Row Along 2018: Birds

11277 Hamilton White F'17

Can you believe we are on Row 5!? Okay, so I know the birds strike fear in many of you, but we are going to conquer that fear and become experts in paper piecing by the time we are finished. If you follow the directions exactly, watch our videos and adhere to these tips in our post, I promise you will get great results. You may make a few mistakes and use the seam ripper a few times but that’s part of learning any new quilting technique, honestly I knew what I was doing and still did this a few times.

So here we go!

Templates:

Before you even cut your templates, go through and mark on each piece that is the White background fabric a big “W”.

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Each bird has the white background plus 4 different fabrics, and a couple pieces share the same fabric. To ensure I remembered this as I was cutting, I marked the templates that were fabric prints, each with 4 different color markers. So in other words, the 2 leg pieces that are the same fabric will be marked with the same color (mine are both yellow) and  A2-2, A2-3 & A2-4 will all be the same color (purple) to help you remember as your cutting.  I just did a little dash, but make it bigger if you need.

bird3.jpg

Small Birds Legs:

For some reason the small birds legs ended up slightly off alignment once translated to the book pattern from our original. Most of you will not notice or care. If you are a person who this bothers, there is a very easy quick fix. I tried to upload one I fixed for you all to download, but for computer reasons that I do not understand , when I upload it to a PDF, the size of the block changes slightly, which will cause you major problems. There is already a post in our Facebook Group, added by a lovely lady (Georgette) who is quilting along with us, showing a quick How to Fix for your pattern.  I promise its fast and easy and I am truly sorry you have to do it. But if you don’t care, than carry on. I am keeping my birds with the little mistake, because it does not bother me, but I also appreciate those of you who want it perfect. See my imperfect small bird below to help you decide.

bird4

 

Cutting:

There are several tips when cutting that will help you immensely.

Cut all the pieces for all Large Birds first, than do the same for the small birds.

Cut all of your fabric pieces with a really HEFTY 1/4″ seam allowance (bigger is better here, even if your closer to 3/8″ or more, its fine, you will trim later). Also make sure you are always cutting with the template facing up, wrong side of the template touching the wrong side of the fabric as it says in the directions.

Cut all your white pieces together first, than move on to the colored fabrics. It is really key to STAY ORGANIZED. Here is what we did and it works GREAT.

Cut all pieces for each template piece for all 5 large birds and than later for all 7 small birds at the same time ( count the template pieces that are the same fabric as 1 piece, and do them together for each bird). Stack all of the fabric pieces for a a template on top of each other and than pin the template on top. See my pic below if your confused at all and it should make more sense.

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These are all of my pieces for the Large Bird. Now I can easily work on them in an assembly line style.

Paper Piecing:

We highly recommend using velum for your paper piecing. It is easier to see through, you can unpick stitching from it without it breaking apart and it is easier to rip out at the end. We sell it in kits, but you can also get it online and at most paper stores, you will want a medium weight.

Start Piecing:

Follow the directions in the book and watch our videos in the Facebook Group , all of them before you start stitching and than again as you go if you need more help. We made several videos on the stitching process, that I promise will make all of the difference in the world!

Make sure to work in assembly line fashion! If you make 1 bird at a time from start to finish the row will take you FOREVER! But if you do each step, to all large birds at the same time, than the next step to all and so on (this is assembly line) it will be so much faster. Also if you work this way, you will make less mistakes, because of the repetition. Some people like to make a test bird, to make sure they know what they are doing and it works. If you want to do this, just make this 1 from start to finish and than move to assembly line sewing.

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Also don’t worry if your bird looks a little crazy while you are in the middle of a section. At some points they look really weird, but it is probably correct.

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Looks weird, right? But after I trim and add more sections, this is going to be perfect.

Trimming:

When trimming seams inside the section, you can trim to a scant 1/4″, with a ruler or scissors (see videos). But you MUST have a FULL 1/4″ seam on the outside edge of all sections and the finished block.

