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Wednesday, March 28, 2018


This quilt has been a learning experience for me. Not only did I make a block that I have never made before, I used some stitches on my new sewing machine that I don't use, and tried a new binding technique.

I did have to draw a new name for the last drawing. Mona Phelps of Versailles, Kentucky won the mini challenge prize. Congrats Mona! Your prize went in the mail today.

After making the Dresden plates (one whole center and four corners) I placed them on the background fabric. I chose black, not only because I like black in quilts, but I thought it would accent these fabric better than a light background. I over-cut my center square so that I could square it off after attaching the plate to the fabric.
I didn't want to sew the tips down, so I used some decorative stitches on my new Janome sewing machine. I purchased this machine at the AQS show in Grand Rapids, MI after teaching a class with it. It had some wonderful features and I really liked the way it sewed.
Before sewing on the actual block, I had to figure out which thread(s) and decorative stitches I wanted to use, so I played around on some blades that I had sewn together just to play on. I had to determine how wide to make the stitch and the length of the stitch to use. Once I found what I liked I made a chart of the stitch, width and length number. I ended up using Superior's Rainbows thread. It is a very fine variegated polyester thread. I didn't want the stitches to overpower the quilt.

Before sewing the plates down, I pinned them in every blade to hold it down to the backing. Here I sewed down along all the seam lines on the blades. Since I had 6 different blades, I used 6 different decorative stitches.
After stitching all of the blades down, I trimmed the center square and sewed them together. I didn't need to trim the triangles since I cut the long edges to match the edges of the square. (The finished size of the square plus 7/8" cut into 2 half-square triangles.)

Now I needed to put the small circles (and quarter-square circles) on the centers of the blocks. I like to use a freezer paper method of making my appliqué circles. I wasn't doing raw edge appliqué so I added 1/2" to the center circle and cut out the fabric. I then cut a circle of freezer paper that was 1/2" smaller. I placed this shiny side up on the back of the fabric circle, centering it.
I then used a hot iron and slowly pressed the edges of the circle down on the freezer paper making sure that I didn't press any pleats as I went along. Because the shiny side is up it stuck to the paper. I did the same process with the quarter circles for the corner units but only had to press under the curved edge. 

Since the shiny side is in the center I can press it onto the block so that it is stabilized before I started to stitch it down.
I used a blanket stitch.
After sewing, I cut the center out of the back and pulled out the freezer paper. If a few pieces of paper remain, it won't be noticeable. Now I could sew all of the sections together.
I couldn't decide whether or not I wanted to put a border on it so I played with a couple options on my design wall and came up with a small border print that matched one of the fabrics. I was directional so I had to cut it both lengthwise and crosswise. I mitered the corners.
I layered my quilt top, batting ( I used Quilter's Dream Black poly) and backing and started to quilt it on my longarm machine. I just quilted a quarter inch inside the blades with the new Superior MicroQuilter thread. You can see information about it here: Superior MicroQuilter.
I don't want my quilting to overpower the quilt so I like that it is a very fine thread. I also used that thread in the border. I started to echo stitch with a black thread around the petals, but realized that it would not be as accurate as doing it on my regular sewing machine since I wanted to stitch it in 1/4" intervals, so I took it off the machine and proceeded to finish it on my regular sewing machine, using the edge of my quarter inch foot as my guide.

Since this was a month for trying new things, I decided to try a new method of binding. I watched Sharon Schamber's YouTube video on both bias binding and straight binding and tried her method. I really like the way she sewed her seams when connecting the strips and her finishing method. It really increased the accuracy of the binding. You can watch both her videos here (no affiliation). If the videos don't work, try the links under the images. 

Here is my finished quilt.
Thank you for reading! I hope that you also learned some new things along with me. 

Again I will be having a prize drawing of some fat eights of this collection and my personally designed acrylic "Binding Minder". To be eligible please leave a comment as to what you learned  from this blog. Don't forget to leave some way of contacting you. I will have an extra prize for anyone who can give a name to this quilt that I like.

As always, do what you love and love what you do. Feel free to forward and share this blog with your quilting friends.

Monday, March 26, 2018


Clever Curves: Piecing Techniques

I envy people who have the "gift of gab". I am very bad at small talk and I struggle writing my blogs because I feel I should do some small talk before I show the project. If I am in front of a group talking about quilting, I have no problem, but put me with strangers with nothing in common and I'm at a loss for words. My husband Mike is just the opposite. He can talk to anyone. Most of the employees at our local Walmart know him! It doesn't matter if it is a dr., professor, cashier, or janitor. He treats everyone the same and can talk about anything. He tells me that strangers tell him personal things and doesn't quite know why. I think it is because he takes time to listen. Most people are in such a hurry to go here and there, they don't take time to just listen. We are all so busy on our smart phones or tablets that we have lost the ability to communicate face to face with people. Mike hates technology and only uses it because he has to. Maybe that is why he is still good at talking and listening to people.

I am having a special sale this week. All blenders are on sale for 35% off. Today (Monday) through March 30 (Friday). I will also be having a special sale on Saturday which is my birthday so be sure to check back on Saturday. Click on the blenders link above to see all of the blenders on sale. Write "blenders" in the coupon box when checking out to get the discount. Thank you for looking.



Today's block is the second Illinois block. It is a relatively easy one. You can use Marti Michell's template set B for this one too. Here is what the block looks like without fabric.
Here are the fabrics I picked for this block. One symmetrical, a light, 2 mediums, and a dark.
Here are the patches cut out. (OOPS, I forgot to include the pink!)

HST refers to Half-Square Triangles and QST refers to Quarter-Square Triangles

Symmetrical print
*Cut (1) fussy cut Template A. (Marti Michell B10)
OR cut (1) 2-1/2" square.
*Cut two sets of (4) similar repeats with Template D. (MM B11)
OR cut (2) 5-1/4" squares cut twice diagonally into (8) QST.

*Cut (24) Template B. (MM B13)
OR cut (12) 2-7/8" squares cut once diagonally into (24) HST.
*Cut (4) Template E. (MM B14)
OR cut (1) 3-1/4" square cut twice diagonally into (4) QST.

*Cut (4) Template B
OR cut (2) 2-7/8" squares cut once diagonally into (4) HST.
*Cut (4) Template A.
OR cut (4) 2-1/2" squares.

*Cut (4) Template C (MM B9)
OR cut (2) 4-7/8" squares cut once diagonally into (4) HST.


1. Sew a light Template E on each side of the fussy-cut Template A. Press to E.
2. Sew a Pink Template B on each side. Press to pink.

3. Sew a light Template B to the left and right sides of the Symmetrical print Template D. Press to B.
You will have (8) FGU. (I have 4 of each.)

4. Sew pairs of FGU together to create (4) sets.


5. Sew (2) light Template B to a Blue Template A. Make (4). Press to B.
 6. Sew that unit to a Purple Template C. Press to C.

7. Sew the Center unit, (4) pairs of FGUs and (4) Corner units as illustrated. Sew across and press to corner units on the top and bottom rows and to the center on the middle row. Sew rows together. Press to FGUs.
The completed block.

Here is the template file.
Illinois Block 2 - Create More, Spend Less

As always: Do what you love and love what you do. Please leave a comment and share any blocks that you make. Thank you for reading and please share with your quilting friends. Toby Lischko.

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