A Quick Trip Down Memory Lane

Dust off a quilt book blog hopSeveral years ago, an online quilters group I belong to got into a discussion about other activities we enjoy. Cooking, travel, writing and photography were mentioned quite often, but it turned out nearly all of us had two things in common – we have pets (mostly cats and/or dogs), and we are avid readers.  Most of us also had a sizable library of quilting books.

My own collection began with one of the few quilting books available when I made my first quilt in 1973, Ruby McKim’s 101 Patchwork Quilt Patterns. Rotary cutters hadn’t been invented yet, so every one of the 1755 (but who’s counting) 2.5″ squares in my 9-Patch quilt was traced with a pencil around a cardboard template and cut with scissors. Of course, the template’s edges got a bit “softer” with each tracing, so perfectly matching seams were a dream, not a realistic goal. It wouldn’t have won any prizes, but it kept me warm, and that was the point, and I was hooked.

Pellman - World of Amish Quilts

Soon after I began quilting, I discovered Amish quilts, and bought a couple of books about the quilts made in Pennsylvania. I’ve always loved bold graphic designs, and my father’s family is Mennonite, so it was probably a natural attraction.

One thing that struck me was that – contrary to the “rule” that Amish quilts must be mostly black or  dark and “cool” colors – most of the quilts in this book have very little black. And bright? There were some of the most over-the-top color combinations I had ever seen. I loved it! Colors that weren’t acceptable for clothing could be used in quilts.

Magnificent MinisHere, my “Dust off a Quilt Book” blog hop post segues into my “Magnificent Mini” challenge blog post for Island Batik fabric, Aurifil threads and Hobbs batting. They supplied the materials for this project.

I chose to make a miniature version of the Amish classic “Trip Around the World.”

IMG_2889I had quite a bit of fabric left over from my 2018 “stash” of Island Batik Fabrics, including this stack of 10″ squares from the Lavendula collection. I chose a navy blue from the “foundations” collection to go with it. I decided my center would be 9″ x 9″ (finished size), and the individual squares would be 1″ finished. My borders would finish 3″ wide.


I needed five colors for the center of my quilt, so I chose five of the more “solid” color squares, and cut four 1.5″ x 10″ strips from each square.



Next, I had to make five strip sets, each with four strips, and rotating the colors properly. To help keep things in order, I cut a square from each of the scraps and numbered them. I laid out the squares in order for each stripset.


Then I cut four 1.5″ segments from each stripset.


I decided I wanted my largest diamond to be the lavender, so I set two of those strips aside, and began building two halves, working from the center strip out, adding matching strip to each side as I went.


This rotation meant the center square would be white, so I cut a 1.5″ x 1.5″ square, and sewed it to the turquoise ends of the two remaining strip. This became the middle row of my centerpiece.

Now for the borders:


I chose two matching purple and blue mottled squares for the border, and cut two 3.5″ x 9.5″ strips from each square. If I recall, I had a half yard of the navy blue. I cut two 2.25″ x 44″ strips for the binding, four 3.5″ squares for the corners and pieced a 16″ x 16″ square from the remainder for the backing.


With the borders in place, it was time to layer this mini up with a bit of Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting and figure out how to quilt it.


My collection of Aurifil threads is still pretty limited…but growing. These were my best choices for this project. I decided the white would be too stark, while the icy blue would show up, but not overpower the fabric.


First, I decided to emphasize the squares in the center by quilting concentric squares. I used the inside edge of the toe of my 1/4″ foot to space my quilting lines about 1/8″ from my seam lines.


I came up with this simple little Celtic style detail to dress up the corners just a bit.

Add a binding, and a title “Across the Pond”, and this little quilt celebrates the journey of two of my Quaker ancestors, Thomas Stackhouse and Grace Heaton, who arrived in Philadelphia aboard  The Lamb. In 2001, I got to spend a day in the towns of Settle and Giggleswick, Yorkshire, UK. It felt like a homecoming of sorts, to walk on  streets that they may have known centuries ago.

