Second Quarter UFO Round-up

5 07 2018

At the beginning of each quarter of this year, you and I have the opportunity to state which UFOs we’ll work on. Between April and June, I pledged to work on “Chocolate Factory,” a friendship row by row  quilt. I also purposed to work on my “Confetti” scrap quilt, a pattern published by Augusta Cole.

As usual, time slipped away from me . . . meaning I chose to work on other projects . . . and I procrastinated working on these two quilts until the final week of June. I am happy to say that “Chocolate Factory” is complete. The instructions for this quilt can be found in the book Simple Friendships by Kim Diehl and Jo Morton. (The quilt in the book was made entirely of brown prints, hence the name “Chocolate Factory.”) Last summer and fall, I exchanged blocks made with colorful Civil War reproduction fabrics  with four quilting friends. You can read about the beginning of the project here.

Choosing fabrics for the blocks was easy compared to choosing fabrics for the sashing and border. Since I wanted the patchwork blocks to shine, I needed fabrics that were not too dark or strong or of too large a scale. I took photos as I auditioned fabrics and texted back and forth with Pam L. who gave advice on each possibility. After I chose the medium print for sashing, she suggested a brown border. Since blue features in most of my quilts, it was hard to consider brown. But the brown print looked best of all stash fabrics that I auditioned. (Thanks, Pam!) I quilted a “Clamshell” design with gold Magnifico polyester thread; “Clamshell” adds texture, and the thread color blends nicely with the patchwork yet contrasts with the dark brown border. Hooray, it is finished, and I am pleased with it!

To finish “Confetti,” the second UFO I pledged to complete, I granted myself a grace period until July 4th. I powered through adding borders, longarm quilting, and machine binding, finishing at 11 p.m. on July 3rd.

Last summer, while working on this quilt, I auditioned blue fabrics (of course!) for the outer border. However, the yardage I had on hand did not add the sparkle I wanted. My granddaughter suggested red, which is her favorite color. And she was spot on! The true red of the border helps the tiny red squares in the quilt to sparkle delightfully.

Pressing tip:  I generally press seams to one side or the other. However, I flipped the seam mid-way when pressing the Four Patch + triangle border because I wanted the seams to easily lie flat on both edges of the border. This unconventional pressing method worked will for this quilt.

How about you? Do you have a completed UFO to show? Please send a picture and accompanying details to aby dot quilts at gmail dot com.


Copy Cat

13 06 2018

At Sunday’s Tarheel Quilters Guild meeting, Pat P. showed her fish-themed baby quilt. And she did a bit of advertising for the Saturday Scrap Strategy blog posts.

Does this design look familiar? Pat patterned her cute quilt after the Kitty Cat quilt, our first Scrap Strategy idea. Click here to read about its construction. In the close-up photo you can admire the theme print and view Pat’s terrific swirly quilting.

Thanks, Pat, for copying the Kitty Cat quilt and for sharing photos with blog readers! The child who receives this quilt will love it!

How about you? Are you a “copy cat?” Have you made one of the suggested Scrap Strategy projects? If so, I’d like to share a picture with blog readers as an encouragement for using scraps. (aby dot quilts at gmail dot com) Did you know that you can scroll through all the Scrap Strategies by typing “scrap strategy” in the Search box and then “enter” on your keyboard? You’ll find lots of ideas to copy!

Second Quarter Challenge – Blog Readers Report

4 06 2018

How are you coming along with completing a UFO this quarter? How are you progressing with cutting up your scraps? It’s hard to believe it, but the Second Quarter of 2018 is two-thirds over! 

Kathy H. writes that she’s making a concentrated effort in cutting all the project leftovers into usable squares and strips. Kathy makes such bright, happy quilts, I can’t wait to see what scrappy project will incorporate many of her “shining jewels.”

Helga is serious about making a “Nine Patch” quilt from the new book “Nine Patch Revolution” by Jennifer Dick and Angela Walters. She has spent most of her time lately cutting 900 print rectangles and 900 solid rectangles, but she took a break to make a few sample blocks. Helga, your project is going to be colorfully awesome!


Maridee is happy that her “Farm Girl Vintage” quilt is back from the longarm quilter’s studio, and the binding is finally attached. Completing the top was Maridee’s First Quarter Challenge goal, and she’s happy the quilt is now totally complete, label and all.

Elaine F. chuckled as she told me that one way she’s using her scraps is teaching us in our weekly sewing group three ways to put in zippers (on fabric samples we can keep). She also gifted us with sizeable scraps to make “Humbug Bags.”


