“Unity” QAL by Bonnie K. Hunter

My friend, Bonnie Hunter, is designing a medallion “mystery” quilt to keep us focused and energized as we sew in place during the COVID-19 quarantine. As always, Bonnie delves into her stash, including many fabrics organized by color families in this quilt.

Yesterday Bonnie gave yardage estimates, and today she gave instructions for the center block. Click here to link to today’s post of quiltville.blogspot.com.

Bonnie plans to give instructions for successive borders each Monday. Will you be quilting along?

Giant “Churn Dash” Baby Quilt

Since “Churn Dash” is the March block of the month in our “Sisters” quilt along, I have a pattern variation to share with you.

I’ve designed a contemporary baby quilt based on the time-honored design. One giant block is all you need to make for this quilt! Click on the Patterns tab in the bar beneath my header picture (or in the drop down menu on your smart phone). Once on the Patterns page, you’ll be able to click on the link to the printer friendly instructions for the 24″ block and two borders.

As you might surmise from looking at the picture, the rectangles are strip-pieced from 8  2 1/2″ strips. You can use leftover jelly roll strips or you can cut 2 1/2″ wide strips from stash as I did. In addition, you need about 3/4 yd. of light background fabric and 3/8 yd. of a theme print. I’ll be teaching this quilt as a workshop on Saturday to fellow Tarheel Quilters Guild members. When 20 of us complete our quilts, our NICU charity coordinator’s stockpile of baby quilts will be greatly increased.

I selected coordinating quilting designs for my two Giant Churn Dash quilts. For the “Under the Sea” theme quilt, I chose light blue thread and a pantograph of sea creatures.

And for my “Pretty in Pink” quilt, I quilted a freehand design of heart shaped leaves and large flowers with pink thread.

I’d love to see a picture of your Giant Churn Dash baby quilt! Send a digital photo to aby.quilts@gmail.com

Gigi’s “Scrappity-Do-Dah”

Several weeks ago, Gigi asked me to quilt a scrappy quilt for her niece. After receiving the quilt top, I emailed her pictures of several edge to edge designs that I thought would look nice on the quilt. She settled on “Happy Times” by Hermione Agee (distributed by Urban Elementz), and she requested teal thread since the quilt back is teal.

I love this quilt and want to make one in the worst way! Gigi sent me the pattern sheet, a promotional freebie from McCall’s Quilting. It was designed by Ann Weber of the Gingham Girls. If you also want to make “Scrappity-Do-Dah,” download the free pattern from Quiltingdaily.com. Here’s the link.

Gigi used a great variety of print and tone-on-tone fabrics from her stash and from the “free” table of her quilt guild. Because the narrow strips contrast well with the triangles comprising each square, the diagonal lattice design is readily apparent. Notice, too, that Gigi alternated dark squares with medium squares throughout the quilt.

I am so tempted to drop everything, grab my rotary cutter and begin amassing squares from every fabric in my stash! The instructions call for 6″ squares, but this quilt could be made from leftover 5″ charm squares. And I think I will suggest “Scrappity-Do-Dah” as a great way to use squares from an exchange of squares at my quilt guild.

“Churning Along” Published!

Has last minute shopping for stocking stuffers taken you to your favorite newsstand? If so, I’m sure you glanced at the quilting magazine titles. And maybe you saw the January/February 2020 issue of McCall’s Quilting.

My string-pieced quilt, “Churning Along” is included in the magazine along with a tip for storing my strips and strings by color. If using your growing collection of string-y scraps is your New Year’s resolution, this is the quilt for you! I began by sewing fabric strips to squares of outdated phone book pages. Using a #90 needle and decreasing the stitch length aids in removing the paper. It is best to begin by placing a 2 1/2″ wide strip diagonally through the center of the square. Use a sew and flip method to add strips on both sides of the center diagonal strip, covering the paper square. Trim away excess bits and pieces using the paper as a guide. Cut the square diagonally through the center 2 1/2″ strip, and then remove the paper foundation.

The string piecing done, the rest of the “Churn Dash” block is quickly constructed. For the strip pieced units, I chose a random black and white polka dot rather than a stark black solid. The print softens the effect yet adds unity to all the scrappiness. More strips and strings comprise the scrappy border.

My editor and I debated between a light gray and the saturated lime green for the background color. While gray would have been a fine choice, I think lime really packs a punch! I had to be careful, though, not to place green as the center strip when piecing the blocks as it would fade into the background.

I quilted a freehand all-over spiral design with lime green thread and finished the quilt with black binding.

Are you enthused about making “Churning Along?” If so, leave a comment stating what background color you would use. Lime green, light gray, or ??  I’ll enter all comments in a drawing for a free magazine on December 31. (And don’t think, ” I don’t have a chance of winning.” Usually 25 people or less comment for a chance to win. Please throw your name in the hat!)

Revving Up for “Sisters” Sampler BOM QAL

“Gentlemen, start your engines” . . . er . . . “Ladies, start your sewing machines!”

