Improvisational Sampler Quilt


Have you ever wanted to make improvisational quilt blocks, but didn’t know where to start or what to make with them?  Well, now is the time to try some out!  I’ve created this sampler quilt using some popular improv blocks plus some that you might not have seen before. I will demonstrate the more unique blocks and provide links to tutorials for the others on my blog.  Then we will put them together to make this fun eye-popping sampler.  Improvisational piecing is fun and doable for beginning and advanced quilters alike.  Let’s get going!


1 fat quarter bundle or approx 36 fat quarters of your choice (I used A Stitch in Color by Malka Dubrawsky*)
1¼ yards** of red tonal (23210 16) for sashing and binding
4 yards of blue with green dot (23209 16) for backing

* Malka Dubrawsky’s latest line is From Outside In and will be available in stores January 2014.
**You only need 1 yard of sashing/binding fabric but I’ve allowed for a little extra in case you have to square up the fabric.


There are seven different block types, pieced borders, and sashing. You can make the sampler like mine or choose your favorite improv block style and make 12 plus the four wonky fan blocks for the corners.

NOTE: Use a scant ¼” seam throughout. WOF = width of fabric. The short edge of a fat quarter measures 18″ and the long edge measures 21″/22″.

ASTERISK BLOCK
From the short edge of each of three different fat quarters, cut a strip approximately 1½” to 2″ wide. From a contrasting fat quarter, cut one 14″ square. Cut the square in half on the diagonal. Place one strip between the cut edges. Sew the strip to each cut edge.

Cut the square in half again at a different angle. Sew the second strip in between the cut. Be careful to line up your first strip on either side of your new strip.Cut the fabric in half again where the two strips intersect. Sew the last strip to either side of the cut. Press and trim to 12½” square.

Make:
2 asterisk blocks measuring  12½” square unfinished

STITCH ‘N’ SLASH BLOCKS
I made my stitch ‘n’ slash blocks from scraps of fat quarters I used throughout the quilt. These are simple improvisational blocks and perfect for scraps. Find the instructions {here}.

Make:
2 stitch ‘n’ slash blocks measuring  12½” square unfinished

IMPROV CURVE BLOCKS
Start with a square-ish piece of fabric and cut a free-form quarter circle.

Place the quarter circle over the corner of another piece of fabric, aligning it so the edges are ½” off the side of the second piece of fabric.  Cut along the edge of the quarter circle.  Then cut another free-form arc 1″ to 2″ wide above the first cut.  This is the second piece of the block.

 

Place the second piece over the corner of another piece of fabric.  Make sure the edges are hanging off the edge about ½” on either side. Cut along the top of the second piece.  Then cut another arc 1 to 2″ wide.  This is the third piece.Overlap them (like they were sewn together) to check your sizing.  If they are about 5 inches on a side, it is time to cut out the corner piece.  If not, add another arch.

To cut the corner piece, place the last arc about 2″ away from the corner of a piece of fabric (mine is only an inch here and it was pretty tight).  Cut along the top of the arc and then up to the edge of the fabric. This is what your pieces should look like.

Place the first and second pieces right sides together.  Place the corners so they over lap by ¼ inch. Stitch slowly along the edge with a ¼” seam.  Lift the top fabric and line it up with the bottom fabric as you go. Repeat for all remaining fabric arcs. Press seams towards the first corner piece.  It may be a wonky mess, but we are going to trim it up.

Square up block to 6½”. Make three 6½” curved blocks and join all four together into one 12½” block. 

Make:
2 improv curve blocks measuring  12½” square unfinished

WONKY HOUSE
For this block, I am going to give you some some general guidelines to get you started towards making your own unique house.  Feel free to improvise, use your imagination, play around, make some mistakes and make your own house masterpiece.   There are only two rules:  keep using at least a ¼ seam and trim the finished block to 12½” square so it will fit with the other blocks.   Let’s go!

Start by picking fabric for the components of the house. Each section starts out as a square or rectangle and you can introduce a bit of wonkiness as you piece the compenents together. First create the body of the house by combining a square of fabric with two contrasting rectangles of background fabric.

Create a roof for your house, once again combing a rectangle with two squares. Attach the squares as dog-ear corners and be sure that the roof rectangle is wider than your house.

Combine the roof and house body with a strip of background fabric and a strip of fabric for grass. Trim to  12½” square.

Make:
1 wonky house block measuring 12½” square unfinished

WONKY TREE
To create a wonky tree block, repeat the same procedure as with the wonky house but instead switch up the square for a triangle. I made two trees for my block.

Make:
1 wonky tree block measuring 12½” square unfinished

WONKY LOG CABINS
Log cabins start with a center square and you add rectangles to each side of the square (these are your logs). Make it wonky and mix and match the fabrics or use the same print for each log around the square. See the tutorial on my blog {here}.

Make:
2 – wonky log cabin blocks that measure 12½” square unfinished

WONKY STAR
Wonky star blocks also start with squares. For each block, you need {1} 4½” square for the center, {8} triangles cut from four 5″ squares for the points, and {8} 4½” background squares.  When choosing fabrics for the star, use contrasting colors for the points. My fellow Moda Bake Shop Chef Angela Mitchell has a {great tutorial for wonky stars}. Follow her instructions and your stars will finish at 12″ – perfect for this quilt.

Make:
2 – wonky log cabin blocks that measure 12½” square unfinished

WONKY FAN BLOCKS
Cut a 12½” square for the background of the fan block. The fan blades can be as tall or as short as you would like, but a good rule of thumb is for the blades to be two thirds the size of the finished block.  In our case that would be 12 x 2/3 = 8 inches tall.  Remember that this is a wonky block, so the measurements don’t have to be exact. Find a piece of fabric about 8 inches tall and cut the straight edge at an angle.


