Design Wall Tuesday: Pumpkins, Sketch the Cat, and Wild Ducklings

Hi! It’s Carolyn Beam, Content Director for McCall’s Quilting and Quiltmaker magazines. Welcome to Design Wall Tuesday. Most of the editors of McCall’s Quilting and Quiltmaker were busy participating in Moda’s National Jelly Roll Sewalong, but a few also found time to work on other projects as well.

From Senior Graphic Designer, Genevieve Stafford Hook:
Stafford Genevieve 150x150 Design Wall Tuesday: Pumpkins, Sketch the Cat, and Wild Ducklingsdesign wall tuesday Genevieve halloween charm squares 300x245 Design Wall Tuesday: Pumpkins, Sketch the Cat, and Wild DucklingsI’m working on a set of two Halloween-themed pillows as a gift for a Halloween-obsessed friend. The mini charm squares are perfect for a quick project – great for me as I was in a sewing mood, not a cutting mood last night. The pillows will coordinate, but not match. I laid out the squares in a diagonal pattern on my portable design “wall” which makes it very easy to see what I’m doing. Chain piecing the squares makes the whole project come together in a snap.

From Acquisitions Editor, Lori Baker:

Lori Pink Scarf 150x150 Design Wall Tuesday: Pumpkins, Sketch the Cat, and Wild Ducklings

I spent much of my time this weekend working on a jelly roll quilt because of National Sew a Jelly Roll Day. Sketch seemed to be in my way much of the time. I took five pictures and he was in the middle of what I was doing in two of them.

I got four blocks done on Saturday. It’s going to be a pretty quilt.

design wall tuesday Lori 1 sketch the cat 300x290 Design Wall Tuesday: Pumpkins, Sketch the Cat, and Wild Ducklings design wall tuesday Lori 2 four quilt blocks 300x300 Design Wall Tuesday: Pumpkins, Sketch the Cat, and Wild Ducklings

From Associate Editor, Mary Kate Karr-Petras:

Karr Petras Mary Kate 150x150 Design Wall Tuesday: Pumpkins, Sketch the Cat, and Wild Ducklings

design wall tuesday Mary Kate Nancy Mahoney wild ducklings 225x300 Design Wall Tuesday: Pumpkins, Sketch the Cat, and Wild DucklingsI’m still working on free-motion quilting the color option I made for Nancy Mahoney’s Wild Ducklings pattern. I haven’t marked anything; I’m just eyeballing everything and trying to focus on making just a few things–continuous swirls, continuous figure-8′s, 4- and 8-petaled flowers, and corner-to-corner curved lines–as uniform as possible. I’m glad I’m experimenting on something a little more decorative than a test sandwich before I finally try to quilt something special. I’m excited to have gotten to this stage and by all the possibilities available by being able to successfully free-motion quilt.

Tune in next week for more quilting inspiration, tips and techniques as we share our weekend sewing.

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Hot Off the Press: McCall’s Quilting Nov/Dec ‘17

Celebrate the Holidays with 14 Festive Projects

hot off the press mccalls quilting november december cover 221x300 Hot Off the Press: McCall’s Quilting Nov/Dec ‘17

McCall’s Quilting Nov/Dec ’17 | On the cover: Stockings Galore

The spirit of the holiday season is joyful and contagious! In this issue we have all the projects you’ll need to fill your gift-giving list with handmade treasures, from mini to bed size, traditional to contemporary, pieced and appliqué. If you are in need of any holiday décor this issue also features traditional red and green designs, a charming appliqued stocking, pieced ornaments using miniature blocks and scrappy designs to bust your stash.

Christmas Cardinals

hot off the press mccalls quilting november december cardinal 179x300 Hot Off the Press: McCall’s Quilting Nov/Dec ‘17

Christmas Cardinals

Joyful red birds signal that the holidays are almost here! Through a clever combination of fussy cutting on the bias, blocks set on-point and a series of mitered borders, designer Elaine Theriault created a spectacular throw quilt that everyone hopes to find under the tree!

Stockings Galore

hot off the press mccalls quilting november december stocking 300x200 Hot Off the Press: McCall’s Quilting Nov/Dec ‘17

Stockings Galore

Three different stockings in one pattern! What a treat! The stockings are pieced and good-sized at 10″ x 17″. All are easy enough for a confident beginner. Designers Pam Boswell, Kate Colleran and Wendy Sheppard each created a stocking for this pattern.

Scarlet & Silver

hot off the press mccalls quilting november december scarlet 200x300 Hot Off the Press: McCall’s Quilting Nov/Dec ‘17

Scarlet and Silver

Scarlet and Silver by Tricia Patterson features a pretty Christmas tree panel surrounded by foundation-pieced blocks that resemble a stained glass window. It’s a quick, fun and easy project that will take your holiday decorating to the next level! The pattern also encourages creative freedom as the block units can be combined any way you like. Kits Available.

Bursting Star

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Bursting Star

Scott Flanagan modified the traditional Lone Star pattern to get a modern, pixellated look with simpler construction than the design usually requires. 17 different bright, saturated colors glow against the dark background. Large blocks help this 92″ x 92″ bed quilt come together relatively quickly.

