Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Long Awaited Swoopy Geese Tutorial: Part 2!

        It's been about a month since my post about the swoopy flying geese and so I deem it time to finish up out tutorial! Also it's a Sunday so I actually have the time and energy to blog :) This whole teaching thing is tiring!

        Before I get started I have to apologize to the ladies at the Tacoma MQG. I forgot to mention something at the meeting on Thursday. When I prepared my finished flying geese paper piecing panel I traced the design onto a piece of tracing paper then turned it over and stitched along the lines that showed through the paper. This allowed the finished panel to look exactly the same as my patter. Once again I apologize if this caused any confusion or made me look a bit crazy to those of you who noticed :)

        Alright! So last time we ended with a fully designed pattern, complete with 1/4 inch seam allowance. From here I suggested either scanning and printing another copy of your pattern or tracing the individual parts onto a different piece of paper. I always keep my original pattern that I can make another copy if I accidentally make a mistake...
Which never happens.... ever... not even once.... ;) 

        When I first started making my own paper piecing patterns I would use regular computer paper (as pictured below) for my outside curve templates. I would simply pin the paper to the fabric and try to cut as accurately as possible. More recently I started using freezer paper for those templates. It's not necessary but it is much easier to use as a guide and it made my edges much more accurate.

        Alright! Lets get started!!! For the actual paper piecing portion of this pattern you will need a few things:
  • Scraps for your geese: The don't actually have to be scraps but they do have to be at least 1/4 inch bigger than their intended triangle on all sides. I take a strip of my favorite fabric and cut out rectangles and are bigger than my geese. It may be a tad wasteful but paper piecing usually is... So, if that bottom goose is approximately 2" x 1" I would use a rectangle that is 2.5" x 1.5". You get the idea :)
  • Background fabric
    • Triangles for your background: You can use various sizes of triangles so that you are not wasting too much fabric. I started with a 3" square cut in half diagonally for the first two rows, a 2.5" square cut in half diagonally for the next two. The remaining triangles were 2" squares cut in half diagonally. Once the triangle is sewn and flipped it must cover all of the seam allowance. If there is paper visible on the front once the goose has been pressed you will need a bigger triangle. 
    • Remaining background pieces will be cut from template created in part 1
  • Sewing machine: Use a new needle as older dull ones may have problems going through the paper (printer paper especially, tracing paper isn't as much of an issue). Set your stitch length to a smaller stitch. I use either 1.8 or 2.0 instead of my machines default of 2.5. Either way you don't want the stitches too small that they will be a pain to tear out if necessary. 
  • Iron
  • Rotary Cutter, Ruler, and Mat 
Here We GO!

Step 1:  For this project your will start your paper piecing on the side with the bottom of the triangle. In other words the side with the longest unbroken straight edge. 

  • If you are using tracing paper like me, turn your paper over so that the drawn lines are against the wrong side of the fabric. You will be sewing along the lines seen through the back of the paper. 
  • If you are using a direct copy you will be sewing directly on your printed/traced lines so the fabric will all be arranged on the back of your pattern. This will create the reverse image of your pattern. 
Align your first goose rectangle with the bottom edge of the paper so that it covers all the seam allowance (piece 1). Next, with your pattern held to the light, try to arrange the background triangle (piece 2) right sides together so that the long bias edge overlaps the line of stitching by at least a 1/4 inch. Pin in place but make sure the pin does not cross or come close to the line of stitching.

Step 2: Turn your pattern over and stitch along the drawn line between pieces 1 and 2, back stitching at the beginning in the seam allowance and at the end near the point. Make sure your line of stitching goes all the way to the edge of the seam allowance but do not go past the end of the line at the point of the goose. Trim your thread tails.

Step 3: Fold back the paper along the line of stitching and trim overlapping fabric back to 1/4 inch.

Step 4: Unfold paper and press to set the seam then press flip and press triangle out.

Step 5: Take your next background triangle repeat the process of lining up, stitching, cutting and pressing. 

