Not Arkansas Crossroads

Arkansas crossroads is a block I’ve wanted to make for some time, but I can’t put my hands on a picture of it right now. ¬†Anyway, I ran across this very similar block last week and just had to make a few of them.

donatin quilt

This block is not Arkansas crossroads, but it’s the same idea ūüôā

This quilt will be a Ronald McDonald House donation when finished.

Also this week, I gave away a quilt I made several years ago to a friend who is retiring (again) after volunteering for many years at the free clinic where I work. ¬†I don’t recall the source of this block, but I do recall the quilt was a lot of fun to make using scraps.

scrap quilt

This quilt was made from real scraps left over from other projects.

How was your week?


A Finish, and One Lovely Blog Chain

After several years (due to my dislike of free motion quilting) I have finished this little quilt, which I started in a class years ago at Quiltfest in Jonesborough, TN.

Art Quilt

Mount Pisgah

In other news, one of my fellow bloggers, Morgan Lipkin, has included me in the “One Lovely Blog Award” chain. ¬†As I discovered a few years ago, this isn’t a contest, it is a way for bloggers to promote each other, and I’m all about that. ¬†You can see Morgan’s blog at ¬†She’s does a lot of other fiber-related things in addition to quilts. ¬†Thanks, Morgan!

The rules for the One Lovely Blog chain are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
  • Post about the award.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate at most 15 people.
  • Tell your nominees that you have nominated them.

I’m nominating the following bloggers because they do fiber-related things, too, but are a little different from me. ¬†So if you check them out you’ll add some variety to your reading!

Pauline Barrett at

Sue Janson at Sue’s Journey

Lori Brewer at

And now for 7 facts about me, which is part of the deal:

  1. I live in a rural area,
  2. which means that my “local” quilt shop is 45 minutes away;
  3. but I get to visit a midsize city fairly often.
  4. I have a demanding day job as a physician assistant,
  5. which cuts into my quilting time!
  6. Besides quilting, I enjoy reading
  7. and cooking.

Check out the other blogs above to broaden your blog experience!  And have a good week!

Trees All Around at Studio Stitch

In November I’m scheduled to teach a cute Christmas pattern at Studio Stitch in Greensboro (North Carolina).

Quilted Garden Designs

“Trees All Around”, class sample made from the pattern by Quilted Garden Designs

The design makes either a tree skirt or a round table topper.  The pattern is by Jenice Belling of Quilted Garden Designs.

I made two of these several years ago because, as soon as my daughter saw mine, she had to have one!

The class is Saturdaay, November 5, 1-4 p.m.¬† It’s a great way to make a quick project while learning about BOTH fused applique and quilt-as-you-go. There’s an opportunity for fancy embellishment, too!¬† This class will be lots of fun!

Finally, here is another view, this one from the pattern cover.  I hope you can join us!

Trees All Around, photo courtesy of Quilted Garden

Trees All Around table topper, photo from  Quilted Garden Designs





Outdoor Quilt Show!

Two of my guilds participated in the “Airing of the Quilts” yesterday. This is an event to attract tourists to our area, and it certainly does!

There were a number of guilds there, as well as several shops with tents. I just walked around and took pictures.Unfortunately, the makers were not identified since this isn’t a “real” quilt show, so I have all these lovely pictures of unidentified quilts. However, since they were on public display, I think it is fair to publish them. A few are mine ūüôāFranklin NC

outdoor quilt showFranklin1Franklin8Franklin7Franklin6scrap quiltmodern quiltsmodern log cabin quilt

airing of the quilts

modern quiltMary J Puckett quiltMary J Puckett quilt

raffle quilt

This is the Smoky Mountain Quilters raffle quilt this year

Alison Glass fabrics quiltmodern wall hangingI hope you enjoyed these, even though you didn’t get to walk around in the beautiful spring sun to see them!