Evergreen & Gold

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Evergreen and Gold

Terrie Peterson’ lovely, large queen-size bed quilt pattern features golden stars twinkling amid evergreen trees. The big blocks are arranged to create a medallion-style composition, and the clever pieced border complements the blocks perfectly. Sleeping under the trees and stars has never been so warm and snuggly! Kits available.

Nordic Stars

hot off the press mccalls quilting november december nordic 212x300 Hot Off the Press: McCall’s Quilting Nov/Dec ‘17

Nordic Stars

Bring a sense of wintry coziness to your home this season with this beautiful table runner that celebrates all things frosty and sparkling. Bev Getschel used blue fabrics in a range of values to create the shadowed effect in a design that is easy to piece.

There’s much more inside McCall’s Quilting Nov/Dec ‘17 issue; preview all the patterns for a more complete look.

Warm Greetings,
The McCall’s Quilting Team

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Quilts in the Privy

quilts in the privy toilet paper rolls 137x300 Quilts in the Privy

Joan’s quilt

As I was thinking about this blog, Quilts in the Privy, I couldn’t help but remember the Cyndi Lauper song from the early 1980s; Girls Just Want to Have Fun. Sometimes I have to do things just because they are fun.

This started as a simple story but ended up with a remodel of the main bath in our home. I started making a project for our bathroom; a toilet paper roll cover and decided I didn’t like the color I’d have to make it to coordinate with the existing color in the bathroom … and as long as we had to paint, we might as well replace the vanity and tweak a couple of other things. All over just a little toilet paper roll cover. And toilet paper roll covers aren’t even really in style any more. How silly.

It all started when Elizabeth at Island Batik sent photos of quilts made by their ambassadors for the June challenge. They called the challenge Curvalicious. The Island Batik ambassadors are a talented bunch but one quilt in particular caught my eye. It was so unusual and just plain funny. The quiltmaker is Joan Kawano of Moose Stash Quilting.

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Pattern from Java House Quilts

Carolyn and Tricia and I laughed and laughed about this quilt. Don’t you just think it’s too fun?

And then I found the pattern at Java House Quilts. Guess who just “had” to make that quilt? I sent for the pattern. Click here if you’d like to make one too.

My family teases me saying there are quilts everywhere in my house with just two exceptions. There are no quilts in the kitchen because there is no available wall space away from the stove. And there was not a quilt in the main bathroom … yet.

Fast-forward a couple weeks and Tricia brought a book Lancaster County Privy Bags by Clarke Hess and the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. According to the book, privy bags were made to hang in the outhouse with scrap paper in the pocket. The examples in the book are from the 1820s to the 1920s. Many of the privy bags are made with quilt blocks. Most are 20”-25” squares but a few are either smaller or larger and a few are rectangles. Some of the privy bags are big enough to put a whole Sears & Roebuck or Wards catalog in the pocket. For those of you who don’t know, before toilet paper people just used scrap paper, pages of an out-of-date catalog or an old newspaper.

Fast-forward another couple of weeks, and as I was searching for another book in our office library, I came across Toilet Roll Covers by Pat Ashforth & Steve Plummer, (Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd, 2007). The book is full of crocheted and knit toilet paper covers. By now, my brain was going full speed. I don’t crochet or knit, but I could make one or maybe several toilet paper covers that are quilted.

Just think of the fun I can have decorating my main bath with quilts. I had to give it a try.

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Pig Toilet Roll Cover

This cute pink pig was inspired by a project in the toilet roll cover book. In the book, it was a knit pig but I made a quilted pig. My only disappointment is that I couldn’t figure out a way to make a curly tail.

I measured the circumference of a giant roll of toilet paper. I quilted a rectangle and a circle and made a cylinder, attaching the pig’s nose and eyes to the top of the cylinder and stitching the ears in place when I sewed the top to the sides of the cylinder. I fashioned a drawstring closure and the pig goes on the back of the toilet on its side with the opening to the wall.

Now I know that toilet paper covers are pretty outdated. I haven’t seen one for years but I thought perhaps I could be a trendsetter and make them fashionable again. Or maybe not … but it’s still funny.

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Privy Bag

Then I finished this pretty piece of vintage embroidery for a privy bag. I inherited the contents of my mother-in-law’s sewing room and found it there. It was embroidered but that is all; the edges were unfinished and raveling.

I marked it and free-motion quilted it with feathers. The back is a giant pocket. I don’t think I can find a Sears and Roebuck catalogue but I’m prepared in case I do. The binding is blue striped fabric cut on the bias.

The final project was the toilet paper roll quilt from the Java House Quilts pattern.

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Toilet Paper Quilt

I traced the shapes on Steam-A-Seam 2, fused them to my fabrics and cut them out. I stitched the blocks, sashing and borders and then fused the toilet paper shapes in place. Then I assembled the quilt sandwich and stitched around the applique shapes with blanket stitching through all three layers so the blanket stitching is all the quilting I used on the applique shapes.

If you’d like to know more about fusible applique, check out my friend Sara Gallegos’ How to Applique video tutorial on

To quilt the background, I used my domestic machine and a 12-weight cream-colored thread so the quilting would show up nicely. The top three blocks are free-motion quilting. The bottom block and the borders are feed-dog driven quilting.

In the top block I stippled. The second block, I quilted with swirls.

