Miniature Block Exchange

14 09 2017

Earlier this summer my friend Lori organized a 4″ block exchange among five quilting friends. We used the Simple Friendships book by Kim Diehl and Jo Morton as our guide. (Click here to view the book on We are making blocks for the row by row sampler quilt on page 100. While the book gives instructions for using only brown Civil War prints and tan shirtings, we are using various colors with the shirtings. The only stipulation was that we must use fabrics from our stashes (i.e. not purchase any new fabric). This rule was hard to abide by because I found some gorgeous medium blue with small white paisleys and a lovely tiny floral with mustard yellow background at Loving Stitches quilt shop. (I bought fat quarters anyway to use in a future Civil War repro quilt.)

There are six different blocks in the sampler, so Lori settled on a six month exchange scheme. We are to mail three of the blocks to the other participants in September. Enthused about the project, I made five each of four of the blocks right away. Then summer activities and other quilts distracted me. September rolled around, and I realized that the two blocks I procrastinated in making are supposed to be mailed this month. Arrrgh!

A couple of hours of concentrated cutting and sewing, and they are done! It will be so much fun to see the fabrics my friends have used in their sampler blocks. Although the blocks and the wall quilt are small, the exchange project stretches over several more months, so you probably won’t see the finished quilt until the new year.

Are you currently participating in a block exchange?


Brown Bag Challenge, Finished!

11 01 2016

IMG_3790My blog post on 30 December showed a yellow and blue quilt bordered with the Morning Glory fabric that I drew from a brown bag last February. If you recall, I was challenged to use it in a quilt along with this muted 1800’s repro print. But I just couldn’t muddy the sunshine of the blue and yellow quilt! I didn’t want to spend my time making a quilt I would not be pleased with just to fulfill the challenge.

However, I do like the repro print, and I determined to use it with other muted fabrics. The “Aha!” moment came when I spied a container of 5″ “Friendship Stars” on a shelf in my sewing room. They were constructed from squares and HSTs leftover from a Civil War repro “Shoofly” quilt. Click here and here to read the back story.


IMG_3806The second “Aha!” moment came when I thought of a way to include the Morning Glory fabric in a Civil War repro quilt. I cut a 2″ square and tea-dyed it in a steaming mug of black pekoe. This just goes to show that you can tone down primary colors by over-dying, but you can’t lighten and brighten shady hues so handily. Here’s a picture of the block containing the challenge fabric as its center square. Granted it looks very non-descript, but I feel good about fulfilling the challenge rules.

IMG_3803For setting the “Friendship Star” blocks, my first thought was straight set rows sashed with tan or a medium tone fabric. Then I surmised that setting the blocks on point would look more interesting. A quick search in the stash yielded a dark green print which blends well with the challenge fabric. After cutting the green squares, I planned to also cut green setting triangles. But, alas and alack, there was not enough green fabric, so I used the pink micro print that I originally intended for an inner border. Now the bold pink triangles act as a border separating the patchwork from the print border. Win-win!

I am so pleased with both the quilts. The moral of the story is:  if you are stumped by challenge fabrics or rules, keep thinking about it, rummage through your stash, and allow creativity on the back burner of your brain to offer a solution that meets the challenge and pleases you!



Cooperative Wedding Gift

24 08 2015


In January my nephew Paul married his sweetheart Cori. Monique, a family friend, and I both wanted to make them a wedding quilt. So we struck a bargain, Monique would make the top and I would quilt and bind it.


Monique purchased lovely Civil War reproduction fabrics, cut 2 1/2″ strips, and made “Roman Stripe” blocks. She pressed rectangles of freezer paper on the back of the light center strips to stabilize them for signing. At the wedding reception, Monique set up a block signing table, providing several colors of fine point fabric markers.


Attendees were encouraged to sign blocks given the following instructions:  “Please help Paul and Cori remember their wedding day by signing a quilt square. You can also write a brief message. Important! Use only the pens provided. Sign on the cream part, ¼” away from the edges.”


