Category Archives: Tutorials

Splendid Sampler 2: Adventure Abounds

splendid sampler 2 adventure aboundsToday I’m excited to reveal the block I designed for the Splendid Sampler 2 book: Adventure Abounds, found on page 122.  Those of you who know me are most likely not surprised by this block one bit! For those of you who are new, welcome! I’m Kitty Wilkin, aka Night Quilter, and I’m so glad you’re here! I am a full time mom of three kiddos in rural Maine, but I’m also a pattern designer (EPP, FPP, traditional piecing–I love it all!), quilt and product photographer, teacher, social media manager for the Quilter’s Planner, AND an avid fussy cutter, which I prefer to call meticulous cutting. I’m often inspired by the natural world around me, and when Pat and Jane asked me to design a block reflecting my best quilty life, I knew it had to include family adventures in nature tied together through the creation of a quilt. With strong influence from my Summer Adventure quilt pattern, this block has a bit of everything–sea, trees, and lots of love!

If you’re new to the Splendid Sampler books curated by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson, find out more about the Splendid Sampler 2 book and sew along HERE.

splendid sampler 2 adventure aboundsToday I am going to share 3 tips for using fussy cutting in foundation paper pieced blocks, using my Adventure Abounds block from the Splendid Sampler 2 book. If you’re new to foundation paper piecing (FPP), read my beginner basics FPP tutorial HERE first to make sure you know all of the key components and basic tips. Then let’s dive in!

splendid sampler 2 adventure abounds fppThere are a few things you should remember before beginning FPP: First, the templates are a mirror image of the finished block, so when planning your fabric placement, visualize the right side of your fabric on the back of the template. Second, I highly recommend color coding your paper templates before starting so that you know exactly where each fabric should be. Third, don’t forget to use paper scissors to cut out and trim the templates! Your fabric scissors don’t want to go there!

color code foundation paper piecingOnce your fabrics are selected, your templates are cut out along the 1/4″ seam allowance line and color coded, you’re ready to dive in. Here are three tips for using fussy cutting in FPP:

1. Place your fussy cut on piece 1

One of the easiest ways to use fussy cutting with FPP is to position your fussy cut fabric on the very first piece placed. With this method, simply hold your fabric up to a light source on the wrong side of the paper template, aligning the fabric motif you want to feature. Use a little dab of washable glue stick to hold it in place, and then continue piecing the rest of the block as you normally would. Your fussy cut can be perfectly positioned with very little effort. Depending on the block you’re creating, even this little use of fussy cutting can create quite an impact.

positioning fussy cut fppAs an example of this for my Adventure Abounds block, I decided to position a subtle bird in the sky above the ocean, and held it up to a window to make sure it was positioned exactly how I wanted it. With a white on white background for my blocks, this example is subtle, but sometimes those subtle details are my favorite!

2. Create templates

Another way to make fussy cutting a bit easier while foundation paper piecing is to create a template for the pieces you wish to meticulously cut. You can use template plastic for this, or can even repurpose clear plastic lids to food containers. You want to use something that you can see through or at least trace through using a light source.

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingTo create a template, first trace the shape from the paper foundation template onto the plastic. Be sure to label your piece, AND make note of directionality since the paper template is a mirror image.

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingOnce I trace the shape, I flip over the template plastic and write my notes on the opposite side, so that when I cut the fabric for that piece, I know that my notes should be legible on the right side of the fabric.

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingNext, using a quilting ruler with 1/4″ measure, draw seam lines 1/4″ outside all the edges of your drawn lines.

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingCut out the template along that seam allowance line.

Repeat for all of the shapes you want to fussy cut. You can use the clear templates to be sure you’re cutting your fabric piece exactly as you want it. Note that you will want to use all of the tips outlined in this tutorial when piecing so that the perfectly cut piece of fabric gets sewn in exactly how you want it.

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingFor my block, I decided to fussy cut the heart so that the fabrics for the two pieces of the heart look continuous despite consisting of two fabric pieces. I decided to make a third reference template of the full heart and traced the pattern from the fabric onto the template, which I used as a reference when cutting out each individual part.

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingOnce you have your template positioned over the exact motif you want, carefully trace around the template with a fabric marking tool and cut out the fabric, or very carefully use a rotary cutter to cut around the template. Note that with planning templates made with template plastic or repurposed food lids, using your rotary cutter contains a good level of danger–so either purposefully live on the wild side, or use the trace and cut-with-scissors method!

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingYour perfectly planned fabric piece is ready to carefully stitch onto your growing foundation paper pieced section.

Because this piecing is quite meticulous, you’ll want to be sure to align this next piece perfectly before stitching.

fpp fussy cuttingfpp fussy cuttingFolding along the seam on which you are about to stitch and trimming the overhanging fabric to 1/4″ will help you line up the next piece accurately.

fpp fussy cuttingYou can also fold over the piece you are about to stitch along the seam line to see how it looks before actually stitching.

Note that meticulous cutting is exactly that–meticulous. Be sure to be meticulous in all phases of this process to get the best results. Also, be gentle with yourself. This is not easy! Use a stitch length that you are comfortable ripping out if needed to get those first fabrics lined up. I give myself a Rule of 3 when stitching any block: I’m allowed to use my seam ripper to rip out progress and make it align better 3 times during the stitching process for any block. Once I hit my 3 times, I need to just accept the imperfections and move on. We are human, after all. But don’t be afraid to try! As with anything, the more you practice, the easier it will get.

fpp fussy cuttingOnce your fussy cut pieces are cut and stitched as desired, continue piecing your non-fussy cut pieces as you would any other FPP block.

3. Focus on the joining seam

A third tool to use while fussy cutting in FPP is to pay close attention to the edge of the motif you want to feature. This works particularly well for lining up directional prints along the seam line, or for less precise fussy cuts.

This method is used for any piece AFTER the first piece placed. If your fussy cut is the first piece, use Tip 1!

splendid sampler 2 adventure aboundsIn the Adventure Abounds block I made for the original Splendid Sampler 2 quilt, I used this tip when piecing the text on the tree, specifically the word “love”, since the word “listen” was the first piece placed, and was therefore easy to simply glue in place and piece around. Knowing that I wanted the top of the word love to be juuust below that darker top piece, when I cut the square of fabric I carefully cut just a tad bit more than 1/4″ from that top edge of the word love. I left the rest of the rectangle of fabric a bit larger and less specific, since as long as that edge lined up properly, the rest didn’t matter.

With the Adventure Abounds block I’m making for my own Splendid Sampler 2 quilt, I am not using as finicky or directional of fabric for the tree, so there is no need for fussy cutting. However, I wanted to control the directionality of the fabric in a few of the waves, so that the dots on the Cotton and Steel basics and the wavy paths on the bike path fabric by Alison Glass ran parallel to the seam line. The piece is not the first one placed, so I couldn’t use Tip 1. All I want to control is the directionality of the fabric, so making a template seems like more work than is necessary. Enter Tip 3: Focus on the joining seam.

 

fussy cutting with fppWhenever employing any type of meticulous cutting in your FPP, it’s always a good idea to trim your 1/4″ seam allowance before positioning and stitching your fussy cut shape. To do this, simply fold back the foundation paper along the line you are about to sew on, and using a quilting ruler with 1/4″ measure, trim the fabric 1/4″ away from the fold. (Obviously use a cutting mat underneath! This photo shows without the mat for aesthetic consistency). Once your fabric is trimmed, you have a clean line with which to line up your next meticulously placed piece.

