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March 1, 2018
This Just In: Free Table Runner Pattern! from Gray Barn Designs

This past weekend, I was nursing a terrible cold and had lots of time on my hands with nowhere to go.  Alas, I got to sew with no holds barred!

I decided to use this cute Easter fabric to make a table runner…isn’t it adorable?  The bunny fabric line is called Hop to it!    ;  designed by Shelly Comiskey for Henry Glass & Co.  The green fabric is called Modern Melody Basic Filigree Geo Lime  ;  designed by First Blush Studio for Henry Glass & Co. 


I am debating about giving away this runner as an Easter gift…but I also think ...

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February 20, 2018
Pterodactyl Bait from Gray Barn Designs

What do you do when you have an intimidating quilting task in front of you? Do you dive right in and tackle it like you are the boss of that big, bad task?

Or are you like me? You play dead. You avoid. You dust (you know it’s bad when I start dusting instead of quilting). You sort your leaders and enders by color. Etc. Etc.

Or you maybe you start cutting out a new project?

That would be me this weekend — happily watching TV from my kitchen island, and starting a new project as I reveled in my ...

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February 12, 2018
Sewing in the Rain from Gray Barn Designs

It was a rainy weekend here in Ohio and I was recovering from a terrible cold.  I was down but not out!  I just sewed and sewed and sewed.  Here are some of my masterpieces (if I do say so myself)!

I made this Sweet Heart Mug Rug for my friend who loves cats (you can download our  free pattern by clicking on this link:  Sweet Heart Mug Rug).  Aren’t these cats the cutest?  They are left over from some Cotton + Steel fabric scraps I had on hand.


Here’s another mug rug using pink, white and lime green ...

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February 5, 2018
Valentine’s Day Sweet Hearts from Gray Barn Designs

I am obsessed with making mini quilted Valentines this year.  The pattern for my mini Valentines is actually my free mug rug pattern.  You can click on this link to download the pattern:  Sweet Heart Mug Rug

I searched through my scraps for interesting color combinations that are “just perfect” for family and friends.  Here’s my stack of Valentines so far;  I’ve popped some of them in the mail already.


I had some left over fabric from the Strawberry Fields Revisited fabric collection by Fig Tree & Co. These colors match the decor in my youngest sister’s house ...

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January 25, 2018
Free Pattern for Sweet Heart Mug Rug from Gray Barn Designs

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I wanted to make something special for mom.  I had some extra fabric from my Heartland Modern 01 10 18 quilt and thought I would make a few mug rugs/coasters for her.  Below is my finished product, isn’t it a sweet heart?  (Pun intended!)


Mom’s favorite color is pink and she likes to drink tea.  I thought I would test this mug rug today, strictly for quality control purposes, of course!  Yep, it passed the test!


I put my trusted Bernina to work last night.  I pieced it AND quilted ...

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January 11, 2018
2 for 1 – Free Valentine Quilt Patterns from Gray Barn Designs

One blog stop, two free patterns…what’s not to love?

If you are looking for Valentine’s Day quilt patterns to share some quilting love, look no further!

We have two free and unique heart quilt patterns that are beginner friendly and can be used as a baby quilt, a wall hanging or a table topper.

Free Pattern #1 = Pixelated eHeart is the perfect quilt for all those red and pink scraps you have on hand AND it’s a jelly-roll friendly quilt.  Download a free pattern by clicking on this link:  e-heart_pattern_final-01-18-2017


Free Pattern #2 = Heartland Modern, is ...

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January 9, 2018
FaveQuilts Top 25 Design Blog For 2017 from Gray Barn Designs

Last week, Sandy and I were so excited to hear we made the FaveQuilts Top 100 Quilt Pattern list.

Today we were even more excited to hear we made the FaveQuilts Top 25 list!

Top Blogger Buttons-FQ

This award is determined by reader’s response on the FaveQuilts website.  For 2017, our blog was one of the most popular design blogs featured.