Across the Pond - Title

Thanks to Bea for thinking up and hosting the “Dust Off a Quilt Book” Blog Hop! I can’t wait to see what the other bloggers have found on their bookshelves. Many of them, like Bea and I, are also Island Batik Ambassadors!

Monday Feb 18th
Pamela at Pamelaquilts
Selina at Selinaquilts
Kathleen at Kathleenmcmusing
Tuesday Feb 19th
Jennifer at curlicuecreations
Kathy at Kathysquilts
Wednesday Feb 20th
Suzy at Websterquilt
Brenda at songbirddesigns
Denise at craftraditions
Thursday Feb 21st
Leanne at Devoted Quilter
Jennifer at Dizzyquilter
Lee Anne at Podunk Pretties
Lyndsey at Sew Many Yarns
Friday Feb 22nd
Bea at Beaquilter
Barbara at Bejweledquilts
Marian at seams to be sew


Categories: 10" Squares, Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Miniatures, Uncategorized | 32 Comments

Here We Go Again!

2019 IB Round-Ambassador-GraphicMy first year as an Ambassador for Island Batik fabrics wrapped last Friday with the posting of my “Many Glacier” quilt, made for the “Icicle” collection, which should be in your local quilt shop about now. When I signed up for the program, I had no idea what to expect, but wave the promise of two shipments of Island Batik fabrics, and a selection of Hobbs battings, and spools and spools of Aurifil threads at me, and I’m IN! What’s more, I’m staying in for 2019. Color me HAPPY.

There are more than 4 dozen Ambassadors this year, and our 2019 “tour of duty” began a couple of weeks ago, when we each received TWO big boxes via FedEx.

The first box, I had expected. It was 24lbs of wonderful fabrics and supplies from Island Batik, Hobbs and Aurifil:


A variety of Aurifil threads


These packages contain a brand new collection of Island Batik Fabrics that will be introduced that will be introduced to shop owners at Quilt Market this spring.


This is a beautiful Rayon batik scarf!


Island Batik’s popular Batik Sold – 3 yards each of white, gray and black.


5 yards of a lovely pastel pink neutral. This is from Island Batik’s Basic collection.


This will be my biggest challenge. It’s 2 yards of a tiger stripe rayon batik. Ideas welcome!


A Stack (42 10″ squares) of Twilight Chic, plus two coordinates. Watch for this collection in my March project.


Hobbs Thermore batting. It’s a super-thin bonded and fusible batting made for use in quilted clothing. It works nicely in table runners and placemats, too.


I’m a scrap quilter, so I L-O-V-E these. Island Batik calls them Stash Builders. each package has twenty 5″ x 22″ strips.


More Hobbs batting. This one is Tuscany – a silk blend. 60″ x 60″.


Hobbs Heirloom Premium Cotton Batting – Crib Size


Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 Black Batting – Queen Size


Hobbs Heirloom Natural Cotton Batting – Queen Size


8 cuts from Island Batik’s “Blenders” collection. We can use these in any project.

Between you and me, this would have made me perfectly happy for the better part of the year. But wait…I said there were TWO boxes. I can’t tell you how excited the 2019 Ambassadors were to learn that we have a new sponsor – AccuQuilt.

Yes, they did


AccuQuilt sent each of us a Ready. Set. GO! die cutting system! (Photo: AccuQuilt)


The 8″ Qube die set includes eight dies that cut shapes you can mix and match to make dozens of 8″ blocks. There are also Qube sets available for 6″, 9″, 10″ and 12″ blocks. (Photo: AccuQuilt)

I’ll admit, a did a little schoolgirl hopping and squealing. I’ve been a fan of AccuQuilt from the beginning. In fact, I used the first royalty check from my book, The Thrifty Quilter: Make (Nearly) Free Quilts from Leftover Fabric (2010 Quiltwoman.com) to buy my first AccuQuilt GO!.

