Ohio Star.

IMG_20160206_120209_845 IMG_20160206_130103_600 (1)

Sue worked diligently on a Disappearing Nine Patch with an unusual, yet effective, block configuration.


Our local Quilts of Valor chapter meets on 4th Sunday afternoons at Loving Stitches quilt shop in Fayetteville, NC. If you are involved in a QOV chapter, please comment below. Give your city, state and meeting information. You can learn more about Quilts of Valor at www.qovf.org.


“Big City Friends” Fabric

8 02 2016

Click to hear (Pink Panther theme music.)

I am on a secret mission to make a quilt with this fabric.


“Big City Friends,” designed by Arrolynn Weiderhold for Wilmington Prints, is shipping soon to discerning quilt shops. Be on the look-out for my quilt in the August/September 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts.

And that’s all the intel I may divulge at this time.

Blog Readers Share #3 – January FQ Challenge

3 02 2016

20160124_151142-1_resizedTricia, who is participating in the 2016 Fat Quarter Challenge, sent me a picture of her quilt. She was inspired by the baby quilt I designed and posted on 15 January. “I had a FQ pack of baby-themed fabrics that needed a project, and this was perfect. I really like the way this turned out.”

The bright colors make me think of “Florida sunshine.” Congrats, Tricia, for using FQs to make such a darling quilt!

Helga's Playtime with PinwheelsHelga also made the “Playtime with Pinwheels” quilt (you will find a link to instructions on the Patterns page of this blog). She left off the final border because her quilt will be given to a Fruechen (preemie) unit at a local Krankenhaus (hospital).

Helga is concerned that the quilt seems “very pink and busy,” but I think it’s perfect for a tiny baby girl! The striped border print she used is so cheerful. The quilt is sure to brighten the nursery and fuel the hopes of anxious parents.

Helga also submitted a FQ idea for a Round Robin of five quilters. She purchased yardage of two blue prints, and gave each RR participant a fat quarter of each. Each participant is to make a center block and then pass it to another person to add a border. There are “rules” for each successive border. Of course, the participants will add coordinating fabrics to the mix. Helga’s block is still a secret at this time; perhaps she and her group  will share photos later of their finished RR quilts that began with just a couple of fat quarters.

Thanks, Helga and Tricia, for sharing pictures of your quilts and encouraging the 25+ participants of the 2016 Fat Quarter Challenge to utilize some of their lovely fabric.


“Tumalo Trail” Finished!

1 02 2016

IMG_3868Well, I learned from my previous post, Sashing for “Tumalo Trail,” that quilters have definite opinions! Of the twenty-seven readers who commented, twenty-three felt the quilt would look best without sashing. Thanks for generously sharing your opinions; I took them to heart and assembled the quilt top without sashing. In analyzing the probable reason for your preference of “no sashing,” I believe you were trying to steer me away from making a quilt of individual scrappy blocks to making a quilt with a bold, unified diamond design. You helped me see the magnificent forest instead of focusing on each particular tree. Since this is my winter scrap quilt project (think “ski season”), I’m renaming my quilt “Black Diamonds.”

In constructing the quilt without sashing, I dreaded  matching the seams of the Nine Patches, knowing that most seam allowances were pressed in the same direction and would therefore not “lock” together. But you know, pinning at each seam intersection was not as time consuming as I thought it would be. Although I generally press seam allowances to one side, in this case, I pressed the seams open as I joined the blocks to each other. I felt this would reduce the possibility of broken needles and skipped stitches during the quilting stage.


One reason I originally planned to sash the blocks was to make a larger quilt. The sixteen unsashed blocks resulted in only a 54″ square throw-size quilt top. To bring it up to nearly twin size, I added a red inner border and a black outer border. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough of the old, black print skirt I repurposed for this project to construct the entire outer border. Rummaging in my bin of black fabrics, though, I found two print fat quarters that would blend nicely. A scrappy quilt can accommodate a scrappy border, right?


I cut all the border strips in 5″ widths and in various lengths and sewed them together alternately. The backing is a red VIP paw-print from the 90’s from my Aunt Ruth’s stash. I quilted a ”contour ploughing with random spirals” over-all, freehand design with off-white thread The quilt now measures 69″ square and will keep someone toasty warm this winter.

The funny thing about finishing a scrappy quilt is that I want to start another one right away. Opinions, anyone, on what my next project could be?


“Ohio Star” Table Runner

29 01 2016

IMG_3850Since our military chapel’s “senior pastor” is passing the baton to another chaplain, I wanted to make a farewell gift for his wife. A quilted table runner would perfectly fit the bill. Inspiration came from a stack of 3 1/2″ “Nine Patches,” the result of a year long swap with Tarheel Quilters a couple of years ago. For the swap, I used 2 fat quarters to strip piece about 30 “Nine Patches” each month. On the months that 30 guild members did not participate, I received back all the extra blocks that I made.  In my stack, I found three matching blocks and began pulling tans and blues from my stash to coordinate.


