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Finishing a Small Quilt – “Quilt-as You-Go”

Looking for a quick way to finish a small quilt – borders and all?

I have a small block I want to border, finish and hang on the wall (this would work great for placemats and table runners too). Rather than adding the borders and then layering and quilting the traditional way, I decided to cut the backing and batting a little larger than the size of the finished quilt.

*Then I layered them on the work surface: backing, wrong side up, then batting.

*Next I centered my block on top and pinned it in place.

*I cut border strips for the sides at the appropriate size, layered them right-sides-together with the block and sewed them on with a ¼” seam allowance, pressing the border over the batt after stitching.

These seams will act as quilting lines.

I then measured, cut, and stitched the top and bottom borders on in the same fashion.

I began with larger pieces of backing/batting then my first border required, because these were leftovers from a previous project. I could now add another border if I want, since the extra backing/batting is already there, or I can square this up and bind as usual.

I’m thinking one border is enough – gotta go – time to bind!



Fascinating Specialty Quilts

Over the past month or so I’ve seen a few quilts that are so unique I just have to share. Last week I posted about the Capital Quilters show in Bismarck, ND. One of the quilters who was in my Beginning Fiber Art class, Colleen, had a quilt in the show that really made me smile. It’s called Mod TVs (I apologize that I don’t have Colleen’s last name, nor the quilter of her quilt – the picture of the card on the quilt was too blurry to read):

Colleen said she made it from a pattern, but the special part was she picked some of her favorite cartoon characters from the past and her long-arm quilter came up with patterns to put them on the tv screens.

What a trip down memory lane. Thanks Colleen!

The next quilt I want to share was made by Debbie Hawver. She was asked by a friend to make a memory quilt from her granddaughter Grace’s clothes. Debbie did an amazing job of fitting the clothes together:

She kept many of the flounces, straps, and ruffles, and even repliquéd Grace’s name in her favorite colors. What a treasure! Great job Debbie!

Debbie is a regular in my Open Lab class, as is Jean Casey, who also made a fascinating quilt for a friend. Her friend’s husband died unexpectedly and Jean was asked to make a memory quilt from his shirts and ties. She decided to match them up and created this amazing quilt in a “quilt-as-you-go” fashion.

Jean used the collars along with the ties, and then quilted each block in a pattern to match the tie.

In this one straight quilting lines are an extension of angles in the tie fabric.

She matched up railroad tracks with the train tie.

And this one is self explanatory. Jean said she did a bit of free-motion practicing before actually quilting this block.

The border is made from leftover shirt pieces and she even put a few pockets in for fun! Well done, Jean.

Three very different and delightful quilts. Thanks for letting me share them ladies.


Also – last week I mentioned a great idea for making sample quilt sandwiches to practice free-motion quilting on:

Purchase pre-quilted muslin fabric with your 50% off coupon at JoAnn’s and simply cut it into smaller rectangles. I spent a few days teaching for the Shawnee Quilters in Carbondale, IL this past week (a wonderful group) and tried it out. It worked great! No basting sprays, no pins in the way, and it’s quite easy to ignore the cross-hatching in the background!

While I was in Carbondale I had a delightful surprise. Nancy had been at a meeting where I presented my Quilt Tales lecture – complete with tuxedo.

She snapped a pic of it and created her own  😀 ! front:

and back:

I love it – hope it made you smile.

November 18, 2018, Inspiration
Capital Quilters – North Dakota

Last weekend I had the exciting privilege to be the “National Teacher” at the Capitol Quiltfest in Bismarck, North Dakota. What a delightful group of quilters – and a wonderful show! I was blessed not only with the opportunity to teach 3 workshops and judge the quilts, but I also presented my Quilt Tales lecture at the Saturday banquet. What fun!

These are photos of some of my favorite quilts in the show:

The use of value in the barn quilt by Amy Munson is spectacular!

Great pieced and appliquéd quilts!

And so much variety!