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The Top Two Blocks

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The Bottom Two Blocks

In the third block, I used the circles that were printed on the background fabric as a guideline for the quilting. In the fourth block, I echo quilted.

When I echo quilt, I don’t mark. I use the edge of the foot as a guideline to stitch along the edge of the fabric or the previous row of stitching. I adjust the needle position to determine the spacing between the rows.

I’ll bet you are looking at the bottom block and saying, “That doesn’t look like echo quilting.” You’re right. When I got the quilt all done, I just didn’t like the amount of contrast in the bottom block. The background fabric was too busy and the roll of toilet paper just got lost.

So here’s a fun trick I tried. I went back, used the same 12-weight cream-colored thread and stitched a decorative stitch in between the rows of echo quilting. The decorative stitch is two rows of X’s. The extra stitches flattened the background, adding a bit of dimension to the block and the cream-colored 12-weight thread muted the colors in the background fabric so now the roll of toilet paper shows up nicely.

quilts in the privy almost done Quilts in the Privy

It’s Almost Done

Now I have three fun pieces of quilted art in our bathroom and the walls are freshly painted. Our new vanity and the new shelves are in place. We’ve ordered shower doors and I’m really pleased.

Do you think if I propose a quilt for the master bathroom Bake (my husband) will get all uptight thinking about how much work he had to do to get the main bath ready for its new quilts?

One of the things that I’ve always worked hard at is making memories with our children and grandchildren. More often than not, a memory will be something strange I did or do. I’m thinking a quilted bathroom is a great start on a memory. Especially if I put a few scraps of paper in the privy bag.

Happy quilting!

Posted in Lori Baker | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Staff Jelly Roll Challenge – How We Rolled!

We all had fun this past Saturday for Moda’s National Jelly Roll Day. Here’s what the editors of McCall’s Quilting and Quiltmaker worked on:

Carolyn Beam
jelly roll challenge Carolyn JR 225x300 Staff Jelly Roll Challenge – How We Rolled!I looked through books on using pre-cut strips in quilts, but I kept coming back to a pattern I designed for McCall’s Quick Quilts Oct/Nov ’17 issue called Vintner’s Bouquet. There’s also a kit for the quilt in the same fabrics that was shown in the magazine. I have made this design several times and love the way it looks in all sorts of different fabrics. I’m using The Front Porch collection, designed by Sherri and Chelsi for Moda Fabrics. I got all the pieces cut and laid out on the floor in my sewing room and have started sewing the rows together.

Anissa Arnold
For National Jelly Roll Day I chose to use Ombre Confetti Metallic and Grunge Hit The Spot from Moda to make a mini-quilt wallhanging. My jelly rolls have an assortment of tone-on-tone polka dots as well as metallic dots on an ombre background. I am using Diane Bohn’s Scrap Attack pattern and have still to decide what size I am making the mini-quilt. It’s a design in progress as you can see!
(click on the images below for more details!)

jelly roll challenge Anissa JR1 150x150 Staff Jelly Roll Challenge – How We Rolled! jelly roll challenge Anissa JR2 150x150 Staff Jelly Roll Challenge – How We Rolled! jelly roll challenge Anissa JR3 150x150 Staff Jelly Roll Challenge – How We Rolled!

Mellisa Mahoney

jelly roll challenge Mellisa JR 300x222 Staff Jelly Roll Challenge – How We Rolled!I chose Moda’s Woof Woof Meow out of my love for dogs. With our Art Production Manager leaving this week I decided to combine three of his favorite things – dogs, cats, and beer (from a Kaufman panel) into a small gift. The block placement is totally random because … well that’s probably what would happen after a beer!

Gigi Khalsa
jelly roll challenge Gigi JR 244x300 Staff Jelly Roll Challenge – How We Rolled!I was lucky enough to spend National Sew a Jelly Roll Day with a jelly roll each of Ombre Confetti Metallic and Grunge Hits the Spot, both from Moda. The fabrics are so beautiful that I spent most of my time arranging the strips, rather than cutting them. This will be a really pretty throw quilt soon!

Mary Kate Karr-Petras
I actually spent more time on National Sew a Jelly Roll Day playing with bits of paper than with fabric. When I chose Sweetwater’s Project Red collection to make my jelly roll project, I did so with specific recipients in mind to whom I’ve been planning to give a quilt this Christmas. And I had a feeling I wanted to make a log cabin quilt, but I wasn’t 100% sure.

Once I unrolled the strips on Saturday and took stock of the different prints and values, I knew I would use them in a log cabin quilt; all I need are nine super-sized 20″ blocks to make a 60″ x 60″ throw. I want the quilt to skew a little more contemporary and sophisticated than folksy and scrappy. Fortunately, the log cabin block is so versatile you can adjust it to any palette and style — it’s hard to go wrong with a log cabin quilt.

I auditioned placement by folding some of the strips and arranging them in a rough log cabin block formation, but I wanted to get a better feel for the overall design before I started cutting and sewing. So I cut 9 small squares of paper, colored them with crayons to represent the blocks and started playing with different layouts.

jelly roll challenge Mary Kate JR Staff Jelly Roll Challenge – How We Rolled!I knew I wanted the reds to predominate and I knew I wanted to use a light solid for contrast, but I didn’t want to leave the low-volume and taupe prints out completely. So after a few variations, I settled on this block design: half red prints, a quarter ivory solid and a quarter taupe/low-volume. (I was very happy to find the right ivory solid in my fabric stash as well as a piece of solid red just big enough for nine 4.5″ squares for the block centers, allowing me to get to work as soon as I’d finalized my design).

