Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Flying Geese

Our July assignment for the Inspire Circle of do. Good Stitches was to use flying geese.  Thea will be putting together a boys quilt in orange and aqua, and a girls quilt in raspberry and citrine, along with white, navy or greys.  She has such great ideas!  I love these color combinations, and I had some good choices in the fabric stash already.

I've never done flying geese before, so this was another chance to expand my quilting horizons.  I've said it before, but I love being in a group like this circle where we get a new assignment each month.  Sometimes I get to learn a new technique, sometimes its a quilt block that I haven't tried before, and sometimes I stretch myself with new color combinations.  Its always fun, and the best part is that the blocks are put into quilts for charity.  That just makes you feel good inside!  To learn more about do. Good Stitches or to join, click on over to the main Flickr group.

Back to the geese.  Looking for inspiration, I found a recent edition of Quilter's World that had a pattern with flying geese in it. I followed the directions to make the geese and then improvised the sashing to bring it up to a 12.5 inch block.  The two shades of aqua make this block rather interesting, I think.

Then I remembered that Evelyn, a quilter in our circle, recommended using her favorite No Waste Flying Geese tutorial from Shannon at Pieceful Kwilter. This was super helpful, and my geese improved as I used the tutorial. Thanks to both Evelyn and Shannon! I like this one too, and the geese are tidier but I don't think it will work out very well in a full quilt because of the narrow sashing, so I get to keep this one.   It will probably become a pillow cover, or hang out in the WIP box until I find a good use for it.

On to the berry & citrine!  This time I made smaller geese using Pieceful Kwilter's handy sizing chart.  I really like this one, and my geese are getting straighter. It feels silly saying it, but bias really effects how tidy a block can be when it comes to piecing.   The citrine portions of this block are from Wildwood by Erin McMorris, which happens to use citrine, greys and berries all together. 

Can you tell I've become a fan of putting frames on my photos?  PhotoScape calls these frames Cali 11 and Cali 12.   Be sure to check out the No Waste Flying Geese tutorial at Pieceful Kwilter.  Its really helpful.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What a Difference a Gusset Makes - A Quick Tutorial

So you know I love zippered pouches, and I'll take any excuse to make another one right?  I thought it was high time I branch out into something a little different, so I added a gusset.  Super simple and it makes such a difference!  The pouches you see here are all currently available in my Etsy shop.

Once you've gotten the zipper placed, then sewn (or serged) all around the edges and you're just about ready to turn that puppy inside out, you can create a gusset. 

Carefully unfold one corner until you can match the seams front and back, then lay it flat.  I use a pencil to mark a straight line across the corner, one inch in from the tip of the triangle that you've created.

Sew across this line, remembering to back stitch at the beginning and the end. 

Then snip off the tip, leaving less than a 1/4 inch seam.  Do the same to the other corner of the lining, and then both corners of the exterior fabric as well.  Turn it inside out, and admire your work! 

This pouch has a ball of yarn in it, along with knitting needles.  It just seems nicer to have that extra width along the base of the pouch, if you know you'll be stashing something with some dimension to it.

Here's the same ball of yarn & needles in a flat pouch.  All lumpy & bumpy in the middle.  It works, but its not as nicely packaged.

Have you tried adding a gusset to a bag or pouch?  I think ruffles are next on my list of pouch embellishments!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Recipe: Summer on a Stick

The flavors of a caprese salad are heavenly - fresh basil, fresh tomato and mozzarella.  To me, this flavor combination says summer!  There are so many fun ways of using these three ingredients: in pasta, combined as their own salad, or even on a pizza. Add a little summer sausage or salami, and you've got a real winner.  This makes a nice appetizer for a dinner al fresco, or a cute dish to take to a barbeque or outdoor picnic.  I've been known to skip the skewers and eat it as a light lunch.

Here's how you make it.  Its so simple, I feel wrong calling this a 'recipe.' 

Basic ingredients - determine how many skewers you'll be making and go from there:
   A chunk of mozzarella cheese
   Fresh cherry or grape sized tomatoes
   Summer sausage stick
   Several basil leaves
   Balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Cube your mozzarella cheese and the summer sausage into bite sized cubes, wash those tomatoes and rip off some basil leaves.

Optional step:  At this point, any furry friend in the house may be hovering around, hoping you'll drop some of that yummy sausage or cheese on the floor.  It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to share.  Not surprisingly, I caved.

Spike a sausage cube onto the skewer, then add mozzarella cube, a basil leaf (or suitably sized portion of a leaf), and finally a tomato.

Aren't they pretty?  If you use shorter skewers, you can reverse the order of ingredients and stand them up using the sausage cube as a base.  These are cute for entertaining.

For added flavor, you can drizzle balsamic vinegar over it all, but I skipped that step this time.  You can also skip the skewers altogether and toss the ingredients for more of a salad.  I make the pieces smaller when I do this, so you can get more than one ingedient in a bite.

The basil, tomato and cheese are always a crowd-pleasing flavor combination, and for the meat eaters a little summer sausage or salami adds that extra something.  Let me know if you try this - I'd love to hear how you like it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Practice, practice, practice

A little free motion quilting practice before work today.  I think I have the motion part down, I need to work on regulating my speed & stitch length.

