Pokeberry – Applique BOM Block 2

Today’s post is Pokeberry, the July block of the Triplett Sisters BOM. Click here to go to their page or here to see my earlier post.

I’m stitching these charming blocks using Back Basting Applique and will be posting photos, tips and tutorials as we progress.

When I saw the pattern for the Pokeberry block for a tiny moment I regretted that I wasn’t buying the pre-fused, laser cut version of this BOM (available from the Triplett sisters). It certainly would have been sweet to have all those 61 berries already cut out for me!!

Lori’s block. Pre-fused, laser cut. Perfect berries!

Being a great fan of Karen Kay Buckley’s perfect circle makers I first thought I’d make the berries with them. But these pokeberries are so tiny! After letting it bounce around in my head for a few days I made up my mind that I would stick with Back Basting Applique and post a picture tutorial to go with my finished block.

Then came the color choices. I love the vintage red and green color combination of the original quilt but I’m using my Waddington Road prints in my sample. The pokeberries in the original were stitched in plain red fabric (as were the stems).  I have pokeberries growing wild in my yard – they are interesting and grow to gigantic plants (but they are invasive so I pull them out by the roots before the berries ripen). The berries are a gorgeous bluish purple color. Since I didn’t have purple in my fabric palette I made my pokeberries blue.

Pokeberry – Block 2 of Triplett Sisters BOM

In my book Back Basting Applique Step by Step I describe completing the basting step on the machine – my favorite method. (Refer to pages 14-15 for Back Basting by Machine, Appliqueing by Hand.) The  basting stitches, once removed, leave a perforated line in the fabric marking the seam line – it’s helpful for needle turning the seam allowance.

I drew the entire pattern (reversed) on the wrong side of the background block then I appliqued all leaves and stems saving the berries for last. Go ahead, call it procrastination! I used one piece of fabric (instead of a tiny bit for each berry) and basted every other berry. Skipping every other berry left enough fabric for a seam allowance. Note: I use regular 50 wt thread in the bottom and Mettler 40 wt thread in the top with an 80 universal needle. I drop the feed dogs and use free motion stitching.

Berries machine basted, and trimmed with the first one appliqued

Trim around each berry leaving a scant seam allowance. Clip the seam allowance with 5-6 clips creating tabs. Don’t clip all the way to the stitching, a little more than halfway is enough.  Clipping too close can cause fraying at the seam line.

Remove the basting stitches from half of the berry and needle turn the seam allowance turning one tab at a time using the needle or a toothpick to tuck the seam allowance under the berry. Stitch one or two stitches then turn a little more seam allowance under. I like this method of clipping the seam allowance creating tabs because I can work with a very small area at a time and there is  less tendency for the turn under to roll back out. Shape the berry as you applique. Stitch all the way around to get the seam allowance tucked in, then stitch a second time around the berry with smaller stitches to fine tune the edges.

Applique all the berries that were basted in the first set.

First group of berries appliqued

Using one piece of fabric again, baste the alternate berries that were skipped in the first round.

Trim around each berry leaving enough seam allowance to turn under.

Second group of berries basted and trimmed.

Applique the second group of berries. Repeat for all four branches of berries (which took me days and days to stitch!)

With a dime for scale. See, those berries are tiny!

Here is my completed block.

Pokeberry Block 2 of Triplett Sisters BOM

Other tips:

Use fine cotton or silk thread in a color that closely matches the berry fabric.

Poke the needle slightly under the berry as you begin each applique stitch. This helps round the edges.

I’m a tight appliquer, meaning I pull the thread snugly after each stitch. On tiny berries my tight stitches leave a little divot which tends to distort the smooth edge of the berry.  I find it helpful if I don’t pull my thread as tightly as usual.

If your berries a little wonky here’s a trick: Embroider around each berry using either a back stitch or a stem stitch with one strand of embroidery floss in a color that matches your berries. The embroidery can help camouflage irregularities in the berries.

If you’re on Facebook there is a page dedicated to this BOM. Click here for the Triplett Sisters Block of the Month Facebook page.


