July 21, 2014

Text Me a Quilt

At first, I didn't have a plan for using all the text fabrics I've acquired over the last year or so.  I just bought obscene quantities of fabric and watched my stash grow.  Eventually, I "destashed" some of it after the realization that I won't live long enough to use it all.  It took a while to choose a design.  I wanted to use small pieces of text fabrics in the background so that snippets of words, letters and numbers appeared throughout the background randomly.  I also wanted to use color prints for the main fabrics, but wanted to use more text fabrics than color.  Here's what happened.


This is only a portion of the quilt top that's finished -- I have a long way to go.  But I've had so much fun working on it that I decided to share the instructions in case you'd like to sew along with me.  If you don't have any text fabrics, you can always use "low-volume" backgrounds instead.  Or a combination of both!   
I shared the instructions with a couple of my Instagram friends who are fellow text fabric junkies.  They've been busy making quilts of their own.  I'm hoping Peggy (Stitchin with Peg) will be blogging about her finished finished quilt soon.  You can see it on her Instagram feed, too (paront1222).  It's fabulous!  Peggy made 10" blocks using both text fabrics and low-volume prints. 

Susan (yardgrl60 at Instagram) doesn't have a blog, but will be sharing her project soon on her Instagram feed.  She's making 7 1/2" blocks using text fabrics with subtle color prints.  If you know Susan, you'll recognize her signature style.  I love everything she makes. 

The instructions below are for a 60" square quilt, with options for two different block sizes.  Use 2" strips for the smaller 7 1/2" finished block, and 2 1/2" strips for the larger 10" finished block.  I've used the smaller block in my quilt, but the 10" block is easier to make, and you won't need as many blocks.  The instructions provide for a certain number of 2" or 2 1/2" strips, but I used as many fabrics as I could find, sometimes using only scraps or partial strips of text fabrics.  And I used only scraps for the colored squares.  If you need a little help deciding which block size to use, try making test blocks of each size before cutting your "real" fabric.  I threw together the instructions after I made a lot of blocks, so I haven't tested the instructions.  If you notice anything weird, just let me know. 

(You'll need 64 blocks for a 60" square quilt.)
From Light Fabrics:
     Cut 51 strips, 2" x the width of fabric.
           From 26 strips, crosscut:
                3 rectangles, 2" x 5" (78)
                2 rectangles, 2" x 3.5" (52)
                9 squares, 2" x 2" (234) *
           From 25 strips, crosscut:
                2 rectangles, 2" x 5" (50)
                3 rectangles, 2" x 3.5" (75)
                9 squares, 2" x 2" (225) *
        Cut one more 2" x 3 1/2" rectangle from leftover scraps.
        *  You will have 11 squares left over.

From Dark Fabrics:

        From assorted dark scraps, cut 128 matching sets of 4 squares, 2" x 2".

(You'll need 36 blocks for a 60" square quilt.)

From Light Fabrics:
        Cut 36 strips, 2 1/2" x the width of fabric.  From each strip, crosscut:

                2 rectangles, 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" (72)
                2 rectangles, 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" (72)
                7 squares, 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" (252)

From Dark Fabrics:

         From assorted scraps, cut 72 matching sets of 4 squares, 2 1/2" x 2 1/2".


For each block, arrange the pieces as shown in the illustrations below.  (The first illustration shows the measurements of the pieces for a 7 1/2" finished block; the second illustration shows the measurements of the pieces for a 10" finished block.)  Sew together the pieces in vertical rows, pressing the seam allowances toward the dark fabric squares.  Then sew the vertical rows together, pressing the seam allowances in the direction indicated by the arrows.  If you follow the pressing directions, the seams will nestle, you'll hear birds singing, and a rainbow will appear.  Probably.
Layout for 7 1/2" finished block.

Layout for 10" finished block.

Finished Block
Here are the 10" and 7 1/2" blocks side by side, just for perspective.
Sew the blocks together in horizontal rows, rotating every other block a quarter turn.   Press the seam allowances in the direction indicated by the arrows.  Sew the rows together; press the seam allowances in the same direction.

Layout for 7 1/2" finished blocks.  Quilt measures 60" x 60".

Layout for 10" finished blocks.  Quilt measures 60" square.
So there you go! Hope you'll grab a stack of fabrics and sew along with me.  If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me (link in profile) or leave a comment here.  Have fun!

July 6, 2014

Text Fabric Problem and Winner of eBook

A while back, I confessed to having a text fabric problem. 

Initially, I didn't have a plan, but knew I wanted to make a quilt using lots of low-volume text prints with little scraps of color.  Here's a little preview of what I'm working on.

I'm also working on a tutorial to share with you later this week in case
you want to sew along with me.  Hope you'll join me!

