From My Carolina Home

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Scrap Dance Two Step February

Here we are with the second post for Scrap Dance Two-Step!   I hope you are having fun!  If you are just finding this quilt-along, you can catch up with January’s cutting and first sewing steps. The best part of a scrappy quilt along is you have nothing to lose!  Get a new quilt by just using up leftovers, and bits in the scrap bins!  Now that you have seen January, you know that each month will have two steps to complete.  Last month was cutting and sewing the first unit.  This month we do a two-step unit.

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along

Step One – For your chosen size, match all the 5-3/4-inch background squares with an equal number of the 5-3/4-inch scrap squares.  Draw lines on the background squares, either one in the center (and sew 1/4-inch away on both sides), or this way – two sewing lines 1/4-inch away from the center.  I have found it easier to stay accurate with this method.


Sew on the lines (or on either side of a center line).  Cut apart down the center between the sewing lines to form half square triangles (HSTs), do not square!  Press toward the scrappy side.


Now, let’s Two-Step!   Using the HST units you just made, draw sewing lines perpendicular to the seam line on half of the units.


Pair them together again with the other half unmarked HSTs, with the scrappy sides matched to background and nesting the seams. Try to mix up medium and dark values on the scraps.


Sew on the lines (or on either side of a center line).


Cut apart down the center between the sewing lines to form quarter-square triangle (QST) units.


Press seam toward one side, which one doesn’t matter.  Then, square to 4-1/2 inches.


February unit – quarter square triangles.


That’s it for February!  Here’s your downloadable pdf –  Two Step February pdf . The next Two-Step will be March 17th.

George Strait once again, with Fool Hearted Memory for your Two-Stepping fun!

Are you Two-Stepping with us?  Or sewing something else?  For country fan readers, what’s your favorite Two-Stepping song?


Finishing Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Update – This post series will be taken down on March 1, 2017.  The pattern is now published in my Craftsy store for the low introductory price of just $5.  Purchases fund the costs of the blog so I can continue to develop fun quilt alongs without resorting to ads.  The price will go up to its regular price of $8 on March 1.

Picking up where we left off last time, the center section with all the piecing was the next part quilted.  Not surprisingly, it took the most time and care, mainly because I cannot watch the needle while quilting, I have to watch the laser light on the pattern.  This means I have to mark the end stops on the pantograph carefully and set up some wheel stops on the frame to keep from quilting into the border.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

One of my tricks is to use a C-clamp tightened down on the rail to keep the machine from going any further than I want it to go.

Quilting Tango 10 C clamp

Beginning at the top, I placed the base line of the pantograph partial pass to line up with the seam of the border, so I could quilt just the half-pass and keep the seam line straight. Then I did one full pattern pass. So far so good.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

I quilted the pantograph rows until I had less than one row’s width left to do.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

So, how did I get that last row done? Using the paper pattern trick. I use Golden Threads paper for this, as it is very thin, you can see through it, and quilt through it. I start with laying a piece on the quilt totally covering the area that still needs quilting.  I mark the areas I have already quilted to give me some registration lines.  I also mark the edges of the borders to know what area I have to stay in.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Then, I picked up the paper and laid it over the pantograph on the table, lining up the registration marks I had made on the paper, following the lines of the previous sewing line. Using a marker, I drew the partial pantograph pattern on the paper, in one continuous line, making sure I didn’t go over the seam line, rounding off some places to make a smooth sewing line.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Then I pinned it to the quilt top, making sure the seam line marking matched the border seam line, and the registration marks were on the previous sewing line.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Now, quilting from the front of the machine, I stitched through the paper along the line I drew.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

In some places I had to add a start-stop with a shorter line to fill out some partial spaces.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Then I tore away the paper, picking out the little bits in the tight areas with tweezers.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

When the pantograph center section was done and cleaned up, I quilted freehand ribbon candy in the rose print border.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Then I cleaned up all the water-soluble pen markings with Sew Clean. I got this pinpoint dabber at Quilter’s Apothecary, so I just wet the markings and not big sections of the quilt to erase them.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Quilting completed, and ready for the binding to be applied.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Now working on the binding while parked in my chair.  Doing some handwork keeps me from being too bored while I am not able to get up and go as usual.  I’ll do some finish pictures when it is all done.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz ~ From My Carolina Home

The wool batting is lightweight and warm.  It is a higher loft, so fluffier and gives more of a puffy look around the quilting. I like the overall effect, but next time I’ll try just quilting from one end of a quilt to the other like I usually quilt a pantograph.