Love Panto Quilting and KonMari Update

The two quilt tops I finished last month are back from the quilter already! ¬†I’ve used the same quilter for a long time¬†because she does wonderful work. ¬†I choose panto designs rather than custom quilting, in part because of the great¬†variety of designs of available and in part because it is so much more affordable.

panto quilting

Panto design of circles on a block from my modern sampler

Just look at these cute circles on the Modern Sampler Quilt:  Yes, that is an edge-to-edge panto design!  I have done those doggone circles on my domestic sewing machine, and they were a PAIN.  I am so thrilled to have someone do them for me at a reasonable cost!

modern sampler, panto quilting

Another block from my modern sampler showing all those circles in the panto design

Here are some close-ups of the quilting on the batik block-swap quilt.  I love the choice of thread color as well as the design.  It enhances the overall quilt!batik quilt, block swap

applique, applique blockNow I’ll just get these bound and ready to go!

Here’s one more reason I choose panto quilting. ¬†I asked for a choppy quilting design to go with the chopped-up blocks in this quilt and got just what I wanted!

modern quilt

Panto quilt design on one of my improvised quilts

I do quilt my own quilts on my domestic sewing machine, both free-motion and with the walking foot.

free motion quilting

Here’s some free motion quilting I did years before I tried the stitch regulator

free motion quilting

Here’s some sort-of straight line quilting I did freehand

walking-foot quilting

I did this with the walking foot without marking

It’s not my favorite thing to do, but if I need a quilt¬†done a certain way or in a hurry, I do it. ¬†Alas, I have not found the stitch regulator as useful as I expected. (You can read my review here.) ¬†I do enjoy all the things I can do with the walking foot!

walking foot quilting

Here are some variably-spaced lines I did with the walking foot

hand quilting

Here’s something I quilted by hand “back in the day”. ¬†It’s been around a while.

Update on KonMari in the Studio:

It took an entire week to go through all my fabric and then get it put away, but it was worth it. ¬†I had a great “ahhh…” feeling when it was all done. ¬†My studio is much neater and I know what I have.

One thing I learned is that almost any fabric brings me joy! ¬†Probably why I’m a quilter. ¬†So there wasn’t much fabric to get rid of. ¬†I DID get rid of a bunch of scrap collections I was “saving”. ¬†I cut my scrap fabric in strips of pre-determined width and store it by strip size so that I can find what I want easily. ¬†However, I had several collections of tiny pieces too small to cut into strips. ¬†I know some people just love those and do lots of things with them, but it’s not for me! ¬†So out they went.

My next project is the donation quilt for the Quilt Alliance’s 2016 Contest, so the next step in KonMari will have to wait until that is done. ¬†You should consider entering, too! ¬†Entries are only 16 inches square, so it’s not a huge commitment. ¬†Check it out here.

Quilt Alliance






When Good Improv Goes Bad

I really love improvisational quilting and, in fact, have been doing it for about 15 years–since before I knew improvisational quilting was a “thing”. Most of the time it works out great.

improvisational quilt

Nothing Is Wasted, my first improvisational quilt, 2001-2002

This is my first improvisational quilt, made with scraps from an Amish style quilt with yellow added.  I made it for the friend who helped me select fabrics for the original quilt.

It wasn’t easy to get good solids back then, and I ended up going to an Amish-owned store. ¬†When I got there, I found that there WERE a lot of solids, and MANY of them were polyester blends. ¬†Well, duh, if you don’t have an electric iron, that makes a lot of sense. Anyway, I got¬†the solids eventually, but NOT at my local quilt shop!

Once in a while, though, the improvisation requires revision.  Maybe more than once!

Take this attempt at an improvised log cabin block, made in 2012 to use up the little maple leaves at the center.

improvised quilt

“Bad Ronald”, a failed attempt to improvise a donation quilt for Ronald McDonald House

I added too many fabrics, and even though they were in the same color families, the design did NOT gel!  That stripe, in particular, really blew it!

