Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Challenging Geese

I'm thrilled to be a part of Scrap Quilt Challenge 5! Many thanks to Shannon and her crew at Fabrics N Quilts for inviting me to participate again this year and for organizing a cool way to focus on scraps, completed projects, and summer time all at once! Prizes, too! All you have to do is make scrappy quilts! AND, there's a special deal waiting for you on this post when you make it all the way to the bottom of the tutorial. . . so let's get started!

Since there might be some folks visiting this post who may not already be familiar with me, I'll start with a short self-introduction: 

Nuff with the formalities!

Last year, my tutorial involved the ScrapTherapy Mini Scrap Grid Interfacing and this cute-as-a-button table runner project. 

button table runner

For my tutorial this year, I thought I'd provide a little twist on the traditional Flying Geese unit--we're on the Hummingbird Highway, after all, and birds are my 'thing.' I'm focusing in on the 3x6" finished size. For my tutorial I'm also using 1-1/2" squares trimmed from my 2" scrap squares from my bin of pre-cut scraps, some Middle Scrap Grid Interfacing, and some fun techniques filled with variety. 

The ScrapTherapy Middle Scrap Grid interfacing is printed by Quiltsmart, and has fusible material on one side, and lines printed on the other. Four different types of lines tell you where to align and fuse scrap squares, clip, sew, and cut. For a more general, detailed tutorial on using the Middle Scrap Grid to make 9-patch blocks, click here. For the Flying Geese, we'll take a few departures from the general tutorial so, don't go too far astray as you follow along step by step.

For starters, the Middle Scrap Grid comes by the panel and there's enough interfacing on one panel to make 24 9-patch blocks. OR, with a few variations in sewing, we can make twelve 3x6" rectangular patches from each panel. 

Middle Scrap Grid Interfacing

First, place the grid on your ironing surface, fusible side of the interfacing up. Arrange similar color and value 1-1/2" square scraps on the fusible side of the interfacing and fuse with a hot iron when the entire grid is covered with scraps. Refer to the general tutorial to trim the interfacing, place the scraps, and fuse. I'm using a variety of green, blue, and purple scraps in mostly medium values because I just finished a quilt made with green, blue, and purple fabrics. (Funny how that works!)

Middle Scrap grid interfacing and scrap fabrics

Next follow the general tutorial to sew six seams, width-wise. (Is that a word? What I mean is sew across the shorter dimension of the rectangle.) Skip the third and sixth seam markings at the red arrows. As a reminder, fold on the dotted lines; sew on the solid lines. Be sure to align the solid lines front to back before you sew, and sew directly on the solid lines 

Middle scrap grid interfacing

Should look like this from the right side. Notice the seams with the red X aren't sewn.

Middle Scrap Grid intefacing

Now clip the interfacing at EACH the seam intersection at the cross hairs (+) and at the dots (.). Five clips per seam. To make 9-patches, you'd have four clips per seam.

clipping the middle scrap grid interfacing

Be sure you clip the seam THROUGH the stitching . . .

clipping the middle scrap grid interfacing

 . . . so you can nest and oppose the seams. Make pairs of seams that are pressed TOWARD each other on one side and AWAY FROM each other on opposite sides. I call these innies and outies. See the red 'away' arrows and the green 'toward' arrows? Don't forget, fold on the dotted line, sew on the solid line.

nesting quiltng seams

Alternate seam direction as you sew each long row.

seam pressing direction

You should have five lengthwise seams. If you want to make 9-patch blocks, you wouldn't have sewn the third seam (circled in red, view from the back)

Middle Scrap Grid seams

Now cut apart the interfacing at the only two remaining unsewn seams. Cut on the dashed lines.

Middle scrap grid 9-patch

Next, we need to press. I like to 'furl' my seams. Like for 4-patch blocks. But because the interfacing is involved, I need to adjust the pressing technique a wee bit. Instead of having opened mini 4-patches on the back right at the seam intersections, you can make little compressed triangles. Refer to the general tutorial for more specifics.

furled seams

Once all your seams are pressed, the block base should be 3-1/2x6-1/2". I like to double check the measurement and trim off any spillage caused little variables in scrap placement, sewing blips, or general adjustments.


Repeat until you have the desired number of rectangular bases for your geese. I made 8, all the same, or since they are scrappy, maybe better that I say all are similar. Put those aside for a moment or two.

Flying Geese in progress

Cut some 3-1/2" squares. Two squares per block. I chose a solid, high-contrast color. Draw a diagonal line corner to corner on the back. 

HST lines

Align the square on one end of the block and sew on the line. . . . then. . .

Flying Geese in progress

. . . turn the block over.

