Patriotic Rail Fence – Tutorial

There’s nothing better to start this GO!™ for a Star QOV Challenge than a Rail Fence quilt. It’s a great quilt for men or women, it’s not complicated, and it’s a beautiful quilt. Although it’s not possible to make all of the quilts that I want to show you during this Challenge, with my trusty EQ7, you will be able to see the possibilities.

You will find written instructions for completion of this quilt with a finished size of 58 x 70″ which meets the criteria for the QOV Challenge and is a very do-able project. Here’s the EQ7 rendering of the quilt. If you make this as a top or a complete quilt for the Challenge, please take a photo and send it to me so I can post it here.

Rail Fence, Finished Size: 58x70"

Block Size: 6 inches

Quilts of Valor (QOV) Challenge – Ideas for Layouts

Are you getting excited about the QOV Challenge? I have already started thinking about possible quilt layouts. There are minimum and maximum sizes listed in the guidelines, so I pulled out my trusty EQ7 and started playing around. The minimum and maximum sizes for the quilts are:

Minimum Size: 55 x 65 inches

Maximum Size: 72 x 90 inches

Points for the Challenge giveaways are awarded by points calculated based on a 12 inch finished block size. The reason for that is that if you don’t make a complete quilt top, you may still enter by submitting quilt block(s) that are 12-1/2 inches unfinished. If you are making a complete quilt top or finished quilt, it can be made with any size block you choose.

Here are some possibilities if you choose to make 12 inch finished blocks.

Layout 5 x 6 blocks, 12 inch block


Layout 3 x 4 blocks, 12 inch block


Layout 4 x 5 blocks, 12 inch block

Wednesday projects

Just a little update on what’s going on in my workroom. I’ve been working on this t-shirt quilt for over a month now. Part of the long time was that I had to wait for backing fabric that I ordered. But I’ll tell you some of the ups and downs in the construction of this quilt. Here’s a photo of the quilt before quilting.

There were only six t-shirts so the customer had Spoonflower print some of the school logos onto knit fabric. The printed fabric was wonderful. And the cost was very reasonable. The knit fabric they used was a high quality, and I was able to fuse and zigzag the logos into blank areas of the existing t-shirts. I used red and blue which are the school colors, and the customer helped design the borders. I love this design as it is very geometric and the quilt is for a scientist/teacher.

Because of the dark color on the front, a dark color was chosen for the backing. I ordered a couple of different fabrics, but in the end chose to use a Fusions dark blue print. I had used a black Fusions on the back of a table runner a couple of Christmases ago and found that because it is not a yarn-dyed fabric that little white spots show in many places where the needle comes through. This is not bearding of the batting, but just the nature of longarm machine quilting. I use a “smaller” needle (size 18), but this still happens. I know that this will disappear after the quilt has been washed a couple of times, but it bothers me to give this back to a customer. The lesson I learned is that I will only use yarn-dyed dark backings in the future. Kona cotton comes to mind – as I think this will work well.

As for batting, ideally for a dark backing one would use dark batting. However, with the white shirts on the front, this was definitely not advisable. And then the thread question came up. For t-shirt quilts, I always use Monopoly by Superior Threads. It is a very, very fine monofilament made of polyester. This seems to me to be a better selection than using a nylon thread as polyester is so very durable. In the bobbin I used Aurifil Mako50 dark blue to match the backing. Normally thread tension is not a problem for me, but with this quilt it was a problem throughout the entire quilt. Little dark dots showed up randomly on the front of the quilt. I do believe that washing this quilt will seat those threads in the batting and all will be well, but it was very frustrating to one who normally has very few issues with thread tension. There was one little section that I have removed the threads and will put the quilt back on the frame and restitch that area.

As always I cut the sashing strips with my Accuquilt GO, and I used EQ7 for the layout. I love being able to take digital photos, import them into EQ7 and layout t-shirt quilts exactly the way they will turn out.

It’s a beautiful quilt – but not “easy as pie” this time.


St. Pat’s Day Winner

Drumroll – and we do have a winner–Linda E in Arizona is the winner of the hearts, and I can’t wait to see what she does with them. There were 146 total comments and wonderful suggestions for using the hearts. Linda wants to use them for charity quilts for her guild’s project for women with cancer. I think that’s a great idea. They will look great alone or intermixed with blocks of color. Linda, I’ll be emailing you today to let you know and to get your full mailing address. And I want to thank everyone for visiting and commenting.


Have you wondered where I’ve been the past week or two? Things have been quiet here–well at least on the blog, but not in my life. Two weeks ago today, my husband and I left to visit one of our two new grandsons–this one in Ohio. There are a couple of ways for us to get to Ohio from NC, but this time we decided to take the scenic route through western NC and then up through Lexington, Kentucky. We have a 2012 Subaru Outback which has been a car that my husband has wanted forever–and I wasn’t thrilled about having a Subaru. But when we were car shopping last December, I drove the new Outback, and it was completely different than the ones we had seen a couple of years ago. So, we became owners of a new Outback.

