PIGS: Focus, focus, focus – Observations about Finishing PIGS

PIGS = Projects in Grocery Sacks. Most of us have them. You may call them UFOs (Unfinished Objects) or WIPs (Works in Progress) but chances are good that you have a few or maybe more than a few stuffed in a drawer somewhere.

My personal goal is to finish one PIG a month but I’ve come to realize that I take more than one partially done project home from work each month so if I am ever going to catch up, I need to do more than one PIG a month. To be brutally honest, I’d have to do eight a month to finish the ones on my PIGS inventory. And the first item on that inventory is Orphan Blocks. I have no idea how many orphan blocks I have. Continue reading

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Catherine Redford’s Machine Quilting Guide

When a really good book comes along offering excellent instruction on how to quilt your quilts, we want you to know about it. Modern Machine Quilting by Catherine Redford is one of those books—we give this one 5 stars! Not only is the information indispensable, you’ll find it uses a dynamic visual approach to innovative finishing techniques.

ModernMachineQuilting CatherineRedfordWorking Catherine Redfords Machine Quilting Guide

Catherine offers details on walking-foot quilting and free-motion quilting, but she also tells us how to make good quilting choices for successful outcomes, offers projects to put your new skills to use, and includes a gallery of quilts for inspiration. The book is designed to optimize learning how to use your home sewing machine for quilting and to be used as a journal, recording your stitches, making notes, jotting down ideas, etc. It covers all of the quilting bases—the perfect quilting companion. But, raving about this book isn’t going to give you a complete picture. We need to show you why we love it…

Walking-Foot Quilting

Catherine starts from step one and works her way up from there. She covers machine basics, getting started, quilting straight lines, incorporating more elaborate designs and she includes special details that make a big difference in how you quilt, like how to stitch over nesting seams. She answers those questions that don’t always get answered in books like this, such as, “What do I do if the standard hand position doesn’t work for me?” Finally, some options!

ModernMachineQuilting PositioningHands Catherine Redfords Machine Quilting Guide

Free-Motion Quilting

Catherine covers the basics of free-motion quilting so you feel you have a strong grasp on the concept. She also discusses, and illustrates, unusual designs that you may enjoy. And, after she’s given you the tools, it’s time to practice! As she notes in the image below, “A good way to practice your free-motion stitching is to use a suitable printed fabric on the back of your quilts and quilt from the back, using the printed design as your route map.”

ModernMachineQuilting PracticeFreeMotion Catherine Redfords Machine Quilting Guide

Designed for Quilting Success

You’ll find charts included in this book; remember, it’s meant to be a workbook, a one-stop shop. You’ll find charts, like the one below, for recording tension settings and stitches used. Referencing this information for future projects, alongside your quilting guidelines and instruction, will be a snap—it will all be waiting for you in one place. Brilliant!

ModernMachineQuilting StitchChart Catherine Redfords Machine Quilting Guide

Inspirational Quilt Gallery

You’ve practiced your new skills, now it’s time to apply them. If you’re anything like us, you have plenty of UFOs awaiting finishing touches—in the unfinished pile because, other than stitch-in-the-ditch, we weren’t sure how to quilt them. After all, a Log Cabin quilt represents hours upon hours of hard work and we need to be sure that we have a solid plan when we go to quilt it. Catherine’s gallery shows you complimentary designs for your quilts, and now that you have the skills, your UFOs will become beautiful finished quilts!

ModernMachineQuilting LogCabin Catherine Redfords Machine Quilting Guide

Still Not Convinced? Try This.

We’ve raved. We’ve explained. Now you’ll just have to try it for yourself.

table runner modern machine quilting Catherine Redfords Machine Quilting Guide

Instantly download this FREE quilt pattern—a lovely table runner brought to you by Catherine Redford. She recommends changing out your table runners according to the season and varying your quilting motifs for some valuable practice.

We can’t wait to see your designs! Share your machine quilting photos with us on our Facebook page. And, let us know how you like Modern Machine Quilting in the comments below.

Happy Quilting!
The McCall’s Quilting Team

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Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Polka Tot

Polka Tot 600px 300x300 Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Polka TotQuilters love baby quilt patterns! So it’s no surprise that Abigail Dolinger’s Polka Tot baby quilt from the August/September 2015 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts proved to be a quilter favorite. With simple blocks, adorable polka dot fabrics, and fun border treatment, it’s a real winner!

