Follow by Email

Search This Blog

Friday, November 9, 2018



It has really been fun watching everyone play with the placements of the blocks that they have finished so far! Would you believe that there are over 40,000 quilters joining in on the fun!!! Some have created some very interesting settings. This is something that I do frequently when I am designing quilts. That is the fun part of designing. How many different ways can I move these blocks around to create different designs? With this being a medallion quilt, there is a limited number of ways to do it. 

I have a pattern called Mosaic Magic. It has been one of my most popular patterns for over 20 years. It is one log cabin-like block. There are 5 sizes in the pattern from a wall size to a king size. The pattern has a variety of ways that you can put the blocks together to create different designs. This first one shows you basically what the block looks like. But look at how each version creates a whole different design.

I encourage each quilter to use their creativity to create new quilts just by moving blocks around. You may surprise yourself and create a masterpiece!


This week's block is another 9" finished block (it will measure 9-1/2" unfinished). When making the block I realized that I have a set of templates, Marti Michell's Set A, that works with this block (and any 3", 6", 9", or 12" block). She makes templates similar to mine (actually mine are similar to hers since she designed them first) in that all of her corners are cut off making it easier to piece the blocks. I have 2 sets left on my website available for sale.

One of the things I like to do with my patches, when I am creating half-square and quarter-square triangles, is to cut the corners off before piecing. It isn't really an extra step since you have to trim them after piecing but it does make matching the patches easier since you don't have the points sticking out. My Corner trimmer seam guide has a corner trimmer on it that I will use sometimes (sometimes I use my Cutting Corners set) to trim off the points on the triangles.

You will be happy to know that there aren't any Flying Geese in the block. (Yipeee!!) You will be sewing quarter-square triangles together then sewing them to a half-square triangles. Ashley and I are constantly talking about accuracy when piecing. There are several ways to check on the accuracy of your pieces. One of course it to measure the section. However if your section or unit is not one that can be measured easily you can always use another part of the block to do it. Sewing two quarter-square triangles together will be pieced to a half-square triangle so those should be the same size. I check both sides before piecing to see if anything is sticking out. Here you can see that they are the same size. If they were not, I would adjust my quarter-square triangle seam if necessary.

I do that same thing with the resulting section from sewing these together by checking it against the square that it will be pieced to. I would adjust the center seam if it didn't match. By checking these small things as you are sewing you will end up with a more accurate finished block.

Here are the pieces laid out.

Here is what happened when I sewed them together! How that happened when I sewed them like I did block 2 where I didn't cut the rows apart I have no idea! Time to get the ripper out. ( I really like that one of the quilters called her ripper "Jack"!)

I did decide again to substitute the original Fabric 5 for the red I used in Block 2. I just wasn't happy with using Fabric 5 in this block. Again feel free to switch things up with your fabrics. The numbers aren't set in stone. Just a suggestion.

The only things you need to watch out for with this block is to make sure you sew the quarter-square triangles together in the right order and then sew the sections together correctly.


Today's winners are Kathie Masters and Janifer! They get to pick which of my patterns pdfs they would like. For this month's drawing I will give away 3 of my 1/4" seam guide with the corner trimmer. Good luck. Be sure to leave a comment and contact information so I can let you know if you won.


National Quilter's Circle is offering a great special on their membership. For only $25 you can get a Gold membership and get free classes and free downloads for a year! Use this link to get the special price and please use this code "TOBY25" when checking out. I want to say that I do get a bonus if you use my code.


For my special quilters (you) I am giving a first look at my END OF BOLT sale on my website Gateway Quilts & Stuff. You can find over 20 fabrics, 5 yards or less, for only $5 a yard. You must purchase the remainder of the bolt to receive this low price. You can see the fabrics here:

I do need to get this blog out so I will finish by saying: Do what you love and love what you do. Thank you for reading and feel free to share with your quilting friends. If any of you belong to a quilt guild, I would also love to come to your guild and teach one of my classes or give a lecture. You can see my classes here: Toby's classes and lectures.

