modern quilts, quilt blocks, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Breaking the Bias Edge Bias

I admit, I fear the bias edge. I’m not sure why really, I never had that terrible of an experience with bias edges. I guess I’m mostly afraid that something terrible is going to happen and because of that, I go out of my way to avoid them. Well, no more.

A recent quilt pattern I’ve been working on instructs you on the usual steps when making a HST—draw a diagonal line then sew ¼” from the line. Since the blocks in this quilt are multi-colored quarter square triangles, I was having a hard time getting my points aligned, so I figured I’d have better luck if I cut on the diagonal line, then sewed. I knew I’d be dealing with bias edges but I gave it a try and guess what? Not only did I have greater accuracy, it was actually easier. I fear the bias edge no longer! (I also had to remind myself that as an experienced quilter such avoidance/fear is kind of irrational). 🙂

Fast forward to my newest project that’s made up of half quarter square triangle units. It’s called Four Patch Charm and it’s similar to an Around the World quilt. I opted for this one because of the funky border and offset center and it’s forcing me to make bias edged units.

I’m continuing to make quilts with fabric I already have, and I chose a variety of golden yellows/oranges for this one. After cutting fabrics, I set to chain piecing (bias edges were present) and within 35 minutes I had 96 triangle pairs sewn.

The next step, pressing seams open…

then attaching the large half square to complete the unit. Lastly, press and trim.

No problem! Quilters know to handle bias edges gently, and to ensure that I handled them by the seams and put them on a ruler to move them from my pressing board to my sewing desk. I’m happy to say that no stretching or misshaping has occurred; I’m pretty confident everything will go together smoothly.

Now that I’ve tried a few different techniques, I won’t think twice about projects that require bias edges. If you’re like me and have avoided them, don’t! They’re not nearly as scary as you think.

modern quilts, patterns, PDF pattern, quilt binding, quilt blocks, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Five Squared Quilt

Looking for a colorful quilt that’s easy to make and designed to bust your stash? Give my Five Squared quilt a try! It’s a great way to use your scraps and it’s precut friendly. The PDF pattern is available for purchase at my Etsy shop.

Five Squared is geared for using what you’ve got on hand, and it’s an excellent choice for beginners. I realize a beginner quilter might not have that many scraps, but don’t worry, you can use 5 charm packs instead. And remember, with scrappy quilts, anything goes…

Because I like a controlled scrappy look, I decided to make mine using color-coordinated blocks with as many different colorways as my fabric would allow. I used only what I had, I bought nothing new (with the exception of the backing).

preliminary sorting of my precuts

That said, I went through all my fabric and ended up with 14 different colorways: red, pink, coral, taupe, gray, aqua, teal, orange, dark blue, purple, beige, yellow, green and low volume. Ideally, 2 of 15 different colored blocks would balance out the quilt equally, but I improvised and made 4 low volume blocks instead.

While I wish I could take all my quilts to be professionally quilted, it’s not in the budget so often times I do the quilting myself. It’s certainly not my favorite part of the quilting process but once I get going I don’t mind it all that much.

I quilted mine with serpentine stitched lines approximately 7/8″ apart, marked with a hera marker. I used Aurifil 50wt thread 2026, Chalk.

Here’s something interesting…while i was working on my quilt I did a story on Instagram asking quilters if they, at some point while quilting, unpin and repress their quilt. I was curious because I do when I’m nearing the right-hand side edge, and here’s why. At that point I’ve had the quilt rolled up pretty tight to fit through the throat of my machine, and it’s rather wrinkled. When I get to that section, I feel that taking extra time to press and repin gives me a smoother, flatter finish. Do other quilters do this I wondered? Here’s what they said…

Overwhelmingly no! I was surprised not many people did. Who knew? Guess I’m in the minority on that one.

Anyway…for the backing I purchased Dear Stella Fabrics Flockstar Blush because it had every color in it that I used on the front. I absolutely love this fabric!

And it blended lovely with Moda’s Rainy Day! Umbrella Pink that I used for the binding, which I also had on hand, left over from when my Boxed Candy Toss Quilt was featured on the Moda Bake Shop.

Here’s my finished Five Squared quilt.

Not that I’m wishing away summer by any stretch but I am looking forward to cooler weather so I can finally use this beauty!

modern quilts, patterns, PDF pattern, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Diamond Jubilee Quilt Pattern (A Throw Size Quilt)

It’s Monday morning and it’s time for a pattern release! My Diamond Jubilee quilt is now available for purchase as a PDF download at my Etsy shop.

