UFO Completion Update

12 02 2018

Happy Monday, Everyone! Here’s hoping you had time to spend a couple of hours this past weekend to sew and work on your UFOs.

Speaking of UFOs, Patti sent a picture of her bright ‘n cheerful Sixteen Patch quilt made with leftovers from an Eleanor Burns class she took in VA in 2011. This quilt goes to her “Prayer Quilters” group at church. I love the diagonal movement in the quilt. Way to go, Patti!

Judy sent a picture of “Long Road Home” composed of blocks exchanged among quilting friends. It’s just beautiful, Judy! I know you will enjoy using this quilt made from Civil War reproduction fabrics in your home.

I worked on my second “serious” UFO for the first quarter. It is serious because if I don’t finish, I’ll owe a fat quarter to everyone who did finish her UFO at an end-of-February quilting retreat. That is what you call a deadline with a penalty, definitely a motivator! The design is “Chopped” by Joan Ford who taught a workshop for Tarheel Quilters Guild two years ago. The interior of the quilt is done. Now to add pieced borders, made of leftovers from chopping the Pinwheel blocks. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.



UFO Challenge Update

8 02 2018

As you may remember, our current activity is a quarterly UFO challenge. About 15 blog readers commented with the projects they intend to finish during the first quarter of 2018. It’s not too late to join the fun; we promise lots of encouragement along the way and kudos when you finish a project. As an incentive, when you finish a project, your name goes in the hat for a drawing for a small prize. For those of you who already commented on Dec. 31 or Jan. 17, how are you progressing on finishing the UFO’s you “promised” you’d work on during January-March?

Personally, I finished one UFO, the house block exchange. And now I need to work on completing “Chopped,” a pattern by Joan Ford.

Maridee wrote that she finished her Farm Girl Vintage quilt top and delivered it to a longarmer for quilting. Yay, Maridee! We want to see a picture once you’ve bound the quilt.

Today, I’d like to show pictures of my friend Helga‘s four projects; in response to the challenge, she sent me “before” pictures on Jan. 1. Yes, she is ambitious to claim four projects for the quarter, but she is a speedy sewer, so I believe she will persevere and make her goal! She’s already completed two of the projects as you will see.

First are blocks … that have since been completed as a small table runner. Hooray, UFO#1 finished! I love how the skinny dark strips make the project look woven.


Next are blue scraps with gray fabrics, a project inspired by the Modern Quilt Guild of Stuttgart, Germany. Helga’s impetus for finishing is exhibiting this modern art quilt at an upcoming show in Nuertingen. Congrats for finishing UFO #2!


UFO completion goal #3 is to quilt the top she made for her grandson Luis whose first birthday is in February. Go, Helga, go!

UFO #4 will take the longest to complete. This will be a bed quilt make with Red shot cottons and white and gray background. It is going to be lovely, Helga!

I would love to show pictures of your projects, too. Email photo(s) to aby.quilts@gmail.com

UFO House Quilt – Progress Report

22 01 2018

One of the UFOs I really need to finish this quarter is made from houses I received in an exchange with quilters I met in Stuttgart, Germany. My German friends want to display all twelve quilts made by exchange participants in the Nuertingen show in March. In a previous post, I showed blocks on my design wall pinned alongside black and white prints I intended to frame them with.

Here’s the result of my framing session: (Astute viewers will notice that I changed some of the prints due to amount of fabric on hand.)

My thought was to cut my scrappy string pieced blocks in half and use them as sashing. But they were all too short for the framed houses, and the extreme scrappiness would draw attention away from the houses. In addition, the diagonal lines would not line up well vertically and horizontally.

My next thought was to sash the blocks with a variety of red tone-on-tone prints. But then I noticed that many of the house blocks contain orange. Hmmmmm. Would orange work as a sashing color? I would need about 2 yards. I do not own a 2 yd. piece of orange. Hmmmm.

How about strip piecing several oranges together of various shades and textures and widths? I could cross cut them in various lengths and sew them between the house blocks as horizontal sashing.

My goal was to create columns of the same height. I purposefully included trim-able portions at the top or bottom of the columns so I can square up the quilt after the top is complete. So far, so good!

I strip pieced more orange units and cut vertical sashing 2 1/2″ wide. I included some longer strips of orange fabric between my strip pieced units to speed along the process. I cut left and right borders 3 1/2″ wide. At this point, I don’t believe I’ll add borders to the top and bottom of the quilt.

I am enjoying working on this UFO project. You can tell that I’ve changed my design plan several times, but I think each change has been for the better. My encouragement to all of you who have accepted the UFO challenge:  don’t be afraid to experiment and change your original plan.

Thanks for your comments about the quilts you are committed to work on January-March. If you complete your goal(s), your name will “go in the hat” for a drawing for two small prizes! 

A UFO Challenge Project

17 01 2018

To my chagrin and consternation, I confess I have UFOs on top of UFOs, so this year’s blog challenge is motivating me to finish projects that I’ve started and yet side-lined for one reason or another. I have two “serious” UFOs with deadlines, but I felt like I should finish three nearly done projects prior to tackling them.

The Dresden Plate quilt, the Garlic Knots quilt, and the Cozy Cabins quilt are my recent finishes. They were my UFOs on top of the serious UFOs.

Moving on, seriously, . . . to a house block exchange with quilting friends I met while hubby was stationed in Stuttgart, Germany. I need to finish this quilt in February because it should be displayed with 11 others in a quilt show in Nuertingen, Germany in March. The rules of the exchange were to make 12 blocks with both bright colored fabrics and black/white fabrics on a white background. Sizes in multiples of two inches were mandated with hopes that the blocks would be easier to assemble into a quilt.

I placed the blocks on my design wall, arranging blocks of similar width in the same column. Then I selected a black and white print to sew as a frame around each house block. After framing all the blocks, I plan to cut and use string pieced blocks as sashing. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Thanks to all of you who commented on the December 31 blog post, committing to work on some UFOs this quarter. It’s not too late to join the challenge. Just comment below, stating the UFO(s) you hope to finish by the end of March. I find that when I state my intention to an “accountability partner,” I am more likely to actually fulfill my commitment. The blog readers can be your accountability group; we’ll encourage you along the way and applaud your successful finishes!

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!