Friday, January 31, 2020


This pattern is the 2020 Block of the Month pattern offered FREE to Star members of The Quilt Show--join today to receive the entire year of patterns free. This is in addition to all the great content provided by The Quilt Show, 26 shows, a new one every two weeks, and so much more. If you want to know more about why I am such a fan, here is why.


This month we will make 2 more Shoo Fly Blocks, using the same instructions as last month. See my blog post for more information:

Month 1--Part 1

Let's talk about PRESSING these blocks.

All 9 of the Shoo Fly blocks will be sewn to a Double Nine Patch block--we start making those in June. To allow the seams to "nest", it is best to press the Shoo Fly seams AWAY from the center, toward the outside edges:

You have to be assertive in pressing sometimes. Using starch or sizing or a product such as Best Press, can help get those seams to lay flat. I also found I like to "twirl" the intersection seams just as we did with the little four patches. The block on the left has been pressed with twirled seams, the one on the right has not been pressed:


I have decided to use raw edge applique for my applique blocks. The speed of preparation, compared to turned edge or needle turn hand applique is the reason. Review both the pattern instructions from Month 1 and my Month 1 blog instructions for more information:

Month 1--Part 2

TIP: Before cutting out the pattern, use a light mark with a pencil or other marker you know will not bleed, to give a few "positioning marks" on the background. This white fabric is easy. With a darker fabric, you may need a lightbox or window to trace a few simple lines:

First, I rough cut the printed patterns. I do save all the remaining fusible sheet, these pieces are large enough to use for other small projects. I simply store them in a ziploc bag:

Blocks 5 and 6 from my Sample Quilt:

Block 5
Block 6

Let's look at Block 5. The large shapes, P1 and P2, bump right up against each other. This is true for many of the blocks. With raw edge applique, if I cut all those pieces exactly on the black lines, I will have to be certain I position the pieces exactly next to each other, so none of the background fabric shows through.

NOTE: Had I followed Sue’s directions, making a pieced four-patch to cut the appliqué, this block would have been easier. Always READ the directions, she said to herself...

Instead, I cut the shapes from the lighter fabric, P1 here, with 1/4" extra sticking out on the two sides that will touch shape P2:

Yellow pencil line drawn 1/4" beyond edge of shape

Both sets of shapes cut

This allows the darker shape to be attached to the lighter shape as all four shapes are glued to the background, with no chance of white background fabric showing. Notice the extra fabric goes beyond the center lines:

I did the same thing with the P1 piece in the center:

Here is the block, stitched, soaked, trimmed and done:

For Block 6, I used Sue's directions in Month 1 to make the stems--they are straight so they don't need to be made from bias.

The tulips, leaves and center circle can be cut exactly on the black lines for raw edge. Make a few reference lines on the background, add the leaves, then the stems, then the tulips, and the center circle.

There are a LOT of circles in this quilt and if you prefer a turned edge, Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circle method is a winner. Perfect Circles, Show 2007. There is no reason you can't use turned edge circles along with raw edge shapes in the same block--I call it the "hybrid" method.

Let's look back to Month 1 for a moment:

Block 1 from last month has a lot of pieces that touch edges. Here is how I cut those flowers out. The edges cut right on the line, the lower edge of pieces 5, 4, 3, and 2, will have the fabric extended so the piece below it sits on fabric, just as if I were doing these with traditional hand needle turn.

The center of Block 1 has a double circle--there are several of those in this quilt, too. Feel free to only add one circle, the larger one--that's a great place to fussy cut a fabric if one is perfect for that size--here I only cut 1 circle, not 2:

I liked having the extra fabric under each small piece and it wasn't hard to stitch. The finished block. Notice I changed my mind and did both circles in the center:

Post photos of your blocks on the Forum Show and Tell page. The Forum is a great place to get the latest information and ask questions. If something comes up that I think lots of you will want to know I post it on the Forum.

Also, the Newsletter which you sign up for  comes out every couple days--another way to know what is  happening in the quilt world--not just about this quilt or our shows. Personally, I love the puzzles!

Here are the other two applique blocks from my sample quilt. Remember, if using the Kit, you get to choose which fabrics you want to use for each block:

Block 7  

Block 8
Let's quilt.


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Easy Quilt Patterns

Quilts don't have to be hard to be good quilts. Some of the simplest patterns are wonderful designs.

Here are a few I am hoping to make:

1. X Block or Churn Dash?
An antique top I bought from Cindy Rennels in 2014. At first, I thought it's a Shoo Fly/Churn Dash. Then I thought it's really an X block or Old Italian Block, one of my favorites. It has great fabrics, the first block shows a beautiful blue fabric, a Commemorative of the Centennial--1776-1876:

Centennial Commemorative Fabric

It has only one background fabric and while that's not my normal mode, it really makes all these fabrics stand out. I will make mine just like this:

Detail showing various fabrics

The Top
2. Nine Patch Quilt--how easy can it be? This one is amazing because of the fabric/color placement. It is an Amish quilt, circa 1920. 

This photo has been making the rounds recently when Mary Elizabeth Kinch included it in her Twelve Quilts of Christmas blogs last month. I saved the photo years ago--it is still an appealing quilt to me:

3. Another antique from Julie Silber, this one looks far more complex than it is:

The photo was on a Facebook group for Vintage and Antique quilts and there were several ideas about how the quilt was made. I am eager to give it a try.

