Category Archives: Sew-Along

Labors of Love on Labor Day

Monday of this week was Labor Day in the U.S., a federal holiday that celebrates the achievements and contributions of American workers. I was working on a little labor of love on Labor Day:  a block in my ongoing Sea Sampler project. But I wasn’t happy with my fabric selections so today I remade the block with all different fabrics. This is the result:

The block’s a keeper. It doesn’t have a name that I know of. (If you recognize it, please let me know.) I think of it as my Nebraska Star block because it’s on this coffee mug that I brought home a couple of decades ago from a trip to Nebraska:

If you look above the capital N of Nebraska, you’ll see the block. It’s very striking as a two-color block but also lends itself to other color combinations.

I drew the block in EQ7, the quilt software program . . .

. . . and colored it with fabrics similar to the ones I actually used:

Instead of using a simple square in the center of the block, I made an inset circle of little fishies (from the “Kaikoura” line by Jessica Zhao for Cotton + Steel):

I cut the fabric a little on the bias so the fishies are swimming slightly upstream.

Because I wanted to lead your eye to the center of the block where those little fishies are, I opted not to include the blue triangles in the outer corners of the block, although they can be added later if need be.

I really hate to draw your attention to a problem but I’m going to remake the lower left section of the block. It wasn’t obvious until I saw my photo:  that vertical line between the two small squares is not truly vertical; it’s definitely slanting to the right. How did that happen? No idea but it’s going to bother me no end until it’s fixed.

Labor Day 2021 also marked my return to the quilt classroom after 18 long months. All in-person classes at Montavilla Sewing Center in Lake Oswego came to a screeching halt in March of 2020 when the the coronavirus pandemic reached Oregon and we started to fully realize its impact. Monday evening was the first of four “Sew with Dawn” classes that will meet during fall term, September-December.

To say I was thrilled is an understatement. It was so good to see my friends and fellow quiltmakers in person again! We are all fully vaccinated — students, staff at Montavilla, and myself. Of course we were fully masked the entire time but even with masks on we could see everyone was smiling.




Posted in Block of the Month (BOM), sampler quilt, Sew-Along, stitch-and-flip corners, update | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday: Catch a Falling Star (2015)

Today marks Week Six of Throwback Thursday. Each week since the beginning of the year I’ve highlighted one quilt made in successive years beginning in 2010. This week we’re up to a quilt made in 2015.

Choosing my quilt for 2015 was easy. It had to be Catch a Falling Star, my version of Terri Krysan’s Reach for the Stars:

Catch a Falling Star, 84″ x 105″ (2015)

Often when I finish a quilt, there are one or two things I would have done differently. Not with this one. I love every block, I’m happy with every modification I made to Terri’s original design, and I’m thrilled to pieces with the combination of computerized and free-motion quilting done by Loretta Orsborn.

Instructions for Reach for the Stars appeared in seven consecutive issues of Quilters Newsletter Magazine, beginning with the Oct./Nov. 2013 issue and ending with the Oct./Nov. 2014 issue. Sadly, QNM is no longer in publication.

Almost every month I receive a request from a quilter wanting to know how to get directions for Reach for the Stars. A few years ago I could point to eBay or Etsy for the needed issues but copies are getting harder to find. My advice nowadays is to check with a local quilt guild to see if any member has these seven issues and would be willing to lend or sell them to the person wanting to make the quilt.

Catch a Falling Star was my first ever sampler quilt. I wasn’t sure I would ever make another one. But I did. You’ll see that one when I reach Week 10 of Throwback Thursday.

Thanks for joining me on my weekly trip down Memory Lane!




Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, faux-kaleido quilts, free motion quilting, mitered corners, Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, Sew-Along, Throwback Thursday, update | 4 Comments

Summer Sew-Along: Good Day Sunshine

Good Day Sunshine, my version of the new Dancing Churndash pattern, is ready for Show and Tell:

2014-8, Dancing Churndash, front 2
Good Day Sunshine, 43″ x 57.5″ (2014)

More accurately, it’s ready for Thelma’s Labor Day Parade. You see, at the beginning of summer Thelma of Cupcakes’n’Daisies started a Sew-Along, inviting quilters to make any quilt they wished using the Quick Curve Ruler (QCR) designed by Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful. The only requirement was that the quilt be ready by Labor Day for a parade on Thelma’s blog.

I chose Dancing Churndash, one of three new patterns Jenny and her sister Helen Robinson designed for Cut Loose Press. I got a late start, as the pattern wasn’t available till late July, but the quilt went together quickly, and then I was lucky to find a long-arm quilter who could start working on it right away.

