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My Block From Irish Chain Quilts

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog hop for Melissa Corry‘s new book, Irish Chain Quilts!

I had no idea how versatile Irish Chain quilts were before Melissa’s book landed in my mailbox. I guess I thought there was just one way to make an Irish Chain. Thanks to Melissa’s creative interpretations in this book, I’m realizing that Irish Chains have huge design possibilities. And now I’m dying to make a scrappy Irish Chain of my own!

But before I do that, Melissa asked each of us to choose one block to make from her book. She’s going to put all of our blocks together into a big, scrappy charity quilt. So awesome!

I chose the String of Pearls quilt for my block. Everyone participating in the blog hop made their blocks in certain colors, and mine was blue.

This was a really fun, easy, quick block to make, so a scrap Irish Chain quilt should come together great. As you can see, I went pretty scrappy with mine. Can’t wait to see how Melissa’s charity
quilt turns out!

To see more blocks and quilt designs from Irish Chain Quilts, check out the other stops on the blog tour:

June 8th –   Happy Quilting – Blog Hop Intro
June 9th –   Moda Lissa – Lissa Alexander + Fat Quarter Shop – Jocelyn Ueng
June 10th –  Piece N Quilt – Natalia Bonner + In Color Order – Jeni Baker
June 11th –  Amy’s Creative Side – Amy Ellis + Sew Kind of Wonderful – Jenny Pedigo
June 12th –  Quilt Story – Megan Jimenez + Diary of a Quilter – Amy Smart
June 15th –  Freshly Pieced – Lee Heinrich + Christa Quilts – Christa Watson
June 16th –  Moda Cutting Table – Carrie Nelson + Little Miss Shabby – Corey Yoder
June 17th –  Fresh Lemons – Faith Jones + V and Co.  – Vanessa Christenson
June 18th –  A Quilting Life – Sherri McConnell + Stitch This! – Jenny Wilding Cardon
June 19th –  Happy Quilting – Wrap Up & Grand Prizes

Jewel Box Quilt Tutorial in Liberty Lawn

Have you guys had a chance to sew with Liberty Tana Lawn yet? It’s like the fabric equivalent of a glass of lemonade on a summer day, so light and refreshing. I would say it falls right in between quilting cotton and voile as far as softness and consistency. I found it very easy to sew with—it may be a bit stretchier than quilting cotton, but not to the extent that it will cause you much difficulty. It’s a fun option for quilting.

Liberty prints have such a strong, recognizable look that I think they often work best with simpler patchwork. I just don’t want to distract too much from the beautiful works of art that are the prints! So I’m going to show you a tutorial today for an easy Jewel Box baby quilt, which I think is just perfect for Liberty. This quilt sews up quickly and looks amazing. : )

Jewel Box Baby Quilt
Finished block size: 8″ x 8″
Finished quilt size: 32″ x 32″ (4 blocks across by 4 blocks down)
(This tutorial makes 16 Jewel Box blocks, but you could triple it to make a quilt that is 48″ x 64″ – 6 blocks across by 8 blocks down.)

Fabric requirements
• 8 fat-eighths of various Liberty Lawn prints
• 2/3 yard of background fabric (I’m using Kona Steel)

Cutting requirements
From each Liberty fat-eighth –
(1) strip, 2-1/2″ x 20″
(2) squares, 5″ x 5″

From the background fabric –
(8) strips, 2-1/2″ x 20″
(16) squares, 5″ x 5″

Making the quilt

1. Sew a background 2-1/2″ strip to each Liberty 2-1/2″ strip, the long way. Press seams open or toward the background fabric (your choice).

2. Cross-cut each strip set into 8 pieces 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″, as shown.

3. Sew together the cross-cut units into 4-patch units measuring 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″.

4. Make (32) 4-patch units.

5. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of each 5″ Liberty print square. Pair each Liberty square with a 5″ background square. Sew 1/4″ out from the marked line, on each side, to make 32 half-square triangles (HSTs).

6. Cut HSTs apart on the marked line and press open. Square up your HSTs to 4-1/2″ by lining up the diagonal line on a 4-1/2″ square ruler with the diagonal seam and trimming.

