It’s finished! Well…almost finished…

If you don’t count proper trimming, binding, sleeve and label, well then it’s finished! Ok, I took it off the longarm! I’m thrilled with the quilt so far. Remember, this began a few months back as an experiment with 20 beautiful vintage ladies handkerchiefs. I started the project at a quilting retreat and it’s fitting that I bind it at another retreat mid August.

IMG_6443 (Edited)

20 handkerchiefs all quilted with their own design! I waited until the blocks were finished before deciding on how to quilt the sashing. My final decision: nothing! As the sashings are only 1″ finished, I decided any quilting would only serve to distract from the 20 “Stars of the Show”. Here are a few pictures of the various blocks:



So what are the technical particulars? This quilt is double batted with my favorite batting, Hobbs white 80/20 as well as their white Poly Down. It is backed with double wide bleached muslin (that I laundered in hot water) and my thread of choice for the entire project: Wonderfil Deco Bob #104 in the needle, a white 60 weight poly in the bobbin. If you’ve been following me long you’ll know I am enamored with both Wonderfil Deco Bob and Invisafil. They are fantastic threads! Oh, and the quilt measures 71×85″



And finally, a few pictures of the back:

IMG_6456 (Edited)

IMG_6458 (Edited)


Quilting time: 29 hours, 35 minutes. The binding will be pink to matching the sashing.

I created this piece because so many times during either my Lecture and/or Workshop someone always asks something like “What can I do with all my mother/grandmother’s beautiful handkerchiefs?” I’ve personally been collecting these beauties for years and now finally I can demonstrate a great way to showcase a collection.

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Blessings to all and Happy Quilting,







So you want to make a handkerchief quilt with a custom drafted swag border!


So you want to make a handkerchief quilt? There are so many different ways to use all those beautiful vintage hankies you’ve been collecting. I’m in the process of finishing my quilt top and want to share my progress. I’ve included a brief picture filled tutorial of sorts near the end of this blog if you’re wondering how to create a custom swag for your borders.

To start you need to decide how many blocks you’re wanting. I began with the idea of a 3 block by 4 block quilt top but quickly revised my plans to a 4 x 5. At this point I also decided I wanted a 6″ finished border on all sides.

Not all vintage handkerchiefs are the same size and not all are square. Once you’ve decided on the number of blocks, sort through your hankies and determine the size of the LARGEST handkerchief.

Do not determine your largest hankie until you have laundered, starched and pressed each one!!!

My largest hankie is 13 1/2″  and is pretty much square. This largest piece determines the bleached muslin block size for EVERY BLOCK going forward.  Before you do any cutting of your bleached muslin or solid white fabric you also need to think about how much of the white fabric you want to show around the sides of the handkerchief. I decided that I wanted 1/4″ to show around my largest hankie to I cut my muslin into  14 1/2″ squares.

Here’s the math: the hankie measures 13 1/2″. Add 1/4″ to show around hankie makes 14″ and seam allowances of 1/4″ each makes a 14 1/2″ unfinished block. With me so far?



The smaller the hankie the more your white fabric will show.


So it’s time to attach your hankies to your solid white background fabric. Note that I said “solid white” fabric. Hankies are thin and if you were to choose a print of some sort or even a white tone-on-tone fabric you will get unwanted shadowing and you will be sad.  I experimented with using both a straight stitch and a teeny tiny zig-zag stitch to attach the hankies. The zig-zag stitch looks nice but takes FOREVER!!!! Just warning you: you’ll be crazy sick of zigzagging around all those lovely tiny handkerchief scallops. Just do a medium length stitch super close to the hem of the hankie.



Thread! You’ll probably know by now I’m a HUGE fan of Wonderfil Deco Bob and Invisafil. The Deco Bob is 80 weight, the other is 100. For this project I used the 100 weight Invisafil. It is wonderful as it crosses over different colors as it takes on the color beneath it. You couldn’t ask for a better thread!

So, the picture below shows all the handkerchiefs lined up like little soldiers. They’ve each been stitched into the 14 1/2″ white bleached muslin squares and with the help of my sweet friends at retreat, they are in the order for stitching. How did I decide on the order? I wanted the “visually heavier” handkerchiefs to hold the 4 corners. After that it was left up to how well they “played” with each other.



