Category: Tutorials

Gingham dog baby quilt

baby quilt in progress…. It looks like it is finished but we are just waiting for the little boy to be born so I can add his name, date of birth, etc in the big empty grey area.
When I learned that Holly was having a boy and doing her nursery in dogs, I  thought of the patchwork dog pillows that you see in antique stores.
I knew I couldn’t tackle the box type pillow and all those set in seams, so I decided to make the quilt above.
This is a perfect project to make using any of your 2 1/2″ jelly roll scraps.
Block measures 14″ finished. Each print square is 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ cut. This block uses white as the background.
This block uses Grey as the background since Holly’s nursery is grey.
(grey dot is from Aneela’s group debuting at quilt market- in stores Feb.)
 If you are a grey junkie, you will want an entire bolt for yourself. I promise.
If you are interested in making some dog blocks, the above diagram shows the basic cutting and piecing directions for one block. All print blocks are cut 2 1/2″ square.

Here is a diagram of 3 blocks across, 4 blocks down with 2″ finished sashings.This diagram makes a quilt that is 50″ x 66″.
 hope you enjoyed this quick project!

Cabbage and Roses Lone Star

This has been one of my favorite quilts ever ever. The collection was chocolat by 3 sisters.
Yummy, rich fabrics that were good enough to eat. Get it the name of the group-Chocolat
The quilt pattern was named, Truffles.
Debbi Duckworth made the quilt and no picture can do it justice. 
I got to thinking
about this quilt
 and this fabric.

This line has yummy linen/cotton solids in it. I wish blogs would let you touch the fabric but until then you will just have to believe me.So I set forth to use the denim linen as my background. I love how it turned out!
Did I tell you that I don’t do the “A” word? Applique.
So here is my version of the quilt above.

I have included a link to the chocolat pattern if you want to give this project a try.

Northcote Range by Cabbages and Roses will be in stores September.

Summer House Project

A layer cake of Summer House byLily Ashbury was distracting me. I wanted to make something but did not know quite what. This color palette is not my normal look but I just had to make something, anything!

Then I  remembered Cynthia Lammon’s project on the moda bake shop shown above. I was immediately inspired. When I have this ” quilt fever” sometimes I am not good at reading the directions, I just jump right on in. Somewhere I missed that Cynthia did this project with a charm pack instead of a layer cake. By then it was too late, I had already matched up my fabrics in sets of two and  was pretty determined to cut and sew on Summer House immediately! And I did!

 1 layer cake of your choice.
3/4 yard sashing and inner border
outer border 1 1/4 yds.
5 blocks across by 5 blocks down
(I used 25 of the layer cakes)
62″ square
Step 1:  Pair 2 prints, right side up.
Cut  a 2 3/4 strip and a 5 1/2 strip. This will also leave you a 2″ strip which will have used
all 10″ of the layer cake.  Set aside the outer strips so you can make additional cut on the center section.
This is where the martenelli rotary mat comes in so handy. Just turn the mat to make your next cuts.
*The diagrams above are just an example of the sizes you can cut the layer cakes. Any measurements will work and create a more free form look. All the blocks will eventually be trimmed to 9″ squares. have fun and create your own varieties.I would love to see your projects.

Move the center square to the back of the set of 2 fabrics as shown below. Sew together. 

The layer cake is 10″ so you will have a bit extra once you put the blocks together. Trim to 9″ squares.
Block finishes at 8 1/2″

Each set with make 2 blocks- positive and negative.
A moda layer cake has 42 squares so this method will yield 42 blocks. I only used 25.
Cut 20 sashing strips, 9″ x 1 3/4″ and  join the blocks together. Measure the length of the row and cut strips 1 3/4″ x length. Repeat until all 5 rows are sewn together.
Measure the height of the quilt and cut 2 side strips length x 1 3/4″. Add to the sides creating
a small outer border.
Cut border 6 1/2″ wide.
This collection has wonderful large scale prints so a larger border could be added. This quilt could be made quite a bit larger using the remaining layer cakes. This one is a perfect size for a picnic.
 thank you Cynthia for your inspiration.
Check out the Lily Ashbury blog for these adorable printables that match her fabric!
thanks for stopping by


