“Irish Chain” Finished!

Here we are on Friday the 27th, heralding the final weekend of March. Will you have some time to sew/quilt? Will you be working on your “Churn Dash” blocks for the “Sisters” BOM QAL? (If you are new to the blog, click on the “SISTERS BOM QAL” tab to see the first three blocks in our 2020 quilt along. All the participants attest that the blocks are not too difficult, so you can easily catch up and quilt along with us.)

I’m happy to report that my UFO, “Irish Chain,” is finished. Since I intend to gift it to a senior at the VA Hospital or a local nursing home, I thought about quilting a meandering motif all over. This would be a simple and quick design. But then I took a closer look at the floral and vine print in the “Nine Patches” and thought of free- handing heart-shaped leaves and loops. I really do enjoy quilting this design; I can quilt it at an even speed and don’t even engage the stitch regulator feature for my longarm! I used a medium dark gray thread which blends nicely in the darker fabrics and adds a bit of texture to the light gray background squares.

I bound the quilt with the same red print as the setting triangles (an older VIP Cranston print transferred from my mother-in-law’s stash to mine; thanks, Cynthia!). Tip:¬† If you apply both steps of binding by machine as I did on this quilt, make sure the bobbin thread matches the color of the border on the front of the quilt. For example, my border triangles are dark red, so I used dark red thread in the bobbin as I applied the binding first to the back of the quilt. By doing this, the machine stitches of Step #1 won’t show glaringly if I fail to completely cover them when I fold over the binding to the front of the quilt for Step #2 stitching.

While sewing this quilt, I found myself humming and singing a favorite hymn, “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.” We surely can rely on His help during this COVID-19 pandemic. How comforting to know He has the whole world in His hands! Click here to listen to this hymn via You Tube.

Giant “Churn Dash” Baby Quilt

Since “Churn Dash” is the March block of the month in our “Sisters” quilt along, I have a pattern variation to share with you.

I’ve designed a contemporary baby quilt based on the time-honored design. One giant block is all you need to make for this quilt! Click on the Patterns tab in the bar beneath my header picture (or in the drop down menu on your smart phone). Once on the Patterns page, you’ll be able to click on the link to the printer friendly instructions for the 24″ block and two borders.

As you might surmise from looking at the picture, the rectangles are strip-pieced from 8¬† 2 1/2″ strips. You can use leftover jelly roll strips or you can cut 2 1/2″ wide strips from stash as I did. In addition, you need about 3/4 yd. of light background fabric and 3/8 yd. of a theme print. I’ll be teaching this quilt as a workshop on Saturday to fellow Tarheel Quilters Guild members. When 20 of us complete our quilts, our NICU charity coordinator’s stockpile of baby quilts will be greatly increased.

I selected coordinating quilting designs for my two Giant Churn Dash quilts. For the “Under the Sea” theme quilt, I chose light blue thread and a pantograph of sea creatures.

And for my “Pretty in Pink” quilt, I quilted a freehand design of heart shaped leaves and large flowers with pink thread.

I’d love to see a picture of your Giant Churn Dash baby quilt! Send a digital photo to aby.quilts@gmail.com

“Chandelier” at the Ark Encounter

Last weekend, Hubby and I accompanied a busload of folks from several Ft. Bragg chapels to the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky. We were impressed with the sheer size of the structure, built according to the dimensions God gave Noah (Genesis 6). It was eye-opening to read the listed scientific names of all the animals, extant and extinct, and to realize that they all could have fit on an ark of this size!

The interior of the ark was crafted from beautiful timber, and cages housed models of dinosaurs. We watched several films and read many plaques as we walked through the largest timber-frame structure in the world. Our imaginations were stirred as we considered how Noah’s family must have felt to hear rain drumming on the roof for 40 days and nights. How tired they must have been to care for all those smelly and demanding animals day in and day out for a year!

For the long bus trip I packed a lap quilt made from leftover blocks from my “Chandelier” quilt. After hand stitching the binding on the way to Williamstown, I used it as a pillow or lap warmer on the way home.

The Ark Encounter is an adventure we will long remember!

Gigi’s “Scrappity-Do-Dah”

Several weeks ago, Gigi asked me to quilt a scrappy quilt for her niece. After receiving the quilt top, I emailed her pictures of several edge to edge designs that I thought would look nice on the quilt. She settled on “Happy Times” by Hermione Agee (distributed by Urban Elementz), and she requested teal thread since the quilt back is teal.

