It’s National Make Your Bed Day!

Do you make your bed every day?

I confess that I do not, although I’m getting better. Having an honest-to-goodness quilt that I made myself on the bed with matching pillow shams helps a lot. I get a sense of satisfaction from smoothing it out across the mattress, and I like the effect the soothing mix of buttery yellow, gray and taupe fabrics has on the room.

make your bed day quilt 294x300 Its National Make Your Bed Day! make your bed day quilt back 300x284 Its National Make Your Bed Day!

It’s not uncommon, though, for this to be the sight I see in our bedroom, that of the quilt backing I pieced using a variety of fun fabric panels. One that I made sure to position on my side of the bed reproduces posters from some of Audrey Hepburn’s most-loved movies including “Roman Holiday,” undeniably the best romantic comedy ever made.

make your bed day 300x225 Its National Make Your Bed Day!I mean, if you’re going to have a quilt back showing, it might as well be something you enjoy almost as much as the quilt top, right? And what’s not to like about Gregory Peck?

I’ve been thinking about how I actually use my quilt now that I finished it because today is National Make Your Bed Day. You may be asking yourself, “Why do we need a National Make Your Bed Day anyway?” It does seem … kind of trivial, all things considered.

Well, it turns out there is some scientific basis to the notion that making your bed in the morning will improve your life.

The National Sleep Foundation conducted a scientific poll about sleep habits a few years ago. Of interest to quilters is that 85% of respondents said they consider comfortable sheets and bedding as being important to getting a good night’s sleep. Not surprising, right?

There didn’t seem to be any difference in terms of the importance of comfy bedding between those who actually get a good night’s sleep most of the time vs. those who don’t. In general, people just believe that comfortable bedding contributes to a good night’s sleep, whether they’re sleeping well or not. (I did the deep digging so you don’t have to.)

However, it’s worth noting that those who regularly make their beds (every day or almost every day) reported getting a good night’s sleep more often than those who make their beds infrequently or not at all.

Bearing in mind that correlation and causation are two different things, the National Sleep Foundation offered this theory for the difference:

People who reported making their bed in the morning were 19 percent more likely to get a good night’s sleep every night. It’s not clear why this is, but perhaps there is a connection between feeling good about where you sleep and your tendency to sleep through the night.

The New York Times recently weighed in on the subject, too, with an article entitled “Want to Have a Good Day? Try Making the Bed First” that quotes Adm. William H. McRaven, retired, on the importance of making your bed and provides some contradictory tips for bed-making best practices.

The National Sleep Foundation also offers some suggestions for improving sleep:

Imagine your bedroom as a sanctuary. When you walk in—or simply think about your bedroom—it should make you feel relaxed and peaceful. Taking care of your sleep environment and putting thought into its look and feel is important, and could help you welcome more restful nights.

Choose wall colors that elicit warmth and calm. Although researchers have studied the psychology of color and some believe that certain hues affect our mood (for example, red being stimulating), no one knows your color-feeling connections better than you do. Pick colors, artwork, blankets, and so forth that are soothing to you.

So bear with me here:

If a quilter spends a lot of time making a bed quilt she or he likes, then she or he is more likely to make the bed in the morning; the same can be assumed of those who receive quilts as gifts. If more beds are made more often, people will start getting better sleep on a more regular basis. If people start getting better sleep, not only will they be nicer and more pleasant to be around, they will work more efficiently and the GDP will skyrocket, leading us to an era of prosperity and happiness we can only dream of (so to speak).

See? Science is telling us to make more quilts! Quilters, the nation is depending on us.

A Happy National Make Your Bed Day to all!

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Saturday Morning Quilt Break: September in Quilt History

Quilters are part of an unbroken tradition stretching back hundreds of years, and although many quilts were made by women who never signed their work, quilt history is rich with interesting stories. Here are just a few quilty things that happened during the month of September.

September in Quilt History Quilting Party engraving 254x300 Saturday Morning Quilt Break: September in Quilt History

This engraving was published alongside “The Quilting Party” in Godey’s Lady’s Book September 1849.

