Marianne’s “Options”

I hope you all enjoyed a pleasant Mother’s Day weekend as I did. I started Saturday off by teaching a BOM tutorial at Sew There! Quilts and More in Angier, NC. The dozen or so ladies are working their way through the “Sisters” blocks that were featured on this blog in 2020. (The free patterns are still accessible under the “Sisters BOM QAL” tab in the menu.) I am so proud of the quilters; their blocks are gorgeous! The second blessing of the day was the arrival of our second son on Saturday afternoon. We spent several hours planting bulbs that should grow and bloom later this summer: gladiolas, dahlias, and lilies. We also sewed seed for zinnias and sunflowers in a small garden near the house. A tasty dinner and a rousing game of Hearts finished out the day. Our Sunday School class celebrated Mother’s Day by sharing coffee and favorite cookies. In addition, it was fun to send and receive greetings of the day to family and friends.

I’ll be working on a quilt project for publication during this week. But before I become immersed in it, I would like to share a picture of Marianne’s “Options” blocks.

Can you pick out “Scrappy Star,” “Ojo de Dios,” “Economy Block,” and “Album?” Marianne is working with gray fabrics in the BOMs and all sorts of colorful fabrics in the alternate “Sixteen Patch” blocks. The “Sixteen Patches” are assembled as Leaders and Enders, and she is not sure if she will actually set her “Options” blocks this way. Admittedly, it is a little busy. Marianne attends and helps to lead a quilt group in Kemnat, Germany. However, the group has not met in person since last summer. Marianne sends the instructions to the group members and says that having a BOM project gives the ladies something positive and creative to do while sheltering at home.

Thanks, Marianne, for sending a picture of your “Options” blocks! Your color and fabric choices are so inspiring.

I would love to share a picture of your Album blocks; please send a picture to You can also post a picture of your project on Instagram #optionsqal.

Anita’s Pinwheels

My blog post of April 29 showed rows of “Pinwheel” blocks handstitched by Anita when she was a girl under the tutelage of her grandmother.

I trimmed all the blocks to 9″ square and sashed them with a white tone-on-tone fabric. For corner stones, I chose a navy floral print from my inherited stash of vintage fabrics. The colors of the flowers blend fairly well with the colors in the “Pinwheels,” yet the overall appearance of the print is more subdued than the pieced blocks, allowing them to shine.

I quilted an all-over freehand spiral design with very pale silver gray thread. Then it was back to searching inherited stash for a poly/cotton navy fabric for the binding. I felt a solid navy would coordinate well with the corner stones, and I didn’t feel guilty using poly/cotton since many of the “Pinwheels” were made with cotton and polyester blends.

I am pleased with the outcome of this quilt, and I know Anita will be, too. We transformed a stack of vintage blocks languishing in her cedar chest into a usable quilt. She plans to fold it and display it at the end of her bed to remind her of good times stitching with her grandmother.

Patriotic “Adventure Time”

Six quilting friends and I got together for a reunion/retreat last week. Making a quilt for a veteran was one of the planned activities. We based our design idea on Trinity Sander’s “Adventure Time” quilt published in the May/June 2021 issue of Quiltmaker magazine.

Since the design calls for five 12″ squares, five of us brought red, white, and blue patchwork squares to the retreat. We also furnished Nine Patches as well as fabric pieces for the small squares and rectangles in the quilt. We expanded the quilt’s size by adding two narrow rows, a pieced border, and a navy tone-on-tone border.

After placing all the pieces on the design wall, I cut navy strips for sashing. Three of the quilters were on hand to construct the three columns of patchwork. I pinned sashing and pressed after each square or rectangle was added, keeping all three sew-ers busy.

We all had so much fun experimenting with this design and working on this group project, and we were amazed by how quickly the quilt came together. I chose Becker’s Shooting Star for the edge to edge quilting design, and I used gold thread which shows nicely in the navy border yet blends well with the interior patchwork.

Alicia took the quilt home, planning to bind it in red and to honor a veteran or veteran’s family with our quilt gift.

“Options” #4 for BOM QAL

Wishing you a delightful May 1st, full of flowers and sunshine! If you are keeping up with the “Options” block of the month quilt along, I bet you have been wondering what block #4 will be.

