“Bricks” Quilt for Maggie

Grandma Denise made a “Bricks” quilt top for baby Maggie, and my friend, Maggie’s mother, asked me to quilt it. Neither the fabrics nor the size are particularly baby-ish, but appreciation for this quilt will grow with Maggie. She will enjoy using it for years to come.

The bricks measure 2 3/4″ x 5 3/4″ finished, and the fabrics are a mixture of scrap bag findings and newly purchased prints. I am sure Denise added the stag prints as a nod to her son, an avid outdoors-man. Since the backing is a sage green and ecru leaf print, I chose sage green thread and quilted heart-shaped leaves and loops all over.

Notice that the rows of rectangles are staggered like brickwork; every other row begins and ends with a half brick. However, Denise sewed full bricks in rows, leaving half brick flaps on the sides of the quilt. After trimming away the half bricks, I cut them all to 2 3/4″ square and added some squares from my stash to make a dolly quilt for Maggie. I used leftover backing print for borders and backing. With sage green thread I quilted an X through each square and meandered in the border. There remained just enough tan binding from the large quilt to finish the doll quilt.

When I first looked at this “Bricks” quilt, I thought of it as a very scrappy utility quilt, colorful but certainly not beautiful. On further consideration, I see it as an heirloom from Grandma Denise to her precious granddaughter. Made with love and the thriftily saved scraps from other projects, it is not a quilt for the cedar chest, brought out for special occasions. Rather, it is a quilt to be used every day, reminding Maggie that Grandma Denise loves her dearly. What better beautiful legacy could there be?

Do you own a scrappy quilt that you consider an heirloom?

“Frolic” Mystery Quilt Finished!

Each year Bonnie Hunter designs a mystery quilt for her blog followers (quiltville.blogspot.com). Fabric requirements are posted at the end of October, and the first of the weekly clues typically goes live on Thanksgiving weekend. I have participated several times in the past, and decided to eek out time during the holidays to make the 2019 quilt, “Frolic.”

I managed to keep up with the clues until Christmastime when I set aside all the squares, triangles, Pinwheels, and Four Patches for family festivities. The “Stay at Home” order this spring for COVID-19 gave me the excuse to resurrect this project. Happily, I found that it wouldn’t be too difficult to assemble the parts and pieces into thirty blocks. With concentrated sewing and daily encouragement from my accountability quilting partner, Marie, I finished the blocks in two weeks. Several quilting friends helped me choose the navy grunge for sashing (off-white and lime green were the other possibilities). And then came the border of “a million” HSTs. Constructing them took about a week as I used them as leaders/enders while sewing other projects.

For quilting, I chose the “Abigail” pantograph designed by Sarah Ann Myers and distributed by Urban Elementz. Light blue thread matches the backing fabric and adds texture and movement to the front of the quilt without calling undue attention to itself.

If you check out other “Frolic” quilts on Instagram (#frolicmysteryquilt, #frolicmystery, #quiltvillemystery), you will notice that most were set on point with skinny sashing. Conversely, I decided on a straight set with wider sashing. Being able to modify designs is a wonderful characteristic of our quilting passtime, isn’t it?

Pop Quiz!

Yes, this blog post is a Pop Quiz for you. What, in your opinion, makes this quilt successful?

My friend, Gigi, sent this lap quilt to me for longarm quilting. We collaborated on a thread color and quilting design, choosing burgundy thread and “Abigail” designed by Sarah Ann Myers and distributed by Urban Elementz.

I like this quilt and bet you do, too. Let’s analyze what is appealing. Think about good design elements. Think about what pleases you in the quilts you see or make. And make a comment below – what makes this quilt successful?

Sports Baby Quilt Finished

What to do with the 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles I’ve been hoarding . . . choose the bright or juvenile prints and tone-on-tones and make a baby quilt!

Last year I won sport related fat quarters at my guild meeting. Two were of the same football print, so I pieced them together for the border. There are 16 blocks which use 4 “bricks” each, and I used 1/2 yard of tan “grunge” as light background. I pieced the blocks together as leaders and enders between making face masks. Each block uses 4 colorful rectangles and 2 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ strips of “grunge” sewn to both sides of the pieced bricks.

Finding appropriate backing fabric in my stash was a challenge. Nothing seemed the right size or color. After rummaging extensively, I came up with pieces of a green print leftover from backing another quilt; it is similar in hue to the green football print. I pieced more bricks together to expand the quilt’s width and added some scrap red strips to lengthen it.

For quilting, I chose the “Sports” pantograph designed by Dave Hudson (patternman.com). It features basketballs, baseballs, and footballs. Yellow binding makes a cheerful finish. Won’t some little guy love this quilt?

“Unity” QAL Progress

Are you quilting along with Bonnie Hunter (quiltville.blogspot.com)? She has designed a twin size medallion for our quilt-making enjoyment while we shelter at home. Although Bonnie’s quilt features red, blue, aqua, and white, I’ve added more colors for variety’s sake.

I have kept up with the clues 1-5, and the 6th is revealed tomorrow. What a cheerful and fun quilt to work on, week by week! If you would like to make a “Unity” quilt, link to Bonnie’s blog and click on the “Unity” tab beneath her header picture.

“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.