1849: “The Quilting Party,” a short story by T.S. Arthur, was published in Godey’s Lady’s Book, which was the most popular women’s periodical of its day.

The story begins as such:

Our young ladies of the present generation know little of the mysteries of “Irish chain,” “rising star,” “block work,” or “Job’s trouble,” and would be as likely to mistake a set of quilting frames for clothes poles as for anything else. It was different in our younger days. Half a dozen handsome patchwork quilts were as indispensable then as a marriage potion; quite as much so as a piano or guitar is at present. And the quilting party was equally indicative of the coming-out and being “in the market,” as the fashionable gatherings together of the times that be.

Although the narrator goes on to say that “we do not belong to the class who believe that society is retrograding because everything is not as it was in the earlier days,” this story of The Girl Who Got Away has a distinctly wistful tone.

In it, the narrator and a friend attend the first quilting party hosted by Amy Willing, “who was the favorite of all” in the village. When they and other suitors arrive at Amy’s cottage, they find it “full of girls, who were busy in binding Amy’s quilt, which was already out of the frame, and getting all ready for the evening’s sport.” Before long the half-bound quilt is put away and the kissing games (which “was then a fashionable amusement”) begin.

Needless to say, the narrator is crushed when he learns after the party that Amy is engaged to someone else despite having been the object of her attention that evening.

Ah, well! More than twenty years have passed since then. The quiltings, the corn huskings, the merry-makings in the village of M___ are not forgotten. Nor is Amy Willing and the party forgotten, as this brief sketch assuredly testifies. Twenty years. How many changes have come in that period!

Nostalgia: it ain’t what it used to be, right?

1885: The New York Times reported on September 25 that Mrs. N.W. Carswell of Waterbury, Connecticut, had “just completed a curious bit of work which she calls a Grand Army quilt” that incorporated bits of silk from both the North and South. It’s an impressive quilt: the center was composed of 49 appliqued and embroidered blocks representing various flags, corps badges and other images. The blocks were sashed with black satin strips “worked” with 151 stars, while the border included a variety of historical U.S. flags alternating with different military motifs such as axes, a knapsack, drums, crossed muskets, sabres and flowers. To top it off, the edging included the name, term of service and date of death of every U.S. president to that point. Fortunately for us, this quilt is now in the collection of the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury; click here to see photos of the quilt  .

September in Quilt History McFarland detail 300x168 Saturday Morning Quilt Break: September in Quilt History

detail of a quilt made by Kay McFarland

1977: Kay McFarland (1935-2015) became the first woman appointed to the Kansas Supreme Court on September 19, 1977, and became the state’s first female chief justice September 1, 1995. While studying law at Washburn University in the early 1960s, McFarland funded her tuition by selling “old-fashioned” quilts made by Kansas quiltmakers via mail order. She was also apparently an expert seamstress and quilter, and an estate sale held after she died included quilts and afghans she made along with a “huge collection of fabric!!” according to the public notice.

1994: Dorothy Kinnicutt Parish, known professionally as Sister Parish, died September 8. One of the leading interior decorators of the 1970s and 1980s, Parish began decorating for friends in the 1930s. She went on to work for wealthy families such as the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts, and worked briefly in 1961 for Jacqueline Kennedy on refurbishing rooms in the White House. Parish is thought to have originated the American country style of decorating in the 1960s, incorporating traditional handicrafts, including patchwork quilts, into upscale rooms, and working with quilters from Selma, Alabama, to develop patchwork goods.

This is just a sampling of notable things that have happened in Septembers past that are of interest to quilters (click here to read about some others). Well, they’re of interest to me, at least, but I am a self-described big nerd when it comes to things like this. Leave me a comment to let me know if “This Month in Quilt History” tidbits like these interest you or not; we have plenty of resources here and I would love to share more of what we’ve compiled!

Have a great week,
Mary Kate

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It’s All About Brown: Part 2

all about brown 2 UPS brown It’s All About Brown: Part 2What do you think of when you hear the word BROWN?

