The Veterans’ Star

Way back in the 1960s, when I was growing up in Boulder Creek, California, our next door neighbor, Mr. Umbarger, was a philatelist. We’re talking serious stamp collecting.  His granddaughter Debbie, and I spent hours sorting through boxes and tins of stamps that he had clipped from letters over the years, then carefully soaked them off their papers, dried them and placed them in our little H.E. Harris stamp albums. Because Mr. Umbarger had been in the service during WWII, most of our overseas stamps were from Germany and France, and of course, we had a hearty selection of USA stamps, including one honoring Gold Star Mothers.

US Postage Stamp honoring Gold Star MothersWhen I was in high school, I began researching the stories behind some of my stamps. During World War I,  families of service members would sometimes hang a small red and white banner in a window, with a blue star for each family member away at war. If that son was killed, the blue star was replaced with a gold star.

The star banners became more popular during World War II, and led to the founding of an organization called the Blue Star Mothers of America. The organization is still around, and some 6000 mothers strong, according to their website.

Since we celebrate Veteran’s Day this month, I’d like to honor my father, brother, nephew, uncles and several cousins who have served, or are currently serving in the military, with this “Veterans’ Star” block.


The Veterans’ Star – Anne Wiens 2014

My block has a blue star because, thankfully, all of my family’s soldiers and sailors have returned safely from overseas deployments.

Pieces for the Veterans' Star block

Pieces for the Veterans’ Star block

For each 12″ (finished) block, you will need:

Blue (or Gold): one 4.5″ square and eight 2.5″ squares

Red: four 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles and four 2.5″ squares

White: four 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles and eight 2.5″ squares

Navy: four 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles and twelve 2.5″ squares.

I use the “sew and flip” method to make the units- half square triangles, flying geese and wedges- we’ll need for this block. If you’re not familiar with the technique, you can click HERE to go to a previous post with a similar block.

Side units

Side units

First, we’ll need to make four side units. Each one has two flying geese.

Make four flying geese using the white rectangles and eight of the navy squares.

Make four flying geese using the red rectangles and small blue squares.

Sew the flying geese together in pairs as shown, and set them aside.

Corner units

Corner units

Next we need to make four corner units.

Make four wedge units using the navy rectangles and four white squares. Be sure the white corners are in the upper right as shown.

Use the remaining white squares and the red squares to make four half-square triangles (HSTs). Sew the HSTs to the navy squares exactly as shown.

Now sew the wedges to the HST segments as shown.

Complete the block.

Complete the block.

Now you can lay out the units as shown, sew them into rows and sew the rows together to complete your Veterans’ Star block.

I have made several blocks now with that star border around an inner block.

"Bailey's Cross" By Anne Wiens 2013

“Bailey’s Cross” By Anne Wiens 2013


Step 6

“Double Framed Double Dutch” by Anne Wiens (2014)

I may eventually wind up with enough blocks to make a calendar quilt!

Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, Scrap Quilts, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns | Leave a comment

Bon Bon, Anyone?

It’s probably a good thing that the Montana Chocolate Factory is 4-hours and a mountain pass away, because I’m not certain I could be trusted to set foot in the place. Look what they posted on their Facebook page the other day:


The Montana Chocolate Company – 2014

It just so happens that blue, brown and white is one of my favorite color combinations, and I just happen to have some scraps left over from a quilt block swap among members of Quiltmaker Magazine’s 2013 Scrap Squad, so I made a Bon Bon of my own. Here’s the “recipe”:


Ingredients for one 12″ (finished) Bon Bon block

For a 12″ (finished) Bon Bon block, you need:

One 6.5″ square of a novelty print.

Two 4.5″ squares background (off-white)

Four 4.5″ squares brown

Two 4.5″ squares accent color #1 (light blue)

Four 3.5″ square background (off-white)

Four 2.5″ squares accent color #2 (navy)


Step 1a

Step 1: We’ll use the stitch-and-flip method to put a navy corner on the 3.5″ off-white squares. Draw a diagonal line on the back of the 2.5″ navy squares. Lay a navy square on the corner of an off-white square, right-sides-together and align the edges. Sew along the drawn line and trim the corner away 1/4″ from the seam line.


