Joint Venture with Karen Miller: Mystery Quilt Along – Part 7

Jan 7: Announcement post
Jan 21:  Planning, basting, batting, etc
Jan 28:  Stabilization quilting or just to catch up
Feb 4, Feb 11: Inside center panel
Feb 25: Top and Bottom Rectangles
***March 4: Top and Bottom Squares
March 11: Left and Right Side panels
Mach 18: Narrow Sashing
April 1: Outside (wider) Border
April 8: Binding & Hanging


It’s Monday, and Happy Monday, Friends!  You know what Monday means >>> we are back at it with our very mysterious machine quilting quilt-along.  I hope you have enjoyed it as much as Karen and I have hosting it.  Karen and I were oohing and aahing over your progress pictures!  Keep connecting with us so that we can celebrate your success and progress!


In the event of you might still be gathering your supplies, don’t worry! That’s okay — jump in when you are able to. Click HERE where Karen keeps a list of shops where you can purchase the supplies.


I have heard positive responses from many regarding my book.  THANK YOU!

You may order my book from:

Connecting Threads

Fox Chapel Publishing


or email me for signed copies!

I will be using Aurifli 50 wt threads from my Subtle Strings collection.  You may read more about the collection here, and here.  You may order your collection here for $99.99 (regularly selling for $140)!  The collection is IN STOCK again as of this morning!!!

Meanwhile, you may also order the collection HERE and HERE.

My Subtle Strings colors are specially selected to achieve a subtle contrast effect in the quilting.  That is to say, we get to quilt with pretty colors on our quilts, but the colors aren’t really visible from afar and are not competing with the overall look of the quilt, until one looks at the quilting close up.  These colors are also perfect for piecing, machine or hand applique — definitely my go-to!  Why limit yourself to using only beige and light brown, or white?!  LIFE’S TOO SHORT!



Today’s installment is actually a continuation of what we did last week — the quilting motif I used to quilt the top and bottom rectangles just sort of “spilled” over to the side squares, with using a plate for a marking tool (!).  In case you need to reference the book in addition to the post from last week (click HERE), the pages are: page 17, 50-51, 60-63 and 66.  

So we left off with these last week:

Even though it’s a continuation in quilting motifs, I do want to use today’s post to illustrate an important concept.  Machine quilting does NOT only just add texture to a quilt.  You can also use machine quilting to CREATE THE ILLUSION OF A BLOCK, BETTER YET A BLOCK YOU PROBABLY WOULDN’T NORMALLY PIECE!

Let me explain — so, I “converted” the side squares into drunkard path blocks!  Curve-piecing isn’t quite my forte although I just completed a quilt that has nothing but curve piecing.  But the point is it was really nice I could use machine quilting to create the illusion of curve piecing in the side squares.  HOW COOL IS THAT?

Pretty much for side squares, I outline-quilted the sheep, and continued with the motif used in the top and bottom rectangles.

Top left

Top right

Bottom left

Bottom right

There you have it — if you don’t like to physically piece a certain quilt block, the next option is to see if you could “machine quilt” it into existence! :)


Oh, I forgot — I used the pink from my Subtle Strings collection to quilt the side squares.  Notice how the pink on a spool looks strong, but with one strand of thread on the quilt, the pink is just slight, and when quilted on the green, one can hardly tell it is pink.  Subtlety does go along way, doesn’t it?

Alrightie, Friends — I hope you continue to have fun in this mystery quilt along.  Now, let’s go what Karen has to share with us.  I know it will be something good…  Click HERE to go to Karen’s blog.  Happy Quilting!  See you next time!


Joint Venture with Karen Miller: Mystery Quilt Along – Part 1

Jan 7: Announcement post
***Jan 21:  Planning, basting, batting, etc
Jan 28:  Stabilization quilting or just to catch up
Feb 4, Feb 11: Inside center panel
Feb 25: Top and Bottom Rectangles
March 4: Top and Bottom Squares
March 11: Left and Right Side panels
Mach 18: Narrow Sashing
March 25: Outside (wider) Border
April 1: Binding & Hanging


Hello Friends, today is the day we start working on our Free-motion Quilt Along!  We are so happy to hear about the warm responses indicating you will be participating.  Again, this is low-maintenance stress free!  If you haven’t already joined us on this sheepish adventure and are thinking about it, I say, “Just do it!”  Click on the announcement post above if you aren’t sure about the details.