This is one block of the nine that I need. I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together, and I’ll share the finished product when it’s done!

Lori Baker
My jelly roll fabric is Moda’s Bloomsbury by Frannie & Jane; the solid fabric is silver Kona Cotton by Robert Kaufman Fabrics. I choose the pattern Tutti-Frutti from Jelly Roll Quilts in a Weekend by Pam & Nicky Lintott.

jelly roll challenge Lori JR 300x287 Staff Jelly Roll Challenge – How We Rolled!I was excited to spend the day working on my quilt and knowing that hundreds of other quiltmakers across the U.S. were sewing with me.

I kept a close eye on Instagram and Facebook to see what others were doing. I had so much fun! The blocks for my quilt are big. The photo is the first block I finished. I completed four blocks by the time I went to bed and another two on Sunday. I need a total of 12 blocks to make a throw-size quilt like the one in Jelly Roll Quilts in a Weekend but I’m being very tempted to make 25 blocks for a bed-size quilt.

We hope we’ve inspired you to turn those Jelly Rolls into fun quilts! The possibilities are endless. You can find more Jelly Roll inspiration here.

Posted in Quilting Inspiration, Staff Quilts | Tagged | 2 Comments

Workshop Wednesday: Resizing Quilt Blocks

violet eyes Workshop Wednesday: Resizing Quilt Blocks

Violet Eyes

Back when we were planning the line-up for the June/July 2017 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts, we decided it would be fun to offer a free mini quilt pattern based on Violet Eyes by Stephanie Sheridan, which is a 65″ x 65″ throw quilt composed of 9 large blocks.

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Looking Glass

The job of resizing the pattern fell to me as the assigned editor, and I enjoyed the challenge of writing it as a traditionally pieced pattern rather than as a foundation-pieced quilt. (What can I say? I like patchwork.) The result was Looking Glass, a 23″ x 23″ mini quilt pattern that’s available for free download from the McCall’s Quilting website. In order to make all of the patches easy to measure and cut I did make a few minor changes to the proportions, so it’s not a perfect to-scale version of the larger quilt but it’s close enough.

homeland candy hargrove Workshop Wednesday: Resizing Quilt Blocks


I did something similar with the free mini quilt pattern based on Homeland by Candy Hargrove, which was published in the July/August 2017 issue of McCall’s Quilting. Resizing Homeland was easier than resizing Violet Eyes, since it’s made up of uniform triangle-squares; all I had to do was decide on the unit size and make a few simple calculations to translate the throw pattern to a mini quilt pattern. And one of our readers did us one better by making an even smaller version with triangle-squares that finish at a half-inch—you can see a picture of it the new November/December 2017 issue.

I was able to write both patterns because, well, it’s my job to know how to do so. But there is no Secret Quilt Editors’ Code, nor is it highly technical, specialized work; this knowledge is available to all.

Knowing how to resize blocks—that is, knowing how to do some math—means having the tools to make quilts in the sizes that work best for you. It’s not hard to do, and once you get the hang of it you’ll have unlimited creative freedom, whether that means making adjustments to someone else’s pattern or branching out to create your own original designs.

In this short “Quiltmaker’s Block Network” tutorial, Shayla Wolf walks you through breaking down a quilt block into its component patches and doing the math of enlarging them to create a bigger block.

In this episode of “Quilters Newsletter TV: The Quilters’ Community,” fellow editor Gigi Khalsa showed me how she doubled the size of a quilt block from a pattern published in Quilters Newsletter … then doubled it again to make a 48″ block, along with the pieced quilt back she made in order to turn it into a crib quilt. Watch as Gigi’s fabric choices change depending on the size of the block.

Sara Gallegos covers basic quilt math and resizing blocks in-depth in two different episodes of “My First Quilt.” In the first, she describes resizing blocks that are made with squares and rectangles. View the full episode for free on

In the second, Sara walks you through the math needed to resize blocks that are made with triangles. This full episode is also available for free viewing on

How to Resize Quilt Block Patterns Workshop Wednesday: Resizing Quilt BlocksFor a more structured approach to learning how to resize quilt blocks, check out the on-demand webinar “How to Resize Quilt Block Patterns” with Deb Finan. Deb starts with simple blocks, progressing to more difficult ones. Basic math skills are all you need to resize most blocks—no graph paper or computer software necessary. Deb also addresses some common mistakes people make when resizing blocks; sometimes knowing what not to do is just as helpful as knowing what to do!

Quiltmaker offers a nifty worksheet on their website to use when resizing quilt blocks; it includes formulas for including seam allowances and a fraction-to-decimal conversion key. Click here to download the worksheet for free.

Trust me: armed with only pencil, paper and a calculator, you too can increase or decrease a block or quilt pattern to make exactly the quilt you want to make. And if you have any questions, leave them below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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Design Wall Tuesday – Easy Pieced Quilt Backing

Welcome to Design Wall Tuesday!