Step 1b

I like to press my seams open, but you can press toward the dark triangle if you prefer. Set these squares aside.


Step 2a

Step 2: We need to make eight quarter-square triangles (QSTs). I use a Tucker Trimmer ™ for this step. Cut the 4.5″ brown, light blue and off-white squares diagonally twice. Use the triangles to sew eight squares that look like the one pictured above. These will be a little larger than we need them to be, so we use the Tucker Trimmer to trim them down to size.


Step 2b

Lay the Tucker Trimmer on the QST so that the solid diagonal line is on the SW-NE seam line. the 3-1/2″ dotted diagonal line should be on the NW-SE seam line. Notice that the left and bottom edges of the QST extend slightly beyond the 3-1/2″ vertical and horizontal dotted lines. Trim the right and top edges

Step 2c

Step 2c

Now rotate the QST and line up the solid diagonal and 3-1/2″ dotted diagonal lines. This time the left and bottom edges should line up with the 3-1/2″ vertical and horizontal dashed lines. Trim the right and top edges. Do this with all eight QSTs.

Step 3a

Step 3a

Step 3: Sew the QSTs into four pairs as shown above.

Step 3b

Step 3b

Sew one pair of QSTs to each side of the 6.5″ center square as shown above.

Step 3c

Step 3c

Sew the corner squares from step 1 to the ends of the other two QST pairs.

Step 3d

Step 3d

Sew these strips to the top and bottom of the center square unit to complete your Bon Bon block.


Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns, Tucket Trimmer (Studio 180 Designs) | 3 Comments

A Little Halloween Treat

In the Thrifty Quilter’s Facebook group the other day, I shared a color inspiration photo that generated a bit of conversation. It was a Jack-o-Lantern. The pumpkin was painted orchid purple, Pantone’s Color of the Year. The orchid paired with the bright orange of the pumpkin’s insides made my color sensor jump and cry “eek!” After my initial shock, however, it occurred to me that we see orange and purple a lot in sunrises and sunsets, so it’s not as outlandish as it seemed.

I wasn’t sure I could commit to an entire purple and orange quilt, but I happened to have a block in my sketchbook that I was willing to try it on.

I call it “Double-Framed Double Dutch.”

Here’s how to make this totally TQable 12″ (finished) block:


For each block, you will need:

Dark Purple: Four 2.5″ squares

Light Purple: Four 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles and twelve 2.5″ squares

Light Orange: Four 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles

Dark Orange: Four 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles and four 2.5″ squares

White: Four 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles and eight 2.5″ squares


Step 1a - Sew and Flip

Step 1a – Sew and Flip

For this block, we’re going to use the “stitch and flip” technique to trim corners on the rectangles.

To do this, you will draw a diagonal line on the back of your squares, align the square with the end of your rectangle, sew on the line and trim away the corner 1/4″ from the seam. When you press the seam open, you will have a rectangle with a contrasting corner.

Step 1b

Step 1b

Make two light purple rectangles with white corners on the upper left and two with white corners on the upper right. In the Thrifty Quilter system, we call these “wedge” units.

Step 1c

Step 1c

Make four white rectangles with dark orange corners on the upper right.

Step 1d

Step 1d

Make 4 light orange rectangles, with a white corner on the upper left and a dark purple corner on the lower right. This is a “blade” unit in Thrifty Quilter terms.

Step 1e

Step 1e

Make four dark orange rectangles with light purple corners on the upper left and upper right, a.k.a. flying geese units.

Step 2

Step 2

Sew the white & dark orange wedge units to the blade units as shown to make one quarter unit. Make four of these.


Step 3

Now sew the four quarter-units together to make the Double Dutch pinwheel. Set aside.

Step 4

Step 4

Sew the light purple and white wedge units to the ends of two flying geese units.

Sew the remaining 2.5″ light purple squares to the ends of the other two flying geese units.

Step 5

Step 5

Sew the shorter strips to the sides of the Double Dutch unit.

Step 6

Step 6

Sew the longer flying geese strips to the top and bottom of the Double Dutch unit to complete your Double-Framed Double Dutch block.

