I Won!

21 12 2015

IMG_3742I won the November Block of the Month drawing at the Tarheel Quilters Guild meeting! Nancy, our BOM chair, distributed instructions for “Johnny Around the Corner” at the October meeting. The blocks could use just two colors/fabrics, black and gray. Admittedly, this modern color palette is unusual for our group of mostly traditional quilters.

All who made blocks had a chance of winning, and my name was drawn! I received ten blocks, enough for a nine block lap quilt with one to spare. Immediately my mind began turning over setting and color ideas. A red tonal or geometric print for sashing and border would look nice, I thought.

The day after the guild meeting, I drove to northern Virginia to speak to the Springfield chapter of Quilters Unlimited as I blogged about on November 23. An advantage of presenting a workshop in a quilt shop like The Quilters Studio is the opportunity to shop for fabric. While there, I found a modern print manufactured by Robert Kaufman, in the Felicity collection by Bren Talavera. (Note: It’s not red.) The grid of squares colored gray, chartreuse, orange, and bright blue seemed perfect for the blocks I had won. I figured 2 yards would be enough for sashing and border.

IMG_20151204_165806_555 (1)

My initial plan was to simply add the print as sashing and border. But after laying the blocks on top of the print, I decided bright colored frames would add a necessary contrast. Happily, my stash contained two orange tonals and a bright blue tonal in just the right shades. I cut the framing strips 2 1/2″ wide. Finally ready to use my modern grid print, I cut the sashing 4″ wide and the borders 5 1/2″ wide. I cut sashing and border strips parallel to the selvage of my two yard cut of fabric to avoid piecing the borders.


Tip: By cutting border strips parallel to the selvage (on grain), you minimize the possibility of stretched, wavy borders. If you cut border strips cross grain (from selvage to selvage), you must measure and pin carefully to avoid easing in fullness in the borders. And cutting borders on the bias (diagonally) is not recommended at all!

The freehand, edge-t0-edge quilting design resembles contour plowing. Perhaps you can see it best  in my own block because of the light gray background fabric.


I had three fabric choices for binding: black, medium gray, and gray/black. The gray/black won although I suspect it is a thin suiting fabric with some polyester content (from my mother’s stash); it is the perfect color and pressed well with no stretching.

I am really pleased with the orange and blue punches of color and the grid print that ties the black and gray quilt blocks together. I enjoyed the challenge of creating this striking quilt from a non-traditional color palette!

Have you ever won blocks from a quilt group? Have you made a quilt with them yet?

“A Different Path” Finished!

13 05 2015
"A Different Path"

“A Different Path”

My rendition of “A Different Path,” designed by Kathie Holland and published in the Oct./Nov. 2013 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting is finished. Pieced, Quilted, Bound, and Labeled! You can read about the beginning of this quilt project here and here.

I elected to quilt the “Double Plume” pantograph by Keryn Emmerson and used a Magnifico Honey Gold thread on the top with light tan bobbin thread.


Since the backing, leftover from another project, was not quite large enough, I increased the size by adding a column of sashed 12″ blocks. I had previously thought of using these blocks to make a sampler quilt with Civil War repro fabrics, but that project did not materialize. Better to use the blocks as backing art for “A Different Path” than to consign them to the orphan block bin!

I am very pleased with this twin sized quilt, and I’m thankful to my seven friends who exchanged blocks with me for ultimate scrappiness!


“A Different Path” for Marie

26 03 2015

 IMG_3616In October 2013, American Patchwork and Quilting published Kathie Holland’s design, “A Different Path.” Several quilting friends and I were visiting Marie and leafing through quilt magazines at the time, and we decided “A Different Path” would be a fantastic exchange project. A palette of Civil War repro prints on shirting backgrounds was determined. We solicited a few more Civil War fabric aficionados for eight total quilters. I worked out a block and color construction scheme lasting ten months that yielded 180 blocks per quilter, enough for a twin size quilt each. To keep on schedule, we each appliqued 18 quarter circles on shirting backgrounds in prescribed colors: red, orange/cheddar/gold, yellow, blue, green, black, brown, purple. The final color was “your choice.”

