The Quilting Company’s Halloween Mystery Quilt

16 08 2018

Are you game for a new project – – a mystery quilt, perhaps? The editors of many of the quilting magazines you enjoy have launched a Halloween themed mystery quilt designed by Kathy Patterson. Here is the link to the blog which gives a few hints about the mystery and details the fabric requirements.

The weekly clues begin today, Thursday, August 16. Kathy will share quilting Tricks for smooth construction and Treat us kindly as we sew together. Here is the link to Clue #1.

Clue #1 Link

Maybe I’ll follow the clues using a Civil War fabric palette.


Quilting Quickly Magazine Winners

15 08 2018

Congratulations to Liz Horgan and Rochelle Summers! They are the winners of the Quilting Quickly July/August 2018 magazine drawing.

If your newsstand is sold out of this fine magazine issue, you can order from The Quilting Company. Click here to purchase.

Thanks, everyone who commented with “congratulations” and participated in the drawing. It was interesting to note that some of you would try “Nocturne,” a layer cake quilt first, while others of you preferred “Cross Check” which is made with 2 1/2″ strips. The “most humorous comment award” goes to Renata H. who wrote, “Cross Check… as I am like Monk in rechecking things.”

If you make either quilt, I hope you will send me a picture to share with blog readers. It would be fun to see these quilts made with different fabric lines. (

Quilting Class Samples

3 08 2018

This past week, I set aside my self-imposed resolution of not beginning any new projects until I first complete five of my numerous Works in Progress. But my digression was for a very good cause, honest. I made samples for the classes I hope to teach this fall at Sew There! Quilts and More in Angier, NC.

I am jazzed about this tote bag made from 2 1/2″ batik strips. It’s a breeze to make using a Quilt As You Go construction method. Each bag requires 10 strips, so a pack of 40 strips will yield a tote for yourself plus gifts for 3 of your friends. Bonnie, at Sew There!, has strip packs both of batik and a new line of fabrics for baby. This design would be darling as a diaper bag.

I’m always intrigued with Jenny Doan’s “Disappearing . . .” quilt block designs. When I saw “Disappearing Pinwheel” in a recent Missouri Star Quilt Company idea book, I had to try it! Using the “Abigail” line of fabric (Dover Hill for Benartex), I enjoyed making this 36″ square quilt. It will serve as a table topper, wall hanging, or quilt for a baby girl.

It’s never too early to think about decorations and gifts for Christmas. I designed and made this “Hearthside Stars” runner from black Grunge fabric plus a package of 5″ Charm Squares of “Hearthside Holiday” (Deb Strain for Moda). Come learn how to construct “Faux Flying Geese” and “Faux Square in a Square” units. This quick and easy project with beautiful results has me fingering additional Charm Square packs, imagining how they would look in a star-y runner.

If you live locally, I hope you’ll join me in class this fall!

Call  919-331-2499 to register for classes.

Summer Gardening

27 07 2018

It has been a bumper crop year for summer squash. Evidently the cold winter temperatures killed the vine borer beetles that plagued me last summer, and the plenteous rains caused this year’s vines to flourish. Did you know that 2 cups of grated zucchini or yellow squash adds moisture to a chocolate cake mix without affecting the taste? Just sprinkle chocolate chips and chopped walnuts on top prior to baking for a quick “frosting.” What a yummy way to eat vegetables! But the rains have now promoted a mildew on the squash leaves that threaten fruit production. Sad face.

My consolation is indoor gardening. Out of the scorching sun. No mildew or vine borer threats, here.

Peony Stars WIP.jpg

I’ve been working this summer on “Peony Stars,” designed by Kathleen Tracy and published in Remembering Adelia and The Big Book of Civil War Quilts. You can read about the start of this project here. I’m expanding my quilt from the prescribed nine blocks to twenty, lap quilt size. On a recent car trip, I completed all the hand appliqued stems and leaves. Now I’m working on the patchwork blossoms.

I’ll keep you posted on my flower garden project.


Quiltville’s 2018 Leader/Ender Challenge

12 07 2018

Those of us who follow Bonnie K. Hunter’s blog ( have been waiting with bated breath for her to announce the Leader/Ender Challenge for 2018. If you remember, the challenge for 2017 was Checkerboard Rail Fence, the challenge for 2016 was Hourglass, and before that was Tumblers. Bonnie always chooses a quilt design in the “public domain” so as not to infringe on anyone’s copyright. Although she gives suggestions about piece sizes and colors, she leaves the details up to us.