I have to admit, by the time I finished this block, I was thinking  that an orange and purple quilt wouldn’t be bad at all. I don’t think I’d even use sashing…just set the blocks together side by side, so the Double Dutch pinwheels and their dark orange frames “float” on a light purple field. I’d probably add a 4″ white border and bind it in the dark purple. 12 blocks would make a 44″ x 56″ crib quilt, and 20 blocks would make a cozy 56″ x 68″ lap quilt.

I can also see this block in Christmas reds and greens. Or, a scrappy quilt with the pinwheel and inner border in different colors from block to block, tied together with a black and multi-colored print in place of the light purple border.

Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, The Thrifty Quilter System | 4 Comments

Two for Teal and Teal for Two

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and each September, Beth Helfter of EvaPaige Quilt Designs  hosts a fund-raising mug-rug swap she calls “Two for Teal”.

In return for a donation to Ovarian Cancer research, Beth sends each participant a swatch of fabric. This year it was a hand-dyed teal provided by Cherrywood Fabrics. The challenge is to make a mug rug, which will be traded with another participant.

Here’s the rug I made:

2014 by Anne Wiens

Mug Rug 1 – 2014 by Anne Wiens

Here’s how I did it:



One 2.5″ square for the star center (light blue)

One 3.5″ square for the accent diamond (pink)

Two 3.5″ squares for star points (lime green)

One 3.5″ square and four 2.5″ squares for star background (teal)

Four 2.5″ squares and one 2.5″ x 6.5″ strip for border (orange)

One 2.25″ x 42″ strip for binding (orange)



For the backing and batting, I had a couple of pieces of fabric backed with fusible fleece left over from another project. These are about 8″ x 10″. The mug rugs finished at 6.5″ x 8.5″.

Construction - Step 1

Construction – 1a

Step one is to make the four quarter-square triangles (QSTs)  for the star-point units.

I like to use my Tucker Trimmer(tm) for this step. Since our finished QST will be 2″ square, we add 1.5″ and begin with 3.5″ squares. Use your favorite method to make the QSTs as shown above. These QSTs are larger than they need to be, so we will trim them down.

Construction - Step 1b

Construction – 1b

Lay the Tucker Trimmer on the QST so the solid diagonal line is on the SW-NE seam, and the dashed 2.5″ diagonal line is on the NW-SE seam. Notice that the lower and left edges of the QST extend beyond the 2.5″ vertical and horizontal lines on the ruler. Trim the right and top edges.

Construction - Step 1c

Construction – 1c

Now rotate the QST and line up the Tucker Trimmer again. This time, the two edges you just cut should align with the 2.5″ vertical and horizontal lines, and the diagonal lines on the ruler should line up with your seams. Trim the right and top edges. Make four of these units.

Construction - Step 2

Construction – 2

Step 2: Lay out the star point units with the 2.5″ teal and light blue squares as shown above, and sew together to make your 6.5″ Variable Star block.

Construction - Step 3a

Construction – 3a

Step 3: We make the curved corners on the star block with a technique called Dimensional Curved Piecing, which I learned from patterns by Annette Ornelas of Southwind Designs.

Fold the four orange squares in half diagonally and press. Lay one triangle on the NE corner of the star block and another on the SE corner, aligning the raw edges. Sew the 2.5″ x 6.5″ orange strip to the right edge of the star block, catching the right edges of the folded squares in the seam. Press the seam toward the orange strip.

Construction - Step 4a

Construction – 4a

 Step 4: At this point, I pinned the piece to the backing and quilted it. Because this is such a small piece, I used the inside edge of the “toe” of my 1/4″ foot as a stitching guide, running it just along the seam lines. I quilted around the green star points, inside the center square and inside the pink diamond.

If you look at the upper-left corner of the photo, you’ll notice that I folded the loose orange triangles back onto the orange strip to keep them out of my way while I quilted.

Construction - 4b

Construction – 4b

When I do straight-line stitching like this, there will be times I can’t carry the line off the edge of the piece. When I have to start and/or stop “in the field”, I leave myself 3-4″ of thread, which I thread into an embroidery needle (the larger eye is easier on my eyes)  and bury inside the quilt. No knots, no back-stitching, just a nice, clean finish.