Friday, November 2, 2018



Click on the link above for the instructions.

Again I have to remark about how wonderful all of the blocks look! They are all so different. Some of you may have read that I have said on the Facebook page, there are no rules about what fabrics you have to use and where you use them. I also said that if some of your pieces are upside down, as long as they are the same, there is no reason you can't keep them that way. This is your quilt and you can make it any way you want. My pattern and fabric suggestions are a jumping off point. If you want to be creative and put your own spin to it, by all means do it. Make it your quilt! 

By now I'm sure you are all pros at making Flying Geese units! I have read some discussions about making 4 Flying Geese at the same time so I decided I would do a tutorial on that method in case you have never seen it before. The trick is you don't have to cut your squares into half-square or quarter-square triangles. You leave them as squares. You can do this with any pattern that gives you the cutting instructions to cut squares then cut them into HST or QST. The math is already done for you in the pattern. If they use a different method then I will give you the formula.

A Flying Geese unit is made up of 1 quarter-square triangle and 2 half-square triangles. I explained in my first blog of the challenge what the difference was between the two. If you didn't read that blog, go back and read it. For making them you have to know what the finished size of the block is. For example if you are making a half-square triangle square (a square made of 2 triangles) that finishes at 4" you would cut a square that is 4-7/8" x 4-7/8". You always add 7/8" to the finished size of the block. If you are making a quarter-square triangle square (a square made of 4 triangles) that finishes at 4" you would cut a square that is 5-1/4" x 5-1/4". You always add 1-1/4" to the finished size of the block. Am I clear as mud?

Well since a Flying Geese unit is made up of both, you have to use both formulas. Say the Flying Geese unit finishes at 2-1/2" x 5". A Flying Geese unit is always half as wide as it is long. Your big square you would cut 6-1/4" (5" + 1-1/4") and your small squares you would cut at 3-3/8" (2-1/2" + 7/8"). If you need to use a calculator to figure it out the decimals for 1/4 is .25 and for 7/8 is .875.

For this block the finished size is 2-1/4" x 4-1/2". So you will need to cut four (4) 5-3/4" x 5-3/4" (4-1/2" + 1-1/4") from Fabric 1 (your background fabric) and sixteen (16) 3-1/8" x 3-1/8" (2-1/4" + 7/8") from Fabric 5. Use these measurements instead of what is in the instructions if you want to do them this way.

The next step is to draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner on the backs of the small squares. I usually place two squares right sides together to do that so that it stabilizes the fabric when you draw the line.

Then place two of the small squares in the opposite corners of the large square right sides together with the diagonal lines touching in the center. It is important that the corners line up perfectly so put pins in there to hold it together well.

This one little trick will make sewing these on easier. Take a small pair of scissors and clip the corners that over lap in the center of the square. Just put the scissors in where the squares come together and cut straight across.

Now sew 1/4" on both sides of the line. (It is hard to see the stitching lines because the fabric matches.)

Cut apart along the drawn line.

Press the small triangles up.

Place the remaining two squares, lining up the corner of the large square with the corner of the small squares, right sides together with the diagonal line going through the center of the two small triangles. Pin in place well.

Sew 1/4" on both sides of the line. Your stitching line should come out in the groove where the square meets the triangles.

Cut apart along the drawn line and press towards the triangles.

Trim Flying Geese units to equal 2-3/4" x 5". Using a square ruler with a 45 degree angle, place the angle along the edge of the right triangle with the 2-1/2" line in the center of the patch. Trim the right side and top (well actually the bottom) if necessary. Rotate the patch and trim the other two sides to 2-3/4" x 5". Be sure to leave 1/4" from the seam intersection.

You end up with 4 exactly the same Flying Geese units.

Piece the remainder of the block as in the directions. The only tip I have is with the center square-in-a-square. The triangles are cut slightly bigger than necessary so you will square the unit up to the size indicated and you may have a little more than 1/4" from the seam intersections. Here is my center oops! Don't forget to trim off the selvage before cutting your patches!!! 

