Two Tips for Two by Two

11 Apr

Last Thursday night our area had a late-season storm that dumped 4” of heavy snow on us, so Friday was a self-proclaimed Snow Day – I like to refer to it as a Sew Day.

View from my sewing room

View from my sewing room

I am presenting several guild trunk shows in the coming months, and wanted to get some new quilts made for them.  Earlier in the week, I had pulled out the fabrics for my new Two by Two pattern that is made with Northcott’s Noah’s Ark collection. It has instructions for a lap, twin or double-size quilt that showcases a cross-wise panel and a lengthwise border stripe.  It also has instructions for a crib-size quilt that utilizes a book panel.

Two by Two crib quilt

Two by Two crib quilt

I had started the crib quilt on Wednesday, and determined that, even though I had fabrics to make only the crib and twin sizes, I actually had almost enough scraps to make the lap version as well.

Two by Two toddler-lap quilt

Two by Two toddler-lap quilt

I could donate it to my guild’s charity quilt program! I picked up a 2nd panel and an additional 1/4yd of one fabric, and I was good to go.

There is something therapeutic about sewing all day long.  I put on my tunes, made a pot of tea, and enjoyed the snowy view outside my sewing room window while I stitched away.  By day’s end, I had finished piecing the crib quilt and the twin quilt, and the blocks for the lap quilt were done.  As I was sewing, my piecing process made me think about a technique that I discuss in my Borders & Binding workshop. I use it when I have pieced sections that I am joining to unpieced sections AND the unpieced sections are on the lengthwise grain of the fabric – lengthwise borders are a good example.

In our quilting fabrics, the lengthwise grain of the fabric is not as stretchy as the crosswise grain.  We typically cut our strips width-of-fabric, or crosswise from selvage to selvage.  When piecing, we can use this stretchiness to make 2 sections fit together.  This is particularly helpful when the 2 sections are supposed to be the same length, and somehow ended up as different lengths.  Perhaps our seam allowance was not exactly ¼”, or our cutting was not entirely accurate.  When one of those sections is cut on the lengthwise grain and is the shorter length, we do not have the ability of stretching it to fit.  How, then, do we manage to fit the 2 sections together?  We use the feed dogs – those jagged teeth under the presser foot – to make the longer section feed faster than the shorter section by placing the longer section on the bottom and the shorter section on the top as we sew the sections together.  One of the wonderful students in my class at A Mountain Quiltfest in TN last month called this the “baggy bottom” method.  I used this method when I added the outer borders to my quilt, since they are cut on the lengthwise grain.  It is counter-intuitive for me to do this – I like to have the pieced section on top so that I have control over the direction of all the seams.  However, it is much easier to put the border on the top and check each cross seam from underneath as I approach it.  I also used this method when I sewed the blocks to the sides of the panel – I checked my panel and determined that the lengthwise grain ran vertically in the panel.

The outer corners of the Two by Two quilts have ¼-circle fan blocks.  These blocks are constructed using 5 wedges cut from a template.  I know that paper-piecing these blocks would be more accurate, however the larger size quilts have 10” blocks, and that doesn’t fit onto a standard 8½” x 11” piece of paper.  My blocks were ever so slightly larger than square, which would have made the outer edges of the quilt wavy – not good!  I used a square ruler to trim the 2 straight edges so that the block was once again square – I positioned the 45° diagonal line through the middle of the center wedge to determine where to trim the 2 straight edges.  My 3 quilts now have perfect corners and flat borders.

trimming the fan block

trimming the fan block


I am teaching my Borders & Binding workshop several times in the next few months, including:

  • April 20 at the Niagara Heritage Quilt Guild in St. Catherines, ON
  • May 3 at the Windsor Quilt Guild
  • May 15 at the Beaverton Quilt Guild
  • May 17 at the Moraine Quilt Guild in Newmarket
  • July 28 at Quiltfest 2017, sponsored by Tennessee Quilts in Jonesborough, TN I am also teaching my Fast & Fabulous Bargello wall-hanging class and my Stacks of Presents wall-hanging class AND presenting my lecture/trunk show at Quiltfest.  It is a fabulous 3-day event packed with classes and lectures (details at

I had a fantastic time teaching at A Mountain Quiltfest last month.  All my students were wonderful – so enthusiastic, and overflowing with Southern charm.  It was delightful!  There were 400 quilts in the various exhibits, including a special silent auction to raise money for the victims of the Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg area who lost their homes in the fire a few months ago.

Ronni's quilt

Ronni’s quilt

I purchased a lovely Christmas quilt from my friend Ronni from Florida – this picture does not do it justice.

Ronni's quilt label

Ronni’s quilt label

The label is great!

I would like to share a couple more pictures of recent projects with you.  The first one is a gorgeous quilt made from Northcott’s Peony Passion for staffer Marilou, who is currently undergoing chemo.

Marilou's quilt

Marilou’s quilt

Susanne pieced it and I quilted it.  Marilou and I share the same birthday.  Best wishes Marilou!

The other quilt is my guild challenge quilt.  The colors that I had to use (and no others) were yellow and black.  I had fun with this, utilizing some of the techniques I learned in Lenore Crawford’s class 3 years ago.  I used a photo of a flower (daisy or sunflower) as inspiration, cropping it to show only part of it.

Mellow Yellow

Mellow Yellow

I called it Mellow Yellow.  Coincidentally, there was a VERY similar quilt in the show at A Mountain Quiltfest with the same name.  I wish I had taken a picture!  It was eerily similar.

Thanks to everyone who commented on their best class.  The randomly chosen winner is Darlene of QuiltShopGal – great advice! I am participating in a blog tour next month for the next issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, so be sure to visit, ‘cause I always give away packs of fabric and a copy of the magazine.  There’s a special twist this time!  See you soon!



3 Responses to “Two Tips for Two by Two”

  1. Gail Lockington April 11, 2017 at 6:33 am #

    Thanks for the great tips and reminders Patty – love your Mellow Yellow!

  2. Judy Eckhardt April 11, 2017 at 8:22 am #

    We visited your quilt show in Newmarket last week and saw Mellow Yellow in person. Loved the subtle shading of the different yellow fabrics..

  3. QuiltShopGal April 11, 2017 at 11:13 am #

    I was thoroughly enjoying your post, when I read the part that “I won”. Thanks for the email, as well as announcing in your post. Made it more exciting. While I hope warm Spring weather soon arrives for you, I also think a snow day should be labeled sew day for all quilters. Sounds like fun to me.


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