30’s Sampler Block of the Month

It’s coming soon! A BOM quilt right here at Barb’s Favorites! It’s starting on July 1, 2017 and continuing for the next ten months.

Here is a sneak peek:This 80″ x 80″ quilt is designed specifically for the embroidery panels that have been licensed by McKim Studios and are marketed with my Vintage 30’s Ruby’s Treasures.

My sample will use both the Farm Life panel and the Flower Garden panel. But you could make the quilt with two flower panels or two farm panels.

The 30’s Sampler Quilt is designed specifically for the pre-printed blocks which finish 7 3/4″ x 7 3/4″ which is sort of an odd size for alternate pieced blocks. So I’ve come up with 41 blocks that can be trimmed to size without sacrificing points or other design elements.

I will be releasing the patterns four blocks each month for ten months. There will be five blocks in the last month. They will be FREE as pdf downloads for the first month they are posted after which they will be available to purchase for $5 per four block set.

My sample will have 41 pieced blocks alternating with 40 appliqued blocks. I’ll be doing back basting applique and blogging about the process. Instead of applique you could embroider the preprinted blocks. Or paint them. Or crayon tint the blocks before embroidering them!

Make the quilt in any fabrics you’d like but if you want to make it like mine I am offering a kit in my online store. Check it out here.

The kit has everything you will need.

Click here for a pdf of the supply list and general information about the program.


Red and Green Applique, Be Still My Heart!

Those who know me best know that applique quilts are my favorite – especially 19th century, red and green, appliqued, sampler quilts. I adore them. So when Lori Triplett showed me the Huguenot Friendship Quilt that she and her sister Kay were planning as a Block of the Month program my heart skipped a beat – it was red and green, it was applique, it was sampler blocks. There was no doubt in my mind, I would be making that quilt!

But there’s more! I’ve been invited to join Lori and Kay in sewing the blocks with each of us using different colorways and different methods. I’ll be stitching my blocks using the Back Basting Applique technique with a selection of fabrics from my Waddington Road Primitives fabric collection.

The color palette for my blocks in Waddington Road Primitives

Each month I’ll be posting my version of the blocks here at Barb’s Favorites but if you want to sew-a-long you will need to get the patterns or fusible applique kits over at the Triplett Sister’s website. Click here to see the original quilt (get ready to gasp!) and read all the details of the program.

Here’s my first block: Windblown Aster. It finishes 8″ x 8″ and will be turned on point in the final quilt.

Huguenot Friendship Quilt, Block 1 Windblown Aster



Day 5 of Ruby’s Block Hop!

Are you having fun going from blog to blog and collecting block tutorials? Let’s welcome Reeze Hanson of Morning Glory Quilts to day 5 of the blog hop. She has a really cool block tutorial to share with you so find the link at the end of this post to go to Reeze’s blog.

In previous posts I talked about choosing the color palette, borrowing sample fabrics from Sunbonnet Sue’s dress and a patchwork dog’s nose, and from the little kits leftover from Ruby’s business. Some of the fabrics were just small scraps found in a scrap bag, but others required a visit with a seam ripper. For example, yo-yo quilts and Dresden plate petals were the source for a few prints in the collection! Each of these designs were reproduced in two colorways.img_9111-2


All this work was going on over the winter with consultations back and forth with the design team. Then in the spring I walked through the fabric company’s warehouse and came across this – my very own fabric collection in huge rolls, just off the truck from the mill waiting to be rolled onto bolts and shipped to stores.img_7776

And later I strolled down an aisle and saw this – bolts of Ruby’s Treasures on the shelf, I couldn’t help it, there wasn’t a soul around, and yet, I smiled. I may have even said, “Hi there Ruby’s Treasures! So nice to see you!” img_7777-1Then another day, this – I came home to find two big boxes on my front porch. And what was inside? My very own stash of Ruby’s Treasures. Let the sewing begin!img_7649In May we were off to Salt Lake City for 2106 Spring Quilt Market where Vintage 30s Ruby’s Treasures was officially released.

img_7911I’ll keep adding to this story so check back daily to find out more about the creation of Vintage 30s Ruby’s Treasures.