But what could be even bigger and better than a baby quilt full of polka dots? How about a twin size version of the same design? This week’s Friday Freebie is the twin size Polka Tot quilt pattern!

Download the FREE Polka Tot twin size quilt pattern now…it’s a Friday FREEbie.

Have you missed any of our previous Friday Freebies? Click here to find them all!


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I Love This Quilt!: Santa Fe Sunrise

WB SantaFeSunrise 300 I Love This Quilt!: Santa Fe Sunrise

Santa Fe Sunrise by Sarah Maxwell and Dolores Smith

Have you looked through the new McCall’s Sept/Oct 2017 issue yet? On the last page, I talk a little bit about how I love the quilt Santa Fe Sunrise, deigned by Sarah Maxwell and Dolores Smith. I think this pattern has so many possibilities for customization, just by switching up the fabric choices. So I decided to make a version of this quilt that is as different as possible from the original. Let’s see how I did! But first here’s a reminder of what Santa Fe Sunrise looks like. You can also click on this link to download the pattern for free, so you can make your own version.

This quilt is constructed from the center out, so that’s how I started planning. The first exciting part of my plan was realizing that the center square finishes at 18″. I have quite a few blocks on hand that I’ve designed and made for other projects that finish at 18″. So I decided to use a block I’d already made for that center square, rather than using yardage. It was a fun choice that would definitely affect all subsequent design decisions.

gigi birds I Love This Quilt!: Santa Fe Sunrise

Birdy block that finishes at 18″. Designed and made by Gigi Khalsa.

Once the center square was decided, I had to figure where to go from there! I had a few panels from Hoffman featuring beach scenes that were thematically and chromatically consistent with the center square. The style of the prints are very different, but I figured I might be able to fussy cut my way around that.

gigiILTQ1 I Love This Quilt!: Santa Fe Sunrise

Block with some panels and ombre prints

I was happy with the way the fabrics looked together so I started cutting. I had two of the panels on the left (I call it the serene one) and three of the panel on the right (This one I called dramatic), so I could definitely fussy cut around to get the colors and effects I wanted.

gigiILTQ2 I Love This Quilt!: Santa Fe Sunrise

Building the center medallion.

You can see that the top and bottom triangles don’t quite match up but it actually worked out great. One thing I really appreciate about this pattern was how the center medallion is trimmed to size before the pieced borders are joined. You can kind of see the line I marked for trimming. I needed to fussy cut all those big triangles to achieve the effect I wanted, rather than cut one big square and divide it into triangles. So the top and bottom triangles are a bit smaller than the pattern recommends, but large enough to get what I needed and still have a bit extra for trimming to size. Then it was time to plan the pieced borders!

gigiILTQ3 I Love This Quilt!: Santa Fe Sunrise

Center medallion with pieced borders.

And plan I did! I basically cut up the remaining ‘serene’ panel and one of the ‘dramatic’ panels to get most of the squares in the borders. The corner stripey squares are fussy cut from the panels from Robert Kaufman’s Vivid collection. I also have a few space-print squares cut from the Artisan Spirit Expressions panel from Northcott. I’m realizing I used a lot of panels in a very non-panel-y way to make this quilt!

Next are some more large triangles to be placed on each side of the diamond, along with some more piecing. I fussy cut the triangles again, to achieve a specific look.

gigiILTQ4 I Love This Quilt!: Santa Fe Sunrise

Growing quilt!

You can see how I had to introduce yet another print for those bottom triangles. Even though the print is very graphic and nothing like the photo-realistic panels, the colors were just right in my eyes and I decided to make it work. The big space print triangles were perfect for the top. The surrounding squares are more patches fussy cut from the panels. I have a few randomly sized patches left over from the panels, but I’ve pretty much used them all up at this point. And this is where I am now.

I’ve got to finish cutting the small squares for that outer border area, and I have a pretty good idea of what’s going there though it could change a tiny bit. The big thing I’ll have to consider next is what the heck I’m going to do for the final borders. I have a few ideas but nothing is for sure yet, so please stay tuned! I may have to do some piecing in the borders to continue the flow of color and stick with the theme.