Move the ruler over and angle it until you have another wedge shaped piece.  Cut. Repeat as desired. If I am making multiple fans I like to stack 3-4 layers of fabric together to speed cutting. The blades can be fairly rectangular or quite pointed.  The points should be at least 1/2 inch wide or you will have problems with bulky seams.  A good rule of thumb is for the pointy ends to be between 2 and .5 inches wide and for the tops of the blades to be 3-6 inches wide.  Each fan will need 6-9 blades, depending on the width of the blades.

Place two blades right sides together and stitch from top to bottom with a 1/4 seam allowance.  Press the seam to the side. Repeat until your fan is large enough to cover the background fabric from edge to edge.  If the top edge of the fan is uneven trim it even with scissors.  Remember, this is Wonky – don’t get out a plate or compass to make it perfect!

Press under the top edge of the fan 1/4 inch. Pin to the background fabric. Zig-zag along the edge or use your favorite decorative stitch. You can also do needle turn applique if you choose. Yeah!  Fan are blades attached!

Now we need to cover up the bottom edge of the blades and add the corner round piece.  Find a squarish piece of fabric that is at least 1 inch longer than the distance between the corner of the background fabric and the start of the blades. Lay the square over the corner of the block so that it over laps the background fabric by at least 1/4 inch.  Make a notch with scissors at least 1/2 inch above where corner square overlaps the fan blades. Repeat on the other side.

Cut a curve between the two notches.  Ok – kind of scary to make a free form curve, but you can totally do it.  Trust me, it is very freeing. Press under the curved edge of the corner piece about 1/4 inch. Pin the corner round piece in place – be sure that it covers the edge of the background fabric – and stitch along the edge.

Trim the block to size by flipping it over and cutting off the excess fabric along the edge of the background fabric. You did it!!!  One wonky fan block.

Make:
4 – wonky fan blocks that measure 12½” square unfinished

BORDER 

From your fat quarters, cut strips of fabric that are between 1½” and 3½” wide and the length of the fat quarter.  Do not use a ruler to make the cuts.   Don’t try to make the strips perfectly straight – angled and a bit wavy is what we are going for.  Sew the strips of fabric together until you have a panel that is at least 12½” inches wide.  Press seams to the side.  Use steam and starch if necessary to press flat. Square up the panel to 12½” wide by however long your strips were.  Sew the panels together until you have two panels that are 12½” x 36½” and two panels that are 12½” x 48½” inches.

Make:
2 – wonky strip-pieced border panels that measure 12½” x 36½”
2 – wonky strip-pieced border panels that  measure 12½” x 48½”

SASHING AND BINDING
From your sashing and binding fabric, cut 14 strips measuring 2½” x WOF. Set aside 7 strips for binding. Sew remaining 7 strips end-to-end and cut sashing strips:

4 – 2½”x 12½” strips
2 – 2½” x 64½” strips
2 – 2½”x  48½” strips

Create binding using your preferred method with the strips you set aside.

QUILT ASSEMBLY 

Sew the 12½” improvisational blocks together in a 3×4 grid as shown. Sew the top and bottom borders together by first sewing a corner fan to a 12½” strip.  Attach that to a 12½” x 36½” border piece.  Attach another 12½” strip and fan to the end.  Sew a 64½” strip to the bottom of the top border section.  Repeat for the bottom border section.

Sew the 48½”strips to the 12½” x 48½” border panels.

Sew the side borders to the middle section.

Sew the top and bottom borders on.

You did it!  Quilt and bind as desired!


One improvisational sampler quilt measuring 64½” x  76½”

Leila Gardunia
{www.sewnbyleila.blogspot.com}

120-Minute Gift: The Queen Bee Bag

 

Hello, again!  I’m Polly Monica from Aunt Polly’s Porch blog. I am so pleased to be back at the Moda Bake Shop with a large mat and ruler tote bag designed just for quilters like you to use when you go to bee or a quilt class!!

Believe me when I say you will certainly be The Queen Bee when your friends see your new bag!!  And it would sure be a favorite gift for a quilting friend this holiday season!


 
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1 charm pack ( I used A Stitch in Color)
2 yards coordinating solid (I used Moda  Bella slate grey)
1.5 yards print from same collection (I used the Spectrum print from the A Stitch in Color collection)
2  small gold decorative buckles (about 3/4”)
10” of matching Velcro
batting, matching thread
 

Cutting Directions-
From the solid grey fabric-
cut four 4.5” strips the full Width Of Fabric (WOF) for the straps
cut a strip 22.5” by WOF, then sub cut it into
    one 22.5” by  28” piece for bag front lining and
    one 18.5” by 14” piece for the tall ruler front pocket
cut another 22.5” strip by WOF, then sub cut it into
    one 22.5” by  28” piece for bag back lining and
    one 14” by  9.5” piece for short ruler front pocket and
    two little  1  3/8”  by  5  1/4” rectangles for buckle straps on mini pockets
cut one strip  9.5” by WOF, then sub cut it into
    two 9.5” squares for inside pocket linings

From the print yardage-
cut a strip 14” by WOF, then sub cut it into
    one  14” by 18.5” piece for bag front (behind the ruler pockets) and
    one  14” by  18.5” piece for the tall ruler pocket lining
cut a strip 14” by WOF, then sub cut it into
    one 14”  by 22.5” piece for the back pocket lining and
    one 14”  by 9.5” piece for the short ruler pocket lining
cut a strip 22.5” by WOF, then sub cut it into
    one 22.5”  by  28” piece for bag back

From the 42 Charm Squares in the pack-
    select 18 charms squares for the bag front
    select 15 charm squares for the back pocket
    select 4 charm squares for the 2 front mini buckled pockets

From the Batting-
cut two  22.5”  by  28” pieces for bag front and back
cut one  18.5”  by  14” piece for the tall ruler pocket
cut one   9.5”   by  14” piece for the short ruler pocket
cut one  22.5”  by  14” piece for the back pocket 
cut two  80”  by   1.5”  strips for the straps (these can be pieced or fused together from smaller pieces)
 
Sewing and Assembly Directions- 
 
Straps-
Sew two  of your  4.5”  by  WOF  grey strips together on the short end.  Press the seam open.   Next, press both long sides under 3/4”.