I looked up Kismet in Wikipedia.
Fate or Destiny in Turkish and Urdu, a predetermined course of events.
It really is kismet to do this blog post.
In the OLD days before the Internet, yes I was quilting back then!, there were friendship groups and block swaps.The only difference is that your “friends” had to live in your area because you actually met with them to exchange blocks, ideas, techniques and inspiration. Recently I unearthed some blocks from a friendship exchange in the mid 1980’s. These blocks brought back memories of the people that made them and the fun we had meeting once a month in each others homes. Where did I find these blocks? Of course I had stashed these in a super secret spot knowing I would want to finish them someday. Well I had them stashed away in the box of videos of the kids special events. So super secret that I didn’t even know they were there. Have you ever done that? Hidden things so well that you were surprised when you came across them again. I had been petting these blocks and going through my stash of fabrics when a new ruler hit the market.

I had been hooked on Monique’s geese rulers while making Miss Rosie’s charm flying geese., so I knew that I had to try her newest ruler, Fit to be Quarter. (check out Monique’s blog– she has a blog hop going on now)

Imagine my delight when I saw on the instruction page the information to make my “found blocks” from my exchange 20 years before. KISMET!
20 years ago I thought I was pretty smart to figure out how to strip piece this block. My dad was so proud thinking I had his engineer brain. I think it was more the fact that I had a bunch of kids and not much time to sew.
Here are a few pieces that I unearthed that showed my process.


So i jumped right in and started making more blocks

 using red, white, blue or black layer cakes so I could mix a big variety of fabrics.

You make a simple unit similar to a four patch. Add a rectangle right sides together.

Using the ruler, mark your sewing lines. 20 years ago I did not have this ruler and it is not as simple as marking down the middle and sewing 1/4″ on both sides. Trust me!

Cut 1/4″ away from sewn line on each side and you will get 2 units as shown above. (finishing up some of my old pieces-can’t you tell from all the extra fringe along the edges)

This is the layout I choose for my block swap. I lay out the squares and then chain piece them into sections vertically without clipping the threads. Then I add block 3 to the block 1 & 2 section. This helps me chain piece and keep everything in the correct order. Here is an illustration. I also wait to press until the block is pieced so I can make sure the seams are pressed in the direction I have sewn them.

You have sewn the sections together working vertically. Now add the 3 row without clipping the threads. The threads will act as pins.

Once this block is sewn it can be pieced in several different layout options. It has almost as many options as a log cabin block does. Play with the options.

Here are just a few of the layout options I am playing with. Off to make a few more blocks.

sorry for the blurry phone pics

Check out Monique’s website for measurements, videos and more on how to use her rulers.

Moda Bake Shop box

You may have seen one of the latest projects on the Moda Bake Shop by Tilly and Susan of the The Quilt Asylum in McKinney, Texas. I was going to do a post but she did such a fantastic job I am going to link there for the how to section of my post.

My post is about The Moda Bake Shop Candy bar boxes that are in stores now. The boxes are available

in two varieties, both are equally tasty.

The instructions to make a dresden plate using the same technique that the Quilt Asylum featured is included in the Moda bale Shop box. 4 sets of “Candy Bars” measuring 2.5″ x 5″ are included in each box. Add your favorite background, center circle and binding to make a quilt all your own. Instructions for a tablerunner are also included.

Of course I am kind of a fabric “collector” so I couldn’t resist and had to have one of both.

Mixing the collections has been fun to see the different combinations.