50568I didn’t even know about AccuQuilt when I wrote the book, which describes my simple system for cutting up the scraps (anything smaller than a quarter-yard) from my quilting projects into custom pre-cuts, and 80 blocks that can be made in two sizes each from those pre-cuts.

As it happened, my publisher heard about AccuQuilt as we were going to press, so she contacted the company, and it turned out they have dies that match the six shapes in my system. So, they added a “GO! Compatible” label to the cover, and have offered it on their website ever since.

We have one AccuQuilt-themed challenge on our schedule for this year, but I can promise you’ll see a lot more GO!-compatible projects.

Dust off a quilt book blog hopMy fellow Ambassadors are opening their boxes now, too. Visit their blogs to see the goodies they got. We’ll be posting our first projects for 2019 soon, too. Our theme is “Magnificent Mini Quilts”. Mine will be up on February 18, the first day of the Dust Off an Old Book Blog Hop, being organized by one of the Island Batik Ambassadors. Mine is one of the first quilt books I ever bought. I think you’ll enjoy it.


2019 Island Batik Ambassadors

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

Anne Wiens ~ Sweetgrass Creative Designs

Geraldine Wilkins ~ Living Water Quilter

Janet Yamamoto ~



Categories: AccuQuilt, Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, The Thrifty Quilter System, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Snow Day!

getaway blog hopThis is the time of year when folks here in north central Montana dream of getting away to warmer places, but not me…not today, anyway. Today I will wrap winter up in a cozy warm quilt made with Island Batik’s new “Icicle” collection, which should be arriving at your local quilt shop right about now.

icicle flatlayIsland Batik supplied me with a half-yard of each of the twenty pieces in this collection, and for the challenge, I had to use some of each of the fabrics. As it turned out,  I only used about half of each piece, so I have written the pattern calling for a “Stack”…a 42-piece collection of 10″ squares…which will give you more than enough 4.5” squares to make this quilt.

The blues and whites, pine trees, deer, and snowflakes, reminded me of Glacier National Park, so I called it “Many Glacier” after an area in the northeast portion of the park.

I built my “Many Glacier” quilt in nine sections:


The main block is a traditional block called “Rocky Mountains”. I enlarged the 12″ block to 16″ (finished sizes).  Sections 2 and 3 have an 8″ version of the Rocky Mountains block, with 4-patches and half-square triangles added.


Next, I constructed the upper left and upper right corner sections. These were made four squares wide, so they match the width of the center block. My goal was to wind up with just a few long seams running diagonally across the quilt. The purpose of the navy and light blue 4-patches is to spread the navy blue from the center block out a little bit. On paper, it seemed to make a “black hole” in the center of my quilt because it’s so much darker than the other blues. It  held my attention too long, so I needed a “squirrel” element to draw my eye out to the blue fields.


The next step was to fill in that center triangle at the top. I had the whole collection of 20-plus fabrics to work with in this quilt, but because I had used the darkest blues in the blocks and “ribbon”, I only wanted to use the lighter blues and just a few of the white prints in the field. I had maybe a dozen fabrics to work with, then, and it was a real challenge to keep the individual prints from winding up side-by-side at some point.


Once the top sections were complete, I started on the lower sections. First the sides, and then that big center triangle. You can see now where the sections can be sewn into three diagonal units, and the units sewn together to complete the quilt top.


I wasn’t planning to originally, but I did wind up adding a 2″ (finished) border all around, because I was sending the top out to be machine quilted, and I was not certain I had remembered to back-stitch all of the seams on the outer edge. I do like how the border allows the “glaciers” to float on the background.

manyglaciertitleMany Glacier is my final quilt for the 2018 Island Batik Ambassadors program, and it just may be my favorite. In addition to the fabulous (and generous) “Icicle” collection of fabrics provided by Island Batik, this quilt was sewn with 50wt 100% cotton thread provided by Aurifil, and is quilted with Hobbs’ Heirloom® white cotton batting, also supplied by the company.

