Tom’s Ties

Tom asked if I knew anyone who would be interested in making a quilt with his collection of ties. Who me, did I know someone? So, of course, I am now making quilts out of silk ties. I had to practice with Bob’s before I would commit to taking on Tom’s Ties.

Here is what I came up with for Bob

The plan for Tom’s Ties is a little different:

Here is what I have so far for Tom:

If you are working with silk in a quilt it is best to stabilize the fabric somehow. You can use a fusible interfacing for this. I have used a light weight fusible woven interfacing with silk in the past. For this quilt I decided to paper piece the blocks, as the paper provides stability. The other thing I decided to do was to spray the silk with Best Press, which worked great and did not harm the fabric.

Keep in mind that silk ties are not dye fast. They bleed like crazy, so be careful with the steam on your iron and when all is put together DO NOT WASH THIS QUILT IN WATER. The only safe way to clean a silk quilt is vacuuming it!

Virtual Quilt Show

The Boston Modern Quilt Guild is playing with the idea of a virtual quilt show. I am going to play with that idea here with some of my quilts.

Click Here to see BMQG Group Quilts

Thank You Jane, 2108.

Jane Stickle finished her quilt in 1863. People are still enchanted and challenged by her unique quilt blocks. Even with all of my modern gadgets and fancy machines I still had a lot to learn from Jane. Could not have managed to get through all of the blocks without help from the Dear Jane Group lead by Pat Kowalczyk at Quilters Common, which met for 4 years starting in 2013.

Checkerboard Skew Revisited, 2020

In 1973 Beth Gutcheon included this design in her book “The Perfect Patchwork Primer”. This book inspired quilters to take a fresh look at quilting and her designs are still making us ask what is a modern quilt and showing how timeless modern is.

Seeing Red, 2020

Are you seeing a red and white quilt? This is actually a pink and white quilt, but color is often a matter of opinion. The design is based on a half scale Fibonacci sequence used to determine the width of strips used. I borrowed Ricky Tims Convergence technique and sewed the strips together, rotated and then cut strips again.

Storm, 2020

During the pandemic I found myself trying a virtual workshop. I took Mid Century Modern with Carole Lyles Shaw. This is improv to the max. You start out with a big pieced circle and then you just keep slicing, relocating and adding. I posted my progress online and Carole commented that I should keep slicing! At some point I was satisfied with my slicing and this is the stormy result.

Process Color, 2019

I wanted to work with the four colors of ink that I am always feeding my printer to see how bold they might look together. I had been playing with the Ricky Tims Convergence Quilts style so I went from there and here is the result.

Hope, 2020

I am working with a group of ladies in the do.Good Stitches Hope circle of quilters. We are an online community working through Instagram and Flickr to design and share quilt blocks. I designed this quilt, collected the blocks and put this quilt together. It is always amazing how the quilts come together with just a little bit of prompting for fabric selection. The rainbow of colors gives us all hope for less cloudy days ahead.

The following contributed blocks to this quilt: Sherryl Barnum, Jeanine Conner, Angie Fitzreiter, Heather Flegel, Cath Hall, Christie Kline, Suzy Lampman, Susan McKinney, Jennifer Mendola, Sarah Terry

Garden Trellis, 2020

This is another one of my Stack and Wack quilts with a new more complicated block that makes the quilt look like a Garden Trellis. I have a pattern for this quilt and was scheduled to teach it at Quilters Common, but then suddenly everything changed. Hopefully I can get back to teaching classes later this year!

And here are two Group Quilts that the BMQG have put together:

“Orange You Glad We Made This Quilt?” and “Shattered” are group quilts created through distanced and virtual togetherness. The design process began with a group brainstorming in a park. Participants then made curvy starter-blocks using materials provided by the guild, followed by a virtual workshop where the starter-blocks were altered by random prompts. The improvised blocks were brought together at a backyard design session where two quilt designs emerged. Although the two quilts were made from improvisational blocks that were essentially the same, the resulting quilts were very different. The process was truly collaborative and fun.

Orange You Glad We Made This Quilt?, 2020, Long Arm Quilting by Rebecca Loren

Shattered, 2020, Long Arm Quilting by Patrice Denault

Dear Jane Revisited

I had a comment on my Dear Jane Quilt, which I am now calling “Thank You Jane”, because I learned so much about quilting during my Jane Journey.

