Thursday, December 31, 2020

16-patch with orange medallion, quilt completed

16-patch with orange medallion

72 by 72 inches

Made from 16-patches using up many of my bin of neutral 2 1/2 inch squares, plus those gathered from my quilt group's covid round-robin where we put squares in envelopes and send them on, removing what we want, adding more to share.
The quilt was influenced by Kirstin Klasen and Wanda Hanson. You can read more about how it came together here:
I do tend to push my neutrals! There are fabrics of my mother and grandmothers in this. I really like this soft orange used for the medallion and binding.
Quilted by Sue Divarco.

My design. Use at your pleasure.

My final finish for 2020.
I plan to hang this in our bedroom.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

propeller, top completed

90 by 72 inches
80 blocks set 8 by 10

Block finishes 9 inches
Solid: one square cut 3 1/2 inches, four rectangles cut 1 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches
Print: four rectangles cut 3 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches
Block construction details are posted here:

Sew into 5-block units. Press joining seams in one direction
Sew together two 5-block units, flipping the second unit so seams nest

Sew together two rows each made up of four of the larger units
One final horizontal seam
My design. Use at your pleasure!

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas 2020!

A Merry Christmas from the Dykstra Davis family in Chicago. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

letter box, quilt completed

My adaptation of the pattern Letter Box from the June 2009 McCalls Quilting magazine.

I worked with plaids a lot back then. I remember wanting to make a summer feeling quilt. The best source of these light plaids is in the women and the children sections of the thrift stores. The fabric yield is not as good as in a man's shirt, as they are smaller and a woman's shirt has darts that take up lots of fabric. But, the variety of plaids from these sections is really worth it.

 After more than 10 years as a top it is finally quilted and bound and in the mail from Tante Lynn to my great-niece Sybil. Sweet dreams my sunny child!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

alphabet stars, quilt completed

This quilt predates the blog! I remember making the top while Eve was learning to read. I had the wonderful alphabet fabric I used for the border to honor her reading efforts.
I took little tucks here and there so the border grid would work with the center.
The center I think was from a magazine, long lost to my memory.
The top was made over 20 years ago, it was quilted shortly after that, then languished until Covid time when a binding was finally put on.
With Eve's blessing, it is on its way as a gift from Tante Lynn to my great-niece Meta whose reading efforts are impressive.

Sunday, December 20, 2020


Block finishes 9 inches.
I plan to set 8 by 10 to finish 72 by 90 (80 blocks) or 9 by 10 to finish 81 by 90 (90 blocks).

This is a simplified version of Tines I posted about a few months ago, again using partial seaming.  The orientation of the blades is different with them sewn to the short side of the print rectangles instead of the long side.

It is also visually a variation of the St Brigid cross (Whirlygig) that I made in 2019.

Solid: one square 3 1/2 inches, four rectangles 1 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches
Print: four rectangles 3 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches

Sew solid rectangles to prints, press towards the solid
Sew rectangles to center square using partial seaming, always stitching from the square toward the edge of the block, keeping the square on bottom and the seams off the center square pointing away from the square.
Press these seams away from center square first from the back, then from the front. I do a bit of spray starch for my final press.

My design, use at your pleasure.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

cake stand, top completed

Cake Stand
About 80 by 90 inches
Set on point with 98 blocks

Block finishes 8 inches
Cutting (using the EZ angle or Bonnie Hunter's tool for triangles)

Solid: one triangle from 4 1/2 inch strip, six triangles from 2 1/2 inch strip
Print: two triangles from 4 1/2 inch strip, four triangles from 2 1/2 inch strip, one 2 1/2 inch square, two 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch rectangles

Piecing directions are posted here:

Setting triangles
I over-cut these so there would be a float. 
Corner triangles cut with sides about 8 1/2 inches
Side corners cut with hypotenuse about 14 inches

On point quilts are a pain, but I like the effect when it is done. Also, those setting triangles are a great place to use directional fabrics.

My design, use at your pleasure.

Dr Fauci made it into a setting triangle
Fabric from Spoonflower

Monday, November 30, 2020

bindings ready for winter handwork

It has been a busy semester. I manage to fit in a little piecing, quilting, and machine binding work. The larger quilts were made years ago and are finally quilted. Always good to have quilts come back from the longarmer!

The little Vote quilt was made in the lead up to this year's election, I quilted it  with the Bernina squiggle stitch.

My handwork pile is replenished for winter.

Monday, October 19, 2020

calendar quilt--three months in

My calendar quilt started on my birthday is coming together well. I catch up on weekends. Blocks finish 4 inches.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

neutral 16-patch with orange medallion, top completed

16-patch with orange medallion.
72 by 72 inches

Made with over 1200 neutral (low volume) 2 1/2 inch squares pieced into 16-patch blocks.

How an idea is sparked.
When I sorted out the light 2 1/2 inch squares from the dark squares used for the Jack and Jill Round Robin Squares quilt, they sorted themselves into a pile that had me make neutral 16-patches.

I loved Kirstin Klasen's purple scrap squares with its off-center medallion. Then Wanda Hanson posted her bowties with medallions that messed with the grid.
These two ideas came together with the neutral 16-patches.
Kristin's quilt
Wanda's quilt top
Influenced by Kirstin Klasen's purple quilt on her July 26th Instagram augusthimmel and Wanda Hanson's blog Exuberant Color August 25th bowties quilt. (screenshots taken with permission)
I first worked on graph paper to get my proportions. Moving to cloth had me re-think and I added some more blocks.
I made a pile of 16-patches, then assembled the medallion. To complete the quilt I worked my layout with the blocks showing back-sides to ensure nesting of most seams. There are a few "twisted sisters" on one side of the medallion.
This could be planned out in advance, but it worked well improvising.

