“Stacked Coins” Baby Quilt

13 08 2018

Most of you remember seeing my “Roman Stripe” quilt finished this summer.

As happens with most scrappy quilts, there were a few blocks and lots of 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles as well as 1 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ strips left over. To use some of these scraps, I decided to make a “Stacked Coins” baby quilt.

Last summer I purchased the black polka dot for sashing and borders as well as the trucks print for backing. Indeed, I purchased enough fabric for two quilts but only got around to making one with grandson Kaleb’s help. It feels great to finally use this fabric for its intended purpose! If you zoom in, you will see several orphan blocks from the “Roman Stripe” quilt, and you will see the quilting design in variegated thread. Loop-loop-meander adds curvy whimsy to the very structured quilt, and the colorful thread brightens the dark sashing and border. The yellow/orange print makes a happy binding that blends well with the primary colors of the quilt backing.

Tip: It’s way too easy to stretch columns of rectangles when pressing. Mathematically, each column of my quilt should measure 30 1/2.” I cut the sashing strips 4″ x 30 1/2″ and the side border strips 5″ x 30 1/2.” Placing a sashing strip on the ironing board, I pressed each pieced column to match the length of the 30 1/2″ long strip. This pressing tip ensured that all the columns would be the same length, making quilt assembly a snap.

Have you made a “Stacked Coins” or “Chinese Coins” quilt? If so, what color sashing/borders did you use?


“Lieutenant” Published!

23 07 2018

Great news! My patriotic quilt, “Lieutenant” was published in the Fall 2018 issue of Easy Quilts. Easy Quilts is published quarterly and is a subsidiary of Fons & Porter; both are under the umbrella of The Quilting Company.

All the quilts in this issue exemplify the motto of Easy Quilts, “Quick/Simple/Fun.” Several were designed for children, a couple cater to cat lovers, and mine meets the measurement requirements for Quilts of Valor. You will love them all!

In addition to the featured patterns, the magazine contains a “Sew Easy – How to Make a Quilt” section. Tutorials include Quick Hourglass Unit, Row Alignment, Paper Foundation Piecing, Windowing Fusible Applique (helpful info for the “Lieutenant” quilt!), Quick-Pieced Flying Geese Units, and Quick Triangle-Squares.

This issue goes on sale July 24. If your newsstand does not stock Easy Quilts, you can order a copy or sign up for a yearly subscription at The Quilting Company.

The Quilting Company graciously sent a copy of the magazine for a lucky blog reader. Leave a comment below if you would like to win. The drawing will be 31 July.

String-Pieced “Churn Dash” Finished!

25 06 2018

I’m happy to report that the String-Pieced “Churn Dash” has been quilted, bound, and is ready for use! If you remember, this project was featured as Saturday Scrap Strategy #11. I used the same black polka dot fabric for half square triangles in the blocks, as corner squares in the border, and as binding. The black polka dot fabric acts as a resting place for our eyes as they dart from one cheerful print to the next.

I planned to use white quilting thread since the extensive background is white, but at the last minute, I decided to use pale gray. On the white areas, pale gray thread looks white, and it blends better than white would have in the colorful areas of the quilt. The quilt design is “loop-loop-meander” in an all-over freehand.

This project gains extra points in the scrap-using category:  I pieced together a backing leftover from another quilt project and I used batting scraps by machine zig-zagging trimmed, wide strips together. You would think that my stash is shrinking significantly as scraps are turning quilts, but, alas, the fabric bins are still overflowing!

It’s time to plan my next scrappy project! I need some suggestions. What scrap project(s) are you working on?

Saturday Scrap Strategy #12

23 06 2018

If your scrap collection is anything like mine, you have an eighth of a yard of this, and a 6″ strip of that, trimmings of quilt backings, leftovers from projects completed years ago, as well as an assortment of fat quarters. What to do with all of it? Today’s Scrap Strategy suggests incorporating coordinating scraps into a “Steppin’ Up” baby quilt. You will find a printer friendly document of this project on the Patterns page of this blog. Simply click the Patterns tab under the blog header; once on the Patterns page, scroll down until you see “Steppin’ Up” along with the pictured blue and yellow quilt.

Here is my fabric pull for a lamb-themed “Steppin’ Up.” Several months ago, I made a lamb quilt and purchased more fabric than needed. The leftover fabric is too cute to leave languishing in my studio, so I selected pinks, greens, and several neutrals that coordinated. Notice that the four fabrics at the top of the photo coordinate well, but I did not use them, feeling the intense colors shouted louder than my focus fabric. Perhaps the black print could serve as binding.

“Steppin’ Up” is a quick quilt, easily strip-pieced. In fact, only 19 seams are required for the quilt top! The instructions call for 10 strips cut 3 1/2″ x width of fabric (WOF). However, I cut strips for this quilt 4″ wide, and I cut 2 strips of the lamb theme print. On my work table, I alternated the colors of the strips, basically “pink, green, neutral.” I sewed them together and pressed every other seam to the right and pressed alternate seams to the left. This pressing tip helps greatly when sewing the quilt rows together. You can see from the photo that I used several fat quarter strips. I simply abutted them in the strip-piecing process.

The next step is making a tube by sewing the first strip to the last strip.

If you are sewing along, lay the tube flat, still wrong side out, on a large cutting mat. Trim off the selvage ends and then cross-cut at 4″ intervals. In case you use several fat quarter strips as I did, you’ll be able to cut 5 tube strips, trim away a little waste where fat quarters abut, and then cut 5 more tube strips.

Next, arrange the tube strips on your work table in successive order so that a different fabric print is at the upper edge as in the photo below. You will rip out the top seam and open up the tube into a strip of 10 squares.

