Auditioning Border Prints

26 12 2017

I have been working diligently during my spare time this past week and a half to complete a Dresden Plate quilt begun this past summer. You can read about this project on previous blog posts here and here.

After piecing and attaching sashing, I auditioned fabrics for the outer border. I fully intended to use the light teal print which coordinated color-wise with the sashing print. But, alas, when I pinned a length of the print next to the quilt on my design wall, the value was “bleh,” too faded, not enough contrast. I just couldn’t make myself use the lovely (but inappropriate in this case) print as the outer border!


Digging through my stash of Civil War reproduction fabrics, I found a pink micro print. The nearly solid pink emphasizes the pink roses in the sashing print . . . but I am not a “pink person,” and I felt 5″ of pink all around the quilt would draw attention to the border rather than to the appliqued plates.

Back to the stash . . . I found a dark teal print (strips of leftover backing from another quilt). It would do, but seemed too intense; the large scale print drew undue attention, in my opinion.

How about a dark brown print? One I had been saving for a “Square in a Square” scrap quilt published in a magazine five years ago. I doubt I’ll ever get around to making that quilt . . . and there’s no time like the present to use up hoarded stash . . . so this seems my best color and print match. The scale of print is just right for a border, and the color is a bit darker than the brown in the sashing. Although I am not a “brown person” either, this fabric frames the quilt nicely and yet lets the appliqued blocks shine as they should.

The audition is over. The decision is made. On to the quilting! (Stay tuned for my progress on this holiday finish-a-UFO-challenge.)


Merry Christmas 2017

24 12 2017

There is beauty in the stillness and beauty in the familiar. There is beauty in the pristine white of snow and beauty in the notes of a simple melody.

As I work in the kitchen or my sewing room this season, I find myself whistling “Gesu Bambino.” Click here for a beautiful lyrical rendition of this Italian carol. And click here for an instrumental performance.

Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas as you reflect upon our Savior’s birth and a happy, healthy New Year!

A New Leader/Ender Project

18 12 2017

My newest scrap project is inspired by Bonnie Hunter’s current Leader/Ender “Rail Fence” project and the “Jelly Basket” header on Karla’s blog (

Karla’s blog header features the “Jelly Basket” pattern popularized by Missouri Star Quilt Company. Click here to view a tutorial that uses a Layer Cake (10″ squares) and a Jelly Roll (2 1/2″ wide strips). Karla used Cotton and Steel “Playful Tens” for the center rectangles and Cotton and Steel “Basics” for the narrower side strips. The blocks are quite a bit larger than mine, so I am sure Karla will finish her quilt in record time.

I have an overflowing container of 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles and a shopping bag of strips and strings that I want to whittle down. By cutting the strings into 1 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ lengths and sewing them to both sides of the rectangles, I’ll gain blocks that finish at 4.” I’ll call my blocks by the traditional name, “Roman Stripe.”

I’m sewing light strips to dark centers and vice versa. I plan to alternate the blocks as I lay out the quilt, so I need an equal amount of each. Therefore, as I sew the blocks and press them, I’m piling those with dark centers together and those with light centers together to keep roughly an even tally as I work on the quilt.

I love this block – two seams and you’re done. I keep a stack of matched block pieces to the right of my sewing machine. It is surprising how many “Roman Stripe” blocks I can assemble (while working on another project) by feeding the strips under the presser foot when I would normally clip the thread.

What is your current leader/ender project?

Overcoming Quilting Inertia

16 12 2017

My friend, Stacy, who blogs at, posted a great suggestion for finishing a quilt project. Take a look at her Dec. 15 post. The idea is to choose a UFO that’s been languishing in your sewing room and determine to finish it during the holidays. I took her encouragement to heart and unearthed the twelve hand appliqued Dresden Plate blocks that have been sitting on a corner of my cutting table since early summer. I figure if I place the blocks on my design wall, I’ll be motivated to construct the sashing and set the blocks together in my spare time.

A couple of hours later:  So far, so good! Strip-piecing the sashing and the Nine Patch corner stones will speed my progress.

Do you have a UFO you could work on during the holidays?

And the Winners Are . . .

15 12 2017

As promised, I held a drawing for two free magazines:  McCall’s Quilting, January/February 2018 issue. “Chain of Hearts,” both the throw size quilt and a table runner, are featured in this issue. McCall’s editors graciously sent two complimentary copies to gift to faithful blog readers like yourself. Out of 19 comments, all of which I enjoyed reading, the two quilters chosen were #5 Mary and #14 Brenda E. I have written to these ladies requesting their USPS addresses. (I have sent Mary her magazine, but I have not heard from Brenda. Brenda, please contact me at

If you are not a winner this time and your newsstand does not carry McCall’s Quilting, click here to link to The Quilting Company to order a copy directly; copies should be available soon.

“Merry and Bright”

9 12 2017

This weekend the Northeast is realizing its dream of a white Christmas a few weeks ahead of the 25th. We drove to Pennsylvania to enjoy a family dinner on Sunday. Fortunately we arrived before snow accumulated on the highways and backroads. It has turned into an afternoon for hot chocolate, the Hallmark channel, and hand binding quilts. Darla, my MIL, stepped out on the deck so I could photograph this wall quilt I just finished binding.

Daughter Trinity pieced this wall quilt from a panel she admired at Loving Stitches in Fayetteville, NC. She selected a muted, medium blue quilting thread feeling it would blend with the gray border in the background, the lime green border, as well the tan background. Her theory worked marvelously; the blue thread lends sophisticated silver accents to the quilted motifs.

I quilted leaf-like veins in the tree with tan thread and outlined the tree, deer, and stars with blue thread. I meandered in the background of the panel, stitched a close, rounded zigzag in the green border, and quilted holly leaves and loops in the outer border. I quilted continuous curves in the four corner blocks.

Hoping your weekend is Merry and Bright whether or not your landscape is beautified by snow.

“Chain of Hearts” Published

4 12 2017

Excitement is running high! “Chain of Hearts” has been published in the January/February 2018 issue of McCall’s Quilting. And the editors have donated two copies for me to give away to blog readers, so be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win.

I was inspired by Corey Yoder’s scrappy patchwork heart design, “Lovely” #1300, published in Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks from Today’s Top Designers, vol. 13. Instead of using many spring colors on a dark gray background as she did, I selected color saturated reds and pinks from Wilmington Prints.  The project is pre-cut friendly; I used 2 packs of “Ruby Days” 2 1/2″ strips as well as minimal yardage of red and pink tone-on-tones. For background I selected a light gray with gray polka dots. Using medium gray thread, I quilted hearts and loops over all in the interior and outer border. The thin black border is an unquilted accent.

The pages following the “Chain of Hearts” instructions describe how to make a coordinating table, dresser, or bed runner. The Quilting Company is offering a kit for this runner. Click here to link to the online store. Why not order a kit and craft a beautiful table quilt for Valentine’s Day?

And now for your chance to win the Jan./Feb. 2018 issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine. Leave a comment saying for whom you would make “Chain of Hearts.” The drawing will be on December 12.