threaded quilting studio

Feathered Star QAL: Week Four

Jessie ZeiglerComment

Hellllllllllllo, Club 129! How is it going?

Another week down! In the first three weeks, we've made four 16" and two 12" No Y Seam Feathered Star blocks.

Here are the details if you're just now joining us:

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

This week we are taking a little bit of a departure. We will each become a well-oiled HST-making machine!

Go ahead and cut everything in the Borders & Bonus Stars cutting section, even though we will not use all of the fabrics this week. If you've printed the the Feathered Star QAL pattern, you can find the cutting details on p. 5.

As for the sewing assignments this week, the first is to complete the instructions on the bottom of p. 8 under the Inner borders section. Don't worry, it's two tiny seams and some trimming. Piece of cake!

Job #2 for Week Four is to complete the HST assembly steps on p. 9. That's significantly more work! In fact, it's the bulk of this week's work.

We will be using the Magic 8 method for making half-square triangles as detailed in the pattern. I just wanted to mention here that the HSTs are intended to be a little oversized and trimmed down to exact specifications.

As you're sewing the larger squares together, try to align the outer edges as best as possible, but don't worry if they end up like the next photo. I don't pin the squares together or go to any other heroic measures, the trimming step will make them perfect!

I set my stitch length is a little shorter (2.2) than what I normally use to discourage unraveling after all the cuts are made.

I set my stitch length is a little shorter (2.2) than what I normally use to discourage unraveling after all the cuts are made.

Stacks on stacks!

Stacks on stacks!

The third and final part of Week Four is to construct the pieced borders according to the instructions on p. 10 of the Feathered Star QAL pattern.

I also want to look ahead to next week - July 23. We will be taking a one-week intermission to give everyone a chance to catch up. I wanted to mention that now in case you'd like to spread the HST and border-making jobs out over the next two weeks.

Week Five instructions will resume on July 30.

Join our Facebook group to connect with other QAL participants!

Feathered Star QAL: Week Three

Jessie ZeiglerComment
12" No Y Seam Feathered Star

12" No Y Seam Feathered Star

Thank you Club 129 for your input last week! I asked in the weekly QAL email that went out what blocks you wanted to work on next.

I'll be honest, when I penciled in the calendar for the QAL, I planned on doing ALL the foundation paper piecing blocks first. Because I have to kind of switch my brain to get into "paper piecing mode" and gather the appropriate tools, I thought it would be more efficient to make the similarly constructed blocks in batches instead of switching back and forth from paper piecing to regular piecing.

Either you all REALLY like paper piecing, you see the "wisdom" in batching, or you are nervous about the upcoming Fierce Feathered Star blocks, the clear majority want to continue paper piecing!

Your Week Three challenge is to make two 12" No Y Seam Feathered Star blocks! 

In the whole quilt top, there are only two 12" NYSFS blocks, so when you are printing the templates, you'll need two copies of each page (print pages 29-33 of the PDF BUNDLE or pages 11-15 from the single NYSFS pattern PDF).

Cut templates apart and cut fabrics* according to pattern.

*As the blocks get smaller, the less excess fabric you'll have according to the pre-cutting instructions. If you've had trouble aligning your pieces when making the 16" stars, you might want to cut larger pieces to give yourself more margin. The big exception to this is if you are working with the fabric kit. The white fabric pieces need to be cut exactly as stated because there isn't a lot of extra fabric (my fault) and I'd hate for you to run out! You don't have to be careful with the other fabric amounts for this star, so even if you have the kit, you can still cut the other fabrics larger to give yourself more room. 

For more information on fabric kit cutting, read this: Week One (first few paragraphs of the linked post). 

By now, you are a PRO at constructing the No Y Seam Feathered Star blocks! The 12" blocks go together in the same way as the 16" blocks. 

Remember to remove your papers when you are done and refer to the QAL pattern to see how the sashing strips need to be sewn to the 12" blocks.

I hope you're all experiencing the excitement of having the 129 fabric pieces come together to form each star! I'll leave you with Chris Simon's 16" stars! Check out more from Chris over on her inspiring Instagram profile @thecolorfulom.

Have a great week! Don't forget to join our Facebook group here: Friends of Threaded Quilting Studio.

Feathered Star QAL: Week Two

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Week Two will be a repeat of Week One: two 16" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

Week Two will be a repeat of Week One: two 16" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

#ClubOneTwoNine! How are you doing!? 

Of all the stars in our sky–I mean quilt top–I think that the 16" No Y Seam Feathered Star is the easiest one to complete. 

To ease us into the QAL and to give those who are starting late an easier time of catching up, Week Two will be about completing the last two 16" NYSFS blocks needed for the twin quilt top. If you did your printing, cutting, and prepping last week, this week should take less time! If you haven't yet made the first two blocks, check out the Week One post for lots of tips!

This is a heads up if you're looking ahead to the other sizes of paper piecing stars: the difficulty increases the smaller the pieces get. If you have the extra fabric available, you may want to pre-cut the pieces a little larger than what I recommend in the pattern, especially if you have trouble getting them aligned. I'll talk about that more in the weeks to come, but wanted to mention it now if you are thinking about working ahead.

The final part of making this block for the QAL is sewing the sashing strips onto certain sides of the blocks as detailed in the pattern. Make sure that between Week One and Week Two, you have the correct number of blocks with the appropriate strips sewn to each.

When sewing the sashing strips into place, I find it most helpful to sew with the back side of the star on top and the sashing strip on bottom, that way you can prevent seams from being turned. And always pin! At first glance, I find that there is usually a slight difference in the length of the strips compared to the length of the blocks. I pin at both ends first, then in the middle, and then I ease the rest of the fabric in by pinning at regular intervals. Sew and then press (I've been pressing these seams open, but do whatever makes you comfortable). 

It has been an absolute joy to see these stars coming to life in your very capable hands! I'll leave you with this photo of Doris Brunnette's blocks (check out the fussy cutting!), but if you'd like to see more, come join us in our Facebook group! For even more photos, check out the #featheredstarqal hashtag on Instagram.

I've also started a Pinterest board to which I will be pinning QAL inspiration!

Made by Doris Brunnette.

Made by Doris Brunnette.

Feathered Star QAL: Week One

Jessie ZeiglerComment
This is the 16" No Y Seam Feathered Star. We'll make two for Week One!

This is the 16" No Y Seam Feathered Star. We'll make two for Week One!

PLEASE NOTE: If you bought the kit or bought yardages specifically based on my original yardage requirements, I would like you to cut all of the White and Chartreuse fabrics (or their equivalents) before we start. I've written a sequencing suggestion with diagrams to ensure you get the most out of your fabric.  Please measure twice and cut once, as they say!

To be transparent: I used EQ7 estimates for the fabric yardage because I've known them in the past to be generous. They mostly were generous, except for the White (2.25 yards) and Chartreuse (.75 yard) quantities. It might be the construction techniques I use in the pattern, but as I cut my way through the whole quilt, I would have preferred extra fabric to account for any cutting errors. I have since changed the requirements in the pattern and online. 

*****

We've FINALLY arrived! Week One is here!

Week One is all about getting our feet wet with the 16" No Y Seam Feathered Star block. We will be making a total of four for this quilt, but let's just focus on two this week.

Let's begin, shall we?!

Printing: You'll need to print the paper piecing sections onto your preferred foundation paper. I use regular printer paper, but please use what you're most comfortable with. The most important thing to remember is to print at 100% or "actual" size, making sure your print dialog box is not set to auto-scale. A test square of 1 inch is provided on every page so that you can ensure accuracy.