Here is a picture of the completed quilt using 1 candy bar box.
But the SUPER DUPER GREATEST thing about the candy bar boxes is that there is a golden ticket hidden in 100 different boxes. Are you a fan of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? I watched that show so many times and wanted Charlie to find the golden ticket so bad! Charlie and his uncle were so excited when they finally found the ticket.  Now I want YOU to find a golden ticket. Every golden ticket wins a gift bag full of moda products. That is SUPER! But the SUPER DUPER part is that each of the golden tickets will be entered in a drawing to come and visit the candyland we call Moda. We have had a few golden ticket winners but there are many more out there.
Ask for Moda candy bars at your favorite quilt or specialty store, cross your fingers and you just may be packing your bags to visit moda. Contest runs through August 2011


Go-to Book

Todays Mistletoe Make and Bake
designers of the day are:
ME – You are here.

Todays topic is…
What is your Go-To Holiday book?
I have made my own Go-To Book. Now I know there are all kinds of great writers, artists and designers out there. Pick one? I just couldn’t do it. Maybe it is the middle child in me.
Make my own book? I have notebooks full of decorating ideas for the holidays. You may remember that yesterday’s post was Holiday Sanity Savers. This notebook is definetely not a sanity saver because there is no way my home would ever look like the pages out of a magazine. Someday, I may be able to twitch my nose and make it happen but until then I will enjoy using the pages as design inspiration.
I am not worried about anyone knocking on my door to publish my work of art.

I have notebooks for all kinds of topics, yet my favorites are Christmas and Fourth of July.

I have a book of articles about people. Some I know and consider my friends, some I hope to someday meet.
A book of gardening ideas for when my thumb finally turns green.
A book of quilting ideas.
A book of baby (grandbaby?) ideas.

I hope I have inspired you to make your own Go-To book.
Supply List: Large 3 ring binder.
(I use the kind with locking rings so the notebook doesn’t accidentally come open and the pages spill everywhere.)
Sheet protectors
Favorite pages from all your magazines 
Pages from the pile of mail order catalogs such as Pottery Barn, Garnet Hill, Anthropologie, 
and many, many more.
Today is my turn to share a holiday project idea. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it.
Girl Scout Scarf
8.5″ x 60″
A girl scout is always prepared. This scarf is full of hidden pockets and sections to hide just about anything.

I picked out with the back of the scarf first. I really wanted to use the Oliver + S interlock, so the scarf would drape nicely. This fabric determined the length of the scarf, approx 60″.  I choose assorted prints at least 9″ wide.  I decided to challenge myself on this project and try some new techniques.

ZIPPERS: Yikes, egads! I haven’t done a zipper since I flunked my sewing project in 5th grade. Due to the great tutorials and Terry Atkinson’s colorful zippers I decided to make zipper pockets.
I added a bit of embroidery because I love the look but rarely sit still long enough to do any.
I used different feet on my machine and gave my #37 quilters’ foot a rest.
(feet used but you do not have to have them to make this project-Zipper foot on the zippers and walking foot for joining the interlock back to the pieced front.)
Supply List:
Backing 9″ x 60″ (backing can vary depending on the size of the person and the type of fabric.After making this one I think 6-7″wide is ample.)
Assorted fabrics for front
Additional items to personalize your scarf such as zippers, trims, medallions, floss.
Zipper Tutorials:
the pictures below are from the orphan block scarf shown below

Step1: Zipper and fabric right sides together.
Step 2: Add lining fabric right side together making a zipper sandwich.
Step 3: Sew along the edge of the fabric and zipper. Your piece will look like step 3.
Step 4: Fold the fabrics back wrong sides together and top stitch.

Repeat steps 1-4 on the other side of the zipper. Completed section shown above.
Once the zipper sections are completed, decide where you want the zipper pockets on your scarf. Continue joining fabrics together to make a 60″ long strip. Add assorted trims between fabrics paying close attention to placement on the scarf.

Do not add “things” to the middle section of the scarf. This area will be around the back of the neck and not seen. Add embroidery if needed.

Join the back to the front, right sides together, pinning sections in place.

Before sewing the scarf together, unzip one of the pocket sections half way. Sew the scarf all the way around the four sides. Trim the four corners to have nice sharp corners when the scarf is turned right side out. Use the opening at the zipper pocket to turn the scarf right side out. No hand work to close any openings.

