Workshop Summary

This past Saturday, I offered a workshop for making the “Giant Churn Dash” baby quilt to Tarheel Quilters Guild members. About ten ladies attended; we had a blast sewing together! Pictured below are Joy and Maureen who are focused and concentrating as they sew. And you can tell that Colleen is in her happy place with fun fabrics in her hands!

     

While most workshop participants used 2 1/2″ strips leftover from jelly rolls for the strip-pieced units, some cut strips from stash or fat quarters. Karen modified the instructions so that she could use 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles she has cut and saved through the years.

Due to obligations at home, Anita could not attend the workshop as planned. But she sewed along with us while at home, and we exchanged pictures in the afternoon. Instead of placing a white square in the center, Anita featured an airplane print that she also used to back the quilt.

Several ladies affirmed that they would make this quick, easy and versatile design again. Yolanda plans to make two from the same pretty fabrics; they’ll be given to twin girls in the NICU of our local hospital.

On Sunday, at the guild meeting, we showed our quilt tops to those in attendance. Barbara was our over-achiever, she made 3 quilt tops and quilted all on her new longarm overnight.


I encouraged everyone to access the instructions on the Patterns page of my blog. Like you, even those who could not attend the workshop may still make a “Giant Churn Dash” baby quilt.

 

 

Giant “Churn Dash” Baby Quilt

Since “Churn Dash” is the March block of the month in our “Sisters” quilt along, I have a pattern variation to share with you.

I’ve designed a contemporary baby quilt based on the time-honored design. One giant block is all you need to make for this quilt! Click on the Patterns tab in the bar beneath my header picture (or in the drop down menu on your smart phone). Once on the Patterns page, you’ll be able to click on the link to the printer friendly instructions for the 24″ block and two borders.

As you might surmise from looking at the picture, the rectangles are strip-pieced from 8  2 1/2″ strips. You can use leftover jelly roll strips or you can cut 2 1/2″ wide strips from stash as I did. In addition, you need about 3/4 yd. of light background fabric and 3/8 yd. of a theme print. I’ll be teaching this quilt as a workshop on Saturday to fellow Tarheel Quilters Guild members. When 20 of us complete our quilts, our NICU charity coordinator’s stockpile of baby quilts will be greatly increased.

I selected coordinating quilting designs for my two Giant Churn Dash quilts. For the “Under the Sea” theme quilt, I chose light blue thread and a pantograph of sea creatures.

And for my “Pretty in Pink” quilt, I quilted a freehand design of heart shaped leaves and large flowers with pink thread.

I’d love to see a picture of your Giant Churn Dash baby quilt! Send a digital photo to aby.quilts@gmail.com

Gigi’s “Scrappity-Do-Dah”

Several weeks ago, Gigi asked me to quilt a scrappy quilt for her niece. After receiving the quilt top, I emailed her pictures of several edge to edge designs that I thought would look nice on the quilt. She settled on “Happy Times” by Hermione Agee (distributed by Urban Elementz), and she requested teal thread since the quilt back is teal.

I love this quilt and want to make one in the worst way! Gigi sent me the pattern sheet, a promotional freebie from McCall’s Quilting. It was designed by Ann Weber of the Gingham Girls. If you also want to make “Scrappity-Do-Dah,” download the free pattern from Quiltingdaily.com. Here’s the link.

Gigi used a great variety of print and tone-on-tone fabrics from her stash and from the “free” table of her quilt guild. Because the narrow strips contrast well with the triangles comprising each square, the diagonal lattice design is readily apparent. Notice, too, that Gigi alternated dark squares with medium squares throughout the quilt.

I am so tempted to drop everything, grab my rotary cutter and begin amassing squares from every fabric in my stash! The instructions call for 6″ squares, but this quilt could be made from leftover 5″ charm squares. And I think I will suggest “Scrappity-Do-Dah” as a great way to use squares from an exchange of squares at my quilt guild.

“Steppin’ Up” in Pink

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Marlene, who collects and distributes baby quilts to the NICU on behalf of my guild, says her stockpile is dangerously low. Each month 20-30 quilts are needed to comfort newborns with medical issues. I volunteered to teach a speedy baby quilt design in March at a guild workshop. The completion of 15-20 workshop quilts should boost the pile Marlene keeps in reserve.

In the meantime, I made “Steppin’ Up” in pink prints. The half yard of ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ fabric I found in my stash made the perfect border.

You can find a link to the instructions for “Steppin’ Up” on the Patterns page of this blog. Although the pattern calls for 10 strips, I just used 9 strips each cut 4″ x 40.” The addition of a 4″ border yields the perfect size for a baby quilt. I quilted a freehand, all over design of hearts and loops in light pink thread.

The pleasing outcome of this quick project has me wondering what other fabric combinations from my stash would look great in this design. I am sure I have 9 blues, and/or 9 greens, and/or 9 reds that would work, with a fun border print, as a baby quilt. What color(s) would you use from you stash for “Steppin’ Up?”

