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.

Special Quilts for Special Children

This is my day in the “It’s All About the Kids” blog hop, and you can read on to find out about a special giveaway by the Fat Quarter Shop and about opportunities for giving quilts to special children.Giving quilts is dear to my heart because as many of you know, our oldest granddaughter was born with a very rare and large brain tumor. She has had four delicate brain surgeries to remove parts of this tumor. Thus over the past few years we have spent weeks in the St. Joseph’s pediatric intensive care unit in Phoenix, AZ. One of the most wonderful things that happened to us during each hospitalization was receiving a quilt from the AZ Blankets 4 Kids Organization. These quilts were simply and well-made, they were colorful and bright, and they truly lifted our spirits and those of others in the ICU.

Because of this, I have been working on digitizing a center block for a child’s quilt. Paper dolls are one of my favorite things and this paper doll pattern is from my mother. The design isn’t finished yet–this is my first iteration of it, but it’s good enough to go into the center of a quilt. And I can border it with simple squares or flying geese or star blocks to make it just the right size for a child.

Paper Dolls Center Block

Paper Dolls Center Block

This is a work in progress, but here are two possibilities of ways to use this center block for a child’s quilt.

child quilt2 42x42

child quilt 42x42

And here is an example of extra embroidery blocks used in a child’s quilt and following that, a picture of novelty fabric used in a child’s quilt.

IMG_5900_0017 (Custom)

IMG_5901_0018 (Custom)

Novelty fabrics are really fun to use. And the nice thing is that you can get a single panel or a book panel print for less than $10.00. It only takes some sashing or additional borders to make it just the right size.




How can you get a quilt to a special child?

While I am most familiar with AZ Blankets 4 Kids, other organizations that come to mind are Project Linus and Quilts for Kids. And there are many local organizations and local hospitals who will welcome your contributions of quilts. At your local hospital, contact the Volunteer Services Department or the Director of Nursing for the Hospital.

What is the best size quilt to make?

In general, most organizations ask for quilts that are approximately 38-40 inches wide and 42-48 inches long for toddlers and children. However, as you read the requests from the different groups, you will see that there are also real needs for quilts for teens. A quilt for a teen should be slightly larger (lap quilt size), approximately 40-45 inches by 56-62 inches. There are also special requests for quilts for boys. As the grandmother of five grandsons, I can unequivocally state that boys love quilts.

The AZ Blankets 4 Kids organization lists the following recommended sizes:

  • Infant – 38-40 inches square
  • Toddler – 38 x 44 inches to 40 x 46 inches
  • Child – 40 x 48 inches
  • Teen – 40 x 56 inches to 42 x 60 inches

What fabric and batting should be used?

Fabric: My recommendation is that you use quilt shop quality fabric because you will find that it is softer and more durable. Flannel quilts are particularly soft, but it is important to prewash the fabrics to assure all shrinkage is accounted for before cutting and stitching. If you have novelty prints or bright colors or sherbet colors, these are all very cheerful for children and teens. And for boys–dinosaurs, transportation/construction vehicles of all kinds, and Superheroes are especially welcome.

Batting: A low loft cotton, cotton/poly blend, or a good quality polyester batting are all excellent choices. A high loft batting can be difficult to quilt and difficult to manage with all the tubes and equipment that are around a child in the hospital.

How should a child’s quilt be quilted? Can I tie the quilt?

These quilts can be quilted on the machine using a walking foot and stitching horizontally and vertically or cross- hatching the quilt. They can be quilted using your domestic machine and free-motion quilting or with a longarm machine. It is important that they be quilted with a medium all-over design so that they can be washed and cleaned.

And yes, tied quilts are just fine. Be sure to use good embroidery floss for tying and space the ties in a 3-4 inch grid across the quilt.

What are the best patterns for a child’s quilt?

Each of the sites listed above share free patterns. However, as a quilter you all have favorite patterns that you love. Simple traditional patterns like rail fence, bricks, strips, and four and nine-patch blocks are favorites. Simple stars and pinwheels are also wonderful patterns for children’s quilts. And another quick and easy quilt to make is to use orphan blocks. Do you have extra blocks leftover from other quilts you have made? Why not put them together with sashing and borders to create a sampler quilt? And there are many free patterns in the links on this blog that can be modified in size and fabric to make quilts for children.

