Monday, August 31, 2009

No-Waste Flying Geese Tutorial

I've been working on my Snowflake Medallion quilt and it's ready to have a round of Flying Geese pieced to it.
Several years ago I learned an effective and easy way to make Flying Geese blocks. This method suits best when you want four identical Flying Geese, and you don't want to waste any scrap of fabric. It's my favorite way to make FGs.

If you wish to calculate the size of your geese, know that the finished width of the block is twice the finished height of the block. To calculate for yourself the size Flying Geese you want to make, follow this formula:

For the geese (shown green print),
cut ONE fabric square that equals the finished width of the block plus 1-1/4".

For the sky/background (shown white),
cut FOUR fabric squares that equal the finished height of the block plus 7/8".

On each sky/background square draw a line diagonally from corner to corner. Note that my drawing surface is a piece of 000 sandpaper. As I draw the line, the sandpaper helps minimize any fabric stretching across the bias.
With right sides together, position a background square on a corner of the large geese square. Position a second background square on the opposite corner, aligning the drawn lines.
A slight overlap is okay.

Using a walking foot (preferred) or a quarter-inch foot, straight stitch across both background squares, sewing a scant quarter-inch away from the drawn line.
The drawn line aligns with the groove of the walking foot.
Stitch along both sides of the drawn line.
Use a ruler and rotary cutter to cut on the drawn line, between the two lines of stitching.
Press the seam allowance toward the smaller squares.
Position another small sky/background square on the corner of the now half-size geese. Again, stitch a scant quarter-inch from the drawn line on both sides of the line. Repeat to sew the fourth small square onto the remaining half-size geese.
Rotary cut between the drawn line.
Press seam allowances away from each goose.
Trim rectangles to remove dog ears.
One large square and four small squares equal four lovely Flying Geese blocks.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Flaunt - Baby-Bub's Quilt

This Nana went a little overboard on the backing for Baby-Bub's Aussie Animal quilt. I found these neat baby-related words printed on fabric at a recent visit to Block Party Studios. The colors coordinated so nicely with the quilt top, that I had to include the word blocks in the quilt back.

I didn't want a precise row/column layout, so on graph paper I drew a staggered layout that I followed for cutting and piecing. It was somewhat of a challenge to cut because the fabric is a directional print, and piecing involved some set-in seams. But I'm pleased with the result.
The words and sayings will grow with the baby. Maybe into his teen years!
After sandwiching the quilt, on a beautiful morning this week, I moved my sewing table and machine onto the back deck for a couple hours of free-motion quilting. The sunny day made it easy to clearly see the stitches.
I like how quilting around each animal makes the animal's profile appear on the quilt back.
More quilting to come.

Check out Cinzia's blog to see the list of 16 quilters participating in "Friday Flaunt."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My View

Karen at SelvageBlog has been posting quilters' sewing room views. Perhaps you'll feel a bit sorry for me when you see my that I had to climb upon my ironing table to photograph.
The view is of the next door neighbor's side yard and garage. The picture seems foggy because it was shot through a plastic film over the window that's meant to keep cold air from blowing in around the window.

Sadly, there's nothing inspiring for me to look at while I sew, but I do have lots of sewing space. This is the entire, unfinished length of the basement. The area is approximately 12' X 25' (3-1/2 X 7-1/2 metres). At the end of the room you can see the ironing table on which I kneeled to take the photo through the window. (Click photos to enlarge.)
I have lots of good lighting with full-spectrum daylight bulbs in the overhead fixtures. A total of ten different lights illuminate all parts of the room.

In the photo below, on the left is a flannel-covered piece of foam insulation that serves as my design wall. That's "Snowflake Medallion," from Ballarat Patchwork (Aus), in progress.

Along the wall are cabinets and countertops left behind by the previous owner. They hold two large cutting mats, and the drawers and cupboards below hold lots of supplies.
My sewing spot has a tool cart full of notions handily on my right. And a little further to my right is an older Bernina set up for any friend who wants to stop by and sew along! Hint, hint.
DH built the ironing table for me. The top isn't attached so I can remove and wash the ironing cover when needed. It's pretty obvious, I have a fabric stash.
At the left forefront are two hollowcore sliding doors that rest on sawhorses. These were saved from a remodeling job at a previous house, and I'm so glad we kept them. Butted together, they're a great size (72" x 79") for basting or just laying out stuff. Quilters can never have too many table tops.
So, while my view isn't worth a pittance, the space I have for making quilts is wonderful. It's especially great when I can just walk away from my mess, go back upstairs, and pull the basement door shut behind me. No one's the wiser about how well I can trash a sewing room! Well, except for friends who take the hint and stop by to sew with me.

Happy 37th Anniversary to Us!

Today is our 37th wedding anniversary.
How young we looked - and were! - in 1972. The wedding was at Trinity Lutheran Church in Mason City, Iowa.

And how 'bout the bridesmaids' attire? Can picture hats get any bigger than that?

Mother helped me keep to a $500 wedding budget that included my gown, flowers, photos, bridemaids' hats and shoes, cake, punch, et al. She sewed my gown; constructed my headpiece from pipe cleaners, lace and tulle; and sewed the bridesmaids' gowns from drapery fabric with a chiffon overlay. I still have receipts totalling $521. Dad was so pleased by my effort to stick to the budget that he covered the extra $21.

