• 21Jul
    Categories: quilting Comments Off on Name This Quilt – Win A Prize

    You know how it is when a co-worker’s great-nephew’s girlfriend is having a baby, and your co-worker comes to you because she “…knows you just LOVE to make quilts and it wouldn’t be too much trouble, would it, to make something for the little expected bundle of joy???”  So you’re looking for something quick, really quick, but not something that looks like you didn’t care.  That’s why I put together kits to make this super fast but super cute quilt.

    As an experienced quilter, you know it’s just a matter of zipping those strips together.  The end result, though, is a very adorable (if I do say so myself!) quilt made with my Dolly Dear fabric collection.  I’m ready to add the kits to my web catalog, but I need a name for the quilt.  I want something that represents how easy this quilt is, and my pea brain keeps spitting out “Stripping With the Dollies.”  Yeah, I know, there’s just something wrong with that!  After all, they’re already in their underwear!

    So, I’m turning to you for suggestions.  What would you name this quilt?  I’m going to give away two kits–one to the person that comes up with the winning name, and another one to a random commenter.  Here’s your chance to win!  Leave me a comment with your suggestion.  This should be fun!

    Added July 31—Thanks to all who played along.  The contest is now over!  CLICK HERE to see a post about the winners.

  • 22Jun
    Categories: brilliant ideas, quilting Comments Off on String Piecing Tutorial

    Got scraps????  I’ve got the perfect block for you, then–STRINGS!

    These things are like potato chips–I bet you can’t make just one!  They’re a great way to use up strips and scraps from old projects.

    I keep a bin (well, two) on the bookshelf behind my cutting table.  Every time I need to straighten the edge of a bolt of fabric (or a hunk of fabric), I toss the resulting strip into the bin.  If I’ve been using strips for a project and have leftovers, into the bin they go.  And what about those 2 or 3 or 4 inches of fabric left after cutting out the pieces of a project.  ZIP!  Into a strip and into a bin!

    I like to use a fabric foundation when I do string blocks.  You can use paper, but I hate to tear away paper if I don’t have to!  So, if you’re ready to begin, follow along.  Layer four pieces of your foundation fabric–anything goes!

    Cut into 10″ squares.  I like 10″ because you get the best use of your fabric.  You could do any size.

    String pieced blocks are simple, easy, forgiving even!

    Grab a handful of strings.  I like mine to be between 1″ and 3″.  I like the look of narrower strings in my blocks, but the wider ones come in handy for corners.  More on that below.  The don’t have to be straight.  In fact, some slight angles make the blocks look better!

    Take a string of fabric and place it right side up, diagonally, on one square.

    Now place a second string, right side down, on top of the first string, aligning the right edges, then stitch down that right side with a 1/4″ seam allowance–or not!  It doesn’t really matter!

    Press the top strip over–and repeat until you have covered up your square!

    You don’t have to use white fabric, and you don’t have to use yardage.  Do you have some “ugly” fabric that you are never, ever, ever going to use in a quilt?  It’s perfect for the foundation for your string blocks.  When I do this, I use the back, as it’s usually a bit lighter.  Here’s and example.  This is the back of a red print fabric.  The red was just a bit “off” and didn’t seem to work with other reds in my stash.

    I did my string piecing on it, just like I did on the white foundation.

    When you’re piecing these blocks, it works great just to feed a whole stack of them through your machine, one after another.

    When you’re finished, they’ll look like this!  Notice that I used wider strips on the ends.  You don’t want to end up with a teeny tiny strip at the end.  It makes it bulky when you’re putting your blocks together.

    Just take them to your cutting mat and lay them upside down.

    You can either use your foundation square as a guide for trimming, or measure and trim.  If you use your foundation square as a guide, your blocks may be a little smaller that the 10″ you started with, as the stitching tends to draw the fabric up a bit.  No matter, just make them all the same size.

    There’s a lot you can do with string pieced squares.  Here are a couple of great examples.  This is a vintage quilt I saw on Ebay.

    Here’s one from Em’s Scrapbag.

    But my favorites look like they have sashing like this one from Quilting Board.  Guess, what?  They don’t!  It’s faux sashing!

    Here’s how it’s done.  On your foundation block, mark a diagonal guide that’s 1-1/2″ – 2″ wide, centering it with the points on your square.

    You aren’t going to sew on these lines, you’re going to line your fabric up with them.  If you marked line is 1-12″ wide, your “sashing” will be 1″ wide.

    Lay your first string down along the edge of the line and stitch.

    Press your string over…

    …and keep going!

    Arrange your squares and, magically, you have sashing!

