“Summer Safari” Re-make

16 03 2018

Have you ever rummaged through your projects and stash for a certain fabric, but were captivated by another print instead? This happened to me recently. I intended to transform an owl print with coordinating tonals into a baby quilt, but I found giraffe fabric in the same “unfinished/unstarted projects” container. Folded with the giraffe fabric were just enough yellow, green, and purple prints to make another “Summer Safari” baby quilt. So I forgot about the owls and worked on a giraffe quilt instead.

“Summer Safari” was printed in the June/July 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. If you don’t have a copy of the magazine yet you’d like to make the quilt, you will find basic instructions for the “Simple Pinwheel” block on the Patterns page of this blog. Click here to read my original post about this quilt.

Giraffe quilt done . . . now where are those owls?


“Postage Stamp” for a Baby Girl

26 02 2018

The Tarheel Quilters Guild, of which I am a member in good standing, is low in their stockpile of donation quilts for the neo-natal intensive care unit at our local hospital. The plea from our charity chairman at guild meeting motivated me to finish a “Postage Stamp” quilt from 2 1/2″ squares.

Back Story:  About this time last year, I purchased several packs of coordinating 2 1/2″ squares from Pineapple Fabrics at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival. I began sewing a white square to each, using them as leaders/enders as I worked on other patchwork projects. Somewhere along the way, I cleaned off my sewing desk and shelved them as an unfinished project. While amassing projects to take to this year’s Mid-Atlantic retreat with friends, I found the baggie of squares and determined to complete the project.

The blocks are arranged in a 15 x 15 grid. If you’d like to make the project, you’ll need 113 colored 2 1/2″ squares and 112 white 2 1/2″ squares. I arranged my squares in diagonal rows of the same color, but you could try a random arrangement with equal appeal. I cut the outer border 3 1/2″ wide from a lavender tone-on-tone. For a quilting design, I took my cue from the hearts and swirls printed on the border fabric.

This sweet little quilt finishes at 36,” the perfect size for a NICU donation quilt. Love and prayers for the beautiful baby girl who will receive it.


Valentine Table Topper

5 02 2018

If you follow several quilting blogs as I do, you’ve seen many, many beautiful heart-themed wall quilts, table runners, bed quilts, and pillows for February decorating. My simple table topper can’t compete with the others for intricacy or fancy design, but it was fun to make.

On November 26 I saw an “On Point Baby Quilt” on Moda’s Bake Shop website by Karin Vail  that I wanted to try. Click here to read the full tutorial. While Karin used purchased 5″ charm square packages, I determined to cut squares from my stash of red, pink, white, and purple fabrics. After selecting a stack of colorful prints, I happened to think of my overflowing box of 3 1/2″ scrap squares. Would I have enough “pre-cut” squares in the right colors to make the project? Not quite, but it was a great start and sped me on my way.

First I sewed two blocks of 25 squares each. Generally, I press seams to one side or the other, nesting seam allowances where they meet. For this project, however, I pressed all seams open.

After pressing, I cut both blocks in half diagonally. Tip:  Before cutting, I should have first marked the diagonal lines with chalk and then sewn 1/8″ away from both sides of the drawn lines. These diagonals become the outer edges of the table topper. And we all know that cutting diagonally yields bias (stretchy) edges. Stay-stitching prior to cutting would have prevented stretching.

Now here’s the “Ah-ha” fun part:  Use all four triangles to make a square by turning the 90 degree corners of each triangle into the center. In other words, all the diagonals form the outside of the table topper while the right angles of the triangles are in the center. Sew the triangles together; press seams open.

I layered my on-point patchwork with batting and backing. With purple thread I stitched straight lines 3/8″ away from all seam lines by aligning the edge of my presser foot with all the seams. A multi-colored floral print serves as backing and binding. (If you’d like to see a close-up of the quilting, click the first photo in this blog post to zoom in.)

My table topper, though not elaborate, was the happy result of trying a new technique. As Karin says in her tutorial, you can use this method for any size squares and any square grid configuration as well. Let me know if you try this technique; I’d like to see your quilt, be it large or small.


“Over and Under” and “Partly Cloudy” Published!

11 01 2018

Have you seen the latest copy of McCall’s Quick Quilts? The February/March 2018 issue contains two of my quilts!

“Over and Under” is made with tone-on-tone fabrics from Wilmington Prints. The patches are an easy to handle size and units are assembled by partial seaming around the central orange squares. Setting the blocks on-point accentuates the over-all woven appearance of the fabrics. With light gray thread, I quilted a freehand all over design of E’s and 3’s.

Do you need a birthday or graduation quilt for a young man? This is it! It would also make a great wedding gift or retirement gift.

Interestingly, McCall’s Quick Quilt editors selected another of my quilts to publish in the same issue. “Partly Cloudy” was made with rainy spring days as inspiration. The colorful 2″ squares represent rainbows peeping out from behind the clouds. Again, Wilmington Prints graciously supplied fabrics for the quilt. Originally, I planned for black narrow borders on both sides of the pieced border of colorful squares, but the color contrast was too stark. A charcoal gray choice keeps the viewer’s eye on what is most important, the interior patchwork surrounded by the colorful pieced border. I designed and pieced this quilt during the time my longarm was packed away in preparation for our move, so my friend, Irene Grimes, quilted “Partly Cloudy” for me. With gray thread, she quilted cloud arcs and loops on the interior, curved arcs in the pieced border, and straight lines in the outer print border.

