...there is a univeral language between women when they craft and come
together in this passion. It unites women in a place that takes them from the
woes of everyday life and provides fortitude and strength to each other through
unspoken word - it is as if each stitch taken together strengthens our bound and
friendship. Please join me on the journey and let us inspire each other........

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tutorial on fast flying geese units

You may have noticed in my "secret" Christmas Quilt (on previous blogs) that none of my points on the stars have been 'cut off'. I just love this!! they look perfect and it is all thanks to a relatively new technique of making flying geese units where all four flying geese units are made at once, which is perfect for a star block since you require four matching flying geese units per star block. So I will take you through what I did. This is not my own method and one that I learnt. First of all you need a square of your 'background' fabric and four smaller squares of your 'points' fabric. What size will depend on the finished size you are after. Here are some examples: * For a finished unit of 4 1/2" x 8 1/2", you will need a 9 1/4" large 'background' square and four small 'points' fabric squares of 4 7/8". * For a finished unit of 2" x 3 1/2", you will need a 4 1/4" large 'background' square and four small 'points' fabric squares of 2 3/8". I wanted flying geese units that ended up 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" unfinished. So by my reckoning, you need a large square cut at 3/4" larger than the length of the unit (i.e. for 6 1/2" length, you need a large square that is 7 1/4"). To calculate the size of the smaller square I guessed that you need to add 3/8" to the width of what you want your flying geese unit to be (i/e for a 3 1/2" wide flying geese unit, the smaller squares needed to be 3 7/8"). This size unit was needed for a 12" ohio star block. I trialled this size on my first block and found that it was only just but this is usually how books give you the sizing. My preference is to make flying geese units a big bigger and then trim them back to the correct size so that they are perfect! i find no matter how careful I sew and iron, they tend to come out looking a little warped........so I added a 1/4" to the size of each of the squares and this worked out perfectly for the unit I was doing. So you can see that I have cut a 7 1/2" 'background' square, and four 4 1/8" 'point' squares. On the back of the smaller or 'point' fabric squares, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner in pencil. It is best to put each block onto a piece of sand paper to keep it firm and prevent distorting whilst doing this. Also using a 2B pencil makes the job easier. A permanent marker could also be used if you wish. Now place two of the smaller squares on opposite corners of the larger square, with right sides together, as shown. The outer corners and sides of the small and large squares should match, with some overlap of the smaller squares in the middle. The drawn line should line up so that it extends down the diagonal of the larger square, from corner to corner. Stitch a seam 1/4" from the pencil line, on both sides. Cut, using a rotary cutter and ruler, on the pencil line. Press the 'points' fabric out so it looks like those in the photo. Now lay another of the small squares on the corner of the large 'background' piece so that the right sides are together and the pencil line extends from the corner of the 'background' fabric to the point between the two small triangles, as shown. Again stitch 1/4" from the drawn line, on both sides of the line. Repeat this with the other unit and the last remaining small square. Cut on the drawn line using a ruler and rotary cutter. Repeat for both units and you will finish up with 4 flying geese units as shown. These will still have their dog ears and still require trimming. Trimming: This is a little tricky to explain so hang in there. I used a 6 1/2" square ruler as this was the width of the unit I needed to trim to and made things a little easier. Your aim is to trim your unit back to 3 1/2" x 6 1/2". When you are doing this you need to make sure that there is a 1/4" above the top of the point and that the 3 1/2" outside marks on the ruler (where the bottom corners of the unit will be)are on the fold of the two different fabrics. I hope you understand. Holding the ruler firm, I cut the side, top and side of the unit. Then I swivelled the ruler and unit around (or change your body position if working on a corner of your table, lined up the 3 1/2" mark on the ruler with the now freshly trimmed top of the unit and trimmed off the excess at the bottom of the unit. Repeat this to all four units. They now look their best - nice and neat. Finally this is how the flying geese units look as part of a block. Good luck with your flying geese units. Let me know how you go and don't hesitate to ask questions. I will try to help :). Bonnie


Yesterday I went and visited my good friend Joy from out of town and we sewed and chatted the day away together. Between chatting I was able to make significant progress on my 'secret' quilt for Christmas. I am loving the funkiness of these blocks and can't wait to put it all together....hopefully later this week. Only 3 blocks to go now!