And here are the links to all the stops on the blog hop.

Friday 11/4: Barb Eikmeier @Barb’s Favorites

Monday 11/7: Donna Lynn Thomas @DonnaLynnThomasQuilter

Tuesday 11/8:Theresa Ward @AlwaysQuilts

Wednesday 11/9: Pat Speth @NickelQuilts

Thursday 11/10: Reeze Hanson @MorningGloryDesigns

Friday 11/11: Kelly Ashton @KellyQuilter

And here’s the link to Inspired by Fabric, our blog host


Day 4 of Ruby’s Block Hop

It’s Day 4 and we welcome Pat Speth to the blog hop fun! Pat is a newcomer to our blog hop group and I think you will enjoy her tutorial. Pat and I became friends at a quilt retreat and I’m here to say, she has a lot of really cool tricks and I bet she has something clever to share with you on her blog. So hop on over to visit Pat. Find the link at the bottom of this post.

And here’s more about the creation of Vintage 30s Ruby’s Treasures. During the course of designing a fabric collection there are some prints that you can’t help but love the minute you see them. Others need a bit of tweaking before they get the stamp of approval or in some cases, the ax. Yes, it happens. Some prints don’t make the cut.

Leftovers from Ruby’s business, currently in the care of her granddaughter Merrily, are much the way she left them in 1935 when she switched from quilting to doll making. Most of the fabric swatches I saw were solids but three prints were reproduced from samples found in Ruby’s archives. This gorgeous yellow and blue tulip print was originally much larger. Working from a scrap of the original fabric, we scaled it down a bit and brightened it up. The favorite of the group for many, it’s also available pre-quilted with a yellow print on the other side.4-color1One of the little kits Merrily showed me was for an apron made with red, cream and blue stripes. The new version of the fabric has pink in place of the red, since we weren’t including red in the color palette. At one point we also had this same stripe in violet, green and yellow. But after a few iterations it just didn’t sing so it was eliminated. You’ll have to take my word for it, it sounds prettier than it looked!5-color1The last print that came from Ruby’s treasures is this diagonal plaid. The original was pink and we added a second color way in green. 6-color1

6-color2This block hop is a fun way to collect 6 different block tutorials all made with the Vintage 30s Ruby’s Treasures fabric collection. Make each block in both colorways and you’ll have enough for a 12 block quilt! If you are joining in late, don’t worry, the drawings won’t take place until later in Nov. If it’s much later you can still collect the tutorials and sign up to follow Inspired by Fabric so you don’t miss their next great blog hop!

Here is the list of participants.

Friday 11/4: Barb Eikmeier @Barb’s Favorites

Monday 11/7: Donna Lynn Thomas @DonnaLynnThomasQuilter

Tuesday 11/8:Theresa Ward @AlwaysQuilts

Wednesday 11/9: Pat Speth @NickelQuilts

Thursday 11/10: Reeze Hanson @MorningGloryDesigns

Friday 11/11: Kelly Ashton @KellyQuilter

And here’s the link to Inspired by Fabric, our blog host


Day 3 of Ruby’s Block Hop!

It’s day 3 of the block hop and today we welcome Theresa Ward. Hop on over to her blog at Always Quilts and check out the tutorial and two examples of her block made with, Ruby’s Treasures fabrics!

As I was designing the fabric collection I dug into my own treasure trove of 30s prints. I have scrap bags, quilts, and unfinished blocks as well as a toy dog made by my grandmother. I studied all of these old textiles looking for charming prints that I thought I’d like to include.

One of the prints in the collection was reproduced from fabrics found in a pair of antique Sunbonnet Sue blocks. The blocks were given to me by my 96 year old friend Marguerite who told me they were made by her older sister Emily. I had already decided on the color palette (see my post for Day 2) and was delighted that the colors in the original fabrics were already included in the palette. img_7865

We reproduced both the violet/green sprigs and the pink/blue sprigs. Aren’t they sweet?


