4th Quarter Challenge – A Blog Reader Shares

29 11 2017

This year we’ve had a great time using pre-cuts with a different challenge each quarter. The 4th Quarter Challenge is using the packages of 5″ charm squares we’ve purchased and hoarded.

Karla sent several pictures of runners she made for her washer and dryer. I asked her about the benefit of placing quilts on her appliances. She explained that it is convenient to store her detergent and fabric softeners on top of her front loading machines instead of in the high cabinets on the wall above. When the runners become dusty or detergent spattered, Karla simply tosses them into the washing machine.


The fabrics are Basic Mixologie by Studio M. Karla began with 2 charm packs and used some of the leftovers to make a Chunky Dresden color wheel. The center is machine embroidered. Karla blogs at mysewfulretirement.com. Look at her Nov. 6 post to read more about her pre-cut projects.

Thanks for sharing your projects with us, Karla!

What about you? Are you making some holiday gifts with charm squares? Please send pictures of your projects to aby.quilts@gmail.com.



Maridee’s Charming Quilts

6 11 2017

Maridee, who is a faithful blog follower and pre-cut challenge participant, sent pictures of her quilts made with 5″ charm squares. She’s been collecting charm packs for several years and saw our pre-cut challenge as incentive to turn them into quilts. She has been working on the Fourth Quarter challenge since February! “Amanda,” “Fiona,” and “Greta” are patterns from 3 Times the Charm! by Me & My Sister Designs by Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson. “Molly” is from 3 Times the Charm, Book 2.


“Disappearing Four Patch”





“Chevron” from Sew Charming: Scrappy Quilts from 5″ Squares by Connie Tesene and Mary Etherington

Maridee, you have inspired us all!

Leave a comment below stating which charm quilt design you are most likely to make.

3rd Quarter Challenge–More Layer Cake Quilts

26 10 2017

This is the 4th quarter of 2017 wherein our challenge focuses on Charm squares, but several blog readers have been diligently finishing up their 3rd quarter projects using Layer Cakes (packages of 10″ squares). Read on for inspiration!

Blog reader and friend, Stephanie, sent pictures of her Layer Cake quilts along with an explanation of her design process.

“How this all came together – Some time ago, I won a layer cake of beautiful purple and green fabrics.  The June 2017 issue of The Quilt Pattern Magazine featured Time Squared by Nancy Noah, on the cover.  When I saw 10” squares in the materials list, I knew this is how I would use the layer cake.

When all the blocks were done, I arranged them, moving them around to find a pleasing arrangement.  Then I photographed the possible layout and converted the picture to black and white. The results were frightening!  I rearranged, photographed and rearranged, photographed and eventually walked away.

The blocks were still up when two quilting sisters stopped by.  After explaining the dilemma, they suggested a) removing the blocks framed in the black on black fabric and b) adding sashings.

Back to the drawing board.

My finished project will be three charity quilts for the NICU.  The backing fabric is a dark brown/black which meets requirements for the isolettes. Using the walking foot on my Janome 9400 QCP, I am quilting them myself.  Straight lines and a little serpentine stitching.”

Helga also sent a picture of her Layer Cake quilt. The layer cake is “Figures” from Zen Chic (Moda), and she added some striped fabric for the small accent squaraes. The pattern is from Cozy Quilt Design. Helga commented that this was a very easy design; the blocks are in a 4 x 5 grid; and she believes that a fabric with smaller print designs could have been a better choice.


Kudos to Stephanie and Helga!


Karla’s Charming “Bear Paw”

15 10 2017

Karla has accepted the 4th Quarter Challenge – making a quilt from a package of 5″ charm squares!

Don’t you love the bright, fun fabrics? The line is “Fresh Cut” by Basic Grey for Moda. The quilt measures 38″ square, the perfect size for a baby.

Click here to link with Karla’s blog, My Sewful Retirement, to read more about the inspiration for her quilt.

Are you working on a quilt made with Charm Squares?



3rd Quarter Challenge–Blog Reader Shares

30 09 2017

Believe it or not, 2017 is 3/4 gone! This year, I have challenged myself and blog readers to actually use those pretty packages of pre-cuts we’ve all been tempted to purchase.  In the first quarter  (Jan.-Mar.) we focused on fat quarters and quilter’s candy (2 1/2″ squares). Second quarter we focused on jelly-rolls (2 1/2″ strips). And third quarter’s challenge was using Layer Cakes (10″ squares). Click here to see my project from the Nordic Holiday line. I’ll teach this quilt at the Sew There! quilt shop in Angier, NC soon. If you live locally, call 919-331-2499 and sign up to join in the fun.

Friend and blog reader, Linda G., sent me several quilts to longarm, and they just happened to be made from Layer Cakes! First up is “Starburst” made with Halloween fabric. The pattern came from Jenny Doan’s Holiday Block Book, volume 3, issue 4. You can view a tutorial for Starburst on you tube; click here. For a quilting design, the Spider Web pantograph designed by Dave Hudson of patternman.com was the perfect choice. I considered using metallic silver thread so the spider webs would sparkle. However, I settled on gray thread thinking it would be more practical and durable for a sofa quilt. In my opinion, metallic silver would be great for a wall quilt.

Linda also made two twin size patriotic quilts for Christmas gifts. She ordered the Layer Cakes and border fabric from Missouri Star Quilt Company. The fabric line is “American Pride” by Timeless Treasures, and the border fabric is “Patriotic Words” from this line.  Jenny Doan calls this pattern her Double Slice Layer Cake. This random-looking design couldn’t be easier to make! If you need some quick quilt gifts for the holidays, Linda recommends this pattern. Let the fabric do the talking! Click here to view Jenny’s tutorial on you tube.

What about you? Have you make a Layer Cake quilt this year? If so, send me a picture to share with blog readers. (aby.quilts@gmail.com)

The 4th quarter challenge is using Charm Squares (5″ squares). On your mark, get ready, get set, go sew!

With special thanks to Aidan, my willing quilt holder!

Third Quarter Pre-cut Challenge

14 08 2017

Several quilters are new followers of this blog, so at the risk of boring most of you, I’d like to reiterate the details of this year’s challenge and invite you all to participate this quarter. The following is an excerpt from the original blog post in January.

We are all tempted to buy Jelly Rolls (2 1/2″ wide strips), Charm Squares (5″ squares), Quilter’s Candy (2 1/2″ squares), and Layer Cakes (10″ squares), right? And many times they simply become colorful decorations on the shelves in our sewing rooms. This year let’s change our languishing pre-cuts into lovely quilts!

Rather than issue a monthly challenge, I’m issuing a quarterly challenge. Here’s the schedule:

January – March:  Quilter’s Candy or Fat Quarters

April – June:  Jelly Roll

July – September:  Layer Cake

October – December:  Charm Squares

Toward the beginning of each quarter, I’ll blog about my pre-cut choice and explain my intended project. When I finish the project, I’ll share a photo, and toward the end of each quarter, I’ll ask you to email me a digital picture of your challenge project.

Yikes! We are half-way through the 3rd Quarter and I have yet to share a picture of my project. I’ve been busy hosting grandchildren and indulging in other summer activities instead of prolifically sewing and blogging, and I bet you have, too. But summer is fast coming to an end, and back-to-school time is a great time to find time in the quilting room sewing a Layer Cake project.

I used my “Arcadian Garden” pattern to make a fun lap quilt with Benartex’s “Nordic Holiday” line designed by Amanda Murphy. The line features a large scale design of snow white Artic creatures garlanded with wreaths accompanied by beautiful holiday prints. The color palette, as you can see, includes red, white, gray, green, and teal. The quilt is on display at Sew There! Quilts and More in Angier, NC. If you live locally and want to make this quick and easy quilt, call the shop to sign up for the two class sessions in September.

Here is a Work in Progress photo on the “design floor.” Aren’t the elegant prints so vibrant and cheerful?

My friend, Lori, made an “Arcadian Garden” quilt for her daughter with pastel fabrics from Connecting Threads. She achieved the larger bed size by adding a wide border which she quilted with a lovely cable design.

If “Arcadian Garden” would not suit the fabrics in your layer cake, may I suggest “Thrifty Stars”? It is photographed in a beautiful setting at Peace University in Raleigh.

Happy sewing on your 3rd Quarter Challenge project! Quilt shops and magazines are great sources of designs for using your package of 10″ squares, so settle on a pattern, tear off the cellophane, untie the ribbon, and begin. If you would like to order either “Arcadian Garden” or “Thrifty Stars,” send an email to aby.quilts@gmail.com. 



“Splendid Sampler” Finished!

7 07 2017

“Splendid Sampler” is quilted, bound, and labeled! I am excited that this long term project is finally complete, and I can check it off of my Summer Projects list. You can read more about this project by clicking here.

I selected an overall feather pantograph, “Double Plume” by Keryn Emmerson. This is my go-to design for quilts with a Civil War era feel. Choosing thread color, however, was a dilemma. The brown sashing is quite dark; in contrast, the tan block backgrounds are quite light. The paisley border is a busy neutral, and the backing is a sage green calico with tiny red flowers. A dark brown thread would scream against the light backgrounds while blending with the sashing and border. Conversely a tan thread would draw attention to itself on the dark sashing while blending nicely in the blocks and border. I found a muted sage green thread to be the happy medium. It shows the texture of the quilting design unobtrusively across all the fabrics.

I am enjoying such success in whittling down my pile of UFOs this summer, I was tempted to start a new project. (Does this ever happen in your sewing room?) More about the new project in my next blog post.