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Friday, November 21, 2014


It always amazes me how some people can post on a blog every day or every other day. I was never very good at small talk and I feel like this is a place to put small talk. I'm not one to be on the phone every day, even though I think about my friends often. I call them when I have something specific to say or to catch up after not hearing from them for a while. I only like to write about something that imparts information to the reader.

My husband is just the opposite. He has a gift for gab. He is usually on the phone 3 or 4 (sometimes more) times a day with friends or family talking about politics or listening to their problems. He is a very good listener on the phone (but I don't always think he listens to me) and always has his opinion about things when people ask (and sometimes when they don't). He speaks his mind and always gives an honest answer whether or not they want to hear the truth. I always wished I could be like that. He is always telling me I should speak up for myself or people will walk all over me. I have gotten better as I get older. Especially when I was working in Special Education when I was in the head of a team of educators, who determined the future of a child's education. If I didn't stand up for my opinion, the team would not have respected my decision. I had to be confident that I knew what I was talking about so that others believed me too.

I was a shy child. The youngest of 3 children. My sister was the talker (and still is). She could tell you every little detail of things no matter how insignificant. If you had asked me in my younger days, whether I thought I would be speaking in front of large groups, I would have told you "no way". I have been back to groups, that I spoke to when I first started lecturing, and they tell me I have really come a long way from where I started. I still think I have a way to go to be the kind of speaker I want to be. I never thought when I first started quilting that I would be doing what I do today.

Okay, enough about me. Now down to business. I'll let you know more about me in future posts!

Patti Oakley was very excited about receiving her prize! (Well who wouldn't be excited about winning a prize.) Today's bundle is a little different than the one I showed yesterday. This P&B collection is called Bella Suedes. It has a variety of prints and read as tone-on-tones. If you don't know what that means; the colors in the fabric are very close together (different tones or shades of the same color). The bottom fabric looks blue in this photo but is actually grey with a black design.

I decided that if you wanted to use them in a quilt you would need a little more variety in the colors. I was playing with some of my patterns to see what the fabrics would look like in them. Many times we depend on a fabric pattern to help "sell" the look of the quilt. Designing with solids (or almost solids like batiks and tone-on-tones) is more of a challenge. When I work with those kind of fabrics, I have to make a quilt that lets the design of the block show off the fabrics instead of the other way around. I used my Mosaic Magic pattern. It was my very first published pattern and was picked up by and can be found here: Mosaic Magic Pattern. It was originally published in McCall's Quilting magazine. The pattern has instructions for many different sizes from a wall to a king.

It has been my best selling pattern for at least 10 years! It can be used in so many ways.

It has a very simple block in it.


Here is what I came up with in two slightly different color settings.


The fun thing about this block is that you can rotate it to create a myriad of designs.

Isn't that fun!!! The possibilities are endless. In my next blog after I pick a winner of the bundle along with my pattern, I will show you how to use my Cutting Corners template set to make the Flying Geese and half-square triangles in the block with very little fuss.

If you would like to be in the drawing for this, please leave a comment on the bottom of this post (click on comment) and tell me how you would use these fabrics or pattern. Please feel free to forward this blog to your quilting friends so they can participate too. Each drawing starts with a new group of participants, so the previous comments will not count towards this drawing.

Thank you for reading. And as always, do what you love and love what you do. Toby

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I was watching my kittens out the window this morning and I noticed that the biggest one, Graham, was outside his kitty door watching one of the other kittens, Butterscotch. She was on her "hunting mode". She must have seen a bird and I watched her climb up one of our pine trees. Graham seemed to be watching her to make sure she was okay. My husband says he is the alpha cat and that is his role.(She didn't get the bird.) Here is is on top of the log teepee my husband made for the kittens. Isn't he a handsome cat!

He is a yellow tabby with no tail. The father cat had no tail and four out of the six kittens are tailless.