This also helps facilitate another key FPP tip, which I originally learned from Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced, and which has saved me countless brain-scruntches trying to be sure a fabric piece would align properly on wonky angles in FPP.

fussy cutting with fppWhen your paper is folded along the seam-to-be-sewn, you can place it on your next fabric (right side up) and the paper shape as folded will be exactly on top of the fabric that will end up in that space once you sew along the line. Be sure to visit Lee’s tutorial for a perfectly clear and in depth explanation–it’s truly life changing when it comes to FPP!

https://weallsew.com/how-to-make-paper-piecing-easy/What that means for us is that with that clear 1/4″ seam line showing us the direction we want our print to go, simply lining up the folded seam line with the directional print will ensure the pattern runs in exactly the direction we want. Fold up the edge a bit to peek under and make sure the pattern is positioned the way you want it, then without changing the position of the fabric, fold the paper back up and sew along the line.

https://weallsew.com/how-to-make-paper-piecing-easy/You will end up with your directional fabric meticulously positioned along the seam line, just how you wanted it. Paired with that fun bird flying over the ocean that we placed using Tip 1, these tips can help take your foundation paper piecing blocks to a whole new, intentional level.

splendid sampler 2 adventure aboundsHere’s the block I made for my slowly growing Splendid Sampler 2 quilt, about which I’ll show you more soon! I’m creating monochromatic blocks and using an alternate rainbow layout I sketched out in my Quilter’s Planner. This Adventure Abounds block will be positioned in the teal row, but as you can see, it is transitioning to the green. I made a compromise from my monochromatic-rule for this block, since I make the rules around here anyway! ha!

the splendid sampler 2 night quilter quilters plannerOkay, just one peek at my planned layout and a few of my blocks so far. A full look will come in its own blog post soon, so be sure to follow this space!

Thank you so much for joining me today–I hope this tutorial is helpful and entices some new fussy cutters to try adding some meticulous cutting to their foundation paper piecing! Please show me what you’re making and either comment with a photo, or tag me on social media @nightquilter . Most of all, have fun!!

If you’re sewing along with the Splendid Sampler 2 excitement, be sure to head over to the Splendid Sampler website, and post your completed Adventure Abounds block. There is a fun Martingale book giveaway for one lucky person picked from the blocks shared on their website.

splendid sampler 2 adventure aboundsHave fun with your Adventure Abounds block, and may your adventures abound!

Flying Geese Table Runner with the Cricut Maker

Today I’m happy to share a simple and fun Flying Geese Table Runner project I made using the Cricut Maker. With Easter approaching and my table bare, I wanted to put together a quick project that could brighten the room for Easter, and really all year long. This table runner was also one of the first things I designed in the Cricut Design Space, so I wanted to keep it fairly simple while also using as many Cricut Maker features as I could! You can read a full review of my new Cricut Maker here.

flying geese table runner cricut maker easterThis post is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. All opinions and text are my own. This Flying Geese Table Runner includes both traditional piecing and embroidery or hand quilting. If you don’t have a Cricut Maker, I’ve included cutting instructions and a pdf as well, so anyone can make it!

Let’s get started, shall we!? First, gather your materials.

Materials (My fabric details are in parenthesis)
  • Cricut Maker
  • Cricut Washable Fabric Pen
  • Cricut FabricGrip Mat 12″x24″
  • 3/4 yard background fabric (Kona cotton in Snow)
  • fat quarter focal fabric (Twinklestar in Berry from Garden Dreamer, by Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery Fabric–from the blogger bundle I put together for Needle & Foot, here)
  • 1/2 yard fabric for backing and binding (Painted Desert Morning from Sage, by Bari J Ackerman for Art Gallery Fabric)
  • approximately 18″x44″ piece of batting
  • 50wt thread for piecing & quilting (I used Aurifil 50wt 2600-Dove for piecing and 50wt 2479- Medium Orchid and 2021-Natural White for quilting)
  • 12wt thread, embroidery floss, or perle cotton for embroidery (I used 12wt Aurifil 2435-Peachy Pink)
  • sewing machine
  • small embroidery hoop (6″ or smaller)
  • embroidery needle
  • rotary cutter and mat
  • iron and pressing surface

Note that if you do not have a Cricut Maker, you will also need a washable fabric marking tool, printer to print the embroidery template, and light box or other bright surface to facilitate tracing the embroidery template onto your fabric.

Now for the fun!

Using the Cricut Maker

Log into Cricut Design Space and get my Flying Geese Table Runner with Embroidery project here, and click “Make it!”

Prepare your mats as instructed, smoothly spreading your fabric onto your 12″x24″ FabricGrip mat. The Cricut Maker will lead you through the entire process, so simply follow the screen instructions and let the Cricut Maker work its magic!

Cricut Maker in action drawing and cutting The Cricut Maker will both draw the washable embroidery guide lines AND cut the larger rectangle for you!

Attaching elements in Cricut Design SpaceWhen I designed the drawn geese section, I designated the geese shapes as draw lines rather than cut lines and ATTACHED them to a larger cut background rectangle, about 11 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ in size so that they would be easier to embroider. For those of you designing for your Cricut Maker, this is key to remember when you want to combine both cut lines and drawn lines! Also, many thanks to Julie at Intrepid Thread for teaching me how to do this! If you’re a quilter getting to know your Cricut Maker, I highly recommend checking out Julie’s how-to resources both on her blog and YouTube channel!

Cricut Maker in action cuttingThe Cricut Maker will also prompt you to cut squares of your focal fabric, small squares of background fabric, and some background rectangles. Once the fabric is cut, carefully remove the excess fabric, revealing your perfectly cut shapes. Carefully remove the fabric from the mats, and then get ready to sew!

You will also need to cut a 19 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ rectangle of background fabric with your rotary cutter and mat for the center portion of the table runner. You can easily shorten or lengthen your table runner by adjusting the dimensions of this center panel accordingly. It should always be 13 1/2″ wide, but can be as long or short as needed to fit your table.

Preparation Instructions if you don’t have a Cricut Maker

If you don’t have a Cricut Maker, here’s how you can cut and prepare your fabric using a rotary cutter, mat, washable fabric pen, and lightbox or other light source.

First, do your cutting. From your background fabric, cut:

  • (1) 11″ x 13 1/2″ rectangle (onto which you will trace your embroidery templates
  • (12) 2 7/8″ squares
  • (2) 2 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ rectangles
  • (4) 1 1/4″ x 4″ rectangles
  • (1) 19 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ rectangle (as noted above)

From your focal fabric, cut:

  • (3) 5 1/4″ squares

We will use the backing of the table runner as the binding, so will keep the backing fabric as a whole 1/2 yard cut until after quilting.

Download the Flying Geese Table Runner Embroidery Template-Night Quilter Printable, print on your computer at 100% scale, tape the two pages together along the match line, and trace onto your 11″ x 13 1/2″ rectangle of background fabric using a washable fabric pen. Be sure to center the template so that there is at least 1/2″ of fabric on both sides of the geese and 1″ above and below the geese.

Once all of your cutting and prepping is complete, it’s time to get stitching!