If you bought the PDF bundle, print pages 34-39 of the PDF if you haven't already. You'll need 4 copies of each page total. 

If you're working from the No Y Seam Feathered Star PDF (original, not bundled), it's pages 16-21 of the PDF even though the page numbers at the bottom of each page are 15-20 (the cover page isn't numbered). You'll need 4 copies.

Even though we'll only be working on 2 of the blocks this week, I find it easier to print all the copies for the 16" block at once.

TIP! If all of your blocks will have the same coloring (like mine will), you may want to print one set, note the colors on each section and then make 3 copies.

TIP! Using a marker or colored pencil to note the section also works well (not really applicable before making copies unless you're using a color copier).

Cutting unit templates: To efficiently cut the templates apart, I stack all of the same pages together (add staples if you prefer, I don't find it necessary) and cut through the 4 pages at once. I like to use a dull rotary cutter that I've set aside for paper use to do the cutting. Make sure to cut outside of the dashed line. The space between the solid line and the dashed line is the seam allowance. Once all units are cut out, separate half (two complete sets: Units A-U) to be used this week.

Cutting fabrics:  I've written the cutting instructions by block so as to not overwhelm you with ALLLLLLL of the fabric cutting at once. I want to get to the fun sewing part, too!

On page 3 of the Feathered Star QAL pattern, the instructions include quantities for FOUR stars, so cut them all, and then set half of each quantity aside for next week. Yes, that's a spoiler, we'll be working on the last two 16" stars for Week Two. :)

Note: I'm working with two shades of gray. Shadow is the lighter shade of gray and used in the background (including the first triangle pieces adjacent to the "star tips", positioned toward the perimeter of the block i.e., pieces A1, B1, C1, D1, E1, F1, G1, H1). This is a slightly different coloring scheme than what is written in the NYSFS pattern where all the background spines are the same color. In this QAL, I have white as being my main background spine color that contours the star points. Iron is the darker gray color and is used for the spines and centers of this 16" block.

There are a few square sizes that are very similar, it might help to label them. For example, the 5" Shadow squares will be used with Units R-U and the 5.5" Shadow squares will be used with Units A-D. Do what you need to do to keep your pieces organized. 

Sewing: If you've never foundation paper pieced before, I highly encourage you to watch my video tutorial series that will show you step-by-step how to complete this pattern. If this ain't your first paper piecing rodeo...  well, giddyup! ;) You should be just fine following the instructions in the pattern.

USE A SHORTENED STITCH LENGTH! Sorry to shout, but this is important. I'm using a 1.2 stitch length which is tiny, tiny, tiny. Anything 1.5 or smaller is okay. I'm also using the aforementioned regular copy paper which is kind of thick. I also use a strong poly thread, so I don't have thread breakage issues, and I use a 90/14 Microtex needle from Schmetz. Feel free to adjust any of these factors until you're happy with sewing and how the papers tear away.

Does your sewing machine have a thread cutting feature or button? If it functions properly: USE IT!!! I paper pieced for years before I started actually using mine and it was a game changer! The nature of paper piecing is sewing a bunch of small lines, starting and stopping frequently. You could chain some pieces together, but it's a little awkward. When you use the thread cutter, you don't have to hold your threads as you begin the next seam. That is a wonderful thing! You'll end up using less thread, too.

I could stop now and say "Go for it!", but... I want to do everything to make this super-enjoyable for you so I took photos (captioned for your pleasure) as I was sewing my test block together to illustrate a few other tips and/or reminders. 

While it doesn't really matter which order you sew all of the units (21 total), if you're just getting back into the groove of paper piecing, you may want to start with Unit I (as in igloo) shown in the next photo.

I used a dab of fabric glue to secure the 5" center square positioned in the center of the template, covering the seam allowances on all sides (it's tight so if you're slightly short, don't worry, it's going to be fiiiiiiine). Place your folding aid (an expired insurance card here) along one seaming line, fold the paper back , align the Add-A-Quarter ruler and trim before adding your triangle accent pieces (in Chartreuse for my block). It makes the alignment of the triangles a bit easier.

I used a dab of fabric glue to secure the 5" center square positioned in the center of the template, covering the seam allowances on all sides (it's tight so if you're slightly short, don't worry, it's going to be fiiiiiiine). Place your folding aid (an expired insurance card here) along one seaming line, fold the paper back , align the Add-A-Quarter ruler and trim before adding your triangle accent pieces (in Chartreuse for my block). It makes the alignment of the triangles a bit easier.

When aligning a triangle piece along its bias side as illustrated here, imagine a straight line traveling from the corner of the area you will be covering, with the right angle of the triangle you're adding, like shown above. Use this technique with all applicable units.

When aligning a triangle piece along its bias side as illustrated here, imagine a straight line traveling from the corner of the area you will be covering, with the right angle of the triangle you're adding, like shown above. Use this technique with all applicable units.

Unit A (but this applies to all units that have pieces adjoining on 2 sides). Try not to stitch into section A8 (where my stiletto is pointing) because it'll affect how you fold and trim when the time comes to add the fabric for A8.

Unit A (but this applies to all units that have pieces adjoining on 2 sides). Try not to stitch into section A8 (where my stiletto is pointing) because it'll affect how you fold and trim when the time comes to add the fabric for A8.

BEWARE! Avoid lining up fabrics as shown above. This is Unit A, but it applies to most units. When adding a lighter fabric, make sure that it completely covers the dark piece beneath. Otherwise, you'll get shadowing (dark fabric in the seam allowance is visible from the quilt top through the light fabric). If the piece shifts while you sew and you do experience shadowing: Before sewing the next piece, carefully trim small amounts of the dark fabric away until it no longer extends beyond the lighter fabric on top.

BEWARE! Avoid lining up fabrics as shown above. This is Unit A, but it applies to most units. When adding a lighter fabric, make sure that it completely covers the dark piece beneath. Otherwise, you'll get shadowing (dark fabric in the seam allowance is visible from the quilt top through the light fabric). If the piece shifts while you sew and you do experience shadowing: Before sewing the next piece, carefully trim small amounts of the dark fabric away until it no longer extends beyond the lighter fabric on top.

YES! This is the same piece from the previous photo sewn successfully. This is what you want. :)

YES! This is the same piece from the previous photo sewn successfully. This is what you want. :)

When I'm piecing spines, I think in terms of covering the "upright" triangle (outlined in red dashed lines). I make sure the new triangle is "leg-down". Also, it's important to note that I'm making sure I cover the 1/4" seam allowance on both the right (unmarked) and left side of this spine.

When I'm piecing spines, I think in terms of covering the "upright" triangle (outlined in red dashed lines). I make sure the new triangle is "leg-down". Also, it's important to note that I'm making sure I cover the 1/4" seam allowance on both the right (unmarked) and left side of this spine.

Once it's sewn in place and finger-pressed, you can see how it's in perfect position. In other news, I MADE A GIF! :)

Once it's sewn in place and finger-pressed, you can see how it's in perfect position. In other news, I MADE A GIF! :)

Once all units are sewn, they'll need to be seamed together. Refer to the diagram in the pattern to arrange and seam the pieces together. 

PIN!

Assembling sections: Pinning is important, if you're into accuracy. There's no other way around it. I've made sooooooooo many stars over the years and I still pin (a lot) every time. I promise it's worth it. Adequate pinning can make ALL the difference in not having to unpick seams. And let me tell you: It's not fun to unpick stitches sewn at a 1.2 length!

