Archive for the ‘On the Road’ Category

Let’s Have Coffee in Kansas City!

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

With the addition of some new blocks to the offerings of hand piecing workshops my in box has been deluged with inquiries about where I will be teaching. This makes my heart sing. So many are embracing the addition of a bit of slow zen sewing into their quilty lives. And realizing that it adds up quickly and blocks you would never dream of tackling on your machine are achievable and enjoyable as a hand piecing project.

I don’t post my travel schedule for personal reasons (number one being a burglary several years ago) but do try to give people a heads up on my social media accounts of upcoming events.

With so many inquiries, and of course I want to teach the world to hand piece as it has truly become my passion I am hoping some of you can join me (and many other teachers and quilters…not to mention quilts and the all important Vendors!) in Kansas City for the 2019 Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival. If you click here you will go right to the home page!

One workshop I am teaching is EASE INTO HAND PIECING. It is a half day workshop which is PERFECT for anyone wanting to give hand piecing a whirl.

Easy block. Minimal supply list. Small fee to “lease the use” of the templates needed in class. Lots of tips and tricks! You will be doing Roundabouts with ease!

And of course there are a bunch of other workshops on my slate, Beach Garden, Pieced Hexies, Beginning Hexies…and a Trunk Show!

You can click here to go right to the page listing all my workshops!

Feel free to send me an email or post a question in the comment area. Happy to answer or get you to the person who can answer.

I would love to sit and sew and have some coffee with all of you. Hope you can join me.

Have a great day!,

What or Where is TOT?

Saturday, June 30th, 2018

If you follow me on social media you will note that I have been spending a lot of time at a place I refer to as TOT lately.    And thus I have been getting inquires as to just what and where TOT is? 

TOT stands for Threads of Time, and it’s location is in Danville, Illinois (Dick and Jerry Van Dyke grew up in Danville, as did Donald O’Connor and Gene Hackman…the place obviously breathes creativity and fun!) about 120 miles south of my abode. 

Threads of Time is a quilt shop that literally has a 36 bed retreat center, formally named Threads & Beds, attached to the back of it.  But TOT is what it is called by regulars. 

Yes just a simple doorway stands retreaters and the colorful and inspiring displays of fabric in the shop, along with full notion walls, patterns galore, and trinkets of a sewing nature that become “gotta haves”.  

Threads of Time offers an annual pass that when obtained allows the bearer to stay as much as they want within the pass year but no more then 6 nights in a row.   Obviously this is quite attractive and quilters & sewists flock to TOT weekly to meet up with like minds, laugh, and sew to their hearts content knowing that there is a bed with their name on it just down the hall. 

There are three distinct sewing rooms each with a kitchen area stocked with several refrigerators, a multitude of cooking devices, ie microwave, toaster oven, crock pot….but NO STOVE!   Trust me you adapt.  Quilters are creative cookers also…I have seen meals fit for Thanksgiving dinner come out of the TOT kitchens at times.   There are several grocery stores within a few miles and restaurants also that you can go out to, pick up from and a few even deliver.  Food and lack of eating have never been a problem. 

When the inquiries started back in March I sat with Nicole, the retreat manager, and looked at the calendar to find a week that would accommodate a group.  That week is August 28th to September 2nd of this year.    So if you would like to join me for a few nights, or even all 5 nights just give Nicole a jingle at and put your name on a bed.  She can go over all the costs etc.  This is not a formal “working retreat” more of a gathering.  There will be no workshops, but I am happy to answer any questions you may have as long as you will do so for me also.  

Everyone will make their own hours and bring their own projects to work on.  I am bringing a bin or two of fabric I am “breaking up with” with the intention of making blocks for charity quilts.  Anyone who wants to partake of this endeavor will be welcomed with open arms and some block instruction sheets…LOL.   

This time is just meant to hang out together and enjoy each other’s company while putting needle and thread thru fabric. 

About a dozen beds have been spoken for and another group is also claiming as many beds so there are just a few left. Give Nicole a call soon if you are interested!  You will find Nicole’s contact info here!

 Enjoy the day, 


It’s time for a new project!

