“Pine Tree Point” 2.0

Several of you commented favorably on my Dec. 14, 2020 blog post on which I showed my “Pine Tree Point” quilt designed by Bonnie K. Hunter of quiltville.com. As I wrote, since my sister-in-law admired the quilt, I gave it to her as a Christmas gift. But I love the colors and design so much, that I made another one for Ran and me to enjoy.

It was fun to include scraps of yardage acquired throughout the years. The red print cornerstones are from my mom’s stash as is a sweet holly print from which she made cloth Christmas napkins for our family. I included scraps of a peppermint print from my mother-in-law’s stash which I also used this year as backing for snowman placemats. The spring green Celtic print was the backing of Bob and Melinda’s wedding quilt. Perhaps the funniest print of all is the Ninja Turtles lime green; these scraps are leftover from a quilt my granddaughter and I made for a little boy whose family’s home burned down several years ago. (Click here to read about the quilt.) All of these fabric scraps hold such poignant memories for me!

Although Bonnie’s design calls for only green prints in the border, I included some red strips to remind me of of the Piano Key border I added to another Christmas quilt I made and gifted to my granddaughter and her family. I chose the same snowflake quilting design as I used for the first “Pine Tree Point” quilt, but instead of using gold thread, I used lime green. I don’t think it is too obnoxious, do you?

Guess what . . . I still have green scraps! I just may have to make a table runner to accompany these pines.

Rotary Rulers for “Options” BOM

Many of you are anticipating the start of “Options,” our 2021 Block of the Month Quilt Along. You will find preliminary information on the “Options BOM QAL” page of this blog; just click the tab in the menu to access the page. I will post instructions for the first of ten block designs on February 1st. In the meantime, you could inventory the rotary cutting rulers you have on hand, making sure you own those that will be most helpful for this year-long project.

It is optimal to use rulers made by the same company because the measurement markings will be consistent from ruler to ruler. I have invested in Omnigrid rulers, but I also like Creative grids because of the roughened spots on the underside of the ruler that grip the fabric as you rotary cut.

The first ruler beginning quilters should purchase is one that stretches across the entire piece of folded yardage on a rotary cutting mat. For example, 6″ x 24″ or 8 1/2″ x 24″ or 4″ x 24.” For many of the blocks in the “Options” project, we will cut 2 1/2″ x WOF (width of fabric) strips and sub-cut them into shorter lengths. A 24″ long ruler will help us cut strips from folded yardage or fat quarters efficiently and accurately.

Secondly, I recommend a 6 1/2″ square ruler. Once we use the long ruler to cut strips from yardage, we’ll use this shorter, more manageable ruler to cut smaller pieces such as 2 1/2″ or 4 1/2″ squares and 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles.

Bottom line: You can easily make all the “Options” blocks using a 6″ x 24″ ruler along with a 6 1/2″ square ruler.

Optional Rulers: Since we are making 8 1/2″ unfinished blocks during the QAL, you will find it helpful to have an 8 1/2″ or 9 1/2″ or 12 1/2″ square ruler to trim your blocks after completing them.

We are going to make some Half Square Triangles (HSTs) a bit oversize that will require “squaring up.” You can use your 6 1/2″ square ruler to trim them to the proper size, or you can use a Quilt in a Day HST trimming ruler, or you can use Bloc Loc rulers. The first two rulers listed here are for multiple sizes. If you wish to invest in Bloc Loc rulers (yes, they are very expensive but yield very accurate results), we will use 2 1/2,” 3 1/2,” and 4 1/2″ squares for this project. If you can purchase only one Bloc Loc square, purchase the 4 1/2″ square which can be used to trim smaller sizes as well.

Just like you, I am looking forward to the kick-off of our “Options” QAL!

Melinda’s Wedding Quilt

Melinda is a member of my church’s quilting group, so when she and Bobby announced their engagement, we set about organizing a group-made wedding quilt. Back story: As part of down-sizing in anticipation of selling her own home and making a new one with Bobby in a smaller house, Melinda brought fabric to our retreat in September for the “free table.” I snagged a collection of Alison Glass prints; the cuts varied in amounts of 1/8 to 1/4 yd. Hoping that Melinda gave the fabric away because she didn’t have time or inspiration for making a quilt with it (rather than hating it), I organized the group project around the bright prints.

If you quilted along in 2020 on the “Sisters” quilt, you will recognize June’s block, a “Weathervane” variation. (Click here to access the BOM page; click Download under the June heading for printer friendly instructions.) This block is well-suited for multiple makers. Each of the twenty block kits contained a 4 1/2″ square for the center, three 2 1/2″ x 21″ strips of different colors, and one 2 1/2″ x 42″ strip of light gray background fabric. I included the instructions and gave each maker license to choose the position of the colors for her block. We kept our quilt-making intentions secret from Melinda and Bobby!

