String-pieced Lap Quilt

21 12 2018

Lillington, NC where I live is about 1 1/2 hours from Archdale, NC. You may ask, “What is in Archdale?” The warehouse of Pineapple Fabrics! And several times a year they host a sale which is well worth going to. And they offer boxes of scraps to groups that sew and donate quilts to those in need. (Management prefers an email prior to the sale if you would like to be on the list to receive scraps.)

At a recent sale, one of the ladies in my church quilting group requested a scrap box since our group makes quilts for young ones as well as the elderly. Pineapple Fabrics gave us “a boatload” of selvage ends from their kit-cutting process. The strips or “strings” are pinked one one side and have selvages on the other with about 1″ width of usable fabric.

I used two fistfuls or hanks of black and gray print strips when making this lap quilt. I used about 1 1/2 yd. of electric blue fabric for the sashing, border, and binding. I quilted spirals all over and gave the quilt to Johnny, who lives at an assisted living facility.

Tips for sewing with selvage end strips:

  • Sew the strips together prior to trimming off the selvages.
  • Begin in the center of the strip set and work outward, adding strips to both sides as you go. This will economize your time in making trips to the ironing board.
  • Sew the pinked edge of one strip to the pinked edge of another.
  • Likewise, sew the selvage edge of one strip to the selvage edge of another, allowing as much of the print as possible to show. Trim off the selvages, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.
  • Press seams to one side as you go.
  • Determine the width of the string-pieced strip set that will economize with the length of strips you are working with. For example. all my strips were about 31″ long. I calculated that I could cut four 7 1/4″ squares from this length with about 2 1/2″ to spare. So I string-pieced 7 strip sets that were at least 7 1/2″ wide. (Given this 31″ length, I could have made strip-sets that were at least 6″ wide and cut five 6″ squares from each strip-set.)
  • The next step is cutting squares from the strip-sets with rotary cutting equipment.
  • Cut the (2 1/2″ wide) sashing pieces the same length as the string-pieced squares, 7 1/4″ in my case.
  • Choose cornerstone fabric that draws some attention to add secondary interest to the quilt.
  • When attaching sashing strips to blocks (or sashing rows to block rows), pin and sew with the sashing uppermost because all the seams of the string-pieced blocks tend to stretch and spread when they are uppermost.

Are you working on a strip-pieced project? If you would be willing to share your idea with blog readers, send me a picture, please.


Quilting Retreat for Two

17 11 2018

About a week ago our daughter Trinity arrived with a backpack full of quilt tops she planned to complete while visiting us. The weather was chilly and rainy – the perfect incentive to stay indoors and quilt. We kept my longarm humming!

On the far left, you can see the Texas themed quilt, a raffle quilt for grandson Keith’s junior class to benefit the prom. We also finished a quilt for her son, Kaleb, who is now over six feet tall and needs a longer bed quilt. And then, there was the stack of baby quilt tops, all completed now. Did you notice the plum and blue star table runner on the top of the pile? Trinity’s visit coincided with a runner class I taught at Sew There! Quilts and More. Teamwork had Trinity longarming while I machine sewed binding on the quilt previously finished.

We’re offering a fabric and quilt pattern prize for the first person who correctly guesses how many projects we completed on our retreat for two. Write a number in your comment below.

Toward the end of her stay, we went shopping, yes, for fabric for two more quilts, and also for a suitcase. Trinity came with a backpack of tops and left with a suitcase full of completed quilts!

Reversible Table Topper Published

16 10 2018

Great news! My reversible table topper was published in the November/December 2018 issue of Quilty. In fact, my quilt made the cover! This is the first quilt I’ve had published by this magazine which caters to young, modern quilters. Quilty is a subsidiary of Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting and contains many of the features F & P readers appreciate. For example, each issue includes “how to” pages for basic patchwork skills like making half triangle squares, quarter triangle squares, and Flying Geese.

The inspiration for this two-in-one quilt came from a prompt by the acquisitions editor, Lori Baker. We agreed that we often feel like we just decorated for fall when it’s time to change to Christmas decor. If you make this reversible table topper, redecorating your dining table will be easy; the day after Thanksgiving, you can simply flip the quilt over from fall leaves to holiday trees!

I used Grunge fabrics from Moda for this quilt: “Grunge Hits the Spot” for the leaves and “Seeing Stars” for the trees and border. I deliberated about what color to use as the borders for both sides knowing that the binding should also be of the same fabric. I settled on a deep eggplant color which lends richness to the fall leaves as well as the holiday trees. For quilting, I meandered in gold thread which adds glitz to both sides of the quilt.

I have one copy of Quilty to give away to a blog reader. If you would like to win, leave a comment below. The drawing will be next Monday, 22 October.

National Sew a Jelly Roll Day 2018

19 09 2018

Hurricane Florence cancelled most of my plans for National Sew a Jelly Roll Day on Saturday, the 15th. I had planned on hosting a sew-in with ham and cheese pinwheel luncheon sandwiches and pumpkin roll for dessert, I had planned on sewing from early morning until supper time with like minded quilting friends. Instead, for the duration of the hurricane, we hosted 2 quilters and 3 small children whose neighborhood often loses power during storms. We enjoyed each other’s company immensely during the wind and rain, playing games, singing songs, and learning how to bake pizza on the grill.

