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Saturday, February 24, 2018


This post may contain affiliate links. The products in this blog were given to me by Island Batik.


The second project this month as an Island Batik Ambassador is a challenge to create a mini quilt called "Mini Love". 

I started making minis in 1997 when I became frustrated because I couldn't always finish my larger quilts and they took too long (and were difficult) to quilt on my domestic sewing machine. 

When I started working in a quilt shop part time in 1995, I discovered "Miniature Quilts" magazine (which is no longer in print). I saw that they had a yearly contest called "Quilts from the Heart". I had created a miniature quilt from a large quilt that I had designed for my son's band moms' group, to raffle at the craft fair at his high school. I submitted that quilt to the contest. The band had had a dinner silent raffle and that quilt was in the raffle with the understanding that if it was accepted to the contest I would have to send it to the magazine. Well, not only was it accepted, it ended up on the cover of the magazine! (It is the red, white and blue quilt on the left bottom.) I wish I could say that I still have that quilt but the woman who won it at the dinner raffle wouldn't sell it back to me!
Having the quilt on the cover of the magazine spurred me on to making more minis and submitting them to the magazine's contest. I got more published and even won some prizes for my quilts. All of these quilts are under 24". Most have blocks that are 4" or smaller. This quilt is called Blueberry Pie.
This pineapple quilt I used my own hand dyed fabrics. I called this quilt Pineapple Sherbet.
This quilt won an innovative quilting prize. I couched a heavy thread using a zig zag stitch with a variegated thread. It's name is Pennsylvania Star Explosion.
This won a machine quilting award and ended up being on the cover of my St. Louis Stars book. It is called Stars Over St. Louis.
After having many quilts featured in the magazine, I was contacted by the editors to write a feature article about my miniatures. It appeared in the December/January 2004 issue.
I also wrote an article for Quilter's World magazine which was featured in the August 2004 issue.
I designed this quilt specifically for that article called Singing the Blues.
I then developed a lecture that I give for quilt guilds to show off all of the miniature quilts that I have made. It is a hands-on lecture. Since the quilts are small, they get passed around to the guild members to look at close up during the lecture. They really enjoy that.

One quilt, that I made from a group of fabrics I won in one of the contests, I entered into a local show and it won a first place ribbon in the miniature division. I think it won because I made the binding match each of the outside blocks in the quilt. This is a popular class that I teach. It is called Glorified Nine-Patch with a Twist. It is a 4" block and I carry templates on my website for them. Glorified Nine Patch. It is also used in a class that I teach on Craftsy called "Clever Curves" using the 6" size templates. This link will give you 33% off of the cost of any class on the Craftsy website (but it would be nice if you used it on my class)! Craftsy class special. It will apply the discount to your cart. Expiration Date: 03/31/2018
Details: Save 33% off the full retail price of any Craftsy class. Not valid for classes from our partner, The Great Courses. Limit one item per customer and cannot be combined with other coupons. Expires March 31, 2018 at 11:59PM Mountain Time. 

So now on to the Mini Love challenge. I went through a lot of different ideas to make for this challenge. I realized that I didn't have a whole lot of time to make a lot of little pieces so I decided to just make a small quilt (11" square) with half square triangles. The weather outside has been so dreary that I wanted to make something that reminded me of spring, so I originally picked out these fabrics. The one print had so many beautiful colors it reminded me of spring flowers.
I pieced the half-square triangles (1-1/2" finished), cut out the rest of the pieces and laid them out and pieced them.
After finishing the block, I thought it just wasn't bright enough and there was not enough contrast between the background and the triangle patches so I picked out another group of fabrics. (I will finish this one later.)
Here is what that block looks like.
I liked this one much better and the yellow made me think of a bright sunlight. Since I had made two different blocks, I experimented with pressing the half-square triangle seams differently. The first one I press the seams to the side and the second one I press them open. I felt that the one that I press open laid a lot flatter.

I added the outside triangles and borders and here is the finished quilt. I quilted in the ditch on my regular sewing machine and then put it on my longarm and quilted the rest of it. 
Let me give you a tip about binding miniature quilts. Because they are small, a double fold French binding can be a bit bulky. The best binding to use on miniatures is to cut strips that are 1-1/8" wide. You do not fold this binding in half. You sew only one edge to the quilt front, mitering the corners as you go. After attaching, you fold the outside edge of the binding towards the back of the quilt to touch the quilt top edge and then fold it again to the back and hand sew it down. It creates a perfect 1/4" binding. I used Aurifil thread for piecing and quilting and Hobbs Theramore batting.

I will be having another drawing with this blog. Leave a comment to be eligible to win some fat eighths from Island Batiks and my Cutting Corners template which I used to make most of the triangles in the quilt. The winner will be drawn on March 1. For US addresses only. Remember, I have no way of getting in touch with you if you don't leave me your email. So you either need to check back with my blog after March 1 or send me your email through the comment or using my contact form.

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

You can follow other Island Batik Ambassador's blogs and see their projects.

