July 20, 2015

Working on my PHD: Tumbler, Gypsy Girl, and Merry Go Round

I am happy to have been so productive over the last couple of weeks!  I haven't been able to post really due to data/internet troubles, but I've got some fun quilty projects to show you today! 
First I have a tumbler quilt that I put the finishing touches on.  It's all in subtle country prints and I like its little country charm. 

I've had a bundle of fat quarters that I've been hoarding for about 4 years.  It's a Free Spirit line called Journeys from Kathy Davis.  I just loved the prints and couldn't find a pattern that I though was worthy of my coveted bundle.  I finally took the leap and cut into my bundle and I'm really happy with the results!  I used the Gypsy Girl pattern from Heather Mulder Peterson's Fat Quarter Five book.  It's so full of color and fun!

I've been rather disappointed with my free motion results lately. While I like the stitching that I'm putting in to the quilts, I haven't gotten a satisfactory backing lay out all summer. I don't have enough space in an RV and carpet just gives too much play in the backing for my liking.  Each of the quilts I've done over the summer I've been so happy to have my completed quilt top and then once I've quilted it, my excitement dies and mixes with a bit of disappointment as I see a couple puckers and folds that cropped up while I was sewing.  So, I've decided that I'm going to bring these two tops to a friend of mine for longarm quilting.  She runs Quilt Squirrel and does excellent work. I am so excited to see what she can do with my quilts! 
The last of my project for the last couple week has been whipping up a couple Merry Go Round toppers from Terry Atkinson.  I used a couple prints from the Persimmon line as well as a couple Moda Grunge prints and a Bella solid for the background. 
I still need to hand sew the binding to the backing. I'm planning on amassing a few of these small projects to take with me on a relaxing trip up north next week.  So while I'm sitting by the lake with not a care in the world I can do a bit of hand stitching.  That sounds so great right now, I can't wait!

July 2, 2015

North Woods Quilt Pictures

I got out yesterday and took some fun pictures of my north woods quilt in this beautiful north woodsy setting that we're currently in!   It was really fun to get out and take these pictures, so please enjoy! 

My sister was kind enough to let me borrow her living room to lay out the quilt, so it's all set for free motion quilting.  I'm already looking ahead to my next quilt which I'm just chomping at the bit to get started on!  I decided to do make the Chopsticks quilt from Jaybird quilts from my True Luck fabrics.  I had originally only purchased Fat Quarters and the pattern calls for half yard cuts. Therefore I placed my order this morning for some more fat quarters from River's Edge Quilt Loft in Hayward, WI.  I can't wait for my bundle to arrive so I can get started on that quilt!  It's going to be great!

Now, time to get free motion quilting!  Sewing machine, here I come!

June 30, 2015

Flying Geese Tutorial

Flying Geese are a very common quilt block, but some people can be intimidated by triangles.  I'm here to help!  Flying geese look great in north woods quilts (like this one) as well as modern quilts.  It's a great block that you should add to your quilting tool box. So, let's get started! 

Flying geese are comprised of two prints: one print for the goose (the large triangle) and one print for the sky (the two small triangles). 

First, you need to decide what size you want our flying geese to finish at.  The width of the flying geese should be two times the height of the flying geese.  For example: 2" by 4" or  3" by 6".  The flying geese that I am making will finish at 3" by 6". 

Now that you know what size you want your geese to finish at, you can determine how big to cut our pieces.  To determine the cutting measurements for the goose (the large rectangle) add 1/2" to the height and width of the finished rectangle.  For example: my large rectangles will be cut at 3 1/2" by 6 1/2". 

To determine the cutting measurements for the sky pieces (the smaller squares) add 1/2" to the height of the finished rectangle.  For example: my sky squares will be cut at 3 1/2" by 3 1/2". You'll need two sky pieces for every flying geese block you'd like to make.

Once you have our pieces cut out, mark a diagonal sewing line on the back of the sky squares.  This is an important step for accurate flying geese.  Even if you think you can "eyeball" it, you will get better, more consistent results if you take the extra time to mark your sewing lines. 

Line up your ruler from one point of the square to the opposite point, and using a marking pencil, chalk liner, or even a pencil, draw a line from one point of the square to the other.

Now, let's get to sewing!  Set a marked square on top of a large goose rectangle with right sides together.  Be sure that your edges are aligned accurately. Sew along the marked sewing line.

TIP: To avoid bird's nests and crumpled corners, start your seam in the middle of the rectangle and sew out towards the point.  By starting your stitch in a place where there is more fabric for your feed dogs to catch, you'll avoid that annoying bunching.

 Stop stitching approximately 1/4" before the corner and get your next set lined up to be sew. 

Chain stitch your rectangles together, continuing to start from the middle of the rectangle and sew out towards the point and your geese should be coming together nicely!

Cut apart your chain and bring your blocks back to the cutting board.

Line up the 1/4" inch mark of your ruler along the line of stitches you've just sewn and cut away the extra fabric.  This will leave you with a 1/4" seam allowance on your flying geese and two scrap triangles. (You can sew these half square triangles together to use elsewhere so that you don't throw away you're valuable fabric scraps!)

Now, to the iron board! Fold out the sky triangle and press.  The seam allowance on your flying geese should always go out towards the sky triangles to avoid bulk.

And back to sewing machine! Take a second sky square and align it with the opposite edge of the rectangle from the first one.  Be sure your marked sewing line comes to a point with the first triangle.  The two sky pieces should overlap slightly to account for seam allowances. 