The comment was regarding the sashing on the quilt. The sashing was borrowed from Tula Pink’s City Sampler Book, as explained in a previous post.

I have come up with some drawings which should help to explain the dimensions I used for the Trellis Sashing. The first thing I did was add a 1/2″ border around each Jane Block to increase the size from 4.5″ to 5.5″ finished. From there I prepared the sashing as shown in the drawings. The dimensions shown are the unfinished sizes. Cut pieces the sizes shown.

Be Kind Bee Blocks

Hello to my Boston Modern Quilt Guild friends, and to anyone who comes across this blog post. I have put together a couple of block designs for our next Be Kind Bee quilt.

Both of these Blocks finish to 12″ square.

Here are instructions for the X Block:

Fabric and Cutting:  For these blocks please select a white or white on white fabric, a dark solid or dark blender fabric and a medium print fabric. 

White Fabric: You will need to cut 8 pieces that are 1 ½” x 2 ½” and cut 8 pieces that are 1 ½” x 4 ½” or use a strip piecing method as shown below and start with 1 1/2″ width of fabric strips. 

You will then need to cut 4 squares that are 4 ½” x 4 ½”

Dark Fabric: Cut 4 squares that are 2 ½” x 2 ½”

Print Fabric:  1 square 4 ½” x 4 ½”

First I cut out all of the pieces for the block. I just cut 1 1/2″ strips for the pieced 4 1/2″ squares and then sewed the blue squares to the strips before cutting. After sewing the strips on all four sides I trimmed these to 4 1/2″ square. I then arranged the squares into three rows as shown. Complete each row and then sew the three rows together.

Press the seams towards the white squares in the top and bottom rows and towards the print square in the center row.  When sewing the rows together press the seams towards the print square.

Here are instructions for the Twinkle Block:

Fabric and Cutting:  For these blocks please select a white or white on white fabric, a dark solid or dark blender fabric and a medium print fabric. 

White Fabric: You will need 1 Width of Fabric (WOF) strip that is 4 ½” wide. Cut 8 pieces that are 4 ½” x 4 ½” squares.  Cut FOUR of the squares in half on the diagonal.

Dark Fabric: 1 WOF strip that is 1 ¼” wide and 1 WOF strip that is 1” wide. From the 1 ¼” wide strip cut 4 pieces that are 1 ¼” x 6 ½”. Cut 4 pieces that are 1” x 3 ½” from the 1” wide strip.

Print Fabric:  1 square 3 ½” x 3 ½”


Sew a tringle to each 1 ¼” x 6 ½” piece as shown. Then sew another triangle to the other edge of the 1 ¼” x 6 ½” piece as shown.  Trim each of the four blocks to 4 ½” x 4 ½”.  Press the seams towards the dark fabric for these units.

Sew the two 1” x 3½” pieces to the top and bottom of the 3½” x 3½” print piece, then sew the two 1” x 4½” pieces to the sides.  Press the seams towards the dark fabric for these units.

Arrange these pieces and sew together into three rows as shown.  Press the seams towards the solid white squares in the top and bottom rows and towards the solid square in the center row.  When sewing the rows together press the towards the print square.

The thought is that we will create a quilt with this that will end up looking something like this:

Let’s see what we come up with!

Face Mask with Drawstring Fabric Ties

Here is how I am making face masks.  These masks have a drawstring tie along the top and bottom that allow for a tighter fit across your face and under your chin.

I am using 100% cotton, quilting weight fabric.  A half yard of quilting cotton will make 2 face masks.  I prewash the fabric before making masks, so they will not shrink after they are made.

Cut 1 piece of fabric 10″ x 15″

Cut 2 pieces 1 1/2″ x width of the fabric (42″)

If you have any fusible, or even non fusible, light weight non-woven interfacing cut a 10″ x 15″ of that as well.  This will add a bit more protection against viruses.

For each of the two 1 1/2″ x width of fabric strips for the ask ties:

Fold and press a 1/4″ of fabric  on each short end, then fold and iron the two long raw edges towards the center.  Next fold the tie in half and press.  Sew a seam close to the edge to finish the tie.

For the Mask:

If using interfacing layer and press the interfacing to the wrong side of the 10″ x 15″ piece of fabric.

Fold the mask fabric in half, right sides together, so the piece measures 7 1/2″ x 10″.  Sew a 1/2″ wide seam along the long raw edges. Press this piece so that the seam is in the middle of the mask.