I start pinning at the point-matching places from one unit to the next. There is also a photo of what my pinning looks like in the pattern. I run a straight pin on and through the solid, black seaming line of one unit and match it up at the exact point on the other unit. I'll match several pins running straight through the pieces before I'll readjust them in order to sew.

Alright, this makes more sense watching it, so here's a very quick video showing what I mean. And, because I'm great at GIFs now! ;)

If you'd like to see the regular speed version of this along with the verbal play-by-play, check out this video (at the 2:25 mark).

If you'd like to see the regular speed version of this along with the verbal play-by-play, check out this video (at the 2:25 mark).

Removing papers: I used to wait until a top was all assembled before removing papers because I liked using the solid black lines to expertly assemble a whole quilt top in the most precise manner. But now, I trust in the accuracy of my 1/4" seam allowance without having to sew on the line and papers are a lot easier to remove in a 8", 12" and 16" square rather than having the weight and bulk of a whole twin-sized top in your lap. So go ahead and remove your papers as you go, I think you'll be glad you did!

Press: After papers are removed, give each block a good pressing. I tend to let the seams fall to the side they want to go. 

Then follow the instruction in the QAL pattern for adding sashing strips. I don't want to give all of my intellectual property away as far as how all of the stars are going to fit together, I respect those of you who have purchased the pattern too much to give everything away for free! :)

Hop on over to my closed Facebook group to join the discussion, share pictures, ask questions, get encouragement. We are a community and we'd love to help you out!

Feathered Star fabric selection

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Here are the fabrics I'm using. They're all Kona Cotton Solids from Robert Kaufman (with a wide back from the Doe collection in the background). Kit available here!

Here are the fabrics I'm using. They're all Kona Cotton Solids from Robert Kaufman (with a wide back from the Doe collection in the background). Kit available here!

It's about that time! It's time to start selecting fabrics for the upcoming Feathered Star QAL, if you haven't already. Find yardage requirements here.

First and foremost, I have to disclose that I'm a solids lover. I tend to gravitate to solids for many projects, not just feathered stars. I'm not exactly sure why this is... it feels like solid colors are easier for me to work with, but I don't think that's always been the case. Part of it is the longarm quilter in me (read: overquilter) who loves when her stitches SHOW. I know there is an appeal in solids not masking those quilting designs.

Another benefit of working with solids as it relates to paper piecing: you can't accidentally sew the wrong side! This isn't such a drawback to the experienced foundation paper piecer, but when a person it just learning, it's one more consideration that needs to be made.

Okay, phew! Now that I've written some of my reasons for choosing solids, it all seems a little better founded than just selecting solids on a whim.

But my goodness, there have been AMAZING feathered stars made from non-solid fabrics. Which brings me to a major downside of using solids: not using the fantastic, cute-as-can-be printed and designer fabrics that are oh-so easy to come by in our local quilt shops!

Check out this link to other feathered stars. Note to yourself what strikes you as being successful (or less so). Personally, I've found that strong contrast appeals to me. 

Here's a star I made a year an a half ago. It was a slight departure from the No Y Seam Feathered Star, but I think it'll help to illustrate my point.

IMG_8795.jpg

I attempted to have a "matchy" center. When I had my pieces sewn together, I pretty much hated it. There was not enough contrast and with the center square being the only printed fabric... well, I think it fell flat.

I decided to un-sew the center and tried a solid fabric with more contrast.

IMG_8796.jpg

In my opinion, the second attempt is WORLDS better. I ended up setting this star on-point to make a wall hanging:

Ooops! I used all solids again. :)

Ooops! I used all solids again. :)

Here is one more example from my checkered feathered star past. (Ha!)

IMG_9510.jpg

I use this example not in a "what not to do" sense, but in a way of preference. I actually like this block, and it gives me a chance to point out some other things to think about when you're choosing fabric for your feathered stars.

Contrast:

This block has contrast AND it has a "softer" feel to it. The star center, star tips, and capstone squares (my lingo, I don't know if these have proper terms) in teal have great contrast. They really jump out against the background and other star components.

The spines and the "star point" fabric are prints with similar tones to the background fabric. That's what gives it the softer feel.  They are not well defined against each other, which brings me to...

Scale and size:

The spines are in a medium-scale print. The star shown above is an 8" block, so the spines are tiny! Any medium- or large-scale print that gets cut up into a 1.5" square and then cut in half diagonally is not going to retain the overall look of the print. But they can still be fun and pleasing to the eye!  

Direction:

When studying the block above, I want to draw attention to the fact that two of the print fabrics are directional. Can you spot them? The background print–while it is small in scale–is also directional. Let your eye travel around the perimeter of the block to see how the direction of the tiny triangles in the print change. The other directional print is in the star points. It's a subtle print with series of lines. Generally speaking, when lines are involved, there's a good chance the print is directional. 

As you can see, it wasn't important to me that all the directional prints were going the same way. Just like all the other considerations I've mentioned using fabric, these aren't a list of do's and don'ts, they are things of which to be aware.

Fussy cutting:

I speak with absolutely no authority on fussy cutting. HA! At least I can tell you when I have a blind spot. :) I just know it can be done. At this point in my life, I have no interest in it, but then when I see fussy cutting perfectly executed, I think it's the most amazing thing ever! The centers of these feathered stars make for a great opportunity to showcase a special fabric in a really special way.

My last tip on this subject is to use the Recolor app to test out your fabrics (colors) and contrast before you commit to them IRL. I've written about using the free app here. I still think that it's such a fantastic tool!

Also, if you have purchased the Feathered Star QAL, send me an email or get in touch with me on social media and I will send you the coloring page file for the whole quilt layout! Or you can find the single feathered star coloring pages on either the NYSFS or Fierce Feathered Star pattern listings.

Feathered Star QAL pattern is now available

Jessie ZeiglerComment

It's ready for you! Summer challenge, anyone? :)

We're closer to beginning the Feathered Star QAL (June 25th)!  As I was testing the pattern and getting it ready for you, I fell in love with the fabric combinations! It's one thing to design on the computer and a completely different thing to see a design come to life in person. I love the whole process of designing and quilting, but that is one of the best feelings! 

Fabric Shack is still selling kits of the exact fabrics that I'm using in my quilt. You can check out that deal here. The whole quilt top + binding fabrics for $68?! Yes, please!

Do you own the Fierce Feathered Star pattern? It's the one with large 20" & 36" stars. If you do not have this pattern already, you'll need to buy this bundle for the QAL:

If you have already purchased the Fierce Feathered Star block pattern, all you'll need is this pattern for the actual twin sized quilt top:

I realize that having different options can get confusing, but it was important to me to honor those who had already paid for the Fierce Feathered Star block pattern and not make them pay for it twice.

Email me at threadedquilting@gmail.com if you have any questions about which you should buy if you are interested in quilting along with us! 

Watch this space for more as the QAL unfolds. I'll just say this, too, if you like the pattern but know you won't be able to commit to a 9-week project (I get it!), the patterns give you everything you'll need to QBY (Quilt-By-Yourself). HA! I just made that up, but it's true. :)

Feathered Star QAL - tools & other materials

Jessie ZeiglerComment

I'm getting pretty excited to start the QAL! Have I mentioned that already?! Mayyyyybe a time or two. ;)

I'm teaming up with Fabric Shack to offer kits of the Robert Kaufman fabrics I'm using. I'm so, so pleased with the combination of Kona Cotton Solids (see photo for a teaser of my progress)! If you are interested buying all of your fabric with one click, check out the kit. All of the fabrics you'll need for the top & binding for only $68! :) Crazy good deal, huh?! Oh, and if you'd also like the backing, they can hook you up. The pattern will be sold separately, however.

