my creative pursuits with quilts and knits

Time for borders

I sew many quilts for charity, mainly Quilts of Valor.  (When there is another quilter in the family and only one other sibling, there are not many in-house requests, LOL!!)  Back in January one of my students asked me to perform in the staff talent show at my high school.  Since I prefer to sing in a choir, I thought of a way to showcase my true love. I set up a machine backstage, and introduced myself to the audience and explained that I was going to take the long strip of fabric (prepared jelly roll strips) and turn it into a quilt top.  While the other acts performed, I put the pedal to the metal.  Phew, I was worried that I would have to stop short due to time constraints, but the show director added one extra song, and I cut the threads just as that piece ended.

TA DA!!!image

I love the combination of the lighter blue and the different neutrals in this line from Moda. (I think it is called “Red White and Free”)

I also had a sewing day with students from the National Honor Society, and they made the blocks for this Yellow Brick Road quilt:image

I had the thought to use both tops to make a reversible quilt, but I talked myself out of that.  It seems like cheating when I can easily make two quilts and honor two of our dedicated service members.

My traditional jelly roll top finished at 51×63, which is too small for QOV (they request a minimum of 55×65, and the preferred size is 60×80).  So, I found some red fabric in my stash and added another 2″ border and on my last shopping spree I found that great navy blue dotted fabric.  I loved it so much I bought the end of the bolt, about 2.5 yards!!  I am adding a 4″ border of blue so the quilt should end up about 63x 75.imageI will have to dig deeper in the stash to find pieces for a backing, and then I have the perfect pantograph in mind for the quilting.  I hope to have this done in a week or so in order to share it with the students who organized the staff talent show before school ends.  By the way, I got a cute Santa trophy for “Most Unexpected Talent.”  It was a fun night!

WIP Wednesday

I have a forced day off since my daughter is home with a sore throat.  She is tucked into her sick bed on the couch with a marathon of cartoons, and I have some extra time in the sewing room!  I am still working on Bonnie Hunter’s Grand Illusion (remember to print out the pattern if you want it free…she will take it off her website soon for future publication).


The green checkboard rows are the sashing.  There will be additional borders.  If I can stay organized enough, I put tops together in a “twosy-foursy” method that I learned from Jackie Robinson.  I made myself some notes…


Since you don’t want to end up with double sashing, some blocks get one, two or three sides sashed and then attached to other blocks.  My grand plan fell apart rather quickly, while I was trying to do multiple rows instead of an orderly progression.  I haven’t needed to rip anything yet, so it’s all good.  I just need to slow down and work step by step.  This is a perfect place to incorporate some leader-ender squares!


Today, 3-14-15, is a mathematician’s dream – Pi Day of the Century!  A friend of mine has posters in his classroom of all sorts of Pi puns, which I thought would make a cute quilt.  Now I will be on the hunt for small prints to make this work.

My first effort:  Cherry Pi(e)!


Very simple process for a raw-edge applique block.  Find a pi symbol you like online, and print it as a five inch square.image Layer the paper on top of your focus fabric (cut a square 5-6″), on top of the background, which I cut at 6-1/2″.

Sew along the printed line of the pi symbol.  Tear away the outside of the symbol.  I left the middle paper in place for stability while I trimmed the fabric on the outside of the stitches.  Be careful to only trim the focus fabric – NOT the background!  When you are done trimming, remove the rest of the paper, and you are done.

I am looking for pumpkins, American flags (the song…), other fruit, etc.  Even a Mustache for Tom Selleck as Magnum PI, LOL.  If I can find pots small enough, that would be a cute block also…or a fussy cut shepherd, inspired by another tasty recipe.  What are your favorite Pi(e) day puns?

Free Motion Quilting

My best customer is keeping me in business ;-)  Thanks Mom!  She is a certified Angle Play (TM) instructor, and this is a class sample.

image (not wrinkled in real life, just laid on a chair for a quick photo)

I matched the thread to the rows and did a free motion swirl design across the blue sections and a fern feather across the yellow parts.  Here is the back detail.


I think of the blue section as Landscape fill, since it can look like elevation lines on a contour map.  Here is a sketch of how it is quilted.  You can also search through Leah Day’s tutorials for a similar design.


First break your space into smaller sections, then go back and echo the line.  I use alot of gentle S curves.image You can add a swirl here and there for more interest.  I also add a touch of McTavishing, which is a slightly different effect where one end of the curve always hits the same point.  This is a good filler design for borders.

I want to mention that if you ever see a quilt you are interested in purchasing, please contact me.  I am open to selling my work and I do quilt on commission.  I can teach workshops too!

Sunday Sewing

I finished a small quilt for my best customer…my mom :-)  We agreed on a pantograph so it was quick and easy to get this done as a sample for a class she is teaching on using stripes.


I tried to get a close up of the panto design, swirly paisleys  image

I also made two more blocks for my True Blue 92 quilt.  The pattern is Double Friendship Star (pattern from Quilter’s Cache website).

image  While my students were taking final exams, I sketched out a final layout, but of course now I can’t find the scrap of paper with my calculations!  The plan is to make 92 star blocks to represent my college graduation back in 1992.  I chose 9-inch blocks, and I will make 2 of most of them.  Then I realized, the quilt will be HUGE, and I think I figured out a way to make some smaller blocks in the center and corners and keep the overall size around 90″ square.

Mystery Revealed!

Bonnie Hunter, at Quiltville, revealed her layout for the mystery quilt, Grand Illusion.  I love the shimmery effect, it makes me think of crystals and snowflakes.  I only had time to put a couple blocks together.

Here is the basic center with three of the weekly clues:

2015-01-04 17.56.04

I was going for a scrappy look, but I had a larger piece of the checkerboard pink print, so that will show up most often!

And then we added one more unit for sashings with some solid cornerstones.  TA-DA!

2015-01-04 17.56.31

On-going projects

I had hoped for more sewing time this vacation, but family outings have taken priority.

i managed to get clue 5 done for the Grand Illusion mystery:



We (all of us MQAL followers) are anxiously waiting for Friday morning to see if we will be sewing more units or if it is time to put things together. You can find the mystery details as well as many other patterns and tutorials at Bonnie’s website (

In between clues, I have been working on some other UFO’s.  Over the summer I joined a Swoon block exchange. The blocks are in rows and I have a plan for borders, and have even started on the back!


I also finished the December blocks for the Mod Mod QAL.


Both of these are destined for Quilts of Valor.

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