The quilt to the left in this photo won Best of Show, and the modern one on the right, by Stepanie Mart won Viewer’s Choice.

The Best of Show quilt: Bouquets for a New Day, was made by Karen Boe, and quilted by Barbara Simons. All aspects were very well done. I was especially intrigued by the detailed quilting which was as intricate as thread-painting in some areas (note purple feathers below) and yet the quilt hung flat!

The dear woman who organized my visit and carted me around, Marlene Sapa, was the featured quilter of the show. She had an exhibit of her work and it was beautiful.

I learned a few things from the students in my Beyond Meandering workshop. One was that some basting sprays (used to hold the quilt sandwiches we stitched on together) caused skipped stitches – so beware! Another was a Laura Heine idea shared by Jenny:

When making sample quilt sandwiches to practice free-motion quilting – use your 50% off coupon at JoAnn’s and buy pre-quilted muslin fabric. What a great idea! The pre-quilted lines can be ignored. Just cut to the right size and begin!

I so enjoy watching the students try out the various patterns and find the ones they like to stitch.

The last day of the show I taught Beginning Fiber Art. This is a class for traditional quilters who don’t know if they can make art quilts, but who want to try. Everyone gets a new, “artsy” name and I bring an overflowing suitcase of my Parallelisms quilts.

It’s always exciting to see what everyone creates. There are contemplative moments:

But there are also moments of joyful discovery and play:

Thank you everyone at the Quilt fest – I had a marvelous time!


November 11, 2018, Travel
Designing Fabric – A Mermaid Quilt

I know a number of quilters who have their own photographs/designs printed on fabric through Spoonflower. com. I’ve always found it intriguing, but didn’t have the perfect project in mind. A few weeks ago Louise came to my Open Lab class with a project in mind, but no idea how to do it. So I decided to do a trial run of my own – but what did I want to have printed on fabric? That same day Mike and I were out for a ride and the sky was beautiful. We pulled over and I took a few photos. I thought this one would be lovely as a yard of fabric:

So I got on the website, created an account, and clicked on: “Design”, “Design Your Own”, and then “Upload Fabric Design”. The step-by-step directions are quite easy to use. You can choose the fiber content of your fabric and the size you’d like (fat quarter or yard). The first time you order they offer a discount. I chose premium cotton and the cost of my first yard of fabric came to about $15 with the discount. I was very pleased:

I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, but it will be used  🙂 .

So I told Louise, and the rest of the class, how well it worked. Her great-niece Olivia had drawn this mermaid and, as you can see, she asked Aunt Louise to make it into a quilt.

Louise doesn’t have a photo editing program on her computer, so I put Olivia’s drawing into Photoshop™, cropped and resized it, then added a watery background at Louise’s request (I’m really enjoying the challenge of learning how to use Photoshop™).

I then created a 40″ x 36″ image with 8″ block repeats, and added a few white background mermaids in the extra space.

In the lower left corner I pasted Olivia’s request to be used in the label.

The large white area on the lower left makes it look like there’s nothing there, but the white fabric does go to the corner.

Louise was very pleased with the fabric. I can’t wait to see Olivia’s quilt!

Spoonflower also has a lot of fabrics available for sale that others have printed, plus they sell these designs as wallpaper or gift wrap too. It’s a fun site to browse through.

Have you used Did you create your own fabric or purchase someone else’s unique fabric? Have you made anything from it? I’d love to see pictures :-D!


And here’s a little FYI  🙂 :

Whenever I post something you would like to save, you can either “bookmark” that page on your computer, or print it out. I know many quilters like a hard copy with color pictures and, if your device is attached to a printer, it’s only a click away. Simply click on the “print me” under the post title (circled in red with an arrow):

This will only appear if you open an individual post. If you don’t see “print me”, you are most likely on my full blog. In this case you need only click on the title of that post to get to the single post page and find the “print me” link.

I hope this is helpful!

November 4, 2018, Design Fabric