Flying geese

See the existing seam? Leave that alone for now, and draw another line that connects the circled 9-patch seam intersection points.

flying geese

Sew on the second line, then cut 1/4" away from each line as shown. 

flying geese

Set the little triangle aside for the moment and press the dark square toward the corner. Repeat the process to add a second triangle to the opposite end of the unit. Don't forget to make the little guy, too!

flying geese

That's a Scrappy Flying Geese unit! I chose to alternate two different colors of flip-and-stitch squares on each end of each unit I made. You can make them both the same fabric, if you prefer.

Flying geese quilt block

Then I arranged the geese units to create a really scrappy block. Imagine the possibilities with matching squares on each Flying Geese, or pairs of matching squares on alternating units, cool tone scraps/warm tone stitch-and-flip squares, sashing in between geese, geese in a row . . . you get the idea. Endless possibilities. My block measures 12-1/2". 

quilt block

Now, you didn't think I was going to let any of this scrappy goodness go to waste, did you? Retrieve the small corner triangles and press the solid triangle away from the scrappy triangle. Notice the three little red dots. Use a ruler to align the middle dot with the 1" intersecting lines on the ruler, and the two outer dots with the 2" markings at the ruler's edge. All three dots should be right on the pressed diagonal seam. Trim the block on two sides. . . 

Flying Geese Leftovers

 . . .  and flip the block and trim the remaining two sides. 

Flying Geese Leftovers

Result: a cute little 2" square pieced half-square triangle unit!

Flying Geese Leftovers

Make a bunch.

Flying Geese Leftovers

Then dig out one 9-patch-worth--or more if you like--of the LITTLE Scrap Grid! And. . .

Flying geese Mini Mug Mats

 . . . arrange the 2" pieced units on the Little Scrap Grid . . . like this . . .

Flying geese Mini Mug Mats

. . . or this . . . or any number of different ways. Fuse, sew following the general tutorial for Little Scrap Grid. Then make a Mini Mug Mat, if you like! 

Flying geese Mini Mug Mats

Here's another block option incorporating the scrappy Flying geese units as well as four 9-patch blocks for the corners and four 9-patch blocks for the center. This block finishes to 12" square. Also, notice the 5" square Mini Mug Mat made from the leftover Flying Geese corners.

quilt block

AND, as long as we're considering lots of options. Why not make the base a solid fabric, and use 9-patch blocks made from the Middle Scrap Grid for the outer corners?

fllying geese

Press the seams toward the larger triangle to accommodate the bulky seams on the 9-patch stitch-and-flip unit.

flying geese

And you'll even have leftovers, just like before! 

flying geese

I hope you've been inspired! Of course, you don't need to have the Middle or Little Scrap Grid to make your wildly scrappy Flying Geese units, but I have to admit that I'm addicted to the stuff. 

Save 25% When You Purchase Your Scrap Quilt Challenge 9-Patch Bundle by July 31st!

I'd love for you to try it, too! Therefore, I'm offering a little incentive only during this first month of Scrap Quilt Challenge 5, with a special bundle for you

CLICK HERE to purchase the Scrap Quilt Challenge 9-Patch Bundle which includes four panels of ScrapTherapy Middle Scrap Grid Interfacing (enough to make 96 Scrappy Flying Geese, or twice that many 9-patch blocks), one panel of ScrapTherapy Little Scrap Grid Interfacing (enough to make 12 scrappy leftover Mini Mug Mat tops), plus a package of Mini Mug Mat Just the Batting (six pieces of 5" pre-cut double sided fusible foam batting) for the mug mats. The regular price for all the stuff in this special bundle is $50. Buy it this month for $37, and save 25%. The special price is good between now and July 31st, 2015.

Have a fantastic, scrappy summer, and
Happy Stitching!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Row by Watery Row

In its fifth year, the Row by Row Experience is an opportunity for quilters throughout the US and Canada to visit quilt shops, collect patterns, make a row quilt, and win prizes. . . and have a whole lot of fun and memorable experiences in the process!

Sounds like a typical shop hop, right? But it's quite different. Quilters don't have to buy passports, they don't have to pay a fee, and they can collect rows from a variety of locations to assemble a quilt from eight different row patterns. Each participating shop has created an original pattern for a 36"-wide row following a theme. The theme for 2015 is H2O--Water. The row patterns are free, but they can ONLY be obtained by visiting the quilt shops in person. Prize-eligible quilts need to be finished--that means quilted, bound and labeled. The row-collecting starts on June 21 (Summer Solstice!). And ends on September 8.

