Archive for the ‘Quilt Designs’ Category

Applique Paper Dolls Preview

I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun designing quilt blocks.  It all goes back to a few months ago when my little granddaughter came for a visit.  She’s all girl, lives in a world of pink, and loves paper dolls.  Before she arrived, I purchased the Princess set of “paper” dolls made by Melissa & Doug.  Of course, they’re not paper at all but sturdy pressed wood with magnetic ability to hold all the clothing to the doll.  Where was Melissa and Doug when I was young?

As I watched her dress the doll this way and that, my brain began translating the activity into fabric and fusibles.  So I went to work drawing simple little dresses, skirts, tops, vests, jackets, collars, and other clothing items on paper.  I then adhered the pieces to card stock and cut them out to serve as my templates.

Paper Doll Quilt Templates

Since the pieces were small, I did a test block to make sure the entire process “worked.”  Worked it did, and so I’m now beginning a new appliqué quilt block series that I believe you will thoroughly enjoy sewing and quilting along with me.  At this point, I’ve only constructed two blocks so this is a work-in-progress.  I haven’t even come to a final decision on lattice or block borders.  But first things first–on to the blocks.

Every time I post a new paper doll quilt block, you will find the necessary appliqué files in the blue BOX in the right margin of the blog.  Click on the file you need and choose “download.”  The files are in PDF format and copyrighted for your personal use only.  Feel free to use them for quilted gifts and charity items but not for commercial use of any kind.  If you have any questions regarding use of the files, just email me.

Once you’ve downloaded the files, print the appliqué pieces, cut them out, and adhere them to something substantial like cardstock.  (I find that spray adhesives that gum up your needle and you wouldn’t think of using again with fabric work great for this purpose.)

I hope you enjoy making these paper doll blocks along with me.  In fact, I would love to see all the cute outfits you come up with from the various mix-and-match appliqué pieces I’ll be posting.




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Ecclesiastes 3:11

To complete the X-Box quilt top, I chose quarter-square triangles for the alternate blocks because I like the secondary design they produce.

Quarter-Square Triangle Block

You can follow my Quarter-Square Triangle tutorial to construct the four alternate blocks, plus the X-Box, Part Two tutorial for the block border.

First, make four quarter-square triangles.

Make Four Quarter-Square Triangle Blocks

Add borders to each block.

Position all your blocks in sewing order. Sew the blocks together in groups of three. I find it helpful to pin where seams need to match up.

Press the new seams of each row so that they butt up against the seams of the row they will be sewn to. For example, first row pressed to the right; second row pressed to the left; third row pressed to the right.

Sew the rows together. (I pressed the row seams open to distribute the bulk.)

Sew Rows Together

Add a contrasting border if you like.  My outer border measured 3 inches.

Add an Outer Border

Press the quilt top carefully, put together your quilt sandwich, and quilt as desired.

I quilted X-Box in a close diagonal grid pattern, using a wavy stitch and Valdani 50 wt. cotton thread (Color 6).  The stitching is about an inch apart.

Grid Quilting

Here’s a close-up of the quilting.

Closeup of Quilting

Another happy ending with a colorful quilt for a little boy (or girl).

X-Box Quilt

It’s seems so effortless to make quilts for girls since most fabrics just “work.”  Boy quilts, on the other hand, take a little more planning on my part.  Have you found this to be true?

X-Box Quilt Folded

Have a great week of quilting!


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Psalm 139:17-18

This quilt was a delight to make from start to finish.  Constructing the blocks proved the most fun since they consisted of such beautiful, colorful fabrics (many of them by Michael Miller).

Cheery Oh Quilt

Once my center section was complete, I added a 1 ½-inch print border to frame it.

Added Print Border

Next, I added a 3-inch outer white border.  I used the same print fabric for the binding as I used for the inner framing border.

Added White Outer Border

To make my first quilting lines, I used a Hera marker.  This is a handy little tool to have around since it creates a very visible path without leaving any residual effects.  I find it works best on solid or solid reading fabrics.

Hera Marker Quilting Lines

Hera Marker

Hera Produced Marking

Since the blocks were placed on point, I quilted the top with a close horizontal and vertical grid pattern using a small wave stitch.

Here’s a close up of the quilting.

Grid Quilting

And so another happy ending that leaves me with the question of what quilt I want to make next.

Cheery Oh Quilt Folded

Joyful quilting!