Since the lamb print is my theme print, the entire reason for making this quilt, I thought I would arrange the strips with the lamb print stepping up from the lower right corner to the upper left corner of the quilt. However, the lamb print is not the strongest fabric in the collection; the darker green is. I am much happier with the dark green in the stepping up position.


After arranging the rows to my satisfaction, I sewed them together. The seams nested nicely due to the pressing technique mentioned earlier. The quilting motif is freehand, Es and 3s in pink variegated thread. I auditioned the black print for binding, but couldn’t bring myself to use it for such a sweet, pastel quilt. I found just enough gray swirl print in my scrap stash that fit the bill much better.

All finished, just in time to give to my friend who is expecting!  Oops, just found out she’s having a little boy. Guess I’ll be making another “Steppin’ Up” quilt very soon . . . in boy related colors and fabrics.

Saturday Scrap Strategy #11

16 06 2018

How are you progressing on our Second Quarter’s challenge of cutting up your scraps into usable squares and strips? Just when I think I’m about finished cutting through one scrap container, another bag or box that needs attention surfaces. I am definitely going to need a new rotary cutter blade!

Beneath my sewing table sits an overflowing bag of strips and strings which I am gradually sorting by color into a large, shallow, plastic container. Most of the strips are too narrow to cut into squares. (The smallest square I save is 1 1/2.”) However, these strips are perfect for string-piecing projects, and I recently saw a “Churn Dash” comprised of lots of tiny, scrappy squares and rectangles on the Crazy Mom Quilts blog that I wanted to try. Do check out Amanda Jean’s blog post – her Churn Dash blocks are really cute!

I decided to construct the multi-fabric rectangles by string-piecing  on a phone book paper foundation. I trimmed the width of the papers to 6 1/2″ and sewed and flipped, sewed and flipped, until the paper was covered. Of course, I decreased my stitch length so the paper would be easier to remove. I decided to make 4 blocks, and figured I could cross-cut each fabric covered page in four equal pieces. Since each “Churn Dash” requires 4 rectangles, I needed 4 foundation papers.

Prior to removing the paper, I sliver-trimmed the width to 6 1/2″ and divided the height of the phone book page by 4. I found I could cross-cut the string-pieced fabric in 2 3/4″ segments. After cross-cutting and removing the foundation paper, I cut 2 1/4″ x 6 1/2″ white rectangles and sewed them to the 2 3/4″ x 6 1/2″ string-pieced units, pressing toward the white rectangles. Since these patchwork units measure 4 1/2″ x 6 1/2,” I cut 6 1/2″ white block center squares and made a total of 16 black/white half square triangles that measure 4 1/2,” unfinished. On my worktable, I laid out the components of the blocks and assembled them in three rows of three units each.

It was fun to see these four blocks come together! I gave them some “personal space,” separating them with white sashing and surrounding them with a white border. With so many strips and strings on hand, a scrappy string-pieced border is in order. I’ll post a picture of the finished quilt in a week or two.

Have you tried string piecing on a paper foundation? What have you found to be the pros and cons?


Copy Cat

13 06 2018

At Sunday’s Tarheel Quilters Guild meeting, Pat P. showed her fish-themed baby quilt. And she did a bit of advertising for the Saturday Scrap Strategy blog posts.

Does this design look familiar? Pat patterned her cute quilt after the Kitty Cat quilt, our first Scrap Strategy idea. Click here to read about its construction. In the close-up photo you can admire the theme print and view Pat’s terrific swirly quilting.

Thanks, Pat, for copying the Kitty Cat quilt and for sharing photos with blog readers! The child who receives this quilt will love it!

How about you? Are you a “copy cat?” Have you made one of the suggested Scrap Strategy projects? If so, I’d like to share a picture with blog readers as an encouragement for using scraps. (aby dot quilts at gmail dot com) Did you know that you can scroll through all the Scrap Strategies by typing “scrap strategy” in the Search box and then “enter” on your keyboard? You’ll find lots of ideas to copy!

Fat Quarter Fun with Loose Threads

21 05 2018

This past Thursday, I had the privilege of speaking to the Loose Threads Quilt Guild in Clinton, SC. Marilyn, the Programs chair, selected my “Cutting Up” lecture. Using step-out examples, I showed the quilters my favorite innovative cutting techniques, from “Disappearing Nine Patch” to “Stepping Up” (found on the Patterns page of this blog). From turning a straight-set quilt into an on-point set quilt to tricks for using Layer Cakes of 10″ squares efficiently. At the conclusion of the program, Marilyn and I invited everyone to the Fat Quarter Fun workshop on Saturday.

Saturday – that’s when the real fun began! We met in the fellowship hall of the Hurricane Baptist Church, way out in the country. Would you like to see pictures of the ladies at work/play? First up are Carol and Claire, chatting and laughing as they sew.

Toby made a cheerful pink and lime green quilt for a baby girl. Take a look at the stylized leaf print in the center of her blocks; Toby will also use it in the quilt’s borders.

Marge had plenty of yardage and so decided to make a larger quilt; she began with four 16″ blocks for the center.

Here’s Patti arranging her blocks on the design wall. She used flannel fat quarters for a cuddly finish and plans to place the four extra Four Patches in the border corners.

I challenged Virginia to think outside the box, to make a non-sampler style quilt. I love the results!


Linda was ecstatic to end the day with a completed quilt top. She plans to donate it to a favorite charity. The recipient is sure to love the A, B, C, 1, 2, 3 theme print with bright green and yellow coordinating tone-on-tones!

Great fun was had by all!

If your guild would like a workshop on efficiently cutting fat quarters to make Half Square Triangles, Four Patches, and rectangle units, please contact me to arrange a workshop. aby.quilts@gmail.com