More “Options”

Both Joan and Mary emailed pictures of their completed “Options” quilt tops. I know you are interested to see them.

For this Block of the Month project, Joan used leftover pinks and greens from a previous quilting project. She excelled at her challenge, making a beautiful second quilt with favorite fabrics. The cream sashing ties all the blocks together. Isn’t her scrappy border clever? Notice the variations of Block #1 in the corners of the border.

Mary has been working with fabrics designed by Tula Pink. The light gray and light print Mary used in the alternate “Hourglass” blocks allows the colors in the patchwork blocks to sparkle. She persevered despite a setback at the very end. “I finally finished my Options top. I had put the blocks on my design wall horizontally, thus making all the animals face one side, so I had to un-sew them all and turn them 90°. I’m not sure I like the black border, but will live with it.”

Thanks for sharing your projects with us, Mary and Joan!

If you haven’t quite finished making all your “Options” blocks or setting them into a quilt top, perhaps you’ll be able to work on your project once the hustle and bustle of the holidays has settled into the calm of a new year. Once you have completed your quilt top, please send me a picture to share with blog readers,

Looking ahead toward the next Block of the Month, I am happy to report that I am working on the pieced borders of “Favorites.” I hope to quilt it shortly after Christmas and begin advertising it here on the blog. The Quilt Along will run from February through November 2022, and I hope you will join the fun!

Magazine Winner

Kelly D. is the winner of a quilting magazine; I drew her name from those who commented “Done” for the November block, “Spinning Stars.”

Kelly has been making her “Options” blocks from the “Apricot and Ash” line by Corey Yoder for Moda. The blend of fresh green, peachy-apricot, and sturdy gray is lovely. Not only did Kelly stitch up her “Spinning Star” block this month, she put all the blocks together into a quilt top!

Kelly’s “Options” Quilt Top

Notice that she used the “Hourglass” alternate blocks in an interesting arrangement; they are not placed between between every block but rather in two vertical columns and one horizontal row. And the outer pieced border is a creative use of the bits and pieces of 2 1/2″ jelly roll strips. Kelly is thinking about adding a border of a solid color, so she is leaving it as a “flimsy” until she decides.

Thanks for sharing a picture of your feels-like-spring quilt top with us, Kelly! I know you are going to enjoy decorating with it and snuggling under it once it is quilted!

I would love to show a picture of your completed “Options” quilt top to blog readers. Email a digital picture to

“Spinning Star” – BOM Participants Share

I am so excited about today’s blog post! Besides receiving pictures of several “Spinning Star” blocks, I have entire “Options” quilt tops to show you. “Spinning Star” is the tenth and final block in the “Options” Quilt Along for 2021. You can find instructions for all the blocks on the “Options BOM QAL” page of this blog.

Tina sent a picture of her red, white, and blue star blocks. She has made four blocks each month and plans to give half of them to a quilting group that makes Quilts of Valor. She will make a quilt for her family from the other twenty blocks.

Trish sent pictures of her blocks made in shades of blue. The textures and shades are just right, accentuating the patchwork designs so nicely!

And Judy B., who is making only one 12″ block per month, chose one of the options for her block. Love those lavenders!

And now for some completed quilts. First up is Emily’s quilt. She worked with a layer cake and a jelly roll purchased several years ago at a garage sale. Aren’t the muted colors so lovely? She gave the quilt to her daughter-in-law who raved about it.

Emily’s “Options” Quilt

Judy M. made twin quilts for her granddaughter’s bunk beds. The “N” block in the center stands for “Nora.” Notice the coloration of the “Hourglass” alternate blocks: some are aqua and gray, some are white and gray, and some are aqua, white, and gray. This treatment helps the center of the quilt to shine. All in our church quilting group agree that the narrow black inner border really sets off the patchwork well.

Judy, ever the innovator, spelled a message with squares on the back of Nora’s quilt. After adhering the squares to a black background, she secured them with decorative stitches, raw edge applique style.

Lisa has also finished her “Options” quilt top. I love the way the colorful striped border pulls together all the colors she used in the patchwork blocks!