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Psalm 121:1-2

In part one of this tutorial, I demonstrated how to construct the Cheery Oh quilt block.  It’s a very simple as well as fun quilt block to make. Although you could use print fabrics for the background units of the “O” shape, I really like the pristine appearance of solid white surrounding the focus points of these colorful blocks.

I made the design choice of setting the blocks on point.  That means there is a need for setting triangles and corner triangles in order to complete the quilt top.  If you’re new to the on point design setting for your quilt blocks, the diagram below may help.  Of course, you can always choose a horizontal block setting and still produce a beautiful quilt with the Cheery Oh blocks.

Setting and Corner Triangles

Setting triangles (sometimes called side triangles) and corner triangles do add more complexity to the construction of a quilt, but setting blocks on point can really introduce variety to your quilt designs and produce increased visual interest.

Yes, there’s math involved unless you purchase a specialty ruler sold for this purpose.  But it’s similar to doing the math for half-square and quarter-square triangles, with a little multiplication and division added.  In fact, I prefer the math method for making setting triangles over the ruler method, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  Grab your calculator for the following steps.

You will be using the calculation below to arrive at the size square you need to produce two corner triangles.

Formula for Corner Triangles

Size of finished block  ÷  1.414  +  0.875″

Round up the number this calculation gives you to the nearest 1/8″ (0.125) and cut a square this size. For example, my finished block measures 7 1/2″.   7.5 ÷ 1.414 = 5.304 + 0.875= 6.179.  Rounding it up gives me 6.30 so I will cut my square about 6 3/8″.

Divide the square in half by cutting it diagonally, corner to corner.  Repeat this step for the remaining two corner triangles needed.  Rounding up is important because it adds a comfort zone to the size of the triangles, taking care of the rollover effect at the seam allowance.

If math is a scary thing for you, there are rulers on the market that simplify this step.  I have the Diagonal Set Triangle Ruler by Marti Mitchell.  I prefer it over the math method for corner triangles.  You simply find the size marking on the edge of the ruler for your finished square and cut the triangles needed.  It’s a handy tool not only for on point quilt settings but also for Square in a Square blocks.

Diagonal Set Triangle Ruler

Formula for Setting Triangles

Size of finished block × 1.414  +  1.25″

Round up the number this calculation gives you to the nearest 1/8″ (0.125) and cut a square this size.  For example,  7.5  x 1.414 = 10.605 + 1.25 = 11.855.  I rounded the number to 12″ for my square.  In the case of these triangles, better a little larger than too small.

Cut Square for Setting Triangles

Now position a ruler diagonally from corner to corner and cut the square in half.

Cut Square in Half Diagonally

Without moving the two triangles, reposition the ruler diagonally at opposite corners and cut in half again.

Cut in Half Again

You now have four setting triangles.  Repeat this step until you have as many triangles as your quilt top requires.

Four Setting Triangles

I mentioned earlier that I prefer the math method for this step.  The ruler method is fine; you just cut one side of the triangle and then flip the ruler over to cut the other side.  Personally, I find quartering the square easier.  Which method you use is entirely up to you.

Now take all your blocks and triangles and place them in sewing order.  I usually do this on my bed.  You have a couple of choices to make at this point—sew the rows together diagonally or sew the four corner units and then sew the center blocks together.  I like the second choice and that is how I constructed the quilt top.

Position Quilt Units in Sewing Order

Sewing the corner units together first for this particular quilt takes care of all the setting and corner triangles.  I find the units of the quilt are easier to manage this way.

First, sew the two setting triangles to the corner block.  Second, fold the corner triangle in half and finger press a small crease line at the center edge.  Do the same with the block unit.  Pin the corner unit to the block unit at the center point, right sides together.

Crease and Pin Center

It’s now easy to sew the corner triangle to the block unit with it perfectly centered.

Sewing the Corner Triangle to Corner Unit

After you’ve constructed all four corner units, begin sewing the center quilt blocks together in groups of three.  Match up and pin each of the seam intersections.  Next, sew the three rows together in the same manner.

Sew Blocks in Groups of Three

Position all of the sewn quilt units in order.  Sew each corner unit to the center quilt block unit, pinning at seam intersection.

Sew Corner Units to Quilt Top

You now have the main section of your quilt top completed.  Notice the secondary square and diamond shapes that the on point design has produced.  I love this setting!