Next sew the side seams.  On one side start 5/8″ from the edge and sew towards the center, stopping about 1″ from the center.  Repeat this on the other end of this side,  Be sure to secure your stitching when you start and stop each of these seams.  You are leaving a hole in this side so that you can turn everything inside out!


For the other side start your seam 5/8″ in and stop 5/8″ before the end, securing the stitches when you start and stop.  Starting and stopping 5/8″ away from the edges leaves openings for the drawstring casings.

Next pull your drawstrings through the top and bottom openings of the mask.  Use a safety pin to make this an easier task.

Once the drawstrings are in place, make sure they are centered, and then tack them down in the center of the mask to make sure they stay in place when laundered.

Then sew along the edge of the two sides to close the opening and help hold the shape of the mask.  Secure all seams.

Next sew the drawstring channels.  Sew 5/8″ away from the long edge to do this.  Secure all seams.

Now press two 1/2″ pleats as shown in the photo.  Make sure the folds are set up so mask will pop out in the front for your nose!  This picture shows the BACK of the mask.

Sew a 5/8″ seam along each side to hold the pleats in place.

You have a face mask that should give you some protection also protect your fellow humans if you are unwittingly walking about with a virus!!

And, if you have a double chin, no one will know!!

I am updating this post with some steps for leaving an opening in the back of your mask to add a filter.  I read an article that says that blue shop towels make a great filter, so here you go:

Cut pieces as above, omitting the interfacing.  For this version you do not need to use interfacing, because you will be using a disposable filter each time you use your mask.

Make the ties as indicated above.  Then sew the mask.

Before folding the mask piece in half, I folded over the 10″ long raw edges twice and then  sewed a seam close to the edges.  Then I folded the piece in half and overlapped the edges.  Next I sewed the sides closed.


After turning the mask right side out, I finished the mask following the same procedures above that I used for the mask with no opening.

Before wearing your mask insert a filter.  I plan to use a blue shop towel.  I cut the towel in half, fold one of the halves in half and then insert it into the mask.

Remember once you have your mask on:  Wash your hands if you touch the mask after being exposed to any germs! Remember to carefully dispose of the filter after each use, and then wash your hands!!

Wash your hands!!!

Do Good Block September 2019

Size: 10” Finished

Please make at least two blocks.


Four 5” squares – Dark Bright Colors – Prints and/or Solids

Four 5” x 1 ½” pieces – Light Pastel Colors – Prints and/or Solids

One 1 ½” x 1 ½” square – Dark Bright – Print and/or Solid

Arrange pieces as shown:

Sew 3 rows:

Sew rows together:

Finished Blocks:

In Praise of Silk

Don’t miss the Silk Exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell. My Cube Life Quilt is on display with some really extraordinary quilts by award winning quilters.



I am honored to have been given the opportunity to exhibit my Cube Life Quilt along with these fantastic quilts.

This is the second time I have made this quilt.  Here is the first one made with cotton quilting fabrics.

Pam Weeks saw my cotton version and loved it.  She said if I made the quilt in silk then she could include it in the exhibit.  This was last year some time.  I went about collecting silk for the quilt and finished it in time for the show.

This quilt went together more easily than you might think.  It is pieced in rows, or in this case columns, of paper pieced triangles and diamonds. The colored cubes are shimmering silk; the gray cubes are a more subdued linen. The background fabric is silk noil.

I became intrigued with three dimensional blocks after seeing quilts featured in Jeffrey Gutcheon’s Diamond Patchwork book. The tumbling blocks become more of a cubic space when you add sashing to each diamond and when you consider the color value and placement of the fabrics that you use.

We all spend a lot of time in cubic spaces. Many of us have spent our careers working in an office cube. Why not add a splash of color to your cube? And, silk makes it so much more luxurious!

In Praise of Silk, May 1 through August 4.

Playing with Convergence Quilts

Ricky Tims published his Convergence Quilts book in 2003.  I was brainstorming with Jolene at Quilters Common trying to come up with a good idea for a workshop.  She mentioned that she had seen some Harmonic Convergence quilts on the internet, perhaps Pinterest?   So of course I did some researching as soon as I got home and discovered his book.  I checked a copy of the book out from the incredible New England Quilt Museum research and lending library.  (I volunteer there on Thursdays).  The book has a lot of interesting projects to try, but the trick is finding the right fabric combinations.  I found his original Harmonic Convergence project the easiest to work with.  In fact I found it so easy that I could hardly stop picking out fabrics and making them.  It is fun and easy to put these stunning little quilts together.  Here are the ones I have put together (so far!)

