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Spring is Busting Out All Over

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“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?

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“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.

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“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

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:

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“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!

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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.

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

I opened and pressed each pair of FQs.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Each pair of FQs will give you two blocks.

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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

Starflowers for the 4th of July

I spent part of my holiday weekend designing and making these 12″ blocks that I’m calling “Starflowers”.

Here is the recipe:

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Pieces for 1 Starflower block

For each block you will need:

  • Two 4.5″ brown squares
  • Four 3.5″ x 6.5″ brown rectangles
  • Two 4.5″ green squares
  • Four 3.5″ gray squares
  • Four 3.5″ x 6.5″ blue rectangles
  • Four 2.5″ yellow squares

Note – The “blue” rectangles are for the flower petals, so they can be any color you’d like. I used brown for my background color because the quilt i”m planning for these blocks will be a flower bed. You can use white or another color for your background. Likewise, I chose gray for the corners, to make stepping stones in my flower bed. Feel free to use another color here, too.

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Step 1

Step 1 – Cut the brown and green squares in half diagonally and sew into four half-square triangles (HSTs). Trim them to 3.5″.  (If needed, you can read how to do this HERE.) Then draw a diagonal line on the back of each HST from the brown corner to the green corner.

Step 2a                                                Step 2b

Step 2 – Align a HST to the left end of a 3.5″ x 6.5″ blue rectangle (Photo 2a). Notice that the green is to the upper right and the brown is to the lower left. Repeat with the other HSTs and blue rectangles.

Sew on the drawn line (Photo 2b). If you start in the center of the rectangle, you won’t have an issue with your machine trying to “eat” that brown corner.

Step 3                                                    Option

Step 3 – Trim 1/4″ outside the seam and press open.

Option – If you don’t want to discard those cutaway triangles, go ahead and draw a second seam line 1/2″ outside the first. Sew on this line, then cut between the seam lines. We can make use of those “waste triangles” later, so set them aside.

Step 4a                                             Step 4b

Step 4 – Draw a diagonal line on the 2.5″ yellow squares and align with the upper right corner of the blue pieces. Sew on the line, trim away 1/4″ from the seam and press open.

Your “petal” units are finished, so set them aside.

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Step 5

Step 5 – Draw a diagonal line on the back of each gray square, align with the right end of a brown rectangle, with the line running from the upper left to lower right corner as shown. Sew on the line and trim 1/4″ from the seam and press open. Again,  you may want to sew a second seam and save the resulting cutaway HSTs for later use.

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Step 6

Step 6 – Almost done. Sew the petal and background units into quarter units as shown. Make four quarter units.

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“Starflower” – by Anne Wiens (2016)

Lay the four quarter units out as shown, so the yellow corners meet in the middle, as sew together to complete your Starflower block.

I am working on a very simple setting idea for these blocks. It should take 12 blocks to make a crib-size quilt, 20 for a lap-size. A twin size quilt generally takes 35 12″ blocks, and a full/queen would need 49. I hope to have that for you in the next few weeks.

Enjoy your 4th of July celebrations!

Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, HST's, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Question: What Do You Give a Quilter Who Has an Overflowing Scrap Stash?

Answer: More scraps, of course!

A while ago my friend Elaine shared with me a stack of fabric samples a shop down the Hi-Line (that’s U.S. Highway 2 in Montana-speak) had given her. There were some great tone-on-tones and small prints perfect for cutting into Thrifty Quilter pieces. Several of them were fun novelty prints that were just too cute to chop up, so I chose a baker’s dozen of them and decided this would be a perfect chance to try out my newest tool from Studio 180 Designs – The Corner Pop® trim tool.

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This tool is designed to help you put triangular corners on right-angle corners, and do so more accurately than with the standard stitch-and-flip method.

The block I had in mind is one I called “Showcase B”. Yes, there is a “Showcase A”, but I think I’m going to save that one for a special block in September.

Parts & Pieces for the Showcase B block.

Parts & Pieces for the Showcase B block.

For each block, you will need:

Novelty Print: one 8.5″ square

Dark: eight 2.5″ squares

Accent Color: six 3.5″ squares

White: two 3.5″ squares, four 2.5″ squares and four 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles

Note: Perhaps you have noticed that the novelty print shown in the photo above does not match the one in the finished block at the top of this post. I can explain.

WARNING: Do NOT lose the chart that comes with your Corner Pop tool!

WARNING: Do NOT lose the chart that comes with your Corner Pop tool!

There is a chart in the instruction sheet that comes with the Corner Pop® tool, and I had marked it for use on another project…with larger corners. Don’t do that.