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Today I am out the door for a quick trip to Omaha, NE and a visit with the Cottonwood Quilt Guild.   I will be teaching Pieced Hexies tomorrow and so it is kismet that I am starting a new “On The Road” project with this trip.

My row by row hand pieced block quilt, now titled “Zen Sewing” is finished and off to the longarmer.  I will post a full picture of the quilt here and on my facebook page when it is back to me sometime in late April.

I decided that I would go back to English Paper Piecing for my new On The Road (OTR) project.  I have wanted to make a Pieced Hexie sampler quilt of sorts for a few years now and have had one designed and just waiting for me in EQ7.

I will be working from these two books for a majority of the Pieced Hexie designs.



And here is the layout pattern for the quilt.

*please note that for some reason when transferring this image to the website from EQ7 it kept “uncoloring” the first orange Hexie in the upper left hand.   I cannot figure why and so I ask you to realize this is indeed an orange Hexie.  The image on the downloadable PDF is correct.  

Quilt Layout

I am excited.

Here are some highlights of what I plan. GreyDiamond

Blue Rosettes -will be composed of various Pieced Hexies Designs found in my books Pieced Hexies and Pieced Hexies Deux.   I also plan to post a few new designs throughout the year here on the blog with free PDF instructions so watch for them.  These rosettes will be scrappy in nature but blue in color.

Yellow & Orange Rosettes– these will actually be a blend of both colors in a scrappy fashionCogsFlowers but the design used will be COGS which is found in Pieced Hexies in the original version.

White Hexies – These will be a new design that I call CRACKLE.  It is going to make this quilt very unique.  I will post a how-to blog within the next few weeks on this Pieced CrackleBackgroundHexie design as there are 672 of these hexies to make for this quilt and I want to get started on them.

There will be a few constants in fabric in the quilt.  The three that I have already determined are shown here.


I am still deciding on the purples and pictures of those fabrics will be shared at a later date.

I have put together a detailed PDF for this project that you can find here.

2016.2017 OTR Quilt Project Info

It is also on the dedicated page for this quilt entitled 2016-2017 OTR Project.

I am giving myself 2 years for this quilt.  It is a big quilt at 81.5″ x 86″ at this time.  I have yet to decided how to border it and that will most likely add 10-14″ in both width and length.   But remember Pieced Hexies use 1.5″ hexies so a lot of ground is covered quickly.

NOTE: the image shown above does have a small border shown.  That is for graphics only to give the quilt a straight edge.

Now some of this project will be done at home, the sewing of the Pieced Hexie blocks and some sewing of larger hexie units to each other when it is not practical to do so while traveling.    But a good deal of the hand work portion, basting and small unit (rosettes up to the “diamond shapes”) will be done while traveling, both for business and pleasure.  Yes, this year there is a scheduled true vacation on the calendar!

Be sure to “like” and “follow” my facebook page for up to date posts about this project. 2016OTRpic1.2

I have sewn up some COGS blocks for my first yellow/orange rosettes and I am ready to baste them on my flight out.


Ok…I am off to Omaha!






Lady of the Lake Table Runner Pattern!

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

LadyoftheLakeWorkshopYAY!   So many of you have fallen in love with the Lady of the Lake block as much as I have.   This was block #3 in my 2015 On The Road Project.   And now is proving to be a very popular workshop.

While my workshop and posted blogs on this block cover hand piecing, I do carry the papers to make the block English Paper Piecing style.  Lady of the Lake EPP 1 block

You can find all the blog links here on the Lady of the Lake block.

And all the supplies here in my webstore for making the block.  Just type in Lady of the Lake in the search box to see all available.

I always want to provide a simple 3-4 block pattern for everyone using the blocks I introduce in a table runner so if you choose not to commit to a full quilt there is a home for them.   This is my vow to help not contribute to the UFOs in your life.

I have been working on this pattern for a few months now. Life has certainly gotten busy and I apologize for the delay in getting this pattern done and up on the website since I started showing it on facebook back in September I think it was.

But it is here now!


The borders are completed via foundation piecing and you will find the two patterns (mirror images) on the final page of the PDF.