Here is a pictorial overview of the process:

Start with four 16″ squares.  Sew them together is pairs, layer the four squares and then cut strips increasing in size by half an inch from 1″ to 3 1/2″.  For the quilt in the photos there was enough fabric left over, so I cut an extra 1″ strip and used it as a border.

Open up the strips and then rearrange them as shown here (click to zoom in on any of these photos).

Looking at the photos of my finished quilt tops above, I am going to point out that on my turquoise and red quilt the strips are not arranged correctly!  Can you see what I did wrong?  Does it matter???

Once the strips are arranged CORRECTLY, sew them all together.  When I was pressing the seams, I spun the seams so that half of the seam was pressed to one side and the other to the opposite side.  Trust me, do this and it will be much easier to sew the second go round of strips together, because everything will nest together nicely and increase your accuracy.  If you want these to end up pressed to the dark side then remember to press to the light side when you are first sewing your squares together in pairs …. I did not do this in the example … live and learn!

Once the strips are pressed, rotate the fabric panel, and cut strips again increasing in size from 1″ to 3 1/2″, plus the extra 1″ strip if you are including the border,


Rearrange them and sew them together again to complete your Harmonic Convergence square.

I finished one of mine on point, two of the others with borders, and the bright solid colored one is finished with some modern asymmetrical negative space.

I am I the process of quilting these, and finding they are a great way to practice my free motion quilting.

I designed my modern convergence in Electric Quilt 8 and printed an outline of the quilt to draw out my quilt plan.





Squares within Squares

I recently joined the Hope Circle of Do Good Stitches which is a group of 10 people working together to make quilts to be given for charity and comfort.  I joined just in time to be asked to design a quilt for the month of October.  I came up with the idea to have everyone make Squares within Squares blocks.  These blocks all have a center square which is perfect for fussy cutting novelty and floral fabrics.  Here are instructions for making the block.

These blocks are 8″ finished squares.  I used white background fabric(s), a different dark colored fabric for each block and a different coordinating novelty and/or
floral fabric for the center of each block.

For each block cut an exactly 4 1/2” by at least 5” piece of
white fabric and one from one of the colored fabrics. Sew
together on the long edge. Press towards the colored fabric.
Cut 2 pieces from this that are 8 1/2” x 2 1/2”.

Then cut an exactly 2 1/2” by at least 5” piece of the same
white fabric and one from the same colored fabric as above.
Sew together on the long edge. Press towards the colored
fabric. Cut 2 pieces from this that are 4 1/2” x 2 1/2”
Fussy cut 1 square that is 4 1/2” x 4 1/2” from your novelty/floral

Sew together as indicated in the photos. Don’t worry about the direction
of your fussy cut square if directional!  Press seams towards the
center block.

Here are six of the finished blocks:

I had a few of design ideas in mind.  These two are 7 x 7 blocks:

This design would require 8 x 8 blocks:

This is what I went with. The sashing is 1 1/2″ and the borders are 4″.  The quilt finishes to 73″ x 73″.  I will update this post to include a photo of the finished quilt.

AND … here is the update.  This quilt was donated to the MassGeneral Hospital for Children.


Dear Jane I finally finished my quilt

I just wanted to share my finished Dear Jane quilt with the world.  It took me four years to make 115 Dear Jane blocks.  The group I was meeting with every month was talking about doing a show with our finished quilts.  I really wanted to have a quilt ready for that but there was just no way that I was going to get another 110 blocks done in time!!  Then I saw one of Tula Pink’s layout for her City Sampler quilt and I was completely inspired.

Once I got the top put together I was happy, but, quickly became nervous with the though of quilting it.  I had some ideas, but was not quite confident enough to dive in.  I made a small Jane with my left over blocks and quilted it.  I was pretty happy with the results, but waited until I had  done some free motion quilting on a few other quilts before I was brave enough to quilt my Jane.

Finally, almost one year later, I put the top on my longarm machine and just did it!  I actually enjoyed the whole process.  I was listening to some music while I quilted which put me in a great mood.  Vertical Horizon and Mood Taxi were a couple of the artists that came up on a playlist that my husband had put together for me.

So here is the almost final result taken before I put the binding on.