Category Archives: Alabama Beauty

Intermediate Pieced Duet

“Round And Round” from the great Perry Como song of the same name. The block is called Alabama Beauty. I used the Orange Peel Deluxe pattern from Inklingo. The quilt is entirely hand pieced to include the borders. I only used the machine to attach the binding. Quilted by Margaret Gunn.

The Alabama Beauty block is by Nancy Cabot and was published in the Chicago Tribune in 1933. My version bears no resemblance to the traditional block. It was usually just two contrasting colors. More about Nancy and her wonderful block here.

Here it is at home:

And here it is at the show. It won second place.

Here is the blue ribbon winner “Remember Italy” by Brenda Lewis. The pattern is Judy Niemeyer’s Glacier Star. My foto is blurred – sorry.

Third place is Scrappy Serpentine Stars by Jackie Mooneyham. From a Bonnie Hunter design.

More tomorrow…..

Alabama Beauty is quilted

AB full quilt
AB detail side view
AB red dot


The Alabama beauty arrived home safely yesterday. I LOVE it – Margaret did a spectacular job. Her photos are better than mine – you can see the details of the quilting .

See the photos and read about the details of the quilting process.

And here – back on the long arm for more quilting:

Mailing the finished quilt to Panama is always nerve-wracking for me. Margaret ships it via UPS it to our freight forwarder in Miami  (that’s the easy and safe part of the journey.) When it arrives in Panama it has to go through customs and I am always afraid that they are going to go wild with the box cutter and slice into the quilt. I always ask that Margaret put a piece or two or cardboard on the top of the quilt in case of a box cutter mishap. She did and – wouldn’t you know it – they cut the box open from the bottom! But nothing was damaged – thank goodness.

The quilt is quilted but there is still some work to do before I can block and bind it. Before Margaret even began the quilting she suggested that I appliqué some 1/2 inch circles/dots in the center of the red petals.

After much thought I have decided that I am going to take her advice. I was against it at first –  is it going to be perceived as a cover up of a less than perfect intersection?

Somehow it feels like a failure on my part that I couldn’t get it  absolutely perfect. But  Margaret convinced me that it would greatly enhance the competitiveness of the quilt – and after all I enter shows because it’s fun and winning ribbons is always a plus! If the damn dots may positively influence a judge – I’ll do it!

I think I have figured out why the decision to add the dots was difficult for me. I worked sooooo hard on those intersections and was very proud of how well I did – they lay flat and there were no holes. I sort of wanted to leave them that way to show the judge and the show atendees how well I had mastered a difficult technical challenge. But… now that it is so beautifully quilted I do admit they look a little “raw”  – somewhat unfinished.

Those dots are going to be very challenging – they wouldn’t have been easy if I’d done it block by block – but now I will be handling a whole quilt – that has been quilted! Yikes!

I have already started making the dots using my glue stick freezer paper on the top method. I am using dark purple on the 36 blocks with the purple points and a dark reddish orange for the 25 intersections with the yellow circle backgrounds.

The Alabama Beauty pattern – like the Joseph’s Coat – is often appliquéd – it certainly would have been far easier! So I hope the judges (at QuiltFest Jacksonville 2015) are going to be surprised to see a hand pieced Alabama Beauty :-)

Alabama Beauty finished!!

Alabama Beauty finished!!!

I’m calling it “Round And Round” from the Perry Como song of the same name.

I’m travelling to the US on Friday. After showing it off to the family I’ll mail the top to my quilter Margaret Gunn in Maine.

The post office here is rather unreliable and I try to finish quilts to coincide with family and friend’s trips to the US.

The fabric I had planned on using for the backing doesn’t work – so I am going to have to order another one and send it to Margaret later.


Alabama Beauty 36 blocks finished!

Alabama Beauty 36 blocks fnished!

Finally. I started this project on June 26th 2010. I made half of it and put it away for years. I just got distracted with other projects I guess – but here it is. DONE!

After agonizing over the border (which I do with every single quilt I have ever made) I decided I didn’t want a border at all. I ran the idea by my quilter Margaret Gunn and she suggested that I add at least a narrow border.

I am taking her advice – because stitching the binding to a tiny one quarter inch sliver of fabric with a zillion seams on the edges plus the thickness of two battings and a backing – would be a nightmare. All the while trying not to sew over the red butterfly points – yikes!

I originally thought of a narrow one inch inner border of a yellowy orange print – then a three inch piano keys border of the yellow and orange prints in background circles.

Yesterday I cut out all of the yellow strips. Four each of 27 prints. Auditioned them and I didn’t like it. So I am just going with the narrow one inch border – no piano keys. I will bind it in the same fabric so it will look like a wide binding rather than a real border.

Blocks 19-36 joined

Alabama Beauty second panel of 18 blocksTomorrow I stitch the 48″ center seam and the top is done!! Finally.  Then on to the borders.

Alabama Beauty blocks 19-36

blocks 19-36Done! Now to join them.

Update on Alabama Beauty progress

pointy bits unit done

I am working on the second (and last) set of 18 blocks – the first set is finished and sewn together. See it here.

I like sewing the same pieces together on all the blocks – it seems to go faster – I get into a rhythm when I do the same thing over and over.

I have finished step one – joining the 72 purple pointy bits to the 144 trumpet shapes on all of the 18 remaining blocks.

pointy bit unit + orange peel

The next step is to join the orange 72 orange peel shapes to the 72 purple pointy bit units. I’ll be back for another progress report when this step is completed.