Friday, April 30, 2021


 It's finally here--time to make the Inner and Upper Roads so we can join the entire center of Color My World into a complete circle!

Are you Ready? This is my friend Pam's Small House border on the wall with her Compass/Inner Road center on top. I asked Pam to make the Inner Road  ahead of time, so I could use hers to demo the steps for you in this Blog, the Supplemental Video and the LIVE broadcast. Thanks, Pam!

Mine,  laying on a bed:

The pattern instructions are  very good so you should be able to follow them easily. There are also  TWO VIDEOS to help you. Take the time to read the pattern, this blog and watch both Videos. 

Here are the various parts of the INNER ROAD laid out. There are also solid black wedges, not shown here--they alternate with the black/white wedges in each arc: 

If you are paper piecing with regular paper, not freezer paper, you will need 8 Inner Road arcs. I printed 3 copies of the arc, pasted them on a sheet of copy paper, and can now print only 3 sheets of paper to get all 8 of the arc patterns:
For the Upper Road, you can get 2 arcs on a sheet of paper and need 16 arcs so that will take 8 sheets of paper: 

NOTICE that on each sheet of paper, I included the 1" SCALE BOX so I could be certain the arcs printed the correct size.

If you are using freezer paper, as I did, you really don't need more than two of each arc, using them repeatedly until you have 8 Inner Roads and 16 Upper Roads. Use more if you prefer.

Make one Road completely before making the second. The sizes are similar but NOT THE SAME so it would be easy to get the units confused. I made the Inner Road, then the Upper Road. 

To be sure I could easily tell which is the TOP side, I used a chalk pencil to draw a little line in the seam allowance of the wedges: 

Make each arc carefully, aligning the Guideline on the Inner Road Template in the center of the white fabric. This is shown clearly in Step 4 of the Pattern Instructions. 

I recommend you use a stitch length no longer than 2.0 so the seams don't come apart as you are joining them to the Compass and Small Houses--there is a lot of handling these arcs as they are pinned and then sewn to the other parts of the center. Even better, backstitch at the beginning and end of EACH seam while making the arcs. It's no fun when the seams start to pop open as you are pinning the circle in place.

Once the pieces are sewn into an arc, using the paper pattern, trim as carefully as possible so the edge of the fabric is at the edge of the paper pattern. It is now ESSENTIAL that you SEW AN ACCURATE 1/4" SEAM ALLOWANCE, as you join the arcs into a complete circle. Take your time and sew as accurately as you are able, from the top of each seam to the bottom, straight and accurate all the way down-- AND BACKSTITCH. I pressed the SEAMS OPEN as I joined the arcs together. You can press ALL THE SEAMS open if you like.  


Your Mariner's Compass should be 14.5" in all directions, including seam allowance. Double check this now before starting to pin the Inner Road to the Compass. 

Once you have all 8 Inner Road Arcs sewn into a circle, it it time to join them to the Mariner's Compass center. Start with the compass flat on the table and pin the Inner Road ON TOP OF the Compass.

Take your time and pin, pin, pin. Most seams of the sewn together arcs match a point on the outside edge of the Mariner's Compass.  Start at North, East, South, and West, then again halfway between those points to get the Inner Road to nicely fit to the Compass:

NOTICE: I placed the pins horizontally at the place where a Compass point is underneath--so I can be sure to keep that point seam laying flat, either open or to the side, depending on how the Compass was made. I placed the pins vertically where there was no point underneath, just to keep the edges aligned.

Now, SEW SLOWLY! Using a stiletto or the point of a seam ripper, try to keep the two edges aligned as you sew from each pin to the next.  TAKE YOUR TIME--it's not a race and sewing slowly will get the job done accurately. The process of pinning and sewing the Inner Road took me close to an hour and the Upper Road took somewhat more than an hour. 


The accomplishment comes when you take your Compass/Inner Road out of the machine and IT FITS! Do a HAPPY DANCE and congratulate yourself. 

This is my friend Pam's center and Inner Road that I sewed. It came out perfectly. The Inner Road is 2" wide finished so this center now is 18.5" all across, including the seam allowances.  She gets to do all the remaining sewing!

Back to the Process, describing how I made my sample quilt last Summer: 

BIG TIP--it will REALLY HELP to keep the seams closed if you STAYSTITCH the edges of the ring of Small Houses, both the outside and inside circles. Staystitching means to sew a line of stitching within the seam allowance, about 1/8" in, working with the wrong side up so you can see the seams. 

After I had the Compass/Inner Road done, I made the Upper Road and attached it to the OUTSIDE EDGE OF THE SMALL HOUSES RING. It is a BIG CIRCLE and takes time to do. I even did it the day after the Compass/Inner Ring since it takes a lot of careful pinning/sewing to complete successfully.  Have the Small Houses ring flat on he table and the Upper Road on top, right sides together.


