Categories
Favorite Quilts and Quilters

Windows and Walls: The Road Home- Stories of the Quilts

For 2022, I have been sharing some the stories behind of the quilts in my heart and home. This is a quilt that I made in 2018 for my father-in-law. My father-in-law was declining and was moving into Memory Care. Since his marriage, he had slept under quilts his wife made, or selected for him. I hated the idea of him using institutional blankets, but I know that quilts take a beating in many Memory Care and Assisted Living facilities. Sometimes they disappear and the washing machines can take a toll. So sending him with one of his wife’s precious, hand quilted quilts didn’t seem like the best option. The Memory Care facility had a bed coming open in 2 weeks, so I had a limited amount of time to make a quilt. I knew he would have a twin bed, and I knew I needed something quick, attractive, and sturdy.

I decided to adapt the Walkabout Quilt pattern designed by Ann Lauer for Grizzly Gulch Gallery. I chose neutral fabrics that I thought he would like. I started with the print, then added black and cream solids and the dark gray print. Because I knew this would be washed frequently, I made my seam allowances 3/8″ instead of 1/4″.

I used some decorative stitches to quilt and highlight features of the print.

I also used decorative stitches machine sewing the binding, because it created extra stitches that would be more secure.

The quilt is backed with plain muslin, because that was how my mother-in-law backed all of her quilts. In addition to his name on the label, the plain back allowed the facility to write his room number on the back in sharpie, so the quilt was always returned to him.

When my father-in-law was transferred to hospice, the quilt went with him. He used it until the end, and it is precious to us as a result.

Categories
Patterns and tutorials Tools and Tips

Closing a Binding

I have been teaching a class on advanced bindings, and I have found that many quilters are challenged with closing the beginning and end of a binding so it is smooth and you can’t find it easily.

There are a lot of tutorials on this subject, but there are as many methods as there are quilters. This is my approach.

First, when I start sewing binding on a quilt, I start on one side, about 6 inches or more from the bottom corner. I leave an 6-10 inch tail of extra binding and then back stitch when I start to attach the binding. In the sample pictures, I am sewing on a machine finished binding, so I am sewing it to the back of the quilt.

Pin at 8 inches where stitching will start (NOTE: this is too close to the corner, I will show what to do if you make the same mistake I did.)

I sew around the quilt and miter each corner (a tutorial for another day). On the last side, I sew down the binding to about 8-12 inches away from the starting point and backstitch. A smaller space will make it more difficult to connect the binding edges, especially on a big quilt. There is no particular downside to having a larger gap, as long as you accurately measure for the connecting seam. You should have at least 7-10 inches of binding at the end that is not attached to the quilt.

This space is not wide enough – it will make it very difficult to join the binding. If you make this mistake, seam rip the stitches from where you started to sew the binding on. Keep opening until there is a gap of at least 7-10 inches.
This is a 7-inch gap – a perfect size to join the binding on a small piece. For a larger piece, a larger gap (up to 10-12 inches) may make it easier to manipulate in the sewing machine.

Now comes the fun part. Lay your free binding ends flat on the edge of the quilt and overlap them. There should be plenty of overlap (more than 3 inches). Cut a small piece (about an inch wide is enough) from the end of one of the binding tails. This will be your measuring piece.

Choose a point for your binding ends to meet. It should be roughly in the middle of the gap. Lay your measuring piece with the center crease on the point you selected.

Measuring piece in the middle of the gap.

On the piece coming from the right side, go to the far left end of measuring piece and mark or cut the fabric. I prefer to cut it at this point, but it makes some people nervous.

On the piece coming from the left side, go to the far right end of the measuring piece and cut or mark the fabric.

Now open up both ends, and on the wrong side of the fabric, make an X in the square at the end.

Ends cut and opened for marking.
Mark at a 45 degree angle.

Position the fabric right sides together at a 90 degree angle in the square you just marked with an X. Pin to secure. NOTE: It is sometimes easier to do this if you fold the quilt in half at the point of the gap.