Step 6: Once you have one completed goose grab another scrap that can extend all the way across your pattern. With right sides together, align the scrap with the line between goose one and goose two (pieces 1/2/3 and piece 4) so that it overlaps the line by at least 1/4 inch. Turn the pattern over and stitch in place. Repeat process until until all the geese are complete. 

Step 7: Sew a line of stitching slightly within the outer edge of the total seam allowance of the flying geese panel and trim away excess fabric. 

Step 8: Cut out remains background pieces using templates.
  • If you used tracing paper to create an exact copy of your pattern, pin (or press your freezer paper) template to the front of your background fabric. 
  • If you are using a printed exact copy, pin (or press your freezer paper) template to the back of your background fabric. 
Freezer paper pressed to front of background fabric

Step 9: Cut out around your template. Top piece demonstrates regular curved piecing by machine, bottom demonstrates optional turned curved piecing. If you don't like machine stitching curved seams hang tight! I will explain that method at the end. 

Step 10: With right sides together, pin seam thoroughly and stitch together. 

Step 11: Press to set the seam then press open! Repeat with other side! Trim if necessary. 

Optional Turned Curved Seams!!!

As long as they are properly pinned curved seams are fairly easy to do. If you hate curved seams and want to try something different this may be the way to go.

        Take another look at the bottom background piece. You may have noticed that the freezer paper template was cut out without the curved seam allowance. This is definitely on purpose :)

Step 1: Stitch along the outside edge of the freezer paper to create a line between what will become the finished background piece and the seam allowance.

Step 2: Remove the freezer paper and carefully press the seam allowance in using the stitched line as a guide. The goal is to make the stitched line invisible.

Step 3: Pin the turned down curved edge along the edge of your finished paper pieced panel.

Step 4: Hand stitch or top stitch with your machine along the folded edge to finished up your block.

Step 5: Finish up your block by trimming down if necessary. 

And there you have it! Your very own paper pieced flying geese pattern. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial! 

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Big Changes!!!

        Well this post will likely be a bit boring as is not about quilting and roughly a paragraph long. I got some great news this week that will mean big changes for me in the near future!

Wait for it...

Keep waiting...


        I can't believe how excited I am! And nervous! Although I think everybody feels this way when they start out... Anyways, I start in a week and a half and I am already planning out music lessons and thinking about how I will make the room my own!

        Anyways, here is a quilted ship to keep you happy until my next quilty blog post ;)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Long Awaited Swoopy Geese Tutorial!

        A while ago, I shared a picture of one of my first swoopy geese projects and mentioned that I might write up a tutorial but then promptly forgot about it... Well the time has come to make good, here is the long awaited swoopy geese tutorial in all of its swoopy glory!

        Or perhaps not so long awaited? Anyways I am writing today for all my friends in the Tacoma Modern Quilt Guild hoping that this tutorial will provide a bit more insight to the whirlwind that is my design process. So, lets get started!    

Please Note! Unless you plan otherwise, the you will actually be designing the reverse side of the block. The finished block will be a mirror image of your pattern! (Sorry guys, I forgot to mention this at the meeting). If you have a specific design that needs to be oriented one way or another you might want to draw the general shape out correctly, then trace it onto the back of the same sheet of paper and work from there or use a computer to reverse the image.  

Edit (9/28/2014) During my demonstration at the September meeting of the TMQG I forgot to mention that I traced my design onto tracing paper and stitched on the back (as the lines were clearly visible). As a result my finished flying geese pattern looked the same as my pattern!

  • Paper: either plain or graph paper works. I like 1/4 inch graph paper best!
  • Clear Ruler: I picked up my mini 5"x 1" for exactly this purpose but it isn't necessary, any clear ruler will work. A regular straight edge ruler would also work however it might require a bit more measuring.
  • Pen and Pencil: I like end up doing a lot of tracing so my original lines need to be dark enough to see though another layer of paper. 
  • Tracing Paper (Optional): Makes good paper piecing paper because it is so thin. 

