Friday, June 24, 2016

Peace Cottage Quilt Along Step 3, Log Cabin Blocks

How are you coming? If you are still working on your stars, fret not, this weeks blocks are incredibly easy. If you need to take a break from the stars, set them aside for the moment and start in on these quick fun blocks.

The history of the log cabin block can be traced all the way back to Egyptian times!  It's true!  In the early 19th century tombs in Egypt were being discovered.  There was a fascination with all things Egyptian and many of the funerary objects were shipped back to England.  Below are photos from the British Museum which demonstrate mummy wrapping, you will notice the design of the linens and how they were dyed. 

Animal Mummies, Mummy Wrapping, The British Museum

Cat Mummy, Mummy Wrapping, The British Museum

The log cabin block became popular in the United States of America in the 1860's during the Civil War. The color chosen for the center of the blocks was traditionally red to symbolize the hearth or heart of the home, or yellow to symbolize a light in the window.

There are a multitude of settings and styles of creating this block. The White House Steps, Court House Steps, eight sided Pineapple, Barn Raising, Sunshine and Shadows are but a few of the many names attached to variations on this block and it's layouts.

So let's get started, here is the video for Lesson 3 the Log Cabin Blocks.  Watch this first and I will provide some tips after.

TIP: As I was watching the video, I noticed that she deviated from the actual instructions that were posted in the original magazine article. In the article, the designer has you arrange all of the blocks with the 8" strip at the top.  Since they are square, it really doesn't matter how you arrange them, you will get the same effect but I opted to stick with the original design.  

Tip: Obtaining your perfect 1/4" seam is easy if you use the Sewing Machine Seam Guide that is available here on: Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville site.  Order her seam guide for $4.00 or get a pack of them and share them with your quilting friends! It won't matter what machine you are sewing on, you can quickly check and mark your 1/4 inch seam on your machine by dropping your needle through the premarked hole and noting that on your machine bed. Get one, it's a small expense for easy perfect 1/4 inch seams.

Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Sewing Machine Seam Guide

TIP:  For this block, pull lots of fabrics. The greater the variety the more interesting your blocks will be. Don't be afraid to mix it up, have fun!

I got ahead of myself last weekend and chain pieced all my blocks. They go together really fast.  This morning I stitched them together and here is the finished portion layed out on the

Please feel free to post pictures of your work, you know I always love to see your work! You can post it here or on our Facebook page.  Make sure you enter the drawing this month on our Facebook page, the link is at the top!

Here is the link to McCall's Peace Cottage Quilt Along:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

McCall's Peace Cottage Quilt Along, Rising Stars!

Summertime and we are quilting along with McCall's Peace Cottage Quilt Along. We've only just begun, are you having fun?  I am blogging my process for you.  You will remember in my last post I pulled lots and lots of different fabrics.  As the time to start cutting drew near, I felt that this little quilt was singing a patriotic song to me and so I pulled some scraps that had been sent to me a few years back from a sweet woman.  I knew those scraps would be delightful in the right quilt and this is their time to shine!

There are several tips I have as we go along so you may wish to read through this before you get started if you haven't already.

I like to chain piece, it makes things go faster and I enjoy the repetitive nature.  So to make that process run smooth, I like to get my fabric bits in order first.  

TIP: In the photo above, you will see that I have cut all the pieces to sew the centers of the blocks and I have stacked them in little piles. I know exactly what is going to go with what.  Now, I may decide after the geese are made that I want to switch things a bit and that is just fine, but I have a plan in mind and I stack my stars as I plan to stitch them.

TIP: Wait! What is this? Well, these are my leaders and enders.  I don't use a scrap piece of fabric to start my thread, if I'm starting thread, I am making something. These are left over triangles trimmed from my prior quilt project. I save them in a plastic bag and then when I start my next project, there are plenty of bits to start and end my thread with and in that process I am making more blocks to use another time.

See! Look at all those bonus pieces that got made while doing something I was going to do anyway!  Start and end your projects with a leader and an ender, get in that habit and you will be sooooo happy!

Chain piecing is the simple act of starting the next piece in your machine without clipping the threads. It saves you money in thread purchases, it saves you time and effort because you are stitching the same pieces together over and over.