Construction - Step 5a

Construction – 5

 Step 5: I hope I don’t confuse you here. I missed photographing this step, so imagine that in this photo, the piece is quilted. You now trim the backing and batting to match the outside edges of your piece. Fold the  NE and SE triangles back over the block corners and pin in place, then pin the last two folded orange squares to the NW and SW corners of the star block.

Construction - Step 6

Construction – 6

Step 6: Press your 2.25″ x 42″ orange strip in half lengthwise, and sew this binding strip to the front side of your piece, to secure all of the raw edges of the orange triangles.

Because the diagonal fold of the orange triangles is on the bias, you can fold this edge back to form a gentle curve. Carefully hand-stitch this edge. You can do it by machine, but personally, I think it’s actually easier and looks nicer sewn by hand.

Now you can finish the back-side of the binding to complete your mug rug.

This quick project took me approximately four hours to complete.

You can use any 6″ (finished size) quilt block to make these mats…

Mug Rug 2 - 2014 by Anne Wiens

Mug Rug 2 – 2014 by Anne Wiens

or substitute a 6.5″ fussy-cut of a favorite print!

Categories: 6" TQ Blocks, Other Blocks & Patterns, Other Projects, The Thrifty Quilter System | 2 Comments

But I Digress…..

One reason I have a lot of unfinished projects cluttering up my studio is that I suffer from ADDD…Attention Deficit Designing Disorder. Too often a project in progress is interrupted by an idea that just flutters into my brain. Most dash off before I can grab a paper and pencil, but now and again one settles in and makes itself at home. This is one of those ideas.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a tutorial for my “Quarter Star” block.

Since then, I have been working on a blog series that should begin next Month. Well, sir, the two ideas collided and formed a new block. I had to stop and whip one up.

I don’t even have a name for it yet, but I like it…a lot…so I’m going to go ahead and share it:

(Put Title Here)

I used 2.5″ and 4.5″ squares and made an 8″ (finished size) block.

For a 12″ block, use 3.5″  and 6.5″ squares.

GE DIGITAL CAMERATo make this block, you will need:

One large square

Eight small white squares

Four sets of three matching small squares

GE DIGITAL CAMERADraw a diagonal line on the back of each of the small white squares. Pair each with a small print square and make four pairs of  half-square triangles (HST’s), using the “stitch and flip” method.

You will have one small square of each color remaining, plus your large square.

GE DIGITAL CAMERALay out all of the parts as shown, so that your HST’s form star points around the large center square.

GE DIGITAL CAMERASew the HST’s into pairs.

GE DIGITAL CAMERANow you can sew the remaining small squares to the ends of the top and bottom star point pairs. Sew the other star point pairs to the large center square.

GE DIGITAL CAMERASew the rows together to complete the block.

Now, what shall I call it?

Please give me your best idea in a comment, below.


Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, 8" TQ Blocks, HST's, Scrap Quilts, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns | 2 Comments

Oh, Susannah!

I made a few quilt blocks recently for a sister quilter who is putting together some charity quilts.

She had asked for this pattern, most commonly called “Oh, Susannah.”


Like most blocks that have been around for a while, this one has several names, including “Wagon Wheel” , and simply “Susannah”.

In fact, it’s not all that uncommon for two or more blocks to share the same name. There are at least three blocks called “Oh, Susannah”

This version of "Oh Susannah" was published by Nancy Cabot in 1931.

This version of “Oh Susannah” was published by Nancy Cabot in 1931.

This same version  is also  credited to Carrie Hall:

"Oh, Susannah" block made by Carrie Hall (1866-1955) in the collection of the Spencer Museum of Art at The University of Kansas.

“Oh, Susannah” block made by Carrie Hall (1866-1955) in the collection of the Spencer Museum of Art at The University of Kansas.

And I found a third version in McCall’s Quilting’s collection of free downloadable patterns:

"Oh Susannah" by McCall's Quilting - see link at bottom of post.

“Oh Susannah” by McCall’s Quilting – see link at bottom of post.