So for now, I’ll be slow stitching the binding on by hand, still watching movies, and taking it easy.  Thank you again for all your emails and well wishes in the comments.  I think I am over the worst now, and on the way back to normal.

If you are just finding this post, you can see the whole quilt from the beginning, start HERE.  The posts in this series will remain up until the end of February for you to see.  After that the pdfs will be taken down, and the pattern will go to regular price in my Craftsy store. Or you can download the entire pattern at its introductory price in February in my Craftsy store – HERE.

What are you working on?  Have you ever used wool batting?



Slow Stitching Sunday

Oh, Scrap!

Whoop Whoop Friday

Needle and Thread Thursday



Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Scrap Dance Waltz quilting had to wait for delivery of the variegated thread, and it came last week.  I had already loaded the quilt with wool batting onto the longarm.  I didn’t show you all this pic when I loaded it, the snow is on the ground outside the windows. It was a bit maddening to have snow days to sew, and then not have the thread I really wanted. So it sat like this for almost two weeks, waiting for the King Tut Rubiyah red variegated thread to arrive.  I used a burgundy red Bottom Line thread in the bobbin.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz ~ From My Carolina Home

Now all that was needed was to decide on a plan and begin. I wanted to do a semi-custom quilting, with a pantograph of a feather design in the center, and freehand borders.  I began by stitching the top edge down, and quickly realized the high loft was going to make the stabilizing more of an effort.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz ~ From My Carolina Home

I also was going to stitch in the ditch on all three borders before beginning quilting to ensure that it stayed straight. The high loft really made the layers puff. Not sure I like this, but it is way too late to change it now.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

I went ahead with the piano keys quilting in the outer border.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

I did those all the way around and completed the SID on the inner borders.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

I wanted a bit of a loopy loop going in opposite directions on the inner border.  To do that with even spaces, I used the adding machine tape trick because it is easier than working out the math. Lay out a piece of adding machine tape along the border you want to mark. Cut it the exact length you need to stitch. Pick it up and fold it in half, then in half again, and again, and keep going until you get the interval you like.  Crease the folds hard so you can see them when the paper is unfolded again.

Paper folding

Then lay it on the quilt, pin it in place and use a water soluable marker to mark the fold points, alternating between the inside seam and the outside seam.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Now sew your loops, alternating the orientation.  Some of you may wonder why I did this part second, and I don’t have an answer for that.  It was just what I felt like doing at the time.  Maybe I was in freehand mode, and not quite ready to deal with the center.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Even though I know better, I thought I’d just improvise the corner. Not a good idea. This mess got ripped out, then the stitch path was re-drawn with the marker and re-sewn.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Go all the way around the border, using as much of the adding tape as needed. I used the same long piece for all four sides, just marking where I needed to stop, and this time marking the corner stitch paths too.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

I was very surprised to see the center of the quilt develop all this extra fullness at the bottom as I worked on the borders. After some experimenting, I realized that the wool batting was grabbing the fabric underneath the top bar and the pressure of that bar was pushing it to the bottom.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

To fix that, I released the quilt between the leaders and raised the top bar each time I advanced the quilt once I began working on the center section. Then it appeared that the twice washed backing was going to stretch too. So, rerolling helped that as well. I still had to use the trick of stuffing some batting under the leader here and there to keep it straight.  Part of that backing slackness on the sides is due to loading it with the selvedge edges on the sides.  Usually I pin the selvedges to the leaders, but the quilting design worked out better oriented the other way.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Redistributing the fullness each time, I set up the longarm with stops on both ends to quilt the center pantograph with this feathery design.  Some of the fullness in the center got my Best Press and steam treatment.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

There was more to that process, and I’ll share it next time. At this point I was under a lot of pressure to get it completely quilted and the binding put on so I would have some handwork to do while I recovered from the oral surgery this past Tuesday. I want to thank you all for your well wishes in comments and emails.  The procedure went well, but recovery is slow and I still can’t do much yet, dealing with pain and pain meds.  I’ll try to get back to responding to all your comments, but forgive me if I take a while or miss one.

