Custom Quilts · Long Arm Quilting

Scrap Happy!



One of my favorite types of quilts to make are scrap quilts. I love using up the little bits left over from other projects – and it’s a glimpse back to the days of our quilty grandmothers who made scrap quilts because they had to. I have several quilts my maternal grandmother made, and when my mother and one of my cousins looks at those quilts they say, “I remember that fabric, it was a pair of my pajamas!” or “That one was a little dress I wore to school!” I love those memories sewn into a quilt – so much warmth and love all in one place. And even though they were using whatever left over fabric they had, and were making a utilitarian blanket – at the same time those quilters made something beautiful.

I took these photos on a bright fall morning in Georgia (notice I didn’t say cool fall morning) – the sunlight was coming in at an angle and was quite intense so the contrast in the sunshine was very dramatic – the quilting shows up well. I love the golden rod in bloom behind the fence too! Once I moved out of the direct sunlight, in the second photo, you can see the colors better.


The quilting really pops in the photo below – this is an unedited shot too. All intense light and high contrast was just from the low angle of the sun – perfect to show off all those swirls in the light areas and the continuous curves in the color areas.


Below is one shot of the full quilt – again the sun was so intense that the quilt almost glows. This is in front of my husband’s blacksmith shop – that little card trick quilt block to the right is something I painted in a class on barn quilts.

I keep my scraps in bins, sorted by color. I recently went through them, took all the smaller pieces and the irregularly shapes one and cut them into 2 1/2″ strips and 2 1/2″ squares. This gave a little bit of order to the chaos that was threatening to overwhelm me – and was keeping me from using the scraps. So now I can quickly and easily get to the fun part – actually making a quilt! I bought an AccuQuilt die cutter at my local quilt shop, The Stitchery, to help with this de-chaos-ing process – and wow, it makes short work of cutting the strips and squares!

This particular quilt needed good contrast between the light and dark fabrics, so I also got a lot of help from this little ruler (below) called the Ruby Ruler from a quilter named Blair Stocker – she has a website called Wise Craft Handmade – good stuff on there! By looking through the red, it takes away the hue and you can focus on the value of the color – making it easier to see if you’ve got good contrast between two fabrics.

I made 9 patches first, then sewed four of them together to make the bigger blocks. For this quilt, I pressed all the seams open so I could rotate all the blocks in any direction when sewing them together, and not have worry about a pressing diagram or if the seams would nest. I am normally in the “press to the dark” side of the great “Which Way Is Best To Press” debate in the quilting world, but not so firmly that I can’t see the benefit of doing it the other way sometimes. I also threw the rules out the window and used some fabrics with the wrong side showing – when dividing my stash into lights and darks, I discovered I had a lot less light fabric, so many of my little squares had to do double duty and be a medium value in one place and a light value in another. You can see in the photo below that the back side of the fabric is lighter than the front. I made myself use only fabric from my stash, so this was a good exercise in making do.


And here’s look at some of the quilting again while still on my long arm. I used Quilter’s Dream 100% cotton batting and Glide thread by Fil-Tec, which is a poly thread and my new favorite – pretty much lint free so no dust bunnies in my bobbin case and it lives up to its name and glides right through the fabric. Beautiful!

I did take some time to fussy cut some of the 2 1/2 inch squares – so cute! And well worth the few extra minutes it took. It’s fun to find them unexpectedly within the quilt.


I put this on our guest bed and I’m using my grandmother’s pillow cases with the drawn thread embroidery work as shams. I don’t normally take pictures inside – I don’t have lights or even a decent camera, so they rarely turn out good enough to post. I’m breaking my own rule this time though, because I want to show the detailed work on the pillow cases.


Thanks for reading! Happy Quilting – and always keep this in mind:



Custom Quilts · Long Arm Quilting

Exploding Star String Quilt



For a new apartment and a new chapter in life – this string quilt is for my son and his girlfriend. I love the jewel tones and graphic exploding star block. As with most string quilts, I sewed various width strips together to form strip sets. Then cut the strip sets into triangles, and sewed two triangles together to make the half square triangle blocks. I had to handle the triangles gingerly – all those bias edges! I sprayed the blocks with heavy starch to help minimize the stretch – and since I washed the quilt after it was finished, there’s no need to worry the starch will attract unwanted critters to eat holes in all my hard work!

I also made some Montana-appropriate throw pillows – lots of deer and bear out there! And the bobcat is the mascot of their alma mater, Montana State University – so of course I had to make that one! The patterns for the deer and bear are by Elizabeth Hartman and the bobcat is by Sew Fresh Quilts. Both are great designers – straight forward construction and no paper piecing, I highly recommend their patterns.

For the quilting, I did all over feathered spirals in the white areas, and some leaf spirals in the colored areas. My son is an environmentalist, so I used “Dream Green” batting from Quilter’s Dream, which is batting made using 100% recycled plastic bottles – this queen size batting kept 20 plastic bottles from the land fill. I often use this batting – it quilts beautifully and washes quite well with very little shrinkage.

Here’s a few pictures of the back – I generally try to use the same color and type of thread in the top and the bobbin, which you can see here. This makes any minor tension issues much less noticeable on the front of the quilt.

Thanks to one of our furry friends for all the help piecing strip sets – what’s a quilt without a little cat or dog hair??


Thanks for reading my blog, and Happy Quilting!


Baby Quilts · Custom Quilts

Heirloom Baby Quilt


This little baby quilt has been one of the most fun projects I’ve ever been commissioned to make! The quilt is to be a baby shower gift from the baby’s maternal grandmother, who had saved several pillow cases of her own mother’s. All the white fabric in the quilt top came from cutting apart some white pillow cases she had saved and using that in the piecing. So the new baby girl with have a quilt with some heirloom fabric from her great-grandmother – I love that idea so much, I’m going to start saving for when I have grandchildren someday.

I quilted some continuous line pumpkin seeds in the center of the quilt, and 2″ piano keys in the border. It turned out very soft and cuddly – the pillow cases and the 100% cotton fabric washed beautifully and already feel velvety and smooth so will feel snuggly for the new baby.


And the backing is two more floral cases the grandmother had that, sewn together, fit the back almost perfectly.

And to add to the fun, the grandmother had rescued an old threadbare quilt from an antique store, and wanted to make a pillow from it – so I cut out one block, with its sashing and used the pretty decorative hem from the white pillow cases for the back. The pillow is about 14″ and will be used in the nursery. So cute! I already keep my eyes peeled in antique stores for old quilts that need to be liberated – but I love this idea of finding a way to reuse them and give then new life! I’ve always been reluctant to cut into an old quilt – but why leave one all tattered in the closet, when I can cut out the good parts and revive them as a pillow or tote bag or stuffed animal or…IMG_5104

Lastly, a little monogram in one corner with the baby’s initials.

I hope the baby will cherish this little quilt as she grows up, and pass it along to her daughter or grand-daughter when the time comes.

Working on this project was quite inspiring – can’t wait to find some vintage or heirloom fabrics and quilts to make something else!