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Showing posts from 2018

Christmas stocking 2018

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Last year I made new Christmas stockings for mom and dad, but there were no takers for new ones in my own household.  The kids were adamant about keeping the ones they have always had.

This year I caved and retired the 40-some year old stocking my grandmother knit for me.  The yarn is starting to look a little worn in places, and I feared one of these days it would break and the stocking would unravel and there would be tears at Christmas.  This very special stocking will still hang on the mantle, but Santa will stuff the new one.

For the focus block I used the snowflake ornament I designed for the December 2018 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting.  For the rest of the stocking I used the method I described in my Twice-Turned Stocking tutorial last year.

Now my son has suggested that perhaps he could use a new stocking as well, provided the old one can still hang on the mantle.  His stocking dates from before I sewed.  It's a thin felt one from the dollar store to which I add…

Pieced borders

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I love pieced borders, but I don't always love making them fit!  Happily, there are some tricks to making them work.

Here's what I was working on the last couple of weeks.


I wish I had a better picture.  The only available quilt holder was busy painting her nails and I decided I didn't want wet nail polish anywhere close to the quilt top!  Unfortunately, the deck railing is not a pretty a spot for photos at this time of year.  The backdrop is lacking pretty foliage now that the hostas have died back.

My initial plan for this quilt was to stop after a narrow inner white border and bind with a matching green stripe, making a very simple quilt.  I was aiming for classic with a hint of modern by matching the border to the background and using the binding as a frame.

I did the math to figure out the size and thought it would work.  As I laid out the HST on the design wall, the size looked fine.  Of course, once I started sewing all the blocks together those seam allowances, as …

Prairie Points and Scattered Leaves update

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Last month I presented a trunk show at my local guild, the Ames Quilt Guild.  The next day I taught my new Prairie Point Play workshop, all about ways to make and use prairie points in your quilts, including how to size them and figure out how many to make. I pulled out all my favourite examples and made a few new ones.

You can put them in a border to dress up a simple piece.

The prairie points don't have to run all the way around a quilt.


How about tucking them into the binding?


The points can overlap a lot...


...or not much.


My all-time favourite quilt with prairie points is Scattered Leaves, using the points instead of binding to finish the edge.


I think the scrappy points on that quilt turn an OK quilt into something more.

While writing up the handouts for the workshop I re-read my Prairie Point tutorials. I also looked at the prairie point instructions I had written in my Scattered Leaves pattern in 2012 and decided the pattern could use a few more details about how to finish…

Starlight Wishes revisited

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Last fall I whipped up a Starlight Wishes quilt top in alternate colors and in a larger size, fully intending to rewrite the pattern to include extra sizes. I didn't get much farther than the flimsy because I couldn't decide how to quilt it. Other projects, deadlines, and life got in the way.

This summer, after learning to use my Westalee quilting rulers, I quilted it.  I already shared photos of the baptist fan quilting.  It was just what this quilt wanted. If I had to do it over again I would probably tweak the border quilting a bit, but I'm not picking it out!  This quilt is officially a finished quilt!



Here a full view.


I debated leaving off the blue border and making the cream one under the prairie points a little bit wider.  I liked it that way too.  It had a bit more modern feel to it that way.  However, I was feeling less modern on the day I decided I had to make up my mind one way or the other!

My initial reason for making this version was to show the quilt in a n…

Is this Magnitudes?

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Do you ever take a pattern and not only choose different fabrics than what the designer used but also completely re-imagine contrast and blending?  An alternate version of Magnitudes has been bouncing around in my head for several months and I finally caved and set everything else aside.


I really love blue and white quilts.  I can't believe I haven't made one since Clear Skies in 2013. It was time!


I named this one Milky Way, but it is made from the Magnitudes pattern. In Magnitudes the stars are a solid color on a scrappy colour background, but I flipped that around here.  The stars are the pop of colour instead.  By matching the block background to the sashing and borders, I made all the stars float. 