Hello, welcome back to Design Wall Tuesday. We’re so glad you stopped by to see what the editors of McCall’s Quilting and Quiltmaker worked on over the weekend. We’re also sharing tips, techniques and any challenges from our weekend sewing as well. We hope you find some inspiration and advice!

From Content Director, Carolyn Beam:

Beam Carolyn 150x150 Design Wall Tuesday – Easy Pieced Quilt Backing

I didn’t get as much sewing done this weekend as I had hoped, but I did end up doing a little organizing in my sewing room. Working in a cleaner space seems to give me more creative inspiration!

design wall tuesday carolyn 225x300 Design Wall Tuesday – Easy Pieced Quilt BackingI had charm rectangles left over from my Halloween Stacked Bricks quilt top, so I sewed a bunch together and used them in the quilt backing that I made. A pieced backing is a great way to use up leftover scraps from a quilt top. For the panels on the sides of my sewn rectangles, I sewed fat quarters together and trimmed the bottoms off the panels to make them the right length. If you missed the Charmed, I’m Sure blog post and Halloween Stacked Bricks free pattern at, you can find it here.

From Associate Editor, Erin Russek:

Russek Erin 150x150 Design Wall Tuesday – Easy Pieced Quilt Backingdesign wall tuesday erin 200x300 Design Wall Tuesday – Easy Pieced Quilt BackingI’m planning a new applique project and I wanted to come up with some more flowers. Here is my take on a wild rose. I’m using Cherrywood fabric and they work perfectly with starch and press applique!

From Acquisitions Editor, Lori Baker:

Lori Pink Scarf 150x150 Design Wall Tuesday – Easy Pieced Quilt Backing

I spent a good amount of time this weekend making this fun wall hanging from the pattern, We’re on a Bigger Roll by Java House Quilts. It’s part of a bathroom redo at my house. You can read the whole story on my blog here (note! Lori’s post will be published on Thursday, 9/21). The cute pig was inspired by one in Toilet Roll Covers by Pat Ashforth & Steve Plummer (Guild of Master Craftsman Publications LTD, 2007.)

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I do have a tip to share. When I finished the wall hanging, I decided the contrast between the background and the toilet paper fabric in this block wasn’t enough. The appliqued toilet paper roll didn’t stand out. I’d echo quilted with 12-weight cream-colored cotton thread. I went back and with the same thread stitched a decorative stitch that consists of two rows of X’s in between each row of the echo quilting. That extra quilting muted the colors of the background fabric and now the toilet paper roll just pops. It was a good save.

From Associate Editor, Mary Kate Karr-Petras:

Karr Petras Mary Kate 150x150 Design Wall Tuesday – Easy Pieced Quilt Backing

Now that I’ve gotten some big quilt top piecing projects finished, I’m “fixin’ to get ready” to do a lot of free-motion quilting for the next few weeks. My goal since the beginning of the year has been to quilt an Ohio Star throw quilt I pieced last fall, and I spent a good amount of time in the spring troubleshooting the settings on my machine (read my free-motion quilting troubleshooting tips here). I’m pleased to say that I’m not having any more problems with the machine, which means now my only obstacle is myself.

design wall tuesday mary kate 300x300 Design Wall Tuesday – Easy Pieced Quilt BackingI’m bored of practicing on test sandwiches but I’m still not quite ready to tackle the quilting of a 60″ x 60″ throw that I want to give as a gift, so I’m taking a piece of my own advice and prepping a “not-precious” project for FMQ first. This is a 29″ x 29″ color option I made for the Wild Ducklings pattern by Nancy Mahoney that’s in the McCall’s Quilting Sept/Oct 2017 issue. It will give me the opportunity to practice on something with seams, but since it’s just for me the stakes aren’t quite as high. Wish me luck!

From Associate Editor, Anissa Arnold:

ANISSA 1 150x150 Design Wall Tuesday – Easy Pieced Quilt BackingI spent time this weekend hand appliquéing for a 2016 BOM by Sarah Fielke. I’m a little bit behind schedule!

design wall tuesday anissa 1 300x300 Design Wall Tuesday – Easy Pieced Quilt Backing design wall tuesday anissa 2 300x300 Design Wall Tuesday – Easy Pieced Quilt Backing

Thanks for stopping by. Please visit us next week to see what we’re working on. We’ll also share tips, techniques and other helpful information.

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Binding My Accidental PIG

binding my accidential pig An Accidental Pig 214x300 Binding My Accidental PIG

An Accidental Pig

Sometimes, I finish PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks) accidentally. I have so many PIGS. I’m trying to finish one each month and as I finish, I tell you about them in hopes that you’ll find something helpful in my process.

That’s what happened with this little quilt. I was working along without a thought of finishing a PIG and all of the sudden it was so close to finished that I had to complete it. Just by accident, I had it nearly done.

Here’s how it happened.

Last week, a couple of the people in the office had some trouble with the Grace Q’nique 14+ longarm machine we have in our sewing studio. I wanted to see if I could duplicate the problem so I could talk to the people at the Grace Company. Their technical support team is awesome but I have to be able to describe what is going wrong.

I brought a small quilt top from home to experiment on. It’s a bit of a strange size (30” x 42”) so I’m not sure what to call it. Is it a wall quilt? A table topper? A rug? A play quilt for a baby? It’s something I found in my mother-in-law’s sewing room and I’m not sure what her intentions were.