I think it’s pretty wild how different my version looks from the original quilt! It’s the exact same pattern, besides that center square. I love it because I had an vague, kind of out there aesthetic in mind that I wanted to explore, and this pattern gave me a structure in which to do that. The piecing is pretty standard and the pattern is easy to follow, so all I had to think hard about were my creative choices. The large patches and the wonderful way they’re arranged gave me lots of creative freedom for personal expression; I really do love this quilt!



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Skittles: a Visit with Melissa Corry

Hello fellow McCall’s Quick Quilts readers! I’m Melissa Corry from Happy Quilting and I am so excited to be guest posting here today to share some fun tidbits about my new Skittles quilt!

Skittles is featured in the recently published August/September issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. It is a super adorable baby blanket that will go together quick using the simple stitch and flip method. It makes for a great little go to baby quilt when you are in a pinch to make something fast but still super cute!!!

Skittles 293x300 Skittles: a Visit with Melissa Corry QQ1709 COVER FINAL 200 Skittles: a Visit with Melissa Corry

The “O” Block block was originally published in Quiltmakers’ 100 Blocks Volume 14. I loved the design and it kept reminding me of letters my Grandmother used to sign with XOXO on the bottom. So with just a little rotation of the block units, you can easily make both the X and O blocks and give some special Hugs and Kisses to a special new arrival!!!

DSC 0043 271x300 Skittles: a Visit with Melissa CorryFor my quilt, I used a variety of Blue and Green prints from Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis for Robert Kaufman Fabrics. I just love these fun prints and how they really show off the wonderful variety of colors in each color family!! And they really give it that “all boy” feel.

Getting stared on your own Skittles quilt is super easy because this quick fix Baby Quilt is Layer Cake Friendly. You will need 36 squares, so just grab a Layer Cake from your stash and you are good to start cutting!! And you don’t have to stick to a “baby boy” version.

DSC 0045 300x258 Skittles: a Visit with Melissa Corry DSC 0051 300x265 Skittles: a Visit with Melissa Corry

Hugs and Kisses Girl 300x300 Skittles: a Visit with Melissa CorryIt is just as easy to go with pinks and purples and make it simply sweet. There are so many fantastic girl friendly lines out there, the possibilities are endless.

DSC 0050 300x291 Skittles: a Visit with Melissa CorryWhen it comes time to quilt it, you can stick with quick and simple so it’s still nice and snugly for baby. I choose to just quilt simple wavy lines both vertically and horizontally for a fun grid look that keeps with the “all boy” feel of the quilt.

And it gives the quilt such a yummy texture!!! The grids are far enough apart so the quilt is still soft, but baby will love running their adorable little fingers over the quilt top to enjoy the feel.

DSC 0064 300x234 Skittles: a Visit with Melissa CorryAnd that is my Skittles quilt!!! I hope you love it just as much as I do and that you will want to make up your own for a special little bundle of joy!!! And if you do, I would love to see it!!! You can email me a picture at happyquiltingmelissa@gmail.com or add it to social media with #happyquiltingwithmc and tage me @happyquiltingmc. I can’t wait to see your pictures!!!

QQ31 STYLE Corry 199x300 Skittles: a Visit with Melissa CorryI want to say a huge thank you to McCalls for having me here today! It has just been so fun to share my Skittles quilt with you and I hope you just love making your own Skittles quilt as well!

And if you would like to see more of my daily quilting adventures, you can pop on over to Happy Quilting and see what I am up to. I just love being able to share my passion for quilting with lots of free tutorials, giveaways, fabric eye candy, and of course, general Happy Quilting goodness!

Irish Chain Quilts Cover 228x300 Skittles: a Visit with Melissa CorryAnd speaking of Giveaways . . . Let’s have one!!! I have a copy of my Irish Chain Quilts that I would love to sign and giveaway to one lucky reader!!! For your chance to win just simply leave a comment before midnight, July 26 that tells me your favorite flavor of Skittles . . easy as that!!!

Good Luck and Happy Quilting!!!




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Workshop Wednesday: Ideal Notions

Do you have a favorite quilting notion? While there are a few items that every quilter needs to make quilts, many of the absolute necessities have to do with fabric preparation. Have you noticed that? For example, most quilters would not be able to work without a rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat (I know I couldn’t); all those items are used together to cut up the fabrics. So for brand new quilters, I’d definitely first recommend a bundle with those 3 items, like the McCall’s Quilting Essentials for Beginners bundle, available at Quilt&SewShop.