    It’s fun to play around with your squares, arranging them in different ways.

    You can get creative, like this quilt I found from Blue Ridge Girl on Flickr.

    And, oh!  Your  “squares” don’t have to be square.  They could be rectangles, like this one from Leedle Deedle Quilts.

    And your sashing doesn’t have to be white!  Check out the controlled color palette and black “sashing” in this example from Angelina79.

    So, are you ready to try string piecing?  I hope you do.  And I hope you’ll join my Facebook page, A Quilt Block A Day, and share your photos.



  • 27Apr
    Categories: Everything!, quilting Comments Off on Tah-Dah! Part 3

    Here’s the last installment of Tah-Dahs from the Spring Quilt Escape.

    These bright blocks were made by Sue.

    I love the tall, skinny Churn Dash blocks that Nan was making.

    Chara made this baby quilt with lambs in the borders.

    I think these snowball blocks belong to Karen J.

    Stephanie made this striking quilt top.

    That’s Connie, looking quite coy, behind her polka dot creation.

    Pat made the quilt tote that I demonstrated.

    She did some fabulous free motion quilting on it.

    Sarah has some appliqué planned for this, but I made her pose with it anyway.

    Marsha got this great top finished.

    Lonna was working on some beautiful indigo and cheddar blocks.

    Annie got this tah-dah finished just before we left on Sunday.

    Jean made this incredible quilt.

    And yes, I even did a little sewing.  That bin is filled with selvedges…

    …and I got a lot of blocks made, but want to do more.

    As at any retreat, we had lots of goodies, but I had to share photos of these two.  Cookies from Karen R…

    …and cake balls from Robin.

    It was all great fun. I can’t wait until September when we do it again!

  • 07Apr
    Categories: quilting Comments Off on Spring Quilt Escape Show-and-Tell Part 3

    This is Josie, who works in the kitchen at Falls Creek.  She is a hoot!  She always asks if she can share show-and-tell…

    …then borrow something from one of the retreaters, trying to convince me that she made it.  Finally, I’m on to her!

    Sue shared this fabulous row quilt.

    She also made this Turning Twenty.

    Sharon said she made this during her Nine-Patch phase!

    She also made this quilt with tulip blocks from a block swap.

    Kathy made this “Man Cave’ quilt for her husband.

    This colorful quilt was made by Mary T.

    She also made this snuggle star quilt.

    Isn’t the touch of green great in this black and white quilt she made.

    Karen V. shared these cute snap bags.

    She made these placemats while trying to improve her machine binding skills.  What a great idea!

    Karen V also made this table runner…

    …and this stunning quilt.

    Karen V


    Marsha showed her pretty star quilt.

    Patty amazing Carpenter’s Star quilt.

    Jean shared this great medallion quilt…

    …and this fun animal print quilt.

    She also made this stack of Sunbonnet Sue quilts.

    Annie shared this quilt.

    She brought back these two quilts that she started at the last retreat

    This is also her Sampler Quilt.


    This is my Dear Dorothy quilt.

  • 05Apr
    Categories: quilting Comments Off on Spring Quilt Escape Show-and-Tell Part 1

    Wow and wow again!  What a fun time we had at our Quilt Escape last weekend.  There were 46 of us, and it was four days filled with sewing, fun, eating, fun and inspiration.  I’m truly amazed at how much everyone accomplishes, and their work inspires me.  Part of the fun is Show-and-Tell.  Here’s the start of what we saw.

    Several people brought back quilts they worked on at the last retreat, like this one from Robin.  It was part of my A Quilt Block A Day from Facebook.  All it needs now are cornerstones and two more borders, and it’s finished!  There’s a tutorial here on my blog for the blocks.  Click HERE for a tutorial on regular Bow Tie blocks and click HERE for a tutorial on making three dimensional.

    Robin did blocks like the ones below for her Secret Sister one time, and made a set for herself, too.  I love how she used the two different colors for her setting squares.

    And she made this quilt with blocks she received from her Secret Sister.

    Robin also made this Bargello quilt.  The squares finish at 1″!  She’s going to do a demo on how to make it at our next retreat.

    This vintage Double Wedding Ring belongs to a family member of R obin’s.  It still needs to be quilted.  Don’t you love how the addition of one more piece of fabric on the four-patches forms a blue border on the top and bottom and a yellow border on the sides of this quilt?

    Julie made this Patriotic Log Cabin.

    This gorgeous quilt was done by Pat P.  We only had three Pats this time, and only two were Pat P!

    Pat P #1 also made this quilt.  This color combination in batiks is my favorite!

