Off to Ronald McDonald House

If you’ve been wondering what I DO with all the quilts I make, you’re not alone!

Made from the “Tilted Tiles” pattern by Charles Cameron for the MQG

I’ve been holding a number of quilts for some programs I did on scrap quilting, but those are finished now so these quilts are off to Ronald McDonald House. The larger ones are for patients and families at the house; the smaller ones are sent to the NICU to put over incubators.

Made from Tula scraps because I always wanted to make a quilt that looked like the squares overlapped

Modification of the “Turning Twenty Again” pattern made crib size

Modification of a pattern by Sherry Shish

My arrangement of the “disappearing 9 patch” blocks

From a pattern by Sherry Shish

Quilt I designed to use a layer cake. No pattern available.

My arrangement of scrappy HSTs

scrap quilt

Scrap quilt made with strips that finish 1″ wide; no pattern available

Modification of something I saw online; no pattern available

My original design for a crib-size quilt; no pattern available

Modification of a design in “Jump Into Patchwork and Quilting” by Sarah Ashford

My husband said, “Those are some really nice quilts you’re giving away”. Yes, they are; I do not make quick versions of quilts for donation, nor do any of the people with whom I work on donation quilts.

Consider the quilts that have come to light recently after having been sent to the UK during World War II. I think they were valued for their usefulness, but also for their beauty in a difficult time.

Will our donation quilt be worth saving that long? I do want them to be used, but I hope they are beautiful enough to be cared for as well.

Some Fun Hexies

This is one of those patterns that just looked like fun, so I made it. And it was fun. I’ve made Sassafras Lane designs before and the patterns are well written and clever.

Above is the “A side” (if you’re old enough to remember what that means), below is the B side. After I made the blocks with printed fabric I decided solids would be better, so I made blocks with solids and used them on the front. Since I DO NOT need any more orphan blocks, I made a back from the “leftovers”.

And I’m happy to say the longarm quilter found a hexie pattern for quilting it!

Quilt Stats

Name: Hexie Party

Finished size: 55″ x 62″

Pattern by: Sassafras Lane

Made by: me

Quilted by: Linda Nichols

Leaf Pounding Party

I learned about “leaf pounding” to make prints on fabric in a workshop years ago. I never did much with it, but I did finally hand quilt one piece.

And this next one is even bound!

This gave me the idea that I could have some co-workers over and we could all pound leaves. So here we go…

Everybody brought a variety of leaves

We arranged them on PFD (prepared for dye) fabric

Then taped them to the back of the fabric and pounded the front side

Results varied!

The Japanese Maple leaves came out very well

And, especially toward the end, it was sometimes more fun to make a secondary pattern with hammer marks than to pound the whole thing

Finally we had cookies…and a veggie tray?!?

Have you tried leaf pounding? There are, of course, multiple youtube videos on how to do it. What worked for you?

P.S. – I am making a quilt for the December/January issue of Quick + Easy Quilts using these beautiful fabrics from Robert Kaufman.

So watch for that issue to come out with my quilt in two colorways–this red/green/gold plus a blue/white/silver version!

City Park: A Panel Quilt

This quilt started when I saw the central panel at Studio Stitch and it was just too pretty to leave there. It’s actually yardage, not sold as a panel, but of course can be used as a panel.

The fabric is Robert Kaufman “Happy Place”, so I consulted the website of the manufacturer for design ideas. One of their designers had made a wall hanging from this fabric, so that was a good starting place. The trees and balloons were inspired by Jen Kingwell’s “The Avenue” pattern, though I used my own templates rather than hers.

I love the way the print fades from vibrant at the bottom to ethereal toward the sky, so I added additional striped sky. I then put balloons in the sky, with their silver tape strings hanging down into the house area.

Finally, I put a strip of coordinating fabric from the collection on the left side of the panel to balance the design.

Hopefully you can see the lovely bubbles used to quilt the piece. Quilting was done by Linda Nichols. I love this cheerful quilt.

There are a lot of beautiful panels out there now, so I’ll offer a class to “design your own quilt using a panel” at Studio Stitch in June.

Quilt Stats

Name: City Park

Finished size: 56″ x 58″

Designed and made by me, with inspiration from the Robert Kaufman website

Materials: Happy Place fabric by Robert Kaufman, except a leftover scrap for the upper sky and Kaffe fabrics for the balloons and trees. Balloon strings are YLI metallic braid, couched onto the fabric.

Quilted by: Linda Nichols

Goodbye To My Favorite Quilt Festival

I’ve just gotten word that the Vermont Quilt Festival (VQF) is cancelled. It has been my favorite quilt show for years, so I am especially sad to see another victim of the COVID pandemic. Here are a few photos of the wonderful quilts I’ve seen there and some of the many things I liked about the show.


Maine Coast, by Lynne Rainen at VQF in 2018

There were many wonderful things about VQF, including the fact that it was in Burlington, Vermont, a town we enjoy visiting. We especially liked the Shelburne Museum and Shelburne Farms, both just south of Burlington. The museum has a collection of antique quilts and had a show of Maria Shell’s quilts in their gallery during our visit.

