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

A Wee Little Quilt

Mini Love“Mini Love” is the theme for my second project as an ambassador for Island Batiks Fabric. For this project, I wanted to make a mini quilt, which is usually defined for competition purposes, as a scale model version of a full-size quilt pattern, usually a scale of 1/4″ = 1″. That means a miniature version of a 12″ traditional quilt block would be just 3″ square.

Believe it or not, a miniature quilt block is harder to make than a full-size block, because while accuracy is important with a full-size block, it is crucial in a mini block. By their very size, mini quilts invite close inspection.

IMG_2076For my mini quilt, I chose a version of the Ohio Star, and chose to celebrate the Irish portion of my DNA by using greens and oranges from the “Stash Builder” collection of 5″ strips that was included in the lovely box of fabrics that Island Batiks sent me. I’m using Aurifil 50-wt thread, courtesy of the company, and Heirloom batting provided by Hobbs.


IMG_2091I have a friend who likes to count the number of pieces in a block, and she would be quick to point out that there are 29 pieces in each of these mini Ohio Star blocks. I prefer to think in terms of units. Each block has four quarter-square triangles, and four half-square triangle units with a little accent corner. Plus, of course, the center square. It seems not quite so intimidating. Still- that’s a lot of pieces.


IMG_2081There are nine blocks in this quilt. When I have blocks with those accent corners, I will usually carry that out into the border. To do this for this mini quilt, I cut sixteen 3.5″ squares. I added orange on two corners of twelve of the squares, and one orange corner on the remaining four.




IMG_2092It took me a while to decide how to quilt this little gem. I decided to trace around the octagons in each block, and crosshatch the border, using the star tips as my starting points. To keep my lines straight, I used a square ruler, with the diagonal line placed along the border seam, drew a very (very) light line with a #4 drafting pencil.

When machine quilting, I adjust my stitch length from 2.5mm to 3.0, and loosen my top thread tension just a tad.

After quilting, I added a binding that was similar to the fabric in my center squares, and here is “Indiana Irish,” celebrating my family roots in the Emerald Isle and the Hoosier State. This little treasure will be hanging in the kitchen while the corned beef and potatoes are cooking on St. Patrick’s Day.

Indiana Irish

“Indiana Irish”  2018 by Anne Wiens

Check out the blogs of my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors:

Den Syende Himmel

Busy Hands Quilts


Ark Angel Creations

Desert Bloom Quilting

Freemotion by the River

Yellow Cat Quilt Designs

Quilting Affection Designs

Inquiring Quilter

Bejeweled Quilts by Barb

Clever Chameleon

Sarah Goer Quilts

Mania for Quilts

Steph Jacobson

Inchworm Fabrics

Kauffman Designs

Moosestash Quilting 


Gateway Quilts & Stuff

Carole Lyles Shaw

Sally Manke

Mary Mack Made Mine

Kathleen McMusing

heARTs Creations

Sew Karen-ly Created

If These Threads Could Talk

The Quilt Rambler

Devoted Quilter

Slice of Pi Quilts

Creative Blonde

Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting

Masterpiece Quilting

Patterns by Jen

Powered by Quilting

Quilt in a not-Shell

Dizzy Quilter

Curlicue Creations

Lizard Creek Quilts

Little Bunny Quilts

MMM Quilts

Sew Increadibly Crazy

Adventerous Applique and Quilting

Sweetgrass Designs

Living Water Quilter

Whispers of Yo

Our next challenge: “Try a Technique”. I’m looking forward to that!



Categories: Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Miniatures, Tools, Tucket Trimmer (Studio 180 Designs), Uncategorized, Wallhangings | 5 Comments

A Mini Block for a Maxi Cause

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Each September my friend Beth Helfter of EvaPaige Quilt Designs hosts a swap based on a pretty teal fabric to raise money to fund research to find a cure for this ugly disease.


Blank Quilting, which produces a line of teal prints each year for Ovarian Cancer awareness, has generously donated a bolt of a beautiful teal print to the swap. Each participant will receive a piece of this print, which must be used to make a mug rug or mini quilt to swap with another member of the group. Click HERE for more details on the Teal Mini Swap.

You’re probably wondering what the photo at the top of the page has to do with this topic. True, there is no teal in it, but it is a miniature quilt, and gives me a chance to show off a neat little tool I picked up at Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon a couple of years ago. It’s called the Mini Maple Leaf template, and was designed by Patricia Nowak of Cutting Edge Quilts.

The "Mini Maple Leaf" tool, designed by Patricia Nowak, Cutting Edge LLC

The “Mini Maple Leaf” tool, designed by Patricia Nowak, Cutting Edge LLC

This tool is designed to make 2″ or 4″ (finished size) Maple Leaf quilt blocks.

To make one block, you need one dark square and one light square.

For a 4″ finished block, start with 5″ squares. For a 2″ block, start with 4″ squares.

Step 1

Step 1

Step 1 – Place the two squares right-sides-together and draw a diagonal line. Sew a 1/4″ seam on both sides of the line. Cut on the drawn line and press open for two half-square triangles (HSTs). Trim to 4-1/2″ squares.

Step 2a

Step 2a

Step 2a – Note: There are two sets of markings on the tool. For demonstration purposes, I’m using the markings for the 4″ finished block in these photos.

Lay one HST on your cutting mat as shown. Lay the tool on your HST as shown, aligning the full-length black line with the left side of the HST, and cut this strip from the HST. Set aside.

Step 2b

Step 2b

Step 2b – Rotate the remaining piece as shown and align the tool with the solid line on the left edge and the dotted line “C” on the bottom edge. Cut this square from the piece and set aside.

Step 2c

Step 2c

Step 2c – Cut a “C” square from the remaining white scrap. Set aside.

Step 3a

Step 3a

Step 3a – Lay the second HST on your mat as shown and align the tool with the solid line on the left edge of the HST and the “B” dotted line on the bottom edge. Cut the strip from the HST and set aside.

Steps 3b and 3c – Repeat Steps 2b and 2c.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAYou should have the pieces shown above.

Step 4

Step 4

Step 4 – Sew the pieces into rows.

Step 5

Step 5

Step 5 – Sew the rows together to complete your Mini Maple Leaf block.

Mini Maple Leaf blocks

Mini Maple Leaf blocks

If you start with a 4″ square (you can get by with 3-1/2″ squares) and use the other set of markings, you can make a 2″ finished block. You can embroider stems on your leaves, but I just drew them in with a Pigma® Micron pen.

Mini Maple Leaf Quilt - by Anne Wiens - 2015 (14" x 14")

Mini Maple Leaf Quilt – by Anne Wiens – 2015
(14″ x 14″)

I used 12 2″ Mini Maple Leaf blocks (2-1/2″ unfinished) and alternated them with 13 2-1/2″ print squares for this mini quilt. The borders are cut 2″ wide, and I used a faux piped binding technique to finish it with a little flair.

teal miniFor more information about the Teal Mini Swap Beth is organizing, click HERE.

Registration closes August 29th, and we are halfway to our goal of 200 participants, so there’s room for you and a friend or two!

Categories: Miniatures, Other Blocks & Patterns, Other Projects, Special Events, Tutorials | Leave a comment

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