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.

Second Quarter Challenge – Blog Readers Share

26 06 2017

As the month of June slips by, our challenge for the second quarter draws to an end. I’m happy to say that several quilting friends accepted the challenge to make quilts with jelly rolls. I know you will be inspired by their projects!

Stephanie sent a picture of “Plum Pie.”  This layout is a variation of Spiral Strips (found in the book Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam & Nicky Lintott.) Click here to travel to Stephanie’s blog and read all about it!

Maridee made “Crossed Path” by Quiltin’ Tia Quiltworks. It was quilted by her dear friend, Kathie Gore. Maridee writes, “This challenge has really encouraged me to check my stash. Someone cleaned out her stash and passed this jelly roll on to me. The colors  were hard to match so I used leftover strips for the border. I have re-learned to use pre-cuts sooner rather than later if I want any hope of getting matching fabric for borders or binding.”

Cindy made a striking patriotic quilt. ” I made this jelly roll race quilt for my son’s Battalion fundraiser at Ft. Bragg. Happy to say they raised a lot of money for their unit. I found this pattern in Fons and Porter’s Quilting Quickly, Spring 2014.”

Sally shared her “Mexican Stars” quilt. The design is also known as “Stars and Crosses” and was a June Block Party quilt by Eleanor Burns. The tutorial is available on YouTube by Quilt in a Day. Sally also sent a picture of her “Double Four Patch” made with Quilter’s Candy (2 1/2″ squares).


Inspired by Thomas Knauer’s book, The Quilt Design Coloring Workbook, Helga made a large table runner. She used a design roll from Free Spirit.

Thanks, ladies for sharing photos of your wonderfully inspiring projects!





2nd Quarter Challenge Call for Quilts

22 06 2017

Hello Quilting Friends,

The end of the second quarter of 2017 is fast approaching, and I am calling on you for photos of your projects made with pre-cuts. Blog readers gain inspiration when you show and tell! If you remember, our year long challenge is using pre-cuts, actually making something out of our hoarded packages of pretty fabric. January -. March we focused on Fat Quarters and/or Quilter’s Candy (2 1/2″ squares). April – June we are working on Jelly Rolls. July – September it will be Layer Cakes (coordinated 10″ squares), and October – December we’ll crack open packages of 5″ Charm Squares.

Stephanie and Maridee have sent pictures of Jelly Roll quilts which I will soon post. But I’d like to add a photo of your project to the blog post. If you have sewn the top of your Jelly Roll quilt, but haven’t quilted it yet, no problem, send a photo. If you have finished your (1st Quarter) Fat Quarter or Quilter’s Candy project, likewise send a photo. aby.quilts@gmail.com

Thanks so much!

Aby Dolinger

“JR Mosaic Tiles” Top Complete

15 05 2017

Hooray! My “Jelly Roll Mosaic Tiles” quilt is finished . . . except for the quilting. And “the quilting makes the quilt.” Any suggestions on a compatible quilt design?

If you remember from my previous post, I was one blue strip short of a happy quilt (for an inner border). A search through two tubs of blue fabric yielded one and only one blue print that would blend with the blue hue of my jelly roll strips. How can one blue be so different from another? After completing the inner border, I added the navy print for a 5″ outer border. The 1 1/2 yds. I purchased for the border is thankfully also enough for binding.

I have two favorite blocks in this quilt:  upper right corner and third row center block. I think the shading provided by the medium prints appeals to me especially in these two blocks.

Just a little reminder to work on your Jelly Roll project and send me pictures of your progress to share with blog readers. (aby.quilts@gmail.com)