1-color2I wanted to include these two prints since they came from the gifted Sunbonnet blocks but also because I had queried a few of my friends who love vintage 30s prints. They told me they thought the 30s prints that were available were lacking in prints with light backgrounds.

The other light background print in the collection is this happy little dot. dots-pink-and-green

dots-viloet-and-yelThe original print came from a stuffed patchwork dog made by my grandmother.

Patchwork dog made by my grandmother Mary Martin

Patchwork dog made by my grandmother.

I had to take the fabric swatch off his nose in order to have it reproduced! img_9112-2

Theresa used both of these light prints effectively in her blocks. The blog hop/block hop continues for the rest of this week so check back – I’ll continue sharing about designing Ruby’s Treasures.

And hop around collecting block tutorials. Leave a comment at each stop to enter to win great prizes and ask for Vintage 30s Ruby’s Treasures at your favorite quilt store!

Here’s the rest of the schedule:

Friday 11/4: Barb Eikmeier @Barb’s Favorites

Monday 11/7: Donna Lynn Thomas @DonnaLynnThomasQuilter

Tuesday 11/8:Theresa Ward @AlwaysQuilts

Wednesday 11/9: Pat Speth @NickelQuilts

Thursday 11/10: Reeze Hanson @MorningGloryDesigns

Friday 11/11: Kelly Ashton @KellyQuilter

And our blog host Inspired by Fabric


Day 2 of Ruby’s Block Hop

Thanks for stopping in! It’s Day 2 of Ruby’s Block Hop! If you haven’t already been there hop over to Donna Lynn Thomas’ blog and see the beautiful blocks she made for the block hop! Click here to get to her blog and detailed tutorial.

If you missed the first block (posted by yours truly!) you can see it here.

I thought this Block Hop would be a good time to write about designing the Vintage 30s Ruby’s Treasures fabric collection.

I was working with Merrily McKim Tuohey, Ruby’s granddaughter, to write magazine articles to help spread the word about Ruby’s 100th anniversary. One day she opened the family archives and let me peek into Ruby’s scrapbooks. Among the treasures was an original applique kit for a vase filled with flowers. The fabrics were all solids.

Some weeks later, when I began designing the Vintage 30s Ruby’s Treasures fabric, I started with those solids from that little kit. Paintbrush Studio had just introduced their scrumptious Painter’s Palette line of solid fabrics so I compared their color swatch card to the solids from the vintage kit and selected these 9 colors. They became the palette for the reproduction collection. I love how the bolts rearranged themselves in the back of my car on the way home!


Check back tomorrow for more about Ruby, her treasures, and the fabric collection she inspired! And check out Merrily’s website McKim Studio Revival for more about Ruby and her patterns.

Here is the schedule for the rest of the blog hop.  Leave a comment on each blog to be entered to win great prizes.

Friday 11/4: Barb Eikmeier @Barb’s Favorites

Monday 11/7: Donna Lynn Thomas @DonnaLynnThomasQuilter

Tuesday 11/8: Theresa Ward @AlwaysQuilts

Wednesday 11/9: Pat Speth @NickelQuilts

Thursday 11/10: Reeze Hanson @MorningGloryDesigns

Friday 11/11: Kelly Ashton @KellyQuilter

And to visit our host, Inspired by Fabric blog, click here.


Ruby’s Treasures Blog Hop Starts Here!

Let the Blog Hop Begin! 14958545_10157615643450527_1228008125_nThe Ruby’s Treasures fabric collection was created to celebrate 100 years of Ruby Short McKim. In 1916 Ruby’s first quilt pattern was published by the Kansas City Star newspaper launching her career as a quilt designer. Throughout the 20s and early 30s she published numerous patterns but only one book: One Hundred and One Patchwork Patterns.

For this blog hop I’ve joined together with a five of my quilting friends to bring you blocks from Ruby’s book. You can access the original patterns for free online at www.101patchworkpatterns.com

I’ve asked each participant to choose one of Ruby’s blocks and make it as a 12” block then share a tutorial making the block in two different color ways, using, of course, the Vintage 30s Ruby’s Treasures fabric collection.