Take a good look at the tail coming off the intersection of the fabric. If you cut off the long ends, imagine where they were. Think of the two long tails as the “legs” of the binding. You want to sew across the “waist” of the cross fabrics, to give the binding a “belt” (the black arrow). You do NOT want to sew between the legs (the red arrow). (This tip comes from Kat Martinez at Capital Quilts. She says to “give the binding a belt, not a wedgie” and it is the best way I have ever heard to remember this. (By the way, this tip also works when sewing long strips of binding together at an angle.)

If you are making a flanged binding, put a pin through the seam between the flange and the binding fabric on one side where the “waist” mark intersects the seam. Make sure the pin goes through the seam on the other piece. The pin will not be at the center of the X.

Pin on either side of the “waist” line. It is especially important to pin on the “body” side because that side has more tension pulling on the seam area. Sew carefully on the “waist” line, taking out the pins before you sew over them.

I sew across and then check the binding before cutting off the ends. The binding should lay flat.

Trim the seam allowances to 1/4 inch and finger press them open.

Fold the binding on the center line and press.

Lay the binding on the edge of the quilt and pin. Start sewing with a backstitch a few stitches before the gap. Continue until a few stitches past the original starting place and back stitch.

Turn over your quilt and press the binding to see the seam. It should be almost indistinguishable from other seams in the binding.

Final view of the binding join when binding is complete.

Hope this helps with your binding joins. Happy binding!

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Uncategorized

I’m Back and All Things QuiltCon

2022 has been a whirlwind of a year and I have sorely neglected my blog as a result. I spent a couple of months out of town helping an ill family member, and everything else was pushed aside for a while.

But I am back and with lots of updates. First a few impressions of my first QuiltCon in February 2022 in Phoenix.

Hills in Sedona

My husband and I got into Phoenix a day early so we could drive up to Sedona for a day. It was beautiful, if chillier than we expected (we ended up buying a sweater and shawl so we didn’t freeze). This is one of my pictures and an inspiration for a new landscape quilt, which is in progress.

QuiltCon 2022 by the numbers from the Awards Ceremony

While I did not win any awards, I was excited to see the exquisite work of my colleagues. I was also impressed with the number of quilts (it took me three sessions in the exhibit hall to see all of the quilts).

I was fortunate to take a couple of classes (sign up was very competitive). My first class was in foundation paper piecing, taught by Brigit Dermott. I was so impressed at how easy it was to get precise piecing.

New York Beauty block from freezer paper piecing class 2022.

I also volunteered and got to spend time “white gloving” or wear gloves so I could turn quilts so people could see the back. I highly recommend volunteering. It gave me a chance to sit in on a couple of additional classes, and to meet many wonderful quilters. Here are a couple of picture of the exhibit hall and my quilts.

QuiltCon 2022 exhibit hall with Playtime
Karen with Playtime
QuiltCon exhibit hall with Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight
Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight at QuiltCon 2022

I also participated in the Mini-Swap. Elaine is holding the octagonal Drunkard’s Path quilt I made for her using ombre fabrics, and I am holding the rainbow hexie quilt she made for me! I have done the Mini-Swap for the last two years, and I have met two wonderful quilters.

Mini-Swap at QuiltCon 2022

As much as I loved QuiltCon 2022, I was ready to head back by the end of the week.

One thing I discovered was that I was most happy and comfortable when I had something specific to do. I loved the classes and the time volunteering. So I decided to apply to teach at QuiltCon 2023. I knew it was a long shot, but I carefully read the information on what kinds of classes they were most interested in and submitted proposals for several classes and a couple of lectures.

I am so excited to share that I have been selected as one of the 20 new faculty members for QuiltCon 2023. You can see the full list of faculty here. Stay tuned for the list of classes, available Monday June 14th.

I hope you can make it to Atlanta in February – QuiltCon 2023 has fantastic faculty and should be a great experience!

