Sneak Peek

16 02 2017

Aren’t these batiks gorgeous? I have Benartex to thank; they generously sent the fabric for a quilt I’m making. It will be published sometime this year in a Quiltmaker magazine. And that is all the information I am at liberty to divulge at this time!





Valentine Placemats

11 02 2017

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching! Although I admire heart quilts made by blogging quilters during this season, I realize that I won’t have time to make one this year. I decided instead to make a set of placemats for dear family members in Texas. I’ve been “threatening” to make something for them out of the ten gallon hat fabric for about a year. It’s perfect for placemats! Then I searched for a suitable Valentine fabric for the reverse side. Not finding what I had in mind, I purchased red and white polka dot fabric. The upside is versatility; red is great for Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, and Christmas!

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Of course I added the kids’ favorite snacks to my shipping envelope:  some Valentine candies and packages of sliced pepperoni.

If you’d like to whip up some super simple placemats, click on the “Patterns” tab above. On the Patterns page you’ll see links to all the free patterns I offer on this blog. Click on the Placemats link, print the pattern, and enjoy making placemats for your table décor.





First Quarter Challenge – Blog Readers Share

9 02 2017

I have challenged blog readers and myself to use pre-cuts this year. Between January and March, the challenge is using Fat Quarters and/or Quilter’s Candy. Several blog followers have shared pictures of their projects for your inspiration.

Ronda made a fun, mid-sized purse from two Fat Quarters – one for the outside, and one for the lining. Click on the collage to zoom in and read pattern information (michellepatterns.com). Ronda notes that the grocery bag size uses larger cuts of fabric.

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Maridee cut hexagons from Quilter’s Candy 2 1/2″ squares to make a charming table topper. “I used the English paper piecing technique.  I think it looks a bit summery -which is good since I have so many fall things. I need to branch out in my color choices.”

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Stephanie has several projects underway.

19087216b8014dda8d3c6baa7b0e92d5-1She is happy to report she has finished piecing the top of “Maridee’s Quilt.” (Stephanie admired a quilt shared by Maridee on this blog post and asked for construction specifics. Hooray for a fun Fat Quarter finish!)

“There were some delays. After the top was finished, the first time, it bothered me that the cats, flowers, and state names were sideways and upside down.  You have to rotate your blocks 90 degrees in order to make the pinwheel; something I did not initially consider.  I took the top apart and put it back together so everything would go in the same direction. Unable to locate the gold and coral Cotton & Steel fabrics, at a price I was willing to pay, I opted for a gold grunge fabric for my stop border and a small floral print in coral for the outside border. Except for quilting, this 2016 project is complete.”

c48d1577692e460491bd9846db9ac54bThe kit of fabrics for this wallhanging was in one of the goodie bags from the Loving Stitches retreat last fall.  Finishing at 2”, the squares for the half-square triangles started a smidgen larger than Quilter’s Candy.  Loving Stitches (in Fayetteville, NC) provided everything needed, including backing, for this fun project.  “Nothing fancy, I did quilt it myself.”

 

Sally made a Double Four Patch quilt adapted from an Eleanor Burns “Quilt in a Day” design (from her 2014 Block Party, available on YouTube). The soft gray/green and white background fabrics allow the Quilter’s Candy jewels to sparkle!

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Sally writes, “I made this with 2  mini-charm packs plus background and 2 1/2” squares cut from white strips.  It was lots of fun and very easy.”

Click here to link to My Sewful Retirement blog where Karla shows a very cute snowman wall quilt made from Quilter’s Candy and also a mat for the top of her washing machine (to catch all the drips from laundry detergent).

It’s not too late to jump on the First Quarter Challenge Band Wagon! I’d love to share a picture of your project (aby.quilts@gmail.com).





“Polka Tot” Revisited

5 02 2017

Deb MacDonald, an editor at McCall’s magazines, recently sent me the following picture and story of a mother/daughter quilting duo.

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“My mother Arrabelle Frock of Westminster, Maryland made the Polka Tot Quilt from the August/September 2015 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts.  As you can see from the attached picture it came out awesome!  What a wonderful Christmas gift from my mother.” –Kathy

McCall's QQ Cover Aug. Sept. 2015Kathy also wrote that her mother likes the quilt so much, she is considering making another one for herself. If you need a cheerful project to chase away winter doldrums, make “Polka Tot.” It is quick and fun to make. Display the quilt diagonally as a table topper or hang it in your sewing room or gift it to an expecting mother.

If you are not a Quick Quilts subscriber, you can purchase the magazine for $3.00 from the Quilt and Sew Shop.

 

 





Inspiration for “Quilter’s Candy”

31 01 2017

Our “Use your pre-cuts” challenge for the first quarter is using Fat Quarters or Quilter’s Candy (2 1/2″ squares). Happily, I made my goal already! You can read about a quilt I made from Fat Quarters here.

But I’m thinking maybe some of you need ideas for using the deliciously sweet packages of Quilter’s Candy. To that end, I’ve searched my blog’s media library for examples of quilts made with squares. The photo roll begins with my latest quilt top finish – made with leftover 1930s repro 2 1/2″ squares. Imagine the quilty, home-y feel if muted or Civil War repro fabrics are used, and the blocks are set on-point for visual interest.