In addition to thinking about the fabrics you'd like to use in your quilt top (yardage requirements listed here if you'd like to choose your own), I also wanted to list tools and other materials that you'll need, whether foundation paper piecing or using the Fierce Feathered Star sewing methods. These items are in addition to "basic sewing supplies" like a sewing machine, thread, scissors, seam ripper, rotary cutter, etc.

Let's make sure you have what you need, when you need it! 

If you're lucky enough to have a local quilt shop, check with them first. Otherwise, I'm including these Amazon Affiliate links for your easy access and so that you have a visual of the product. 

Need to have:

Add-A-Quarter ruler

Rotary ruler 12" square or larger

Rotary ruler with 16th-inch markings AND 45º line for trimming HSTs

Clear tape

Paper for printing foundation paper piecing templates (I usually use copy paper, but if you have a foundation paper that you prefer, stock up!)

Paper cutting scissors or a small rotary blade for cutting paper templates

Batting - Quilters Dream is my absolute fave! You'll just need to make sure to get a size that'll be larger than your top. The final dimensions of this quilt are 76" x 86".

 

Nice to have:

Washi or painters tape (optional)

Fabric glue (optional)

Strip cutting ruler (totally optional, I just loooooooooove mine because it makes cutting faster!)

Sewing clips (another optional tool for organization) 

Rotating cutting mat (optional, but oh-so-nice for trimming templates!)

 

We're getting closer to the start date and editing and polishing of the pattern is nearly complete! YAY!

UPDATE: Pattern is now available to purchase! Click here.

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Pre- Feathered Star QAL

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Twin size: 76" x 86"

Twin size: 76" x 86"

The Feathered Star QAL is a go! I'll be your host and we'll be starting June 25th. I'll be "assigning" portions of the quilt weekly over the course of 9 weeks, but the pattern will have all pertinent information for finishing your top if you'd like to work ahead or play catch-up! Summertime needs to be flexible like that! 

You will be able to purchase the pattern before the kick-off date but it's being tested right now, so I'll have to keep you updated on that. (UPDATE: PATTERN NOW AVAILABLE!) In the meanwhile, I wanted to give you the fabric requirements if you'd like to start planning and dreaming about the fabric you'll use!

I'm using ALLLLLLLL Kona Cotton Solids from Robert Kaufman. They are my fave! I've written the pattern based on my selections. Kits are available with these exact fabrics in the quantities below from Fabric Shack for only $68! Each kit includes fabric for the top & binding, but you could easily add in your backing to your order.

Royal (dark blue): 1.25 yards + .75 yard binding = 2 yards

White: 2.5 yards*

Iron (dark gray): 1.25 yards

Shadow (light gray): 4 yards

Valentine (pink): .5 yard

Canary (yellow): .75 yard

Blue Jay (light blue): 1 yard

Chartreuse (green): 1 yard*

Backing: 2.5 yards of WIDE (108") fabric OR 5.25 yards of regular 42"+ quilting cotton

If you'd like more information and haven't signed up for my mailing list yet, you can do that below! :) I'm so excited to share this journey with you!

*update 6/16/17 I increased these quantities by 1/4 yard each to increase margin for error

Quilting trick: removing threads under a quilt's surface

Jessie ZeiglerComment

It doesn't seem to matter how careful you are. Inevitably, dark threads seem to wind up trapped where you want them least, like just beneath the surface of the lightest fabric in a quilt top. I'm also going to assume that the quilt is already quilted, or at the very least basted at this stage. Sigh!

I ran into this problem often when I quilted for customers and I still run into it when I quilt my own tops.

But, after a helpful Instagram post pointed me in the direction of the Soft Touch Thread Pic by Clover, (see Amazon affiliate link) a few years ago, I've been able to capture those threads. This tool quickly became a within-arms-reach kind of a thing while quilting!

There's no sound in this video, but it shows the tool in action on one of the last quilts I was working on. The higher contrast in your fabrics, the more this issue will come up. It does take a little bit of finesse, but with practice, you'll get the hang of it. 

Did you know I have a list of tools and products that I use on the regular? Find it here: current recommends. I hope it's helpful, sometimes having the right tools at the right time makes all the difference!

Coloring Contest!

Jessie ZeiglerComment

***CONTEST CLOSED***

How about a good ol' coloring contest?!

I'm so jazzed about this Recolor app that I want to share the love and excitement with you!

Rules:

1. You must be a follower of @threadedquilting and @mashemodern on Instagram to win.

2. Color one of my quilt patterns and post the finished photo to Instagram with the hashtag #recolorquilts. Please tag me in your post @threadedquilting. Your Instagram profile must be public for it to count. You may color and post as many colorations of my blocks or layouts as you like, just make sure they are separate postings and not a collage. 

You will find a blank coloring file to save to your smart phone or tablet at the end of any listing from my patterns page. If you need help saving the file or knowing which app to download, check out this tutorial for help (there's a video, too).

3. On Tuesday, November 15th at 7 pm CST, Kristen and I will choose a winner! The winner will receive a $30 gift certificate to Mashe Modern online fabric shop (she carries Tuuuuuuuula!) and a PDF download of 3 of my patterns: Fierce Feathered Star, Brighten the Corners, and Star Sighting.

(No purchase necessary. Giveaways sponsored by Threaded Quilting Studio and Mashe Modern, not Instagram or Recolor.)

International submissions welcome and eligible! Good luck to all!!

email me @ threadedquilting @ gmail (dot) com or via Instagram with any questions

Using the Recolor app to color a quilt block

Jessie Zeigler4 Comments
Above you'll see a picture of a feathered star that I've colored. I have this block available in two patterns:  No Y Seam Feathered Star: Free, paper piecing, comes in 8", 12" and 16" sizes Fierce Feathered Star: $10 PDF download, no paper piecing, no y seams, 20" and 36" block sizes

Above you'll see a picture of a feathered star that I've colored. I have this block available in two patterns: 

No Y Seam Feathered Star: Free, paper piecing, comes in 8", 12" and 16" sizes

Fierce Feathered Star: $10 PDF download, no paper piecing, no y seams, 20" and 36" block sizes

A few of the tools I rely on A LOT in my quilt making are my Electric Quilt software and Adobe Illustrator. I absolutely love these tools! They are both pricey, so if you don't see yourself investing in either one of these programs, I have a workaround for you that will help you with selecting colors (fabrics) for your quilt blocks!

I discovered a fantastic FREE* tool to help you color any or all of my patterns! This means that you can play with color first before having to buy or cut any fabric. It takes the printable color page to a whole new level!

How to:

Download the Recolor app from the App Store. It's free and has amazing features!

One of the features is the ability to add your own photo to color. So, if you have a photo of a uncolored quilt block or layout, you can import that photo and play around with whatever colors you'd like!

That's where I come in! I'm here for you! If you scroll to the bottom of any of my pattern listings, you will see a blank coloring file (in some cases multiple files) that you can save to your device, upload to the Recolor app and experiment with different colorations of future quilts!

Or just play without worrying about making actual quilts, but I'm warning you: it's addictive! :)

A note for Android users:

I've heard from some Android users that when uploading a screenshot of blank file, the app will blur some sections together. If possible download or save the image without taking a screenshot, or email me (threadedquilting at gmail dot com) or send me a direct message on Instagram and I will send you any file you'd like.

Watch this video for the step-by-step tutorial:

This lap quilt layout is two 36" Fierce Feathered Star blocks arranged an on-point settling.

This lap quilt layout is two 36" Fierce Feathered Star blocks arranged an on-point settling.

 

Have fun!!!