One of my favorite books for children’s quilts is the Tuck Me In book from the Editors and Contributors of Quiltmaker Magazine. What are your favorite children’s quilt books? And recently SewCalGal wrote a review of the Nap and Nod children’s quilts book.

Should I wash the quilt before donating it?

I like to wash quilts for children before I send them. I think it is a personal preference, but somehow it makes me feel better to know that the quilt is nice and clean and the fabric and batting are “softer” because of washing.

 GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!   YAY!!!!!!!!!!

And we would like to thank The Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring a $25.00 gift certificate giveaway. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post before Sunday, November 2 to be entered into this giveaway. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, November 3.


 You can find the Fat Quarter Shop at:



It’s All About the Kids Blog Hop

Do you love children’s quilts as much as I do? Maybe it’s the child in me, but I love the bright colors and the whimsical designs. They remind us of such simpler times. SewCalGal is sponsoring a great blog hop this week–which I will contribute to later in the week–and I think you’ll find some inspiration and fun things to do with children and for children.

Microsoft Word - Story Elements Posters.doc


Monday, October 27th

Tuesday, October 28th

Wednesday, October 29th


Thursday, October 30th

Friday, October 31st

Jacquelynne Steves, The Art of Home

Wendy Sheppard/Ivory Spring


And as a tease for what I’ll be doing later this week–stay tuned for paper (I mean fabric) dolls.

Image of paper dolls 

Snail’s Trail Take Two

Just wanted to show a couple more layouts for the Snail’s Trail block. I am sure there are many more, so as not to let a single image limit our possibilities. I can remember when I first taught my children to sew. When they looked at a pattern in the pattern book, the only thing they saw was the actual picture. It took a lot of discussion for me to convince them that they would be using fabric that they chose and making the garment in their own style.

The first image shows the block as an “economy” or “Square in a Square” block layout. The blocks are done in a positive/negative alternating arrangement. This doesn’t look like a Snail’s Trail at all, but the cut pieces are the same.

Snail's Trail

And this is a fun layout and requires two different blocks that are mirror images of each other as well as particular attention to color layout. Snail's Trail2

Do you have a favorite layout for the Snail’s Trail block? 

Snail’s Trail Quilt

The Snail’s Trail is one of my favorite quilt blocks. Here are some layout options as well as the dies needed to cut it with the new BOB die or with the alternate individual dies.  Yesterday’s blog on AccuQuilt features the Snail’s Trail block. While they use a new BOB die and the new GO! Big die cutter, some of us already have dies for the AccuQuilt GO! that will make this quilt with just a little more effort until we save our pennies for the newest tool. If you love the pattern as much as I do, you may want to go ahead and make a block or two. There are cutting instructions using alternate dies shown below. The AccuQuilt GO! quilt pattern is a free download.

Here are a couple of additional layouts besides the one that is shown on the AccuQuilt blog. These layouts turn the blocks so that the monkey wrenches interlock. The large triangle on the outside would be a great place to use an allover novelty print.

Snail's Trail Layout 1Snail's Trail Layout 2


I drew the block in EQ7 and printed the rotary cutting instructions and added the die cutters needed in red to the instructions. Click on either page below to download the pdf version.

Snail's Trail Rotary 1Snail's Trail Rotary_Page_2 

Quilting Recap

Does it seem that blogging is on the back burner? I think about it every day, but seems that life is just as hectic as it was before I retired. We fill the spaces. There are six grandchildren now and another one on the way. While only three of them live nearby, they all have a pretty high priority on my to do list.

Yesterday 2 year old BO played with the buttons on the front of the dishwasher–they all light up when you push them–and the dishwasher no longer works. We called tech support, and they couldn’t help, so it means waiting until a repairman can come to fix it. Fortunately, it’s still under warranty, so there will be no cost. The question is: was it the combination of buttons he pushed, or would it have happened anyway? Who knows, but children sure do keep us on our toes. Once the dishwasher is repaired, we will use the child lock button for sure. However, it only makes one wonder how long it will take him to figure out how to disable that.

And why is the dishwasher situation significant to quilting? Well, since hubby does all the dishes, it means I’ll be helping with the dishwashing until it’s fixed.

