Other Projects

Catching Up….

Playful PillowsActually, this post is on time. It’s still May, and this month’s Island Batik challenge is “Playful Pillows”. I stuck with the Hourglass, or Quarter-Square Triangle (QST) units I used in my quilt “Plenty of Time.”

I decided it would be a good opportunity to do a quick tutorial on one of my essential rotary cutting tools. The Tucker Trimmer® makes constructing accurate quarter-square triangles a breeze. For the record, I am not affiliated with Studio 180 Designs, just an enthusiastic devotee of the Trimmer and several other tools Deb Tucker has designed.

IMG_2210To make the Time Shift pattern, I started with four 4.5″ squares each of blue, green and cream Island Batik fabrics.

Note: The Tucker Trimmer formula is simple: Take the finished size of your QST, and add 1.5″ to determine the size of your beginning squares.

IMG_2214Cut each square diagonally twice, to make four triangles from each square.

Rearrange the triangles and sew into three combinations as shown. Make four of each combination.

I press my seams open. Press to the darker fabric if you prefer.

These squares are just a bit larger than we need, so we will use the Tucker Trimmer to trim them down to size. (I’m cutting right-handed. The tool comes with instructions for left-handed cutting as well.)

IMG_2215Lay the Tucker Trimmer on your square, with the solid diagonal line along the SW-NE seam line. I’m cutting 3.5″ QSTs, so you’ll notice I have the dashed diagonal line labeled “3-1/2″ lined up with the NW-SE seam line.

The left and lower edges of my square extend just a little beyond the 3-1/2” dashed vertical and horizontal lines on the Trimmer.

Trim the right and top edges.

img_2216.jpgNow rotate the QST, and lay the tool down again, aligning the same  diagonal lines with your seam lines.

Notice that the left and lower edges now line up with the 3-1/2 dashed vertical and horizontal lines.

Trim the right and top edges.


IMG_2217You now have a perfect 3.5″ QST, with no dogears to trim later!

Trim each of your QSTs.



IMG_2221Lay your QSTs out as shown. Sew into three rows, then sew the rows together into a block.

Your block should be 9.5″ x 12.5″.

I had a 16″ pillow form, so I added 2.5″ x 9.5″ (cut size) strips to the ends of the block, and 4″ x 16.5″ strips to the top and bottom.

I did not quilt this pillow cover, in the interest of time. I may go back and do it later.

Title with StampFor the back, I cut two 12″ x 16.5″ rectangles of the cream fabric. I hemmed on long edge of each rectangle, the pinned them wrong-sides-together, to the pillow top, so that the hemmed edged overlapped. I sewed all the way around the perimeter of the top, then trimmed the corners and turned it right-side out and stuffed the pillow form inside.

The fabrics used to make the “Time Shift” pillow cover were provided by Island Batik, and the thread was provided by Aurifil. Hobbs is also a sponsor of the Island Batik Ambassadors. To see what my fellow ambassadors have been up to this month, check out their blogs:

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


Categories: Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Other Projects, Tools, Tucket Trimmer (Studio 180 Designs), Tutorials, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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

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

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

3…2…1…Launching Another “Quiltmaker 100 Blocks”

We’re Up to Volume 11, and my contribution to this collection is “Telstar”.

“Telstar” block by Anne Wiens – 2015

In 100 Blocks the editors gave you templates for paper-piecing this block. I pieced mine, using two of my favorite rotary cutting tools – the Tucker Trimmer® and Center Beam® tools from Studio 180 Design.

If I had named the block before I made it, I probably would have used a space-themed fabric in the center square. The truth is, I have an awful time coming up with titles for my designs. It just happened that I was reading an article about the early days of the US-USSR space race the day before I absolutely had to get this block in the mail.  There was a photo of the Soviets’ Sputnik satellite and the American satellite Telstar. Honestly, the block looks more like Sputnik, but I liked the Telstar name, so it stuck.

So, off Telstar went to Quiltmaker, and I began playing with projects built around the block. I did make a cute little quilt with an astronaut print, which I will save for another blog post next week.

For now, here are a couple of tablerunners made with the Telstar block:

Telstar Tablerunners by Anne Wiens - 2015

Telstar Tablerunners by Anne Wiens – 2015

Both tablerunners have 3 Telstar blocks set on point, with pieced triangle units.

I made a little change in the block in the “pink” tablerunner. More about that later.

The tablerunners measure about 18″ x 52″.

Telstar Tablerunner #1 - fabrics

Telstar Tablerunner #1 – fabrics

1/4 yard Floral Print

1/2 yard red

1/2 yard green

1/8 yard light blue (not shown)

1-1/8 yards dark blue (Not shown)

1 yard white

1/4 yard gold

Pieces for setting triangles.

Pieces for setting triangles.

You will need to make three Telstar blocks, according to the instructions in the magazine. For the setting triangles you will also need to make twenty of the corner (red & gold) units, and eight 3.5″ blue/white half-square triangles. Cut eight 5.5″ white squares, and cut each diagonally twice for 32 quarter-square triangles. You also need four 3.5″ squares of your main print. You may notice my green squares are missing one corner. I was determined to use this print in my tablerunner and I was down to my very last bits of it. I was not at all sure I was going to make it!

Pieced setting triangles

Pieced setting triangles

Make 4 setting triangles.

Corner units

Corner units

Sew white triangles to the remaining red and gold units and sew into 4 pairs.

End units

End units

Sew corner units to two of the Telstar blocks…

End units 2

End units 2

Sew a setting triangle to the right side of each of the end units.

Center unit & finishing

Center unit & finishing

Sew the other two setting triangles to opposite sides of the remaining Telstar block. Lay the center and end units out as shown and sew together to complete your Telstar top.

Use the dark blue fabric for backing and binding. Cut five 2.25″ (2.5″ if you prefer) x Width of Fabric strips, sew end-to-end and press in half lengthwise for your binding. Set aside. Cut the remaining 3/4 yard piece in half along the center fold and sew the two halves together end-to end. Your backing piece should measure approx 21″ x 56″.

Layer the top, batting and backing, quilt as desired and bind.


Because I wasn’t certain I had enough of the green main print to make my first tablerunner, I bought fabric for a second. When I was sure I was “safe” with the first one, I tweaked the pattern a little for the second one.

Telstar Tablerunner #2- fabrics

Telstar Tablerunner #2- fabrics

In the second tablerunner, I substituted a medium pink for the light blue HSTs, and used the green from the “point” units in the block for the binding and backing as well.

Optional Points

Optional Points

I also put a light pink in place of some of the white pieces in the point units. In half the pink was on the left side of the green and in half it was on the right side.

Telstar Block - Option 2

Telstar Block – Option 2

It’s amazing what a difference the one little change makes in the finished block!


Thank you for visiting “Seams Like a Plan”.

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Giveaway time!

Click on the magazine to return to Quiltmaker's  blog and continue the tour.

Click on the magazine to return to Quiltmaker’s blog and continue the tour.

Leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing for a free copy of Quiltmaker 100 Blocks, Vol 11. It’s a random drawing, so gushing flattery won’t get you extra points…but it will make me smile.

Categories: 100 Blocks, Other Blocks & Patterns, Other Projects, Quiltmaker Magazine, Tablerunners | 103 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

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