Press the scarf. Top stitch above each of the zipper sections to create a pocket.
Ta Da! Just the perfect scarf to hold a spare key, cash, drivers license, chapstick, etc.
Additional ideas to Personalize your scarf:
1. Add pieces of repurposed clothes. I added the button placket from my son’s shirt making an additional pocket. (I love buttons but did not want to tackle buttonholes) This scarf is for his girlfriend. It will come in very handy next time he locks his keys in his car after a concert in the rain. Maybe I should go ahead and put a spare key in one of the pockets!

2. Add fringe made from interlock.
Keep in mind the size of the person you are making the scarf for so the added fringe will not make the scarf too long.
Cut an interlock section 9″ wide by 12″ long. Fold in half and sew along the 9″ side to hold in place. Mark every inch, sew from the bottom fold up 6″ on each of the markings. Cut  1/2″ from the sewn lines. Wet and toss in the dryer to fray the fringe. Size of fringe can vary according to what size you cut this section.

3. Monogram initials.
4. Add a loop and a covered button to roll the scarf into a handy take along.

This was FUN to do using the brad/button maker. This item should be on everyones’ Christmas list. (Stock # 001309 suggested retail $29.99)  It is on my list, I borrowed this one from Ducky. The package says (WARNING: Making custom brads and buttons has been shown to become addicting.)


5. Sew with unusual fabrics such as snuggles, old sweaters, sweatshirts, and school t-shirts.
6. Tuck a gift card in the pockets to surprise the recipent.
7. Use orphan quilt blocks for scarf sections. I wanted to use BLISS flannel for the back of the scarf so, once again I started with the back to determine the scarf. This one is 43″long.
For printable directions, please CLICK HERE.
Leave a comment on my post today to win a chance at this adorable “cookie bag” of moda fabric. I will draw the yummy name and post the winner tomorrow morning.
Please make sure if you leave a comment that I have a way of getting
a hold of you if your name is drawn.

Leaves Galore Tutorial

Fabrics shown above: Hoopla by Moda available in stores January
Leaves Galore Ruler- available in 3 sizes from 24″ to 15″ long.
The rulers will cut petals ranging from 2 1/2″ to 8″ fast and efficiently. 
It is strip cutting petals!
Applique people will love how easy it is to cut a variety of sizes with little or no waste.
Fuse the fabric before cutting petals to have instant petals, ready to use in your next project.
 Layer several pieces of fabric and cut the size leaf you are needing. I cut 6″ leaves using the medium ruler and a fat eight bundle (9″ x 22″) Use a 18mm or 45mm rotary cutter to go around the curves easily. Make sure the cutter has a new sharp blade for best results.
I started with the 18 mm cutter, but after I got comfortable with the edges I used a 45mm
cutter to go through more layers at a time.
 Shift the ruler and line up the markings to cut the other side of the leaf shape.
I easily cut 5 layers at one time.
 Cutting leaves from each of the fabrics went very quickly.
 I LOVE these fabrics. Now I just have to decide on a layout.
There are so many options.

I only had a 9 x 22 white piece from the group,
but I loved it so had to get more white.

Is this not the coolest ruler?
 How about color rings?
 Or 4 leaves laid out as X petals?

Big chunky flowers with ric rac for stems and a button or fabric yo yo for the center? I didn’t have any green ric rac, so use your imagination. It would be too cute!

Send me pics of what you make.
Click here for the full details about these rulers by Sue Pelland.
Here is the Video how to.