It’s been my honor to serve as a 2018 Island Batik Ambassador, and I am thrilled to announce that they’re keeping me on for the 2019 program!

Ambassador Terri Vanden Bosch also had the Icicle collection. Visit her blog, Meanderings along Lizard Creek, to see what she did with it.

Click HERE to return to the Island Batik blog to make sure you haven’t missed an exciting stop on our “Getaway” blog hop. And remember to sign up for the prize drawing…two of you will win a stack of Island Batik fat quarters!




Categories: Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Scrap Quilts, Uncategorized | 39 Comments

Seams Like…The Best of 2018

I should have guessed that a year that began on a Monday, at -32°f, to boot, would go sideways on me, and boy howdy, did it ever. Still, I managed to produce a few more blog posts than I did in 2017…which isn’t saying much, to be honest. But this is already my second post for 2019, so things are looking up!

best of 2018 linky partyOnce again, I am taking part in the “Best of the Year” link party, sponsored by Meadow Mist Designs. Seriously, you’ll want to check out what the other bloggers have been up to!

So, when I looked back over the “Seams Like a Plan” blog posts for 2018, it was fairly easy to pick my five favorites. Four of them deal with projects I produced for the Island Batiks Ambassadors program. Imagine this…twice a year a big (about 20 pounds!) box filled with Island Batiks fabrics, Aurifil thread and Hobbs battings arrives on your porch, and all they ask is that you make stuff with it! Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

  1. A Wee Little Quilt – In February, the Ambassadors challenge was to make a miniature quilt. It’s not something I do very often, but it is a lot of fun now and again.
  2. Am I There Yet? – In March we were asked to try a new-to-me technique. I thought an improvisational quilt would be simple. I was wrong…but in a good way.
  3. Highland 9-Patch – I took another stab at improvisation in this post, and wound up with a modern-style quilt I refer to as my “splendid failure.”
  4. Safari Sampler – In August, I had a complete line of Island Batik’s Safari collection, and was challenged to use as many of the fabrics in the line as possible. I produced a sampler, and managed to use all of the fabrics. (This post has a free pattern you can download.
  5. Controlling the Chaos – My friend Vina was having trouble making a “random” quilt block, so I simplified it for her, and added the pattern to my “Thrifty Quilter” scrap block collection.

So those are my favorite blog posts for 2018. Feel free to mosey through the archives and read the rest as well.

As for me, it’s on to 2019, and I have a few quilty things on my calendar already. I have a few patterns that will be published in various magazines this year, and am going home in a minute to put the finishing touches on another proposal. I have one more quilt to make for Island Batik, and am waiting to hear if I get to continue with the Ambassadors program for another year. And, I have a couple of ideas simmering for the Moda Bake Shop blog.

That and a full-time job should keep me busy.

In Stitches,


PS: Remember, if you click the “Follow” button on this blog post, you’ll get an email each time I publish a new post.


Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Wonky Finish to 2018

47573370_2462874177088561_8211325820333981696_nOur final Island Batik Ambassadors challenge for the 2018 calendar year was to make a project that is whimsical and/or wonky. Well, it’s been that kind of year, so wonky it is. 2040_LG_1489020424That and the fact that I have this Wonky Log Cabin tool from Quilt in a Day that I have been dying to play with! There are three patterns available, and I chose to try the one that comes with the ruler. It’s the closest to a traditional Log Cabin block.

Before I continue, a word from our sponsors: All fabrics used in this quilt top are supplied by Island Batik, the thread is a 40wt 100% cotton from Aurifil, and while the top hasn’t been quilted yet, I will use a Hobbs Heirloom batting.

28685323_1976685445707439_8475221276858777600_nThe Wonky Log Cabin pattern calls for 2.5″ strips of fabric to build the blocks.  I had quite a few strips from the Vintage Morris collection left over from my Moonflower Cottage quilt, and some smaller scraps from the Northern Woods collection that I used for Guiding Star, but not nearly enough to make the twenty blocks I would need for this project, so I picked up a strip pack from Island Batik’s “Pumpkin Patch” line at my local quilt shop. The background fabric is an off-white from Northern Woods, and the border fabric is from the Pumpkin Patch collection.

