Other Blocks & Patterns

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

GALentine? It’s a Thing.

You learn something new everyday.

The first of the monthly challenge projects for the 2018 Island Batik Ambassadors was to make a mug rug celebrating Galentine’s Day. That is not a typo. Galentine’s Day is an actual thing. Inspired by a character on the television series “Parks & Recreation”, it is a day set aside to celebrate our female friends.

For future reference, Galentine’s Day is February 13th.

Island Batik sent me a pretty little bundle of five pink, red and neutral fat quarters to use in my mug rug, and I promptly set three of them aside and broke open the Stash Builder package of  5″ strips. I decided to make an 8″ hexagonal block that I designed to teach the Sidekick® tool designed by Julie at Jaybird Quilts.

Figure 1

Figure 3

Figure 2


The feature I like…no, love…about the Sidekick is that your triangles have a flat top, which (Fig. 1) makes them easy to line up for stitching. No trying to eyeball that perfect 1/4″ notch. If you press your seams open (Fig. 2), you have a dog-ear that also helps (Fig 3.) in positioning your pieces.

For this mat, I cut 24 1.5″ triangles from the off-white dotted fabric and a dozen 1.5″ triangles from the beige and green print. I also cut six 2.5″ triangles of a multicolor print, and six light pint and twelve dark pink 1.5″ diamonds.

Setting aside the larger triangles, I sewed six of each of these pieced units.

Notice the difference in the top two units. In one the darker triangle is to the right of the dark pink diamond, and in the other, the darker triangle is on the left of the diamond.



Then, those three units are stitched to the multicolored triangles to make six matching triangle segments.

You can trim those dog-ears off now if they bother you. If they don’t shadow through the fabric, I just leave them be.





Now you can sew the segments together. Sew two half-hexagons, with three segments in each one, then sew the halves together to complete your hexagon. At this point, it measures 8.5″ top to bottom.

Layer your top, batting and backing. I used a little corner of the 80/20 Heirloom batting Hobbs sent me in this project, and quilted it with the ecru thread provided by Aurifil.


I quilted 1/8th inch around the outside of the lighter pink center star, and the larger multi-color star, then inside the beige and green diamonds on the outer edge of the mat. I also decided to go back and quilt inside the center star.

I was able to use the inside edge of my machine’s 1/4″ foot as my guide.


I used a 2″ folded binding in the beige and green print to finish my Galentine’s Day mug rug.

Thanks again to Island Batik, Hobbs and Aurifil for sponsoring the Ambassadors!

One project down, thirteen to go! Up next: Mini Love. In fact, a few of my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors have already begun posting their mini quilts.

Follow the links below to visit their blogs.


Barbara at Bejeweled Quilts
Bea at BeaQuilter
Jeanette at Inchworm Fabrics
Jennifer at Curlicue Creations
Jennifer at Dizzy Quilter
Jennifer at Inquiring Quilter
Kathleen at Kathleen McMusing
Leanne at Devoted Quilter
Maryellen at Mary Mack Made Mine
Michelle at Creative Blonde
Pamela at PamelaQuilts
Sally at Sally Manke
Sandra at MMM Quilts
Stephanie at Steph Jacobson


Categories: Aurifil Threads, FQ Projects, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Other Blocks & Patterns, Placemats, Tools | 3 Comments

Will Work for Fabric

If I thought I was busy in 2017 – and I was- 2018 is going to be a continuous “mad dash to the deadline.” No, no, don’t feel sorry for me. It’s my own fault. I tend to dive headlong into design opportunities especially when there’s company-supplied fabric involved. And so, when fellow designer Cindy Wiens mentioned the Island Batik “Ambassador” program, I had to check it out…and apply…and they accepted!

First, they sent me some nifty artwork to display proudly on my blog:

Next came an email from FedEx that my first (there will be two this year) shipment of fabric was on its way. Another ambassador pointed out that the package weighed 22lbs. Holy Cow!

On the way home the other evening, I stopped for Chinese take-out. This was the fortune in my cookie:

I arrived home to find a very large box on my doorstep.

Before I show you what was inside, I need to point out that the fabrics were supplied by Island Batik, the battings by Hobbs, and the threads by Aurifil.

