Shortcuts from a Short Woman: Day 1

Do you like that title? I've used it for my trunk shows for the past 15 years and even have a CD of 16 quilts with that title. I was termed the "Queen of Shortcuts" when I was an editor for Quilt Magazine. I would take a traditional quilt or block and streamline it for today's quilter. I did NOT use some of those funky, weird, atrocious techniques that I see all over YouTube and other quilting sites. Just because you can think it up doesn't mean it's workable! (more on that another time)

I decided to feature all 16 of these quilts and their shortcuts in a series of blog posts. Here's the CD cover on the pattern set (first published in 2003) I sell (you can find it on Etsy, too). Don't you just love that quilter ironing and stitching?

Shortcuts from a Short Woman
Let's see a few of the quilts, right?

Arrowhead Star is 17" x 17" and just a single block. A vintage block I saw in a magazine about 25 years ago made me think of the scraps of Ultra Suede I had in my closet. Do you STILL have some ultra suede suits in your closet? CUT THEM UP! Those suits will never come back in style, btw.

Arrowhead Star: 12" block
The background fabric is a small piece of velveteen I didn't know what to do with. I aligned the 45 degree diamonds on the velveteen and then used a decorative machine stitch to secure the patches. No piecing whatsoever - except for those lovely borders.

Here's a bit of the artwork in the pattern:

The next quilt is also appliqué, but not what you may think. Watermelon Baskets is a variation of Drunkard's Path (a block that's been around for well over 100 years). I didn't want to stitch those curves (even though I sewed dozens of garment sleeves in my years!) so I appliquéd them. I began doing that in 1993 with many quilt blocks. This was published in Quilt Magazine in 2002.

Watermelon Baskets: 31" x 31"
Block Size is 6". Here's a tasty block to make you hungry for watermelon (or watermelon candy!).

Single, yummy Watermelon block
And my approach using a circle appliquéd to a square (which I've seen in vintage quilts over 100 years old!).

My steps for making the watermelon baskets
My CD has 10 "how-to" lessons included, and one is called: Two Easy Pieces. It's a lesson on how to make these Drunkard's Path blocks and includes information on how to make a Love Ring quilt. You don't know what that is? Allow me:

This was made using appliquéd circles on squares and then cut into fourths. Easy, huh?

OK. You want to see some REAL Love Ring quilts? This first one is made mostly with authentic feedsacks. I still own it and it's one of my treasures.

Feedsack Love Ring Quilt
This Love Ring quilt echoes the curves from the center out.

And one last quilt today from my Shortcuts CD showing some more appliqué. It's called Hexagons and Hearts (wonder why!)

Hexagons and Hearts: 37" x 38"
All straight seam sewing with those black hexagons (with the appliquéd hearts) and the bright triangles. This quilt was published in Quilt Magazine in 2001. I had purchased a set of pre-cut hearts from Keepsake Quilting catalog and used my sewing machine to stitch them to those black hexagons.

I think you might not believe me about no y-seams. Let me prove it to you.

Stitching those hexagons and triangles into straight rows!

That's all for today. Be sure and check out the Shortcuts from a Short Woman CD that I sell on Etsy. You will be getting a hard copy pattern on CD (a pdf that you navigate on your computer). 

There are 16 quilts (which I will continue to feature here) AND ten lessons full of quilter's tips AND 12 (twelve) 6" paper pieced patterns Flowers! I put so much stuff on this CD and it is still the same price as when I introduced it in 2003: $13.

Or you can order it directly from me by following this link: Shortcuts from a Short Woman CD. This link will show you all the quilts (if you can't wait for me to reveal them in the days ahead).


  1. Hi Debby! The watermelon block which is appliqué looks to me like it could also be a drunkard's path block. I love shortcuts and appliqué, too, so either is fine. Thanks for sharing! ~smile~ Roseanne


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