The most important word of advice I can give is to piece all the A units at one time and then the B units so that you don’t inadvertently confuse the two when using second fabric in the B5 section.  See my notes on fabric usage on page two of the pattern.

So I hope to see some Facebook posts of Lady of the Lake Table Runners soon!   Don’t forget to “like” my new Facebook page “Piece and Hexiness with MDQuilts”.  This is an open group page so you can easily share all your quilting projects and questions to each other.  Every project is welcome!   Think of it as a quilt guild meeting online!

Enjoy your day,



Wandering Star Block and a Book Sale!

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

Wandering Star BlockBetter late than never they say!

The final block in the 2015 On The Road Project is the Wandering Star Block!

Trust me it looks much more complicated than it is.



Wandering Star One BlockWandering Star Templates








I have loaded the Acrylic Templates, and English Paper Piecing packs into the webstore and if you make a purchase of them by Thursday, December 17th,  midnight CST using the coupon code: STAR25 in your checkout you will receive 25% off the prices for any Wandering Star Block item.

StudioBookSaleAlso while you are in the store you will see a new category I recently added.  It is the Studio Sale category and it is filled with gently used books from my studio.   Here are some of the books currently in there.


















Most books are priced at $5.00 -$7.50 and of course can be combined with any other purchase and share shipping for even more savings.

I will be working on  another Wandering Star Block sample this week and will be showing the next six blocks being made on my MDQuilts facebook page over the holiday period and to the end of January when my traveling resumes.  You may of missed my post that I have given myself until March 1st to truly complete this entire quilt.   Life just seems to be so jammed packed this year with so many activities that my typical December 31st date is just not going to happen.   HINT: I am already working on my next book!

And so I won’t unveil my next On The Road project until March 2016.  But I will tell you I am heading back to Pieced Hexies for it!

Enjoy your day,


Autumn Beauty Block – Let’s sew one together!

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015


Starting this blog off with a reposting of the orientation guide so you won’t have to flip back to the previous blog for reference.  Remember you can print off a PDF of this guide, and guides for ALL the acrylic template sets on the 2015 O.T.R page.


Trace and cut all the pieces needed for a block.  Don’t forget to flip and trace reverse pieces for C & D.  I like to lay everything out to get a glimpse at what my finished block will look like.  Notice I used a print that will blend and hide that seam line that I discussed in Thursday’s blog for pieces D and Dr.


I broke the block down until 4 triangle units composed of the following shown pieces.

Two units will be topped by a red triangle and two by the print fabric.

Other than that the units will be identical.


   And two units will be topped by the print fabric.

Other than that the triangle units will be identical.


The initial piecing of these units is many short seams.


By doing this you are sewing a scant quarter of an inch and this will remove the excess girth of the seam that is added by the width of whatever marking tool (pen/pencil) you used to mark your mind.  Just like sewing a scant quarter of an inch on your machine is advantageous , so it is in hand sewing.

Please refer back to previous block blogs for more details and pictures.

The first is the seam joining D and Dr.


C and Cr are joined to the D/Dr unit next.

These pieces have slight curves so line up each edge first with a pin and then ease in the curve.

After sewing clip the seam once or twice to further ease in the curve.


The next step of sewing triangle B to the C/D/Dr/Cr unit involves Roundabouts.

This graphic shows all the roundabouts in this block.  I only indicated the roundabouts on one initial triangle (red circles) of the beginning 4 triangle units that you make for ease of following the graphic.

Remember roundabouts are the act of passing the needle thru two pieces of fabric at a time while moving completely around an intersection of 3 or more fabrics.  This action pulls all the fabrics together and removes a “hole” in the intersection that would later be visible when you press the seam.   Please refer back to previous block post for detail instructions about how to make a roundabout.

NOTE: Red Circles are the initial triangle roundabouts (base triangles made)

Purple Circles when two base triangles are joined to form two halves

Green Circles are the final seam with two halves are joined to complete blo

Last step in the base triangle making.  Join A’s to either side.

Note if you are using two different fabrics (most likely) for your A’s be sure to sewing them on in the same order for each triangle.  

