From My Carolina Home

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A Radical Idea to Handle a Wavy Border

It must just be my year for bad borders.  I am not going to reveal where this particular quilt came from, I work with several charity quilter groups to do Quilts of Valor, and I do not want to embarrass anyone.  I am reasonably sure that this piecer doesn’t read my blog, and I want to show you all one more radical idea to take up a mess of a border.  The quilt is a tumbler style, which has a problem to begin with as the sides are often on the bias and more prone to stretching out of shape. A lovely wide dark blue backing was provided with the top.

QOV Tumbler 1

Just laying it out on the backing to check the size started to point to an issue with the border, actually three borders.  The blue here on the edge is the backing.

QOV Tumbler 2

Sigh. I know you all are getting as tired of bad borders as I am, but this one took the cake.

QOV Tumbler Fix 3

Once again, look at the extra fabric in this! But, it goes one step further.

QOV Tumbler Fix 4

Here is the most graphic example I have ever seen where the outer edge was so obviously larger than the inner edge. The inner red border was this way.

QOV Tumbler Fix 6

And the middle black border was also this way, adding fabric to the outer edge.

QOV Tumbler Fix 7

On both sides.

QOV Tumbler Fix 8

Which gave us this on the outer beige border.

QOV Tumbler Fix 5

There was no way this was going to work in, or quilt out. So, I decided to do a radical thing, something I only considered because it was a charity quilt.  If someone had been paying for quilting, I would have let the quilter have it back to fix the borders.  I pulled it off the frame, laid it on the cutting table and marked darts in the borders on the back side. The darts went all the way through the three borders, decreasing to nothing at the inner sewn edge of the red border. The amount was determined by what was hanging over a straight line on my cutting board when I lined up the center section folded in half.   It doesn’t seem like much here, but it is almost an inch of fullness coming out at the outer edge. I marked the dart with a pencil line…

QOV Tumbler Fix 9

then took it to the sewing machine and sewed darts on all four sides.

QOV Tumbler Fix 12

Then I took it back to the cutting table, and cut off the uneven edges with additional excess fabric. This will give me some room to push a bit on it at the corners to accommodate some of the remaining fullness, and stitch it straight.

QOV Tumbler Fix 10

I pressed the darts to one side on the backside first, then on the right side to set in the seam. It worked nicely.

QOV Tumbler Fix 16

Here is one on the other side.  Now it lays flat.

QOV Tumbler Fix 13

I loaded it back on the frame, and stitched the top edge down. Much better!  Even though you can still see the ruffle effect at the seam line between the beige and black borders.

QOV Tumbler 3

I thought that since I was doing more Quilts of Valor now, I should have a patriotic pantograph, so I got this one from Urban Elementz called Stars and Bars. It looked great on the website, but after using it, it isn’t going to be a favorite. It is too linear, doesn’t interlock and is a bit difficult to get the stars to close.

QOV Tumbler 4

Later as I was quilting, I started doing the stars by crossing the point where it joins the stripe lines to ensure that the points closed. The panto has the stars corners rounded off, and I kept trying to make them more pointy. Consistency was a problem for me.

QOV Tumbler 9

QOV Tumbler 11

After the quilting was done, the darts are barely noticeable.

QOV Tumbler 13

Looks pretty good all quilted up.

QOV Tumbler 14

Even the borders are looking better.

QOV Tumbler 16

So, it’s all good.  If you are a new quilter, a self taught quilter, or you’ve never seen how to properly apply borders and why it is important to do them correctly, they are not hard.  Just see my tutorial on Quilt Borders Understanding the Why.  It goes through not only the ‘how’ of proper borders, but the ‘why’ and what happens when they are put on by the slap and sew method.  The quilt I just loaded is perfect, with outstandingly perfectly applied borders and is flat as the proverbial pancake.  I’ll show it to you all when it is done, but is a joy to quilt!!  Ask your program chairperson at your local guild to do a program on borders, and feel free to put the link in your newsletters to spread the word.

What are you working on now?


Scrap Dance Two-Step June

We are getting close to the end, today you’ll see the second block in the design. So grab the units you still have and let’s get started!

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along

With the bar units you have left, match one bar element with two scrappy/background HST elements to make this unit. Be very sure that the background HSTs point to the ends and up with the background bar on bottom.