Embroidering the Accent Geese

embroidering the accent flying geeseThe embroidered accent geese are meant to add some subtle accent interest to your table runner, since hand stitching of any kind (in my mind) adds a special touch. Especially with a project that will be seen often, those hand stitches can echo the sharp aesthetic of the pieced flying geese.

aurifil 12 wt thread for embroideryGather your embroidery hoop, background fabric with your flying geese drawn on, and a thick 12wt thread, embroidery floss, or perle cotton in a coordinating color. I chose to use Aurifil 12wt thread in 2435-Peachy Pink since it’s a subtle echo of the geese that pulls the beautiful coral color from the Twinklestar in Berry fabric.

aurifil 12 wt thread for embroidery running stitchYou can use the drawn embroidery guides to do any type of embroidery you want. I chose to do a simple running stitch around each flying goose, but feel free to get creative! Chain stitch would me another fun stitch to use to outline each goose, you could echo the stitching inside each goose as well, or even fill the geese with french knots!

Note that if you choose to use a more dense embroidery design, you may want to layer another piece of white fabric or use an interfacing stabilizer behind your panel.  Yet another creative option would be to wait on the stitching, assemble your table runner, and then use the drawn guide lines to hand quilt around each goose, stitching through all three layers of the table runner. If I make another one of these table runners, I will go this route, since I think the stitches would work really well as hand quilting, too.

trim embroidered geese panelsOnce you’ve finished embroidering your geese, carefully trim the panel into two rows of geese, cutting 1/2″ away from the side points of each row. Do not cut the top or bottom of each row of flying geese. You should now have two embroidered geese panels measuring 5″ x 13 1/2″.

Piecing Flying Geese Four at a Time

piecing flying geese four at a timeWith your fabric pieces cut perfectly by the Cricut Maker, or as specified above, piece your flying geese using the four at a time method. I used the Reference section of my Quilter’s Planner to piece mine, and you can also find a download of the page HERE as a little taste of the awesome that is contained in the Quilter’s Planner. (If you don’t have one already, go ahead and buy a Quilter’s Planner 2018 while they are still available!) Note that we are making flying geese that finish at 2″x4″.

flying geese strips for table runnerMake twelve geese total and sew them into two strips of six as shown above. See how they are mirrored by the embroidered strips? Note that your embroidered strips should be cut apart by this step.


Sewing Tip:

Perfect Points for Flying GeeseWhen sewing two geese together, position the point of the goose on top and make sure your stitch line passes exactly through the stitched point of your goose.

perfect points with flying geeseThis way, you will be sure to never chop off the point of a flying goose ever again!


sewing top and bottom sectionsOnce your flying geese rows of six are assembled, sew a 1 1/4″x 4″ piece of background fabric to the top and bottom of each strip. Align with your 13 1/2″ embroidered geese strips, and trim the pieced flying geese strips to 13 1/2″ if needed, being sure that your embroidered geese align with your sewn geese before trimming. There is a little bit of wiggle room included in the top and bottom background rectangles to allow for those who sew scant or generous 1/4″ seams, so trim as needed.

Assembling the Table Runner

flying geese panel of table runnerFirst sew together the flying geese panels of the table runner. I’ve arranged mine on top of my backing fabric so that you can clearly see the different pieces being sewn together. With geese facing the same direction, sew the embroidered flying geese section to the pieced flying geese section. Then sew to the 2 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ background rectangle. Make two.

assembling table runnerAssemble the table runner top by sewing the sections together as shown above: Note that the embroidered flying geese panels should be sewn to the center background piece on both ends.

choosing threadOnce your table runner top is pieced, position the runner top and batting in the center of your chosen backing fabric, right sides facing away from each other. In other words, layer and baste your table runner and prepare for quilting!

quiltingI chose to use Aurifil 50wt 2479- Medium Orchid to quilt my Flying Geese Table Runner with a dense free motion quilting pattern in the center, simple outlines of the pieced flying geese, and dense free motion quilted switchbacks in Aurifil 2021-Natural White between both the pieced and embroidered geese. I wanted the texture but not the visual distraction from my hand stitching.

detail of quilting on flying geese table runner cricut maker aurifil threadI’m certainly not a free motion quilting pro, but I am pretty happy with my over-all heart-flower free motion quilting motif! Plus, how fabulously do those tulips go with the BariJ Sage fabric backing!?

As you quilt your table runner, be sure to stay 1/4″ away from all edges with your quilting! This will help your binding look great from both the top and the bottom, since we will be using the backing fabric folded over the edges as binding.

fold back backing fabricOnce your table runner is quilted as desired, carefully fold back the backing fabric and trim the batting *just* outside the top of your table runner top. I gave myself a little less than 1/8″ around the edge of my table runner.

cutting batting square Be extra careful not to cut your backing fabric during this step!

Next, trim your backing fabric between 3/4″ and 1″ from the outer edge of your table runner quilt top. Fold the backing so that its raw edge meets the edge of your trimmed quilt top and batting and press. Fold again and top stitch in place, securing your binding to the front of the quilt.

binding close up flying geese table runnerA full tutorial for how to bind your quilt with the backing fabric can be found HERE on Cluck Cluck Sew’s blog.

binding close up flying geese table runnerI wanted my binding to be slightly slimmer, so I cut mine 3/4″ from the edge of the table runner top instead of 1″, but choose whichever you prefer.

flying geese table runner tutorial cricut makerTa da! Your table runner is nearly finished! All that remains is to wash out the washable fabric marker lines. I’ve found that the Cricut Washable Fabric Pen easily washes out with a bit of soap and cold water. Note that if you prewash your fabrics, you can wash out the fabric pen before trimming and piecing the embroidery panels into your table runner. I don’t prewash my fabrics, so I opted to wash it all at once after it was completely finished.

flying geese table runner cricut maker easterSet your Easter table and enjoy! I always love a good bundle of fresh flowers on a table, especially during these early days of spring when the snow is still thick on the ground outside.

flying geese table runner cricut maker easter

flying geese table runner cricut maker easterAfter giving my table runner its first wash, and in looking at these photos, I think I will go back and hand quilt within those embroidered flying geese to give them a bit more texture.flying geese table runner tutorial cricut makerEnjoy, and I hope you’ll share a photo of your Flying Geese Table Runner if you make one! You can tag me on social media @nightquilter or share a link here in the comments.

Happy stitching!

 

 

 

 

 

Fabric Skinny Bin Tutorial & Auribuzz Guest Post

Have you been eagerly awaiting the tutorial for the fabric Skinny Bins I showcased during Mister Domestic’s Sewing Party with Art Gallery Fabrics? Today, you’re in luck! The full photo tutorial went live over on the Quilt Theory blog today, offered in celebration of our Collection 2 Pattern release week! Check it out here!

Fabric bin finished 1 tutorial aurifilAs I mentioned in my post a few week ago, the list of use ideas for this tall and skinny fabric bin just keeps growing. From sorting tiny fabric scraps to housing your favorite adult beverage bottle, the sky’s the limit.

Fabric bin display aurifil thread cardToday I’m also sharing one such use over on Auribuzz, the Aurifil thread blog. It turns out that my Skinny Bins are the perfect size for holding cut up Aurifil thread card strips, too! Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl and I co-wrote a post for Auribuzz all about how to cut apart your Aurifil thread color card and the many ways to display and store the strips, since cutting the cards really is super helpful when it comes to finding that perfect color match.

Aurifil thread strips in use skinny binHead on over to the Auribuzz blog and be inspired!

