Special Events

“What I Did On My Summer Vacation”

Was anyone really given that first-day-of-school writing assignment? I don’t recall ever doing it, but I recall the phrase being a meme long before anyone had ever heard the term meme. I digress.

MBS-seashore_800x800Part of my summer was spent helping the Moda Bake Shop  cook up a quilt-along (QAL) sampler project called “At the Seashore.” If you weren’t a part of the fun, on the title and you can find all of the blocks offered and a few layout options. Some of the blocks contributed by my fellow Moda Bake Shop “Chefs” are absolutely awesome. My own contributions were a paper-pieced block, the Sailor’s Star, and a simple setting option I called “Calm Sea.”

There’s nothing I enjoy more than designing quilts and quilt projects, but a close second would be seeing photo after photo of my design in every color combination imaginable. Several of the quilters – we call them Moda Bake Shop “Bakers” – who took part in the quilt-along gave me permission to share photos of their Sailor’s Star blocks:

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The Sailor’s Star was the only paper-pieced block in this year’s QAL.  Of course, any time you’re sharing a pattern with templates – whether they’re individual pieces or paper-pieced units – you have to be very careful that the printout from your computer printer or photocopier is accurate. So it’s a good idea to print a test page, measure the templates and adjust your printing size to get the result you need. In the case of this block, even through my publishing software showed my template illustration was the correct size, I had to set my printer for 104% to get the printout right.


A couple of MBS Bakers had to deal with blocks that were just not quite perfect, and came up with successful solutions.

B-Marcy Heglund Henri

Marcy Heglund Henri’s block was a little shy of 12.5″ square, so she added a narrow border to it.

B-Linda Peimann Miller

Linda Peimann Miller wound up with corners that were just a little too rounded, so she added the triangles to the corners to sharpen them up, and between you and me, I think it really improved the block overall.

The “Calm Sea” setting was the simplest of the three setting options offered up by the MBS Chefs this summer. That’s not to say it was without its challenges. Because the blocks were set in vertical rows, the sashing strips between the offset rows were cut lengthwise, which meant the fabric had to be folded twice to cut it. Those folds had to be perfectly parallel to each other to avoid “doglegs” at the folds.

Here are photos of some of the “Calm Seas” quilts that Bakers have shared with me:

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Again, Bakers found a way to add their own touches to the setting. Frankie added seashore-themed prints to the ends of the rows, and Raylene appliqued starfish in the larger areas of the background. The pattern as written was 60″ x 82″, which is just shy of twin-size. Paula added two more rows to make her quilt wider.

I don’t know how many quilters took part in the “At the Seashore” QAL, but I know they all had fun. And I also know that the Moda Bake Shop Chefs are back in the “kitchen”  working on our next QAL, the 2019 Countdown to Christmas. We’ll offer up one block per day, and each will be offered in two or three sizes. The Countdown to Christmas begins on December 1st. Stop by the Moda Bake Shop blog each day for a downloadable pattern!

Categories: Moda Bake Shop, Scrap Quilts, Special Events | 1 Comment

Blue Moon


The AccuQuilt Ready Set GO! die cutting system includes an 8-die “Qube”. The shapes can be mixed to create dozens of blocks. The kit also included a 2.5″ strip-cutting die.

To say Island Batik and its partners, Hobbs Batting and Aurifil Threads treat their four-dozen-plus Ambassadors well would be an understatement. This year, they have spoiled us rotten. They added AccuQuilt to the mix, and our new best friends at AccuQuilt sent us each a Ready Set GO!® die cutting system, with the 8″ die collection! Since AccuQuilt gave me such a great gift, I’ll pay it forward and give you a free pattern for my “Blue Moon” quilt!

Baby QuiltOur April Island Batik Challenge was to create a baby quilt using the AccuQuilt. I added an additional layer of complication by challenging myself to come up with a pattern that would use every die in the Qube®. After a few weeks of coming up with ideas that could use most of them, I stumbled across a design that has been in my sketchbook for at least a decade that is perfect. It’s a 44″ square medallion-style quilt that would be perfect for a baby, or a wallhanging…and it calls for all eight shape dies, and the 2.5″ strip die.