Click HERE to read more about the FaveQuilts Top 25 Design Blog list.  With all the FREE quilt patterns posted, there is surely one that will spark your creative interest in 2018.

We are honored to be listed as a Top ...

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January 5, 2018
We Made It! from Gray Barn Designs

Sandy and I made the “Best of 2017” list on FaveQuilts!

Our Garden Gate Charm quilt made the Top 100 Free Quilt Pattern List that FaveQuilt readers fell in love with last year.  We were thrilled to hear so many readers loved this  pattern!


You can download the pattern by clicking the link below:

Garden Gate Charm 03 14 17_final

Now is a great time to start planning your quilt projects for 2018.  You are sure to find just the right FREE pattern on FaveQuilts.

Need a quick project for a last minute gift?  You are sure to find a ...

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January 4, 2018
Let There be Light! from Gray Barn Designs

On this gloomy winter day, as we North Easterners await the doom moniker-ed snow bombgenesis, I’ve been thinking a lot about light –how we use it, how it affects us, and how we need it.

I escaped from my no-windowed office into the greenhouse on campus and worked for about an hour today. I try to do this every couple of days because the greenery, the light, and the sounds of the koi pond make me happy. I was ecstatic to realize that there is a papaya tree in that space — I’ve been walking by it for years ...

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December 5, 2017
Snickerdoodle Hop from Gray Barn Designs

Carol from Just Let Me Quilt came up with a wonderful blog hop idea for the holidays: a Virtual Cookie Exchange. She had us at cookies. Follow the flour dust trail….

Our mother is a terrific baker and one of her specialties is the Snickerdoodle: a bit crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle and coated with a sweet cinnamon and sugar crust.


Helen’s Snickerdoodles

I have to confess that I was never a huge fan as a kid, but I’ve made up for my lack of judgement in the last 10 years or so. Mom can ...

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November 13, 2017
Patriot Inspiration from Gray Barn Designs

Thank you to the Veterans of the United States Military for your service to our country!

My quilt guild held a two day retreat this past weekend.  Since it was Veteran’s Day Weekend, I decided to finish tacking down the binding on my American Flag Quilt.


The flag in the quilt is actually a panel by Timeless Treasures Fabrics that I purchased at Red Rooster Quilts in Dublin, Ohio.  Red Rooster designed the quilt by adding a wide inner border of off white fabric and a wide outer border of Timeless Treasures blue & white stars.  The quilt is finished ...

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November 9, 2017
Birthday Trip to the Fancy Forest from Gray Barn Designs


What do you give a very dear friend for a milestone birthday?  A trip to the Fancy Forest, of course!

In my October 23rd post, I mentioned my dear friend (DF) and I attended the Tompkins County Quilters Guild Traditions & Beyond 2017 Quilt Show.

While at the show, DF fell in love with a Fancy Forest quilt, designed by Elizabeth Hartman .  At a silent auction, I bid on a smaller Fancy Forest wall hanging (hoping to use it as a birthday gift for my DF) but GASP!!! I didn’t win.

What to do?  Sewing pedal to the metal of ...

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October 26, 2017
Happy Almost Halloween from Gray Barn Designs

Scary, but true, I have finished my pix-elated Sugar Skull mini! Woot Woot!

I’m so proud of myself, I can’t stop taking pictures of it!




After my quilting triumph, my son and I took a break to visit a small local park called Rock City. It was my first trip there and it was amazing. The views were lovely and the stroll through the giant formations provided lots of opportunities for reflection and introspection. We decided that we will have to take Cindy and her DH for a hike next spring when Rock City reopens.




I’m ...

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October 23, 2017
Friends + Quilts = Love from Gray Barn Designs

Friends + quilts…what is not to love?!