Then I joined the RING OF SMALL HOUSES to the INNER ROAD. For me, this  was the best order of sewing--it allowed me to handle the BIG CIRCLE without having the Compass/Inner Road already in place. This is also the order Wendy Williams tells you to join these sections in her instructions.

Again, you will pin the arc seams to small house seams, matching all the way around. Have the Inner Road/Compass  flat on the table and PIN THE LOWER EDGE OF THE SMALL HOUSES TO THE INNER ROAD--the SMALL HOUSES ARE ON TOP, face down.

PRESS TOWARD THE INNER ROAD--or OUT toward the Small Houses, if you prefer .

What if things don't line up? By pinning each seam of the Roads to a matching place on the Compass and Small Houses, you only have to "EASE TO FIT" for a short distance.  This is especially true of the INNER ROAD/COMPASS connection. Don't push the problem ahead, getting more and more off course. Sew carefully from one seam to the next. Use as many pins as needed to keep things in place.

On the UPPER ROAD, there are not as many seams to align. Here is a closeup of mine and I want you to see that the treetops are not perfect at the seams. I am OK with this. From any distance at all they look just fine. The connection on the left is pretty close to spot on, the one on the right, not so much:

You get to decide how perfect your quilt has to be. The finished Center should be 43.5", including seam allowances, when it is complete, including both Roads. As long as yours is "close"--less than 1/4" off in either direction, you'll be fine. You can "ease to fit" when joining the very large outer ring of Tall Buildings much later.

My BEST ADVICE this month: DON'T BE IN A HURRY. Take your time as you complete this month's work. You have a lot invested to this point and once you  have a complete center you are happy with, all the time you spent so far will have been worth it. 

And the REST IS GRAVY! By that I mean: the Tall Buildings yet to come will not be as difficult as the effort so far. Partly because you know what you're doing and partly because there is a lot of repetition and most of the pieces are larger than the Small House pieces.

Next Month we make Tall Building 1, left and right, 4 of each. 

Let's quilt. 


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Spring Has Sprung!

Non-quilty post--unless you see all the colors that make beautiful quilts too.

Spring is my favorite time of year, especially in my garden. My favorite flowers are in bloom, it's not too hot to walk around and enjoy them, and rains make it a bit easier to weed the beds,

Here are some shots of my yard currently:

Near the pond

Near the pond

Nelly Moser clematis

Bed in front of the pond
Some of the pond

More of the pond

Blackberries come Summer

Bed in front yard

Corner of bed in front yard

Bed in front yard

My MOST favorite iris

Path to the front door

Mexican Heather will bloom in another month

The latest Barn quilt--a surprise

Want Lenten Rose seeds? In another month there will be thousands 

Sadly, my husband cut down the two ornamental cherry trees a month ago. They had a disease for several years that defied treatment and caused the leaves to dry up and drop off in July, looking like dead trees for most of the year. But I do miss this spectacular sight:

Front Yard

Side Yard

And I am too late for the forsythia--this was a month ago. It all started with one small plant given to our son Andy for his baptism in 1981. We have moved cuttings of it to all the homes since then, ours and his. So pretty in early March when Spring is just getting started:

Now, let's quilt.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

Love Beginning Quilters

 I just finished teaching a 3 week Learn to Quilt--Fast and Fun class locally. We had 11 students, about half of whom were totally new to quilting. The class was  held at Sweet Home Quilting.

My sample gives you the idea--simple 9-patch blocks, the basics of Cutting, Sewing and Pressing, and then how to assemble a quilt top, and the basics of how to complete the quilt, whether you want to quilt it yourself or "quilt by checkbook"--i.e., pay someone to quilt it for you:

Approx. 38" x 48"

The students who attended the last class are on their way:

Mother/Daughter team Tori showing hers

Tori showing her mom's Inez

Kim is making a bed size for her son

Pat was told what colors to use for this baby quilt

Shelia made great strides in class

Joyce loves playing with bright fabrics

I can always tell a class is successful when the students all say "What's your next class?" I showed them several options I am thinking of offering in a couple months and there was great interest. Love to see the excitement in a new quilter as she realizes "I can DO that!"

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, April 21, 2021


 Over the years, I have participated in more than a few Round Robin and Block Swap projects. Recently, when I featured this quilt, begun in 2004 in a Round Robin project, and completed in 2011, several of the Sunday Sew and Sews expressed interest in starting a Round Robin:

A-Round With My Friends

Round Robins became a "thing" about 20 years ago. It involves getting a group of interested quilters together and setting the rules and timeframe. Each person makes a center block of their choice. They select a theme or fabric colors/styles, and each person in the group works on each quilt for some specific amount of time. Each person adds the next "round", or border, to the top they are given. The project boxes are passed to each person in turn--each quilt gets bigger each time a "round" is added.  When the project is over, the owner gets their quilt top back, to do with as they please.

