Quilt Challenge

Several years ago, my daughter and I were flying from Utah to Arizona on the first leg of our trip back to New England.  As we flew over the canyons, I saw the most beautiful colors.  There was several shades of turquois and coral.   I remarked that I wanted to make a quilt with those colors some day.  We arrived back home and although the colors were still in my mind, they were not a priority.

Each year, my Maine Guild has a challenge.  This year, we were to put two quilting magazines aside.  At a meeting, a number was drawn. The number was 30.  We were to check page 30 in the magazines and choose one of the pages for inspiration.

In the first magazine, page 30 consisted of written ads, no pictures of quilts.  In the second, there was the most beautiful wall hanging  with turquois and coral colors.  Now I could make the Canyon Quilt.  As I looked at the wall hanging, I was fascinated by the pattern.  It had one block and the colors blended from one block to the other.  I wanted to make that quilt, not just use it as an inspiration.

I was able to draw the block on EQ7 which was helpful as it had to be paper pieced.  I could print out the paper piecing patterns.  I went to the local quilt shop for the fabric.  In the quilt shop light, the picture in the magazine looked green, so I bought three pieces of green fabric, light, medium and dark, even though I knew that I wanted turquois.   Then I bought two shades of coral.  At home, the picture turned back to turquois.  I used the green in another quilt and bought turquois from Jinny Beyer’s blender fabrics.  They were perfect.

Today, I finished paper piecing the center.  There is just one more border to attach and then lots of half square triangles for the outer border.  When I was pressing the outside border fabric, I decided that I didn’t like the fabric.  It wasn’t crisp like the other fabrics.  I’ll find something else that I like and finish the wall hanging later. I can use the fabric that I didn’t like on the back.

The challenge reveal is in September.  After the reveal, I will show a picture of the finished quilt.  In the meantime, these are the fabrics that I used.


Have a great day and happy quilting.


Dear Jane

Dear Jane is one of the quilt projects that I brought to Maine with me this summer.  I had intended to start in the center and  make the blocks from the center out to the edge.  I did this for a while, and actually made two rows.  I am making the quilt in the potholder method.  Each block is quilted and bound and then sewed to the next block.  The quilt is finished as I make each block.

When I started the third row around the center, somehow all my plans disappeared.  Instead of making just the blocks that were on the top of the second row, I finished Row D completely.  The middle of Row D has been attached to the top of the second row.  I also finished other random blocks.  I have 58 blocks that are sewn, quilted and bound.  I also have 9 additional blocks that are ready for hand sewing.  Some need applique, some need quilting . and some are ready to bind.

I needed to reorganize myself so I decided to sew all of Row A.  I printed the patterns and templates from the CD and chose the fabric so that I can complete that row while I’m in Maine.  The Dear Jane blocks are made with different techniques.  Tips for sewing the blocks are in the Dear Jane EQ CD.  On rare occasion, I deviate from the instructions and make a block in my own method.  It is easy to print a paper piecing pattern and sew.  The tiny blocks  come out perfect with paper piecing.

This week, I have made A1, A2, A5 and A6.  A3 is an applique block and is in the hand quilting section of the project.  A4 is paper pieced and is at the sewing machine to make tomorrow.

IMG_2237A1is called Pinwheel Gone Awry.  The center is a pinwheel, but the surrounding pieces look as if the pinwheel was broken.




IMG_2239A2 is called One-Two-Buckle My Shoe.  It was named because it was the 2nd block in row1, so after row 1 – block 2. Buckle My shoe just followed.



IMG_2236A5 is called Cathie’s Camping.  There was no information in the CD to tell who Cathie was or why she was camping.




IMG_2235A6 is called Uncle Homer.  The CD states that it was called that because Ruth used a piece of fabric in this block that had a farm on it and it reminded her of her Uncle Homer.  I wondered who Ruth was.  Brenda Papadakis, who wrote the Dear Jane book and drew all the patterns, listed all her quilting friends who made the Dear Jane quilts that were in the book.  Ruth was not listed as one of her friends.  She did mention Ruth Levin of the Bennington Museum.  Maybe it was her.  Although, it did not say that Ruth Levin made a Dear Jane quilt.