Go-cutter Giveaway

Millie's Quilting are having a Accuquilt Go-Cutter give away.....check it out before Saturday on www.milliesquilting.blogspot.com/2010/09/accuquilt-go-cutter-giveaway.html

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Secret Christmas Quilt

I have a secret project I am making as a christmas present for someone special. After sounding her out for a while I came to the conclusion that for this teen, the brighter the better, and her favourite colors were green, blue, pink/red and orange. I had to be very sneaky about how I tried to get information from her.
Don't worry she doesn't know about my blog and nor will I tell her about it until after Christmas!
I saved the cash and trooped down to my local patchwork shop to find they didn't have the bright range I was after but they did have a brand new range and the main fabric was called "BITE ME" if you can believe that. It's the fabric on top with the apples on it. After about an hour, my local, Em and I had sorted out this delicious range of fabrics for the quilt. Doesn't it make you feel so happy just looking at these brighties!?!
Isn't this just beautiful? So full of color. So I headed home and spent much time drafting up a pattern for a double bed quilt that was a combination between a star quilt in the "snibbles times 2" book and a star table runner that Janelle Wind published in her new book "pieces of me". The original draft had 20" finished blocks, a fast one to sew up but the overall size of the quilt ended up way too big! Back to the drawing board - I settled on a 12" finished block which ended up 16" with a 2" printed block border.
So I started to gather my supplies. After studying Janelle Wind's picture I decided she had used a feature fabric in the centre and on the outside border of each block. This seemed to work well and so I set about cutting the feature fabrics as you can see laid on the floor in the lounge. I had 4 big print fabrics. As I need to make 12 blocks, this would mean 3 blocks using each feature fabric, but i could change the color combination used with each still giving variety i decided.
You will remember this block that I did earlier in the week......
Today I made 3 more. It was a slower process than i expected as I sewed a little, then rested, and sewed a little more in this manner. I don't think I am 100% yet from being sick earlier this week.
I have only pictured two of that three here. The reason being.......well when i was sewing the last one i noted how pretty the pink dot points were and how gorgeous it would look with a pink dot frame around it rather than the green swirl (as you see on the block to the left) which made it looked subdued. So I started to think, maybe I should mix it up a little more and break the rules! The rules I had set myself!?! Having only 4 different framing fabrics now seems a little boring and it 'feels' as if the quilt will take on more color if there was more variety in the frame fabrics.
I know what you are thinking - I have already cut all the framing fabrics. True and there is little left of those fabrics. My other delimma. I brought 50cm of each fabric knowing it was a little extra than I needed . I was very pleased when I recalculated the quilt and after my calculations worked out I only needed 25cm of 12 fabrics. Great - more for the Janelle Wind Toy Boxes I was going to make my expecting niece from one of the recent HomeSpun issues.
So when i had cut up most of the 4 most interesting fabrics I was disappointed there was very little left for the storage boxes. So with this new idea perhaps it is a win/win on both sides? I can use the precut fabrics on the storage boxes still as it uses patterns such as strips and log cabin - perfect.
I thought I would get up fresh in the morning and see what I think which is why I stopped sewing for today. Tomorrow I will achieve more and on Tuesday i go and stitch with my good friend Joy who has been recovering from an operation but is feeling up to machine sewing, so goodie - I shall accomplish lots on this quilt this week! And I need to!! I need to have the top together so that i can move onto those storage boxes - my niece is due in 4 weeks! I gotta get onto it.....
Well, finally before I go, I need your help.....I can't call this quilt 'The Secret Christmas Quilt' forever. Any ideas for a name??
Happy Stitching til the next time we chat.......Bonnie xox

Friday, September 24, 2010

.....time to quilt?

