Author Archives: lawson7616

BOM June/July 2014


Welcome to China!  If you missed the meeting last night you missed learning that our ever-important toilet paper was invented in China.  However, only Emperors were able to own and use it.  Sure glad that has changed!

So our Block of the Month is the Chinese Lantern.  You will make this block in June and bring it to the July meeting.  I really enjoyed making this block and think several of these blocks together in a quilt would be adorable.

Our palette for this block will consist of a medium batik for the bulk of the lantern, a darker, coordinating batik for the two stripes in the middle.  A pale or neutral (batik or solid) for the four corners and black (batik or solid) for the top and bottom of the lantern.

Cutting instructions

Neutral:    4 pieces cut 2 x 3 1/2″

4 pieces cut 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″

Black:         2 pieces cut 6 1/2″ x 2″

Medium Batik:    1 piece cut 12 1/2″ x 2 1/2″

2 pieces cut 12 1/2″ x 3 1/2″

Dark Batik:            2 pieces cut 12 1/2″ x 1″


Next sew the white rectangles to each side of the black rectangles



On each neutral square, draw a pencil line diagonally.


Place the squares on each side of both medium batik (3 1/2″) rectangles.  Be sure the drawn lines are going in opposite directions.


Sew ON the line and trim off the excess fabric.


Assemble the center pieces together as shown below.


Add the top and bottom and you will be finished!


I hope you enjoy this block as much as I did!



April-May/June BOM (Make in May, Bring to June meeting)


So this month’s BOM is Dutchman’s Puzzle.  It consists of 8 flying geese units.  There are so many different methods for making flying geese units and everyone has their favorite.  Also the internet is full of tutorials for different techniques and rather than try to replicate each of them I am going to provide two different links that I found with a variety of ideas.

Your fabrics should be white for the outside of the units.  Use a color of a spring flower for the inside of the geese units.

Choose your favorite method and make 8 geese units that are 3″ x 6″ (finished).  Piece them together as shown below.

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Product Recommendation


I buy a fair amount of specialty rulers and other gizmos that come out on the market.  Most of the time they get used once, put into its place never to be seen again.  Not so with this product from Quilt in a Day.  I bought this ruler at least 2 years ago and finally used it last night!  Our bee was putting next month’s BOM together (hint, hint) and this gave us the best result.  It is the Small Flying Geese ruler.  This ruler comes in several sizes.  You can see them here:

I also have the mini set which I used a couple of weeks ago at my Dear Jane club that meets at The Fussy Cut in Beech Grove.  The directions are very clear and you end up with perfect flying geese blocks.  I love this product!

By the way, next month’s BOM will contain at least two 3″ x 6″ (finished size) flying geese units.


March/April BOM–Irish Chain


Please make this block with green and white fabric.  This block will be made in the month of March to bring to the April meeting.

Your block should be 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ when you are finished.  That will make a 12″ x 12″ block when it is put into a quilt.

Cut the following strips:

           Green fabric:

                      Cut 2 strips 1 7/8” x 20”

                      Cut 1 strip 1 7/8” x 10”

           White fabric

                      Cut 2 strips 1 7/8” x 10”

                      Cut 1 strip 1 7/8” x 20”

                      Cut 4 squares 4 1/2” x 4 1/2”

Sew the 20” strips together lengthwise putting the white strip in the center.

Sew the 10” strips together lengthwise putting the green strip in the center.


Press the 1/4” seam allowances toward the dark fabric

Cut the strip sets into 1 7/8” units.  You should have:

           10 green/white/green

            5 white/green/white


Lay out your units to make 5 nine patches and sew them together as shown.




Achieving the 1/4″ seam.


Several years ago my sister, Trisch, and I attended the AQS show in Nashville, TN.  While there we had the opportunity to go to an event with Mary Ellen Hopkins as the main speaker.  I had heard of her but not much more than that.  I left that evening a fan.  She was hilarious and inspiring.  The one thing that has stuck with me all these years was her insistence at having your own PPM (Personal, Private Measurement).  Her point was that an exact 1/4″ isn’t necessary as long as whatever measurement you use for seam allowances are the same throughout the quilt.

I don’t disagree with the concept of a Private, Personal Measurement as long as it is in your Private, Personal Quilt.  However, when you make blocks for a Public quilt there needs to be a standard and the industry standard is 1/4″.  If we didn’t have a standard we would have blocks of all sizes.  A seam allowance that is a few threads off is multiplied exponentially with each seam that is sewn.  That being said, today’s post is about how to achieve that 1/4″ seam.

