Sunday, April 30, 2023


  This quilt is the 2023 Block of the Month quilt for The Quilt Show. It was designed by Sarah Fielke exclusively for The Quilt Show and is only available at The Quilt Show. The best news is it's FREE for Star Members of The Quilt Show. Each month in 2023 a new part of the quilt is released for download to Star Members. 

This month we make the pieced border that surrounds the center of the quilt:

With ONE EXCEPTION--the stars in the corners are made in Month 6--when ALL THE STARS for the entire quilt are made.

Sarah gives instructions for making the Half Square Triangle units (HST) two ways. The first is using squares cut in half on the diagonal. These are then sewn to background triangles and made the correct size.

In her Month 5 VIDEO she shows how to use her HST ruler to make the correct size HST. Any HST ruler will work if you don't have the Homeward Bound Accessory Kit.

I start with 3" squares, not 2 7/8", easier to cut and allows for trimming

After pressing seam to one side I trimmed to 2.5"

I pressed seam allowances in opposite directions

I pressed the center seam open

The smaller HST are made the same way and rectangles of background fabric completes them:

The applique little leaves and berries are fun to make. Watch Sarah's Month 3 VIDEO to see how she places the leaves  in the correct spot. 

After all the applique you have done so far, this month will seem like a breeze.

Here is a partial image of Sarah's middle: 

NOTE: While I am using the Kit, I worked on Month 5 before I received the Kit so some of the fabrics I used are not Kit fabrics.

Next month it's on to the STARS!

I am GONE TO TEXAS from April 30-May 9, teaching for 3 guilds. Info is in the TEACHING CALENDAR schedule, right up there on the top bar.

Let's quilt.


Sunday, April 23, 2023


 I am on a major decluttering campaign. Today I realize I have too much stuff and it's time to share the wealth.

Each month for the rest of this year one Sunday Blog will be "SUNDAY SALES" with a specific focus. This month it is FABRIC GROUPINGS.

One of the things I think I am particularly good at is pulling a wide variety of fabrics that will go together to make a great quilt. I have lots of such groupings stored in totes, boxes and bags. Today I offer these to you.

PRICES are shown for the entire group--I will not break it up to sell just one fabric from the group. 

SHIPPING will be calculated to your location. Be aware, shipping costs have increased and I expect it to be no less than $12 and could be much more depending on the weight in the box.

I accept cash, checks, and PayPal--paid to me as a friend, no fee. Locals benefit from no shipping.

You must COMMENT HERE on the Blog, SOLD, include your email address if it doesn't show up in your profile. COMMENTS left on FACEBOOK won't count.

1. Who doesn't LOVE a BIG PAISLEY? about 5.5 yards, $50 SOLD

2. THE SUN THE MOON AND THE STARS: more than 13 yards  $100. 

You can make whatever you like with these fabrics. I thought I would make this pattern but now I know I never will:

3. Would you like to Fly? Beautiful Balloons, almost 5 yards $35 Balloons 2 3/8 yd, Vibrant yellow 1 1/8 yd, black 1 1/4 yd:  $35

4. AMPHIBIANS: 4 yds, one of each fabric, $35 :

5. ASIAN ELEGANCE: about 9 yds, $75: 

6. KAFFE AND BATIKS, what a combination. 11 yds,  plaid on the right is 2 yds, $100: SOLD 

7. EARTH TONES, ready for anything you want to make in this palette, Leftovers from a quilt that won Best of Show 12 yds, $85: SOLD

8. BEAUTIFUL RED ASIAN PRINT, more than 11 yds, red is 108" x 2 yds, $90: 

9. I LOVE this GRAPHIC PRINT, but don't have a plan for it. Print is 4 1/4 yd, 8 hand dyed fat quarters, $55: SOLD

10. BELLA ROSA, I had a plan, pulled for a class I never took, more than 6 yds, $55: SOLD

11. AFRICAN THEME: I still love this and might come up with a plan if it doesn't find a new home, 
          11 yds, large print in front is 2 yds, $85: SOLD

12. GRANDMA'S CHOICE, includes pattern and LOTS OF FABRIC, $25:

I hope you find something you like. Happy shopping.