Had to get out the ripper and fix it.


Congratulations to Bayou Quilter! She won the fat quarter bundle!. I also picked 5 winners to get some half-square triangle paper. Robbie, Cyndi, Deborah Cameron, Donna Coffey, and Cyn Short. I will email all of them for their addresses.


For this week's drawing I will give away a pdf of any one of my patterns to 2 lucky winners. They get to choose which pattern they want. Be sure to leave a comment and a way to contact you. When picking winners for this last week there were a lot of people who did not leave me any way of contacting them so I had to pick other winners.

Here is the first block I made and a fast way of piecing it. (Follow the pressing in the pattern.) Layout the 9 pieces.

Line up the edges of the center pieces, right sides together on the pieces on the left and sew one right after the other as in chain piecing being sure to sew the pieces close together.

Do NOT clip the threads.

Line up the edges of the patches on the right to the middle patches and sew one right after the other. Do NOT clip the threads.

Now flip the top row over the center row, matching seams pin and sew.

Repeat with the bottom section, flip and sew to the center section.

When you sew blocks together this way, the seams can't help but match because they are sewn so close together! Here is my finished block.

I didn't like that fabric combination so I made a different one. Feel free to change things up with your quilt.

Well this blog has been extremely long! Hope you learned a lot!!!!
As always, do what you love and love what you do. Feel free to share this with your quilting friends and have them join along. Thanks for reading. (Don't forget to leave a comment and your email.)

Friday, October 26, 2018


Welcome back!!!! I can't believe how beautiful all of the blocks are coming out! Isn't it amazing how much changing colors or fabric placement creates a whole different look. Some quilters accidentally put some of the units in upside-down or backwards but in the whole scheme of things it doesn't really affect the finished project. It just creates a different look in the center of the quilt. That is of course if all of the sections are switched. If it is just one or two of the sections then you might consider fixing them for a cohesive look.

Ashley Hough made another great tutorial video for part 2. If you haven't seen it you can view it here: Ashley's Video. For week 2 download click on the link above (Week 2 block 1).

I have been following the FB posts and I understand some of you are frustrated because you do not get an email regarding the new installments. Would you believe I don't get them either! Don't focus on that because each installment can be found on the Facebook page under announcements or files. It is best to download them to your computer as I hear that using your smart phone or pad it is more difficult to find.

I promised that I would show you how to twist that center seam on the back of a four patch. This short little video will hopefully help. ( I didn't do one, why reinvent the wheel when there is Youtube!)

From this point forward you will be piecing a variety of blocks that will be used in different places in the quilt. Not until the end will you see where these blocks go (unless you will be doing the lap size and then you will get to see it earlier).

In this installment you will be making a lot of half-square triangles. I have you cutting squares just a little larger than you will need and then trimming the finished half-square triangle unit to 2-3/4". The best way to cut half-square triangles is, after you cut your individual squares, line up the two fabric squares you will use right sides together, and then cut the triangles. That way, they are ready to sew and they are cut at the same time. Be sure to read through all of the instructions before beginning. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask me or Ashley by using our names on Facebook.

If you want to make more than one at a time, I have designed my own Half-square triangle paper so you can make 8 at a time. You will need 40 total so you just need to copy the foundation 5 times on some type of thin paper. Be sure to check the 1" box after printing to make sure it prints at the correct size. (Print at "no scaling" or at 100%.) Cut the two fabrics into 7" squares and cut out around the paper form (I cut about 1/4" around the line).

Place the fabrics right sides together and center the paper on the back of one of the fabrics and pin it in a few places to hold it together. (Ignore the stitching, I started sewing and then realized I forgot to take a photo!)

Shorten your stitch to about 1.5mm and sew 1/4" away from both sides of the diagonal lines ONLY. Ignore the arrows, they are for directional purpose only. They are not at 1/4".

Make sure that your fabric on the bottom is not flipped when sewing! Time to get out the trusty seam ripper! I'm not ashamed to show my mistakes. Just part of quilting!

Then cut apart on all of the solid lines. 

Press towards the darker fabrics and then tear the paper off. By pressing with the paper on you get a nice crisp seam. Trim the squares to 2-3/4". (I trimmed the bottom one.) Now they are ready to sew together.

You can get the paper here:
Please let me know if you are unable to open the file. Be sure to measure your sections when sewing the half-square triangles together. It is always important to measure as you go to get everything to fit together accurately.

I want to give you one more tip about doing blocks with half-square triangles. I know sometimes it is difficult to perfectly cut those squares in half diagonally. Sometimes you don't cut exactly through the corners. This isn't the end of the world if you do that. You can compensate when you go to piece the sections together. I purposely cut the large triangle a little off so I can show you what to do.

If it is the larger side of the triangle, You can line up the diagonal seams, sew and then trim the block to size. If it is on the smaller side, line up the 90 degree corners and sew your 1/4" seam from the pieced side. Since this is a very long bias edge, be sure to use a lot of pins to keep it from stretching and let your machine do the work. Do not push or pull your fabric as you are sewing.

One more quick little tip. Have you noticed that as you are sewing along and you come to a seam that is fairly bulky your fabric has a tendency to get pushed to the left of the foot? If this is happening, then slow down when you sew over those bulky seams gently guiding the fabric so it doesn't shift. It works every time!


Congrats to the two winners from the last blog. Virginia and Barb (not sure of their last names) won! Virginia said, "Thanks for sharing your pattern, time, and knowledge with us." Barb said, "Thank you for creating this mystery--they are interesting and fun!". I have emailed them both so the first one to respond gets to pick which prize they want.


I have to confess. I didn't make the quilt that you see in the pattern. I was working on other projects so I sent the instructions to Ashley and as she pieced the quilt, she checked the instructions. The image you see is a virtual image created by Electric Quilt 8. I use it to design all of my quilts. It is a fantastic program. The fabric scans are to scale so when I design a quilt with the fabrics it looks just as if I made it! If you haven't tried it and like designing your own quilts, I highly recommend it. If you don't want the full version you can get Electric Quilt Mini. It isn't as expensive and it is a great way to get an introduction into their software. 


I decided for this week's drawing that I will give away some fat quarters of the fabrics that I used to make my block. They are part of a collection called Garibaldi by Sara Morgan with Washington Street Studio Fabrics. If you like the collection you can purchase it here: Garibaldi. I will also randomly choose 5 extra names to receive the foundation papers by mail to make the half-square triangles. (USA only.) Be sure to leave a comment and your email so I can contact you if you win.

Here is part one of my center block with the collection. It is a beautiful black and red roses collection.

Here is my block 1 from part 3. I look forward to seeing your blocks!


Craftsy (Bluprint) is having a sale on some of their kits. My Lords and Ladies quilt kit and pattern is one that is on sale. It is 60% off! You can find it here: Lords and Ladies. It is a very easy pattern that combines a Courthouse Step block and an Hourglass block.

You can also get 2 weeks of Bluprint for only $1.  Expiration Date: 10/27/2018 11:59pm MST
Restrictions: One (1) redemption per email address 10/22/2018 12:01AM Mountain Time through 10/27/2018 11:59PM Mountain Time. Price is only valid for the first 12 months of service, after which you will be charged our standard subscription rate of $14.99 for monthly or $120 for annual plans. Offer cannot be combined with other offers, and is not redeemable for cash. Cancelled Craftsy Unlimited and cancelled or current Bluprint customers are not eligible for this offer. Free shipping is only available in the U.S. You can cancel at any time, but your annual subscription will remain active for the full period and prorated refunds will not be offered. Subject to additional terms, see full details at checkout. Bluprint may end or alter this offer at their discretion.

As always: Do what you love and love what you do. Feel free to forward and share this with your quilting friends Thank you for reading. Toby Lischko