A New Neighborhood

30 12 2018

New houses with landscaping are sprouting up on my design wall! I’m making a “biggie sized” “Charmville” as a workshop sample. The original “Charmville” was published in the Feb/Mar 2014 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts, You can see all the blog posts, including a quilt along, by typing “Charmville” in the search box at the upper right corner of your computer screen.

The houses in this new neighborhood are based on 2 1/2″ squares and the trees are up-sized accordingly. I’ll be teaching a workshop for both sizes of “Charmville” in the Trenton, KY area on Friday, January 11 from 1-5 p.m. If you live in the area and would like to attend, leave a comment below. There are still a few participant slots available; I’ll contact you with more information.

Other opportunities to meet up in person in the Clarksville, TN area:  “Cutting Up” lecture on Thursday, January 10 at 6 p.m. at the Methodist Church on Madison St.  “Linked” quilt workshop on Saturday, January 12, beginning at 10 a.m. (Trenton, KY area), participant slots still available.

“Linked” quilt


String-pieced Lap Quilt

21 12 2018

Lillington, NC where I live is about 1 1/2 hours from Archdale, NC. You may ask, “What is in Archdale?” The warehouse of Pineapple Fabrics! And several times a year they host a sale which is well worth going to. And they offer boxes of scraps to groups that sew and donate quilts to those in need. (Management prefers an email prior to the sale if you would like to be on the list to receive scraps.)

At a recent sale, one of the ladies in my church quilting group requested a scrap box since our group makes quilts for young ones as well as the elderly. Pineapple Fabrics gave us “a boatload” of selvage ends from their kit-cutting process. The strips or “strings” are pinked one one side and have selvages on the other with about 1″ width of usable fabric.

I used two fistfuls or hanks of black and gray print strips when making this lap quilt. I used about 1 1/2 yd. of electric blue fabric for the sashing, border, and binding. I quilted spirals all over and gave the quilt to Johnny, who lives at an assisted living facility.

Tips for sewing with selvage end strips:

  • Sew the strips together prior to trimming off the selvages.
  • Begin in the center of the strip set and work outward, adding strips to both sides as you go. This will economize your time in making trips to the ironing board.
  • Sew the pinked edge of one strip to the pinked edge of another.
  • Likewise, sew the selvage edge of one strip to the selvage edge of another, allowing as much of the print as possible to show. Trim off the selvages, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.
  • Press seams to one side as you go.
  • Determine the width of the string-pieced strip set that will economize with the length of strips you are working with. For example. all my strips were about 31″ long. I calculated that I could cut four 7 1/4″ squares from this length with about 2 1/2″ to spare. So I string-pieced 7 strip sets that were at least 7 1/2″ wide. (Given this 31″ length, I could have made strip-sets that were at least 6″ wide and cut five 6″ squares from each strip-set.)
  • The next step is cutting squares from the strip-sets with rotary cutting equipment.
  • Cut the (2 1/2″ wide) sashing pieces the same length as the string-pieced squares, 7 1/4″ in my case.
  • Choose cornerstone fabric that draws some attention to add secondary interest to the quilt.
  • When attaching sashing strips to blocks (or sashing rows to block rows), pin and sew with the sashing uppermost because all the seams of the string-pieced blocks tend to stretch and spread when they are uppermost.

Are you working on a strip-pieced project? If you would be willing to share your idea with blog readers, send me a picture, please.  aby.quilts@gmail.com.

Quilting Retreat for Two

17 11 2018

About a week ago our daughter Trinity arrived with a backpack full of quilt tops she planned to complete while visiting us. The weather was chilly and rainy – the perfect incentive to stay indoors and quilt. We kept my longarm humming!

On the far left, you can see the Texas themed quilt, a raffle quilt for grandson Keith’s junior class to benefit the prom. We also finished a quilt for her son, Kaleb, who is now over six feet tall and needs a longer bed quilt. And then, there was the stack of baby quilt tops, all completed now. Did you notice the plum and blue star table runner on the top of the pile? Trinity’s visit coincided with a runner class I taught at Sew There! Quilts and More. Teamwork had Trinity longarming while I machine sewed binding on the quilt previously finished.

We’re offering a fabric and quilt pattern prize for the first person who correctly guesses how many projects we completed on our retreat for two. Write a number in your comment below.

Toward the end of her stay, we went shopping, yes, for fabric for two more quilts, and also for a suitcase. Trinity came with a backpack of tops and left with a suitcase full of completed quilts!

“Scrappy Squares” Finished!

2 11 2018

I’m happy to show you my Leader/Ender project made with 2″ squares. You can read about the beginning of this project here. And you can read about the middle of the project here. The blocks measure 6,” finished, and the quilt is 42″ square. This is a great lap quilt size for a rest home resident. (The Tarheel Quilters Guild, of which I am a member, donates lap quilts to our local VA Hospital.)

This quilt is fun to look at because of the variety of textures and prints it contains. From juvenile to Christmas, from polka dot to paisley, from florals to stripes, from Civil War repro to batiks, this quilt has it all!