Here is the info I sent to the 15 Sunday Sew and Sews--8 decided to PLAY:

  1. Strictly optional—only play if you really want to and are prepared to keep to the schedule
  2. Group size would be 5-6 people, we might have two groups depending on how many want to play. The group will have a list of each person in their group—selected at random
  3. Each person starts by making the center block of their choice, 12”-16”, you decide
  4. Each person puts together a small fabric palette of fabrics they like, perhaps a few from their center, these will be added to by the participants
  5. Each person writes a note with their “kit”, what they hope to see, what they like or don’t like—I remember Janet saying she just didn’t like pinwheels
  6. Each person puts their Kit—center, fabrics, note—in a tote of some kind—to pass to others in the group
  7. We will start at the June 6 Sunday Sew and Sews gathering
  8. You pass your kit to the person below you on the list. You receive a kit from the person above you on the list
  9. Each person has one month to add a round to the quilt—bringing the Kit back to the July meeting to  pass to the next person on the list—you may add a few fabrics to the kit but don't have to
  10. We will have two months to complete the final round—as by now the quilt has grown and it’s much larger than when it started
  11. It would be most fun to not share the quilt’s progress with the “owner”—she will only see it at the final reveal party--NOTE: we decided NOT to keep the progress a secret
  12. You are free to ask for help/suggestions from anyone else in the group
We ended up with 8 total participants so we have two groups of 4 people each. If the group is much larger than 5, the quilts start to get pretty big as each round is added.

I thought I might be in two groups if we had an odd number so I made two center blocks:

14" block inspired by an antique quilt at the Shelburne Museum

12" Bullseye block from pattern by Becky Goldsmith

an extra 14" block made when I realized I had cut out two of them

My project Kit box. The fabrics can be used on this project only--no one can keep any of the fabrics that come in the boxes. They can add to the box or simply use the fabrics as suggestions for what kind of fabric and/or colors to use. The middle block above, the Bullseye, is the one I will put in my box:

Some Round Robin groups have lots more rules--like exactly what to make for each round: Half Square Triangles, then Flying Geese, then Star blocks, etc. Some have almost no rules--do what you want, when you want, no timeframe, get done whenever you can. 

For a new group, I suggest some specific rules, especially timeframes, and that your best work is expected. I trust this group completely so didn't need to stress that. It is important that those who choose to play really want to--it is a commitment of time and effort to participate.

Block Swaps are different and can be easier. Here is a detailed blog I wrote about that process:
 Swap Blocks for Confident Quilters  Choose units that don't rely on perfect 1/4 seam allowances, like half square triangles, or very easy blocks. Search "Block Swap" above to find several other posts on these swaps.

My Advice if you decide to organize a Round Robin OR a Block Swap:

1. Choose the participants carefully, those who will keep to the timeline and do their best work
2. Set clear rules, many or few, and be sure everyone understands the rules
3. Set a reasonable amount of time for completion
4. The organizer needs to keep on top of the passing of the quilts or swapping of blocks, to be sure it happens timely--especially if the swapping will happen by mail

Perhaps this gives you an idea for how to work with a group of friends on such a project. The process is a great learning experience for everyone and the finished quilts are usually better than if only one person made the entire quilt. 

In the featured quilt above, I loved it so much when I got it back from the two friends in that Round Robin, I knew it deserved to be bigger.  I added the needle-turned hand applique borders and spent two years, off and on, doing the detailed hand quilting. This quilt won Best of Show in 2011, was a semi-finalist in Paducah in 2012 and was included as one of the best 500 Traditional Quilts in the 2014 book by that name, and was featured in the Special Exhibit at Houston 2014 of some of the quilts from that book. 

Let's quilt.


Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Few New Finishes

 It seems I have been getting a lot done lately... Here are a few new finished quilts

1 It's A Puzzle--3" blocks. Based on an antique crib quilt, circa 1920, this has 300 3" blocks. The top was 45" x 60", it's a little smaller now that the quilting is done:

The quilting started with a diagonal line through the half square triangles, to create rows to add feathers. It went pretty fast and I was very happy with the improvement in my feathers:

As a class sample I made 4" blocks, which only requires 90 blocks to create a decent size crib quilt. Students can choose to make either size block--I find they prefer the 4" blocks to learn the technique, since making 90 blocks seems much less daunting than making 300. Here they are side by side:

The quilting on the smaller one is simply diagonal lines, using ruler work, fast and easy. It's a Puzzle 4" blocks, 36" x 40":

Many quilters have made "COVID" or "Stay at Home" quilts over the past year. Mine is called "Pandemic Paradox"  If only the virus was NEON GREEN: 

It's about 48" square and each group of circles includes one "bad" one--the NEON GREEN we need to avoid. I used Applipops and Karen K Biuckley's Perfect Circles. The lettering was printed directly on the border fabric, written in Word, and then run through the printer on 8.5" x 11" cuts of the fabric, with freezer paper on the back for stability in printing. 

