“Chinese Coins”

For the past couple of weeks I have been sewing samples for my upcoming class on String Piecing Tips and Techniques at Sew There! Quilts and More in Angier, NC. I used a bundle of selvage end scraps from Pineapple Fabrics to make a sweet quilt for a little girl.

Hindsight is always better than foresight. After finishing the quilt top, I wished I had used a lighter pink for the sashing and borders, in keeping with the pastel nature of the prints. I am such a dyed in the wool high contrast quilter, always gravitating toward the darker hue. It is difficult for me to make a blendy quilt with all medium values.

To compensate for my darker-than-desired fabric choice, I used light pink thread so the quilting design would show up better. I like the way the dragonflies flit between the flowers. (The pantograph is “Dragonflies and Flowers” by Dave Hudson.)

Another “Chinese Coins” design class sample is a simple, colorful table runner. These strips are also selvage ends from Pineapple Fabrics.

To add some color in the border and texture overall, I chose a polyester Magnifico variegated thread and quilted freehand spirals. The circular spirals add movement and interest to the plain and straight patchwork.

Are you presently working on a string pieced quilt?

Quilting Daily’s Christmas Quilt Lookbook

Imagine my surprise and pleasure at seeing one of my Christmas quilts, “Bow Tie Wreath,” on the cover of Quilting Daily’s “Best of Christmas Quilts” Lookbook! Click here to view it.

The editor, Denise Starck, writes the following:

“The holiday season will be here before you know it! But is it ever too early to begin Christmas quilt projects? We don’t think so!

If you’re ready to get started on a few quilty designs for holiday gifts and home décor, check out our 26 favorites in this Best of Christmas Quilts Lookbook.

We’ve included a variety of fun projects to give you a head start on your holiday list–from Christmas stockings and tree skirts to quilts to snuggle under on a cold winter’s night. You’ll find projects for techniques like paper foundation piecing, appliqué, embroidery…and so much more!”

The Lookbook also features “Black Forest Christmas,” another of my designs.

The editors of Quilting Daily have produced these Christmas projects as individual patterns for purchase. Take a peek at the Lookbook and tell me which is your favorite in a comment below.

“Sisters” BOM – August

Good-bye July, and hello August! A new month, a new patchwork design challenge. This month, Quilt Along participants will work on 12″ and 6″ blocks of “Bronco’s Star.”

“Bronco’s Star” was designed by Sarah Bisel and was published in Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks from Today’s Top Designers, vol. 11. I re-colored the block to use four fabrics, and I simplified the construction. This is our most intricate block to date, but I am confident that you can make it!

When making the 6″ block, you need to use fabric from your “Free” box. These are scraps you’ve saved from making previous blocks. I can’t wait to see your color/fabric choices!

Clicking on the “Sisters BOM QAL” tab in the menu links you to the blog page containing instructions for all the “Sisters” blocks. Scroll the the end and find the entry for August. Click the black download button. Once you’ve completed your blocks, post a picture on Instagram if you have an account, #sistersqal.

It’s not too late to join the “Sisters” Quilt Along. Be sure to read the instructions about selecting fabrics first. Then jump in with the block that seems easiest to you. This project is perfect for summer sewing, not to mention quarantine sewing.

Kathy R. sent me a picture of her blocks, January through July. She is using her scrappy stash inherited from her mother and grandmother and plans to give the quilt to a graduating piano student. Each block is a jewel!

“Sisters” BOM July Wrap-up

Quilt Along Participants: Today is THE day to comment “Done” if you have made the “Sisters” blocks for July. Wasn’t “Round Rosie” a sweet design?

Sana sent me a picture of her blocks. The dark background really makes the lighter colors pop. The fussy cut flower in the center of the 12″ block is an awesome detail.

Joy also sent a picture of her blocks. I love the mixture of geometric and floral prints.

Be sure to check out more photos of “Round Rosie” on Instagram #sistersqal. Kudos to everyone who is keeping up with our Quilt Along. You will find a link to the instructions for the August “Sisters” blocks under the Sisters BOM QAL tab tomorrow, August 1st.