When we were about 20 miles into Tennessee, the engine seemed to hesitate and then all the lights on the dashboard (or almost all of them) started flashing at me. The engine light, traction control, brake, cruise control and others were flashing. So, I slowed down and pulled over. To make a long story short–this is the 2012 version of the engine light warning when the gas cap isn’t replaced properly. But neither the Subaru call center nor the Subaru dealerships in NC or Knoxville knew that. Subaru towed our car to Knoxville and put us up for the night in a hotel. The next morning, they reset the warning lights, replaced the gas cap, and we were on our way. I was sorry that we missed that time with our daughter, the new baby and the rest of her family; but I’m glad my new Subaru works just fine now. It was pretty scary, but with the hotspot on my telephone, we were able to go on the internet and deal with the problem in a very lightly populated area. How things have changed in the last few years. And Subaru has been wonderful about the whole thing. Our only expense was our time.

And just to brighten your Monday, here’s an adorable photo of the other grandson. He’s such a smiler–doesn’t that make you want to smile? Happy Monday!

GO! for a Star QOV Blog Hop

One of the Quilts of Valor coordinators, Tink Linhart and I have worked with Accuquilt and Aurifil and are having a QOV Challenge during April and May. Information about this Challenge is listed below. But to be very concise – our goal is to challenge as many quilters as possible to make a QOV, whether it be a set of blocks, a quilt top, or a completed quilt – and submit it by May 31 so that it can be given to an active duty service member or Veteran who has served in a war zone.

We are having a blog hop April 2 – 6 to kick off this challenge and will have some great prizes for giveaways. We’d like to inspire as many quilters as possible to join us. So mark your calendars for the blog hop and mark your calendars for time to make a quilt.

And there will be prizes for those who complete quilts for the Challenge including Aurifil thread, fabric, and the grand prize is an Accuquilt GO!™ Baby and five dies of the winner’s choice.

QOV Blog Hop Dates: April 2-6 – see a list of featured bloggers here

QOV Challenge Dates: April 1 – May 31 – see more information here

I will be blogging from April through May about Star blocks and will be showing you lots of quilts made with stars. I hope you will send me some photos of your quilts too so that we can create a whole gallery of star quilts.

If you’re a blogger, please grab the blog button on the right and add it to your blog to promote awareness.



Happy St. Patrick’s Day – and Join the Blog Hop Party

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

The Quilting Gallery is sponsoring a blog hop party with a giveaway at every blog. On March 17, click the link above to see the list of all the participating blogs and join the hop.

If this is your first visit here, I’ll tell you a little about me. I love quilting and what I love most about it is the ability to constantly challenge myself and others to try new ways to make quilts and to do it better. One of my favorite tools is a die cutting system. But I like Electric Quilt software and other really cool, new tools that are on the market. Click on the free stuff tab above to see some of the patterns and tips for using these tools.

And, what is a blog hop without a giveaway. I have used my Accuquilt GO!™ to cut 36 beautiful 4″ hearts. Each one already has fusible on the back and is ready to be used for quilt blocks or other projects. These would look great appliqued onto potholders, placemats, table runners, aprons, little dresses for little girls–and a thousand other things.

To win this set of hearts, please leave a comment on this blog and tell me how you would use them if they were yours.


Thanks for your visit.




JaneVille: Stitch Ritual

You just have to see this.  Jane LaFazio does some wonderful art quilts and this one is spectacular. Head on over to JaneVille: Stitch Ritual and take a look at her work. Here’s a sample closeup of the stitching – and there are so many beautiful pictures of this quilt in her post.

Stitch Ritual ~ detail

Baby Bibs

Baby bibs were on the agenda earlier this week. One of the new babies spits up a lot and so I thought an extra bib or two might be useful. Of course you can buy a six-pack of them at Walmart for almost nothing, but they’re definitely not as cute as these. I used a pattern from Embroidery Library for the bib itself as well as the St. Patrick’s Day embroidery. My daughter suggested that they could be cut a little narrower for an infant bib, so will try to make a couple that are infant-sized. The top fabric is flannel and then each has a batik backing. They would also work well with a flannel layer in the middle as an absorbent layer and quilter’s cotton on the top layer. This was fun – and a great break from quilting.

Baby Bibs

Reminder to turn iron off

Have you ever left the house and come back to find that you left the iron on? Nowadays, most irons have automatic off settings. However, even in automatic off, the iron is still in standby mode. And in standby mode you are still using power and still have the danger of a fire from an unattended iron.

There’s a little trick that I use to be sure my iron is turned completely off before I leave the house or before I go to sleep at night. And this works especially well with something like a mini iron which is so easy to forget. I plug the iron and a small lamp into a power strip and turn all three of them to the on position. Then, when I’m ready to turn the iron completely off and leave the room, I use the switch on the power strip. If I forget and leave the iron on, the lamp is also on and it’s easy to see that because of the light in the room. I don’t even have to go back into the room to look directly at the iron because I can tell whether it’s on by whether the light is on.

On other fronts – what a busy week this has been. I’ve had dentist appointments and visited with friends, had doctor appointments with Ezri, and babysat one of the new babies. Ezri is so proud of her new baby brother. And she got a great report at the doctor’s office this week and has grown an inch in the last four months. Her growth slowed to almost nothing for the year after her third surgery, so it’s nice to see her getting taller again. Her teacher says she is making great progress in pre-school, and she is becoming very social. We couldn’t be more pleased.

And my Mom is doing well, although getting weaker and sleeping/resting more every day. She is up for meals but back into bed to rest for most of the day. She actually got out of the house for a church event last Saturday. The Hospice nurse assured her that it was fine to go out if she felt like it. We’re going to try to get the new baby, Ezri and the rest of the family over for a visit in the next few days.