And the whole event originates from Syracuse, NY, my home base. With just a few days left to prepare for the beginning of the event, I chatted briefly with Janet Lutz, owner of Calico Gals in Syracuse, and the originator of the nationwide Row by Row Experience. She said, "With over 2650 participating shops, all focused on our June 21st start date, most all the details are in place. We're ready! The shops are very excited to create a fantastic experience for quilters traveling from shop to shop and between states and provinces. My best advice is enjoy the journey, drive safely, and experience shops that are new and different from your usual routine."

As a pattern designer, this is my third year working with shops to prepare their patterns for the event. Two years ago, I worked with two shops to create their row patterns, and last year I assisted six shops by creating their row patterns. This year I was thrilled to help create a grand total of 13 original patterns for twelve shops.

Better get your travel journal ready, you'll want to go out of your way to visit these shops to get your row patterns for the 2015 event.

Here's the Hummingbird Highway Row By Row Experience Roll Call (in alphabetical order by state or province). I don't have final photographs for each shop's row. Since I don't want to blow their big reveal, if I don't have the quilt photo, I'll just provide the pattern title, and you'll have to investigate further. Each state or province has a facebook page and many of the row samples can be found there.

California. Monica's Bead & Quilt Creations, Palm Desert. Oasis

Illinois. Quilts & More, Stronghurst. Thirsty

Kansas. Sunflower Quilts, Hiawatha. Rubber Duckies

North Carolina. Wish Upon a Quilt, Raleigh. Great Quilter Reef

Nevada. Quiltique, Henderson. Save Every Drop

New York. Calico Gals, the home of the Row by Row Experience, Syracuse. Drip, Drip, Drop

Ohio. Quilt Foundry, Maumee. Quilting Quackers

Pennsylvania. The Sewing Box Quilt Shop, Somerset. Make a Little Wish

Pennsylvania. Sew Special, Uniontown. The Giant Rubber Duck

Saskatchewan. Cindy-Rella's Sewing and Quilting, Regina. Message at Sea

Texas. Buttons N Bows, Houson. Great Egret

Wisconsin. The Calico Shoppe, Eau Claire. Anchors Aweigh

West Virginia. Sew Special, Morgantown. Aunt Phibian and Her Beau


Happy Travels and Happy Stitching!


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Books and Art in the Big Apple

Last Thursday, I got on a train headed from Syracuse, New York to New York's Penn Station. After a bit of retail therapy and a really yummy dinner at the hotel in Times Square, my first real objective for the weekend was a book-signing at BEA - a super-sized wholesale book show held annually in May.

All the big publishers have booths at the event, with lots of author signing going on all around me, I wasn't sure anyone would be interested in my book, When Bad Things Happen to Good Quilters! Guess what. . .they were! The line started to form at the Taunton Press booth shortly before the signing was scheduled to begin.

BEA book signing

And I had stacks and stacks of books to sign! Perhaps I should have spent some time toning up my hand muscles to prepare!

BEA Taunton Press booth

I signed each book, and took some time to chat and make some new friends!

BEA Taunton Press Booth

Once the books were gone, it was time for Taunton to serve up some goodies from one of their newest titles in from the cooking side of the house! Samples of recipes from Blue Ribbon Canning were quite popular. . .and quite yummy!

Blue Ribbon Canning Sample

I wasn't the only person signing books that day! Dr. Ruth Westheimer has a children's book! Leopold is about a turtle who just can't seem to get out of his shell to try new things! Cute!

Dr. Ruth

And this is Meg Medina, a delightful woman with a new children's book about crossing generations and cultures through common interests. I was completely drawn in by the parrot on the cover illustration. . . of course!

Meg Medina and her new book

On Saturday, Dave and I went to one of my favorite spots in New York. But first, you HAVE to have the Subway Selfie, right?

Times Square Selfie

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or, simply, The Met, is one of my favorite places anywhere. The huge collection of art and artifacts allows you to step back thousands of years in time in one gallery, then step across the hall to another gallery to see art from this past century. It's mind-boggling!

The Met

One of my favorite sections in almost any art museum is the collection of Impressionist art. Degas is famous for his portraits of ballet figures. This striking portrait done in pastels and charcoal has a deep blue velvet border on the frame.

Degas ballet portrait

The rooftop garden at The Met offers an escape from the busy bustling inside the museum and on the streets below. And an opportunity for another selfie.

NYC from The Met

Such a beautiful day to take advantage of the walk back to our Times Square hotel via Central Park and the Sailboat Pond.

Central Park Sailboat Pond

That's it! Just a quick trip. Our return train ride on Sunday was delayed, so we spent pretty much the whole day in transition back home. But that's okay. It was such a pleasant ride and a great little getaway for an early Summer weekend!

And it's always a good weekend when there retail AND scrap are involved!

Happy Stitching!