Remember to comment, “Done,” and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a free Sept/Oct issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine!

Magazine Winner

Today is THE day to draw for a winner of the July/August 2020 issue of Quiltmaker magazine!

I enjoyed reading your answers to my question, “For whom could you make the ‘Math Whiz’ quilt?” Happily, I found that the design has lots of appeal because you all know someone who is “into” math. I loved Maridee’s idea of modifying the design for four placemats with one symbol on each. (Click here to link to the blog post and scroll down to see the other comments.)

For the drawing of a free magazine, #6 came up as the winner. Ironically, that is Maridee! Congrats, Maridee. I will send you the magazine as well as some of the number print so you can make the four placemats. You’ll only need to raid your stash for the blue, black, and red fabrics.

If you are unable to find the July/August 2020 issue of Quiltmaker at your favorite newsstand, you can find it in the shop of Quiltingdaily.com. Currently they are offering print and digital editions.

Incentive for the “Sisters” QAL – On Friday, July 31, QAL participants have the opportunity to comment “DONE” if they have completed the 12″ and the 6″ “Round Rosie” blocks, the “Sisters” blocks for July. If you have finished the July blocks, your name will be in the drawing for the September/October 2020 issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine.

If you are new to the Abyquilts blog, it’s not too late to join our quilt along. Just click the SISTERS BOM QAL in the menu to link to the page with instructions. You, too, can participate in the drawing if you complete the July blocks this week; catch up on the other blocks as you have time.

Appliqued Hearts Quilt Finished!

I am so excited to show you the quilt I made for my expected grand niece!

You can read about the beginning of this project on this blog post. (Be sure to read the comments if you link back to the post.) I appreciate all of your comments and suggestions about cornerstones, sashing, and border. Many readers liked the look of the blocks set side by side with no sashing. The Four Patches that formed in such as setting were very appealing, but I did not plan ahead with pressing the blocks so that seam allowances would oppose. Ah, well! In consolation, by adding sashing, I was able to make a larger quilt. For this project, I had ordered 1/2 yard cuts of five polka dot prints; I used some of the light aqua, dark aqua, and yellow as backgrounds behind the hearts. I used yellow polka dot for vertical sashing and lime green for horizontal sashing. There remained 1/2 yd. of taupe from which I cut 5 strips at 3 1/2″ x wide for the border. Since I was working with fat-eighths, there was not much coordinating fabric remaining after making the framed heart blocks. I did have enough, though, to cut twelve 2″ purple squares for cornerstones and four 3 1/2″ floral squares for corners of the border.

You can see the very fun polka dot print I purchased for backing. The binding color was a toss-up between purple and aqua from stash. I selected aqua because the backing has aqua dots but no purple dots. The quilting motif is hearts and loops, a freehand favorite. Normally I would have chosen white or off white thread to match the background, but I decided to use a very pale pink in order to see the design better as I quilted.

This quilt is ready and waiting to welcome a baby girl into our family!

“Bricks” Quilt for Maggie

Grandma Denise made a “Bricks” quilt top for baby Maggie, and my friend, Maggie’s mother, asked me to quilt it. Neither the fabrics nor the size are particularly baby-ish, but appreciation for this quilt will grow with Maggie. She will enjoy using it for years to come.

The bricks measure 2 3/4″ x 5 3/4″ finished, and the fabrics are a mixture of scrap bag findings and newly purchased prints. I am sure Denise added the stag prints as a nod to her son, an avid outdoors-man. Since the backing is a sage green and ecru leaf print, I chose sage green thread and quilted heart-shaped leaves and loops all over.

Notice that the rows of rectangles are staggered like brickwork; every other row begins and ends with a half brick. However, Denise sewed full bricks in rows, leaving half brick flaps on the sides of the quilt. After trimming away the half bricks, I cut them all to 2 3/4″ square and added some squares from my stash to make a dolly quilt for Maggie. I used leftover backing print for borders and backing. With sage green thread I quilted an X through each square and meandered in the border. There remained just enough tan binding from the large quilt to finish the doll quilt.

