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Sunday, February 17, 2019



Don't sew when you are tired!

I was recently diagnosed with Fibromyagia. Those who are not familiar with the disease, some of the symptoms are fatigue and Fibro-Fog. You know what the first one means, the second symptom means what it sounds like. I am constantly in a fog. I forget things easily (walk into a room and forget what I went there for, well some of that can be due to age!), I get easily distracted, I forget what someone tells me seconds after they tell me, and it is difficult to concentrate. I know some of you will tell me that you have those too if you are over 65! 

The other symptom (fatigue) causes me to be tired all the time. I can fall asleep anywhere; in front of my computer, my sewing machine, and the tv. I could sleep 12 hours and still be tired. There are other symptoms but they are being somewhat controlled with medication.

I started the day getting up early for an eye appointment. I had planned when I got home to work on a couple new versions of block 2. I had felt tired even when I got up so I knew it was going to be a bad day. Well, when I got home I sat on the couch catching up on emails and I fell asleep. I woke up in time to eat lunch and my husband had some things to do outside so I sat down in front of the tv and fell asleep again! Well this went on all afternoon. Finally I got a chance to sew after dinner.

I will proceed to show you what happened when I tried to sew this block together. I don't mind telling you that I make mistakes when I quilt but these were doozies! 


I don't have to stress how important it is to have an accurate 1/4" seam allowance when piecing with the templates. Use your best method for getting a consistent 1/4". I talked about how I do it in earlier blogs but just in case you haven't seen it, you can check out my Youtube video. You can purchase my Accurate 1/4" Seam guide here: Seam guide.

When you cut out the pieces, with the templates, make sure you place the correct fabric on top and make sure that the templates are face up. It helps to write the letter of the template and number of the block on the top of the templates.

Lay three of the pieces (right or left side) in the block looking at the image of the block in the instructions. Template B looks like the two opposite sides are the same size but they are actually slightly different. Also A and C are similar, but one is slightly bigger than the other, so be sure to keep them separate with the correct labeled template.
It is easy to get them mixed up, but when you put them next to A or C you will see that the edges do not line up. Here is what I did. 

I looked at it and didn't think it seemed right but the edges of B line up with the edges of A and C so I figured it had to be right. I wanted you to see what it looks like if B is in the wrong direction. Remember, this is suppose to make a right triangle (a triangle with a 90º angle).

So I thought maybe if I sew them together it will look right. So I sewed the 3 pieces together and laid them on the edge of my table. I noticed that the seam dipped at the point but again I thought, maybe sewing the two halves together will fix that. It made a triangle!

So I sewed the two halves together. I knew it definitely didn't look right. It wasn't even square! So I tried to figure out what I did wrong. (I got really friendly with "Jack".)

As I said, my brain is constantly in a fog so, I really couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. I was looking at the image of the block (was I seeing it correctly?) and my pieces and I was getting very frustrated! So my last resort was to get out the paper pieced section and place my pieces on top of it. The light bulb went on! I was placing the B template backwards! That's why the edges still matched.

To make sure that I was piecing it correctly from this point forward, I folded down A on top of B, pinned and sewed them together.

I laid it back onto the paper and then folded it down over C, pinned and sewed them together.

I repeated with the other half.

Then I could chain stitch the other sections to make it go faster. Make sure you piece from A to C pressing to C on the right side and from C to A pressing to A on the left side.

Here are some images for sewing the pieces together and where to match the tops, bottoms, and seams. The templates are made so that there is very little guessing when laying the pieces together. When matching seams I like to pull one side back to see if they match and then I pin on two sides.




Remember, the A piece is on the OUTSIDE of the block.



I know they look similar but the A piece is skinnier than the C piece in this block. Isn't it amazing how everything works together when you put the pieces in the right direction! Here is the finished block.

Of course I had to fussy cut it. Not sure how much I like it. It will look better on-point.

Block 3 is very similar to block 1. The C template is a little skinnier and longer than the A template. Be sure to keep them separate and labeled. Here are some tips when piecing to check to see if you are placing the patches together correctly and your 1/4" seam is accurate.

Check your edges after you sew. They should be straight.

