Archive by Author | amandalholmes

QuiltCon Block Challenge – Modern Cathedral

Somewhere between the Southern Baptists traditions I was raised with and what I believe now.

I have been dreaming of slicing into the fabric bundle that we got from Fort Worth Fabric Studio and MadTosh for a few weeks!  I FINALLY decided on putting a modern twist on a traditional block and this is the result.  I like to think it is somewhere between the Southern Baptist tradition I grew up with and the views I have today.

This is the first Cathedral Window block that I have ever attempted.  It used an enormous amount of fabric, but I really think that keeping with tradition was important.  I used the pattern found in 99 Modern Blocks.  I spent a lot of time at the ironing board hanging out with my girl Mary Ellen’s Best Press.  When I set down to actually sew it was magical to pull back the edges and create the windows.  I was so excited about the result that I actually had to stop and take a break so I wouldn’t make a “happy” mistake! (Maybe I am the only one that has to do this. If I don’t stop then I make mistakes and end up using the seam ripper more than the sewing machine.) I hope that I can actually give this up to the Quilt Con instead of keeping it for myself.


I highly recommend each of these vendors for product quality and excellent service!

***I have some fabric left and plan on slicing it for another block.  Keep checking back for more blocks!***


The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Every year my husband’s family draws names for which adult we will be buying for that Christmas.  This past year I drew my Mother-in-law Marcy as my person to buy for.  Most people complain about their Mother-in-laws, but really mine is amazing.  She is an amazing artist (post to come soon).   She does oil and acrylic painting, but her newest passion is turning plain old gourds into amazing works of art. She is one of the most generous people you will ever meet and sincerity shines through her every action.  

Marcy’s sweet spirit has shined through some of the toughest days imaginable.  She has managed to raise 3 wonderful children and I was lucky enough to marry her only son.  She was widowed in 2000 and in 2010 she married a wonderful man named David. I have never seen her happier.  I wanted to make a gift that showed how much I appreciate her.  I had recently learned how to quilt and had fallen in love with it and decided that I would throw together a quilt!  It was going to be EASY!  There was a sale on jelly rolls and I was going to just sew the strips together and go!  HA!

I bought 2 jelly rolls of Hullabaloo by Moda and went in search of inspiration. Image

 It was perfect! Colorful and feminine but fun as well!  I buy these rolls and rush home!  When I get home I unroll all the wonderful strips of beautiful fabric and everything changes.  I don’t like how the colors fit.  My eye sees two distinctly different colorways. One pink and one red.  OH NO!  


Marcy’s Quilt Front

I split the color ways up and decide that I will pick up a few yards of solids and have red on one side and pink on the other.  I run to my favorite store and grab some gray and some red and get back to piecing.  no real rhyme or reason to the piecing but I finished quickly.  I put it down to start basting and I REALLY don’t like the way it looks.  What now?  I like them individually but not together.  I did what I thought seemed logical.  I decided to turn it into 2 different quilts.  Logical Right?  The pink colorway was PERFECT for Marcy and the red colorway was PERFECT for my sister. I run back to the fabric store and find backing for both and head home.  I must say that after all that I am really glad that my husband’s family celebrates Christmas on New Years!  It saved me a sleepless night or two!



I cheated on Joel Dewberry with Parson Gray: The Story of Steve’s Quilt

Maybe I’m crazy, but have you ever been DRIVEN to start and finish a project?  I was driven, almost obsessed with making Steve’s quilt.

Steve is a very good friend and former boss of my husband.  He was diagnosed with cancer last summer and we wanted to do something.  We offered to bring food and were available for whatever they needed but we still wanted to do more.  We wanted to give them something that would last and be useful when he was going through treatment as well as when he was in full remission. I had recently learned to quilt and thought that would be perfect!  Steve has a wife and 2 daughters.  Much of what he has is geared toward feminine and pretty.  He doesn’t mind it, but we wanted to give him something that was all his.  Something masculine but still vibrant.

I love fabric!  I love Joel Dewberry and all that he designs! My largest project to date has many of Joel’s fabrics featured. **Photo at the end of this post** However for this project I found another man.  I found Parson Gray.  It was divine intervention.  My affair with these two designers had begun.

Joel is perfect for my modern and feminine projects, but what about making something for a man?  I was stumped!  I needed man fabric and I ventured to my favorite fabric store , The Cabbage Rose (, and prayed for masculine inspiration.  I was wanting something that would jump out at me and say “Hello”!

Cabbage Rose never disappoints. I walk in and ask Caroline to help me find some man fabric.  She takes me over to a big cardboard box.  They have just received their 1st shipment of Parson Gray’s Curious Nature.  Our love affair had begun.  I quickly picked up several bolts and ran to the cutting table.  I had them cut 2 yards of each and found a Michael Miller orange that added the perfect POP of color and ran out the door.  My mission for Steve had been completed and I went back to work just itching to get to home and fire up the sewing machine.