It took a while, but in 2015 I cut the piece up and started over, coming up with something I liked better:

donation quilt

Maple Leaf donation quilt–I guess we could call this one “Good Ronald”

And then there was this attempt at Sherri Lynn Wood’s Score #1:

improvised quilt

This came from following one of Sherri Lynn Wood’s “scores”

Which I eventually re-made into this donation quilt:

improvised quilt

The “New! Improved!” quilt

And, just to end on a positive note, let me repeat that mostly the improvisations DO work out well, like this one:

Improvised slab quilt

I cut up the yellow-orange slabs and inserted blue

Have a good week!

Asheville Quilt Show 2015!

The Asheville Quilt Show isn’t juried, but it always has some outstanding quilts. Here are a few of my favorites this year. ¬†I was particularly struck by how many modern designs there were, even in the categories that weren’t designated “modern”.

Jean Larson

Jean Larson won second place in the Modern category with “Off Center”

Connie Brown

Connie Brown, who is a beekeeper as well as an outstanding quilter, made this lovely miniature, “The Hexagon Life”

modern quilt Asheville Quilt Guild

“Singing in the Rain”, by Elizabeth Allen, was one of many modern-style quilts entered in other categories. Love the rain-texture quilting!

Asheville Quilt Guild Show

“Sonoran Skies”, by Jolene Stratton, made striking use of some striped fabrics and effective use of quilting to reinforce the design

Asheville Quilt Show 2015

Phyllis Tarrant stated her “Geese in the Parking Lot” made use of principles taught by Joen Wolfrom. Wow!

Asheville Quilt Show 2015

Heat Wave, by Cathy Nieman, made striking use of shape and color

modern quilt Asheville

Amster-daze, by Terri Jarrett, was the most unusual quilt in the Modern Style category

modern quilt show

Tuesdays, by Lisa Heller, had fun colors and design

Asheville Quilt Guild show

Back in Time, by Linda Hallatt, isn’t modern but it is very striking and well done. I just had to take a picture for my husband!

Asheville Quilt Guild Show 2015

Purple Haze, by Connie Brown,. She says she made it many years ago, but I think it looks contemporary.

art quilt Asheville 2015

This clever art quilt, “Fit’ting-ly” by Dale Williams, was in the modern category

modern quilt

Drunkard’s Path the Modern Way, by Linda Fiedler, was an exceptionally beautiful quilt in the modern category

modern quilt

Cats for Jed, by Diana Kantor, a talented member of the Modern Quilt Guild of Asheville

traditional quilt

Though traditional, this quilt of 1700 Pyramids by Kathryn Weston certainly caught my eye

modern quilt

Geez Louise, by Connie Brown, was a fun quilt in the Modern category. I wondered about the background fabrics with their mottled look.

art quilt, modern quilt

Pathways & Passages, by Diana Ramsay, was in the art quilt category but looked very modern to me.

art quilt, modern quilt

Finally, Jocassee Sunrise by Lynne Harrill caught my eye. Not modern, but certainly beautiful.

There were many more wonderful quilts, but I limited myself to the modern ones and those I especially liked.

New Class

I had the opportunity to teach my new class, “Try Improv!” recently for the Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild in Franklin, NC. It was lots of fun and everybody made a successful table runner using techniques that were new to most of them. Here are a few pictures.

modern table runner

Here is one of the samples for class

Although I made 3 different samples for the class, there is no pattern. The goal is for each student to start with a few fabrics and improvise a table runner from them.  Of course, I provided some guidelines and lots of assistance as needed.

Improv-Susan-2Susan brought Christmas fabrics and made a  successful design by distributing several triangles on her template and then filling in with accent fabrics.






Susan's Christmas table runner in progress

Susan’s Christmas table runner in progress


Nancy’s runner started out as a fan, then she cut it up to improvise further and make it a rectangle



Nancy has been improvising for a long time, and said, “This is what I do all the time!”¬† She chose a beautiful collection of iris-themed fabrics for her runner.



MaryAnn made a halloween-themed runner and zipped it up by adding some purple!


MaryAnn's runner, in progress

MaryAnn’s runner, in progress

Maggie chose a fall theme; her fabrics had a nice variety of scale and coordinated well

Maggie’s runner




Maggie chose a collection of fall fabrics with a good variety of scale, then picked a coordinating green for her accent strips.









