Category Archives: Quilting

What do you do with Scraps?

Make another quilt!  The left-over fabric from a queen sized Tennessee Waltz quilt I made a few years ago is the perfect amount for a small quilt.

scrap strips
scrap strips

As you can see, I have a batik with greens and blues, some red with a flower pattern, and white strips too.  My first thought was to do something with the strips sewn together – like a Lone Star or something, but I also had a bunch of left-over half-square triangles.DSCN0792As you can see, this creates some more possibilities.

I decided to go with the triangles, and made this using just the white and batik!


I stopped at a small size; 23″ X 28″ and have enough batik and white strips left to do something interesting with the border, starting with a 2 1/2 inch strip of white – then I’ll add another border.


Presidents Day Project

I had a bag of red, white and blue pre-sewn fabric strips sitting….wait, you’ll never guess –  in a box which was in a closet down in the basement for ohhhhh, about a year.  Just waiting to be made into a patriotic quilt for a local Quilts of Valor group.

width of fabric strips – sewn in groups of 3

The only thing that each of these strip sets has in common is that they are composed of three different fabrics, and that they are all mainly red, white and blue.  The width of the individual strips varies as well as the seam – so making anything with exact matching was completely out.


For this project,  I modified a pattern that makes use of fabric strips and decided to go with a completely scrappy look.


The strips had to be sewn together to get a width of 12.5 inches.  I then cut the strip sets into 12.5 inch squares.  This required quite a bit of squaring up since the strips were a bit wobbly – but I can’t complain – someone had sewn the sets together for the QOV group as their gift of time.

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Two 12.5 inch blocks are then placed right sides together but with one of the two squares turned a quarter turn so that the stripes are perpendicular to each other.

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This 12.5 inch block is then sewn together along the 4 outside edges of the block with a 1/4 inch seam.


Once the seam is sewn all the way around the block, the large 12.5 inch block is cut into 4 blocks.  To do this, I place a ruler from corner to corner and cut first one way, then from the opposite corner to corner making an X cut through the center of the square.


The triangles from this “X” cut are pressed open at the seam, and the resulting 4 blocks ( from the original 12.5 inch square) each have a unique pattern.  You can see that the stripes switch directions in the middle of the block.



DSCN0851 I decided to go with a random pattern when putting all of the blocks together, so that with the variation in strip width and variation in fabrics, the scrappiness – is that a word?- would work in the overall pattern.

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The resulting quilt has 36  twelve inch (finished size) squares in six rows of six.  While not in a specific pattern, it has some continuity as the strips end up forming square shapes or “arrows”.  For a border, I used the left-over strip sets created by the QOV group.  Unfortunately, they were not long enough, so – again scrappy and a bit hodge-podge, but all in all a good day’s work.


It is my wish that this finished quilt keeps a deserving veteran warm and cozy!

To find out more about a QOV group near you, the requirements for quilts, and how you can help, click the link:

Good Luck with your project – let me know how it turns out!



Fun Project

DSCN0757I  picked up a quick pre-cut kit for making a “playtime” quilt in a cute little quilt shop while vacationing in Wisconsin.  The fat-quarter friendly project of Safari Playground prints went together in no time at all.

completed playtime quilt

You can see that I have a bit of fabric left after using the striped fat quarter for binding.  What to do?  …….a quick stuffed animal project or soft book to go along with the play-time quilt………. Any ideas? Send them my way.


Here is a close-up of the binding. I love the stripes!


The pre-cut package included 7 prints and enough fabric for the top and  binding.  Backing was not included, but fortunately I was able to find the same fabric line at my local shop.


Adding a Binding Edge to the Antique Quilts

So, this is how I attach binding to a quilt – it is pretty easy after you have done it a couple of times –

I started with using the extra backing fabric from the two antique quilts I had sent out to the long arm quilter.  They always give you the remaining backing and batting from the project to use on another project or for doing a binding in the same fabric as the backing – that is if you bought enough!

After organizing the backing remnants, I am ready for the first step.

extra backing fabric

The first step is ironing to get the fabric free of wrinkles before cutting with the rotary cutter.

Cutting 2.5 inch strips
Cutting 2.5 inch strips

After ironing on a cotton setting with steam, I fold then cut off the rough edge about 1/4 inch so that all of the cuts from that point will be square.


I first cut a 5 inch strip, then sub-cut 2.5 inch strips.


The 2.5 inch strips are then sewn right-sides together at the ends in order to make one long strip that is 2.5 inches wide.


This long strip is then folded in half length-wise and ironed before joining to the top side of the quilt.

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I like to start sewing the binding onto the quilt about halfway down one of the sides.  I leave about 5 inches or so of binding unstitched as this will be necessary for joining the end of the binding in the last step.