About sashings: I knew I wanted soft pink sashings with the bleached muslin cornerstones. I chose a solid soft pink for the strips. Each sashing strip is cut 1 1/2″ by 14 1/2″. Each cornerstone is cut 1 1/2″ square. After seam allowances I will have a 1″x14″ pink sashing strip around each block and a 1″ finished white cornerstone.



Sew your rows together first with a sashing strip both at the beginning and the end of each row of 4 hankies.


After your rows are completed make a long sashing strip beginning with a white 1 1/2″ square followed by a pink strip, etc. etc.. Sew this long strip to the top of each of your rows of hankies. Remember, you’ll need to also sew one of these long strips to the bottom edge of your last hankie row.



Here’s a picture of the hankie rows sewn together and custom sized swags machine appliqued to the top border. My design wall placement didn’t allow me to get a picture of the entire quilt top.


IMG_6025 (Edited)(2)

So…how do you draft a custom swag for your quilt top borders? I’m giving you lots of pictures below in what I hope will be a good enough explanation for you to charge ahead!

You’re going to need a few tools:

  1. graph paper helps but is not mandatory
  2.  pencil
  3.  some sort of large curve tool and
  4.  some sort of circle(s) tool. I have some longarm clear acrylic templates I’ve used to help me with the large curves and a RAPIDESIGN® R-440 Template for my circles.
  5. a teflon pressing sheet
  6. freezer paper
  7. spray starch
  8. iron

The picture below shows a custom swag that will measure 12″ x approx. 5 1/2″ when finished. You’ll see I’ve drawn my first arc for my swag.


I’ve shifted my set of oval templates up and will draw my second arc. Why do I have blue painters tape on my oval acrylic templates? First so I can keep them all held together and second so I can find them when they’re laying on fabric.


Ok, so now we’ve drawn both the top and the bottom arc.


It’s time to use our circle template to make the swag bumps.  Choose a circle size of your choice, paying attention to the circle side and top and bottom hash marks, place your circle on the top most arc, center your circle on your half way line and draw your half circle. The mechanical pencils below are pointing to the 3 important hash marks.  See how the circle is lined up on both the “half-way” mark for both the arc and the swag length line.

Warning!! Do not position your swag bumps (circles) so that they touch the top like of your drawing! Leave at least 1/4″ space!


Here’s what your first swag bump will look like:


For the placement of the remaining circles you can use the hash marks as your spacer between half circles.


By time you reach both the right and left outer edges of your top arc, you may have to use the “fudge-factor” technique of swag bump placement. Just do what looks good to you.

Next step: you don’t want a straight line in between the bumps. You’ll need to free-hand a dip between the circles, either above or below the arc line. For this example I chose to place my dip below the arc.



It’s time to erase the pencil lines you don’t need any longer. And look what you’ve made, a custom sized swag pattern for your beautiful handkerchief quilt top border!


If you’ve never made/used a freezer paper template before, well, you’re in for some fun! There are many methods you could use but this is what I do:

Iron three sheets of freezer paper together. The size of the three individual sheets needs to be a bit larger than your finished swag you just created. For the above sway my three freezer paper sheets would measure something like 13″ x 8″.

On your ironing surface, first step is to position your teflon pressing sheet. On top of the pressing sheet place one piece of freezer paper SHINY SIDE DOWN and without steam, lightly press. Repeat with the remaining 2 sheets, SHINY SIDE DOWN until you have a nice firm layer of three sheets. ***Important: let your newly created stack of papers cool! Give the stack 2 or 3 minutes before your proceed. Once cooled, slowly peel the freezer paper from the pressing sheet.

With scissors, cut out your graph paper swag on the pencil lines. With the freezer paper stack laying shiny side down, place your cut-out swag on the stack, trace around the swag edges and carefully cut out your new template. Smooth cut edges are key so take your time with this step. Be sure to keep your graph paper template in a safe place as you’ll need it if you need to make a 2nd or a 3rd freezer paper template.

Position your new freezer paper swag template on your fabric and with a medium temp. iron press it into place. The paper will stick to your fabric.



When it has cooled to the touch, trim around all edges leaving at minimum 1/4″.  Here’s what your cut out should look like:


Using a rather heavy handed spray of the starch, make sure your fabric edges are a bit wet. Begin folding the top starched wet raw edge over the template and press into place.


