First Quarter UFO News

21 02 2018

Are you working steadily on your UFOs? Remember you have one chance for a small prize per UFO finished between January and March. If you haven’t already stated which project(s) you are working on, leave a comment below.

Helga, who pledged to work on four projects in the first quarter of 2018, sent a picture of UFO#3 complete. Hooray, Helga! This is a quilt for her grandson Luis who celebrated his first birthday last week. Zoom in to see the many tiny airplanes printed on the fabric. Luis’ parents work for an airline, and he, himself, is a frequent flier. He’s already taken about 40 trips in his short life.

Elaine committed to finishing the blocks for Stitcher’s Garden; quilting will happen at a later date. And she wants to finish a paper pieced project of Snoopy for her daughter. (The paper pieced pattern was created by


I am working on “Long Road Home” made from blocks exchanged with friends last year. (Or was it the year before???) I’ll post a picture once I hand stitch the binding. Click here to see a pattern for the quilt by Red Crinoline Quilts.

Happy Quilting!


“Chopped” Finished!

19 02 2018

“Chopped,” a pattern designed by Joan Ford, has been languishing in a project box for about two years. Last February, at a quilting retreat, I pledged to complete it by retreat time 2018. Of course, I envisioned working on it last summer or in the fall, at the latest. But family commitments and deadlines for quilting magazines took precedence, and here we are, down to the wire in a race against time.

An impromptu “sew day” last week with my friend, Karlene, afforded me the opportunity to work on the quilt uninterrupted by other appealing/urgent projects on my cutting table at home. I must admit, I read the instructions, which weren’t as hard as anticipated. But I did not follow them 100% because I questioned the necessity of spinning half the blocks clockwise prior to the second “chop” and spinning the other half of the blocks counter clockwise. I could not tell from the quilt layout diagram why this would be necessary. However, I discovered the purpose for the enigmatic instructions when I began piecing the border out of the patchwork which had been chopped away from the Pinwheel blocks! As the result of revising the instructions for convenience sake, I did not have enough reverse pieces to make the pieced border per Joan’s pattern.

This called for a re-design opportunity! I used all the correctly chopped patchwork pieces, wrapping them around opposite corners of the quilt. More cream grunge background fabric strips filled out the border. I thought a “Broken Dishes” block would work nicely as a corner square in the border.  Oooops! Not quite. Can you see that the emerald green triangle touches a light blue triangle instead of a grunge background triangle? Through experiment, I discovered that a small “Pinwheel” block does the trick.

The backing fabric is a muted batik, blue with tan squares. Hoping to color coordinate with the back and the front of the quilt, I selected a light blue thread and quilted a ribbon pantograph design by Keryn Emmerson. The quilting design shows up nicely in the grunge wide sashing and first border. I selected a solid wine fabric for the binding.

I like the quilt more than I thought I would, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to have completed this “serious” UFO prior to the quilting retreat. (I have thus avoided “paying” everyone else a fat quarter.)

Have you recently had occasion to re-design a quilt project?

UFO Completion Update

12 02 2018

Happy Monday, Everyone! Here’s hoping you had time to spend a couple of hours this past weekend to sew and work on your UFOs.

Speaking of UFOs, Patti sent a picture of her bright ‘n cheerful Sixteen Patch quilt made with leftovers from an Eleanor Burns class she took in VA in 2011. This quilt goes to her “Prayer Quilters” group at church. I love the diagonal movement in the quilt. Way to go, Patti!

Judy sent a picture of “Long Road Home” composed of blocks exchanged among quilting friends. It’s just beautiful, Judy! I know you will enjoy using this quilt made from Civil War reproduction fabrics in your home.

I worked on my second “serious” UFO for the first quarter. It is serious because if I don’t finish, I’ll owe a fat quarter to everyone who did finish her UFO at an end-of-February quilting retreat. That is what you call a deadline with a penalty, definitely a motivator! The design is “Chopped” by Joan Ford who taught a workshop for Tarheel Quilters Guild two years ago. The interior of the quilt is done. Now to add pieced borders, made of leftovers from chopping the Pinwheel blocks. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.


UFO Challenge Update

8 02 2018

As you may remember, our current activity is a quarterly UFO challenge. About 15 blog readers commented with the projects they intend to finish during the first quarter of 2018. It’s not too late to join the fun; we promise lots of encouragement along the way and kudos when you finish a project. As an incentive, when you finish a project, your name goes in the hat for a drawing for a small prize. For those of you who already commented on Dec. 31 or Jan. 17, how are you progressing on finishing the UFO’s you “promised” you’d work on during January-March?

Personally, I finished one UFO, the house block exchange. And now I need to work on completing “Chopped,” a pattern by Joan Ford.

Maridee wrote that she finished her Farm Girl Vintage quilt top and delivered it to a longarmer for quilting. Yay, Maridee! We want to see a picture once you’ve bound the quilt.