Making the blocks is a simple matter, really. You begin with a 2.5″ square and add a 2.5″ border around it.


Begin with a 2.5″ square, surrouned by a 2.5″ border. Center the square on the Wonky Log Cabin tool on the center square.


Trim the right and left edges, using the #1 slots.


Rotate the block 90° and light up the cut edges with the blue lines on the tool, centering the square on the ruler on the center square of the block.


Again, use the #1 slots to trim the right and left sides.

This gives you a square block, with the center square tilted to the right. (You may have noticed that some of the numbers appear backwards in the photo. The slots are numbered on the front and back, so you can use the tool right-side up or back-side up depending on which way you want your blocks to tilt.)


Now you add another round of 2.5″ strips, and repeat the trimming sequence, using the #2 slots.


There will always only be one edge that has two seams.

When you’re building this particular variation of the Log Cabin block, it’s easy to accidentally add your strip to the wrong edge. One rule I found is that  you want to always sew with the seams on top, and be sure you’re sewing across two seams each time you add a strip. There will always be only one edge that has two seams.

You will add a total of four rounds of strips to each block. After the final trimming, you will have a perfect 12.5″ Wonky Log Cabin block. The pattern includes instructions for several quilt sizes. I chose to make a lap quilt with 20 blocks, surrounded by a 6.5″ (6″ finished) border, using the traditional “Straight Furrows” setting.

Pumpkin Patch Title

My quilt finishes at 60″ x 72″.

Many of my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors went even wonkier and more whimsical than I did. You’ll enjoy checking out their blogs:

The “last hurrah” for the 2018 Island Batik Ambassadors is just beginning. You’ll have to wait for the last day to see what I did with my assigned Island Batik collection. If you check the Island Batik Facebook page, you’ll find the full “Getaway” Blog Hop Schedule.
Categories: Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Quilts, Tools, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Simplify. Simplify. Simplify!

Cozy-CabinsThe November challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors was to use a log cabin block as the focus of our designs. If you look through the blog links at the bottom of the page, you’ll be amazed at the creativity displayed by this group.

IMG_2820My own quilt began with a fairly grand and highly ambitious design, one my Mother would have loved, because the Log Cabin was her favorite quilt pattern. As it became clear I wouldn’t have it finished by the end of the year, and certainly not by the end of the month, I began to rework the pattern, simplifying the Log Cabin blocks with each revision until it wound up as Moonflower Cottage.  The original featured 8″ blocks. Curved Log Cabin blocks surrounded and were surrounded by my own “Morning Glory” blocks.  In the end, I enlarged the 8″ blocks to 12″, so there are far fewer blocks required, and the center blocks are merely a nod to the Log Cabin.

The fabrics for Moonflower Cottage are from Island Batik‘s “Vintage Morris” collection. They sent me a 42-piece Strip Pack, and two coordinates. I added a peachy orange, and a light green from the same collection for the flower blocks, and one of their off-white basics for the background.


Make 10 Moonflower blocks

My 12″ (finished) “Moonflower” blocks are made with 3.5″ x 6.5″ split rectangle units. The easiest way to make these is with the Split Rects tool from Studio 180 Design. This is one of those tools you don’t realize you need until you have it. (No affiliation, just an avid devotee.)

The other pieces in the block are three off-white 3.5″ squares, one 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangle; one 3.5″ yellow square, and one 3.5″ green and off-white half-square triangle.



Make 6 Mock Log Cabin blocks


My “Mock Log Cabin” blocks are made with one 2.5″ square, and one each 2.5″ x 4.5″, 2.5″ x 6.5″, 2.5″ x 8.5″, 2.5″ x 10.5″ and 2.5″ x 12.5″ pieces, cut from the strip pack. The background is two 2.5″ squares and two 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles. There is also a 6.5″ background square with a blue corner added via the Stitch-and-Flip method.