Before you can fix something you have to know where the problem lies.  That starts with your machine and a ruler.  Use a ruler with clear markings and your 1/4″ foot.  Lower your needle into the down position and measure the distance between the edge of your 1/4″ foot and the needle.  It should be exactly 1/4″.  My machine is not.  When I turn on my machine the needle position is in the center at 3.5.

DSCN0383        DSCN0384

The distance on my machine is more than 1/4″.  My 1/4″ foot allows me to reposition my needle somewhat.  I found that moving my needle position to 4.5 will give me a 1/4″ seam.

But that isn’t enough.  Now it is time to check the measurement in practice.

Start with three 2 1/2″ squares.


Sew them together using your newly found (or confirmed) 1/4″ seam.  After pressing well you should have an exact measurement of 6 1/2″.


As I said, it only takes being off by a couple of threads to make a huge difference.  Below is a picture of the squares sewn together before making the needle position adjustment.  See the difference?  That is about 1/8″!  Two more seams and it would be off an entire 1/4″.


Not all machines or 1/4″ feet allow you to move your needle to make the adjustment.  If that is the case, there is always the old standby of placing a piece of painters’ tape on the bed of your machine.  But most importantly, however you make the adjustment double check it with the 3 square method.

On another note…..I’ve seen some blocks end up too small because of a sad pressing job.  If your seam isn’t fully extended when it is pressed that will also make a difference.  You can see in the photos below that this seam has a small fold over the seam.  Not only does that affect the size of your blocks it also creates extra bulk, which can lead to problems when you do your quilting.

DSCN0391     DSCN0390

I’d like to challenge you to check your seam allowance using the 3 square method–you might be surprised!


American Quilter – sneak peek


So my sister wrote a book.  It was released a couple of weeks ago.  (If you’ve been under a rock and didn’t know this, see the previous post).  Her publisher, The Kansas City Star, sent a copy of her book to AQS.  AQS then asked Trisch to write an article for their magazine, American Quilter.  Trisch asked if I would like to quilt one of the quilts for the magazine.  Of course I said “yes!”

After finding out that our FedEx delivery person needs some glasses I received the quilt top and back a few weeks ago.  (The package was delivered to a neighbor whose house number doesn’t look anything like mine.  Last week he tried to deliver someone else’s package to me but I saw the addressee on the package before signing for it.  But I digress.)

Now that I’ve taken you around the block with my story I’ll tell you that I completely enjoyed working on this quilt!  I had a couple of frustrating moments but I learned from them.  I cannot show you the whole quilt yet, but it is beautiful!  I love the colors she used too!

As promised, here are a couple of pictures of the quilt.

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This will be in the Winter 2014 issue of American Quilter.

Accentuate the Negative


Accentuate the Negative by Trisch Price


As many of you know Trisch is my sister.  She just received several copies of her book a couple of days ago.

In her book she explains how to use negative space to enhance quilt design.  I haven’t actually read the book yet but I’ve seen all of the quilts and they are fabulous!

I was up close and personal with one of the quilts for about a week.  Trisch asked me to quilt one of them.  I had a choice of 3-4 quilts and when I saw this one I knew exactly how I would quilt it.  It is called Hopscotch.


Here are a couple of close-ups.


As you can see the top section of the quilt is very light and almost blends in with the background.  I used several different fillers for each of the sections.



The background of the quilt is completely filled with spirals.

Here are some in-progress pictures

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You can learn more about the book and see more of the quilts at

PI Quilt


A few weeks ago my friend Ana brought a very special quilt to me for quilting.  I loved this quilt because of all the thought — not just numerical — that she put into it.  It was for a friend who is very special to her.  She related to me that her friend had won a PI contest at IU.  She was able to recite PI out to several decimals.  Ana went to great pains on this quilt to be sure her numbers were accurate.  I enjoyed working on this quilt because she told me the story behind it–and the purple didn’t hurt either!


I knew exactly how I was going to quilt this when I saw it but since Ana gave me complete artistic freedom I decided to surprise her.  I meandered with small loops and strategically placed PI symbols throughout the quilt.


I love it when I can do something unique that finishes the quilt with a little pizazz.  I’m told Ana’s friend loved it and spotted the symbols right away.

Also something to note:  even with all of those pieced numbers, Ana’s quilt top laid perfectly flat!  She does such good work.  Thank you, Ana!