But quilting has occurred (not in the past two weeks) but in the weeks before that, so here are some snapshots of things that have been finished. This first quilt is just lovely. The customer did not want to pay for custom, and I wasn’t willing to do custom for free, so I did an edge to edge of one of my own designs. This is called Tilt A Whirl and is one of my all-time favorites. I can’t think of a prettier edge to edge for a quilt with large open spaces.

IMG_5915_0015 (Custom)


And this quilt is one that Norma sent me to quilt. I absolutely love the colors on this one.

IMG_5902_0019 (Custom)

And these three are quilts that I sent to AZ Blankets 4 Kids. As I’ve mentioned before, they provided quilts for us when Ezri had her surgeries in Phoenix at Barrow Neurological Institute / St. Joseph’s Hospital, and this is my way of giving back. Sherry pieced the butterfly quilts and Norma pieced three Teddy Bear quilts (only one is pictured). They’re all beautiful. The photos of these last three don’t have enough light to show the beautiful bright colors as well as the real thing. They are so beautiful and will be loved I’m sure.

IMG_5899_0016 (Custom) IMG_5900_0017 (Custom) IMG_5901_0018 (Custom)


Favorite AccuQuilt BOB Blog Hop: Rob Peter to Pay Paul


This blog hop has been so much fun. I love seeing what everyone has done with these quilt blocks–And today is my day. Curved blocks are always a challenge, and also one of my favorites. With curves it seems there are fewer seams, simpler blocks, and endless design opportunities. The block I chose is Rob Peter to Pay Paul. It is sometimes called Orange Peel. This turned out to be the perfect opportunity to make gifts for upcoming events and holidays. RPPP packaging

This is the AccuQuilt BOB Die set for this block. It consists of two shapes, a center and a half melon. One of the nicest things about this block is that while there are curves on the inside, it is stitched into a square block and can be set on point or horizontally. The challenging part of this block was not piecing it, but finding the perfect combination of connecting the two shapes to get a perfect 7 inch finished block. While the points at the apex of the curve are always matched, I tried easing the concave and convex curves into each other a couple of different ways. The final and best solution was a partial seam approach.

And to be fair, my way is not the ONLY way. There are other ways to stitch this block together–I used fabric basting glue, but some actually stitch it without pins or glue–give it a try and see what works best for you.

This video demonstrates how I pieced this block.

AccuQuilt is offering this free pattern for a pillow topper during the blog hop. Click on the picture below and it will take you to their website where you can download the pattern. free pattern


I took inspiration from Ebony Love’s Studio Quilt Along to make this beautiful combination using the Rob Peter to Pay Paul quilt blocks. It was fun to mix up the colors.RPPP-flower


This is a Christmas quilt that I started. This is so pretty in the classic red and white. RPPP-red and white


And here are a couple of fun virtual quilts that I created with Electric Quilt software. As I said, the possibilities are endless. The first is another red and white with a negative block in the center. The second has a border around each individual block. Virtual quilt 01 virtual quilt 02 Now I really must get back to stitching–this is to much fun. Do you like curved piecing? Have you made a Rob Peter to Pay Paul / Orange Peel quilt?

And just in case you’ve forgotten – here are the participants:

August 18th – Samplings from a Blue Ribbon Girl – GO! Flowering Snowball

August 19th – Strip Quilter – GO! Ohio Star
August 20th – Freemotion by the River – GO! Log Cabin
August 21st – A Quilting Life – GO! Dresden Plates
August 22nd – Pleasant Home – GO! Blazing Star
August 23rd – Living Water Quilter – GO! Hunter Star
August 24th – Ray’s Sew Crafty – GO! Double Wedding Ring
August 25th – Blue Feather Quilt Studio – GO! Rob Peter to Pay Paul
August 26th – One Stitch at a Time – GO! Double Wedding Ring
August 27th – Beaquilter – GO! Log Cabin
August 28th – Sew Incredibly Crazy – GO! Rob Peter to Pay Paul
August 29th – Sew Fresh Quilts – GO! Ohio Star 

AccuQuilt GO!™ BOB Blog Hop this week and next

AccuQuilt has categorized some existing dies and added more dies that they’re calling BOB or Block on Board. I love the idea of this because it means that you can purchase a single die and all the shapes are on one or two boards. It eliminates the need for figuring out what fits. It also assures that special shapes like the Hunter Star, Wedding Ring, Snowball and others can be easily cut into blocks to finish a quilt beginning to end. It really eliminates the tedious cutting process and gives more time for finding new and creative ways to design quilts with these blocks.

