Category Archives: Quilting

Springtime Table Topper

I guess the groundhog was right, Spring is coming early this year!  For the past week, we’ve been having 60 degree weather – perfect for going outside and sewing!  Here’s a cute Springtime Table Topper I made from a Kansas Trouble Quilter’s pattern in celebration of Spring.

Springtime Pleasures Topper

This is fusible applique, which is a lot faster than other types of applique.  With fusible applique, you trace the shapes onto a fusible backing, cut them out, arrange them on the background, and then fuse them down with the iron.  The last step is to do a small zig-zag stitch around the edge of the applique pieces to secure them.  This is important because if you forget to sew them down, all the appliques will fall off when it is washed!

After I stitched down the appliques, I did “echo” quilting around the flowers.  “Echo” quilting is when you trace around the outline of the shapes in a continuous line until you get to the edge of the quilt.  In the middle of the quilt I did a simple spiral shape.  My machine quilting is not so great, so the spiral seemed like the easiest option.  After quilting, I used bias binding to finish it.

Keep it thimble!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ruffled Hearts Quilt

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This is a quilt top that is currently on my UFO list because it still needs to be quilted.  However, I thought it would be appropriate for today’s post :).

This split applique is very easy to do – I learned how to do it in a class taught at Plain and Simple.  Basically you create a heart template in 3 sizes – small, medium, large.  You get scraps of red fabric and cut out one of each heart for each block you want to make. You begin by sewing small heart on top of the medium, then sewing this unit on top of the large heart, and then sewing this onto your applique background.

This is rough edge applique, meaning that you don’t need to prep the pieces to turn the edges and you don’t need to hide your stitches.  You just sew around the rough edges of each shape, about 1/4″ in from the edge.  After completing your blocks, you cut each one into fourths.  Then you randomly select 4 pieces and sew them back together as a new heart.  I really enjoyed this project, and it’s a great for people who are just learning how to quilt.

I haven’t quite decided how to quilt this yet, because I don’t want to quilt over the hearts.  When this is washed, the rough edges will ravel and the hearts will look like they have a bit of a ruffle or fringe around the edge.  It’s a nice effect for something like this.

Keep it thimble!

Tutorial – Easy Nine Patch Coasters

I promised to share a tutorial for how to quickly and easily make nine-patch blocks.  So here it is!   I even took it a few steps further to show you how to turn it into a fun little coaster!

Easy Nine Patch Coaster

This method works best for making scrappy quilts and it’s also great for hosting a block swap.  Get a group of friends together and have everyone bring in fifty 6″ squares.  Throw all the squares into a pile and have everyone randomly pick out fifty new squares.  Then use this method so everyone can create 50 nine-patch blocks that are all different!

Use this method for any sized square, although it is best to pick something that is easily divisible by three (3″, 3.75″, 4.5″, 6″, etc).  This tutorial uses 6″ squares.

Start with two 6″ squares in different fabrics.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 1

Put the squares right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam on the right and left sides.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 2

Using your rotary cutter, cut the unit into three rectangles that are 2″ x 6″.  Make sure you are cutting parallel to the seams you just made.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 3

Press the seams towards the darkest fabric to create two pieced units.  Take the center rectangles and sew them to the appropriate side of the pieced units.  Press the seams to the darks.  You now have two units of alternating fabrics (A-B-A and B-A-B).

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 4

Take these new squares and place them right sides together.  Make sure the stripes for both are running in the same direction.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 5

Sew along the shorter sides of this until with a 1/4″ seams.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 6

Cut this into three rectangles that are 2″ x 6″.  Again, be sure the same you just sewed is parallel to the cuts you are making.  Press the seams.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 7

Sew the center units to the appropriate unit to make a nine-patch block.  Press the seams.  You will now have two complementary nine-patch blocks.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 8

If you want to make into a coaster, layer one block with backing and batting to make a quilt sandwich.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 9

Quilt as desired (I just did some diagonal lines).  Trim off excess batting until each block is 4.75″ square.  At this point, you can just bind the squares for square coasters (use 2 1/4″ strips that are  22″ long).

If you want to make circular coaster, create a template that is a 4.75″ circle (or download my template) and use it to cut around the block.

Cut 22″ inches of 2 1/4″ bias binding.  You need bias binding because it is much easier when working with something circular.  I didn’t use bias binding on my coasters and you can see that the circle is not very smooth around the edges.  Bias binding would have been a better choice (although I was trying to save some time by using some binding scraps I cut for another project).

Sew binding, press, and then attach to back.  Make a cute set of 4 coasters, tie together with a ribbon, add some teabags and a mug, and you’ve got a great gift to give your favorite tea drinker!

Keep it thimble!

Easy Nine Patch Coaster

Jo Morton Signature Quilt

I was digging around in my fabric closet and found the squares for a signature quilt that still needed to be sewn together in a quilt top!  This project was started over a year ago, and put aside for whatever reason.  I figured I could finish the quilt top and add it to my UFO list under projects to be quilted.


Jo Morton Signature Quilt

This is a fun quilt to make from your scraps.  The signature X blocks are very easy to make – you cut out the squares of cream fabric, sew a square of colored fabric to the opposite corners, press open, and then trim off the excess.  You do have lots of little triangle scraps, but they are perfect for miniature quilts or to create small blocks for pin cushions.

