Thursday, April 21, 2011

Coming attractions: Supersized July issue!

The next issue of American Quilter magazine (July 2011) will be published in mid-May, shortly after the annual AQS show in Paducah. To accommodate all the winning quilts from both the AQS Lancaster and Paducah shows, we've added more pages to the issue: "Yes, supersize that, please!"

In addition to the show winners, you'll find terrific articles on The Modern Quilt Guild by Iris Frank; Remarkable Hand Dyed Fabric by Mark Sherman; and Window of Imagination, in which Michele Byrum shows you how to create gorgeous floral appliqué from the most unlikely fabrics.

Two complete patterns, including my own quilt Meditation above, will be in this issue, plus instructions for an easy-to-make cotton bandana quilt as a free web bonus.

This issue is always a sellout, so be be sure to check your AQS membership expiration date to ensure this issue arrives in your mailbox in early June. Not yet an AQS member? As long as your membership is received and processed by 4 P.M. (Central time) May 3rd, your American Quilter magazine subscription will start with the July issue.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Inspired by Carol Taylor

Quilt artist Carol Taylor of Pittsford, New York, is a talented teacher as well as a frequent award winner in AQS and other quilt competitions. Last year she wrote a wonderful article for American Quilter called Transparent Beauty, about using sheer organza fabrics in a variety of colors to create shadows and layers in her art quilts.

I recently received a letter and photos from Janet Gajewski of Lenoir City, Tennessee, about Carol and this article. Janet shares:

"I first saw Carol Taylor’s art quilt Bountiful in the March 2010 issue of American Quilter. I was inspired by the design and technique, so I drew my design on paper and began what turned into a real challenge. Although I'm an experienced sewer, I have been quilting for only a year. My nine-patch background consists of cotton fabrics plus several home dec fabrics. The first border is home dec satin; the second border, binding, and backing are batik. Some of my leaves are double fused. For example, I had bright red organza, so I fused a soft gold over it to get the desired color. For the peach leaves, I fused a peach polyester curtain fabric over light peach cotton. The finished size is 20” x 20” and I named it Nature Dances.

My learning experiences were phenomenal! I experimented with different threads for the embroidery stitching and discovered that a quality thread like Guterman rayon worked best. I also discovered that a narrow buttonhole stitch worked better for me than a tight zigzag, especially for the berries. It was a lot of fun doing something so different and creative, and I am happy to share these pictures with my family and friends."
Thank you, Janet, for sharing your beautiful quilt. AQS members can access Carol's article at

Monday, April 11, 2011

Quarter-square triangles: Efficient cutting

(Submitted by Marje Rhine, pattern editor for American Quilter magazine)
Some quilt patterns call for quarter-square triangles (QST), which are triangles cut from a square on both diagonals (fig. 1). These triangles are used instead of half-square triangles when the quilt designer wants the fabric's straight of grain to fall on the long edge of the triangle. This adds stability to the block.
Fig. 1
Often the large outside setting triangles for on-point quilt layouts are QSTs (fig. 2). One square produces 4 triangles, but sometimes a pattern calls for fewer than 4 QSTs, so there may be some left over after cutting. For small triangles this is not a problem, but it can result in a waste of fabric if the original square is large, as is often the case for setting triangles. Or, there may not be enough fabric left to cut a large square for additional QSTs.
Fig. 2
Special rulers may be purchased to help you cut these triangles one at a time. However, it is easy to do with just a large, square rotary-cutting ruler that you probably already have on hand.

First, make sure the strip or piece of fabric is at least as long and half as tall as the square size given for the QSTs. My pattern called for one 11 1/4" QST, so my fabric must measure at least 11 1/4" long x 5 5/8" tall.
Straighten the edge of the fabric.
Make small marks on the long edge of the fabric 11 1/4" apart (fig. 3).
Fig. 3

Rotate a large square ruler so the starting point for the measurements on 2 sides of the ruler are at the top point. Place the ruler on the fabric so the edges of the ruler touch the marks on the fabric.
Maneuver the ruler so the same measurement mark is at each of the 2 marks on the fabric. In this example the marks on the fabric fall just inside the 8" lines on the 2 sides of the ruler (fig. 4). Cut out using a rotary cutter, and you'll have one 11 1/4" QST.
Fig. 4

Monday, April 4, 2011

Reader quilt: Morning Star (Baby Greeensleeves pattern)

One of the patterns published in the January 2011 issue of American Quilter magazine was Baby Greensleeves by Claudia Clark Myers. Several readers, including Terri Kohlbeck of Kalispell, Montana, have let me know they enjoyed making this foundation-pieced quilt. Terri gave me permission to share her photo and letter here:

"Here is a picture of my Baby Greensleeves quilt. I named it Morning Star. It is all done in metallic fabrics. I have been quilting for about seven years after a traumatic experience with anaphylactic shock. I had a lot of brain trauma and believe the quilting helped me heal, and of course I became addicted. Quilting has been such a blessing. I entered Paducah this year and have been juried in to the show - what a shock and so exciting. Claudia has given me permission to show the quilt. I will have two quilts in the show.

I so appreciate the American Quilter's Society and their magazine (American Quilter) and all the wonderful people who work so hard to keep it all going. Quilting has become my passion and I do appreciate all the expertise I get from the designers and the magazine."

Thank you, Terri, for sharing your inspiring story and your beautiful quilt. And congratulations for having two quilts juried into the Paducah show; that is an honor in itself! 

The pattern for Baby Greensleeves is available online at for all AQS members.