Let's quilt.



Sunday, April 16, 2023


UPDATE: REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! DON'T DELAY. USE THE BUTTON ON THE RIGHT TO GET ALL THE INFORMATION. Be sure to indicate I referred you when you register--that's good for both of us!

 I recently enjoyed teaching on a Stitchin Heaven Quilt Cruise in the Caribbean. I have written about that here: Part One and Part Two. 

Upon my return, I thanked the good folks at Stitchin Heaven and said I would be interested in teaching for them at sea again. Timing is everything. Planning for 2024 Alaska cruises is underway and they had an idea that made me a good fit.

The theme for this Quilt Cruise is Civil War and I often use those kind of reproduction fabrics in my quilts.

That same day I was set to make the Class Sample, quilt and bind it, write the pattern and get it all to Stitchin Heaven as quickly as possible. How does two weeks sound? I did it. The sample is my design  and this one is called Civil War Puzzle. It looks far more complicated than it is:

August 9-16 2024 is the ALASKA LEGACY QUILTING VOYAGE, onboard Royal Caribbean's OVATATION OF THE SEAS ship. See Royal Caribbean's website for basic information about this cruise:  Alaska Adventure

Registration with Stitchin Heaven will open soon. From the interest I have already gotten from friends who read my previous blog, this trip will sell out. Save the date, save your pennies, and plan to join us on the trip of a lifetime.

I was last in Alaska on a cruise 20 years ago, and my husband and I have wanted to go back. He had a good time last month on the Harmony of the Seas, and said he would like to go to Alaska. So here we go. There were several spouses on the Caribbean cruise and I expect more will come along to Alaska. There is plenty of time to see the sights and beauty of Alaska, as well as the class time on sea days. 

Just as soon as registration opens, I encourage you to book with Stitchin Heaven right away to be sure you don't miss out. I will let you know once Registration opens.

Let's quilt.


Sunday, April 9, 2023


 I have tested patterns for years. Some as part of my work with The Quilt Show, some for other jobs and most for myself. You may be surprised to know that there are sometimes errors in patterns that are not caught in proofreading. It pays to check things out before you cut a lot of pieces.

Three years ago I made this sample top for the Stitchin Heaven Scrappy Happy cruise that was to be in April 2021, which, was canceled:

Scrappy Plus Quilt was first published in a magazine. The pattern said the blocks were 15" finished. While making the quilt,  I found the outside perimeter triangles were a bit small so I increased the size of the square used to cut the Quarter Square Triangles by 1/4".That helped.

Jump ahead 3 years. I had sent the top back to Stitchin Heaven and they had it quilted. A new Scrap Happy cruise happened March 11-18, 2023. I was sent a new Kit to use to make step-outs for the cruise.

The step-outs are parts. I use them in class. Once home, I started putting the blocks together and found they were a bit bigger than 15.5", as would be the expected size for a 15" finished block. Many of the students had the same experience. 

QUILTERS MATH to the rescue. Let's check this block out. In testing a pattern, you have to know what the finished sizes are of at least some units to be able to calculate what size to cut the parts.

This block has a square block in the middle which is surrounded with four neutral corners:

We are able to figure out what size that middle block is based on the cut size of the squares used, listed in the pattern:

Since the squares are CUT 3.25" they finish at 2.75". The Half Square Triangle units would have to be trimmed to 3.25" so they fit next to those squares. And FOUR 2.75" finished units mean this center part of the complete block is 11" finished, 11.5" including seam allowances.

Now I want to know what size the larger block will be when set on point and the four neutral corners are added.

Time to use one of those MAGIC NUMBERS: to calculate the diagonal of a square, multiply the 11" finished measurement x 1.4142 = 15.5562".  That is slightly more than 15.5" FINISHED so I would just call it a 15.5" FINISHED BLOCK, not 15". With SEAM ALLOWANCES, the block should be about 16". 

