Thursday, March 27, 2014

Easy Flying Geese Tutorial

My "Big House" quilt features a border of 6 inch star blocks.  I have seen these blocks called Variable Star blocks or Sawtooth Star blocks.  In their simplest form the center is simply a plain block, but for this quilt I felt like I wanted to add a little pizzazz so I pieced all the centers (except for one).  It was fun coming up with 19 different variations of piecing.  I love miniatures so this was a fun way to combine that with regular piecing to come up with a lovely design.

I wanted to share how I did the points on the stars.  For this block you can make half square triangle units to make your points or you can make the points by making flying geese units and not have the extra seam between the triangles to deal with.  I think the flying geese are easier, particularly if you have to make quite a few of them like I did!

There are several ways to make flying geese.  You can cut the pieces to the exact size needed and piece them in a traditional manner.  Eleanor Burns has a neat method (and ruler) for making them.  See her instructions and video here.  You can paper piece them for pure perfection.  Or you can use the sew and flip method that I will show you.  I like this method because it requires very little math, the cutting is easy and the results are always great.  If your units are small there is very little waste and if you are making larger geese you can save the bonus triangles for another project....not sure if this is a plus or a minus, but I hate to throw away good fabric!  Here is a post I wrote on how you can use those, if that helps!

For sew and flip you start off with a rectangle the size of your flying goose plus seam allowances.  For example my 6 inch star blocks require a flying goose unit that is 1 1/2 inch tall and 3 inches wide.  When I add 1/4 inch all around for seam allowances I see that I need a starting size of 2 inches by 3 1/2 inches.  Since my triangles will be the dark fabric, I will cut the rectangles for the geese out of my background.  For the triangles you will cut squares equal to the height of your goose rectangle...2 inches.  You will need two squares for each goose.   (Ok, that word is starting to sound really weird...goose, goose, goose)

You will need to mark a diagonal line on the back of all your squares.  You can use a pencil and draw a line or you can fold them in half and gently finger press a diagonal line.  You could even be like me and live dangerously and eyeball it (my personal rule of thumb is that this only works for squares under 2 1/2 inches). If you have one of these nifty Angler 2 tools you could use that as well! I have one, but don't know where I put it at the moment.

Pace one square on one end of your rectangle right sided together and edges matching.  Sew on your diagonal line.

 Fold your square back to make sure everything lines up, then trim away the extra fabric on the back 1/4 inch from your sewing line.  Press toward triangle.

Repeat using another square on the other end of your rectangle, making sure that your stitching crosses over at the middle of your rectangle.  (If you sew it the wrong way you end up with a funny chevron type of unit that will not work!)
Sew -

Trim -

 Press -

And there you have a perfect Flying Goose block!

I saved four of the cut off corners for this size block and sewed them together.  They ended up being enough to make a 1/2 inch finished block half square triangle block (1 inch before sewing).  I used them in one of my mini blocks in the center of the stars and decided they were small enough to throw away guilt free.  I have decided that I can't save everything and if it's smaller than 2 inches square it can go away without remorse :)

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial - however you decided to make your flying geese, enjoy the process!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Lots of Stars

It was wonderful to get back to doing some sewing this week!  I've been working hard at getting all the stars done to go around the center panel of this month's UFO project.  Of course I decided that each 6 inch star would have to have a unique 3 inch center - don't know why I like to make things hard on myself, but I do like seeing all the different stars and think it adds a lot to the quilt.

I used the fabric I had that matched the block, and chose a few coordinating fabrics from my stash.  I didn't have enough background fabric for all the stars so I added a few more similar tones and did a mix and match.  
One of my favorites is the second from the left on the bottom of this picture - a spool block!  The mini Shoo Fly block next to it is pretty cute as well :)