She hand-pieced the bow ties but the rest of the quilt top is machine stitched. The gray fabrics and the pale pink are cotton but the bright pink is polyester.

The good news is that with just a few minor adjustments to the tension I was able to get the Q’nique 14+ to hum through the quilting process. Once I started quilting, I did the whole thing without having to stop except when I ran out of bobbin thread.

And there it was, a completely quilted PIG. The only logical thing to do was go ahead and bind this little quilt so it could be done.

I took photos as I was binding so I could walk you through the process.

The first step was to choose the fabric. I generally use a dark fabric for the binding to frame the quilt. In my stash, I found a great black, gray and pink print. There was just a small piece, about a fat quarter. I decided that because the print is small, all the seams to join the binding wouldn’t be very noticeable.

I cut my binding a little narrower than some people. I cut strips 2 1/8” wide. I nearly always use Warm & Natural or Warm & White batting by The Warm Company and I find the narrow binding strips are a nice fit.

binding my accidential pig Cutting Strips 300x261 Binding My Accidental PIG

Cutting Strips

Here’s a trick I do so I don’t have to find the 1/8” marking on my ruler for each strip. I cut the first strip at 2 1/8”. I leave that strip on the mat; I don’t move it at all. I move my ruler over and cut the second strip at 4¼”. I take away the first strip I cut and make the next cut at 4¼” again. I keep removing just one of the strips so I can cut at 4¼” each time. It seems easier to line up at 4¼” and by leaving one strip in place I can do that.

Join the strips with a diagonal seam to reduce bulk. The machine I’m using has a beam of light that shows where my stitching will be so I turn on the beam to stitch straight across the strips on the diagonal without having to mark.

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Stitching on the Diagonal

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Trimming the Excess

Place the ¼” mark of ruler on the stitching and trim away the excess fabric.

Fold lengthwise with wrong sides together and press for one long binding strip. Cut the beginning of the binding strip at a 45-degree angle.

Using a ¼” foot, stitch the binding to the quilt on the front of the quilt – not the back. Check before you start to be certain that none of the seams in the binding will be at the corners. I don’t pin. I just line things up carefully and make sure all the layers are smooth with no tucks anywhere. Start stitching 15-18” from the corner.

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Stitching the First Side

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Stitching Off the Corner

Stop stitching ¼” from the corner, turn the quilt top and stitch off the corner on the diagonal.

Pull the quilt top slightly out of the machine and turn it so you have things lined up to stitch down the second side. Fold the tail of the binding to the back of the machine so the raw edge is straight back from the raw edge of the quilt top.

Now fold the tail toward you and line up the raw edges of the binding with the raw edge of the quilt. Notice the extra fabric in the triangular shape. That’s what you need to make a smooth miter.

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First Fold

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Second Fold

Start at the corner and stitch until you are ¼” from the next corner and repeat to make the mitered corner. Repeat twice more.

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Stitching after the Miter

Stitch until you are 12” or so from the beginning. Smooth the beginning tail over the ending tail. Using the cut edge of the beginning tail as a guide, mark the ending tail at a 45-degree angle. Add ½” to the marked line for seam allowance. (Be sure you are adding to the length of the binding and not subtracting from it.) Cut on the marked line and join the two ends. Stitch the rest of the binding in place.

From the front of the quilt, press the binding away from the quilt top.

Turn the quilt over and, from the back, apply a thin bead of Elmer’s School Glue (it’s washable) to the very edge of the binding.

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Glue Applied

Fold the binding over until it just covers the stitching line and press with the iron.

Turn the quilt over again and from the front, stitch the binding in place. I generally use a straight stitch, thread to match the binding and an open toe foot. I sew with the left toe of the foot just off the binding and I move the needle position clear to the left.

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Pressing Again

binding my accidential pig Final stitching 290x300 Binding My Accidental PIG

Final stitching

Don’t you love the bowties? There are two bowtie patterns available at Abigail Dolinger made this 49” x 49” beauty.

And Paula Stoddard’s 72” x 84” throw is just as nice. It’s available as a pattern or a kit.

Until next time, happy quilting.

binding my accidential pig aby 300x300 Binding My Accidental PIG

Bow Tie Wreath by Abigail Dolinger

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Christmas Bows by Paula Stoddard

Posted in Lori Baker, Quilting Inspiration | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

National Sew a Jelly Roll Day is Coming! How Does Your Jelly Roll?


Jelly Roll Jelly Rolls 1024x771 National Sew a Jelly Roll Day is Coming! How Does Your Jelly Roll?

Jelly Roll In The Microwave 300x200 National Sew a Jelly Roll Day is Coming! How Does Your Jelly Roll?

In the microwave?

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On the table?

Against the wall?Jelly Roll Against The Wall 300x200 National Sew a Jelly Roll Day is Coming! How Does Your Jelly Roll?

Or down the hall.Jelly Roll Down The Hall 200x300 National Sew a Jelly Roll Day is Coming! How Does Your Jelly Roll?

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How about… On the Cutting Table! 

This Saturday is National Sew A Jelly Roll Day.

Break out that roll sitting on your shelf that’s just waiting for a project and join our staff for the Project Jelly Roll challenge!

Jelly Roll Quilts Weekend National Sew a Jelly Roll Day is Coming! How Does Your Jelly Roll?