Album Block

Begin by imagining how you will fill the center 4″ square. What colors and textures will you use for your Flying Geese units? Will you transform the corner squares into triangles?

Sarah Y. tested the instructions, and she says “they work.” My instructions employ the “one rectangle/two squares” method of making Flying Geese units. However, if you, like Sarah, prefer a “no waste” method for making Flying Geese, check out the tutorial and cutting chart by Amy Smart,

Click on the “Options BOM QAL” tab in the menu. You will navigate to a page with background info and instructions for all the blocks to date. Scroll down to the end of the list, and click on Options #4 – Album. Be sure to send me a picture of your blocks ( and/or post a photo on Instagram #optionsqal.

I can’t wait to see the variations you dream up. Have fun!

“Options” BOM #3 Wrap-up

Have you enjoyed making “Economy” blocks this past month, or, at the very least, viewing the blocks made by other blog readers? The center square space invites so many possibilities for variation. It has been fun to see the options quilters have imagined.

Fussy Cutting, Hourglass, and Four Patch

Log Cabin and Applique

Broken Dishes, Sawtooth Star, Square in a Square

I am so glad “Economy” block has sparked your creativity; you have made fantastic blocks for your “Options” quilt! And now is the time to type “Done” in the comment section below if you have completed this month’s blocks. In a few days I’ll draw a name as the winner of a quilting magazine. Come back tomorrow, May 1st, for instructions for “Options #4.”

Pinwheels on the Design Wall

Anita P. asked me to transform her stack of Pinwheel blocks into a quilt. She hand stitched them over forty years ago under her grandmother’s watchful eye. There are forty-two blocks in all, perfect for a 6 x 7 grid.

I trimmed the blocks to 9″ square and am sewing 2″ sashing between them. The sashing, cut straight of grain, is stabilizing the blocks, many of which have bias edges. Some of the fabrics are thin cotton, typical of the era, and some are a polyester blend. I am hopeful that the white sashing nicely ties the blocks together and allows each Pinwheel to shine.

Anita plans to display the quilt at the foot of her bed where it will visually remind her of precious times spent sewing with her grandmother.

“Economy” Blocks – More from Blog Readers

Unbelievably, we are nearing the end of April, and it is almost time for me to post the next “Options” block. But before I do, I’d like to share more “Economy” blocks made by BOM participants. (If you wonder what all the hubbub is about, click the “Options BOM QAL” tab in the menu. You will navigate to a page with links to an introduction and to all the Blocks of the Month to date. It’s not too late to join the QAL).

First up are Anita’s blocks. She is making two quilts from different fabric groupings, one from batiks and one from calicos. Did you notice the deer in the top block on the left? And I bet she fussy cut the rose in the bottom left block as well.

Joan also sent a photo of her blocks. Pink and green are such welcome reminders of spring!

Joy emailed me a picture of her blocks, too. From bananas to bugs, the block centers garner attention. What fun fabric combinations, Joy!

If the month has gotten away from you, I hope this blog post is a reminder to work on your “Economy” blocks. On April 30th you will have the opportunity to comment “Done” and be entered in a drawing for a free quilting magazine!

“Stitched in Color” with Rachel Hauser is one of the quilting blogs I follow. Rachel is currently constructing a quilt of Economy Stars using Heather Ross fabrics. Click here to read all about it. Her project inspires me to make an “I Spy” quilt by fussy cutting conversation prints for the center squares of “Economy” blocks.

Sewing Room Helper

For the past two weeks, my daughter, granddaughter, and two great-grands have visited us here on “the farm” in North Carolina. They have experienced an abundance of pine tree pollen, the glorious blooming of azaleas, picking up pine cones for the bonfire, riding the tractor with “Jih-pah,” planting the garden, feeding the ducklings, gathering eggs, and helping with quilting projects.

