10″ Squares

The Blooming 9-Patch

IMG_3690When working with the pre-cut scraps in my Thrifty Quilter system, I make a lot (a LOT) of Stitch-and-Flip corners. After thousands of of them, I was over drawing that diagonal line. One day I discovered I could layer the pieces, put my ruler down with the 1/4″ line on the diagonal points, cut that triangle away, then sew the seam and press the corner open.

Then Doug Leko of Antler Quilt Design came out with a new tool he calls the Mini Simple Folded Corners. First, it’s a new gadget, and I am a gadget geek. Second, it resembles a tool idea that was simmering in the back of my mind. So, I bought one, and decided this 10″ block I call the Blooming 9-Patch would be a perfect block to demonstrate it.

IMG_3684For each Blooming 9-Patch, you will need:

Four 4.5″ green squares

Eight 2.5″ beige squares

Four 2.5″ teal squares

One 2.5″ brown square




Step 1- Use the Stitch and Flip method to put a 2.5″ beige triangle corner on each of the 4.5″ green squares. I laid the beige square on the corner of the green square, then laid the tool down so that the 2.5″ lines lined up with the left and bottom edges of the beige square, and the printed diagonal line (which indicates my seam line) ran diagonally from the upper left to lower right corners. I cut away that triangle, sewed the seam and pressed the corner open. Again, this is not the way the tool was designed to work, but it worked for this block.

Step 2 –  Sew the 2.5″ teal squares to the remaining 2.5″ beige squares.

Step 3 – Sew two rows with a teal/beige pair sandwiched between two green/white squares. Sew the other teal/white pairs into a strip with the brown square between the two teal squares.


Cropped block

Step 4 – Sew the row of squares between the other two rows to complete your Blooming 9-Patch block!

The block, unfinished, measures 10.5″ x 10.5″. I have a plan for it in my sketch book, which should make use of a layer cake I have left over from my stint as an Island Batik Ambassador.  It’s on my To-Do list, but a ways down the list right now.

I have a classic block coming up next here on Seams Like a Plan.


Categories: 10" Squares, 10" TQ Blocks, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns, Tools, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Rama-Llama-Boo-Boo :0/

My go-to high school graduation gift is a pillowcase. It’s easy to make, and you can customize it for the recipient. (I like to point out that it also makes a good laundry bag.) When a co-worker’s daughter graduated last spring, she had already decided she was going to decorate her dorm room in llamas and turquoise. I was tickled when I found the perfect llama print.

I had enough left from the pillowcase to add a few 6.5″ squares to my Thrifty Quilter bin. At a recent retreat weekend, I played with an idea for a 10″ quilt block. That explains the first part of this post’s title. The rest will be clear shortly.

IMG_3493Here are the TQ pieces needed for this block:

One 6.5″ square Novelty Print

*Two 3.5″ turquoise squares

*Six 3.5″ brown squares

*Eight 3.5″ white squares


Step 1:


Cut two 3.5″ brown squares and two 3.5″ white squares diagonally twice, and sew into four quarter-square triangles (QSTs). Trim each one to 2.5″ square.  Unaffiliated endorsement: If you don’t have one, get yourself a Tucker Trimmer®. If your local shop doesn’t carry them, you can order direct from Studio 180 Designs. 


Step 2:

IMG_3531 (1)IMG_3530Cut the remaining brown squares, white squares and the turquoise squares in half diagonally. Sew into eight brown and white half-square triangles (HSTs) and four turquoise and white HSTs. Trim each to 2.5″.



Step 3:

IMG_3533Sew a brown and white HST to the brown sides of each QST as shown.

Just so you know, this is where I made my boo-boo. We’ll see if you can figure out what I did.

Hint: I did steps 1 & 2 on one day, and step 3 a few weeks later.


Step 4:

Sew a strip to the left and right sides of the 6.5″ novelty square. Sew the turquoise and white squares to the ends of the other two brown and white strips, and sew these to the top and bottom of the center unit to complete your block.


“Corral” – 2019

So now you see my mistake.  Actually, it’s an honest mistake that I made worse by not addressing it immediately.

Here’s what happened:

I was using a machine that has a little quirk. Even though I have a quarter-inch presser foot, I still have to move the needle three positions to the left to have a true quarter-inch seam. Of course, I turned the machine off at the end of the first day of the retreat, having finished Step 2. When I switched the machine on the next time, the machine went to its default settings, and I forgot to bump the needle over before beginning Step 3.  That was my first mistake.