This modern quilt is throw size, measures 56″ x 72″ and it’s 2 ½” precut strip friendly. The pattern is made up of two distinct blocks, a scrappy star block and a diamond block, set in an alternate layout. And, it’s easy enough for a confident beginner quilter.

Fabric: Bright Blooms by Artisan Batiks for Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Quilting: Random Curved Squares

Looking to showcase some bright fabric? Download your copy of Diamond Jubilee, have some fun sewing and celebrate an explosion of color!

If you’re on Instagram, share your project #diamondjubileequilt—I’d love to see what you create.

home decor, mini quilts, modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Tiny Crab Mini Quilt

Every year for Christmas I make my family members something handmade. Sometimes it’s a quilt, sometimes it’s something as simple as a pillowcase. I like to start my holiday sewing early after learning my lesson two years ago when I was finishing gifts at the last minute due to a late start.

Last year I made my daughter a quilt for her bed so this year I planned to make something quite a bit smaller. Since she loves whimsical crabs, I’d been looking for a cute pattern and recently found one by Ellis and Higgs. I bought it upon release and started immediately!

The pattern offers two sizes: 6″ square and 12″ square. She wanted the larger one but I thought I’d practice by making the smaller one. I decided on a blue crab and after searching through my scraps I chose two prints from Allison Glass’s Sun Print collection. To set off the vibrant blues, I used a white background.

I’ve got to say—this pattern was so fun! I enjoyed it so much that I made three more crabs and created a little mini quilt for my sewing room door.

A few things to mention about the process—first of all, the fabric pieces are really small, some as small as 1″ x 1″ square and some were as skinny as ¾” wide.

Working with pieces this tiny along with striving to get everything to line up challenged me and I enjoyed the challenge! 🙂

But in all that fun there were a few bumps along the way…for example, when working with such little pieces and keeping them labeled, things got a little heated…

I found my alphabittie melted to my iron! Dang. After that I was a lot more careful. If you make this or any project with small pieces, I have a few recommendations:

I also found that trimming units after sewing made assemby go easier. The pattern gives sizes each sewn unit should measure and having trimmed pieces helps when lining everything up. Plus it eliminates annoying threads along the edges.

I made three tiny crabs using primary colors and green for the fourth. I added a 1 ½” border and my finished mini measures 15 ½” square. I chose a horizontal serpentine stitch for quilting to represent ocean waves. Every time I walk past my sewing room door I smile at their cuteness!

This little project was a great scrap buster, too. While going through my fabric I decided I have too much so I’m now making a controlled scrappy quilt using 2 ½” squares in every variety of color I own. And as far as the Christmas crab mini goes, I can’t post it until after it’s gifted!

home decor, mini quilts, modern quilts, quilting, Uncategorized

Radiant Mini Quilt Published in Quiltmaker

To kick off the summer season, I have a newly published mini quilt pattern that gives off a summery vibe. It’s entitled Radiant because, well, the sun just radiates!

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I sketched this idea a while back but didn’t get a chance to write the pattern and make it until early spring last year. Right after finishing it, Modern Patchwork put out a call for ‘small’ projects. The timing was perfect so I submitted it for publication consideration. After being accepted, Modern Patchwork was no longer going to be published (sadly) so my mini was moved to the July/August issue of Quiltmaker.

I received my magazine copies yesterday and I have to say I love their layout, it definitely says summer to me! I’m very happy with it. 🙂

As seen in July/August issue of Quiltmaker

There were two things that inspired this design: 1. the sheer heat of the sun 2. fabric. I had purchased a Kona Cotton Citrus Bundle with something else in mind, but it ended being up exactly what I needed for this pattern. I wanted to create an ombre effect using solids ranging from dark to light giving the feeling of warmth radiating from the sun, and it worked. I think any combination of reds, oranges and yellows would do just as well.

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Kona Cotton Citrus Burst

I wanted to quilt circles from the sun outward, but before starting I tested my idea. On paper, I drew a circle (from a coaster) in the corner where the sun was on the quilt. I knew that the further out I’d have to sew, the larger the circles would get, and I had to make sure they’d stay round. It looked like it was going to work so I continued on.

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Testing showed I needed to start my lines off the quilt edge onto the excess batting area so I would have enough lead into the quilt top in order to keep my circles round. It was a bit of extra quilting but it was necessary to get the results I wanted. I used the edge of my walking foot for distancing apart lines, that way I didn’t have to make any markings.