After assembling the blocks and adding borders, Monique transferred the quilt top to me for finishing. I selected off-white thread and a concentric teardrop freehand, all-over design. I admit it, I was nosey and read many of the inscriptions as I quilted. Some artistic guests drew pictures or geometric designs as well.

The quilt will be a beautiful remembrance of Cori and Paul’s wedding day and of all their friends who wish them well. It was fun to collaborate with Monique on our cooperative wedding gift.

If you have made a signature quilt for a gift, please comment with additional tips on the process.


“A Different Path” Finished!

13 05 2015
"A Different Path"

“A Different Path”

My rendition of “A Different Path,” designed by Kathie Holland and published in the Oct./Nov. 2013 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting is finished. Pieced, Quilted, Bound, and Labeled! You can read about the beginning of this quilt project here and here.

I elected to quilt the “Double Plume” pantograph by Keryn Emmerson and used a Magnifico Honey Gold thread on the top with light tan bobbin thread.


Since the backing, leftover from another project, was not quite large enough, I increased the size by adding a column of sashed 12″ blocks. I had previously thought of using these blocks to make a sampler quilt with Civil War repro fabrics, but that project did not materialize. Better to use the blocks as backing art for “A Different Path” than to consign them to the orphan block bin!

I am very pleased with this twin sized quilt, and I’m thankful to my seven friends who exchanged blocks with me for ultimate scrappiness!


Progess on “A Different Path”

30 04 2015

On a recent week long vacation in Florida, I decided to bring my sewing machine and several projects. Here’s a picture of the layout of 180 blocks which make up “A Different Path” on the hotel room floor. (You can read more about this project here.)

A Different path aby's layout

Now, turn 180 degrees, look out the balcony window and see the pool deck and ocean view.

Beach view

One of my vacation goals is to enjoy the beach and the sun, but not return home sunburned. Sewing on a couple of UFOs seems like the perfect solution for some of those indoor hours.


Once I return home, I’ll add borders and quilt “A Different Path.”

“A Different Path” for Marie

26 03 2015

 IMG_3616In October 2013, American Patchwork and Quilting published Kathie Holland’s design, “A Different Path.” Several quilting friends and I were visiting Marie and leafing through quilt magazines at the time, and we decided “A Different Path” would be a fantastic exchange project. A palette of Civil War repro prints on shirting backgrounds was determined. We solicited a few more Civil War fabric aficionados for eight total quilters. I worked out a block and color construction scheme lasting ten months that yielded 180 blocks per quilter, enough for a twin size quilt each. To keep on schedule, we each appliqued 18 quarter circles on shirting backgrounds in prescribed colors: red, orange/cheddar/gold, yellow, blue, green, black, brown, purple. The final color was “your choice.”

The exchange took place at a quilting retreat during the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival at the end of February. Marie and Kathy are pictured selecting squares arranged by color on a large table.

a different path, marie     a different path, kathy

Marie was the first to put her top together. She asked me to quilt it, and she chose the Double Plume all-over design (pantograph designed by Keryn Emmerson). I used a Magnifico gold thread on the top and a tan thread in the bobbin to blend with the backing.


Seeing Marie’s lovely quilt top finished and quilted has motivated me to work on setting my blocks from the exchange together. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.


Marie’s “A Different Path”

“Just Takes 2” Almost Finished

18 06 2014

Monday was the designated day to longarm my rendition of “Just Takes 2.” You can read about the beginnings of this quilt here.

I chose the “Double Plume” pantograph designed by Keryn Emmerson. This is often my go-to edge to edge quilting design for quilts made with Civil War reproduction fabrics. It adds a nice, feathery, old-fashioned texture.


Alas and alack, I ran out of binding fabric. I need  a 10″ length cut 2 1/4″ wide. This is a Quilting Fabric emergency; time to call QF-11!

Just takes 2 binding

I put out an all points bulletin to several friends with extensive Civil War repro fabric stashes, and thankfully, Pam has some!

Once the binding is complete, I’ll post a picture.

Leave a comment below, telling about your fabric emergency. Did someone come to your rescue?