First Quarter UFO Challenge Blog Reader Finishes

28 03 2018

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?



My “Splendid Sampler”

7 03 2017

About this time last year, I decided to join the “Splendid Sampler” quilt-along hosted by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Did you also sign up to receive the 100 emailed pattern instructions? They have published two 6″ blocks per week; over eighty quilt block designers contributed to the project. The official QAL is nearly complete, and you can still access the patterns online by clicking the “Splendid Sampler” button in the right hand column of this blog page.

At the outset of the QAL, Pat and Jane showed samples of their bright, modern fabrics and promised that a variety of techniques would be employed for the sampler blocks. You can read about my fabric selection on this blog post. As the weeks progressed, I began to realize that not all of the patterns were suitable for my muted traditional fabrics from the “Chocolat” line by Moda. At some point, I decided to make only the blocks that correlated well with my fabrics, and to include other favorite patchwork designs.

After making 56 blocks, I decided to set the blocks together. I am sure the desire to finish the project prior to moving into our new home weighed heavily in my decision. My quilting buddy, Karlene, suggested that I arrange the blocks with darker tan background all around the edges of the quilt. I really like the effect! The darker blocks act as a pieced border of sorts. After arranging and rearranging the blocks on my design wall, I sewed the vertical 2″ x 6 1/2″ sashing strips between the blocks in each row as you can see in the photo below.


Tip (from my daughter, Trinity): Prior to joining the rows together, measure and sew the top border strip above Row 1, and sew the bottom border strip below the last row. This means less “heavy lifting” work when adding the borders after the rows are sewn together.

I added horizontal sashing rows and left and right border strips. Now to find the perfect print for an outer border.


Later:  Again, my friend, Karlene, came to my rescue. She gave me a yard of paisley “Chocolat” fabric. Since it is a large scale print of muted colors, it doesn’t draw attention itself. The viewer’s eye is rightly focused on all the patchwork and applique blocks in the quilt’s center. I draped the quilt top over the kitchen porch railing of our new home. (We are hoping to procure the certificate of occupancy this week and move in!)


VFG Leaf-y Borders

9 01 2017

Vintage Farm Girl, a popular sampler quilt designed by Lori Holt, continues at the top of my WIP (Works in Progress) list. You can see a picture of my patchwork blocks on this blog post.

Lori includes a pieced block with 4 leaves to represent farm crops in her book. However, I am customizing my quilt with a leaf-y border. Instead of piecing 100 leaves, I decided to hand applique them next to pieced stems. The applique borders of the quilt are my current take-along project. Since hubby and I are traveling, hand applique is perfect for quiet evenings in hotels.


An explanation for piecing the stem:  My border is 6 1/2″ wide, unfinished. I cut the green print 1″ wide and sewed it between two white strips, each cut 3 1/4″ wide. I pressed the seam allowances toward the green stem. This means I will not have to push the needle through the seam allowances when appliqueing, and it also means my stems will puff with a bit of dimension after quilting.

img_0508Preparing the leaves:  The leaf template included a generous 1/8″ seam allowance. I cut out about 4 leaves from each fabric and worked on placing/pinning leaves on all four borders at once to evenly distribute the fabrics/colors. I considered using a ruler to measure the distance between the leaves and to make sure the center “veins” of the leaves intersected the stem at 45 degree angles. This proved too fussy! Instead, I eye-balled the 1″ distance between the leaves and simply made sure to orient them at a quasi 45 degree angle, pinning them 1/2″ from the edges of the white border fabric. I overlapped by 1/8″ the section of the leaves that touch the stem.

img_0507Appliqueing the leaves:  Since my leaf is a simple shape, I elected the “needle turn” method of hand applique. (Sometimes I use freezer paper or pellon stabilizer as an aid, but not this time.) I did not need to clip around the leaves since the curved bias edges naturally result in a smooth finish. Selecting spools of thread that most nearly matched the fabric colors of the leaves, I began stitching the leaves to the borders. It was easier to maintain the orientation of each leaf if I began at the point that touched the stem. I folded under 1/8″ so as not to sew through the leaf and the stem and continued bit by bit, tucking the seam allowance under and stitching all around the leaf.

I can’t wait to attach the borders and pieced corner squares to the quilt’s patchwork center!