    Here’s Phyllis holding up several table runners that Barbara made.  The first is from my Center Piece Table Runner kit.

    She liked it so well, she did it in Christmas fabrics!

    This one is perfect for fall.

    I know what she’ll have on her Easter table!

    This is a very sweet Valentine runner.

    Phyllis made this beautiful cover for either an iPad or Kindle, I can’t remember which!

    She also made these two amazing miniatures.

    Make that three amazing miniatures!

    We had two token scrapbookers at retreat.  Karen R shows us her Christmas album with yearly photos of her son and Santa.  Although now that he’s nearly 16, he says he’s through with Santa pictures!

    This is my sister Sally, who also came to scrapbook.  But, she had a quilt to show-and-tell—a gift from HER sister!

    She also shared an album that covered multiple trips to Hawaii.

    Sarah had a pretty, spring table runner to show…

    …as well as this incredible Many Trips quilt.

    A few retreats ago, I demonstrated the Hunter’s Star ruler from Studio 180.  Many of the ladies started quilts.  Here’s Sarah’s finished one!

    In fact, here she is at the retreat a year ago, just getting started!

    Sarah also made this wonderful wildlife quilt for a raffle.

    Stacey brought the first quilt she ever made, I mean started!  She’s hand quilting it, and hasn’t given up yet!

    She also brought this completed quilt that she started in a mystery class I taught a few years ago.

    This was Dante’s first quilt.  I think it’s amazing!  She said it nearly drove her crazy.

    After making the Flying Geese quilt, she kept on quilting, and this is her quilt, too.

    Carol made this wonderful sampler quilt.

    Susan did a Twelve Step Program from my Bundles of Fun book.  It uses just 12 fat quarters!

    I shared two quilts from my Dolly Dear fabric collection. This is made from a pre-printed panel.

    This one is called Let’s Play Paper Dolls, and the pockets hold the dolly dresses!  There are kits for it on my website.

    That’s a start!  I’ll share more in a day or two.




    Tags: ,
  • 09Jan

    Last fall at the Anna Lena retreat, Mary and Robin had a stack of really fun blocks that they had gotten in a block swap.

    Once the blocks started going up on the wall, they drew a lot of attention.  That led to a conversation about block swaps, and before you could say “Crossroads to Jericho” we decided we would do a block swap at our next retreat!

    Robin and Mary’s blocks were so striking yet so simple that we decided to do this block for our first swap.  You might want to organize a swap with your friends, too!

    Blocks finish at 8-1/2″. Here are the fabric requirements for each block.

    Black: 5) 2-1/2” squares

    Four different bright prints: 1) 2-1/2” squares of each and 1) 5-1/2” squares of each cut once diagonally.

    When you cut your large square diagonally, you will end up with two triangles.  You only need one per color per block, so set half aside for another block.

    Lay out your squares to form a nine-patch with the black in the middle and on the corners.

    Match the triangles to their companion prints.  I love how this forms an arrow.

    Once you have the nine-patch sewn together, line it up with one of the triangles as shown below.  Make sure an equal amount of fabric is visible on each side then stitch.  I like to do opposite sides first, press, then do the remaining sides.  On the nine-patches, I press toward the dark.  On the triangles, I press toward the triangle.

    Voila!  Your finished block.

    If you set the blocks straight, the black forms a chain through the bright arrows.

    If you set the blocks on point, the nine-patch is more visible.

    Every swap needs a few rules.  Below are ours.  The last one is the most important!

    Your pieced block should measure slightly more than 9”.  There’s a little wiggle room here, so blocks can be trimmed to 9”.  If your block is smaller than 9”, it isn’t acceptable.  Either restitch with slightly smaller seams or make another one to swap.

    Don’t trim your blocks.  Let the person receiving them do the trimming.

    The black can be a solid black, or a black-on-black print, but be sure it “reads” black from a distance.

    Bright means bright, clear colors.  Nothing muddy!

    You may make all your blocks the same, or use lots of different blacks and brights.

    Have fun!


  • 21Dec
    Categories: quilting Comments Off on Wordless Wednesday – Improved Four-Patch


  • 07Nov
    Categories: Everything!, quilting, travels here Comments Off on Houston Quilt Show – Part 2

    More quilts from the quilt show in Houston.

    Patriot’s Dream by Barbara Shrout,  The name is inspired by a line from America the Beautiful—“O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years…”  I love the curved edges.

    Barn Raising by Lauren Semple.  Isn’t it amazing what can be done with half-square triangles!

    Standing Strong by Sharon Dixon.

    The Secret Life of Dancing Tulips by Jeanne Brenner.  The title refers to the dancing tulips subtly quilted into the border.