The quilting is done, click on Finishing Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz.

One last bit of business for today, the giveaway winner of the Eiffel Tower statue from the Romantic Tables for Two post on Monday was drawn last night. The winner is Lynne S, who wrote “Our most romantic dinner was at a little hole-in-the-wall place in Biloxi, MS, called The Steak Pit. They only had about 8 tables, and we were newly in the military, so we didn’t have much money. They, however, treated us like royalty, and we had the best candlelit steak dinner we’ve ever shared. They even managed to make our “steak for two” medium-well for hubby and medium-rare for me — all one steak! Thank you for prompting me to this memory!”

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Congratulations, Lynne! I have sent you an email.

What are you working on now?



Crazy Mom Quilts

Main Crush Monday


Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Begins!

Here we go!!  Gather your precut leftover charm packs and jelly rolls, fat quarters, end of bolts, and scraps for the next mystery in the Scrap Dance Series.  We are going to have a lot of fun putting together this next design, I am liking it a lot!! I do have one completely made, and another one in the works, and I like it so much I may have to do one.  I think you’ll want to do more than one, too.

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along

Step One – Cut Fabric

I have given you five sizes to choose from, so you can do a little or a lot.  Use your rotary cutter and your cutting mat and cut the number of pieces for the size you choose.  Scraps should all be medium to dark in value.  The background works best if it is consistent, and I use white or ivory.  If you decide on a dark background, like black, be sure your scraps are bright or light for contrast.  As usual with my mysteries, it is important that the values of the scraps are consistent for the secondary designs to shine.

Fabric Scraps        Throw        Twin           Full           Queen         King

4-1/2″ Squares             12                 24                 30                 35                42

5″ Squares                     36                72                  90               106              126

5-3/4″ Squares             12                24                  30                  36               42

2-1/2×4-1/2 Strips       24                48                 60                 68                84


5″ Squares                      12                24                30                 34                 42

5-3/4″ Squares              12                24                30                 36                 42

2-1/2×4-1/2 Strips        24                48                60                 68                 84

Here’s all my precuts for the second Two-Step quilt, sure shortened the cutting time!  I am really pleased with the black, purple, green and gold for this one.


Additional background fabric and scraps will be needed late in the quilt assembly, but I can’t tell you exactly how much right now, as it will depend on a decision you make later in the mystery.  1-3 Fat quarters scraps, and perhaps 1/4-1/2 yard of background would likely be enough for the largest size, but I can’t tell you any more than that right now.  So if you buy yardage of background, get some extra.

Update January 31 – I know I don’t usually ask you to hold some fabric for later, but I promise you that you will love it.  So, please bear with me and just set aside a little bit extra – 1 to 3 fat quarters and 1/4-1/2 yard of background depending on the size you have chosen.  This part is entirely optional, you can skip it if you decide to later, but I think you’ll want to do it.

Here are the fabric scraps for the first one I put together.  Lots of ends of charm packs in this one.


Now, let’s Two-Step!

Match up the 2-1/2 x 4-1/2 strips of scraps and background.  Sew two strip units of scrap-background along the long edge.  Chain piece for speed.  Square to 4-1/2 inches square.


Here is a pdf of the January Two-Steps – cutting and first unit assembly – Two Step January Instructions

Button code for those who would like it for a sidebar –

<a title=”Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along” href=”; target=”_blank”><img src=”; alt=”Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along” width=”240″ height=”180″ /></a>

Post your pictures of your scrap colors and your progress on our  – Scrap Dance Mystery Flickr Group

The next steps will publish the third Friday of each month for 6-7 months, next one is Feb 17.

Have fun!!  Will you Two-Step with us?


Loading Scrap Dance Waltz

Loading Scrap Dance Waltz was a bit more involved than usual.  Two things came up that I thought I would share with you as it might help the new longarm quilters and home quilters too.

Waltz flimsy

Because I had washed the red fabrics several times, I washed the backing as well to reduce any shrinkage that might occur. I dried it in the dryer too. This had an unintended effect of making the large piece of fabric off grain. I did try to straighten it, but was still left with it a bit off. The result is when I loaded the backing, I got a wrinkle in backing.