Okay, back to business:

Step 1a

Step 1a

Step 1a- I pressed diagonal creases in my 8.5″ novelty print square.

Step 1b

Step 1b

Step 1b- Use the chart to determine the size of the triangle you need to trim from the  corners of the novelty print square. For this block, I needed a 2″ cut on all four corners. Double-check the chart. You only get one chance make this cut!

Step 1c-

Step 1c

Cut two of the 3.5″ squares diagonally to make four triangles. Center a triangle on the cut edge of the novelty square. I folded the triangle in half, then aligned the crease with the crease on my large square. Sew a 1/4″ seam and press.

Step 1d

Step 1d

Step 1d- Now you can use the Corner Pop® tool to trim the corner to its finished size.

That’s it. By the time you get to the 4th corner on this block, you’ll be an expert!

Click HERE for Deb Tucker’s tutorial on this handy tool.

Back to the block:

Step 2- Cut the four 3.5″ white squares and four 3.5″ accent color squares diagonally. Sew into eight half-square triangles (HSTs) and trim each one to 2.5″ squares.  I illustrated this in the July 5th blog.

Step 3- Use the eight 2.5″ dark squares and the 2.5″ x 4.5″ white rectangles to make four flying geese units. This post from last fall will explain the stitch-and-flip method.

Step 4a

Step 4a

Step 4a- Sew the HSTs to the flying geese units as shown. Make four of these strips.

Step 4b

Step 4b

Step 4b- Sew two of the strips to the sides of the novelty square.

Step 3

Step 5a

Step 5a- Sew the 2.5″ white squares to the ends of the remaining strips.

Showcase 2 - Anne Wiens 2015

Showcase 2 – Anne Wiens 2015

Step 5b- Sew these strips to the top and bottom to complete your Showcase B block.

Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, Corner Pop (Studio 180 Designs), Other Blocks & Patterns, Scrap Quilts, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Here’s to the Kids Next Door

Once again, the folks across the street and a couple doors down put on quite a fireworks show last evening. It was interrupted by a pretty serious thunderstorm, but eventually Mother Nature conceded. Her lightning show, though pretty impressive, couldn’t beat the neighborhood pyrotechnics.

The block pictured at the top of this blog reminds me of fireworks, so I will call it:

“4th of July”

Here’s the recipe:

Fabric for "4th of July"

Fabric for “4th of July”

For each block you will need:

Dark Blue – one 2.5″ square and two 4.5″ squares

Light Blue – two 3.5″ squares and four 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangles

Red – two 3.5″ squares

White #1 – four 3.5″ squares

White #2 – eight 3.5″ squares and two 4.5″ squares

Step 1a

Step 1a

Step 1a – Cut the 3.5″ light blue and two of the white#1 squares diagonally, and sew into 4 half-square triangles (HSTs).

Use a Tucker Trimmer® or another ruler with a 45° line in the corner to trim the HSTs to 2.5″. Lay the trimmer on the HST with the diagonal line on the seam, and the piece extending beyond the 2.5″ dotted lines. Trim the right and top edges.

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Step 1b

Step 1b – Rotate the HST and lay the trimmer on it again, aligning the diagonal line with the seam. This time the piece should line up with the 2.5″ dotted lines. Again, trim the right side and top.

Make 4 light blue and white HSTs.

Step 2

Step 2a

Step 2a – Cut the 3.5″ red squares and 3.5″ white#1 squares diagonally twice and sew into four quarter-square triangles (QSTs).

Trim the QSTs to 2.5″. Notice that the Tucker Trimmer® gives you a dashed 2.5″ line so you can align the ruler with both seams. This is an incredibly handy tool to have in your collection.

Step 2b

Step 2b

Step 2b – Rotate the QST, re-align the trimmer and trim the right and top edges.

Make 4 red and white#1 QSTs.

Step 3

Step 3

Step 3 – Now you can lay out the HSTs, QSTs and the 2.5″ dark blue square and sew into a star. This is the center of your block. Set it aside.

Step 4

Step 4

Step 4 – Cut the 4.5″ dark blue and white#2 squares diagonally once. Make four HSTs and trim each one to 3.5″ square. Set these aside.

Step 5

Step 5

Step 5 – “Use the Stitch and Flip” method to make four flying geese units from the 3.5″ x 6.5″ light blue rectangles, and the 3.5″ white#2 squares.

a- Draw a diagonal line on the back of each white square. Align the first square with the right edge of the rectangle so the line runs from top center to lower right. Sew on the line, trim 1/4″ to the right and press open.

b (illustrated here) – align the second square with the left edge of the rectangle with the line running from top center to lower left. Sew on the line, trim 1/4″ to the left and press open.