One hint, at this point, you are down to the last bits to assemble.  I laid mine out in overlapping rows to be sure I had the remaining scrappy prints distributed.   Right away I had the same print in two adjoining pieces.

So, I could change them around until the scrappy prints were well distributed between the units.

As you sew, be careful to sew through the little ‘x’ to get those sharp corner points.

Now, let’s Two-Step! Here is the block you’ll make with these units. Note that half the HST/bar units go on the top, and the other half will be turned around and on the bottom. The final block will have all four corner background HSTs pointing to the outside corners as shown here.

Here’s mine.  Note again I laid out the units in rows, and did all of them at once to be sure that the prints were distributed as best as they could be.  There is the opportunity to change them around before sewing if one block ends up with the same print contiguous.  Sew in rows, pressing seams in one direction, either all up or down.

Here is your pdf for your sewing room for June – Scrap Dance Two Step June.  Resist the temptation to finish it up at this point, as we have one more thing to do.  Remember that extra fabric I said to put aside at the beginning?  You’ll need it next month (and it is NOT sashing, so don’t do that), so be sure you have some extra background and a few more scraps for July.  You’ll find out the final mystery step next month!

We’d all love to see your progress as you go forward, please upload your pictures to the Flickr group, and be sure they are public so we can share them.  The group url is – and I look forward to seeing all your units as they are done.  Any finish of any of the mystery quilt alongs can be shared on this group, even from the original mystery from 2015.  We use the same group for all the annual Scrap Dance mysteries.

Here area a few of the latest shares of the May block finishes. Garden2Fun has wonderful bright batiks!


Mary has a great variety of prints with a pop of red.

Scrap dance two step Part 5

Laura R. is doing a red and white version.

Two Step Scrap Dance--I started this when the mystery quilt started and then life got in the way, but today I was able to catch up!

Laura F has a wonderful variety of prints too.

Two Step Step 5

Love the black background Marsha is using!

12 Block A's

Kristi’s blocks are looking awesome!

These are looking awesome! This mystery is really fun!

And I love the autumn prints Elaine is doing.

Scrap Dance two Step .This quilt says"mine". Thank you Carole.

How’s your Two-Step coming along?

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along


On Point Charity Quilt

Sometimes just playing with scraps can produce something useful. Pulling out the scrap bag, I was looking for some pastels and florals to add to my Be My Neighbor fabric pull, when I ran across these half square triangles left over from another project.  These squares are 5-1/2 inches.

On Point Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

I really had no advance idea of what to do with them. Maybe some four patches would be good. So, I cut some 5-1/2-inch white squares to go with them.

On Point Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

Sewing the HSTs to the white squares, pressed to the solid white, the units were nested and chain pieced.

On Point Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

So, now what. I had six four patch units, each finishing at 10-inches, not enough to make a quilt.

On Point Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

Well, maybe set them on point with large squares to make a decent size. So I pulled out a complementary purple print and cut large 10-1/2-inch squares and some triangles to set the four patches on point.

On Point Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

All together, it just seemed to call for an interesting border, not just another print.

On Point Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

I did think that a first border of the same purple print would make the four-patch units float in the center, so I added one, 3 inches wide.  Then, I had these 5-inch yellow squares left over from another project, and yellow goes well with purple. I cut the same size squares of the light green, and lay them out to be sure the dimensions would match the border requirement. In a few spots, I sewed the seams a bit larger to take up the excess.

On Point Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

Now it was a good size for a charity quilt, about 45 x 55.

On Point Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

For continuity, I added a 2-inch final border of the same violet print as the middle HSTs.

On Point Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

I found some backing fabric in dark green, and laid it on the longarm to measure out batting.

On Point Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

Loading it up, now I had to decide on a pantograph. I wanted something kind of girly with the flowers.

On Point Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

I’ll show you the finish next time. Have you ever built a quilt from just bits, letting it evolve as it goes?

See the finish here – Quilting the On Point Quilt


Let’s Bee Social

Crazy Mom Quilts

My blog is a variety of subjects, quilting and sewing, tablescapes and recipes, book reviews and hand stitching, crafting and mountain living. I love to have new followers, too!  See the buttons on the sidebar to follow by your favorite method.  If you are visiting from Fave Quilts, Pinterest, a blog hop or link up, please stay a bit and have a look around, my tutorials are gathered at the top in pages to make them easy to find.  Lots of fun is had here, and I invite you to follow with any of your favorite methods, see the sidebar for ways to follow.  My third mystery quilt is in progress, click on Scrap Dance Two Step on the sidebar for the first post.  Click on the Home page to see the latest posts on the blog.