I decided that for Steve’s quilt I needed big rectangles.  I tried to split my colors into 2 groups, light and dark.  I matched up 1 light to 1 dark along the longest side and then placed each set in the horizontal/vertical/horizontal/vertical pattern and reversed on the next row.  It went so quickly that I even surprised myself.

I then took my scraps from the front, added some simple Kona solids and put things together randomly.

Steve’s quilt was decided on, purchased, pieced, quilted and bound within a week.  When it was all said and done it was perfect!  He loved it and curled up with immediately.  I was so excited to give this quilt to Steve that I never got a picture of the finished quilt.

I will still love Joel Dewberry, but I would gladly be seen with Parson Gray anytime!


This is my largest project to date featuring many of Joel Dewberry’s fabrics.  I call this one “Big Gray”.

Fast and Easy Jelly Roll and Charm Pack Quilt – Part 1

This block started a little something like this…Sometimes I go to my favorite fabric store, the Cabbage Rose, during my lunch break and just wander around.  This usually puts me in a better mood and I usually end up buying something for my stash.  One day while I was there the owner had lost her cell phone and shouted that whoever found it would get a free charm pack. It was on!  I had seen the Half Moon Modern by Moda charm pack and I wanted it!  I love a bargain and free is even better!  I was going to win!  So I waited and listened and I almost took out a display but I found the phone!  The problem then was I didn’t know what I was going to do with it.  I talked to the wonderful staff and then came up with this pattern. I bought the correspondeing jelly roll, my idea of a neutral gray solid and got to stitching.

This block is made with 1 jelly roll (2.5 inches wide), 1 charm pack (42 5 inch squares) and 1 solid color (I got 3 yards and if I have some left over I will incorporate it in the back or use it for bindng).  This will WOW your friends and is really quite easy!  The only parts of this block that you can’t skimp on are 1) a consistent seam allowance and 2) you really need to iron all the seams before moving on to the next step.

**I didn’t like some of the squares in my charm pack so I found a couple of complimentary fabrics and substituted the ones I didn’t like.  The red pictured was one of those replacements**

The first thing you want to do is decide how wide you want your connecting strips to be.  I wanted the color of the outside “panes” and the interior “window” to be the focus so I made my connectors 1 inch finished.  (I cut each of those to 1.5 inches for a 1 inch finished piece.) I wanted my interior solid frames to be larger than my connectors but smaller than my panes so I wanted them to be 1.5 inches finished.

Lets start by cutting your fabric for your first block!

Cut 2 pieces of your solid fabric 2 inches X 5 inches.  Cut 2 more pieces that are 2 inches X 7.5 inches.  Begin by sewing the 5 inch X 2 inch strips to each side of your charm square. Press your seams open and continue. You now have a rectangular piece.

Take your 2 inch X 7.5 inch strips and attach to the top and bottom of your rectangular piece.  Press your seams open and continue.  You now have a charm square that is framed by your solid.

Now take 1 of your jelly roll strips.  Cut 4 pieces from your jelly roll that are 3.5 inches long.  Cut 4 pieces from your solid fabric that are 1.5 inches X 2.5 inches.  Take 2 of your 3.5 and sew the solid piece to each.  This makes your first pane and connector piece.  Repeat with the next 2*3.5 pieces and 1*1.5 piece.  Press your seams open and continue.

Take the 2 pieces that you just put together and sew to the sides of your charm square framed by your solid.  This should measure exactly.  If you happen to have some hangover during this step, mark the center and trim the ends.  Press your seams open and continue.

Now take the remaining section of your jelly roll strip and cut 4 strips in 5.5 inch sections.  You are going to assemble these longer pieces just like you did the shorter pieces.  Press seams open and attach to the top and bottom of your  block.  Press 1 last time and admire your work.

Part 2 – Putting the Blocks Together is coming soon!

Conquering Hexagons with Dr. Seuss

I thought I would share pictures of the hexagon quilt I made for my nephew’s 3rd birthday.

I have wanted to work with hexagons since I can remember.  Everything I read on piecing them was terrifying!  Paper piecing, running stitches and templates OH MY!  Then out of nowhere, I stumbled across a super simple way to piece them using a machine.  I took the information I found and added my own spin on that technique.  I did conquer the hexagon and it is no longer a scary and time-consuming process. I also challenged myself by free motion quilting the whole thing.

I will be posting a tutorial on machine piecing hexagons the hoecake way in the very near future.  It is so easy!