In the meantime, we have a winner of the Celebrate Christmas with That Patchwork Place eBook. 

Congratulations, Jennifer!  I know you'll have fun with this book!
Thank you to everyone who played along.  Hope you all have a great week!

June 28, 2014

Celebrate Christmas With That Patchwork Place

You probably know that Martingale publishes the greatest quilting, knitting, sewing, crochet, and other craft books.  Did you know that the people who work there are also very talented quilters, knitters, needleworkers, rug-hookers, and crafters?  They're all so good at their jobs as book publishers that I sometimes forget they're passionate about their hobbies like you and me.  And when they put their heads together and collaborate on a book, you just know it's going to be spectacular.  Here's their latest collaboration, Celebrate Christmas With That Patchwork Place

This book really gets me in the mood for Christmas. There are 22 quilting and sewing projects that you can make to decorate your home or use for special gifts.  The projects can be made quickly, so if you start now, you'll have a house full of beautiful Christmas quilts, table runners, wall hangings, pillows, decorations, and gifts to enjoy long before the Christmas rush.  Adrienne made this "O Christmas Tree Wall Hanging" to serve as her Christmas tree.  Pretty clever, right?

Full-size templates are provided for all the projects, including Jenny's "Snowflakes" quilt.

 The instructions are very clear and easy to follow.  Each step is illustrated to help guide you along.  And, as always, the book is full of inspiration and lovely photographs by Brent Kane.  

This is Mary Green's "Paper Chains" runner that reminds me of the all the times my brothers and I made garland for our tree using colored construction paper.  Mom never complained about the mess we made because it kept us quiet for a long time.  (She probably wishes we still made paper chains during our get-togethers!)  

Karen Johnson's "Dotty for Christmas" tree skirt is so fun!  She used a fusible applique' method that I'm anxious to try.  

And here's a quick and beautiful "Holiday Delight" table runner that Cathy made using a charm pack of a really cute collection of Christmas fabrics.  

I'm smitten with Mary Burns' "Christmas Cookie Apron."  Every Christmas season, I envision myself wearing a fancy apron like this, baking cookies, drinking cider, and listening to Christmas music.  It has never, ever happened, but maybe if I had the fancy apron . . . ? 

I was blown away when I saw Karen Soltys' "Naturally Neutral" Christmas stocking.  I'll let you read about how she made it over at Martingale's blog.  While you do that, I'll be at the thrift store.  

I won't show you all the projects here, but you can hop on over to Martingale's blog to see all the projects, get the stories behind them, and find out how to enter the drawing to win a copy of the eBook.  They're also giving away a fat quarter bundle of Riley Blake's Home for the Holidays fabric so you'll have everything you need to get a jump on your Christmas projects!

Here's the schedule for all the stops on the Blog Hop.  Don't forget to visit Pat, too, because she has another surprise for you!

Thursday, June 26 - Stitch This!
Friday, June 27 - Pat Wys at Silver Thimble Talk
Saturday, June 28 - You're here!
Monday, June 30 - Rebecca Silbaugh at Ruby Blue Quilts
Tuesday, July 1 - SewCalGal
Wednesday, July 2 - Cindy Lammon at Hyacinth Quilt Designs
Thursday, July 3 - Generation Q
Saturday, July 5 - Cheryl Brown at Quilter Chic
Monday, July 7 - Jen Eskridge at Reanna Lily Designs
Tuesday, July 8 - Kathy Brown at The Teacher's Pet
Wednesday, July 9 - Amy Ellis at Amy's Creative Side

While I typed this post, my favorite Christmas song was playing in my head -- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  If you'll leave a comment here and tell me your favorite Christmas song, you'll have a chance to win your own copy of the Celebrate Christmas with That Patchwork Place eBook.  I'll randomly choose a winner next Saturday, July 5.  

Thank you for visiting.  Make sure you visit all the stops on the Blog Hop to see the rest of the projects and enter for more opportunities to win your own copy.     


May 21, 2014


Just popping in to announce the winner of the Uncommonly Corduroy e-book by Stephanie Dunphy. 

Congratulations, Barb!  If you'll shoot me an e-mail (link in profile), you can get started on one of these fun projects very soon!

May 14, 2014

Uncommonly Corduroy by Stephanie Dunphy

Please excuse the delay in sharing this delightful book with you.  Uncommonly Corduroy by Stephanie Dunphy.  You may have seen it by now, but in case you somehow missed it, I thought I would give you the scoop.  Stephanie at Loft Creations has published a really cool book of projects using -- you guessed it -- corduroy!  Until Stephanie told me what she was up to, I had no idea that using corduroy in quilts is actually a thing.  Apparently, I need to keep up a little better.  Stephanie will be at Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, so if you're there, stop by Martingale's booth (No. 618) to visit with her, and make sure you catch her Schoolhouse presentation. 