4. What could be easier than nine patches? How about one-patches, 3" finished? This antique top was bought from Cindy Rennels and it is only when you see it straight-on that the careful color placement of the patches is apparent: 

I bought it for the fabulous fabric collection it holds. Now I want to replicate it. A few detail shots:

I have made a few simple quilts over the years, most recently My Lifetime
Quilt, 100" x 100", 1.75" half square triangles, 12,800 triangles. In the three years I worked on it, I saw several antique quilts at shows or in photographs that are similar. Easy can still be amazing:

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Hard Stuff

As a baby quilter, in the mid-1980's, I was taken with a wonderful quilt by Jinny Beyer, Ray of Light, made in 1977. It won the Good Housekeeping contest "The Great American Quilt". It is both pieced and quilted by hand. I clearly remember telling new quilter friends "Some day I want to make a quilt like that". At the time, that seemed pretty unlikely:

Ray of Light, by Jinny Beyer

It was about 5 years ago when I saw a collage of my quilts that I realized how many Medallion style quilts I have made and immediately made the connection to Jinny's quilt I had seen so many years before. I am a huge fan of Jinny Beyer, her fabrics, her patterns, her books, and her spirit. One of those who have really made a difference in my quilting world.

In the last 10 years or so, I have taken on ever-increasing "degree of difficulty" quilts as a challenge to myself.

Here are a few more I am hoping to make:

1. Made by Catherine Butterworth, an Australian quilter who continues to make great quilts and win big awards. Look at her Instagram feed and be amazed:  ccbutterworth. I wish I knew the name of this quilt--she made it for her daughter who uses it every day on her bed:

When I saw this in a quilt magazine,  I was able to track her down and corresponded with her about my desire to make one similar. She was gracious, had no plans to create a pattern, and wished me well.  It was my intention to make a Diamond Jubilee quilt to celebrate my 60th birthday. So far I have 4 blocks done. Since I am now on the other side of 65, it may never get done. But I still love hers:

This shows how this block is made, without Y-Seams, it is paper pieced using a Sue Garman pattern, Washington-Medallion:

2. Another Challenging quilt I want to make is Western Sun, published in a book by Barbara Brackman, Butternut and Blue.  

I saw this quilt on Julie Silber's website and wanted to make it. I was so happy to learn Barbara had already created the pattern because it's not easy to draft.  Immediately, I ordered the book from Barbara and told her it was officially on my "bucket list".

This is the photo Julie had that got a lot of attention from those of us who love antique quilts:

It's got a lot I love: many fabrics, star points, circles pieced or appliqued, and a flying geese sashing border throughout. Isn't it luscious?

There are a few more challenging quilts I hope to make, time will tell. There are a few more easy ones too. Those are coming in the next post.

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Old Italian Block Qults

Another block that I really love is the Old Italian Block, often called the X Block.

I have made a couple. This was made in a swap with several other quilters, a great use for this block:

Wider pieces in these two, same size blocks, 8" finished:

Miniature, 3" finished blocks, given to a special friend:

Stella's Doll Quilt, blocks are 5" finished:

This block is often seen used in Civil War Soldier's Cot quilts. It is easy to make and can be made in a variety of sizes. I love to teach this workshop and have written about that here: X Marks the Spot   

I also have a Tutorial for making these blocks one at a time instead of in group:  Old Italian Block Tutorial.

It is likely I will make more of these--they are so easy but a great way to use your favorite fabrics.

Let's quilt.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Flying Geese Quilts

For years, I have loved quilts with Flying Geese units. Here are a few that speak to me.

1. Pieces of the Past--Circa 1875, made 1995, replicating an antique top I own:

I do plan to make one more Pieces of the Past--Circa 1875 with purple reproduction fabrics, since I now know the browns in the antique top were originally purple.

2. 5 Easy Pieces, made 1995, as a much easier version than Pieces of the Past:


3. I would like to know more about this quilt, it is a photo I saved years ago online. Any information on this particular quilt is welcomed:

4. This was on Ebay, a common strippy type with great red sashing: 

5. Wild Goose Chase, also on Ebay, love the bright cheddar sashing:

Another Antique Top I own, bought from Cindy Rennels

What about you? Flying Geese--love them or hate them?

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Log Cabin Quilts

Like many quilters, there are certain blocks that just speak to me. Some are "bucket list" quilts that are on the list. Some are just "wouldn't it be nice to make one of these someday" dreamer quilts.

Today let's look at Log Cabin Quilts--here are a few of my favorites.

1. Barb Vedder's Big Pineapple  Ever since I saw Barb working on this on Instagram, I have wanted to make one. This link shows how she spray basted it for machine quilting--I'll be eager to see it finished:

2. Antique from Julie Silber. This is a great log cabin Julie said was 1930's. The colors are so bright and pretty and cut small enough, can be made from today's contemporary fabrics for this look:

3. Antique on Display at the European Patchwork Quilt Meeting, Show Photos from Teri and Kara. There are a lot of beautiful quilts in this blog post. Notice how different this one feels from #2--very dark vs. very light:

4. One I have made before and would like to make again, in a bed size this time:

It is based on this old crib quilt I learned about at Appraisal classes in Paducah, 2008:

5. One Giant Log Cabin Block   Anita Grossman Soloman  Antique quilt circa 1880. Featured in the book Rotary Cutting Revolution.   Ever since I saw this quilt, I've wanted to make one like it: 

  I have made a few log cabin quilts over the years:

My first, 1989, made for and sold to Christmas Year 'Round magazine:

The basic Log Cabin, titled "Waste Not, Want Not" 1993:

Half Log Cabin, 1995, begun in a class with Sharyn Craig:

Batik-y Log Cabin, 1997:

A one-block Log Cabin, 2014. Pattern from the book Utility Quilts by Carolyn Forester, given to a friend. Hand quilted with "big stitch":

Creative Log Cabin, 2017, made as a class sample then used as a gift for a man I wanted to give a quilt to:

This year my Patriotic Pineapple is a "must finish" but some of these are still calling my name.

Let's quilt.