When trimming around each section that you MUST leave a 1/4″ OUTSIDE of the paper. This is your seam allowance, DO NOT TRIM UP TO THE EDGE OF THE PAPER. I did this on all of my blocks on my very first paper piecing attempt many years ago and to say I was bummed is a major understatement. But, on the bright side, it was a great way to ensure it has never happened again.

Ok, so watch the videos and get stitching. I promise you can do this! And post your pics in the usual places with the tag #row5giveaway to be entered in this month’s drawings.

bird7

 

Bea’s Blooms Quilt

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This is my Bea’s Blooms quilt, just finished for my daughter Beatrix. I kinda love it! I was asked to be a part of Shari Butler’s Blog Tour for her new collection “In The Meadow” for Sweet Bee Designs. I received the fabrics and really fell in love!

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I loved the happy colors and especially appreciated how many different really fun white background prints there were. I decided I wanted to make a quilt that really featured the backgrounds. Bea’s Blooms is made completely with Half Hexie’s , using the layout to create simple flowers. I made this quilt pretty small in size, because in my experience those are the quilts that will become “woobies” for little ones, as they can easily carry them around themselves.

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See, she loves it already!

Click the links below to download our PDF pattern to make one of your own. You can make your own template with our pattern, or use the Riley Blake 5″ Half Hexie Ruler to make life really easy. Sewing these Half Hexie’s is really simple and quick, the only thing you need to pay attention to is the layout in order to create the flowers with fabric placement.

Bea’s Blooms

Bea’s Blooms Half Hexie Pattern

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Make sure to check  out all of the other stops on the “In the Meadow” Blog tour! There are some fantastic designers and projects!

Tuesday April 17: Jedi Craft Girl | www.jedicraftgirl.com
Thursday April 19: Jina Barney Designs | http://jinabarneydesignz.blogspot.com
Tuesday April 24: Gigi’s Thimble | www.gigisthimble.com
Thursday April 26: Debby Brown Quilts | higheredhands.blogspot.com
Tuesday May 1: Piper’s Girls | www.pipersgirls.com
Thursday May 3: Go Go Kim | http://www.gogokim.com
Tuesday May 8: Kea Bee | http://keabee.com
Thursday May 10: Doohikey Designs | www.doohikeydesigns.com/blog/

 

P.S.

I even used some of my In The Meadow Fabrics for my Row #7 in my Row Along Quilt. It’s the row on the bottom, doesn’t it look great!?

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Row Along 2018: Row 4 Pinwheels

11277 Hamilton White F'17

Row 4 is here and its a quickie! So that means it is a great time to get caught up if you need to and would like to. These simple pinwheels are extra fun because they are 3D! You will add these pinwheels to many quilts in the future. They are only a little more work than the classic, but add fun dimension to your project and are very unique.  Little one’s absolutely love them so they are especially fantastic in baby quilts.

Fabric:

For this row you will use your background fabric plus 8 fabrics of your choosing from your fats (or fat 1/8th’s).

Cutting:

Everything is cut the same size for this row,so its easy peasy.  But you are cutting a 5/8″ measurement which can be a little harder to see on your ruler, so just double check yourself that you are lined up correctly every time you cut.

Row #4

Preparing the Pinwheel Units: 

Pressing:

The first video in the Facebook Group shows how to press your pinwheel fabrics.  Your folds will put you on the bias edge of the fabric, which is super stretchy, so make sure to press ( up and down motion) not iron (back and forth motion).  Ironing, rather than pressing will cause quilting fabrics (especially ones on bias) to stretch and distort out of shape, sometimes when pieces don’t line up and are not fitting together,this is the cause.

Another tip is to use a little glue stick in addition to pressing to hold your triangles in place , this is not necessary but helpful.

A glue stick and an awl are the most helpful tools for this row.

