“Conflagration” Quilt Top

10 03 2017

This is a wedding quilt for a young couple whose favorite color is orange. But since they bought red couches, the bride asked if I could combine red and orange in the quilt. She said, “I have always liked red and orange together.” Well, personally, I generally do not combine red and orange in the same quilt. I use either red, or I use orange. However, I concluded, after an online search, that orange and red could look really nice together. To see what I saw, search for “images of red and orange quilts.”

I found inspiration for this quilt from a “Nine Patch” quilt on Pinterest made by Leslie with black and white and lime fabrics. I changed the alternate blocks, putting a “Four Patch” on point, square-in-a square style. I purchased quarter yard cuts of 3 red tonals and 3 orange tonals, and I repurposed black and white prints I had saved for a different quilt project. All squares are cut 3 1/2,” and I cut white triangles over-sized so I could easily trim the alternate blocks to 9 1/2.”

I plan and edge to edge quilting design, and the backing is an orange/red and yellow print. But I’m in a quandary over thread color. Red or Orange . . . or Yellow? What is your opinion?


Leprechaun Sighting

1 03 2017

leprechaun-sweetsLook what I saw on display at Food Lion today. Lucky Leprechaun and his enticing array of sweets decorated with white and Irish green! And speaking of green, I’d like to remind you of a table quilt I stitched a few years ago. Click here to read my tutorial blog post.

Karla, who blogs at mysewfulretirement.com, made the 23″ square Single Irish Chain quilt this past weekend. While I used scrappy green squares for my topper, she used one Island Batik Spring Fling blue/green along with a cream batik, a text print with French words. She writes, “I loved how the topper turned out. Your instructions were clear and fantastic. Thank you for sharing the tutorial.”


If you’d like to make a table topper using just one green/blue fabric as Karla did, you can, of course, strip piece the Nine Patches. Cut strips 2″ x Width of Fabric (WOF). Make two types of strip sets:  A- Print, White, Print; B- White, Print, White. Press seams toward the Print fabric and cross-cut in 2″ increments. Sew the Nine Patches together in rows, A, B, A. Click here to find instructions for assembling the quilt top.

Green and white are perfect colors for St. Paddy’s Day, but I wonder what other color combinations entice you. Leave a comment below with your suggestions.

The Need to Sew

9 06 2016

Months ago, I packed up a lot of my miscellaneous fabric and all my quilting books in preparation for moving. To declutter my studio, I folded and placed the fabric I was most likely to use in clear, lidded bins for easy access. And I filled a tough tote with projects I hoped to finish (or start!) in the months prior to our actual move. I have to admit, I have not been very diligent in working on these projects; I’ve been side-tracked by other shinier designs.

But just now I find myself between quilting projects and in need of something to sew. (I had to send the circuit boards of my long arm machine to the factory for repair, so quilting is “out.” I need something to sew.) I opened the tough tote, rummaged around, and extracted some coordinated leftovers from a baby quilt.


There were seven Uneven Nine Patch blocks among the leftovers. I added a deep purple print and a bright yellow tone-on-tone from stash.


I decided to make six more Uneven Nine Patch blocks with different fabric placement. The twelve blocks just need some white sashing to set them off. And then a purple border.


I fulfilled my need to sew for today, anyway. And I completed two 6″ blocks for my Splendid Sampler as leaders/enders while sewing the baby quilt.


Now all that remains of the coordinating fabric is truly scraps . . . except for that leftover Uneven Nine Patch block!

How about you? Are you feeling the need to sew? What are you working on?

Revisiting “Charmville”

5 10 2015

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?

Scrap Bag Inspiration

15 10 2014

While attempting to neaten my studio, I came across a plastic bag of scraps, origins unknown. I think some of the scraps are from Kristin, some from Trinity, and some from the guild’s free table. But I can’t be certain.

I decided to press the fabric scraps and cut the useable pieces into squares or strips. Pieces too narrow for string piecing will fill doggie beds for an animal shelter. Fabrics that I don’t have a use for will go back on the ‘free table’ at guild.

