Friday, January 19, 2018


This is not just for those who were following my state block challenge last year but for anyone wanting to participate. You can either start here or if you want to go back to previous blogs to see the other blocks and do them that is fine. The only rule in this challenge are that you fussy cut some part of the block. You can do one or all of them, choose certain ones you like, skip some, it makes no difference. I do hope that when you do get the blocks done you will send me the images of them, I love to share them on my social media pages. I will be talking about how to take good pictures of them when the time comes. I will also be having occasional prize drawings to encourage you to finish them. 

I am going to add a special incentive to those who will be doing this for the first time .... you will receive my Perfect 1/4" seam guide to help you get that consistent 1/4" seam allowance. So if you will be participating for the first time, email me with your address using the Contact form on the left side of this blog so I can mail it to you.

I ended on Florida last year so now I am on Georgia. The only two blocks I could find of that state were very similar. As in my previous challenges I try to do an easy block and a difficult block. Here is what the two blocks look like (with no fabric in them). This time I will be posting blank blocks instead of showing what my finished blocks look like. That way you will not be influenced by where I put my fussy cut patches.

Now it is time to gather your fabrics. I chose two symmetrical fabrics with a dark and light background. These fabrics are from the Imperial Paisley collection with Quilting Treasures. They are both available on my website.  Click on the names to take you to them. You should get at least 1-1/2 yards of two different symmetrical fabrics or 2-1/2 yards of one symmetrical fabric. You don't have to use them for all of the rest of the blocks but you want to make sure you have enough for at least 16-20 blocks. Also pick a fabric with lots of colors.

   Set Paisley Navy                                   Set Paisley White
Here are the fabrics I chose to go with them. I can always add more if I need to but this is a good start. Your coordinating fabrics should be tone-on-tones, batiks, or solids. Start with 1/4 yard or fat quarter of each. If you have some scraps that go with them, then use those. This is a very scrappy quilt so the more fabrics you use the better. The blocks' focal point should be the fussy cut patches so don't choose fabrics that will "fight" with the symmetrical ones.

You will need to print out the templates so you can cut your pieces. I am including the templates in this post so you can get them cut out ahead of time. Be sure to use heavy template plastic. The best way to make them is to cut around the paper template. Tape them to the template material and then cut them out. That way you don't have to trace them and it will give you a more accurate template.

In the next post I will be showing you the fabrics I used in each block, the sizes of the pieces to cut and the sewing instructions. When you print out the template PDFs be sure to print at no scaling or at 100%. To check on the scale, the corner squares on both blocks should equal 3" to the outer edges or 2-1/2" on the inside lines. Please let me know if you are having problems printing the correct scale.

Click on the links and when prompted, save the file in a folder with the title State Block challenge. If you have any problems getting the PDFs please contact me on my Contact form on the left and send me your email. I can email them to you directly then.

So gather your fabrics, print and cut out your templates and start to think about where you will put those fussy cut pieces in the blocks. 

As always, Do what you love and love what you do. Please feel free to add any comments and share my blog with anyone that might be interested.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

My second love, cooking (not quilt related)

I'm sure you will all think I am crazy, but I love winter. Not because of the weather, but because when it gets cool I start to do more cooking. My husband doesn't like me to cook too much in the heat of the summer because he doesn't like me heating up the house so as soon as it starts to cool, I get to make some of my favorite dishes.

My mother was a home economics teacher so you can imagine that growing up I ate a lot of wonderful meals. I got my love of cooking from her (along with my love of sewing). Almost everything was made from scratch (except for the occasional TV dinner which were all the rage then). Also I have a husband who loves to eat (and it shows)!

When we moved to North Carolina I had this huge family kitchen and I was a stay-at-home mom with two small children. My mom never made bread from scratch but I always watched Mike's aunt make Easter bread every year and loved the way fresh bread tasted a smelled, so I started to make my own bread. There is nothing more enticing than the smell of fresh bread in a kitchen, in addition to being more healthy since there are no preservatives in them. (These are the Vermont Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey bread from the King Arthur Flour website.)

I enjoyed the whole process. The kneading, shaping, and watching the dough rise. The only problem was as I got older my hands couldn't knead the bread anymore so I bought a bread machine. The bread machine helped with the kneading but I still like to shape the dough so I would only use the dough setting. I also discovered the dough hook on my mixer and that helped too.