When you make your own fabric Skinny Bins, please use #fabricskinnybin and tag me @nightquilter and @quilt.theory so that I can see them (and see how you decided to use them!). Patterns for customizing the exterior panel will be available in the coming weeks.

I thought this also might be a great time to share that I’ve been selected to be an Aurifil Artisan for 2017, so I’m honored and excited to be a part of the talented team of makers that love to work with Aurifil thread. Visit this post on the Aurifil blog to see the whole Aurifil Artisan team!

Happy stitching!

 

The Honey Pot Bee – April Queen Bee Fun

Ahhh, April! My favorite month! April is the month when spring usually begins to prevail over the last cold days of winter, with days getting a tad bit warmer, hopefully the snow melting enough to make way for sprouting crocuses and daffodils, and a prevalence of sun instead of sleet and snow. Not only that, it’s my birthday month, which is always a fun excuse to celebrate a little bit extra. To add some frosting to the cake, this month, I’m also one of the Queen Bees for The Honey Pot Bee hosted by Molli Sparkles. So fun!

the honey pot bee molli sparkles 2017When I was trying to decide what block to throw into the Honey Pot, I stumbled upon the Starry Sky block by Kylie at A Persevering Mom and completely fell in love.  Let me count the ways: 1) it’s foundation paper pieced yet very simply so, 2) the possibilities for color play are endless and I just LOVE Kylie’s warm/cool on low volume background sample block, 3) it comes in three sizes–2.5″, 6″ and 12″ finished squares, and 4) it’s free which makes it a prime choice for a bee! Decision made!

starry sky block by a persevering momBecause the foundation paper piecing in this block is so simple, it is a perfect block for some meticulous cutting fun. I decided that I wanted to use my precious Friedlander fabric for the background, but I wanted it to look like the tree scene was continuous across the block. I thought it might be helpful if I shared a few tips on how I did it.

starry sky block by a persevering momRemember that in foundation paper piecing, you are building the block on the back of the template. For this reason, when cutting each fabric piece, be sure to position the template with the printed lines facing the right side of the fabric to ensure the direction of the fabric is correct.

starry sky block by a persevering momIt’s also helpful to cut as you go, completing one template piece at a time and double checking your progress along the way. This certainly takes longer than cutting all of the necessary fabric pieces and chain piecing each section, but when playing the meticulous cutting game, it’s wise to go slowly and steadily, checking and double checking along the way.

starry sky block by a persevering momIn the photo above, the pieces of background fabric are cut for each section of the final foundation template (remember that the fabric will go on the back, so it appears mirrored when looking at them next to each other this way.) The final adjustment that can be made is with the numbering and order in which fabrics are sewn. With a basic understanding of how foundation paper piecing works, you can rearrange your piecing order to help easily align your fabric pieces. For this block, I always began with the center of the star points when at all possible so that it made it easy to keep the background fabric level and headed in the desired direction. For the piece shown, instead of sewing them in the listed order of A1, A2, A3, etc…, I positioned A3, then sewed A2, then A4, then A1.  This way, I only had one angled seam to line up properly (A5 to A6) in the entire block.

starry sky block by a persevering mom
A final shot of all of the block components in the dying evening light, right before final assembly.

While this seamless background didn’t come across as clearly as I hoped due to the intricacies of the branches and print, I’m still glad I went through the extra effort to get those bushes lined up along the bottom. Even if at first glance, it’s not obvious that the background fabric lines up, I know it does, and that’s what matters, right!?

starry sky block by a persevering momI love how the Friedlander Tree Stripe border in Pistachio looks with the star points, which include fabric from both Carkai and Architextures also by Carolyn Friedlander, some favorite Alison Glass Sun Prints from 2016 and 2017, a Free Spirit solid, Gum Leaves from Terra Australis 2 by Emma Jean Jansen, and an unknown green swirl from my stash. I sewed the block with my favorite 50wt Aurifil thread, 2600-Dove, but was excited to find two lovely greens in my stash, which will come in handy when it’s quilting time! My block will obviously be added to my Greenery Quilt, and I most likely will aim to also make a 12″ version of the block in a different arrangement of greens since I love the block so much. Can’t you see this block looking fab in just about any color combination!?

Head on over to Molli’s blog to see the other gorgeous block for April, and have fun with this Starry Sky block!

I’m linking up with Tips & Tutorials Tuesday with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter in case anyone else wants a few tips on creating a seamless background panel for a pieced block. Enjoy!

 

Easter Egg Pincushion Tutorial by Hillary Goodwin & Kitty Wilkin

Recently Hillary from Entropy Always Wins and I had the opportunity to meet in person after following each other’s work online for years. Both loving embroidery, repurposing textiles, creativity and the sewing community in general we plotted a tutorial that would allow us to play off each other’s creative personality and engage the greater sewing community as a whole.

A year ago Hillary made an Easter Egg shaped pincushion out of velvet and repurposed leather. We expanded on this idea and invite anyone who wants to participate to make a similar pincushion and, if interested, incorporate repurposed leather (Earth Day is coming up after all, and repurposed leather is typically thin enough to easily sew on a domestic sewing machine.) Be bold. Be brave. Let’s sew leather!

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyIn this tutorial we give everyone some guidelines but the emphasis is on PLAY and MAKING THIS PROJECT YOUR OWN. Don’t celebrate Easter? No biggie, make a similar pincushion in another shape. We will be following on Instagram so please tag your makes #eastereggpincushion (as well as tagging @nightquilter and @entropyalwayswins) so we can all enjoy. To celebrate this group project we will both randomly be giving participants some of our own pincushions as well as supplies to make them. All you need to do to be eligible is to play along, tag us, and tag #eastereggpincushion so that we can find you!

Suggested Supplies

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kitty

  • Thin leather (~6×12 inches)
  • Wool felt, velvet, jeans or any other material for the inner portion of the pincushion (~6×6 inches)
  • Embroidery hoop (a 4” hoop will *just* fit the inner egg)
  • Embroidery Egg Template (click to download-Note updated 3/20)
  • Embroidery thread (embroidery floss, perle cotton, or 12wt thread works. Use what you have!)
  • Embroidery or other needle (I use Tulip size 3 milliners)
  • Double sided fabric tape or fabric glue (optional)
  • Sewing machine with a walking foot
  • Leather sewing machine needle
  • Thread (We both used Aurifil 40wt )
  • Chalk or other removable marker (or a willingness to live on the wild side and stitch without marking)
  • Muslin or other scrap fabric (6×12 inches)
  • Craft clips (both Clover wonder clips or Evergreen Art Supply magic clips work great)
  • Small Funnel
  • Crushed Walnut shell or other favored pincushion fill

Step 1: Templates and Leather

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyPrint the Embroidery Egg Template and cut along both inner and outer egg outlines.
easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyTrace the template onto the wrong side of the leather, marking out two eggs–one with only the outline and one with both the inner and outer lines drawn.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyCarefully cut along the marked lines, remembering to cut one piece along only the outer egg outline and cut the other piece along both the inner and outer egg outlines.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittySet your leather pieces aside.

Step 2: Embroidery

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyUsing chalk or water soluble marker, trace the inner egg outline onto your embroidery surface (felt, velvet, jeans, etc) so you will know the limitations of your embroidery design.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyAdorn at your heart’s desire with embroidery, applique, etc. You are welcome to copy our experiments but please feel free to try your own ideas.