First was this little bundle of five fat quarters for my first project, a GALentine’s Day mug rug. GALentine. I’d never heard of it, but it’s a thing. More about that when I post the project this weekend.

There was a twin-size cotton batting from Hobbs. It’s wonderful stuff – and I’m not just saying that because they gave it to me.

And there was a queen-size Thermore, Hobbs‘ super-thin poly batting. This should be perfect for my mug rug and other small projects.

Yes, Auri-philes, that is six spools and one huge cone of Aurifil threads. I’ll share the brochures, but not the thread!


Island Batik calls this package a “Stash Builder”. It contains five rolls, and each roll has four different 5″ wide strips of various prints. Imagine the possibilities.

Next came this collection of fat eighths, plus a couple yards of a coordinate. This collection is called “Mountains Majesty.”

Here’s a side view of the Mountains Majesty bundle. My muse thinks he has an idea for this collection.

Then I found this lovely rayon scarf and a couple yards of this aquamarine color rayon print. I’ve never worked with rayon, so this will be an adventure.

There were several yards from Island Batik’s “foundation” collection.

Island Batik‘s collection of 42 10″ squares is called a “Stack”.  This one is called “Northern Woods”, and it was accompanied by two coordinates.

And then there was this:

I haven’t opened it, because I am under strict orders not to show the contents to anyone yet, and, well, I know me. I do know this much – it is full of brand new Island Batiks that will be introduced to shops at Quilt Market this spring, so they will be arriving at your local quilt shop this summer.

Yes, it’s all mine, and all Island Batik, Hobbs and Aurifil asked in return is that I produce a series of projects using them over the next few months!

I am proud to be one of the 45 Island Batik Ambassadors for 2018. Each of us will be posting projects on our blogs monthly. Most have already posted their GALentines projects, so grab your favorite beverage, and prepare to be inspired!

Barbara at Bejeweled Quilts
Bea at BeaQuilter
Jeanette at Inchworm Fabrics
Jennifer at Curlicue Creations
Jennifer at Dizzy Quilter
Jennifer at Inquiring Quilter
Kathleen at Kathleen McMusing
Leanne at Devoted Quilter
Maryellen at Mary Mack Made Mine
Michelle at Creative Blonde
Pamela at PamelaQuilts
Sally at Sally Manke
Sandra at MMM Quilts
Stephanie at Steph Jacobson



Categories: Aurifil Threads, FQ Projects, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Other Projects | 6 Comments

Once Around the Block


“Starshine” by Anne Wiens – 2017

Welcome to my stop on the Road Rally celebrating the latest issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks! My contribution to volume 16 is “Starshine”.

If you wander through some of my previous blog posts, you’ll see that I am a big fan of scrap quilts. One reason is that I have a very low tolerance for tedium, and I find making the same block in the same colors over and over very tedious. Even when it’s my block, and even when I know the quilt would be fabulous. Given my druthers, I’ll make it a scrap quilt almost every time.

I built the color scheme for “Starshine”on the colors in the center square. As much as I love the original block, I couldn’t resist moving the colors around. If my math serves, there should be 720 possible combinations of the six colors in this block. Here are six, starting with the color placement in the sample block and simply rotating them through the positions:

Color Rotation

The rotation is top row, left to right, then bottom row, right to left.

When I show someone a new block design, the inevitable question is, “Now, what are you going to do with it?” Well, to stay with the Road Rally theme, that puts me at a crossroad. I decided on making placemats, and came up with three designs:


If you see one (or more) you like, follow the instructions in the magazine to construct the block. The instructions below are for two 3″ wide borders to turn the 12″ (finished) block into a 12″ x 18″ placemat.


Pmat 1


Pmat 2


Pmat 3

Vol16-Cover-200pxNow, who wants a free copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, vol. 16? Leave a comment below, and you’ll be entered into a random drawing, which will take place Sunday evening, Nov. 19.

If you enjoy scrap quilts, click the FOLLOW button at the bottom of this blog, and you’ll be notified anytime there’s a new post. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but there is usually a block pattern involved.

You can also “Like” Sweetgrass Creative Designs on Facebook!