Categories
Favorite Quilts and Quilters

St. Paul’s Prayer Group Baby Quilt: The Story of the Quilt

While I was in college, I was part of a wonderful, vibrant faith community. I participated in St. Paul’s Prayer Group which met weekly on Thursday evenings. It was a great group that included many college students, but also many young families. It seemed like there were dozens of weddings and babies every year. Somehow, I ended up coordinating many of the quilts for these special occasions. For baby quilts, I would decide on a size and color scheme. Each person who wanted to participate would make a square. I usually used gingham to sash the squares and make a border. Then I would machine quilt or tie it and bind it. I honestly cannot tell you how many baby quilts I made over my years in the prayer group. I do remember graduating, moving away, and coordinating a couple of quilts long distance.

My husband was active in the St. Paul’s Prayer Group much longer than I was. Our wedding was definitely a Prayer Group wedding. We had a fantastic choir with St. Paul’s friends over many years joining together to sing and celebrate us. There was a caravan of cars travelling from Madison to Chicago. They took up a large portion of one floor in the hotel. We have heard that there was a lot of fun in the pool and at the hotel, when there weren’t wedding activities.

Our oldest son was born just about nine months after we got married. By then, we were living hundreds of miles away in Texas. I missed the baby showers that we would have had if we were still living near our family and friends. But one day, a large box was delivered. It was our Prayer Group baby quilt and it felt like a baby shower in a box.

Friends who had received wedding or baby quilts, and even some who hadn’t all contributed squares. My mother-in-law was a wonderful quilter and offered to assemble the quilt. While she was not part of the St. Paul’s Prayer Group, many of the Prayer Group members became like family and she knew them from softball games, parties and picnics. I want to share just a few of the blocks and their stories. The quilt is now 32 years old, but it still feels like hugs from all of our friends.

This little bear block is one of my favorites. It was made by a dear friend who was Matron of Honor at our wedding. I still smile when I see the fuzzy bear. And he has held up to heavy use and innumerable washings.

I also dearly love this bouncy bear. The counted cross stitch squares really have held up well over time – something I try to remember when it comes to making memory squares.

Applique was also popular. Some blocks were flannel applique, others were prints that were appliqued and embellished.

As you can tell, bears were a theme. At the time, I collected teddy bear ornaments, so everyone knew I loved them.

Some friends chose to use embroidered patches and appliqued them on squares. As you can see, in some cases, the background fabric shrunk more than the sashing.

The final block was the “name” block of the St. Paul’s Prayer Group.

I still love this quilt – my son sucked on the corners and the color is gone there. It has been very heavily used, but it is still beautiful.

I hope you have enjoyed learning the story of this wonderful quilt.

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Uncategorized

Reflecting and Planning

As the year draws to a close, I often take time to reflect on what I have accomplished this year and to begin planning for the next. When I looked at my list of quilts for 2021, I was surprised at how far my skills have come in a year. And 2021 was the first full year of Better Done Quilts. The business end of it has been successful and it looks like I will end the year in the black – not bad for the first full year of operations.

A year ago the idea of teaching quilting classes was just an idea. Now, I have taught the Tree of Life class series twice, a class on curved piecing, and I have been contracted to teach several more classes in 2022.

In December 2020, I found out that my Playtime quilt had been accepted as the June 2021 quilt of the month for the MQG Journal . You can follow the link and see the quilt. I had only written one quilt pattern, and I was both excited and scared. But I got the sample quilt done, the pattern written and I was so excited to see it come out in the spring. The Playtime quilt will also be going to QuiltCon 2022 as part of a special exhibit of quilts from the MQG Journal. I even made a second quilt with the original colorway I designed:

I got to make a quilt to show off the fabrics for the Fall in Love With Fall collection from Dandelion Fabric and Co. Here is my picture of the quilt in progress – much better pictures will be released in the upcoming months.

Fall in Love, 2021

I made a couple of Tree of Life quilts this year. I am currently working on a series of seasonal Tree of Life quilts. I finished Autumn Abscission in August.

Autumn Abcission, 2021

I branched out and tried some new and different ideas in my quilts. I took an idea from a earlier quilt of using strip piecing to create a landscape, and expanded it to add a silhouette. The result is “Madison”. This depicts the skyline of one of my favorite places.

Madison, 2022
Madison (detail), 2022

There is a lot of detail in this quilt, from the columns of the capital to the shapes and placement of the windows on the buildings. It was challenging to figure out, and a lot of fun to make! I am excited to share that in 2022 I will be teaching classes in making strip pieced land-, sea-, and sky-scapes.

