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.


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

August FQ Challenge – Blog Readers Share

29 08 2016

In 2016 I’ve challenged myself to use several fat quarters each month and share them with blog readers. And I’ve invited blog readers to accept the challenge as well. Admittedly, some months we have more time to sew than others. So don’t worry if you haven’t sewn something with your FQs each month, just jump in when you can. I would love to show pictures of your projects to blog readers. It is so inspiring to see what you are making. Please attach your picture to an email which explains your project:

20160805_154957Chris sent a picture of a mug rug she made. “I finished a coaster. Not much, but better than nothing!?” What a fun, quick project, Chris. Thanks for sending a picture.

0721161431Tonya sent a picture of a modern quilt on her design wall. “I had less than a yard of the blue fabric with the “cartoon words” and wanted to make a child’s quilt for donation so I pulled about 12 fat quarters and a little extra yardage for more color.” Click on the picture to zoom in and see all the fun fabrics Tonya included in this bright and bold quilt.

Amanda has been a busy bee. She make two “Triple Star” quilts. She will add borders later. (Wouldn’t the pastel blue and yellow version be a sweet baby quilt?) She also make two smaller Double Stars. With borders, they will be perfect for wall quilts or table toppers. Amanda has plans to make some star quilts for Christmas gifts using printed winter motifs as star centers. (“Triple Star” was my FQ challenge project for June, and you will find a link to instructions for “Triple Star” on the Patterns page of this blog.)

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Stacy accepted the FQ challenge and made a pillow cover with an envelope style closure on the back. One FQ for the front, plus one FQ for the back and front ruffle, plus a pillow form. And, viola, you have a pretty, decorative pillow.

Stacy's FQ pillow

Thanks, everyone, for sharing your FQ Challenge creations! With a new month just around the corner, it’s time to rev up our creativity for September’s challenge.

P.S.  Please note Stephanie’s comment in the comment section. Here’s a picture she sent to explain her project. This is going to be a gorgeous “Stepping Up” quilt, Stephanie!



Fat Quarter Challenge–August

15 08 2016

The 15th of the month has rolled around again, and I am once more posting about a quilt project which utilizes some of my hoarded fat quarters.


The inspiration for this simple “Four Patch” quilt comes from Mari Martin’s “Snowbroth” quilt pictured on pg. 46 of the August 2016 Connecting Threads catalog. Click here to view the quilt and/or order a kit. (See more of Mari’s designs here.) I wondered if Mari’s design would morph well from her pastel white/gray/teal palette to my bright orange and blue butterfly print with coordinating tone-on-tones and prints. What do you think?


I down-sized the quilt from lap size to baby size in order to use my fat quarters. By cutting 4″ squares from four FQs, I obtained enough for 20 “Four Patch” blocks. (Each FQ yields 20  4″ squares.) With 2″ sashing, the quilt measures 36″ x 45 1/2.” Note the use of partial blocks for the border surrounding 12 complete “Four Patch” blocks; I think this feature adds interest. If you make this baby size quilt from FQs as I have described, you will need about 3/4 yd. of fabric for sashing as well as 20  2 1/2″ squares for cornerstones.

Now it’s your turn. What are you making with your fat quarters? I would love to show a picture of your project to blog readers. Send your digital picture and explanation to

“Happy Ending” Mystery Quilt Workshop

23 05 2016

DSCN7814A little over a week ago, on May 14, brave Tarheel Quilters assembled for a Mystery Quilt Workshop. The introduction to the cutting instructions read as follows: Don’t you love it when a story has a happy ending? Be it a novel, a theater play, or a movie, there’s something satisfying about a plot that ties up all loose ends in a pleasant way for all the principal characters. Of course in every well-written story, there’s some conflict to resolve, some antagonism to overcome, some trials to persevere through, and some mystery to solve. So it will be with your quilt; persevere in solving mysterious clues to find that “All’s well that ends well!”

The quilters, with sewing machines in tow, arrived with cut fabric in re-closable bags labeled by clue number. I led them through three patchwork clues: Square in a Square units, Half Square Triangles, and Strip-Pieced Nine Patches. Seasoned mystery quilt makers were sure I had “the right answer,” THE way all units should fit together to make a baby or lap size quilt. To be sure, I did have my sample quilt on hand, but I urged them to play with the patchwork units before I revealed my solution.