Since we still had electric power on Friday night, Karlene and I unrolled my Jelly Roll, “For You” designed by Brigitte Heitland for Zen Chic for Moda. We talked through constructing the design, “Tea Party” I found on Pinterest. (You can purchase a pattern from sweetjane’s etsy shop.) We decided to use only the darker strips and that it would be best to press all seams open.

I pieced and cross-cut enough strips to make units for Block #1.

Then, unfortunately, the power blinked off on Saturday shortly after breakfast. I am not complaining; we had virtually no storm damage, and the lights came back on Sunday evening. I am sure you’ve seen pictures on TV showing the devastation and great loss suffered by others in North Carolina. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers for North Carolinians during this disaster!

Since Hurricane Florence thwarted my plans to construct “Tea Party” blocks last Saturday, I’ve planned a work-around. I’ll work on my Jelly Roll quilt during Wednesday sew days sponsored by my church, Crossroads of Lillington. It’s an easy block, so my quilt is sure to come together quickly. And I think I’ll pick up a delicious pumpkin roll at Food Lion to share with my quilting friends.

How about you? Were you able to participate in National Sew a Jelly Roll Day? If so, what pattern did you use?

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?

House Block Swap Quilts

6 06 2018

Several months ago I posted about my quilt made from house blocks I swapped with friends, most of whom live in Germany. “Mi Casa es su Casa” hung in the March quilt show in Nuertingen, Germany along with six other quilts made from the swapped blocks. Would you like to see pictures of the quilts? (Photographer – Conny S.)

Working from right to left, first up is Elaine’s “House of Houses.” The gray background fabrics furnish an unassuming backdrop for the brightly framed houses. I love the tree and flower details! Be sure to look for the cat in the window on each of the house blocks that Elaine, our feline-loving friend, made.

Martina’s “Zwischen unseren Haeusern” (Between our Houses) hung next to Elaine’s. The double quilt wall hanging was a neat way to display all the various sized blocks.

Susy’s title, “Im Schutz der Baumkrone,” is quite poetic (In the Protection of the Treetop). The blue sky background lends the suggestion of light, and the circular leaves add whimsy.

Angela added several miniature quilt blocks and a funky flower for interest. I like the movement of the black print separating the rows of houses. Her quilt is simply titled “Houses.”

Helga’s “Die Hauser meiner Freunde” (The Houses of My Friends) gives the impression of a neighborhood. She added the detail of an ambulance rushing away from the hospital. Zoom in to find a pirate, a whale, and two tiny birds.

The black polka dot fabric Ingrid used in her “Houses Swap 2017” keeps my eyes moving around the quilt! Purple Pinwheels and various widths of colorful sashing also spell “fun.”

Isn’t it interesting that we all received the same (or nearly the same) blocks, but we all interpreted them/set them in different ways? To see the differences and applaud the creativity makes participating in block swaps and round robins so enjoyable and worthwhile. Did you spot all the kitty cats?

I hope you enjoyed the show!

Saturday Scrap Strategy #2

14 04 2018

Donna H. is the Block of the Month chairman for the Tarheel Quilters Guild this year. She designed this month’s “Flowers in the Pane” block and gave me permission to share it with you. This “Windowpane” block may serve to help focus your scrap cutting strategy today.

Donna asked guild members to cut 3″ squares of a floral fabric and surround them with a contrasting or coordinating tone-on-tone. Besides the floral squares, from tonal fabric you’ll need 2 strips 1 1/2″ x 3,” 1 strip 1 1/2″ x 6 1/2,” for the block interior. After sewing the strips between the floral squares, press and then frame the patchwork with 2 strips 2″ x 6 1/2″ and 2 strips 2″ x 9 1/2.” The block measures 9 1/2″ square with seam allowances and finishes at 9″ square.


I really like Donna’s “Flowers in the Pane,” but I wondered how the block would look made with 2 1/2″ squares (since most of us have an abundance of leftover charm squares and bits of Jelly Roll strips that can easily be trimmed to 2 1/2″ squares). I tested my idea by using just one 2″ x Width of Fabric strip (2″ x 40″). I found that all the sashing and framing pieces can be cut from one 2″ x WOF strip. This block finishes at 8 1/2″ square.

The ingredients for this “Windowpane” block are as follows:  From Fabric A – four 2 1/2″ squares, From Fabric B – two 2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles, three 2″ x 6″ rectangles, two 2″ x 9″ rectangles.

I can think of several other fabric styles that “Windowpane” would showcase beautifully. You could make an “I Spy” quilt with squares of novelty fabrics, or utilize earth tone scraps for a very neutral quilt. Black and white prints with one other color would be striking. Civil War prints framed with tans or shirtings would be simple, yet effective. With or without sashing, “Windowpane” would utilize many scraps, be quickly constructed, and would be visually interesting and appealing.

Would “Windowpane” work for your current scrap bag contents?