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!

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

Sunrise Clock Mug Rugs Revisited

In the fall of 2017 I was fortunate enough to experience my first quilting publication. My project, Sunrise Clock Mug Rugs, was published in the September/October issue of Modern Patchwork. I designed a set of four mug rugs depicting a clock face reading approximately 7:25 a.m. For some reason I really clocks and watches, and years ago I had quite the watch collection so that’s more than likely where my inspiration came from. 🙂

Once I had the idea, I played around with it until the design resembled a clock face as close as possible, even down to the binding which represents a silver casing! Technically, the mug rug can read four different times, depending on how you orient it. 🙂 Unfortunately, Modern Patchwork is no longer published (I was sad to see it go) so I’ve decided to offer my Sunrise Clock Mug Rug pattern as a free PDF download.

I made the original four (in the above photo) with brightly colored hands and a white background but the next time around I experimented quite a bit with color. Since I liked how the quilting design looked, I kept it the same on the others as well.

These mug rugs are a quick and fun project that presents a clean, modern aesthetic. They make great gifts, too. I’d love to see other versions, if on Instagram hashtag #sunriseclockmugrug to share yours!

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My Petite Hearts Quilt

Another quilt finished and one with an interesting story to go along with it. After finishing my Christmas quilt I thought, why not make one for Valentine’s Day? I love the color pink and tend to use it frequently so I had a lot of scraps on hand to choose from.

I wanted a heart quilt with a large array of pinks and reds, but I didn’t want to use the traditional heart shape so I opted for something more modern.

Once I had my idea I began designing the heart block and I started writing a pattern for it. Here’s what’s interesting…I thought I was onto something original, but when I went to name it I found it had been done before, published as a baby quilt in 2017, and had the exact same name! I admit I was a bit let down, but I still loved the design and it didn’t stop me from moving forward. I chose a different name because the quilts were different; mine was throw size, my blocks were bigger and I didn’t add borders.

Background fabric: Riley Blake Pin Dot/Peony by Lori Holt

Whenever I come up with a new design I always look to see if anyone else has already done it. For some reason when I checked for this heart quilt I didn’t see it anywhere, though I’m not really surprised it was done before because it is a pretty basic block.

Although I can’t claim it as my own design even though I’d never seen the other one (it isn’t worth getting blamed for copying) I do think it’s the cutest quilt I’ve ever made!

Here’s some general information on how I made my quilt. I wrote my pattern for using 10″ squares but it’s also scrap friendly. This illustration shows how I made my blocks from scraps. I used 29 different fabrics.

As an alternative, you can save time by strip piecing with precuts. Sew together and cut, as illustrated. One strip set will make 3 block halves.

I cut my background squares 5 ½” x 5 ½”, 99 total. I didn’t cut my edge pieces in half like most quilters would have done. Instead, I sewed them on as squares and trimmed them once the quilt top was complete. You might ask why would I do that? Well, I’m no fan of bias edges and by doing it this way I didn’t experience stretching and it ended up perfectly square. 🙂 And I know it’s certainly not the conventional way!

Here’s the layout of my Petite Hearts Quilt. Rows are sewn together on point (diagonally).

I used a variety of fabrics for this quilt including Riley Blake, Art Gallery, Andover, Michael Miller…just to name a few. The backing is Simply Colorful II in magenta by V & Co. for Moda. I sewed my binding on by hand using Aurifil 2530. I did the quilting myself on my Janome using the serpentine stitch using Aurifil 2026. Finished size is roughly 56″ x 70″.

Here’s the finished quilt. Original or not, I absolutely love it and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

A Gifted Quilt

Overall, a good portion of the quilts I’ve made I’ve given as gifts, and at this point I’ve given them to every family member that has expressed an interest in receiving one. It just happened that this particular niece ended up last, but for no particular reason!

As a surprise, I wanted to make her one for Christmas 2018, which I managed to pull off. If you’re one who makes quilts as gifts (and are on Instagram) you know how hard it can be to keep it a secret. No posting photos unless you block the recipient, but that leads to suspicion if you ask me! (I did sneak in one photo but she had no idea it was for her quilt).

In keeping with the plan to sew with what I have, I decided on using a jelly roll I purchased a few years ago. She loves the color yellow and this Moda collection Figures had plenty of it.

Once the fabric was decided, I needed a pattern. I thought she’d like something more modern verses traditional, so I headed to the Moda Bake Shop and found a great jelly roll pattern, Tropical Punch Quilt.

This pattern is very easy and beginner friendly. Thanks to precuts and my stripology ruler, cutting was a breeze and done in no time.

I used Kona Cotton White for the background to give it a bright, fresh look. I paired two coordinating strips together for the block pairs so they would have opposite middles and outer edges because I prefer controlled scrappy over all-out scrappy.

Piecing the top went fast as the blocks are simple and a larger size. The layout took a bit of time because I wanted the coordinating blocks distanced from one another.

I chose to make the binding scrappy. Need instruction on how to make scrappy binding? Here’s my How To tutorial.

Here’s a trick I used to make sure the same colors in the binding weren’t next to the same colors on the quilt top once I sewed it on. After the top was complete and on my design wall, I laid out the binding strips around it in preferred order. I marked where I needed to start sewing the binding on the actual quilt sandwich so the layout remained as planned. It worked great!

After sandwiching and before quilting, I sewed my basting stitch across the top to reduce pulling and shifting. This works wonders and I definitely recommend taking the time to do this step. Just set your machine on the widest stitch possible and sew within ¼” from the top. There’s no need to remove these stitches before sewing on your binding and it helps keep the sewn edge flat.

