Thursday, April 25, 2024

Half and Half (Two-Colour Mystery) Parade of Quilt Tops

It's been a fun two months, watching Two-Colour Mystery quilts take shape.  It's a little daunting to start a project with absolutely no idea what it might look like.  Thank you to all who took the leap and followed the instructions every week.  I hope you all love the quilt you ended up with!

Half and Half : the Two-Colour Mystery Quilt revealed
This throw size version made with Stonehenge Gradations and Crackle fabrics from Northcott

In all 1,600 quilters signed up to receive the clues!  That blew me away!  While I'm sure some saved the clues to use at a later date, I know many quilters stitched away weekly to have a finished quilt top by this week.  If you're on Facebook, you can see many, many lovely versions of the project in the Quilting with Canuck Quilter group.  The range of fabric choices was inspiring.

18 quilters also emailed photos to share here on the blog.  

Let's start with some baby sized versions.

Diane W.

Gail W.

Katie May and @katiemaytoo on IG

Lori B.

Ioleen K.

Next up, some lap sized tops.  You'll notice a few with an alternate block layout. I love to see how quilters start with my pattern then make adjustments to suit their tastes.

Denise Jolly

Denny J.

Jayne S
Notice the lights in this one are scrappy!

Jeanne M.

Karen M.

Kathy Wolf

Lynn B.
Check out the closeup below to see the scrappy beauty.
Lynn B.

Lynda T.
Lots of scrappy goodness here too!

Here are some throw size versions.

Candy Kerber

Dawn N.

Janet L.
This was repurposed fabric - it used to be curtains!

Tanya F.

Finally, some quilters are still working on their quilts, but wanted to share their progress.

Marilyn B.

Vicky O.

If you didn't participate in the quilt-along but are now inspired to create your own version of the quilt, you can find the pattern Half and Half in my Etsy shop as a stand-alone pattern.  This version of the pattern includes 7 sizes, baby to king.

My next task is to figure out a quilting plan for my scrappy Half and Half, which I plan to quilt myself on my domestic sewing machine.  I'll start by stitching in the ditch and hope that inspiration will strike as I stitch.  Wish me luck!  


How will I quilt it?

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Measuring and sewing borders

 Look what I found this week.

Before I made Stellar Breeze, I made test units from scraps, then sewed them together to test the sashing width I was considering.  I went on to make the cover quilt for the pattern but this little test top was forgotten.

When I rediscovered it today, I thought it could use a border, which is serendipitous. This week's mystery quilt clue will include borders.  I was thinking about making a tutorial to accompany it, but I forgot to take pictures of the process when I added the borders to my sample quilt.  Now here's a top begging for borders and I can take pictures of this one in progress.  Serendipitous!

How I measure and sew border strips for my quilts

TIP #1 : Measure!  

It's so tempting to grab a strip that's longer than the quilt, sew it on then trim the strip even with the quilt top, slicing off the extra length.  Its easy and oh-so-tempting and sometime you can get away with it.  However, it can lead to stretching the border or the quilt top, leading to either cupping or waving borders.  It can also lead to uneven sides if there's more stretching or easing in the border on one side of the quilt than the other.

TIP #2: Skip the measuring tapes and rulers.

I simply smooth the border strip across the center of the quilt top, with one end flush with one edge of the quilt and the other end extending past the other side of the quilt.  I can do this on the design wall or on the floor, or a on table if the quilt fits.  It's important for the strip to run straight across, not at an angle.

Measuring directly with/on the border strip

I mark where the extended part of the border strip intersects with the side of the quilt.  (I might repeat this at the top and bottom of the quilt, just to check the width of the quilt doesn't vary drastically from top to bottom.  If it's off a little bit - less than 1/4" -  I'll choose a point halfway between the marks as the length to work with.)

Marking the border strip

TIP #3: Make sure that opposite borders are cut exactly the same length

Both side borders should be exactly the same length.  Similarly, the top and bottom border lengths  should match exactly.

In my experience, the best way to achieve this is to layer two border strips together, matching the ends at the end of the strip that was flush with the edge of the quilt while measuring, then cut both strips at once.  You can't see both layers in the photo below, but there are two strips there.  The marking pencil is pointing to the mark I measured earlier.

Layer two border strips

I line up my ruler with the edges of the strip and the mark I made when measuring the border length earlier...

...and cut.  I folded one strip back after cutting to show you there were really two strips there :).

TIP #4: Match centers and ends/sides

Matching the center and ends of the border strip with the center and sides of the quilt helps ensure that the border isn't stretched or bunched up at any point.  The easiest way to find the center of each is to fold them in half and crease the fold.  
Fold quilt and border strip in half to find centers

Crease the fold

You may have noticed in the photos above that I folded the border strip wrong sides together and the quilt right sides together.  I do it this way on purpose.  You can see the two creases below.  One is a valley, the other a ridge.  When I flip the border so the quilt top and border are right sides together the crease in the border will dip down into the crease in the quilt top to help me easily match the centers.

Matching centers by matching the center crease

I pin at the center crease, then at the end, then halfway between those pins, and again halfway between each pair of pins, and so on until I have as many pins as I like to keep things in place.  I repeat that on the other half of the border to secure that as well.

After sewing the border with a 1/4" seam, I press towards the border, then repeat to add the second border to the opposite edge of the quilt.