TIP: You can see the blue line that I drew across the little squares to create the geese.  My tip to you is this: when you are stitching on the right side of the geese, as shown above...stitch just one thread width to the right of your line.  As you switch to the other side, to stitch on the left, you need to stitch one thread to the left of your line.  This allows you to turn the fabric and have a perfect geese.

TIP: In the instructional video, she has you cutting away excess fabric with scissors. You should have a rotary cutter, a mat and a small ruler. I like things neat and this lets you cut a perfect 1/4 inch seam allowance. Just my personal preference, you may use scissors if you wish.

TIP: Pressing is important to accurate piecing. Finger press open your seams to make sure they are fully open before you apply your iron.  When ironing, press rather than scrubbing.  Pressing will give you the proper finish without distorting your piece.

Once you have your geese made, lay out your little block next to your machine, make sure you like how it looks and then you are ready to stitch it together.  

TIP: To get perfect points, you need to see the intersection of those points, so stitch with the geese on the top.  Stitch a thread or two toward the outside of the seam and you will have a perfect point. See example below:

TIP: If you are pinning to match up your seams, I recommend very very fine pins. Once you use them, you will never go back to the thick bulky pins. 
Clover Quilting Pin (Fine)

My star blocks are done! There is not enough room on my little design wall to spread them out in the quilt lay out but this lets me see them at a distance as well as to photograph them and see how they show in a photo. This will help me with the lay out. I can see what is popping out, what looks good next to the other, etc.

TIP: Okay, sashing the blocks together. DON'T FREAK OUT! I confess, my OCD kicked in and I did freak, just a little.  The end pieces do not match up like you think they should.  Watch the video, she tells you that the pieces are oversized, they won't match up and you will be trimming the piece down. Take your time and look at the layout of the pattern. Relax and roll with it. Do it just like she shows you and you'll be fine. I am not trimming mine until I have all the other components of the quilt assembled.  You will have funky edges.

It will trim up pretty, don't worry. The above photo is a more accurate representation of the color. I took the one below outside in the sun and it's kind of blown out a bit, but you get the idea.

So if you haven't started yet, don't worry, you can start anytime you want.  All the info, pattern, videos are on the McCall's website here:  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

McCall's Peace Cottage Quilt Along! I'm In!

It's Summer Time and I love a good quilt-along! McCall's is hosting the Peace Cottage by designer Lynn Lister. And I'm all in for this one! I'll post my progress here on the blog each week and I invite you to quilt along with me!  

This pattern was originally published in 2013 in a 3 part series. If you don't have your old issues never fear! You can go right to their website and get a copy of the pattern in a PDF download here: Peace Cottage Quilt Pattern by Lynn Lister

Now this quilt can be made in any colorway you wish, if you love the one pictured above, McCall's has a kit already prepared for you and you can make your quilt to look exactly as shown.  You can purchase that quilt kit here: Peace Cottage Quilt Along Kit

McCall's has recorded 12 video tutorials to walk you through the process of constructing this quilt. They are free and are posted at the bottom of the page here:  Each week a new video will be released to take you through the next step in the process. The videos will be up for a limited time, so take advantage of them. They run from now through August 26th, with a new release each week.

Here is the introduction video...

Lynn's quilt has been made in a few other colorways to give you some ideas. Here are some of her quilts...

Above is the one that originally caught my eye in the magazine.  

This is Marie Moore from Canada and her two different colorways, she is featured in McCall's article on their website. So there are lots of options. Don't you love her "winter" colorway!

I have sorted through bins, clearing out old fabrics to make room for new and plan to use them up in this quilt. It will have some surprises and some pops of interest in the scrappy bits and I think that will be just fun. It's going to be an eclectic variety.

I'll be pulling some more greens and blues but I think I have the rest sorted for now. As we go along I may add or subtract fabrics.