Jelly Roll Quilts in a Weekend

Need some ideas? Check out Jelly Roll Quilts in a Weekend, by Pam & Nicky Lintot, along with these Jelly Roll Projects.

And, here are some tips on working with Jelly Rolls.

We’re ready! Check back on Thursday, September 21 to see our projects!

Jelly Roll Staff 1024x682 National Sew a Jelly Roll Day is Coming! How Does Your Jelly Roll?

Posted in Quilting Inspiration | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Everything you need to know about Craft University’s Online Quilting Courses

Today’s guest post if from Ginger Tatic, Manager of Online Education for F+W’s Craft Division. Thanks, Ginger!

Learning how to quilt can be intimidating at first sight, especially if you are starting a new technique or even if you are attempting a project more advanced than you would usually try. It can be daunting for a beginner to even look at a very simple quilt pattern and not feel overwhelmed.

Whether you’re just beginning, an intermediate, or more advanced quilt maker or even if you want to try out a new technique, Craft University offers a variety of courses available for download. There are courses from the basics, including how to create simple blocks to quilting and binding your quilting, to advance and expert-level courses in thread painting and longarm quilting. The courses focus on technique and projects specific to quilting. Craft University courses also help you gain the confidence to turn your own designs into something uniquely your own.

As the Manager of Online Education for F&W’s Craft Division, I get asked a lot of questions about taking an online course and thought it would be beneficial to share some of those questions and my answers with you all.

Q: Why should I try the online courses available through Craft University?
A: Here are just a few of the great benefits you get by taking an online course at Craft University:

  • With every course produced at Craft University we strive to equip our student with all necessary materials to learn. Some courses may contain more additional materials than others. Each course has a detailed description with all the information about the course you’re interested in. Downloadable and printable items can be found in the Resources section of your course.
  • All Craft University courses are split up into sections and divided by interactive materials to fully immerse you in the new technique or course project you’ve chosen. With the ability to move in and out of the quilting course on your own time, utilizing multimedia navigation, the course allows for you to browse, watch a tutorial, try it on your own, and then continue with the next step all at your own pace.
free craft university course lessons 269x300 Everything you need to know about Craft University’s Online Quilting Courses free craft university course files 279x300 Everything you need to know about Craft University’s Online Quilting Courses
  • Each Craft University Course is equipped with a Discussion Board. Ask questions, share your work and participate in lively discussion around your newfound skills. Courses also contain other valuable interaction, including galleries for you to share your work, a personal notes section, and optional quizzes.

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  • You can enjoy your Online Course on any device including your laptop, desktop, smartphone or tablet. Log in to or create your Craft University account and launch the course! Click on any video to play full screen. Course Resources such as instructional PDFs are also viewable from your smartphone or tablet.
  • The course is yours forever! All videos and handouts are downloadable. Feel free to cruise through at your own pace. Video can be paused, downloaded, and even skipped. Quizzes, discussions, and interactions are all on your own time. Participate as much or as little as you’d like in these quilting courses.
  • Not everyone will log in together but you’d better believe there’s a whole community of like-minded quilters reading your responses and ready to answer your questions! Join the conversation, make a new pal. We’re all here to enjoy ourselves and learn something new!
  • Want to teach what you have learned! We also offer certification courses so you can become a teacher yourself!How to Get Started

Frequently Asked Craft U Questions

free craft university course get started 300x137 Everything you need to know about Craft University’s Online Quilting CoursesNow for a few frequently asked questions about the online courses to make it accessible for those who may be new to the online course format.

Q: How do I “sign up” to take an online course?
A: Courses may be purchased by going to Once you have made the purchase your new course will be available in your very own course dashboard.

free craft university course home sweet home gingham towell 300x170 Everything you need to know about Craft University’s Online Quilting CoursesQ: Do I watch the course “live” or can I download it to watch at a future date?
A: Any video segment within a course can be downloaded. Simply click the Share Control icon and then click Download. The video download will begin immediately.

Finding the Right Course for You

Q: What if I’m a beginner? Will the courses be too challenging for me?
A: To better understand if a course will suit your abilities, be sure to read the course description thoroughly. Some courses are presented by series. These series titles often will include words such as ‘Beginner Series’ or ‘Advanced Series’.

Q: Do you suggest watching the entire course before going back and working alongside the instruction?
A: This is entirely up to you and how you learn best. Listen to what your instructor has to say; perhaps they have some specific advice on how best to enjoy their jewelry-making class!

Q: Do you have any last words of encouragement or advice for our readers?
A: Sit down and enjoy your first class! Discover the wonderful world of online crafts education. We’re excited you’re here!

If you have more questions, feel free to post them in the comments below. Otherwise, have a delightful time trying out the online courses!

Posted in Guest Blogger, quilting tutorials | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Workshop Wednesday: Fantastic Fat Quarter Quilts

When did you buy your first fat quarter? Do you still have it in your stash? And what is a fat quarter, anyway?

According to quilt historian Barbara Brackman, fat quarters—or one-fourth of a yard of fabric that’s been cut into quadrants roughly 20” x 18” rather than four pieces 9” x width of fabric—started appearing on quilt shop shelves sometime in the mid-1980s. She notes that they may have been referred to by names such as quilter’s samples before that time, which tells us a little about how they came into being in the first place: they were impulse buys. They’re small and inexpensive relative to buying yardage, and they’re already cut so you don’t even have to lug a bolt up to the cutting table. So easy!

