First Quarter Challenge–More from Blog Readers

15 03 2017

Just a little reminder about our First Quarter Challenge–make something with your secret stash of Fat Quarters or Quilter’s Candy (packs of 2 1/2″ squares) and share a picture to inspire others.

Kathy used her stash of Fat Quarters to make a darling 60″ x 68″ heart quilt which she may eventually give to her granddaughter. “The pattern is Blended Hearts by Judy Dohrman of Black Cat Creations. The pattern calls for 32 fat eighths but I used 16 fat quarters.”

It took me a minute to notice that the red hearts are right side up, while the pink hearts are upside down. Don’t you love the lime green heart? It adds fabric bling!

Maridee has been busily using Quilter’s Candy to good advantage. This table runner would look great with white dishes or blue pottery as well! (Maridee is unsure of the pattern info for these runners.)

A second runner by Maridee is equally appealing. Floating the Nine Patches on a light background certainly adds interest.

“I have 6 more Quilter’s Candy packs to use, but think they’ll get put on the back burner for now. I’m busy working on the bzillion charm packs I have!”
Thanks for the inspiration, Maridee. I sometimes wonder what substantial project I could make with the tiny package of squares I was tempted to purchase. You have inspired us with attractive table runner projects which stretch the minimum to the maximum.
Helga transformed a package of 2 1/2″ squares from Zen Chic into a modern wall hanging. For inspiration for this quilt for her brand new grandson, she turned to the October 2006 issue of McCall’s Quilting. Click here to see Lise Neer’s quilt, “Skyward Nines.” As you will see, Helga downsized the design by substituting 2 1/2″ squares for the Nine Patches Lise’s design calls for. The squares show up so nicely against dark blue solid linen.
Stephanie is working on a scrappy table runner. “On the Bright Side” is a free pattern from All People Quilt. “In keeping with the first quarter challenge, I pulled out two packages of Quilter’s Candy and used them for the Nine Patches.  If you want variety, it becomes a slight challenge.  This table runner requires 90 2 ½ inch squares. Each 42 piece package of Quilter’s Candy has 21 different fabrics.  With two packages, I ended up with four squares of each fabric.  There were several black fabrics ‘discarded’ from consideration.  There was a little cheating – I cut some squares from yardage.  The Churn Dash blocks are cut from Fat Quarters.”

“I may change the center block before quilting.  The light blue flowers on a white background blend in with the white background too much for my liking.  This table runner is a great way to use up an impulse purchase of Quilter’s Candy found on a sale table.”

Thanks, ladies, for sharing your projects. You have reminded us how fun it can be to accept the challenge!


November FQ Challenge – Blog Readers Share

27 11 2016

This past year I challenged myself to make something each month with fat quarters I’ve collected. And I’ve challenged blog readers to join the creative fun! I recently received pictures of a couple of projects to share with you.

Maridee used 7 print fat quarters plus yardage for the white alternate squares and blue border. (“I’ve had the fabric for a few years.”) The pattern is a variation of “Little Dominoes” by Mary Hickey.


Doesn’t it feel rewarding to use some hoarded fat quarters in a pretty project?

Stacy designed a fat quarter friendly Christmas tree mini quilt. Click here to link to her blog for the tutorial.


What a great decoration; the perfect size for gift-giving!

What about you, have you been sewing up some of your fat quarters? Please send me a digital picture (

Fat Quarter Challenge – November

7 11 2016

Each month of 2016 I’ve challenged myself (and blog readers) to use Fat Quarters to make a project. I promised to show my quilt ideas by the 15th of each month, and I invite you to send pictures of your projects for subsequent blog posts.

I was inspired by Lynn Lister’s “Cozy Cabins” published by McCall’s Quilting magazine. Click here to see a picture. You can download an e-book which contains the pattern from the McCall’s blog (Friday Freebie, Oct. 7, 2016). The muted fabrics Lynn chose say “fall” to me, and I have plenty of those hues in my stash! I cut strips from these fat quarters as well as from stash yardage and scraps.


At daughter Trinity’s suggestion, I cut the center black squares 3 1/2″ and strips 2″ wide. This yields a 12 1/2″ unfinished block, so I can easily use my 12 1/2″ acrylic ruler to square up the blocks prior to assembling the quilt top. I plan to make 30 blocks total. I’m off to a great start with 18 on my design wall!


At first, I cut long strips and sewed successive rounds, cutting the strips to the correct length after sewing and pressing. But I found it saved time if I cut all the strips needed for one block and pinned them together as a “kit.” The strip lengths my blocks require are 3 1/2,” 6 1/2,” 9 1/2,” and 12 1/2.”


By scrutinizing Lynn’s quilt, Trinity and I noticed that darks, mediums, and lights were used. And blocks set side by side needed to contrast in value. In other words, since the block in the top left of the quilt has a dark outer round, the adjacent blocks need to have a light or bright outer round. Noticing the value placement guided my planning; I need 15 blocks with a dark outer strips and 15 blocks with light or bright outer strips.

Would you like to Quilt Along, making “Cozy Cabins” blocks this month? Perhaps you’d like to change the size or the color palette.

August FQ Challenge – Blog Readers Share

29 08 2016

In 2016 I’ve challenged myself to use several fat quarters each month and share them with blog readers. And I’ve invited blog readers to accept the challenge as well. Admittedly, some months we have more time to sew than others. So don’t worry if you haven’t sewn something with your FQs each month, just jump in when you can. I would love to show pictures of your projects to blog readers. It is so inspiring to see what you are making. Please attach your picture to an email which explains your project:

20160805_154957Chris sent a picture of a mug rug she made. “I finished a coaster. Not much, but better than nothing!?” What a fun, quick project, Chris. Thanks for sending a picture.

0721161431Tonya sent a picture of a modern quilt on her design wall. “I had less than a yard of the blue fabric with the “cartoon words” and wanted to make a child’s quilt for donation so I pulled about 12 fat quarters and a little extra yardage for more color.” Click on the picture to zoom in and see all the fun fabrics Tonya included in this bright and bold quilt.

Amanda has been a busy bee. She make two “Triple Star” quilts. She will add borders later. (Wouldn’t the pastel blue and yellow version be a sweet baby quilt?) She also make two smaller Double Stars. With borders, they will be perfect for wall quilts or table toppers. Amanda has plans to make some star quilts for Christmas gifts using printed winter motifs as star centers. (“Triple Star” was my FQ challenge project for June, and you will find a link to instructions for “Triple Star” on the Patterns page of this blog.)

IMG_3924     IMG_3926

Stacy accepted the FQ challenge and made a pillow cover with an envelope style closure on the back. One FQ for the front, plus one FQ for the back and front ruffle, plus a pillow form. And, viola, you have a pretty, decorative pillow.

Stacy's FQ pillow

Thanks, everyone, for sharing your FQ Challenge creations! With a new month just around the corner, it’s time to rev up our creativity for September’s challenge.

P.S.  Please note Stephanie’s comment in the comment section. Here’s a picture she sent to explain her project. This is going to be a gorgeous “Stepping Up” quilt, Stephanie!



June and July FQ Challenge – Blog Readers Share

12 07 2016

It’s definitely summertime! Does this mean more . . . or less sewing time for you? If you can carve out a couple of hours from all the hot weather fun activities and travels, why not join the on-going Fat Quarter challenge! Select several FQs from your stash and sew something from them. Share your picture with me (, and I’ll post to inspire other blog readers.

Maridee, avid quilter and FQ collector, sent a picture of “Furrows” designed by Stephanie Sheridan and published in McCall’s Quick Quilts June/July 2016 issue. Maridee, who makes many baby quilts for charity, modified the pattern so that it finishes at 40.” Great idea, Maridee, in down-sizing the pattern!


Sana says this is not a fat quarter quilt, per se, but she did use only fabrics from her stash. The pattern is called “Fairy Tale Baby” from Bobbie G Designs. It’s meant to be a smallish wall hanging (35 x 43), but Sana enlarged the pattern on a copy machine. The quilt finishes at 43″ x 54.” Sana, your attention to detail in selecting fabrics for the nursery rhyme characters and in machine appliqueing them is astonishing!

 nursery rhyme front     nursery rhyme back

Cindy calls her quilt “Over the Rainbow.” She found the pattern, “Big Windows,” in the Spring 2016 Fons and Porter Easy Quilts. The method of construction is similar to a quilt as you go. She writes, “I had so much fun making it.” Kudos, Cindy, for making such a lovely quilt!


Now it’s your turn. Show us what you’ve been making from Fat Quarters!

Blog Readers Share – May FQ Challenge

30 05 2016

Each month of 2016, I’m making a conscious effort to use some fat quarters that I’ve accumulated over the years. And I invite blog readers to join the challenge. If you email me a picture of your project, I’ll share it on the blog, thus inspiring other readers. (aby dot quilts at gmail dot com)

20160516_211352Chris sent a picture of her project. Aren’t the flowers fun? The curves in the stems and petals add so much eye-catching movement. The challenge project was adapted  from “Summer Afternoon ” in a book written by Cynthia Tomaszewski Chris uses the quilt on her kitchen counter or as a cover for her stove top (when not in use).

Helga sent pictures of two quilts. The first is from the book Modern Baby:  Easy, Fresh, and Fun Quilt Designs. “Daddy’s Little Girl” was designed by Melissa Corry. Helga used various black and white print fat quarters. I love the effect of dark at the top and bottom fading to light in the center of the quilt. I think Helga is happily busy making quilts for a baby granddaughter who is due this summer! She plans to applique the baby’s name on the quilt in bright letters down the right side once she is born.

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The second baby quilt was made from a charm pack (5″ squares) and white background fabric. Aren’t the wonky stars a fun way to showcase the pretty, floral fabrics?

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If you remember from April’s Blog Readers Share FQ Challenge post, Helga’s grandson, Jonathan, was sewing a Sudoku quilt for his expected sister. The quilt top is finished! Helga just helped with the pinning and ironing. Hooray for you, Jonathan!

Foto (7)

June is just around the corner! Which fat quarters from your stash are you planning to use next month?

Fat Quarter Challenge – May

15 05 2016

Believe it or not, May is half over already! Have you been working on using up some fat quarters? I would love to see pictures of your projects, and blog readers would love to be inspired by your creativity! (aby dot quilts at gmail dot com)


Project #1:  A simple way to utilize fat quarters is including them in your guild’s Block of the Month design. I used a white-on-white FQ as the background for two “Tulip Lady Fingers” blocks. Nancy, the Tarheel Quilters Guild BOM coordinator, specified yellow for the half square triangles and any color for the squares. Won’t these blocks be a great addition to the Block of the Month winner’s pretty spring-time quilt?

In addition to making the design in 12″ size, I made a 6″ block with “Chocolat” fabrics for my Splendid Sampler.

Project #2:  My baby quilt design, “Summer Safari,” is published in the June/July 2016 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. Click here to see  a picture and to read my blog post about it. Click here to order a magazine. I discovered that I could use the same amount of units needed to make “Summer Safari” to make a “Stair Step” quilt instead.


I cut 2 1/2″ wide strips from 4 coordinating fat quarters, paired them with white strips, and cross-cut in 4 1/2″ increments. I made 16 “Rail Fence” units of each fabric combination. Instead of sewing 4 units into a “Simple Pinwheel” block, I laid out the units, stair-step fashion on my carpet. To organize the 64 units during the sewing stage, I stacked and sewed the quilt top in a web. If you zoom in on the picture below, you will see the threads connecting the rows. Click here to read Bonnie Hunter’s explanation of this technique.


A 4″ border completes the 40″ square quilt. I’m entering it into our guild’s challenge for baby quilts using bright fabric. (Stay tuned for how I’ll used the fat quarter leftovers in another baby quilt!)