When I first looked at this “Bricks” quilt, I thought of it as a very scrappy utility quilt, colorful but certainly not beautiful. On further consideration, I see it as an heirloom from Grandma Denise to her precious granddaughter. Made with love and the thriftily saved scraps from other projects, it is not a quilt for the cedar chest, brought out for special occasions. Rather, it is a quilt to be used every day, reminding Maggie that Grandma Denise loves her dearly. What better beautiful legacy could there be?

Do you own a scrappy quilt that you consider an heirloom?

“Math Whiz” Published!

Have you seen the latest Quiltmaker magazine? It’s the July/August 2020 Back to School issue, and my quilt is on the cover! “Back to school” has certainly been a hot topic in my county. How will children learn this fall? Home-school? On-line learning? Classrooms of reduced student numbers? Attend class one week and learn online for two weeks? Administrators are still scrambling for viable solutions amidst injunctions to “shelter at home” to avoid Covid-19 viral infections. This is an unprecedented dilemma, for sure!

Although the Quiltmaker editors requested and printed the long version of the design, I made a square version as well. Both quilts can function as a wall quilt or a table topper and are so appropriate for math teachers or college students majoring in math or engineering. In fact, I gave my quilts to two math teachers who attend my church; they are tickled pink.

A close-up picture shows the fabrics and the quilting designs. Isn’t that numerical print perfect for this project? I quilted a meandering design in the white and blue areas of the quilt with matching thread. The red accent border is quilted with loops. In order to emphasize the mathematical operation symbols, I hand quilted around each with black thread.

I hope you’ll check out this issue of Quiltmaker which contains patterns for several twin size quilts (perfect for a college dorm room), three designer spotlights, five informative articles, a fabric wallet, and a darling “School Days Desk Runner.” I have one copy to give away in a drawing, so leave a comment below stating for whom you could make a “Math Whiz” quilt. The drawing will be on July 29th.

“Round Rosie” Blog Readers Share

Here we are – mid July – and “Sisters” Block of the Month participants have been busy. Have you checked out the pictures on Instagram (#sistersqal)? Several of the ladies residing in Japan are miniaturizing and hand-stitching the blocks, making 6″ and 3″ blocks instead of 12″ and 6″ blocks. Simply amazing!

Roxann emailed me a picture of her blocks. She wrote that green is the common fabric in these two blocks, and she used previously cut fabrics for “Round Rosie.” (She’s putting her “Free” box to good use.)

Karlene fussy cut the center squares for her blocks. Isn’t that red polka dot fun?

I always enjoy seeing Trinity’s blocks – she’s fussy cutting the center squares on nearly all the blocks to include the cone flowers and/or bees from her theme fabric.

Cheryl selected a blue and yellow theme. Besides admiring her workmanship, I am always drawn to the colors and prints she chooses. This probably means I should plan to make a blue and yellow quilt in the near future!

Karen’s using a layer cake of 10″ batik squares, but she admits that she is incorporating coordinating batiks from her stash.

Tashera is also quilting along. Her blocks this month say “neutral.” How soothing!

Thanks, ladies, for sharing pictures of your “Round Rosie” blocks. It is so inspiring to see different color and fabric choices!

“General Store” Teaser

My big project for the month of July is making a bed quilt for publication by McCall’s Quilting magazine. It has monopolized my sewing space, in a good way, but even though I’m pleased with the results, I can’t yet show you what the entire quilt looks like. Behold, a teaser!

Most of the fabrics are from Connecting Threads. (Click here to link to their website. You’ll find gorgeous fabrics at fantastic prices.) For this quilt I chose prints with a vintage vibe from the “General Store” line and a lovely blue batik from the “So Cerulean” line. Don’t you love the diagonal stripe I selected for the binding?

Six months is a long time to wait for a quilt reveal, I know. But I’ll be excited to show you the full quilt when it’s published early spring of 2021. In the meantime, you might want to pick up the fat quarter pack for “General Store.”

For me, it’s back to hand-stitching the binding and attaching a quilt label to finish this quilt.