Stitching:

We have you stitch the pinwheel triangles closed, before they are stitched to the background, so that they do not open and give you any trouble in the next step. You can stitch them with your regular stitch length or even move to a larger basting size stitch. When stitching the triangles closed and a couple more times in this row you will use an 1/8″ seam. TIP: The inside edge of your 1/4″ presser foot is an 1/8″ and you can easily line fabrics up with it, as shown in the pic below.

row4-1

You will again use a 1/8″ seam allowance to stitch the triangles to your backgrounds (with a regular or a basting stitch). Follow steps 3 &4 in the book exactly. Also it is very helpful to attach them into place with glue stick rather than pins. You will also find your awl very helpful when stitching from now on, you can use it to easily guide the triangle points under your presser foot. The #2 & #3 videos helps with these steps.

Stitching the Pinwheels:

When making your pinwheel block, there are 2 different configurations you can make, they each result in the pinwheel spinning at a different point or in a different direction. This was a small mistake we noticed in the book, our quilt shows the pinwheels in a different configuration than our how-to step shows. So here are both and you can choose which one you like best, the left or the right. Either works perfectly, they are just different, just make sure whichever configuration you choose, that all of your blocks are consistent. Our book quilt is made with the left picture configuration, and I decided to use the right for my quilt. Videos #4 – #7 offer additional help, pinning and stitching your pinwheel segments into blocks.

This pinwheel block will feel much more bulky than we are used to because of all of the extra layers so pay careful attention when pressing, press some seams open if you like and give each block a little extra press when you are finished. Video #8 helps with pressing the block.

Putting the row together: 

Layout all of your blocks in the order that you like the best, than take a photo or mark each ones place. Stitch them in pairs and so on until all 8 are together for your row.

This row was a breeze, don’t you think? Make sure to post your pics and use the hashtag #row4giveaway for a chance to win a Row Along prize!

Now everyone eat your Wheaties, next month are those darn birds! You’ll either love making them ,or be really excited to be finished, but I know you’ll adore them in the end.

rows

I LOVE my quilt so far! I still need to add my red embroidery stitches to my Row #3, and stitch them together, but its a rainy day today so maybe I’ll get it done finally. We hope your loving your quilt too!!

Fabric Easter Basket

basket0

My daughter Bea needed an Easter Basket and I really wanted to make her one of these fabric versions. Years ago we taught these as a class, it was always popular as they are quick to make and adorable. Plus they are no-sew,  only hot glue gun skills are required. Than I thought if we were making some, we might as well make a tutorial to share with all of you. These baskets really are very simple to make, and you can finish one in a matter of hours. These are a great T.V. project, as you are just repeating the same simple steps again and again. You should already have most of what you need other than the Upholstery Piping Cord that makes up the base of the project, but it is widely available and pretty inexpensive. The fabric strips are cut on bias, you will cut them the same way as you cut bias for binding. If you need a little help on that, we have a very old video that shows you how , just click here to access it: Cutting Bias Binding.  It is the same technique as in our video, you will just cut a smaller width of strip for this basket.

Don’t worry there is still time to make one for this year, or don’t rush and you will be ready for next years decor. Happy Easter!

Click the link below for the PDF pattern:

Fabric Easter Basket

 

Row Along 2018: Row 3 Dresden

11277 Hamilton White F'17

Row 3 is here and I really think you all will be pleasantly surprised while making this one. It looks really impressive and in my opinion is much simpler to make than it appears. Follow the instructions in the book exactly, pay attention to these tips in this post and also watch our videos in the Facebook Group for extra help and you should end up with a beautiful row.

Fabric:

You will use 23 fabrics for the Dresden Spokes on this row, cut from Fat Quarters, Fat Eights or even scraps. You will also need a fabric for all of the center half circles, use your leftover solid red from Row#2 or a new fabric and it doesn’t necessarily need to be red ( I really wanted to use black but than chickened out at the last minute). Lastly you will use some of your background fabric.

