Earth Song – A Finished Quilt

Or, in other words, A Quilt I Didn’t Quit, or in still other words, a UFO No Mo’.

I just read through my first post on this little quilt

As you might have guessed, I did procure a long-arm between the writing of that post and this one – a Q’Nique 15Pro from The Grace Company. She and I have had our disagreements but I think maybe we’ve finally come to an understanding. She’ll do whatever the hell she wants and I’ll try my best to deal with it. (Maybe she’s actually a He.) Haha. Seriously though, I love that machine when she’s behaving herself. I did manage to finish this quilt with the help of Angela Walters. Isn’t she amazing!! I have her book, Free Motion Meandering, which is what I used to do this quilting. No offense to Angela. She explained everything perfectly well. I just need more practice. 


Oh, check out my big-stitch binding. I’ve been doing almost all of my bindings this way lately, and I love it. It’s so much easier, it holds well, and it gives an extra little detail to the back of the quilt. I freely admit I stole the idea from Erica of Kitchen Table Quilting. She has a great tutorial if you’re interested.

The only other item of interest is the improv-pieced backing I did.

I hope you like Earth Song. Thanks for stopping by…


The House That Scrappy Built

I’ve always been enamored of house quilts. Houses and quilts seem such a natural pairing, both speaking to the utmost in coziness and comfort. I’ve made a couple of them before now and those, I cherish. After my latest one though, I began to consider how I would go about designing my own house quilt.  

It’s such a popular motif I didn’t want to offer a pattern if I couldn’t bring something distinctly my own to the table. I wanted it to be fun and modern, but also quick and easy, and that starts with the cutting.

  • This pattern can be cut 100% with one of the *Accuquilt systems.
  • Alternatively, and almost as quickly, it can be cut with the *Stripology XL ruler by Creative Grids.
  • Even if you don’t own one of the above, it’s really quick to cut with an old-school rotary cutter/ruler.

Second, the blocks are enormous. You only need 20 for a very generous-sized throw. You can make a twin/throw from start to finish in a weekend – with time to spare.

Finally, the striped effect gives it a cute, modern look. AND, it’s fun to create whether you’ve made one quilt or 50. There’s something about the design that lends itself well to holiday quilts as well as school-themed ones. Christmas Cabins, anyone? Haunted Houses? Love Shacks? Frat Houses? Honestly, I can think of at least a dozen I want to make right now, including, of course, a scrap-happy version.

I hope you’ll give it a try. You can purchase the pattern at my Etsy shop. Do let me know how it goes.

* I’m not compensated by Accuquilt or Creative Grids. I am just passionate about these products. Full disclosure, I DO have an affiliate account with Accuquilt, so if you click that link to the right and buy something, I might make a few pennies but I haven’t done so yet.


Papaw’s Quilt

A few years ago, everyone was making gingham baby quilts, mostly from solids, and they were adorable. I mentally added the pattern to my quilting bucket list and then moved on to other projects. But I never completely forgot the simple, yet stunning quilt. Last year, I finally made one. It was moderately scrappy and I called it A Quilt Is Born. It now resides on the back of a chair in my bedroom and I love it.

A Quilt Is Born – moderately scrappy
Papaw’s Quilt – not scrappy

For Christmas 2019, I thought I’d make one for my grandfather. Ha! I got the top made in time, but in typical Amy fashion, I didn’t finish the quilting and binding until July 3. Not too bad. I’ve been as much as five years late on a gift quilt.

 I used Fat Quarter Shop’s tutorial for a three-hour quilt. It took me a little longer than three hours but I’m slow, always. This truly is a quick and easy project though, and SOOO cute.

 Papaw was a Navy man, so I went with a red, white and blue color scheme and stars…lots of stars. I even quilted a giant red star on it, which didn’t photograph well but it looks nice in person. I used prints rather than solids. I just love prints so I don’t have many solids in my stash. These are fairly subdued though. One might even say they’re almost solid.

I liked this pattern so much, I decided to do a study of it, using different degrees of scrappiness. My first one, as I said, was moderately scrappy. Papaw’s Quilt was not at all scrappy. Next I’ll do an extremely scrappy one, and then I’ll decide which look I like best.

Yes, I finished the binding on the way to his house.


Another Quilt Is Born – The Full-On Scrappy One

In a recent post, A Quilt Is Born, I talked about one of my bucket-list quilts, the giant gingham. I mentioned the one I made is moderately scrappy and I quite like it, but I decided to make a full-on scrappy version and a totally non-scrappy one to compare and contrast.