For the 12″ (finished size) block we’re making, you will need:

GE DIGITAL CAMERAEight 3.5″ white squares

Four 3.5″ print squares

Four 3.5″ x 6.5″ print rectangle

GE DIGITAL CAMERADraw a diagonal line on the wrong side of four of the white squares. Align the square with the right end of the print rectangles as shown. Sew on the line and trim away the corner triangle. Press open.

(Don’t want to waste those triangles? Click HERE for a previous blog post)

GE DIGITAL CAMERASew the four remaining white squares to the four print squares.

Lay out your segments as shown above and sew into four quarter-units.

GE DIGITAL CAMERANow lay out the quarter-units as shown and sew together to complete your “Oh, Susannah” block!

Let’s have some fun and mess with the color placements, shall we?

Each of these blocks uses the same construction technique. I’ve just moved the location of the colors within the block.


This version is often called "Mr Roosevelt's Necktie."

This version is often called “Mr Roosevelt’s Necktie.”

In this version, I used two shades of the secondary color (yellow), and replace the white center squares with print squares.

In this version, I used two shades of the secondary color (yellow).

And in this version, I "rotated" the center triangles.

And in this version, I “rotated” the center triangles.

If you’d like to use a fussy-cut novelty print in the center of your block, McCall’s Quilting offers a version of Oh, Susannah that is a little different, but still totally TQable. Click HERE to go there.

One last thing – in case it isn’t already running through your mind, the “Oh, Susannah” quilt block was most likely named for the nonsensical Stephen Foster minstrel tune. You’re welcome.

Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, Scrap Quilts, The Thrifty Quilter System, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scrap Quilt Challenge – 2014


One of my favorite Facebook groups is Scrap Quilt Challenge, run by Shannon, whose day job is running a quilt shop – Fabrics N Quilts in Jamestown, Tennessee. The 4th annual Scrap Quilt Challenge kicks off this week, and Shannon has asked several of her designer friends to help provide inspiration to the challenged by posting a scrap quilt pattern on our blogs. No problem. After all, scrap quilt patterns are what I do!

If this is your first visit to “Seams Like a Plan”, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look back over my previous posts. My first post explains the basics of my Thrifty Quilter scrap management system and how I came to write my book, The Thrifty Quilter:Make (Nearly) Free Quilts from Leftover Fabric Another post from this January goes into a little more detail. In between, you’ll find a few block and project patterns and tutorials.

Now, on to the Scrap Challenge block you were promised.

“Quarter Star”

For each 12″ (finished) block, you will need:

Scrap pieces for one 12" block

Scrap pieces for one 12″ block

Four sets of four matching 3.5″ print squares

Eight 3.5″ white squares

Four 2.5″ white squares

Making HST's

Making HST’s

Step 1: Make two Print/white half-square triangles…HST’s in Quilterspeak… from each of your four print colors. The method illustrated here is to draw a diagonal line on the back side of your white 3.5″ squares, pair each square with a print square (right sides facing), sew on the line and trim 1/4″ from the seam line.

I press my seams open, but you can press to the dark side if you prefer.

Note- Don’t toss those “waste” triangles. The can make 2.5″ HST’s for another project.

Make the corner squares

Make the corner squares

Step 2: Use the same technique and the 2.5″ white squares to put a white corner on one of each color of 3.5″ squares.

You should have one 3.5″ square of each color left.

Lay out the corner unit

Lay out the corner unit

Step 3A: Lay out the four matching squares as shown.

Sew the unit together

Sew the unit together

Step 3B: Sew the squares together to make a quarter-unit. Make one from each color.


Complete the block

Complete the block

Step 4: Sew the four quarter-units together to complete your block.

So once you’ve made a stack of blocks, the challenge becomes what to do with them.

You can set them side-by-side, of course. A row of three or four blocks with a 3″ white border would make an 18″ x 42″ or 18″ x 54″ table runner. Bed runners are popular, too. Two rows of five blocks with a 3″ border would make a cheerful twin-size (30″ x 66″) bed runner. You’d want two 6-block rows for a full-size bed, and two 7 block rows for a queen.