Charlee helping Oma

My lone quilting goal for this time was to assemble thirty “Hope of Hartford” blocks into a quilt top. Trinity and I made blocks for each other and for ourselves as an exchange over the past two years. I thought it fitting to turn my blocks into a quilt top during her visit. With Charlee’s supervision, I sewed sashing between the blocks and added teal corner stones. The quilt top is not quite large enough for a queen size quilt, so I plan a pieced border of star point units. I will work on this when I visit Trinity’s family at the end of May because she has all the leftover batik fabrics. For now, the partially completed top hangs neatly folded in the rolling, portable wardrobe. (You will find basic instructions for the “Hope of Hartford” block on the Patterns page of this blog.)

Quality Control by Charlee

Trinity worked on constructing eight 20″ stars made from HSTs (half square triangles). Those done, she whipped out a baby quilt of rubber ducky fabric claimed from my stash. Although these two weeks have not seen as many projects completed as our visits in the past have yielded, it has been a joy to strengthen the relationship with our now adult granddaughter and to interact with her littles. We’ve taken lots of photos during the visit and plan to make an album of all the noteworthy activities of their trip.

“Posies for Mum” Published!

Have you seen the May/June issue of McCall’s Quilting? The theme, “Stroll through English Gardens” will put you in the mood for making a springtime quilt.

You will find my quilt, “Posies for Mum,” on page 70. It is an EPP (English Paper Pieced) project made from the “Walkabout” line by Sherri and Chelsi for Moda fabrics. A layer cake of 10″ squares was more than enough for the baker’s dozen of hexagon posies and the basket. The green sashing reminds me of manicured hedges in English gardens, and the navy floral forms a wonderful frame. I cut the red/pink stripe fabric to wrap diagonally around the quilt edges as binding.

The green fabric of the leaves and the brown basket fabric are both medium in value. So after appliqueing the leaves around the flower in the basket, I felt more contrast was needed to define the leaves. I blanket stitched around the leaves with navy thread by machine. I chose lime green quilting thread and a clamshell edge to edge quilting motif.

Some of the posies were made on a road trip and others were assembled while watching TV. I think you will enjoy this take-along hand stitching project as well as I did. If you make “Posies for Mum,” please send me a picture because I’d love to see the fabrics you select for your flowers and basket.

The editors have graciously provided me with a magazine to give one of my blog readers. If you’d like to be in the drawing, leave a comment below saying if you would make “Posies for Mum” for yourself or for someone else. What fabric palette would you use? The drawing will be April 26th.

“Adventure Time” Published

Have you seen the May/June 2021 issue of Quiltmaker magazine? With insider information, I knew the theme of the issue would be “Raised by a Maker: Share Your Legacy.” I encouraged my daughter, Trinity Sanders, to submit an essay on the subject as well as one of her favorite toddler quilt designs. The editors accepted the essay and “Adventure Time” quilt! We are so excited!

Instructions for the quilt begin on page 32. Its contemporary vibe allows the fabric to do the talking. Trinity selected large scale and complementary medium scale prints, geometrics, and tone-on-tones from these Art Gallery Fabric lines: Serenity Fusion, Campsite, and Pine Lullaby. The various prints and textures will hold the interest of a youngster from babyhood through his or her elementary years. The 42″ x 55″ size is versatile from tummy time to naptime to TV viewing time.

Trinity’s essay begins on page 47 and tells what drew her to quilting and shows the first quilt we worked on together. You’ll also see pictures of her three children and the quilts they have helped to construct. It is so rewarding to have a daughter that is interested in my hobby and who wants to pass it on to the next generation. We appreciate one another for the comments and ideas as we tweak our quilt designs.

To illustrate the versatility of Trinity’s design, I made a quilt with blue and tan prints inspired by Japanese textiles. The fat quarters had been sitting on my fabric shelf for several years waiting for the perfect quilt design to showcase them. Adding a few more blocks, yet in the vein of Trinity’s design, yielded a larger quilt.

I chose a clamshell/gingko leaf quilting design designed by Kathie James. This design subtly reinforces the Japanese theme of the fabric, and tan thread blends well with all the fabrics.

I hope you will try out Trinity’s design “Adventure Time” for your next toddler quilt project. Trinity’s personal tip for hand or machine quilting: Since the quilt is 42″ wide, it will generally fit on a width of fabric, meaning it is not necessary to piece the backing.