Apr 05

Safe and Sound Paper Piecing Pattern

People have been asking me a lot recently about how to make certain quilts.  This is a quilt I made a while back.  I would love to share with you how to make it.

capeannbaby quiltI decided to name this quilt block “safe and sound” since the smaller scrappy squares are safely gathered in by the blue diamonds.  (Am I getting better at naming quilts?)

In making this design, I had available a handful of 2.5 inch squares of Cape Ann fabric, and a bunch of paper to draw out my own templates.  But, lucky for you guys, I put together a printable template that you can use here.

Screen shot 2014-04-05 at 1.51.47 PM

Fabric cutting for baby quilt (40 inches by 50 inches)

Print off 80 “Safe and Sound” quilt block templates.  First print one template and make sure that the block measures 5.5 inches square.

For positions 1, 2, 3, and 4, you will need:

320–2.5 inch x 2.5 inch squares

For positions 5 and 6, you will need:

160–1.75 inch x 6.5 inch strips (blue) (you could get away with only using 1.5 inch by 6.5 inch, but I like to give myself some wiggle room with paper piecing.)

For positions 7 and 8, you will need:

160–3.25 inch triangles (white). (I would make these triangles in this way:  First, I would starch my fabric.  Since I will be cutting and sewing on the biased edge of the triangle, having the starch there helps to keep it from stretching.  Then, I would cut 3.25 inch squares from the starched fabric.  I would cut those squares from one corner to it’s opposite corner, making two 3.25 inch triangles.)

scrappy lattice baby quilt

Now we piece the fabric to the paper piecing foundation.  I have found a video tutorial that is good if this is your first time paper piecing.  I also found a written tutorial with great pictures to show you step by step how to paper piece.  My instructions above have already pre-cut your fabric for you, so you won’t need to do the trimming that she does on the tutorial.  I think it also eliminates a lot of paper piecing waste.

1)  Remember to shorten your stitch length to make the paper easier to tear in the end (1.5 stitch length)  .

2) Use a glue stick to glue the first square of fabric to the back of the paper, behind position 1.

3) When adding fabric, make sure that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other.  Otherwise, you’ll have to unpick it, and unpicking a paper piecing project is not fun.

4)  On my block, the dotted line shows what the final quilt block will look like (will end up being a 5 inch square block).  The solid lines show where you should cut your paper and your fabric to make the 5.5 inch square block.

At this point, some people remove the paper from their blocks, but I don’t.  I first assemble the blocks together with 10 rows, 8 blocks in a row (remember to use a 1.5 stitch length).  Then, I remove the paper, press my seams, and sew the 10 rows together, making the resulting 40 x 50 inch quilt top.

Cape Ann Baby Quitl

I hope you enjoyed using this tutorial.   As a favor to me, if you use this tutorial, will you please credit this blog post when you show or use social media to display your quilts?  That will allow others to be able to find and use this free tutorial as well.

Thank you for visiting!



Mar 18

For my cousin (137)


Almost everyone has them.

If you are lucky, you get to know them really well.

I’ve been thinking a lot about cousins lately.  You are raised by siblings, or at least, a set of siblings contributed to your DNA.  You and your cousins share 1/8 of the same genetic material.  Not a whole lot, but just enough.

My husband knows his cousins on one side, but doesn’t know his cousins on the other.  I love his cousins.  They have treated me like family, and I am grateful for their love.

I never grew up with my cousins.  The closest cousins always lived 2000 or more miles away.  I would see them maybe every 4-12 years.  For most of my life, I didn’t speak the same language as most of my cousins, and to be honest, I don’t know a lot of their names.  I blame the language barrier for that one.  I always envied the relationship some people have with their cousins.

In my teenage years and young adulthood, I had some neighbors that had close cousins.  They would include me in some of their family parties, and so while I didn’t get to know the cousins like they did, I was able to see them interact.  I have to admit in being a little envious of their relationship with their cousins.

My neighbors lost their cousin in a tragic accident this past week, no even one mile away from my home.  I can’t drive past the intersection without thinking of him, of his wife, his children, his mom, his dad, his brother, his aunts, his uncles, his in-laws, and his cousins.  It overwhelms me to the point that I try to avoid the intersection if I can.  I feel indescribable sadness for their loss.  But since the accident, I have been able to watch from a distance how they have chosen to comfort each other.  They share their memories.  They joke, they praise, they remember.

I have four American cousins.  I attended two of their weddings, and two of them attended mine.  One of those cousins that made the 2000 mile trip to see me on my wedding day was recently diagnosed with cancer.  He still needs to have the cancer removed, then he has to fight through radiation and chemotherapy.  Even after the cancer is removed and he is healed, he will still have to live with the harsh changes that it has wrought in his body.