Loading backing 1

I have talked about checking this before (Loading the Longarm) and this time I discovered the wrinkles. If I don’t fix this before I finish loading the quilt, I’ll get pleats on the back while quilting that I won’t see until the quilt is removed from the frame.  One way I deal with this is to repin the edge of the backing, shifting it in relation to the edge of the canvas leader.  This will straighten the wrinkles out, although the grain may not be straight in relation to the leaders.  As long as there are no wrinkles or pleats on the back after I have quilted it, I’m OK with that.

Loading backing 4

Luckily, this maneuver was enough to take care of the wrinkles, and now the backing hangs straight.

Loading backing 3

OK, so now to add the batting. I decided to use a wool batting for the first time this time.  There were a lot of creases in the batting, and I tried my usual trick of steaming and rolling, but that didn’t work. I pulled it off and put it in the dryer with a damp cloth on a low setting, but that didn’t work either. So, I called my friend Mary Jo and asked her what I could do.

Loading backing 5

She told me to spritz the entire batting with water, and then put it in the dryer on a medium heat. I mean, the only thing is it might shrink a bit, right? And that would be a good thing considering all the washing of fabrics and backing. So, I did that. The hard creases became soft waves that smoothed out nicely.

Loading backing batting creases 2

Next came the flimsy, smoothing it out I realized that this batting is a lot loftier than I am used to sewing. I will see how that goes and if I like the result. I wanted to do a variegated thread, but couldn’t find the cone I thought I had. Then I remembered, it was a brand that my machine just doesn’t like, so I had donated it. So, out came some other reds for a thread color audition. I did find a bit of the variegated left on a bobbin, and put it out to see what it would look like.

Waltz thread

Naturally, I like the variegated the best, wouldn’t you know! So I had to order a cone of King Tut. Now I just need to get the shipment so I can start quilting. I loaded up bobbins with a dark red Bottom Line.  I know I want to do a semi-custom quilting on this quilt, not just the edge to edge pantograph I usually do.

Here are a few shares from our Flickr group – wonderful colors and finishes! Tanya made a huge flimsy with grey background.  The curves really show up here with this size!

IMG_0360 2

Elaine finished a second Waltz, this time with a red border.  Now she just needs her longarm back to quilt both of them.

Scrap Dance Waltz #2 Made one more B block to get the 2 children's quilts. Waiting on my long arm to come home from the spa to quilt them.

Susan has her beautiful blues done, and was working on piecing the back.

Scrap Dance Waltz top finished, piecing the back now.

Cheryl has a fabulous Christmas quilt well underway, plenty of time to get it quilted for 2017.

Waltz Tango 2

What are you working on?



Main Crush Monday

Let’s Bee Social

Whoop Whoop Friday


Scrap Dance Mystery #3 is Coming! Are You Ready to Two-Step?

The new design is done, the first quilt is made, and I am working on the second to be sure the pattern is correct.  Scrap Dance Mystery Two-Step will premier next Friday, with clues on the third Friday of every month.  I like this design a lot, and I  might even make a third one.  The pattern takes advantage of some precuts, so you can use some of those to reduce the amount of cutting if you have them.

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along

I hear the George Straight song ‘Ocean Front Property’ in my head every time I think of Two-Stepping! Here is a video of him singing live if you haven’t heard it, or if you want to hear it again.  It’s a great song!  For my international friends who may not be familiar with US geography, Arizona is land locked without an ocean shoreline, and the Golden Gate is a bridge in San Francisco.  The song is about a guy telling a big fib about not being in love.  It is a toe tapper, so enjoy it!

Scrap Dance Two-Step will last about 7 months, with plenty of time between posts to get your steps done.  I am very excited about this one, as I designed it to take advantage of pre-cuts to save you some cutting time if you have some in your scrap bin.  Of course, you can still use scraps and leftover bits as always if you don’t, you’ll just need to cut the sizes required. So, dig out those charm squares, jelly roll leftovers and fat quarters, and get ready to cut fabric next week.