The exchange took place at a quilting retreat during the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival at the end of February. Marie and Kathy are pictured selecting squares arranged by color on a large table.

a different path, marie     a different path, kathy

Marie was the first to put her top together. She asked me to quilt it, and she chose the Double Plume all-over design (pantograph designed by Keryn Emmerson). I used a Magnifico gold thread on the top and a tan thread in the bobbin to blend with the backing.


Seeing Marie’s lovely quilt top finished and quilted has motivated me to work on setting my blocks from the exchange together. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.


Marie’s “A Different Path”

Floral Fantasy Quilt Show

3 10 2014

The Floral Fantasy quilt show is happening this weekend at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens in Fayetteville, NC. If you live near Fayetteville, please feel welcome to attend! The Botanical Gardens invited my guild, Tarheel Quilters, to stage a quilt show in connection with their annual Heritage Festival. For a fee of $10, you can view the beautiful gardens and the lovely quilts! The address is 536 Eastern Blvd., Fayetteville, NC  28301. The show began Thursday, Oct. 2 and continues through Sunday, Oct. 5, opening at 10 a.m. each day.

I entered eight quilts. Some were made recently, some I completed over ten years ago. The quilt show planners asked for quilts portraying the floral theme, so I rooted through my closet and found those I thought would help round out the display. Would you like to see what I’m entering?


This is my rendition of Jen Kingwell’s “Gypsy Wife” quilt. Isn’t it colorful? Since it contains floral fabrics, I named it “The Gypsy Wife’s Garden.” You can read more about this quilt here.

A quilt show 3

Conny, Helga, and Angela will recognize this one, “Japanese Basket.” It’s our round robin organized by the Log Cabin Ladies of Esslingen, Germany. All the participants used daiwabo fabric provided by the guild.

A quilt show 5

“Friendship Garden” is made from a floral fabric exchange among the Springfield Quilters Unlimited of Northern Virginia about seven years ago. Click on the picture for a close-up view of the floral quilting in the “Snowball Blocks.”

A quilt show 1

If you lived in Stuttgart from ’09 to ’12 and frequented the Patch Barracks Multi-Crafts Center, you might have signed up for the “Fruehlingzeit” sampler quilt class. Read more about this quilt here.

A quilt show 2

“Obst und Gemuese” was also completed in Germany. Birgit sponsored a “basket block” challenge at her shop, Patchcom, in Schoenaich. I fused fruits and vegetables onto a simple patchwork basket, and then I quilted the German names of fruits and vegetables in variegated green thread in the light background area.

A quilt show 4

Here’s an oldie, but goodie. I recently rescued this quilt from my son’s linen closet. (It no longer fit his decorating scheme.) Our quilt group at Ft. Polk, LA exchanged floral and white half square triangles (HSTs). I used my HSTs to make basket blocks. This quilt is so “old,” it’s hand quilted rather than longarmed!


“Garden Pavers” was published in McCall’s Quilting, Sept./Oct. 2013. I wanted the look of “Grandmother’s Flower Garden,” but I didn’t want to spend the time English Paper Piecing the hundreds of hexagons necessary to make a quilt! My solution was to hand applique a small hexagon onto a circle which I then hand appliqued onto a large hexagon. This was a take-along project for two or three years. After making “enough” pieces, I machine sewed them together. I hand appliqued the patchwork to a brown background which formed the borders of the quilt. You can read more about this quilt here.

A quilt show 6

I consider “Fall Harvest” one of my masterpieces. It appeared in Quilters Newsletter beginning in 2000 as a series quilt designed by Ann Seely. Excitedly, I began the project and kept up for awhile. The hand applique slowed me down so much so that I left off one corner. I thought perhaps I would quilt the shapes of the flowers and vegetables in the blank corner. I procrastinated on that idea for two years. Then, in 2009, I decided to just finish the quilt with an all over feather pantograph and be done. Quilters Newsletter has just released the design as a pattern. You, too, can make this quilt!

