First Quarter UFO Challenge Blog Reader Finishes

28 03 2018

Hooray for those of you who accepted the challenge of working on one or more UFOs in the first quarter of 2018!

Be inspired by the finishes of fellow quilters:

Kathy H. planned to work on a “Snowman” flannel throw, but she turned her attention instead to finishing a whale pillow and a heron wall quilt. The whale pillow was from a kit she purchased at a quilt show in Denver 3 years ago. Since the show was happening again this past weekend, she was motivated to finish the project before the 3rd anniversary! The blue heron was only a year in the making-so he didn’t languish unfinished for too long. The wall quilt was a labor of love for a dear friend who loves herons. Kathy bought the Toni Whitney design as a kit from her local quilt shop. Our UFO Challenge motivated her to complete these unfinished projects.


Judy B. finished several quilts. The Valentine quilt was started 2 years ago with her sister-in-law. The pattern is a Buggy Barn design.

Judy started the sampler quilt pictured below in 2005 or 2006.  It was a block exchange, but the group stopped exchanging midway through the year. Judy then made it part of a round robin, and finally had enough blocks to finish this lovely quilt.

The awesome blue and white quilt is her husband’s retirement quilt which she began piecing 11 years ago. Each house represents a home they lived in together during his Army career. The patchwork blocks in the border represent the various states and countries they lived in. She embroidered the years and names of the posts where they were stationed beneath/beside the blocks. Judy counted-cross-stitched the Army seal in 1999 but decided not to frame it at the time. As she worked on this quilt, she found the piece and decided to include it in the quilt. Kudos, Judy, you take the prize for the completing the longest running UFO!

And my daughter, Trinity, finished two tops that she mailed to me for quilting on my longarm. She designed the patriotic quilt around the Pledge of Allegiance central panel; it is a gift for her hubby’s best friend who retired from Army service last year.

The off-kilter squares quilt, “Everything’s Coming Up Rainbows,” was designed by Krista Flekenstein and published in Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics (Martingale). This is a gift is for the best friend’s wife as an encouragement in her battle against breast cancer.

Stephanie is attending a quilting retreat this week. (Lucky her, right?!) She took UFOs to work on and has finished two tops already. Both “Highlight” and “Stacked Rectangles” are free patterns from


The clock is ticking. Will you finish your UFO(s) by this weekend?



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.


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.

“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.

Quilting It Forward

20 06 2017

This week I am sewing like crazy on a new quilt for publication by McCall’s Quilting magazine. The working title is “Be Mine,” and you’ll see it in your copy of the magazine late winter 2018. In the quilting for publication experience, it has been a learning curve to anticipate seasons and holidays nine to twelve months in advance. I have to quilt it forward. In the editors’ planning, Christmas 2017 and New Years are past, and they are looking forward to magazine issues for spring and summer.

Once again the folks at Wilmington Prints have generously donated fabric for this project. I love all the textured shades of red and pink in their Essential Gems “Ruby Days” strip pack. From deep rich ruby to pastel coral pink, these hues are perfect for my Valentine quilt! (Should you need 2 1/2″ strips of red and pink, My LQS, Loving Stitches in Fayetteville NC, stocks “Ruby Days” as well as other Wilmington Prints pre-cuts.)

Back to the cutting table and sewing machine!

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!