Baby steps!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Swap Happy

Round 2 of the Table Top Swap 2 on Flickr is all finished and I'm so excited to show you what I received!  Its so cute and its the perfect colors.  My current kitchen color scheme is moving towards shades of aqua or light blue along with red and a dash of pink, so that is what I requested.

When it arrived, I was so excited to take a picture that I didn't wait to clear off the table.  My sweet partner Dorothy also sent along two table runner patterns as extras.  Wasn't that thoughtful? 

I just adore the fabric choices, and that giant red rick rack is to die for!  Here it is on my dining table, with one of my favorite bowls that inspired the new color combo. Perfect! 

This is the table square I made for my partner.  I did the sample block in scrappy pinks and yellows.  My partner asked for 32 inches square, but didn't ask specifically for any color scheme so I went with the sunny, summery colors of Lovely by Sandy Gervais.  The photo session for this was rather hurried, so these aren't the greatest shots.  It is bound in a solid turquoise to make the center patch pop, and the backing is a yellow floral on white.  I had thoughts of adding turquoise embroidered flowers to the coral squares, but I didn't like it so I scrapped that idea.


I became awfully fond of this topper while I was working on it, and I think I have enough fabric to make one for myself, so you may see this pop up again in the future!
You've already seen the Owl Scissors Keeper I sent along with her package, but its so cute I'm showing it again!

My partner let me know that she's received it and she said she loved both the table square and the owl.  Yay, success!  This was my first swap of finished items and I can't wait to start another!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Don't forget to clean the lint out from the inside of your machine! I use a slim paint brush. It reaches into corners and is nice & soft.  I was changing out my bobbin tonight & thought to dust a bit!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Weekend WIPs

Ah, Saturday again!  I'm working on a couple little projects this weekend, including this new poppy embroidery.  A good portion of my living room decor is red poppies, and I was inspired to sketch one and start stitching.  Not sure where this is going, but its fun to add bits here and there with different types of stitches!

I've got a couple other zippered pouches in the works to add to my Etsy shop, and I'll share those soon.  Fabric flowers are also on the menu this weekend, like this little one. 

So many things I want to do!  Do you always seem to have more projects than free time too?  What are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Today is a day to celebrate who we are and all of our freedoms, and that amazing Declaration of Independence.  While Memorial Day & Veterans Day are our country's official recognition of the military and their service, I can't help but be grateful for their service on July 4th too.  As they say, we are the Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.  I guess that goes for our founding fathers as much as the last 2 centuries worth of those who served in the military. They were pretty brave too, weren't they?

I hope you are enjoying your day with family or friends, or just taking it easy.   Happy Fourth!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Red, White & Blue Blog Hop Block - The Five Pointed Star

Happy July 1st! Today is the kickoff day for the Red, White & Blue Blog Hop for Sew We Quilt, created by the lovely Madame Samm and organized by the charming Jane of Jane's Fabrics and Quilts.  I drafted a five pointed star paper pieced block to share with you.

When I think red, white and blue I think patriotic and I wanted to create a block that I could use to echo our national flag.  A five pointed star seemed just the thing, with blues in the upper left quadrant like our flag and reds everywhere else.  Add some white to fill in the blanks and voila!  This star can be just as fun in any color combination, or in a scrappy single color version. 

This is a 10.5 inch paper pieced block, and you can download the templates here.  **** This file has been updated with some helpful hints on planning fabric placement.

There are 5 pages, with instructions.   If you are new to paper piecing, I recommend you read this tutorial by Faith at Fresh Lemons and then go watch this video by The Crafty Gemini.  Whether you learn by reading or by visuals, both are excellent and will help you understand the process.

The general instructions the 5 Point Star are as follows:  Print all five pages and cut them out, adding a 1/4" seam allowance.

Starting with Section A, sew on the line between 1 & 2, then the line between 2 & 3, and then the line between 3 & 4.  Do this for each of the five sections.  Section B is printed horizontally on the page, but once you have that leg of the star cut out, you'll see how it fits.  Section B is the topmost point of this star.  Once all five sections are ready, peel off that paper.  Its fun!

The star is built in a clockwise direction.  As you sew each of the five sections together, press the seams all in the same direction, always to the right or always to the left.  This will make the center points fit together more smoothly.  Sew Section A to Section B (creating AB), then AB to Section C, then ABC to Section D, then finally ABCD to Section E.  The last seam is the trickiest, but you can do it! 

Here is one all finished with extra sashing and all bound up to be used as a wall hanging or a small table topper. I might even hang it outside on my gate for July 4th, although then lizards would get on it and that would be gross.  There are alot of lizards here in Florida.

A great big hug and a huge thank you to both Madame Samm and to Jane for allowing me to join the fun of the Red, White & Blue Blog Hop.  Love you both ladies! 

I really enjoying creating this block and I hope you like it too!  Hop on over to the other blogs in the blog hop today and see what's cooking!
Mary on Lake Pulaski
Vrooman's Quilts
piece peace
The Cuddle Quilter
Marcia's Crafty Sewing and Quilting