Today, I’d like to show pictures of my friend Helga‘s four projects; in response to the challenge, she sent me “before” pictures on Jan. 1. Yes, she is ambitious to claim four projects for the quarter, but she is a speedy sewer, so I believe she will persevere and make her goal! She’s already completed two of the projects as you will see.

First are blocks … that have since been completed as a small table runner. Hooray, UFO#1 finished! I love how the skinny dark strips make the project look woven.


Next are blue scraps with gray fabrics, a project inspired by the Modern Quilt Guild of Stuttgart, Germany. Helga’s impetus for finishing is exhibiting this modern art quilt at an upcoming show in Nuertingen. Congrats for finishing UFO #2!


UFO completion goal #3 is to quilt the top she made for her grandson Luis whose first birthday is in February. Go, Helga, go!

UFO #4 will take the longest to complete. This will be a bed quilt make with Red shot cottons and white and gray background. It is going to be lovely, Helga!

I would love to show pictures of your projects, too. Email photo(s) to

Quick Quilts Magazine Winner

6 02 2018

Congratulations to Teri C. for winning her very own copy of the February/March issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts! And thanks to all of you who comment on my blog. Your comments let me know what you are interested in seeing and hearing about. I appreciate this way of keeping in touch with quilting friends far and wide.

If you did not win this time, and your newsstand does not carry McCall’s Quick Quilts, click here to link to The Quilting Company’s online store and order a copy. Quilting magazines are one of the best deals around. For $5.99 you’ll purchase on average 12 patterns for less than the price of a single pattern purchased at a quilt shop. In addition, you can enjoy the delicious, colorful eye candy and read about trends in the quilting world.

Valentine Table Topper

5 02 2018

If you follow several quilting blogs as I do, you’ve seen many, many beautiful heart-themed wall quilts, table runners, bed quilts, and pillows for February decorating. My simple table topper can’t compete with the others for intricacy or fancy design, but it was fun to make.

On November 26 I saw an “On Point Baby Quilt” on Moda’s Bake Shop website by Karin Vail  that I wanted to try. Click here to read the full tutorial. While Karin used purchased 5″ charm square packages, I determined to cut squares from my stash of red, pink, white, and purple fabrics. After selecting a stack of colorful prints, I happened to think of my overflowing box of 3 1/2″ scrap squares. Would I have enough “pre-cut” squares in the right colors to make the project? Not quite, but it was a great start and sped me on my way.

First I sewed two blocks of 25 squares each. Generally, I press seams to one side or the other, nesting seam allowances where they meet. For this project, however, I pressed all seams open.

After pressing, I cut both blocks in half diagonally. Tip:  Before cutting, I should have first marked the diagonal lines with chalk and then sewn 1/8″ away from both sides of the drawn lines. These diagonals become the outer edges of the table topper. And we all know that cutting diagonally yields bias (stretchy) edges. Stay-stitching prior to cutting would have prevented stretching.

Now here’s the “Ah-ha” fun part:  Use all four triangles to make a square by turning the 90 degree corners of each triangle into the center. In other words, all the diagonals form the outside of the table topper while the right angles of the triangles are in the center. Sew the triangles together; press seams open.

I layered my on-point patchwork with batting and backing. With purple thread I stitched straight lines 3/8″ away from all seam lines by aligning the edge of my presser foot with all the seams. A multi-colored floral print serves as backing and binding. (If you’d like to see a close-up of the quilting, click the first photo in this blog post to zoom in.)

My table topper, though not elaborate, was the happy result of trying a new technique. As Karin says in her tutorial, you can use this method for any size squares and any square grid configuration as well. Let me know if you try this technique; I’d like to see your quilt, be it large or small.


House Quilt Finished!

2 02 2018

I am excited to share a picture of “Mi Casa Es Su Casa,” the quilt made with blocks exchanged between twelve friends most of whom live in Germany.

I quilted, E’s and 3’s, a freehand all over design with pale yellow thread. The yellow blends well with the orange sashing as well as with all the other colors, and yet it fades into the white background of the blocks.

For binding, I chose a black and white even stripe. I considered cutting the fabric on the bias so that the stripes would diagonally wrap around the quilt, but I decided I liked the look of straight stripes just as well. In comments to a previous post about this quilt, Sana suggested adding a narrow black flange or black piping prior to attaching the binding. What a great suggestion! In the future, I need to dress up some of my quilt edges. Unfortunately, I had already machine stitched the binding to this quilt before reading Sana’s suggestion.

I added a wide hanging sleeve on the upper edge of the quilt back because “Mi Casa …” will hang in a quilt show in Nuertingen, Germany with other block exchange quilts. I can’t wait to see pictures of the quilts made by my friends.

Whew! One of my “serious” UFOs is done. Now to move on to the second – which has an end of February deadline. But first I have to quilt a handful of customer quilts and make a patriotic quilt that has been accepted for publication. Sew many quilts, sew little time!