Step 3: Attach the Embroidery to the Leather Upper

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyAlign your embroidered material so that the embellishments fit within the window of your leather upper (the egg with the hole cut out of the middle).

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittySecure the right side of your embroidery to the wrong side of your leather upper with double sided tape, glue, clips, or other method.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyThen, using a ¼ or ⅛ inch seam allowance, top stitch the two together along the inner egg as shown.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kitty
Self-threading needles work wonders for threading the loose ends to the back of the piece!

Thread the top threads to the back of the piece, tie all loose ends together and trim.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyFinally, if possible, trim the seam allowance of your embroidered material carefully about ½” away from the stitched line so that it remains easily inside the outer margins of the egg.

 

Step 4: Make an inner pincushion

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyUsing only the outer margin of your Egg Template, trace and cut two pieces of muslin. Sew the two pieces together using a ¼ inch seam allowance, leaving a small opening to use for filling.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kitty

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kitty
Any guesses how many tries with the 10sec timer on my camera it took for me to get this photo? LOL

Fill with crushed walnut shell (a funnel can be helpful for this). One half cup of crushed walnut shell for this project seems to be the right amount. Use a little more if you want a more rounded pincushion. Sew the opening of the inner pincushion completely closed.

Step 5: Finishing your pincushion

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyPlace the two leather egg pieces wrong sides together and secure with clips. (Note that pinning will create visible holes in the leather–use clips!) Sew around the outer margin of the egg using a ¼ seam allowance, leaving an opening at least 3 inches long unsewn.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyStuff your filled and fully closed inner pincushion through this opening. Ensuring the inner pincushion remains entirely inside, top stitch the remaining way around the outer edge of the egg.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyThread the top threads to the back of the piece, tie all loose ends together and trim or bury.

Step 6: Share your creation with us!

Tag your pincushion on Instagram #eastereggpincushion as well as tagging @nightquilter and @entropyalwayswins, or link to a blog post about your finished pincushions in the comments below.

hillary finished pincushionhillary finished pincushionhillary finished pincushion

hillary finished pincushion
Ideas in progress…

We can’t wait to see what you create! Enjoy!!

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday and TGIFF! Everyone loves a quick finish!

Farmer’s Wife Sew Along – Block 95 Sylvia Tutorial

Ahh, remember the Farmer’s Wife Sew Along!? Today is my day to share the Block 95 Sylvia tutorial for the 1930 Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell. Sure, I’m wildly behind on this sew along, but that’s totally ok! With my final deadlines being met within the next couple of weeks, I will have time to catch up a bit, chipping away at the missing blocks here and there. It’s all good! That’s part of what I love about Angie’s Sew Along–there’s no pressure. I’m making this quilt for me and I can take as long as I want to finish it!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialEach of these Farmer’s Wife blocks manage to pack quite a punch in the little 6 1/2″ space. My method of attack when deciding how to piece each block has been consistent: how can I piece this with as little muss and fuss as possible? With Sylvia, at first I was thinking chain piecing would be the way to go, since it would help minimize the teeny tiny pieces in the inner borders I’d need to cut and sew. Looking at it more closely, I decided that with this block, even chain piecing would require piecing TINY bits, cutting, and then piecing again. Plus, sixteenths of an inch!? No thank you! Finally, I decided that foundation paper piecing was the way to go, since:

  • there aren’t any tricky joins,
  • the pieces are teeny enough that the foundation paper will be helpful in reducing wonkiness,
  • the block breaks into pretty manageable pieces, AND
  • all of the border pieces can be cut using a rotary cutter and ruler to decrease the paper removal at the end.

Those who know me know that I LOVE foundation paper piecing (FPP), and it’s true–I do! The precision one can get using FPP is unrivaled, and once the technique is mastered, it makes sewing teeny tiny pieces MUCH more manageable. I am not going to take you step by step through how to foundation paper piece, since I have  written two very clear tutorials already (why reinvent the wheel, right!?), but I will share some block-specific tips and tricks to help you piece Sylvia smoothly.

For those of you who do not know how to foundation paper piece, visit my Basic Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial here, as well as the Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial guest post I wrote for the Andover Fabrics blog here. Trust me, it is a technique worth practicing and mastering, since it opens a whole new world of sewing possibility!

Reflection on the Letter – In Spite of the Mortgage

Nearly every one of the letters in this book seems to talk to me in a very specific, seemingly personal way. After the first dozen times of reading a letter I shockingly thought was *meant for me*, I realized that all of the letters have a very widely applicable message and I was simply interpreting it in a way that worked for me at that moment. That said, I can completely relate to this letter!!

Sometimes it’s necessary to just head off on an adventure despite whatever chores, obligations, or need for frugality you have waiting for you at home. We did a lot of adventuring this summer, but like Mrs. A. M. from the letter, we were able to do it on a very tight budget, not paying for much more than gas money.  Day trips to beaches, mountains, playgrounds, and forested hikes abounded, and I was always sure to pack a picnic lunch, extra snacks from home, and full changes of clothes for all three kids (and myself)… just in case. It was a much needed change from the stay home and do chores days we could have had!

Tutorial

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialReady to get sewing? Make sure you have a grasp on how to foundation paper piece, and let’s make Sylvia!

Choosing Fabrics

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialAs soon as I saw this block, I knew that I wanted to meticulously cut the center square. I’m arranging my blocks on point, so be mindful of your own plans before meticulously cutting your fabric! (I call “fussy cutting” meticulous cutting, and you can read why here). In looking for a fabric with a perfect color scheme and feature design, I stumbled across my precious Heather Ross Far Far Away unicorns (Windham Fabrics). I added some solid blue from an old project, and some Lizzy House Twinkle Twinkle from her Whisper Palette (Andover Fabrics). While the colors are a bit more muted than my other blocks, I think they will all work together. Plus, this fabric combination was a match made in heaven… once it was together, there was no separating it!

Here are some general tips for foundation paper piecing:

  • Shorten your stitch length to 1.2 (if you are an absolute newbie at FPP, try 1.5 until you get the hang of it);
  • Hand crank your needle down at the beginning of each line to make sure you start off exactly where you want to;
  • Backstitch at the beginning and end of each line to secure your stitches (they will be much sturdier during paper removal this way); and,
  • Foundation paper piecing results in many trimmed thread ends. What better time to make yourself a thread catcher? Here’s a free tutorial on how to make the one I use.

To help you while you stitch up Sylvia, here are some block-specific tips for you with photos from my process.

Tip #1: How to make a fussy cutting template for FPP

Fussy cutting while foundation paper piecing can seem daunting, but with one extra step, it can be super easy! Simply create a fussy cutting planning template for the piece(s) you want to focus on. I go through making such template in detail in my FPP post for Andover here, but here are the basics: Print an extra sheet of paper containing the FPP template with the piece you want to fussy cut (printing on card stock will make the planning template sturdier).

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialMark the specific piece you want to meticulously cut. I went a little overboard on marking mine for the sake of clarity here. I circled the number but also traced just outside the line of the particular piece, both with bright pink sharpie. Simply circling the number would probably suffice!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialCut out the center of the piece, creating a window that is exactly the size of the piece you want.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialDraw a 3/8″ seam allowance around the window. I used a green micron pen for this example to ensure the line didn’t get confused with the printed lines on the paper.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialCut along the line you drew.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialYou should how have a planning template to help you cut your fabric for fussy cutting. Notice that I placed my planning template onto the fabric upside down. This is because in foundation paper piecing, we are sewing the block on the reverse side of the template. It did not matter too much for this particular piece, since it’s a square, but always be mindful of directionality of the fabric as well as wrong side-right side. If need be, mark your planning template with “right side up” or “wrong side up” so that your fabric is cut properly!