Sorry for the bad night time pictures - I seem to do a lot of evening sewing!  It was getting a bit difficult to think of new centers at this point, but I kept it up!  I had spent my first day just making the flying geese units for the stars, so all I had to do was make the centers, then add the points and corner squares.  Doing it this way really streamlined the process for me and made it possible to focus on the center blocks.
And I finished up the last few tonight!  Now, I just have to decide on whether to add an inner border, or maybe just a flange?  Then I can get this baby quilted and off my list!  That will be three of my UFO's done this year - woohoo!  So excited to be making progress and emptying out that drawer - of course I've got fabric pulled for several more projects now, so it's not like I won't have anything left to do anytime soon ;)
Check out the Quiltsy Team blog for more WIPS!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Joan's Vintage Butterfly Project

Craftsy promoted my Vintage Butterfly Pattern on Friday again - I really can't tell you how much that delights me ever single time :)  It's quite fun to read the comments.  The original block I made for the pattern was featured several times, and I could not believe all the people that did not like the fabrics!

Eventually I decided that I really needed to make a new sample block so I picked some gorgeous batik fabrics that I thought would make the block really stand out. Now no one comments on the ugly fabric, but there were quite a few uncomplimentary comments about the block itself this time around.  Didn't those people's mothers teach them the "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" rule?  To me, that's just basic manners.  Now if someone asks you, you can give them criticism, but not in a mean way.  Maybe I'm just too nice.  Good thing I'm not offended really easily, either.  In any case the positives are way more than the negatives, so I just laugh it off and think about all the people that are enjoying the pattern!

And, I was thrilled to see someone post a project they made with the block pattern!  I think Susanne might have enlarged the block because it looks larger than 9 inches in the picture.  She says it took her two days to make it - I love it!  I need to make a finished something out of my blocks, but can't decide what to make.  

If you are on facebook, go like Quilting Club.  I enjoy seeing all the patterns and projects they feature, and they always let you know when there is a sale on the classes, too!  

If you want to see how to make the block, see my tutorial here - and make sure to send me a picture or link to your project, I'd love to add it to my blog.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Little Craftsy Love

Have you noticed I'm a big fan of Craftsy?   If you haven't given it a try, you really should!  They have a wonderful assortment of online classes, and there are several that are absolutely free.  The 2012 block of the month class was really fun - well, the first few months that I actually finished was, but no worries - I can come back anytime I want and finish them up because the classes never expire!  No TV in your sewing room?  That's not a problem either because you can watch the classes on your phone, iPad, even your Kindle Fire!  You can pause, rewind, and even ask questions.  Right now they are having a terrific sale, so it's a good time to pick out a class and try it out.  My favorite so far has been Angela Walters class on Machine Quilting Negative Space - I played it on my Kindle while quilting, it was a great way to learn some new ideas.  The next one I am going to take is Perfect Pizza at home - we love pizza here!  I think I might need to try this one as well!

Another reason I love Craftsy?  The patterns!  You have never seen such a selection of patterns, all available at a moment's notice.  I needed a boys vest pattern and did not want to run to the fabric store, so I went to Craftsy and found just what I wanted.  Chose my pattern, paid for it (only via paypal), printed it up and had my project underway before I could have been to the store and back.  Plus, by buying your patterns on Craftsy you are supporting the independent designers who are designing those patterns - Craftsy does not charge anything, all the profit goes to those hardworking people who labor to share their ideas and help others create!  I am one of these - see my pattern shop here.  I love that Craftsy helps me to get my patterns into the hands of people all over the world!  I could never do that on my own!

Craftsy also has supplies.  Of course, I go for the fabric, but they have an awesome selection of yarn!  Oh, it's so much fun to shop there, and you don't even have to get out of your jammies.  I have a link on the right to some of my favorites...charm squares of course!  So tempting.

If you haven't joined their online community, you really should.  Share your projects and check out what other people are making!  Kind of like Pinterest, you can find some really amazing things that people have made.

My last reason, and the reason for this post is that Craftsy really shares their love - I've seen my patterns and pictures featured on Facebook several times and you would not know how much it thrills me to see my items scroll by on my newsfeed!  Today they were promoting a blog post on table runners:  10 Quilted Table Runner Patterns to Celebrate Spring.  So fun to see my pattern on their list!  I love the way Craftsy shares the love of making every way they can!

Thanks, Craftsy, for encouraging us to make more pretty stuff!

***Edited to add the fun for me of seeing my pattern as number one on the trending list :)  Always an encouragement to find myself there!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday....When will I get to quilt again?

