Carol’s Mandarin Express

QM scrap squadB3 Carols Mandarin ExpressQuiltmaker’s Scrap Squad is a select group of eight QM readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue and make scrappy versions to inspire you.

QMMP 130600 cover 450 Carols Mandarin Express
The featured Scrap Squad quilt in Quiltmaker’s May/June issue is Mandarin Express, below.

QMMP 130600 ROBIN 450 Carols Mandarin ExpressIt was designed by Robin Waggoner from Spokane Valley, Washington. Robin and Sandy Odeen pieced it, and Robin quilted it. The batiks are from Hoffman California Fabrics.

carolhubacek Carols Mandarin Express

Carol Hubacek from Schererville, Indiana


Today’s featured quilt is by Carol Hubacek from Schererville, Indiana. You’ll hear from Carol in her own words below.

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There was a time when I thought that replicating a Jane Stickle quilt would be a good idea. I’m not feeling that quite as strongly now, so I begin pulling fabrics from my stash of Civil War reproductions to use in Mandarin Express. I choose a beige in enough quantity to be used throughout the quilt.

IMG 0723 300x225 Carols Mandarin Express

Paper piecing triangles can lead in two directions. Option One – you’re in the zone, all is going well, and productivity is evident. Option Two – you get the size of the scrap wrong, you get the angle wrong, the silly thing decides to fold and you create pleats. Lord, give me the serenity…and let these babies increase in number.

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Not as many things go wrong with square in a square, but it would be wise to trim more carefully. Baby steps!

Who knew that retirement would be so busy? I’m in Costa Rica for nine days. We are sharing sewing and knitting ideas with some ladies near San Jose in Alajuelita and Cartago.

quilt finisher and sq2013 059 225x300 Carols Mandarin Express

Their pastor, Rev. E. Retana, invited a Mission Opportunities Short Term (MOST ministries) team to share projects and materials. The church provided housing and meals. There were blessings for everyone involved.

bth BarbshowingAlejandraVickiErikamachinemaintenance zps6889cdcc Carols Mandarin Express

Busy, busy. The list goes on. Now I have two weeks in Texas. My grandbaby is a year old.  We have a wonderful visit, a happy celebration, and are looking forward to baby brother in August. Wonder how long it will take to regain momentum on my Mandarin Express back home in Indiana?

IMG 0782 225x300 Carols Mandarin Express


I seem to have a healthy collection of pinks and browns. When was it that these kits were so inviting that I needed two?

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There should be enough choices for the Four Patches and the half-square triangles.


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Squaring up is never my favorite task, but trying to correct wonky edges by eyeballing an appropriate seam line usually results in disaster. Ask me how I know.

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I decide to ramp it up and set it on point.


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The negative spaces in this layout are small and awkward for quiting individually, so I decide to divide the center into nine equal squares for quilting purposes, completely ignoring blocks and seam lines.

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I choose a large ribbon border and center it around a Celtic knot.

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Both motifs were taken from Quiltmaker’s Quilting Motifs Volume 1, enlarged and traced on Golden Threads paper.

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Clamshells are a reliable go-to for the outside border. I didn’t do the best job attaching my borders and will have to make an effort to accommodate the extra length that has “materialized.”  This quilt will lead to smiles and comfort rather than perfection and prizes.

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Isn’t this a pretty quilt?! In spite of Carol’s busy spring with traveling for ministry and family, she’s right: this lovely quilt will lead to smiles and comfort! It’s like we say at Quiltmaker: “Finished is better than perfect.”

We’re nearing the end of the Mandarin Express quilts and then we’ll be off on another scrappy adventure!

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3 Responses to Carol’s Mandarin Express

  1. Claudia says:

    Soft, warm and comforting is what I see. Glad your life is three dimensional.

  2. Debbie Rhodes says:

    beautiful…. talented lady.

  3. Kitsey says:

    I love your combination of fabrics and setting it on point. When asked to different color way, I would not always think I had the option to change the setting and borders. Thank you for sharing the process.

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