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For quilting, I used Aurifil 2135, giving a nice warm finish.

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This little mini is a quick and easy make; consisting of mostly half square triangles. It measures 15″ W x 12″ H, and it would be a nice bright addition to anyone’s space! It’s also a great skill builder for a beginner quilter.

If you don’t subscribe to Quiltmaker, get your copy today and give it a try! If you like oranges and yellows you’re all set…or if you’re feeling adventurous try it out in your favorite color palette.

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So now that summer’s here, enjoy it!

organizing sewing space, quilting, Uncategorized

Fabric Storage Tip / #4

While I definitely enjoy the quilting process, I sometimes have difficulty motivating myself to cut fabric. It’s not that I dislike that step but it can seem like such a chore. On the other hand, once I do get started I usually go the extra mile and cut leftover fabric into commonly used sizes so they’re ready for other projects later on. This step could be considered as making your own precuts. 🙂

For example, when I made my Petite Hearts Quilt I used only scraps and fat quarters I had on hand. After cutting what I needed for the quilt, I had several odd-sized pieces left over. Since the fabric was certainly worth saving, I cut the leftovers into three different sizes, depending on what I could get out of them. I chose 1 ½” squares, 2 ½” squares or 3″ squares.

Not only does cutting ahead save time on future projects, it helps keep me organized and it helps me to know what I have. It’s a pretty efficient way to go. But how do I keep everything organized? It’s simple and straight-forward—I use clear plastic stackable containers and labels.

Since the fabric squares are on the smaller side, I’ve found that shoe box storage bins work best and they’re affordable (about $1 apiece). I’ve been in the habit of doing this for a few years now and I still haven’t filled one of those containers! However, you may need larger containers depending on how much and what sizes you cut.

Here’s a look at how I have my cut squares organized.

I keep my mini charm packs in the container for the 2 ½” squares so I always know where to find them.

1 ½” squares – great for mini quilts

In the past I had consistently cut and stored only 1 ½”, 2 ½” and 3″ squares, but I recently started a box for 2″ squares.

I love how these containers stack nicely, saving on space. And because they’re clear plastic you can easily see what’s inside.

If you’re new to quilting or if you’re looking for tips on how to organize your fabric, this is a great way to get started. Simply choose your size of cuts, make a few labels, get your boxes and you’re ready to go!

quilt blocks, quilting, Quilting 101, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Sew Accurate Flying Geese

There’s no doubt flying geese are essential to quilting and they’re fun to experiment with. They give quilts an interesting perspective and can be addicting to make once you get started.

If you’re new to quilting or having trouble with your flying geese blocks, here’s an easy tutorial on how to sew an accurate flying geese unit that won’t need squaring up.

To get started, cut fabric to the required sizes. You’ll need a rectangular piece for the background and two squares for the sides. The flying geese I made in this tutorial are based on the measurements below.

Once your fabric is cut, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of both side squares. Place a marked square on the right hand side of the rectangle, as illustrated, lining up the outside edges. Pin together.

NOTE: You can choose to sew the first square on either the left or right hand side, there will be no difference in the outcome.

The next step is sewing the pinned pieces together. But before sewing, be sure to follow this important tip…instead of sewing directly on the drawn line, sew just along side of it.

And here’s why. By having sewn along side of the drawn line, it frees up about a thread’s width of space so when you press the fabric to the corner, the new piece will line up accurately. That small width might seem minor, but it can make all the difference in your finished unit.

Here’s how to set your foot and needle before sewing…

And this is what it looks like sewn just to the right of the line…

A rule of thumb to follow is to sew to the right of the drawn line for the right hand side of the flying geese unit and sew to the left of the line on the left hand side of the unit.

Once you’ve finished sewing, cut ¼” away from the sewn line. Press the square to the corner.

Your results will be a nicely aligned corner. 🙂

To finish your flying geese, repeat the same steps for the opposite side. Place the fabric with the drawn line as shown. Pin.

Sew just along side of the line.

Cut away the corner and press.

And done! A finished flying geese with no trimming required. 🙂

Simple, right?

I made my blocks for a Swoon quilt I have in the works. If you’re making several for a project, they can be chain pieced, one side at a time. It’s a great time-saver.

Now that you’ve added the traditional flying geese block to your quilting repertoire it’s time to experiment and have some fun!