Tip # 2: Color code your foundation paper

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialBetween sewing the fabric on the reverse side of the paper, having the block broken into sometimes odd sections before sewing, and the many pieces involved in most foundation paper piecing patterns, it is in your best interest to color code your paper template before beginning to sew. This way, you can be sure you sew each fabric in the proper place.

Tip #3: Be generous with your fabric pieces

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialEspecially when first getting started with foundation paper piecing, one of the biggest tips I can offer is to be generous with your fabric pieces. It’s better to have to trim a bit more off than to be short and have to rip stitches! For my bright blue squares on Sylvia, I cut the fabric into 1 1/2″ squares, which as you can see includes ample overhang.

Tip #4: Use rotary cutter and ruler for rectangular shapes

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialThis tip goes for bag-making as well: just because there is a template created for a perfectly rectangular piece, it doesn’t mean you can’t use your rotary cutter and ruler! The outer pieces of Sylvia can be easily cut using a rotary cutter and ruler, which will save time with paper removal at the end. Since these pieces are not easily measured (let’s avoid using sixteenths of an inch if we can help it!) simply cut out the foundation paper piece templates and use them as a guide when rotary cutting. Use the foundation paper piecing method to piece the center portion, then add the D, E, H, and I rectangles using traditional piecing methods. Easy peasy!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialAnd there you have it. Sylvia, in all her glory.

Thank you so much for joining me today and I hope you found this tutorial helpful!

Important Links

http://www.interweavestore.com/the-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quiltThe Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

 

Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop: Steady On {Tutorial}

My favorite colors! Flying geese! Curves! Precision delicately dancing with improv! Yessssss, this block has all of those things and I’m excited to share a detailed tutorial with you today. This new block was designed for the New Block Blog Hop sponsored by Cloud9 Fabrics and hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, Cheryl at Meadowmist Designs, and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter. Today is day three of the hop, which means that 46 new block tutorials have already been shared, and 23 more are being shared today. Amazing!

Cloud9 Fabrics new block blog hop tutorial Steady OnI’m calling my block Steady On, which just seemed fitting for such a classic made-by-me block. Those of you who know me know that I cannot keep anything simple, and this is a perfect case in point. This block has double improv curves, twenty (20) tiny flying geese, an hourglass block, and quite a few points that should match *just* so, all in the 12 1/2″ unfinished square block. But fear not, this tutorial has detailed photos and instructions on how to make each component of the block, and breaking it down into manageable chunks makes this block come together quite smoothly (Spoiler: we can make some of the flying geese 4 at a time!). There’s something about the determined light colored geese headed bravely into the dark and improvy unknown that urges me to encourage them… Steady on, now! That same encouragement goes for you, since I would LOVE to see you tackle this block and come out victorious (tag @nightquilter and #steadyonquilt when you do!). This is going to be fun, so let’s get started!

Gather your materials:

2016 cloud9 organic cirrus solids new block blog hop

  • Fat quarter (FQ) of each of the five (5) fabrics generously provided by Cloud9: Amazon, Sky, Shadow, Lilac, and Iris.  (There will be fabric left over–enough for a second block or more depending on how frugally you cut your scraps!).
  • Clover hera marker and/or other fabric marking tool
  • fabric scissors
  • washable school glue (I use Elmers)
  • Fine glue tip (optional but helpful)
  • rotary cutter & mat
  • quilting ruler with 1/4″ and 1/8″ markings (I use Omnigrid rulers)
  • sewing machine (I have a Bernina 560)
  • thread (I use Aurifil 50wt 2600-Dove for nearly all of my piecing)

Press your fabrics and use spray starch or Flatter by Soak to help stabilize them before cutting.

Cloud9 Fabrics new block Steady On tutorial
If you are really attune to detail, you may notice that the smallest squares and rectangles are a bit too small in this photo–you’re right, but I corrected the measurements for the tutorial! No worries. Steady on…

Then cut the following pieces from each fabric:

Iris:
– (8) 1 7/8″ squares (for geese 4 at a time)
– (4) 1 1/2″ squares (for single geese)
– (4) 5 1/2″ squares (for curved quadrants)

Lilac: 
– (1) 3 1/4″ square (for geese 4 at a time)
– (6) 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles (for single geese)
– (1) 3 1/4″ square (for hourglass block)

Amazon:
– (8) 1 1/2″ squares (for single geese)
– (4) 5 1/2″ squares (for curved quadrants)

Sky:
– (6) 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles (for single geese)
– (2) 3 1/4″ squares (for hourglass and geese 4 at a time)

Shadow:
– (12) 1 1/2″ squares (for single geese)
– (4) 5 1/2″ squares (for curved quadrants)

Now, we will break down the block into manageable pieces, and make a component at a time. Let’s start with the curved quadrants!

Making Double-Curved Quadrants

Cloud9 Fabrics new block Steady On tutorialFor this step, you will need your 5 1/2″ squares of Iris, Amazon, and Sky, washable school glue and tip, a marking pen or pencil, scissors, and an iron and pressing surface. To make the double-curved quadrants for this block, follow my tutorial on easy curved piecing using a visual layering approach and glue basting HERE.  Go ahead and read it now, I’ll wait for you. When you’ve read through it once and have a grasp on the general technique, grab three of your 5 1/2″ squares, one each of Iris, Amazon, and Sky. For this block, the Iris is the bottom layer, the Sky is the middle layer and the Shadow is the top layer.

Cloud9 Fabrics new block Steady On tutorialSince this method begins from the bottom up, start with Iris and Amazon. Mark the Amazon square 2 1/4″ up along both sides from the bottom right corner. Make sure your mark extends 1/4″ in from the edges before beginning the curve. This will be your sew line, not your cut line, so by measuring the 2 1/4″ we are ensuring our seams will match up, even though the flying geese are exact and the curves can be improv. (Note here that if you are using fabric with a right and wrong side, you want to be marking the wrong side of the fabric. With the Cloud9 Cirrus Solids that’s not important).

Cloud9 Fabrics new block Steady On tutorialDraw an improv curve from marked point to point, or trace a perfect curve using the edge of a small plate or glass. Make sure your curve begins and ends at your marked points 2 1/4″ up from the corner.

Using the drawn line as your sew line, follow the steps in my curved piecing tutorial here to sew your first curve. Beautiful, right!?

Cloud9 Fabrics new block Steady On tutorialNext, grab your Shadow 5 1/2″ square and mark 3 1/4″ up both sides from the bottom right corner. Again, draw your curve as desired, connecting from marked point to marked point, and using that line as the sew line.

Cloud9 Fabrics new block Steady On tutorialMake four quadrants, measuring 2 1/4″ up on the Amazon square and 3 1/4″ up on the Shadow square for two of them, and measuring 3 1/4″ up on the Amazon and 4 1/4″ up on the Shadow square for the other two. Admire your smooth curves, and set those blocks aside for later!