I sew the binding on without pinning- EEK!  To do this, I just lay the ironed binding flat on the quilt top with the fold to the inside of the quilt top and the edges lined up with the finished edge of the quilt and sew away.  I use the regular foot and a “heavy” setting for fabric on my machine with a stitch length of 2.5.


When I get to the end of a side of the quilt, I stop about 1/4 inch away from the corner,  lift the needle, and cut the thread.

stopping 1/4 inch from the edge
stopping 1/4 inch from the edge
folding at the corner
folding at the corner

I then fold the long (not sewn on yet!)end of the binding strip up perpendicular to the current side, and then fold back down again along the new edge with a fold at the top of the new side.


This technique leaves a fold at the top of the new side with a corner of fabric tucked into the fold which will allow you to get perfect mitered edges on both the front and the back of the quilt at each corner when you turn the binding to the back for hand stitching.

The last step is a little tricky, but thanks some excellent online tutorials, I think I have gotten the hang of it.  Go ahead and click on the link!!!! it really helps!


As I am sewing down the last side of the quilt (back to when I started) I stop with about 5 to 7 inches of edge unsewn, then leave 10 inches of folded binding material unstitched. I find a place between the two ends of the binding edge where I would like them to meet! – Say hello to the beginning and the end of the binding strip!

At the point where they meet, take the extra binding from the starting edge and fold it back on itself – this is on the right side in the photo above.  I take the extra binding from the left side (where I just stopped) and fold it too, with the folds of both sides meeting in the middle of the 5-7 inches of un-sewn edge. See the picture above for this step.


I cut the fabric on the right at the fold, then measure 2.5 inches from the fold on the left and cut there.  If your binding width is different, then add that amount to the end of the binding strip before you cut.  I just use the unfolded binding as a tool for measuring here.  I will cut the long end of the binding one binding width from the fold.  In the picture below, I would cut the bottom fabric at the point where it meets the right edge of the top fabric where my index finger is pointing.  This gives me the perfect measure of fabric for an exact fit along the edge. See the picture below.


Now, take the right sides of the two binding edges UNFOLDED and place them perpendicular to each other and sew diagonally across the “T” to make a single piece that is the perfect length for your quilt. I would sew these two pieces together as they are placed below, starting at the bottom and sewing diagonally up. Click here for a tutorial.


Once you have sewn this seam, trim away excess fabric ( the triangle on the right in the picture below) and re-fold the binding strip in half length-wise again and press that piece.  This length should fit exactly along the side of the quilt if you have measured carefully.


Now, just place the last bit of binding on your quilt top edge to finish attaching the machine stitched top edge of the binding – see below.

– BUT we’re not done yet! It’s time to hand stitch the binding to the back of the quilt.


I fold over the binding from the front of the quilt to the back and use a matching thread with tiny stitches that won’t be too easy to see.  One of my favorite brands of thread is Gutermann.


This part takes awhile, so grab a cup of tea and sit down with your favorite music or TV show on – I can generally get this step done in an evening.

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This is the folded binding  at the corner.  I stitched to the end, and then fold the binding down on the next side, keeping a fold of fabric in the corner again.  This fold then makes a perfect 45 degree miter.


Now, I stitch up the fold and then work down the next side of the quilt – attaching the binding to the back using small stitches with thread that matches the binding.


This is a close up of the hand-stitched binding edge on the back.  This piece is now complete –


– Let me know your thoughts about your favorite binding techniques and if you are a 1930’s fabric fan like me.


Adding New Life( Backing and Binding) to an old Quilt

Cleaning Closets and found this!
Cleaning Closets and found this!

My SIL found two old – I’m guessing from the 1930’s partially finished quilt tops while cleaning out her mother’s closet this summer.  What a find!  Each of the squares was hand stitched, and the squares were joined by machine.  I volunteered to have them long arm quilted, then set out to find some backing and binding material that would seem as though it belonged with the original fabrics.  As you can see, the background muslin fabric has changed color a bit with age, but the fabrics have stayed in tact with no fraying or holes!!

Backing Fabric
Backing Fabric



I found some soft yellow and orange that looked like a good match for the colors in the top and picked an open pattern for the quilting template.  I also picked a white cotton batting – a natural or unbleached batting would show through.

Machine Quilted  - no yinding yet
Machine Quilted – no binding yet

After picking up the two quilts, I used the extra backing fabric to create bindings.  The process is pretty simple, so I’ll show you how I did it in the next post.


BTW – if you have any idea on the vintage of these beauties, or like the 1930’s style your self, let me know!


Faded Blue

New life for old jeans

New life for old jeans
New life for old jeans

O.K., so I admit that I am a saver – of many things including old jeans. I save my old jeans when I am “ready”  to stop wearing them ( did they shrink in the dryer??) and I try to save my family members old jeans……AND I even asked my sisters to send me their old faded jeans too!  I hope they keep sending them to me.

It isn’t because I have a desire to be featured on the next episode of the television show Hoarders,  it’s because I have wanted to make a quilt out of old blue jeans for quite some time now – I just haven’t found the right pattern OR look OR time.  So the pile of jeans sat in a bag in my dining/sewing room for a while.

– The bag sat while I started and finished other projects and just couldn’t put the bag away.  I kept thinking about how and what to make, and having the bag of jeans in the room kept this future project simmering in the back of my mind.    Oh, AND did I say that I have also been wanting to make a cathedral window quilt for a long time too –

Continue reading Faded Blue

Scraps and Treadle


Luckily this week I found some  fabrics to finish this project at a local quilt shop.  They matched pretty closely and worked well for a small quilt made from scraps.   I had enough to complete four blocks on my new (old) treadle machine.


You can see in the brown pieces above that there are two different brown floral prints, but the match in color and pattern is so close, it is barely detectable from a distance – I hope –  I used some green solid for sashing and found a great print for the backing.  Now it is off to the long arm quilter.




The finished size will be  33″ x 33″ which would be great for a layette sized quilt, wall hanging or even a table topper set at an angle.

I’m not sure where this one will go, but will post when the quilting and binding are finished.

Happy Easter Everyone

flower basket quilt square

This table runner perfectly compliments our spring and Easter table.

The center squares were pieced together quickly by following  a pattern I found in a quilting magazine.   The pattern is no where to be found now, however ,  I found one similar and posted the link below.

The flower basket pattern set on point with triangles running down the long sides of the table runner looks festive.    I found the fabric as a fat quarter bundle   at PSQ quilt shop, then matched the backing fabric from the same line.  The fabric and backing sat in a “to do” pile for quite a while before I finished the runner, but I’m  pleased with the results.

This table runner waits patiently in a cabinet until April.  Our pastel Longaberger Easter basket matches perfectly.  This year I decided to use tea cups for mini Easter baskets. Each cup holds one egg filled with candy treats-so cute and keeps the number of calories down- only one egg per person!

free pattern from McCalls patterns!

My latest stitching crave

Recently, I have been reading blogs, articles and web pages about English paper piecing. I love the idea of having a portable quilting project, and fortunately for me , found the perfect book at my local quilt shop and was smitten.

Our quilt shop had some pre-packaged fabric selected for making some of Lucy’s blocks- so need I say more…. I bought a package of fabrics.

The colors are warm and subtle- not the brights that I have been working with recently. I like the options with the patterned fabric – the right position of the template can change the look of the finished block. This is nice for creating a kaleidoscope effect when the pieces are joined to make a block.
English paper piecing does require paper templates, and I found a package of many, many honeycomb templates for the blocks in the book. They also have the traditional hexagon templates as well.

The process starts with cutting strips, then smaller pieces which are sewn on to a paper template. Be sure the fabric piece is large enough to leave a 1/4 inch fold on to the back of the template. When stitching this small patch to the paper, it is important to use a sharp needle. I also felt that a strong thread would be a good choice, so I purchased some silk thread for this project. The covered paper pieces are then pieced together to form a pattern. This particular square is a replication of one of Lucy Boston’s crosses.



The individual honey comb shapes are sewn together from the center of the quilt square out to the edge. Each honey comb piece snugs next to another, and is stitched along the one inch edge. The stitches are small and invisible when the square is completed.


As you can see from the picture, the paper backing stays on until the quilt top is finished. This adds a level of stability to the project.

I just need to add these last pieces to my block to finish the first of what will be MANY needed for a quilt top. Not sure yet how big this finished project will be, but until it is done, it will fit nicely into a little box just the right size for holding all of my supplies.

I keep this on the side table next to the couch in our living room. It holds the paper templates, silk thread, sharp quilting needles, fabric strips, small scissors and of course the completed honeycomb pieces.

Another Winter project DONE

So, I have finally put the binding on that rail fence quilt. I sent it out to the long-arm professional, and when it returned, it sat in the pile of UFO’s for a while- I do have a job you know…….
I found some fun play fabric for the backing that really fit the 1930’s retro look of the rail fence fabric material used on the quilt front. I also decided to purchase a commercial quilt binding for finishing.

The backing fabric has cute graphics of children playing – love it- And a story text that goes along with each frame. The full panel tells the whole story right up to ….The End. I think this quilt will be great for play and story time, don’t you?

I decided to machine stitch the commercial binding on. This is a real first for me. I tend to be more of a traditionalist, cutting out 2 1/2 inch strips, joining them with 45 degree angles, and ironing that strip in half before I add the binding to the back. I usually machine stitch to the front and hand stitch the binding in the back. Since this was somewhat of a first, I was concerned about the mitered corners, but they “seemed” to go together fairly well and it was MUCH faster.