When I sewed strip to the left side of the llama square, I noticed that it didn’t fit. I should have unsewn that seam, measured the strip and figured out why it was too long. (Because I didn’t move the needle, my seams when sewing the HSTs to the QSTs were too narrow.)  That was my second mistake.

Instead of addressing the problem, I told myself “it won’t be that noticeable”, and simply trimmed the end off flush with the larger square. That’s was my third mistake, and for this block, the fatal error.  I know better than that! For pity sake, I’ve been doing this for over 40 years. I have no excuse.

I will forgive my quilty friends if they snicker when I say, I am not a “point prude.” I know all quilters are human, and imperfect points happen to us all, but this one will haunt me for a while.

Live and learn.




Categories: 10" Squares, 10" TQ Blocks, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns, Tucket Trimmer (Studio 180 Designs), Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The 4 Sisters

Vintage ReimaginedThe March challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors was “Vintage Reimagined.” We were asked to design a project inspired by a vintage quilt.

AdamsonThe quilt I chose as inspiration is a top pieced decades ago by Tilda Adamson, the grandmother of my friend Art Adamson.

This Depression-era quilt features the Churn Dash or Monkey Wrench block, and has several interesting elements going for it. I like the way the on-point rows are staggered, and I find those blocks with the green background that fades into the green sashing very intriguing. But what really caught my attention, and served as my design inspiration, was that one pink-on-brown block on the right edge of the quilt (and in the inset).

The way the pink churn dash is pushed off to the corner of the block reminded me of a story I heard in the late 1980s, when I helped a local museum with an oral history project leading up to the Montana statehood centennial.

Fabric StackFor my project, I used the Island Batik “Twilight Chic” collection. I had a stack of 40 10″ squares, plus 2 yards each of a dark blue and wheat-gold coordinate, all supplied by Island Batik.

The story I had heard was that of four sisters who homesteaded about 25 miles from where I live, in north central Montana.

To deter speculators, the government required each homesteader to build a house on their land, and they could not be away from their property for more than a couple of weeks at a stretch.

The homesteaders’ dream became a nightmare for many, as they dealt with harsh winters, droughts, prairie fires, and a host of other dangers.

For the sake of companionship and safety, the four sisters built their cabins in the corners of their homesteads, where their property met. Thus, they could all stay together at night, moving from cabin to cabin every few days, so none of them was absent from her property for more than the allowed time.

4 Sisters - Title

The fabrics used in my 4-Sisters quilt were supplied by Island Batik. I used Heirloom­­ batting supplied by Hobbs, and Aurifil threads for piecing and quilting.

To see what my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors have come up with this month, check their blogs:

2019 Island Batik Ambassadors

Carolina Asmussen ~Carolina Asmussen

Gene Black ~ Gene Black

Pamela Boatright ~ Pamela Quilts

Connie K Campbell ~ Freemotion by the River

Anja Clyke ~ Anja Quilts

Tina Dillard ~ Quilting Affection Designs

Becca Fenstermaker ~Pretty Piney

Jennifer Fulton ~ Inquiring Quilter

Barbara Gaddy ~ Bejeweled Quilts by Barb

Dione Gardner-Stephen ~ Clever Chameleon

Sarah Goer ~ Sarah Goer Quilts

Vasudha Govindan ~ Storied Quilts

Lori Haase ~ Dakota City Quilter II

Joanne Hart ~

Mania (Magdalini) Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for Quilts

Carla Henton ~ Create in the Sticks

Stephanie Jacobson ~ Steph Jacobson Designs

Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs

Joan Kawano ~ Moosestash Quilting

Kim Lapacek ~ Persimon Dreams

Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood

Leanne Parsons ~ Devoted Quilter

Bea Lee ~ BeaQuilter

Toby Lischko ~ Gateway Quilts & Stuff

Bill Locke ~

Denise Looney ~ For the Love of Geese

Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights

Sally Manke ~ Sally Manke

Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack’s Blog

Kathleen McCormick ~ Kathleen McMusing

Carol Moellers ~ Carol Moellers Designs

Karen Neary ~ Sew Karen-ly Created

Lisa Nielsen ~ Lisa Lisa and the Quilt Jam

Jackie O’Brien ~ If These Threads Could Talk

Laura Piland ~ Slice of Pi Quilts

Michelle Roberts ~ Creative Blonde

Vicki Schlimmer ~ Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting

Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail

Sherry Shish ~ Powered by Quilting

Anita Skjellanger , Quilt in a not-Shell

Laticia “Tish” Stemple ~ Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland

Jennifer Strauser ~ Dizzy Quilter

Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations

Terri Vanden Bosch ~ Lizard Creek Quilts

Alison Vermilya ~ Little Bunny Quilts

Sandra Walker ~ mmm! quilts

Suzy Webster ~ Adventerous Applique and Quilting

Anne Wiens ~ Sweetgrass Creative Designs

Geraldine Wilkins ~ Living Water Quilter

Janet Yamamoto ~

Categories: 10" Squares, 12" TQ Blocks, AccuQuilt, Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Quilts, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

A Quick Trip Down Memory Lane

Dust off a quilt book blog hopSeveral years ago, an online quilters group I belong to got into a discussion about other activities we enjoy. Cooking, travel, writing and photography were mentioned quite often, but it turned out nearly all of us had two things in common – we have pets (mostly cats and/or dogs), and we are avid readers.  Most of us also had a sizable library of quilting books.

My own collection began with one of the few quilting books available when I made my first quilt in 1973, Ruby McKim’s 101 Patchwork Quilt Patterns. Rotary cutters hadn’t been invented yet, so every one of the 1755 (but who’s counting) 2.5″ squares in my 9-Patch quilt was traced with a pencil around a cardboard template and cut with scissors. Of course, the template’s edges got a bit “softer” with each tracing, so perfectly matching seams were a dream, not a realistic goal. It wouldn’t have won any prizes, but it kept me warm, and that was the point, and I was hooked.

Pellman - World of Amish Quilts

Soon after I began quilting, I discovered Amish quilts, and bought a couple of books about the quilts made in Pennsylvania. I’ve always loved bold graphic designs, and my father’s family is Mennonite, so it was probably a natural attraction.

One thing that struck me was that – contrary to the “rule” that Amish quilts must be mostly black or  dark and “cool” colors – most of the quilts in this book have very little black. And bright? There were some of the most over-the-top color combinations I had ever seen. I loved it! Colors that weren’t acceptable for clothing could be used in quilts.

Magnificent MinisHere, my “Dust off a Quilt Book” blog hop post segues into my “Magnificent Mini” challenge blog post for Island Batik fabric, Aurifil threads and Hobbs batting. They supplied the materials for this project.

I chose to make a miniature version of the Amish classic “Trip Around the World.”

IMG_2889I had quite a bit of fabric left over from my 2018 “stash” of Island Batik Fabrics, including this stack of 10″ squares from the Lavendula collection. I chose a navy blue from the “foundations” collection to go with it. I decided my center would be 9″ x 9″ (finished size), and the individual squares would be 1″ finished. My borders would finish 3″ wide.


I needed five colors for the center of my quilt, so I chose five of the more “solid” color squares, and cut four 1.5″ x 10″ strips from each square.



Next, I had to make five strip sets, each with four strips, and rotating the colors properly. To help keep things in order, I cut a square from each of the scraps and numbered them. I laid out the squares in order for each stripset.


Then I cut four 1.5″ segments from each stripset.


I decided I wanted my largest diamond to be the lavender, so I set two of those strips aside, and began building two halves, working from the center strip out, adding matching strip to each side as I went.


This rotation meant the center square would be white, so I cut a 1.5″ x 1.5″ square, and sewed it to the turquoise ends of the two remaining strip. This became the middle row of my centerpiece.

Now for the borders:


I chose two matching purple and blue mottled squares for the border, and cut two 3.5″ x 9.5″ strips from each square. If I recall, I had a half yard of the navy blue. I cut two 2.25″ x 44″ strips for the binding, four 3.5″ squares for the corners and pieced a 16″ x 16″ square from the remainder for the backing.


With the borders in place, it was time to layer this mini up with a bit of Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting and figure out how to quilt it.


My collection of Aurifil threads is still pretty limited…but growing. These were my best choices for this project. I decided the white would be too stark, while the icy blue would show up, but not overpower the fabric.


First, I decided to emphasize the squares in the center by quilting concentric squares. I used the inside edge of the toe of my 1/4″ foot to space my quilting lines about 1/8″ from my seam lines.


I came up with this simple little Celtic style detail to dress up the corners just a bit.

Add a binding, and a title “Across the Pond”, and this little quilt celebrates the journey of two of my Quaker ancestors, Thomas Stackhouse and Grace Heaton, who arrived in Philadelphia aboard  The Lamb. In 2001, I got to spend a day in the towns of Settle and Giggleswick, Yorkshire, UK. It felt like a homecoming of sorts, to walk on  streets that they may have known centuries ago.