Hop around and collect all 6 tutorials to make a 12 block quilt. Leave a comment at each stop to be entered to win great prizes!

I’m kicking things off with Eight Pointed Star. Often called LeMoyne Star, in her book Ruby refers to the pattern simply as Eight Pointed Star. She wrote, “There are ever so many star quilt blocks … the diamond pattern here fits together eight times into a perfect eight pointed one, which is perhaps favorite in the galaxy.” Click here to see Ruby’s pattern.

Here are my two color waystut-14


In my first example I’ve paired the violet floral print with a pink solid in a classic layout. For this version we’ll rotary cut the pieces and construct the block with set in seams. Don’t stop reading just because you saw those words ‘set in seams’. It’s not that hard, you just have to take it one step at a time – and I have tips!

In the blue and cream version we’ll use Marti Michell’s Perfect Patchwork Templates and I’ll show an assembly method that does not require set in seams.

Let’s get started!

Violet Block


Cut (1) 3” x 22” strip of the violet/pink/yellow print

Cut (1) 3″ x 22”  strip of pink solid

Cut (1) 4” x 18” strip of violet/yellow dot; crosscut into (4)  4” x 4” squares

Cut (1) 6 ¼” x 6 ¼” square of violet/yellow dot; cut diagonally twice to make (4) side triangles.

Stack the pink strip and floral strip of fabric right side up and cut four diamonds from each. Use the 45° line on the ruler to trim the end then cut in 3” intervals. Cut (4) of each fabric. tut-1



There are several ways to sew the eight pointed star block together. This is my favorite.

Mark a dot at the 1/4″ seam lines of the pink diamonds. If you have trouble eyeing the 1/4″ seam line draw intersecting lines and use the point where the lines cross.tut-5

Sew the diamonds into pairs starting the stitching ¼” from the outside edge, backstitch, then stitch all the way to the end on the inside point. Press the seams toward the pink fabric. Repeat to make 4.tut-7

Sew the pairs into halves the same way, by starting at the outside edge, ¼” from the end, backstitching, and sewing all the way to the other end.tut-8


Sew the two halves together, match the center and pin. You might find that your center points come out better if you sew from the center to the outside, stopping ¼” from the outside edge and backstitching then cut the threads and go back to the center to stitch the other side, again stopping ¼” from the edge. Sometimes stitching across the center will push the center to one side making a less than perfect center.

Now comes the fun part – setting in the corners and side triangles. I’ve laid out all the pieces so you can see where they go.img_9039 I prefer to start with a corner and work in one direction going around the block alternating a corner with a side triangle. You could also set in the four corners then go back and set in the four triangles. Or you could set the triangles in first. img_9040


The block will come out the same no matter which way you sew it together. It’s not necessary to press until all the pieces are set in. Here’s a tip: No matter which order you choose to set the pieces in, sew all the way to the outside edges and leave the seam open ¼” on the inside corners and backstitching whenever there is a seam that stops at that 1/4″ seam line.

Mark dots at the 1/4″ point on the corners of the background squares and triangles. Align one side of the square with the edge of a pink diamond. Poke a straight pin through the dot and pin it through the dot on the diamond. Sew from the outside edge toward the dot. Back stitch at the dot.tut-10b

Remove from the sewing machine and rotate so you can align the adjoining side of the square to the floral diamond. Repeat the stitching sewing from the outside toward the center. Backstitch at the dot. tut-11

Add the adjoining side triangle in the same manner.tut-12Tip: When sewing set in seams if you have trouble hitting the dot perfectly it’s better to stop too soon vs stitching too far.


Continue around the block alternating a corner square and triangle until all background pieces have been set it.

Give your block a final pressing and measure it. Does it measure 12 ½” x 12 ½” at this point? Then congratulations! You did an excellent job!tut-14

Let’s make the block again, this time using templates to cut out the block.

For my second color way I’m going to use Marti Michell’s Perfect Patchwork Templates to cut out the shapes. Template Set E is the eight pointed star set, and I’m also using one of my new favorites, the Multi-sized Half Square Triangle Ruler. In this example there are extra seams in the background pieces which is a way to avoid set in seams. Try it both ways and decide which you like better.