This winter I wanted to experiment with new breads and doughs so I made some new things. I also discovered Craftsy cooking classes and King Arthur's website.  Some of the Craftsy classes I signed up for are King Arthur Flour's Best Sandwich Bread, Homemade Holiday Breads, and the Bread Monk's Baking Sweet Yeast Breads, Challah, and More. If you click on those links you will get 25% off the regular price if it is not already reduced. (Coupon Details: Get 25% off the full retail price of any Craftsy class. Excludes classes from our special Mastering in Minutes series as well as from our partner, The Great Courses. Cannot be combined with any other coupons. Expires April 10, 2018.) These are affiliate links not mine. Craftsy has a special promotion and enrollment that you can also purchase a monthly subscription and see all of the classes that you want before purchasing them, included with this subscription is a 14 day free trial. (You can also get a chance to see my class to see if you would like to purchase it.)

Here is my Challah. It is a Jewish braided bread that is usually made on Friday for the Jewish sabbath. I got this recipe from a cookbook called California Jewish Cooking.

From one of my Craftsy classes I finally learned to make perfectly round rolls! I made a large batch of rolls for Thanksgiving. They were so big everyone could only eat one so I had to freeze half of them! This was King Arthur Flour's Big Batch quick dinner rolls recipe.

I also used another of their roll recipe (Soft white dinner rolls) to make my Christmas tree bread for Christmas dinner. It made 16 rolls which was the perfect number to make a tree!

I'm sure these photos will make your mouth water. Just looking at them, I think of the wonderful smells and tastes. One more King Arthur recipe I tried was their Cinnamon Star Bread. I had to make one for me to make sure it was okay and one for my friends who were coming over for Christmas dinner as a gift.

I hope this gives you some insight into another part of my life besides quilting! All of these recipes you can find on the King Arthur Flour website (just a fan, I don't get paid to say this).

Remember: Always do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading and feel free to share with your friends.

Monday, January 8, 2018


I don't make yearly resolutions because I always know that I keep them for about a month (if I am lucky) and then they just fall by the way. I did tell myself that I really wanted to start up my state block challenge again. I stopped at Florida. I had a few following me and thought maybe with my larger Instagram following more would join me. I sure hope so.

I looked over the blocks that I had finished and thought that I would start with a whole new set of fabrics to make it more interesting for me (and you). So I laid out the blocks (I chose 16 of the ones I did) and decided to sew them together to make a wall or small lap quilt. I hope those of you who did join me in this challenge would also put those blocks in a quilt and share them with me. I'll be posting the finished quilt in future blogs.

What my post is about today is to show you how I go about making a quilt with my Kaleidstars block. I first choose which symmetrical fabric(s) I want to work with. I had just gotten in two new Jane Sassaman fabrics in my shop and, of course, had to start to play! You can get the fabrics here:
Queen of the May and Scandia.

So I get out my Marti Michell Magic Mirrors (available on my website) and start playing with both fabrics.

After looking at all of the design possibilities, I cut out all of the diamonds. I used both fabrics so I had to cut four repeats of each fabric for each block. In my book and iQuilt class I show you how to get perfect repeats every time. Then I played with the combinations. You can get my iQuilt DVD here: iQuilt Kaleidostars.

 Next I had to audition different color backgrounds.

I decided that I liked all of the colors so I chose to make my Parfait pattern from my book Kaleidostars.  This block uses the 17" Kaleidostars templates.

Next I pieced the blocks. I love how easy the blocks are to put together. I realized that the corners of the blocks should be dark so I picked out a wonderful black dot fabric (available on my website) that has every color dot in it that coordinates with the fabrics.  

 Here is how the blocks came out.

See how easy it is to put together. No "y" seams! 

Now to sew the blocks together! Each block is framed with its color, then framed in black. A border of each of the colors to match the blocks is then added, and last, one more black border.

I hope this gives you a glimpse of how I design my quilts. I am selling kits for this quilt on my website: Jane Sassaman Parfait quilt kit. To sweeten the pot, I have added my 17" Kaleidostars templates, my Kaleidostars book, and my 1/4" seam guide at NO EXTRA CHARGE! The whole kit would retail for $134.50 and is only $80! There will be a limited number of kits available, so be sure to get yours early.

*********To make this more interesting, please leave a comment at the end of this blog and tell me what  SYMMETRICAL FABRIC on my website you like the best and a winner will be drawn to get a fat quarter of that fabric along with my 1/4" seam guide.

