Drawing for Free Magazine

4 03 2017

travel-plans-tableHello faithful blog readers. On Tuesday, I was so excited to tell you about the publication of my runner, “Travel Plans,” in the April/May issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts that I forgot to announce a drawing for a free magazine!

travel-plans-placematIf you would like to be in the drawing, please leave a comment below saying whether you are more likely to make the runner or a set of placemats. I will draw for two winners on Saturday, March 11.

Click here if you missed my blog post about “Travel Plans.” Click here to order the April/May 2017 issue of Quick Quilts.



“Travel Plans” Published!

28 02 2017


I am so excited to share the good news that my table runner design, “Travel Plans,” is published in the April/May issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts!  When designing this quilt, I experimented with elongating a “Trip Around the World” design, working with rectangles instead of squares. I also had in mind a link-up connection of the three motifs. Using my Electric Quilt computer program, I tried out various colorations of the design. McCall’s editors selected a red, white, and blue palette, but I think the design would be equally pretty with Easter, or fall, or Christmas themed fabrics.

travel-plans-fabric“Travel Plans” fabrics are from Gerri Robinson’s “American Beauty” line for Red Rooster fabrics. Aren’t they gorgeous? I truly enjoyed creating the project with this red, tan, and blue collection. Click here to see McCall’s online write-up about the project.

Construction Tip:  If you press the seams of the first and third motifs as per the first picture, and press the seams of the center motif as per the second picture, the seam allowances will mesh nicely when connecting the three motifs together.

travel-plans-one     travel-plans-two

I quilted the runner diagonally through all the rectangles, creating a cross-hatch design. Four types of sewing guides were used:  blue water soluble marker, chalk, masking tape, and the quilting guide pictured below. In retrospect, the marker and the chalk helped me achieve the straighter lines.


“Travel Plans,” measuring at 18″ x 67,” is suitable for a sizeable table or as a bed runner. You could make it in a weekend! If you do make the project, please send me a picture. Better yet, send a picture and accompanying story line to the editors at McCall’s; they love to hear and see which projects appeal to their readership.

_qq1705-cover-500pxThere is a bonus idea printed in the magazine—placemats made of just one “Travel Plans” motif each. I suggest decreasing the size of the rectangles, cutting them 2” x 2 3/4″ for this project.

If you are not a subscriber to Quick Quilts and cannot find the April/May issue at your favorite newsstand, you can order a copy from the Quilt and Sew Shop.


“Ohio Star” Table Runner

29 01 2016

IMG_3850Since our military chapel’s “senior pastor” is passing the baton to another chaplain, I wanted to make a farewell gift for his wife. A quilted table runner would perfectly fit the bill. Inspiration came from a stack of 3 1/2″ “Nine Patches,” the result of a year long swap with Tarheel Quilters a couple of years ago. For the swap, I used 2 fat quarters to strip piece about 30 “Nine Patches” each month. On the months that 30 guild members did not participate, I received back all the extra blocks that I made.  In my stack, I found three matching blocks and began pulling tans and blues from my stash to coordinate.


IMG_3846“Ohio Star” with a “Nine Patch” in the center was my block design choice. My method for constructing the Quarter Square Triangles is as follows:  Since I needed 3 1/2″ (unfinished) Quarter Square Triangles, I cut 4 1/2″ fabric squares. To make 3 “Ohio Star” blocks, I needed 3 tan, 3 ecru, and 6 blue 4 1/2″ squares. After pairing a blue with each tan, and a blue with each ecru, right sides together, I cut the squares on both diagonals. I sewed the triangles together avoiding the temptation to stretch the bias edges, and I made sure to sew with the blue triangles always on top, beginning with the 90 degree angle. I pressed the seams toward the blue triangles. After sewing blue/tan triangle pairs to blue/ecru triangle pairs, I pressed the seams open. Then I trimmed the resulting Quarter Square Triangles to 3 1/2″ square.