Step 1:

Draw the shape of your block without seem allowance. This will be the shape and size of your finished block. Mine is 8" x 6".

Step 2:

Draw the overall shape of your swooping geese. They can be really curvy or only slightly curvy. It can also narrow at the end or it can maintain an even width.

Step 3:

Divide your swoopy curve into individual geese. You can use your ruler to achieve straight lines. I sometimes find it faster to estimate straight lines. This however isn't always as accurate.

Step 4:

Once the you have your individual geese blocked off begin to draw in your triangles. Once again you can use your ruler to measure the exact center of each line and draw the wing of your goose. I like to start by drawing one side of all my geese...

Then filling in the other side.

Step 5:

Once you have the (reversed) pattern of your block you will start to draw in your seam allowances. Add a quarter in to the outside edge of your pattern. Quarter inch graph paper makes this step easy since you can simply add a square without needed to measure with the ruler.

Step 6:

Using the clear ruler draw in your seam allowance along the outside of the swoopy geese. This will be the seam allowance for the swoopy geese paper piecing panel.

Step 7:

Finally draw in the seam allowance for the curved edges of the top and bottom background pieces. I used a dashed line for this seam allowance marking so that I wouldn't be confused by it while piecing the central panel.

Step 8:

At this point you have several options: you can copy and print 2 copies of your pattern to cut out and use or you can trace or print the pieces of your pattern onto other types of paper.

In the picture above I chose to make one copy of the patter and trace the patter piecing panel onto tracing paper.

Here is what the pattern looks like all cut out. Because I traced the patter piecing panel onto tracing paper I don't have to worry about any dashed lines. The tracing paper is easier to sew through and much easier to tear away. 

Stay tuned for the next installment of "Swoopy Geese" entitled "The One About Paper Piecing" in which I will talk about how to paper piece your swoopy geese (duh) and a few ways to piece you curved seams including curved seam piecing with freeze paper! How fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Big Show Excitement!!!

        I am still new to this whole show business. I love attending shows both big and small but I've only submitted to one small show so I was nervous about trying out something bigger. I received lots of wonderful encouragement from many quilty friends and last week I finally got around to submitting a few quilts to the Northwest Quilting Expo in September. I am so excited to announce that both my quilts got in!

        Repeat pictures I know but I thought I would share what I submitted! So far I've been calling the above quilt "Come Sail Away" and felt comfortable with that name but I had no idea what to call the other one. It was sort of a creative exercise and was never really intended for anything important. I eventually decided on "Chaos of the Mind" and the more I think about it the more I like it :)


        In looking through my pictures for this point I realized I never shared a better picture of those big letters I started quilting. I still love how they turned out and can't wait to quilt some more. They provide a quick and easy way to practice various techniques and I fell like I have actually accomplished something after a few hours, haha!

        Oh! I also got a henna tattoo while hanging out at the Tacoma MQG booth on Saturday! Don't worry it will fade away eventually ;) We had a fun time relaxing a chatting to folks during the Music and Art at Wright Park event. It really was a blast. My several of my cohorts ended up getting vintage sewing machine henna tattoos but I just had to go with feathers!

        Until next time!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Feathered Rose

        Hi again ya'll! I feel like it's been ages since I wrote last. It hasn't but I feel as though I have been neglecting my blog again and I would sincerely like to change that! So here goes, I'm changin' it!

        Shorty before my mother and I left on our awesome family vacation I picked up a lovely little table topper top from a new client. We talked a bit about what she wanted and she pretty much gave me the go ahead to be creative while trying to include a rose in the center of the medallion. I went off on my way thinking about how I would like to quilt it and my mind went a bit nuts. I thought about it all through my trip. I even started doodling roses and pinteresting nice designs. I ended up drawing lots and lots of roses trying to come up with a design that could be quilted with minimal back tracking and still look fairly classy. I later came to understand that she had something much simpler in mind that I did but after a short email she gave me the go ahead. Here's a shot of my a practice rose that I came up with.