Before you sew the X blocks together, you can have your friends sign the smaller blocks.  This is a very nice keepsake to have – great for quilting bees,  weddings, graduations, or other special occasions.  I’ve even heard of people hosting online signature swaps – people create and sign squares, send them off, and get signed squares in return.

The nine-patch blocks were made with a technique that is fast and doesn’t waste fabric.  I will be posting a tutorial on Sunday with instructions on how to do it.  On a side note, the first Sunday of every month I will post either a tutorial or a new pattern (it will alternate).

Also, I found one other UFO that is being added to the list.  I cut out over 200 “apple core” pieces to hand stitch an apple core table runner (also in Jo Morton fabrics).  My plan is to carry a few pieces of this project around in my purse and stitch on it when a I can.  Hopefully the top will be completed by the end of the summer and then I can hand quilt it.

Keep it thimble!

Civil War Tribute – Block 10

I haven’t forgotten about this quilt – in fact I am trying to finish it so I can put in on my bed!  Here is Block 10.  The picture doesn’t do justice to the colors – they are more vibrant in person.  When paired with the other blocks, the color palette is gorgeous!


Civil War Tribute - Block 10

Overall, this one was pretty straight forward, except for the FOUR set-in seams at the end.  I always wondered why quilters thought set-in seams were so difficult, after making this block, I understand why!  If I were hand piecing this, the set in seams wouldn’t be such a challenge, since you have so much control over what and where you are sewing.

Next up  – the large center medallion (it is 30 inches square).  After taking a look at the directions, it seems like the center medallion should be pretty easy – as far as I can tell there are not set-in seams!!

Mini Patchwork Stockings

Aren’t these the cutest little patchwork stockings?  I found the pattern FOR FREE on Connecting Threads about 2 years ago and have made quite a few of them.  The directions show you how to make four little stockings (all the same patchwork pattern, but you can add variety by using different cuffs, bindings, and backing).  It’s a great stashbuster since you use 10 different fabrics for this.

Mini Patchwork Stockings

This is done with a clever strip piecing method and takes very little time.  I estimate that you can knock out all four of these in about 2 hours if you were able to work without interruption!  These make great teacher gifts, gift card holders, candy cane holders, and decorations!  One day, I plan to personalize some of them by embroidering a name on the cuff.


Mini Homespun Stocking

You can make different sizes by changing the size of the strips  – imagine a set of miniature stockings that were half the size!  Enjoy this pattern – there’s a lot you can do with it.

Civil War Tribute – Block 9

Block 9 of the Civil War Tribute quilt is now finished!  It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the colors are really vibrant in this block.  I bought several yards of the blue fabric to use for making pillow shams and other accessories for the quilt.  I will use some other fabrics as well, but the blue is so pretty I wanted it as a main fabric.

Block 9 - Civil War Tribute

This block took a bit of time to put together.  There are lots of pieces that have to be sew together in a particular order.  You have to be especially careful about the placement of each color so they all end up in the correct plan in the finished version.  I did get some of the blue and brown fabric pieces reversed, but it looks fine since I made the same mistake with all four sections.

The set in seams were a bit of a challenge for me.  You might not be able to tell, but there is a small triangle towards the outer edge that is a set in seam.  I’ve never done these types of seams before so I had to consult a few diagrams to make sure I was doing it correctly.   Essentially, a set in seam is where you have to sew along two different sides and account for a 1/4″ seam allowance where the seams intersect.  Sewing the first seam is pretty easy as long as you’ve marked where you need to stop the seam.  The second seam can be tricky since you are limited by how you can maneuver the fabric to get it in the correct place for sewing it.

I plan to complete Block 10 this week, and then I will start on the center medallion!

Watermelon Table Runner

The All People Quilt website has a quick and easy pattern for this Watermelon Table Runner. I got a kit from a local quilt shop 2 years ago and decided to stitch it up on Saturday.  It took less than 2 hours (including the cutting) and turned out perfectly.  This uses the quilt as you go method, so when you are sewing on the strips, you are also quilting it.  It’s just the right accent for your summer table!

Watermelon Table Runner

Variations on a Quilt Block

My Jo Morton club is having a block swap on Tuesday. We are supposed to make up 6″ blocks in Jo Morton fabric that we can swap with other club members. Mine is a fun block pattern called “Thrifty” that uses a selection of red, blue, and yellow fabrics. However, after made up the first block I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the blue and how it looked with the other colors. I played around with some other blues from my stash and ended up making four variations.

Which color scheme looks best?

Block A

Block B

Block C

Block D

Three Cheers for Zippered Tote!

I’ve wanted to make a red, white, and blue purse for awhile and finished this just in time for Memorial Day!  The original pattern was Charm Party Tote, a tote that was open at the top.

Zipper Charm Tote Exterior

Zipper Charm Tote Exterior

However, I wanted this to function more as a purse, so I added a zipper.

Zippered Charm Tote Top

Zippered Charm Tote Top

The bag has fusible fleece on the interior and exterior, and features some light quilting.  I am going to experiment with using different combinations of fusible fleecing for the lining to see if I can find one that makes this less bulky.  The outside uses 24 charm squares, and then I used the leftover squares to make the pockets.

Zipper Charm Tote Exterior 2

Zipper Charm Tote Exterior 2