What to do when your quilt is attacked by a toddler wielding a dry erase marker

I had just finished my mini quilt for the Bee a {Modern} Swapper swap.

Patchwork and birds mini quilt

I had solved my conundrum over what to do about quilting around the bird in the middle of the quilt.


I had finished the quilting around the rest of the quilt.


The only think I had left to do was to attach the binding and send the quilt off to its new home.  I was pleased to be finished, so I brought the quilt downstairs to take a photo.  Before I could return my pretty mini quilt to the sewing room to add the finishing touches, disaster struck in the form of a 2-year-old who had gotten her hands on a dry erase marker.

The horror!!

Here’s a tip: dry erase marker is more or less permanent on fabric.  Do not ever allow a child to unleash her “creative additions” on your quilting project with dry erase marker.  At least give her a washable marker or an ink pen.  I’m sure those would come out easier than this, which, did not come out at all!

In case you were curious, here is the list of various cleaners and chemicals I used on the marker in an attempt to remove it.  Oxiclean MaxForce laundry stain remover, Resolve carpet cleaner, extended soak in oxyclean, Mr. Clean magic eraser, extra concentrated oxyclean, nail polish remover, pure acetone, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, bleach pen, mineral spirits, and Greased Lightning cleaner.  Hmmm … I think that’s all.  I received several other suggestions that I did not try (Murphy’s oil soap, hairspray, rotten milk), but really, I think I covered the spectrum of chemical reaction that could have removed it.

When it became clear that I would not be able to remove the marker, I made a plan to cover it.  I traced the edges of the various sections of the quilt and marked where the damage was.  When I had finished that, I drew out an appliqué pattern to cover it.

Then it was just a matter of creating the actual fabric appliqué.  To keep with the style I had already started in the center of my quilt and have a piece large enough to cover all the damage, I ended doing raw edge appliqué on two dozen little leaves, a large tree, a bird, and three flowers.  Phew!

But we’ll call it a success.

IMG_5507 There is one bit of marker left that I could have covered with a different arrangement of the leaves, but I’m leaving it uncovered as a remind of what I went through with this project.

IMG_5509I finished it off with some aqua Ta Dots for the binding.

IMG_5511You can see on the back where I added the appliqué after the quilt was already together, but since this is a wall hanging, you’ll never even notice.



Tree in the Sunset mini quilt

I joined a mini quilt swap through the Flickr group Bee a {Modern} Swapper.  The result was actually TWO mini quilts because the first one was damaged by a 2-year-old wielding a dry erase marker (note: dry erase marker on fabric is PERMANENT!).  I have now creatively covered the marker, but there was so much of time and tears in that quilt that I couldn’t bear to give it away.

So with less than a week to go before the mailing deadline, I made a new one!  I showed you part of it the other day, along with a couple extras I included in the package.  But I didn’t want the color scheme to ruin the surprise for the recipient, so I waited to show you the whole thing.  Since the package has been delivered, here is mini quilt #2.

My partner was Tiffany, for whom I made the spider web blocks last month.  As a result, I knew she was going to be working on a quilt for her home with a purple, orange and brown color scheme.  I used my tree from the first mini and her color palette as my inspiration.

Tree in the Sunset mini quilt

My free motion quilting definitely leaves much to be desired, and I’m working on it.  I used this mini to practice some new stitches.  I hope Tiffany can overlook the imperfections of this beginner.  I added some pointy blades of grass and tried out a modified tree bark design that I learned from Leah Day’s free motion quilting site.

Tree in the Sunset mini quilt: Grass and tree bark quilting

The fabric for the sunset sky is something I fell in love with when looking for a fabric for another project.  I believe it’s by Hoffman Fabrics.

Tree in the Sunset mini quilt: close up


I used a variegated thread for the quilting in the sky, which I think complements the sunset vibe nicely.

Tree in the Sunset mini quilt: variegated thread quilting I love how the quilting looks on the back, especially the tree.

Tree in the Sunset mini quilt: back, close up of quilting Tree in the Sunset mini quilt: back

More fun finishes at Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday and Finish It Up Friday.


Spider web block tutorial

Have you seen Heather’s excellent spider web quilt block tutorial from House of a la Mode?  She uses a fabric foundation to create the block, which finishes at 12″ square.  This tutorial is great if you’re going to make an entire project from her tutorial.

However, if you are making a block or two for a quilt bee, or for a sampler quilt, the 12 inch block size is just a teensy bit too small.  You want your block to be 12.5 inches square.  I also wanted to eliminate the fabric foundation and create a template for the center of the block so I wouldn’t end up with so much wasted fabric.

Here is how you can make a template for your block centers and for trimming the quarters of the block, and finished 12.5 inch spider web quilt block.

UPDATE: I made a printable pdf template for the center portion of the spider web block, as well as one for trimming the 1/4 block to the correct size. 