Photography by Brent Kane
In her book, Stephanie tells you everything you need to know about corduroy and how to work with it, as well as the best corduroy to use for quilts and for bags.  She also tells you about her favorite stabilizers and tricks for making bags.  Her bags always look so structured, and now I know why. 

Photography by Brent Kane

One of my favorite things about this book is that Stephanie provides cutting guides for various shapes instead of requiring the use of specialty rulers.  Even for the kaleidoscope-style quilt below, Saltwater Taffy. 

Photography by Brent Kane
There are patterns for sixteen projects, including quilts, bags, and even a scarf.  And a fun poem all about corduroy!  I love Stephanie's unique style, and the way she embellishes some of her projects with rickrack and buttons.  And, yes, Abby the dog makes an appearance in the book, along with her own special tote.

Photography by Brent Kane
 Some of the projects are made completely from corduroy; others are mixed with quilting cottons.  Quilting-weight corduroy is increasingly available.  If your local quilt shop doesn't stock it, ask them to try it.  Or look for online resources.  Stephanie provides a list of manufacturers and retailers to get you started. 

Photography by Brent Kane

   Just in case you're afraid to use corduroy in your sewing projects, every project in the book can be made with quilting cotton.  Stephanie's designs are unique, her directions are easy to follow, and each of the projects can be made with so many different styles of fabric.  Just check out her blog to see some examples. 

Photography by Brent Kane

 It was incredibly hard for me to choose a project from the book.  I decided to make this adorable bag, I Heart Dresdens.  That sounds like Stephanie.  Whenever I see a Dresden block, I always think of her. 

Photography by Brent Kane

I settled on a collection of fabrics I've been hoarding for a while, one that has a lot of polka dots (also a Stephanie thing).  Because I've never made a Dresden block this small, I made a test block using a mini charm pack of Sunnyside by Kate Spain.  Using the cutting guide in the book, it took me less than five minutes to cut all the little Dresden blades.  It was so much fun that I've decided to collect a lot more mini charms and make Dresden blocks out of each collection.  After I finish my bag.  Or maybe not. :-)
If you'd like to win your own e-copy of Uncommonly Corduroy, please leave a comment and let me know what you think about the projects.  (There's a gallery of all the projects in the book here.)  I'll announce the winner on Tuesday, May 20.  Hope you enjoy the inspiration!  


April 4, 2014

Bayside Quilting

Just popping in (a little late, as usual) to let you know that several of the sample quilts from my book, Scrap-Basket Beauties, are on display at Bayside Quilting in Olympia, Washington.  If you're anywhere close, stop by and check out this wonderful shop and visit with some really nice people.  You'll find them at 225 State Avenue, N.E. in Olympia.  If you're not close enough to visit in person, you can shop online here.  This probably won't surprise you, but I've already found a lot of fabric I can't live without.  They also have classes, block-of-the-month kits, rulers, threads, notions, and quilting machines, frames, and accessories.  If you need it, they probably have it.      

Brittany sent photos of a couple of the quilts hanging in the shop.  Doesn't this look like a cool place to hang out? 

Stop by and see the other sample quilts in person.  And if you have a chance to visit, please give them all a hug from me. 

Have a great weekend!


January 21, 2014


Thank you all so much for your comments on the Dreaming of Stars Blog Tour, and for coming up with some really fun names for my block.  Sewing is the easy part for me; naming the project is always the hardest.  I've narrowed down a couple of names from your brilliant suggestions, but still thinking about it.  Even though the winner of the fabric bundle was chosen randomly, I think there should be a separate prize for the first person who suggested the name I eventually choose.  More to come about that.    

If you missed any of the stops on the tour, stop by to see the star blocks at each blog (links below).  And be sure to visit Timeless Treasures' blog for a chance to win a 30-piece fat quarter bundle of the entire collection of Dream Basics.  It's just gorgeous!  The winner of the 30-piece bundle will be announced on Friday, January 24.    

Jessica Alexandrakis - Life Under Quilts    
Kim Brackett - Magnolia Bay Quilts  (You're here!)
Nicole Daksiewicz - Modern Handcraft
John Kubiniec - Big Rig Quilting     
Kimberly Einmo
And stop by Peggy's blog to see what she did with her blocks.  She used a dark background fabric, and her blocks are fabulous. 

And finally, the winner of the half-yard bundle of fabrics I used for my block is No. 38, Sandie at crazy'boutquilts.  Congratulations, Sandie!  If you'll send me your mailing address, your bundle of fabrics will be on the way soon. 