I recently traveled to Ithaca, New York to visit a very dear friend AND to attend the Tompkins County Quilters Guild Traditions & Beyond 2017 Quilt Show

Every other year, the Tompkins County Quilters Guild organizes and sponsors a quilt show.  Entries are welcome from guild members and non-guild members.

There were hundreds of quilts to gaze upon with wonder and amazement.  Below are a few highlights for your “gazement” pleasure.


Love the zig zag stitch!


Bold prints AND hand quilting


Bright batiks with a dark background were spectacular


Pretty petals


Isn’t this ...

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October 19, 2017
Let the Happy Dance Begin from Gray Barn Designs

I did it! I did it! I quilted my sugar skull mini quilt! We’re not talking perfect here, but we are discussing progress. I do believe that I have released many of my fears about the risky learning process of machine quilting.



I learned a lot about my machine and a little about thread choices through this process too. I also learned that I definitely need/want a sewing table that allows my machine to sit in a well. I also learned that I’m going to have to be a thread collector — I need more options for quilting ...

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October 9, 2017
Machine Quilting Makes Me Talk Like a Pirate (Maybe even a sailor) from Gray Barn Designs

Arrrgh, me hearties — I’ve been at it once again — I’m talking about machine quilting !!?#*&&!!!

My new (to me) Bernina Virtuoso 153 Quilter’s Edition, wonderful and steady as she blows, cannot (apparently) save me from my own mistakes.

I’m determined to machine quilt my pix-elated sugar skull wall hanging. So I decided to use my walking foot and quilt it on the diagonal — easy as begging for candy from neighbors, right?


Just before the real “fun” began.

As I began quilting, I was struggling with the pins and I was having trouble keeping the stitches even. Despite ...

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October 5, 2017
Stuck on the Border II from Gray Barn Designs

In a previous post, I was indecisive about what border and binding to add to my kaleidoscope pillow.  Thanks for all your feedback!

Rummaging through my sewing supplies, I found a package of Wright’s Bias Tape Maxi Piping and my plan came together in a flash!  I was no longer stuck on the border!


I added a black border to my pillow and used the red bias tape maxi piping for an accent.  This piping went on quickly because I used the zipper foot attachment for my trusted Bernina.  Yikes!  Lots of batting fuzz on my fabric!


My walking ...

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October 2, 2017
FAMILY Pillow – Free Pattern from Gray Barn Designs

Need a gift for the upcoming holidays or other special occasion?  You can make this quilted pillow to share your love of family with those around you!

family_1 sjd

I wanted this pillow to look modern and sophisticated.  I think the Navy on White Damask by Riley Blake Designs helped me to achieve this look.

Kona White and Kona Navy for the letters and background helped to bring all three fabrics together for an outstanding FAMILY…ha!  Pun intended!

While testing and double testing the pattern, I made 5 pillows!  One of the pillows I made used Garden Girl Damask Pink by ...

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September 25, 2017
Fuzzy Faux Fur “Fun” from Gray Barn Designs

Our niece is in college and wanted a few pillow covers for her birthday (oops, that was in July)!

In order to make up for my belated birthday gift, I splurged and bought some of this luxurious faux fur.  It made a gorgeous pillow cover!


I had a left over strip of faux fur so I mixed it with some fleece to make another pillow cover.  What a fun project that turned out soft and cozy!


After admiring my work, I had to move on to the clean up….not so fun!  Fuzzy faux fur sheds like crazy!  Yes, this ...

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September 13, 2017
Pix-elated Skull from Gray Barn Designs

I spent a fun weekend in Erie, Pa watching my roommate’s son-in-law run a marathon. SIL is a fast runner and the Erie race is a good one for qualifying for the Boston Marathon. The site of the race, Presque Isle state park, is lovely — I will definitely return to Erie for the beachfront, the shopping, the wine and the food.



Calm Lake Erie on the morning of the race. The weather was perfect for runners.

SIL qualified — in personal best fashion. As a former (much slower) marathoner, it was a thrill to see him cruise across the finish ...

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