My heart aches for him, for my uncle, my aunt, for his brother and sister-in-law, and his nephews.  I am so far removed, I feel helpless.  I cannot be there comfort them.  I cannot bring them meals.  I cannot make life any easier for them.  But I want to.  I want to help.

So, I did what I do best.  I made a quilt.



Sometimes you hear that a quilt is “stitched with love.”  Only after I have made a quilt specifically for someone have I understood that process.  I have found that it takes me 30 or more hours to make a quilt.  In the case of a quilt like this, that means that I spend 30 hours thinking about a person.  While you plan the quilt, you are thinking about them.  While you cut the fabric, you are thinking about them.  When you sew the seams, press the seams, arrange the fabric, you are thinking about them.  When you are placing the pins to baste the quilt, when you run the quilt through the machine hundreds of times, when you cut, sew, and add the binding to the quilt, your thoughts are with that person.  Love is sewn in there, somewhere, and hopefully that love is felt in a tangible way when they receive it.



I used minky (a very bright green minky) because my neighbor who just overcame thyroid cancer said that minky was the best for her skin.  This minky honestly feels as soft as a baby rabbit.



I hope to ship this quilt to my cousin by the end of this week.  I’ll pack the box with messages of love from all of my family, and I’ll also fill it with a hope and prayer that it will be helpful in the recovery and healing process…

…So that one day, we can make more memories.

For my cousin, I love you and I’m thinking of you.



Mar 08

Stash-busting Tile Quilt and Tutorial(136)

As you know, I can’t name quilts.  I just can’t name them.


Yes, I’m calling this a “Tile Quilt.”

It could have been worse!  I could have called it “Fields and Roads”

Or “Tile and Grout.”

Or “Squares and Sash.”

Or my usual go-to, “The Square Quilt.”

I have made this quilt before, and I do believe it is my favorite “easy” quilt.

photo (6)


Would you like to know how to make it?  It is very easy.

1)  Cut:

130 6×6 inch “Tile” squares

117 2×6 inch background sash strips.  (The background sash strip looks yellow in this picture, but it is just the lighting!)


2)  Pull 13 “Tile” squares of varying fabrics from the pile.  This should leave you with 117 fabric squares and 117 sash strips.

3)   Sew one sash strip to each fabric square.



4)  Once you have all 117 strips sewn to the 117 squares, arrange them in 13 rows of 9, adding to the end of each row one of the 13 squares you pulled from the “Tile” pile.



5)  Sew the 13 rows together, making sure to keep the strip of background sash between the square “tiles.”  You should now have 13 rows consisting of 10 “tile” squares separated by 9 sash strips.

6)  Press the seams toward the darker fabric.  In this case, I pressed my seams toward the “tile” squares.


7)  Cut 29 2-inch strips (selvage to selvage) of background fabric and sew them together end to end.  You may need more depending on your width of fabric.

8)  Measure the 13 “tile” rows.  The rows should be about 68.5 inches in length, but since everybody sews differently, yours might consistently be shorter or longer than this.  If this is so, then no worries.  Use your average row length to cut 14 strips of background fabric, two inches wide.  So, in a perfect world, you would cut 14 strips 2 inches by 69 inches.  Even though the rows might not be the same size, it is important to make the strips the same length to help your quilt become uniform.

9)  Pin a background strip to the top of each “tile” row.  On “tile” row 13, pin a strip to the top and the bottom of the row.  I suggest pinning the sides first, then the middle and work in from there.

10)  Sew the background strips to the “tile” rows.

11)  Pin pairs of rows together, with the long strips of sash separating the “tile” rows.  During this step, I tried to make sure the 2×6 strips were aligned with the 2×6 strips above and below them and pinned accordingly.  This assures that these maintain a “vertical row” appearance in the final quilt.  Sew the pairs together (1 to 2, 3 to 4, 5 to 6, 7 to 8, 9 to 10, and 11 to 12)


12)  Pin row pairs together (1-2 to 3-4, 5-6 to 7-8, and 9-10 to 11-12), again making sure to match up 2×6 inch strips.  Sew.

13)  Pin panel 1-2-3-4 to panel 5-6-7-8.  Pin panel 9-10-11-12 to row 13, matching up 2×6 strips.  Sew

14)  Pin two panels together, sewing together between rows 8 and 9, matching up the 2×6 strips.

15)  Press the seams away from the long strips of background fabric, toward the “tile” rows.


16)  Measure the sides of the quilt.  In a perfect world, it should be 93 inches, but it is OK if it isn’t.  Cut 2 2-inch background strips the length of the quilt.  Pin these strips to the quilt along the length of the quilt, creating a border to the end of all the rows.  See picture below. Sew.