And this blog hop has started out with a bang with the post yesterday from a Blue Ribbon Girl’s blog showing how to combine the Flowering Snowball with the applique Round Flower. My day is next Monday with Rob Peter to Pay Paul. I’m working on a Christmas project–and a few others as always. Rob Peter to Pay Paul (also called Orange Peel) is the most fun curved block to piece–and so easy to cut. Can’t wait to show you what I’m making.


August 18th – Samplings from a Blue Ribbon Girl – GO! Flowering Snowball

August 19th – Strip Quilter – GO! Ohio Star
August 20th – Freemotion by the River – GO! Log Cabin
August 21st – A Quilting Life – GO! Dresden Plates
August 22nd – Pleasant Home – GO! Blazing Star
August 23rd – Living Water Quilter – GO! Hunter Star
August 24th – Ray’s Sew Crafty – GO! Double Wedding Ring
August 25th – Blue Feather Quilt Studio – GO! Rob Peter to Pay Paul
August 26th – One Stitch at a Time – GO! Double Wedding Ring
August 27th – Beaquilter – GO! Log Cabin
August 28th – Sew Incredibly Crazy – GO! Rob Peter to Pay Paul
August 29th – Sew Fresh Quilts – GO! Ohio Star 

Cute Owl Machine Embroidery Applique

The new owl die that is available from JoAnn’s for the AccuQuilt GO!™ die cutter is as cute as can be, and I couldn’t resist digitizing a simple machine embroidery applique design for it. AccuQuilt agreed to share it on their website as a free download, and I want to share that link with you. You are going to have so much fun stitching this owl.

I would love to see what fun projects you make with this owl. Click on the owl and it will take you to the AccuQuilt website. (I know it says “Backordered”, but don’t let that stop you–you can download the embroidery anyway).


Mr. Potato Head and more

Today’s post is about using the Brother Scan N Cut and novelty fabric motifs. The entire post can be found at a new blog area that I created that is specifically for projects and tutorials using/creating precut shapes and machine embroidery applique. I have added a link on the menu bar to that new blog area for those of you who are interested in machine embroidery, digitizing applique, and have either a die cutting system or one of the electronic cutters like the Silhouette Cameo or Brother Scan n Cut.

Recently I gave a talk at Electric City Quilters Guild in Anderson, SC. One of the members there showed me a beautiful quilt she made for her granddaughter using a Princess novelty fabric. She cut the motifs out and appliqued them onto the blocks. I think this could very loosely be called broderie perse. While the motifs are not fussy cut like real broderie perse, it is a patterned motif appliqued to a background.

On my way home I stopped at Mary Jo’s and happened to see an adorable Mr. Potato Head fabric on the sale table. This was the perfect opportunity to try to fussy cut the motifs with the Brother Scan N Cut.

More . . .


Antique Quilt Treasure

Yesterday was a most challenging and successful adventure in quilting an antique quilt. When I got the top I knew it had issues like fragile fabric and seams that had pulled apart. I also knew that it was set on point and that all the setting triangles had bias edges that curved outard. But I didn’t realize that it was more than five inches longer along the edges than it was in the middle. The original plan was to add borders to straighten up those setting triangles and repair all the seams that had piled apart. This is a hand pieced top.

Well–the best laid plans of mice and men. . . I called the quilt owner and told her it was much more work and would be much more expensive to finish than my original quote. She gave me the go-ahead and I proceeded. I loaded the back and backing and gently laid the top on the frame. With lots of pins and gathering the edges with hand basting I got the whole quilt flat against the back and machine basted. Here are pics of the before and after. These are not pics of the same areas because I only took pics near the end of the basting and I haven’t gotten there with the quilting.

I am using a quilting design of my own called ‘Kes’ as I knew it would give good stabilization and even coverage with a neutral design that would be fitting for any era.

Do you think this looks like a “modern” quilt with the stars set inside chevrons?

Before basting

Before basting


After basting and quilting

After basting and quilting