As usual, I used my hera marker to mark every line 1 ¾” apart and then used my guide for the lines in between.

I’ve never straight line quilted before but it came out pretty nice.

I also had this fun polka-dot backing on hand, I’m sure I bought it for something else that I never got around to making… 🙂

And the finished quilt!

I really enjoyed making this quilt, it was a lot of fun. I’m also very pleased that my niece absolutely loved it. And as always, I’m happy to spread around some quilting cheer. 😉

home decor, patterns, Uncategorized

Modern Stripes Placemat

If you’re in need of a quick project and love all things modern, I think you’re going to like my Modern Stripes Placemat. I designed this for my mom’s small kitchen table with the idea of using up some little scraps. It’s an easy make, and as a bonus you can finish it in just a few hours!

To put this together all you need is color fabric scraps as small as 1 ¼” wide by 2 ½” long, a fat quarter for the background, binding, backing and some quilt batting. It finishes at 14″ x 20″, the average size for a placemat. I used red to coordinate with my mom’s kitchen, but here are a few images to give you an idea of how other colors might look. I think a variety of colors would give it a whole new look!Screen Shot 2018-12-13 at 9.22.23 AMScreen Shot 2018-12-13 at 9.22.05 AM.png

For easy reference, I made the Modern Stripes Placemat pattern as a FREE PDF download so you can save it and have it ready whenever you are.

I think I need to get busy and make a few of these for myself, I just need to decide on a color…

modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

A Triangle Peaks Quilt

When I saw the Triangle Peaks quilt made by Emily Dennis I knew I needed to make one for myself. Lately I’ve been using fabric I have on hand, which isn’t a whole lot and is probably considered a relatively small stash for a quilter, but I was determined to make this pattern using what I had.

A couple of years ago, with another project in mind, I purchased a 12-piece Kona Cotton fat quarter bundle entitled Pool Party. This lovely collection offered a range of blues and aquas from light to dark with a few deep blue-greens mixed in.

While I don’t consider myself a ‘blue’ person, I really took a liking to this combination. And since that particular project never came to fruition, I pulled my fabric and set out to make my version of a Triangle Peaks quilt. To compliment the blues, I decided on Kona Cotton Mango for my ‘accent’ color (the small triangles) which I did have to purchase, along with backing fabric.

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This was my first time working with triangles, which I enjoyed, but bear in mind if you make anything with triangles every one has two bias edges that are prone to stretching if you’re not careful.

I completed the accent triangles first then everything else was ready to sew together. For me, deciding on the layout was the most difficult part. I used only nine of the twelve colors of blue which was enough to spread them out evenly, but it still took some time to make sure the like-colors were far enough away from one another.

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Once the top was finished it was time for quilting. If you’ve read my blog posts in the past you know I don’t exactly love the quilting aspect. If I could afford it I would have just about everything longarmed! But since I can’t, I end up doing quite a bit myself.

Since this quilt is so modern and angular, I felt the quilting needed to softened it up. That said, I decided on vertical lines using my serpentine stitch. Maybe subconsciously I thought it would give it a wavy, watery feel. 🙂

After sewing my basting stitches across the top (to help reduce shifting and pulling) I started quilting from the middle then to the right, marking lines every 1 ¾” with a hera marker. This process took forever! But I admit, I’m pretty slow.

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Once all the 1 ¾” lines were finished, I used my guide to quilt the lines in between. This saves time from marking rows, and it works well, my lines were fairly accurately spaced.

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Quilting with Aurifil thread 2026/Chalk

I think the serpentine stitch was a great choice.

It ended up that I didn’t mind quilting this one at all. I kind of went into auto pilot mode, just plugging away row after row. It took me more hours than I could count but I love the results.

I used Kona Cotton Mango for the binding.

Here’s my finished throw size quilt.

I’m really happy with this one and plan to get some good use out of it!

quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

My ‘Half Quilt’ Invention

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? The weather is cooling down so you get out all the necessary blankets and quilts. You have them nicely made into the bed only to hear your partner exclaim it’s too many covers. My husband and I simply cannot agree when it comes to this topic, he’s usually too hot and I’m usually too cold. This has been going on forever and it was time the problem ended!

After doing some thinking, I came up with an easy solution—the ‘half quilt.’ The half quilt is basically a quilt half the size of a bed quilt width-wise, made wide enough to cover just one person. Each person gets one so they can use it at their own discretion. Personal choices won’t affect anyone else; you can’t beat that!

I recently made one for my husband by strip piecing just two fabrics. Because he’s an avid bird watcher, I chose Blue Moon Owl fabric by Dear Stella and Kona Cotton Navy.

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It’s a simple 5″ patchwork design, nothing flashy or complicated, made mainly for functionality. I quilted it in simple squares and machine sewed the binding figuring it would hold up better to frequent laundering.

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There’s not a lot of math involved, just figure out how wide and long it needs to be to cover the person comfortably. This quick quilt finished at 40 ½” x 71″.

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My half quilt idea is not entirely new, I made one for myself two years ago. I chose a classic herringbone pattern made with Moda’s Paradiso charm packs and Kona Cotton Snow. It measures 40 ½” x 63 ½”.

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Just to illustrate differences, I’ve had mine out for a couple of weeks now and my husband hasn’t even used his yet.

The weather is getting chilly and it’s time for warmth. I highly recommend making a couple of these half quilts, they’re the perfect solution for the ‘too hot, too cold’ sleeping issue! And of course it’s a great excuse to make another quilt. 😉