Now, I have heard that certain shops sold out of the panel, click HERE where Karen keeps a list of shops where you can purchase the supplies.


So, today I will share with you my tips on planning, pinning and basting.

#1.  I first starch-press my fabric pieces – panel and backing fabric piece.  You don’t have to use starch if you’d rather not.  I find that starch helps keep the fabrics nice and stiff for the pinning process so that I don’t end up with unexpected slack.

#2.  I am not doing anything to the panel.  I then trim my backing fabric to be about 1.5-2″ larger than the panel itself.  Then, I cut the batting piece to the size of the backing fabric piece.  The reason I don’t like to cut the backing or batting pieces larger than that is because I don’t like to deal with too much excess with the quilt sandwich.  I have had cases where I had too much excess on the backing piece,, and I would accidentally quilt the excess to the back of the quilt in the process of scrunching and pushing the quilt sandwich through that little throat of my machine.

#3.  This is a light-hearted and really cute panel.  So, I decided to add a little something fun to the quilting scheme.  Besides quilting the free-motion quilting motifs, I am going to quilt the word BAA along the left and right wide borders.

To fit the mood, I just scribbled the letters A and B about 4″ in height onto a piece of paper.  This piece of paper from Miss Baby’s stationery drawer has seen better days.  But I am a frugal Mom.  My daughter will never use that piece of paper, so I get to do the honor!  I did darkened the letters with a Sharpie.

Then, I just slipped the piece of paper under the panel, and use a Frixion pen to mark the letters onto the panel.  I am SO excited about these letters!

ALWAYS mark before you start pinning!

#4.  And let the pinning party begin.  A quilt sandwich is made of quilt backing piece (wrong side up), then batting piece, then panel (right side up).

a.  So, before actually pinning, it’s a good idea to tape down the backing piece with painters tape to make sure the fabric is taut all around.  This should take care of any slack as well as any puckering that might happen otherwise during the quilting process.

b.  Then smooth your batting piece down on the backing fabric before placing the panel.

c.  Starting from the panel center, pin outward in all directions with nickle-plated safety pins about 2″ apart until your quilt sandwich is securely basted and more than likely covered with pins.

d.  Pat yourself on the back — you have done well!


For my quilt, I am using the Hobbs Silk Tuscany batting.

And I will be using all the colors from my Subtle String Aurifil 50wt collection to quilt this piece.  You may purchase the threads HERE (a $140 value offered right now at $99.99).



This panel piece is perfect for us to try out the subtle contrast quilting concept that I so love!  Basically, I got tired to being relegated to only using gray, beige or white threads for quilting while there are so many other beautiful threads out there.  So, I began using pastel colored threads to quilt my quilts for a subtly colored effect.  I have been more than pleased!

Alrightie, FRIENDS!  I call it a smashing success if you have done this part.  Remember, successful machine quilting is made of baby steps.  In college, I was taught to set up the equations right for engineering calculations.  In today’s baby step, we set up the quilt sandwich correctly for stress-free quilting on the machine later.

NOW, I wonder what Karen has done …. remember, it’s ALL a mystery between the two of us!!!  I am heading on to her blog to see what she has been up to.  Click HERE to go to Karen’s blog.

Creative New Quilts & Projects Project Highlight #1: Counting My Blessings


Hello Friends, we are in Thanksgiving mode at my end.  We have a certain little girl who is super-excited about Thanksgiving!  And I thought it would be apt for me to share with you my banner quilt project Counting My Blessings.


Counting My Blessings is a precuts/stash friendly project in that the pieced background of the banner is made of 2 1/2″ precut batiks strips.  So, you have any of the leftover jellyroll strips laying around…. just sayin’!  The applique(machine fusible) of the pagoda birdhouse is done with charm squares, and so are the yoyo’s.



The yoyos were first made, and then blind-stitched onto the banner after the quilt was quilted.


This entire banner is constructed and quilted with Aurifil Mako 50 Cotton threads.  The quilting is done with subtle contrasting effect by using threads that give just a smidgen-y hint of contrast to compliment the background fabrics.  I used light pink, light blue, lavender threads to quilt the different portions of the banner.




And of course, my idea of subtle contrasting quilting effect has recently been packaged in Subtle Strings thread box by Aurifil.



I used a combination of silk and wool batting from Hobbs Tuscany collection — you can see that my feathers really have the “poof” factor going on from that batting combination!