**I apologize for the poor photo quality.  I have a habit of giving away my work without photographing it.**


Make a T-Shirt Quilt the Hoecake Way


This is my first.  This is my first joint project for Hoecakes & Hemlines, my first auction item, my first paid project, and my first T-Shirt Quilt.  This is the first post of a series on how to make your own T-Shirt quilt-The Hoecake Way.

This project began with a call from a fellow Hoecake asking if I would like to join her in making a quilt for her daughter’s PTA auction.  She said it was a paying gig and I was sold!  I was in… then I heard that it was a T-Shirt quilt and we had 4 weeks to get it done… EEEEP! I’m always up for a challenge and agreed!  We began by reading up online and taking bits and pieces of what we found and adding our own spin on things.  We learned a few lessons and I will share those with you as we go along.


20+ T-Shirts **

Fabric for the Back *

Fabric for the Border***


Fabric for the Binding*


Quilter’s Safety Pins

HeatNBond Lite (Not Featherweight)

Roatary Cutter and Self-Healing Mat

Acrylic Quilting Ruler


Sewing Machine


Mary Ellen’s Best Press (starch can be used, but this stuff is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!)

*Yardage will depend on the finished size of your quilt.

**Depending on the finished size of your quilt you may need more or fewer shirts.  The Hoecake Way does not include sashing between blocks and require more shirts.  This method utilizes both the front and back of the shirts to allow for the least amount of waste possible.

*** A border is not necessary, but it is up to you.  We had the kids from the school sign and draw on our border.  This added some personalization for the auction item.

1st  – Decide what you want your finished quilt size to be.  This is important so you aren’t going back and forth trying to find more meaningful shirts when you have already begun cutting.  I would hate to learn that someone had to donate blood just to get the t-shirt to finish their quilt (you should donate blood because there is a need and it is a good thing to do).  Our finished quilt was 65 inches X 75 inches.  This is plenty big enough to cuddle up with in front of the TV.

We got 5 1/2 total yards of fabric and 5 yards of batting for this project.  This was enough fabric for the back AND binding.  I used the Robert Kaufman’s Android App called The Quilters Little Helper to assist in these calculations. I used several different types of fabric, because I think the back is just as important as the front of a quilt.  Boring backs just aren’t for me.

After assembling all of your materials gather all your t-shirts and get to cutting!  We cut the t-shirts 2 ways.  You can cut the design you want to show first  and then apply the heatNbond lite or you can apply the heatNbond lite and then cut.  Either way works but *******DON’T REMOVE THE PAPER BACKING!!!!!!!************  Apply the heatNbond lite to all pieces according to the manufacturers directions.  Do not attempt to sew jersey material without the backing!  When you cut jersey the material will roll up on the edges when the heatNbond lite is applies this will not happen.

If you have a small self healing mat, you can put it inside the shirt, cut, flip and cut again.  We used graphics that were on the backs of the shirt as well as the small graphics that were on the front.  There is a place for everything. Keep your scraps!

Lay your designs out on the floor or a flat surface.  I begin in the center and then work my way out.  I also try to align blocks to make a row.  Rows are easier to put together. Look for spots that need to be filled, measure and cut a piece to fit that space.  You can add a 1/2 inch to each measurement to allow for some adjustment if you wish, but it isn’t necessary if your measurements are accurate.  Nothing has been sewn together at this point.  TAKE A PICTURE!  This will help you remember your placement.  Carefully pin each row together and begin sewing.  Using the individual rows as a guide rather than trying to tackle everything at one time.

Piece the top with the paper backing still on.  Keep some rubbing alcohol close by in the event that your needle begins to gum up.  ******You will be sewing through the paper backing!*****

When you finish each row, lay the whole thing out again and make sure you still like how things look together.  Sew the rows together.

If you are going to do a border… this is when you measure and cut your border.  When you piece this make sure you sew on the bias (sew on a 45 degree angle).  Begin with the short sides first and trim the excess.  Finish by adding the long sides and trim the excess.

Your front is now finished!  Sit back and marvel at your work!

Stop marveling and turn the whole thing over.  Begin the peeling process.  Begin with the corners and peel to the center.  Use the tweezers to pick out the large pieces of backing left under the seams.  This takes a while, but it is totally worth it!


For this project I took a fat quarter to a friend to be embroidered.  She did this as payment for me watching her house and feeding her critters while they were on vacation.  First I find the center of the top and mark it with a safety pin.  Then I get masking tape and tape the whole thing to the floor.


I took the embroidered piece and centered the words in the center and trimmed the excess.  I then cut my other pieces of fabric for the back in strips of 12 to 18 inches wide and set them out on top of the top taped to the floor.

Keep laying out pieces and sewing them until you have at least 5 inches of excess or more on each side of the quilt top.  You can use really big chunks of fabric for this step.  It can be as complicated or simple as you want it to be.  This is your quilt!  If you love it, go for it!!!!