The quilting group served as the wedding decoration team, and so of course, we decorated the sanctuary and foyer with our quilts. Although the group quilt was displayed at the rear of the sanctuary and was viewed as they recessed after the ceremony, they had no idea it was a gift for them!

The couple loves the quilt, and it serves as a tangible reminder of our love and best wishes in their home.

“Options” Photo Op

This afternoon was so lovely and sunny I decided to take my “Options” quilt to the former town hall of Lillington, NC for a photo shoot.

Lillington boasts some lovely architecture, but this is by far my favorite. Isn’t it grand? When we applied for the permits to build our retirement home several years ago, we came to this building, then the Chamber of Commerce. Changing its purpose once again, it will soon become the Lillington Museum.

I love the way the colors in my quilt coordinate with the colors of the old mansion. The red prints compliment the red bows on the wreaths. The white fabric echoes the painted columns and railings. The gray repeats the aging slate gray wooden porch floor boards, and black is the color of the roof shingles.

Thanks for your enthusiasm for the 2021 Block of the Month, “Options.” Background information can be found under the Options BOM QAL tab in the menu. January is the month to plan your quilt, gathering fabric and considering various settings for your blocks. Instructions for blocks will be posted February – November. I have added a document containing line drawings of all the blocks I have patterned for the Quilt Along. If you want to be surprised from month to month, don’t download the document. If, on the other hand, you like to plan your colors and fabric ahead of time, download the document and use colored pencils to plan the blocks you will make. (Thanks, Sarah Y. for this suggestion.)

“Bloomer” Published

Have you seen the latest issue of Fons & Porter’s Quick + Easy Quilts? Nothing will chase away the winter doldrums and breathe spring into your sewing room like the February/March 2021 issue. And I am thrilled to say that my wall quilt, “Bloomer,” is included in the publication!

You’ll find the article on page 76. This project is made from a charm pack of 5″ squares plus background fabric and finishes at 24″ square. Maywood Studio graciously sent me the fabric for both quilts. “Sunlit Blooms” reminds me of a sunny meadow filled with blooming wildflowers, while “Moongate” prompts images of color in outer space. It is interesting to see the same patchwork design with both a light and a dark background. Color sways the mood of the quilts, doesn’t it?

The editors categorized “Bloomer” as a Weekend Warrior project because it is quick and easy, doable in a weekend. So pick your favorite pack of charm squares, open it, and begin sorting the fabrics. The goal is achieving color balance even if the prints are slightly different. Because of its size, “Bloomer” also doubles as a table topper. I’m displaying the “Moongate” piece on my coffee table this winter and will switch it out for “Sunlit Blooms” as spring approaches.

Spin-off Idea: I wonder what the project would look like “biggie sized.” Wouldn’t it be fun to use 10″ squares of a Layer Cake as a basis for a lap quilt?

Introducing “Options,” the BOM QAL for 2021

I hope you will quilt along (QAL) with Abyquilt blog readers in 2021. We will make 8” patchwork blocks, and none of the designs involve curved piecing or applique. The QAL begins in January, the month for planning and selecting fabric. Instructions for blocks will be posted on the first of the month, February – November. In December, you will finish your quilt top by combining the blocks you made throughout the year with sashing or alternate blocks.

Optional setting for “Options”

In this QAL, you have several options. The first option is the size of the quilt. You may choose to make a lap quilt, a throw-size quilt, or a bed quilt. The larger the project, the greater number of blocks you need to make per month.

Lap Quilt 52” x 68” 18 blocks about 2 per month
Throw Quilt 68” x 84” 32 blocks about 3 per month
Bed Quilt 84” x 84” 41 blocks about 4 per month

The second option is fabric palette. You may choose to use a line of fabric, to use coordinating fabric from stash, or to go totally scrappy. The Lap Quilt and Throw Quilt are layer cake (10” squares) and fat quarter friendly. If using fat quarters, you need eight to ten, two or three each of several colors. The Bed Quilt requires
at least twelve fat quarters of colorful fabrics.

Scrappy “Options” with Framed Nine Patches

The third option is the blocks you will make. Each month, February – November, instructions for a primary design will be given as well as suggestions for several variations. You have the option to make all your blocks of the same design, to recolor the blocks, or to make a variation of the primary design.

