Charming Seasonal Decor

28 08 2019

What can you make with a package of 42  5″ charm squares? They are so tempting to purchase; we like all the coordinating colors and prints in one tidy package. But sometimes we are at a loss for actually using them in a sewing/quilting project.

Last fall, I designed a wall quilt with a simple star and pieced border that was published in McCall’s Quick Quilts Dec/Jan 2019. Although the “Night Lights” Hanukkah quilt is made from yardage of 6 prints, the design can be adapted for using the many prints contained in a charm pack.

On a recent visit to Sew There! Quilts and More in Angier, NC, I was captivated by a package featuring fall leaves, sunflowers, and tone-on-tones with metallic gold flecks. This “Giving Thanks” collection was designed by Lynnea Washburn for Robert Kaufman fabrics. Purchasing with a plan, I hoped to make a “Charming Star” wall quilt that doubles as a table topper. Besides the Charm package, I needed 3/8 yd. off-white “grunge” for background and 1/4 yd. brown print for binding. The quilt is 24″ square, so I also needed at least 3/4 yard of backing fabric.

After assembling the quilt top, I quilted heart shaped leaves all over with an old gold Magnifico polyester thread. The thread color shows nicely on the grunge and blends well with the fall themed fabrics. When summer’s hot weather gives way to crisp fall temperatures, I’m ready to decorate with a new fall quilt!

Another very fun collection is “We Whisk You a Merry Christmas” designed by Kim Christopherson for Maywood Studio. Won’t this be a fun topper for my kitchen table at Christmastime? For this quilt, I purchased a dark (black) background, but I think the prints would look equally well with a light background.

I quilted an all-over snowflake design with a light gray polyester thread. It shows up nicely against the black background as feathery snowflakes would. I considered binding the quilt with a red tone-on-tone fabric, but felt black would add a solid calm finish rather than additional color chaos.

Which is your favorite quilt–the Fall quilt or the Christmas quilt?


“Misty Mountain” Published!

4 08 2019

Have you procured your copy of the July/August issue of Pre-cut Patchwork?

All the quilts patterned in this issue are fabulous, but I am particularly excited about “Misty Mountain,” designed by Michelle Dillon and me. You, too, can make this quilt for nature lovers of your acquaintance; it’s composed of a bear panel (Hoffman of California) and several hundred half square triangles.

The back story of this quilt design: Michelle and I attend our church’s quilting/craft group, and we spear-headed making a wedding quilt for the daughter of a group member. After learning that the bride decorates with neutral gray and white, we scoured Pinterest for simple gray and white quilts. We knew a simple design would entice group members to sew units for the quilt. We pooled gray textures and white tonals from our stashes . . . and then the bride’s mother asked if we could include a bear since black bears are a favorite with her daughter and future son-in-law. Our LQS, Sew There! Quilts and More, stocks naturalistic animal panels and came to our rescue. Our group made the quilt; the bride and groom loved it and carried it to their new home.

Because the quilt was so well received, I decided to pitch the idea to Lori Baker, acquisitions editor for 6 of your favorite quilting magazines. Happily, the quilt was accepted for publication in Pre-cut Patchwork because the half squares can be made with 5″ squares. So then, the quilt had to be re-made! All fabrics for this quilt are from Hoffman of California.

I gave this second bear quilt to my sister-in-law whose backyard is often visited by a curious and hungry bear. She is ecstatic and enjoys showing it to fellow nature lovers who visit her mountain home.

“Aquatic Critters” Published!

24 06 2019

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.

Magazine Winner and Other News

12 06 2019

Thanks to all of you who commented on my table runner, “Summer’s Bounty” which is published in the July/August issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine.

The winner of a free magazine is Anna H. Congratulations, Anna!

If your newsstand is sold out of this issue, you can purchase a copy from The Quilting Company. Click here to link to the ordering site.

Other quilt-y news:

I’ve been following my own advice (from last week’s blog post) and working on a quilt project that has filled one of my project boxes for several years. There are 12 star blocks which I’m setting on point with navy print alternate squares and setting triangles. I hope to complete the top by Saturday.