The quilting is a combination of ruler work and free motion swirly lines: 

I include a hanging sleeve on every quilt I make. The Tutorial can be found above, in the list of Tutorials. Another Tutorial discusses binding and another one talks about adding a label to all your quilts. 

Now I am trying to finish Afternoon Delight Made Easy ,see that post HERE.  Then a BIG project lands in my lap that will take quite a bit of time to complete. I'm never bored nor wonder what I'm going to do each day. I hope the same is true for you.

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021


 I am thrilled to announce that more than 20 of my life's works will be on display at International Quilt Market and Festival this Fall. Festival dates are  October 27-31, 2021. The Special Exhibit, entitled "My Joyful Journey", will feature some of my earliest, truly beginning quilts, and show my progression to the quiltmaker I am today. Four of the quilts will be those that have won Best of Show. All 5 of the quilts in the banner up above will be there.

Many of them are stored here:

Some are stored rolled up and some are on display throughout my home. A few will be for sale. Photos of the quilts can be found earlier on this blog--I told the story of each one beginning December 20, 2020, and finishing March 21, 2021. 

There is something magical about seeing a collection of quilts featured in Houston. I have had several quilts displayed in the Special Exhibit "In The American Tradition".  Seeing your work among such wonderful quilts is hard to describe. 

 Here is a photo I took in 2018--the black drapes, the perfect lighting, the signs telling the story of each quilt--just so amazing. This is a special exhibit, featuring my friend's quilt: Contentment: A 25th Anniversary Celebration, by Teresa Yielding Rawson:

I told my family I consider this my "Lifetime Achievement Award" and very much want them to come see it. So, I better find them a room...

It is sure to be almost as exciting as 2014. And Red and White--By The Numbers, will be featured as part of my Special Exhibit. It is part of the Corporate collection of Quilts, Inc.:

I hope you will be able to join us in Houston this Fall. Get your shot and wash your hands!

Let's quilt.


Sunday, April 11, 2021


 Afternoon Delight, designed by Sue Garman, was the 2020 Block of the Month quilt for The Quilt Show. Many people made it and it is a beautiful design. Forty applique' blocks, 9 Shoo Fly blocks and 64 Double 9 Patch blocks, each with 45 tiny squares, each 3/4".  The Double 9 Patches seemed to do most people in, about 3/4 of the way through. There are just so many of them.

I made two of these--the original for the taping of The Quilt Show and a smaller one so I had step-outs for the year-long blogs I write in support of the Block of the Month for The Quilt Show:

Little Afternoon Delight

The original size pattern

One of the Sunday Sew and Sews, Janet, had a plan that was sure to be easier. At our February 2020 meeting, she had a  sparkle in her eye and a big grin as she showed us what she was going to do. Here is Janet that day, in the red blouse, seated in the comfy chair usually reserved for her: 

She had a plastic box filled with beautiful fabrics. Printed yardage featured a floral pattern with hummingbirds. The design was a good size for making Afternoon Delight--WITHOUT applique:

Just a few weeks later, Janet died suddenly from a stroke. The Sunday Sew and Sews helped her daughter deal with an unbelievable stash and complete a BIG project of making 50 charity quilts Janet had started. I wrote much about all this several times last year:


Quilter's Estate Sale

When it came to the sale, I snapped up that plastic box, full of Janet's planned "Afternoon Delight Made Easy".

This week I started working on it. The floral designs were able to be cut into 7.5" squares. In the box was a soft yellow print that I used to enlarge those designs to 9" finished squares by adding a 1" finished border to each floral design. There is a large amount of off-white print fabric for making those blocks. 

There is also a LOT of an companion fabric to the floral panels I will use for border and backing. Janet bought fabric in HUGE amounts and I am glad she did for this project:

The Double 9 Patches are still daunting, but they are made from 1" finished squares so not too bad. 

I have decided to make this about twin size and will then pass on the box to another Sunday Sew and Sew who wants a Hummingbird Afternoon Delight of their own. My progress so far:

It is a great "Leader/Ender" project, using strips to make various combinations of 9-patches:

Little known fact--20 years ago when we built this house, I named it "Hummingbird Hollow". Each year I eagerly await the return of the beauties. Our feeders are up and they should show up any day now.

Janet would be pleased her vision is coming to life. She wasn't about to make 40 applique blocks when she had these beautiful floral bouquets, complete with hummers.

Let's quilt.