Complete pattern instructions including full sized templates are found in my book Creative New Quilts & Projects from Precuts or Stash.  This banner project also comes with an autumn version.  Leaf template is also in the book.



I hope you have a great Thanksgiving week, Dear Friends!  Please know that when I count my blessings, you are definitely one of them!!!  I shall catch up with you later!

Christmas Wreath Runner in UK POPULAR PATCHWORK (December 2014)


Hello, Friends!  I hope you are doing well.   I am excited to finally reveal the “full” story on this preview I had shown you months ago.  My Christmas Wreath runner is featured in the December 2014 issue of UK’s Popular Patchwork magazine.

This pattern is ONLY available through UK’s Popular Patchwork magazine.  For my US readers, click here to find out more on digital subscription of the magazine.


The full story of the candle is that it is part of a Christmas wreath block that is part of a runner.

christmas wreath runner


The blocks are very easy to construct with lots of possibilities.  You can see here the runner is used as a dresser runner.  You are free to add more blocks to make the project into a festive bed runner, or a wallhanging, and a throw quilt!  I can also see the wreath part of the blocks being embellished with crystals and/or sequins for added sparkles and “berries”.


Here, you see the close-up of the quilting.  I quilted straight lines around the candle for the “glow” effect, and a feather wreath on the wreath.  Click here for my Thread Talk post on quilting feather wreath.  Click here and here to read further applications of feather wreath.



And you will already know what comes next — I quilt with my all-time favorite Aurifil Mako 50 cotton thread over Hobbs Tuscany silk batting.  That combination works for me perfectly, every single time!



I used RJR‘s Jinny Beyer Malam batiks for the runner because I liked having the variations across the batik fabricsfor a realistic look for the greens in the wreath.


I have another project named Yuletide Snowflake featured in the same magazine issue.  More on that to come – as well as many featured projects that have been returned to me!

december 2014_popular patchwork

Thank you for stopping by.  It’s an extremely busy week at the Ivory Spring household.  I will still be posting on my blog, but you probably won’t hear much from me (emails/blog comments).  But it is also a fun time.  I simply cannot leave today without showing you Miss Baby’s latest finished stitchery project.  She is waiting on the sewing elf (aka MOM/Me) to make it into a pillow ornament.  You can click here to read about Miss Baby’s crafting adventures.


Have a great day, Dear Friends.


My 2014 lineup to date — click on project names for more information on individual projects.

Editorial features:

American Patchwork & Quilting (Calendar 2015): Get Happy

American Patchwork & Quilting (Calendar 2015): Migration

Annie’s Row Quilt Book (March 2014): Stardom

Annie’s Dazzling Diamond Quilts Book (May 2014): Solar Star

Australian Quilters Companion (Issue 68): Stars Aligned

Australian Quilters Companion (Issue 70):

Fons & Porter Table Toppers Book (September 2014): Silver Maple

Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts (Summer 2014): Teething Rings

Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting (January/February 2014): Hurry Home

Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts (Winter 2014): Hoppity Hop

Generation Q (May/June 2014): Hole in the Wall

McCall’s Quick Quilts (August/September 2014): Owl Be Your Friend

McCall’s Quilting (January/February 2014): Spiral Squared

McCall’s Quilting (July/August 2014): Bird Watching

Popular Patchwork, UK (April 2014): Mending Fences

Popular Patchwork, UK (September 2014): A Mother’s Love

Popular Patchwork, UK (December 2014): Christmas Wreath Runner

Popular Patchwork, UK (December 2014): Yuletide Snowflakes

Quilt Trends (Winter 2014): Enchanted Forest

Quilt Trends (Winter 2014): Urban Stars

Quilter’s World (Spring 2014): Urban Oasis

Quilter’s World (Summer 2014): Starry Repetitions

Landauer Publishing’s Recreating Antique Quilts (October 2014)

The Quilter (December 2013/January 2014): Farm Crossing

The Quilter (December 2013/January 2014): Boxing Day

The Quilter (April/May 2014): All Squared Up

The Quilter (April/May 2014): Tulip Trail

The Quilter (June/July 2014): Garden View

The Quilter (August/September 2014): Song of Praise

Free to use designs / PDF download:

January: Midori’s Place using Gramercy by Benartex

January: View on Lexington using Gramercy by Benartex

January: Everything’s Coming Up Rosey using English Rosey by Benartex

February: Verde (Quilt) by Quilting Treasures

February: Verde (Banner/Runner) by Quilting Treasures

March: Hot Topic by Quilting Treasures

March: Poseidon’s Adventure using Neptune’s Dream by Benartex

March: My Cozy Sweater using Palm Springs by Benartex

March: Wild Kingdom using Sew Rousseau by Benartex

April: Fun with Frosty (Quilt & Runner) by Quilting Treasures

April: The First Thanksgiving (Quilt & Runner & Placemat) by Quilting Treasures

May: Party Poppers using Paintbox/Shadows by Benartex

May: Sprinkled Sweets using Paintbox/Shadows by Benartex

May: Dino Craze using 10,000 B.C. by Benartex

June: Monster Mash by Quilting Treasures

June: Santa’s Sleigh using Starry Night by RJR Fabrics

June: Learning is Fun by Quilting Treasures

August: Lovey Buggy using Luv Bugs by Benartex

August: Hot Little Dish (Wallhanging/Table Topper & Runner & Placemat) by Quilting Treasures

August: Sweet Hearts using Luv Bugs by Benartex

August: Pagoda Paradise using Little Harajuku by Benartex

October: At the Pond using Leap Frog by Benartex

October: Expressions of Faith (Sofa Quilt) by Quilting Treasures

October: Expressions of Faith (Tablerunner) by Quilting Treasures

October: Expressions of Faith (Infant Quilts) by Quilting Treasures

Curious mind WANTS to know…. if you could…

… have the Cadillac version of batting, what features would you like to have for the batting?!


stained glass6



I liken the batting to the “meat” in my sandwiches – an ingredient of great importance.  And since I quilt on a domestic machine, it is crucial that I use a “great to work with” batting.  You can read my thoughts on my favorite battings by clicking here, and here.


Recently, I discovered I also really like the recently released Hobbs Tuscany Cotton Wool batting (Blend of Fine Cotton and Superwash Wool).  It is still light and perfect for domestic machine quilting, but it has a bit more substance to the batting compared to the regular Tuscany Wool.


I quilted my recently completed  A Scandinavian Romance with the Hobbs Tuscany Cotton Wool!  LOVE IT!


SO – tell me, Dear Friends, what do you look for in your dream piece of batting?  Loft? Light? Resin coated? Natural fiber? ANYTHING – curious mind wants to know.

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a lovely rest of the week.  Hugs to you all.

p.s.  You can keep up with the latest on Hobbs by following their Facebook page here.   I met the Hobbs team at Houst Fall Market last month – the sweetest people!  I do regret the lack of pictures though – what was I thinking?!

Autumn Place Mats in QUILTER’S WORLD (October 2011)

What do you think of my autumn place mats featured in the October 2011 issue of Quilter’s World?

If you like to use half-square triangles in your quilts, you would probably like the twist in lengthening two sides of the squares in making the pieced half-rectangle-triangle units used for this place mat project.  These units are constructed using the template method:

I think my favorite part is the pumpkin silhouette appliqued on the pieced half-rectangle-triangles.

About the quilting – motif is replica of the pumpkin leaves, placed strategically on the negative space of the place mat.  Simple applique shapes oftentimes make excellent quilting motif in case you are unsure about what to quilt onto your quilts.

The fabrics are a mixture of Katie, Modern Edge and Modern Mix from Benartex.  Quilting is done by Aurifil‘s Mako Cotton over Hobbs‘ Tuscany Bleached Cotton Batting.

Extending the idea of using a motif to define the theme of the place mats, I appliqued a fun red snowflake onto the placemats pieced with Christmas fabrics for a bit of Christmas whimsical fun!  Fabrics are from Henry Glass‘ Over the River collection:

More motif ideas to personalized the theme of your place mats using the same pieced half-rectangle-triangles:

1.  Cupcake for birthday

2.  Graduation cap for graduation

3.  Heart for Valentine’s Day

4.  Doves for wedding

5.  Clover for St. Patrick’s Day

6.  Bunny for Easter/Spring

7.  Lemon piece for Summer

8.  Leaves for Autumn

9.  Initials of your guests’ names for a special dinner

10.  Apple for a teacher

And the list goes on…

And, if have machine embroidery capability, you can always machine embroider the motifs instead of applique-ing them.

Possibilities, possibilities!  I hope my place mat magazine feature helps jump start your own holiday place mat projects!  And when you do make these placemats, I would love to see the pictures!  Thanks for stopping by.  Happy Monday, and Happy Week!