Here’s a pic of the top edge folded over and pressed:


Important! At the inside dip of each of the swag bumps you’ll need to make 3 small snips to allow for the dip or the concave part of the template. Snip almost but not quite to the template edge.  Spray again with the starch and begin to slowly fold in and press these outer edges. Slow and steady all the while keeping your finger tips out of the way of your iron tip.


This is what your swag will look like when all the edges are starched, folded over and pressed, you can snip away the little pointy parts at each end of the swag:


Here’s what your swag will look like on the right side of the fabric:


Here’s the scary part: you need to remove the freezer paper template. Find a spot on the smooth arc edge, carefully pry up the paper edge and pull it away from the swag. Yes, your edges will get rumpled but don’t worry! Once your paper is removed, lay your swag right side down, re-position your edges, give it a quick press with your iron if needed. Warning!!! Do not spray starch your swag at this point!!! You will lose most of your hard work!! (Ask me how I know…) If you feel you must starch again, do it when you flip your swag over to wrong side down/right side up!


And you’ve just created your first custom sized swag for your handkerchief quilt top border! Congratulations!! Simple, easy and straight forward! How many freezer paper swag templates should you make? I usually make 2. These templates are used over and over again until they no longer stick to your fabrics. You’ll notice my template is brown in spots; that’s because I’ve used it maybe 10-15 times already.


For this project I’ve chosen to machine applique with a tiny width zig-zag set at a medium to medium/long stitch once again using the fantastic Wonderfil Invisafil in white.

Are you ready to start your own vintage handkerchief quilt top? I feel like I used WAY too many words in this tutorial! Hope all the pictures help! Don’t be the slightest intimidated about drafting your own swag, once you’ve done one you’re a pro and well on your way to a fantastic quilt border!

Happy quilting,


ps: Please-oh-please use the comments section to post your questions! If you’re wondering about something, chances are so are lots of other people!



The Process: “Basket of Flowers” Guild Member Challenge Piece

The Quilt Guild of Greater Houston’s Member Challenge as part of the show May 5th and 6th was to follow the theme “Joyous Flora” in a 24″x 24″ presentation piece. This is my entry:

IMG_5965 (Edited)

***Update 08/03/17: This piece was accepted into the Embellished juried competition at the IQF in Houston this Fall!*** 🙂

Three area Quilt Guild representatives served as our judges for this member challenge, each awarding a Judge’s Choice ribbon to their favorite entry. I was fortunate enough to received such a ribbon!

But where did this project start? For years I’ve been collecting vintage damaged crocheted doilies that incorporate flowers and leaves into their design. After soaking to remove stains, etc. I carefully took apart the damaged crochet and saved the valuable parts. About 80% of the pieces are vintage, I crocheted the rest, filling in needed flowers and leaves. 5/16/17 Update: people have asked about the saved crochet pieces unraveling. In general the flowers and leaves are “self contained” little pieces. The original creator would knot the end of her crochet thread as she finished each piece.

I’ve had in my mind for about 3 years what I thought I might create with these saved bits and pieces, so when the Guild Member Challenge came along, I knew just what I wanted to make.

The backdrop for the piece is a vintage white table topper measuring approximately 23″x 23″. The edge has a lovely manufactured white trim, the interior has both cut work as well as embroidery.

IMG_5427 (Edited)

Here are the particulars: the batting is Hobbs Poly Down white, single layer (if I did this again I would have double batted with a white 80/20 below the Poly Down) white (bleached) muslin directly below the table topper and again, white bleached muslin as backing.


Thread: Wonderfil Deco Bob 80wt., color 104 in the needle, the bobbin thread is a white 70wt. poly.

Marking pen for this project: a black Frixion pen by Pilot. Yes, I know all the warnings etc, regarding these pens but I still choose to use them in certain circumstances.


I don’t often stitch the spine of my feathers, but did for this project.



I’ve also been collecting vintage crochet baskets for a few years. I felt confident I’d be using the green basket below.


I did a trial layout and saw that the green basket distracted from the flowers.


On to Plan B: the ivory basket:


A few months ago I spent an afternoon dying several pieces of vintage trims. I knew I would need flower stems for this project, I knew I could crochet them but in the end it seemed simpler to use the Rit Dye.