MQB1500 300x236 Workshop Wednesday: Ideal NotionsOnce the fabric is cut, you just have to sew and quilt it, so that requires thread and a needle, plus probably a sewing machine. I know a machine is not necessary, and many people enjoy handwork, but if I did not have my machine it’s not likely I would be much of a quilter. And thread and needles get used up so quilters have to continually replenish those things, as long as they want to quilt.

So out of 6 necessary items, 3 are used for fabric prep and 3 are used for sewing (and 2 of those need continuous replacement). You can make a million quilts with just those items (assuming access to fabric and batting, of course, but those are not notions). But as we all know, there are many more than 6 notions on the market and it’s tricky to know which are useful. So I asked the experts (my colleagues) to tell me which non-essential notion they use so often that it’s become a necessity for them.

FPR7845 300x300 Workshop Wednesday: Ideal Notions

Carolyn was the first one to answer—I’d barely finished the question and she immediately said “The Fons & Porter 1/4” seam marker!” So I think she uses hers a lot. They’re pretty great for marking Triangle Squares accurately and efficiently.

MQN4073 250x300 Workshop Wednesday: Ideal Notions

Erin likes the Clover Desk Needle Threader. She says it’s a great threader for hand-sewing people, and as she is a hand applique expert I will take her word for it! Nobody wants to fuss over threading a needle; they’d rather be sewing, and this really helps people with that.

LQN30140 300x235 Workshop Wednesday: Ideal Notions

Tricia said, “I really like these Havel’s Curved Tip Scissors because I can snip those small threads that hang out between some of my patches knowing I have minimized some of the risk of cutting the fabric.” I tend to pull on those threads on my quilt tops and sometimes they just come out and sometimes they just…don’t. It’s a bad habit so I should probably look into a pair of these for myself.

LQN61 300x300 Workshop Wednesday: Ideal Notions

Lori told me that her sewing life has been better since she started using these Dritz Extra-Fine Glass Head Pins. She said she can iron right over them and not make a mess on the bottom of her iron. The pin part on these is also extra slim, so there won’t be any big holes or distortion in your fabric where you’ve used them.

FPR7843 300x300 Workshop Wednesday: Ideal Notions

Mary Kate’s choice, Fons & Porter Half and Quarter Triangle Ruler, was new to me so I’m going to have to check it out. She said, “As specialty rulers go, this one is really versatile. The thing I like best about it is the 1/8″ marking on the top corner that makes it easy to cut triangles with a 1/4″ seam allowance, which eliminates bulk and makes it easier to work with strip sets.” I don’t have any additional info on this one because I haven’t tried it yet!

MQ3185 134x300 Workshop Wednesday: Ideal Notions

As for me, I like the Clover Wonder Clips. When I first encountered them, I was a little skeptical, thinking they wouldn’t be much better than pins to hold binding in place. I was totally wrong! They way they clip the binding so that the fold of the binding on the back of the quilt is just beyond the seam is perfect. I stitch all my binding by machine and I use them every single time now. I would not like to go back to pinning. People who stitch binding by hand seem to like them a lot too.

Is there a tool you love that I’ve missed in this list? I would probably like to know about it! You don’t need much to make quilts, but anything that makes the process easier is worth trying. Happy quilting, however you choose to do it!

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Design Wall Tuesday – Taming the Scraps

Welcome to Design Wall Tuesday!

Hi! Welcome back. We’re excited to share what we’ve been working on lately. Several of the editors of McCall’s Quilting and Quiltmaker were away on vacation, but we still have some weekend projects to share with you!

From Content Director, Carolyn Beam:

Beam Carolyn 150x150 Design Wall Tuesday   Taming the Scraps

Hi! Since I have finished (for the time being) my magazine projects and other projects with a deadline, I decided it was time to clean up my sewing room. I had really let it go, and it needed a top to bottom cleaning. And when I was done, I decided it was time to tackle my scrap basket.