IMG_3846“Ohio Star” with a “Nine Patch” in the center was my block design choice. My method for constructing the Quarter Square Triangles is as follows:  Since I needed 3 1/2″ (unfinished) Quarter Square Triangles, I cut 4 1/2″ fabric squares. To make 3 “Ohio Star” blocks, I needed 3 tan, 3 ecru, and 6 blue 4 1/2″ squares. After pairing a blue with each tan, and a blue with each ecru, right sides together, I cut the squares on both diagonals. I sewed the triangles together avoiding the temptation to stretch the bias edges, and I made sure to sew with the blue triangles always on top, beginning with the 90 degree angle. I pressed the seams toward the blue triangles. After sewing blue/tan triangle pairs to blue/ecru triangle pairs, I pressed the seams open. Then I trimmed the resulting Quarter Square Triangles to 3 1/2″ square.

IMG_3847After rotary cutting four  3 1/2″ ecru squares for corners of each of the 3 blocks, I laid out the components for one block on my cutting mat. I assembled the block in 3 rows of 3 squares each, pressing the seams away from the Quarter Square Triangles. Then I pinned and joined the 3 rows.

A fat quarter of blue and tan fabric supplied the sashing and first border. I considered quilting and binding the runner at this point, but then I decided that adding a blue micro print border would make the table runner larger and brighter.

IMG_3852I quilted continuous curves in the stars and a stylized lily in the ecru corner squares. Navy binding picks up the navy print in the “Nine Patches” and nicely finishes the runner.




Blog Readers Share #2 – January FQ Challenge

27 01 2016

Maridee is participating in the 2016 Fat Quarter Challenge, and she sent a picture of her “Playtime with Pinwheels” quilt. You can find instructions for making the quilt on the Patterns page of this blog.

zpl FUSSY old pinwheels

She writes, “Just finished this version of your pinwheel design.  I’m calling it FUSSY Old Pinwheels.  Being in the military, I see acronyms everywhere and often make up my own.  This one is Finally Used Some Six Year Old Pinwheels.  The pinwheels are left overs from a quilt I made for our third granddaughter before she was born 6 years ago. Four patches are made from my stash of 2 1/2″ squares. Flower print, lime, 2 pinks and 2 turquoises were fat quarters.  This will be donated to Project Linus.”
IMG_3288My friend, Stacy, and some of her neighborhood sewing friends are making pillowcase dresses to send to a tropical country. Acting on a hunch, she modified the instructions and made a dress with FQs.
 Stacy writes, “Success! Four fat quarters makes just the right size medium ‘little dress!’ I turned the fat quarters with the 21 inches horizontal, sewed two together for the front, then two for the back. The seams are down each side; then I followed the directions on the website for the armholes, elastic, and ties. I would note, however, that the bias binding I used was small, and the sewing would have been easier if it had been double width! I’ll make sure to use the larger size when I make the next ‘little dress!’ ” You will find the original pillowcase dress pattern on this website  http://www.littledressesforafrica.org/blog/ 
Way to use those Fat Quarters, Maridee and Stacy! Who else has photos to share for the FQ Challenge? Send them to aby dot quilts at gmail dot com.

Kathy’s “Wonky Houses”

25 01 2016

Isn’t Kathy’s quilt absolutely wonderful?!IMG_3841

With this quilt she’s really getting three birds with one stone. You see, several years ago she won the Black Forest Quilt Guild’s retreat blocks – the houses. And then she requested the BFQ guild members to make trees as her farewell blocks when she returned to the States. AND she incorporated her brown bag challenge fabric in the doghouse blocks!

IMG_3844The Black Forest Quilt Guild, based in Stuttgart, Germany, generally holds two retreats per year. If you win the blocks made by retreat attendees in the fall, then you are responsible to plan and make kits for the blocks for the spring retreat, and so forth. The previous winner, Ingrid, prepared kits of 1 1/2″ squares along with roof fabrics and light blue background fabric. (The house design is based on my “Charmville” quilt which appeared in McCall’s Quick Quilts, Feb./Mar. 2014.) Retreat attendees put their names in a hat for every house block they personally constructed. Kathy’s name was pulled, so she won the blocks and extra blue fabric. And then she was responsible for planning the next retreat quilt!

Since she won the house blocks, Kathy decided to ask guild members to make trees of a size that could be combined with the charming houses – a stroke of design genius! As I quilted Kathy’s quilt, it was fun to read the signed tree blocks:  Judy, Ilse, Ursula, Birgit, Iris, Lisa, Diane, Helen, Elaine, Helga–all quilting friends that Kathy and I, now Stateside, miss. What a wonderful memory quilt of good times with quilting friends!

If you look closely at the quilt, you can find two doghouses complete with furry friends. Kathy drew these fabrics from a brown bag (the same challenge I’m participating in with a late February due date). What a fun idea to combine her challenge fabric with her BFQ memory quilt!




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