Once the decision was final about the ivory basket, the next step was to secure it to the quilt and intertwine the ivory satin ribbon around the handle.


So, you know Elmer’s School Glue is your “quilting friend” right? If you purchase the white School Glue, it washes out. Yes, there are other “quilting glues” on the market but how can you beat .97 cents for this plastic bottle? I used tiny dabs of the glue to hold the flowers, leaves and stems in place until I could hand tack them permanently into place.


Where did I do all this work? Why at my longarm of course! It is height adjustable and made the perfect work table for this project!


After all the motifs were permanently hand tacked in place, I hand stitched white pearls into most of the flower centers.



With everything secure except the basket bow streamers, I carefully folded back the white outer trim, pinned it in place and did all the parallel line longarm quilting to finish this part of the project.


IMG_5464IMG_5464 (Edited)

I’m now finished with the quilting and the arrangement so I took it off the longarm, trimmed the edges and began to decide how to add a bit of subdle bling to the outside trim.

IMG_5539 (Edited)IMG_5540


Again, pearls were hand stitched to the outside white trim. I chose a brighter white pearl than is found in the flower centers. I used a long bead needle and again, the white Wonderfil Deco Bob thread.


Finished! Well, finished with the exception of the binding, the label and the sleeve…

IMG_5782 (Edited)


The 2 pictures below show the piece as it was hung on Thursday evening at the quilt show set-up.

IMG_5825 (Edited)

I’ve included this picture to give you an idea of the depth of the piece.


And here it is again, project complete, ribbon attached and ready for the show to begin!

IMG_5965 (Edited)

Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post!

Happy Quilting,


IMG_4386 (Edited)

It was a fantastic show!

It was a fantastic show! My guild, the Quilt Guild of Greater Houston held their bi-annual quilt show last weekend, May 5th – 6th. I took pictures of most of the quilts, my apologizes to the makers of the ones I missed, my phone died 😦

Hope you enjoy!

IMG_5982 (Edited)IMG_5981 (Edited)IMG_5980 (Edited)IMG_5979 (Edited)IMG_5978 (Edited)IMG_5977 (Edited)IMG_5976 (Edited)IMG_5975 (Edited)IMG_5974 (Edited)IMG_5973 (Edited)IMG_5972 (Edited)IMG_5971 (Edited)IMG_5970 (Edited)IMG_5969 (Edited)IMG_5968 (Edited)IMG_5967IMG_5966 (Edited)IMG_5964 (Edited)IMG_5963 (Edited)IMG_5962 (Edited)IMG_5961 (Edited)IMG_5960 (Edited)IMG_5959 (Edited)IMG_5958 (Edited)IMG_5957 (Edited)IMG_5956 (Edited)IMG_5955 (Edited)IMG_5954 (Edited)IMG_5953 (Edited)IMG_5952 (Edited)IMG_5951 (Edited)IMG_5950 (Edited)IMG_5949 (Edited)IMG_5948 (Edited)IMG_5947 (Edited)IMG_5946 (Edited)IMG_5945 (Edited)IMG_5944 (Edited)IMG_5943 (Edited)IMG_5942 (Edited)IMG_5941 (Edited)IMG_5940 (Edited)IMG_5939 (Edited)IMG_5938 (Edited)IMG_5937 (Edited)IMG_5935 (Edited)IMG_5934 (Edited)IMG_5933 (Edited)IMG_5932 (Edited)IMG_5931 (Edited)IMG_5930 (Edited)IMG_5929 (Edited)IMG_5928 (Edited)IMG_5927 (Edited)IMG_5926 (Edited)IMG_5925 (Edited)IMG_5924 (Edited)IMG_5923 (Edited)IMG_5922 (Edited)IMG_5921 (Edited)IMG_5920 (Edited)IMG_5919 (Edited)IMG_5918 (Edited)IMG_5917 (Edited)IMG_5915 (Edited)IMG_5914 (Edited)IMG_5913 (Edited)IMG_5912 (Edited)IMG_5911 (Edited)IMG_5910 (Edited)IMG_5909 (Edited)IMG_5908 (Edited)IMG_5907 (Edited)IMG_5906 (Edited)IMG_5905 (Edited)IMG_5904 (Edited)IMG_5903 (Edited)IMG_5902 (Edited)(1)IMG_5902 (Edited)IMG_5901 (Edited)IMG_5900 (Edited)IMG_5899 (Edited)IMG_5898 (Edited)IMG_5897 (Edited)IMG_5896 (Edited)IMG_5895 (Edited)IMG_5894 (Edited)IMG_5893 (Edited)IMG_5892 (Edited)IMG_5890 (Edited)IMG_5889 (Edited)IMG_5888 (Edited)IMG_5887 (Edited)IMG_5886 (Edited)IMG_5885 (Edited)IMG_5884 (Edited)IMG_5883 (Edited)IMG_5882 (Edited)IMG_5881 (Edited)IMG_5880 (Edited)