*The free version of the app limits the number of pictures you can import to color per day. New importing "allowances" are renewed the next day. Unlimited importing power can be purchased if so desired.

Fierce Feathered Star straight set quilt layout

Jessie Zeigler2 Comments
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If you're keeping track at home, this is the second Fierce Feathered Star quilt I've finished so far. :) The first one has a very different look.

What better way to test measurements and instructions than making the pattern NINE times? I felt like I got the process down to a science while making the last few blocks.

To keep the making more interesting, I decided to pick a different combo of blues and greens each time. I really didn't know how or IF the quilt would have a cohesive look when I was done, but it was interesting! I think the result is fun and more interesting than if I would have used the same color scheme again and again, which honestly felt like the safer choice to me.

In other words, this is me being dangerous! :)

I did make some color decisions before beginning the first block. I decided that I was going to use the same gray background fabric throughout. I also decided I would use just 3 "main" (aka non-background) fabrics for each star. The last thing I kept consistent was the use of the white fabric as a secondary background in each star.

Once I made the aforementioned color decisions, I sat down and made each block one at a time, I worked at a pace of about one star per day. Once I had all of the blocks done, I arranged and rearranged them on my design wall until I was happy with the color distribution across the top as a whole.

I wanted each block to stand out on its own. For that to work, I decided that there needed to be some space between each block. The sashing strips and borders helped to make each star independent and pronounced.

I'm attaching a diagram of how I add sashing strips and borders to quilts.

For this quilt, I cut four sashing strips and positioned one on each side as shown in the diagram above. Then I sewed one sashing strip to the first two blocks and two sashing strips to the last block. Next, I sewed those sashing strips and blocks into a row. Then, I repeated that process until I had 3 rows.

After my rows were complete, I pieced and cut long border/sashing strips exactly to the measurement of the rows. Four were needed for this quilt and btw: both the vertical and horizontal sashing strips are the same width. 

As far as handling bulk, I find it easiest to pin the long border strip to one row and then seam. Repeat until all long sashings are sewn. One row will need a long strip sewn to both the top and bottom edges.

Then I sew the rows (with sashing attached) to each other to form the quilt top.


Interactive coloring! From a smart phone, save one of these blank diagrams for coloring in the Recolor app. Click here for full instructions in this tutorial (with video).

How would you color your Fierce Feathered Star?

As we all know, the quilt isn't done when the top gets assembled!

I can't leave you without giving you a little more about the quilting, it's my favorite part!

I decided to quilt lines within the stars. Because there is already a lot going on in the piecing and in the background quilting, I wanted the stars themselves to have strong-but-uncomplicated contrasting lines. Every other star has diagonal lines and its neighbor has vertical and horizontal lines. I used a marker (the pink air-soluble marker on my list of quilting tools) to draw the lines first and then used a longarm ruler + baseplate extender to actually quilt the lines out.

Last but certainly not least, let me talk about the background quilting! I have a video tutorial with step by step instructions on how to draw this out, it's called paisley feathers. You can even print your own PDF tracing sheet to draw along with me as I walk through the process.

If you want to buy your own Fierce Feathered Star pattern, click here!

Sew Mojo Series #2

Jessie ZeiglerComment
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I had the opportunity to test the latest pattern in the Sew Mojo series (#2) this last week. Thanks Suzy! If you haven't already, go check out the pattern listing that shows multiple variations and colorways of this pattern.

I have the wall space in my house already picked out to hang this series when complete, and I knew I wanted to use the same color palette for the second mini as I did the first. In fact, I used many of the same exact fabrics which should make for a very cohesive look in the end.

The emphasis is on composition in this second pattern exercise. Having next to no art training, I appreciated this mini lesson as it applies to quilting.

The pattern builds on the skills exercised in the first mini lesson and adds a healthy dose of intentionality without being oppressive in the slightest. In fact, I love how the pattern uses some guidelines but then encourages you to follow your creative impulses. (Which I was happy to do!)

Part of that creative impulse was to echo a design element of the first mini (above, left) in the second mini (above, right). Whereas the shorter wonky strips were going vertically along the side of the first mini, I wanted to play off of that idea and add wonky strips going across the top of the second mini.

Ultimately, I wanted the focus of the piece to remain with the orange center square, so in order to minimize the boldness of the strips along the top, I added matchstick quilting to those areas to unify that space and to downplay it.

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Once again, it brought me so much JOY to add some hand stitched lines to the mini quilt. Is embroido-quilting a thing? Because the thread is going through the top and batting (no backing necessary if displaying in a frame), it's "quilting". But since I'm also stitching with 3-ply embroidery floss and hunting and pecking my way around, it's kind of like embroidery, too. I'm good with the name-combo in any event. :)

In the areas where I added hand quilting, I marked my lines using a very faint white marking pencil by Sewline. I have an ever-growing list of tools that I use and personally vouch for, you'll find the details of the marking pencil included.

In keeping with the style of the first mini, I used machine quilted lines in the "background" areas and hand stitching in the foreground fabrics.

What can I say? Always perfectly imperfect!

sunshine + quilts = cat magnet

I hope that you'll give Sew Mojo #2 a try! It's an absolute blast to work out your creativity muscles, learn a new approach to design, and have a finished piece of art in the end!

Fierce Feathered Star layout option

Jessie Zeigler1 Comment
This is my Fierce Feathered Star pattern shown in the 36 inch version (center) with another 36 inch star cut apart and added to the corners. Including the borders, this finished at 60" x 60".

This is my Fierce Feathered Star pattern shown in the 36 inch version (center) with another 36 inch star cut apart and added to the corners. Including the borders, this finished at 60" x 60".

When I decided to figure out how to expand the feathered star pattern that I love so much, I knew I wanted to go BIG!

When I created the free No Y Seam Feathered Star paper piecing pattern, I explored the idea of going small. The 8" block is a thing. Eight inches doesn't seem that small... unless you're talking about fitting 100+ seams in that space... Then it seems slightly cramped. :) Super-cute, don't get me wrong! But super-cute AND tiny. Don't worry, if you are interested in downloading the pattern, it also comes in a 12" and 16" version.

I loved the idea of creating one huge star as a stand-alone baby quilt. Baby quilts are my absolute favorite quilts to make! Have I mentioned that yet today? If not, baby quilts ARE the best. Exploring a new idea without a significant investment in materials and time is SO appealing to me. I mean obviously it's still more expensive and time consuming than buying a baby gift from a registry like a normal person. But, compared to what it takes to make a large bed quilt... it's a walk in the park!

This was my original vision for the 36". I was just going to quilt it and bind it. It would have been fine. But then I had another idea...

This was my original vision for the 36". I was just going to quilt it and bind it. It would have been fine. But then I had another idea...

Then I had this crazy thought that making only two of the huge blocks would cover significant "real estate"... but how would that layout work? A 36" x 72" masterpiece? Hardly! But what if I *shudder* cut up one of the blocks? If I set my main block on-point and then placed the cut-up star pieces in the corners? What would happen?

This is what happened. :( I didn't realize that what I needed were triangles and not squares. Clearly, my spatial reasoning skills leave something to be desired. I'm glad I used my brown scraps for this prototype, I didn't feel bad about cutting it up. Sorry, brown, it's not you, it's me.

Oddly enough, I got more confidence after I messed up the first block. I thought again and again about it and decided that cutting up a second block would work. 

I took this photo moments before I cut it up. I needed proof of its beauty in case it turned into a painful memory.

I took this photo moments before I cut it up. I needed proof of its beauty in case it turned into a painful memory.