Note: Do not throw those “waste” triangles away. I have a block coming in September that will use them!

Step 6

Step 6

Step 6 – To finish, lay out the center star, the flying geese units and dark blue HSTs and sew together, completing your “4th of July” block.

Next time – a block to show off those larger novelty print scraps.

Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, 6" TQ Blocks, HST's, Scrap Quilts, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oh, Susannah!

I made a few quilt blocks recently for a sister quilter who is putting together some charity quilts.

She had asked for this pattern, most commonly called “Oh, Susannah.”

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Like most blocks that have been around for a while, this one has several names, including “Wagon Wheel” , and simply “Susannah”.

In fact, it’s not all that uncommon for two or more blocks to share the same name. There are at least three blocks called “Oh, Susannah”

This version of "Oh Susannah" was published by Nancy Cabot in 1931.

This version of “Oh Susannah” was published by Nancy Cabot in 1931.

This same version  is also  credited to Carrie Hall:

"Oh, Susannah" block made by Carrie Hall (1866-1955) in the collection of the Spencer Museum of Art at The University of Kansas.

“Oh, Susannah” block made by Carrie Hall (1866-1955) in the collection of the Spencer Museum of Art at The University of Kansas.

And I found a third version in McCall’s Quilting’s collection of free downloadable patterns:

"Oh Susannah" by McCall's Quilting - see link at bottom of post.

“Oh Susannah” by McCall’s Quilting – see link at bottom of post.

For the 12″ (finished size) block we’re making, you will need:

GE DIGITAL CAMERAEight 3.5″ white squares

Four 3.5″ print squares

Four 3.5″ x 6.5″ print rectangle

GE DIGITAL CAMERADraw a diagonal line on the wrong side of four of the white squares. Align the square with the right end of the print rectangles as shown. Sew on the line and trim away the corner triangle. Press open.

(Don’t want to waste those triangles? Click HERE for a previous blog post)

GE DIGITAL CAMERASew the four remaining white squares to the four print squares.

Lay out your segments as shown above and sew into four quarter-units.

GE DIGITAL CAMERANow lay out the quarter-units as shown and sew together to complete your “Oh, Susannah” block!

Let’s have some fun and mess with the color placements, shall we?

Each of these blocks uses the same construction technique. I’ve just moved the location of the colors within the block.

 

This version is often called "Mr Roosevelt's Necktie."

This version is often called “Mr Roosevelt’s Necktie.”

In this version, I used two shades of the secondary color (yellow), and replace the white center squares with print squares.

In this version, I used two shades of the secondary color (yellow).

And in this version, I "rotated" the center triangles.

And in this version, I “rotated” the center triangles.

If you’d like to use a fussy-cut novelty print in the center of your block, McCall’s Quilting offers a version of Oh, Susannah that is a little different, but still totally TQable. Click HERE to go there.

One last thing – in case it isn’t already running through your mind, the “Oh, Susannah” quilt block was most likely named for the nonsensical Stephen Foster minstrel tune. You’re welcome.

Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, Scrap Quilts, The Thrifty Quilter System, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Variety Is the Spice of Quilting, Too!

We had a little fun at our Block of the Month class today.

We’re making a sampler from Eleanor Burns’ new book, Quilts from El’s Kitchen

"Quilts from El's Kitchen" by Eleanor Burns (Quilt in a Day)

“Quilts from El’s Kitchen” by Eleanor Burns (Quilt in a Day)

One of today’s blocks is called “Sage Bud”. A few of the ladies were not crazy about the fabric the shop chose for the kits, so we began rooting around in the scraps left over from previous blocks to see what we could find. I thought Id share the photos just to show what a big difference changing just one or two fabrics can make in a block:

Ann's is closest to the original fabrics we were given.

Ann’s is closest to the original fabrics we were given.

I traded the darker green in the corner units for a light turquoise in my block.

I traded the darker green in the corner units for a light turquoise in my block.

Zelma thought the large floral print stole attention from the pieced corner units, so she used white.

Zelma thought the large floral print stole attention from the pieced corner units, so she used white.

Karla decided to go with more of the apple-green swirls for a totally different look. Now instead of "buds" drawing my eye to the corners of the block, "arrows" direct my eye to the center.

Karla decided to go with more of the apple-green swirls for a totally different look. Now instead of “buds” drawing my eye to the corners of the block, “arrows” direct my eye to the center.

The fabrics used in these blocks are from the “Apple of My Eye” line from Riley Blake Designs.

 

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

Here We Go Again!