Making Flying Geese 4 at a Time

Next we will crank out as many flying geese as we can, using the technique of making 4 at a time found in the Reference Section of the Quilter’s Planner. I use my Quilter’s Planner daily, and it sure did save some time with this block! Here’s how:

Cloud9 Fabrics new block Steady On tutorialPlace two 1 7/8″ Iris squares in the top right and bottom left corners of a 3 1/4″ Sky square as shown. Using your fabric marking tool of choice, draw a diagonal line from the top right corner to the bottom left corner. I love my Hera marker since it doesn’t actually mark the fabric, but makes a clear guide line.

Cloud9 Fabrics new block Steady On tutorialSew 1/4″ from either side of the drawn line. Press with a hot iron to set the seam (notice that I didn’t do this step? tsk tsk).

Cloud9 Fabrics new block Steady On tutorialCut along the drawn line.

Cloud9 Fabrics new block Steady On tutorialPress the small Iris triangles outward, with seams pressed toward the dark fabric. Then place another 1 7/8″ Iris square in the corner of each unit, and mark a diagonal line as shown above.

Cloud9 Fabrics new block Steady On tutorialAgain, carefully sew 1/4″ from either side of the drawn line. Cut along drawn line.

Cloud9 Fabrics new block Steady On tutorialPress open, with seams toward darker fabric.

Cloud9 fabrics new block Steady On tutorialTrim to 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ and set aside.

Repeat instructions above using the remaining 1 7/8″ Iris squares and a 3 1/4″ Lilac square to make four Lilac geese with Iris corners.

Making Single Flying Geese

The remaining flying geese must be made one at a time since the corner colors are mixed up to flow into your improv curved quadrants.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onGrab your 1 1/2″ squares and 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles and lay them out to help plan which corners should be positioned on each rectangle. Use the finished flying geese above to help plan before you start sewing.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onTo make a flying geese block (or would it be flying goose?), position a 1 1/2″ square right sides facing the right top corner of a 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangle. Draw a diagonal line as shown above.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onSew along the line and then trim a 1/4″ seam allowance.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onI like to get mine all paired and drawn so that I can chain piece each side.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onRepeat with the other 1 1/2″ square on the top left side of the block. Press seams open or up toward the corner.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onTime saving tip: I cut my 1/4″ seam allowances with scissors while pressing. As long as you are accurate with a pair of scissors, it takes much less time than rotary cutting, at least for me.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onSquare your flying geese to 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles, making sure that your goose point is a perfect 1/4″ (or slightly further) from the top edge. Set aside.

Making Center Hourglass Block

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onFinally, let’s make that center hourglass block. Grab your 3 1/4″ Lilac and Sky squares.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onPlace right sides together and mark a diagonal line. I like to pin my pieces together since we are working with such a small scale. If you’d prefer some wiggle room, you can begin with 3 1/2″ squares and trim to size when you’re finished!

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onSew 1/4″ from either side of the drawn line. Cut along the drawn line.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onPress toward darker fabric. You will have two half square triangles (HST).

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onPlace HSTs right sides together, with the Lilac half of one facing the Sky half of the other, and nesting the seams.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onDraw a diagonal line perpendicular to the existing seam line, again pinning to keep the pieces in place while you sew.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onSew 1/4″ on either side of the drawn line. Then, cut along drawn line.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onPress seams open. You will have two hourglass blocks, but will only need one for this block. Save the other one for your next Steady On block!

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onTrim to 2 1/2″ square. Set aside.

Assembling the Block

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onNow that you’ve made all of the components, it’s time to sew the block together! Arrange all of your pieces as shown above, paying careful attention the positioning of the flying geese in relation to the large and small curves on your curved quadrants. There should be two Iris flying geese corners next to small curves and three Iris flying geese corners next to large curves.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onSew the top five and bottom five groupings of geese together, and sew the center horizontal strip of geese and center hourglass block together.

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onPerfect points tip: When sewing the flying geese together, keep the piece with the goose point on top. As you’re sewing, make sure your sewing machine needle sews exactly through the “x” that marks the point of the goose, or if anything, slightly to the right (above) the point. This way you won’t lose any points!

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady oncloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onNext, sew the top left and top right curved quadrants to the top grouping of geese, pinning just after each seam that needs to match.

Press seams toward the less bulky side (toward the curved quadrants).

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onWhen aligned properly, the geese corners should flow into the curved piece perfectly–that’s why we so carefully marked our curve starting distances with our improv curves!

cloud9 fabrics new block tutorial steady onFinally, sew the top and bottom panels to the center horizontal strip, again pinning just after each important seam match. Press toward the less bulky sides (the curved quadrants), and viola! Steady on…

steady-on-quilt-block-tutorial-1I am really excited about how this block turned out, and I’m eager to play around with different color placements and curve arrangements. I’d love to see if you sew up this block, too, so please tag me @nightquilter #steadyonquilt when you do!

Thank you for visiting and I hope you found this tutorial helpful! Check out all of the other new block tutorials shared today, all of which will be combined to make one big gorgeous charity quilt:

Host: Stephanie @Late Night Quilter

Kathy @Kathys Kwilts and More
Paige @Quilted Blooms
Mary @Strip Quilts Pass it On
Allison @Woodberry Way
Seven @The Concerned Craft
Olusola @Alice Samuel’s Quilt Co.
Ann @Brown Paws Quilting
Jodie @Persimmon + Pear
Vicki @Orchid Owl Quilts
Kitty @Night Quilter <———————You’re here!
Francine @Mocha Wild Child
Shelley @The Carpenter’s Daughter who Quilts
Jayne @Twiggy and Opal
Geraldine @Living Water Quilter
Shannon @Shannon Fraser Designs
Lisa @Sunlight In Winter Quilts
Jessica @Quilty Habit
Cassandra @The (not so) Dramatic Life
Deanna @Stitches Quilting
Denise @Craft Traditions

Also, be sure to visit each host’s blog to find out how to enter to win one of three fabric bundle giveaways. The giving doesn’t stop!

5 Steps to Sewing Perfect Curves

I am so excited to finally share this technique with you, since it makes sewing curves SO simple. I especially love that it can be used on both improv and exact curves, even circles. Mastering curves was on the top of my list this year in terms of quilting goals, and I’ve been working hard at it! While my traditional curve sewing still needs about 900 hours to hit the 10,000 hours that will result in mastery, I’ve found that this method results in perfect curves in five (that’s right–5!) easy steps.

5 steps to sewing perfect curves tutorial nightquilterI first saw this method being used by Hillary from Entropy Always Wins, Stephanie from Spontaneous Threads, and the other #beesewcial-ites, and was intrigued by the way they created such flat-laying, wildly curving improv pieces again and again and again. With some extra guidance from Stephanie, I was able to figure out the technique and have been using it on most of my sewn curves since. You can see where I’ve used it here, here, and here. This technique is derived from the six-minute circle method, but can be applied to any curve.  I love using the technique, and so I thought I would share it with you.

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterSo let’s get started! First, gather your supplies. You will need:

  • your fabric pieces (I used three approx 5″ square pieces of fabric to help demonstrate the stacking of the layers, but you can use any scrap that fits the shape you’re trying to sew!)
  • fabric scissors
  • washable school glue – Elmer’s works great
  • fine glue tip (optional but helpful! I use the Fineline regular tip from Pile O’ Fabric)
  • zipper foot for your sewing machine (optional but makes sewing the curve much easier)
  • iron and pressing surface
  • pencil or other fabric marking tool for drawing your line
  • paper on which to draw your desired curves (only needed if you are sewing an exact curve–you can free draw or cut improv curves, too)

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterBefore you begin, decide generally how you want your curves to look. I like to sketch mine out on paper more for a visual than for an exact plan. Think of your fabrics in terms of layers: the bottom is the inside of the curve, moving upward and outward. Keep in mind that if you want to have a convex curve next to a concave curve, simply switch the way you view your “top” and “bottom” layers. The inside of the curve is always the bottom, and work from the bottom up.