Today, I started my super-scrappy one. It’s going to be black/gray/white. It’s hard to form an opinion based on such a small sample but, as you know, I’m pre-disposed to love super-scrappy quilts so I predict I will be happy with it.

As I was sewing this section, I was thinking,”how would this look with improv-pieced blocks?” so I might have to give that a try next. I think it would be fabulous. 

Here’s the one that began this obsession…

Looks like I might be sewing gingham quilts for a while. Have you made one yet? I would love to see it. 

Here are my take-aways for the giant gingham quilt…

  • Super-easy, quick quilt
  • Can be completed in as few as 3 hours (non-scrappy, baby size)
  • Great for beginners
  • A lovely way to study color values


Think Outside the Border

I’ve made nine quilts this year. Want to know how many of them had a border? Zero of them had a border. I don’t dislike them on other people’s quilts. It’s just not something I do. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason quilts without borders have become part of my personal style.

And yet, when I share my finished quilt tops on my various social media groups it never fails. Someone asks me what color I’m going to do my border. As if there’s an unwritten quilting law that says all quilts shall have a border. (And worst of all, lots of people ask me if I’m going to attach a guest lodger to my quilt. Umm, No. First of all, I don’t run a bed and breakfast, and B, I’m not a psychopath.)

Well…these unwritten quilt laws are for the incurious if you ask me. Haven’t you ever looked at a quilt design and wondered, “what if…”?

When I first got interested in quilting a long, long time ago, almost all quilts were made in blocks and rows, and 99.9 percent of them had muslin backgrounds. 

What if, somewhere along the way, some curious quilter hadn’t asked herself, “What if I do this instead?” I reckon our quilts would look exactly like Granny’s. And while that wouldn’t necessarily be tragic – Granny’s quilts were lovely – it would be limiting and boring and there probably wouldn’t be as many of us. So I’m glad there are quilters out there who think outside the border. Rebel Quilters everywhere…I salute you! 

And someone please tell me, what’s become of all the boarders getting attached to quilts? Why hasn’t anyone reported this to the authorities? Is it an AirBnB phenomenon? I’m so confused…


A Quilt Is Born

For months now, I’ve been working on a couple of projects that seem never-ending. This weekend, I wanted the satisfaction of a finish, so instead of doing what I know I should have done, which is to continue with my WIPs, I started something new. I did end the week with a finished quilt top, which was enough to make me happy and give me the impetus to go back to my older quilts next weekend. I hope.

The design stage is my favorite part of quilt-making so I’m always interested in the genesis of a quilt. How did it get started? For me, it begins with the fabric usually, but that’s not what happened this time. As I mentioned, I wanted a quick finish, and I remembered something that’s been on my quilting bucket list for a while – the giant gingham quilt, sometimes called the buffalo plaid. You probably know the one. It lit up Pinterest a couple of years back and everybody made one. Except I didn’t. But I wanted to, so I put it on my “Someday” list. 

I also remembered The Fat Quarter Shop has a video tutorial that claims it can be done start to finish in three hours. Challenge accepted. With my pattern chosen, it was time to pick the fabrics. Most of the online pictures show these quilts with solid fabrics as opposed to prints, but I don’t have many solids in my stash so I needed prints that kind of read as solids, i.e. small scale with limited colors.

The first thing to catch my eye was this gorgeous, vintage blue print. (top and bottom)

It has such a painterly quality, it reminds me of a Monet. I knew I wanted it for my mid-tone and it has a touch of white and Navy blue so that dictated my light and dark tones as well.

Here’s the thing with vintage fabrics – they’re not always the same width as modern ones. This piece was about ten inches shy so things got scrappy real fast. I pieced together as much of the vintage as I could, but I ran out of scraps before I ran out of rows so I had to substitute a couple of solids and some leftovers from another quilt, Birdie in My Cabin.

It’s definitely noticeable in the finished top but I don’t make perfect quilts, and I’m ok with that. It would probably drive some of you crazy, so just make sure you start with a whole yard of your light and dark tones and two yards of your medium tone.

I didn’t have a whole yard of anything I liked for the darks, so I used two different pieces. The batik was leftover from Rock N Roll All Night. The other came in a purchased scrap pack. I’m very satisfied with how they look.

All of my lights are leftovers from various quilts I’ve made. I used these pieces in particular because they all contained a touch of a very similar blue to my mid-tone fabric.