7. Each block is made up of two HST units and two 4-patch units. Sew together as shown, pressing seams toward the HSTs.

8. Arrange your blocks 4 across by 4 down and sew together. That’s it! Told you it sews up quick! : )

Be sure to check out the other stops on the Liberty Tana Lawn blog hop for more Liberty inspiration. Enjoy!

February 24th: Kick Off! A Crafty Fox
February 25th: Astrid at Red, Red Completely Red
February 26th: Svetlana at Sotak Handmade
February 26th: Andy at A Bright Corner
February 27th: Chase at Quarter Inch Mark
March 1st: Emily at Simple Girl Simple Life
March 2nd: Ashley at Film In The Fridge
March 3rd: Lee at Freshly Pieced (you are here!!)
March 4th: Audrie at Blue is Bleu


WIP Wednesday: Off to Austin

Good morning! I’m off to Austin today for QuiltCon, but before I go, let’s squeeze in a little WIP Wednesday!

Of course, my WIPs this week were all QuiltCon-related. But I got plenty of fun demo blocks together for my Off the Grid class.
And as I write this, my suitcase is still a work-in-progress. This was taken before I even packed any clothes. LOL.
Don’t forget, I’ll be Instagramming from QuiltCon, so follow me on IG if you want to see it all unfold. And of course I’ll be doing a blog post or two about it when I return, so stay tuned for that.
And even if you’re not in Austin, you can still join a quilty community right here with WIP Wednesday!


1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is Please hashtag #wipwednesday.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!

Meanwhile, On Instagram …

My world in photos over the past few weeks:

 Come follow me on Instagram!

Quilt Improv Blog Tour and Giveaway

Today I’m so happy to be posting about a book by one of my favorite designers—Quilt Improv: Incredible Quilts from Everyday Inspirations by Lucie Summers.

Photo from Quilt Improv

First, let me just say that this book has the most stunningly beautiful quilt photography I think I’ve ever seen. It’s worth the price for that alone. I’m a sucker for quilts on a clothesline. : ) And to be honest, I think there are a lot of very generic quilt books on the market right now. Quilt Improv is so not one of them. Not only is the photography beautiful, it’s … so Lu. I love when a quilt book is designed to truly reflect its author’s style!

Photo from Quilt Improv

I also like how this book is structured. The first section features “Building Blocks,” which are 13 different improvisational units that you can use to create your own designs. The second section features quilt patterns using those building blocks. I really love a book that not only gives you patterns, but gives you the means to create your own unique designs, and this book does that as well.

I decided to make one of the building blocks from the book—I picked the “X” block. And wouldn’t you know it, I realized halfway through that I probably chose the least improvisational of all the building blocks. LOL. Well, I pushed myself last weekend at Jacquie’s improvisational slice-and-insert workshop, so I’ll give myself a pass on this one.

It turned out great, although I couldn’t help trying to make seams match up! (Sorry. It’s in my nature.) I had originally planned to make this into a pillow for my daughter, but I ended up liking the finished product so much that I’m thinking it might become a slightly larger quilt, for a different special person. We’ll see!

I highly recommend this beautiful book, especially if you would like to learn more about improvisational piecing, or if you already love improv but need just a little bit of structure and planning in your process.

The book is available on Amazon. And if you would like to follow along with the rest of the blog hop (and get more chances to win) click here for the full list. Happy sewing!

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Vintage Quilt Revival Block-Along, Coming Soon!

Vintage Quilt Revival Block Along

Happy new year! I have an exciting announcement this morning: My friend Sukie of Don’t You Know Who I Am is hosting a Vintage Quilt Revival Block-Along!

Sukie’s going to do all 20 blocks from Vintage Quilt Revival —she’ll be doing 2 blocks a week starting Jan. 21. You can make all the blocks for a sampler, make just one or two for a smaller project, or anything in between. There will be a linky party for each block, so you can link up your own version. There might even be some prizes in the offing. Knowing Sukie, probably several of them, in fact. : )

Sound like fun? Head over here to read more about it, grab a button, etc. Then buy your copy of the book, if you haven’t already!

Oh, and you really should know who Sukie is, if you don’t already, since she’s hosting what promises to be 2014’s most rockin’ sewing party/retreat. Sewtopia will be held Nov. 6-9, 2014, in Salt Lake City. My fingers are crossed that I’ll be able to make it! Click here for more details.