Quilt building at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont

As for VQF itself, there were the usual prizes like “best in show”, but they had an award  system ensuring that almost nobody came away empty-handed. There was a relatively objective scoring system and quilts were awarded first, second, or third place ribbons based on points earned. There were three judges and their points were averaged for the final score. Best of all, each judge provided written feedback in addition to the points. I never got better than a second place, but I was well satisfied with that given the quality of quilts. I was especially happy with knowing exactly where I had done well and where I might improve.

traditional quilt VQF

Port Kent Beauty, by Alyce Fradenburg (who is from Port Kent, NY), at VQF in 2018

Another delightful part of VQF was the champagne and chocolate reception the night before the show opened! I was able to get a ticket for my husband so he could attend,  and he enjoyed seeing the quilts in that way. It was fun to visit the vendors and see the quilts in a festive atmosphere. My only mistake was taking most of my pictures while drinking champagne one year. I’m not sure those pictures were as straight as in other years 😀

Round quilt from VQF

This quilt, made from a pattern, got a 3rd place ribbonl. The circle is on a black background, so the quilt is square, VQF 2016

Finally, there was a significant children’s’ quilt contest and I believe each child who participated received a sewing machine. I am unable to uncover details of this by going back through information about the show, but it was a special part of VQF.


This quilt involved extensive work and I think it is very “artistic”. It got a 3rd place in 2016.

The show was 45 years old and had been New England’s oldest and largest quilt show. I enjoyed it and appreciate the years in which I was able to participate. I saw many wonderful quilts there and learned a lot. My thanks to all the volunteers who worked for years to make this possible. I will miss VQF and I know many others will, too.

applique quilt

These fish by Velda Newman were SO realistic! VQF 2014

My hope is that others will take some of the best aspects of this show and continue them.

Quiltfest in Greenville

My husband and I recently went to Greenville, SC, for a few days including Mancuso Quiltfest. I didn’t take any classes, but here are a few of my favorite quilts from the show.

I was especially impressed with this cross section of a downed tree trunk:

Fallen Hero by Barbara Dahlberg

I was interested in this small crazy quilt shown above because I’m always wondering what to do with my vintage textiles, and a crazy quilt seems an appropriate use of them..

Crazy Patchwork by Denise Flynn.

I thought the following wall quilt was an especially effective use of color because it is so straightforward.

Hard Rain by Betty Colburn

And I enjoyed the way the quilting (scribbled lines) enhanced the appearance of this quilt, which I think most people would have quilted with the same old matchstick quilting:

Scribbled Lines by Sherri Lipman-McCauley

There was a special exhibit of “Fabulous Faces” by Jean Impey and Freddy Moran. I loved them ALL, but here are a couple:

And, lest you think I only admired the art quilts, here are some of my favorites among the quilts of a size to be used for warmth.

I enjoyed this scrappy variation on a design I know as Perkiomen Valley. The maker attributes this variation on the design to Bonnie Hunter, and it certainly has enough pieces to be one of hers!

Split Nine Patch, pieced and quilted by Jean Anderson

I love this unusual arrangement of colors, which the maker states is her variation on the Modern Mystery 2023 quilt hosted by Modern Quilt Studio:

New Day by Karen Foster

This one had wonderful colors, and I enjoyed the use of the “broken dishes” block for a quilt about (unbreakable) melamine:

Melted Melamine by Ben Millett

This gorgeous Celtic design quilt was large and I had trouble getting a good picture of it, but hopefully you can appreciate some of the work that went into it:

Celtic Dream by Elizabeth Ann Thackery

This quilt is made from a pattern, and I thought it was an especially effective design:

Starfield by Diane Poor. Pattern is Niagara Stars by Mara Quilt Designs.

Of course there were many more beautiful quilts! I would go to this show again, especially because there were other things we enjoyed in Greenville.

Classes With David Owen Hastings

I read something about David Owen Hastings, a graphic designer who also quilts, and wanted to take a class with him. Luckily within a few months I saw that Mancuso Show Management was having him teach over Zoom as part of their Quiltfest Virtual Schoolhouse, and I quickly signed up.

I should mention that I didn’t just randomly find the Mancuso organization; I was familiar with Quiltfest from when we lived in Eastern Pennsylvania. They’ve produced top-notch quilt shows, so I trusted them enough to try their (sort of pricey) Zoom classes.

The classes did not disappoint. Communication with the Manucso organization was seamless from registration right through the classes. (Like most folks I’ve had some Zoom experience in the past few years, which helped.) Classes started on time and, surprisingly, there were no technical difficulties! Woo!

The first class I took was Indi-Go Modern, which focused on designs in blue and white. I had planned to use my indigo-dyed fabric from a class with Debbie Maddy, but my motifs were too big for the designs David was using. I enjoyed the exercise of designing with two colors and plan to continue the exploration. Here’s my design so far, obviously unfinished:

David’s comment was, “Wow! Really minimal!” or something similar…

The nice surprise at the end of this class was that David talked about how to work out the quilting design for a piece. He even suggested possible quilting designs for some of the student works. I’ve never had a teacher take the design process that far and it was quite helpful.