Slip one 1.5”  by 80” batting strip under one of the folded in long sides. 

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Bring the other long edge over to meet the folded edge and pin all the way to edge.

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Stitch the two edges together 1/4” from edge.  Stitch to end, turn and stitch across the raw edged short end, then back up the other side.

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Repeat this topstitching again 1/8” from the edges.

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SAFN!!  (Set Aside For Now!)
 
Bag Front–  (using the 18 charm squares and one 18.5” by 14” print piece)

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Select 4 of the charm squares, sew them together to make a strip. 
Press seams however you prefer, then sew the strip to one 18.5” side of the print piece.
Repeat this process with 4 more charms squares sewn together then sewn to the opposite 18.5” side.
Take 5 of the charm squares and sew them together in a horizontal strip, press seams all one way
Take another 5 charm squares and repeat the process but press the seams in the other direction.
Sew the two rows together, nestling the seams at each intersection.
Now sew this piece to the top of the previously pieced front, press well.

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Pin it to the front batting  piece and quilt as desired.  I used a sort of zig zaggy stitch to quilt it. 
Here’s a look at it from the batting side…but you can quilt it however you prefer!

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SAFN!  (Set Aside for now.)
The same process is used to make both the tall and short ruler pockets on the front of the bag.
With right sides together, match up the solid grey tall ruler pocket piece with it’s matching print lining piece and it’s matching batting piece.  Pin and stitch across one 14” side.

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You want the lining to show a tiny bit across the top of the pocket at the seam line from the front side, so you will not press the sewn seam as you normally would, but allow the actual seam to be about 1/4” down from the pressed top edge… which means that the bottom edge of the lining will be a tad short…  about a 1/4”…so no big deal!   This is hard to explain in words but look at the photos and you’ll see what I mean.

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Quilt the pocket as desired.  I used a bright variegated thread with an simple meander design.  Repeat this process with the second smaller ruler pocket.  SAFN!

Next we make the 2 mini buckled pockets!  Take the two grey  1  3/8” by 5  1/4” pieces and press them in half lengthwise.  Open up the pressed piece and now fold the long raw edges into the center fold and repress.  Now the raw edges are enclosed inside.  Topstitch down each long side .  Slide the buckle and center it onto the strap.

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Pin and stitch it to one charm square. Do the same with a second charm square.

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Using the remaining two charm squares as pocket linings, place them right sides together with the two charms you just sewed the buckle straps on.

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Remember to leave an opening in one side as you stitch around them, so that you can turn them right side out!

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Turn them right sides out, press and topstitch across the top edge of each pocket.

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Now center and pin one buckled mini pocket on top of the small quilted grey ruler pocket as shown in the photo.

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Stitch it down on three sides.  Now lay the small grey ruler pocket on top of the larger one and baste the side seams together with a scant 1/4” seam allowance.

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Now center and pin the remaining mini buckled pocket onto the taller ruler pocket and stitch it down on three sides as shown.

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Place the double ruler pocket piece onto the quilted front,  centered left to right and having the bottoms aligned together.  Baste the pockets down using a 1/4” seam allowance.

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Take one prepared strap and with the raw end of the strap even with the bag bottom, pin it up and over one side of the ruler pocket piece, and then bring the other raw end of that strap back down the other side of the pocket to end at the bag bottom.

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Slowly stitch through the strap, pocket and bag front all at one time.  Start stitching at the bag bottom/raw end of strap, and stitch up until you are about 5” below the top edge of the bag, turn and stitch across the strap at that point, then turn again and stitch right back down the other side of the strap, thus enclosing the raw edges of the ruler pocket. I stitched the straps on using matching grey thread and stitched between the 2 lines of top-stitching previously done with the bright variegated thread.

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Repeat this now on the other end of the strap … up the other side of the ruler pocket.  SAFN!
 
Bag Back-
Pin the print bag back piece to it’s matching batting piece and quilt as desired!

Back Pocket-
Arrange the 15 charm squares into three rows of 5 squares each and stitch them together.

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Pin the matching batting piece to it and quilt as desired.  I used the bright variegated thread and did a simple meander!

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With the matching print pocket lining piece, place right sides together, pin and stitch across one 22.5” side.  Do the same thing with pressing that seam as you did on the front ruler pockets… as you want to see a bit of the lining from the front side.

Lay the second completed strap on the back  pocket- over the first seam line from each side of the pocket, with raw short end edges even with the bottom of the pocket.

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Pin the strap in place up over that seam on one side of the pocket, over the finished top edge of the pocket and then back down the other side of the pocket, ending with the other raw edged end even with the bottom of the pocket.

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I again used matching grey thread to sew the strap onto the pocket, stitching between the rows,  previously topstitched.   Sew up one side from the bottom of the pocket to the top, turn sew across the strap to the other side and turn again and then sew down the strap to the bottom.

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Lay the completed pocket on top of the bag back with sides and bottom even.  Baste around the pocket using a 1/4” seam allowance.  SAFN! 
 
Inside Pockets-
Use the leftover charm squares, cutting a few more from the leftover printed yardage scraps, to make up 2 sets of 4 charm squares arranged and sewn together like a four patch.

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Put these two four patches together with the pocket lining pieces previously cut from the grey yardage with right sides together and stitch all around the edges with a 1/4” seam, remembering to leave an opening for turning!

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Turn them right sides out and press.  Top stitch across the top edge of each pocket.  At this point, sew one 5” piece of Velcro (soft side) on the inside of each pocket, near the top.

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Center the two pockets on one of the print yardage lining pieces as shown below, and pin in place.

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Unpin just the top of each pocket and fold  it down so you can sew the other side of the Velcro where it needs to be in order to match the Velcro on the pocket itself.

Now,  bring the pocket tops back up and repin, then stitch around all three sides of each pocket.