Once you have an idea of generally (or exactly) how you want your curves to look, it’s time to get started. Five easy steps, I promise! Ready?!

Step 1:
Draw desired curve on the wrong side of top fabric piece.

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterDraw your curve on the wrong side of your top (or in this case, middle) fabric with a pencil or other light fabric marking pen. If you want your curve to be exact, you can trace the line from your paper sketch by holding the fabric and paper up to a window or other light source. Be sure that the right sides of both the paper and fabric are facing away from you, since you want the line drawn on the wrong side of your fabric, but also want the curve to go in the proper direction.

Step 2:
Cut 1/4″ away from the inside edge of your drawn line.

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterNext, cut between 1/4″ and 3/8″ away from the inside edge of your drawn line. This is your seam allowance.

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterClip your curves to help make your curve smooth. Be sure to cut only halfway to the drawn line, not all the way to the drawn line.

Step 3:
Press seam allowance.

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterNext, carefully press the seam allowance along your drawn line. Take your time here to make sure your curve is pressed smoothly and exactly along your drawn curve.

Step 4:
Glue baste to bottom layer.

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterNow it’s time to glue baste this curve onto your bottom layer. Using a fine glue tip and washable school glue, create a small beaded line of glue along the seam allowance. Carefully lining up the outer corners of your squares, layer the middle fabric (with right side facing up and your cut, pressed, and glued seam allowance tucked under) on top of the bottom piece of fabric. This step is why I like to begin with three squares that are the same size. It makes positioning my curves as easy as pie!

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterPress with your fingers, making sure the seam allowance is in the right spot and fully folded under. Press with a hot iron to set the glue. Admire your perfect curve… but it’s not sewn yet! Just one more step.

Step 5:
Sew along drawn line.

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterOnce the glue has been set and fabric cooled off, carefully lift up the top layer of fabric to expose the seam allowance. I use my zipper foot with my needle moved all the way to the left, since the narrow foot helps ease around tight turns. Carefully and slowly sew along your drawn line.

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterAs you sew around the curves, carefully move the top fabric out of the way, being sure not to allow folds or puckers to form under the needle. Backstitch a bit at the beginning and end of your sewn line to secure the stitches.

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterViola! Press again and you have a perfectly sewn curve!

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterTrim away the bottom fabric that extends beyond the seam allowance, and save for your next scrappy project.

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterRepeat those five easy steps for your other layers: Draw, Cut, Press, Glue Baste, Sew.

five easy steps to perfect sewn curves nightquilterThere you have it. Smooth curves, either traced and perfect, or free cut and improv.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful! I know I can’t stop sewing crazy curves now that I know I can sew them like this. Next week I’ll be sharing a block tutorial for the Cloud9 New Block Hop, and *hint hint* part of it will use this method! Get your practice in now!

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social, and will link up with Tips & Tutorials Tuesday when Stephanie & Yvonne get it started again in a couple weeks!

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial on Andover Fabrics’ Blog

Today’s the day! A few months back Giuseppe (aka @giucy_giuce on social media) from Andover Fabrics asked if I would like to do a guest post on their blog. For those of you who haven’t put it together, Andover Fabrics is the manufacturer who houses fabric lines by Alison Glass, Lizzy House, Libs Elliot… and more! You know how much Alison Glass fabric alone is include in my makes, so of course I said YES! I decided to share a tutorial for my favorite quilting technique that sadly often has a bad rep–foundation paper piecing. Today a revamped foundation paper piecing tutorial featuring my newest pattern, Constant Flux, which features Handcrafted Patchwork by Alison Glass, went live on the Andover blog.

foundation paper pieced block from constant flux andover tutorialThis tutorial takes you through the basics of foundation paper piecing, but also includes some special hints, tips, and helpful cutting measurements for sewing together the Constant Flux pattern. You can read more about Constant Flux HERE, and be sure to visit the foundation paper piecing tutorial on the Andover blog HERE.

constant flux pattern coverIf you haven’t yet added Constant Flux to your pattern library, it’s still on sale for a few more days in my Craftsy shop (and Payhip for those of you in the EU). Get it now for only $5, since at the end of the week it will head back up to its usual $8.

Many thanks to Andover Fabrics for hosting me, and I hope all of you find my foundation paper piecing tutorial helpful! Happy stitching!

Geese Crossing Mini Quilt {Sizzix Tutorial} & Color Inspiration Thursday {72}

I recently had some fun playing with a new Sizzix die and a color/value gradient from dark purple to light pink. Today I’m sharing a tutorial over on the Sizzix blog so that you can make your own Geese Crossing mini quilt. Since the colors and the peonies from my garden are serendipitously paired, I created a color inspiration palette to share, too!

sizzix geese crossing tutorial value gradientThis mini quilt finishes at 24″ square, and its creation coincided with the fabulous bloom of peonies in our garden. It features a new die called Geese Crossing, designed by Victoria Findlay Wolfe and released at Quilt Market last month. It’s a very versatile die and allows for lots of design, color, and value play.

-How to get perfect points when sewing geese
Tips for getting perfect points!

In my tutorial, I share information that will be helpful for all quilting projects, including:
– Tips for creating a successful value gradient in a fabric pull;
– How to get perfect points when sewing geese or other triangles; and,
– Tips to prevent bunching when sewing on an angle.

You can read the full tutorial and see more photos of my project process on the Sizzix blog, here.

sizzix geese crossing tutorial value gradient peoniesThe colors of the peonies and the colors in the quilt meld so beautifully together! I really could not help but take a million photos of this quilt with the gorgeous color gradient of peonies from my garden, but since it’s Thursday, I figured a combination of Color Inspiration Thursday and a heads-up about my Sizzix tutorial would be perfectly acceptable.

sizzix geese crossing tutorial value gradient peoniesAhhh peonies! Such an inspiration!

peony geese crossing color paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Dusty Blue, Bella Pewter, Bella Petal Pink, Kona Plum, Kona Cerise, Kona Eggplant

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2560 – Iris
2564  – Pale Lilac
2425 – Bright Pink
2479 – Med Orchid
4030 – Plum
2582 – Dk Violet

This color palette was created using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 as per usual, and the matching Aurifil threads and Kona & Moda Bella solids are particularly useful! I will certainly be getting a few of those threads for quilting! We actually had dark magenta peonies that would have matched the darkest purple fabric, but they are the early variety that met their end during a thunderstorm a few weeks ago. Still, our garden provided a lovely fade from the palest pink to a bright magenta with the peonies blooming now.

sizzix geese crossing tutorial peonies value playI love the natural ombres and vibrant colors found in nature and thoroughly enjoy combining natural inspiration with quilty projects. It is so fun to try to stitch the beauty around me into the quilts in my hands!

Where in nature do you find the most inspiration? Flowers? Colors in general? Textures? or simply through the endless variety of growth and new life that appears before our eyes daily?

Psst… stop and smell the flowers today!

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday with this finished flimsy!