I have a laundry-sized basket that I put my scraps from various projects into. I thought I could tackle the whole basket, but decided to work on one pile of scraps at a time. I like to cut my scraps into usable-sized patches. For me, that’s 5″ squares (charm squares) and 2 1/2″ squares. After cutting, I had strips left from some of the fabrics that I added to a plastic bag to save for future string-pieced projects. I made a dent in the basket—still have a lot of scraps to go through.

I have been obsessed with charm squares and like to design quilts that use these squares (either whole or cut into smaller squares, rectangles or triangles). I’ve got lots of ideas in my head that I’ll share in future posts. The 2 1/2″ squares I use as Leaders & Enders (thanks Bonnie Hunter).

IMG 1089 e1499706100739 225x300 Design Wall Tuesday   Taming the Scraps

scrap pile

IMG 1096 e1499705648311 225x300 Design Wall Tuesday   Taming the Scraps

charm squares


From Associate Editor, Gigi Khalsa:

Gigi 225px 150x150 Design Wall Tuesday   Taming the Scraps

Over the weekend I was very happy to finish quilting my version of Nuts and Bolts! I started this quilt top way back in November 2015 (read more here!) and it’s finally quilted and now I just have to decide on the binding and get that done. I did all free-motion quilting, with spiderweb and leaf motifs. I’m only showing the back since I want to keep it under wraps until I can write a dedicated blog about it when it’s finally done (also because my cat wanted to keep sitting on the back of the quilt).

gigiquiltback1 242x300 Design Wall Tuesday   Taming the Scraps

quilt back

gigiquiltback2 225x300 Design Wall Tuesday   Taming the Scraps

quilt back


From Associate Editor, Mary Kate Karr-Petras:

Karr Petras Mary Kate 150x150 Design Wall Tuesday   Taming the Scraps

This weekend I worked on piecing the flying geese for my “I Love This Quilt!” remake of Geese in My Kitchen; you can read my first blog post about this remake here. These bright FreeSpirit prints remind me of beach towels and cool ocean breezes; considering how hot it’s been in Denver, this is a perfect summer piecing project.

I’m almost done making the 54 sets of 4 matching geese I need using the Fast Flying Geese method. My next step is to pick out the solid colors for the background, which is a lot easier said than done! Stay tuned to our blog, though—I expect to have this quilt top finished by the end of the month.

IMG 3972 300x225 Design Wall Tuesday   Taming the Scraps

8 sets of Fast Flying Geese in progress

IMG 3974 300x225 Design Wall Tuesday   Taming the Scraps

Halfway there: 3 full colorways of 36 Flying Geese each

I hope you’ve been enjoying your summer and finding some time to sew. Please share your projects with us, and stop back again next week!


Posted in Carolyn Beam, Gigi Khalsa, Quilting Inspiration, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Can I Read a New Book and Work on PIGS?

I have admitted before that I am easily sidetracked from my goal of completing one of my PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks) every month. This month is no exception.

I finished a bed-size quilt the end of June and then went on vacation. You can see that bed-size quilt in my blog here.

modern machine quilting Can I Read a New Book and Work on PIGS?When I got back from vacation, Modern Machine Quilting by Catherine Redford was on my desk.

Now I know I’m supposed to be finishing PIGS but this book looks like it has some great ideas, information and inspiration. Continue reading

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Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Santa Fe Sunrise

WB SantaFeSunrise 300 Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Santa Fe SunriseSanta Fe Sunrise was featured in “I Love This Quilt” column in McCall’s Quilting September/October 2017.

It’s available for you to download and print instantly as this week’s Friday Free Quilt pattern! Click here to find the download.

Finished Size 87½” x 87½”

Gigi Khalsa, Associate Editor, tells us what drew her attention to this project:

Continue reading

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Waterway: A Visit with Connie Kauffman

QQ29 FLAT 227x300 Waterway: A Visit with Connie Kauffman
Hello! My name is Connie Kauffman and I’m happy to be sharing with you today about my quilt Waterway that is in the Aug/Sept 2017 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts.

The inspiration for the project came from the fabric Collection called Surf & Sand by Island Batik. I am an Ambassador for Island Batik and I love working with their beautiful fabrics. When I saw this collection I immediately fell in love with it. The fabric with the blues and greens in undulating stripes looks like water, or seaweed moving in the waves. The other fabrics reminded me of sand, stones or greenery along a bank. Continue reading

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