Across the Pond - Title

Thanks to Bea for thinking up and hosting the “Dust Off a Quilt Book” Blog Hop! I can’t wait to see what the other bloggers have found on their bookshelves. Many of them, like Bea and I, are also Island Batik Ambassadors!

Monday Feb 18th
Pamela at Pamelaquilts
Selina at Selinaquilts
Kathleen at Kathleenmcmusing
Tuesday Feb 19th
Jennifer at curlicuecreations
Kathy at Kathysquilts
Wednesday Feb 20th
Suzy at Websterquilt
Brenda at songbirddesigns
Denise at craftraditions
Thursday Feb 21st
Leanne at Devoted Quilter
Jennifer at Dizzyquilter
Lee Anne at Podunk Pretties
Lyndsey at Sew Many Yarns
Friday Feb 22nd
Bea at Beaquilter
Barbara at Bejweledquilts
Marian at seams to be sew


Categories: 10" Squares, Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Miniatures, Uncategorized | 32 Comments


IMG_2289Sometimes designing a quilt is like coaching a football team. The coach has to design a set of plays that will allow his players to combine their skills in such a way that they move the ball from point A to the end zone. Island Batik Ambassadors are given a selection of fabrics and a goal…turn that collection into a finished quilt that meets the monthly challenge theme. I think I have a winner for the Secondary Pattern challenge.

30742545_2036742299701753_6798327948416909312_nI decided to use the Northern Woods Stack (42 10″ squares) that Island Batik provided me. I added a nice little off-white print for the background, a copper batik for the border, and a deep green batik for the corner triangles, which turn into my secondary design.

Since I did not want a standard grid setting for the blocks, I decided to make one big 24″ block and eight 12″ blocks.

IMG_2459The “Flea Flicker” block begins with an 8.5″ (unfinished) Double Pinwheel block. Then I add a 2.5″ x 10.5″ strip to each side. This requires a partial seam technique.




The strips that go around the block are made by sewing a 2.5″ square that matches the small pinwheel to the lower right corner of a 2.5″ x 6.5″ strip of the background fabric, using the stitch-and-flip method to make those squares into triangles. Then sew a 2.5″ x 4.5″ strip of the background fabric to the triangle.

The strip shown here has a dark green upper right corner added to the 2.5″ x 4.5″ strip. two of your 12″ blocks will have those dark green corners all the way around. The other six blocks will have green corners on two sides, and blank corners on the other two sides.

Here’s that partial seam thing. It’s easier done than explained.


Sew the first strip to the block (the strip is longer than the pinwheel is wide.) Stop sewing and back-stitch just beyond the small triangle. We will finish this seam later.


With the addition of that first strip, the top end of the pinwheel block is now 10.5″ wide, so we can sew the next strip on all the way. Now the left side of the pinwheel block is 10.5″ wide.


So now we can sew a strip to that third side. (Did you notice that I rotated the pinwheel block in the photo? The strip we just added is at the top.) Now the fourth side of the pinwheel is 10.5″ wide.


Sew a 10.5″ strip to the fourth side of the block (I rotated it again.)  And now we can deal with that loose end we left hanging on the first side.


Now we can finish that partial seam. I start stitching so that I overlap my stitching by about a half-inch, and sew to the edge of the block.

I made one 24″ block using the same processes, but with larger pieces. Then it was time to put it all together.


The six 12″ blocks with only two green corners were sewn into pairs, with the green corners on the outside of the pairs

The blocks are then sewn together with 2.5″ wide sashing strips. I think you can see in this photo that there is actually a sashing strip on the outside of all of the blocks. The wide copper border is made of large rectangles, with two green corners on each.



IMG_2815There are green “cornerstones” at the intersections of the sashing strips. The resulting secondary design is a traditional quilt block design called “Shoo Fly.”  That, and the fact that I thought the fabrics gave this quilt a kind of masculine character, and the fact that it’s football season, made the name “Flea Flicker” a natural choice for this quilt.

Flea Flicker was quilted by Kathy Brown.

Thank you to Island Batik for providing the fabrics, Aurifil for their wonderful cotton threads, and Hobbs for the Warm and Natural batting!

Flea Flicker - Title

If you’d like to see what my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors are up to (Trust me, you do,) check their blogs:

Categories: 10" Squares, Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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