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


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


Shirley’s Quilt

Sherry sent me photos of a quilt she finished for Shirley, one of the members of our Slap Happy Quilters’ guild. Below are instructions for making this quilt as well as a photo of the members of the SHQ holding the quilt at the Christmas gathering. Shirley was not well enough to attend–and our prayers go out to her and her family. As you can see from the quilt, she has a beautiful sense of style and quilting.

Finished Size: 39 x 61 inches.

Medium fabric: Cut 55 bricks 3 1/2” x 6 1/2”.

If you are using yardage, cut 5 strips 6-1/2” across the width of fabric (WOF).

Rotary Cutting: Layer 6-1/2” strips and cut across them at 3-1/2” to get 55 bricks.

Accuquilt Cutting: Fanfold 6-1/2” strips across the 3-1/2” die and cut.

Light fabric: Cut 55 bricks 3-1/2” x 3”.

If you are using yardage, cut 5 strips 3” across the WOF.

Rotary Cutting:  Layer 3” strips and cut across them at 3-1/2” to get 55 pieces.

Accuquilt Cutting: Fanfold 3” strips across the 3-1/2” die and cut.

Sashing and borders: Cut 380 inches 3-1/2” wide.  These strips can be cut across the width of fabric or on the lengthwise grain.

Join these strips with a 45 degree angle seam by placing ends of strips at a right angle and stitching corner to corner.

Assembly: Sew light to medium as shown. Arrange 11 patches as shown and sew into a row.


Make 5 rows. Place sashing in between rows and add borders.

If you cut your sashing strips across the width of fabric remember that there is some ‘stretch’ associated with the grain across the width and lay the sashing strips flat across the rows and pin before stitching.



Slap Happy Quilter’s Guild, Christmas 2013


Quilter’s Bee Giving – Countdown to Dec 15

This is just a reminder that there are only five more days to give to four good causes and at the same time, you can win prizes or place a bid at the auction. This is also a reminder that there are only five more days for the 30% off, 30% to Quilter’s Bee Giving at my embroidery shop. You can pick up some beautiful machine embroidery designs at a very good discount and give to a worthy charity at the same time. Be sure to enter the code: SALE in the cart at checkout for your discount.

Just to entice your appetite for machine embroidery, here are some pics of recent designs:

gfg01 600(2) santa-sleigh SF2 sat 600 home-collage hollyx3 600


Shadowed Rail Fence Variation

Sherry has taken some scraps and made a wonderful variation on the Rail Fence. It is a beautiful design, so I am going to show you pictures and do a brief tutorial on putting the block together. The instructions are linked under Free Quilt Patterns on the right.

Here’s the finished quilt:

Shadow Rail Fence quiltShadowed Modified Rail Fence

And this is the block with cutting instructions. You can cut with a rotary cutter or use your AccuQuilt strip dies. If you use the AccuQuilt strip dies, use the 3-1/2″, 2-1/2″, and 1-1/2″. You would cut 6-1/2″ across the width of fabric and then fanfold the fabric across the die:

SRF Block Cut Instr.

Arrange your blocks as shown here or in the instructions–or play around with it and come up with your own design. These would look great set on point or in a pinwheel or converging to a center. In EQ, I played with the colors and switched the light and medium. That’s really pretty too.

Shadow Rail Fence EQ


Quilter’s Bee Giving Kickoff

Today is November 1 and the first day of the Quilter’s Bee Giving Kickoff which will run through the month of November. SewCalGal has organized this fundraiser to raise awareness and support for four different charities. We are honored that she has selected as one of those charities. This fundraiser will be a raffle with tickets at $1.00 each for some wonderful prizes.

I’d like to tell you a little about, and the reason I am so involved with it. Our granddaughter, Ezri, was born with a very large and very rare brain tumor called a hypothalamic hamartoma. It was so rare that we had never even heard of it although both my husband and I were on the faculty of the medical school for more than 20 years. And not only had we not heard of it, neither had most of the doctors. And if they did know what it was, they had never had a patient with it. This tumor is located very deep in the brain and is attached to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a control center for many things including emotions, thirst, hormone levels, temperature regulation, and other functions.

The primary symptoms of this tumor are gelastic (laughing) and dacrystic (crying) seizures and precocious puberty. These seizures are so subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) that parents often go years believing that their children are just behaving inappropriately. However, the precocious puberty cannot be mistaken and frequently is the reason children are first diagnosed. Left untreated, the seizures will progress to more serious complex and tonic clonic seizures and cognitive function becomes very impaired. Nothing is more devastating than to see a child born with normal intelligence and function decline in this way. is a volunteer based nonprofit organization founded by parents of children with hypothalamic hamartomas (HH).  Our goal is to create a single, credible source for information about the diagnosis, treatment, and support of individuals with HH. Every family touched by this rare disorder has a unique and often heart-breaking story of how they attained a correct diagnosis. Obtaining a correct diagnosis can take months and even years and often involves incorrect diagnoses. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, many families struggle with choosing an appropriate course of treatment, if one is even available. Regardless of treatment, managing the daily lives of HH patients and dealing with the long term and frequently devastating effects of HH requires ongoing information and support.”

You can read about the many efforts of this organization which include hosting a website to centralize information and provide a community forum for families; and organizing and co-sponsoring meetings which included webinar facilities so that physicians and families from around the world can participate and discuss hypothalamic hamartoma. The organization has a Medical Advisory Board of physicians from around the world who meet and advise the volunteer Board as to ways to further the purpose of the organization.

All funds that are donated go to sponsor these activities as all personnel are volunteers. In the coming weeks, I will share with you some very inspiring stories of ways this organization and the physicians who support it have made a huge difference in the lives of affected children and their families. 