I also finished several large quilts this year. I am so happy that I finished the Singapore Sling quilt. I still have to get outside to get good pictures, but here is one that shows off the fun fabrics from the Good Vibes collection by Christa Watson for Benartex.

Singapore Sling, 2021

I had some challenges with the quilting on this one. I quilted it on my Juki, but with the curves, there was some distortion in the fabric and the points don’t match as well as I would like. While I was quilting it, all I could see was the rough spots. When I was about 1/2 way through quilting, I considered taking it all out and quilting it on a long arm. After encouragement from experienced machine quilters, I kept going. And I love the texture now that it is done!

Singapore Sling (detail), 2021

As I begin planning for 2022, I am thinking of making a few less quilts. Some will be more complex, and some are new ideas that require me to learn new techniques. I am planning a trip to Phoenix for QuiltCon in February (virus permitting) and I plan to be at the Mid-Appalachian Quilt Guild retreat in July, 2022.

Stay tuned for more adventures in quilting in 2022.

Categories
WIPs and PhDs

Facing the UFOs One Day at a Time

Last year, participating in the first UFOvember made me take stock of my unfinished objects (UFOs). I decided that there were some that I very much wanted to finish in 2021. Here is one approach that I have found very effective.

I noticed that I felt overwhelmed with where to restart UFOs and how to keep moving. I decided that I needed a way to “break the surface tension” and get moving. In 2020, I made a couple of 100-day quilts. For the 100-day quilts, you piece one block or one section each day for 100 days, and at the end you have a quilt top. I allow myself to do more than the minimum, if I want, but I schedule about 15 minutes a day to work on the project. I found it was a great way to keep moving forward on one project and finish in a set amount of time. And I wondered if it would be helpful in tackling my UFOs.

The first UFO I decided to finish was a wedding quilt that was due three years ago. I took the two finished wedges of the Bluebonnet Broken Star and worked on adding one strip a day. Sitting down to the machine every day, I found that I often did more than the minimum. In a couple of months, the Bluebonnet Broken Star was pieced. I used the same approach of doing one piece a day to assemble it, add the borders and finish a scrappy pieced back. Then I sent it off to Prairie Folk Quilt Co. to get it quilted, so it did not go back into my UFO pile. Here’s the finished quilt:

Bluebonnet Broken Star 2021

I love the way the quilting shows off the piecing.

Next, I decided to tackle a Double Irish Chain that was partially pieced and sitting in a box. Originally, I planned on using this as a weight loss marker quilt with one block for each pound. Unfortunately between the stresses and life and the pandemic, I was not losing weight. Looking at the quilt made me upset that I did not meet my original goal, which wasn’t helping anything. I loved the color combinations and still wanted the finished quilt, so I decided to redeem it and finish it using the 100-day method. I already had about 30 blocks finished out of the 122 planned. I started making one block a day and finished the blocks and borders in a couple of months. I also sent this king-sized quilt to Amanda at Prairie Folk for quilting.

Irish Chain on the quilting frame
Irish Chain back

This quilt is now my Zoom background for teleworking. My November goal is to get it bound so I can put it on my bed. I’ll be sure the share the finished quilt with all of you.

My current one-step-at-a-time quilt is my Singapore Sling quilt. You can read in my earlier blog how this was designed and how I won a pack of Good Vibes Fabrics designed by Christa Watson for Benartex. I used the one-block-a-day approach to finish the blocks, assembly, and pieced backing. I got it basted and quilted according to my plan. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in how the quilting turned out. It clearly needed much more quilting than I originally planned. I put it aside as I finished my QuiltCon entries, then I looked at it again. While I still had questions about my quilting choices, I decided to keep going and quilt one line a day. At this rate, I should have the quilting done by the end of November. I already have the binding made, so once it is quilted, it is a quick finish. Check out my progress on Instagram.

Approaching my UFOs one day at a time has helped me complete three major, bed-sized quilts this year, in addition to the new projects I started and finished. Just 15 minutes a day or less. Which of your UFOs could use the one-day-at-a time approach?