Return to Quilty Pleasures to continue the Road Rally.

Categories: 100 Blocks, Other Blocks & Patterns, Placemats, Quiltmaker Magazine, Uncategorized | 90 Comments

Making the Case for “Quilt Bibs”

My second Layer Cake® quilt pattern for Moda Fabrics has posted on the Moda Bake Shop blog. It’s called “Stargazer“, and I made the sample quilt with 10” squares from the new 30’s Playtime 2017 collection, paired with a royal blue Bella Solid, also by Moda Fabrics.

Title Photo

The Stargazer quilt is 64″ x 84″ as shown, which includes a 4″ solid blue border across the top of the quilt to give it the length I prefer for a twin bed quilt. That border also gave me an opportunity to include a practical feature that I have only seen once, on a vintage quilt in an antique shop.

It was a strip of muslin folded over the top edge of the quilt and basted in place. There was a row of daisies embroidered  along the bottom edge. I wish I could have purchased the quilt, or at least taken a photo of it. When I described it to her, my Grandma Wiens explained that the muslin strip was a “bib” or a “whisker guard”.

If your quilts are used as blankets, as mine are meant to be, they are most likely to become soiled along the top edge by body oils and/or worn through by whisker stubble as they get tucked up under chins on chilly nights. Can you imagine trying to launder a quilt by hand, or even in a wringer washing machine? So, Grandma explained, she would baste a strip of muslin over the top edge of the quilt. Instead of washing the whole quilt, she only had to snip the basting thread, pull the “bib” off, launder it, and baste it back into place!

I did a little online research and found another form of quilt bib. This one was a sort of long, narrow casing that slips over the top edge of the quilt.

To make mine, I purchased 5/8 yard of one of the fabrics in the 30’s Playtime 2017 collection. I cut one 8.5″ x 40.5″ strip and two 8.5″ x 13″ strips, then sewed the shorter strips to the ends of the longer strip.


Hem the two long edges. I used my rolled-hem foot. Going over the seams was a little tricky, but if you go slowly and use a stiletto, it is a nice finish. If you don’t have a rolled hem foot…or aren’t on speaking terms with it…you can cut your strips 9″ wide and turn under a quarter-inch and a quarter-inch again, press and sew with a straight seam.

Next, I sewed the lace along one long edge on the right side of the piece to hide the basting stitches that would fasten it to the quilt, and keep them from snagging little fingers.


Then I folded the strip in half lengthwise, right sides together, and  sewed the ends. Be sure to backstitch the ends of the seam. I added a second seam for strength, but it really isn’t necessary. Trim the  top corner and turn the piece right-side-out.


Slip the casing over the top edge of the quilt, and baste in place. I used approx 1″ basting stitches, tucked under the edge of the lace. Be sure you baste through both sides of the casing, the entire length of the quilt.

Of course, there are other options for attaching the bib to the quilt. You could sew several buttons at intervals along the border of the quilt, and button holes on the casing. Remember you will need them on both sides of the quilt. A row of snap tape front and back would also work.

I don’t expect quilt bibs to come back into vogue anytime soon, but it was fun to take a step into history for this project.



Categories: Moda Bake Shop, Other Blocks & Patterns, Other Projects, Quilts, Scrap Quilts | 5 Comments

TQ Mug Mats

Do you need a quick hostess gift, teacher gift, or table favor? Whip up one of these totally TQable Mug Mats! I used pre-cut scraps from my Thrifty Quilter stash for these, but if you want to make several, 1/4 yard….regular cut or a fat quarter…will make two mats. Here’s how I did it:

Your materials for one mat:

IMG_1615One 4.5″ square (brown) for the center.

One 6.5″ square (blue) for the backing, and four 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangles (blue) for the frame. Note: You can use narrower frame strips and a larger center square if you prefer.

One 6.5″ square of scrap batting.

Thread should match your frame fabric.


Step 1: Press the 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangles in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.


Lay the batting square on the table and lay the 6.5″ backing square on top of it, right side up. Lay the framing strips on the square as shown, as if you were closing the flaps on a cardboard box. Raw edges are on the outside.


Sew a 1/4″ seam all around the outside edge and trim the corners.