        I liked how it came out but knew I could do better. The reference lines had to be drawn free hand because I already had the quilt sandwich made up from a previous practice session. It ended up being good practice just drawing the rose out again since the actual quilt top contained too many layers for my light board to be of any use. After a bit more practice and picking up some matching thread I was ready to get started. And here is the big reveal!

        The pink is a bit salmony in this photo, but quilting shows nicely! Just don't look at my toe ;) I decided to quilt a wreath of feathers around the Dresden plate I love how they came out. I used matching thread in both the pink and brown sections and I really love how the pink thread makes the designs really pop. 

        I am really pleased with how the central rose turned out. It was really difficult to see my drawn lines so I had to go fairly slow but it was worth it in the end!

        Here's a shot of one of the rose buds on the outer corners of the center. I love how the feathers frame the bud but I almost fear that they distract from it and bury it in the texture. I think the design came out well though. Initially I had wanted to do trailing vines with leaves bit I decided against that after realizing the design I was using left too much open and unquilted space. All in all I am very pleased with how it turned out and and happy to announce that my client liked it just as much! 

        Now on to some exciting new projects. I have so many fun plans! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back With Photos Galore

        Hi all, I am back from my trip and ready to get back to it! Ok, ok, I've been back for a bit a just lazy about posting. It was a a heck of a ride and I came away with some great photos and some really wonderful memories.

        I started taking photos on the 2nd full day of the trip while in Roatan, Honduras. We got off the boat and had a bit of time to kill before heading off to Gumbalimba park so we sat in the shade on the dock. I couldn't believe how hot it was, though I guess I should have expected it....  

        After a short bus ride we arrived at the park where we saw some really cool trees!

        And pretty flowers

        And lots of Macaws. I love how the clothing matches the colors of the birds. I just had to take a picture. 

        They are such cool birds!

        And Monkeys! Oh my gosh the monkeys! They were so cute, and so very mischievous!

        I made a friend, though I think he liked my mom's cousin more....

        After visiting the monkeys we got a bit of time to hang out on the beach before heading back to the ship.

        The next day we stopped in Cozumel, Mexico. We docked right next to the biggest cruise ship in the world. Look at how tiny our boat looks in comparison! We sailed near this ship and one other throughout the entire trip. It was like we had company out on the open ocean.

        We had a very full day ahead of us so after docking we immediately boarded a ferry to take us to the mainland of Mexico. When we got off the ferry I just had to take a picture of the water. It was such a gorgeous color of turquoise. We then hopped on a bus that took us an hour away to the Tulum ruins.

        Tulum was a sort of holy site for the Mayans and the temple (pictured below) also served as a light house to guide ships through a a break in the coral reef along the coast. Our guide told us that nearly 10,000 people lived within its walls. 

        I tried really hard to take pictures without any other tourists in them, hah! It was difficult but I think I got a few cool shots.

        Once again the water was beautiful, and many people were enjoying it. I didn't realize that we could have gone swimming in the ruins so I didn't bring my towel from the bus :(

        A cool shot of the wall around Tulum as we were leaving the site. 

        After a very quick bite to eat at a nearby resort we had a little over a half hour to enjoy the beach. The water felt amazing after walking around in the bright sun. I had been so hot and sticky that I didn't even mind the damp hour long bus ride then 45 minute ferry rise back to our ship. While the expedition felt fairly rush and we didn't get a whole lot of time at either the ruins or the beach, it was still really fun and very beautiful.  

        If I ever go back to Mexico this is where I want to stay!

        This last photo of the trip shows the towel animal family we collected while on the boat. The first night we received an elephant. Fearing that they would replace it the next day we specifically asked for a friend for our elephant and we were delighted to find a rabbit keeping the elephant company. The following day our towel companions sought to start a family and so the baby rabbit arrived. We then learned how to create our own animals to leave the room with a a few more babies. It was way too much fun! We even got to see our room attendants reaction which was just about as excited as we had been when he brought the first little rabbit. 

All in all it was a great trip. I came home with a nice tan, a camera full of photos and heart full of wonderful memories!

Now, back to sewing :)