The picture below shows our Guild tribute to recent members that have passed:

IMG_5879 (Edited)IMG_5878 (Edited)IMG_5877 (Edited)IMG_5876 (Edited)IMG_5875 (Edited)IMG_5874 (Edited)IMG_5872 (Edited)IMG_5871 (Edited)IMG_5870 (Edited)IMG_5869 (Edited)IMG_5868 (Edited)IMG_5867 (Edited)IMG_5866 (Edited)IMG_5865 (Edited)IMG_5864 (Edited)IMG_5863 (Edited)IMG_5862 (Edited)IMG_5861 (Edited)IMG_5860 (Edited)IMG_5859 (Edited)IMG_5858 (Edited)IMG_5857 (Edited)IMG_5856 (Edited)IMG_5855 (Edited)IMG_5854 (Edited)IMG_5853 (Edited)IMG_5852 (Edited)IMG_5851 (Edited)IMG_5850 (Edited)IMG_5849 (Edited)IMG_5848 (Edited)IMG_5847 (Edited)IMG_5846 (Edited)IMG_5845 (Edited)IMG_5844 (Edited)IMG_5843 (Edited)IMG_5842 (Edited)IMG_5841 (Edited)IMG_5840 (Edited)IMG_5839 (Edited)IMG_5837 (Edited)IMG_5836 (Edited)IMG_5835 (Edited)IMG_5833 (Edited)IMG_5832 (Edited)IMG_5831 (Edited)(1)IMG_5891 (Edited)

Hope you enjoyed all the pictures!

Happy quilting,


IMG_4386 (Edited)


Oh Judi Madsen, What a Great Quilt!

This quilt could be yours!  I’ll explain how at the end of the blog 🙂

I got my longarm, an Innova, in Sept. of 2014 and immediately began to experiment with this awesome method of machine quilting. I wanted a project that would be a teaching tool and couldn’t have picked a better quilt that this one. Titled “In The Meadow” this piece in the 2 pictures below was designed and quilted by quilter, pattern designer and teacher Judi Madsen. The 3rd picture below is of my finished project from her book: Quilting Wide Open Spaces.  The book is chock full of wonderful ideas and even includes templates!




So here I am below, piecing my blocks, getting everything laid out on the design wall, working with colors that make me uncomfortable!!! I am a fall season color quilter. Give me the rich and warm burgundies, greens, browns, oranges, golds, etc., etc. This project was WAY OUT of my comfort zone! But look at how great it’s going!


I made the blocks as identical as I could to her original quilt but when I loaded it onto the longarm I realized it was upside down. Oh well…not a big deal as the quilt top is not directional. I finished the piecing in late 2015 and began the quilting in 2016. The stitch in the ditch process alone took 3.5 hours to complete.

IMG_1700 (Edited)

Earlier I mentioned the templates for the motifs are included. There’s a CD on the back of the book with everything you’ll need. I printed the motifs onto ivory card stock, carefully cut them out and proceeded to draw around them using an EZ International Blue Water Soluable Marking Pen.


With the quilt top finished I threw all caution to the wind, loaded it on the longarm and began quilting. But first things first: I double batted this project with a layer of Hobbs 80/20 and also their Poly-Down. Judi bravely backed her quilt in “traffic cone orange” so I did the same thing. My guild friend Kelley Bennett owns “5 Bucks a Yard” and had a fantastic orange fabric in stock so I ordered the backing from her.

Thread: I used Fil-tec’s Glide white #10000. Judi Madsen also used a metallic in the block sashings. I wasn’t ready to tackle metallic threads yet so I chose a military gold by Superior Threads, Magnifico #2068.