My grandson’s birthday is Saturday, and he needs another quilt made by Grandma. I set aside other quilt projects to meet this deadline. If I bind it tomorrow morning, I’ll be able to show you pictures tomorrow evening.

Do you have a Tuesday Morning store near you? Sometimes they stock quality pre-cuts. For example, I recently purchased a layer cake, a fat quarter pack, and a package of 2 1/2″ wide strips for about half price. I have plans to use them for retreat projects this fall with the sewing/quilting group that meets at my church.

I’m always working on a project or two for one of your favorite quilting magazines. The editors must plan nine months to a year in advance to allow time for the making of the quilt, the writing of instructions, and the printing of the periodical. For instance, I’m contracted to make a holiday themed table runner, and I will soon order fabric for a quilt that will be published in a January/February issue. My excitement for beginning these new projects is only dampened by the fact that I can’t show you my progress as I work on the quilts. Sigh!

Quilt Along – Remember to work on your quick and easy Bowtie blocks. Click here for the tutorial blog post.

Until next time — Happy quilting!

Charmville, Biggie Sized

7 06 2019

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!

“Summer’s Bounty” Published

3 06 2019

Great news, my table runner, “Summer’s Bounty,” was published in the July/August 2019 issue of McCall’s Quilting!

The richly hued fabrics are from the line, “A Fruitful Life” by Maywood Studio. (Click here to see all the fabrics in this lovely line.) I particularly like the floral (border) and the red cherries with green leaves on a black background. The receding dark backgrounds of both these fabrics show off the vibrancy of the other colors.

I designed this runner in response to the editor’s request for projects with curved piecing. I was all set to piece the curves of these “Around the World” blocks, but closer inspection of the design suggested a shortcut. Look at the triangular pieces within the circular ring. Don’t the 45 degree angles remind you of a Pinwheel? Wouldn’t it be simpler to make a Pinwheel and overlay it with a pieced ring than to cut and piece eight triangles attaching them by twos to 1/4 of the curved ring?

Wouldn’t it be immensely easier to machine applique the ring to the light background than to piece quarters of the ring to quarters of the background?

Are you tracking with my thought process?

Although I am fairly sure I could have pieced the curves tolerably well, I am unequivocally certain that my shortcut method yielded flatter patchwork blocks.

If you are intrigued, I hope you will pick up a copy of McCall’s Quilting and try your hand at “Summer’s Bounty.”

If you would like to win a copy of the July/August issue of McCall’s Quilting, leave a comment below. The drawing will be June 10.

More on “Scrap Vortex”

19 05 2019

Have you located a copy of McCall’s Quick Quilts that contains my “Scrap Vortex” design? The quilt was a ton of fun to make and put so many of my colorful scraps to very good use.

I have several additional pictures of the quilt designing process which reveal an unexpected discovery and illustrate tips for making string-pieced quilts.

After making the central patchwork block, I discovered that I really like the block. The black print squares not only make the colors of the narrow strips “pop,” they add playfulness to the design that a solid black fabric could not. I think an entire quilt of these blocks would be very striking.

Tip #1: It was immeasurably helpful to place the foundation pieced strips on the design wall as I made them. I aimed to balance colors all around the quilt.

Tip #2: You can see from the photo below that I didn’t foundation piece ALL the strip pieced units. Instead, I sewed several of my longer strips together, and, after pressing, I cross-cut them to the desired width. Most of the time, the strip sets were long enough for 4 units which meant I could place one of the cross-cut pieces on each of the four sides of the quilt.

Tip #3: After adding each strip-pieced border, I stay-stitched all around the quilt. Stitching 1/8″ away from the edges stabilized the seams, preventing them from popping open during handling as I added the succeeding borders. Turning the quilt wrong side up during the stay-stitching process ensured that all the seam allowances remained flat in the direction they were pressed.


So, tell me, if you made “Scrap Vortex,” who would you make it for? I’ll choose a winner among the blog commenters on May 27 and send her a copy of the magazine.