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Lay the two grey bag lining pieces, right sides together, matching the sides and bottom and pin.  Stitch the three sides with a 5/8” seam allowance, remembering to leave a 5” opening in the bottom for turning.

Now pin and stitch the outer bag sides with right sides together, using a 1/2” seam allowance.
 
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Turn the bag lining right sides out and push it down into the outer bag with it still right sides IN…which means they are right sides together!!

Match the side seams and pin all around the top edge, making sure you don’t accidentally catch any of the two straps in that top edge seam.  Sew the top edge seam with a 1/2” seam allowance.

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Turn the bag right side out through the opening you left in the bottom of the lining.  Sew that opening closed, then push the lining down into the bag.

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Again, as in the top edges of the pockets, you want some of the grey lining to show at the top edge of the bag, so manipulate the edge that way and pin it all around the top.

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I “stitched in the ditch” – in the seam line between the grey lining and outer bag to hold the top edge as I liked it with the grey lining showing a bit on the outside, then I topstitched it twice with the bright variegated thread.

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And finally, VOILA!!  all done!  YAY!!  Smile

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one 22” by 26” quilter mat and ruler tote bag
Time to put your mat and rulers in the new bag and get on your way to bee or quilt class!!
 
Yogi's bed
 
Yogi and I hope you like the Queen Bee Bag quilting tote and will enjoy making one for yourself or for a gift for a quilter friend!

Come visit us soon, over at my blog- http://www.auntpollysporch.blogspot.com/
We hope you have a wonderful holiday and a most blessed New Year!!

  1signature
Polly Monica
{auntpollysporch.blogspot.com}

"Nough Said" Layer Cake Quilt

 


My daddy was a quiet man who loved the out of doors. He had an uncanny ability to connect with people on a personal level. It still amazes me how he could sit down with someone and within 10 minutes share a bond that reached to their deepest roots. It amazes me, but it isn’t really a surprise. Daddy designed camps. Anyone who ever spent time at a Boy Scout or Girl Scout or Church Camp, anyone who ever drove through a national park or enjoyed the view from the top of a mountain or the side of a lake stood where my Dad stood. He would share that moment with you…in detail…because he had been there.

When Dad met my beloved he knew exactly where G had grown up. The man could describe the drive way and the house and where the trees were planted. Dad had been past it a hundred times on the way into the Sierra National Park.

I have no doubt that he could do it with you, too.

To me, this quilt is all about that – connections. I made it with Reunion by Sweetwater…a fabric line about connections….+’s and x’s connect numbers……the blocks form chains….you get the picture….. ‘Nough Said.

  • 1  Layer Cake (42 10″x10″ charms)
    • for +’s and x’s  
    • I used Reunion by Sweetwater
  • 1 1/2 yards Red
    • for inner border, sashing, and x’s
    • I used the red from A Stitch in Color by Malka Dubrawsky (#23210 16)
  • 1 yard Cream  
    • for sashing
    • I really don’t know what I used, I wasn’t paying attention when I bought it, but you could use Porcelain from Bella Solids (#9900 182) and get the same result.
  • 1 1/2 yards Outer Border
    • I used the news print on porcelain from Reunion (#5471 13)
    • My original plan was to use the grey with dandelion dots (#54762 1)
My original idea for this quilt

  • 4 yards Backing
    • I have to admit it….my taste changed a little between the time I bought the fabric and the time I finished the quilt.  I bought grey chevrons (#5473 1) as my outer border and the news print (#5471 13) as my back.  When I got to the point of adding my borders, I didn’t like that anymore.  So I used the fabric I had on hand for the backing to make the borders.  As a result my backing wasn’t big enough.  What you see is the remainder of my original backing plus 8 charm squares and some of the chevrons.  I kind of like the results.
    • All of this to say – go ahead and be creative!

  • 1/2 yard dark blue
    • for binding
    • Again, I have no idea what I used.  It is dark blue.  Bella Solids, #9900 174, American Blue would do the trick.

This quilt can be viewed in a couple of ways.

It might be 64, 4″ blocks set in an 8 by 8 grid with 2″ sashing all around.  This view helped me a great deal when I was cutting things out.  Not so much when I was piecing it.  (I get intimidated by large numbers.)

A friendlier view is 16, 10″ blocks set in a 4 by 4 grid with  2″ sashing all around.  From this perspective it kind of looks like the “+’s & x’s” quilt that is so popular in blog-land.

Cutting Instructions:

  • From Red
    • Cut 10, 3 1/8″ x width of fabric (wof) strips
      • Sub cut into 128, 3 1/8″ x 3 1/8″ squares
    • Cut 5, 2″ x wof strips
      • Set aside for inner border
    • Cut 3, 2 1/2″ x wof strips
      • Sub cut into 40, 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ squares
  • From Cream
    • Cut 9, 2 1/2″ x wof strips
      • Sub cut strips into 144 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ squares
  • From Layer Cake
    • Divide cake into a pile of lights and darks
    • From lights
      • Select 16 charms
      • Cut each charm into 4, 5″ x 5″ squares
    • From darks
      • Select 13 charms
      • Cut each charm into 16, 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ squares
      • Keep these squares in sets of 5 matching squares.  They will become +’s later on.
      • Yes, you will have extras.
  • From Outer Border
    • Cut 6, 5 1/2″ x wof strips
      • Set aside for outer border.

Break time!!!  If you have worked all the way through the cutting you need a break.  Go for a walk.  Call your Dad just to say hi.   Pet the dog.  Stretch.  The quilt will go together much more smoothly this way.  Trust me.

Piecing Instructions:

  • 64 Little blocks (& 128 bonus half square triangles)
    • Gather
      • 128, 3 1/8″ x 3 1/8″ red squares
      • 64, 5″ x 5″ light squares from layer cake
    • Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each red square
    • Align one red square and one light square, right sides together so that the diagonal line is parallel to the corner.

    • Sew just to the outside edge of the drawn line….closer to the common corner.