Have a wonderful 2014! Oh, and … Go Michigan State, 2014 Rose Bowl champions!! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)


Wonky Bow Tie Block Tutorial

Bow Tie Required - a free pattern!
Now that you’ve seen my Bow Tie Required quilt (made with the Business and Leisure fabric line by Allison Beilke for Modern Yardage), I thought I would share a tutorial for making the Wonky Bow Tie blocks featured in the quilt.
Wonky Bow Tie Block

These blocks are so easy and fun—no, they really are! I guarantee even a total newbie can knock these out and make them look great. I’m thinking a block like this would be cute centered on pillows, as a table runner—you name it.

And of course, the full Bow Tie Required quilt pattern is free and can be downloaded right here on Craftsy. So once you’ve whipped up a few of these, head over there to get a full pattern for finishing your blocks. (The pattern does include all instructions and photos shown below.)
Wonky Bow Tie Block

Stack a 6” x 10-1/2” piece of Business and Leisure’s Suncoast print on top
of a 6” x 10-1/2” piece of white solid, edges aligned.

Wonky Bow Tie Block

Cut both pieces diagonally, from corner to corner. This
should not be an exact cut, but slightly uneven and off from the corners, as

Wonky Bow Tie Block

3. Pair the Suncoast print pieces with the opposing side’s
white solid pieces, as shown.

Wonky Bow Tie Block

4. Place a white solid piece on top of its matching Suncoast
print piece, right sides facing. Stitch down the angled edge with a 1/4” seam. (Notice that the white piece is slightly offset from the Suncoast print piece. This is necessary to get the raw edges to align, but since you’ll be trimming the blocks down in a later step, it’s not the end of the world if your pieces don’t quite line up.)

Wonky Bow Tie Block

5. Press seams open. Repeat with the other pair of pieces. You
will now have two pieces that look like this.

Wonky Bow Tie Block

6. Stack these two pieced units together, with Suncoast
print stacked on top of white solid on one side, white solid stacked on top of Suncoast
print on the other side, as shown.

Wonky Bow Tie Block

7. Cut both units diagonally, from corner to corner, with an
uneven and “wonky” cut as you did in Step 2, but this time cut in the opposite

Wonky Bow Tie Block

8. Find the two pieces that look like this. (The
other two pieces can be discarded, saved for another project, or used on the
back. I used mine on the back of the quilt, as you can see in this blog post.)

9. Align the two pieces along the angled edge, right sides
facing, making sure the opposite angled seams intersect 1/4” from the raw
angled edges. Sew with a 1/4” seam along the raw angled edge to complete a
Bow-Tie Unit. Press open.
10. Trim the Bow-Tie Unit so that it measures 5” x 9-1/2”.
Wonky Bow Tie Block

11. Join two Bow-Tie Units together as shown to make a Double
Bow-Tie block. The block should measure 9-1/2” x 9-1/2.”

That’s it! Enjoy the block.


Cathedral Square Pattern Now On Sale

Cathedral Square quilt

My third (and final) pattern release of the summer is now available—Cathedral Square is ready to go!

• Click here to purchase Cathedral Square as a PDF pattern •

• Click here to purchase Cathedral Square as a paper pattern •

Cathedral Square started as a block from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks special issue, Vol. 5. Since then I’ve made two quilts from this block. The one above was for the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks blog hop ….

Chicopee Square Quilt

… and here’s my larger lap-size version, made about a year later for Quilt magazine.

Cathedral Square quilt

This is a fun design because it lends itself to so many different layout options. Both versions seen here—as well as the pattern itself—feature a layout with staggered blocks. (Staggering blocks is one of my favorite design modernization tricks.) But you can click on the 100 Blocks blog hop post to see several more possible layouts using this block. My pattern can be easily modified to use any of those alternate layouts.