To match the background fabric, I chose white thread. Meandering adds curvy texture to soften the angular squares. I had planned to bind the quilt with a black polka dot fabric, but after trimming the excess backing from the quilt, I decided to use backing scraps instead. I think the teal Grunge is a great choice; it lends a happy finish to the quilt, and it’s surprising how many of the teal squares in the quilt’s interior are now noticeable.

The making of this quilt has reduced my box of 2″ squares to light backgrounds and boring dark colors, so I’ll use my box of 1 3/4″ squares for my next Leader/Ender project. If you say the block design is similar to the quilt pictured above, you’ll be correct, but daughter Trinity says I should set the blocks on-point and add a piano key border. Stay tuned as I chronicle my progress!


“Scrappy Squares”

11 10 2018

Guess what is on the design wall . . . my “Scrappy Squares” leader/ender project. To see the beginning of this project, click here.

My plan was to make a quilt with a 7 x 7 grid, i.e. 49 blocks. Sewing squares together in between other projects, I made 25 blocks. The centers were cut 3 1/2″ square and were surrounded by 2″ squares. Once I completed these 25 blocks, I placed them on my design wall. If blocks are on the wall rather than in a box, they are more likely to become a quilt. Seeing them is motivation to work on the project!

I chose a simple design for alternate blocks that utilizes Four Patches leftover from my “Confetti” quilt. Click here and here to see the “Confetti” quilt. The colorful squares were cut 2″ x 2″ and the white strips were cut 2″ x 3 1/2″ and 2″ x 6 1/2.” Here’s a close-up of a section of my “Scrappy Squares” lap quilt.

It is so exciting to see “Scrappy Squares” coming together. I might be tempted to complete the alternate blocks in one sewing session rather than piecemeal as leaders/enders.

What motivates you to finish a long-term project?

“Patriot Stars” Finished!

24 09 2018

Following Hurricane Florence, after power was restored, I quilted “Patriot Stars.” I began this quilt as a Leader/Ender project at the prompting of Bonnie Hunter, scrap queen extraordinaire. This block design is the “Jewel Box Stars” Leader/Ender challenge she issued in July. You can read about the beginning of my project by clicking here.

I made nine 16″ blocks which, with sashing and border, make a nice sized lap quilt. Most of the fabrics are leftovers from various patriotic quilts I’ve made with Wilmington Prints strip packs for magazine publication. It feels great to give these vibrant, Americana scraps a place to shine!

For quilting, I used a light blue variegated thread and “Becker’s Shooting Star” pantograph distributed by Urban Elementz.

By clicking on the picture, you can zoom in to see the quilting design. I love the contemporary feel this stitching brings to the quilt.

Practical Life Insight: I blogged about a scrappy Leader/Ender project that I began prior to finishing “Patriot Stars.” I hesitated sharing the new project for fear that you would chastise me for having too many scrappy irons in the fire.

And not one of you, my faithful blog followers, called me on the carpet for beginning a new project before finishing an old one. Not one of you judged me for my enthusiasm on the one hand and procrastination on the other.

This makes me wonder how many of us won’t begin something new or won’t share our excitement for something new because we are afraid of other people’s comments. When the truth is, most people don’t pay that much attention to how many projects are on our to-do list; they are only concerned with their own spread-sheets. The people who love us will applaud our excitement with a new endeavor, and they will encourage us along the way.

Now I’m not advocating abandoning your “old” projects and never completing them, but I am encouraging you to put fear aside and follow your creative instincts. I certainly won’t be the one to judge you!

New Leader/Ender Project

3 09 2018

My daughter, Trinity, found a scrappy block on Pinterest that she suggested I make. She knows I trim and organize my scraps in boxes by usable sizes:  1 1/2,” 1 3/4,” 2,” 2 1/2,” 3,” etc. And she also knows that I am always on the look-out for Leader/Ender blocks. Click here to read Bonnie K. Hunter’s explanation of Leader/Ender projects.

My all-time favorite Leader/Ender block is “Ups and Downs” shown on the left in the photo below. I’ve used this block with sashing to make numerous kids’ quilts. And when I need to expand a quilt backing, I often insert a row of these blocks. If you look closely, you’ll see that “Ups and Downs” requires 4 each of two different colored squares, yellow and green in this case. However, sometimes my scrap piece yields less than 4 squares, so Trinity’s Pinterest find is perfect for a truly scrappy block.

You could use any size square for this project. In fact, by cutting Jelly Roll strips at 2 1/2″ intervals, you could make a planned scrappy quilt. Hint, hint, National Sew a Jelly Roll day is 15 September. For this Leader/Ender project, I’m using 2″ squares that surround a 3 1/2″ square. (Thanks, Judy B., for the FQ of “Dirt”; it’s perfect for the center 3 1/2″ squares!) I plan to make 16-20 blocks for a drag-around kid-friendly quilt.

How do you think I should set my scrappy blocks? With sashing? On-point? With alternate blocks?