After their mother had passed away, when they were 4 months old, I noticed that they would nurse on him. The vet told us that it wasn't abnormal for them to do that. I had thought they were weaned from the mother. I guess because it was her first litter, she continued to nurse them past what was usual. She was such a good mother to her kittens. I really miss her! I'm not sure what the usual time is since it was my first litter. I figured that they still needed that nurturing. He didn't seem to mind because he would just lay there and let them do it. They obviously did not get any milk and would leave his underside completely soaked! They are now 7 months old and do occasionally still do that, but he isn't as tolerant of it.

I stated yesterday that I would pick a winner of the fat quarter bundle I posted. I'll save that to the end of the message to create a little anticipation. (Of course there are those of you that will skip my message and go to the bottom!) First I want to show how to use my North Star template pattern to make the sample I showed yesterday. It is a very fast and easy pattern that can be made in a weekend. It is great for holiday gifts when you don't have a lot of time to make something. It comes in two sizes; 12" and 8" blocks.

There are two ways to use this template. The first method is to pick 3 fabrics. I like to use a light and two contrasting fabrics (I called them dark and medium but they don't have to be.) I had these fabrics in the house (since I am confined with my broken foot) so I had to use them.

The first step is to cut out the strips and sew them together. You can see I offset the sets so that I can get the most triangles from the strips. The size of the strips is in the pattern. One of the sets I pressed the seams towards the center, the other set I pressed them out.

Next place the strip sets on top of each other so that the seams fit together. I moved the top strip set down just to show how you put them together. They will be even when you start to cut. I like to put the strip set on top that has the seams pressed out.

Here is what the template looks like. You can see it is just a triangle that has lines on it.

To keep the template from slipping around when I am cutting I put rolled up adhesive tape on the back.

The next step is to place the template on the strip set, lining up the two lines on the template to the sewn lines (seams) of the strips. I took a close-up of the template lines so you can see them lined up on the stitched lines. You can also see that the point of the triangle extends into the center piece that was offset. Continue cutting out triangles, moving the template down the strip set as close to the last cut as possible. Do not rotate the template! You should be able to get 8 triangle sets from one strip set.    

Leave those triangles together because they are ready to be sewn. Sew them along the long edge and press all in one direction, either clockwise or counter clockwise. I've turned one to the back to illustrate this. Because the sets where cut out on top of each other, see how nice they match!

Layout the pieced squares. You can lay them out to make a star or rotate them to create an octagon.

Sew the squares together to create half the block. Press those seams in the same direction as the other seams (clockwise or counter clockwise).

Then sew the halves together. Spit the center seam and press in the same direction as the other seams. Now if you wanted to you could press all of the seams open. I have done both with this block.

Here is the finished block! Look how all of the seams match! Now wasn't that easy? In one of my next blogs I will show how to make it even easier with a border stripe.

 If you want a tip on how I establish my exact 1/4" seam allowance for a perfect fit, you can check out one of my first blogs on how I do it here:  Quarter inch seam.

Okay, time for the winner. (Drum roll please)....... Patti Oakley. Congratulations Patti! Send me your address and I can put your winning bundle and my pattern in the mail.

Here is a sneak peek of one of the group of fabrics that will be given away next. This collection is called Bella Suedes. There will be another group of four that I will be giving away with this one. I will be working on placing these in one of my patterns to show off how they can be used.

Time to go. Come back on Thursday for the next drawing. As always, do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading. Toby Lischko

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I first want to thank those who have joined my blog recently.

The first snow has fallen this year! I think this is the earliest, that I can remember, it has snowed here and actually sticked. We got about 4 inches of snow. I live out in a rural area surrounded by trees and I love looking at snow filled trees. 

I wasn't sure how the kittens would react to the snow, but my husband says that there are lots of tracks in the snow so they must have liked being out in it. Being stuck in the house with a broken foot, I haven't been able to go see them, except on the porch when the weather was nice. Last night I finally got to sleep without the boot, which weighs about 5 pounds (or at least it feels like that).

It has been a couple weeks since I have been able to play with the kittens. I don't know if they miss me, but I sure miss them. Here are Sandy, Ginger, Oscar, and Butterscotch taking a nap. They are about 5 months old here.

Sandy, Ginger, Oscar, and Butterscotch (in that order from the front)

 Here they are  at 3 weeks old.