If you’d like to learn more about needle turn applique, I recommend the Craft University class, Sew-on-the-Go with Needle-Turn Hand Applique taught by Deanne Eisenman.

Civil War Repro. Sampler

27 04 2016

DSCN7802This is a “thank you” quilt for Jenn, our Protestant Women of the Chapel president. (Shhhh! It’s a surprise!) It began with 4 blocks that I made this past summer in the quilt design class for children:  Garden of Eden, Jacob’s Ladder, Star of Bethlehem, and Cross and Crowns. I added 8 more favorite block designs to bring the quilt up to “sofa quilt” size.

Most of the time, I use a dark fabric for sashing since it contrasts well with the light background of the blocks. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with a medium value fabric for sashing and inner border. In this case, it’s a small print which I also used on the back of the quilt. I like the effect – the medium value contrasts well, in turn, with the dark outer border.

The quilting design is Keryn Emmerson’s “Double Plume,” a favorite for Civil War repro. quilts because of its feathery motif. The gold polyester quilting thread blends well with all the fabrics and is most visible in the outer border. A navy print fabric binds the quilt.

Can you name all 12 block designs? Which is your favorite?


“Christmas Sampler” – Finished!

17 12 2014


In between holiday baking for friends and neighbors and planning for weekend guests, I’ve quilted the “Christmas Sampler” for my son and his wife. You can read more about this project here.


At my local quilt shop, Loving Stitches, I found a lovely floral print for the backing. It is from Moda’s “Midwinter Reds” line designed by Minnick and Simpson. Since it is not necessarily Christmas fabric, my daughter-in-law could display the quilt backing side up when the holidays are over.


I decided on red thread and a Holly and Poinsettia edge to edge quilting design. Click  here to see the pantograph at


The quilt is finished with a red binding. With a label for the back, it’s all set for gifting on Christmas day!


Christmas Sampler–a Work in Progress

10 12 2014

I’ve been working this fall on a sampler quilt for my son Dan and his wife. The impetus for beginning the project was a Christmas sampler quilt offered by Karlene on her blog. The plan: Make one block per week for 12 weeks, beginning Sept. 26 and finishing at Thanksgiving. I liked the first block so I rummaged in my box of Christmas fabrics to find coordinating reds, greens, and prints.


Being privy to some insider information, I learned (from Karlene) that not all the blocks would measure 12″ square. Since I wanted twelve 12″ blocks, I decided to go off on a quilting tangent. I made some of my favorite blocks, like Weathervane and Ohio Star.

Weathervane block      Ohio Star block

And I made four blocks recently published in Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks from Today’s Top Designers, vol. 10. You can read about those blocks here, here, here, and here.

I decided to frame half my blocks in red tone-on-tone and the other half in green tone-on-tone. The six blocks at the top of the design wall are predominantly red, so I framed them with green. Alternately, the six blocks at the bottom of the design wall were predominantly green, so I framed them in red.

Christmas Sampler WIP

I bought a yard each of red and green, so I had enough fabric to cut the frames wider than usual. Finishing at 3,” the frames greatly enlarge the quilt, help the viewer focus on color, and lend a modern air to the quilt.


I love the border print, also found in my stash.


Fifteen days until Christmas . . . and fifteen days to finish this quilt!

Are you gifting any quilts for Christmas this year?


More Progress on the “Gypsy Wife” Quilt

27 06 2014

My fabric resolution for June was to use this fabric that has been ripening in my stash. You can read more about my project here and here.

Gypsy wife fabrics

As you know, I chose to make a variation of Jen Kinwell’s “Gypsy Wife” quilt. Between other projects and visiting with relatives and entertaining grandchildren, I’ve been making blocks and placing them on my design wall. In the last week, I began sewing 12″ wide columns together. I am pleased with my progress!

GW - progress on design wall

I’ve also made more strip sets. Some of these are cross-cut in 3 1/2″ or 4 1/2″ widths and inserted as fillers beside medium-sized blocks. Some will have small blocks inserted in the length and will be used at the bottom of the quilt.

GW strips

It doesn’t look like I will finish this quilt by June 30. But I would rather enjoy the process and allow this project  to extend into July than to rush the design muse.

Are you working on a project that is taking longer than you thought it would? If so, leave a comment below.