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I won’t go through all of the materials and cutting instructions in this post, but you can download the pattern here:  Blue Moon – AccuQuilt Pattern


The Blue Moon quilt is a medallion-style pattern, which means you begin with a center block and add several borders…five borders in this case. To keep things in order, I cut all of my pieces, following the chart on the last page of the pattern. It took about an hour.  Then I  separated all of the pieces into six “kits”, one for the center block, and borders 1-5, and put each kit into a labeled zip-lock bag. Here’s how the quilt top came together:

5th Border

5th Border

Once I fix that error and quilt this puppy, I’ll bind it with the plum fabric.

I think I’ll use Hobbs’ Tuscany® silk/polyester blend batting. Hobbs provided a 60″ x 60″ throw-size batt. I’ve never used a silk batting, so I’m anxious to try it! It’s a 90% silk and 10% polyester blend, and according to the website, “Hobbs Tuscany Silk Batting breathes naturally, making it an excellent choice for airy, lightweight quilts and coverlets, and while it’s a ‘cool’ quilt, it can also provide excellent warmth.” Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

The finished “Blue Moon” quilt will be 44″ x 44″.

Want to see what the other Island Batik Ambassadors are up to? Check out their blogs!

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

(Debora) Anne Weins ~ Sweetgrass Creative Designs

Geraldine Wilkins ~ Living Water Quilter

Janet Yamamoto ~


Categories: AccuQuilt, Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Other Blocks & Patterns, Quilts, Special Events, Wallhangings | 4 Comments

Scrap Quilt Challenge

10502479_1113162472031784_6161606727607688505_nOne 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 5th annual Scrap Quilt Challenge is underway, 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.

"Showcase A" by Anne Wiens - 2015

“Showcase A”
by Anne Wiens – 2015

Yes, there is a “Showcase B” block, which I posted a few weeks ago. Click HERE to go to that blog. I know…I know…logically, “A” should have been posted before “B”. I don’t even have a logical excuse, if I need an excuse at all. I guess I was just in a contrary mood. 😉

I called these blocks “Showcase” because they’re perfect for showing off print scraps that you don’t really want to chop up into smaller pieces.

Showcase A - Parts & Pieces

Showcase A – Parts & Pieces

For each block you will need:

Main Print – One 8.5″ square

Dark – Eight 2.5″ squares

Medium – Twelve 2.5″ squares

Light – Four 2.5″ squares and Eight 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles

Step 1a: Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each of the dark and medium squares.

Step 1b

Step 1b

Step 1b – Lay a medium square on each corner of your 8.5″ main print square. Sew on the drawn lines and trim 1/4″ outside the seam line. Press the corners open. Set this unit aside.

Step 2

Step 2

Step 2 – Use the rest of your dark and medium squares and the light rectangles to make eight flying geese units. Four geese should have the dark on the right side and four should have the dark on the left side, as shown. Sew the geese into pairs so you have a large dark triangle between two smaller medium triangles (just as they’re laid out above.)

Step 3

Step 3

Step 3 – Sew one flying geese pair to the left side of your center unit, and another flying geese pair to the right side.

Step 4

Step 4

Step 4 – Sew 2.5″ light squares to the ends of the two remaining flying geese pairs. Sew one strip to the top of your center unit and the other to the bottom, to complete your Showcase A block.

My plan is to use a “solid” setting with no sashing between the blocks, and alternate Showcase A and Showcase B blocks. Twelve blocks (six of each) with a 4″ border would make a 44″ x 56″ crib-size quilt. For a lap-size quilt, I would need twenty blocks (ten of each). Thirty-five blocks (17 of one, 18 of the other) would make a generous twin-size quilt, and you would need 56 (28 each) for a queen-size quilt.

Ready to accept the Scrap Quilt Challenge?

Click on the icon below for details.


Happy Scrapping!

Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, Other Blocks & Patterns, Scrap Quilts, Special Events | 4 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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