IMG_3847After rotary cutting four  3 1/2″ ecru squares for corners of each of the 3 blocks, I laid out the components for one block on my cutting mat. I assembled the block in 3 rows of 3 squares each, pressing the seams away from the Quarter Square Triangles. Then I pinned and joined the 3 rows.

A fat quarter of blue and tan fabric supplied the sashing and first border. I considered quilting and binding the runner at this point, but then I decided that adding a blue micro print border would make the table runner larger and brighter.

IMG_3852I quilted continuous curves in the stars and a stylized lily in the ecru corner squares. Navy binding picks up the navy print in the “Nine Patches” and nicely finishes the runner.




Lickity Split Rail Fence Table Runner

4 06 2015

For the past several years, I have hosted a Quilting Circle that meets once a month. Karlene, my amazing co-teacher, and I decided to show and demonstrate “Rail Fence” blocks and quilts at the May meeting. Karlene has plenty of recent experience with the design because she and her grandson stitched seven “Rail Fence” lap quilts over spring break, pulling 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ (pre-cut) rectangles from her bin of scraps. Read more about the project here on Karlene’s blog.

In contrast, I decided to show the group a project made with narrower strips. Prior to our meeting, I made four strip-sets from 1 1/2″ x 40″ strips of four fabrics. I sewed them together in the following order: Red tonal, Blue tonal, Red/White/Blue print, White. At the Quilting Circle, I demonstrated cross-cutting in 4 1/2″ increments, and then my friends enjoyed twisting and turning the blocks to make various designs. Karlene and I hope that our Quilting Circle friends are inspired and empowered to make “Rail Fence” quilts this summer. If you’d like to join in the fun, read on! (There is a printer friendly version of this pattern on the Patterns page of the blog.)


“Rail Fence” for 4 Fabrics, Runner will measure 16” x 36”

Supplies:  1 Fat Quarter (FQ) each of 4 different fabrics

¼ yd. for binding

½ – 5/8 yd. for backing

From all 4 FQs, cut 9 strips 1 ½” x 20.” You will have 9 strips each of 4 different fabrics.  Sew 9 strip sets, all in the same configuration. Ex.:  Red, Blue, Print, White.  I suggest placing the boldest color/fabric first in the configuration because the fabrics on the outside edges of the strip set will make the zigzag stairstep in the quilt design.  Press seams to one side after adding each successive strip.

Measure the width of the strip sets. (They should measure 4 ½” wide.)  Sub-cut the strip sets in increments of the measured width to make squares. (Ideally 4 ½” square.) You need 36 “Rail Fence” squares.

Arrange “Rail Fence” squares in a 4 x 9 grid as shown in the photo above.

Join squares in rows. Sew the rows together. Quilt and bind with three strips cut 2 1/2″ wide from the binding fabric.



“Rail Fence” for 3 Fabrics, Runner will measure 18” x 36”

Supplies: 1 Fat Quarter (FQ) each of 3 different fabrics

¼ yd. for binding

5/8 yd. for backing

From all 3 FQs, cut 8 strips 2” x 21.” You will have 8 strips each of 3 different fabrics.  Sew 8 strip sets, all in the same configuration. Ex.:  Solid Blue, Blue/Tan Plaid, Cream Print.  Press seams to one side after adding each successive strip.

Measure the width of the strip sets. (They should measure 5” wide.)  Sub-cut the strip sets in increments of the measured width to make squares. (Ideally 5” square.) You need 32 “Rail Fence” squares.

Arrange “Rail Fence” squares in a 4 x 8 grid as shown in the photo above.  Join the squares into rows. Sew the rows together. Quilt and bind with three strips cut 2 1/2″ wide from binding fabric.  I plan to bind the runner above with the Blue plaid fabric.