The creative ladies developed some great designs!

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Our workshop certainly validated Shakespeare’s maxim that “All’s well that ends well!”


Fat Quarter Challenge – May

15 05 2016

Believe it or not, May is half over already! Have you been working on using up some fat quarters? I would love to see pictures of your projects, and blog readers would love to be inspired by your creativity! (aby dot quilts at gmail dot com)


Project #1:  A simple way to utilize fat quarters is including them in your guild’s Block of the Month design. I used a white-on-white FQ as the background for two “Tulip Lady Fingers” blocks. Nancy, the Tarheel Quilters Guild BOM coordinator, specified yellow for the half square triangles and any color for the squares. Won’t these blocks be a great addition to the Block of the Month winner’s pretty spring-time quilt?

In addition to making the design in 12″ size, I made a 6″ block with “Chocolat” fabrics for my Splendid Sampler.

Project #2:  My baby quilt design, “Summer Safari,” is published in the June/July 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. Click here to see  a picture and to read my blog post about it. Click here to order a magazine. I discovered that I could use the same amount of units needed to make “Summer Safari” to make a “Stair Step” quilt instead.


I cut 2 1/2″ wide strips from 4 coordinating fat quarters, paired them with white strips, and cross-cut in 4 1/2″ increments. I made 16 “Rail Fence” units of each fabric combination. Instead of sewing 4 units into a “Simple Pinwheel” block, I laid out the units, stair-step fashion on my carpet. To organize the 64 units during the sewing stage, I stacked and sewed the quilt top in a web. If you zoom in on the picture below, you will see the threads connecting the rows. Click here to read Bonnie Hunter’s explanation of this technique.


A 4″ border completes the 40″ square quilt. I’m entering it into our guild’s challenge for baby quilts using bright fabric. (Stay tuned for how I’ll used the fat quarter leftovers in another baby quilt!)


Patriotic “Bowtie” QOV

13 04 2016

DSCN7763On February 6 I participated in a sew day sponsored by the Fayetteville chapter of Quilts of Valor. Click here to read the blog post and to view the quilts we worked on.

Joyce, one of the participants, finished up a patriotic “Bowtie” quilt which I volunteered to machine quilt. The use of gray is noteworthy. I would not have thought of using medium/dark gray with red, white, and blue, but it certainly allows the prints to shine. Because Joyce used gray in the blocks, she could use white for a contrasting sashing.

DSCN7764For the quilting design, I meandered in the blocks and sashing with a light gray thread which blended well with the light as well as with the dark fabrics. Taking a cue from the starry prints, I quilted stars and loops with red thread in the outer border. Joyce plans to bind the quilt with the leftover red backing fabric.

A valorous veteran will soon receive a gift that tangibly says, “Thank you for your service.”

Have you made a Quilt of Valor recently? What design did you use?

Blog Readers Share #2 – February FQ Challenge

2 03 2016

Be a part of the 2016 Fat Quarter Challenge! Add some color to your winter day; use some treasured Fat Quarters in a project. And then share your project with blog readers. Send a picture in an email to aby dot quilts at gmail dot com.

20160214_143731-1-1Ronda, a member of my local guild, would characterize herself as a “beginner” quilter, but I say she is an enthusiastic “confident beginner.” Here’s a picture of her simple, yet fun quilt made for her back porch. Love the summery colors! She writes, “This is my ‘Gypsy’ quilt by Villa Rosa Designs. I changed the fabric requirements  slightly. The pattern called for 18 fat eighths, but I used 9 fat quarters. That lovely fabric hanging below it will be the backing. It is approximately 45″ by 50.” I plan to make several more for the NICU at Cape Fear Hospital.”


zn Aby Quick ValentineTake a look at Maridee’s quilt. I designed “For Someone You Love,” and it was published in the Feb./Mar. 2011 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. Maridee downsized the quilt by 50% (i.e. 4″ squares reduced to 2″ squares) and used 5 fat quarters of chevron prints that have been in her stash for three years. Click the picture to zoom in; you’ll see Maridee’s clever use of a chevron print for the binding! Hooray for putting those fat quarters to creative use!