Flip the frame strips to the batting side of the piece. Poke the corners out as squarely as possible, and top stitch 1/4″ from the edge.


Insert your 4.5″ square. Pin in place and stitch the frame edge down close to the center square.


When I’m top-stitching, I don’t like to back-tack the end of a seam. Instead, I leave myself a good 4″-6″ of thread, and using an embroidery needle (because it has a larger eye), I bury the thread ends inside my piece.

There! Now how easy was that?

I saw another great idea the other day. Same general idea – use binding leftovers, cut to 6.5″ lengths as your framing pieces. Sew and flip as show above, but instead of inserting a small fabric square, just leave the batting exposed. Set it next to your machine and it’s a thread catcher!

So simple, you’ll want to make one of each for your quilting pals.



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

Plays Well With Others

Quiltmaker Magazine has released it’s latest 100 Blocks special edition!

My contribution to Volume 15 is #1498 – “Showcase”.


“Showcase” by Anne Wiens – 2016

I designed this simple-looking block to show off those medium and large-scale prints that you just hate to cut into little bits. I think the secret to this block’s success is to make sure the background – the dark red in the sample – is a quiet, non-directional tone-on-tone print, because there are some little seams that you want to camouflage.

In the magazine, the editors show a mock-up of a small square quilt, with thirteen Showcase blocks, set on point, three blocks across and three blocks down. When I saw that, I thought this block is not a contender for the title of “Best Block in a Leading Role.” I actually felt a little sad and sorry for the poor block.

Then I began to play around with my QuiltPro software, combining “Showcase” with other blocks from the issue, and WOW- it’s a shoe-in for “Best Supporting Block!”

Here are a few examples:


#1469 “Coronation” by Deborah Johnson

# 1469

This is the same 13-block on-point layout shown in the magazine. I replaced the eight outside “Showcase” with “Coronation” blocks (#1469). Four of the “Showcase” blocks now have a light background, while the center block keeps its dark pink background. If I started playing with colors, I think this would become a real Southwestern-style wallhanging!



#1477 “Boxed Star” by Debbie Martin

# 1477 - Boxed Star

This traditional alternating blocks layout features block #1477. I did change the colors in “Boxed Star”. Neither block is that intricate on its own, but as co-stars, they have a certain “chemistry”, don’t you think? I loved that secondary design where the corners come together, so I pulled that element out into the black border for emphasis.



#1450 “Star Power” by Emily Bailey

Star Power 1

Oh, did I have fun with block  “Star Power”! This is a scrap block in the magazine, but when you’re making the quilt, you get to pick the colors. Again, this is a traditional alternating block setting. I love the Irish Chain vibe!

Star Power 2

I just couldn’t leave this pairing of “Showcase” and “Star Power” alone, and came up with these possibilities.



 #1444 “Two Lips” by Ann Weber

Victory Lane

You’re probably wondering where “Two Lips” went. I wanted to do a layout that would tie into this week’s “Road Rally” blog tour theme. I imagine this quilt starring a race car print in the center of the “Showcase” blocks, with a theme coordinate in the light gray strips between the blocks.  Let’s say the “Two Lips” block makes a cameo appearance here. It gave me the border idea for this layout!

It’s a good thing I had a deadline for posting this blog, because honestly, I’d still be playing with possibilities!

But now, it’s time to give away a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Vol. 15.


Leave a comment below and tell me:

How far do you have to drive to visit your favorite local quilt shop?

(Give them a shout-out if you’d like!)

One winner will be chosen at random on Saturday (May 6, 2017)

Thanks for stopping by “Seams Like a Plan”. Click the “follow” button at the top of the page, and you’ll be notified when there is a new post.

Click HERE to return to the “Quilty Pleasures” blog and continue today’s blog tour.

Categories: 100 Blocks, Other Blocks & Patterns, Quiltmaker Magazine | 112 Comments

Spring is Busting Out All Over


“Star Route” by Anne Wiens – 2016

The Spring 2017 issue of Quiltmaker’s Quilts from 100 Blocks should be on your newsstand today, and one of the fourteen patterns is mine! You can read about the new issue by clicking on the link.