Categories
Uncategorized WIPs and PhDs

UFOvember, 2021

Last year I participated in a blog hop for November. The topic was unfinished objects or UFOs. I pulled out my Bear’s Paw blocks from the early 1990s and turned them into a quilt coat. The coat is one of my favorites and it has been worn a lot. For that alone, I am glad that I participated last year. But participating in the UFOvember also made me think differently about my UFOs. My quilty colleagues had so many ideas and insights into why we create UFOs and what to do with them.

This year Bobbi Gentili (also known as Geeky Bobbin) is hosting the blog hop again, and I am enthusiastically joining in.

Just like last year, I will start with a reckoning of my current UFOs. (This is always the painful part.) I am starting with last year’s table so you can see how many UFOs got finished!

Quilt NameYear StartedCurrent StateWhy I Didn’t Finish
Bethlehem Star Wallhanging1993Needs quiltingWas hand quilting, which I took out because I would never finish it hand quilting.
Double Irish Chain
Quilt Your Weight Off
2018Pieced, assembled, long arm quilted by Prairie Folk Quilt Company. Waiting to be bound.Waiting for me to lose more weight I decided that I like the quilt and there was no reason to wait.
What My Grandma Gave Me – English Paper Pieced Carpenter’s Wheel2019Still piecing I will be piecing this for a long time – it is hand sewing and takes me forever!
Rainbow Hand Dye2020Front pieced, back partially piecedSet aside to finish Tree of Life quilt and pattern
Tree of Life Table Runner2020Partially quiltedSet aside to work on other projects with deadlines.
Completing this is my one monthly goal for November!
100-Day Improv Quilt-a-Long2020Still piecing Pieced, assembled. Backing selected. Still needs quilting.100 days ends 12/23/2020. Quilting is already planned out.

I got 5 UFOs finished this year, rehomed one, and made progress on two more. Here’s my current UFO list:

Quilt NameYear StartedCurrent StateWhy I Didn’t Finish
Bethlehem Star Wallhanging1993Needs quiltingWas hand quilting, which I took out because I would never finish it hand quilting.
Double Irish Chain
2018Pieced, assembled, long arm quilted by Prairie Folk Quilt Company. Waiting to be bound.I decided that I like the quilt and there was no reason to wait.
What My Grandma Gave Me – English Paper Pieced Carpenter’s Wheel2019Still piecing I will be piecing this for a long time – it is hand sewing and takes me forever!
Rainbow Hand Dye2020Front pieced, back partially piecedSet aside to finish Tree of Life quilt and pattern
Tree of Life Table Runner2020Partially quiltedSet aside to work on other projects with deadlines.
Completing this is my one monthly goal for November!
100-Day Improv Quilt-a-Long2020Pieced, assembled. Backing selected. Still needs quilting.Quilting is already planned out.
Christmas Table Runner2020Pieced, assembled, basted. Didn’t finish before the holidays.
Singapore Sling2021Pieced, assembled, basted, and partially quilted.Ran into problems with quilting and didn’t finish in time for QuiltCon2022 submission deadline.

Over the past year I have completed 5 UFOs and only added 2, so I have a net loss of 3 UFOs. That makes me very happy!

Later this month I will share more about how I power through these UFOs.

Here is the list with links to all of the UFOvember blogs. I encourage you to check them out:

November 1 – The Geeky Bobbin – http://geekybobbin.com

November 2 – Strawberry Creek Quilts – www.strawberrycreekquilts.com

November 3 – Katie Mae Quilts – katiemaequilts.com

November 4 – Pretty Piney Quilts – https://prettypiney.com/blog

November 5 – Mary Go Round Quilts – www.marygoroundquilts.com

November 6 – Exhausted Octopus – https://exhaustedoctopus.com/blog/

November 7 – Just Get It Done Quilts – https://www.justgetitdonequilts.com/blog

November 8 – By Hilary Jordan – https://byhilaryjordan.com/

November 9 – Sew Hooked on Treasures – sewhookedontreasures.com

November 10 – Sunflower Stitcheries and Quilting – www.sunflowerstitcheries.com

November 11 – Blue Heron Quilting – https://www.blueheronquilting.shop/blog

November 12 – Carrington Creates – https://cbear7774.wixsite.com/thatsthewayitseams