Use the same technique for chain stitching your blocks together, starting in the center of the rectangle and sewing out towards the point to avoid bird's nests and bunching.

Cut apart your rectangles and bring them back to the cutting board for trimming.

Once again, align the 1/4" mark on your ruler with your stitching line and cut away the extra fabric.  You'll be left once again with a 1/4" seam allowance and a couple more scrap triangles.  


Bring your pieces back to the ironing board once more.  Fold the sky triangle out and press, making sure your seam allowance is pressed towards your sky piece.

Once you have pressed each piece, you should have a lovely stack of flying geese! 
You can lay them out and use them however you'd like!  I chose to sew mine in a straight column with all the geese pointing in the same direction.

They are now adorning the edges of my north woods quilt.

Your flying geese don't have be just a decorative border or block on your quilt.  They can also be the main feature! Let your imagination carry you.  There are so many beautiful uses for flying geese.  I would love to see how you use yours!

Working on my PHD: North Woods Quilt

I made some more progress on my north woods quilt today!

The quilt top is completely done!  Just a sneak peak of the corner with the borders here. 
I'm planning on getting some better pictures tomorrow. These are kind of drab as I took them inside with some poor lighting. :(

And I did a pieced backing for this quilt, too.  I added two rows of 10" blocks to the top and bottom of my left over border print.  The brown seen on the front and back will also be repeated in the binding.  I think it's coming together quite nicely.  I'm happy to have it ready to be laid out tomorrow, then on to free motion quilting!!
Stay quilty my friends!

June 29, 2015

North Woods Quilting

Whew!  What a busy week it has been here! I had a lot of fun, and also got a lot of work accomplished.  I went quilt shopping, hiking at two different state parks, mini golfing with my sister, her niece, and some friends, and ate a lot of delicious food!  It was almost like a vacation! I kicked off my week with a trip to a couple north woods quilt shops with a quilty friend of mine.  We bought some great fabrics and I am excited to get started on them. 

We picked up an old Holly Taylor line on clearance at one shop.  We both bought the same selection and she's going to teach me how to put together one of her favorite quilt patterns.  I think these blues and north woods prints are going to turn out very nicely.  I will probably toss in some stash fabrics for a bit more tonal variety as these are printed busy prints. 

At our second shop I ran across the new True Luck collection and absolutely had to have it!  I picked up all the grey and aqua prints she had to offer and a couple yards each of white, grey, and aqua Moda Bella Solids.
I debated all week long what I wanted to do with these fabrics. I poured over books, magazines, and of course Pinterest.  Ultimately I think I've decided on Chopsticks by Jaybird Quilts.  I think the solids are going to set off these beautiful prints perfectly! 
My friend and I are starting on our first quilt project together this week and I'll use my spare time to start on my Chopsticks quilt in True Luck. 
Quilt shopping was also a great time for me to spy on the current lines and see what other shop owners have out on display right now.  I'm putting together my first shop order right now and will be placing it soon.  I'm really excited for this next step and I look forward to being able to share my love of quilting and fabrics with others. 
I also got to work on my last posted work in progress. I added a skinny border to set off the charm square centers and I added a strip of flying geese to each side of the quilt center to add a bit of pizzazz. 

I spent a lot of time making the flying geese this week.   While I was working on them, I decided that I should do a little tutorial, too so that will be coming soon!

Have a great Monday! Stay quilty my friends!

June 22, 2015

New Free Quilt Pattern Links Page!

I set up a new page today with lots of links to great sites for FREE quilt patterns. I refer to these pages often, so having them in one convenient location is going to be great for me.  But, I don’t want to hog the resources, so please feel free to bookmark my Free Quilt Pattern Links page for your convenience as well! 

Fabric designers sometimes put out a free pattern offering to accompany a new fabric line.  I find that these are the most inspirational for me.  I get to swoon over the beautiful new fabric, see the fun way the designer wanted to showcase their fabric, and then get to imagine what I would do with it.  All for FREE!  There are so many free quilt patterns out there that you are sure to find something to inspire you! 

So, please enjoy the new page, and find your quilty inspiration my friends!

June 17, 2015

Working on my PHD: Finished Flannel Hopscotch Quilt

I want to post some updates of the Flannel Hopscotch quilt that I finished this week.  It turned out great and I'm really happy with my new queen sized bed quilt.

I was able to finish hand sewing my binding during our down time this week.  The striped binding adds a lot of character to the edge of the quilt. 

The quilt is very heavy and super warm!  I will definitely be using this on those cold nights this winter! 

Now that this quilt has been completed and stored away, I've already brought out my next project half done to get wrapped up. I brought the start of an up north themed lap quilt to the local quilt shop and purchased some fabric for borders and binding. 

I want the top to be bigger, but not a full bed quilt like the flannel hopscotch quilt.

This quilt top I started with a panel and two charm packs.  Very simple design, but the colors and up north theme will compliment my home very well.

I am still trying to decide how I want to lay out the inner border (borders?).  I could let it be simple and do one skinny inner border and the deer and leaves for the outer border.  I'm toying with the idea of adding a pieced border though.  Hmm... 

I picked up enough of each print to make most anything work, so we'll see where this quilt top takes me!  Feel free to comment your ideas on how to finish off this quilt.  I always love the input of another quilter!

I'm linking up to Work In Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  A great blog and a great link party to share those projects half done with quilty friends!