Opposite borders added

To add the remaining borders, I repeat all the steps above, smoothing the border strip across the quilt, marking the length, trimming both border strips at once, matching centers and ends, pinning, sewing and pressing.

Measuring the remaining borders

Completed borders

That's it!  Nice flat borders. I repeat these steps as needed to add additional borders if the design has more than one.

(Some of you may wonder why I don't just calculate the required length of the borders and use that to cut the strips. In a perfectly two-dimensional world, this would be fine, but tiny variations in seam allowance add up over a whole quilt and result in a quilt top that is not quite the mathematically predicted size.  It's best to work with the quilt top I actually made rather than the theoretical quilt top math predicted.  Also, measuring with the strips is so much easier than wrangling multiple rulers or a measuring tape that isn't quite long enough or won't lay completely flat.)

I'm not sure what's next with this little quilt.  It measures 35" square now.  I don't know if I want it to be a wall quilt, or if I should add some round-robin pieced borders to make it larger.  I have some other projects in the queue, so there's no rush making a decision about this one but I'll try not to let it disappear for another 4 years!

Happy quilting,


Thursday, April 11, 2024

How I match Points

I'm not a pinner.  If I can get away with not pinning pieces before sewing, I do. Matching points is not one of those times. When I need points to meet, I embrace the pins!

I'll use these two flying geese units to illustrate.  Please note these units are NOT part of the Two-Color Mystery.

Step 1:  Find thin, sharp pins.

Step 2:  Insert a pin right at the point on the top unit.

Step 3: Insert the pin right at the point on the second unit.

Step 4:  Make sure the pin is perpendicular to the fabric.  If it's tipped over at all, it will be pushing the layers sideways relative to each other, offsetting the points instead of stacking them perfectly lined up.

Step 5: Insert two pins, one on each side of the first pin, as close to the first pin as possible.  Make sure the first pin remains perpendicular to the fabric.

Step 6:  Remove the first pin.

Step 7: Sew a 1/4" seam.  I leave the pins in, sewing very slowly as I approach and sew over them so I can watch and remove the pin only if the needle is going to hit the pin.  Leaving the pin in as long as possible helps keep the fabric from shifting and losing the alignment of the points.

Make sure the stitching touches the point as you sew past it.  You can see the point in the previous lines of stitching.

Step 8: Press the seam to one side or open.  Depending on the thickness of the fabric, you may find pressing open gives sharper points.  You can decide what pressing works best for your project.

That's what I do.  

My points are not always perfect, despite my best efforts.  I do the best I can.  I will rip a seam and try again if the alignment is really off, but sometimes the best I can manage isn't quite perfectly lined up.  In an effort to keep enjoying quilting and continue to enjoy its stress-relieving benefits,  have learned to accept "good enough" when "good enough" seems to be what I can manage.  Honestly, once the whole quilt is assembled and quilted, slightly misaligned points is not what most people will notice.  Most people will just enjoy the beauty of the whole piece. Anyone who quibbles can just go make their own quilt!

That said, if you have any point-matching tips to share, I'll be happy to try them out in the quest for perfect points!

Happy quilting,


My thanks to Northcott Fabrics for the fabrics I used in this tutorial.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Does Eclipse Sky match the actual eclipse?

In anticipation of the total solar eclipse in August 2017, I designed and made Eclipse Sky.  You may not be surprised to hear that the pattern has been enjoying a surge of popularity leading up to this year's total eclipse on April 8th.  I'm thrilled that it has been so well received.  I'm particularly psyched that Pat Sloan is making one and sharing in her YouTube videos and website.

That said, I need to address the question of whether the design is an accurate representation of a total eclipse.  I've been contacted multiple times by people informing me that I "got the order wrong" and that the panels should be in reverse order.

First, let's agree that this a quilt, not a scientific record.  There's a certain amount of artistic license.  Now let's discuss the design.

The design as I have made it correctly depicts an eclipse viewed with the naked eye (with proper eye protection, of course) in the Northern hemisphere.  The disc of the moon comes in from the right.  The quilt depicts the event from earliest in panel 1 to latest in panel 5. This is what I observed during the 2017 eclipse.

Here's a composite image of the 2017 eclipse seen from Madras, Oregon, found on the NASA website.

Image credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

When viewed or recorded through some devices, depending on the optics in the device, the image may be reversed.  This is the case for many telescopes and projectors.  You are of course free to record it this way on your own quilt if you prefer.

Also note that the angle at which the moon's disc enters and exits the disc of the sun is dependent on the location from which the eclipse is viewed. Yours may differ slightly from what I pictured in my quilt.

This website has a good animation of what to expect: .  You can enter your location to see what it would like where you are.

Are you planning to watch the total solar eclipse on April 8th?  If so, make sure you watch safely.  It's never safe for your eyes to look at the sun.  It isn't inherently more dangerous to look at it during an eclipse, it's just that you end up looking a lot longer than you should!  Here's information from NASA about safety precautions to view the eclipse.

After witnessing the total eclipse in August 2017, I'll have to settle for a partial eclipse this time around.  You can read about my 2017 eclipse day here.  If you're watching this year, take an extra peek for me!

Happy quilting,


PDF pattern available in my Etsy shop 
or ask for a print copy at your favourite quilt shop