Cheery Oh Quilt Center

If you’ve never attempted to place your quilt blocks on point, I hope you’ll take a deep breath and give it a try.  Like so many first-time experiences, you’ll feel a little unsure of yourself as you‘re cutting all those triangles, but soon you’ll be right at home with the process.

I’m now ready to work on the quilt borders so off I go.

Happy quilt designing,


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Psalm 119:137-138

I’ve been thinking about this quilt design for weeks now.  The blocks are simple to construct and offer a very different appearance when positioned on point.

Cheery-Oh Quilt Graphic

My finished quilt will look similar to the graphic, but my palette of fabrics will be different.   I design quilts in my software just to have a road map to my approximate destination.  I seldom follow them in every detail.  What fun would that be?

Cheery-Oh Quilt Palette

I recently made a trip to Mary Jo’s in Gastonia, North Carolina with this quilt in mind, finding many of the palette fabrics there.  If you live in the southeast, you definitely want to experience Mary Jo’s Cloth Store—fabric as far as the eye can see.  I can close my eyes within a mile of the exit and my car will just naturally veer to the right at Exit 21, Coxe Avenue.

Now back to the Cheery-Oh quilt block.  I’ve constructed three blocks so far and here is how they look.  Each block will measure 7 ½” finished.

Cheery-Oh Quilt Blocks

The following instructions are for one quilt block.  To make a quilt with these blocks, simply multiply each unit number by the number of blocks you will need.  In my case, I need thirteen blocks.

Cutting instructions:

Cut four (4)  3” squares from print fabric

Cut two (2)  3 3/8” squares from same print fabric

Cut two (2)  3 3/8” square from white Kona cotton fabric

Cut one (1)  3” center square from white Kona cotton fabric

Cutting Instructions

With your 3 3/8” squares, construct four half-square triangles using my half-square triangle tutorial.

Construct 4 Half-Square Triangles

Now place all your units in sewing order.

Unit Placement

Sew units from row one together, using a quarter-inch seam allowance.

Sew Units Together, One Row at a Time

Next, sew units from row two together.  And finally, sew units from row three together.

Sewn Rows

Press your seams in opposite directions as shown.  Correct pressing can make life a whole lot easier.

Press Seams in Opposite Directions

Position row one on top of row two, right sides together, allowing the seams to butt up against each other.  Pin in place.  Sew the rows together.  Repeat this step with row three.  I like to press the row seams open, but this is entirely up to you.  Your block is now complete.  Square up if necessary.

I’m off to sew blocks #4-13.  Once I have them all made, I’ll continue this tutorial, showing you how I cut the side and corner triangles to complete the center unit of the quilt top.

Happy piecing,


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Psalm 119:89-90

With a quilt like Monkey See, the fabric served as the focus.  All that was required was a simple design that accentuated the cute little monkey faces.   I can foresee some little boy or girl adopting this “blankie” as their best bedtime buddy.
Monkey See Quilt

I grid quilted using a 5.0mm tight wavy stitch.  Valdani cotton quilting thread (50 wt.) was used on the front and back.  I really like the diamond pattern that this produced.

Grid Machine Quilting

It’s going to be difficult letting this one go!  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed keeping company with all those sweet little smiling faces.

Monkey See Folded Quilt

However, the fabrics are already pulled from the shelves for my next quilt.  I’ve even drawn the design in my quilt software.  Hopefully, I’ll have a rotary cutter in hand by this evening.

Happy quilting.


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Psalm 144:3-4

I really enjoyed piecing this quilt.  The little Crossroads blocks are fun to make and offer the opportunity to use a large number of fabrics, giving the quilt a scrappy look.

Crossroad's Pieced Blocks

Don’t you love looking at all the various fabrics in a scrap quilt?  This one has a sampling from shopping trips that cover at least a decade or two.

Crossroads Scrap Quilt

I added a 1 ½” dark blue frame around the center and then a 5-inch red border.  Using Valdani Vibrant Reds cotton quilting thread (50 wt.), I grid quilted the center block section.  Next, I quilted small scallops on the edges of the blue frame along with a wavy stitch in the center.  On the red border, I quilted a larger scallop pattern around the inner edges and then finished the border with overlapping “peaks.”

Crossroads Quilting and Borders

For the binding, I cut multiple strips from some of the dark blue fabrics I had used in the blocks.  A multi-fabric binding usually works well with scrap quilts.

Crossroads Quilt Binding

I made my first cuts into the monkey fabric early this morning.  Yes, a little painful but fun all the same.

Hope your week is filled with quilting.


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