    I love the shading achieved by different tones of the same color.

    Sunflowers 2 by Charlotte A. Hickman.  I think sunflowers are such happy flowers!

    Black-Eyed Susans and Yellow Mexican Hats by Mary Ann Vaca-Lambert.These two flowers grow wild along the roadside in Texas.

    Portraits of Flora by Timna Tarr.  What a great use of many, many fabrics!

    This next quilts wasn’t at the show in Houston, but there’s a reason I’m showing it here.  It’s called Checkerboard Vortex, maker unknown.  It’s quite famous in the quilting world, appearing in many books and at the recent Red and White quilt exhibit in New York.  This quilt was made around 1920!  In the book Twentieth Century Quilts 1900 – 1950 it’s described as, “Extraordinarily contemporary in its design, this amazing quilt is a triumph of precise design and piecing, and it it an astonishing precursor to the art of Vasarely.”  Like many others, I’m in love with this quilt.

    Incredibly, Nora Ronningen has made her own version of the quilt which she calls Vortex in Variation.

    I could hardly pull myself away.  It was stunning!

    Preserve Nature, Preserve Self by Susie Johnson.  Did you know the gingko tree has been around for 270 million years!?!

    Redwork Revisited by Susan Dague.

    The maker used old kitchen transfers for the designs on this quilt.

    I think the sashings are great, too!  They are just half-square triangles.

    One of the exhibits was called Text on Textiles.  In the display area were several old typewriters.  Wow, an orange one!

    Ethel’s Diary by Eileen Campbell is a great use of photos and words on a quilt.

    I remember pressed tin toy typewriters like this one!

    This adorable portable is a lot like the one we have that Bob’s grandfather used in his “Tailoring Parlor” in Libby Montana in the early 1900′s.  The carriage flips forward and the whole thing fits into a case!

    Salvaged Words by Jette Clover.  There are pages from vintage books used on this quilt!

    I’ve used words and photos on labels, but not as the main focus of the quilt.  This is from my Dearest Brother quilt, which tells the story of Anna Lena’s life.

    Hmmm, that might make a good blog post!

  • 04Nov
    Categories: fabric design, quilting Comments Off on Bloggers Quilt Fest

    Oh, I love it when it’s time for the Bloggers Quilt Fest, sponsored by Amy over at Amy’s Creative Side.  This is a time for people all over blog land to show what they’re working on or a favorite quilt.  I’ve decided to show my Bavarian Rose quilt, since it’s the most recent thing I’ve made.

    One week before I was leaving for Quilt Market, I got my sample fabrics–2 yards of each.

    For some crazy reason, I decided that I’d appliqué 32 roses for the quilt!

    Mind you, I’m not really much of an appliquer, except for some hand buttonhole work I’ve done in the past.  But, I persevered and got them done, using a buttonhole stitch on my Elna.

    I also made three other samples for Market.  A bag…

    …a Laptop Sleeve…

    …and a little stitchery I call Gretel.

    And to top it all off, I found a vintage tablecloth at Market that perfectly matches my new collection!

    I see curtains in my future!


  • 29Oct
    Categories: musings, quilting Comments Off on Timeless Treasures Booth

    Today was the first day the vendor booths were open here at Quilt Market.

    Timeless Treasures really increased their booth space this Market, and everything looks fantastic–including this adorable line, Bavaria! 😉

    Only one yard of each print was flown into the office in New York, and it had to be cut up for 20 samples, so each salesman would have a set so they’re very tiny!

    Needless to say, I’m quite fond of the Orange Crush line.

    Timeless does fabulous batiks, and Mango Salsa is really pretty.

    I’m thinking I need to make a circle quilt!

    Isn’t this a pretty purse made from the Tonga Treat?

    Everything old is new again!  My bedroom in the early Seventies was hot pink and orange.

    More pretty fabrics.

    Black and bright is always stunning.

    Wild Ginger.

    Mixed Media Mosaic.

    Made from pre-cuts.

    More eye candy.

    This is Monica Lee’s Cardigan Girls.  I got to meet Monica this Market, and she’s a hoot!

    Catch of the Day is adorable with lobsters and crab.

    L’amour de la vie is a cute little French line.

    Mechanical Genius is a first line from Mo Bedell.  Perfect for boy quilts!

    Don’t’ you love how the selvedges are incorporated into this pillow?

    Sweet on NYC by Sugar Pixie.

    Bella Verona is a beautiful new block of the month.

    And Timeless has an exciting new division called Dear Stella.

    So much inspiration! And all this in just one booth!