    • This step is optional  – I hate tossing extra bits of fabric.  So I’ve included this step.  Call it a bonus block.  Hope over to my blog and see what you can do with them.
      • Draw a second line 1/2 inch to the outside of the stitching you have just done. (the green line)
      • Sew just to the inside of this line…between the blue and green lines along the green line.
      • When you have a minute head over to my blog to see what I did with my bonus blocks.
    • Cut excess, 1/4″ from sewn line between the line and the aligned corner (or between the two sewn lines if you made the bonus hsts).
    • Iron seam allowances toward the red.
    •  Repeat on opposite corner.
    • Trim blocks to 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″
  • 16 Bigger blocks
    • Gather:
      • 64 little blocks
      • 64 cream 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ squares
      • 80 dark 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ squares (16 sets of 5 matching squares)
    • Sew each cream square to a dark square.
      • 16 dark squares will be saved for the centers.
    • Iron seam allowances towards the dark squares
    • Keeping dark sets together, and scrambling the light patches in the little blocks, combine patches to make 16 bigger blocks as shown above….more or less, your fabrics will all be different.
  • Connector Units:
    • Gather
      • 80 cream 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ squares
      • 40 red 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ squares
    • Sew 40 red squares to 40 cream squares.
    • Iron seam allowances toward the red.
    • Sew 40 cream squares to the red/cream units, parallel to the seam just sewn, making 40 units that are cream, red, cream.
    • Iron seam allowances toward the red.
  • Rows:
    • At this point it is very helpful to use a design wall….or floor….or bed.  The idea is to find a place where you can set  your blocks out and see what you are doing.
    • Gather
      • 16 big blocks (BB)
      • 40 connector units (CU)
      • 25 sets of 5 matching dark 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ squares (DS)
    • Arrange 9 alternating rows starting and ending with a sashing row.
      •   At this point I found it easiest to pin the dark squares as a unit of 5, taking them off and adding them to the rows as I needed them.
      • 5 sashing rows
        • 2DS, CU, 3DS, CU, 3DS, CU, 3DS,CU, 2DS 

      • 4 block rows
        • DS/CU/DS, BB, DS/CU/DS, BB, DS/CU/DS, BB, DS/CU/DS, BB, DS/CU/DS
    • Sew 5 sashing rows,
      • ONE at a time to keep things in the right order
      • Don’t worry about ironing your seam allowances just yet.
      • Return each row to design wall/floor/bed as you finish it.
    • Sew 20, DS/CU/DS units together

      • Iron seam allowances toward the DS
      • Return units to your design wall/floor/bed
    • Sew 4 block rows
      • ONE at a time to keep things in the right order
      • Ironing seam allowances towards the DS/CU/DS units
      • Return each row to design wall/floor/bed as you finish it.
    • Sew rows together.
      • Push seam allowances in sashing rows so that they snuggle with the block rows appropriately.
      • Iron seam allowances when finished.

  • Inner Border:
    • Gather
      • 5, 2 x wof red strips
    • The following directions describe how I attach borders.  With gentle handling this works just fine.  If, however, you are apt to tug on your fabric as you sew measure your top and use the binding strips to make 4 long strips of the exact lenghts you need before you sew them on. Skip the rest of this section and proceed to your outer borders which you will do the same way.
    • Sew 2 strips, end for end along short side.
    • Iron seam allowance open
    • Attach this strip to one side of the top.
    • Iron seam allowance toward the border strip.
    • Trim excess
    • Sew excess, end for end along the short side to a wof strip
    • Iron seam allowance open.
    • Attach this strip to side parrallel to the border you have already added.
    • Iron seam allowance toward the border strip.
    • Trim excess
    • Repeat process on other two edges.
  • Outer Border:
    • Gather
      • 6, 5 1/2″ x wof strips of border fabric
    • Refer back to inner border instructions.
  • Layer and Quilt as desired.

I hope you enjoy your quilt!  Please take a photo of it and add it to my group on Flickr.  Feel free to visit me too…there are lots of other fun things going on over at Tops to Treasures.

67″ x 67″ throw, perfect for watching a ball game or snuggling under while reading a good book.

Cindy Sharp
{topstotreasures.blogspot.com}

Twisted Charm Quilt



I love a good plan. I don’t always follow my plans, but I love to have them. They give me a way to focus my energy on the step at hand. Otherwise, I’d be like a squirrel chasing leaves instead of gathering nuts.

My plan for this quilt was this…1 charm pack of 42 beautiful prints and solids each deserving of their own special place….Set in a grid of 6 x 7 squares with a 1″ sashing and two borders.



For an added bit of interest, I gave them a little twist. Every other block is twisted twice. Thus, the center of the quilt requires 2 sets of blocks…21 of each. These blocks finish at 6″ square, or 6 ½” before they are sewn into the top.

I also put tiny twisted blocks in the corners of the outer border. This is the third kind of block you will need to make. You make 4 of these. To make these blocks you need to hold onto your scraps. DO NOT CHUCK THEM when you trim the charms for the double twist blocks.

1 charm pack (42, 5″ squares)
1 ½ yds black solid
1 3/4 yds white solid
½ yd inner border
½ yd binding (cut 2.5″ with wof)
3 yds backing