Ginger, Butterscotch, Graham, Sandy, Oscar, and Moose Jr.

It was fun to watch them grow and fill up the pillow seat! (More photos to follow)

Today's drawing is for a fat quarter bundle of P&B's Luxury Essentials collection. It has 7 fat quarters in it. It is a wonderful group with gold accents that would make a fantastic holiday table topper.

P&B Luxury Essentials

I took the fabrics from this bundle and put it in my North Star pattern. It is a very easy star pattern. All you have to do is sew strip sets, use one simple template to cut out triangles, and then sew the triangles together. The winner will receive my pattern along with the fat quarters. This quilt image uses all of the fat quarters. (I use Electric Quilt to design all of my quilts. You can put the actual fabrics in it to see what it will look like.) You will have to add a quarter yard of another cream to complete the quilt along with a backing and binding fabric. (You may be lucky enough to win another bundle to help you!)

North Star table topper

Here is what the pattern looks like. It comes with a template and instructions to make four place mats, one table runner, or one table topper. It also has instructions on how to use a border stripe for an even easier faster quilt. You can find the pattern by clicking on this link: North Star pattern. Since I am confined to my house and unable to get to my studio where I have my fabrics and templates, I will have to wait until tomorrow to post photos on how to put the block together. I have a friend who helps me in my studio and she can get the tools I need to make it. I do want to mention that am having a huge website sale until Dec. 15. I have fabrics as low as $5 a yard and you will also get 20% off all regular price purchases. This would be a good time to buy those backings that you need to finish those UFOs! You can see some of them here: Gateway Quilts sale fabrics.

Please leave a comment on what you think you would do with this fabric bundle or my pattern. I will randomly draw a name and post it on Wednesday. Please pass along this blog to your other quilting friends so they can also get in on the fun! Please leave your email so I can contact you if you win. If you do not want to leave your email address in the message then you will need to come back on Wednesday morning to check to see if you won and then email me privately with your contact information. I do have to apologize, but only those living in the USA are eligible to win a prize. Postage is extremely too high to ship things out of the country for a free prize.

Good luck and as always; do what you love and love what you do.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


I mentioned on my last post, that I would have some fabric bundle give-a-ways over the next few weeks. Katerina Alexakos of P&B Fabrics was generous enough to send me three bundles. Well, Friday I received the fat quarter bundles that I will be giving away. There are three wonderful new collections, Bella Suedes (come in a variety of prints),

Luxury Essentials (a variety of prints with gold accents),

 and Island Breeze. 

Since the Bella Suedes and Luxury Essentials are some of their new basics collections and have up to 30 fat quarters in them, I thought I would divide those two groups into smaller groups in order to let more people win prizes. The give-a-way will culminate in the final bundle prize of Island Breeze, a "vibrant tropical collection designed by P&B's guest artist Lauren McMullen, who spends her time painting tropical flowers and sunny days. This fresh grouping is textural and bold in its main design of dahlias which are set packed and luscious. This upbeat collection is available in distinct color palettes of aqua and teal blues and greens with lavender and purples as well as soft orange/tangerines, corals, gold, and lime green. A pleasant tonal medallion print, medallion stripe and multi-colored tonal raindrop design is tied together with a wavy stripe." (Quoted from P&B flyer.) There are 12 fat quarters in this bundle.

In order to be eligible for a prize you need to (1) sign up to receive my blog either through clicking on the Bloglovin' button on the right or adding your name to my followers list and (2) leave a comment. Bloglovin' is a great way to receive notices every time I post a new blog without having to go to it daily. You can set up all of the blogs you follow in it, and search for blogs that you might be interested in. In order to write a comment though, you will have to have a Google account, which is easily created when you try to put a comment below the blog.

I thought I would also use some of my patterns to feature these fabrics to see what you think. Please share this blog with your friends and encourage them to follow along. I will start the drawing this week and continue until all of the bundles are given away. You HAVE to include your email with your message (I don't sell or share your email addresses with anyone) or I WON'T be able to contact you to let you know you won.

In closing; always love what you do and do what you love. Toby Lischko