Reversible Friendship Quilt

In 2022 I exchanged two sets of quilt blocks with two different groups of friends. The friends from my church’s Sew-n-Sews group exchanged house blocks, and the Block of the Month group that I taught at Sew There! Quilts and More exchanged framed square signature blocks. Since the amount of blocks from both exchanges was enough for lap quilts, I decided to make a reversible quilt.

The Sew-n-Sews admired my twin size “Painted Ladies” quilt as I assembled the blocks at our 2021 retreat. They decided, then and there, that we should exchange blocks for throw size quilts at the 2022 retreat. (Click here to see a picture of my twin size quilt. Click here to view the pattern by Eye Candy.) Each of us selected a different door color; mine was a black/white print. We had to make a few partial blocks for the tops and bottoms of the columns. The “Dune” quilting pantograph emulates clouds and faintly echos the spiraling dots in the light background fabric.

After trimming the thirty signature blocks to a uniform size, I arranged them in a 5 x 6 grid. I added a wide border all around so that the patchwork would be larger than the “Painted Ladies” patchwork and loaded the signature quilt as the backing in my longarm machine.

My friend, Bonnie, spearheaded this exchange, explaining that we could use leftover Jelly Roll strips to frame the 6 1/2″ squares. We exchanged a set of blocks each month. The first set contained plain centers, and we signed our full names. For subsequent exchanges, Bonnie encouraged us to ad lib with applique or piecing and simply sign our initials. Aren’t the colors and prints a feast for the eyes?! I listed the exchange participants in one of the plain-centered blocks.

This reversible quilt has found a home on my sofa. It’s perfect for snuggling under while napping or reading a book. I am so happy to have this tangible and cheerful expression of friendship.

Quilt Posse Meet-Up

Last week I flew to Nashville, TN, was picked up and hosted by my friend Kathy P., and met some amazing Quilt Posse guild members in the Clarksville, TN area. On Thursday night I gave my “Cutting Up” lecture with lots of props detailing innovative cutting/sewing methods. Then, Friday afternoon I presented a “Charmville” workshop. I was so impressed with the creativity of the ladies in attendance. Here are some pictures of the progress attained in our afternoon together.

Can you tell that Trish favors Amish fabrics and quilts? (I was surprised to learn that there are many Amish farms in the Trenton, Pembroke and Hopkinsville areas.)

For her mini quilt of 12 houses, Alycia selected fabrics relevant to each month of the year, whether in color or motif. Here we have January, February, and March.

Can you imagine fussy cutting all these 1 1/2″ Halloween themed squares? What a cute seasonal quilt this will be!

Kathy likes to make souvenir quilts of her travels. She referred to a photograph of San Gimignano, Italy as she constructed her design.

Linda used Hawaiian fabrics including the perfect Hawaiian sunset background fabric.

Isn’t this a fabulous use of a gradated blue background fabric? Light blue for the top row, working to dark blue for the bottom row.

And here’s Sally, who is including a tree in her quilt even though she “hates” green. As a surprise, Sally brought her Holiday Mystery Quilt to show me. She followed the clues for my design as presented on The Quilting Company blog. Awesome!


Many more imaginative variations of “Charmville” are underway by the Quilt Posse guild!

Moving on to Saturday . . . the workshop participants worked on making blocks for “Linked.” Here’s a conglomerate of the various colorways. I can’t wait to see pictures of their completed quilts!

If your quilt group or guild is looking for a speaker or workshop presenter, I have dates available in 2019 and 2020. Contact me at

House Block Swap Quilts

Several months ago I posted about my quilt made from house blocks I swapped with friends, most of whom live in Germany. “Mi Casa es su Casa” hung in the March quilt show in Nuertingen, Germany along with six other quilts made from the swapped blocks. Would you like to see pictures of the quilts? (Photographer – Conny S.)

Working from right to left, first up is Elaine’s “House of Houses.” The gray background fabrics furnish an unassuming backdrop for the brightly framed houses. I love the tree and flower details! Be sure to look for the cat in the window on each of the house blocks that Elaine, our feline-loving friend, made.

Martina’s “Zwischen unseren Haeusern” (Between our Houses) hung next to Elaine’s. The double quilt wall hanging was a neat way to display all the various sized blocks.

Susy’s title, “Im Schutz der Baumkrone,” is quite poetic (In the Protection of the Treetop). The blue sky background lends the suggestion of light, and the circular leaves add whimsy.

