American Patchwork & Quilting | Staff Blog

American Patchwork & Quilting

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Linda’s Quiltalong

I love all of the #APQquiltalong projects, so it was difficult to choose just one to make. (Confession, I didn’t choose just one—I’ll be blogging again soon about my other choice.)


While I wondered what the Quilts and More Easy Addition quilt would look like if I used just three colors, I ran across the perfect fabrics! I chose Peppered Cottons by Pepper Cory for Studio e Fabrics in Pepper (31) for the background, Morning Glory (28) for the corners, and Midnight (82) for the plus sign. If you’re not familiar with Peppered Cottons, they’re considered a shot cotton. Shot cottons typically have one color of warp threads (lengthwise threads) and a different color of weft threads (crosswise threads). So the thread ends you see on the selvedges will be a different color than the threads ends you see along the cut edges. In the fabric drying photo below, you can see the threads along the selvedges and how different they are in color from the finished fabric. From bottom to top: Pepper has the tan weft threads and black warp threads, Morning Glory has aqua weft threads and magenta warp threads, and Midnight has black weft threads and blue warp threads.




Following the tips on the information sheet about Peppered Cotton, I prewashed my fabric (with my beloved Shout Color Catchers), dried it partly, and let it airdry the rest of the way. I’m not typically a prewasher, but felt it was wise to follow the tips from Pepper Cory and Studio e Fabrics on this one. Also, following the information sheet’s suggestions, I starched. I do feel that prewashing and starching helped to make the fabric easier to work with and less wiggly through the process and gave it a little more body.


Then it was on to cutting and arranging the sample block and the math. Why math? First, because I wanted to make the quilt wider by two rows of blocks (so basically, square). Second, I thought since I was using only three fabrics, I might be able to do some strip piecing to make the construction go faster. Third, I’ve worked with cross-woven taffeta before (woven like these cottons are) and I remembered that sometimes the fabric looks different depending on the directions of the warp and weft threads. That caution was also mentioned in the information sheet. So I had to rethink the cutting so that I was treating each piece as if it were a stripe and that I wanted the stripes to all be running in the same direction. In the end, I’m not sure this step was necessary, but that’s just the way I work.


Then it was on to the sewing! I did end up making strip sets for the centers and side pieces for the corners, as you can see.

With all the sections put together, I was ready to make the blocks.


And here’s one finished!


I’m still not sure if I’ll bind it in the Midnight color or the Pepper, but I can’t wait to have it all together and on the longarm! Now to dream about how to quilt it…


How’s your APQquiltalong project coming?


–Linda Augsburg, editorial content chief

Lindsay’s Quiltalong Quilt

I’m so excited to participate in this year’s APQ Quiltalong! This is my third year doing the quiltalong and every year I’m overwhelmed by my choices! This year has 4 (seriously!!!) amazing projects to choose from. I made the pillow project to start (you can get instructions here), then decided to tackle one of the quilts (get more quiltalong info + see the featured projects here.)


I pulled inspiration from Grand Total, the stunning Pat Bravo quilt on page 46 of the American Patchwork & Quilting April 2016 issue (shown above). Pat used a slash-and-sew technique to add strips to squares, then joined all the squares to create one mega plus sign! I fell in love with this quilt the first time I saw it, but knew I wanted it smaller than the original. The original quilt uses 729 squares total. My smaller version uses only 144.


This quilt gave me an excuse to play with my mini charm squares. The original quilt used 3″ squares, but I chose from my 2-1/2″ squares for a no-cutting quilt design! I separated my charms by color and decided on this rainbow palette. Then I narrowed down my selection to my favorite prints (trust me, it was hard to choose!). I decided to arrange the colors so they made a gradient across my quilt in a counterclockwise direction. It look my hours to find the right arrangement. I took a lot of photos with my phone, and used the photo to see which prints stood out too much and which ones didn’t look right in their placement.


After arranging the plus sign colors, I choose scrappy neutrals for my background. I pulled mostly from one white-and-gray polka dot print, but added a few tan squares and a few gray squares to add interest. I added a few pieced background squares in each background corner for a fun burst of color.


The squares were just begging for straight-line quilting, so I did a cross-hatch design in the white corners and a chevron design in the plus block. I finished the quilt off with black-and-white binding! The fabric is the fun Sketch Basic Whiteblack from Timeless Treasures. I think the binding really helps the colors pop for a standout look I love!


Are you joining in our our Quilt Along? Share pictures of your progress with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the hashtag #APQQuiltalong!


–Lindsay Mayland, multimedia editor

One Million Pillowcase Challenge Blog Hop


A few years ago, Michelle Kim, a nurse at the University of California Davis Medical Center, learned how to make pillowcases. She’s made enough now that every child coming to the hospital for surgery gets one. Medical professionals and patients’ parents agree: The pillowcases lessen anxiety, provide comfort, and make the kids feel special. To date, Michelle has donated 2,476 pillowcases. She keeps track, she says, so she can “see how many kids have been blessed in a small way on a day that can be full of fears.