Melodie also used striped fabric in her quilt. The theme print is of old fashioned campers in colors her sister adores. This “Options” quilt made a wonderful gift for Melodie’s sister who will use it in her fifth wheel.

Jane’s quilt top is also finished, and she loves the way it turned out. It looks like “Winter Wonderland” to me. Compare the neutral gray sashing that Jane used with the lime green sashing Lisa used in the photo above. It is so interesting to study the differences color makes in our patchwork projects!

Ladies, thanks for sharing pictures of your blocks and quilts!

If you haven’t yet made your “Spinning Star” blocks, I hope you’ll carve out an hour or two in this latter part of November to work on them. On the 30th, I will provide an opportunity for you to comment “Done,” and your name will be entered in a drawing for a free quilting magazine.

“Spinning Star” – Options BOM QAL

“Spinning Star” is the tenth and final block in our QAL for 2021. This has long been a favorite patchwork design of mine. I love the movement created by the parallelograms, and I can imagine a bed quilt made with these swirling blocks. Click on “Options BOM QAL” in the menu to access the instruction page for all the blocks. Scroll to the bottom of the list for this month’s block.

“Spinning Star”

As when making all the blocks for our QAL, you have “options.” You can vary the fabrics, play with shading, rotate the quadrants, and substitute other patchwork shapes. I can’t wait to see where your creativity leads you! Please send a picture of your blocks to I would love to share your take on “Spinning Star” with blog readers.

Happy Quilting! — Aby Dolinger

“Birds in Flight” BOM Wrap-Up

Happy Halloween and congratulations to those of you who have completed your “Birds in Flight” blocks for the “Options” Block of the Month Quilt Along! Yes, today is the day you should comment “DONE” if you are on schedule with your blocks. (If you are not quite finished at this moment, perhaps you can squeeze in some stitching between giving candy to costumed trick or treaters this evening. I’ll wait until Nov. 2nd to draw a winner from the commenters.)

Some quilty “eye candy” from Chris. Admire the fabrics and applaud her piecing accuracy. (I can see 1/4″ seam allowance beyond all the points of the triangles!)

Joy also sent pictures of her “Birds In Flight” variations. It is instructional to see all three blocks made with the same fabrics. I like them all and can’t pick a favorite.

Some of the QAL participants have already set their “Options” blocks together, and some have finished quilting and binding. I know you will find pictures of their work motivational.

First up is Renee’s quilt, a Christmas gift for her sister who loves flowers. Zoom in to appreciate all the floral prints Renee used. She plans a floral quilting motif and yellow binding.

Next up is a patriotic-themed quilt by Michelle. Notice the partial red frames on two sides of each block that produces a 3D effect. Hats off to Michelle who successfully managed the directional text print for sashing and first border.

Sarah completed her quilt in record time. I love the twisting border of half square triangles. The various gray fabrics used in the Hourglass blocks add interest. By using the same light background fabric in the patchwork blocks and in the Hourglass blocks, Sarah created a secondary design of light diamonds around some blocks and dark diamonds around the others.

Thanks, ladies, for sharing pictures of your lovely blocks and quilts! We are inspired!

Remember to comment “Done” if you have finished your blocks, and come back tomorrow for an explanation of our final block in the “Options” QAL.

BOM QAL Block #9 -“Birds in Flight”

If you are looking at the picture and thinking, “that is a lot of half square triangles,” you are absolutely correct. However, I think you’ll have a lot of fun planning colors/fabrics for your blocks as well as twisting and turning the units to make the various options. As usual, the instructions prescribe oversize cutting measurements so you can trim after sewing the HSTs for greater accuracy. Click on “Options BOM QAL” in the menu. Once on the page, scroll down to the black Download button for Block #9. Click Download, then print the instructions.

While you sew, glance out your window to spy birds in flight. Do you see Canadian Geese wending their way to a warmer winter climate? Do you see doves, cardinals, or chickadees flocking to your birdfeeder? Hubby and I are always tickled to see our four teenage ducks that hatched on Easter now circling the lake just for the joy of flying.

I would love to share a picture of your block(s) with blog readers. Send a digital picture to

“Balkan Puzzle” BOM Progress – Blog Readers Share

I am so amazed at our Quilt Along participants! Many have already made August’s block, “Balkan Puzzle.” In my estimation, this block is the most challenging in our “Options” project, but these ladies are on it, admirably rising the meet the challenge.

First we have Joan’s blocks, pretty in pink and green.

Marianne says this is her favorite block. Check out her third option. It’s a happy “mistake.” I consoled Marianne by writing that the goal of the “Options” QAL is to encourage quilters to play with the shapes and designs to come up with unique variations. I love her spinning Pinwheel!

Tina added 3-D triangles to the center of her first blocks and strip piecing on the parallelogram shapes in the second block. Both techniques add interest and complexity to her blocks. What fun!

Chris also added strip-piecing for depth and interest in her third block. The calicos mixed with tone-on-tones and a light background make beautiful blocks, don’t they?

Trish is continuing with her blue theme. She achieves interest and balance by varying textures rather than colors.

Ladies, I am so proud of you; your quilts are going to be fabulous! I am sure more of you are working on “Options,” and I would love to share pictures of your blocks. Please send them to You may also post pictures on Instagram #optionsqal.

“Options” BOM QAL – Balkan Puzzle

Hooray, it’s August 1st, and it’s time for Block #7 in our Quilt Along!

Balkan Puzzle

For many of our QAL blocks, the “option” has focused on ways to augment the center square. However, for Balkan Puzzle, there is a challenge of another kind. How can you change the coloring or turn the quadrants of the block to make a different design?

Have fun with this quilt block. Remember there is a printer friendly document of block line drawings on the “Options BOM QAL” page. It may be helpful to color in your optional ideas with colored pencils prior to putting rotary cutter to fabric. For more color ideas, click here to view images of this block online.

Send me a picture of your block that I can share with blog readers for inspiration. You may also post a picture on Instagram #optionsqal.

Options “Churn Dash” Wrap-up

Today is the day to comment “Done” if you have completed the “Churn Dash” blocks for your “Options” block of the month quilt. Your comment on this blog post enters your name in a drawing for a free quilting magazine.

This has been a fun block to experiment with, hasn’t it? The center square begs for some innovative decoration. (I am still chuckling about the skunk print Mary used.) If you are ready for more inspiration, read on.

Trish sent a picture of her lovely blocks in blues. The florals are so soft and pretty. This is going to be a gorgeous quilt, Trish!

Trish’s Churn Dash Blocks

Chris also sent a picture of her blocks. I think she gets the prize for innovation – just look at those tiny Flying Geese! They measure 1″ x 2″ finished. Way to go, Chris!

Chris’ Churn Dash Blocks

It’s never too late to join the Quilt Along. Click on “Options BOM QAL” in the menu. Read the introductory info, and then download the patterns, 1-6. They are quick and easy to make; before you know it, you’ll have caught up with the group.

Remember to comment “Done” if you have finished your blocks, and I’ll see you tomorrow, bright and early, with instructions for BOM #7.

“Options” Update

First of all, congratulations to Kelly D. for winning a free McCall’s Quilting magazine in the drawing of those who commented “Done” for completing “Sawtooth Star” by the end of June. Kelly and the other winners to date will tell you it is a lovely surprise to receive the “you are a winner” email. So if you carve out some time to make Options #6 – “Churn Dash” in July, you, too, can enter the next drawing for a magazine.

To inspire you, here are some pictures I’ve received from BOM participants.

Joan wrote that she used cut-off triangles from Options #5 to construct the center “Pinwheel” in her second “Churn Dash” block. Isn’t that mini “Pinwheel” darling?

Maridee is enjoying the quilt along and smiled to see that this month’s block is an old favorite.

Helga has made several quilts with David Butler fabrics and is using the leftovers for her “Options” quilt. I always enjoy seeing how she fussy-cuts the prints.

I think you will agree that Anita’s blocks spell “summertime.” I love the citrus colors coupled with blue and green!

I would love to see a picture of your “Options” blocks; send them to

Speaking of “Churn Dashes,” thanks for your positive responses to my question regarding a possible quilt along for a “Churn Dash” table runner. Let’s do it! Would Labor Day weekend suit you, or would a non-holiday weekend be better?