To make a solid set quilt with a 3″ border, you would need:

Crib  (42” x 54”)   4 rows of 3 blocks = 12 blocks
Lap (54” x 66”)   5 rows of 4 blocks = 20 blocks
Twin (66” x 90”)  7 rows of  5 blocks =  35 blocks
Full (78” x 90”)   7 rows of  6 blocks =  42 blocks
Queen (90” x 102”)  8 rows of  7 blocks =  56 blocks
King* (108” x 120”) 9 rows of  8 blocks = 72 blocks
*use a 6″ border for king size quilt.

So there’s one idea to start you on the 2014 Scrap Quilt Challenge.

Be sure to visit “Seams Like a Plan” often for more scrappy ideas!

If you click the blue “Follow” button at the top of the page, you’ll be notified by email whenever there’s a new blog post.

Or “Like” the Sweetgrass Creative Designs page on Facebook for updates.

Ready to meet the Scrap Quilt Challenge?

Click on the logo for full details!



Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, HST's, Quilts, Scrap Quilts, Tablerunners, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns, TQ Patterns | 8 Comments

BBQ Season is Here…Picnic Placemats

Have you ever been taunted by a fabric?

It happens to me occasionally at my local quilt shop. I walk in and a fabric calls my name. Now, usually I know immediately what I would make with that fabric. You could call it a gift, I suppose, but it’s also a bit of a curse because it’s exactly how I became the keeper of a Fuji-esque mountain of unfinished projects. Now and again, however, a fabric stumps me. It may not be the first bolt I see on subsequent visits, but I know it’s there, and sooner or later it catches my eye, daring me to take it home and make something of it.

This is my latest antagonist:

"Big Stripe" by Michael Miller Fabrics

“Big Stripe” by Michael Miller Fabrics

It looks like your Grandma’s a patio awning, doesn’t it? (Not that that’s a bad thing.)

It’s taunted me long enough. I have turned it into a summery set of picnic placemats!

This pattern will work with any striped fabric, provided the stripes run lengthwise.

1-3/4 yards of the striped fabric will yield 8 placemats and a tablerunner, or 10 placemats.You will also need 3-1/2 yards of a coordinating fabric (I used solid white) for the backs and bindings. You will need a 60° triangle ruler. I used the Marti Michel ruler, but any brand will work as long as you can cut an 8″ tall triangle.

Step 1: Cut five 8″ strips lengthwise (parallel to the selvedge).

GE DIGITAL CAMERAStep 2: Line up the 8-1/2″ baseline of the triangle ruler with the bottom edge of a fabric strip and cut the triangle from the strip.

 GE DIGITAL CAMERAStep 3: Rotate the ruler and line up the 8-1/2″ baseline with the top edge of the strip. Cut the triangle from the strip.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAStep 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3, working your way down the strip until you have two sets of six triangles. Note: Right-handed cutters start at the left end of the strip and work to the right. Left-handed cutters start at the right end of the strip and work to the left.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAStep 5: Sew two matching triangles together, and add a third triangle to make a half-hexagon. Make another one just like it.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAStep 6: Sew the two hexagon halves together to complete your placemat top. How easy was that?

Each strip of fabric will yield two placemats.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAStep 7: Cut one fat quarter (18″ x 22″) from your coordinating fabric for each placemat. Cut a piece of batting the same size. I prefer a flat batting for placemats and tablerunners…I like Fusible Fleece, Quilter’s Dream or Cotton Theory.

Step 8: Quilt as desired. I just machine quilted along the stripes.

Step 9: Cut two 2-1/4″ x width of fabric strips of coordinating fabric for binding each placemat. (obviously, I still have some work to do!)

GE DIGITAL CAMERADo I smell Barbeque?

Categories: Other Blocks & Patterns, Placemats, Tutorials | 4 Comments

Variety Is the Spice of Quilting, Too!

We had a little fun at our Block of the Month class today.

We’re making a sampler from Eleanor Burns’ new book, Quilts from El’s Kitchen

"Quilts from El's Kitchen" by Eleanor Burns (Quilt in a Day)

“Quilts from El’s Kitchen” by Eleanor Burns (Quilt in a Day)

One of today’s blocks is called “Sage Bud”. A few of the ladies were not crazy about the fabric the shop chose for the kits, so we began rooting around in the scraps left over from previous blocks to see what we could find. I thought Id share the photos just to show what a big difference changing just one or two fabrics can make in a block:

Ann's is closest to the original fabrics we were given.

