December 15, 2019

Wonky Pound Sign/Hashtag Block

Whether you call it a pound sign, hashtag, nine-patch, tic-tac-toe or something else, this grid block is an easy one to make. The following instructions are for members of the Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild, as this block is being collected for our next charity quilt, but anyone is free to make it!

Please use this color palette -- solid fabrics and white. You can make the strips white, as I've done here, or reverse the color placement so that the background is white and the strips are one color.

Blocks are due by the meeting on February 15, 2020. Email with questions!

The unfinished block should be 13.5 to 14 inches. Do not trim the block to size. Just turn it in as it is, and the volunteer who pieces the top can trim all blocks to a consistent size.


1. Start with a square at least 12.5" and four strips 1.5 x 15."

2. Use a ruler to cut the square into thirds. The cuts can be slightly slanted, but if you're more comfortable with precise, straight lines, feel free to do that instead. (Tip: I tried this block without using a ruler, and it made the strips harder to piece. So grab that ruler and rotary cutter.)

3. Insert two strips into the cuts, and piece the square back together. Press the seams open. With wonky lines, it's a little tricky to get the outside edges of the square aligned again, so take care and do your best. Remember that the block will be oversized, so it's okay if the edges are a little bit off (like mine are!).

4. Use a ruler to cut the square into thirds again, perpendicular to the first two strips. (Again, if you're more comfortable with precise lines, you don't have to make them wonky.)

5. Insert the remaining two strips into the two cuts. Pin and sew them to two sections. Press the seams open.

6. Now you need to sew the three sections back together. If your strips are precise, line up the strip seams on both sections, pin and sew. Press the seams open.

If your strips are wonky, this is the trickiest part of the block because the seams don't line up exactly across the break. Lay the two sections together and eyeball the alignment of the vertical strip so that it doesn't appear to shift to the right or left as it's intersected by the horizontal strip.
Then carefully flip them right sides together (I flip the lower section up so that it's on top). Try to do this flip without shifting the piece to the right or left. Pin to avoid shifting while sewing.

In the photo below, you can see that the vertical seams look pretty well-aligned on either side of the horizontal strip. Check your piece to see if they look aligned before you start sewing. You can also experiment with putting a pin in one seam and trying to line it up with the other seam. Or if you have a trick for getting this part right, let me know!

Sew two sections together, and press the seam open. Then repeat the alignment with the third section. Flip, pin, sew and press the seam open.

7. And there you go! Your block is ready to be trimmed to size (or not, if this is for the KMQG charity quilt).

October 17, 2019

Quilty Hearts Quilt

A lot of quilters who design patterns also organize quiltalongs for the pattern release. It's a period of weeks or months when quilters are encouraged to buy the pattern and join the fun, making the quilt at the same time and posting their progress on social media. There are usually benchmark goals and prizes involved. A couple times a year, I get sucked into this excitement. Sometimes I talk myself out of it, but sometimes I join in, knowing from the start that I won't be able to keep up with the pace. I guess I'm not technically quilting along when I'm actually working at my own speed and making the quilt in my own time, but it's the idea that counts. And the quiltalong motivates me to start the project even though I'm always so far behind that I'm not eligible for any prizes.

This year, the pattern that got me was Quilty Hearts by Emily Dennis of Quilty Love. What do I like about this quilt? It's block-based, set on point, and scrappy. It's also easy to cut and assemble, so it was a good project to work on a little bit here and there whenever I had time (evenings and weekends).

Initially, I thought that I might give this one to someone in my family, but when it came time to choose the backing fabric, I struggled to find something that would work with their home. So I decided not to force it and changed my plan -- I gifted this quilt to my friend Jessica and her family. They have pops of color in their living room that I thought would make it the perfect home for the quilt.

The fabrics in the hearts have a lot of memories attached to them. Some of them were used in the two quilts I made for Jessica's daughters. Others appeared in quilts for my nieces, clothing I made for myself, dresses that my mom made for my nieces, and gifts I've given to friends and family. The thing I love about scrappy quilts is that they remind me of everything I've made -- I can remember where each fabric was used before.

Being twin size, this quilt needed to be longarmed, so I sent it off to my fellow Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild member Pat. The scalloped quilting adds some soft curves to this otherwise sharp and blocky design. The binding is the same fabric as the backing.

This quilt was a lot of fun to make, and I'm pretty proud that I managed to both start and finish it within the same year!

February 6, 2019

Fieldcrossing Quilt

I finished this quilt in September, but it had to wait for its recipient's October birthday, and now I'm MONTHS late in posting it here! But I'm excited to share it now that it is settled in its new home in Texas. I made it for my good friend Eryn and her family. Around 8 years ago, I made Eryn a quilt and I had no idea just how much it would be used and loved. It was so loved, in fact, that I brought it home with me to Tennessee last summer for some mending and a new binding after I visited Eryn and saw what a state it was in! That was when I decided to make her a new quilt.

(For anyone paying close attention, Eryn is my friend with the twin babies -- a boy and a girl -- who I made quilts for last year. I posted about them here.)

When I was in McKinney visiting Eryn, we took a little field trip to Stitched with Love, a quilt/fabric shop very close to Eryn's house, where I was unable to resist the urge to buy lots of fat quarters as fabric souvenirs. A few months later, Eryn sent me a Christmas gift ... more fabric from the shop! All of the sudden, my plan came together -- I'd make a new quilt for Eryn and use some of the fabrics that she had picked out. She had bought them (for me), so she must have liked them, right?


The pattern I decided to use is called Fieldcrossing, designed by Elizabeth Olwen. It's a free pattern offered by Cloud 9 Fabrics.

I started the project at a retreat with the Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild and was able to get the top pieced -- minus some borders that required more fabric -- by the time I headed home.

Because the quilt was pretty large, I handed it over to my local longarm friend, Pat, to quilt it with an edge-to-edge design. Instead of using a lot of white, the background fabric has a subtle texture design, and the backing is Moda Grunge Hits the Spot in a low-volume beige that I thought would hold up well to lots of use.


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