Chris had a nice bundle of blacks and grays as well as a stunning coral-pink fabric for accents.

Chris's runner in progress

Chris’s runner in progress

Pat made a lovely red and black table runner, but decided to model it rather than lay it on the table!Improv-PatAs you can see, a good time was had by all!


Tutorial: Quilt from Shirts and Pants

Traditionally, quilts were made from whatever scrap  fabric was available. I recognize some of my Mother’s dresses in my Grandmother’s quilts and know that Mother gave the scraps to Granny after making the dress. Another traditional source of fabric is old clothes. Most still have quite a bit of useful fabric even if the cuffs are too tattered to wear.

quilt from clothing

Quilt top made from khaki pants and 2 shirts, 40″ x 40″

So I’ve been saving shirts and pants for years as they were discarded, thinking I’d use them in quilts. (I’ve got a box of discarded neckties, as well.)

Finally I got around to designing a quilt made with 8 inch (finished) blocks to use some of this.  When I cut the pieces, I used half a pair of pants, one and a half shirts, and one pocket from a pair of jeans. This means I have plenty of potential quilts in that box of old clothes.

quilt from khaki pants

Cut carefully around the seams to remove them from the clothing


quilt from khaki pants

Use some pockets, discard others–your choice


pants leg ready to cut quilt pieces

Pants piece with all seams, buttons, and hems removed.  Note that the crease should be along the straight grain of fabric, so use it to orient your cutting.

I learned a few useful things:
‚ÄĘ It would be better to use smaller (6 or 7 inch finished) blocks, especially when trying to¬†make a block from a pocket.

Jeans pocket quilt block

Consider cutting out pockets so that they can be used to keep treasures in

‚ÄĘ I needed to watch out for worn spots. ¬†If the worn spot is in a piece of fabric you really want to use (e.g., a pocket or placket), just put a second block of the same fabric behind it.
‚ÄĘ The shirt and pants fabrics really do iron nicely! Much easier to get wrinkles out of than regular quilting cotton.

In case you want to do this, here is a¬†quilt diagram with more detailed cutting instructions.. The diagram and instructions are for 7″ finished blocks, since I learned on this first one that 8″ blocks don’t make best¬†use of the available fabric.

tutorial quilt from shirts

7 inch blocks made of shirt and pants fabric, finished quilt 42″ x 42″

One pair of khakis¬†and 2 shirts should be enough for this size, with fabric left over. ¬†I had a pair of jeans, so I added a jeans pocket and I’ve shown that option here, so it’s really a pair of pants +¬†part of a pair of jeans + 2 shirts.

First cut out any pockets you want to use from the shirts, jeans, and pants.  Mark a 7-1/2 inch block with chalk or pencil, being sure you leave enough seam allowance above the pocket opening.  Then cut with scissors along the lines.  The quilt here uses 2 pocket blocks.

tutorial quilt from shirts

Draw the square before you cut out the shirt block, since this can be tricky

Then carefully remove all seams, cuffs, waistbands, and any other features that would make a quilt block too bulky.  See pictures above, and here:

Cut the cuff off the sleeve, since it is rather bulky.  Save the sleeve placket and stitch it closed before cutting out a block that includes it. See the arrows below and the red pin head below; they show where to show the placket shut.

quilt from dress shirt

Watch out for worn spots like the one circled above.

From the khaki pants, cut 36 pieces 3-1/2 inches square for the 4-patch blocks.  See the pictures and captions above.

From the shirts, cut (16) 7-1/2 inch squares for the large blocks. ¬†(You’ll need 18 if you aren’t using any¬†pocket blocks). ¬†Include the plackets from the sleeves for interest!

From the shirts, cut 36 pieces 3-1/2 inches square for the 4-patch blocks.

Now assemble the 4-patch blocks as shown above, lay it all out, and put it together. ¬†(I’m assuming you already know what you’re doing here!)

And DON’T EVER TELL where the shirts and pants were “found” ūüėČ