Because I increased the size of the square used to cut those outside perimeter Quarter Square Triangles, I had a bit of fabric beyond the 16" block to trim away, no more than 1/8".  I trimmed each block to 16" and was then able to join them together.

One other tip I give in class, is to ruler check yourself as you go. If there are piecing problems, you want to find them as soon as they happen, not when a 15.5" block is done. 

Here I have sewn two HST together. 2.75" + 2.75" = 5.5" + .5 seam allowance--these two units should be 6" including seam allowance: 

When the row of four 2.75" units are sewn together they should measure 4 * 2.75" = 11 + .5" seam allowance: 11.5" 

If the units are not the right size now, they will not miraculously become the right size when you do the next thing. By finding my mistake as soon as it happens, I can fix it AND prevent making the same mistake again. 

There are only 3 things we can do wrong in piecing a block: the cutting, the sewing, and/or the pressing. Do your best on all three steps and you will have blocks that turn out the correct size every time. Well, OK, almost every time. Sometimes things just happen...

Because I don't need another 62" x 77.5" quilt I am going to make baby quilts from these blocks. 2 x 6 blocks = 31" x 46.5, that's OK. Or I could add a bright, happy border fabric to enlarge it some. Or use 9 blocks for a 46.5" square baby floor throw. Lots of possibilities.

If you want MORE INFORMATION ON QUILTERS MATH, I have a detailed TUTORIAL on the subject. Find it under TUTORIALS, listed above OR here: 


It pays to be able to check pattern measurements BEFORE you begin in case there are errors. It isn't easy to write patterns, and errors sometimes slip in. Pattern designers are upset when they do, they are not there intentionally, I assure you.

Understanding QUILTERS MATH can save you time and effort AND allow you to design your own blocks and quilt patterns.

Let's quilt, 


Wednesday, April 5, 2023


 Since I still have so many photos to share, here is a special Wednesday Edition of My Joyful Journey.

We started the trip the day before boarding the ship, with an overnight in Miami. I strongly recommend you arrive at least one day early for any cruise--the ship will not wait for you if you are late. A few people did miss the ship, not quilters, and had to fly to St. Maarten to meet the ship 3 days later.

The Hilton Miami Downtown was a lovely hotel and we enjoyed dinner there:

Our view from the 8th floor

Scallops for dinner

The next day we met up with 3 staff members and the other teacher for our 3 mile trip to the Cruise Terminal. We got to the Pier at 9:45 and by 10:15 were onboard, as we were "Staff", there for the Quilters Cruise:

Dawn, David, me, Dana, and April in the Pinnacle Lounge

We spent Saturday preparing the classroom with 80 sewing machines--see PART ONE for more on that. Days 2 and 3 were sea days, spent teaching the two class projects to 72 students.

Day 4 brought us to our first port: Phillipsburg, in St. Maarten. This small island is two separate countries, a Dutch side and a French side. Phone calls from one side to the other are "international calls" so most people don't call the "other side".

We had a two hour shore excursion to see the sights. It was enjoyable and just enough time off the ship for me. We were back onboard by 1 pm, eating lunch and going to the pool:

Before full sunrise on my daily power walk

Day 5 was St. Thomas. We had been there before so chose not to get off the ship. We went to the almost empty pool, enjoyed leisurely dining and having the ship to ourselves most of the day:

Day 7 was the third port of call, Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean's private island. It was the last day of the trip so again, we stayed onboard, enjoying the empty pool and whirlpools and leisurely dining. It looked liked a great place for families and we sure thought of our grandchildren and how much they would love this place:

We saw two fun shows, Grease and Columbus: the Musical. The cast was very talented, the sets were great and we enjoyed them both:

Several days we ate lunch in the Main Dining Room on Deck 3, not far from the Conference Center. Service and the food was excellent, so nice to be served from a good selection of menu choices. I loved these two License Plate art installations:

Days at sea are labeled in the schedule as Day 2, Day 5, etc. So to help you remember what day of the week it is each elevator floor told you:

I will close with my favorite sky photos. I wish you could see the bright stars at night from our balcony. The nights were clear and we saw many constellations. Here are sunrises/sunsets:

This Crescent moon was still high in the early dawn sky, at 5:30 am when I went for my 5 mile walk that morning. Each lap took more of it from sight as the sun rose on the opposite side of the ship.