I love this quilt and want to make one in the worst way! Gigi sent me the pattern sheet, a promotional freebie from McCall’s Quilting. It was designed by Ann Weber of the Gingham Girls. If you also want to make “Scrappity-Do-Dah,” download the free pattern from Quiltingdaily.com. Here’s the link.

Gigi used a great variety of print and tone-on-tone fabrics from her stash and from the “free” table of her quilt guild. Because the narrow strips contrast well with the triangles comprising each square, the diagonal lattice design is readily apparent. Notice, too, that Gigi alternated dark squares with medium squares throughout the quilt.

I am so tempted to drop everything, grab my rotary cutter and begin amassing squares from every fabric in my stash! The instructions call for 6″ squares, but this quilt could be made from leftover 5″ charm squares. And I think I will suggest “Scrappity-Do-Dah” as a great way to use squares from an exchange of squares at my quilt guild.

“Steppin’ Up” in Pink

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Marlene, who collects and distributes baby quilts to the NICU on behalf of my guild, says her stockpile is dangerously low. Each month 20-30 quilts are needed to comfort newborns with medical issues. I volunteered to teach a speedy baby quilt design in March at a guild workshop. The completion of 15-20 workshop quilts should boost the pile Marlene keeps in reserve.

In the meantime, I made “Steppin’ Up” in pink prints. The half yard of ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ fabric I found in my stash made the perfect border.

You can find a link to the instructions for “Steppin’ Up” on the Patterns page of this blog. Although the pattern calls for 10 strips, I just used 9 strips each cut 4″ x 40.” The addition of a 4″ border yields the perfect size for a baby quilt. I quilted a freehand, all over design of hearts and loops in light pink thread.

The pleasing outcome of this quick project has me wondering what other fabric combinations from my stash would look great in this design. I am sure I have 9 blues, and/or 9 greens, and/or 9 reds that would work, with a fun border print, as a baby quilt. What color(s) would you use from you stash for “Steppin’ Up?”

“Inside Out Heart”

My friend, Linda G., sent me “Inside Out Heart” for machine quilting. She’s been accumulating pink and fuchsia batiks for awhile, waiting for the perfect project in which to showcase them. Aren’t the various tones luscious? We conferred about thread color and quilting design and settled on pale pink thread and the “Smitten” pantograph by Patricia E. Ritter and Valerie Smith. The pink thread adds textural interest without overpowering the design.

If you would like to make the 36″ x 36″ quilt, you will find instructions in the Missouri Star Quilt Company’s Holiday issue, Vol. 6, Issue 4, 2019. And you can click here to view a tutorial on You Tube.

With Valentine’s Day about a month away, you easily have time to make this lovely quilt for your sweetheart!

January “Monkey Shines”

“Monkey shines,” an English idiom, refers to mischievous tricks and fun escapades usually with an unharmful¬† or entertaining outcome. I thought of this idiom when naming my “Monkey Shines” quilt design. You will find printer friendly instructions for the design on the Patterns page of this blog; scroll down the list to “Fun with Fat Quarters Monkey Shines.”

“Monkey Shines” is a workshop project I will teach the Logan Lap Quilters in Columbia, SC in mid-February. It is based on the traditional “Monkey Wrench” or “Churn Dash” design. To revisit the fun of this design, I made a new sample on Sunday afternoon. As you will read in the instructions, I pressed and stacked four contrasting yet coordinating fat quarters. The trick is cutting through all four layers and swapping the stacked fabrics according to the pattern diagrams. Do you see the mistake I made when swapping? This occasioned a bit of un-sewing!

My friend, Kathy, has been up to shenanigans of a different sort. She earmarked my Valentine’s Table Topper blog post of February 5, 2018, and changed the size of the quilt squares to 5.” By using 2 packages of 5″ charm squares (“Winter Manor” by Holly Taylor for Moda), she up-scaled the table topper into a lap quilt. If you want to create a similar quilt, note that Kathy placed dark green 5″ squares, cut from yardage, diagonally through the two initially made “Thirty-six Patches.”

She cut through these green squares and rearranged the 4 resulting triangles so that the small green triangles helped form an inner border.

Kathy then added a 2″ inner border of the same dark green print and a 4 1/2″ plaid outer border. The quilt measures about 51″ square.

There you have it — Two fun quilts employing different “mischievous” quilting tricks! What January Monkey Shines have you been up to?