I’ll keep sewing Row A.  When I take a trip to N. H. in June, I’ll print out the patterns for Row B and gather the fabric to make that row.  Maybe, by the end of summer, I will have half of the quilt finished.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Shadow Quilt

IMG_2226The sun is finally out after a long day of cold, drizzly weather.  There has been a fire in the wood stove all day.  Miss Molly has been sitting in the best seat in the house.  She knows how to keep warm.

Last summer, I bought two layer cakes at a sale at Mardens.  I had no idea what I would use them for, but they were on sale and the top fabric was very pretty. I needed a project to take to a retreat last weekend.  It had to be one with easy sewing and not much thinking.  There was a Shadow Quilt pattern in my box of patterns.  The large piece in the block is  5″ x 10″.  It was perfect.  I could get two blocks out of each piece of the 10″ x 10″ layer cakes.  The quilt had eighty squares and each of the two layer cakes had 20 squares so I had just enough.

I bought Kona gray for the shadows and a white on white for the sashing. Before I left for the retreat, all the pieces were cut so I could just sew.  When the retreat was over, all eighty blocks were pieced. It is so wonderful to sew, chat, and snack without thinking about cooking or cleaning up.  Everyone at the retreat was sewing something different and there were a lot of ideas for future projects.


I finished the Shadow Quilt in parts of two days.  Miss Molly, in her job as quality control inspector, has inspected the quilt as I was working on it.




This quilt is an illusion.  It is fun and easy to make.   I would make another quilt with this pattern some day.  Maybe with flower fabric, batiques or thirties reproductions.


Have a great day and happy sewing.



I am now in Maine.  The weather is about two weeks behind New Hampshire and it is cold.  I’m thankful for the wood stove which is slowly warming up the house.  Somehow a house that has been closed up seems colder for a while.

IMG_2223The daffodils that are by the road have gone by, but the ones in the front yard waited for me to come up.  They are a beautiful sign of spring.  The gardens need a lot of cleaning out but that can wait until it is warmer,IMG_2222

IMG_2224Of course, the dandelions are in full bloom as are the forsythia.


Before I came to Maine, I went to a Quilt Guild retreat.  It was wonderful to just sew and not think about cooking or cleaning. I pieced 80 blocks for a shadow quilt,  I had already cut the pieces at home. Eighty blocks sounds like a lot but there were only a few seams in each block and it was all straight sewing. They are all in order by my sewing machine.  I will start sewing them together as soon as the house is in order.   Miss Molly went to her favorite spa and had her first grooming of the Spring.  She is beautiful.  She loves to go to the kennel and isn’t very interested in going home.

I haven’t finished anything recently, but have brought a lot of projects to Maine to work on.  Maybe I can finish them here.  At least that is my plan for now.

I have no new work to show.  I was looking through my photos and found pictures of a few sampler quilts.  They are fun to make.  Each one is different.

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Have a great day and happy quilting.


Annie Louise

IMG_2220It’s May and Annie Louise need a new outfit.  This month, the inspiration comes from my great, great, great grandmother.  She actually lived, at one time, in the city where I now live.  I have seen her house which was within walking distance to her husband’s job.  He was superintendent of the sewer department.  The city has recently pulled up and replaced the sewer lines that he installed in the late 1800s.


Annie Louise has a black cape that is trimmed with fur.  It is lined with a red lining.


IMG_2219Annie Louise’s quilt is back from the quilt show.  Usually a dress is made and then a quilt is made from the scraps.  This quilt was different.  The quilt was made first.  It was a Guild challenge.  Then there was a lot of the blue fabric left over so Annie Louise has a house dress.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Mile A Minute block #3

This third installment about the Mile A Minute block is tips that I’ve learned along the way. This past week, I’ve taken all the Mile A Minute partially finished blocks and started to finish them.  So far I have over a dozen blocks made and there will be lots more to make with the remainder of the bag.  I used a 6″ ruler.  After I make enough 6″ blocks for a quilt I make different cuts.  Maybe even triangles to make star points or a flying geese.


