Saturday Scrap Strategy #10

9 06 2018

Each Saturday in the second quarter of 2018 (April-June) I’m showing projects based on scraps in hopes of motivating you to cut and use your scrappy stash. Today I have a treat for you – more than one project – and they come with a back story.

Kay, a member of my church’s quilt group, served as power of attorney for an elderly woman, Evelyn Sexton, for nearly a decade. Evelyn, a native of Lillington, NC, devoted her life to looking after her farming family. At some point early in her life, an infectious fever devastated her family. Some family members died, and her father was left blind. Evelyn was the only one of her family not affected.

Kay described Evelyn’s home as simply furnished with the antiques she collected. And it was evident that quilt making was a joy and passion. When Evelyn passed away, Kay had a hand in distributing quilts to cousins and other family members. Kay, herself, took home a box of fabric.

Fast forward ten years. Kay was recently cleaning out a storage area when she came across the box from Evelyn’s estate. Opening it, she saw a layer of polyester fabric – not what Kay wants to sew with. On her way to the garbage can, she decided to look through the box. She found a “Log Cabin” quilt pieced and quilted by hand and also blocks to make another! Isn’t this scrap-alicious?

Kay also found a stack of totally scrappy “Eight Point Stars.” The Stars had been starched and stuck to blue and pink background squares. Kay gently “unglued” them and washed them by hand. She machine stitched them to yellow background squares with a tiny blanket stitch and plans to use a black floral print found in Evelyn’s box as sashing.


“Trip Around the World” is yet another scrappy project Kay found folded in the box along with several different patchwork squares, all pieced by hand.

These projects, made with “just scraps,” are now precious to Kay because of the friendship she shared with Evelyn. The quilts are a sweet and cheerful reminder of the times they spent together.

Just wondering . . . which of these projects appeals to you as a scrap stash buster? I personally favor those totally scrappy “Eight Point Stars.”


Brittany’s Wedding Signature Quilt

12 04 2017

Look what’s on the design wall!

My young friend, Brittany, and her mom are designing a “Trip Around the World” wedding quilt. The batik fabrics are similar to the colors of her wedding, and guests signed the ecru 4″ squares provided at the reception.

I love Brittany’s eye for color and shading. Although, she is (up to this point) a non-sewer, she is willing to try her hand at sewing the blocks into rows and then sewing the rows together. I foresee spending many happy hours together in my sewing room chatting, pinning, sewing, and pressing.

“Surprise Trip” Finished!

2 09 2015


Keona’s “Trip Around the World” quilt is finished! I am so pleased with the outcome! You can read about the beginning of her project here.

I loved the colors Keona chose: blues, teals, purples, magenta and wine. The shading she worked out on graph paper translated amazingly well into the quilt project. Once the patchwork was complete, we both thought the quilt was wonderful.


And then . . . at her request, I quilted spirals in variegated thread, and . . . wow . . . the quilt came vibrantly alive!


DSCN7624I’m calling Keona’s quilt “Surprise Trip” because of the modern floral print she selected for the backing. You wouldn’t normally guess that a traditional quilt of totally solid patchwork fabrics would boast a modern floral print for the back. What a fun complement! With wisdom beyond her years, Keona planned for a reversible quilt. And, at nearly 70″ square, it’s the perfect size for her twin bed.

Keona is now asking her parents for a sewing machine for Christmas! It was my pleasure to encourage an aspiring young quilter who already possesses an amazing color sense.

From Graph Paper Designs to Quilts

9 08 2015

Regular blog readers will remember the “Quilting with Kids” posts during July. As part of the weekly classes in July, I provided graph paper and markers, encouraging the children to design a quilt block or a quilt. Three enterprising girls accepted the challenge.


Keona and Kalea asked if they could come over to my house and translate their designs from graph paper to fabric. At Loving Stitches quilt shop, I found solid fabrics in the hues of Keona’s drawing. I bought 1/2 yard of each and cut them in 4” strips for her to sew together. We will cross-cut them in 4” increments and use the pieces to make a “Trip Around the World” quilt.