Ann’s is closest to the original fabrics we were given.

I traded the darker green in the corner units for a light turquoise in my block.

I traded the darker green in the corner units for a light turquoise in my block.

Zelma thought the large floral print stole attention from the pieced corner units, so she used white.

Zelma thought the large floral print stole attention from the pieced corner units, so she used white.

Karla decided to go with more of the apple-green swirls for a totally different look. Now instead of "buds" drawing my eye to the corners of the block, "arrows" direct my eye to the center.

Karla decided to go with more of the apple-green swirls for a totally different look. Now instead of “buds” drawing my eye to the corners of the block, “arrows” direct my eye to the center.

The fabrics used in these blocks are from the “Apple of My Eye” line from Riley Blake Designs.


Categories: Other Blocks & Patterns, Scrap Quilts, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

900 and Counting – Quiltmaker Rolls Out A New Issue


Welcome to “Seams Like a Plan”!

If you’re reading this, you are no doubt looking for sneak peeks at the blocks included in Quiltmaker Magazine’s new special issue, 100 Blocks, Volumn 9.

Well, here’s mine:

"Common Thread" by Anne Wiens

“Common Thread” by Anne Wiens

It’s called “Common Thread” and is block #900, the last block in this issue, which should be on your newsstand next Tuesday. Of course, if you leave a comment at the end of this post, you could win a copy!

The prototype block is made from all scraps.

I kept a scrappy theme, but changed up the coloring just a bit for three quilt ideas.

The first quilt is pictured in the 100 Blocks designers’ gallery section. A friend gave me a yard of a print featuring cats “helping” in the sewing room. “I saw this and knew you had to have some.” she said. I have the best quilty friends in the world!

"Spools & Bobbins 1" features a center panel of cats "helping" in the sewing room...just like my three do! (2013 Anne Wiens)

“Spools & Bobbins 1″ features a center panel of cats “helping” in the sewing room…just like my three do! (2013 Anne Wiens)

You should see the quilting on this piece. I gave it to Tiffany Barcus at Unique Quilting. I told her it had a Victorian vibe to me, and I only had one request…that she quilt a spiderweb in one corner. It’s a common theme in crazy quilts popular in that era. She had carte blanche with the rest of the quilt. She obviously had a lot of fun!

You’ll notice that while the blocks in “Spools & Bobbins 1″ have various pinks, the corner diamonds have the same blue and green fabrics.

"Spools & Bobbins 2" by Anne Wiens (2014)

“Spools & Bobbins 2″ by Anne Wiens (2014)

I have to be honest. I don’t love this top as much as I had hoped I would. They say a little yellow goes a long way, and in this quilt, it goes a little too far. If I were doing it over, (I’m not – it doesn’t bother me that much) I’d use the purple diamonds in pace of the gold ones. Then again, I might go back to the original idea of all scraps in those diamonds.

Which brings me to “Spools & Bobbins 3″, which isn’t finished yet, but here’s a block:

Common Thread by Anne Wiens 2014

Common Thread by Anne Wiens 2014

This block goes back to the scrap diamonds, but instead of an off-white border, uses the same white-on-white for all of the background. All of the blocks in “Spools & Bobbins 3″ will have the same teal blue “thread”, and there will be more diamonds in the borders.

This one will be the most contemporary of the three quilts. I’ve toyed with taking it Amish or Modern, using all solid colors and either a black or white background.

Now…for the 100 Blocks, Volume 9 give-away.

Leave a comment below and tell me, how many spools of thread would you guess (you don’t have to count them) do you have in your collection, and what is the most common color?

One winner will be chosen at random at the end of the week.

Thanks for stopping by “Seams Like a Plan.” If you click on the blue “Follow Seams Like a Plan” button at the top of the page, you’ll be notified whenever I publish a new post. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, but there’s usually a block or quilt pattern involved.

Categories: 100 Blocks, Other Blocks & Patterns, Quiltmaker Magazine, Quilts, Scrap Quilts | 293 Comments

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