Cutting: 

Background Fabric- In the book it has you cut the backgrounds 10.5″ X 6″, this is the intended measurement and will probably require small shims of the background on the outer edges once you see where your width ends up with all rows at the end (see page 15 in the book re: shims).You could also cut these backgrounds larger than our directions, at 11″X 6″. If you do this, you will end up with trimming a little teensy bit off both ends when you are putting all of your rows together. Either way is fine, I will be using the shims technique, as I like the look of them squeezed a little closer together, but you can do either.

Dresden Spokes- Make a template of the Dresden Spoke #1 pattern in your book from velum or something similar (I suggest even making a few in case you cut into one as you go, than you already have a replacement). This is a silly tip but actually really helpful, use a piece of scotch tape on the back of the velum to adhere it to fabrics when you cut. The tape can be reused over and over as you cut each fabric and holds just enough to make a huge difference. Its best to cut fabrics in pairs and a small ruler is really helpful, a 1″ X 6″ or a 2.5 X 4.5″.

Row3-1

row3-2

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THE NEXT STEP IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP WHEN MAKING THIS ROW! You must trace the Dresden spoke #2 pattern onto the wrong side of all of your spokes after they are cut. It is not exactly 1/4″ in all spots, if you trace 1/4″ with your ruler or skip this step all together you will have issues getting the finished dresden to fit and lay flat correctly. This traced line is also your stitch line later. It is REALLY IMPORTANT and will make all the difference in having this row work perfectly for you. Be sure to center the pattern as best as you can each time you trace it.

row3-4

Making the Dresdens:

Follow the directions on page 21 in the book, they are great with lots of pictures. There are 3 videos #1-3 in our Facebook group that will help you to turn the Dresdens right side out correctly, get perfect points and press them precisely.

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Putting the Spokes together: 

Follow page 22 instructions paying extra attention to the following tips.

Before you stitch your spokes together, I strongly suggest picking your fabric placement for all 5 blocks and taking a photo with your phone, or attaching a labeling system to ensure that the colors are all spread out evenly.

When pinning pairs together to stitch, make sure the top and side points are lined up perfectly. If the bottom ends are off slightly, it will not be a problem, but if your points (especially the side point) are off it will be an issue.

row3-6

Next and most importantly, when stitching spokes together use your traced pencil line as your stitch line, not your 1/4″ foot. See our video #4 in the Facebook group for more assistance here.

Adding the Background:

If you follow our directions carefully, you should be able to fit a Dresden made up of 9 spokes onto a background easily. Make sure to line up your middle spoke point to the middle fold line you make in step 1. Use a basting glue to adhere all 5 to the backgrounds, do not worry if the beginning and last spoke is hanging over the background a little, this is totally fine and you can trim it after you stitch them into place. See our #5 video on the FB page for more help on glue basting your Dresden into place.

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Machine Applique: 

We love our favorite machine applique method for attaching the Dresdens but you can also use Hand Applique or another Machine method if you prefer. Remember, when using a mono-filament clear thread, it is only used on the top, NOT in your bobbin, just keep your regular thread down below. If you have a needle down option on your machine it is VERY helpful to keep everything in place when you have to pivot to turn up and down the points while stitching (if you do not have this option on your machine, just hand crank the needle into place and it does the same thing).

Applique Centers: 

The Half circles are dynamite in red but could be any other color that you think sets off your Dresdens, I ended up switching to a polka dot last minute, just because, and I really love it. Follow the directions carefully on page 24. I suggest making 1 velum template before you make all 5 and make sure your piece covers your opening easily. If your piece seems a little too small, cut your velum template slightly outside the drawn line and this will fix this problem. There is a great little video (#6 in the FB group) that shows how the seam allowance in turned over with your awl and some glue stick.

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YOU GUYS! Your pretty much done!

Optional Embroidery:

The outer red embroidery is totally optional, but I love it and think it really adds a little extra pizazz. You can also change the color to match your center if you did not use red. Someone in our FB group had black centers with black stitching and I really loved it.

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I hope everyone really enjoys making this row! Also after all 5 are stitched together, remember to wait to add shims or trim, it is really best to do this to any rows where its necessary at the very end, once all rows are finished and measured. As usual we will have a giveaway for some of our favorite products we used for Row 3, you can enter in the FB Group or Instagram.

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11277 Hamilton White F'17

11277 Hamilton White F’17

Row Along 2018: Row 2 Ribbons

11277 Hamilton White F'17

So, hopefully we all survived Row 1 and were ready to stitch forward. Row 2 is fun to make, but there are a few places that can give you some problems if they are done incorrectly. So we are going to guide you on your way and point out exactly what to do to get the best results.

Fabric:

This Row requires only 3 fabrics, your background and 2 other fabrics that can co-ordinate or have contrast, its totally up to you. We used a red print and red solid, but I have already seen other rows with more contrasting colors and they look great.

This is the first time you will cut into your background fabric for a row, please read the “Cutting Borders, Sashing, and long rows” (page 13) section before you cut into your off white. In that section we talk about making sure to cut the long pieces required for borders and sashing FIRST, before cutting for any of your rows. This will ensure you have enough length to cut these pieces in a continuous piece. If you purchased our kit , there is a piece that is 88″ and labeled for cutting borders & sashing ect. You will use the other piece to cut for rows wherever needed and also the extra on the 88″ piece only AFTER you cut for borders, and sashings.

For your red solid and red print fabrics, you will NOT use Fat Quarters, there is a specific yardage requirement for these fabrics on page 6.

row2-1

Cutting:

Accuracy in cutting is KEY on this row, so “measure twice, cut once” and be extra careful. The first video for this row on our Row Along Facebook Group (make sure to click the link & join if you haven’t already) is on cutting the diamonds with your 45 degree angle, this can be a little tricky, especially if its your first time.

P.S. I noticed several people who stitched ahead commenting that these red print diamonds looked large and they thought they had done something wrong. They do appear a little larger than you think they should. As long as they are measuring the 3 3/8″ width, your good.

row2-2

row2-3

Stitching It All Together:

There are two main things to be careful of when stitching your off white triangles to your red square.

First, be careful to attach the triangles the correct direction, it is very simple to accidentally place them wrong way. See the pics below, the wrong direction pic is sewn on one side, because I was in a hurry and totally made that mistake!

row 2-triangles copy    row 2triangles 2 copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second, you need to make sure you line up and pin the triangle with its 90 degree angle matched up to the 90 degree angle corner of the red square. There are 2 quick videos in the FB group showing the pinning and stitching of the triangle.

row 2 corner

See in the above pic, how both 90 degree corners on the triangle and square are matched perfectly and the pointy ends are sticking out about 1/4″. The little triangles sticking out are what we are calling “dog ears” and are very important to make this row work. Also from here on out, do not be skimpy with your pins, you want everything to stay perfectly in place as you stitch. Look at the picture in your book, where both off white triangles are sewn and you can see the dog ears sticking out on both sides, once you have pressed these finished units.

As you continue and attach the diamonds to these stitched units, again the “dog ears” will be the key to everything lining up to make a straight row.

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See above, how the diamond is lined up with the pieced unit, right sides together, creating the “dog ear” on both sides. It should be sticking out 1/4″. See FB video for more help on lining up correctly.

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Once your stitched and pressed, you will still see the “dog ear” on one side and everything should be lined up pretty perfectly. Eventually you can slice these all off, I like to wait and do it when my whole row is completed.

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When you stitch all of the row te row together, again its the “dog ears’ that matter. They really are the key.

Hopefully these tips with the book instructions will help you to make this row correctly.

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When your ready to trim your edges, make sure to trim them to match the width of your Row 1. If your lucky, it will turn out just perfect, like mine did. Yay! Happy Dance!

row 2 cut edge

Row 2 finishedb

I hope you are still having fun! Make sure to post your pics in the FB group as well as instagram! I will be doing more giveaways later this month from your posts, and I will choose the winners from last month tomorrow and post.