For a long time, as a result of a very effective marketing campaign, most Americans conjured up the image of a UPS Truck and the delivery folks dressed in brown from head-to-toe. I’ve been wondering how brown became a color. Did it come before we had black? Was it the first color because the earth was brown?

all about brown 2 crayon brown It’s All About Brown: Part 2When I searched for the color brown on the Web I found that brown is a composite color made by combining red, black and yellow or by mixing red, yellow and blue. The meaning of the color brown is earth, wholesomeness, reliability and elegance. The color brown stimulates the appetite. I also read on that it resembles history, culture and chocolate. (Ah, that explains my attraction to brown.) Brown is believed to create a connection with the earth and cozy feelings of relaxation and warmth. Hummm…like a quilt.

All this brings me to my current passion for brown and to promote it as THE TRENDING background for quilts. I’m out to prove why brown is not boring and that you can make brown look better.

all about brown 2 Riley Blake Confetti Brownie 300x225 It’s All About Brown: Part 2

My background brown: Confetti Cotton Brownie by Riley Blake

As I mentioned in Part 1, I’m going to share my journey making a village theme quilt I designed just for brown. I started on the center section, applique pieced flowers. I asked Erin Russek, our resident expert of all things applique, if she would demonstrate some of the techniques she uses to create her beautiful applique leaves and flowers. Erin shared the supplies she uses in her blog this week. She suggested I purchase Templar from Heirloom Stitches and a supply of Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circle templates.

all about brown 2 Perfect Circles 239x300 It’s All About Brown: Part 2

Perfect Circles by Karen Kay Buckley

all about brown 2 Bigger Perfect Circles 234x300 It’s All About Brown: Part 2

Bigger Perfect Circles by Karen Kay Buckley

Using Erin’s methods, I cut out the templates to make a flower set before I cut out the first fabric version of my flower.

all about brown 2 Templar Flower 294x300 It’s All About Brown: Part 2

Templar Flower Set

all about brown 2 Single Flower 300x289 It’s All About Brown: Part 2

Practice Flower

all about brown 2 Flower Set 286x300 It’s All About Brown: Part 2

Center Flower Set-Preparing for Brown

All things looking good to move forward, I cut out the rest of the flower sets for the center of the quilt. I used my design wall to audition the placement of color. Come back next week to see how they looked appliqued onto brown fabric, and to find out what I’m doing with the next row of my quilt.


In my last blog I asked readers to send me pictures of quilts they have made using brown fabric. On Friday, August 25th Pat sent the following note: “I was just thinking this morning as I was reading blogs, how bright other people’s quilts are than mine. I felt a little ‘old fashioned’ but I love brown and it goes so well with most of my quilts. I guess I just prefer the ‘harvest’ pallet. I seldom use black. These are examples. Enjoy! Pat.” Here are a few of the quilt photos Pat sent to us (click on each image for a larger view).

all about brown 2 Pat 1 150x150 It’s All About Brown: Part 2 all about brown 2 Pat 2 150x150 It’s All About Brown: Part 2 all about brown 2 Pat 3 150x150 It’s All About Brown: Part 2

I would love to see how you used brown in your quilts, or perhaps to hear about some ideas you have for using brown. Leave a comment and/or send me a photo about your journey with brown—even if it’s a story about how brown didn’t work for you. I’ll share them with our readers! Email:

Having fun with brown,
tricia patterson signoff It’s All About Brown: Part 2


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Trick-or-Treat? Quilt the Street! A Halloween Street Pattern Re-make

QNMP 131100 Halloween web 1 1024x417 Trick or Treat? Quilt the Street! A Halloween Street Pattern Re make

Halloween Street, designed by Gigi Khalsa, Quilter’s Newsletter, October/November 2013


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Well-worn copies of 10 Trick-or-Treaters: A Halloween Counting Book

Halloween has always been a special time of the year at our house. I was reminded of this when I fell in love with Gigi Khalsa’s Halloween Street quilt hanging in her office at first sight. It immediately reminded me of a book I’ve read to each of my grandchildren a gazillion times, 10 Trick-or-Treaters: A Halloween Counting Book, written by Janet Shulman and illustrated by Linda Davick. If you’re familiar with the book, you know it has a colorful set of Halloween characters traveling through the neighborhood to pick up treats.