I would call this quilt moderately scrappy. It’s not quite as gingham-y as if I had limited myself to three fabrics. The pattern is a bit more subtle, but it’s definitely there. I’m curious to know how it would look if I were to go full-on scrappy. I think I’ll try that one day so I can compare and contrast. I suppose I need to make a totally NON-scrappy one too, in the interest of science, ya know. Damn, that means I need to go fabric-shopping. The horror! For my husband, not for me. Haha.






Oh, that video I mentioned… they used 5.5” squares in an 8 x 10 setting. That gave them a 40” x 50” finished product. I wanted a bigger quilt so I used 6.5” squares. I made 12 rows of 10 squares each for a finished quilt size of 60” x 72”. You can make your squares any size you want, of course. I mean, who’s going to stop you?

By the way, it took me a little longer than three hours to finish this, but that’s mostly because I scrapped it up a bit. I feel confident I could do it in three hours if I stuck with the three fabrics.


Another UFO Bites the Dust – A Story about Long-Arm Machines

Y’all, I did something… I bought a thing, and I’m not sure exactly what it is. I’ve seen it called a mid-arm machine but I’ve also been told it’s a tiny long-arm. At any rate, it’s Uber-fun to drive. (Yah, it’s called “driving.” I didn’t make that up.)

Meet Quita. (Because anything that costs this much $$ should have a name.) She’s a Q’nique 15 Pro from the Grace Company and she sits on my 5-foot Brother Dream Fabric Frame, also made by the Grace Company.

I bought the frame as a package deal with my Brother Innovis VQ2400 but I really liked sewing on that machine so I took it off the frame, which I’ve been using for fabric storage for a couple of years. Meanwhile, my finished tops are stacking up faster than I can quilt them using only my VQ2400.

Enter Quita. Already, I finished my orphan block quilt started in 2017 and just yesterday, I finished quilting another long-time UFO – my Stripey Hawaiian baby quilt. I’ve gotta come up with a better name for that quilt. Maybe while I’m binding it, I’ll think of something.

This quilt already has quite the story to tell. My cat ravaged it, I fixed that problem, then started quilting it on my Brother machine using some echo quilting. See below. But that wasn’t going well, so I folded it up and threw it in a corner until Quita came along. Now, voila, it’s done except for the binding. 

I know… it’s pretty terrible, but I have a few more small quilts to practice on, so hopefully I’ll get better soon. Until then, I’ll probably still send out my best and biggest quilts to my favorite long-armer, but one day… one day, I too, shall be a great long-armer. Maybe. I hope!

My Beautiful Mess – A Story About Orphan Blocks

I know a few people whose very first quilts are stunning, but most of us have to make a mess before we can create something beautiful. This quilt is a HOT mess, but a lot of learning happened here. And it’s not all bad. There are quite a few elements I like. Most of all, I like that it’s finished.

What exactly is this quilt? It’s a mish-mash of blocks from quilts I started but never finished. Orphan blocks. Most quilters have some. Maybe you start a sew-along but don’t have time to finish. Maybe you try a new technique and hate it. Maybe you lose your pattern. All these scenarios are represented in this quilt.

I decided to turn my orphans into a quilt because I got a new long-arm frame and wanted to practice my free-motion quilting. My inexperience shines through but that’s okay. I’m giving it to the dog, and she loves it.

I try to focus on the positive. What do I love about it? The tiny pinwheels in the photo above are adorable, and so freakin’ old. Many years ago I started a blue and white sampler quilt. I loaned the pattern to someone and never got it back, so I had a lot of blue orphans. They are sprinkled throughout this quilt. It’s probably just as well… my ambition far exceeded my skills at that time, so these blocks are definitely subpar. Those two blocks in the bottom corners of the top photo… I quite like those but they too are older than dirt. You can tell because the background fabric is muslin. When I first started quilting it was an unwritten rule that all background fabric had to be muslin. I don’t know why I only ever made two of those.

I’m famous for joining sew-alongs. I’m infamous for not finishing them. Many of these blocks came from the Splendid Sampler. It was fun for a few weeks but I lost interest, thus I had another tidy stack of orphans. And that house… I thought I would enjoy making a scrappy house quilt, and I did, but not with that particular pattern. Into the orphan pile it went.

Making an orphan block quilt is easy. Just lay out all your blocks, jig-saw style, until you have a composition you like. Fill in the gaps with something that ideally ties everything together. I bought that black/pink polka dot fabric at a yard sale and I had LOTS of it, so I used it for the back and binding too. It’s super-improvisational but that’s what makes it so easy. No complicated math, no stress. Just eyeball everything and trim as needed.