So I invite you! Come Quilt Along with McCall's and let's build our Peace Cottage quilts together! Feel free to post your fabric selection in the comments section below, I would love to see your choices!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Marking The Square in A Square Quilt, Using Quilting Rulers and A #GIVEAWAY

Today I'm going to write about marking your quilt using a Quilter's Pounce. Now, I would start this off by saying it's not for every quilt you want to quilt, but it can be a fun tool in your tool box.What is a Quilter's Pounce you ask? Well, it's a little pad attached to a box that you fill with chalk, you tap it a couple times on the table to "load" your pad with the chalk and then you rub it over your stencil to transfer that chalk to your quilt. You can purchase these at and a variety of other places.

This can be a messy and frustrating endeavor unless you follow a few tips.

Here is how I use mine...

Start with the block you want to mark...for this quilt, I am marking the snowball blocks.

You can do this either on a table, if you will be quilting with a standard machine, or on your frame if you are using a longarm.

Lay your stencil on your block, you can generally see through them. Line it up where you want it and use a strip of painter's tape to tape down one side. This will help keep your stencil in place and will allow you to lift one side to make sure you have chalked it sufficiently before you remove the stencil.

With the bottom cover on the Pounce pad, tap your Pounce on a flat hard surface a couple times to "load" the chalk into your pad. Remove the cover and gently rub your pad across your stencil, don't pat it on or you will have a mess.  Gently rub the entire stencil then lift the edge opposite your tape (like opening a book) and look to see if you have enough chalk to see your design.  If not, lower the stencil back into place and rub a little more in the areas you need more chalk.  Once you are happy with your stencil, remove it. Put the cover on your pad, don't set it on your quilt or you will have a chalky blot.

Your marking should look something like the one above. Before you move on...take a moment and give it a light spray with your spray starch.  You don't need to soak it, just a light spray will keep the chalk where you want it.  If you don't do this, you will see the chalk disappear as you touch or stitch.  DO NOT IRON!  When you are finished quilting, just wash your quilt as your normally would and the chalk will wash out.  If you iron it, you're done, it will be there forever.  Now with that said, they do have a chalk that will iron out.  They have Iron Out, Red, Blue, Light Blue and White.  The colored chalks will not iron out but they will show on both light and dark fabrics.  If you are quilting for a show and do not want to wash your quilt I would suggest either the Iron Out chalk or another marking method.

Now lets talk a little about stitching this design. It's hard to free motion a circle, best to use either a circle template or a tool like this Clamshell Tool below.

This HQ Multi Clamshells tool will let you do a variety of different designs, one being a circle in 4 different circumferences. When you are quilting always use a ruler made especially for this purpose as it will be thick enough to avoid catching under and breaking your needle.

Start off by placing your quilt ruler so that one half of the clam shell lines up with your stenciled center as shown. Quilt around the clamshell stopping with your needle down when you reach the other side.  Now flip your ruler and repeat the same as shown below and you will have your perfect circle.

Another thing that is rather unforgiving when quilting is trying to stitch a perfectly straight line. For the cross hatch in the center of this design I use a mini HQ ruler. With your needle down in your starting position, lay your ruler next to your hopping foot and line it up across the design, gently hold it in place and guide your quilting arm across. I suggest that if you have not used a ruler before that you either; load a bit of practise fabric on first to get use to it or work with it out on the side of your excess quilt backing to make sure you have the feel first.  When you use rulers, you must use an extension table on your longarm so that you have something to balance the ruler on.

Now don't freak out your first time trying this.  Relax, breath, drop your shoulders down from your ears, place your weight equal in both feet.  Mistakes are okay, they pick out, really they do!

For the feathers, just follow the outline of the stencil, you don't have to be exactly on it, no one will know, they aren't going to take out a measure and say, "hey, you're off just a bit here".  And if you don't echo back over your lines exactly, it's okay, once you wash the quilt it will be amazing!  Each time you do it, you will get better and better.

For the squares and also for the snowball blocks, I quilted in the ditch using the little ruler.

I love the clean look it gives. 

All ready for binding!  See my mistakes?  No?  Right!...they won't see yours either! Be bold, Be brave, try something out of your comfort zone!  YOU CAN DO IT!

If you would like to win your own Quilter's Pounce Pad, visit our Facebook Site at

Like our page, Comment on the giveaway post which is pinned at the top of the page and Share with your friends!  That's all, nothing ever to purchase. Drawing will be held on the last day of May, 2016. Winner will be announced by June 1, 2016 on our Facebook page.