If the scrap is uneven, place it right side up on the bed of the machine and place a straight strip on top right side down.  Tuck additional scraps under strip and sew to the end.

Uneven seam allowances do not have to be cut off, unless you really want to.

If two pieces have jagged edges. Place the right sides together and rotary cut a straight line.

Oops things.  Not sewing a straight line.  Sewing with right sides not together.  Never pull out stitches,  Just cut with a rotary cutter and ruler and correct the oops.  There are no mistakes in the Mile A Minute, Just oops.

Use steam to flatten pieces.  If the piece does not lay flat, cut with the rotary cutter and ruler  and sew again.  Keep your square ruler on the ironing board when pressing to quickly measure the block to see if it is big enough.

Stack pieces according to size.  When two  pieces are the same size, sew those two pieces together.  I do this while watching TV.  It doesn’t take much thinking.  The seams do not have to match.   If the edges don’t exactly match, cut with a rotary cutter and ruler for a straight line.  If two pieces are the same size, they can be sewn on opposite side of a strip.

Check magazines and books for patterns that can use the Mile A Minute block and cut the made fabric the size needed.  Look for square in a square, flying geese, half square triangles, etc.

Choose sashing and borders after the block is made.  The color that you choose will determine the color of the quilt.  The sashing color will pick up it’s color from the block.

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The size of the quilt is determined by the number of blocks made and the setting of the blocks.

When your mind can’t concentrate on accurate piecing and matching corners, this is the block to make.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Mile A Minute #2


Continuing on from the last post where you sewed pieces to strips, pressed them to one side and cut between the pieces.  This is called a twosie. Now you place another strip on the sewing machine, right side up.  Add the twosie, right sides together and sew, making another big pile.  It doesn’t matter which way you sew the twosie to the strip.  Then, as before, press to one side and then cut apart. This is a “threesie”.  Continue adding the twosies and threesies to strips until you have a big pile of moresies.  Don’t worry about matching seams.  They are not matched in this block.  If the twosies or threesies are the same size, you can sew them together with a strip in between them.

When the block is big enough, place the square ruler ( 6″ or 6 1/2″) on the piece at an angle.  Always use the same size ruler for each project.  Move the ruler around so that the corners don’t come at a seam.  Rotary cut the block.  Every block will be exactly the same size.  Continue until you have enough blocks for your quilt.  Remember, most of the edges will be on the bias, so handle carefully. The bias edges will be taken care of when you add the sashing.

Arrange the blocks on a design wall, making sure that the colors are distributed equally.

Cut the sashing strips the length of your ruler and either 1 1/2′ or 2 1/2″ wide.  The choice is yours.  Also cut corner blocks.  Sew the sashing strips to the block with the block on the bottom.  Hold the beginning and end of the seam and let the feed dogs do their work to make the bias edges fit the sashing.  Note the above picture to see how to place the block in the sashing and corner squares.

Add a 4″ to 6″ border.  If the quilt is large you can add a 1″ border, a 3″ mile a minute border” and  a 4″ border for a total of 8″ on each side.

To make the 3″ mile a minute border, piece together mile a minute scraps.  You can incorporate the cut off pieces form the blocks.  Cut the pieces 3 1/2″ wide.   Square off the ends and add the pieces  together until you have strips long enough for the quilt sides.

The quilt should be machine quilted or tied.  There are too many layers for hand quilting.  This block can be used in any other quilt block pattern that has a 6″ section.  It is very nice when used in a stripy quilt  Just add one block on top of the other for some of the strips.

I will continue with more tips for the Mile A Minute block in the next post.

Have a great day and happy quilting.