Good Day Sunshine, which gets its name from the Beatles song, was quilted by Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts. I met Jolene through the Portland Modern Quilt Guild and have seen examples of her fine work. I asked Jolene to quilt straight lines in the churn dash blocks and a not-too-dense free-motion fill in the white background. She chose one of my favorite quilting motifs, the spiral. Here’s a close-up:

2014-8 Dancing Churndash, quilting detail 2
Quilting Detail

I love the way the spirals play against the curves on the churn dash blocks and the straight lines in the center of the blocks. The quilting is playful, like the design itself.

The medium-dark grey binding, a close match to the fabric in the center of each churn dash block, frames the quilt:

2014-8 Dancing Churndash detail
A Few Shades of Grey


The back is pieced from leftover fabrics used on the front:

2014-8, Dancing Churndash, back
Scrappy Back


Last but not least: the label.

2014-8 Dancing Churndash label
Important Last Step


My little quilt is finished ahead of schedule. I’m ready for the parade!




Posted in Quick Curve Ruler, Sew-Along, update | 11 Comments

Dancing Churndash aka Good Day Sunshine

My “entry” in the summertime Quick-Curve Ruler Sew-Along organized by Thelma of Cupcakes ‘n’ Daisies is coming along nicely:

Dancing Churndash 12 blocks
Top measures 45″ x 60″


The pattern is Dancing Churndash by Cut Loose Press. My plan was to make 20 blocks in a 4 x 5 setting but I’ve decided to stop with these 12 blocks. The reason? I’ll be teaching a class on this pattern at the Pine Needle in the fall, and I need to get my sample quilted and bound as soon as possible.

I considered adding borders but changed my mind after auditioning several different fabrics. Because the medium dark grey strips in the center of each block are so strong, I’m going to bind my quilt in the same shade and value of grey for balance.

Although there’s a lot of grey fabric in this quilt top, it’s offset by the bright and cheerful yellow prints. Each block makes me feel like I’m looking out a window on a sunny day. That’s what led me to name this little quilt Good Day Sunshine, after the 1966 Beatles song.




Posted in Quick Curve Ruler, Sew-Along, update | 7 Comments

“Dancing Churndash” Progress Report

2014-07-29 21.58.13
Dawn’s First Four Blocks

Dancing Churndash
is the name of a new pattern from Cut Loose Press designed by Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson of Sew Kind of Wonderful. The pattern requires the Quick Curve Ruler, which I’ve used on several projects. The ruler is in play right now because I’m participating in a summertime Quick Curve Ruler Sew-Along organized by Miss Cupcake.

I am loving how easily these blocks come together. The blocks finish at 15″ so four of these with a border around them would make a nice-sized baby quilt. Wouldn’t a scalloped border be a nice touch?

I’m going bigger with this quilt, though. I have a stack of rectangles already cut, waiting their turn with the Quick Curve Ruler. Back to work!




Posted in Quick Curve Ruler, Sew-Along, update | 3 Comments

Joining the Quick Curve Ruler Sew-Along

I’m late to the party. At the beginning of summer Thelma of Cupcakes ‘n Daisies started a Sew-Along in which participants could make any design using the Quick Curve Ruler (QCR) by Sew Kind of Wonderful. No rules, only the goal of completing the project by Labor Day.

I knew right away that I wanted to join Thelma’s Sew-Along. I’m a huge fan of Sew Kind of Wonderful patterns, designed by sisters Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson. They recently designed some patterns for Cut Loose Press, and this one, Dancing Churndash, caught my eye:

dancing churndash quilt
Dancing Churndash. Pattern by Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson for Cut Loose Press.
(Photo used with permission.)

Do you recognize the classic churn dash block? Helen and Jenny gave it a playful contemporary spin. I couldn’t wait to make it. The only problem was that the pattern wasn’t yet available when the Sew-Along began in June. Last week the patterns came in at the Pine Needle and I quickly scooped one up.

Like Thelma, I always make a test block before embarking on a project. Here is my test block:

dancing churndash test block
Dawn’s test block, 15 1/2″ square

I’m using several fabrics from the Gray Matters line by Camelot Cottons plus some other greys and yellows in my stash. I reversed the values in Jenny and Helen’s version; my background is white and the narrow center strips are dark.

For the narrow center strips I used a Daiwabo cotton sateen that gradates from medium dark grey at the selvage ends to very pale grey in the center. The strips are a little too dark, I think. I may replace them with strips cut a bit farther away from the selvages, hence lighter.

Even so, I’m happy with my test block. The pattern calls for a 3 x 3 grid of 15″ blocks, with the quilt finishing at 45″ square. I’m thinking about making a 4 x 5 grid so that my quilt finishes at 60″ x 75″ — a nice lap size. I might even put borders on it to make it larger.

Thelma has already finished her Quick Curve Ruler quilt top, and so have a few others who joined her Sew-Along. Despite my late start I should be able to get my quilt top done before the deadline. After all, Labor Day is still five weeks away!




Posted in gradated fabric, Quick Curve Ruler, Sew-Along, update | 2 Comments