November 13 – Sarah Goer Quilts – https://www.sarahgoerquilts.com

November 14 – Better Done Quilts – https://betterdonequilts.com/

November 15 – Ashli Montgomery/Virginia’dele Smith – http://www.meandcoach.com

November 16 – Puppy Girl Designs – http://puppygirldesigns.com

November 17 – Lovingly, Lissa – lovinglylissa.com

November 18 – Art East Quilting Co – www.arteastquiltingco.com

November 19 – rjbosscher – www.rjbosscher.com

November 20 – Love to Color My World – http://lovetocolormyworld.blogspot.com/

November 21 – LynsAvenue – lynsavenue.com

November 22 – Quiltfox Design – https://www.quiltfox-design.com

November 23 – Maeberry Square – https://www.maeberrysquare.com

November 24 – Karen Bolan Designs – https://www.karenbolan.com/blog

November 25 – Tina1802 – www.tina1802.com

November 26 – Lazy Cozy Quilts – www.lazycozyquilts.com

November 27 – True Blue Quilts – www.truebluequilts.com

November 29 – Sarah Ruiz Quilts – sarahruiz.com

November 30 – Lyric Art – LyricKinard.com

How are your UFOs?

Categories
Patterns and tutorials

From an Idea to a Quilt Pattern OR How I Work

This spring and summer were crazy busy and so much has happened. First, I have realized that my goal of blogging weekly is just not feasible with my life. So plan on hearing from me once a month. If you want to see what I am doing the rest of the time, please follow my Instagram @betterdonequilts. I typically post about 5 days a week on Instagram. I taught my first quilt class – the Tree of Life Pattern – at Capital Quilts and I learned a lot! I also was featured in Capital Quilts gallery and they did a video of me. You can check it out here.

I have also been working on getting a new quilt pattern ready to publish. I thought I would share the timeline for this one. It is my third self-published pattern, Mai Tais on the Lanai. This is the first quilt I designed in my Cocktail Quilts series, all of which use the Drunkard’s Path block. In September 2019, I was just exploring the Instagram quilting community and found my first give-away string. For this one, you had to follow a person, like the post and make and comment, then follow the prompts to do the same for a total of 10 accounts. The prize was a full set of Anthology Fabrics Island Home batiks, designed by Natalie Barnes. I was shocked when I won and a quilty mentor suggested that I design a new pattern for the fabrics.

I loved the colors of the fabric and immediately thought about tropical cocktails on an elegant lanai. I decided to work with a five-inch Drunkard’s Path block, and I used acrylic templates from Whole Circle Studio.

My plan was to write the pattern as I made the quilt. I thought I would be done by the end of 2019. Unfortunately, at the beginning of November a close family member was seriously ill and I spent November and December flying back and forth between their Midwestern home and my job on the East Coast. Then came 2020…

The upside of teleworking full time was that the 1 1/2 to 2 hours I spent commuting 3-4 days a week was now available for sewing. I finished my first Mai Tais on the Lanai quilt in April 2020, and I loved how it turned out!

I only used fabrics from the collection and I only purchased the blue for the border and binding. I used the scraps and fat quarters that did not make it on the front on the pieced back. This is one of my favorite pieced backs!

I quilted it using the walking foot on my Bernina 1260. I did a simple echo of the tile shapes and it worked out very well.

I did write down directions and took pictures as I worked on the quilt. But the pattern still needed some work and I set it aside “until I had time”. Early in 2021, Amanda from Prairie Folk Quilt Co. put out a call for pattern designers for her subscription service. I sent her a couple of ideas and she liked Mai Tais on the Lanai for a summer quilt. I worked quickly to get the pattern ready for testers and put out a call on Instagram. I finished the instructions, had sample illustrations from my excellent graphic designer (who happens to be my son). I ended up with five awesome testers who gave me critically important feedback on my quilt math, directions that were not clear, illustrations that they wanted and formatting. Here are a few of their quilt tops:

@praterclp
@justaquiltingirl
@sosunny_quilts
@hasmeinstitches

I sent the finished pdf off to Amanda, and started to prepare the print version of the pattern. Print versions often are a little different to allow quilters to see key information, like fabric requirements, without opening the pattern.