Landrum Quilt Show 2017

This past week I attended the Landrum Quilt Show, and what a great time!  Lots of quilts, wonderful vendors, a whole room of used magazines and books at ridiculously low prices, and raffles too!  Couldn’t ask for more.  The quilt show is held at one of the local high schools, in the gym, so I could go up the bleachers (only for you dear readers) to get a birds-eye view of the show. There just isn’t enough space to show you the whole show, don’t worry I won’t try! I will highlight a few of the quilts I found interesting. Every quilt there was applause-worthy, so choosing just a few was difficult.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

This quilt, called Blooming Hearts, was pieced by Joan Powell and quilted by Roz Hemberger. The heart blocks are set on point, then hand appliqued. The feathers around the blocks were really interesting, and I suspect are freehand quilted.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

This quilt called Bee Creative was adorable, with hand embroidered blocks, all with bees. It was pieced and embroidered by Karen Cummings and quilted by Lynne Hannant.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

A close up of one of the blocks shows the intricate detail, and wonderful cross hatched quilting.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

I am captivated with quilts like these with all different blocks. This one is pieced and quilted by Judith Kuntz and features not only piecing, but hand embroidery, paper piecing, applique and some fancy machine stitching.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

Flame Bargello by Diane Hollis had wonderful flame quilting on the ombre fabrics, and note that the beaded blue ribbon of piecing is offset in the black border. The combination was so interesting!

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

Curved piecing got my attention here, along with the interesting flower shapes embedded in the overlapping rings. The runner was made by Laurie Blair and is called Bejewed and Bedazzled.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

Here’s a close up of the interesting custom quilting, note the different motifs in different areas, stippling too.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

Another beauty by Laurie Blair featured beading in the center to add dimension to the iris flower in the quilt called Star of My Garden.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

Rise And Shine was a lovely clock made by Sybil Radius. Note the radiating quilting in the rays, and texture in the center.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

The variegated thread really adds another dimension to this piece, along with some thread painting.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

Jar Transparency by Diane Hollis showed a wonderful choice of fabrics to create the illusion, and dimensional flowers add texture.  Note the flowers in the quilting with the straight lines.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

I liked this rooster, beautifully done by Christine Wilde in a mixture of piecing, applique and thread painting. Note that she quilted the black border in white thread to create the chicken wire.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

The Landrum show is all viewer’s choice, no judging, and here was my vote for Best in Show. It is called The Circle of Life Unfolds As The Phoenix Rises, made by Ruth Pollow. The quilting on this piece was show stopping, absolutely gorgeous.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

Ms Pollow created curved window panes, each with a different design, for an overall patchwork of quilting.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

Here’s another closeup of the upper right with the Phoenix head and the sun in the quilting. Note the tiny sections of different quilting patterns around the sun. Stunning.

Landrum, NC Quilt Show 2017

I took about 70 more pictures, LOL! It was so easy as the quilts were wonderful. It was just the thing I needed to get my creative mojo back. So much so that I whipped up a table topper and finished it in just two days.  It is a Patriotic Table Topper or Wall Hanging using the Tango pattern.  Those who have purchased the Scrap Dance Tango pattern from my Craftsy store have been sent a message that there is a bonus for you!  Just go to your pattern purchases and download the bonus freebie.  Of course, if you haven’t had the pleasure of pleasure of downloading Scrap Dance Tango, you can get both at the link above.

Like the little mini quilt?  That free pattern is available here – Patriotic Star Mini Quilt.  Thanks to sharp-eyed reader Janice that caught a typo – I have corrected it.

Happy Quilting!!

What are you working on now?