Feeling rather pathetic and frustrated tonight.  I was really hoping after a hard week of sorting through all the stuffed animals, barbies (oh, the hair on these poor things), babies and all around junk that I would at least get a couple good quilting days in this week.  Unfortunately, the day after the garage sale I came down with a horrible sore throat and spent a couple days in the recliner doing nothing at sad.
I did the get the lacing done for the back of this wedding dress, and worked on another wedding gown today.  Best of all - look at my dining room table!  After going through a couple weeks of seeing it piled high with paperwork, then garage sale junk I am so excited to have a clear surface!  (Don't ask about the fish tank with a boom box and spray bottle - hopefully that will be gone soon!)

I did get a couple of my Farmer's Wife blocks done - so that was nice, but I am so much missing my quilting time.  I might get a little in tomorrow, but that will probably be all for the week unless I decide to bring a project with me when we go to watch the grandkids next week.  I'm seriously considering throwing one of my machines in the car along with the rest of the stuff we are bringing.  (Some of the previously mentioned stuffed animals and barbies, of course!)  Deciding which project is the hard part, there are so many that I'd like to work on.  Maybe I can make up some block kits to work on while I am gone, then I could just sneak in a few minutes here and there and not worry about having to keep the sharp objects out of reach.  Sounds like a good plan to me!

Hopefully everyone else is having a good sewing week - check out the links on the Quiltsy Blog and see what great things are getting accomplished....then come back next week and maybe I will have something, too!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

WIP Wednesday - I need a shovel!

Yikes, not much quilting going on here this week.  I am cleaning out my attic space in preparation for a garage sale this weekend.  Half of said attic is full of the remainders of my girls childhood toys and stuffed animals.  Over 150 of the latter.  In case you were wondering, this is what it looks like when you pile them all on your futon:

The good news is that I now have at least half of the attic clean and ready to store other things in a more organized manner!

Before the great purge began I finished my February UFO!  
 Because the fabrics were so busy and I really wanted to finish it more quickly I opted for an overall swirl pattern, which looks great!  I used red Auriful 50 weight and only had two thread breaks for the entire quilt.  Love it!
 I used a black for the binding.
 Isn't it a nice quilt?  Very dynamic!  After finishing this one I was excited to see what I get to finish in the month of March.  I was hoping it wouldn't be a big project because March is always busy with wedding anniversaries and birthdays.  I got my wish!
I'm just calling this Big House for now.  It was a Joann Fabrics block of the month several years ago.  I did this because my group of ladies wanted a lesson in Machine applique.  I think it came out really cute.  I have some coordinating fat quarters, and pulled some additional fabrics to go with it.  I plan on making a variety of star blocks to surround it and call it good.  Instead of my usual method of starting sewing then seeing where the fabric runs out I am going to plan a little and cut out my backgrounds first.  I think I'll have to mix and match, but I have plenty of options.  Then I'll make my blocks and get this show on the road!  Well, at least I will after the garage sale.  Wish me luck - two more days of sorting!  

Go check out the Quiltsy Blog for more Wednesday WIPs!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

A Few Thoughts On A Sunday Evening

Just fiddling around on my kindle - wondering how hard it would be to post!  I've spent so much time on the computer this weekend doing taxes that I just needed to do something different.  

I helped a friend start up her Etsy shop last month, and she asked me about my first sale.  It was this quilt.  I can't believe that this week I will have been selling on Etsy for 8 years!  I've seen a lot of changes on Etsy during that time, but overall I am still very happy selling there.  I am able to have my items seen all over the world and share my love of quilting with a much wider audience than I would ever reach otherwise.  

I've learned a lot in all those years about so many things!  I actually understand a bit about SEO, how to edit my photos, and shipping rates are not a mystery to me anymore.  I'm sure I have a lot more to learn as I continue my experience with online selling, and I am excited to see what the next few years will bring!  I have a couple of neat opportunities coming up this month, so I am anticipating writing about them, and of course there are lots of quilts in the making...always!  

Thanks so much for all of your support as I continue to grow - for reading my ramblings and encouraging my efforts!