Slice and Dice Nine Patch

Slice and Dice 9 Patch
and a few tips thrown in along the way.
This is a picture of a quilt I was going to make. It features the Wee Woodland collection from Moda.
 I have always loved the Slice and Dice 9 patch technique. BUT once I was ready to sit and sew, I realized I had already used one of the layer cakes for another project. So I moved on to
PLAN B:  I also love the red cross block exchanges that are all over the world wide web. Once I  think about red, it makes me start thinking of aqua. Digging around in my stash I found the perfect reds, whites and aquas to make my own interputation of the slice and dice 9 patch. Variations of this pattern are all over the place, so the following info is not a complete tutorial. There is a pattern attached at the end for the complete instructions. I wanted to give you some time saving tips that work on this or any other quilt.
One more short story: Many years ago, a friend of mine (Hi Kara!) came by my house to drop something off.  I was not going to be there so I left the door open for her. Later, she called and couldn’t believe that there was a project in the works at my machine. I think I had even left the pieces chain stitched laying on the throat plate of my sewing machine.  I had just up and left it just as it was. She told me she could never do that. She couldn’t even start something unless she had a block of time set aside to work on it. This event has stuck with me for over 20 years.
Some of the suggestions listed below are things I have learned to be able to have mindless sewing time, whether it is 15 minutes or 3 hours.
Lay out 2 -10″ squares right side up. Make 2 cuts using a variety of cuts divisible by 10.
 (see complete pattern for chart)
EXCERPT from moda’s project sheet.
These whimsical Nine Patches are made by cutting 10″ squares into strips following these guidelines:

– make 2 cuts resulting in 3 strips
– cut the strips at least 2″wide
– the total of the width of the 3 strips equals 10″

I do not what your “sewing time” is like but I have had to learn to sew with interruptions. Sitting down to sew a few seams while the rolls are cooking. This gives me 10 more minutes of stitching before dinner goes on the table. I do have a reputation for a wonderful dinner and sometimes burnt rolls. Sometimes sewing for just 10 minutes is tough and I can’t STOP! The following tips help me keep my projects in order for when I do return to them.

Very systematically, I cut the sections and layer them in one stack. The above pieces are cut from 10″ squares so I placed the cut pieces on a layer cake cardboard. This makes the stack easy to move as needed.

I sew on an old school teachers desk so I have these great pull outs on 2 sides to hold my fabrics. And a diet cherry limeade from sonic is a must.

I start chain sewing working in the following order:
 Join row 1, piece 1 to row 1, piece 2.
Then row 2, piece 1 to row 2, piece2.
Then row 3, piece 1 to row 3, piece 2.
This basically gives you the first 2 vertical rows chain sewn together. Do not cut the threads between the rows. The threads are what help keep the rows in order.

The above picture is what the stack looks like as I worked my way done the rows. It is easy to come back and pick up right where I left off………….. if I have to turn off the smoke alarm
 from the burning rolls!
Repeat this process until all of the first 2 sections of the nine patches are done. You will be left with a nice tidy stack in the correct order to add to the other sections.

Then repeat the process with the third row pieces. Starting at the beginning section of your chain, add the 3rd piece to each of the pieces as shown below. Notice how the threads are not cut and the chain sewing keeps feeding the next section?

See how the thread or “chain” keeps the pieces in order if you have to tend to other things.
Chain pieced sections are tough to press and keep the blocks joined by the threads. When sewing the sections together I “force” the seams allowances in the direction I want them to go. When keeping the sections chain sewn together like this, I rarely ever have to pin the pieces together. I wait to press
until the block is completed.
This looks like a big mess but it is actually all the rows in order.

The chain can be cut after every 3rd section. This keeps each block together and ready to sew together.

No pinning! Just SEW!

 Each set of 2 squares makes a positive / negative block.

Arrange the blocks in a pleasing order and join into rows. I made 2 baby quilt tops
 4 rows by 5 rows long. (36″ x 45″)
Have I told you how many people I know are expecting babies in November and December? A LOT!!No twins boys that I know of  but I have the quilt tops ready just in case.
What are some of your time saving sewing tips?
For a print out of the complete Wee Woodland pattern, Click here:

How can you “bling” a sewing tin?

