The Road to my Rotary Cutting Revolution

The Old Italian Block
Studio Spring 2004
January 2005 Quilt videotaped for Simply Quilts
Now my 3rd Book! details
Pre-publication workshops were held at the  Great American Quilt Factory Denver and the The Quilt Crossing Boise, February 2010

Mysterious Scraps of the Self-Mitered Log Cabin

Rocky Road Trip: Denver and Boise Workshops
The Self-Mitered Log Cabin leftovers

These are my leftovers. Others made their own at the February 2010 workshops at the Great American Quilt Factory and the Quilt Crossing.

The Origin of the Self-Mitered Log Cabin

It's About Time 
Show and Tell  New York  1997
Where it all began 
I first began printing geometric block patterns using Electric Quilt software onto onion-skin paper for foundation piecing in the early '90s. Some years later, McCall’s Quilting magazine launched the Basic Realities contest which featured Jinny Beyer fabric.

I entered Reality Check using one of the early patterns. It was karma. Among the prizes I won were a half-dozen books from C&T Publishing. In 2000 I made a miniature version:  "Manhattan Two-Step."

I started the Self-Mitered Log Cabin in 2002 but put aside to write "Make It Simpler Paper Piecing" 2003 and its sequel "Perfect Blocks in Minutes" one year later for C&T Publishing I returned to the S-MLC and published it in" Rotary Cutting Revolution."  You may think you know how I pieced it but I bet you don't. You can't tell by looking at the quilt.
Reality Check 1997
Self-Mitered Log Cabin Block
Self-Mitered Log Cabin top
The Self-Mitered Quilt  2002-2008 69" x 81"  (detail)

Nine-Patch Variation Block January 2010

Fabric as fluid as paint
Quilt Moment New Year's Day
Cutting 2½" square and triangle patches and arranging them over time into blocks. A two decade project as of today. I arrange  the patches into "mock ups" slipping each into a transparent file folder for safe-keeping (lower left)  I revisit the folders with a fresh eye before sewing.

NB January 20, 2010 WYSIWYG On the table at Rose Cottage
NB December 5, 2010 progress
Last night I returned to paper Piecing my Nine-patch Variations. Two hours of fabric pleasure.

Up in Lights Times Square December 2009

The Panasonic 28' x 38' foot Astrovision screen. Times Square photo ©Dale Riehl 2009, courtesy The City Quilter, New York
Paper piecing my way to...Times Square
The City Quilter quilt shop sponsored an exhibition of juried entries that had to have been made in New York.The Panasonic screening was an unexpected bonus of 15 seconds of fame, twice an hour, for five weeks, for some quilts.

Key West Beauty 2003. My six inch finished foundation pattern appears in Make It Simpler Paper Piecing

The Key West Beauty is a traditional block but the unique foundation pattern is of my design. Each of the 25 blocks in this scrappy quilt was individually paper pieced, onto a sheet of translucent vellum. The fabrics, based on old Pennsylvania Dutch patterns were from the 2003 collection by Anita Shackelford “Pennsylvania Plain & Fancy” for P&B Textiles.

Janice E. Petre of Sinking Spring, PA machine quilted the clamshell motif. The quilt was among 60 in the exhibition "Made in New York: City Quilting" Autumn, 2009, held at the Williams Club (NYC) organized by the City Quilter and curated by Judy Doenias.

There are no curved lines in the blocks; the circular illusion is created by strongly contrasting fabrics. The illusion works when the adjoining blocks meet (or appear to meet). When piecing the blocks I had an oversized bathroom so that’s where I hung the blocks as they were completed above, one by one.

Paper Piecing Tip:
 Bring the paper to the first patch, not the patch to the paper
 Left: The unfolded foundation pattern, printed side up. The fabric patch wrong side up.

Middle: Hovering pattern over patch after a light application of a fabric glue stick to the intended area of the vellum.

 Right: Seal the deal. Press the vellum to the patch. All patches were cut to size.
Talk about magnification: from 30 inches wide to 38 feet wide, quite the stretch. So much for “It will never be noticed on a galloping horse.”

Nine-Patch Variation Block November 2009

The Long and Short of It

In 2003, Make It Simpler® Paper Piecing was recorded for Simply Quilts.
[As of June 2011, the video is embedded at conclusion of this post]
Since then I've been assembling Nine-patch Variation blocks as demonstrated during the show.  Six years later, they are the departure point for this evolving Blog.
I first encountered the Nine-patch Variation as a BOM (Block of the Month) in the early '90s at the Empire Quilters guild in New York. The center squares, in red, were not split. I sewed 4 blocks, dark edges together in a side by side arrangement, forming a Sunshine and Shadow layout.
I date this piece circa 1993 by looking at it's back. I no longer press seams to the sides as shown above. I found that I prefer seams pressed open.
A few 'Split' Nine-patch Variation quilts are documented in
  New Jersey Quilts  1777 to 1950

As an ongoing diversion and reward to myself, I've pieced 140 blocks to date, each 6-1/2" unfinished, on Simple Foundations translucent vellum
My foundation pattern, that accompanies the 2003 Simply Quilts video may be downloaded here

The pattern with step-by-step directions appeared in each of my first two books  Know that the   authentic version of Make It Simpler Paper Piecing is 9 x 11 inches, not 8 ½ x 11 inches)  Altogether over 100 block foundation patterns between both books. [Note in 2012 both books went out-of-print]
 Additional video tutorials

Six Video Segments from "Simply Quilts"

As of April 12, 2015,
Links to three of these six HGTV videos (2003, paper piecing) are broken. While I try to update them I am leaving this page as is. Should you locate  the epsiodes on would you please advise me, below, in comments.

Make It Simpler Paper Piecing
Simply Quilts episode #935 (2003)
VIDEO More blocks including Hugs & Kisses part 3

Make It Simpler Rotary Cutting
Simply Quilts episode #1129 (2005) featuring my Square on Point and Old Italian Block techniques which were updated and improved five years later in the book Rotary Cutting Revolution

VIDEO Super-Size-a-Nine-Patch Quilt,
the visual to Anita's Quiltmaker PDF
 The above HGTV videos can be viewed only on computers located in U.S.