The A triangles can be sewn on with one thread, no breaks.  Don’t forget the roundabout at the pivot point from one triangle to the other.


Continue on making three more base triangles.  Once you have found done lay them out to make sure all is correct.

Trust me on this one. Lay them out.

Now we are going to join two triangle to each other turning the four quarter triangles into two half square triangles.


Follow the Purple circles on the diagram for the location of the roundabouts on these seams.

Final seam.  Join the two half square triangles.  There will be five roundabouts in this one long seam.


Your block is done!  Press and enjoy!


halfScrap-fullI will leave you here for a few days.  Watch for a blog next will with how I will be using this block in my row quilt and some other quilt ideas using the Autumn Beauty block.

You can find the acrylic templates and or English Paper Pieces in the store here.

Note I am expecting my cases of Half Scrap Quilts sometime this week or next.  I do have two traveling engagements but as soon as the books are here and I am home I will be signing and shipping them all out.  Thank you everyone for your preorders.  If you haven’t ordered already you can do so in the store link above.

 Enjoy your day,


Autumn Beauty – Block 5 is here!

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Ok yes it is October 1st and not September 1st.   But hey things happen and better late than never.

I did start working on this block in mid August and wasn’t happy with my design choices so I decided to delay for a week and rework my coloring and then book stuff happened, and then a gig happened, and then the most evil of infections happened and POOF it’s October.

Life happens.

But it is here now and just in time for true Autumn weather and all the joy that comes with it for me so I am saying kismet!

Autumn Beauty

It’s it a fun block!   A bit unusual, looking like a bloom in the center with a pinwheel like twirl going on around the edge.    I decided to drop in my red(s) in the center of this block.  Helps balance things out with the quilt overall.  You will see this in future blog posts this week.

The templates and EPP papers are in the store here.
Autumn Beauty Templates    Autumn Beauty One Block  Autumn Beauty 6 blocks













This block has just 4 shapes but two are used in reverse in construction.

Here is the orientation graphic.  You can print out your own AutumnBeautyOrientationGuide and this guide will have a permanent link on the 2015 OTR page soon.AutumnBeautyPic3

What sent me back to the my studio to regroup some fabrics was the “D/Dr” piece(s).  I originally cut them from two different fabrics, similar in color, just one light and one dark.  But it just seemed to busy for the eye when I laid out my pieces.   After much tweeking I decided to go with ONE fabric for both pieces, and made it a print to try to hide the seam line.  I thought about asking to remanufacture the D/Dr into one piece, but then realized maybe in the future I would  make the block using two different fabrics.  And so this give more options to everyone.  So the D piece remains and you will need to flip it for Dr.

The C piece is also used in reverse on this block for Cr.  I did use two fabrics here and you will see this in a later post.

AutumnBeautyPic4I pulled out my red choices and went to work putting together palettes for 7 Autumn Beauty Blocks. AutumnBeautyPic5  I am not going to cover marking your fabrics and cutting out.  This has been covered numerous times already this year.  You can check back on some of the earlier blocks (see links on 2015 OTR page) for information if you are new to the process or need a refresher.

Here are the palettes for the blocks in this row of the quilt.  Looks interesting if I say so myself.











































Ok…next blog….the breakdown and “sewing up” of this Autumn Beauty block.

I am thinking Saturday for that post.

Enjoy the day,










August Block – Options Galore!

Friday, July 10th, 2015

This blog is full of ideas for using the Augusta block with Paris Flight (January), Jim Dandy (March) and Lady of the Lake Block (May).

Let’s begin with my layout for my row quilt showing the Augusta block row dropped in.


Only two more block designs to go….this year is flying by!

I plan to put up the foundation pattern for the triangle spacer rows in August. I am home most of the month so it will get done.

And of course there will be a blog announcing the addition of the PDF for their foundations to the 2015 O.T.R. page.

But for now I played with all the blocks I have released so far and came up with the following ideas to share.

AugustaAlone1I wanted to make a very traditional one block quilt layout with sashing and cornerstones using the Augusta block.

