Monthly Archives: May 2011

Pat’s Shadow Star quilt

Published / by Mary / 16 Comments on Pat’s Shadow Star quilt

Most of my quilts are designed with the intention that they will end up as donations or occasionally gifts so I tend to design them in the sofa to twin size range.
Remember my Shadow Star?


I haven’t yet made mine or written the instructions but Pat took the block and border from my design and created this large 84 x 100 inch version for her sister. I think it’s gorgeous!


My Design Process – part seven

Published / by Mary / 7 Comments on My Design Process – part seven

Once my top is done – it’s time to think about the quilting. While I like pantographs and frequently use them, I usually audition quilting designs if I’m going to be doing freemotion quilting.

One of the very first quilts I shared on my website was my Quick Strippie – designed to be quick to piece so that I could practice my quilting on it when I first got my longarm. I’ve never liked loading muslin to practice and while I tried a few panels — these quilts were perfect for practicing both allover freehand designs and border and sashing designs. Once you’d quilted something in each of the strips – you had it down.

Prior to getting my iPad, I would repeatedly draw designs out on paper until I embedded them in my brain. Now I use the app Adobe Ideas and draw my designs either on a “whiteboard” or directly on my quilts. I can erase and redraw as many times as I want and save the designs I like.

Drawing on a photo of my quilt itself gives me an idea of how different options might look.

Auditioning designs for Caleb’s quilt last year – see how great these Strippie quilts are for practicing a number of designs?

Here’s a HeartStrings quilt that I auditioned different freemotion designs from the Pajama Quilter DVD’s

And finally, I was looking for a alternate block motif for the basket quilt my Mom pieced for me and after looking at Kim’s Just Leaf It book and drawing different variations – I came up with the perfect one for this quilt.

Even if you don’t have an iPad, you can practice drawing designs on paper or a whiteboard because if I can draw it, I can quilt it!

This was my drawing practice for a Chinese Coins quilt and I loved how the quilt turned out.

Traveling again

Published / by Mary / 13 Comments on Traveling again

I leave again tomorrow and I’ve accomplished the quilting goals on my list for these 3 days I was home … of course, I left the unpacking, laundry, and packing until today. So yesterday I started piecing 9 patch blocks – I have a bin with 2.5 inch strips so I cut a few scraps for the one inch sashing between the blocks with my GO. Today I had enough 9 patches done to assemble a few of the larger sashed blocks.

Since you know how much I don’t like sashing quilts, it’s kind of crazy that I picked two sashed quilts to work on back to back. Also, my original plan was to use blue for the larger sashing but after just finishing the String Log Cabin with blue sashing, I might end up using a different color. I’ll wait until I have more blocks made and then start auditioning fabric. And just in case you didn’t see my post last week – this is where I’m going with this one.

Now back to my nine patches. You can expect this one to stay on the design wall for a while because when I get home from Boston, I’ve GOT to get some quilting done before the end of the month.

Do you piece backings?

Published / by Mary / 12 Comments on Do you piece backings?

I love pieced backings but don’t have the time to spend doing them for the most part but in order to use my stash I try to piece some simple ones.

My favorite and most used is my Off Center 4 patch – which takes two coordinating fabrics but sometimes I can’t make that work with the fabric I have so another favorite is a strippie backing which I used yesterday to piece a backing for one of my tops.

In this case, I had (2) two yard pieces of backing but needed extra length so I added a stripe

  • The center panel is 2 yards by width of fabric
  • The end pieces are a 2 yard by width of fabric piece cut in half
  • The stripes are cut 4.5 inches and pieced to fit the 72 inch width of the backing

This gives me a backing that is about 88 inches long.

Another recent one I used was a log cabin or framed backing – just be sure to keep your borders seams away from the edges of the quilt. I used a floral for my center and a couple different greens for framing and it looked great. Depending on how much fabric you had, you could use 4 different ones for framing. I don’t have a photo but this EQ drawing will give you the idea.

I used a one yard piece for the center (about 32 x 40 inches) and subtracted ┬áthat from the width and length I needed to determine how wide to cut my framing strips. I also pieced them to get the length I needed. I use different widths for the framing pieces so I don’t have to worry about centering the backing on the longarm – it’s meant to be uneven.


On my design wall

Published / by Mary / 15 Comments on On my design wall

The sashed strips & string log cabin top is done!

One of the things I really, really dislike is poorly sashed quilts — and I’m always surprised at how many quilts I see in books and magazines where the sashing doesn’t line up. I don’t sash a lot of quilts myself but when I do – cornerstones help me keep everything straight.

Normally I don’t sash my string log cabin blocks but I saw a quilt in the book Log Cabin Quilts with Attitude that appealed to me so this is my version. I did not use her directions but did use blue sashing with red cornerstones.

I have instructions for string log cabin blocks on my website — rather than light and dark strips and strings — I used all medium and darks.