There is also one block that is six 2.5″ x 12.5″ strips sewn into a square.





Make 14 setting triangles

The setting triangles are made with one 6.5″ and two 3.5″ background squares. The blue triangles are made by cutting a 6″ square diagonally twice, and sewing the triangles to the sides of the smaller squares.

Note: Traditionally, those blue triangles would be cut from a 5.5″ square. Making my triangles just a little oversize gives me a wider seam allowance on the outside edge, making it less likely that I will nip a white point when adding my binding.


To lay out the quilt, begin by laying down the center square, then building from the center out:

Sew into diagonal rows, then sew the rows together to complete your quilt top.

Moonflower Cottage - TitleMy Moonflower Cottage quilt measures about 52″ x 68″, and was quilted by Kathy Brown with Hobbs Heirloom batting and Aurifil thread, both provided by the companies.

So that’s how I met the “Cozy Cabins” challenge. Wait ’til you see what my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors did!


Categories: Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Quilts, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Rocky Mountain Christmas

It’s Day 20 of the Moda Bake Shop’s 2018 Countdown to Christmas, and if you’ve been following along on the blog, you now have 19 new block patterns in your Christmas collection, in both 12″ and 6″ finished sizes! Block #20, my second contribution to the fun is a slight variation on the traditional Rocky Mountain block. Normally this block would have a light background and dark “mountain peaks.” But it’s winter, and this time of year, those peaks are usually snow-capped. Hence, a “Rocky Mountain Christmas!”

The “recipe” for the block is on today’s Moda Bake Shop blog.

Here, I’ll give you a quick tablerunner idea that uses one 12.5″ (unfinished) and two 6.5″ blocks to make an 18″ x 35″ tablerunner. It would fit smaller kitchen tables, or your coffee table.

TR Complete

Here are the fabric requirements and cutting instructions:



Step 1: Make one 12 1/2″ Rocky Mountain Christmas blocks and two 6 1/2″ blocks, following the instructions on the Moda Bake Shop blog. substitute the 6 1/2″ and 3 1/2″ green squares for the red and white print squares in the center of the blocks.


Step 2: Cut the 6 7/8″ green and white squares diagonally, and sew into four half square triangles (HSTs.)

QSTStep 3: Cut the 9 3/4″ white square diagonally twice to yield four triangles.


Green w White

Sew the white triangles to the HSTs. Note the placement of the white triangles.


Step 5: Sew the green and white units to the Rocky Mountain Christmas blocks as shown, then sew the rows together to complete your tablerunner top.

Step 6: Layer top batting and backing. Quilt as desired and bind with the white strips.

How easy is that? If your Christmas gift shopping and wrapping are complete, you may still have time to whip up this runner before Christmas!

I hope you’re enjoying the Moda Bake Shop Countdown to Christmas. If you need  inspiration and encouragement to complete your Countdown blocks, join the Moda Bake Shop Bakers group on Facebook!

Merry Christmas from Montana!

“Chef” Anne






Categories: FQ Projects, Moda Bake Shop, Tablerunners, Uncategorized | 1 Comment


IMG_2289Sometimes designing a quilt is like coaching a football team. The coach has to design a set of plays that will allow his players to combine their skills in such a way that they move the ball from point A to the end zone. Island Batik Ambassadors are given a selection of fabrics and a goal…turn that collection into a finished quilt that meets the monthly challenge theme. I think I have a winner for the Secondary Pattern challenge.

30742545_2036742299701753_6798327948416909312_nI decided to use the Northern Woods Stack (42 10″ squares) that Island Batik provided me. I added a nice little off-white print for the background, a copper batik for the border, and a deep green batik for the corner triangles, which turn into my secondary design.

Since I did not want a standard grid setting for the blocks, I decided to make one big 24″ block and eight 12″ blocks.