Halloween is also special to me because I’ve made my granddaughters’ costumes for the last 10 years (from their ideas and recommendations for a theme) and a few of my grandsons’. It’s become a family tradition. Thinking about what I could do with Gigi’s pattern, I thought it would be the perfect setting for all of our trick-or-treaters. I usually make the costumes for the girls remotely, exchanging design ideas and sizes, sending finished costumes in time for the big reveal. Last year was a special treat for me because I traveled to Indiana to make the costumes with their help and to join them for the town’s festivities in Franklin, Indiana. It was so much fun to walk around with the trick-or-treaters. There must have been over 500 treaters traversing the old town section of decorated historic homes.

halloween street quilt franklin 1 225x300 Trick or Treat? Quilt the Street! A Halloween Street Pattern Re make

Trick-or-Treating in Franklin, Indiana

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Historic Old Town Treats

The inspiration for my special Halloween quilt incorporates the memories of reading 10 Trick-or-Treaters: A Halloween Counting Book, many years of fun making Halloween costumes for all my special kids and the most amazing trick-or-treating I’ve ever seen.

Making My Version

halloween street quilt fabric tash 300x225 Trick or Treat? Quilt the Street! A Halloween Street Pattern Re make

Some of my Halloween fabric collection

You can get Gigi Khalsa’s Halloween Street pattern FREE here.

I pulled out all the Halloween fabrics I’ve collected over the years to see if I could find some similar to the ones Gigi used in her quilt. I discovered I didn’t have any of the same fabrics, but could probably improvise with the ones I had gathered. I was able to keep to the general theme, but had to make a few changes to the pattern to incorporate my trick-or-treaters in the street scene. I used the house shapes from the pattern. I also fussy-cut some of the characters from Halloween-themed fabric to fill-in the doorways, windows, landscape, roof-top and sky.

I really liked the shadows created by the black and gray print Gigi used in her quilt for a walkway, but I didn’t have a similar fabric. I used a technique I learned from quilter Ricky Tims to make my walkway “fabric”, increasing Gigi’s pattern from 2” x 36½” for the walkway, including the seam allowance, to make it 6½” x 36½”.

To make the walkway…

halloween street quilt background print technique 1 300x225 Trick or Treat? Quilt the Street! A Halloween Street Pattern Re makeStep 1. Layer gray and black fabric front sides facing up.

halloween street quilt background print technique 2 300x225 Trick or Treat? Quilt the Street! A Halloween Street Pattern Re makeStep 2. Then cut two curving lines through both the layers of fabric, as shown.

halloween street quilt background print technique 3 300x211 Trick or Treat? Quilt the Street! A Halloween Street Pattern Re makeStep 3. Using the top gray and bottom gray strips and a middle black strip, pin the strips together, trimming around the corners to fit.

halloween street quilt background print technique 4 250x300 Trick or Treat? Quilt the Street! A Halloween Street Pattern Re makeStep 4. Sew the seams ¼” to make a fabric.

Making the background of the quilt…

halloween street quilt fussy cut houses 1024x768 Trick or Treat? Quilt the Street! A Halloween Street Pattern Re makeI used fusible web to applique the houses and some of the fussy-cut characters to create the background first.

Adding the trick-or-treaters…

halloween street quilt fussy trick or treaters 300x225 Trick or Treat? Quilt the Street! A Halloween Street Pattern Re makeMy Halloween quilt became a memory quilt as I added my own trick-or-treaters to the fussy cut ones. I cropped and sized Halloween photos of my kids and used printable fabric sheets to print out my trick-or-treaters. Once I had all the trick-or-treaters collected I added the fusible backing before cutting away the photo’s background. (Notice I made several sizes of the treaters so that I could more easily fit the right size of real treaters with the fabric ones in the street scene.