Remember my “Star Route” block from last fall’s Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Vol. 14?


“Budding Blossoms” by Anne Wiens 60″x60″ (Photo: Quiltmaker)

Well, it’s grown into “Budding Blossoms”, a 60″ x 60″ wallhanging/lap quilt!

This project was a bit of a Scrap Squad ’13 reunion. I designed it and sewed the top, it was quilted by Nicole Brouillette, and we used a flange binding technique we learned from Marti Dyer-Allison. The magazine includes a quick photo tutorial on how to make the binding. Marti did a video tutorial, which you can watch HERE.

I loved working with Kathy Deggendorfer’s “Wild by Nature” collection from Maywood Studio. I even had enough fabric leftover to make a second lap quilt, which I’d like to share with you. The design for this quilt was driven by the fabrics I had on hand, with the addition of a black tone-on-tone for the block background.

The first thing I did was to deconstruct the Star Route block. I took the “Hole in the Barn Door” block from the center, and the “Sawtooth Star” that surrounded it. I had enough pink, green, orange and yellow fabrics to make 12 “Hole in the Barn Door” and a dozen “Sawtooth Star” blocks. These blocks are 9″ finished.

I also had just over 1/2 yard each of three of the floral prints. Not enough to make alternating 9″ squares, so I had to get a little clever. I sewed the pieced blocks into pairs, and eked out four 9.5″ x 18.5″ rectangles of each of the three florals.  Each pair of blocks was sewn to the long side of a floral rectangle. Knowing that it would not be fun to unsew 18″ seams on a black fabric, I decided to draw and label the layout. (I still wound up unsewing one seam.)

And here she is….”Country Girl” is 54″ x 72″ as is, which would be a nice lap-size quilt.


“Country Girl” 2017 by Anne Wiens

It’s finished, according to the pattern. But I just may add a 3″ black border to it, which would make it 60″ x 78″. I haven’t decided yet. The binding will be that green from the center of the “Hole in the Barn Door” blocks.We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I’m on to my next project…a “guy quilt” for Quiltmaker Magazine.

qf100-cover-500If you don’t find a copy of the new Quilts from 100 Blocks issue, click HERE to order it directly from Quiltmaker in print or digital format.

Categories: 100 Blocks, Quiltmaker Magazine, Quilts from 100 Blocks, Uncategorized, Wallhangings | Leave a comment

Another “Special Delivery” from Quiltmaker!

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Vol. 14 debuts today, and not quite smack dab in the center of the cover is my block, “Star Route”.


Here’s a better photo:


“Star Route” by Anne Wiens 2016

This block is a combination and slight adaptation of two of my favorite traditional quilt blocks. A “Hole in the Barn Door”block, surrounded by a Sawtooth Star. I live in farming and ranching country in north-central Montana. Many rural residents get their mail by “star route” carriers.

I wondered where the term “star route” originated, so I consulted the USPS website. Long story short, instead of writing out “celerity, certainty and security” on the bid paperwork, postal clerks took to using three asterisks (***), and the contracts came to be called “star routes.” Follow the link for the long version of the story.

There are a lot of pieces in this block, but it isn’t difficult to make. It’s mostly half-square triangles with stitch-and-flip tips. It is a little time-consuming.

Here’s what the block might look like in a quilt:


Left: Crib size quilt is 42″ x 54″ and uses 12 blocks, with pieced border units.                Right: Lap-size quilt is 54″ x 66″ and uses 20 blocks with pieced border units.

You may notice that I added an orange triangle to the pink triangles of the original block. That’s because when I started setting the blocks together, I found that I had large pink diamonds forming, and they distracted the eye from the block centers. Those orange pieces are cut the same size as the blue pieces in the block.


Border Square 1         Border Square 2

These are actually square units, though they may not look like it on your screen.

Square #1 – The “green” square is the same as the star-point units in the block, substituting black for white in the half-square triangle.

Square #2 – The “pink square starts with a 3.5” black square. The stitch and flip pink corner is the same size as the one in the corner square of the block. The orange stitch and flip corner is the same size square as the blue square in Square #1.


You need two of Square #1 and two of Square #2 for each border unit.