Cathedral Square quilt

To make this pattern, you need to be okay with Flying Geese. Just saying. : ) To that end, the PDF version of this pattern includes two different methods for making your Flying Geese units—you can piece them traditionally using a special four-at-a-time method for speed and efficiency (a great choice since this pattern calls for a lot of geese), or you can paper-piece them for greater accuracy. So there’s an option no matter what your comfort level with geese! But keep in mind, the Flying Geese paper-piecing template and instructions are a special bonus for the PDF version of the pattern only. The hard-copy paper version does not include the paper-piecing templates—that version only includes the traditional-piecing method. So if you want to paper-piece your geese, you’ll definitely want the PDF version of this pattern.

Other than the geese, this pattern is pretty basic—the smaller squares are strip-pieced, while the four-patch units are just your standard patchwork piecing. Those four-patches are a great way to show off some favorite prints.
Chicopee Square Quilt

You can buy Cathedral Square from my shop and Craftsy.

I’m also starting to get distributors lined up for my paper patterns, so look for them in your favorite brick-and-mortar quilt shop very soon. If you don’t see them, please ask for them! : ) (Shops: You can also email me directly to order wholesale.)

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Doing Cartwheels

Cartwheels quilt

My Cartwheels quilt is now complete, and I am so happy with how it turned out! It’s a sweet little girl quilt for a sweet baby girl.

• Buy Cartwheels as a PDF pattern here •

• Buy Cartwheels as a hard-copy paper pattern here •

Cartwheels quilt
My gray and yellow love is still going strong, as you can see, plus I threw in some pink for good measure. The background is Kona Ash and the binding is a Lizzy House print.

Some of my favorite stash prints can be found in the blocks and on the back.

Cartwheels quilt - the back

This is how I almost always piece my quilt backs now–they’re pieced, but it’s pretty simple and quick piecing. I hardly ever buy fabric specifically for a quilt back anymore. I just use whatever I have in my stash that coordinates. But since I don’t usually buy a whole lot of any one print, it does necessitate a bit more piecing than if I was doing a back from all one print. That’s good, because it forces me to do something with the back at a time when I’m usually running out of steam on the project and getting lazy. : )

Since I’ve had a few requests, this pattern is now available for sale. The pattern includes a paper-piecing template for making the Cartwheel blocks, as well as full cutting and assembly instructions to make this quilt in three different sizes: Baby, Lap, and Twin. The Cartwheel block is a lot of fun and deceptively simple to sew—there aren’t any seams to match up when you put the block sections together, and that’s always the trickiest part of foundation piecing. So I hope you’ll give this one a try! Click here to purchase.


WIP Wednesday: The Calm Before the Storm

I now know the true meaning of the phrase “not enough hours in the day.” Because, for real, there aren’t. With my Sewing Summit teaching gig coming up and a million other things floating around in my head, my to-do list is never-ending! But I think I’ve been remarkably calm in the face of it. Just taking it one day at a time, doing what I can, and not freaking out. Yay me. : )

Baby quilt in progress

This week I mostly worked on a baby quilt for a friend who’s expecting a girl, after two boys. I was kind of at a loss about the design of this quilt until I came across this cute paper-pieced block. It’s actually a traditional block from the book The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer, and I drafted the paper-piecing pattern for it myself. Yet another example of a traditional block that I would have sworn was modern. : )

Baby quilt in progress
The official name of the block is “Rainbow,” but since that’s hardly an appropriate name for this particular quilt, I’m thinking of calling it “Cartwheels.” Baby’s not due quite yet, so I’m bringing this little quilt to Sewing Summit to use as a sample in the Foundation Paper Piecing class that I’m teaching with Elizabeth.

Mama Said Sew
Speaking of Sewing Summit, a few other class samples are on my to-do list as well. In case you haven’t noticed, I looooove paper-piecing, so I’m all dorky-excited about showing people what they can do with this technique! And I’m thinking a little of Sweetwater’s new collection Mama Said Sew will have to make its way into at least one of my samples. (It’s in stock at Pink Castle … go and get it!)

Last but not least, I signed a contract today to speak about “Modern Quilting and the Online Quilting Community” at a traditional quilt guild meeting in May. Gulp. I’m excited, but also nervous about it already! Between this and teaching at Sewing Summit, I’m thinking a public-speaking class might not be a bad idea …

So what are you working on this week? Here are the linky rules:

1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab my WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links. Because what fun is a linky party without comments? : )

Happy Wednesday, everybody!