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May 6, 2014 is the official release date for Quiltmaker Magazine’s latest collection of quilt blocks, Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Volume 9, and one of the blocks is mine!

Of course, I can’t show you a photo yet, but I will give you a sneak peak at it, and at least one of the three quilts I designed for my block, during the pre-publication Blog Roll the week of April 28th.

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Company I Keep…

It would have killed me to do this when I was a teenager, but now that I’m middle-aged, with the first rays of “my golden years” beginning to peak over the horizon, I can admit it – My mother was right. A person is known by the company she keeps. Over the years, I have fallen in with a bunch of quilters, and fortunately, they are mostly wholesome, upright, God-fearing women who would never lead me astray. But there are a few…

Kathy, for instance. My BQB (Best Quilting Buddy) I blame my fabric stash that has grown so large my sewing room can’t hold it on Kathy. She drags me to the local quilt shop on Fat Quarter Fridays. Yes she does…she MAKES me go in there! If there’s a bolt of fabric I just absolutely love, she will not let me get just the quarter-yard that would make me perfectly happy. “Three yards” is her rule, “because you might want to use it for borders.” It’s her fault.

When I stand at the Pearly Gates and St. Peter quizzes me about the year I gave up buying fabric for Lent, I will point at Charlotte. I only went into that shop for one spool of white thread. I had it in my hand and was headed for the checkout, and there she was with a basketful of bolts “all at 40% off!” I will admit I yielded to temptation, but the truth is, I went on an absolute bender.

Then there’s Annette. If I mention a class anywhere within a 2-days drive, she buys the gas, I drive and we’re there. She usually finishes the projects, but I can’t hold that against her.

I blame my quilty friends for my closet full of unfinished projects. Yes, Mom, if all of my friends begin a new block-of-the-month or mystery quilt or guild challenge, I must jump off of that “cliff”, too.

So here I stand, surrounded by UFO’s and hoping two of my new online quilting buddies (OQB’s) will help me get my quilting life under control.

2014 Button

“Aunt Marti” is Marti Dyer-Allison. We “met” as members of Quiltmaker Magazine’s 2013 Scrap Squad. Marti produces 52 quilts a year. That’s right, one a week. Not quilt tops, either…finished quilts. I don’t know how anyone who keeps that pace could possibly have unfinished projects laying around, but it appears she does, so she’s hosting a year-long project to complete a dozen UFO’s in 2014. One each month. I wasn’t going to sign on, but honestly, I have at least a half-dozen quilts that just need binding. I think I can do this!

Click HERE if you’d to read Marti’s blog and learn more.

DaGMT 2014

Then there’s Beth Helfter of EvaPaige Quilt Designs, one of my fellow Quiltwoman.com designers. It’s probably a good thing that she and I live at almost opposite ends of the country, because if we hung out in person, we might well end up in custody somewhere. She’s that much fun. She’s also a member of the 2014 Quiltmaker Scrap Squad.

During the month of February, Beth hosts “Drop and Give Me Twenty”. By joining, you commit to spending 20 minutes of quality time with your sewing machine each and every day for the month. Again, I wasn’t going to jump off of this particular cliff, but then I looked at the stack of projects on my “to do” list, which is more like a must-be-done-we’re-on-a-deadline list. If I start them this week, they will technically be UFO’s on February 1st.

20 minutes a day? Piece of cake! Here’s my official pledge:

“I, Anne Wiens, am joining Quilting Hottie Haven’s third annual DaGMT event, and pledge to quilt for at least 20 minutes every day of the month of February, 2014. My stated reason for joining this challenge is to finish all of the projects on my you-must-finish-this-you’re-on-a-deadline list. In truth, I’m doing this because I can’t stand the idea of hundreds of quilters around the world having fun without me. Oh…and I think Beth Helfter is brilliant for coming up with this concept and inspiring me to join.”

Another good reason to join DAGMT – She’s awarding prizes, including a copy of The Thrifty Quilter, written by me.

Click HERE for Beth’s blog. (Fair warning: Drinking a beverage while reading it may lead to spit-takes.)

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We Interrupt This Blog…

Due to technical difficulties, I am late getting the “Overflowing Scrap Basket” tablerunner pattern posted. I think I’ve worked out the issue with WordPress, and the blog should be up this evening.

Meanwhile, you might want to check out the “guest blog” I wrote for Quiltmaker magazine’s blog, “Quilty Pleasures.” It’s a tutorial on the V-Blocks tool, designed by Deb Tucker of Studio 180 Designs. Next week, I’ll do a tutorial on Deb’s “Split Recs” tool, and the following week, a pattern for a wallhanging that uses both tools.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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