I wanted the medallion to mess with the grid in two ways, that not all the squares in it line up with the 16-patches. And the medallion itself is a rectangle and is not in the exact equivalent proportions of the 16-patches.

16-patches, made from:
16 neutral 2 1/2 inch squares
Blocks finish 8 inches.

Medallion piecing: (I intended to use a stronger orange, but this soft one worked better. I am not sure of the manufacturer.)
23 orange rectangles cut 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches
8 orange squares cut 2 1/2 inches
THEN I added 3/4th sections of 16-patches to the bottom of the orange section so the medallion would measure 2 by 3 16-patches and it could nest into the surrounding 16-patches.

Because this was improvisational work the blocks were not assembled in rows. I did manage to make all seams nest except along one side of the medallion.

This quilt is leading to another using 16-patches made with darker squares and a different medallion.
I'll also work on a post about how I construct 16-patches with an eye for how they will nest later into a quilt.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

tines, top completed

90 by 80 inches
Block finishes 10 inches
72 blocks set 9 by 8

Details on making block at

My design, use at your pleasure.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Jack and Jill with round robin squares, top completed

This Jack and Jill is made from my 2 1/2 inch squares bins and those exchanged with my quilt group's quarantine round robin exchange.

84 by 72 inches
You can make the quilt any size you want. These directions are for the 72 by 84 inch quilt top I made. I did include many objects and kept them oriented the same way but that is not necessary.

I sewed it in seven 6-row panels to help reduce the  stress on the fabrics to sew it as 42 individual rows. Also, sewing individual rows onto a mother-ship really irritates me.
Below is my process.

Cut lots of 2 1/2 inch scrap squares. For this quilt it took 1008.
Cut lots of 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch rectangles. For this quilt it took 245.
Cut a few 2 1/2 inch squares. For this quilt it was 14
(note, numbers are by estimating and I may be off a few.)

Unit piecing
Piece four scrap squares into 224 units, sew a solid rectangle onto the end of each.
Sew a square onto the end of seven of them.
Remaining scraps and solids will be used to help make the rows stagger

Sew 210 of the units with the rectangles into 5 unit rows.

Lay out six of these into rows. You will use the remaining units and squares and rectangles to bring your rows to 72 inches. This is six units long but most of the rows have the final unit split to the beginning and end of the row.

Row 1: five units with solid leading, add one unit to the end PRESS to left
Row 2: five units with added one scrap leading and a rectangle and three scraps ending PRESS to right
Row 3: five units with added two scraps leading and a rectangle and two scraps ending PRESS to left
Row 4: five units with added three scraps leading and a rectangle and one scrap ending PRESS to right
Row 5: five units with scraps leading, add one unit to the end PRESS to the left
Row 6: five units with a solid square and four scraps leading, one solid square ending PRESS to the right
Left side of panel 
Right side of panel
Assemble the six rows, pressing seams up as each row is added.
Make seven panels.

Assemble the 7 panels into the top
All seams will nest

My design, use at your pleasure.

Sunday, August 09, 2020


I saw a quilt called Cogs from the 2012 Texas Mennonite Quilt Sale that I really liked. I could not find the origin of the design so I drafted my block with different proportions and fabric placement. I am making another version with yet another proportion and placement change.

It is made with partial seam sewing and goes together very quickly. I let the directional fabrics spin though the center square lines up with one of the tines units.
(If you know the origin of the block please let me know so I can credit the designer.)

EDIT: Nann Hilyard alerted me to this similar pattern from GE Designs. The proportions are a bit different and it uses 2 1/2 inch strips.

EDIT 2: Preeti also has a delightful tutorial with a similar block with different proportions:

I am naming it Tines because it looks like the tines of the rake we used for straw and alfalfa. I showed the block to my sister without telling her this and she said, "It looks like tines." So, at least two of us get the agricultural reference!

Block finishes 10 inches
I am making 72 blocks to set 9 by 8, to finish 90 by 80.

Solid: four rectangles 1 1/2 by 6 1/2 inches
Print: four rectangles 3 1/2 by 6 1/2 inches, one 2 1/2 inch square

Sewing and Pressing
Sew solid rectangles to print rectangles, press towards solid

Using partial seam sewing technique, sew one of these units to the square, sewing along the solid fabric, about 1 1/2 inches down the square, then backstitch a few stitches.
Starting the partial seam
Add remaining units, sewing from the square to the outside of the block--wait with pressing until all seams are finished.
Adding the units
Finish sewing the partial seam. This step is a bit fiddly. Depending on the fabric, start from the outside of the block or from the square. I find batiks work better from the square and regular fabrics work better from the outside.
Completing the partial seam
From back of block press all assembly seams away from center square. All seams will be pressed to the solid.
Finish pressing from the front of the block, using spray.
I found I kept organized by sewing the solids to the rectangles of a stack of blocks, then sew the square partial seam to the stack. Then I would work with 3 or 4 blocks to completion.
You could do strip sewing of the solids to the prints then cut apart. I don't bother with that as I don't work from yardage and it would be impractical.
It would require a length of 26+ inches of solid (1 1/2 inch) and print (3 1/2 inches).