You will need one border unit each block in the top and bottom row of your quilt, one for each block along the sides of your quilt, and two border units plus one more Square #2 for each corner block.

So that’s one way to use the Star Route block.

My Quilt Pro design software and I had a lot of fun playing with this block, and you will be amazed at when I came up with for the next Quiltmaker special issue Quilts from 100 Blocks. However, you’ll have to wait until the magazine comes out next spring.



I have a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Vol. 14 to give away. To be entered in the random drawing, just leave a comment on this blog, and tell me what town would we be sending your prize to?


Click HERE to check out my Facebook page

Click HERE to return to the Quilty Pleasures blog tour.

Categories: 100 Blocks, Other Blocks & Patterns, Quiltmaker Magazine, Quilts | 160 Comments

Swap Meet

I came home from Quilt Market last Spring with a fun little bundle of nine fat quarters from Cotton + Steel, a division of RJR Fabrics:


“Porch Picnic” FQ bundle by Cotton + Steel, RJR Fabrics

These are prints I would not normally choose for myself, which I think is one reason I bought the bundle. The real reason is that they were on sale. I’m shameless that way.

Now what to do with them?

I wanted a quick project that would use as much of each FQ as possible, and  the project I came up with is something I call the “Swap Meet”.

The math worked out beautifully – each FQ will yield enough pieces for one block, so you need only to figure out how many blocks you need and buy that number of FQs!


I had nine FQs, and needed twelve for a 42″ x 54″ quilt, so I added three more FQs.

I bought enough of that teal solid to add a 3″ (finished) border.


 I divided my bundle into pairs. Each pair needs contrast in value and scale.

I opened and pressed each pair of FQs.


Oops! C+S sneaked a regular quarter-yard cut into the bundle…and it’s a border print to boot. That will not work with this pattern, so I swapped it out for another pink print.

Now it’s time to cut, swap and sew. I decided to work with just one pair of FQs at a time, to avoid confusion. I cut one pair, sewed the blocks, then cut the next pair of FQs. If you prefer to do all your cutting at once, cut a pair, put all the pieces in a zip-bag, then cut the next pair and repeat.


From each FQ, cut one 6.5″ x 20.5″ strip and two 3.5″ x 21″ strips.


Cut the 6.5″ strip into one 6.5″ square and four 6.5″ x 3.5″ rectangles.

Cut each 3.5″ strip into six 3.5″ squares.


Now swap the 6.5″ squares and eight of the 3.5″ squares.

You now have the makings of two blocks. One will have a light star on a dark background, and the other will be a dark star on a light background.


Use the “stitch and flip” method to make four 3.5″ x 6.5″ flying geese units for each block.

If you are not familiar with this method, click HERE for a very good tutorial from Quiltmaker. You’ll notice that Diane folds her squares to find her diagonal sewing line. I prefer to mark mine lightly with a mechanical pencil. Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to. You’ll get the same results with both methods.


Sew one flying geese unit to opposite sides of the 6.5″ square.


Sew the remaining 3.5″ squares to the ends of the other two flying geese.

Sew these strips to the top and bottom of the center strip.


Each pair of FQs will give you two blocks.


When all of your blocks are complete, lay them out in a pleasing arrangement, and sew together. I added a 3.5″ (unfinished) border for a 42″ x 54″ quilt top.

For a 54″ x 66″ lap quilt, make twenty blocks, set four across and five down. A 66″ x 90″ twin-size quilt would need 35 blocks, set in seven rows of five blocks. In this case, you would need 36 FQs, and would have one block left over. The dimensions listed also include a 3.5″ (unfinished) border.

Who among us doesn’t have a bunch of FQs that don’t seem to match anything in our stash, whether they are leftovers from project bundles, spoils from the last guild raffle, or FQs purchased in a weak moment when they were on sale. Pair ’em up and the next time you feel like sewing, but don’t want to start a new project, cut a pair or two up and make a few Sawtooth Swap blocks. Set them aside, adding a few to the pile now and again. You’ll be amazed how quickly these blocks multiply! You’ll have a quilt’s worth in no time.

Categories: FQ Projects, Other Blocks & Patterns, Quilts, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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