Eagle Panel Quilt of Valor

Continuing on with the Quilts of Valor for the Grand Strand Quilters, the next one is a panel with an eagle in the center surrounded with borders. The backing provided was a dark blue.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

Once again, the borders are a bit full, and I suspect that they were not measured. The cornerstone blocks are not straight.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

There is fullness in the middle too.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

Folding it up from the bottom, you can see how the middle of the quilt is smaller than the edges, indicating too much fabric in the borders.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

I removed it from the frame and steam pressed the entire quilt with the 50/50 solution I make of Best Press and water. I do use a spritz bottle, never put this solution in the iron itself. After some pulling and pressing, I was able to get the quilt a bit more squared up, with only a couple of problem areas left.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

Next is auditioning thread. The important consideration with thread this time was not only the color of the backing, but the thickness of the thread. In order to minimize the impact of the quilting on the eagle, I needed a thin thread that would not obscure the eagle’s face.  The blue Aurifil thread was perfect, and matched the backing.  Yes, I often quilt with Aurifil, both the top thread and the bobbin.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

I decided on the gentle swirl of this pantograph, as it was suggestive of clouds like on the panel.  Here is one of the many puckers that appeared on the side.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

You can see some puckering of the fabric due to the excess of border fabric at the bottom of this picture. I really didn’t like this, but I didn’t want to rip it out.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

I think the quilting looks good on the background sky of the panel.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

Some of the excess fabric on the border edges created fullness in the middle as I tried to keep the border seam lines straight.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

Once again, as I got to the bottom, the fullness and wonky corner became apparent.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

It seemed to be worse on the bottom blue border, as this much fullness was too much to work in.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

So, I made a pleat with the excess and stitched it down. I ended up doing four of these, one on each side and two on the bottom.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

Even so, there is still puckering in the bottom border.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

I know I harp on this a lot, but you can see what your longarmer has to go through when the borders are put on with the slap and sew method. I just wish I could get this message out to everyone. If you haven’t seen my tutorial on properly applied borders, click HERE to understand the difference between measuring and not measuring.

Puckers at the top of the picture too. Yes, these will be minimized with washing, but I don’t think these quilts are laundered prior to presentation.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

All done, I am not happy with the sides, but I did the best I could.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

I was pleased with the Aurifil thread for quilting, as it is thin and doesn’t detract from the eagle.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

Ready for binding, it was sent back to Myrtle Beach.

Quilt of Valor Eagle Panel

What are you working on today?



Main Crush Monday

Foodie Friday and Everything Else


Scrap Dance Mystery Two Step – May

The May Two Step will be fast and easy, as we build Block A today!  Aren’t you excited?!

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along

OK, so get out the remainder of your QSTs, and all the two-tone scrappy HSTs.  You’ll make the unit below.  Be sure that the background of the QST touches the HSTs.  Also be very careful that all the units are the same, with the diagonal line on the HSTs oriented this way.  It is important to the secondary design that those lines go a certain way.

It is helpful to lay them out first to be sure that the prints are well distributed and you don’t end up with the same one side by side.

Press all the units made today to the outside from the center.  This will nest the seams with the previous unit pressed to the center as shown.

Now, let’s two-step and build the block.  Get out your previous QST units.  Take half of the above units placing them oriented this way above the first unit, and the other half rotated 180 degrees placed below.  See photo.  Your diagonal lines on the corners should look like this., and you’ll end up with a square in a square in the center.  Press the final seams all in one direction, either all up or all down, it doesn’t matter which.

Don’t be tempted to guess what is next, LOL, what is left can go together at least four different ways, and only one of those is right.  We’d all love to see your progress as you go forward, so upload your pictures to the Flickr group, and be sure they are public so we can share them.  The group url is – and I look forward to seeing all your units as they are done.

Here is a pdf for your sewing room (update! it is now a pdf) – Two Step May Instructions

Are you just now finding the mystery?  You can catch up quickly as there are only five months published.  We will finish in July, then have more shares in August as the quilts are finished.  So, come join in!  Just click on Scrap Dance Mystery Two-Step to get started.  Each step is linked to the one that came after, and all have downloads to print out for reference in the sewing room.

How’s your Two Step coming along?

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along


Be My Neighbor Block 10 and a Quilt Shop Visit

Moving on to Block 10, I feel like I am running out of choices for pastels.  I really don’t want to buy more fabric for this quilt, but I may have to.  A fat quarter or two wouldn’t hurt, would it?  There are still six more blocks after this one.  I knew I wanted a green house somewhere, as the house I remember most vividly from my growing up years was green.  I auditioned a few prints for the star in the center.

