About Marjorie Busby

My blog is about helping other quilters learn to use great tools in their quilting through what I can teach and through finding other bloggers who have good information. In addition, I am a mother and grandmother. Other hobbies include any other stitchery which makes me happy at the moment. My profession is as a registered dietitian, and I have worked in clinical research for most of my career. I am now retired and enjoying every minute.

T-Shirt Quilts–cutting and stabilizer

Someone asked on Twitter last night about how to make a t-shirt quilt–try getting that into 140 characters–so I thought I’d share the process I use for making a t-shirt quilt. About 3 months ago my daughter shipped a box to me of t-shirts that she had in storage and wanted to reduce to have made into a quilt. The box sat in the middle of my office for awhile and then I sat down one night while watching TV and cut them up.

The way I cut up t-shirts is that I cut up each side and across the shoulders so that I have a whole front and back. Then I cut off the sleeves and cut out the neck. If the neckline is something like a polo or Henley shirt, I leave that in place until after the shirt has been stabilized. Later I will replace the bulky placket with some plain fabric from the tail of the shirt. Or, if there is an extra logo somewhere on the shirt, I’ll replace it with that. The shirt has to be stabilized first before doing any stitching on it.

The most important thing is to keep the fabric you’re working with larger than your finished block size of 14″. Remember that you can cut things off AFTER it’s stabilized. But it’s very hard to stabilize if it’s cut to size first. 

If the front and back both have logos, I keep both of them. If one side is completely plain, I throw it away or put it in the rag bag for those who work on cars around here. Even if the back has a small logo, it can be used in case an extra block is needed. Small shirts can have borders added. Sock tops and small logos can be combined into a single block. If there is a small logo/date on the back or front of a shirt, or a date on a sleeve, that small piece can be stabilized and stitched onto the shirt front.

My goal is to have 14″ blocks to stitch into my quilt. Here’s a picture of some of the shirts my daughter sent. One has crystals in it–that’s going to be difficult to quilt around, and she sent a pair of socks. Some of these shirts are very small so will be combined into a single block or have some border rows to bring them up to size.


Tomorrow I’ll talk about stabilizing the shirts. I use something called French Fuse which is a nylon tricot interfacing. This is also called Easy Knit interfacing. I found it on Joann’s website, but they’re out of stock. I did find it on Amazon.com–of all places–they must have everything :) When looking for this, key “knit interfacing” into the search box and you will get results.



Counting Monkeys

Do you ever make quilt blocks from book panels? I love to make children’s quilts–my grandchildren have far too many quilts–if that’s possible. There is one grandson who absolutely loves monkeys, so when I saw this panel in the AQS fabric shop I had to have it for him. The rest of the fabrics are from my stash, but I made a trade with someone who pieced the top for me. And now that the Mother’s Day quilts have been quilted for customers, I’m quilting this for that little one who is growing up much too fast and will be wanting superhero quilts instead of monkeys very soon.

The sashing strips were cut with my AccuQuilt GO. The interesting part of it was that the panel blocks were about 3/8″ shorter than they were long. That made cutting those sashing strips a bit tricky. Cutting sashing strips on the lengthwise grain is always the best way to go though, as there is much less stretch than cutting on the crossgrain. And it makes it easy to fanfold those pieces across a strip die and cut a lot of sashing strips in one pass. Having strip cutters has really changed the way I put quilts together–for the better I think.

I am quilting it with a pantograph called Monkey Jungle from Urban Elementz. I reduced the size of the design to 8 inches so the monkeys are fairly small and I have to go slow to quilt it, but it’s looking great so far.



IMG_5422-600 IMG_5419-600


Beautiful Quilt–just a peek

Today’s post is a teaser for Sherry. Finished her quilt this weekend, and it turned out beautifully. This one was a challenge in choosing a quilting design so I finally chose lines that were similar to the patterns in the batiks. The piecing is the piece de resistance on this quilt, so the quilting really needed to be less obvious. And I think that was achieved in the area of the piecing, but am not as happy that I did it edge to edge, as it might have looked nicer with a more neutral treatment in the borders–or at least a thread that matched the border fabric. However, we can second guess ourselves forever — so I have decided to be happy with it the way it is. The quilting design is called “Greener Grass” and it is one I designed several years ago based on my own freehand quilting.



Happy Easter

I hope you are having a Happy and Blessed Easter. Although it’s cloudy and wet outside, I can hear the birds chirping which means it will be a nice day. It has been a month since I’ve written a blog post and some significant things have happened in my life since the last post.

On March 31, my Mom passed away. She struggled for several years with a very difficult life after a stroke that left her paralyzed on her right side. For most of those years she lived at home in her small local community, but for six months in 2013, she lived with me. We had some good times and some difficult times in those six months. She was a quilter and always wanted to do more than she was actually physically able to do. I’m sure she’s in heaven now with all the fabric she could ever want and able to stitch everything she wants to stitch.

One of the things I have been working on in the past month has been to have CD’s made of some of my embroidery designs. These are almost ready and you may see some of them in the coming months in local quilt shops that also carry AccuQuilt GO! products.

Both of my children and their families (six grandchildren) came for my Mom’s funeral. As you know, one can never get all of the children to be still at the same time. Here are pics of the grandchildren (5 in one pic and the missing #6 in the next pic). The day after the funeral we took them all to Discovery Place in Charlotte so that they could play together and the adults could enjoy visiting too.

Discovery Place, Charlotte

Discovery Place, Charlotte

The youngest ones

The youngest ones

And this is a photo of the Koozies I have been crocheting for the grandchildren. My daughters are very particular about not drinking from plastic cups or bottles, so these Koozies will protect the table from scratches and help the little ones hold onto the jars.