Churn Dash Options

The fourth option is the layout of your quilt. One of my sample quilts uses the “Hourglass” design for alternate blocks, another uses Framed Nine Patches. Pictured below is Karlene’s setting with sashing and cornerstones. However, another setting may appeal to you more. You may work on alternate setting blocks throughout the year.

Karlene’s “Options” quilt

With so many options, all of our quilts will be unique. It will be fun to appreciate the fabrics and orientation of values in each block as we go along, and it will be interesting to see the way you creatively set your blocks together.

In the blog menu, click on “Options BOM QAL.” You will travel to a page with a Download link to printer friendly information about the quilt project. Comment below if you plan to join the fun in 2021!

December “Sisters” BOM Wrap-Up

Today is the day to comment “Done” if you have finished your December blocks for the “Sisters” Block of the Month Quilt Along. In fact, comment “Done, Done” if you have finished all 12 of the block designs. For inspiration, enjoy the pictures of Sarah’s and Marianne’s quilts.

Sarah Y. is making two “Sisters” quilts. The Christmas themed quilt is pictured above, and she has plans for a larger quilt with more blocks in spring-time colors. Notice that Sarah made Pinwheels of gold, red, and green for all the 6″ alternate blocks.

Here’s a glimpse of Marianne K.’s quilt mostly in blues from her stash. I love the pops of color in the larger scale prints and the textured background she used for sashing.

I can’t wait to see a picture of your quilt top. Attach it to an email: aby.quilts@gmail.com.

The tab “Sisters BOM QAL” will remain on the blog menu for the foreseeable future so you can download any instructions you may have missed along the way. You may freely share the instructions with your friends and quilting bee mates and fellow guild members. However, please urge them to follow abyquilts.wordpress.com so they won’t miss a minute of quilt-y fun.

Tomorrow’s blog post will explain the Block of the Month for 2021, “Options.” I would love it if you can join the fun and quilt along with us.

Happy New Year! — Aby Dolinger

Countdown to December BOM Finish

Just a little reminder that today is the day to make your Saw Tooth Star variation if you haven’t already. Because tomorrow, the 31st, is the day to comment “Done” and to be entered into a drawing for a free quilting magazine.

Sana’s December blocks

Several QAL participants have sent pictures of their completed quilt tops. It’s so exciting to see them come together with all the variations of fabrics and themes and colors!

Cindy M.’s “Sisters” quilt top

Karen’s batik quilt is stunning! She is so pleased with it.

Check out more pictures on Instagram at #sistersqal.

2021 BOM Preview

Many of you are participating in the “Sisters” 2020 Block of the Month Quilt Along. And several of you have asked, “What are the plans for next year? Are you going to host another BOM?” Seeing your “Sisters” blocks from month to month and hearing that you have learned new patchwork skills has been so inspirational and rewarding! Your comments of applause to each other builds community; we all thrive on compliments. So, yes, I have planned a Block of the Month Quilt Along for blog readers in 2021!

I will post the particulars on January 1st, but here are some preliminary thoughts. January will be a planning month, the month to select fabrics and to think about the size quilt you want to make. Since many of you are not quite finished with the “Sisters” project, I feel it would be overwhelming to layer a new project on top of it. The final block for “Sisters” was published on December 1st, and then preparation for the holidays zoomed in to consume our sewing time. Therefore, we’ll use January as a catch-up month for “Sisters” and a prep-up month for “Options.”

I have selected ten 8″ patchwork blocks for the 2021 Quilt Along. They are all beginner friendly without curved seams, paper piecing, or applique. If you make one block per month, by November 2021 you’ll have enough for a table runner. Totally doable! Those of you with more patchwork experience and more time for quilting will be challenged to make more blocks per month, varying the patchwork colors and pieces of each block design. Here’s a sneak peek at “Churn Dash.” The block in the center is the primary design. Those surrounding it have been modified by adding patchwork in the center square or decreasing the width of the rectangular strips.

Churn Dash Options

I hope you are excited about joining the Quilt Along fun in 2021. I can’t wait to see the options you come up with for your quilt! If you are curious, additional details are on the “Options” BOM QAL page of this blog.

Christmas Blessings to You and Yours

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Sending Christmas greetings across the miles to you, my quilting friends. May God’s grace and peace comfort your heart as you reflect on His greatest gift to us, our Savior Jesus Christ.

My husband and I have recently discovered the a cappella group Pentatonix. Many of their performances, including a Christmas album, are on You Tube. We have particularly enjoyed “Mary, Did You Know?” this year.

I wish you the blessing of health, happiness, and time for creativity in the New Year!

Each Christmas I write a letter re-capping the past year and looking forward to the next. If you would like to read it, it’s on the Tips and Tutorials page of this blog.