If you are searching for a quick and easy quilt in popular decorating hues with a fun punch of color, your search is over! The construction is suitable for young sew-ers; perhaps your daughter or granddaughter would like to help make a new quilt for her bedroom on the next snowy or rainy day.

If you are not yet a Quick Quilts subscriber, click here to order your copy from The Quilting Company’s online store.

“Garlic Knots” Finished

8 01 2018

Since finishing my “Dresden Plates” quilt, I have poured sewing time into finishing my “Garlic Knots” quilt. You can read about the beginning of this project and a strip piecing hack here. The patchwork block was popularized by Bonnie Hunter in an “Addicted to Scraps” column for Quiltmaker (Jan./Feb. 2014 issue). I saw this arrangement of blocks on Pinterest which motivated me to make the quilt.

I had about 3 yards of the shirting background fabric and so decided that my total of blocks would be determined by the amount of background fabric on hand. Fortunately, the fabric stretched for making 100 blocks and an inner border. As usual, I auditioned fabric for the outer border and settled on this wavy stripe. It forms a dark frame around the multi-colored patchwork blocks, achieving a calming finish, yet the unusual orange and white stripes add zing.

Construction Tip:  Before adding the inner border, I turned the quilt to the wrong side and stay-stitched 1/8″ from the edge all around the quilt. By turning the quilt over, I could see all the pressed seams. The stay-stitching ensured that the pressed seams would not flip out of place when I attached the first border.

Surprises:  I usually think of Civil War fabrics/quilts as a bit faded with muted colors. Intellectually I know that quilters of that generation selected bright colors that have merely faded over time. But practically, I expected this quilt to look faded even though I selected CW reproduction fabrics. Silly me! However, I do like the bright, bold appearance of the quilt, so it’s a keeper. Another surprise was the way the wavy stripes misbehaved in the mitered corners of the outer border. I expected the stripes to mesh in an orderly fashion as they would in a mitered border of straight stripes. Instead the corners of the outer border are a riot of zigs and zags!

I was tempted to quilt an all-over feathers design with an old gold polyester thread as I did on my recently finished Dresden Plate quilt. However, the gold thread would contrast too much in the dark navy stripe-y border. I want the viewer to appreciate the unusual border fabric without being distracted by gold thread. The solution was quilting rounded, back and forth lines about an inch apart with navy thread in the border and meandering with the gold thread in the quilt’s interior. The binding is solid black, an understated finish for a vibrant quilt.

Aidan’s Quilt

2 09 2017

A Step-by-Step Photo Journal

In July four-year-old Aidan and his family visited for a long weekend. It happened to be the weekend his cousins Kaleb and Krystine had finished their summer quilt projects and were ready for a photo shoot. “Could I make a quilt, too?” he asked. Absolutely! There is no better question to bless a quilting grandma’s heart!

We looked in my bin of juvenile prints and he selected a rocketship print and an seaside print (thinking he might make two quilts, one for himself and one for his little brother). Grandma Aby decided to focus on one project at a time.

We selected colorful tonals that coordinated with the rocketship print. The patchwork design is a variation of my “Steppin’ Up” quilt found on the Patterns page of this blog. Instead of cutting ten 4″ x 40″ strips, I cut eight 5″ x 40″ strips. Then we arranged the strips in color order.

Next, we sewed the strips together on the long sides, joining the first and the eighth strip to make a tube. Note whose toes are operating the sewing machine’s foot control.


I cross-cut the tube in 5″ increments and un-sewed one seam of each unit to make a “Steppin’ Up” design. We placed the rows on the design wall so Aidan could see what his quilt would look like.

I pinned and sewed the upper four rows together and then the lower four rows together. “Yes!” we are making progress!

After sewing the upper rows to the lower rows, Aidan joined his cousins for the photo shoot. If you missed it, you can see Krystine’s and Kaleb’s quilts on this blog post.

In order to make the quilt a little larger for this would-be astronaut, I added a narrow black border, a scrappy border made from 2 1/2″ wide strips, another narrow black border, and a 5″ wide red outer border. Aidan was enthusiastic about the “Blast Off” pantograph from Lorien Quilting which pictures a rocketships, stars, and Saturns. He selected a variegated thread of primary colors. Black binding completes the project modeled here by one happy boy!

Ninja Turtle Quilt

10 07 2017

In late winter, a house fire tragedy occurred near Gatesville, TX, claiming all the earthly belongings of the family. The young son, a Ninja Turtles fan, attends the same country school as my granddaughter. Together we cooked up the idea of a Ninja Turtles quilt to comfort him. Once I found the licensed turtle print in JoAnns, we selected solid red, orange, blue, and purple to match the headbands of the sensational reptiles.

The patchwork design is simple — Four Patches from 5″ squares alternating with plain 9 1/2″ squares of the Ninja Turtle print. Krystine began sewing the quilt in February, but then schoolwork and sports crowded out her sewing time. She brought the unfinished project in her backpack to my house this summer for us to complete together. I pinned and pressed while she sewed the blocks and rows together. Then I loaded the quilt top on the longarm and installed the “River Run” pantograph for her to stitch. We selected green thread which blends nicely with the majority of the fabrics. Leftover turtle backing fabric became binding which we top-stitched with a machine zigzag stitch.

I am proud of Krystine for carrying on the family tradition of gifting quilts to folks in dire straits. I related to her my husband’s grandmother’s practice of making quilts and saving them in her cedar chest for the purpose of giving them to families who had lost all in house fires. We know Scott is going to love his quilt and we hope his parents will realize that folks in the community care about them in their great loss.