This year, her challenge is “Jewel Box Stars.” She writes, “This project is to GROW SLOWLY in between the lines of chain piecing other things.  Don’t rush through it.  Enjoy the process!” Click here to link to Bonnie’s blog post about the challenge. 

I decided to accept the challenge, and here is the back story on the Americana fabrics I’ll be working with. As you know, I just finished quilting my “Confetti” quilt. After trimming away the excess batting and backing, I found that pieces amounting to about 1 yard of the polka dot print remained. Rather than folding it and returning it to my stash, I plan to use it as light background in my blocks. For the blue prints I’m using 2 1/2″ strips of Wilmington Prints tone-on-tones leftover from various projects as well as squares from my 2 1/2″ scrap container. The reds are also Wilmington Prints that remain from various patriotic and Valentine projects. Since I am making the larger 16″ size Bonnie mentions in her excellent tutorial, I’ll need only 4 or 9 blocks to make a nice size lap quilt.

Will you accept the challenge to make a “Jewel Box Stars” quilt this year? If so, will you go totally scrappy or use a planned color palette?

Born to Excel Camp 2018

2 07 2018
Our church just completed its annual week long Vacation Bible School called Born to Excel Camp.  There are Bible lessons and songs and snacks, but the extra time is divided into two tracks approximately 45 minutes in length. The children register for two hobbies/interests from Geology and Gem Mining to Cooking. I helped with Counted Cross-Stitch and Quilting. Ran helped with Woodworking. It was a great week, and it was a blessing to see the “old folks” in our church turn out in force to help and teach the “young folks.” 170 kids; 75 volunteers!
In the Quilting class, each of the nine girls had a seasoned quilter coaching her through the process. I worked with Emily as she learned about fabric selection, 1/4″ seam allowance, and operating a sewing machine.
Michelle, the Quilting group leader, worked for several months auditioning suitable easy quilt designs and adapting one for Excel Camp. She made a sample, wrote instructions, and purchased fabric in colors that would appeal to the children. Then she cut kits of squares and bricks of the various color groups, placing each kit in a gallon zip bag. Emily chose purple, and we worked side by side Monday – Thursday to create the quilt top. At the end of Thursday’s class, we sandwiched batting, backing (right side up) and quilt top (right side down). I trimmed all three pieces the same size with rotary cutting equipment and pinned all around the quilt top with straight quilting pins.
Friday morning, Emily sewed around the four sides of the quilt, leaving a 6″ opening for turning. The photo shows her tugging the right side of the quilt through the opening. What an exciting moment when she had completed that step! We poked out the corners with blunt scissors, rolled out the edges all around, and then used the iron to make it crisp. Next, Emily sewed all around the quilt, taking care to close the turning opening securely. Finally, I placed masking tape diagonally across the quilt in two places for Emily to sew along as she the sandwich together.
The Excel Camp Quilting class ended with nine happy girls, nine proud quilting coaches, and nine beautiful quilts!

“Not Your Grandma’s Irish Chain” Finished!

27 06 2018

This quilt project, begun last summer, is finally finished! I found time last week to quilt it with the “Wave on Wave” pantograph designed by Patricia E. Ritter and distributed by Urban Elementz. And the weekend furnished the two hours needed to machine bind the quilt. I am super pleased with the results.

The fabric line is “Blue Sky” designed by Edyta Sitar for Andover. When I saw the fabric at Sew There! Quilts and More in Angier, NC, it was love at first sight. However, I left the bolts on the shelf until I dreamed up a quilt design that would showcase them well. You can read about the beginning of this project here.

Generally, I would suggest custom quilting for a traditional project such as this. However, on a whim, I decided to use the “Wave on Wave” pantograph, stitching with light taupe thread. The border print is so busy a custom design would not have shown up at all anyway, and the swirls add organized swirly  texture to the light background areas of the quilt. The surprise appears when the viewer’s eye focuses on the dark blue squares and Orange Peels; there, the swirls truly delight!

Why the name “Not your Grandma’s Irish Chain” you may ask. “Irish Chain” quilts feature plain squares alternated with “Nine Patches” (or variations of “Nine Patches”) with dark fabrics in the four corners of each block. These dark fabrics connect diagonally across the quilt. In this quilt, however, the “Orange Peel” alternate blocks provide the diagonal, criss-crossing design element, and the “Nine Patches” have light corner squares. So, it is an Irish Chain quilt, of sorts, but not the design your Grandma would have made.