Use Marti Michell template set E and the multi-sized half square triangle to cut the pieces.

Cut (1) 3” x 22″ strip of blue/yellow tulip print

Cut (1) 3” x 22″ strip of blue print

Cut (1) 4” x 22″ strip of plain background

Cut (1) 3” x 22″ strip of plain background

For the diamonds use template E 30 and cut (4) from each 3″ strip of print fabric for the stars (4 blue/yellow tulip and 4 blue print) Nip off the points.tut-15



Use template E 32 and cut (8) large triangles from the 4″ strip of background fabric for the corners. Nip off the points.tut-18

Use the multi-sized half square triangle ruler and cut (8) small triangles of the background fabric for the side triangles using the 3” line on the ruler. Nip off the points using the corner of the ruler.tut-20


Sew a small triangle and a large triangle to each diamond as pictured. Make sure the orientation is correct. img_9057On the blue diamonds press the small triangle seams toward the diamond and the large triangle away from the diamond. Press the seams of the floral print units the opposite way with the small triangles going away from the diamond and the large triangles going toward it. Make 4 of each.img_9058

Place the units right sides together. You will notice that the seams nest perfectly since they were pressed in opposing directions. Sew and press the seam toward the blue diamond. Make 4.img_9059Sew together in pairs and press the seams toward the floral diamond. Make 2.

img_9060Match the center and sew the two halves together. Press the seam open. tut-26And there we have it, another beautiful Eight Pointed Star.

Which technique is for you? Set in seams or not? Do you like the pink or blue star best? Have you ever tried Marti’s Michell’s perfect patchwork templates?

Leave a comment to enter the giveaway!

I’m giving away a Craftsy Class Connect the Blocks – it has sashing ideas to complete the blocks in this hop into beautiful quilts and Marti has donated Template Set E and the Half Square Triangle Ruler. And don’t forget, if you haven’t already been to Inspired by Fabric blog, hop on over there, sign up to follow (if you don’t already) and leave a comment – they are giving away fat quarter bundles of Ruby’s Treasures!

Here is the schedule for the rest of the hop. Stop by here each day as well, I’ll be sharing more about Ruby and the fabric collection she inspired.

Friday 11/4: Barb Eikmeier @Barb’s Favorites

Monday 11/7: Donna Lynn Thomas @DonnaLynnThomasQuilter

Tuesday 11/8:Theresa Ward @AlwaysQuilts

Wednesday 11/9: Pat Speth @NickelQuilts

Thursday 11/10: Reeze Hanson @MorningGloryDesigns

Friday 11/11: Kelly Ashton @KellyQuilter

And here’s the link to Inspired by Fabric, our blog host


New Fabric Collection – Ruby’s Treasures

Just released! Vintage 30s – Ruby’s Treasures by Barbara J. Eikmeier for Paintbrush Studio. It’s my new fabric collection!

Vintage 30s - Ruby's Treasures by Barbara J. Eikmeier for Paintbrush Studio

Vintage 30s – Ruby’s Treasures by Barbara J. Eikmeier for Paintbrush Studio

If you like reproduction thirties prints or are just looking for a bright, clear collection for a special project ask for Ruby’s Treasures at your local quilt store. It’s Made in the USA and is shipping to stores now. I’ll be going to International Quilt Market next week and will have more to share soon!

In the meantime, Ruby’s Treasures is featured in a blog post over at Inspired by Fabric. Click over to find out about some of the “inspiration” (no pun intended) behind the collection!

I’ve been busy sewing up a storm so come back over the next few weeks for show and tell!


License Plate Quilt – free pattern

It’s almost summer and with summer comes the Row by Row Experience. If you collect license plates as you travel from quilt shop to quilt shop and are looking for a project to use them in consider my License Plate Quilt. I designed it using a package of tone on tone 2 1/2″ pre-cut strips and 30 license plates collected from hither and yon.

License Plate quilt

License Plate quilt  by Barbara J. Eikmeier

To make the quilt you may download the pattern for free here.License Plate Quilt PDF