“Inside Out Heart”

My friend, Linda G., sent me “Inside Out Heart” for machine quilting. She’s been accumulating pink and fuchsia batiks for awhile, waiting for the perfect project in which to showcase them. Aren’t the various tones luscious? We conferred about thread color and quilting design and settled on pale pink thread and the “Smitten” pantograph by Patricia E. Ritter and Valerie Smith. The pink thread adds textural interest without overpowering the design.

If you would like to make the 36″ x 36″ quilt, you will find instructions in the Missouri Star Quilt Company’s Holiday issue, Vol. 6, Issue 4, 2019. And you can click here to view a tutorial on You Tube.

With Valentine’s Day about a month away, you easily have time to make this lovely quilt for your sweetheart!

“Churning Along” Published!

Has last minute shopping for stocking stuffers taken you to your favorite newsstand? If so, I’m sure you glanced at the quilting magazine titles. And maybe you saw the January/February 2020 issue of McCall’s Quilting.

My string-pieced quilt, “Churning Along” is included in the magazine along with a tip for storing my strips and strings by color. If using your growing collection of string-y scraps is your New Year’s resolution, this is the quilt for you! I began by sewing fabric strips to squares of outdated phone book pages. Using a #90 needle and decreasing the stitch length aids in removing the paper. It is best to begin by placing a 2 1/2″ wide strip diagonally through the center of the square. Use a sew and flip method to add strips on both sides of the center diagonal strip, covering the paper square. Trim away excess bits and pieces using the paper as a guide. Cut the square diagonally through the center 2 1/2″ strip, and then remove the paper foundation.

The string piecing done, the rest of the “Churn Dash” block is quickly constructed. For the strip pieced units, I chose a random black and white polka dot rather than a stark black solid. The print softens the effect yet adds unity to all the scrappiness. More strips and strings comprise the scrappy border.

My editor and I debated between a light gray and the saturated lime green for the background color. While gray would have been a fine choice, I think lime really packs a punch! I had to be careful, though, not to place green as the center strip when piecing the blocks as it would fade into the background.

I quilted a freehand all-over spiral design with lime green thread and finished the quilt with black binding.

Are you enthused about making “Churning Along?” If so, leave a comment stating what background color you would use. Lime green, light gray, or ??  I’ll enter all comments in a drawing for a free magazine on December 31. (And don’t think, ” I don’t have a chance of winning.” Usually 25 people or less comment for a chance to win. Please throw your name in the hat!)

Revving Up for “Sisters” Sampler BOM QAL

“Gentlemen, start your engines” . . . er . . . “Ladies, start your sewing machines!”

In just two weeks, on January 1, our “Sisters” block of the month begins. Although our quilt along is not a race, there are several things you can do to be ready for the start-up.

First, you can select the fabric you’ll be using for this year long project. Print the fabric requirements found on the “Sisters” BOM QAL page of the blog. (When viewing the blog on your lap top, click on the tab under the header picture above.) The sampler quilt is Layer Cake, Fat Quarter, and scrap stash friendly. On a recent visit to my local quilt shop, I photographed 4 Layer Cakes that would be totally suitable for this project. (Sew There! Quilts and More has an online shop; they would be happy to ship fabric for your quilt.) You’ll want fabrics that vary in scale, color, and texture.

The second thing you can do is tune up your machine and practice sewing with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. If you guide your fabric on the edge of the universal foot that comes with most sewing machines, your seam allowance will be too wide. If possible, use a scant 1/4″ piecing foot. Other options include moving your needle to the right or applying tape as a guide on the bed of your machine. I listened to an excellent podcast about achieving consistent 1/4″ seam allowance by editors of American Patchwork and Quilting. Click here for a link on Spotify to show #450 which aired on December 16, 2019. The info is beneficial for “old” and “new” quilters alike!

As suggested in the podcast, check your seam allowance by making a simple “Roman Stripe” block. Cut three strips of fabric, 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ and sew them together as shown in the photo below. The resulting patchwork block should measure 3 1/2″ square. Check the width of the center strip; it should be exactly 1.” Can you tell that my blue strip fits neatly between the 2″ and 3″ lines on the ruler? No more, no less.

Thirdly, you can set up an account on Instagram, the social media platform that’s conducive for pictorially sharing our QAL progress. I’ve shared a picture of my quilt on #sistersqal (our main #). I also posted to #sisterssamplerqal, #samplerquilts, #bomqal, and #sistersbomqal. Once you have selected your fabric, post a picture of your Layer Cake, Fat Quarters, or fabric pull from your stash on #sistersqal. It will be fun to view the fabric palettes of those quilting along with us!

Bonus Project Idea:  “Roman Stripe” is a simple block that will use some of your smallest scraps. Click here for a blog post about a bed quilt I made last year. Click here to see “Ice Cream Sandwiches” made in 2013. As you can see from the photo above, I have, this time, selected a different coloring of this simple block design. I plan to use neutral scraps with blue prints and tonals. These blocks will be quickly constructed leader/ender style.