Mile A Minute Quilt



The Mile A Minute quilt is basically a free quilt.  It is a fun quilt block with no stress. You can not make a mistake.  It uses left over scraps no larger than 4″.  Also, strips that don’t have to be straight.  They could be the piece cut off to straighten up an edge.  Leftover thread and bobbins are used.  The color doesn’t matter.  It is a great way to empty  partially filled bobbins.  Other than the above supplies, you will need a sewing machine, a rotary cutter with a new blade, a cutting mat, scissors, and a square rotary cutting ruler.  The ruler can be 6″ or 6 1/2″.   I have seen one made with an 8″ ruler, but I prefer the smaller ones.

Place all the fabric into two bags, one for pieces and the other for strips.  The fabric does not have to be color coordinated, unless you want it to be.  It looks more old fashioned if it is not color coordinated.  A block made with thirties fabric is beautiful  Also, one made with batiques.

Place one bag on the right and the other on the left.   Without peeking, pick up a strip and place it on the machine right side up.  Then, without peeking, pick up a scrap and place it on the strip with right sides together.  Sew with a 1/4″ seam.  You could sew with the edge of the presser foot.  The seam does not have to be size accurate, but it must be straight,  Pick up another scrap, butt it to the first one and sew.  If you sew a crooked seam, do not pick it out.  Simply lay the piece on the cutting board, cut it straight and sew again.  If the strip is straight and the piece is crooked, the strip can be on the top.  That is an easier way to sew a straight line.

There is only one rule in making this block.  You are not allowed to throw a scrap back.  You must use what you picked up unless it is the same fabric as the strip.

Continue adding scraps to strips until you have a big pile behind the sewing machine.  Press strips to one side.  It doesn’t matter which side.  Pressing is important. It keeps the blocks straight.  Cut between the scraps.  You can use a rotary cutter or scissors.

More instructions and other tips will continue on the next blog.

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Have a great day and happy sewing.


There is a large basket near the cutting table.  Any fabric scraps that are cut off are thrown into the basket.  The basket can’t be seen from where I stand and cut. The other day, I looked at it and it was overflowing all over the floor.

It was time to sort the scraps and make them ready for a Mile A minute Quilt.  I divided the strips and pieces into two piles.  Any pieces that were too small were placed in a separate pile.  I found lots of Mile A Minute blocks that were partially made.   They went into another pile.

IMG_2194The basket with just the pieces, after the strips, small pieces, and partially sewn Mile A Minute blocks were removed.



Strips    IMG_2193

Partially sewn blocks IMG_2196

small pieces   IMG_2197

The small scraps were in a trash bag in the waste basket when I remembered that I still have 20 Gaa-Barge art quilts to make.  They were retrieved.  I should be able to make all 20 little quilts from this pile.

There are still two large bins of scraps in the attic.  They need to be divided.  It’s fortunate that I’m teaching a Mile A Minute class next fall.  I can provide all the fabric for the class and then start again.

In the meantime, I’ll finish the partially sewn blocks.  Once they are in a quilt, they will be examples for the class.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Dear Jane

I’ve been working on Dear Jane off and on the past few weeks.  They are just the right size to take when I need handwork at a meeting. I have several others in various stages and will work on them so that I have a constant supply of hand work.  There is just one more to make to complete row D.  Rows A and B have been printed.  I try to keep the fabric somewhat like the original.  I will have to check the quilt shop for fat quarters to get the right look.

I have finished four more.  They are hand quilted but still need binding,  Tomorrow, I will sew the binding on and then they will go into the hand sewing basket to be finished.

IMG_2189   IMG_2190

IMG_2191   IMG_2186

IMG_2187 IMG_2188

IMG_2183   IMG_2184


I have finished 58 blocks.  It seems like a lot but there are 169 blocks in the center of the quilt.  Then there are triangles for the outside row.  I haven’t even looked at the patterns for the outside row.

I never intended to make a Dear Jane quilt when I attended the meeting.  Now, I’m glad that I started.  It is addictive.

Have a great day and happy quilting.