17)  Press the seams away from the background strip (toward the “tile” rows).  Now your quilt top is done, and it should be about 71.5 inches by 92.5 inches.  My main goal in this quilt is to have the squares look like they are evenly placed on a grid.  Here is a view from the side.  We hope (and expect) these lines are straight, since they are made from one strip of fabric.  But the true test is how the vertical lines look, since these visual lines are made from many different strips of fabric.


Here is the view from the top of the quilt.


I’m pretty excited about the outcome.


This quilt is was bound with a Denise Schmidt Flea Market Fancy pink print.  I quilted it in a large free-motion meandering design, which is one of my favorites when I use minky as a backing fabric.


This quilt will be auctioned at a church fundraising activity.  I hope a wonderful girl gets to enjoy some cold winter nights under this warm quilt.  Thanks for stopping by!


Feb 20

Hand Applique Orange Peel Quilt

A long time ago, I made a quilt using an orange peel block.  I LOVED the look of it.  This quilt was made using a machine applique technique, and it was pretty quick and fun to put together.

orange peel quilt


I used a different technique to make this orange peel block that you see on this sampler quilt.  This block uses a raw edge machine applique technique.  This was by far the easiest way to do an apple peel block.  But, I still needed to make life harder.



apple peel, curves, fan, circles, and paper piecing

apple peel, curves, fan, circles, and paper piecing

Then came this post from Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts.  I couldn’t get this quilt out of my mind.  It had that extra challenge I was looking for:  hand applique.  I was officially inspired.

Instead of doing a dark value orange peel over a light value block, I thought I would try something a little different and go with cooler colored orange peels over warm color blocks.  I ended up with something like this:

Orange peel quilt

I have worked on this since 2012.  I gave up many times.  Hand basting, then hand stitching?  It was a lot of tedious, time consuming work.  I would work on this when I was outside watching the kids play, or while watching a movie with my husband, or riding shot-gun on long distance road trips.  But, honestly, I kind of got tired of it.  I had planned to make two quilts with these blocks, but I barely even completed one.  That hand stitching can be a real beast!

Up close appliqué by hand


And when it didn’t end up looking anything like Amanda Jean’s quilt, I almost scrapped the whole thing.  All of that work, and I wasn’t “in love” with it.  So, it lay in a box basted, but I had very little desire to quilt it.

Hand appliqué apple peel


But yesterday, I stared at that poor, neglected, little quilt.  It certainly did have a cute personality.   And what is a quilt if it doesn’t have a little character to it?  So, I decided to quilt her up, and see how she looked in the end.

Apple peel quilt

Guess what!   She turned out pretty darn cute.

Apple peel quilt

My kids immediately fell in love with her, and wanted to claim her as their own.  But, I had a feeling that this one, although she would be loved at our house, deserved a family that would appreciate the novelty of a quilt.

Quilt corners

So, we folded her up into a neat bundle, and my two youngest children took turns walking her across the street to a little 4 year old friend.  My kids were so excited to give the quilt to her, and they even did a good job keeping it a secret.  This part was actually really hard because, while she was at our house the day before, our little friend opened a fortune cookie that said, “A friend will soon bring you a gift.”  My kids had to work so hard to not tell her anything!  When they finally handed her the quilt, she gasped and said, “It is so heavy.”  And when she and her older sister opened it up, she gasped and said, “Oh, it is so big.”

Hand appliqué quilt

This quilt is 60 inches by 78 inches, and I can say that it is in a great home.





Feb 13

Botanics Trellis Baby Quilt (134)

This quilt features the lighter values of Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics line, with Kona white and Kona Curry. Straight line quilting.

Hello!  Here is my quilt #134.  It features the lighter values of Carolyn Friedlander’s  Botanics line.

This quilt features the lighter values of Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics line, with Kona white and Kona Curry. Straight line quilting.

These are actually my scraps from another quilt that I hope to show you soon.  I think the lighter value fabrics make such a wonderful, visually  appealing, baby quilt for either a boy or a girl.

This quilt features the lighter values of Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics line, with Kona white and Kona Curry. Straight line quilting.

Kona White was used in the front of the quilt, while Kona Curry was used for the back and the binding.  I was able to hand stitch this binding down, which I find very relaxing.

This quilt features the lighter values of Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics line, with Kona white and Kona Curry. Straight line quilting.

This quilt measures 38 inches square, before washing.  I have listed it in my shop, along with a few other quilts.  And some yo-yos.

This quilt features the lighter values of Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics line, with Kona white and Kona Curry. Straight line quilting.

Thanks for stopping by!