Perhaps you’ve accumulated fat quarters through exchanges with guild members, or by being the big winner after a round of Left Center Right at a retreat. Sometimes fat quarters for swaps and game prizes are organized around a theme, but just as often the selection is all over the board in terms of style, print and color.

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Look at these great fat quarters I got! Now what do I do with them?

It doesn’t take long for many quilters to end up with a bunch of random fat quarters in their collections and have to face the question of “Now what?” They’re too big to be considered scraps, but not large enough to be considered yardage. How does one put them to use in a satisfying way?

The thing about a single fat quarter is that it’s hard to treat it as “precious”—there’s just not enough there for it to be the focus fabric in anything but the smallest of projects. If it came as part of a bundle from a collection, then it has brothers and sisters that should all play nicely together when used to make a quilt.

But pulling together disparate fat quarters can result in patchwork just as stunning for a few reasons:

  1. You’re more inclined to use them according to color and value, which are the backbones of good quilt design, and not according to any single fabric’s “wow factor.”
  2. They allow you to create a scrappy look that’s as controlled or as unrestrained as you want.
  3. Their uniform size makes it easier and faster for you to cut your patches than working with actual scraps of varying dimensions.

There is no shortage of great patterns for fat quarter quilts these days. Because the focus of our current Workshop Wednesday series is on making quilts in time for holiday giving, below are some video tutorials followed by suggestions of patterns and products that might help jump start your productivity this season.

Just what is a fat quarter, anyway? Let Mary Fons explain in a “Quilty” episode that’s free to view on

This episode of “Quilty” (below) is a good primer on different cuts of fabric found in quilt shops and how to look for what you need.

When you’ve not got much time, but do have a pile of coordinating fat quarters that are just crying out to be used, “Quilt Monkey” Katy Jones has an ideal quick quilt for you. You can view the full episode on

workshop wednesday candy wrappers Workshop Wednesday: Fantastic Fat Quarter Quilts

Candy Wrappers

Candy Wrappers
This throw quilt is in the McCall’s Quick Quilts October/November 2017 issue. The pattern calls for 20 assorted fat quarters plus gray solid yardage.

Suggested bundle:
• Various pink prints from Cotton + Steel; Keepsake Quilting currently has a pack of 40 fat quarters on sale for only $49.99, which averages out to $5/yard  (price subject to change).

workshop wednesday ocean currents Workshop Wednesday: Fantastic Fat Quarter Quilts

Ocean Currents

Ocean Currents
This bargello-style crib quilt is also in the McCall’s Quick Quilts October/November 2017 issue. The pattern calls for only 9 fat quarters to make the entire top.

Suggested bundles:
Daisy Blue pack of 12 blue-and-yellow fat quarters
Star Wars Rogue One fabrics available as a set of 14 fat quarters

workshop wednesday half square shuffle Workshop Wednesday: Fantastic Fat Quarter Quilts

Half-Square Shuffle

Half-Square Shuffle
This bed quilt was featured on the cover of McCall’s Quick Quilts August/September 2017 issue. It’s composed entirely of large triangle-squares, and though the pattern wasn’t written for fat quarters, it can be made with 14 assorted neutral cream and gray fat quarters, 9 assorted yellow and gold fat quarters, 8 assorted red fat quarters and yardage of a black print.

Suggested bundles:
Pack of 12 assorted yellow and gold fat quarters
Pack of 12 assorted red fat quarters
Pack of 12 assorted cream fat quarters

workshop wednesday gently down the stream Workshop Wednesday: Fantastic Fat Quarter QuiltsGently Down the Stream
This small modern lap quilt or toddler quilt was featured on the cover of Quilters Newsletter’s Best Fat Quarter Quilts 2014 (shown on the right side of the image). The entire issue containing 25 patterns is available as a digital download, and is currently on sale for only $2.00  (price subject to change). The pattern calls for 12 assorted fat quarters and yardage of a white solid.

Suggested bundle:
Rainbow Batiks bundle of 12 fat quarters

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Whirling Daisies

Whirling Daisies
This 60” x 60” pieced and appliqued throw quilt by Nancy Mahoney appeared in Quilters Newsletter’s Best Fat Quarter Quilts 2012 special issue; the digital download containing 27 patterns is also on sale for only $2.00 (price subject to change). The pattern calls for 8 black tone-on-tone fat quarters, 8 assorted bright fat quarters, 1 yellow fat quarter and 2 green fat quarters, as well as yardage of a white print for the background.

Suggested bundles:
Reproduction feedsack bundle of 12 fat quarters
Kaffe Fasset bundle of 12 fat quarters
FreeSpirit’s True Colors collection bundle of 22 fat quarters, currently on sale for 40% off, which averages to $7.60/yard (price subject to change)

workshop wednesday kaffe fasset bundle Workshop Wednesday: Fantastic Fat Quarter Quilts

Kaffe Fasset Bundle

workshop wednesday true colors Workshop Wednesday: Fantastic Fat Quarter Quilts

FreeSpirit’s True Colors bundle

Posted in Mary Kate Karr-Petras, Workshop Wednesday | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments