Monday, October 7, 2019

Cross Cut

This little quilt was fun to design and sew. I like small ones because they go together quickly. 

I cut signature block centers of brown, gold and orange prints from a 10” square precut pack, adding white corner triangles for contrast. Black and white prints make the center crosses stand out.

Nine squares made a 33” square finished wall hanging. I quilted in diagonal, horizontal and vertical lines with black/gray/white variegated thread, using a serpentine eyelash stitch.

Such a nice design with plenty of interest, this one will reside on my dining room wall for a while.  Now, on to my next idea!

Accuquilt dies used:
Signature 55781 Qube 9” companion
Half Square Triangle 55147
2 ½” strip 55017

Monday, September 30, 2019

Autumn Vortex

Autumn Vortex

The calendar shows it's fall, but the temperature says something else entirely. It has officially been the hottest and driest September on record in Middle Tennessee. Though endless summer sounds nice, I do not like ninety degree days this time of year.

I've stayed indoors, happily sewing with autumn colors: brown, black, gold, burgundy remnants with cream and white for contrast. This simple kaleidoscope block was cut with two Accuquilt dies. I combined the center sections of 4” triangle in square and kite blocks.

Alternating the dark and light colors creates a striking effect, much like swirling leaves. I pressed the seams so that they would nest together, which helps them lay flat at the center points. After sewing the 30 blocks together, I added borders in a black burlap print. 

Quilting with dark gray thread, I used a straight stitch to outline the overlapping octagon shapes. The intersections made an interesting star design. Borders were finished with a serpentine pattern. I chose Black Dimples 108” wide print from Keepsake Quilting for backing and binding. Autumn Vortex is 48” x 56” in size. 

Maybe soon it will get cooler. If not, I'll turn the thermostat lower so I can actually use some of these quilts. 

In the meantime, I'm drinking iced tea and listening to Endless Summer, the classic Beach Boys album.

Accuquilt dies used: Kite 55254 and 4 ½” Triangle in Square 55409

Monday, September 23, 2019

Celtic Chains

I recently saw a photo of this quilt online and I just had to recreate it. I don't know the name of the designer or the quilt block but I'm calling it Celtic Chains.

I drew it out in my design notebook, then finalized it in Electric Quilt (EQ8) for a small version. Later I'll sew a larger one.

I used precut remnants for the 2 ½" squares and half square triangles. My box of those was nearly full so that worked out perfectly. Cutting up remnants with Accuquilt dies takes some time, but sure makes it easier to create new scrappy projects. The only parts I had to cut were the 5" squares of white on white dotted fabric, using the value die (55018). I chose teal, aqua, navy, sage and light gold colors for the chains.

Simple squares and HSTs go together easily so it didn't take long to finish the 24 ½" square table mat. I used a teal and navy paisley print on the back and navy paisley for binding. 

For quilting, I made use of the Janome circular attachment to sew intersecting circles all over the quilt with white thread. This lovely mat now decorates the end of my kitchen bar.

Last week I bought the 6 ½" bow tie on closeout from Accuquilt. I wanted to make a test block, so I got teal and navy prints and whipped up a hot pad to coordinate with the mat. I added flying geese triangles to frame the square. Another pad was created with a block made of leftover chisels and 3 ½" HST.

All this is a perfect match for new non-stick bakeware that I found in a beautiful speckled teal color. Who said pans have to be dull and neutral? Not me! Now my kitchen has a bright look that makes me joyful!

I prefer living in color
~Daniel Hockney

Monday, September 16, 2019

Misty Autumn Fog

Muted fall colors make me yearn for cooler weather. It's still in the mid to upper nineties here, same as it was in July when I sewed this quilt. No rain, our grass is crispy and leaves are turning brown.  

This is an 1950's pattern called Gay Patches or Four Gay Patches by Laura Wheeler. I found the clipping in Granny Rose's sewing box. I located a similar design in BlockBase called Dog Tooth Violet. It was fairly easy to design with EQ8 software.  

I modified it a bit to use Accuquilt dies, making a larger 17" finished block. I only had to sew nine blocks to get a 52" square quilt that I named Misty Autumn Fog.

I decided on sage, brown, gold, cream, gray and dusty coral prints for the patches and a pale yellow dot for background. 

I quilted with pale yellow thread in a free motion meandering stitch. Backing is a cream and sage green plaid. If it ever gets cool enough, this will be a nice one to snuggle under on a rainy day.

Accuquilt dies used: 4 1/2" square and 2 1/2" HST (55018), 4" finished triangle in square (55409), and triangle 6 1/2" (55001)

Waiting to put away summer clothes until the weather changes...

Monday, September 9, 2019

Bad Computer

About a month ago, I bought a new laptop computer. I spent a week installing and updating software and copying files from my old one. I had everything just like I wanted. Then, poof! The bluetooth stopped working last Thursday; it just disappeared.

After a day of troubleshooting, reinstalling drivers, trying solutions, and talking to Deepak from Dell, we gave up. Thirty-six years of computer experience didn't help this time.  It is apparently a hardware failure of some kind. I am shipping it back to Dell for warranty service this morning.

I had to move all info off the hard drive for security.  So, whenever it gets back, I'll have to install everything again from my backups. 

So, no blog today. I've had enough for now. I'm taking a break from technology. I'll be sewing, cooking, reading a novel or two. Hope to be back next week.

Monday, September 2, 2019


Have you ever had fabric beg to be used? Those leftover pieces from last week's quilt did just that. It kept telling me that all I had to do was cut some squares and center sections in white and I had a new quilt. Well, maybe it was just voices in my head, but I couldn't resist.

I used two Crossed Canoe sections and two 5” squares in each block. I tried several arrangements and settled on diagonal bands of color. Backing and binding is a tiny lattice print in pale lavender. I quilted with white thread in straight stitch rows 1 ½” apart.

The old fashioned prints work well with the modern tone on tone white print. Windswept is a sweet snuggle quilt, 45” square finished size.  The best part is that it only took 3 days to finish since I already had most pieces cut.  A bonus quilt!

Accuquilt dies used: Crossed Canoes BOB 55181 and 5” square 55010

Always listen
to your inner voice
The world is giving you
answers every day.
Learn to listen.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Sunday In The South

This quilt block reminds me of the Sundays of my early childhood. Cardboard church fans with colored pictures on one side and the local funeral home info on the other. Hard wooden church pews, no cushions. Dinner on the ground, fried chicken, potato salad, homemade desserts. Everyone wearing their Sunday best with hats and gloves. Porch swinging in the afternoon. A nap under a beautiful quilt.

I've been wanting to make this one for a while. I don't have a Dresden Fan die, so I had to get creative. I used the center section of the Crossed Canoes die for the fan blades. Four of them make a quarter circle. After sewing the blades together, I added a yellow triangle, and trimmed off the excess. I pressed under the curved edge, appliqued the fan to the corner of a 6 ½” square, then carefully cut away under the fan section to eliminate bulk.

Sunday In The South
The blocks set on point seem to float on the green dotted background. Calico prints in pastel colors replicate the vintage feed sack quilts that I remember. I quilted with white thread along the edges of the squares, then added a floral motif on each fan. Backing and binding are a white and green print.

Sunday In The South finished out at 41” x 46” in size. This one took longer to sew, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process. A side benefit is that I cut the whole BOB die, not just the fan blades, so I have leftover pieces at the ready for another quilt.

Accuquilt dies used: Crossed Canoes BOB 55181, 6 ½” square 55000, 6 ½” HST 55001, and 2 ½” HST 55018

Monday, August 19, 2019

Country Spools

A few weeks ago I took advantage of a sale and ordered a new Accuquilt die. The day it arrived, I dropped everything and started cutting. The spool die is really cute and I can see that some of pieces will combine with other dies to create other designs. (As if I need more to do!)

Country Spools is 36” square, made up of sixteen 6” spool blocks plus sashing. I pulled red, black, white and grey prints from my remnant baskets. I liked the small center pieces but decided to switch things up by using squares and quarter squares for some of the centers. Tiny stripes for the sashing with bandana squares frame them beautifully.

I quilted across the sashing with white thread in a loopy decorative stitch. A small serpentine stitch was used across the block sections. Backing is black and white chevrons with binding in a paisley print.

Accuquilt dies used: 55180 Spool BOB, 55006 3 ½” Square, 55018 Value die (2 ½” HST)

Side note: Even though I've been sewing up a storm, I took time off over the weekend to celebrate with my husband...we've been married 46 years! Seems like yesterday that we were starting out in that little four room duplex.

It's been fun and sometimes crazy. We worked hard and learned as we went, always moving ahead together. Now we're retired and pursuing our hobbies. Of course, there's still work to do, like helping him repair fuel lines on the truck the morning of our anniversary. Yeah, I have mechanic skills as well as sewing expertise.

We are a great team and still enjoy each other's company. It's fabulous to have a loving partner to share life's adventures. I am thankful for every single day.

Love is: being Happy Together

Monday, August 12, 2019

Peaceful Stacks

Last week vintage, this week modern! 

I like to switch between styles because it keeps my ideas fresh. Variety stimulates and challenges my creative brain.  At least, that's my best theory...could be that I'm just spastic and can't stay focused.  

Half hexagons fit together easily with two triangles to form rows. Quick to cut and sew, Peaceful Stacks is 34” x 39” finished size. Cool ocean colors of blue-gray batiks and dots are combined with an aqua chambray background.  I quilted with aqua thread in a decorative stitch across the horizontal seams, adding a straight stitch between rows.  

Accuquilt dies used: 55437 half hexagon and 55429 equilateral triangle

in colors
from the sea

Monday, August 5, 2019

Effie's Butterfly Garden

Effie's Butterfly Garden
I've done a series on my husband's grandmother, Granny Rose, her quilts, and my reproductions of those designs. Until now, I only had one of my own grandmother's quilts, a wedding gift. Recently a cousin sent me some old family photos, including a few pics of Granny Hill's quilts.

Effie's Butterfly Garden is my version of one of them. I made my block simpler so that I could use Accuquilt dies and sew it up more quickly. Her quilt and my block are pictured below. I may do another take on the design later using her kite piece.

Effie Hill quilt
Kaye's version

Vintage style 1930's and 1940's small floral prints, like the housedresses she made and wore, are featured with a natural muslin contrast in each block. Backing and binding are a larger floral print. I quilted with beige thread using a walking foot in serpentine lines that intersect to make simple flower petals.

I remember Effie Hill as a strong, independent woman who raised six kids during the depression. She lived and worked hard all her life on a farm in rural middle Tennessee. She grew a garden, cooked and canned, and somehow found time to sew and quilt. I surely must have inherited some of her sewing DNA.

Accuquilt dies used: 55010 5” square, 55735 2 ¼” x 4 ½” chisel, and 55147 2 ¼” half square triangle. I cut the 2 ¼” square from a strip, using the end of the chisel die.

I am thankful 
for the strength 
that lives in my veins. 
~K. Azizian

Monday, July 29, 2019

Peach Mango Mist

I bought a new Accuquilt die during this month's sale and started cutting pieces immediately. Bow tie blocks are so pretty, especially this one with the tiny center triangles. I paired warm colors of peach, orange, coral and mango prints with cool shades of gray.

I added two borders: one narrow medium gray solid and an outer border of alternating peach and gray rectangles. Peach Mango Mist finished out at 44” square, great for display, table topper, or baby's room.

I quilted with light gray thread on top and white in the bobbin, using a meandering stitch. Quilting went quickly using the Flynn frame. I'm getting better at free motion stitching with practice. The backing is a white and gray circle print with a side border strip of coral.

Dies used: 
55768 and 55769 4 ½” finished bow tie
55107 2 ¼” x 4 ½” finished rectangle

By the way, today's post is late because I went out for a leisurely breakfast with my favorite guy. A date with my husband is first priority, even after all our years together.

Be happier!
Spend more time
with the people you love,
doing the things you love.

Monday, July 22, 2019

I Shall Wear Purple

The fabric that inspired my latest quilt is bright, cluttered, and loud. I bought eight yards of it at a closeout sale in 1995...yeah, I know, but it was only 25 cents a yard! I've used it for backings and in scrap quilts.

I chose a granny square design to showcase individual prints used in the material. I cut 2 ½” squares with Accuquilt, then sorted them by pattern. I added red, blue and purple blenders as the four center squares, with light beige prints for the triangles.  Layout was done in Electric Quilt 8.  

original fabric
The sashing is a grape Quilters Candy chambray from Connecting Threads. Binding and backing is the original wild and crazy fabric. Quilting in a medium purple, I used a straight stitch horizontally and vertically across each square. Then I added the wide zigzag stitch on the sashing.

I Shall Wear Purple
I am so pleased with the result; it finished out even prettier than I expected. The 44” x 54” size is handy for naps or display.

Jenny Joseph's poem, Warning, has encouraged many of us to keep our playful nature alive. I Shall Wear Purple seemed like the perfect name for a granny square quilt made by an old lady whose favorite colors are purple and red.

So, go out and do something unexpected today and don't forget to wear purple.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Bear Hunt

Here's an old fashioned block arranged in a modern way. I sewed 6” traditional bear paw blocks and added triangles on each side to set them on point. Then I laid out vertical rows, alternating the direction each time. These bears don't know which way to turn!

My background fabric is a pretty arrow design from Wilmington Prints, also used for the narrow outer border. I chose navy, turquoise, aqua, green, and gray fabric remnants for the paws. Everything was cut with Accuquilt, using the value die and triangle die 55002.

Backing is a cream and white tone on tone circular design. I quilted using a walking foot, with off white thread in a random wavy pattern. Bear Hunt finished out at 45” square. It would also look great in a single row as a table runner. I really enjoyed working on this, and used up more remnants too.

Bear Hunt

Useful Notion: Sometimes long borders can stretch as you sew them, causing uneven sides. For this quilt I cut short border pieces and added them to the outer blocks before I sewed each row together. That kept my rows square and even.

It's not the heat, it's the humidity.
Well, honey, I think it's both!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Summertime Girl

Summertime Girl

It's officially summer here in Tennessee: 99% humidity, triple digit heat index, daily thunderstorms, and no way to control my unruly naturally curly hair. 

Call me crazy, but I'm staying in my air conditioned sewing space stitching quilts.

Fun summer prints -- cats, owls, popsicles, and straw hats -- share space with bright colorful stripes, checks, and dots, all pulled from my overflowing scrap collection. This is a definitely girly quilt for a summer baby.

This time I combined three Accuquilt dies to make a rectangular block that I saw last year in a quilting book. I don't remember which publication, but I sketched it in my inspiration journal. I attached 4 ½” triangles on a center square, and completed the rectangle with two 6 ½” triangles.

I sewed six of them together horizontally and stacked them into three rows, then added the dotty border and backing. Summertime Girl is 40” square. Quilting is a scallop stitch done diagonally in white thread.

You know I'd do anything for you...
except leave the comfort
of my air conditioned home

Monday, July 1, 2019

Spirit of Liberty

I'm celebrating the USA with this week's design, in honor of Independence Day. Made with Accuquilt Parallelogram (55004), it features red and navy prints with white 3 ½” half square triangles on each end to make a rectangle.

I grouped six of each color to form blocks and alternated them to make a strip. Sashing between rows is 3 ½” wide red and navy diamond print on white background. I quilted with white thread in a free motion looping pattern. 

Spirit of Liberty

Binding is a red and white stripe. For backing I used the diamond print but didn't have quite enough left for the length, so I added a row of red and blue 6½” AQ tumbler blocks about a third of the way down.  

Spirit of Liberty is 42” x 48”, but you could make it any size you like by changing the number of blocks or rows. I used EQ8 to play with other layouts before finalizing this version. A table runner using only one strip of blocks or cheerful place mats might be nice.

Celebrate the holiday and be safe!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Granny's Garden Walk

Granny's Garden Walk

Are you ready for another Granny Rose block? She had two completed samples of this one in different sizes. The nine patch block is based on 54-40 or Fight design, but has been known by several names over the years. In 1939, it was published as Garden Walk; in 1969 it went by Bird of Paradise; some call it Grandmother's Star when colors are arranged to emphasize the star points.

Mine is a 12” finished block, and as usual, I used Electric Quilt 8 to design and Accuquilt dies to cut the pieces. The 2 ½” square value die for center and corner four patches and the 4” finished triangle in square die went together perfectly. 

Lydia Rose's Garden Walk blocks

I chose four 1930's era colors in two shades each: sunny yellow, luscious lavender, true blue, and grass green, with white for all the triangles.

Granny's Garden Walk is 48” square. I arranged the colors diagonally and decided not to use sashing between the squares. I like the secondary design where the corners come together. 

Quilting was done with white thread, using a walking foot to stitch lines in a lightly flowing wave pattern. Backing is a tiny lattice print in light lavender and white; binding is white.

Start to finish, this took me seven days, working on it several hours every day. I still had time for walks, housework (basics only), and errands.  

A week of sewing = one happy quilter!

A day without quilting
probably won't kill me,
but why take the risk?

Monday, June 17, 2019

Sparkling Jewels

I am having so much fun adapting vintage quilt blocks to Accuquilt dies! Today's design, Sparkling Jewels, is from Progressive Farmer Magazine. Granny Rose probably clipped it in the 1950's but the design has been seen since the 1930's. You could order the pattern for 15 cents. 

I used these dies: Kite, 2 ½” square, and 2 ½” half square triangle. I added the HST to the wide end of the kite and cut extra sides to make the border pieces. It makes a 12" block. Using EQ8 allows me to set the block sizes, edit and draw cutting lines, and experiment with color choices.

My test block was good, so I added a border and made a quilted cover for my sewing room desk chair. I'll add more contrast for the kite sides next time. A larger Sparkling Jewels quilt is on my ever growing project list.

I recently bought BlockBase software, adding 4400 blocks to my EQ library. BlockBase gives alternate block names and publishing dates. I will never run out of options now! I'm designing much faster than I can sew.  

I get so caught up that I have to set alarms to remind me to eat and get in my daily walk.  

The ultimate dream in life 
is to be able to do what you love 
and learn something from it.


If you are not doing what you love,
you are wasting your time. 
~Billy Joel

    Monday, June 10, 2019

    Sampling Designs

    Fancy Flowers pattern

    I see design ideas everywhere. Magazines, blogs, Facebook, Pinterest and nature are my favorite inspirations for color and block layouts. 

    Lately I've been experimenting with Accuquilt dies to reproduce vintage blocks. My resources are Granny Rose's clippings from Progressive Farmer magazine and Nashville Tennessean newspapers. I also search online for photos of vintage quilts.

    Lydia Rose block
    Before starting a new project, I usually sew a test block to see how it will look, especially if it is new to me. I also use EQ8 to design and test color combinations.  If that block doesn't end up in a quilt, I keep it in my sample drawer or make something useful out of it.

    I found Fancy Flowers in Granny Rose's pattern shoebox, complete with templates and notes of how many to cut of each fabric. She also had one completed block in a lovely yellow, green and navy color combination.

    Fancy Flowers - my version
    My scrappy version is cut with Accuquilt Lemoyne Star, 4½” half square triangle, 2½” square and strip dies. I made an 18½” table mat with the sample, quilted with several decorative stitches. You may see this pattern again in a larger quilt.

    I am thankful to Lydia Fort Rose for her quilts, and to Hazel Rose Ireland for saving these bits and pieces of patterns and scraps. Using them to sew new quilts brings me joy.