I hope I am able to inspire in you a desire to learn to quilt, to try a new technique that might be out of your comfort zone. Creativity is a joy each of us must experience in life. Have a blessed day. And please share with me your creations, I love to see them!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

#GIVEAWAY Striking Strip Quilts by Kate Henderson

Lots to catch up on!  Let's start it off with a GIVEAWAY! I've been tripping through the pages of Kate Henderson's book Striking Strip Quilts published by Martingale Books. Do you love working with 2.5" precut strips? This is the book for you! Fresh designs, all using 2.5" strips. Great way to clean up your scrap bin, use up some fabrics and clear the way for new yummies, all the while creating something glorious that you will love! Suitable designs for a multitude of fabric styles, from modern to traditional and everything in between.  I think you will really love this book.

Okay, to ENTER:

LIKE our Facebook Page at

SHARE: post this link to your friends, share on your Facebook page

COMMENT on the post for this giveaway our Facebook page

EXTRA ENTRY:  LIKE the publisher's page at

EXTRA EXTRA ENTRY: LIKE the author's page at

There we go, you are all set, Nothing to purchase ever! Drawing will be held on May 30th, 2016 and winner will be notified via Facebook post as well as private messaging via Facebook.  Good Luck Quilters!

Let's catch up...

Finished the Celtic Solstice by Bonnie Hunter.  I did not do the round for the border, it was already plenty big enough for our bed without it. 

For the binding I used a technique called Flanged Binding and I love the finish. Great tutorial for the technique is available online.

Here is a link for the tutorial by Sew Fresh Quilts, I will post this under tutorials as well so we can all refer back to it when we like.

Lots of fun quilts and inspiration have been posted on our Facebook page this month. After you tackle a quilt that has a gazillion pieces, it's fun to take on something light and quick. I am working on a quilt that combines two blocks from two different inspiration quilts. 

The first block is a simple square in a square. Highly suitable for a layer cake. There are lots of tutorials out there on this block so I'm not going into great detail here other than to give you the basics. 

Bock #1  Square in a Square.  I am using Tanya Wheelan fabrics and just mixing it up. 

Start with (2) 10" blocks.

Stacking them, cut a strip off each end measuring 2.5" each. Set those aside. (do not stack more than 4 pieces of fabric for cutting)

From the middle piece that is remaining, cut a strip off the top and the bottom that measure 2.5" each.  

Taking these to your machine, stitch a contrasting outside strip to your center block on both ends to look like this:

Now take your two long strips of your contrasting fabric and stitch them to each side as shown below. You will have some bits hanging over the end, it's okay, don't freak out, that's exactly how it should be. 

Take your ruler and trim these bits up square with your block and you are finished!  Pretty!

Have fun, mix it up, don't be afraid! Here are a few of my blocks.

Block #2 Snowball Block.  

Here is how you make the Snowball Block:

Cut a 9" square from your background fabric and (4) 2.5" squares from your accent or contrast fabric.

Using the marker of your choice, make a line diagonally across each small square, from one corner to the other, as shown above. I used a Clover chalk marker.

Pin one of the small squares in each corner as shown with your line touching the edge of the block as shown. 

Stitch directly on the line you have drawn on each corner piece of your block as shown above.

Take your ruler and rotary cutter, cut just 1/4 inch to the RIGHT of your stitching line. (save your cut bits, they make great leaders and enders)

Your block is all trimmed up and you are ready to press. Press all your seams with your iron to set them and then finger press them open to make sure your seam is open completely before you press it.  

Your finished block should look like the one above. Combine the two blocks and this will be our quilt.  Twin Size 64" x 82". for larger sizes, just add more blocks. Alternate blocks, stitching in rows from left to right. Press your seams to the square in a square blocks on each row. They alternate so when you go to stitch your rows together the seams will nest perfectly. 

Here's a little sneak peek.

Thank you to my husband who is 6'5" tall for holding up his end.

Flimsy is done and ready to quilt! This will be twin bed size and will go up for sale once it is quilted. Make sure you get over to our Facebook page and enter to win the giveaway this month!