Saturday Scrap Strategy #9

2 06 2018

“After completing a bed size quilt top, I prefer to use up the scraps right away by making coordinating accessories. Unused scraps make me feel like I need to use them make another quilt. And that would mean more UFOs!” So says my friend and longarm customer, Linda G. Are you chuckling as I was when I read Linda’s comment?

Perhaps you also tend to purchase more fabric than a project calls for “just in case” you make a cutting mistake or you decide to make a larger quilt. Instead of allowing that yardage to pile up in your sewing area, why not follow Linda’s example and make coordinating pillows and pillowcases?

Note the pillow on the left made simply of squares. Expanding on that patchwork design, Linda used a leftover charm pack of 5″ squares to make a lovely runner. Won’t this look fresh and pretty on a chest of drawers?

What quilted accessories or smaller projects have you made from your scraps?


Second Quarter Challenge – Underway

12 04 2018

Like me, several of you have an idea of which UFOs you’d like to complete this quarter (April – June). Some of you are “rolling over” the UFOs you hoped to complete in the first quarter – that is a great idea, keep them at the top of your quilting “to do” list. Thinking and planning is the first step to doing.

Helga sent pictures of two baby quilts she’ll be working on. She has a long-time friend who recently announced the good news of the births of twin grandchildren in her family. Helga is all set to sew the quilt backings together, baste, quilt, bind, and label these two gift quilts.

The second part of the Challenge is to cut our scraps into useable sizes and store them so they can be quickly found and used in future quilts. Helga sent several pictures of her bulging scrap containers; I’ll share one with you. (Lots of wonderful reds in this plastic bin!) Helga plans to make a quilt from a book she recently bought, Nine Patch Revolution by Jennifer Dick and Angela Walters. Click here to view the book on

Comment, please:  If you haven’t already done so, state your UFO completion goal. I promise to cheer you on as you work to finish it. Also tell how you store your scraps, both before and after trimming them into strips and squares.


Second Quarter Challenge

5 04 2018

Congratulations to all who made progress in whittling down their pile of UFOs. I, for one, did not finish all the projects lurking in the neglected corners of my sewing room, so I will be dusting off a few of them to complete during the second quarter of 2018 (April – June).

In addition to finishing “Confetti” and “Friendship Row by Row Sampler,” I feel the need to trim my scraps into readily useable strips and squares.  How about you? Would you like to join me in the challenge of taming the tangle of scraps?

A fantastic resource in planning your “cutting-up” sessions is Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap User’s System. Click here to link to her organizational rationale and storage description.

I typically cut squares in the following sizes:  6,” 5,” 4 1/2,” 4,” 3 1/2,” 3,” 2 1/2,” 2,” 1 3/4,” and 1 1/2.” I find the most uses for 5,” 4,” 2 1/2,” 2,” and 1 1/2,” so in future I probably should just trim my scraps to those sizes. I also cut 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles to use in making Flying Geese blocks, Chinese Coins quilts, and (my current leader/ender project) Roman Stripe blocks. In addition, I cut scrap strips of every width but most often use 2 1/2,” and 2.”

To encourage you to cut and use your scraps, during this quarter I’ll offer several patterns/quilt ideas that utilize squares and/or strips. These will be posted on Saturdays, and will be called “Saturday Scrap Strategies.”

It’s time to “ante up;” leave a comment below to say you’ll participate in the Second Quarter Challenge. Will you work on completing a UFO or in cutting up your scraps . . . or both? I’ll send a prize to the person with the most amusing comment.

First Quarter UFO Challenge – Drawing Winners

5 04 2018

From January to March (the first quarter of 2018), about 20 blog readers have been diligently working to complete UFOs. I promised to put their name in the hat for each UFO they completed. It’s time to announce the winners in the drawing.

(Drumrollllll) The winners in the drawing for a free McCall’s Quilting magazine are Elaine F. and Judy B. I will write to you ladies requesting a USPS address. Elaine completed the two projects she pledged to work on, and Judy completed all four! Congratulations, ladies.

To add a little eye candy to this post, I’ll show you two of Karla’s finishes for the First Quarter. First up is her “You’ve Got Mail” quilt begun in 2013 when she began her quilting journey. (Karla blogs at Karla followed (Missouri Star Quilt Company) Jenny Doan’s tutorial for the quilt and used the Eclectic Elements line of fabric designed by Tim Holtz.

Karla finished the top of her string-pieced quilt. It  is made with a collection of African prints — cotton, kente cloth, wax prints and silk. “When I learned the string piecing technique, I didn’t understand the importance of  being consistent on where to place the first strip to create the diamond.- my blocks’ seams don’t all match :(. Definitely a lesson learned.”

Thanks for sharing your lovely quilts with us, Karla.

 It’s time for the Second Quarter Challenge; I’ll write about it in the next blog post.