Be My Neighbor Block 10 -1

I carefully cut all the pieces, double checking the dimensions.

Be My Neighbor Block 10 -2

This one has another tree, so I began with the squares on the edges to make the branches, drawing the lines as instructed.  Once again, I used the orange tree fabric.  This used up the last of it, so I don’t know what I’ll do for the tree in the last row.

Be My Neighbor Block 10 -3

As usual, I chain pieced as much as possible to speed up construction.

Be My Neighbor Block 10 -4

Finishing up the tree, I started on the house. This one will be the green with the swirly print, with a purple star center. Once again, I divided the background on the tree to allow for a ground of flowers.

Be My Neighbor Block 10 -6

I had a moment of dismay, thinking I had cut these wrong, but it really was OK. The squares were supposed to be a bit shorter than the rectangle to make the flying geese.  Whew!

Be My Neighbor Block 10 -7

I constructed the elements, then laid it out for sewing in rows, and pressing for nesting seams.

Be My Neighbor Block 10 -8

At this point I was feeling pretty good about the construction…

Be My Neighbor Block 10 -9

until I sewed the two sides together and realized that one side was too short.  I wasn’t sure if the bottom piece or the top one was too short, but it was easiest to just replace the bottom.  So the streak continues, and I frogged out the offending piece.

Be My Neighbor Block 10 -10

A new piece was cut and inserted.

Be My Neighbor Block 10 -11

And now, the piecing of this block is done.  All the points are looking pretty sharp for a change, LOL!!

Be My Neighbor Block 10 -12

All that is left is the applique, and this time I will do a bluebird. I also reversed the direction, as I wanted at least one bird to face the other direction. I already have two facing to the left, so I made this one face to the right. This will be my slow stitching for Sunday.  I’ll add beads or buttons for eyes after the construction and quilting is done.

Be My Neighbor Block 10 -15

Last week on my quick trip to Chattanooga, I wanted to visit a couple of quilt shops and I found a fabulous and charming one that I want to share with you.

Chattanooga Quilts

I didn’t have much time, as we were on our way out of town, so at some point I need to go back.  I was enchanted by the ambiance the moment I stepped into it. Stuffed full of fabric and notions, just look at the lovely wood floors! Kim greeted me as soon as I entered the store.

Chattanooga Quilts

That is Kim behind the counter, the store owner. She graciously agreed to allow a few pictures so you could see her wonderful store.  It is beautifully laid out, with plenty of room for browsing, yet full of fabrics and goodies to see.  It has lovely vignettes with pretty lamps, vintage sewing items, antique clocks and more placed around the shop.

Chattanooga Quilts

Charming antiques and warm wood tones make a relaxed shopping experience. Mary Beth was also working that day, and I loved having a chance to talk with both ladies. Mary Beth has read this blog from time to time, and it was a thrill for me to meet a reader! I was having so much fun, and then we began talking about Be My Neighbor. Her shop is doing the quilt pattern in block-of-the-month meetings too. I explained my pebble fabric dilemma that you all have seen, and Kim had a fabric to show me. Smaller scale and more neutral rosy brown tones looked promising, so I got some.

Be My Neighbor Pebble Fabric 1

Here it is with the block row, and I like it!  It has the smaller scale but more neutral tones that you all said would be the best compromise between the first two choices.

Be My Neighbor Pebble Fabric 2

The color blends well with the roof fabrics, and the pastels on the houses. Thank you, Kim!

Be My Neighbor Pebble Fabric 3

I had a few minutes to chat, and see the blocks that are being done by the shop in the lovely classroom space. Just look at how they are embellishing the blocks with stitching and appliques. Lovely, and what a great idea for some of the more plain house sides.  The little scalloped curtains in the windows of this house block are just so cute, and what an inspired idea!

Chattanooga Quilts

I could have stayed for a long time, chatting with these two friendly ladies and browsing all the goodies in the shop, but DH was waiting in the car to get on the road home. But before I left, Kim treated me to a sneak peek of her design for the Row by Row event this summer. It is so cute, I may have to make the trip back during the event just to get the pattern. If you are in east Tennessee for a visit, be sure to visit Chattanooga Quilts, it is a delight.

Chattanooga Quilts

What are you working on now? Do you have a favorite out of town quilt shop you like to visit?


Slow Sunday Stitching