I began by blue pen marking the large motifs and outline quilted them across the entire piece. I then gave the motifs their inside quilted details. Next on to the sashings with all the ruler work and finally to the background fill in the white blocks and the borders. What a great opportunity to play with feathers, pebbles, curly cues, etc! I was hesitant initially with the background fill but by the middle of the quilting process was gaining confidence with my work.

Let me just say further: Thread Matters! I love the two threads I used in this project. They enhance rather than distract from the quilting process. Choose your thread(s) wisely and you’ll be a Happy Quilter!


For the straight line quilting below I did not mark but rather I relied on the increment markings on my longarm ruler/template. Notice the corners of each of the blocks; the lines splay out from the center inside corner. It’s little things like this that make the quilt/quilting so interesting.


After I quilted the big motif outlines I used either water or Sew Clean on the blue lines. By the way, have you noticed, there are just three large motif patterns: butterflies, dragonflies and lilies.




Here are the first pictures that show just how orange the backing fabric is!


I love the backs of quilts that have a solid color. What a great way to feature intense quilting. I was a little afraid to use the solid orange, but look how great it turned out:


By the end of this project let’s just say I was getting comfortable with:

  1. following a marked motif
  2. ruler work (think sashings)
  3. curly-cues
  4. pebbles
  5. echo quilting
  6. changing bobbins 🙂
  7. intense quilting

After finishing this project I was ready to tackle the world!


So here’s my finished quilt. Binding and everything! Whew, what a project! (Have I mentioned how much I love my longarm?)


This 62×74″ project took a total of 31.5 hours to quilt and required 17.5 bobbins.

Here’s the exciting thing: This quilt can be yours! I donated this completed project  to my guild, the Quilt Guild of Greater Houston and with written approval of Judi Madsen, this is our Opportunity Quilt for 2017. Think raffle quilt. By spending just $1.00 this quilt could live at your house forever!

If you’d like to purchase tickets they are $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00. Email me (info below) and I’ll help you know how to buy tickets.

Also, live anywhere near Houston, TX? This quilt will be on display and tickets may be purchased at the guild Quilt Show, May 5-6th, at The Stafford Centre.

It was a joy to make, a joy to quilt and a joy to donate to my guild. Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog!

Happy quilting and blessings,


IMG_4386 (Edited)

Vining Feathers in the Sashing and 3 other common questions…

As a follow up to my blog post yesterday featuring the Stack and Whack quilt several of you have asked for more specific information about different aspects of the Roses Stack and Whack quilt.

I’ll address the following questions in this order:

  1. how did you do the sashing feathers
  2. what is the focus fabric
  3. how did you do the tiny stack and whack sashing cornerstones
  4. how long did this project take

First, let me start with the vining feathers. I’ve drawn out instructions in the 5 pictures below. For starts, let me say I can’t hold a pen very well so my drawing (when not using a ruler) is pretty pathetic…

  1. This picture demonstrates the sashing of the quilt. The 2 outside fabrics are the dark green, the center fabric is the ivory. Pretend this is the quilt loaded on a longarm. I’ve positioned my wonderful acrylic template so that the center lines on the template fall at the “eye-balled” center of the ivory strip.

Feathers 1

2. In the next picture you’ll see that I’ve stitched/quilted in the feathers stem. If you want it to appear that the feathers are wrapping around the center ivory strip you have to skip every other “center strip stitch over”. Does this make sense? Look at the stitching line and you’ll see that There are several Stops and Starts to the feather stem line. Yes, you’ll need to secure your quilting stitches in some fashion. For this type of project I choose to take several small back and forth stitches at each stop and start point.

Feathers 2

3. After you’ve quilted your feathers stem and remove the acrylic template, you’ll have something resembling the picture below. Looking good at this point!

Feathers 3

4. Quilting in the feathers comes next. I always begin with the feathers on the right. You have to remember that when the feather stem stops, so do your feathers. Yes, you have to secure your stitching in some fashion. You then raise your needle, move it to where the feathers will begin again on the other side of the center strip. Once there, lock your stitches and continue up the sashing until you reach the next point where the stem stops.