 Who  has seen Eat, Pray, Love? I have not seen the movie but I have read the book. It is not in my life’s plan right now to run off and find myself. But what is in my life’s plan is to  EAT, SLEEP, SEW. (Not in that particular order!) I had to make this sewing tin that Laurie Simpson had made and posted the
instruction’s HERE. It did make me start thinking about what if?  What if the next big Hollywood blockbuster was EAT, SLEEP, SEW? Who would play the Julie Roberts role?  Heidi Klum could star. She certainly could fit it in after Project Runway. Maybe one of the REAL housewives from New Jersey? A reality show of quilters? How about a bunch of quilters in the same room with only 1 spool of thread? They could have cat fights over jelly rolls? I am so sorry, I must have dozed off into some crazed dream. Market is coming is my only excuse. Back on topic!

 I just love love love this tin. What quilter, sewer, crafter wouldn’t? Using Laurie’s instructions I made my own version in 15 minutes. I then gathered all my hexagon’s and supplies and proudly put them in my new organizational tin. I also added a magnetic strip to the inside which will come in handy. How would you “Bling” a sewing tin? What would you add? What notion can you not live without?
You may remember my blog post about hexagons. I blogged about them HERE. I was sewing them together by machine because I thought I would be bored doing so much handwork. I quickly had all my hex’s sewn together and had to make more. Then,  I got stumped when it came time to turn the corner and actually  had to create the horizontal and vertical rows. The rows would not meet until…..
PICTURE ABOVE: Machine embroidery the hexagons into rows
This is how to make a half hexagon. Sew 2 fabrics together. Press open the seams and trim away excess bulk in the seam allowances. Lay the paper hexagon making sure to line up the seam with the point of the hexagon.
Baste the fabric in place and magically you have a half hexagon

I show you this for a couple of reasons.
I am getting closer to finishing my borders. I just have to make about 300 half hexs.
I am so inspired by all the hexagon bloggers out there that I am dying to start another colorway.
Jaybird is doing it.
I am dying to make some of these from Sew Mama Sew.
You could make a charm hexagon quilt where no two fabrics are the same. Read about it HERE.
I use English Paper Pieces for my hexagons. They have all kinds of info on their website.
Paper Pieces are available at all the quilt stores. Remember when buying the size you want to measure 1 side of the hexagon to determine the size. They range in size from 1/4″ papers to 3″ papers.
You can cut a moda charm pack into 4ths and have tons of fabric ready to baste in place.
I am obsessed by all the possibilities of such a simple shape. I would like to give Laurie credit because now I have a new tin to fill full of hexagons.  Maybe I will rent Eat, Pray & Love when it comes out on DVD, invite Laurie over and sit and make hexagons!
 Let me know if you are hexagon-ing?

Twister- the ruler, not the game

Marsha from Country Schoolhouse in Superior, Wisc is located at the tip of Lake Superior in Northern Wisconsin. This is where she created a MUST HAVE ruler to use with Moda Layer Cakes TM and Charm Packs.  The ruler is called the Twister. I have tested the ruler using Park Avenue by 3 sisters in stores May/June 2010.
These are the easy steps to why this is the MUST HAVE ruler.
Step 1
step 1
Arrange your layer cakes in a pleasing order. Sew them together. Add a border. For future reference I am going to call this piece a quilt top. You will cut this apart and sew it back together.
Step 2
This is where it gets fun! Lay the ruler on your quilt top lining up the lines as shown on the ruler instructions. Continue cutting across the quilt top.
This is the left overs after I cut the squares. There is a tiny amount left when you cut each of the squares so be careful as you cut.
Step 3
“Twist” the blocks one turn and sew them together into rows. The only word of  caution is that the blocks are on the bias so be careful sewing them together. The border from your quilt top automatically makes a border around the pinwheels when sewn into rows. Pretty Cool!
Sorry about the brown carpet and the brown fabric but I think you can get the jist from the picture.
laying out the rows

Keep the squares in order and sew the rows together.
Step 4
Add additional borders as needed.
Ask for this ruler at your favorite quilt store. It is available in 2 sizes.
Order Lil’ Twister to use with charm packs.Stock # LTW5
Twister ruler works with Moda Layer Cakes.  Stock# TW10
Quilt and bind as desired.