I love the school holidays for many reasons. It is stress free - no rushing to get up on time in the morning, push to get the kids ready on time for school, and ultimately in time, for me to get to work too. Then when I arrive at work there are the pressures of returning messages, organising for the day and for being prepared for more teens, and working towards motivating others again.
Ah holidays is about me, its about family and its about free time........time to reorganise parts of the house, visit friends, put some stitches in on a quilt or two or three and do some family events. That is what I had planned these September holidays but alas.....life has curve balls! (doesn't it always especially when we have it all neatly planned!?!) Sick, that is the flavour of our holidays so far. It is so disappointing to waste so much time that I could be using to piece, machine quilt, hand stitch, reading another elm creek quilters novel or delve into the dozen of free magazines that I got from my local patchwork shop. Unfortunately your body has a way of shutting down and ensuring that you do rest when you are sick! Bugger!! Double bugger!!
Well the good news is that I am starting to mend and thinking of getting back on track and reviving what I have left of the holidays. I am very grateful to the parcels of love that you find in antibiotics. Thank you to the doctor who invented those! With the grand final around the corner tomorrow, do you think there is any reason my antibiotics were hawthorn colored this time? Perhaps Collingwood or St Kilda would have been more appropriate?
Onto better things - I have been participating in the xmas mystery designer block of the month run by the fat quarter shop in the US. They started in June but were happy to let me join in late and catch up on the couple of blocks I had missed. What surprises me each month when the parcels arrive is the generosity of fabric! There is a lovely big piece of each fabric needed even when only a 3" square needs to be cut from it, leaving plenty left over. So each time I have got a new BOM I go back to the previous blocks and use up fabric from these first before opening the new parcel of fabric. I think I will be able to repeat some of the designs at the end for matching cushions and maybe a table runner too! How exciting?? I so love Christmas and decorating the house with homemade items at this time of the year.
I can't wait to receive the next BOM in this set of patterns each month. It won't be finished for Christmas this year as it doesn't finish til June next year, but hey Christmas 2011, it not only should be on the wall or over one of the couches, but also ready for our quilting group bi-annual exhibition in November 2011! :)
The last block I sewed up on Tuesday when stitching with some of my wonderful friends obviously does not fit in with the Christmas theme. It may be a little too bright. It is a sample block I made up using some of the fabrics from the "Bite Me" fabric range in combination with others to test my drafting skills as I drafted my own pattern for the quilt from 2 different patterns I saw, changing the size of the block to suit the quilt size I wanted. Don't the fabrics just make you feel bright and happy?? They are simply gorgeous and you could just eat those apples!!
It's top secret business as it is for my lovely niece for Christmas (so it does have a Christmas theme after all!) who just keeps hinting at loving my quilts when I put photos up on facebook. So I hope it will be a real surprise for her. I made her a quilt when she was a baby which I can barely remember which is still at her Dad's house apparently so I must have set her up as 'quilt needy' from that moment on. She has just turned 13 and had better not see this blog or I am in trouble!! I hope to sew a few more of these blocks on Sunday. I made the flying geeze units (for the star points) with a method where you make all 4 at once and had to guess at the ratio. They were a little small on this one and I had to tweek the outer border seams to make it finish at 16 1/2" which it did! So this one is in the quilt! Next block I will try a slightly larger flying geese measurement - I should get it right by block 12 huh?
Tomorrow is Grand Final day for AFL footy here in Victoria, Australia. Our team, the Geelong Cats did not make it in so hubby (who is the real footy fan in the house) has decided not to watch it. However I figure why should we miss out on a day of celebration? We have a footy lunch of hot dogs planned and a grand afternoon tea.
Oh there is something I wanted to ask you. You can probably tell that I cropped the block photos above using photoshop but had trouble squaring it up (thus why one looks like I madly cut off the point to the right, which I assure you I did not) since the photos were at an angle to the block. I have asked hubby for a compact camera for Christmas so that I can have it in the bag or in the car for that inspiration when you are on the move. I LOVE my SLR but lets face it, it is just too heavy and bulky to take with you everywhere, so a compact would fill the hole. However I don't want to compromise on photo quality.
I have done some homework and told to come back in October when the new camera releases have been made in the USA and they have hopefully arrived in Australia. Mean time they have showed me a Ricoh camera which has very fancy features and a realistic price - one great feature was to unskew photos like my block ones above - it would straighten it up as if I had taken it straight on and crop it to the image (in this case the image of the block). My dilemma is that the camera is a bit thicker than the others and has absolutely no style or sleekness like its competitors. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it is ugly :(. I just can't get my head around this as I like shiny and cute too! What do you think? What are some of your recent buys girls?