Angela added several miniature quilt blocks and a funky flower for interest. I like the movement of the black print separating the rows of houses. Her quilt is simply titled “Houses.”

Helga’s “Die Hauser meiner Freunde” (The Houses of My Friends) gives the impression of a neighborhood. She added the detail of an ambulance rushing away from the hospital. Zoom in to find a pirate, a whale, and two tiny birds.

The black polka dot fabric Ingrid used in her “Houses Swap 2017” keeps my eyes moving around the quilt! Purple Pinwheels and various widths of colorful sashing also spell “fun.”

Isn’t it interesting that we all received the same (or nearly the same) blocks, but we all interpreted them/set them in different ways? To see the differences and applaud the creativity makes participating in block swaps and round robins so enjoyable and worthwhile. Did you spot all the kitty cats?

I hope you enjoyed the show!

First Quarter UFO Challenge Blog Reader Finishes

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?


UFO House Quilt – Progress Report

One of the UFOs I really need to finish this quarter is made from houses I received in an exchange with quilters I met in Stuttgart, Germany. My German friends want to display all twelve quilts made by exchange participants in the Nuertingen show in March. In a previous post, I showed blocks on my design wall pinned alongside black and white prints I intended to frame them with.

Here’s the result of my framing session: (Astute viewers will notice that I changed some of the prints due to amount of fabric on hand.)

My thought was to cut my scrappy string pieced blocks in half and use them as sashing. But they were all too short for the framed houses, and the extreme scrappiness would draw attention away from the houses. In addition, the diagonal lines would not line up well vertically and horizontally.

My next thought was to sash the blocks with a variety of red tone-on-tone prints. But then I noticed that many of the house blocks contain orange. Hmmmmm. Would orange work as a sashing color? I would need about 2 yards. I do not own a 2 yd. piece of orange. Hmmmm.

How about strip piecing several oranges together of various shades and textures and widths? I could cross cut them in various lengths and sew them between the house blocks as horizontal sashing.

My goal was to create columns of the same height. I purposefully included trim-able portions at the top or bottom of the columns so I can square up the quilt after the top is complete. So far, so good!

I strip pieced more orange units and cut vertical sashing 2 1/2″ wide. I included some longer strips of orange fabric between my strip pieced units to speed along the process. I cut left and right borders 3 1/2″ wide. At this point, I don’t believe I’ll add borders to the top and bottom of the quilt.

I am enjoying working on this UFO project. You can tell that I’ve changed my design plan several times, but I think each change has been for the better. My encouragement to all of you who have accepted the UFO challenge:  don’t be afraid to experiment and change your original plan.

Thanks for your comments about the quilts you are committed to work on January-March. If you complete your goal(s), your name will “go in the hat” for a drawing for two small prizes! 

Revisiting “Charmville”

While tidying my sewing space, I found a house block leftover from making “Charmville” blocks in various sizes. The original quilt was published in the February/March 2014 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts.

Cover-QQ Feb March

You can read all the blog posts about “Charmville” by typing “Charmville” in the Search box in the top right corner of the side bar. During the Quilt-A-Long, I made a sample block using 2 1/2″ squares, and that’s the one I found recently.

IMG_3661I decided to make 8 more house blocks and sew all nine into a baby quilt. To make each block, I raided my container of scrappy 2 1/2″ squares to find 8 squares of the same color plus a yellow for the window. I sewed 2″ wide light blue strips to the sides of the resulting “Nine Patches” prior to attaching the roofs. The roofs are giant “Flying Geese” units measuring 5″ x 9 1/2,” unfinished. Additional light blue strips separate the houses, and a black print, representing streets, separates the rows. Orange tonal fabric makes a perky border, and I used Quiltmaker’s September Bitty Blocks of “Saw Tooth Stars,” mentioned in a previous blog, for corners in the border.

A simple all-over quilting design in light blue thread adds texture to the interior of the quilt while orange thread blends with the border. I quilted black loops in the black “street” strips. A black and white zigzag print binding completes the project.


Making the “Flying Geese” roofs for the houses by the “one rectangle, two squares” method, produced a bunch of bonus triangles. Sewn together in a row, they add interest to the quilt back.


Have you found an abandoned project recently and been inspired to work on it again?

“Charmville Revisited” Finished!

In recent posts I’ve blogged about the process of making a kid-friendly, scrappy quilt patterned after the original “Charmville” wall quilt published by McCall’s Quick Quilts. We left off with the patchwork houses needing a border. I chose orange to compliment the tiny orange flowers in the green “lawn” print of chicks.