Patience Corners for Quilt Angels

This weekend I started working on my quilt for the Quilt Angels project. After contemplating several ideas for a quilt that would work for a teenager as well as for a boy or a girl, I made a decision and chose the Patience Corners quilt.

This weekend I started working on my quilt for the Quilt Angels project. After contemplating several ideas for a quilt that would work for a teenager as well as for a boy or a girl, I made a decision and chose the Patience Corners quilt. This may not be the correct name for this quilt, but that is what my Mother always called this design that is offset with sashing on two sides. Here’s what was accomplished this weekend.

These 5 inch blocks have been collecting in The Stash for some time. They are not all sized accurately as some come from swaps, some from rotary cutting, and some from die cutting. You’ll see as we go through this what I did to remedy that. It’s quite a collection isn’t it?

For a quilt top that is 48″ x 60″ before borders, I needed 80 5″ squares.

Collection of 5 inch squares (nickels)
Collection of 5 inch squares (nickels)

Each block will have sashing on two sides at 90 degree angles so two strips of sashing for each block are needed:

  • 80 strips 2-1/2 x 5″
  • 80 strips 2-1/2 x 7″.

Cut the sashing:

The yield of 2-1/2″ strips across the width of fabric is 16 strips.

80  / 16 = 5 cuts across the width of fabric (WOF).

Using a rotary cutter, cut 5 each 5″ x WOF and 5 each 7″ x WOF.

Then fanfold these across the 2-1/2″ AccuQuilt GO strip cutter die and this is the result.

Set of 80 sashing strips. Cutting time=20 minutes
Set of 80 sashing strips. Cutting time=20 minutes


Stitch the sashing to two sides of the squares. The sashing has to go either clockwise or counterclockwise on all the blocks. The best way to do this is to stitch all on one side and then go back and stitch the second strip with all the blocks turned exactly the same way.  

Pieced Blocks Ready to Press
Pieced Blocks Ready to Press

Square and size the blocks. After pressing, the realization that they really weren’t all the same size began to sink in. I knew this while I was piecing as the long strip was sometimes a bit longer. This was a dilemma for me, being partial to flat, square, quilt tops. Sizing with the rotary cutter (very time consuming) was an option. Not doing anything and seeing what happened was also an option. I decided to try something new and see if sizing the squares with the 6-1/2″ die would work. And it did–beautifully.

Trimming Blocks to Size Using 6" Square Die
Trimming Blocks to Size Using 6″ Square Die

It was just a matter of stacking four squares – rotating each one a quarter of a turn so the seams would not be too thick for the cutter and running it through the cutter.

And voila – enough blocks for a quilt top.

Sixty squares ready to make into a quilt top.
Eighty squares ready to make into a quilt top.

After these were done, four squares were pieced together into a “block” and then I arranged them on the design wall. Can’t wait to get these stitched together, bordered, and quilted. On the wall, the colors are so bright and pretty, hopefully the final pics will show how cheerful this quilt is.


Here’s the time I spent:

Cut sash: 20 minutes

Piecing Squares: 1-1/2 hours

Pressing and Squaring Blocks: 35 minutes

And then I forgot to write down how much time I spent making 80 squares into 20 blocks, but it wasn’t more than an hour. 

Quilter’s Bee Giving Hosted by SewCalGal

SewCalGal is hosting a Quilter’s Bee Giving fundraiser beginning November 1 and last through the month. I am participating in that to raise funds for As many of you know, our oldest granddaughter, Ezri– who is in first grade this year, was born with a 3.5 cm hypothalamic hamartoma (HH). This is a very rare brain tumor which causes gelastic (laughing) and dacrystic (crying) seizures. When left untreated, it causes worsening with the development of tonic clonic seizures as well as cognitive decline.


Because the tumor is so rare, most doctors never see it in all their years of practice. It is a very complicated disorder, even after the brain tumor has been removed. Thus,’s mission is to educate the health care community, find the best possible medical care for those affected, and provide support to parents and individuals who are dealing with this disorder.

Ezri had brain surgery four times between the ages of two and four. This is a very complicated surgery in a part of the brain that is very difficult to access. We traveled to Phoenix for surgery with the one surgeon in the US who specializes in HH surgery and have been very blessed that Ezri has done so well. She is now a very self-confident, happy first grader.

Ezri and her sister, Kes
Ezri and her sister, Kes

Because of the support we have received, we want to give back and help others who are going through this difficult time. You can read more stories about children who are on this journey and the ups and downs of life with HH at the Ezri’s story is there too. 

Planning a New Quilt

I am going to make two quilts in the next couple of weeks. One is for Gene Black’s Quilt Angels that provides quilts to young people who are in a shelter situation. The second is a quilt for the mother of my daughter’s friend Katie. Katie’s Mom has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and will be having surgery and chemotherapy beginning right away. I am asking your suggestions for Katie’s Mom’s quilt.

Katie and Em both thought pink would be the right color. And they thought the grandchildren could make handprints with paint on fabric to be part of the quilt. My suggestion was that they do the handprints on paper and let me make jpgs of them to print on fabric as that would hold up better than paint so the quilt can be machine washed.

This quilt will be a combination of blocks that include the blocks from the grandchildren. I have the wordcloud that I put on the mug rugs and the free breast cancer awareness ribbons embroidery. Here are some links to quilts I found:

This is a very nice quilt with pink ribbons.

And here’s a Pinterest board with lots of eye candy for pink ribbon quilts. 

And this is a search of all of Pinterest for breast cancer quilts.

What suggestions do you have for the quilt for Katie’s Mom?