Ran’s Retirement Quilt Finished!

8 08 2017

Hubby retired from active Army service as a chaplain two years ago. My daughter and I thought the perfect way to mark such a momentous occasion was to make him a quilt. So, we made a deal. She would construct the top, and I would quilt it on my longarm.

Trinity is a fan of the “Carpenter’s Star” patchwork design. She constructed the star around a U.S. flag and used pieces of several types of the camouflage uniforms Ran wore during his 30 years of service to make the star. The patchwork star blocks surrounding the central medallion measure 16″ square and are made with various Americana prints. Completing the quilt is an outer Piano Key border of “cheater” striped fabric. This fabric was a gift from Ran’s mother several years ago meaning three generations had a hand in making this gift.

Trinity artfully placed flags and printed Scripture verses within the pieced back.

I enhanced the star points with quilted feathers. And a simple continuous curve design securely holds all the camouflage triangles in place. I bound the quilt with blue-on-blue polka dot fabric leftover from the backing. Click on either photo to better view the quilting designs.

A belated congratulations to you, Ran! We know this quilt will warm you figuratively as well as literally each time you snooze in its comfort.


Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Vol. 14 Blog Tour – Day 1

14 11 2016


Welcome to Day 1 of the Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks from Today’s Top Designers, vol. 14 blog hop and welcome to abyquilts. My block is #1339 on page 31.

img_20160521_143111_985-1We all love “Saw Tooth Star” for its simplicity in construction and for its charming appeal. The 6″ center square of a 12″ Saw Tooth Star provides a sizable space for incorporating an interesting print fabric or an additional design. For example you could insert a 6″ star, Pinwheel, Maple Leaf, patch of 16 squares, or applique motif. The process for creating “Celebration Star” was experimental; I wanted to see if I could morph the star into a wreath. By using green fabrics and adding quarter circles in the light background triangles and squares, I achieved a more circular effect. I colored 2 adjacent triangles red for the wreath’s bow. Set on-point as a diamond with 4 setting triangles, the block (or 5) will make a charming Christmas wall quilt.


img_20160521_132051_142-1While my initial design was prompted by thoughts of Christmas, I wondered how the block would look made with patriotic prints. I chose three fabrics from the Colors of Freedom line designed by Jennifer Pugh for Wilmington Prints. (Quiltmaker chose to print this coloration.) Wouldn’t multiples of this block combine for a striking Quilt of Valor or gift for a patriotic friend?

Construction tip:  I used light weight fusible webbing to adhere the entire quarter circle to the background square or triangle. However, you could decrease stiffness by using arcs of webbing 1/2″ wide only along the curves of the quarter circles.

Leave a comment below if you would like to win a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, vol. 14. To be eligible, your comment must include your ideas for coloring “Celebration Star.” Would you make a Christmas star, a patriotic star, or use another color scheme?

Click here to link to the Quiltmaker blog, Quilty Pleasures. Check out the other designers and blocks which are on today’s blog tour.

Sewing Shenanigans

29 07 2016

This past month I’ve been sharing my sewing space with my visiting daughter, Trinity, and granddaughter, Krystine. Would you like to see the progress they’ve made on their projects?

Trinity finished a queen size Americana star quilt for her sister. She became quite adept at making half square triangles while completing the sixteen 16” blocks. I love the subtle contrast of the regular black print in the tan shirting sashing fabric as well as the scrappy “Piano Key” border. Trinity cleverly created a patchwork column to enlarge the backing fabric.

IMG_4057     IMG_4058

Trinity also made a baby quilt for her dog-sitter who is expecting a baby girl in September. She was inspired by the Who Loves You owl print designed by Michele Scott for Northcott. The squares on the owl print panel measure 8,” so she cut 3” squares for the “Nine Patch” alternate blocks. (If you’d like to make a similar quilt and you live near Loving Stitches in Fayetteville, NC, you’ll be pleased to know that all the fabrics were purchased there.)


In addition, Trinity is making 12” blocks for Lori Holt’s “Vintage Farm Girl” sampler.

IMG_0003 (1)Krystine worked diligently to complete 50 “Nine Patches” and 49 “Snowball” blocks for her full size quilt in fall colors. The tone-on-tone fabrics coordinate so nicely; I would love to make a similar quilt for myself. And now that her “fall” quilt is nearing completion, Krystine can begin planning a winter/Christmas quilt using the basket of fat quarters she won at the guild meeting last Sunday. (The FQ theme this month was “Christmas in July.”) Lucky girl!

Don’t we all feel as happy as Krystine when we complete a quilting project?

As they depart for home in Texas, both Trinity and Krystine have to be proud of all the quilting projects they worked on during their visit!

Fat Quarter Challenge – June

15 06 2016

IMG_20160512_141421_185Each month this year I am challenging myself to use some fat quarters from my stash. I will show my project on the blog, sometimes offering a free pattern. And I challenge blog readers to dive into their hoard, make a sewing/quilting project, and share a picture for inspiration. Please join in the fun and send me a picture at:  aby dot quilts at gmail dot com.

This month’s project is a baby quilt – “Triple Star.” It was a great way to use the FQ of earth moving trucks along with red and green coordinating tone-on-tones. I purchased these FQs nearly a year ago with the plan of making a charity quilt for a baby boy. The FQ challenge was a great motivator to actually make the quilt. Note – you’ll need 5/8 yd. of yellow and 1/2 yd. white rather than fat quarters.

