Kaleb’s Graduation Quilt

May 28 was a momentous day for our grandson, Kaleb. He graduated third in his class from Jonesboro High School. Of course he needs a quilt to take to college! And of course I made him one. The blocks are leftovers from the “Winter Blues” quilt I made earlier this year. Bonnie K. Hunter of quiltville.com designed the quilt, and I modified her design by cutting larger squares and arranging the blocks with a straight set rather than on-point.

I brought the quilt top to Texas to quilt on Trinity’s computerized longarm so we could use a thick polyester batting which she has on hand and which Kaleb prefers. As we searched for the perfect edge to edge design, I kept an eye out for something that would show up nicely in the alternate blocks. Something kind of elegant. But then I spotted a football surrounded by spikey grass. Perfect, because Kaleb enjoyed playing for his school last fall and will be a freshman on the team at Howard Payne University this coming fall.

I bound the quilt with the same contemporary fabric as the border. It is folded neatly in Kaleb’s room awaiting the pack-out for college in August.

Keith’s Graduation Quilt

About five years ago my grandson began working on a Crosses and X’es quilt. But then, he grew more interested in fishing, football, and girlfriends, in that order. So the ten completed blocks and the rest of the earth tone batiks have languished in a project box in my sewing room for some time. Keith graduates from high school this week, so it was high time to finish his quilt.

Back Story:  I was inspired by a similar quilt hanging in a vendor’s booth at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival. I was attracted by the masculine color palette and thought the slash and insert “improv” technique would appeal to my grandson. At the same quilt show, I purchased a fat quarter bundle, some coordinating yardage, and extra wide backing. We did enjoy working on the blocks together; Keith was very careful with the rotary cutter and sewed with a consistent seam allowance.

Each fat quarter yielded four 8″ squares and several 1 1/2″ wide strips. Keith slashed a block and inserted a 1 1/2″ wide strip of another color. After sewing and pressing, he slashed the block again and inserted another 1 1/2″ wide strip. Half the blocks are “wonky” Crosses, and half are “wonky” X’es. Once all forty-eight blocks were sewn, I trimmed them all to the same size and arranged them in a 6 x 8 grid, alternating Crosses and X’es. Fortunately, the extra-wide backing generously yielded border strips and binding as well.

For quilting, I chose a variegated Fantastico thread and the Bauhaus pantograph designed by Patricia E. Ritter and distributed by Urban Elementz. This modern, boxy design complements the minimalist vibe of the quilt.

Congratulations, Keith! I hope your graduation quilt communicates my love and the memories of good times we shared as we worked together on it.


Skinning the Proverbial Cat

Have you tried “Slice and Dice – Uneven Nine Patch”? The link to the instructions is on my Patterns page.

Slice and Dice, Karlyn 1

My friend, Karlyn, decided to biggie-size the directions to make 12 large blocks for a lap size quilt. She bought 1 yd. each of a cabbage print (Kaffe Fassett), pink tonal, gray print, and purple tonal. Instead of cutting fat quarters into 4″ wide strips as the directions call for, she cut 6 1/2″ wide strips from yardage, selvage to selvage.

Slice and Dice, Karlyn 2

I really loved the color value placement in Karlyn’s quilt: bright large-scale print for the center of the blocks and sashing cornerstones, softer medium values for the rectangles and corner squares of the blocks, and a strong bold tonal for the sashing. I liked the repetition of using the gray print in the border. Karlyn selected a gray spiral print for the backing.

One of the charitable organizaitons I support needs twin size bedding for men, so I scoured JoAnn’s for four manly fabrics to simulate the values in Karlyn’s “Slice and Dice.” I found a fish print for the block centers (1 yd.), a light gray swirl print for the rectangles (1 yd.), a gray/tea/orange print for block corner squares and border (1 1/2 yds.), and a strong teal tonal for the sashing (1 1/2 yds.).

Since Karlyn mentioned that cutting through the biggie-size width of strips sets was a bit unwieldy, I decided to strip piece the “Uneven Nine Patch” blocks instead of following the “Slice and Dice” method.

Fish q - strip pieced

From the fish print, I cut two strips 6 1/2″ x WOF (width of fabric). From the light gray swirl, I cut four strips 3 1/2″ x WOF. After sewing them together and pressing toward the fish print, I cut away the selvages and then cut the two strip sets into twelve 6 1/2″ segments.

fish q - cuts

To make the side rows for the blocks, I cut two strips 6 1/2″ x WOF of the light gray swirl and four strips 3 1/2″ x WOF of the gray/teal/orange print. After sewing them together and pressing toward the print, I cut away the selvages and then cut the two strip sets into twenty-four 3 1/2″ segments. Pinning and sewing the rows of the “Uneven Nine Patches” together was a breeze!

Fish q - blocks

Cutting 3 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ sashing strips and fussy cutting 3 1/2″ square fish-y cornerstones was simple. I laid the 12 blocks out on the floor near my sewing machine, spreading the varieties of pictured fish throughout the quilt.

Fish q - layout

Several hours later, my quilt top was complete.


I selected a gray print for the backing and binding. In keeping with the aquatic theme, I quilted a freehand water design.


 So, you see, there is more than one way to skin a cat, er, to make a quilt!