If you make a Lickity Split Rail Fence table runner, I’d love to share a photo with blog readers.  Send a digital picture to  aby.quilts@gmail.com


“Table Tiles” QAL – Quilting

13 10 2014

Happy Monday! I hope you had some time over the Columbus Day weekend to work on your “Table Tiles” project. I’ve heard from a couple of you . . . that you are progressing in the sewing and quilting steps. That is great! Could you please send me a picture of your quilt? I’d like to post pictures of the QAL participants’ projects on Oct. 20 and 27. (aby.quilts@gmail.com)


You can hand quilt 1/4″ away from the seams, or you can machine quilt as I did. I freehanded a gentle wave on the seams joining all the 3″ blocks with black thread. If you have a Bernina, experiment with the serpentine stitch; it will sew a gentle wave if you increase stitch length and width.


The backing of my quilt is a lovely robin’s egg blue fabric also acquired in Kenya. Previously, I used most of the yardage as backing for a lap quilt, so I had to insert a black strip between two long, blue scraps for my “Table Tiles” project. (The figurine was purchased at the Masai Market in Nairobi; it’s a visual reminder to pray for the people I met in Kenya.)

Leave a comment below to say how you are progessing with your “Table Tiles” project.

“Table Tiles” QAL

15 09 2014

Have you gathered the fabrics for your “Table Tiles” runner? I’m using ethnic African prints. When I opened my box of scraps collected on my trip to Kenya three years ago, here’s a sampling of what I found.

African prints

African prints

While in Nairobi, the eight people on our mission trip team stayed with families in the large church we visited. My husband’s administrative assistant and her husband happened to stay with a dressmaker, and she was happy to give me a sack full of 100% cotton scraps. What a treasure trove! Upon returning from our trip, I made three lap quilts for team members, but I didn’t get around to making a souvenir for Ran and myself. There is no time like the present!

I have several large pieces of ethnic fabric, but I intend to use the narrower scraps for my “Table Tiles” runner. Perhaps one of the larger pieces will serve as a backing.

If you are participating in the QAL (Quilt-A-Long), leave a comment below detailing your progress. Did you acquire the fabric in an ususual way as I did? If you are still sitting on the fence about making this project, please join in the fun!

You will find the pattern for “Table Tiles” in the October/November 2014 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. The editors have provided a web bonus with measurements and instructions for a lap quilt. Click here to access the web bonus pattern.



Launching “Table Tiles” Quilt-A-Long

8 09 2014

Quick Quilts OctNov 2014 Cover

As previously written, my table runner, “Table Tiles,” was published in the October/November 2014 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. I hope you have been able to find a copy of the magazine at a newsstand or your favorite fabric store. If not, you may order a copy (paper or digital) from the McCall’s website. The McCall’s editors posted instructions for a lap quilt version of the design. Click here to find basic measurements and instructions.


Several blog readers commented that they would be interested in participating in a QAL for “Table Tiles.” That means several more of you are also interested even though you preferred not to comment. Am I right?

If you are like me, you are more likely to work on a project if you have a deadline or an accountability partner. When I state to a friend, “I am interested in working on this quilt,” I am more likely to follow through and actually do it because I know she will ask me about my progress, cheer me on, and compliment me when I finish. I challenge you to participate in the QAL; by signing up to participate, you’ll be motivated to make a lovely quilted table decoration for yourself or for a special person on your holiday gift list.

Roman Stripe table runner

This is a relatively small and easy project, so the QAL will finish up at the end of October. Each Monday between now and then I’ll post about “Table Tiles.” I’ll need some pictures of your quilt in progress to make the blog posts more colorful. So please send me pictures: aby.quilts@gmail.com

Step One: Select a fabric or color palette. Blog readers, anxious to win a copy of the Quick Quilts magazine, commented with some fantastic ideas: Patriotic, gray and yellow, pastel, scrappy red and blue, baby quilt size, Southwest batiks, black and red, blue with white and gray, 1930s reproduction, red and green for Christmas, reds, primary colors with black.

Here’s the “Accountability” part—leave a comment below if you will participate in the QAL stating your fabric or color palette. I’ll be first: I am going to use some ethnic prints I obtained on a mission trip to Kenya three years ago. I’ll pair these with black, and this will also be my Fabric Resolution for September. (Yes, I am multi-tasking!)