And, finally, it was time to play. I used my design wall to audition the variety of trick-or-treaters into the scene to create this final placement. It was such a pleasure to remember all the years of making Halloween costumes with my grandchildren, and the treating adventure of last year.

halloween street quilt 1 Trick or Treat? Quilt the Street! A Halloween Street Pattern Re make

halloween street quilt left side 150x150 Trick or Treat? Quilt the Street! A Halloween Street Pattern Re make

Detail – left

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Detail – middle

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Detail – right

Happy Halloween Quilting!

P.S. For more Halloween pattern ideas, check out the Halloween Spook-tacular and the Halloween Quiltmaking BOO-ster blogposts.

tricia patterson signoff Trick or Treat? Quilt the Street! A Halloween Street Pattern Re make

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I Love Appliqué! Basic Supplies

i love applique basic supplies star bear I Love Appliqué! Basic Supplies

Star-Bear and Friends

I have been in love with appliqué almost from the beginning. My second ever quilt had appliqué on it. It was Quiltmaker’s Starbear & Friends quilt. As a matter of fact, I loved this pattern so much I made it 5 times!

I know many quilters are put off my anything to do with handwork. I was too at first. What really got me going with applique was learning the starch and press technique. In this method you prepare all your applique shapes before you sew them to your quilt. That way you aren’t struggling to turn your seam allowances under while you stitch. I’m planning a few blog posts on this but I wanted to start off with my basic supplies. If you want to learn more you can check out the Fancy Flowers Quilt Along.

i love applique basic supplies templar 150x150 I Love Appliqué! Basic Supplies


First off, you need heat resistant template plastic. I like Templar from Heirloom Stitches.

i love applique basic supplies starch 150x150 I Love Appliqué! Basic Supplies


You will also need some type of starch. Spray starch or sizing work great but I am really sensitive to smells so I use Sta-Flo. I buy the big bottle and dilute it to make my starch.

i love applique basic supplies brush 150x150 I Love Appliqué! Basic Supplies


The other thing I can’t live without is a good stencil brush.

In the next few weeks I will be showing some of the simple techniques I use to make applique both beautiful and fun. Stay tuned!

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Saturday Morning Quilt Break: Houston

Like most Americans, my attention this past week has been focused on the effects of Hurricane Harvey on Houston. As both a quilter and member of the quilting industry, the devastation Houston has experienced resonates because of the city’s important role as the home of Quilts, Inc., the parent company behind International Quilt Festival and International Quilt Market.

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the view from my hotel room of downtown Houston, October 2014


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Patchwork-style structure in Discovery Green Park across the street from the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston

Every fall, Quilt Market (the trade show for industry professionals) is followed immediately by Quilt Festival (the quilt show for consumers) in the George R. Brown Convention Center, which even as I type is still serving as a shelter for Houstonians displaced by flooding in their communities. I was struck by a sense of immediacy when photos of people in the convention center first started hitting the news a few days ago, in a “hey, I’ve been there!” sort of way.

I know the convention center hosts many events over the course of the year, but Quilt Market and Festival are two of the biggest. We quilters feel a connection to that structure, to that city, and by extension, to the people who live there.

The good news for the quilt industry is that plans for this year’s Market and Festival are progressing as usual. Quilts, Inc., founder and CEO Karey Bresenhan posted the following on the Quilts, Inc., website:

We would like to thank all who have sent messages of support to us in response to the devastating flooding taking place in our home city of Houston. We are happy to report that all of our staff is safe, and that our office did not suffer any damages.

Many others have not been so lucky, and we ask that you keep Houston and all areas that have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey in your thoughts, and, if possible, consider making a contribution toward organizations involved in the ongoing relief efforts.

We have also heard from many people asking whether they should cancel their plans to attend this year’s International Quilt Market and/or International Quilt Festival in Houston. We want to assure you that there is no reason to cancel any travel plans, as both shows are still scheduled to go on.

The shows are still two months away, and we have full confidence that our city will bounce back quickly, as it has always done. Also, neither the George R. Brown Convention Center nor the Downtown Houston hotels were damaged in the flooding.