Scrap bag inspiration

Oooooh, do you see that interestingly colored striped strip in the center of the picture? Wouldn’t that make fun center squares for “Uneven Nine Patch” blocks? The strip measured 3 1/2″ x width of fabric, so I was able to cut twelve 3 1/2″ squares from it. I also found coordinating pink, green, yellow, and purple fabrics in the scrap bag.

scrap kits

I cut and pinned together kits for making the “Uneven Nine Patches.” Each kit contains 4 rectangles 2″ x 3 1/2,” and 4 squares 2″ x 2.” Along with the striped center square, these kits will be my Leader/Ender project as I’m sewing other “more important” projects. Click here to read Bonnie Hunter’s explanation of Leaders/Enders. This method of making a secondary quilt saves time and thread; I love it!

I plan to use the 12 blocks in a baby quilt for our local hospital’s NICU.


After making the blocks, I searched for suitable sashing and border fabric. I had purchased some yardage of pastel birdhouses, so I auditioned the blocks against it. Maybe a pink border?

DSCN6537 Well, it’s okay, but not super terrific, in my opinion. What about a floral border instead? The floral print actually contains all the colors of the stripe print in the centers of all the blocks! It has been sitting in my pink/purple fabric container for awhile now begging to be used.


About ten years ago, this style of quilt—scrappy blocks, print sashing, print border—was considered “modern.” By contrast, today’s modern quilt often utilizes a solid color for background or negative space. Since this will be for a modern baby, I nixed the birdhouse fabric in favor of wide white sashing with floral cornerstones and border. I cut the sashing 3 1/2″ wide so the quilt, with 3 1/2″ borders, would finish at 36″ wide.


I used white thread and a variety of quilting motifs: meandering in the outer border, figure eight loops in the white areas, continuous curve in the cornerstones and a star burst design in the patchwork blocks.


I had almost enough floral fabric for the backing. More scraps from the scrapbag came to my rescue!


I wonder what’s lurking in your scrapbag. Take a look, you might discover inspiration for your next quilting project!

“Single Irish Chain”

17 03 2014

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


As detailed in my previous blog post, I visited with the Hayfield Country Quilters on March 5. If I’m not mistaken, Mary Ellen was in charge of setting up the refreshment table. The spice-nut cake was certainly delicious, but my eyes feasted on the “Single Irish Chain” table covering. The quiltmaker used just two fabrics: a fresh, soft green tone-on-tone and solid cream.

Nothing says “spring” like green! I used the guild’s table covering as inspiration for my own “Single Irish Chain” table quilt, though mine is just a small 23″ square centerpiece. To change things up a bit, I decided to use many green tonals and prints instead of just one green fabric.


I found 6 or 8 lime green fat quarters or fat eighths in my stash. I cut one or two 2″ strips from each and strip-pieced them with 2″ white strips, pressing the seam allowances toward the green fabrics.

Irish Strip piecing

Then I cut the strip sets in 2″ increments.

Irish rotary cut

I generally strip-piece Nine Patches for all three rows: 1 – green, white, green; 2 – white, green, white; 3 – green, white, green. But this time I decided to strip piece for “twosies,” hoping for a greater variety of green prints in the Nine Patches.

I sewed three rows of “twosies” together. An extra green square was sewn to the fourth “twosie” to make a column on the far right.

Irish Nine patch from twosies   Irish assembly

Next, I sewed the column to the 3 sets of “twosies.” This picture shows the pressing directions of the seam allowances.

Irish pressing

In a little over an hour, I made 13 Nine Patches which measured 5″ square, unfinished. From the white fabric, I cut twelve 5″ squares to alternate with the Nine Patches in a 5 x 5 grid.

Irish rows

I assembled the blocks in 5 rows, pressing seams toward the 5″ white squares, then joined the rows together. I pressed the seams to one side after adding each row. Deciding on a cross-hatch quilting design, I marked through the white squares with a water soluble blue marker and used chalk-o-liner to mark through the green squares.

I recommend using a thin, predominantly cotton batting for a small project like this. I pin basted with long, quilting pins. Using white thread on my Pfaff sewing machine (with a built-in walking foot), I quilted the table topper easily by following the marked lines. I stabilized the project by first quilting diagonal lines through the green squares marked with chalk. Then I filled in the lines drawn with blue marker.

I love the simplicity of this time-honored quilting design; it perfectly compliments the diagonal chains of green squares.


Amended March 2016:  Using the same measurements for the small and large squares, I made another Green and White table topper. But this time I used only two fabrics and reversed the colors (“figure ground reversal”). Both quilts were quilted with white thread in a diagonal grid design.


Amended March 2017:  Blog reader, Karla, strip-pieced her table topper from two batik fabrics. Click here to read more.

“Charmville” QAL #11

10 03 2014

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.