Pretty spectacular trip and one I hope to repeat!

Join me on the Alaska Legacy Quilting Voyage, August 9-16, 2024. Information will be posted soon at Stitchin Heaven Travel Cruises.

Let's quilt.


Sunday, April 2, 2023


 I recently had the pleasure of "Teaching at Sea" on a Stitchin Heaven Quilt Cruise. My husband was able to go with me so it was truly a working vacation.

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas is a beautiful ship and was close to full with more than 6600 passengers and 2500 crew onboard. It never felt crowded and I quickly found my way around easily. Embarkation and Disembarkation was easily and quick, compared to what it could be. It takes a while to get that many people on and off a ship this size.

Some photos to temp you to join us on the next one:

The food and service was excellent: 

My usual lunch

Delicious dinner of salmon

My everyday breakfast

Another lunch 

The stateroom, 9138, was good size and there was adequate storage for two people who brought way too many clothes. Our cabin steward did an excellent job keeping it clean and ready for us each day:

I loved the balcony and wouldn't cruise without one--it was an upgrade to my contract

The classrooms were in the Conference Center on Deck 3. We had about 72 students, 36 in each room. I taught half of them one day while April Jaehn taught the other half. The next day she and I switched rooms and taught the other half. It worked well:

The Group Photo

Each student used a new Bernina 475 for the week

This student finished BOTH TOPS! Lisa rocks.

That Yoda Guy--the other class project,  completed by Denise

Scrappy Plus--my class project--I made this sample 3 years ago for a 2021 cruise that was cancelled

My husband and I rarely go out and dressing up is also rare. So I enjoyed "dressing for dinner" and the two "formal nights""

First formal night--very smart casual

Sunsets and sunrises are my favorite--I made sure to see them both

Caribbean night--I bought this dress in Hawaii in 2004, haven't worn it since

Second formal night--I loved this outfit, silk culottes have been in the closet 20 years

There was a Tribute to Veterans that I really appreciated: 

Glad I brought this t-shirt and hadn't worn it to exercise yet

A band played music and a cast member sang The Star Spangled Banner well--that means a lot to me

Cruise Director Dan did a great job with the Tribute

My favorite place on the ship was Deck 5, the Running Track. It went completely around the ship. I was there each morning by 5:45, sometimes earlier, and walked for an hour minimum. The longest day I walked 12 laps, 5 miles. Most days I did 3.5-4 miles. I saw the sunrise each day, had the place to myself mostly, and came home up 4 pounds that were totally gone by the second morning home. I call that a WIN!

Signs on the bulkhead say "One Lap to Go" "or Maybe Three" "Tonight's Dessert" "Can be Guilt Free" 

My personal sunrise each morning

The weather was perfect, 70's to 80's, no rain, calm seas. We got off the ship at the first port, St. Maarten, but stayed onboard for St. Thomas and Coco Cay. I was happy to have 6000 of my closest friends get off the ship and leave me to myself in the pool. See PART TWO--coming Wednesday April 5, a special Wednesday Edition, since there are still so many photos.

I worked all day when we boarded early to set up all those machines/tables/chairs. I taught all day the 3 sea days and spent two hours one night "on duty" to help any students who needed assistance. The rest of the time was my own. 

All in all, it was a super wonderful trip and I am happy to say I'll be back onboard for a 2024 cruise with Stitchin Heaven--this time to Alaska. Save your pennies now and join us! Alaska Legacy Quilting Voyage, August 9-16, 2024. More information will be posted soon at Stitchin Heaven Travel Cruises.

Let's quilt.