At this time, our office remains closed, and will until it is safe for our staff to return to work. We will post an announcement to our website and social media when the office reopens. In the meantime, we ask that you be patient in receiving a response to any calls or emails.

Thank you!
Karey Bresenhan
Founder and CEO
Quilts, Inc.

So that’s the good news. The bad news is that, with the flood waters receding, the people of Houston and  the surrounding areas have an enormous, overwhelming job ahead of them.

This is the point during a disaster at which we quilters usually want to help by organizing quilt drives to donate to victims. Remember that in 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Quilts, Inc., sponsored the Quilters Comfort America campaign to get quilts into the hands of people who had lost everything. It’s no surprise that quilters responded in such force that within a couple of weeks, Quilts, Inc., said they couldn’t accept anymore quilts.

So far, Quilts, Inc. has not said anything about quilts for Hurricane Harvey victims. I assure you that if they do, we’ll help spread the word.

But for now, I’m sitting here in warm and dry Colorado, wanting to help out in some way. Everything I’ve heard about disaster relief emphasizes that the best aid comes in the form of cash donations to organizations that are experienced at responding in times of crisis. I know this, and I will respond by making a donation to an organization that provides long-term assistance, but I can’t help but feel I should do something more to help a city that has done so much for my hobby and my profession.

Considering that September is National Sewing Month, I may start working on a donation quilt — y’know, just in case.

Wishing you a good week,
Mary Kate

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Charmed, I’m Sure – Free Pattern + Giveaway

Well, hello! Welcome back to Charmed, I’m Sure. I hope you’re getting inspired to collect and use charm squares. And I hope, like me, you find these little treasures hard to resist!

Halloween seems to be on our minds lately. Maybe it’s because pumpkins and witches and candy are popping up all over the grocery stores and craft stores. It’s not too early to work on a Halloween quilt and here’s one that can easily be made from charm squares and some yardage.

charmed im sure halloween 1 225x300 Charmed, I’m Sure – Free Pattern + GiveawayA Stacked Bricks quilt is the very first charm square quilt I ever made. All the charms came from an exchange in my small quilt group. As you can tell, this quilt has been used and loved! This is a great design to use with any and all fabrics. This one has everything from dragons to flowers, and it all works!

For this Halloween Stacked Bricks throw that measures approximately 51” x 66”, you’ll need 98 charm squares. I cut 2 charms from each of my Halloween prints. If you don’t have enough Halloween charms, dig into your stash of purple, orange, lime green, gray or black for stripes, dots, tone-on-tones or any other prints you think will work. Anything goes! Continue reading

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Don’t Forget About the Binding!

dont forget the binding 300x200 Don’t Forget About the Binding!I have to admit I am not that good at binding my quilts. Usually by the time I get to this stage I have a bad case of “quilt fatigue” and I am so ready to be done with this particular quilt. Often I am rushing to finish a quilt because it’s a gift or there’s a deadline.

Lately I have been trying to be a bit better about this. The quilts I like to make for myself are primarily hand applique and take a really long time to complete. With all this time invested it seems a shame to not do the binding well. A few years back I saw Patrick Lose give a really good binding demo. Now he has a terrific online class where he really coaches you through the binding process. He has tons of wonderful techniques for making your bindings fool proof. Check it out here:

quilt binding basics with patrick lose 1024x575 Don’t Forget About the Binding!

After all that love and care you have put into your quilt make sure you finish it well!

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Off the Wall: Creative Uses for Fabric Panels

When in quilt shops, I frequently find myself drawn to the fabric panels and all of their fun, coordinating fabrics. I always want to buy some but what will I do with the panels after I buy them?! In years past, sadly, fabric panels have sat in my stash unused due to the limited wall space I have for displaying in my home – until recently when I decided to come up with some more creative ways to use panels without simply quilting them and hanging them on a wall.

Several years ago I discovered Sandy Gervais and the fabulous fabrics she designs for Moda. At a cute little quilt shop in Pueblo, CO I found Sandy’s fabric panel entitled Essence along with several coordinates. I had to buy it of course and as usual, added it to my stash.