Stacy at Quiltiferous.wordpress.com also entered some of her quilts in the Floral Fantasy Show. Click here to see what she submitted.

Round Robin Quilt, Finished

30 05 2014

On Sunday, I wrote about the Quilting Circle’s revelation of their Round Robin quilts. You can read about it and see all the quilts here.

I was so excited to receive my quilt that I wasted no time in quilting it! I am elated to say it totally fits my decorating style!

round robin quilt

Williamsburg blue thread blended with all the fabrics so well. However, if you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see the “Happy Times” pantograph design in the background triangles of the center square.

Round robin close up

This truly was a cooperative quilt: Thanks to Karlene for designing the center star (Karlene wrote instructions for “Heather’s Star”on her blog scrapmuffinquilts.wordpress.com); thanks to Marciava, Jenn, Aunna and Kristen for adding borders, round and round, to the quilt.

Quilting Circle Round Robin Quilts Revealed

25 05 2014

Thursday was a special day for our Quilting Circle; it was the day of revealing the Round Robin quilts we have been working on for the past four months. We had two groups of five quilters each. I snapped pictures of most of the completed quilt tops. Many are light-struck, but I think you can catch the emotional excitement in the room. You can read about the beginning of the challenge here.

I was so excited to see my quilt top made from Windham fabrics! I was amazed at the border of Four Patches on point.


Jenn was in my group. She wanted an owl themed quilt for her son’s room.


Aunna’s daughter, Abi, selected the brown puppy dog print for the quilt that will hang in her room.


I’m holding Kristen’s quilt because she wasn’t able to attend the Circle meeting. (And Marciava was also absent).


For the second round robin group, I’ll first show Karlyn’s patriotic quilt.


Jaclyn’s quilt was also patriotic in theme. She plans to applique her initial in the center white square.


Heather was simply amazed at the way her lowly star block grew into a potted flower!


Anna was “flabergasted” at the metamorphosis of her birch trees.


Amy’s quilt in pastels was lovely beyond her imagination.


The Round Robin project challenged us to be very creative and to aspire towards our best work. We definitely made memories this spring while working on each others’ quilts.



“Liz’s Irish Chain”

14 04 2014

Have you ever seen a quilt you just have to make? The colors or fabrics or design just pull you in? I fell in love with “Liz’s Irish Chain” in Fons And Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine, January/February 2013.


What makes this quilt unusual and extra appealing is that the alternate blocks are royal blue rather than light or white. After drooling over the pattern awhile, I took stock of the fabrics I needed. I was sure I had enough scrappy fabrics in my stash for the shirtings and dark Civil War repro prints; I just needed to purchase the blue fabric. My friend, Marie, also wanted to make this quilt, and we roped Linda into exchanging blocks with us as well. Between us, Marie and I used a bolt of the royal blue which she found at Golden Lane Fabrics now located near Penn Yan, New York. Linda chose a teal blue for her alternate blocks.


The pattern calls for cutting 1 1/2″ squares for the “Twenty-five Patches,” but we decided the project would move along faster and have the same dramatic effect if we cut 2 1/2″ squares. I strip-pieced dark prints with light shirtings as you can see from the photo below.


We exchanged “Twenty-five Patches” but made our own alternate blocks. When we met at the end of February at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, Va., we exchanged blocks. I was so excited that I sewed together the 81 blocks for my quilt top over the weekend!

 Irish Chain layout

I couldn’t find an extra wide backing fabric to match the royal blue, so I pieced two lengths of 40″ wide fabric with strips of Civil War repro fabric in the center.

Irish chain backing

I debated about the “proper” quilting design. Usually, the alternate blocks are a perfect spot for “Feathered Wreaths,” but I wasn’t in the mood (i.e. I was too impatient/lazy) to quilt 40 of them. Instead, I chose the pantograph “Double Plume” by Keryn Emmerson. I used a honey colored polyester thread, and I really like the way the feathers show up in the royal blue alternate blocks but fade into the multi-colors of the “Twenty-five Patches.” I will think of it as “Faux Feathered Wreaths.”


Have you made an “Irish Chain” quilt? If so, describe it in a comment below.