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Last June I made a quilt for Charlotte, my baby grand-niece. The quilt is made with 2 packages of Quilter’s Candy sewn into Four Patches. I framed the Four Patches with narrow white strips and inserted alternate squares of navy anchor fabric. My niece declares it coordinates perfectly with the nursery décor.

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“Aunt Sukey’s Choice” 12″ blocks are constructed from 2 1/2″ squares along with 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles for the “Flying Geese” units. This design would sew up quickly if you purchased coordinating Quilter’s Candy and a roll of 2 1/2″ strips from which to cut rectangles.

Postage stamp quilts are a snap to sew when the squares are already cut! Consider alternating print squares with plain white or ecru squares. Mini quilts such as the one pictured make wonderful gifts for wall or table.

A star block with ferns

DSCN7512You could make some color/fabric coordinated placemats. Those pictured were made from 3″ scrappy squares, 35 squares each. Adapt the design by sewing 63 squares in a 7 x 9 grid to yield 14″ x 18″ placemats.

My friend, Tricia, used small colorful squares as cornerstones when making this predominately blue and white quilt. Wouldn’t this idea stretch your tiny package (or two) of Quilter’s Candy into a lap size quilt?

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A sampling of quilts made from squares wouldn’t be complete without a “Nine Patch” example. Cindy made this with nearly solid mottled prints. Set on-point with alternate white background squares, the “Nine Patches” seem to float.

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DSCN6080I made this mini quilt for my sister from a Quilter’s Candy package plus a few fabrics from my stash. I paired each 2 1/2″ colored square with a tan background square right sides together. I drew a diagonal line on the wrong side of each tan square and sewed 1/4″ away from both sides of the line. Then I cut the squares on the drawn lines and pressed the seam allowances toward the darker fabrics. So petite and country, just as my sister prefers!

 

I hope the quilts pictured in this blog post have jump-started your creative ideas for using Quilter’s Candy. I would love to share pictures of your projects for Fat Quarters or Quilter’s Candy with blog readers. (aby.quilts@gmail.com)

 

 





1930s Four Patch Baby Quilt

28 01 2017

This past Thursday I enjoyed a sew day with my friend Heather. We worked on various projects and caught up with what is going on in each other’s lives. While Heather trimmed some patchwork blocks, I rotary cut borders for a lap size quilt and sashing for my Splendid Sampler of 6” blocks (more on that in the future).

fullsizerender-10Another of my projects was making a Four Patch baby quilt. As always happens, I have scraps leftover from a recent quilt top finish. If you remember, I purchased a roll of 2 ½” strips of 1930s prints and solids to make the 6” blocks for a Vintage Farm Girl lap quilt. I decided to use my scraps to make a baby quilt.

I was inspired by a sweet quilt on Pinterest featuring Four Patches each made from four different 1930s prints. The Four Patches combined with white sashing for a pretty, fresh finish. My quilt does not look quite as soft and sweet because of the solids I included. (I HAD to use those solids in order to use up my scraps.) Note the Four Patch in the bottom right corner of the photo; you can see that I pressed the final seam open to reduce bulk.

img_0580 Before beginning my project, I calculated that I needed 32 Four Patches and 32 white 4 ½” squares. Placed in an 8 x 8 grid, the dimensions of the patchwork would be 32” square. By adding 4” wide borders, the quilt measures 40” square – just the right size to fit on 42” – 44” wide backing. I considered purchasing 2 1/4 yds. of 1930s print for borders, backing, and binding, but decided to check my stash first. There I found enough of my favorite lil’ chicken print for borders and a multi-colored polka dot for backing. Neither print is 1930s repro, but both blend with the colors and playful nature of the baby quilt. I am not sure yet what I’ll use for binding. Click on the picture to zoom in for a better view. I draped the quilt top over the front porch of our new home. Here’s hoping the contractors finish in the next week or so.

I had some help from Heather’s five year old daughter with laying out the squares and sewing them together. If you are wondering how such a little girl could reach the sewing machine foot control . . . Christina found a little stool on which to rest the foot control. I pinned and helped her guide the pieces beneath the presser foot. Teamwork at its best! After lunch, when she tired of helping with my project, Christina worked on her own quilt in progress from 6″ floral charm squares.

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What a fun sew day! Including Christina in Heather’s studio was so rewarding – It’s great to motivate and encourage the next generation of quilters!

 





First Quarter Challenge – “Vroom!”

22 01 2017

fullsizerender-7Hey, quilting friends! How are you doing on the First Quarter Challenge? As a reminder, I challenged blog readers and myself to use stashed pre-cuts this year, making a project each quarter. Read about the challenge guidelines here.

In the first quarter, January – March, the challenge is using Fat Quarters (18″ x 21″) or Quilter’s Candy (packages of 2 1/2″ squares). I’m happy to report a fat quarter friendly baby boy quilt top is finished! Simple but fun, the fabric and design show-case vehicles little guys are fascinated with. If you’d like to make “Vroom!,” you’ll find a link to instructions on the Patterns page of this blog.

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I hope you’ll share a picture of your challenge project (aby.quilts@gmail.com). Blog readers love to applaud your creations. And your pictures inspire others to accept the challenge!