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Essence fabric panel by Sandy Gervais for Moda

As happens periodically, earlier this summer I told myself once again that it was time to go through my stash and try to finish up all my smaller UFO’s (lofty and perhaps unrealistic goal I know!). The Essence panel was the first project in my endeavor. Originally I had thought that I would cut each flower “square” apart and quilt them individually in order to create a series of mini-wall-hangings, but given my wall space situation I had to reconsider. As I was searching my mind for ideas, I glanced around the room and saw my lovely, but naked, dining room table. A table runner was the answer!

I began by cutting all of the flower squares apart, I re-arranged them and then I pieced them back together in one long strip to achieve the right shape and length for my table. I then added borders to frame the flower squares and make the overall size of the table runner proportional to the size of my table. I added another fun, floral coordinating fabric to the back, some Warm & Natural from The Warm Company for loft and then outline quilted the squares as well as the flowers to give them some dimensionality. I sewed on binding and voila! I was done – right?! A nice, quick one-day project and one more UFO completed. But wait, not so fast. I love to embellish and fabric panels are the perfect place to load on the embellishments. My table runner was screaming BEAD ME!

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Beading Detail

So my quick little project became a bit more time consuming, but it was well worth it. I added beads to the flowers and leaves and a few beads scattered through the border to add a little more sparkle. It turned out beautiful and now I have a stunning table runner that is the centerpiece of my dining room.

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Essence Table runner by Anissa Arnold



In my continuing quest to find creative uses for the fabric panels that I impulsively purchase, I took Margie Ullery’s Creative Quilting & Sewing with Fabric Panels course at Craft University. She demonstrates a variety of different projects that can be sewn from panels including pillows, tote bags and picnic accessories.

One of the panels she uses in her course is Pippa the Hen from Susybee. The Pippa panel includes 1 large hen and chicks “portrait” and 6 smaller portraits.

creative uses for fabric panels pippa the hen fabric panel Off the Wall: Creative Uses for Fabric Panels

Pippa the Hen from Susybee

Margie combined the portraits with coordinating fabrics to create an apron, tea towels and potholders. I decided to take the same fabric panel and see what I could come up with. After playing around with the fabric for a while, I began to see a vision of a gift bag for a baby shower. How cute would a little fabric mother hen bag full of baby gifts be?

I carefully cut out four of the smaller chick portraits, leaving a ¼” all around for seam allowance and then:

  1. I sewed the 4 portraits together to form the 4 sides of the bag.
  2. I then cut a piece of Warm & Natural and basted it inside the side fabric to add some “body” to the bag.
  3. The panel had a lovely grey spiral on white background fabric that I used for the bottom of the bag and backed it with batting as well. After joining the bottom of the bag to the sides, I sewed a bag liner using the background fabric in the same method but without the batting.
  4. The large hen and chicks portrait on the panel had a fun mini-chicken border around it that I fussy-cut and padded with batting in order to create a handle.
  5. Once the outside of the bag, the liner and the handle were constructed, it was simple to sew them all together that the top edge of the bag, turn right side out and I had an adorable gift bag.
  6. I did a bit of ¼” topstitching on the handle and around the top edge of the bag for stability and to add a bit of design detail.
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Pippa the Hen Gift bag by Anissa Arnold

All said and done, this project took me an hour to cut, sew and complete. Not bad for a very unique and re-usable gift bag. Now of course, given my penchant for embellishing, I will probably add a few beads and bows to my gift bag in the days to come but it’s cute to gift away with or without the extras.

Think “Off the Wall” next time you fondle a fabric panel at your local quilt shop. Yes, you DO have a use for that panel. Buy it, take it home, pin it on your design wall and let your creative juices flow.