I worked up the nerve and cut into my "good" block! I used a 24" ruler and aligned it exactly from the corner of the block to my first "reference point" which was intersecting the "capstone square" in its path. And then I aimed for my next patch (a triangle accent) to bisect. The cutting became easier after that initial slice was made. I kept going until it was in two pieces. I had to carefully reposition the block and my ruler several times to do a good job without stretching the bias edges I created. And then I cut diagonally in the other direction to get my four triangle corners.

One in-tact Fierce Feathered Star block set on-point.

One in-tact Fierce Feathered Star block set on-point.

One Fierce Feathered Star block cut diagonally into quarter square triangles.

One Fierce Feathered Star block cut diagonally into quarter square triangles.

Triangles placed in the corners around the main block.

Triangles placed in the corners around the main block.

The biggest question mark for me while I was piecing the top together: How bad are my points going to look?! Because I'd worked with on-point settings in the past, I knew that the setting triangles had to be longer than the main blocks in order to preserve the points. Since I was starting with two blocks the exact same size, I knew I was going to have blunted points when I seamed it back together, I just didn't know how much it would bother me.

If nothing about this photo bothers you, chances are you too can live with the drawbacks from this layout method. :)

If nothing about this photo bothers you, chances are you too can live with the drawbacks from this layout method. :)

In the end, I realized that it didn't bother me at all! The ease at which you can make two identically sized blocks and come up with this interesting lap quilt layout was much more appealing than a few triangle point "nubs". It's made even less noticeable when using the same or similarly-valued fabrics. 

The blunted tip is definitely minimized by using similarly-valued fabrics. Using the same fabrics would be even less noticeable.

The blunted tip is definitely minimized by using similarly-valued fabrics. Using the same fabrics would be even less noticeable.

I knew I would need some kind of border to stabilize all of the outer bias edges. Borders are something I don't generally add if I can help it. In this case, the borders were necessary and I added two: one to blend in with the main part of the quilt top and one to frame the whole thing. I was surprised by how much I liked the bold pink (almost red) color along the perimeter. I decided to use the same fabric for the binding. 

The arrows are pointing to the other "casualties" of this method and losing some of the points in the seam allowance. More importantly, the actual star tips are still nice an pointy!

The arrows are pointing to the other "casualties" of this method and losing some of the points in the seam allowance. More importantly, the actual star tips are still nice an pointy!

Overall, I'm so happy with this experiment! I'm glad I took the risk of cutting up a pretty block. The reward was pretty sweet. One last thing: How adorable is that gingham for the back??? Soooooo adorable. I would have also accepted "very adorable" as an answer. ;)

If you are thinking about making this quilt or using the Fierce Feathered Star block in your own quiltmaking, you can download the pattern here. You'll get detailed (and photo heavy) instructions for making either the 20" or 36" block. There's no paper piecing and no y-seaming! :) 

Sew Mojo Series #1

Jessie Zeigler4 Comments
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I just finished up an awesome creative exercise and wanted to share some thoughts I took away from the experience.

Let me back up a sec. Last month I attended the Sew Pro convention in Chicago and met new quilting friends. [Come for the info, leave with friendships!] One of the topics of conversation that weekend was how my Sew Pro roomie Megan (find her on Instagram @citystitches) had lost her sewing mojo. She's got a great excuse, btw. She's busy planning her wedding, and because of that, hadn't sewn in months.

Listening with interest was Suzy Williams of Suzy Quilts. The question of recapturing that elusive sewing mojo conjured up an idea. A few weeks later, Suzy created this pattern series (with three more mini patterns to come) to help Megan and others bring back that sewing mojo! 

Find the pattern here in Suzy's shop. And definitely check out how this group of amazing quilters (and me!) took this pattern and freaking RAN WITH IT! 

To be candid: I have sewing mojo in spades. SPADES, I tell you! :) With ideas constantly in my brain and a full to-do list, I wasn't sure if I wanted to introduce a new project. I wanted to be up-front about that in case you too feel like you don't belong in the "lost my sewjo" camp.

In the end, my curiosity gave way to my schedule. Also? I loved the idea of challenging myself to do something out of the ordinary. And let's face it, the whole thing took less than a day. Anyone can give themselves a day to play!

I am so glad I did it!

Here's what I learned:

1) Quilting is art.

In my heart, I knew that. I think that because it's also my everyday, I can easily forget that fact. Putting textile art in a frame makes it more legit. That's just how it is. Putting it on the wall makes everyone else take notice, too. ("Mom, you DID that?!")

2) Sewing mojo doesn't have to be lost to be found.

Trying something new on a small scale was so fun and freeing. Even though I wasn't in a rut, I know that this simple exercise will affect how I approach future quilts.

3) I love quilting.

I will over-quilt every time I get the chance. It's who I am. In this case, I used my domestic sewing machine, my longarm and my own God-given hands to saturate this mini with quilting stitches. 

4) Adding hand quilting embellishments was my favorite part, "hands" down.

A+++++++ will do again. This was my first time! I "cheated" by hunting and stabbing each stitch, but that's okay with me, I love the look. This topic might be its own post at some point in time. :)

5) Editing is allowed in improv. 

My first design was this:

I had to chuckle when I took a photo of my work in progress and discovered my piece was almost exactly the size of a vinyl record. I selected my fabrics with our music room in mind as being the final destination for my mini quilt. While the size was fitting for the theme of the room, when I discovered that I already owned three 10" x 13" picture frames, I decided to edit my piece to fit the frame. Instead of starting over or chopping off entire sections, I ripped out a few seams, trimmed the strips down in width and seamed them together again. I am so much happier with the "skinny", framable version.

"Compressed" after editing, but just as punchy:

6) It doesn't have to be complicated to be really valuable.

In addition to this sentiment being my main take-away from Sew Pro, this idea is also true as it relates to this pattern. This month marks the 11th anniversary of taking my first quilting class! Yet this totally accessible-to-anyone pattern/exercise stretched me and taught me so much.

And I have new wall candy!

Before I let you go, I wanted to share how I hung my framed mini quilt. This is one of my favorite tips (thanks, Mom!):

Straight pins (this is a glass head pin) are amazing "nails" for hanging things on drywall. You'd be surprised at how strong they are! It does take a lot of constant pressure to push them into a wall (watch out for studs!) but once they are in, they can support most standard frames. 

I love hanging frames this way because it doesn't require any tools and they leave the tiniest of holes if you should change your mind (see photo below). It's a wall freckle, for goodness sake!

Be careful not to use so much "sudden" force that you bend the pin. And seriously, you have to press so hard and steady that it's difficult to place more than a of couple pins at one time. Your thumb will get sore!

I'm looking forward to seeing what Suzy has up her sleeve for the next minis!  And of course, putting more tiny holes in—and art on—my walls.

Attaching appliqué to a quilt top

Jessie Zeigler1 Comment

Thanks for joining me in Part Two of this applique tutorial! Part One covers preparing the appliqués by turning their edges with starch prior to attaching them to the quilt top.

In this tutorial, we'll take a look at the process I used for attaching the appliqué to the quilt top for this Purple Petals baby quilt.

I had 23 of these petal shapes to work with, so I began by playing! This design definitely evolved as I began working. I can't tell you how much it helps me to not only step back from my design wall as I'm working but to TAKE A PICTURE! Seeing a picture of your work will help you gain a new perspective. There is such a thing as getting too up close and personal with your work!

Playing with petal placement ideas

Playing with petal placement ideas

Trying a more organized approach to arrangement

Trying a more organized approach to arrangement

Trying different placement of appliqués on my design wall

Trying different placement of appliqués on my design wall

This was the first time it occurred to me that my petals looked a lot like orange peels! 

This was the first time it occurred to me that my petals looked a lot like orange peels! 

Design evolving...

Design evolving...

This is the placement I landed on (after a few picture texts to my sister asking for advice)!

This is the placement I landed on (after a few picture texts to my sister asking for advice)!

Once I decided on a design and placement of the applique, I pinned the appliques to the background fabric and moved it to my cutting table/workspace. I started by aligning the middle row of petals so that I could off-set or stagger the appliques in the row above and below it.

Appliqués pinned down in their designated space

Appliqués pinned down in their designated space

Petals are staggered or off-set from row to row

Petals are staggered or off-set from row to row

I used a Frixion pen from Pilot and a ruler to mark registration three straight lines horizontally across the width of the quilt. Ink from Frixion pens erase with heat or friction from the attached eraser but I would not use them on any parts of the quilt that would ever be visible. Since I knew these lines would be covered by appliqués, even if the marks would come back, they'd be covered. I needed to include that disclaimer! These pens can be a great tool if used appropriately, but since there have been accounts of the lines reappearing in cold temperatures, I would never risk using them to mark quilting lines, for example.

Registration lines made with a Frixion pen

Registration lines made with a Frixion pen

On the back side of the appliqué, I used an Elmer's purple washable glue stick and applied it around the seam allowance area. I didn't have to use any on the middle of the shape, although you could if you wanted or needed to.

On the bottom row of appliqué, I began by placing a petal that I wanted to be right between the petals in the row above. I also tried to get the end points of the petal shape to align with the drawn line. After the first petal was in place, I continued gluing and sticking the rest of the petals one by one across the entire drawn line. I pressed each petal down with my fingers so the glue made contact with the background fabric. I waited until all petals were glued and positioned before ironing.

Appliqué shapes positioned end-to-end with no space between

Appliqué shapes positioned end-to-end with no space between

After I had all of the petals glued and stuck into place, I and trimmed the petals that extended beyond the quilt top.

I carefully moved the quilt top to my ironing board and used a hot, dry iron to press each petal into place. 

Your milage my vary, but I wanted to share a photo of my sewing machine display so that you could see that I used a zig zag stitch and made it narrower and shorter than its default setting. You could use a different size of zig zag stitch, blanket stitch, satin stitch, invisible hem stitch, straight stitch... whatever you like! Experiment on a fabric scrap until you get the look that you like.

I positioned the quilt sideways so that the petals were aligned vertically and the 3rd (bottom) row of appliqué was under my needle. I stitched all of the way down the right edge of the appliqué petals. I did not travel all the way around each shape, but instead I continued along the right edge of the next petal shape as shown in the photo below.

When stitching applique into place using a zig zag stitch, I aim for the right position of the needle to land just beyond the appliqué shape into the background fabric as shown in the next photo.

As the stitch progresses and the needle transitions to its left-most point, the needle should come down on the appliqué shape as shown in the next photo. With this particular design, I was able to steer around the gentle curves without a whole lot of stopping, starting and repositioning. In other words, it was PDQ (pretty darn quick)!

Petals sticthed continuously along the right edge

Petals sticthed continuously along the right edge

Instead of stitching along the left edge next, I worked on the right edge of the 2nd (middle) row of petals. I did this because the rhythm of the zig zag stitch and its orientation to the needle and the appliqués is exactly the same. You would hate to kill the flow, too! :)

After the second row of petals was stitched, I moved on to the first row of petals, again, stitching along the right hand edge of the appliqués and working my way down the entire row.

If you can set your needle to be in the down-position when it stopped, it's very handy when doing this kind of work, especially if you do need to pivot or rotate.

Once all three rows of right edges were stitched down, I rotated the quilt 180° so that the unstitched edge of the appliqués was positioned on the right. I continued stitching in the same manner as before: petal after petal without stopping. 

First petal row is compete

First petal row is compete

Second petal row is stitched

Second petal row is stitched

All appliqués secured with stitching

All appliqués secured with stitching

After all the edges were stitched down, I folded the quilt in half. With the folded edge close to me and the selvedge edges from the bottom and top layer carefully aligned, I used a rotary cutter and 24" rotary ruler to trim a clean edge. I finished the top by trimming the other side and lastly the top/bottom edge.

At this point, I loaded the quilt top on my longarm frame and went to town on all of that yummy negative space! I recorded a video tutorial about how I do the overlapping spirals design shown, if you'd like to give it a go. The overall texture can be so amazing on solid fabric with that expansive "canvas"!

I hope that by giving you a peek inside my studio for the making of this quilt, it'll inspire you to try something out of your norm! It can be so refreshing and fun!

How I turned my appliqué edges using starch

Jessie Zeigler2 Comments
Close-up of pieced appliqués, tutorial for background quilting found here: overlapping spirals

Close-up of pieced appliqués, tutorial for background quilting found here: overlapping spirals

I recently made this baby quilt that prominently features appliqué. To a degree, this style of quilt is out of the norm for me, but when I finished I thought: Why don't I do this more often?! It was a lot of fun!

The tutorial that follows is the process I used to achieve this look, but there are so many ways to make and use appliqué! If this doesn't trip your trigger, you should find another way that does. There is something about the versatility of appliqué that can make you believe that any design and any idea is achievable in quilting. And I love that feeling of empowerment! Go forth and create something new!

Another note before we get started: I specifically wanted to use scraps and so I pieced all of the appliqué shapes in this quilt, but this technique would totally work (and be simpler) using a single, non-pieced chunk of fabric. :)

1) I sketched out a very fast "petal" outline on a piece of cardboard and cut it out. It was imperfect and organic-looking. Instead of trying again to make a more smooth, symmetrical shape, I just went with it. Next, I traced around my petal cardboard template multiple times directly onto the paper side of a section of freezer paper. I made as many petals as would fit on the section of Reynold's Freezer Paper I haphazardly cut from the roll.  BTW—I didn't notice this until later—the shape I drew looked very much like an orange peel, which would have had some fun applications!

2) To make my templates more durable, I doubled the thickness of the freezer paper. To do this, I ironed a new section of freezer paper—larger than in step 1—shiny side down directly to my ironing board until it adhered and was firmly in place. Then, I ironed the freezer paper that I'd traced upon in Step 1 directly on top of the base freezer paper, also shiny side down until it was completely adhered. {The marked freezer paper is stuck to the base freezer paper is stuck to my ironing board at this point.}

3) Next, I peeled the double-thick freezer paper from the ironing board and cut the leaf shapes out on the drawn lines.

The idea I had first envisioned was to make a variety of petal/leaf shapes. And then I didn't. Instead, I used the same shape over and over again and decided that I was going to vary the fabrics used in the petals. I stitched together a bunch of odd-shaped purple fabrics I had leftover from using Tri-Recs rulers in making this quilt:

Purple triangle quilt made with Tri-Recs rulers, free-motion quilting tutorial here: feathered spirals

Purple triangle quilt made with Tri-Recs rulers, free-motion quilting tutorial here: feathered spirals

Scraps used for the appliqué

Scraps used for the appliqué

4) I began by pairing and sewing my scrap pieces together. For this particular quilt, I wanted the pieces to look scrappy, which meant that my intention was to sew fabrics that had contrast next to each other. I continued to add to the "clusters" of fabric until the piece was large enough that the petal templates fit comfortably inside while also accounting for a seam allowance of at least 1/4" (although I was aiming for a seam allowance more like 3/8" but I didn't do any exact measuring).

Contrasting fabrics sewn next to each other

Contrasting fabrics sewn next to each other

Seams pressed open, template fitting inside the fabric piece

Seams pressed open, template fitting inside the fabric piece

5) Next, I pressed the petal templates shiny side down to the wrong side of the fabrics, as shown above. Once the templates were firmly adhered, I used a pair of scissors to trim around the outside of the templates. As I mentioned before, I left a 1/4" - 3/8" seam allowance.

Real-life "seasoned" pressing surface :)

Real-life "seasoned" pressing surface :)

6) I used a can Faultless spray starch and sprayed it into the lid to get a concentrated liquid amount. Then I applied the spray starch from the lid to the fabric by using a paintbrush. I started by wetting (not soaking) both ends of the petal shape.

Folding starched tip over template

Folding starched tip over template

7) After wetting the ends with starch, I folded the fabric at the tip back against the freezer paper template as shown above. Using my iron, I pressed the fabric into place until the fabric dried and stayed in place (see next photo).

Both ends pressed into place

Both ends pressed into place

Bottom curved edge with starch applied

Bottom curved edge with starch applied

8) Once the ends were pressed into place, I applied more starch along the bottom curved edge of the petal as shown in the above photo. Then, I folded the edge fabric against the template and pressed it into place. My curves were gentle enough that I did not need to clip any seam allowances, but if you have sharper curves or angles, you may need to clip or notch the seam allowances to get the fabric to fold smoothly over your template.

Lower edge of the petal pressed toward the template

Lower edge of the petal pressed toward the template

9) Then, I repeated applying starch and pressing the remaining seam allowance over the last edge.

Each edge starched and pressed into place

Each edge starched and pressed into place

10) At this point, I peeled the template away from the fabric.

Template removed

Template removed

11) After the template was removed, I took a moment to re-press the edges neatly back into place.

"Finishing" press after the template is removed from back side

"Finishing" press after the template is removed from back side

Prepped appliqué from front

Prepped appliqué from front

12) I was able to reuse the freezer paper templates several times. Because I wanted to make the petals  "assembly line" style, I worked with a batch of 6 or 7 freezer paper templates at a time. They will last for many more applications, too.

Part Two of this tutorial can be found here.

When quilting really is therapy

Jessie Zeigler3 Comments

Today marks a new chapter of my life. This is the first time in my eleven years of momming that all of my kids are in school. I looked forward to this day so much when they were little and when we were trudging through the day in, day out of real and sometimes messy life. 

Like with everything else it seems, we came to this day unconventionally. The last one to leave the "nest" this time was my oldest son. I homeschooled him for the last two school years, this year (today) he returned to public school by his choice, and very excitedly I might add! Because he's on the autism spectrum, there are many ways in which he processes the world differently. A normal school environment can sometimes lead to big, unexpected problems. To say I've been anxious about this transition back to school is an understatement! I'm fine today, but last week I was a stress ball and found myself stress-quilting (okay, and maybe some stress-eating, too. Why can't it be stress-exercise?!?!) 

Which brings me to this project:

Range quilt patten by Modern Handcraft

Range quilt patten by Modern Handcraft

I will 100% of the time rather make a baby quilt than go shopping for any other gift! I pulled out my Range quilt pattern from Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft because I just couldn't handle emotionally and mentally coming up with a new quilt design, which is what I often like to do. 

I just want to say for the record: This pattern is fantastic! It is fun. It is easy. It is expertly written. It is intended as a throw size (64" x 78") but I had no problems whatsoever adjusting it slightly to whip out this baby quilt (40" x 46", which is a PERFECT baby quilt size, in my opinion). I made ONE change in the direction of a wedge in the top right corner because I felt like it kept more true to the original design and sloping of the ranges. :)

So, even between emailing principals, having meetings, going to school Open Houses, taking my kid to appointments, I was still able to make this quilt in 24 hours! I'm talking from fabric selection using only the fabrics I already had to finishing the binding! It was refreshing and a little of my own therapy in the midst of a stressful week.

Another thing about this pattern as a baby quilt (but applicable for any size): It's so easy to customize the palette for either a boy or girl. I'm not into assigning pink to girls and blue to boys, but what I'm saying is that this is highly customizable for ANY palette or room decor.

For the quilting, I decided to use a variation of Angela Walter's Flower Power quilting motif (from her Free-Motion Quilting book) to make a texture-rich impact on the quilt top. As a solids (fabric) lover, but having my yardage tied up in another project, I think it would be so much fun to use all solids like Nicole has done. As a quilter, I absolutely love using solids because they show off quilting so well. And also as a quilter, I LOVE having wide open negative space to explore really fun quilting options. Next time...

I used a great black & white IKEA print on the back.

I used a great black & white IKEA print on the back.

One more brag I have about this pattern is that Nicole has a wonderful video you'll have access to when you buy the pattern that shows how really easy it is to cut the fabrics using the provided template. Easy, clever, slick... all the praises! :)

Let's have a great school year, shall we? Back-to-school time can be a great time to refresh and refocus goals. It might even mean more sewing and quilting time and I'm counting that as a huge plus for my next chapter! 

Brighten the Corners block construction

Jessie ZeiglerComment

I played around with the construction of this block many ways before settling on the foundation paper piecing templates that ended up in the pattern.

One thing that I ask myself when designing quilt blocks and their construction is: How can I get accurate and consistent results? Recently, paper piecing has become my answer for many such designs. If I can avoid any "weird" sewing, I will! Of course "weird" sewing is subjective and many find paper piecing in itself weird! :)

Check out this 29 second video I put together showing how a Brighten the Corners block comes together so you can see for yourself the easy sewing methods:

I'll be honest, I made this block just for this video demonstration, but now I can't stop at just one! I love these fabrics too much and so now am working on a quilt. What can I say? I find this process very satisfying!

This time, I'm going to play around with taking my papers out after each block is constructed but before I sew the blocks together in the quilt top. I love being able to perfectly align the blocks with paper still in, pin, and sew on the solid template lines to ensure perfect points. But, the downside of keeping the papers in through whole quilt top construction (in my opinion) is that paper removal feels more tedious... maybe because there actually are more seams through the paper at that point. But, I'm pretty confident in my 1/4" seam, so I should be able to get good points without the paper for reference.

Let's be real. There is also that element of, "I just finished the last seam of this quilt top and now I'm DOOOOOOONE!" Rather than: "I just finished the last seam of this quilt top and now I have hours more of paper removal!" 

I still like to experiment to find the methods most enjoyable for me. It definitely won't be the same for all of us, but that's the beauty of having options and sharing those findings with people who speak your language, if you know what I mean. ;)

If you are interested in buying the pattern and trying this block out for yourself, it's available here: Brighten the Corners.

Brighten the Corners pattern release!

Jessie ZeiglerComment

The Brighten the Corners quilt pattern is here! And it's only $5 USD! 🎉

Named for the construction methods used (starting in the center and adding one corner of the block at a time), the name Brighten the Corners is a nod to one of my favorite albums. I couldn't help it—it's what kept running through my head even when making the very first block.

I love the simple elegance of the same star block repeated throughout this quilt with ample sashing set in-between, making each star stand proud.

This is a paper piecing pattern made with no y-seams or partial seams. The 18-page PDF pattern includes the templates you'll need and really great instructions (with pictures) throughout.

There are also great opportunities to make quilting designs stand out!

Read more details here.

EDIT: CONTEST NOW CLOSED.

Remember, I currently have a custom quilting giveaway for one special purchaser (to be drawn randomly), so buy before Wednesday, July 20th 2016 at 11:59 pm CST to get in on that action! Some restrictions do apply, so make sure you read up on the details here.