“Churning Along” Published!

Has last minute shopping for stocking stuffers taken you to your favorite newsstand? If so, I’m sure you glanced at the quilting magazine titles. And maybe you saw the January/February 2020 issue of McCall’s Quilting.

My string-pieced quilt, “Churning Along” is included in the magazine along with a tip for storing my strips and strings by color. If using your growing collection of string-y scraps is your New Year’s resolution, this is the quilt for you! I began by sewing fabric strips to squares of outdated phone book pages. Using a #90 needle and decreasing the stitch length aids in removing the paper. It is best to begin by placing a 2 1/2″ wide strip diagonally through the center of the square. Use a sew and flip method to add strips on both sides of the center diagonal strip, covering the paper square. Trim away excess bits and pieces using the paper as a guide. Cut the square diagonally through the center 2 1/2″ strip, and then remove the paper foundation.

The string piecing done, the rest of the “Churn Dash” block is quickly constructed. For the strip pieced units, I chose a random black and white polka dot rather than a stark black solid. The print softens the effect yet adds unity to all the scrappiness. More strips and strings comprise the scrappy border.

My editor and I debated between a light gray and the saturated lime green for the background color. While gray would have been a fine choice, I think lime really packs a punch! I had to be careful, though, not to place green as the center strip when piecing the blocks as it would fade into the background.

I quilted a freehand all-over spiral design with lime green thread and finished the quilt with black binding.

Are you enthused about making “Churning Along?” If so, leave a comment stating what background color you would use. Lime green, light gray, or ??  I’ll enter all comments in a drawing for a free magazine on December 31. (And don’t think, ” I don’t have a chance of winning.” Usually 25 people or less comment for a chance to win. Please throw your name in the hat!)

Easy Quilts Magazine Winner

Thanks to all of you who left a comment about my quilt, “Desert Blossom,” which was published in the Winter 2020 issue of Easy Quilts. It was interesting to read how you would modify the design either with different colors or with different patchwork shapes.

The winner of the drawing for a free magazine is Charlie D. Congratulations, Charlie!

I hope you can find a copy of this magazine on your newsstand as it contains lots of stunning projects accompanied by descriptive photographs and concise instructions. If your newsstand is sold out, navigate to The Quilting Company (quiltingcompany.com) to purchase a digital copy.

Wishing all of you a blessed Thanksgiving!

“Desert Blossom” Published!

Check your newsstand for the Winter 2020 issue of Easy Quilts, a division of Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting magazines. You’ll find “Desert Blossom” on page 52. This wall quilt or table topper was designed by my friend, Pam Dooley and modified by me. It’s so much fun to be pictured as co-designers!

Over a year ago, I developed a cutting method for efficiently using fat quarters to make Half Square Triangles and Four patches. I sent instructions to Pam and several of her friends to test while on a quilting retreat. Here is Pam’s design. Didn’t she have fun putting all the units together?


When modifying Pam’s design, I kept the hanging diamond motif and the darker triangles inserted in the diamond, but I replaced the center “Pinwheel” with a “Square in a Square.” I expanded the color selection to include two shades of green. The dark green rectangles on the outer edges of the patchwork form a border of sorts, and the triangles in the perimeter echo the hanging diamond and keep your eyes moving outward from the center.

The colors of this quilt remind me of a potted Christmas cactus that my grandmother kept on her corner sofa table. In elementary school, one of my teachers had us glue shell macaroni on a empty tin cans. She then sprayed our art projects with dark green paint, filled the tins with potting soil, and inserted a cactus sprig into each pot. Miraculously, the springs rooted and bloomed in time for Christmas gift giving! 

Design ideas and modifications are always evolving and revolving in our brains, aren’t they? For example, instructions in the magazine yield a 32″ x 32″ quilt. If you add a border or two, and change the fabrics to juvenile prints, you’ll have a sizable baby or toddler quilt. If you would like to win a copy of this magazine, leave a comment stating how you might modify either of these quilt designs. The drawing will be on November 25.

Magazine Winner

Congratulations to Luann for winning the drawing for the Dec/Jan issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts!

I appreciate all of the comments detailing ideas for recoloring the Rail Fence with Stars design. What great themes from Patriotic to Scrappy to Christmas! I loved Judy’s idea for embellishing a Christmas runner with 12 stars for the 12 Days of Christmas. Particular thanks goes to Gerri who pointed out that a menorah has 9 lights rather than 8, so I amended my commentary to say, “the 8 stars represent the 8 feast nights of Hanukkah.” As I understand it, the light in the center of the menorah is used to spread light to the other lights/candles.

If you are not a subscriber, I hope you will pick up a copy of this magazine issue at your newsstand or order one from The Quilting Company. It contains so many quick and easy projects, perfect for wintertime sewing.


“Starry Nights” Published

Have you seen the December/January 2020 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts? The theme of the issue is “Winter Blues & Holiday Cheer,” and the quilts included are fantastic! If you are casually flipping through the pages, you’ll likely see my table runner on page 4.

The inspiration behind this runner was two-fold. The magazine editors suggested I use a line of fabric from Connecting Threads; I chose batiks in the line “Sea from Space.” The teal, blue, and gold fabrics practically shimmer with depth when placed side by side.

The second request from my editors was to create a project for celebrating Hanukkah. In addition to using blue fabrics, I included eight stars to represent the eight feast nights of Hanukkah.

To make this design “quick,” as in Quick Quilts, I strip-pieced the teal and blue fabrics and arranged them in the zigzag of a “Rail Fence” pattern. I then substituted eight stars for eight of the “Rail Fence” blocks. I machine quilted the pantograph “Becker’s Shooting Star” designed by Barbara Becker with a gold polyester thread that marvelously adds to the sparkle.

The editors have provided me with a magazine to give away to a blog reader. Would you like to win? Leave a comment below stating the colors you would use when making a “Starry Nights” table runner. Do you like the Winter Blues, or would you use Christmas fabrics? How about black and silver? What colors can you imagine? The drawing will be on November 12.

“Cabin in the Pines” Published!

Have you seen the Nov/Dec 2019 issue of Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine? It is chock full of lovely bed quilt designs; you’ll have a difficult time selecting which one to work on first! I am happy to tell you that my queen size quilt, “Cabin in the Pines,” is included in the issue.

When designing this quilt, I thought about traditional quilt designs of things settlers would see or need in the North Woods: pine trees, wagon wheels, bear paws, log cabins, and the north star. The fabric for this lovely quilt is “Wildflower Woods” designed by Evonne Cook for P & B Textiles. All the fabrics in the line are wonderful, and it was a challenge to select which fabric would show to best advantage in the various parts of the design.

When making and quilting this quilt, I employed two techniques that saved time and eliminated frustration. First, I used an overlay applique technique rather than piecing curves. Do you see the Fans (or quarter Wagon Wheels) in the four corners of the Pine Tree block? Each Fan is composed of five wedges and a quarter circle. I sewed the five wedges together and pressed the seams open. Rather than piecing the curves, I placed and pinned each wedge unit and pink quarter circle in a corner of the Pine Tree block, slightly overlapping the curved edges. Then I made black bias strips to cover the raw edges of the curves. Pinning well, I sewed along both edges of the black bias strips. (More detailed instructions with diagrams are in the magazine issue.)

The second aggravation-eliminating technique involves the flange. Between the Bear Paw border and the Log Cabin border is a narrow flange of black print fabric. Although flanges add a decorative 3-D accent to quilts, they also add difficulty for the quilter because the machine foot frequently catches the flange and flips it in the opposite direction. To overcome this difficulty, prior to quilting, I machine basted the flange to the underlying quilt top with contrasting thread. After quilting, I simply removed the long, basting stitches with a seam ripper.

I quilted the quilt with an old gold thread which adds texture to the light areas of the quilt and blends nicely with the browns, greens, pinks, and blacks of the patchwork design and borders. For the quilting design, I selected “Abigail,” a pantograph designed by Sarah Ann Myers and distributed by Urban Elementz.

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

I have designed many quilts this past year, but in my estimation, this is the prettiest. It is destined to be a personal favorite!

In a comment below, tell about a favorite quilt you have completed (or are still working on).


Charming Seasonal Decor

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!

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!

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

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!