Thanks so much for participating in the Dreaming of Stars Blog Tour.  Hope you all have a great week!


January 14, 2014

Dreaming of Stars Blog Tour

Welcome to the Dreaming of Stars Blog Tour hosted by Timeless Treasures Fabrics!  Dream Basics is a new line of gorgeous dotty "basics" fabric in 30 colors.  Each day this week, a different designer will share a tutorial for a star block using new Dream Basic fabrics, and give away half-yard cuts of the fabrics used for the tutorial.  Wrapping it up on Friday, Timeless Treasures Fabrics will give away a 30-piece fat quarter bundle of the entire collection! 

My star block doesn't have a name yet, so if you'd like to win a bundle of the fabrics I used for my block, just leave a comment here with your suggestion.  If you're a "no-reply" visitor, make sure I have a way to get in touch with you.  I'll select a winner using a random number generator and announce the winner on Tuesday, January 21.

Here's the schedule for the tour:

MONDAY, JANUARY 13 - Jessica Alexandrakis - Life Under Quilts    
TUESDAY, JANUARY 14  Kim Brackett - Magnolia Bay Quilts  (You're here!)
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15  Nicole Daksiewicz - Modern Handcraft
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16  John Kubiniec - Big Rig Quilting     
FRIDAY, JANUARY 17  Kimberly Einmo

Here is my (nameless) 12" finished block.

And here are the Dream Basics fabrics I used to make it. 


From each of the Turquoise, Lime, Pink, and Citrus fabrics,
     cut a 1 1/2"-inch strip across the width of the fabric. 
From the Stone fabric, cut two strips, 2 1/2" by the width of the fabric.  Cross-cut into:
    4 rectangles, 2 1/2" x 4 1/2"
    12 squares, 2 1/2" x 2 1/2"
From the Sun fabric, cut one strip, 2 1/2" x the width of the fabric.  Cross-cut into:
    4 squares, 2 1/2" x 2 1/2"

 (There will be extra fabric left from the Stone and Sun strips.  You can use it to make extra blocks.)

Block Assembly:

1.  With right sides together, sew the long edge of the Turquoise and Lime strips together, then sew the long edge of the Pink and Citrus strips together.  Press the seam allowances in either direction.

2.  From each of the Turquoise/Lime and Pink/Citrus strip sets, cut:
          2 rectangles, 2 1/2" x 6 1/2"
          2 rectangles, 2 1/2" x 4 1/2"
          (If you cut very carefully, you should have enough rectangles for two blocks.)

3.  Arrange the rectangles as shown in the photo below.  This step will help you keep the colors in the right place so that your star appears to be woven. 

4.  Sew together a Sun 2 1/2" square to a Stone 2 1/2" square.  Press the seam allowances toward the Stone fabric.  Make 4 for each block.

5.  Sew a Stone 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle to each of the units from Step 4.  Press the seam allowances toward the rectangle.  Make 4 corner units for each block.
6.  Arrange the corner units and rectangles as shown below.  Again, this step will help you keep everything in the right place. 
7.  Sew the 4 1/2"-long strip set rectangles to the corner units.  (Look for the black arrows below that show the corner units sewn to the 4 1/2" rectangles.)  Press the seam allowances toward the strip set rectangles.
8.  Now sew the 6 1/2" rectangles to each of the units.
9.   On the wrong sides of the 8 remaining 2 1/2" squares, use a mechanical pencil and a ruler to draw a faint line diagonally from corner to corner. 

10.   With right sides together, sew two Stone 2 1/2" squares to the units, sewing on the drawn line.

11.  Fold the inside corners of the squares to the outer point, and press. 

12.  Fold back the top layer and trim away the excess fabric 1/4" from the seam line.  Ditto for the other side.   

13.  Press the folded triangles back into place and arrange the block units.
14.  Sew together the top two units and press the seam allowances toward the unit on the right.   Sew together the bottom two units and press the seam allowances toward the unit on the left. 

15.  Sew together the bottom and top halves.  Before pressing, I suggest "rotating" your seam allowances.  To do this, remove the stitching from the vertical seam above the horizontal seam you just made to sew the halves together.  Just two or three stitches -- see the circle in the photo below.    If necessary, turn it over and remove the stitches from the back, too. 

16.  Press the seam allowances in a counter-clockwise direction.  You should see a tiny four-patch like this one in the center of your block.  Doing this will allow you to rotate the block in any direction and still have tidy, nestling seam allowances. 

Even if you make identical blocks, you can rotate them so it appears that you have a different fabric placement in each block.  See?

And here's a digital version of what your quilt might look like. 

I hope you enjoy the tutorial.  Don't forget to visit the rest of the blogs, as well as Timeless Treasures' blog.  Have a good week!