Other than my little sis (in the yellow), I don't know where the bridesmaids are now. Nor does DH know where the groomsmen are. Oh, how our lives and looks change!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair!

Quoted from the Chicago Life Examiner: The Iowa State Fair, being held August 13 to 23, 2009; is considered the ultimate state fair, and has even been listed in the bestselling book by Patricia Schultz, “1000 Places You Must See Before You Die.” The movie “State Fair” (1945) was based on the Iowa State Fair. The fair, in Des Moines, is a family friendly excursion, about 325 miles from the Chicago O’Hare area, making this an excursion suitable for a stay of a night or two.

The state fair is a community event, with a tradition that dates back to 1854. As an agricultural festival in the Heartland of America, the fair is historically a gathering for families to compare notes on best farming methods and new technology. The Rodgers and Hammerstein movie, “State Fair” was based on the Iowa State Fair. Over one million people attend the fair annually for the fun, educational activities and the social atmosphere
DH and I attended our wonderful Iowa State Fair on Friday. Though the weather was not the usual heat and high humidity that we're accustomed to during this time of year (instead we endured cold and rain), here are a few impressions of it for those of you not fortunate enough to be able to attend.

DH is a John Deere retiree, so it's always appropriate to include photos of farm equipment like this JD tractor that pulls visitors to various stops throughout the grounds.
Each year this patriotic young man, Ray Sorenson, paints a "Freedom Rock" in rural Iowa and this year he was invited to paint a rock during the ten days of the fair. You may recognize his painting of John Wayne who was born in Winterset, Iowa.
He also included on the rock a painting of our 2008 Beijing Olympic Gold Medalist from right here in West Des Moines, Shawn Johnson.
No one misses the chance to go to the Agriculture Building to see the butter cow. Since 1911, a butter cow has been a fair tradition. It's made with 600 pounds (272 kilograms) of butter!
Another butter sculpture usually accompanies the cow. Last year it was a butter Shawn Johnson. This year there's a butter television running a video of the 1969 moon landing and walk. This replaces the proposed butter sculpture of Michael Jackson.
The idea of Michael in butter was so highly controversial it was nixed!
Kids in Iowa are pretty impressive, especially those who participate in 4-H. I never miss going through the 4-H Building to see what creative activities these young people are involved with.
A John Deere tractor from empty pop cans.
Black and white photos of items that spell "Iowa."This 4-Her teaches us how to make Disappearing Nine Patch Blocks, or "9 Patch Twist."
A "Wizard of Oz" quilt.
"Hole in the Barn Door" blocks framed. Neat!
Several 4-Hers painted huge quilt blocks that are hung on a barn or other farm building.
A fair highlight is all the food options. It's expected that almost everything can be eaten on a stick or deep fried. Yes, that's deep fried macaroni and cheese, and deep fried Twinkies and Oreo cookies! This year's most unusual item was chocolate covered bacon on a stick!
No, I did not eat any of these things!
And saving the best until last, here are some of the 822 quilted items entered in the Fabric and Threads Department.

The colorful quilt at the beginning of this slideshow won Best of Show.
It was entirely made and quilted on a Bernina sewing machine by Katherine Peck of Fairfield, Iowa.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Flaunt - Stockings (again!) & Snowflake Medallion

It's the weekly Friday Flaunt! Check Cinzia's blog for a complete list of "Frenzied Flaunters." Don't miss the great stuff everyone is doing. I can honestly say that participation keeps this quilter motivated!

The August "Season of Grace" BOM stockings designed by Pat Sloan are made. Mary and I are each making two identical stockings, then swapping one. These are three-dimensional so when the quilt is hanging, treats and treasures can be put inside the 25 stockings.
I'm as tickled as can be to share my progress on this "Snowflake Medallion" quilt designed by Emma at Ballarat Patchwork. My SnoMed is 50" X 50" now. I love the colors! All the fabrics came from quilt shops here in West Des Moines and Clive.
There are 28 teal colored Sawtooth Star blocks.
Then, there are not one, but two rounds of striped borders.
I'm glad I spent the time needed to figure out and sew the mitered corners.
But I confess: there was more than one border unsewn and resewn!
The next medallion rounds are green Flying Geese and applique blocks. Time to applique again.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Feeling Nostalgic

Today is the first day of the new school year for most of the kids in the Des Moines area. I knew this immediately when I drove Hogan (the dog) to a park for our morning walk.

Buses were rolling everywhere. Kids congregated on corners, waiting for them. I also saw the neighbor photographing her ready-for-school, backpack clad daughter. It made me fondly remember all the years I took first-day photos of our two children who are now 33 and 29 years old.

I've been looking through piles of loose photos - oh what a trip down memory lane! And it's long past time to get the pictures organized. Yikes. I couldn't find our son's first-day-of-school picture, though I searched in several likely places.

Here's what I did find: our daughter's first day of kindergarten in 1981. I always loved her French-braided hair.
And here she is a few years later, in 1987, with her little brother. She's ready for sixth grade; he's ready for second grade. He never liked wearing blue jeans, insisting sweatpants were more comfortable. I made them in a variety of colors, for much less money than the price of jeans.
Now back to the photos strewn all over the bedroom. I wish I'd done a better job taking care of them... twin prints, negatives, and professional photos. Many of them have turned orange. I really appreciate that our digital age makes photo-taking and storage more efficient.


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin