Cowboy Quilts for Twins

The NICU of our local hospital is not currently receiving donated baby quilts due to the COVID-19 epidemic. In fact, hospital staff is not encouraging people to visit patients at all. But when they open their doors again, these two quilts will be in the bundle delivered to the tiny babies who need extra medical attention.

In mid-March, I taught a “Giant Churn Dash” baby quilt workshop to members of my guild, the Tarheel Quilters. My friend Karlene gave me the FQ stack of cowboy themed fabric (an older Riley Blake line). I made one quilt in the workshop, sewing along with my students, and I made the other a week or so later. It is a quick and easy pattern; you will find a link to the instructions on the Patterns page of this blog. You guessed it – the quilt design utilizes 2 1/2″ strips, and I bet you have some in your stash just begging to be used.

Generally I match the quilting thread to the color of the background fabric, tan in this case. But this time I chose a high contrasting dark brown so the quilting design would show up well. Can you see the cowboy boots and hats? (The pantograph, “Stetsons and Boots” was designed by Dave Hudson of

Have you made a baby quilt lately? What pattern/design did you use?

Workshop Summary

This past Saturday, I offered a workshop for making the “Giant Churn Dash” baby quilt to Tarheel Quilters Guild members. About ten ladies attended; we had a blast sewing together! Pictured below are Joy and Maureen who are focused and concentrating as they sew. And you can tell that Colleen is in her happy place with fun fabrics in her hands!


While most workshop participants used 2 1/2″ strips leftover from jelly rolls for the strip-pieced units, some cut strips from stash or fat quarters. Karen modified the instructions so that she could use 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles she has cut and saved through the years.

Due to obligations at home, Anita could not attend the workshop as planned. But she sewed along with us while at home, and we exchanged pictures in the afternoon. Instead of placing a white square in the center, Anita featured an airplane print that she also used to back the quilt.

Several ladies affirmed that they would make this quick, easy and versatile design again. Yolanda plans to make two from the same pretty fabrics; they’ll be given to twin girls in the NICU of our local hospital.

On Sunday, at the guild meeting, we showed our quilt tops to those in attendance. Barbara was our over-achiever, she made 3 quilt tops and quilted all on her new longarm overnight.

I encouraged everyone to access the instructions on the Patterns page of my blog. Like you, even those who could not attend the workshop may still make a “Giant Churn Dash” baby quilt.



Giant “Churn Dash” Baby Quilt

Since “Churn Dash” is the March block of the month in our “Sisters” quilt along, I have a pattern variation to share with you.

I’ve designed a contemporary baby quilt based on the time-honored design. One giant block is all you need to make for this quilt! Click on the Patterns tab in the bar beneath my header picture (or in the drop down menu on your smart phone). Once on the Patterns page, you’ll be able to click on the link to the printer friendly instructions for the 24″ block and two borders.

As you might surmise from looking at the picture, the rectangles are strip-pieced from 8  2 1/2″ strips. You can use leftover jelly roll strips or you can cut 2 1/2″ wide strips from stash as I did. In addition, you need about 3/4 yd. of light background fabric and 3/8 yd. of a theme print. I’ll be teaching this quilt as a workshop on Saturday to fellow Tarheel Quilters Guild members. When 20 of us complete our quilts, our NICU charity coordinator’s stockpile of baby quilts will be greatly increased.

I selected coordinating quilting designs for my two Giant Churn Dash quilts. For the “Under the Sea” theme quilt, I chose light blue thread and a pantograph of sea creatures.

And for my “Pretty in Pink” quilt, I quilted a freehand design of heart shaped leaves and large flowers with pink thread.

I’d love to see a picture of your Giant Churn Dash baby quilt! Send a digital photo to

“Steppin’ Up” in Pink

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Marlene, who collects and distributes baby quilts to the NICU on behalf of my guild, says her stockpile is dangerously low. Each month 20-30 quilts are needed to comfort newborns with medical issues. I volunteered to teach a speedy baby quilt design in March at a guild workshop. The completion of 15-20 workshop quilts should boost the pile Marlene keeps in reserve.

In the meantime, I made “Steppin’ Up” in pink prints. The half yard of ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ fabric I found in my stash made the perfect border.

You can find a link to the instructions for “Steppin’ Up” on the Patterns page of this blog. Although the pattern calls for 10 strips, I just used 9 strips each cut 4″ x 40.” The addition of a 4″ border yields the perfect size for a baby quilt. I quilted a freehand, all over design of hearts and loops in light pink thread.

The pleasing outcome of this quick project has me wondering what other fabric combinations from my stash would look great in this design. I am sure I have 9 blues, and/or 9 greens, and/or 9 reds that would work, with a fun border print, as a baby quilt. What color(s) would you use from you stash for “Steppin’ Up?”

“Inside Out Heart”

My friend, Linda G., sent me “Inside Out Heart” for machine quilting. She’s been accumulating pink and fuchsia batiks for awhile, waiting for the perfect project in which to showcase them. Aren’t the various tones luscious? We conferred about thread color and quilting design and settled on pale pink thread and the “Smitten” pantograph by Patricia E. Ritter and Valerie Smith. The pink thread adds textural interest without overpowering the design.

If you would like to make the 36″ x 36″ quilt, you will find instructions in the Missouri Star Quilt Company’s Holiday issue, Vol. 6, Issue 4, 2019. And you can click here to view a tutorial on You Tube.

With Valentine’s Day about a month away, you easily have time to make this lovely quilt for your sweetheart!

Kay’s “Chandelier” Quilt

My friend, Kay, signed up for the “Chandelier” quilt class I taught at Sew There! in Angier last month. The quilt was designed by Vanessa Goertzen and published in her book, Charm School, 18 Quilts from 5″ Pre-cut Squares. The quilt is very popular owing to its visual appeal and easy construction. You will find many “Chandelier” pictures on Pinterest and other online sources. For example, here is a picture of my “Chandelier.”

Kay decided to make a quilt for her expected grandson in colors and fabrics approved by her daughter. It is amazing how color and value placement change the appearance of a design. After making the blocks, Kay arranged and sewed them together, randomly intermingling mint green blocks with those of  low volume print. But we didn’t like the effect; our eyes kept jumping around, trying to make sense of the design. So Kay un-sewed the blocks and arranged like fabrics in vertical columns. The quilt looks more organized and cohesive this way because all the fabrics are of similar (light) value.

Kay passed her quilt top to me for quilting, and I quilted an allover design of freehand spirals with gray thread. The circular spirals add movement and a softening texture that contrasts nicely with the angular patchwork pieces.

Kay is all set to snuggle her new grandson, and he will have a warm treasure from his loving Grandma!


Retreat Projects Finished!

A week and a half ago I blogged about the projects I sewed while on retreat with like-minded friends from my church. Today, I’ll share pictures of the finished products.

First up is a baby quilt made with a package of 5″ “Mighty Machines” charm squares set in a 6 x 7 grid. What a fun way to use all the color/print coordinated squares. The two borders enlarged the quilt top to crib size. For quilting, I selected gray thread and the “Malachite” pantograph designed by Patricia E. Ritter and distributed by Urban Elementz. The quilting motif shows up particularly well on the solid squares, adding interest to these otherwise plain areas. A black print binding finishes the project nicely. Some little guy is going to love all those trucks!

While on retreat, I put the pedal to the metal and also sewed 20 blocks for “Prints Charming” designed by my friend, Jerry Stube (published in the May/June 2019 issue of Pre-Cut Patchwork). This is my 2019 Jelly Roll quilt made from Hydrangea Blue by Benartex. The pale yellow inner border, from Connecting Threads’ Chambray collection, floats the patchwork blocks and gives the eye a place to rest. The outer border is a print from Summer Breeze VI by Moda.

“China Sea” is the pantograph I used; it was designed by Keryn Emmerson and distributed by Urban Elementz. I selected a pale yellow thread for quilting. The binding is the same print as the outer border. I love the summery look of this large throw quilt, and it feels good to have completed it in record time!


“Dot Crazy” Baby Quilt Finished!

Last spring, I made “Around the Corner” from yardage, a charm square pack,  and a jelly roll of “Dot Crazy” by Benartex. Click here to read my blog post about this quilt.

After the quilt was complete, as is usually the case, I had bits and pieces and some strips left over of this very fun fabric. I decided to use them in making a baby quilt.

The close-up photo shows both the meandering loop and double loop quilting design as well the elements of one 12″ block. To compose the block, I cut 2 1/2″ squares and 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles. It was my goal to balance cool and warm colors within each block. A white 2 1/2″ frame around each block makes them “float” against the background.

I considered reserving the leftover “Dot Crazy” yellow strips as binding, but opted for adding them to the squares in the pieced border instead. I believe this border treatment adds interest in its simplicity.

This happy quilt will be perfect for tummy time for a baby girl, the newest addition to our church family.

“Aquatic Critters” Published!

Fun news today — my quilt “Aquatic Critters” is published in the August/September issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. In planning this issue, the editors requested quilts relating to a “back to school” theme or quilts suitable for a toddler’s nap time at preschool. Isn’t the school bus quilt with black button wheels on the cover adorable?

In searching for nap time quilt fabric, I was drawn to the Stonehenge Kids Undersea 3D collection by Linda Ludovico for Northcott. The bright, primary colors of smiling sea creatures appeals to youngsters (and oldsters like me). Interestingly, some of the critters look dimensional when viewed through 3D glasses.

The quilt goes together quickly; the central panel is flanked by simple patchwork blocks and the porthole print. I quilted an edge to edge watery design with light blue thread.

Wouldn’t you be happy to nap under this quilt? I would!

If you would like to win a copy of this magazine, leave a comment below. The drawing will be July 1. Tell me who in your acquaintance would particularly love an “Aquatic Critters” quilt.

Charmville, Biggie Sized

For the past three weeks I have been working diligently on a large queen size quilt that will be published in Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine this winter. Unfortunately, I can’t show you the project that has captivated my time and attention. Let’s just say it’s a beauty and you are going to love it!

Knowing that I would soon be finished with this large quilt, I began the week by planning my next project. Here is how the week went down:

Monday – I chose a project, a UFO that I began months ago in preparation for my workshop with Quilt Posse in Trenton, Kentucky. It’s time to finish this UFO and pass it along to a baby or toddler. The squares in the houses are 2″ finished and the Flying Geese roofs finish at 4 1/2″ x 9.” Click here for more construction information for this variation of “Charmville.”

Tuesday – I selected some green texture strips for grass beneath the houses, and rounded up the same cloud print for sky above the rooftops. I packed the blocks and fabric in a project box in preparation for Sew ‘N’ Sews, the Wednesday morning craft group that meets at my church.

Wednesday – At the craft group, I sewed the rows of houses and trees together, adding some spacer strips. And I added the green grass and cloudy sky strips.

Thursday – I auditioned possible border fabrics and attached 4 1/4″ border strips of my favorite.


Friday – I pieced batting (leftover from the large quilt mentioned above), pieced the backing, and loaded all three layers in the quilting machine. I quilted one row before the guys announced they were in “lunch mode.”


After lunch and grocery shopping, I finished quilting E’s and 3’s all over with light blue thread. I managed to trim away the excess batting and backing before the guys announced they were in “dinner mode.”

After dinner, I bound the quilt with a blue swirl fabric and photographed my finish in the waning evening light.

Many times, I don’t work on a project because I know I don’t have time to finish it in one sitting. Lesson learned this week: work on the project, bit by bit, step by step, day by day . . . and eventually it will be finished.

You can find me on Saturday in my sewing room selecting a project to work on in the coming week!