Anissa Arnold
Associate Editor, Quiltmaker

Posted in Quilting Inspiration, Quilty Lifestyle | Tagged , | 2 Comments

New Issue: Quilts from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Fall ’17

QM 100BlkFall2017e 220x300 New Issue: Quilts from Quiltmakers 100 Blocks, Fall 17Blocks from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks issues are the inspiration for 16 creative new designs in the newest collector’s edition of Quilts from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks. From wall quilts to bed quilts, these inspiring projects include foundation piecing, quick piecing techniques and more. This is a must-have issue for every quilter!

Let’s preview some Quilts!

DPQMP175710 1 New Issue: Quilts from Quiltmakers 100 Blocks, Fall 17

Out of the Blues designed by Nancy Mahoney

Out of the Blues: Nancy Mahoney designed an incredible big block quilt from two different 16″ blocks and colored it blue and white. Blocks made of a range of dark to light blue batiks give it a stunning look on any bed.

DPQMP175707 1 New Issue: Quilts from Quiltmakers 100 Blocks, Fall 17

Nature’s Best designed by Patti Carey

Nature’s Best: Ever wonder what you can do with all those wonderful landscape fabrics, other than make a landscape quilt? Patti Carey created an intriguing two-block quilt design and made it using landscape fabrics. Look at it closer and you see the grass, trees and brick walls. Unique!

DPQMP175713 1 New Issue: Quilts from Quiltmakers 100 Blocks, Fall 17

Convergence designed by Wendy Sheppard

Convergence: This is the perfect quilt for color lovers! Wendy combined her block with a pinwheel-themed block to create this cheerful design. Play with color while making this delightful two-block design.

DPQMP175701 1 New Issue: Quilts from Quiltmakers 100 Blocks, Fall 17

Seeing Red designed by Denise Starck

Seeing Red: Quiltmaker Graphic Designer Denise Starck used Abigail Dolinger’s 100 Blocks design to create a unique full size pieced quilt with lots of color options. The fabric color and design of this quilt showcase the clean line and detail of the pattern. We chose red to bring out the geometric shapes against a neutral background of tan, gray and black. However, it would be really fun to see it scrappy.

DPQMP175714 1 New Issue: Quilts from Quiltmakers 100 Blocks, Fall 17

Celestial Fracture designed by Patty Clayton

Celestial Fracture: Color can explode in this design by Patty Clayton. Foundation piecing brings the points of the primary stars together in a unique way and then they move into a secondary starburst. The secondary stars are created with sashing foundations.

DPQMP175705 1 New Issue: Quilts from Quiltmakers 100 Blocks, Fall 17

Happy Garden designed by Paula Stoddard

Happy Garden: Get ready for next spring or give yourself the brilliance of springtime during the winter with this table topper full of bright and happy colors. A perfect quilt for a wall or table top, this scrappy quilt designed by Paula Stoddard is sure to make you smile down to its sunny windmill center. Use your stash to make this pieced quilt as scrappy as Paula’s or with a planned color way.

DPQMP175702 11 New Issue: Quilts from Quiltmakers 100 Blocks, Fall 17

Kaleidoscope Crystals designed by Yolanda Fundora

Kaleidoscope Crystals: There are so many aspects of this quilt that make it unique! Designer Yolanda Fundora created foundation pieced sections to give a quilter all sorts of options for placing geometric shapes into blocks for a variety of fascinating configurations. This full size quilt looks complicated, but it’s actually a very straightforward and easy pattern for a confident beginner. This is a pattern that can be used so many times; creating a different quilt every time.

Make sure you get each special issue from the editors of Quiltmaker conveniently delivered to your mailbox. Sign up for our auto ship program and issues (5 published per year) will automatically be shipped to you! These issues are otherwise available only on newsstands and include:

  • 2 issues of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks
  • 2 issues of Quilts From Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks
  • Plus one additional issue featuring a new topic each year


We are giving away print copies of Quilts from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Fall ‘17 to three lucky winners!  Winners will be chosen and notified on Tuesday, September 5th.

The winners of the Quilts from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Fall ‘17 issue giveaway are Carol Rice, Kathie L and Joy P. winners have been notified by email.

Happy Quilting,

The Quiltmaker Team

Posted in 100 Blocks, Giveaways & Contests, QM Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments