Friday, January 20, 2012

Garden Quilt Along - Tulips

The Tulip block measures 12 inches by 15 inches finished. You'll need a background, stem/leaf, and 5 assorted flower petal fabrics. Downloadable pdf version is available.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Garden Quilt Along - Flower Pot

The Flower Pot block is a picture block and measures 9 inches by 12 inches finished. You will need 7 fabrics (left) or 4 fabrics (right) plus templates for the flower pot base and seedling leaves. Unless otherwise notes, all seams are ¼ inch. Refer to diagram for fabric piece placement.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Complimentary Quilt Blocks

When trying to find 2 or more blocks that work well together in a quilt, it's best to choose them based on the same grid size. For example 4 patch blocks work best with 4 patch blocks. Next, because they will be alternating quilt blocks, odd numbers of rows and columns work best for the quilt layout.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quilt as Desired

To this day, nothing is so difficult for me in making a quilt than trying to figure out how to quilt it. I can do a pretty good meander, echo and stitch in the ditch, but that's getting boring.

Several years ago I read a book about expanding your quilting repertoire (I wish I could remember the name of the book now), and the best advice I got from it was to practice, practice, practice. The author suggested having a stack of 8 inch square quilt sandwiches all done up and waiting to be quilted. She used them to practice new quilting patterns and to warm up before working on that heirloom quilt.

It's great advice and in the book she also had ideas on uses for all your quilt blocks. I figured that I could possibly have too many potholders and table quilts, but I needed lots of practice, so I came up with making book covers too.

So get those small quilt sandwiches together and start practicing with the basics like echoing, stitch in the ditch, meandering, loops, grids, etc. and make sure that everyone you know has plenty of pot holders :)

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quilt Sandwich

Getting a quilt ready to be quilted is a very important step in how it will look when it's all finished. The first thing to do is to lay backing fabric with right side down and tape sides, top and bottom taunt. There is very little stretch on the straight of grain.

Next, tape the corners taunt also. When doing so, be careful not to overly stretch on the bias.

Lay the batting on top of the backing and smooth out any wrinkles. Make sure batting is mostly on backing rather than hanging off on any one side. (Optional) tape in place also. Some batting is slippery and can cause puckers when quilting. To keep batting from slipping, spray baste batting to backing and quilt top.

Lay quilt top right side up on batting/backing and make sure batting and backing stick out on all sides of quilt top.

When smoothing top out, square blocks and borders, pushing excess toward middle. This will help quilt lay and hang better and hide any imperfections in block or border size. Quilting will take up excess fabric.

Pin baste all layers together about 4 inches apart or the width of your fist. Start by pinning centers in both directions.
Finish pin basting the rest of the quarters.

Gently remove tape and now your quilt is ready to be quilted.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Stained Glass as you go quilt method

 A few months ago I came up with the idea of using piping to create the stained glass look in a quilt. I used it in a paper piecing project where I learned that some quilt blocks aren't well suited to using piping although I was fairly pleased with the results.

Next I tried it on a crazy quilt style block and it worked fabulously plus it was very easy and fast.

Finally I decided to try it on a regular quilt block in a larger quilt. I choose Jacob's Ladder because you must have self contained pieces in order to make this method work. Another words, blocks in which there are 2 more pieces of the same fabric next to each other doesn't work well with piping because you need the seam to finish the piping end.

The pattern for the Stained Glass Jacob's Ladder quilt is available in multiple eBook formats at and available at

Happy Quilting!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Old Maids Puzzle block

The Old Maid's Puzzle block is a simple nine patch layout block using squares and half square triangles with between 2 and 7 fabrics (picture uses 4). Instructions can be found on the website.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Garden Quilt Along - Intro

This time of year I always get inspired to start planning an enormous garden which will provide fresh vegetables well into the next winter. By the time everything is ready to plant outside, my plan is reduced to a more manageable size. When the frost starts in the fall I tell myself "next year plan smaller". Maybe making a garden quilt would be even better :)

I helped design this quilt for a quilt guild a few years ago. Each week a new block will be posted, and each quilter is encouraged to add their own embellishments. The finished quilt measures almost 50 inches square.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

54-40 or Fight quilt block

The 54-40 or Fight block is made using four patch units and peaky & spike units. It is set in a 3 by 3 square grid layout and uses 3 fabrics. This block works best with sizes that are easily divisible by 6. Instructions to make a 12 inch block are below.

Fabric 1 - background, green: Cut a 2½ inch strip for four patch units and a 4½ inch strip for peaky and spike units.
Fabric 2 - purple: Cut a 2½ inch strip for four patch units.
Fabric 3 - red: Cut a 4½ inch strip for peaky and spike units.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dutchman's puzzle

The Dutchman's Puzzle block is made with 8 flying geese units or 16 half square triangle units. Each block generally uses 3 different fabrics, a background with 2 complimentary fabrics.

Monday, January 2, 2012

1904 Star quilt block

The 1904 Star block is made with squares, half square triangles, quarter square triangles and peaky and spike blocks. It uses 6 fabrics and in this example I used 3 color groups.

For a 12 inch block, finished pieces sizes are...
Center square = 3 inches
Half square triangles in corners from 3 inch square
Quarter square triangles from 3 by 1½ inch rectangle
Peaky and spike unit is 4¼ inches square