On my next post I hope to have the first State Block challenge blocks up.

As always: Do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading. Please share this blog with all of your quilting friends.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 in a Nutshell!


Hi all. I know I have been very negligent about writing my blog. It would be much easier if I wrote it as things happened instead of writing most of it all at one time, but here I am doing just that!

My last post was in August when my Craftsy class Clever Curves went live. Would you believe I have almost 2000 quilters signed up for that class? I can't! I have had such wonderful comments about that class, it makes me very happy to see so many quilters learning a new technique that they didn't think they could do. Some of them have shared their photos with me and you can read some of the comments on my new Testimonials page on my website.  I hope you can help me get to 2000. 

Craftsy has a new subscription policy where you can get unlimited access for a small monthly fee. CRAFTSY UNLIMITED. This way you can preview any class and if you like one and want it in your permanent files you can still purchase it. They have been running 14 day free trials so check to see if that is still going on. If you decide to check out my class and like it, please use this link for 50% off my class. CLEVER CURVES. (Coupon Details: Get 50% off the full retail price of select Craftsy classes taught by Toby Lischko. Cannot be combined with any other coupons. Expires April 1, 2018.)

This year has been quite a year for me. I had some wonderful trips in the first half of the year, which I discussed in earlier blog posts. The second half of the year was even better. I got to visit my son Nick in Austin, Texas while teaching at a quilt guild in Garland, Texas which is near Dallas. They were so nice. Since I lectured on a Tuesday and wasn't going to teach class until Saturday, they paid for my trip to visit my son!

I taught a great class on my Hourglass quilt and there were some wonderful blocks. I stayed with a fantastic quilter who made me feel right at home.

I taught at the AQS show in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I got to judge the quilts for the first time. It was quite an experience. I taught 5 classes and gave a lecture. The classes were a huge success and there were a lot of happy quilters with new projects to show off to their hometown guilds and quilting friends. Here are some happy quilters!

Eden class
Eden Class
Eden Class

Eclipse class

Eclipse class
Yin and Yang class
I also got to meet Paula Nadelstern for dinner which was quite a thrill for me. We have been corresponding for years because she always asks me to design something with her new fabric collections but we have never had a chance to meet face to face until now. I found out that we have a lot more things in common other than quilting.

I went to Durham, North Carolina to teach and lecture to a wonderful quilt guild there. While there I got to see an old friend I hadn't seen in over 30 years. I lived in Hillsboro, NC when my kids were young and made friends with a great group of ladies with kids the same age as mine, while running my own preschool. I found out that she was a quilter and she ended up taking my class even though she wasn't a member of the guild. We got to catch up on a lot of things in between teaching the lessons.

I taught my Millefiori class which is the New York Beauty block with a background fussy-cut with a stripe and the center of the block fussy cut. The class has a new name which I now call "Framed".

Along with my Craftsy class, Craftsy also asked me to be an exclusive designer for them. It didn't mean that I couldn't design for anyone else. It just meant that the quilts I designed for them were exclusive to them for a year. I worked with a beautiful fabric collection called High Society. I made two quilts with the collection. One for beginners and one a little more difficult. They posted the quilt kits in November and by Cyber Monday all of the kits had been sold!

Lords and Ladies

Creme' de la Creme'

Right now they aren't selling just the pattern alone but I am taking a list of people interested and as soon as my year contract is up with this pattern, I will be selling it on my website. I do now sell templates to go with the Creme' de la Creme' and Eden quilt, which are used for the star block.
You can see them here:  Eden Star templates.

So what is in store for 2018? I hope to start up my state block challenge again. I feel bad that I just dropped it because of all of the other things I was busy with. I purchased a lot of new Symmetrical fabrics that will be great for that project.

Here are a couple Jane Sassamann fabrics that would be great for this challenge if you don't have anything to use. You can find them here on my website:

Scandia Vineyard Blue 
                                                                                                                      Queen of the May

I will be working on the next blocks (Georgia) in a week or so with a new fabric collection. I also will sew the previous blocks together that I made last year so that you can see you don't have to do all of the blocks to make a quilt.

Well I should get this to you before the new year isn't new anymore!!! I hope this proves to be a productive and happy new year for all of my friends. As always; Do what you love and love what you do. Thank you for reading and feel free to pass on my blog to your friends. Toby Lischko.

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