Grab Mary Ellen’s Best Press and iron the entire thing with open seams or seams to the dark side of the fabric.  Your choice on open or to the side… Now go get your batting and let’s get on the floor!

Lay out your batting over the top which is still taped to the floor.

(Ok, here is a refresh… the quilt top is taped to the floor with the pretty side to the floor.  The batting is laying over the quilt top and the quilt back is pressed with seams how you like them and hanging out somewhere ready to be used.)

Trim the batting to at least 6 inches in excess of the quilt top.  Gently tape to the floor.  This keeps the batting and the top from moving as you are putting the quilt sandwich together.

Mark the center of the back with a safety pin and line up with the safety pin on the quilt top. (You didn’t take that out did you?)

Smooth out all the wrinkles and make sure the horizontal lines are horizontal and get out the pins!

Begin pinning in the center and work your way out.  Making sure that you smooth out the bubbles and wrinkles pin and pin and pin some more.  When you think you are done… put 10 more pins in!

Gently remove the masking tape from the floor, batting, top and move to the ironing board.  We are using the heatNbond lite to baste to the batting.  Do this step with the pins in!  This way it won’t move.

Off to the sewing machine!

Quilt with the “stitch in the ditch” method over the entire surface.  This is to sew along the seams of the top.

You can also use the seams as a guide and sew 1/4 inch on each side.

Read the directions on your batting and make sure that you are quilting close enough for the recommended spacing for your batting.  Some of my blocks required me to add stitches.  I used the masking tape again to accomplish clean straight lines.

I also used the masking tape to determine width between the lines.

This is what it looked like as I was sewing.

Peel the tape off and now it is off to cut binding!

Cut your binding.  I choose to cut mine to 2 and 1/2 inches wide.  I sew on the bias (45 degree angle) and then head to the ironing board. Trim the excess on the 45 degree angles to 1/4 inch.

I use Mary Ellen’s Best Press and iron, wrong sides together.

Back to the sewing machine!  Place the binding on the top of the quilt with raw edges together. Sew to top using 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Flip and secure back of binding to the back of the quilt.

Jenny at Missouri Star Quilts can explain it much better than I can.  Here is a link. Missouri Star has a ton of tutorials and have helped me in many ways.

Last step, pull threads and enjoy!

Open a bottle of wine, put on a good movie and curl up in your t-shirt quilt you made the Hoecake Way!

Adjusted Linoleum Tile Quilt Block

I found a picture of this block on a flickr page and absolutely fell in love!  I found directions for the original 6 inch version at I really wanted to find an excuse to make this, but a 6 inch block just isn’t my style.  I decided to make a tutorial about how I created this pattern in a finished 12 inch block.  (12.5 unfinished)

The first step was to take advantage of one of my favorite Michael Miller fabrics.

I used 4 fabrics.  I chose to fussy cut the center and use complementary fabrics on the sides.


I began by cutting my fabric.

I categorized the fabric into the following groups:

A – Red and Navy Stripes

B – Green with White Polka Dots

C – Navy with White Polka Dots

D – Navy “Rocket Club” Fussy Cut

Cut 1 – 2.5 inch strips from A

Cut 1 – 2.5 inch strips from C

Cut 4 – 4.5 inch squares from B

Fussy Cut 1 – 4.5 inch square from D

Cut 8 – 2.5 inch squares from C


Piecing the Block:

1)Remove selvages from your 2 – 2.5 inch strips of A & C. Sew together lengthwise and press with seams open.

With a roatary cutter square 1 edge of the sewn together strips.  From this piece cut 4-4.5 inch squares.

2) Take the 8 – 2.5 inch squares of C and lightly mark a diagonal line on the back (45 degree angle).

3) Take one of the squares of B and one of the squares of C and line up on 1 corner.  With right sides together (pretty to pretty) sew along the diagonal line.  Repeat with the corner on the opposite side. Trim the excess to .25 inches and press seams open.


4)  Repeat step 3 to the remaining 3 squares of fabric B.

5)  Take 2 of the pieces completed in steps 3 and 5 together with 1 of the pieces created in step 1.  Making sure that fabric A will be placed near the center and that fabric C of each piece are together, sew on each side of the piece created in step 1.  (See above photo) This will be your top row

6) Repeat step 5 making sure that all patterns align. This will be your bottom row.

7) Take fabric D and your remaining 2 pieces created in step 1.  Making sure that fabric A is together with fabric D, sew with right sides together.  Repeat so that fabric A is directly on each side of fabric D.  Press with seams open. This will be your center row.

8)  Take your top row and sew to the center row.  Tip: Align the center and not the edges.  This will help with making the seams match up.

9) Take your bottom row and sew to the top and cener rows.

10) Press with seams open and square up your 12.5 inch linoleum block!