The finished pattern has four sizes and a 2-color and 6-color version. It is by far more complicated than anything I have written before. I am very grateful for the experience I gained writing up the pattern for Playtime for the MQG Journal.

During the release week (August 2-August 9, 2021) the Mai Tais on the Lanai pattern is on sale for $10. Get your copy now, before the price goes up!

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Uncategorized

Published

The last couple of months have been crazy busy between work, home, family and quilting. I finally got to reveal my super-secret project from the winter: my Playtime pattern was published as the June quilt of the month by the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG). I can’t share the pictures here, but I can give you the link to the Playtime article in the MQG Journal, Issue 02. Everyone can see the quilt and read the article, but you have to be a MQG member to download the pattern. It is really exciting that my second pattern ever is published by such a well-known organization.

While I can’t share the pattern or pictures, I can show you the new quilt I have made from the Playtime pattern. This was my original color plan. I learned so much from the process of submitting this to the MQG. They contacted me (before the deadline) to let me know they were interested in the pattern. They sent me a palette of seven colors and I had to use those fabrics to recolor the design and have it approved. They also approved the design for the back (which was not part of the original submission). Once the color plan was approved, I sent fabric and batting requirements and waited. From the day I got the wonderful box full of fabric and batting, until when the quilt and pattern were due to MQG was 36 days, so I got sewing right away.

The MQG sent very clear instructions on fabric preparation (do not wash), quilt preparation (add a hanging sleeve the same color as the back, add a label the same color as the finished quilt, do not wash the finished quilt), and pattern formatting. I really learned a lot about how to be clear in my instructions in a pattern.

Playtime: Black Edition

After I sent off the pattern and quilt, I waited to answer questions, give more information, and make sure they REALLY wanted the pattern and quilt. I sent off a head shot and brief biography – that was the hardest part for me!

Then I waited, and waited (3 months seems like a long time when you are excited) until I got the information to set up payment and next day, the MQG Journal was released!

I have really enjoyed the process and making another Playtime quilt. There is even a video on the Capital Quilts website of me talking about some of my recent quilts, including Playtime. You can see the video here. This is a still from the video with the Playtime quilt.

For the Playtime: Black Edition, I had a really short time to make it, so I didn’t wash the fabrics and didn’t put as much quilting in as I would have liked. As a result, the quilt doesn’t hang perfectly flat, but it is perfectly usable. I may try to add some quilting later. In any case, we are looking forward to this being our TV-watching quilt.

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Uncategorized

Pattern Testers Needed

I am looking for a few adventurous quilters to test my Mai Tais quilt pattern. This is one of my “cocktail” quilts and uses curved Drunkard’s Path blocks. I really value the contribution made by pattern testers. No matter how clear I *think* I am, they always point out some critical edits.

This pattern will be available in four sizes: Baby (40 x 40 inches), Throw (70 x 70 inches), Extra Long Twin (70 x 100 inches) and Queen/King (100 x 100 inches). There are two different color options shown, but you can change the colors to your taste. Here are some mock ups of the various sizes and and color options:

Baby

42″ x 42″
40″ x 40″
72″ x 72″

Throw

70″ x 70″

Extra Long Twin

72″ x 102″
70″ x 100″

Queen/King

102″ x 102″
100″ x 100″

Here are a few photos of the actual quilt:

Mai Tais on the Lanai – 2020
Detail of Mai Tais on the Lanai

This quilt will get you over a fear of curves!

Pattern testers will get to choose the size and colors they use and will keep their quilts. I provide a small stipend to help defray the cost of materials. Testers will have at least four weeks to make the quilt top.

If you are interested in being a pattern tester, please e-mail me and I will send you more information. It is really a lot of fun!

Applications close at 5pm ET on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. I plan on selecting testers and sending out the pattern by May 24, 2021 with comments due on June 23, 2021.

I hope you decide to join Better Done Quilts as a pattern tester.