This quilt top was made entirely from contents of my scrap bins.  In addition to cutting instructions that tell you how many strips to cut and sub-cut when you are using yardage, the pattern includes a table that summarizes size and number for each piece in the quilt. You ca…

Magnitudes Parade of Quilts

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As promised (though very late and with apologies to my testers), I am sharing pictures of my pattern testers' versions of Magnitudes.  As always, the variations astound and delight me!

Elaine and Joanne's quilts both conjure visions of fall.  Perhaps the summer heat had them both thinking of cooler weather!


You can find more of Elaine's beautiful work on her Flickr feed.

Joanne is a prolific quilter.  Sh shares her work on instagram as @turltlequilterjo and on her blog.

I'm thrilled Sue chose to use her hand dyed fabrics to make her quilt. As you see, she even used up her scraps to add a piano key border.  I love to see quilters add their personal touches to my designs.

Kathi added extra sparkle by fussy cutting stars for the centers of the large stars in her sweet baby version.  See more of Kathi's work on her Facebook page.

Thank you again testers!

Next up is my latest version of the quilt.  I flipped the fabrics and tried something new with the binding.  You wo…

In stores October 2nd!

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I was going to share one or two projects in progress today but there were pretty pictures in my email inbox that I just couldn't wait to share.  See what's in the December 2018 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine?



Look familiar? These smaller cousins of my 9" snowflake blocks measure 4 1/4" across from corner to corner.  I pinked the edges instead of trying to bind such a small piece.  That gives a much tidier (and faster!) finish than I could manage with binding on such a small piece.

The project made the cover, too!  Look way up in the top right corner.


The magazine's tester, Monique Jacobs, used Seeing Stars Grunge fabric from Moda Fabrics for her versions.


It feels great to share these.  I shipped them and the pattern off to APQ in May and I have had to keep my mouth shut about them since then.  It was worth the wait though. The December issue hits newsstands next Tuesday, October 2nd.

Butterfly quilting play

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I have been thinking about how to quilt my Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2017 butterfly quilt.  One idea involved my new Westalee rulers but I thought I should practice on something else to work out the bugs and gain some confidence before I commit to it.  A spare butterfly block would be a perfect practice piece.

Oh wait!  I have one of those.  The first yellow butterfly block I made was much too light compared to the rest of the butterflies and I replaced it with a new block with more intense yellows.  I added some borders to it and started playing.


I have never ever quilted a piece this densely but it was a good opportunity to try various new-to-me quilting motifs so I just kept adding more quilting.

The walking foot came out to stitch in the ditch around the butterfly and both sides of the narrow border.

I used feather and circle templates/rulers for the quilting in the butterfly wings.  I quilted the left wing first, then tried to quilt the mirror image in the right wings.  Somehow, …

Blaze into fall

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School's in and I saw a large pumpkin display at the supermarket yesterday. I guess that means fall but I'm not quite ready to pull out my fall quilts yet. However, Sandra of mmm!quilts made a striking version of one of them that I think works year-round.



This is Blaze made up in Island Batik fabrics.  Who would have thought that little pop of pink would be so effective?  Well, Sandra, obviously, but not me! You can check out her blog post here for other quilty details, lots of close ups of her gorgeous quilting and her signature quilt-in-a-tree shot of the quilt.  Plan to spend a little extra time browsing when you go visit.  Sandra is a prolific quilter and talented designer as well as an all-around fun and kind lady.



Quilter's Meet and Greet

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Benita of Victoriana Quilts is hosting a Quilter's Meet and Greet. If you landed here from there, welcome! If you landed here from elsewhere, welcome to you as well.


I am Joanne, a Canadian quilter and pattern designer currently living in Iowa. The quilt above was my little celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary last summer, down here in Iowa.

I have been quilting since the turn of this century.  Wait.  That makes me sound ancient!  I started quilting in 2000 when I needed a wedding gift for my brother's wedding in spring 2001.  I used the gift budget to buy quilting tools instead. Don't worry.  I gave the happy couple a quilt.  It was a little late (2002?) but it was my first effort and I underestimated the time required.  I'm sure you're familiar with this sort of thing.  I'm very familiar with this still. You can see my latest example in my previous post.


I'm still not the speediest quilter, but I manage more than one quilt every two years now.  …