To most of us a pillowcase may not be a big deal. It’s something we barely notice as we lay down to sleep each night. But for some (such as the patients Michelle treats in the story above), they can be a great source of comfort and joy during a time of stress and uncertainty. Whether it’s a piece of home in a sterile hospital room, a little return to normalcy for those in homeless shelters or women’s shelters, or just a reminder that someone else in the world cares, a pillowcase can make a huge difference in your community.


We started our One Million Pillowcase Challenge in 2010, and in just a few years quilters and sewers all over the world have donated more than 560,000 pillowcases to those in need! That’s 560,000 smiles and sighs of relief! We’ve heard countless stories of how this Challenge has changed lives in communities across the country, as well as given many quilters a community to share a great cause with.


With the holidays coming, we wanted to challenge our community even more! We’re hosting our first 24-hour sewing event for charity! From Friday, September 19 at 3pm to Saturday, September 20 at 3pm, we’re hosting the One Million Pillowcase 24-Hour Sewathon. We have an event planned at our offices in Des Moines, Iowa. But there are 44 events in 29 states and 2 countries already scheduled! Encourage your local quilt shop to host an event or find a shop in your area here. Many people are hosting their own private events with family and friends, too! Invite your sewing buddies over for some snacks and a few hours of sewing!


Want to stay up sewing all night with American Patchwork & Quilting? Mark this date on your calendar and follow us on Facebook! We’ll be posting pictures, videos, pillowcase count updates, and have fun giveaways from our sponsors! Post photos of your own events or pillowcases you’ve made to our Facebook page or hashtag them with #APQSewathon on Instagram and Twitter!


To celebrate this fun event, we’re hosting a blog hop! See pillowcases made by our our designer friends and sponsors:


Thanks to everyone who has donated over the years and our wonderful sponsors for helping us spread the word about this cause. And we can’t forget to thank the quilt shops across the nation that have collected pillowcases in the community and held pillowcase-making events in their stores. No matter how big or small your donation is it really does make a huge difference in another person’s life!


Learn more about the One Million Pillowcase Challenge.

Find a list of suggested charities.

Find shops in your area that collect pillowcases.

Get free patterns.

Add your pillowcases to our count!

Tips for Hosting a Color Wheel Party

Help children gain color confidence using activities, quizzes, and games from The Wonderful Colorful Wonder Wheel of Color ($12.99; Host a Color Wheel Party with stations for kids to learn about the color wheel, color schemes, and how colors affect each other.


Download Tips for Hosting a Color Wheel Party.


Download Invitations for a Color Wheel Party.


Purchase a copy of the August 2014 digital issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.

Round Robin: Nancy’s Flowers

See Nancy’s first blog about her Round Robin experience here.


Nancy says:

Would I do one of these again? Yes, but I would always want more time. I loved that these were small quilts too; it made it a little less intimidating. I did learn quite a bit seeing the techniques used by others. It was fun!



Round 1: Nancy

She says: I’ve gone through my stash and selected a scrappy palette of neutrals, grey, gold and teal. I want to do something improvisational with a folk art twist. I sketch out my flower block and get started. I made the flower petals from the scrappy strips randomly sewn together in two color palettes. The background for the flowers is a tone-on-tone cream.

Round 2: Jill

She says: Nancy appliquéd amazing flowers onto her quilt center. I wanted to add interest to the center, but not distract from the multi-piece flower petals she bordered with narrow strips of assorted prints. After several false starts, I pulled only dark prints out of her round robin fabric box. I cut narrow strips (7/8” each finished) for the piano key border and small squares (1- 7/8” square finished) for the first pieced border. I like the way this dark border adds depth to the piece and quietly allows the spotlight to continue to shine on the quilt center.



Round 3: Jody

She says:  I love the whimsical appeal of Nancy’s pieced flowers. I wanted them to be the center of attention. I drafted a 2” finished Square-in-a-Square foundation pieced block for the corners of the second border. When piecing little triangles, I find I am more accurate using foundation piecing. It does take extra time to remove the foundation paper and uses a little more fabric, but I think the extra effort and fabric waste is worth it to get sharp corners. I pieced together two shades of the same polka dot in the border pieces and carried that into the Square-in-a-Square corners.


Round 4: Elizabeth

She says: When I got Nancy’s round robin for the last round, there were several fabrics in the box that hadn’t been used since the middle portion, so I knew I wanted to use those for sure. The pale blue-green background fabric Nancy included also hadn’t been used much, so I thought of expanding the quilt center to make a large table runner. At the ends of the runner, I took a cue from the funky petals of Nancy’s flowers and strip-pieced scallop shapes, which reminded me of the tongue shapes on a penny rug.