Repeat this process up the entire length of the sashing until you reach the top or the sashing cornerstone. At this point, lock your stitches and head back down to the start. Here you will begin the feathers on “the other side of the stem”. Using the exact same techinque, move up the sashing strip until you reach the top, making sure to start and stop where the previously quilted stem directs.

Feathers 4Feathers 5

For the horizontal sashings, use the exact same technique.

Question #2: So….. l was shocked to find the year 1998 on the focus fabric selvage. Let me also say I know this was not an expensive fabric. The manufacturer looks to be Classic Cottons, the pattern name is Emily’s Roses, there is a phone number on the bolt label: 212-391-2300. The style, color way and pattern number are completely smudged out by a label that was attached and then removed. The selvage lists only Classic Cottons and 1998.

Question 3#: How did I make the tiny sashing cornerstone blocks?  First let me say I just pulled Bethany Reynold’s book from my cabinet. If you are referencing her original Magic Stack-n-Whack Quilts book, published by AQS, copyright 1998 then you will find on page 61 the pattern for the LeMoyne Star Throw Quilt. I used this pattern. The strips of sashing are cut 1 1/2″ each, there are three of them so we can assume the sashing will finish to 3″. Her pattern calls for a 3″ 9-Patch as the sashing cornerstones. I substituted a 3″ stack-n-whack. The picture below is a diagram I just drew up as to how I recall making these little blocks. Don’t be intimidated by their size, they are well worth the effort! Notice that on the big blocks I did set in corner squares, not the case on these little babies. Take the easier route and use half square triangles. Sure, these are crazy measurements and sure, I most likely fudged a bit here and there. Give it a try and see how it goes for you, you’ve got nothing to lose but a bit of time!

mini stack whack block diagram

You can see by looking at the 6 tiny blocks below, they are far from perfect but they work! If you strive for absolute perfection on these little babies you’ll make yourself crazy!


4. How long did this project take? hhhmmmmm… well let’s just say I had this UFO on my hands for years! I did everything but the green border and the outside focus fabric border. Why did it sit so long unattended? Most likely because I knew it would be a BIG quilt and at that time I was doing all my machine quilting on either my domestic Bernina or my Juki and I knew it would be a monster to wrangle around underneath the needle. Once I got my awesome wonderful fantastic longarm, I set about to tackle my UFO’s and this one’s number came up. So a long answer to this short question is: a. years and b. 63 hours to quilt.

Is any of this information clear as mud? Please, if you still have questions, please ask! I’d rather stumble through an answer than have you remain bemuddled about my project! After all, we all learn from each other, right? !!!

To close, here are pictures of 6 of my precious little baby blocks, hope you enjoy!

Happy Quilting and blessings,



Oh those Stack-n-Whack quilts!

Several years ago mom and I got into the “Bethany Reynolds” mode and we each made several Stack and Whack quilt tops. The funny thing about this quilt is that the feature fabric has pink and turquoise and roses. Three things I’m not fond of AT ALL! But I LOVE the quilt! Go figure.

So, you’ve done a Stack and Whack? They’re extremely addictive! And fun! Be forewarned if you’re just now deciding to give them a try. 

Like I said, I made the quilt top several years ago, the only thing it still needed was the feature fabric outside borders.  I laid it out, draped over my longarm and immediately knew I needed to add a 1″ finished green sashing fabric border first, something to straddle the quilt top and the outside border. Only problem: I didn’t have but a few small scraps of the fabric left. No selvage to give me fabric info, no idea where I bought it, who made it, etc, etc. What to do? What to do?

I took a small piece of the green and headed to GRS in Old Town Spring, TX. where I’m convinced they have or have carried every bolt of fabric known to man. Lo and behold… they had a Moda that almost matched perfectly. The original fabric is patterned, the new fabric isn’t but it’s the best I could come up with. Check it out much later in pictures way down below, you’ll see that after it’s quilted, it’s very hard to pick out the two greens.


So here’s the quilt top before quilting:


And here’s the first “star” block with the quilting underway. I lightly marked some quilting registration lines with Frixion Pen (yes I know, horrors, gasps, etc, I’ve heard it all.)