IMG_2459The “Flea Flicker” block begins with an 8.5″ (unfinished) Double Pinwheel block. Then I add a 2.5″ x 10.5″ strip to each side. This requires a partial seam technique.




The strips that go around the block are made by sewing a 2.5″ square that matches the small pinwheel to the lower right corner of a 2.5″ x 6.5″ strip of the background fabric, using the stitch-and-flip method to make those squares into triangles. Then sew a 2.5″ x 4.5″ strip of the background fabric to the triangle.

The strip shown here has a dark green upper right corner added to the 2.5″ x 4.5″ strip. two of your 12″ blocks will have those dark green corners all the way around. The other six blocks will have green corners on two sides, and blank corners on the other two sides.

Here’s that partial seam thing. It’s easier done than explained.


Sew the first strip to the block (the strip is longer than the pinwheel is wide.) Stop sewing and back-stitch just beyond the small triangle. We will finish this seam later.


With the addition of that first strip, the top end of the pinwheel block is now 10.5″ wide, so we can sew the next strip on all the way. Now the left side of the pinwheel block is 10.5″ wide.


So now we can sew a strip to that third side. (Did you notice that I rotated the pinwheel block in the photo? The strip we just added is at the top.) Now the fourth side of the pinwheel is 10.5″ wide.


Sew a 10.5″ strip to the fourth side of the block (I rotated it again.)  And now we can deal with that loose end we left hanging on the first side.


Now we can finish that partial seam. I start stitching so that I overlap my stitching by about a half-inch, and sew to the edge of the block.

I made one 24″ block using the same processes, but with larger pieces. Then it was time to put it all together.


The six 12″ blocks with only two green corners were sewn into pairs, with the green corners on the outside of the pairs

The blocks are then sewn together with 2.5″ wide sashing strips. I think you can see in this photo that there is actually a sashing strip on the outside of all of the blocks. The wide copper border is made of large rectangles, with two green corners on each.



IMG_2815There are green “cornerstones” at the intersections of the sashing strips. The resulting secondary design is a traditional quilt block design called “Shoo Fly.”  That, and the fact that I thought the fabrics gave this quilt a kind of masculine character, and the fact that it’s football season, made the name “Flea Flicker” a natural choice for this quilt.

Flea Flicker was quilted by Kathy Brown.

Thank you to Island Batik for providing the fabrics, Aurifil for their wonderful cotton threads, and Hobbs for the Warm and Natural batting!

Flea Flicker - Title

If you’d like to see what my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors are up to (Trust me, you do,) check their blogs:

Categories: 10" Squares, Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A Prairie Christmas Star

Today is Day 3 of the 2018 Moda Bake Shop Countdown to Christmas, and the block I shared on the Moda Bake Shop blog is called “A Prairie Christmas Star.” This year our blocks are presented in 12″ and 6″ finished sizes, and at the end of the month, we’ll give you a couple of setting options for a sampler quilt.

PCS- TitleFor purposes of the series, Moda Fabrics provided us with fat quarters of solid red and white fabrics, and red and white print fabrics.

My block uses all three, and I presented the pattern as shown above, but I thought for the Seams Like a Plan blog, we’d play with placements…colors within the block, and then a couple of quilt layouts.

Each set of three fat quarters (one red solid, one white solid and one red/white print) will easily give you enough pieces to make three 12″ blocks. Layer the three fat quarters and cut the same pieces from each one. Here’s the cutting layout I used:


This gives you enough parts and pieces for three blocks, if you rotate the placement of the three colors within the block. Because you can make six possible combinations of the three colors, there are two “rotations” you can choose from:


I don’t know about you, but I would love to lock myself in the studio with a pile of FQs for a day and make a quilt’s worth of Prairie Christmas Star blocks! But what do you do with a pile of blocks? Well, here are a couple of quilt layouts, shown in “exploded” drawings so you can see how they would be constructed:

First, a 68″ x 84″ twin size quilt. It would take 25 large blocks and 40 small blocks, plus 4″ (finished width) borders on the left and right sides.

PCS-Twin Setting


And here’s a 92″ x 96″ queen size quilt. It would take 48 large blocks and 32 small blocks, plus a 4″ (finished) border on the right and left sides.

PCS-Queen Setting

Again, there is no sashing between the rows of blocks. The blocks are sewn into rows as shown, then the rows sewn together.

If you’re interested in a throw size quilt, start making those Prairie Christmas Star blocks according to the instructions on today’s Moda Bake Shop blog. You’ll need a total of 18 large blocks and 36 small blocks for a 54″ x 72″ throw quilt. The quilt layout will be shown on December 26.

Be sure to check the Moda Bake Shop blog every day this month for another sampler block pattern. I’ll share “A Rocky Mountain Christmas” on December 20th.

Merry Christmas!



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

Ya Shoulda Seen Plan “A”

StarstruckOur Island Batik Ambassadors challenge for the month of September is called “StarStruck”. It may as well have been called “Star-crossed” the way my year has been going. You see, I had a great pattern to show you. It’s a quilt I designed for Quilty magazine, and it was going to be in the Sept/Oct issue. Then Quilty folded.

Fortunately, the editors tell me my quilt will be published in Easy Quilts, but not until next autumn. Unfortunately, I can’t show it to you until then. About halfway through September, it occurred to me that I had planned to use that quilt for my StarStruck challenge. The scramble was on for a Plan “B”.

Several years ago, I published a book called The Thrifty Quilter: Make (Nearly) Free Quilts from Leftover Fabric. The book describes my system for pre-cutting and using fabric scraps. From time to time on this blog, I offer “TQable” block and quilt patterns, meaning those that can be made from one or more of the precuts in the Thrifty Quilter system. This little quilt is totally TQable.

Mountains Majesty F8th Bundle

To make this 42″ x 54″ quilt, I chose a Fat Eighths collection from Island Batik’s “Mountains Majesty” collection, and  3/4 yard of a light off-white.  I am just a little in love with that blue and green snowflake piece, and deeply fond of several others.

IngredientsTo make the Guiding Star quilt, you will need:

59  6.5″ assorted medium and dark print squares

4 sets of four 3.5″ medium and dark print squares

8  3.5″ x 6.5″ off-white rectangles

6  2.5″ x Width of Fabric strips for binding


IMG_2526Step one is to make eight 3.5″ x 6.5″ Flying Geese units with the “Stitch and Flip” method. If you’ve never done this, I explain it in this blog post. In the post, I drew diagonal lines on my squares, but nowadays I just use my little ruler and cut that corner off before stitching. To be honest, it may save me all of 30seconds per unit, so so if marking that line helps your accuracy, keep on marking.

Starstruck Quilt - in progress Then, sew pairs of Geese into a 6.5″ star point unit. This detail shot shows the four 6.5″ x 6.5″ star point units sewn into the quilt.

Once the star point squares, lay out the quilt in a grid, seven squares across and nine squares down. You can place your star anywhere in this grid. Rearrange squares as needed until you have a balance that is pleasing to you.


IMG_2528Now you are ready to sew the squares into rows. Once I have the squares laid out as I want them, I like to pin small tags to the upper left corner of each square telling me which row that square is in, and which place in the row. This way, if the layout is disturbed, I know exactly where each piece goes when I lay it out again.

I remove the tags as I sew the squares together. The first block in each row keeps its tag until the rows are sewn together.

Once your quilt top is sewn together, layer it with your batting and backing, quilt as desired and use the off-white strips to bind it.

Guiding Star Title

Guiding Star was quilted by Kathy Brown at the Creative Needle in Shelby, MT.

All fabrics were provided by Island Batik. Batting provided by Hobbs, and the thread is Aurifil 50weight cotton thread.

To see what my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors have been up to, check their blogs:

Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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