Houses border

The orange tone-on-tone is printed with a directional texture that mimics European tile roofs, perfect texture for a house quilt! (Click on the picture to enlarge it and view the texture). Dilemma:  How to treat the corners of the quilt, showing the texture to best advantage. Without piecing, the width-of-fabric border strips were not long enough to miter the corners.  Rather than piecing the border strips, I decided to add Nine Patches as corner blocks. I pieced 1 3/4″ squares together with a yellow square in the center. Since the unfinished width of the Nine Patches is 4 1/4,” I cut the orange border strips this width.


My thread choices for quilting were light gray (which tends to blend with everything!) or light yellow. Unspooled, gray looked white against the orange border and darker house areas. So I settled on the yellow; it blends nicely in the orange border, the sky, and most of the house areas. The quilting design is a freehand watery ripple.


To finish off, I bound the quilt with a black print with white zigzags. Grandson Kaleb is helping me level out the clothesline during the photo shoot. “Charmville Revisited,” made with 2″ squares is on the left; the original “Charmville,” made with 1 1/2″ squares is on the right.


Constructing a home for my lonely Nine Patch house orphan block has been fun and rewarding. A toddler is sure to love cuddling in this quilt! And guess what, I have another house orphan block made with 2 1/2″ squares. It looks like we’ll be revisiting “Charmville” again in the next month or two.


Revisiting “Charmville”

Earlier this year, my wall quilt, “Charmville,” was published in McCall’s Quick Quilts. I suggested on this post that you could make the patchwork houses with larger squares. To demonstrate, I made a house with 2″ squares. Now, months later, the lonely orphan house block is crying for attention.

house 2 inch squares

Wouldn’t it be fun to make a baby quilt of 16 various colored houses? To make it kid-friendly, I’ll try to put a playful or interesting square in each of the houses. Do you see the kitty-cat in the house block above?

house sewing sky to 9 patches

After making the 15 Nine Patches needed, I sewed 1 1/2″ x 5″ strips of sky fabric to the sides. The next step was selecting fabric for the roofs. I wanted colors that contrasted with the Nine Patches, and I also needed a balanced mix of colors.

houses, design wall

The next step is adding triangles of sky fabric to both sides of the roofs. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of “Charmville Revisited.”

“Charmville” QAL #11

Here are the entries I received for the “Charmville” Quilt-A-Long viewers’ choice awards. Please vote by leaving a comment below. Voting concludes on 17 March. The winner of the most votes will receive $50 credit toward my longarm services. The other participants receive a prize as well – the April/May 2014 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts (compliments of McCall’s).

News Flash! There will be a second wave of “Charmville” quilts displayed on this blog. Why? Because some of you in Germany just received your magazines with the instructions, some of you were busy entertaining company for Mardi Gras instead of sewing, and some of you ambitiously stretched the wall quilt into a lap-sized project. You know who you are! So, we will have a new deadline of May 1st. And we will have prizes. Happy sewing on this charming project!




Charmville Tina



#4 A needlecase

Charmville Karen

“Viewers’ choice” means “if you could take one of these quilts home with you, which one would it be?” Leave a comment below with your vote.

“Charmville” QAL #10

The end of February found me at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, Va. Besides viewing the astounding quilts, I met up with several groups of quilting friends. Some of us quilted together in Stuttgart, Germany with the Black Forest Quilt Guild. Others of us quilted together in Hanau, Germany about 10 years ago. Still others of us quilted together in Springfield, Virginia. Quilting friends are the best!


At the quilt show, I photographed several quilts of houses. I’ll show them to you in hopes that they motivate you to finish your “Charmville” quilt. Remember the deadline for sending me a digital picture is today, 10 March 2014.

Pictured first is “Under the Big Top” by Maria Shell.  Maria used bold colors to celebrate her mother-in-law’s family’s circus (operational during the turn of the last century)–the “commotion, noise, spectacle and illusion.” Do you see 3 tents or do you see 3 chairs? That’s the illusion!


Next is “Penny Lane 2,” inspired by a Beatles song title. The quilter is Lynn Hollway who adapted some of the blocks from “Block Magic” by Nancy Johnson-Sebro. Isn’t it darling? (Sorry about its misshapen appearance; the rectangular quilt was pinned to a gathered drape.)


As always, the quilts at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival were inspiring! I enjoyed meeting quilting friends again. And it was fun to find a couple of charming house quilts to share with you.