The second class I took was sewn paper collage, and it was fun, too. In fact, it was far easier to have immediate success. I pasted each collage onto a blank greeting card and put them away for when someone needs a unique card.

My husband’s comment when he saw them was something like, “That would be nice if you’d trim the threads!”

And after the class I decided to weave some of my remaining paper into a collage, so here it is, too.

I recommend classes with David Owen Hastings, as his approach is different and therefore extra useful. He managed to be encouraging to everyone.

I also recommend the Mancuso Schoolhouse platform. Yes, the classes were a little expensive, but still far less than if I’d had to travel for them, and the platform worked well.


Wonky Geese

This was such a fun quilt! Quick, easy, and in some of my favorite colors 😀

It’s a great introduction to using freezer paper templates to make cutting so much easier for odd shapes.  And  BTW,  that  is  NOT  paper  piecing!!!

Quilt Stats

Name: Wonky Geese

Pattern: Monkey Business by Abbey Lane Quilts

Made by: me

Quilted by: Linda Nichols

Finished size: 52″ x 65″

Since it’s such fun, I’ll be teaching this quilt at Studio Stitch. It starts Wednesday, May 3, and runs for 3 sessions so we can get it ALL done 😀

Trying a Couple of Things

A few weeks ago two events occurred serendipitously: The final challenge for Project Quilting was “Conquer A Fear”, and a friend helped me try ruler quilting.

Practicing on a piece of fabric where mistakes can’t be seen!

In fairness, I tried ruler quilting a couple of years ago and decided it wasn’t for me–seemed like just FMQ (free-motion quilting) with complications. So maybe I was scared because I wasn’t immediately good at it?

Anyway, after some instruction from my friend I made several practice pieces, then this round quilt for Project Quilting.

It’s not perfect. Not even close. But good enough for now.

And then something else interesting happened. I had recently cut some striped binding at 30 degrees instead of 45 degrees and found that I got the same diagonal stripe effect with less of the stretchy-wobbly-crawly stuff that happens with true bias binding. It worked very well on this quilt:

So I had a little of that striped binding left and decided to use it on the Project Quilting circle. Turns out a 9″ circle really could have benefitted from fully bias (45 degree) binding.

Just look at all I learned in a 9″ circle 😀  Mission accomplished!

And one more thing…finding that striped binding reminded me that I never showed one of my favorite quilts from 2022:

Quilt Stats

Name: Rock Star Granny

Source: Rock Star Granny pattern from Crystal Manning, available here

Finished size: 62″ x 62″ (smaller than the pattern size)

Made by: me

Quilted by: Linda Nichols

Up Next: The 25 Year Quilt

I recently decided to make the Postcard from Sweden quilt, which I’ve admired for some time.

The photo above is from the front of the pattern.

I had to search for the pattern, which has always been free courtesy of the designer, Kelly Liddle. I’d like to link you to her, but I can’t find her except on Instagram (@jeliquilts). Anyway, the pattern is now available free for download from Stash Fabrics, here.

I have an extensive stash because, until recently, we lived in a rural area where the nearest “local” quilt shop was at least 45 minutes away. I gathered all 36 colors required for the top from stash!

This picture shows the first 15, so there was quite a stack by the time I had all 36 on the table! This is a 25 year quilt because that’s the period of time over which I’ve collected this stash.

For a few fabrics I had to substitute other choices that were not quite solid.

And even then it sometimes took more than one fabric to get all I needed of an unusual color.

And several of the fabrics had been cut long ago for unremembered projects!

But eventually, the huge stack of fabrics was reduced to a small stack of 6″ strips and the remaining fabrics were put back where they belong.

That was a full day of pressing, cutting, and folding.

I made a few fun discoveries along the way.

First, a couple of the fabrics seem to be poly-cotton blends. They are from before “modern” quilting came along, meaning that only the Amish and Gwen Marston were using a lot of solids, so I had trouble finding solids in the stores. Much of what I did find in fabric shops (which at the time had a lot of clothing fabric) was poly-cotton blend, and I took what I could get. So there’s some poly-cotton fabric in the stash and that will be used in the quilt.

Second, there were solids from several different fabric companies, now that everybody has their own line.

Finally, some fabrics were prewashed and some were not. There’s a whole story there, but I’ll spare you!

I’ve cut those strips into squares and paired them up ready to make HSTs, so progress has been made!

With regard to that stack, I didn’t completely follow the pattern (surprise!). There are excruciatingly precise instructions to enable the quilter to reproduce the original exactly, but I don’t intend to do that. I paired up some colors the way the pattern suggested and did what I wanted with the rest. We’ll see how that works out.

Gathering the fabrics was a fun review of the past 25 years of collecting, and now we can all look forward to the Postcard from Sweden quilt in the future.