And you should have a nice 1/4" seam allowance at the point.

Here is one quarter of the block. A is on the top and left side. C is in the center. You can see that the C on this block is very close in size to the A but it is longer and skinnier.

Here is my finished second version of block 3. I used some of my own dyed fabrics that I dyed over 20 years ago!

I haven't fussy cut it yet. But will post it when I do.


Congratulations to Robin Boehler! She won a batik bundle for leaving a comment. She said "Thank you Toby for sharing your design and your expertise." I will be giving away another bundle of batiks, so be sure to leave a comment and some way of contacting you (your email would be best). If you don't and I draw your name you will miss out on a prize. 

I hope you get a chance to check out my website. I always have great deals on fabrics and I have some new kits and patterns. I will be posting the batiks used in my original design if there are any left over after this last shipment. I appreciate that you all have been so patient in getting the kits. They should all go out this week. Also if you belong to a quilt guild, I love to travel and teach. Feel free to pass on my information to your program chairperson.

As always: Do what you love and love what you do.

Saturday, February 9, 2019





I just love quilters! What makes life so interesting is that everyone has different tastes in fabrics and colors and we are all so versatile. Seeing block 1 come to life with all the wonderful variations is so fun! Also some quilters put their blocks together differently (I don't think on purpose) but the end results are fantastic! Need the instructions you can click on BLOCK 1 and the link will take you there. If you haven't signed up for it yet, please do so you don't miss any of the instructions!

What I want to demonstrate today is how I paper piece with freezer paper. (Can't find freezer paper, I have it on my website: Freezer paper.) I have heard many comments that there is so much waste in paper piecing that quilters don't like to do it but when I show you how I use the templates to cut out my pieces you will see that there is very little waste.

If you have not done the block yet, you need to downloaded the updated corrected block 1 templates and foundation sections. If you have already made it, then you don't need to bother doing that. You can find the file under Links on the Facebook page or get it here.

First make your templates out of heavy weight plastic. It just lasts longer than the thin stuff and you can purchase it at JoAnn's or Michaels. You can also use heavy cardboard. If you use cardboard I suggest you line up your ruler along the edges so you don't cut into them. To make the templates, just cut slightly around the outside edges of them and tape them to your template material. Then cut out along the outside edge exactly making sure you trim all the little corners.

Lay your fabrics wrong sides together. I have in the instructions which fabric should be on top when cutting out so that you have the correct A or Ar (B or Br and C or Cr). The r just stands for the reverse of the original. Since I have batiks there is no really visible right or wrong sides so I can cut them with the same fabric on top. If you are not using batiks be SURE to put the correct fabric on top before cutting out. I left some space between each of the templates so I can add a 1/4" all the way around them.

Now I take my Add-a-quarter ruler and add 1/4" around the entire template as I cut the pieces out. You end up with a piece that is 1/2" bigger than the original. That gives you plenty of "play" room to cover the area that you are paper piecing. (If you want to cut the sections even larger than that, go ahead. Do what you feel comfortable doing to get it to work for you.)

Now you are ready to start sewing. I have a little mantra (a phrase that I repeat over and over) when I am paper piecing. It goes like this (this is also in the pattern): PRESS, FOLD, TRIM, SEW. It helps me get into a rhythm when I am paper piecing.

My first printing of the freezer paper did not include the shading so I made sure I wrote dark or light on my sections so I would not get confused. Instructions for printing on the freezer paper are in the pattern. (Be sure to check your printout with the 1" box on the page so that your scale is correct.) Cut out the left and right sections close to the outside line. I do not cut right on the line. 

Following the color placement (dark or light):

1. PRESS the WRONG side of the fabric (template A) to the SHINY side of the freezer paper. Your iron needs to be hot enough to slightly melt the wax but not too hot to make it difficult to remove. Test your iron to get the right setting. You should only need to leave it on the paper for a few seconds. Just press to the line between 1 and 2.

You should be able to see the fabric all the way around the outside edges and your inside edge is overlapping the seam line (solid line) by more than 1/4". The outside edges will be trimmed at the end. Be sure to always start with #1 on each section as #1 is on the bottom on one section and on the top on the other so that the seams are pressed in opposite directions.

