Friday, 26 June 2020


This is a quilt that I've made before in red, white and blue. I'll see if I can find a photo to show you another day. The basic Lonestar block pattern came from a McCall's Best Quilts magazine (Vol. 3, 1988).
 I had a pack of orange and gray fabrics that I curated (LOVE that word!) from the odds and ends in my fabric collection.  I pieced the star - it seemed to be a bit more difficult than I remembered to get the centre portion to lay flat and not bubble. Those bias seams on diamonds are tricky.
.I added a plain narrow light gray border to square up the centre block and then a wider darker gray border to make the measurements work for the outer checkerboard border.
 I then challenged myself to do some custom quilting on each element of the quilt. So the checkerboard border got an orange peel treatment.
The dark gray border was quilted with swirls. The light gray area, including the border, was free-motion quilted with a meandering pattern. And lastly, the diamonds were quilted a quarter inch in from the seam lines to emphasize the diamond shapes.
 All in all I was pretty happy with this little quilt. The textures looks great and I'm slowly getting better at figuring out different things to quilt in different areas.
 It does take at least double the time to quilt a project with various techniques as opposed to a general all-over design that doesn't take into account the different elements of the piecing.
 Quilt was finished with a gray print that I had in my stash and machine bound with a solid gray fabric.

A quilt with these details doesn't stay in the shop very long and I'm glad I took lots of photos while it was still here. It may be one I do again in a different colourway. (I'm pinning lots of colour inspiration on Pinterest!)


Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Winnie the Pooh

Not really sure if I've shared this one with you yet. A few months ago, I had a call from someone who heard that I make and sell my quilts and do custom work. She had a set of 4 Winnie the Pooh cross stitch blocks that she had done with her daughter and wanted them made into a quilt for her expected grandchild.
 I did have some Winnie the Pooh fabrics left from a previous project that were perfect for this quilt. I was not sure that I would have enough, so I went looking to find a few more pieces so I could add them to make this quilt a good size to last from baby to toddler.
 Unfortunately, I was unable to find what I needed, so the next challenge was to make do with what I had. Adding a couple of coordinating solids gave me the extra fabric I needed to make this quilt the size we were looking for. A fun frame of orange and gray and simple piecing of the hexagon fabric I had on hand resulted in a fun quilt top that let the cross stitch pieces take centre stage.
I then decided that I didn't want to quilt this with my usual all over meandering quilting and sent it to Marie of Blueberry Hill Quilts in High River, Alberta so she could work her magic. We choose a honey bee quilting pattern and a simple cross-hatch over the stitched pictures.

The end result is a really pretty quilt that will be sure to be a heirloom in the family. A piece of personally stitched pieces from family and finished by Magpie Quilts!

Have you used embroidery or cross-stitching as a starting point for a quilt project?


Monday, 1 June 2020

Disappearing 9-patch baby quilt

I've done a lot of sorting and cleaning up in my sewing room during this "Stay home, stay safe" time of COVID-19. And I find all kinds of unfinished projects and extra blocks. I made a twin size quilt with these fabrics a year or so ago and had a couple blocks left over and some fabric left.

And just like a sour-dough bread starter that is needed to start a new loaf of bread, I use left-over blocks like these as a starting point for new quilt projects.
 I put the blocks up on my design wall and cut and pieced some more until I had enough for a baby quilt. I didn't think I had enough of the navy with the silvery gray print circles on it, so I chose another similar shade of navy for the small squares.
In the end I still had a few blocks left over - so much for using those up! And after it was all pieced together and quilted, I found enough of the original navy fabric that I wouldn't have had to substitute.

But that's the way things go sometime and there will be another navy and green quilt at some point because I still have a few blocks to use as a quilt-starter in the future.

How about you? Do you save left-over blocks or orphan blocks to make new projects? Tell me about how you've used your left over pieced pieces.


Monday, 11 May 2020

New Skill - Quilting with Rulers

Even though I've been quilting for over 30 years, there's always something new to learn or ways to improve my skills. I happened to see a post about ruler quilting on one of my social media feeds and looked into it a little to see what it was all about.
 That little foray into ruler quilting led to a class at my local quilting shop and a purchase of a ruler foot for my specific machine and a set of basic rulers to get started.
 I made up a simple table runner from some pretty fabrics and after a little practice on a practice piece, I tried this new technique out.
 It's not perfect, but it looks pretty good for a first attempt on a project.
 I'll need a lot more practice, but I'm watching all the Angela Walters and Amanda Murphy videos to hopefully learn some tips from the experts!
 And ta-da! A finished table runner!
Rail Fence Table Runner
What techniques have you learned recently? Where do you go to learn new things?


Saturday, 9 May 2020

Charm Pack Fun

Every once in a while, the sewing room needs to get a little clean up and organization. For me, this can happen at many different times through the year but always results in increased productivity. I try to sew on 2-3 days during the week, sometimes only for a short time, but other days I sew much longer.
Packaging mini kits
When I'm cleaning up and folding fabrics and putting them back where they belong, I will often see a combination of fabrics that I might have an idea for. I'll put those fabrics together, take the time to dig out the pattern I am thinking of (or maybe just draw a little sketch) and put them all together in a baggie. That way even when I have a little stretch of time to sew, like maybe half an hour or so, I'm not spending that whole time looking for fabrics or patterns. I can just grab one of the pre-packaged bundles and get right to work.

And then before I leave my sewing area, I'll put everything back in the baggie or in a project box (pizza box or a 12"x12" plastic box) and it will be all ready for next time. This has worked great for me for when I go and sew with friends or when I'm going on a retreat as well as at home.
Moda Love Quilt
 So earlier this year, I found a couple charm packs of the same fabric line and thought I could do up a few Valentine themed quilts. The Moda Love quilt is one I've made with 10" squares and wanted to do with the 5" squares so I thought it was a good choice.
Bow Tie Quilt
 I've done this bow tie quilt a number of times in the past and I love it for charm packs.
Scrappy Heart
 And this little scrappy heart was something I saw on my Instagram feed. There's probably a pattern out there somewhere, but it's a simple grid quilt and the little 1.5" squares are adorable.
Double Four Patch Table Runner
 I still had quite a bit of the fabrics left, so I put together this double nine-patch table runner. Pattern is from Mary Quilts here.
Bow Tie Quilt
 And the bow ties just make me happy! This pattern looks so great in every fabric I've made it from and I will make it again and again! Pattern is Charm Circles from Me and My Sister Designs and is a free PDF. I just arranged the bow ties slightly differently.
Moda Love Quilt

 The Moda Love quilt is stunning! This free pattern is another one that I will make again. Super easy, even for a beginner quilter and looks like a million bucks!
I <3 Mug Rug
I didn't get them done before Valentine's Day 2020, but they are timeless and will look just as great in 2021!

Tell me what your favourite quilt pattern is and how many times you have made it!