I quilted the “Triple Star” with light yellow thread in an all-over, freehand spiral design. The yellow blends well with the primary colors yet nearly disappears on the white background. The binding is a black and white stripe – the perfect finish for this baby boy quilt.

You will find a link to the instructions for the “Triple Star” quilt on the Patterns page of this blog.

Blog Readers Share – February FQ Challenge

17 02 2016


The participants in the Fat Quarter Challenge, an open-ended Quilt A-Long, are busy as bees!

Diane is working on a quilt for her granddaughter. She is making “stars so far; the large one is 12″ and smallest are 3,” and, yes, I’m doing ‘y’ seams. Great directions for the LeMoyne Star assembly in LeMoyne Stars Made Easy by Sharyn Squier Craig. I’m making 6 more LeMoynes and planning on an approximately 36×42 quilt top. I’ve used about 12 FQs in the stars, plus other fabrics for the right color combos. Will send more pics as I make progress!”

DSC_0251For an explanation of Stephanie’s basket made from fat quarters, travel to her blog. Click here to see how she transformed 3 FQs into a sweet basket that holds . . . fat quarters. Stephanie loves collecting fabric that pictures sewing notions like thread, scissors, pins and measuring tape. It was difficult for her to cut into those pristine fat quarters, but she’s happy to have made something useful with three of them. And, of course, some scraps remain for her sewing notions fabric “archive.”

20160209_135253Chris has been looking at some vintage fabric in her stash for years, wondering what to make with it. It’s blue and silvery white, not quilting cotton. I would call it damask wherein the design and the colors are reversed on the right side as compared to the wrong side. Chris made some simple, yet elegant placemats with the FQs of fabric, and she’s already got an idea for using more FQs in March!

Bibby Moore's SnowflakeIn October 2015 I invited you all to participate in Bernina’s “Snowflake” quilt along. The quilt was designed by Faith Jones who blogs at Fresh Lemons Quilts. Bibby recently sent a picture of her quilt top. She commented that she thinks her quilt would look more cohesive if she had chosen similar shades of orange. She had a lot of orange scraps and used a range from sienna to marigold. She thinks it is not as effective because the oranges are too different. Also she thinks it is better to have one color dominate; the teals and oranges are of similar intensity which makes it harder to see the snowflake pattern. By making this quilt, Bibby learned a lot about color and achieved a different effect than Marie’s quilt, or Sana’s quilt, or my quilt.

Congrats, Bibby, for finishing your delightful quilt top!

Do you have a picture of your project to share? Email it to aby dot quilts at gmail dot com.



“LeMoyne Star” Quilt

15 08 2014

Friend and customer John recently sent me a box with three quilt projects that need completing. These are projects his mother inherited from his grandmother. You can read about other projects I’ve completed for John here, here, and here.

The package contained 25 “LeMoyne Star” blocks pieced from micro-gingham and solid scraps. Some were hand pieced; some were machine pieced. To obtain an over-all view of the blocks, I placed them on my design wall.


Fortunately, there was the perfect number of the various backgrounds to form diagonal rows of color. “LeMoyne Star” is challenging to make correctly because of the eight “Y” seams. (Click here to read Jan Krentz’s tutorial on constructing this block.) As you might imagine, I ripped out several squares and triangles and re-sewed with 1/8″ seams in an effort to make two of the blocks a smidgeon larger.

Next, I trimmed all the blocks to 11″ square. It is a bit un-nerving to trim someone else’s work, especially since these are vintage blocks, the quiltmaker is deceased, and they will become someone else’s heirloom quilt! Sadly, many of the star points were lost in the process. On the other hand, I am creating something beautiful, useful, and memorable from a stack of blocks that have been hidden from view, utterly useless, for many years.


White sashing and borders seem the perfect complement to the blocks. The picture below shows all five rows with vertical sashing strips between the star blocks. Looking good!


 The next step is shopping for pink gingham fabric for cornerstones, backing and binding. I reckon I need about six yards. (Time lapse, 4 hours, shopping trip to JoAnn’s and Hancock’s.) Alas and alack, JoAnn’s had only 1 1/2 yds. of pink gingham, poly-cotton, and not the right shade of pink. However, I found a pink tone-on-tone that blended well with all the vintage fabrics.


John correctly surmised that repeating the cornerstone pink in the outer border would lend cohesiveness and give a finished appearance to the quilt. With 10 1/2″ squares, 2 1/2″ sashing, 4 1/2″ white border and 3 1/2″ pink border, the quilt measures 80″ square.


Although I hadn’t planned on a pink border when purchasing the fabric, I had just enough fabric for border, backing and binding. (Note to self: always buy an extra yard.)


I quilted an all-over swirl-with-points design with white thread. The quilt looks so fresh and pretty; the white sashing masks the fact that the blocks are at least 35 years old. All in all, a lovely summer quilt!


Be-Feathered Star

11 09 2013

My friend and customer, Tanya, sent her red, white, and blue quilt for me to long-arm. It is for her son who requested “feathers” in some way, shape, or form.


I was nervous to quilt in the white areas with navy blue thread because every aberration as well as stops and starts are so visible. But, in this case, overcoming the uncertainty was worth it—feathers transformed this design of simple Half Square Triangles into a show piece!


Tanya found this star design at Jamie Elfert’s blog L’Fair Quilts as a free tutorial, “Stars Over Scott.”