And this is a butterfly from my new set of Butterflies and the Critters die.


Happy Easter to all




Happy St. Paddy’s Free Embroidery Design

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this cute little bird holding a shamrock balloon. The design set includes ART, dst, exp, hus, jef, pes. sew, vip, and vp3 files. The shapes are cut using the Silhouette Cameo, and the file set includes an svg file as well so it can be cut on any electronic cutting machine. The instructional pdf includes a pattern for the shapes so it can be stitched with a regular sewing machine using a blanket or satin stitch. Just click on the image below to download the stitch files, instructions, and pattern.



Happy Valentine’s Day – Free Download

Hope you’re having a great Valentine’s Day. I have been working on a little snail and thought you would enjoy having it to stitch. If you have an electronic craft cutter like a Silhouette Cameo or a Brother Scan n Cut, this is a perfect way to try it with machine embroidery. This embroidery design would be so cute on a baby’s bib or hand towels for the children’s bathroom.

The file set has both an svg and a dxf file so you can import the shape into the software for your machine and cut the shapes. Then all you have to do is take it to the embroidery machine and stitch.

Free Snail Download

Free Snail Download


Comfort Quilt Finishes

It seems 2014 keeps us unbelievably busy with grandchildren and family. Last weekend, all that was put aside for some time doing nothing but stitching on the machine. The quilt retreat in January made me realize how much I enjoy just sitting at the machine stitching. I spent all of Saturday piecing quilts.

This is one of the finishes from last Saturday. It is the quilt for my daughter’s friend’s mother who is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. The pattern is the Warm Wishes free pattern from Quiltmaker magazine. It is often used in the crib size for project Linus quilts. It is simply a six inch rail fence block alternated with a focus fabric block. It can be pieced in long strips –easy to cut, easy to stitch. With different color placements and widths for the rails, the quilt has many variations.

In the sunlight, the pinks on the two focus fabrics I used looked the same, but under the CFL light, the pinks are not the same.



And one of my goals for the 2014 is to make more quilts for an organization that befriended us each of the four times that Ezri had her brain surgeries. The organization is AZ Blankets 4 Kids. I will never forget the first night we were in the PICU with that tiny little girl with tubes and wires everywhere, and someone brought in a beautiful red and white lap quilt. That was the softest and most comfortable quilt and truly was a comfort quilt for that night and many nights thereafter in the hospital. And the next morning as we walked through the PICU, there were bright, beautiful quilts on every bed.

Yesterday, I sent this quilt to Arizona. It is leftover zoo animals novelty fabric. It was a piece and quilt as you go on the longarm. I loaded the backing and batting and stitched fabric strips and flipped them and stitched the next strip. IMG_5156


Red and White EQ Blog Hop

The Red and White EQ Blog Hop is only on it’s second day. Already there are the most wonderful tutorials and inspiring tips. Here are the links for the whole week.

Monday, January 27th -SewCalGal

Tuesday, January 28th -Marlene at Kissed Quilts

Wednesday, January 29th -Connie at Freemotion Quilting By The River

Thursday, January 30th -Bea at Beaquilter

Friday, January 31st -Raewyn at Love to Stitch


And if this inspires you, then please check out the Year of Red and White Challenges at SewCalGal’s Blog.

artwork year of red and white quilt challenges_edited-1


Experimenting with Strip Twist

Last weekend at Quilt Retreat Sherry and I were experimenting with Bonnie Hunter’s Strip Twist to see if we could make a quilt that she envisioned making for her son. Somehow we couldn’t get the pieces for the blocks we wanted without making a second block (and in the end a second quilt). But Monday morning, I decided to take the holiday to give it another spin. Using strips from the 2-1/2″ strip bin, this is the result. It is the Strip Twist pattern from Bonnie with the colors going from dark to light in the strip sets. When the strip sets are joined, it creates a block that goes from dark to light on one side and light to dark on the other side. When set into an on point layout, it creates this great design.



strip twist1


At quilt retreat, I almost finished this one (which is the double rail fence with 3-1/2 x 6-1/2 inch rectangles) and continued to work on it at home. It went onto the longarm on Sunday and was quilted. The binding was stitched on with the quilting machine, so I am going to finish the binding–maybe by hand while watching movies in the evening. IMG_5143


Here are some pics from quilt retreat. We had a great time.

IMG_5139 IMG_5137 IMG_5136 IMG_5135






A Quilt and a Hat

This is yesterday’s project. It was complicated only by the fact that the backing was only one inch larger all the way around than the top. After talking with the client, we decided to trim 1-1/2″ of the border all the way around. The border was originally just over 6 inches, so this left plenty of border on the quilt, and it gave me enough room to do the quilting.

The pantograph is Sumptuous by Hermione Agee. This is the second time I’ve used it, and this time I reduced the size to 5 inches. The original size is 14 inches which is much too open to suit me.

What is really funny is that my husband came in while I was quilting and said, “I thought that was your quilt”. He was remembering a blue and white quilt I made several years ago for my Mother that used exactly the same prints.

Donation Quilt for Meals on Wheels

Donation Quilt for Meals on Wheels

Back of Quilt

Back of Quilt

And here’s the hat. Last year I was knitting lots of hats and this is the one that I made for Owen. He wore it a lot. Then his Mom washed it in the machine, and the blue yarn was felted–that’s what happens when you use scraps. Besides being smaller, the hat also lost it’s stretch. I cut out the felted top and re-knitted a new top. He still wouldn’t wear it. So, I went to the yarn store (spent $30-ouch!) and got new almost matching yarn and knitted a new one. Now he likes the old one better. What can I say?

Removing the felted top

Removing the felted top

New hat almost finished

New hat almost finished