 Keona's quilt, beginning

Kelea wanted to use all the colors of the rainbow with purple in the center, but then she saw a blue/green large scale floral print in my stash. I cut a 12 ½” square of the print and 4” strips of various tone-on-tone colors.

 Kalea's quilt, beginning

I was the pinner and quality control and presser. Surprisingly, the girls concentrated on their projects for 5 hours during our first sewing session. By the end of the second sewing session, the quilt tops lacked only the borders.

DSCN7535   DSCN7536

Unwilling to be left out, Sarah and Jasmine joined the sewing fun by hand quilting several pre-made potholders each.

DSCN7539   DSCN7538

Way to go, Junior Quilters of America!


Bible Study Quilt Finished!

29 12 2014



For the past two years, I’ve used fabric squares as an ice-breaker activity in my Bible study classes, turning them into quilts which one lady in the class wins in a drawing.

This fall I facilitated “Chase” by Jennie Allen; the study encouraged us to chase after God’s heart as the Old Testament character David did. Our class was small, allowing for transparency in group discussions. Everyone enjoyed choosing a square each week to add to the border of the quilt. Examples of the ice-breaker questions: Which fabric describes your mood today? What do you enjoy about Fall? What was your take-away from this class?

The quilt was designed by Allison Harris who blogs at Cluck Cluck Sew, and you can read about the beginning of this project here. I constructed the center of the quilt this summer, and added the border of 3″ squares bit by bit each week of the fall semester.

Featherweight at quarry

For the back of the quilt, I used a birdhouse fabric in faded tones. Since the quilt size exceeded the width of the fabric, I added a strip of 6″ “Ups and Downs” blocks along with several strips of blue fabric. Now the quilt is reversible!


Selecting a quilting thread color was a dilemma. Usually I match the background color – white, in this case. But I felt white would be too stark against the royal blue border. I auditioned a muted medium blue thread, and found that it blended well on the blue border as well as in the center patchwork. I am pleased that the blue thread subtly adds texture to the white background without calling undue attention to the over all spiral quilting design.

Kelley was the winner of the Bible Study quilt! The quilt is 60″ square and will be perfect for Kelley’s sofa.

"Chippewa" Finished

“Chippewa” Finished

Thank you, DeBorah

27 05 2014

DeBorah has been our awesome PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) President at Ft. Bragg this past year. The PWOC board members asked me to make a quilt as a thank-you gift for her. The theme colors this year were aqua and a red chevron. I was certain I could find fabrics in these colors at Loving Stitches, my local quilt shop. Oh, yes!

Deborah's quilt fabric

I wanted a simple patchwork design that would showcase the bold, modern fabrics. And I needed some white patches for the board members to sign their thanks and best wishes. “Trip Around the World” fit the bill. Following instructions written by my friend Stacy ( sped the project along.

DeBorah's sewing

The squares finish at 4,” and there were plenty of white areas for the 20-plus board members to sign. The red and white chevron print made a great border. For the backing, I ordered some bright flip flop fabric from since the flip flop motif accompanied our “Walk Forward in Love” theme for the year.


At first sight, DeBorah loved the gift, and I know she’ll appreciate the written messages of the board members even more.



Quilting “Trip Around the World”

30 05 2013

Many of the ladies in the Quilting Circle that I host once a month have made “Trip Around the World” quilt tops. The thing about quilt tops is that they need quilting! We discussed various ways to quilt this design on a home sewing machine. One idea was quilting a grid of straight lines 1/4″ away from both sides of the seam allowance. Here’s a sample I made to demonstrate this quilting option. Click on the picture for an enlarged view.


Karlyn opted to quilt her quilt “in the ditch,” or directly in the seams.

Another idea is to quilt diagonal lines, making an “X” through each square.


Courtney suggested a “Cathedral Window” look for those with free-motion quilting experience.


If you have additional ideas for quilting “Trip Around the World,” please leave a comment.