CLICK HERE: Cutting template PDF for spider web quilt block

If you have printed your template, skip to the section called “Cut out your block centers.”  If you’d like to learn how to make your template, keep reading.

Draw a 12-inch square on a large piece of paper (I used freezer paper).

Divide the 12-inch square into quarters by drawing diagonal lines from corner to corner, forming an “x” across the square.

In one of the quarters, mark the center of the square’s edge.  Also make a mark along the diagonal lines 6-inches from each corner.

You will end up with 3 marks, each 6 inches from their closest corners.

Connect the mark on each diagonal line to the mark in the center of the square’s edge.  This is the center portion of your finished block.

To finish up your template, add a seam allowance of 1/4 inch all the way around.

Cut out the shape around the seam allowance and you have a template for the center portion of your spider web block!

Make a trimming template

To ensure your block ends up the correct size, you are going to need to trim up each quarter block before sewing them together.

Guess what?  You already made your trimming template!  It’s the quarter square directly across from the one you used to make the center piece template.

All you have to do is add 1/4 inch seam allowances all the way around and cut it out.

Two templates – easy!

Cut out your block centers

Lay your center template on the fabric you will be using for the center of your block.  Align a ruler with the template and use your rotary cutter to cut out the centers of your block.

(No rotary cutter?  No problem.  Just use a pencil or a fabric mark to draw around your template and cut out with your scissors.)

And since you have this handy template, you can turn it the other direction, lay it along the line you just cut, and cut out the rest of your pieces.  Very little waste.  Yay!

For each block, you will need four (4) center pieces from your template and a pile of strips.    Your longest strips need to be 6 inches long, and I like to cut mine 1-2 inches wide.  You will need between 40-65 strips per block, depending on how wide you cut your strips.

Construct the block

Take one of your center pieces, and align a strip with one of the long edges, right sides together.

Sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Open the strip away from the center piece.  (Gross.  Ignore my yucky ironing board cover, which clearly needs to be replaced.)

Align your next strip with the edge of the first, right sides together.

Again, sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and then open the strip outward.

Continue in this manner until you’ve attached enough strips to reach the edge of your trimming template.

You’ll need 6.5 inches of pieced strips from the center point to the edge, but if you’re not sure, just hold the template up to to check.

Add another series of strips for the other side of the quarter block.  If you have not yet pressed your seams with a hot iron, now is the time.

Align your trimming template with your quarter block and place a ruler along the edge of the template.  Trim around all sides.

Now, make three more quarter blocks in the same way.

With a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew pairs of quarter blocks together.  Press the seam open.

Align the center seams of the two halves, as well as the seams at the edge of the block center.  Sew the halves together with a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Trim the block to 12.5 inches.

Then, go make some more.  Because the beauty in this block is in how it comes together with its friends.  I only made two blocks since they were for a bee, but you can see how the spider web shape begins to appear where the blocks meet.

Mothers Day Mug Rugs

With now plan for Mothers Day, I suddenly had a stroke of brilliance (in my humble opinion) and decided to make quilted mug rugs for my mother and mother-in-law.

“What,” my husband asked, “is a mug rug?”

It’s a rug for your mug, obviously.  Ha!  Okay, think small placemat or large coaster.  It’s a pop of fun and color for your table large enough for your mug of coffee/tea/hot chocolate/vodka (just kidding) and a little snack (or a big pile of chocolate chips) to go along with it.

I used the scraps leftover from the rainbow double staircase baby quilt I’m working on.  This one has a rail fence design and random zig zag quilting.

The other one has two little wonky stars.  I kind of wish I had used white for the center of the stars as well to make them show up a little better, but I still love them as a more subtle design element.

I tried some free motion loops for the quilting on this one and learned (well, I already knew) and my free motion quilting really needs some work.  Wow.  The quilting is not terrible by any means, but it’s certainly not great, either.  I think I should do some more little projects like this to practice!

I raided my scrap bin for the back and binding and sent them off in the mail not quite in time for Mothers Day.

Quilt block for the librarian

Just as a botanist/quilter such as myself should have a tree quilt, it stands that a librarian/quilter should have a bookcase quilt.  Manda realized this and requested bookcase blocks from her hive members in Bee a {modern} swapper.  I’m not in Manda’s hive, however, she posted a thread requesting a one-for-one exchange.  So, I make her a bookcase block, she makes me a tree block.  Win-win.

While I thought I had measured correctly, I was wrong.  Boo hoo.  I added a strip of the background fabric to the top to compensate.

The books are various sizes and styles, made from my scrap bin, so this was nice scrap buster project.  The book on the left and the one on the right were once pants.  How’s that for up-cycling?!

This particular shelf of the bookcase is decorated with a flower vase that has two flower with disproportionately skinny stems.  Call it “creative license.”  A little wonder under and they were ready to go!  Perhaps I should have picked some flowers with fewer petals to go ’round, but they did turn out well.