I have updated the open Flickr group for this mystery. Click on Scrap Dance Mystery Group 2017 for the group, join us to share your progress from fabric selection to finished quilt, and every stage between!  This is the same group we used for Tango, and the original Scrap Dance, just updated for the new mystery.

Here’s a little logo button for you, it should link back to this post, and I’ll add a link here to the first post next week.

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along

Scrap Dance Two-Step has started!  Click HERE for the first post!

Are you ready for a scrappy mystery quilt along?

Sharing the announcement post only, I will not be linking the individual steps.

Whoop Whoop Friday

Crazy Mom Quilts

Busy Hands Quilt Alongs Link Page

Show Off Saturday

Oh Scrap!

Main Crush Monday

Linky Tuesday Freemotion by the River

Let’s Bee Social

Needle and Thread Thursday

Seams to Be Sew



Scrap Dance Waltz – The Borders

Update – This post series will be taken down on March 1, 2017.  The pattern is now published in my Craftsy store for the low introductory price of just $5.  Purchases fund the costs of the blog so I can continue to develop fun quilt alongs without resorting to ads.  The price will go up to its regular price of $8 on March 1.

After a bit of wrangling with the fabrics for the borders on my red and ecru Scrap Dance Waltz, I did decide to do the rose print in the middle.  I used a light background print for the first border, then the rose print.  I wanted a five inch final border but I did not have any one fabric that had enough to complete it.  So, a pieced border would have to be done.  I wanted the final border to be all darker reds, so I cut 5 inch strips of those fabrics, leaving out the ones with stronger white prints.

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

The 5-inch wide strips were sewn along the long edge, then cross cut into 5 inch wide strips. Then those were sewn together.

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

I pressed the seams and did a test fit on the quilt top. But, you know, Murphy’s law will tell you that there is no way the number of squares will come out even with the border measurement, so I needed to figure out the adjustment.  Naturally it is short by just a bit.

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

So now, I could add on another square and then take up the seams all along the pieced border to take up the excess, but I wasn’t happy about all that work. So, I came up with another idea. I found the strip of that fabric and cut another end piece longer than the 5 inches of the original. No one will notice that the end one is a bit wider, and there will be another square on the end from the other border.

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

Picking out the seam, I removed the end square and sewed the longer one on.

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

Now, to do a proper measurement to make sure I don’t have wavy borders. Notice that the end piece is now much longer than needed, so I can cut the length to the exact measurement of the top with its first two borders.

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

I used a lot of pins on this border, one in every seam.  I did the same with the border on the opposite edge.

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

The shorter side border was a bit too long, so I cut it to the proper length.

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

Then, I figured out that the shorter piece couldn’t be on the end. It would be too obvious on the corners that the seams don’t match up.

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

Easy solution, pick out a seam several squares down and flip the end section so the smaller square is in the center section of the quilt.

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

Now I can nest the seams on the border at the corner…

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

and the adjustment won’t be apparent.

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

And I did the same thing with the last border.

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

After all the borders were applied, I tried my hanging trick. Look at that! Even with three borders, one of them pieced, the quilt hangs straight.   I’m going to talk more about measuring borders next week.  It looks a bit weird because this is the backside of piecing.

Scrap Dance Waltz Borders ~ From My Carolina Home

New additions to the Flicker group since last time, I was so excited to see Tanya’s blocks all together on her blog. This grey background is a fabulous contrast to her bright prints.  The secondary circular design really pops!  It will be fun to see what she does with borders, as she wants it bigger.  She is doing a huge quilt, the blocks are set 9 x 9, for a total of 81 blocks!

IMG_0360 2

Mary is using all blues, beautiful aren’t they!

scrap dance waltz QAL

Ready to quilt?  Click on Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

I have to add one more thing, tooting my own horn here, but I am delighted to announce that I am one of Fave Quilts Top Bloggers for 2016!  How cool is that!  If you are visiting from Fave Quilts, please stay a bit and have a look around, some of my tutorials and project posts are gathered at the top in pages to make them easy to find.  We have lots of fun here, and I invite you to follow with any of your favorite methods, see the sidebar for ways to follow.  My third mystery quilt using up your scraps begins later in January, after we finish the Scrap Dance Waltz quilt along.


What are you working on?


Whoop Whoop Friday