It is such a dynamic block with all the sharp angles I wanted to just see it on it’s own.   When I first start to play with the block(s) I am just using the blocks from my 2015 On The Road row quilt project thus the coloring.  But I see the lines and that is what I am always looking for.  Then I start to play with color.

AugustaAlone1.2I used two different colorways for the blocks.  Again very traditional.  But the palette very modern.

This next pattern uses Augusta, Lady of the Lake and Paris Flight blocks.

Augusta.LadyoftheLake.ParisFlight 1

And recolored in a soft cool color palette.

Augusta.LadyoftheLake.ParisFlight 1.2

How about putting Jim Dandy and Augusta together.

Jim Dandy is such a heavy block to me with those blocky corners.  I wanted to see it as a border.


And I think this might go in the list of possibilities.

I brought colors from the “hot” Jim Dandy border blocks into the first ring of “cool” Augusta blocks to soften the solid line between block changes.

JimDandy&Augusta1.2I hope you like some of these ideas.  And maybe you have a few of your own now dancing in your head.

You can find template  (and EPP papers if you would like to tackle the blocks that way) in my store, the link is above in the header.   And links to all the “how-to blogs” for each block are on the 2015 O.T.R. page.

I am out the door on Monday for 8 days of touring the state of Michigan and visiting several guilds.

Any orders placed from July 13 to July 21st will ship out on July 22nd.

And don’t forget to “like” my facebook page MDQuilts to see blocks as they are being made while I am one the road.

Enjoy your day,


Augusta Block – How to Part #2

Thursday, July 9th, 2015


Starting this blog off with a reposting of the orientation guide so you won’t have to flip back to the previous blog for reference.  Remember you can print off a PDF of this guide, and guides for ALL the acrylic template sets on the 2015 O.T.R page.


  The next step in sewing the Augusta block is to sew the four C-D-C units together to make a large triangle


Match up your corners/points of your drawn seam line.  Pin the seams together horizontally.  Notice in this pic that the black/tan fabric is poking up over the top of the pink edge.  That is because I cut the pint a bit smaller than I was suppose to.  We are human.  Not machines.  This happens in hand work when you are hand cutting the pieces.  Thus always match your drawn line vs your cut edge when piecing.


And away we go.  Remember to sew just above your drawn seam line.  Think of it as a scant quarter inch in hand sewing.


With the first C piece sewn to D it is time to add the second C.  And yes there is a “roundabout” to be made.  I will not go over it in detail here to save space.  You can find a detailed account of how to make a roundabout in Tuesday’s blog post here.


Match your corners/points, horizontal pin the seam lines, and make your roundabout.


And then sew your seam.


Make four C-D-C units.   This is where you should be at this point.


The Augusta block is at this point is basically like a Nine Patch in construction but set on point.

The next seam is joining a unit made in the last blog to opposite sides of the center square to make the center strip.

Then you want to sew a C-D-C unit to opposite sides of each of the two remaining units.  Follow the picture below for guidance.


This is how I press this block.  Press all the triangle units flat, with the upper B triangle  overlapping the tip of the lower B triangle.


Two seams left.   Two long seams.  One along each lengthwise edge of the center strip.


And yes there will be 5 roundabouts in each length sewn.

The rule is a roundabout is made anytime three or more pieces of fabric are being joined together.


And your Augusta block is done!


Check back tomorrow when I show you where this block lands in my row quilt plan.  And then some playing around with the block in settings by itself and with some of the other blocks I have already covered this year.   That is what this year’s project is all about.  I wanted some variety after last year’s single block quilt using Castle Wall.  But I know that not everyone will like the very busy nature of my row quilt plan and that is just fine.  I am all about taking an idea and spring boarding to a  plan of your own.  You can start now and make an entire quilt just with Augusta.  I just want to share my love of hand piecing with the world.  And if you have  suggestions of a combo of blocks you might like to see let me know.  I love to play in EQ7.