  1. Open the charm pack and put every other patch of fabric in a different pile. Go through the whole pack until you have 2 piles of 21 patches. This will put approximately half of each color way in each pile.
  2. Cutting Directions:
    1. Block A – Single Twist
      1. From black
        1. cut 3 5″ width of fabric (wof) strips
        2. cut each wof strip into 14 3″ pieces
        3. you should have 42, 3″x5″ rectangles
        4. sub-cut each rectangle once on the diagonal for a total of 84 triangles.
        5. If you are using a patterned fabric for the background DO NOT LAYER YOUR RECTANGLES WITH LIKE SIDES TOGETHER WHEN YOU CUT THEM.  This will result in half of the triangles leaning the wrong direction. The resulting blocks will look like the icons on your i-phone when you start to move one.  Check out my sample blocks…The difference is subtle.  Look at the long and short edges of the triangles and how they relate to the center.  These blocks are NOT the same.  If put together in a quilt I believe they would seem to be jumping and turning all over the place. If both sides of your fabric are the same (like in a Bella solid) this isn’t an issue.
      2. From charm pack
        1. 21 5″x5″ patches
    2. Block B – Double Twist
      1. From white
        1. cut 3, 5″ wof strips
        2. cut each wof strip into 14 3″ pieces
        3. you should have 42, 3″x5″ rectangles
        4. sub-cut each rectangle once on the diagonal for a total of 84 triangles. *Mind the warning in block A
      2. From black
        1. cut 3, 4″ wof strips
        2. cut 2 wof strips into 17, 2 3/8″ x 4″ rectangles
        3. cut 8 more 2 3/8″ x 4″ rectangles from third strip. SAVE rest of strip.
        4. sub-cut each rectangle once on the diagonal for a total of 84 triangles. *Mind the warning in block A
      3. From charm squares
        1. trim 21 charms to 3 3/4″ squares
        2. SAVE TRIMMINGS
    3. Block C – Tiny Double Twists
      1. From black
        1. USE scrap from cutting of Block B (It should be around 23″ x 4″)
        2. cut 8, 2 1/4″ x 4″ rectangles
        3. sub-cut each rectangle once on the diagonal for a total of 16 triangles. *Mind the warning in block A
      2. From white
        1. cut 1, 1 3/4″ x wof strip
        2. cut 8, 3″ x 1 3/4″ rectangles from strip
        3. sub-cut each rectangle once on the diagonal for a total of 16 triangles. *Mind the warning in block A
      3. From charm trimmings saved when cutting Block B.
        1. You should have a pile of scraps measuring 1 1/2″ x 5″ and just as many measuring 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″  (You have way more than are in my picture….38 more pieces actually.)
        2. Select 13 pieces and sew them together along their longest edge.  Like the picture below, only way bigger.
        3. Iron seams open
        4. Trim this pieced scrap to 13 ½” x 2 3/4″
        5. cut 4, 2 3/4″ squares
        6. This works well for A Stitch in Color. If you are using a different fabric line it might not. In that case cut these 2 3/4″ squares from your inner border fabric.
    4. Sashing
      1. From black
        1. cut 3, 6 ½” x wof strips
        2. cut 41, 1 ½” x 6 ½” rectangles (28 from one wof strip and 13 from a second.)
        3. SAVE rest of second strip with the third strip.
      2. From white
        1. Cut 2, 1 ½” x wof strips
        2. Sew white strips to black strips in step 4.1.3. along long edge.
        3. Iron seams toward the black
        4. Cut 30, 1 ½” x 7 ½” rectangles from pieced strips. These will look like black match sticks with white heads.
        5. SAVE the rest of the black and black/white bits for use in the inner border corner stones.
    5. Inner Border
      1. From bits saved in step 4.2.5.
        1. cut 4, 1 ½” squares
      2. From inner border fabric
        1. cut 5, 1 ½” x wof strips
    6. Outer Border
      1. From white
        1. cut 5, 4 ½” x wof strips
    7. Binding
      1. Cut 6, 2 ½” wof strips

Time for a break. If you have completed all of this cutting and prepping, the rest of the quilt should go together easily. (I made mine at a retreat, in about 6 hours of dedicated sewing. )

    Piecing Directions:

      • Block A – Single Twist
      • The goal is to make 21 blocks like this one.  They will each have a different center.