In just two weeks, on January 1, our “Sisters” block of the month begins. Although our quilt along is not a race, there are several things you can do to be ready for the start-up.

First, you can select the fabric you’ll be using for this year long project. Print the fabric requirements found on the “Sisters” BOM QAL page of the blog. (When viewing the blog on your lap top, click on the tab under the header picture above.) The sampler quilt is Layer Cake, Fat Quarter, and scrap stash friendly. On a recent visit to my local quilt shop, I photographed 4 Layer Cakes that would be totally suitable for this project. (Sew There! Quilts and More has an online shop; they would be happy to ship fabric for your quilt.) You’ll want fabrics that vary in scale, color, and texture.

The second thing you can do is tune up your machine and practice sewing with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. If you guide your fabric on the edge of the universal foot that comes with most sewing machines, your seam allowance will be too wide. If possible, use a scant 1/4″ piecing foot. Other options include moving your needle to the right or applying tape as a guide on the bed of your machine. I listened to an excellent podcast about achieving consistent 1/4″ seam allowance by editors of American Patchwork and Quilting. Click here for a link on Spotify to show #450 which aired on December 16, 2019. The info is beneficial for “old” and “new” quilters alike!

As suggested in the podcast, check your seam allowance by making a simple “Roman Stripe” block. Cut three strips of fabric, 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ and sew them together as shown in the photo below. The resulting patchwork block should measure 3 1/2″ square. Check the width of the center strip; it should be exactly 1.” Can you tell that my blue strip fits neatly between the 2″ and 3″ lines on the ruler? No more, no less.

Thirdly, you can set up an account on Instagram, the social media platform that’s conducive for pictorially sharing our QAL progress. I’ve shared a picture of my quilt on #sistersqal (our main #). I also posted to #sisterssamplerqal, #samplerquilts, #bomqal, and #sistersbomqal. Once you have selected your fabric, post a picture of your Layer Cake, Fat Quarters, or fabric pull from your stash on #sistersqal. It will be fun to view the fabric palettes of those quilting along with us!

Bonus Project Idea:  “Roman Stripe” is a simple block that will use some of your smallest scraps. Click here for a blog post about a bed quilt I made last year. Click here to see “Ice Cream Sandwiches” made in 2013. As you can see from the photo above, I have, this time, selected a different coloring of this simple block design. I plan to use neutral scraps with blue prints and tonals. These blocks will be quickly constructed leader/ender style.


Cloudy with a Chance of Rainbows

“What colors does your daughter like to decorate with?” I asked my friend, the mother of the bride.

“Gray,” was the response. “Her whole house is gray, so any color quilt will look very nice against the neutral background.”

“Gray” reminded me of an un-quilted table runner hanging in the portable clothes rack which holds quilts in the queue. The blocks were leftover from this quilt, published by McCall’s Quick Quilts in Feb/Mar 2018.

Since my friend felt this project would suit her daughter’s style, I layered it with batting and a gray swirl print for backing. I meandered with loops and double loops in a light gray thread. A medium gray print serves as binding.

This UFO no longer clouds my queue of projects, and I believe its rainbow pops of color will brighten the bride’s home!

“Nine Patch Sawtooth Stars” Finished!

I am so happy that this project has moved from the UFO list to the Finished list! More than five years ago, fellow guild member Sharon organized a 3″ “Nine Patch” block exchange. As I recall, each month we made and swapped about 30 blocks. At the end of a year, we had hundreds of “Nine Patches.” I used some in the border of my “Crabapples” quilt and some in a table runner. The remainder I sewed together as the centers of 12″ “Sawtooth Stars.”

I used various gold prints from stash for star points and purchased the navy print from JoAnn’s. About a year ago, I assembled the interior of the quilt . . . and there it sat . . . in its tidy project box. It needed a gold border and a wide outer border of the same navy print. Why did I procrastinate?

The impetus for my finish is Bonnie Hunter’s upcoming annual mystery quilt. For the last few years, I have been too busy between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day to participate in the mystery quilt along. Since her mystery quilt designs are stunning, I really want to participate this year. However, I feel guilty about starting a new project when I have so many unfinished quilts. So I made a deal with myself. If I can finish four of my UFOs prior to Thanksgiving, I will join the mystery quilt along.

Would you like to participate in Bonnie’s mystery? You can find the details and fabric description on her blog, quiltville.blogspot.com. Here is the link to the October 31, 2019 post in which she introduces the “Frolic” mystery.

More info on the “Nine Patch Sawtooth Star” quilt pictured above: The quilt measures 65″ x 85,” a nice size for a tall grandson. I used an old gold polyester thread which glimmers nicely in the navy areas and blends well in the patchwork sections of the quilt. The pantograph is “Happy Times” designed by Hermione Agee and distributed by Urban Elementz.

I am pretty confident I will make my goal of finishing the UFOs on my short list by Thanksgiving. So confident, in fact, that I already pulled fabric from stash to make the mystery quilt.

The drawing for the Dec/Jan issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts is tomorrow. At last count, only 16 people have commented. Wouldn’t you also like to be in the running? Link to this post and leave a comment!