2. I usually use a business card, but these are long stitching lines so I just use one of the templates and line it up along the line between 1 and 2. I want to see the line. The section with the fabric should be on your left (well for right handed people it is) and FOLD back the paper along that line. Make sure that it is folded exactly on that line.

3. TRIM your seam to 1/4" using the Add-a-quarter or a small ruler with a 1/4" line. The Add-a-quarter ruler has a little ledge on it and it stops at the fold of the paper so you can get an accurate cut. Can't find one in your area, you can purchase one on my website. I also carry Add-an-Eighth. Add-a-Quarter. Don't worry that the pointed edge does not go all the way down. It will be covered by the next fabric. 

4. Place your next fabric (template B) right sides together, first checking to make sure that you have the template B section in the right direction. You can see through the freezer paper and can see the direction of the point of the triangle. 

5. Line up the edge of B with the cut edge of A. Make sure that you can see your B fabric sticking out from the top and bottom of the paper. Now you are ready to SEW. I like to use an open toe foot and move my needle all the way to the right. That way the inside edge of my foot lines up with the fold of the paper. You do not have to change the length of your stitch because you are not sewing on the paper. You will sew as close to the paper as you can, starting at the top edge of the paper and sewing all the way to the bottom edge. If you accidentally sew a little on the paper don't worry. It comes out.

6. Finger press your seam then PRESS section B to the freezer paper only to the line between 2 and 3 with the iron. I always press on the paper side. Now repeat the process. You just pressed, so FOLD the paper along the line between 2 and 3 with your template edge. TRIM your seam to 1/4". Line up the edges of B and C right sides together, making sure you have fabric sticking out on the top and bottom and that it is facing in the correct direction and SEW along the fold.

Here is a little tip. If you have light and dark fabrics and don't want the dark to show through your seam on the front, place the light fabric slightly beyond the dark edge. This way the dark is hiding behind the light and won't show through the front of your block.

I give it one last press to the freezer paper and then trim my section. I don't use the outside lines. I line up the 1/4" line of my ruler on the seam line on the freezer paper. That way if the outside line is off just a little I know I will have an exact 1/4" seam. (Here are both sections done. You can see that the fabric sticks out all the way around the paper.)

Now you can remove the freezer paper. Be careful and slowly peel it off in the direction the seams are going in so you don't pull on the seams. If it is a little difficult to get off, use your iron to warm it up just a little. Now you can reuse the freezer paper. Since you have already folded it along the lines you do not need to use the template to line it up on the lines anymore. I have found that I can reuse my freezer paper up to 6 to 8 times if my fabric isn't too linty or my iron wasn't too hot. Now they are ready to sew together.

I particularly like this method because I do not like to tear paper off at the end, especially when it is a large quilt. I know some quilters have told me that they find it relaxing to tear off the paper. To each his own!!!


If you know me, you know I love to fussy cut so I had to play with this block and some of my new Paula Nadelstern fabrics I carry in my store. This one is called Rabbit Hole from her More is More collection and the pink and blue are her blenders. You see I laid out the fabrics a little different. Not on purpose, but I like the way it came out (and I didn't want to recut anything! To do this I had to use the templates and not paper piece it. You can see Paula's fabrics on my website here: Nadelstern fabrics. If you purchase any of her fabrics and mention you saw it on my blog in the comment section when checking out I will give you 10% off your fabric purchase (on the Nadelstern fabrics)!


Well I know the NQC quilters are anxious to read my blog so I will get this posted. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Leave a comment and I will put your name in a drawing for some of the Timeless Treasures batiks I am using for this quilt! Be sure to give me some way to contact you if you won.

Remember: Always do what you love and love what you do. 


Thursday, January 17, 2019


This blog hop's theme is Getaway. Since I don't do appliqué or theme quilts very well I decided to say that making this quilt was a journey for me. The journey involved designing the quilt.

I was given the fabric collection (of course from Island Batiks) called Soul Song. It was in my surprise package that I wasn't able to use until now. The collection was unusual in that it had two completely different looks. Ten of the fabrics were small dots in all different colors and ten were tans and blacks with geometric shapes on them. What do I do with two fabrics that to me didn't go together at all even though they were in the same collection?