’til tomorrow,


Augusta Block – How to Part #1

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015


First thanks for waiting for the “how-to” blogs on Augusta.  If you follow me on Facebook you will know that over the holiday weekend I landed up seeing an urgent care Nurse for what turned out to be a sinus infection.  I am on the mend but those first few days under the antibiotics…well I slept…a lot.   Not one firework was viewed this weekend.  I promised myself that next year I will make up for this fact.



I am anxious to share Augusta with you as I am enjoying piecing the blocks already.  Yes I started one during the holiday weekend.  Didn’t get very far but can’t wait to work on it some more this week.

I am not going to go over marking your fabrics using the acrylic templates as that has been covered already under the general info blogs at the beginning of the year and a very detailed blog here (yes it is for the Castle Wall block but the same info applies to all blocks).  But you will find some quick pics below of the process for a quick reminder.


There are five shapes in the Augusta Block.

Fabrics chosen for the block.  Remember what is tying together all my block in my 2015 On The Road Project is the use of red in each and every one.  Augusta BlockI have decided to put the red in the triangles indicated on the graphic.

You will find an Acrylic Template Orientation Guide PDF on the OTR 2015 page to download and print out.   Here is the graphic so we can follow along during the blog.


And here are all my pieces cut and ready to go.


We are going to start with the E-B-E-B-A units.  You will piece four of these.


First you will piece B to E along the edge that they meet.

I am starting with the green triangle to the right hand E piece.


Remember you want to match up your sewing lines not your edges for the most accurate piecing.  To do this I push a pin thru each point/end of the triangle lining up the drawn seam line points on piece E.  Then I place a small pin (these are the new short version of Karen Kay Buckley’s pins you can find them in my shop under notions) thru both seam lines.

Start each new seam with a back stitch and then back stitch very 4-5 stitches.  You will make a running stitch.  I rock my needle back and forth taking small bites of fabric.  This is a skill and your stitch size and ease of sewing will improve the more blocks you make.

VERY IMPORTANT: sew one or two threads ABOVE your drawn seam line.  this will make up for the unintentional width added to the drawn line by whatever drawing instrument you used.   The templates have a 1/4 inch seam line.  Thus when marked that becomes slightly larger.

Knot off at the end and repeat for the second triangle B (red in my case) and second piece E.


Press your seam allowance towards piece E.


Now it is time to sew these two B-E pieces together down the long center seam.  Your first “roundabout” will happen at the center of this seam. We will cover each move in detail   But don’t knot off when you are done you will pivot and sew piece A onto the edge of your outer edge triangle B.

Red circles in illustration indicated where Roundabouts will be made.


Let’s line up that first part of the seam line but matching up our corners.


The pin goes right thru the corner on the other unit.


I have pinned each end and the center point/seam matchup perpendicularly so the pins can remain in right up to the moment I am sewing thru the roundabout.

I also pinned the seam lines on each unit 20150629_193651

Make a backstitch to start your seam and begin your running stitch just above the drawn line.20150629_193753

Finish off with a back stitch at the end of this first leg of stitching and it’s time to make a roundabout.  This move will draw all four corners together giving you a nice crisp intersection when you open up the unit. picP20150629_194213

picPush your needle thru B (green) to adjoining E at the very corner of the seam line. As if you were aligning the points.  Pull your thread thru. 20150629_194311

Same move but this time from E to the opposite triangle B (red).  Pull thread thru. 20150629_194412

Repeat move again this time from B (red) to adjoining E.  Pull thread thru20150629_194429

Push needle from E to B (green triangle).  Pull thru thread20150629_194452

Right back where we started. Repeat just once more to get to the remainder of the seam to sew.20150629_194507

Make a backstitch and sew the rest of the long center seam joining both B-E pieces. 20150629_194614

But don’t knot off you can join piece A immediately.

Make a roundabout joining A-E-B sew the seam and end with another roundabout on the opposite edge. 20150629_195236

So here is where I have to leave you.  I have run out of space to post the final unit picture but I think you will be fine.  I did actually go back and remove a few pics just to get all these in.   Thursday we will tackle the C-D-C units and the sewing of all the units and center triangle together.   And on Friday we will have some fun designing with the Augusta Block.

Thanks again for hanging in there with me and few free to post any questions you may have.

Enjoy the day,