To Piece or Not to Piece-A Story about Quilt Backs

This weekend I’ve been putting together quilt backs. It’s not as glamorous or exciting as making quilt tops but it has to be done, right? 

I have friends who buy 108” fabric for quilt backs and I’d probably be smarter to do that too but I like to piece my backs. It takes longer, sure, but I like the scrappier look (of course) and it satisfies my personal quilting rule of working from my scrap buckets first, my stash second, and only buying fabric for a current project in an emergency.

I do buy fabric – lots of it – but usually only when it’s on sale or I find it at a thrift store or yard sale. When I do buy it at a store, my go-to quantity is one yard. If I really like it, I’ll buy two or three yards, but that’s not usually enough for a quilt back. So, I piece.

My process goes like this…

1) I lay my quilt top on the floor or a bed. If it’s the floor, my dog lays on it. If it’s the bed, the cat hops on.

2) I start with any leftover blocks or fabric from the quilt top  and arrange those over my quilt. It’s like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle.

3) Depending on the size of the gaps I need to fill, I pull from my scrap buckets or my stash.

4) I don’t try to do any math or precise piecing here. I just aim to have a back that’s a couple of inches larger than the top on all sides. If I’m sending it to a long-armer, I’ll ask how much overage she requires and aim for that amount. Ish. Like I said, I don’t go for perfection here. The outer edges will get trimmed off at the end anyway.

5) If I’m not trying to use leftovers from the quilt top, I’ll sew together two or three pieces of yardage from my stash. Each quilt is different, but I’m almost always pleased with the end product. I end up with two quilts in one, and isn’t that efficient!

How do you make quilt backs? I’d love to hear your process.

Magnolia’s Serendipity Quilt


Aloha y’all. Welcome to my very first Linky party. My spell check keeps changing that to “kinky” party, but I’m just not that kind of girl so if that’s what you’re looking for, move along. If you want to talk quilts, you’re in the right place.

I pride myself on being humble. (I KNOW that’s an oxymoron. Just shut up and keep reading, k!) 🙂

Let me say that again… I pride myself on being humble. For real, I have a hard time extolling my own virtues. But sometimes – and it’s usually quilting related – I just can’t lie to myself or to you, and I have to shout, “DAMN I’m good.” The story of this quilt is one of those times, and it was never supposed to happen…

First, there was the class I didn’t want to take. I am on the board of my local quilt guild and we had the amazing Krista Moser coming to town to teach three classes for us. I wanted to take her Woven Jewelbox class but most of my friends were taking Semaphore Stripes. I gave in to peer pressure and took both, and I’m so glad I did.

Second, there was the fabric I wasn’t supposed to have. Since I over-extended my budget by taking two classes, I vowed to use only fabric from my stash. I needed stripes and there wasn’t much to choose from, but I did have one thing. It was part of a fabric line I bought 23 years ago to make my daughter’s crib set. (I would call that “vintage,” wouldn’t you?) Sadly and happily, I never made that bedding so the striped fabric was just sitting there, waiting to be used in THIS quilt. I started with that and pulled whatever I had that matched. I grabbed 30-year-old fabric, brand-new stuff and from every era in between.

I was supposed to have two stripes but I only had one. Still, I was fairly pleased with my fabric pull. Then I got to class and my friend asked my advice in choosing between a couple of stripes she had brought. One totally worked for her and the other didn’t – but… People… it matched my fabric selection like it was made specifically to be there. I couldn’t have done as well if I had gone into a store and bought a complete line of fabric. She offered it to me, and it made my quilt sing. Thank you, Leslie!

Third, so many things. This pattern is not my usual style. It’s not rooted in tradition, I can’t cut it with my Accuquilt, and I didn’t pull a single fabric from my scrap buckets AND, it’s got Y-seams. Y-frickin’-seams, People. In short, I would never have made it if I hadn’t moved outside my comfort zone and took that class.

I don’t know about you, but every time I look at this quilt, I say, “Wow!” It’s just so vivid, so bold, so modern – you wouldn’t think you could get this look from a bunch of vintage fabrics, would you?

And to bring this story full circle, I’m giving it to my daughter Magnolia for her 23rd birthday. She never got that crib set I planned, but this quilt will serve her better and for longer than a crib quilt ever would have.

I sent her a picture today and she loves it. She said triangles are her favorite shape. I didn’t know that but, like everything about this quilt, it’s serendipity!

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