      • Align a black triangle with the stubby angle 1/4″ over the edge of  a 5″ charm and the pointy angle 1/2″ over the parallel edge.
      • Sew 1/4″ seam along the long black edge.  If you are careful not to stretch the fabric, you don’t have to pin.
      • I’ve noticed that when using a machine with a 1/4″ foot, I can align my needle at the intersection of the two pieces and edge of the fabric right next to the flange of the foot and everything comes out where it should.  The seam will start and stop at where the edges of the fabric intersect.
      • Iron the seam toward the black.
      • Repeat on next side, 3 times until all four sides are added.
      • Trim to 6 1/2″ square.  Really.  Do this.  I sized the pieces so that they would be big – to make the piecing easier.  If you don’t trim them it won’t work right.
      • If you have a 6 1/2″ trimming square center the center so that as close to 1/4″ of black is between the points and the edge.
      • It is fine if it isn’t perfect.  Even if you sew a corner into the seam allowance when you piece the blocks together it will still look square.  The blocks are set in black – your eyes will fill in any corners that are missing.
      • Make 21.
    • Block B – Double Twist
      • The goal, again, is 21 blocks.
      • These will each have a different center and two twists.
      • Add the black triangle to the trimmed charm in the same manner that you added them to the whole charm for Block A.
      • Trim blocks to 5″ squares.
      • Add the white triangles just like you did the black ones in Block A.
      • Iron towards the white.
      • Trim to 6 1/2″ squares.
      • Make 21.
    • Block C – Tiny Double Twists
      • This block is  the corner stone for the outer most border.
      • Yeah, you make these just like you made blocks A and B…only the pieces are smaller and you start with the white triangles next to the center block.
      • After adding the first twist (white) trim the block to 3 1/2″ square.
      • After adding the second twist (black) trim the block to 4 1/2″ square.
      • Make 4.
    • Center
        • Arrange blocks in a  grid 6 blocks by 7 blocks alternating every other block.
        • NOTE: to my OCD friends this quilt does not come out even.  If you are really OCD you have already noticed this, and probably chosen not to make it…or you have altered the pattern.  If you aren’t then you are doing it right if only the corner blocks on one  side  match.
        • Step away from your arrangement and see if you still like it.  If you can’t get very far from it try taking a quick photograph of it with your cell phone.  Look at the picture to see if the distribution of colors pleases you.
        • If you have a design wall this is a good time to use it.  If you don’t there are other options.  You can put them on the floor or lay them on a bed.  You can close the drapes and pin your blocks to them.  Or use the shower curtain. Use your imagination.
        • You can also just wing it.  Random is good – but I haven’t met many people who are actually happy with random.
      • Vertical Sashing
        • Once you are happy with the layout sew a black “stick” to the right side of the first 5 blocks in each row.
        • Sew the rows together:
        • (block, stick)(block, stick)(block, stick)(block, stick)(block, stick)block
        • Iron seams toward the black sashing.
      • Next make the horizontal sashing.
        • You need to make 6 rows of horizontal sashing.
        • Sew 6 matchsticks together along the skinny side with the white block pointing toward the right.
        • Sew one plane stick on the end of the last match head.
        • Iron seams toward the black sticks.
        • Place one matchstick row between each row of blocks.
      • Attach horizontal sashing.
        • Snuggle sashing seams and pin in place
        • Iron seams toward horizontal sashing.
    • Borders
      • Inner border
        • Measure your quilt’s length and width.  Write it down.
        • It should be something like 41 1/2″ x 48 1/2″, give or take.
        • Sew one 1 1/2″ border strip to each of the skinny ends.
        • Iron seams toward the border.
        • Trim excess.
        • Sew the remaining three skinny strips together, end for end.
        • Cut two strips from this that are the length of your quilt as it was when you wrote it down.  (It should be 2″ shorter than the top is now.)
        • Sew a 1 1/2″ black square to the ends of each of these strips.  Iron seams toward the border strips.
        • Snuggle corner seams together.  Pin in place.
        • Pin remaining length of borders in place.
        • Sew on long borders.
        • Iron seams toward border fabric.
      • Outer border
        • Measure your quilt’s length and width. Write it down.
        • It should be something like 43 1/2″ x 50 1/2″, give or take.
        • Sew 4 1/2″ border strips together end for end….making one very long and skinny strip.
        • Cut 4 lengths from this strip that are equal to the measurements you just wrote down. (2 that are the length of the top and 2 that equal the width.)
        • Sew short edges of the border on first.
        • Iron seams toward the border.
        • Sew a tiny double twist square to each end of each of the long strips. Iron seams toward the border strips.
        • Snuggle corner seams together. Pin in place.
        • Pin remaining length of borders in place.
        • Sew on long borders.
        • Iron seams toward border fabric.
    • Layer and Quilt as desired.
    1 crib or throw sized quilt, finished size: 51 x 58


    Cindy Sharp

    Wonky Baby ~ A Baby Quilt

    Hi there! It’s Natalia from Piece N Quilt. Today I get to share this fun baby quilt tutorial. I wanted to make a quilt that was simple yet had a little spunk to it. So I’ve created this Wonky Baby quilt. I’ve also created tutorials over on my blog for those coordinating bumpers and that darling dust ruffle. So take a minute and check out my blog for those tutorials!


    2 A Stitch In Color Charm Packs
    1 5/8 Yards coordinating grey fabric
    1/2 Yard coordinating binding fabric
    1 1/2 Yards coordinating backing fabric


    Begin by cutting from your grey fabric 56 – 6″ squares and 10 – 1″xWOF strips.
    From your charm packs cut 52 – 4″ circles, I used my Accuquilt Go to cut my circles and it went very fast and simple.

    Using the applique technique of your choice {I like to use starch applique}, applique a 4″ circle onto 52 of the 6″ squares, I tried to make each of the circles off centered so the quilt would have a wonky look.

    After you have appliqued the circles you will randomly cut each block on an angle. I cut each block individually so they would all have different angles.

    Now take the 1″ strips of grey fabric and sew those into the block, where you cut the diagonal line. Sew the block back together. You will end up with 52 blocks that look like the one above and then 4 plain grey blocks.

    Sew the blocks together, randomly, 7 blocks by 8 blocks.

    Quilt, bind and enjoy!


    1- 38″x44″ baby quilt.

    Natalia Bonner
    {piecenquilt.blogspot.com}

    Rough and Tumble Quilt


    Hi, I’m Lynne from Lily’s Quilts and Fat Quarterly and I am going to show you how to make an improv quilt using Malka Dubrawsky’s wonderful A Stitch in Color line.  The great thing about making an improv quilt is that, although you are following a pattern, no two quilts will be the same and you can adapt and change your quilt as you go.  If you do make a Rough and Tumble quilt from this tutorial, I would love you to post a picture of it in my Flickr group.

    One A Stitch in Color Layer Cake

    Half yards of each of the bright A Stitch in Color semi solids (blue, green, red, orange, yellow)
    and 2 yards of the grey A Stitch in Color semi solid.

    Plus 5 yards for backing.




    Making the strips of wonky LCSs

    1.   Divide the layer cake into 5 piles of 8 slices, mixing up patterns and colours.  Put the two spare slices to one side.


    2.   Place two layer cake slices (LCS) on the cutting mat, aligned with the lines on the mat overlapping by 3″ and both right sides up.

    3.   Slice at a randomly chosen angle making sure that both ends of the cut remain within the 3″ overlap.

    Retain any wedges cut off the LCSs wider than about 1″ to be used for little pops of colour in the framing and sashing.

    4.   Flip one LCS on top of the other, aligning the cut lines so that the ends meet 1/4″ in from the edge.  Sew using a 1/4″ seam.  Press open or to one side.

    5.   Take that section and place it back on the cutting mat, again aligned with the lines on the mat and place a third LCS on top, this time with an overlap of 2″.  Again make a random wonky cut within the area of the overlap.  Flip the new LCS and sew to the original section.  Press open or to one side, as desired.

    6.   Continue adding LCSs to the wonky strip, sometimes using a 1″, 2″, 3″ overlap or occasionally sometimes a 4″ overlap to give a variety of angles.  Sometimes cut top left to bottom right and sometimes top right to bottom left, sometimes at a more severe angle and sometimes at a gentler angle or even absolutely vertical.  Sometimes leave a wider piece of LCS and sometimes leave a narrower piece.