Alison at Little Bunny Quilts
Amy at Sew Incredibly Crazy
Anita at Quilt in a not-Shell
Anna at Ark Angel Creations
Anne at Sweetgrass Designs
Barbara at Bejeweled Quilts
Bea at BeaQuilter
Carole at Carole Lyles Shaw
Connie at Freemotion by the River
Connie at Kauffman Designs
Dione at Clever Chameleon
Geraldine at Living Water Quilter
Jackie at If These Threads Could Talk
Janet at Whispers of Yore
Jeanette at Inchworm Fabrics
Jen at Patterns by Jen
Jennifer at Curlicue Creations
Jennifer at Dizzy Quilter
Jennifer at Inquiring Quilter
Jessica at Desert Bloom Quilting
Joan at Moosestash Quilting
Joyce at heARTs Creations
Karen at Sew Karen-ly Created
Karen at The Quilt Rambler
Kathleen at Kathleen McMusing
Laura at Slice of Pi Quilts
Leanne at Devoted Quilter
Mania at Mania for Quilts
Maryellen at Mary Mack Made Mine
Michelle at Creative Blonde
Myra at Busy Hands Quilts
Nancy at Masterpiece Quilting
Pamela at PamelaQuilts
Sally at Sally Manke
Sandra at MMM Quilts
Sarah at Sarah Goer Quilts
Sharon at Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Sherry at Powered by Quilting  
Stephanie at Steph Jacobson
Suzy at Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Teri at Lizard Creek Quilts
Tina at Quilting Affection Designs

Friday, February 23, 2018


The weather here has been crazy. Just a couple days ago it broke a record for the highest temperature in February. It got up to 80 degrees! Today there was freezing rain! There is a saying in St. Louis; if you don't like the weather wait a day and it will change. It has been like a roller coaster in February from single digits to 60s and 70s in just a few hours. Today it is very dreary. There isn't much to do on days like this except quilt (and work on my blog).

Today's state block is Idaho. The plain block looks like this:
Of course it has to be dressed up by fussy cutting. It is so drab with just the two colors. Here are the fabrics I picked for this block. The dark and light symmetrical, a light and a dark tone on tone.
Here are the patches that I cut (some I cut later realizing I didn't cut them all)!
CUTTING INSTRUCTIONS: Remember, you can decide to fussy cut or not fussy cut any of the patches. (Uses Marty Michell template set B.)

Fabric 1: Symmetrical light
* Fussy cut four (4) like designs with Template D (MM B10).
* Fussy cut eight (8) like designs with Template B (MM B13). (If not fussy cutting see Fabric 4.) 

Fabric 2: Symmetrical dark 
* Fussy cut four (4) like designs with Template A (MM B12). (If not fussy cutting see Fabric 4)

Fabric 3: Dark
* Thirty-two Template C (MM B14).

Fabric 4: Light
* Twelve (12) Template B. (If not fussy cutting you will cut (16).
* Twelve (12) Template C. (If not fussy cutting you will cut (16).


1. Make the following Flying Geese Units (FGU).

Twelve (12) with Fabric 3 and Fabric 4.
Eight (8) with Fabric 3 and Fabric 1.
2. If you choose not to fussy cut the inside FGU or inside squares, then you will make all four sections the same. If you do fussy cut them you will need to lay out the fussy cut FGU and squares as illustrated.

3. Sew across. Press sections 1 and 4 to the squares (large and small).
Press sections 2 and 3 to the FGU.

4. Sew rows together. Press to center on sections 2 and 3. Press to FGU on sections 1 and 4.

5. Lay out the four units as follows. Sew together across. Press one to the right and one to the left. Sew the rows together. Twist center seam and press all in the same direction (or press to one side).
Finished block.

I hope more of you join. If you read the blog before this you can see what wonderful blocks you can make by fussy cutting. 

You can find the templates using this link: Please contact me if you have problems getting the templates.

I haven't heard from JR. I hope she is reading this blog. If you are, please use my contact form to send me your US address so I can mail your prize from the Galentine's contest. If I do not hear from her by Sunday, I will pick another winner.

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

Monday, February 19, 2018

State blocks and Galentine's winner!

First I have to apologize for not blogging sooner. I had a deadline to meet with one of the quilts I was making so that had to be done before I could do anything else. I finished it yesterday so now I can do more things including the next state blocks which will be in the next blog.

I always enjoy seeing what other quilters do with my designs. My goal, when I teach quilting, is to give quilters the tools to construct different types of blocks and a design as a stepping off point. It makes me feel good that many of them feel comfortable enough to branch out and make their own quilt and not just a replica of mine.

When I started this challenge in 2016 I had quite a few quilters who sent me their blocks and I shared them on my blog. I hope you go back and search to see some of the wonderful blocks that were made. I don't seem to have as many joining me this time. Maybe it was because I waited too long after doing the first state blocks and they have moved on. I would like to encourage you to join the challenge. Even if you just choose some of the blocks, you don't have to do all of them. I know, from talking to quilters, that many of you have a lot of projects going on and don't want to start another one. I certainly understand that. Did you know that it is no longer called a UFO (unfinished project), now it is called WIP (works in progress). Doesn't that sound much better! Just to try out my challenge you could make one block and turn it into a pillow. Not all quilting blocks have to be made into a quilt.

I did have one new quilter join in the challenge. Her name is Peggy True and she lives in San Antonio, Texas. She is the author of a book on quilted jackets called True Style.

She started doing the new blocks and enjoyed it so much she decided to go back and start from the beginning. I think she made 12 blocks in 2 weeks. She was on a roll! She told me she wanted to share the blocks with her quilt guild so she put them in a quilt. These are her blocks. She used a Jinny Beyer border print and other prints to fussy cut. She got very creative and fussy cut in places that I did not. Here are the blocks. She told me I could share a slide show of quilts she showed to her guild when she did a program. Peggy True quilt slide show. I can tell from her slide show that she does like to fussy cut! 

And here is her quilt. I love what she did with the Jinny Beyer border print.

Now to announce the winner of my Island Batik Galentine's drawing....jrquilts. Not sure what her name is because she didn't give it to me. Here is what she said she was going to do with her mug rug.
"I think I will make it for my daughter, she lives in California". JR said she lives in Canada but has a US address that I can mail the prize to. JR, if you read this you need to email me with your address so I can send you your prize.

Now to get back to making more state blocks and some new Island Batik projects. Stay tuned!!!!!

As always: Do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading and feel free to forward and share my blog with your quilting friends.