“Unity” QAL Progress

Are you quilting along with Bonnie Hunter (quiltville.blogspot.com)? She has designed a twin size medallion for our quilt-making enjoyment while we shelter at home. Although Bonnie’s quilt features red, blue, aqua, and white, I’ve added more colors for variety’s sake.

I have kept up with the clues 1-5, and the 6th is revealed tomorrow. What a cheerful and fun quilt to work on, week by week! If you would like to make a “Unity” quilt, link to Bonnie’s blog and click on the “Unity” tab beneath her header picture.

“Aunt Dinah” Potholder

I hope you have found some time to sew between household and family responsibilities this past weekend. Perhaps you are finishing your “Aunt Dinah” big sister and little sister blocks for our quilt along. Are you looking forward to May’s block? I’ll post instructions on Friday.

Generally, I like to give secondary ideas for using each of the QAL patterns, be it a table runner, baby or bed quilt, or pillow. This month, I decided to add a narrow border to a 6″ “Aunt Dinah” block, transforming it into a potholder for my kitchen.

To make my 6″ block, I used fabric from the “free” box of scraps and 10″ squares left over from my “Sisters” quilt. I cut strips for the border from a red 10″ square; I needed two 2″ x 6 1/2″ strips for top and bottom and two 2″ x 9 1/2″ strips for sides.

I cut two 10″ squares of thin 100% cotton batting and layered it with a leftover 10″ square for backing, centering the “Aunt Dinah” patchwork square uppermost. Notice that the backing is right side up, and the patchwork is right side down.

After pinning all around, I sewed the layers together with a 3/8″ seam allowance, leaving a 3″ opening on one side for turning right side out. I trimmed away the excess backing and batting and clipped the four corners diagonally to reduce bulk. After turning the potholder right side out and a quick press, I slip-stitched the opening closed and quilted the patchwork “in the ditch” with white thread. I switched to red thread for simple quilting in the border.

Are you humming “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah” as I was?  . . . “strumming on the old banjo.”

If you are a new blog follower, it’s not too late to join the QAL fun. Just click on the “SISTERS BOM QAL” tab for all the information. Instructions for blocks are posted on the first of each month in 2020.

“Shortcut to Dresden” Republished

Quilting Daily, the company that publishes many of your favorite quilting magazines, has issued a special edition of McCall’s Quick Quilts. Included are twelve of “our most popular patterns.” If you are a regular subscriber, you’ve seen and appreciated these beauties in the past few years. I was pleased to see my “Shortcut to Dresden” quilt included in the roundup. Click here to read my original blog post about this quilt.

The fabric line, “Flower Mill” by Corey Yoder for Moda Fabrics, is an all time favorite. It is so fresh and pretty, perfect for spring. I felt that the design and coloring were perfect for girls, so I gave the quilt to my niece who has three daughters.

Some insider information for you:  The instructions call for adhering fusible web to the wrong side of all the wedges and machine appliqueing around all with a blanket stitch. This construction technique was my editor’s prerogative, making the quilt “quick, modern, and stress free.” When making this quilt, I actually added 1/4″ seam allowances to the sides of the wedges and sewed them together with a traditional construction method. Once the plates were assembled and seams pressed open, I machine appliqued them on the white background squares with a blanket stitch.

You can see that the “Dresden Plate” lends itself to many fabric styles. Using Civil War reproduction fabric with shirting backgrounds lends a comfortable, homey look. Whereas all twelve wedges for each Plate of the published quilt are of different fabrics, each Plate of the CW repro quilt uses just two alternating fabrics. I added seam allowances to the points of the wedges and hand appliqued the Plates on large shirting “Four Patches.” Illustrating two setting options, the blocks in the published quilt are set on point, and the blocks of the second quilt are straight set with pieced sashing and “Nine Patch” cornerstones.

My friend, Carol, says that “Dresden Plate” is on her quilt bucket list. How about you? Are you planning to make a “Dresden Plate,” or have you already made one? Leave your answer in a comment if you’d like to be in a drawing for a free issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts, June/July 2020. Two winners will be notified on May 2, 2020.

You can order a digital copy of this and any other magazine published by Quilting Daily on their website. Click here to shop for magazines.

“Unity” QAL Progress

I am quilting along with Bonnie K. Hunter who designed a medallion quilt to spark our creativity as we stay at home. Bonnie blogs at quiltville.blogspot.comClick here for links to the introduction and subsequent instructions which are posted each Monday. Do you see the blue and gold print I used in the diamond shapes of the Part 2 border? I received 1/3 yard of this fabric at a retreat last September with the challenge to use it by the time of our next retreat. I am happy it fits in so well with the other fabrics I’ve chosen for the “Unity” QAL.

Over the weekend I finished Part 3 – -36 tiny stars. I expanded Bonnie’s suggested palette of red, white, aqua, and blue by adding green, yellow, orange, and purple. By adding these hues, I’m planning ahead. At some point in the QAL I want to incorporate multi-colored “Shoo, Fly, Shoo” blocks made for Bonnie’s “Leader/Ender” challenge this year. (Click here to read about the challenge.) Adding some color to Part 3 will make the quilt more cohesive when I add the scrappy blocks down the road.

I’m ready for Part 4. Are you quilting along?

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!)