    TOP TIP: avoid alternating the slant of the angles each time. This will prevent your quilt from looking too much like a tumbler quilt.  I love tumbler quilts but that is not what we are aiming for here.

    7.   Once pressed, the tops and bottoms of the LCSs should align in a straight line.  Don’t worry if this is not absolutely bang on as we will be trimming the top and bottom lines of this section before the next stage.

    8.   The finished strip should end up something around 50-55″ give or take an inch or two.  If it ends up way longer than this, we can trim to size at step 12.  If it ends up way shorter, add one of the spare layer cake slices to the end but cut wider LCSs on the next one as you only have two spare.

    9.   Make five of these strips.

    Adding the colour frames


    10.   Decide which of your five strips will be framed by each of the five semi solid colour frames.  Cut each semi solid into four 4 1/2″ WOF strips.

    11.   Read to the end of this instruction before cutting 10″ strips.  Cut two 10″ strips from these WOF strips, one for each end of the LCS strips.  If you fancy inserting a pop of colour into one or both of these strips, follow the method at step 20, making sure to cut the strip of coloured fabric 11″-12″ rather than 10″ to compensate for length lost in the seams and to give a bit of waggle room.  Once the pop of colour has been inserted, trim to 10″.

    12.   If your LCS strips are much longer than 55″, trim them down to about 50″-55″.  Align each of the 10″ frame end pieces with the ends of the LCS strips, overlapping by 2″ and make a random wonky cut so that they are attached to the original LCS strips in the same way as each LCS was (see the yellow ends on the strip below).  Sew the 10″ pieces onto the ends of the LCS strips.  Press seams open or to one side, as desired.

    13.   Now give the strip a wonky trim.  Firstly fold the strip in four and cut a straight line along one edge to tidy up that edge if the LCS edges are not all perfectly aligned.

    14.   Then lay the strip down on a big table or on the floor and take a retractable metal tape measure to give you a straight line.  Lay it along the edge of the top and bottom of the strip (right side down)  at a slightly wonky angle.  Mark several pencil marks along the line.

    15.   Bring up to the cutting mat and cut along the marked line, from pencil mark to pencil mark to end up with a long wonky strip.  Retain any parts of the off-cut strip wider than 1″ for pops of colour and the scrappy binding.

    16.   Sew the remaining three semi solid WOF strips together into one long strip.  Use this strip to sash the top then the bottom of the LCS strip.  If you wish to insert a pop of colour anywhere within any of these strips, follow the method at step 20.  Again, press seams open or to one side, as desired.

    17.   Now give the framed strip a wonky trim.  You are aiming to trim it to something around 55″- 60″ X 12″-14″ or thereabouts but each side will be wonky.  Firstly cut the ends off at a slight angle each, making sure to leave at least 1/2″ width away from the seam at the narrowest cut.

    18.   Then lay the strips down on a big table or on the floor and take a retractable metal tape measure to give you a straight line.  Lay it along the edge of the top and bottom of the framed section at a slightly wonky angle, making sure to leave at least 1/2″ width at the narrowest cut.  Mark several pencil marks along the line.

    19.   Bring up to the cutting mat and cut along the marked line, from pencil mark to pencil mark to end up with a long wonky strip.  Retain any off cuts wider than 2″ to go into the scrappy binding.

    Adding pops of colour


    20.   If you want to add pops of colour into the semi-solid at any point, take an off cut scrap of fabric from the LCSs.  In the picture below, I’ve taken a piece from trimming the long LCS strips to it has two LCS fabrics in it.  Lay it over the sashing strip where you want it to be inserted with both fabrics right sides up.

    Cut the sashing strip along both sides of the scrap of fabric.

    21.   Sew the scrap of fabric to one piece of the sashing, press and trim.

    Then attach the other piece of sashing and press.

    Framing in grey


    22.   Cut the two yards of grey semi solid into sixteen 4 1/2″ WOF strips.

    23.   Layout the five colour framed strips and decide on a layout.

    24.   Sew pieces of grey to the end of each strip.  Add in pops of color if desired. Trim along the sides but not the ends at this stage.  If any of these five sections are significantly shorter than the others, add some more grey or even a pop of color and then some more grey to bring them to the same length(ish).

    25.   Join the remaining WOF strips end to end to make one long piece of sashing.   Insert pops of colour into this as and when desired.

    26.   Sash the top and the bottom of the 1st, 3rd and 5th brick strip in your quilt layout, leaving the 2nd and 4th unsashed.  Do not yet trim the ends or the side of these strips.

    27.   Once again lay all five strips out on the floor or a large table, butting each one right up to the next one.  Measure the length of the quilt on the left, middle and right of the floor layout.  If these three measurements are significantly different, try flipping one or two strips to bring them as close together as possible.  If necessary, make a wonky trim along the length of one of the strips to bring the top and bottom of the quilt as close to parallel as possible.

    28.   Sew the five strips together and press.

    29.   Measure the length of the finished quilt at three points along its width and make a final wonky trim if needed to bring those two edges parallel.

    30.   To trim the sides, fold the quilt into quarters and make a final trim parallel to the folded edges cutting off all the uneven ends to give a straight finish on both sides.  Here is a bad indoor photo of my quilt top just having been all squared up.

    31.    Back, baste and quilt as desired.

    32.   To make the scrappy binding, take all scraps of the semi solid offcuts more than 2″ wide (or 2 1/2″ wide if you prefer a slightly wider binding) and sew them into one long binding.  Add in pops of colour if desired.

    One Rough and Tumble quilt which will end up somewhere around 70″ X 90″.
    The bright colours in these fabrics appeal very much to my 10 year old twin daughters who are currently “debating” who will get to keep this quilt.  A second quilt is being made in the same line to avoid a major family fall-out!
    Lynne Goldsworthy