Here is a sampling of what the fabrics looked like.

I started like I usually do and open EQ8 and think about doing a log cabin block. Being rushed for time, I decided that I didn't have time to make a lap size quilt of log cabins. So I did something I haven't done before. I made it up as I went a long!

Luck would have it that I received a wonderful package from FedEx labeled Accuquilt that same week. I found out that Accuquilt graciously gave the ambassadors an Accuquilt Go 

with some dies! Perfect timing! In that package was a die for 2-1/2" strips. I also had a die for 1", 1-1/2" and 2" strips so I decided to use my new toy to cut strips. I cut the tan and black strips with the smaller die and the colored strips with the 2-1/2" die.

I then cut them into sections. The fastest way to cut a lot of different strips is to line them up and cut them all at the same size. (I had to use two rulers to get the size I wanted. I don't use my mat to measure.)

I thought maybe a type of Rail Fence quilt would work so I sewed them together alternating the colored fabrics and tan fabrics.

I then laid a few of the blocks out in a Rail Fence design and stood back and looked at it.

Too boring! So I decided to cut them in half diagonally.

Now the tricky part. How do I cut the second piece so that they fit together? It took me a couple tries but finally figured it out. (Luckily I was able to use the ones that I cut wrong since there are only a couple different ways to cut them.)

I put them together. I liked the look but decided that I didn't want to take the time to match all of those seams!

So I cut a thin strip of one of the fabrics in the collection that I hadn't used yet to put in the middle of the block. Now I was happy with the block! 

So I continued with all of the strips and laid it out on my design wall.

I decided that a border was not necessary so I pieced the backing with my leftover fabrics, 

used some wonderful Hobbs Tuscany Cotton/Wool batting, 

that was given to me in my Island Batik box, and put it on my quilting machine. That is where I am right now since I had to get this blog out! Have to figure out how to quilt it now (the hardest part for me). Any suggestions? I always start by quilting in the ditch (with the Aurifil Monofilament thread that I was also given) on each side of the diagonal strips. I'm thinking some type of curves since the quilt lines are all straight.

I was pretty pleased with myself! Not only did I design something that I had no idea what it would look like when I finished but also that I made a scrappy quilt (which is hard for me since I am so predictable and uptight about knowing what my finished project should look like). 

Well as usual I am late getting this out, which has been a pattern for me lately.

I will be having a give away of five fat eighths of some Island Batik fabrics (not from this collection since I used most of it). If you want to be in the drawing be sure to leave a comment and your email address so I can contact you if you win. Also if you have any suggestions for quilting this let me know and if you are interested in a pattern on how to make this quilt with the measurements I would like to know that too. I will be choosing a winner when the blog concludes in the first week in February.

Be sure to follow all of the other Ambassadors blogs on the collections that they received and enter the drawing from Island Batik's blog for 20 FAT QUARTERS!


As always: Do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading and please share with your quilting friends.

Monday, January 7 - Crystal Ball

Tuesday, January 8  - Ditty

Wednesday, January 9 - Elk Lodge

Thursday, January 10 - Feline Fine

Friday, January 11 - Flea Market

Monday, January 14 - Fortune Teller
Jennifer Fulton- The Inquiring Quilter

Tuesday, January 15  - Gypsy Rose

Wednesday, January 16 - Paisley Park

Thursday, January 17 - Soul Song

Friday, January 18 - Twilight Chic

Monday, January 21 - Winter Park

Tuesday, January 22  - Bazaar

Wednesday, January 23 - Blossom

Thursday, January 24 - Boho

Friday, January 25 - Brookview

Monday, January 28 - French Blue

Tuesday, January 29  - Midsummer Night

Wednesday, January 30 - Oh Deer

Thursday, January 31 - Snow Berry  

Friday, February 1-  Candy Cane Lane and Icicle
Anne Wiens- Icicle - Sweetgrass Creative Designs

Barbara Gaddy - Candy Cane Lane  -Bejeweled Quilts by Barb