My goal starting out was to 1. quilt all 30 star blocks differently but with feathers as a central theme and 2. quilt vining feathers in the block sashings. So here goes, there are tons and tons of pictures:


Here’s a good pic of what I mean by vining feathers, the over and under as they wind their way up the sashing:


So can I tell you I was running out of quilting ideas by time I hit star number 23. I stuck with it and got through 30, but man-oh-man it was tough. From the picture below you can see that each of the background areas were quilting in the same fashion. I didn’t know what should go in each of the block four corners until all the stars were finished. I decided it needed two different sized of circles. I pulled out my “trusty awesome everybody should own a set” of Teryl Loy circle templates and viola! Perfect! Get the whole set! You’ll use them! You’ll thank me later! See how cool these are:



Each of the four corners got 7 circles and whew! I was finished with the body of the quilt top.



The little sashing cornerstones are also tiny Stack and Whack blocks. The only quilting I did in them was SID. You’ll see what I mean below when you come to the pictures of the quilt back.


I call this my quilt version of a hair ball: These are all the threads I clipped during the entire quilting process: As I clip I have a small fabric container that travels across the project with me. When I finish a quilt it gets upended into the trash. Don’t know what possessed me to dump them here and take a pic, guess I thought you needed to see all those threads!


So in my mind here’s where the quilt really shines: the back. I love love love to quilt and I love it even more when the back of the quilt is just as beautiful as the front. It is always my preference to use a solid fabric as by backings and mostly I gravitate towards medium weight muslin, either bleached or natural but in this case I had on hand a very light ivory with a tone on tone small floral spray. With all the quilting you really have to look hard to see the flowers.

 I’m not going to talk about the back pictures, just hope you enjoy perusing through them:


IMG_5365 (Edited)

Ok, I will talk about how I quilted the outside focus fabric borders. I marked an almost half way line down each border. In other words, if the border finished to 6″ I mark the line 3″ away from the inside seam line. Clear as mud? I need to remember that I will be taking a 1/4″ seam on the outer edge as I attach my binding. I prefer my feathers not touch or fall under the binding fabric. Am I always successful, sometimes…  Anyway, once I had my 3″ line drawn, I then used a circle acrylic template and marked alternating half circles for the spine of my feathers to follow. I almost always do not stitch feather center spines. I let the individual feathers do that work. You’ll notice below that as I stitched the undulating feathers, at the “top” of each half circle, I incorporated an off shoot of feathers. It’s a nice way to quilt additional space and keep the feathers generally the same size. In other words, I didn’t have the need to quilt any long sweeping feathers to fill space. If this makes no sense at all, leave me a question in the comments section and I’ll try and draw out a diagram to go with my words.


Oh no! More words! Here’s a good pic below of the vining feathers. I had an overall plan. On the vertical sashings all the feather vines are headed up, on the horizontal sashings they begin on both the right side and the left side and meet up in the center.

IMG_5368IMG_5369 (Edited)IMG_5369

Ok, I guess I had more to say about the back than I realized. See the star block below on the right, another example showing how I was able to use those AWESOME Teryl Loy circle templates to get those perfect lines of 6 half inch circles within the star and the 7 on the outside.


Whew! Look at that! Even the binding is on! If you know me well you’ll know I don’t care for the binding process whatsoever.

IMG_5411 (Edited)

And what’s a blog without a picture of my black fur baby house panther! This is Winston and from what I can tell, he approves of my quilt!


Are you still with me? So, about the thread! I used Wonderfil Invisafil #112 light ivory throughout the entire quilt with the exception on the outside 1″ green border. On the green border I used Invisafil in a beautiful matching color.  I love this thread! Haven’t tried it yet? Run out and get a spool or two or three! The bobbin? I used a white 70 weight poly throughout.


Batting? My fav, Hobbs white 80/20 on the bottom and Hobbs white Poly-Down on top. I love that combo!

About the binding, I used the same new green I went in search of. I like a small binding so I cut my strips 2″. I find it’s much easier to take a 1/4″ seam and fill the entire binding that way. It keeps me from getting judging comments that say something like: the binding could have been better…. 

Finished, this quilt measures 86×100. It’s larger than most of my more current work but I love the quilt and I love the size! I keep a very detailed journal of everything that I quilt. Oh, I quilt on a 26″ Innova with Lightening Stitch. Love my longarm! I logged 63 hours of quilting on this project! 

This will be an entry in my guild show May 5-6th, wish me well! 

Happy quilting and blessings,