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snowflake qal

Snowflake QAL: Week Ten

Jessie Zeigler1 Comment
Kelly Levant 's quilt pictured here (her photo) called Summer Stars was recently accepted into Quilt Canada 2018! Congratulations, Kelly!

Kelly Levant's quilt pictured here (her photo) called Summer Stars was recently accepted into Quilt Canada 2018! Congratulations, Kelly!

WEEK TEN!

Inspiration time! Kelly participated in the first Feathered Star QAL this summer. Just this week it was accepted into a juried show–her first! Well deserved, Kelly! We will be rooting for you this May!

Snowflake Sampler: assemble quilt top, p.62

Star Flurries: assemble quilt top, p. 39

Feathered Star Blizzard: assemble quilt top, p. 44

If you haven't removed your papers, I would highly suggest you do that before you sew any applicable sashing strips to your blocks before assembly. I think it is soooooo much easier to pick out papers block by block instead of having a whole lap of work to get through.

Refer to the pages of your pattern given above and complete the rest of the pattern!

OHMYGOSH, I'M GETTING SO EXCITED TO SEE YOUR TOPS!

Nagging reminder time! To get great results, go slow, take one step at a time, check and re-check your sewing in relation to the diagrams, PIN CAREFULLY AND FREQUENTLY, sew and press with care. 

You've got this!!

Snowflake QAL: Week Nine

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Joan Cumming has been working ahead on her Blizzard quilt! Isn't it spectacular?!?! She added even more stars to make the whole top bigger. Beautiful!!

Joan Cumming has been working ahead on her Blizzard quilt! Isn't it spectacular?!?! She added even more stars to make the whole top bigger. Beautiful!!

Welcome to Week Nine of the QAL!

Snowflake Sampler: two 36" Fierce Feathered Stars

Star Flurries: one 20" No Y Seam Feathered Stars or Fierce Feathered Stars (your choice of construction method)

Feathered Star Blizzard: two 16" AND two 8" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

Can you believe there is only one week left? Time flies when you're piecing one million tiny bits of fabric together... isn't that how the saying goes? ;)

Congratulations if you are caught up! Congratulations if you're still hanging in there! Congratulations if you're waiting for the right timing to dig in! The point is, you've challenged yourself to do a difficult thing and I admire that. It's so worthwhile to push yourself and learn new skills, I salute you!

Sampler folks: I have a video tutorial series now on how to construct the Fierce Feathered Star. If you feel safe and cozy within the confines of paper piecing (no shame in that) and are nervous about tackling the non-paper piecing star, watch the videos! They'll give you the boost you need to begin.

Next week, we'll sew our tops together! If you want to get yourself prepped, make sure all of your papers are removed. You could also begin cutting out any sashing strips if you have them (Sampler and Blizzard) and sewing them to the appropriate stars. Again, not part of the challenge this week, but if you're looking for ways to get ready, those are good places to start.

I cannot tell you how satisfying this is to seam together! FUN! This was my Sampler top from the first QAL I hosted last summer.

I cannot tell you how satisfying this is to seam together! FUN! This was my Sampler top from the first QAL I hosted last summer.

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!

Snowflake QAL: Week Seven

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Lisa's progress!  @duhquilts  on Instagram.

Lisa's progress! @duhquilts on Instagram.

Welcome to Week Seven! 

Snowflake Sampler: two 8" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

Star Flurries: one (this is a correction) 20" No Y Seam Feathered Stars or Fierce Feathered Stars (your choice of construction method)

Feathered Star Blizzard: three 8" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

I'm continually inspired by all of the progress photos I see! I say to myself "That's my favorite one!"... for every single star or group of stars I see! :) haha

What I LOVE is the diversity of color palettes. This group is making the patterns their very own!

JessicaQuilter  made her own layout design using the 20" feathered stars. Look at her beautiful quilting!

JessicaQuilter made her own layout design using the 20" feathered stars. Look at her beautiful quilting!

Lisa  @shiraz_and_sewing  is using soft pink and blue tones (see her Instagram feed for more) and they are fabulous!

Lisa @shiraz_and_sewing is using soft pink and blue tones (see her Instagram feed for more) and they are fabulous!

YOU CAN DO IT! Keep going, I promise it'll be worth it in the end!

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!

In the Facebook group last week, I posted an option of adding a flying geese border which increases the size of the Sampler & Blizzard quilts to 90" square. Check it out if you are interested!

Snowflake QAL: Week Three

Jessie ZeiglerComment
12" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

12" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

Here we are! Week Three is already here! Your challenge this week:

Snowflake Sampler: two 12" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

Star Flurries: two 12" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

Feathered Star Blizzard: four 12" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

Let's talk totals for each quilt. The Sampler & Blizzard folks will be tackling all of their 12" blocks this week. The Flurries people will do two 12" blocks this week and two 12" blocks next week. If you are printing templates and cutting fabric this week, you might want to do all that prep at once.

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" or 20" NYSFS blocks (depending on what you completed in the previous weeks). 

Remember to remove papers as you complete your blocks! I got into the habit of sewing by day and then removing papers by night in front of the tv. It makes the job more bearable, I think. Paper removal is not my favorite part of the process! ;)

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 this fanstastic 16" star made by Julie McLane!  What a great example of coordination and contrast! I love how all of our quilts will look so amazingly different and special when we're done!

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This week of the QAL is sponsored by Kate Basti of Quilt with Kate.  Kate is a graphic designer tuned quilter extraordinaire and is the author of some pretty great paper piecing patterns! She will be emailing a bundle of THREE pattern PDFs to the winner. Please refer to the weekly QAL email for specifics with how to enter this drawing. Make sure to check Kate out on Instagram, too: @katebasti.

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

Snowflake QAL: Week Two

Jessie ZeiglerComment
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#ClubOneTwoNine! How is is going!? What do we think of these stars so far? Hopefully you're getting the hang of how they are sewn together.  

This week's challenge is to complete:

Snowflake Sampler: two 16" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

Star Flurries: two 20" NYSFS or Fierce Feathered Stars (method is up to you)

Feathered Star Blizzard: three 16" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

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!

Pattern error/typo! It's nothing to get too excited about, but the color guides on pages 22 & 23 of the Sampler & Blizzard patterns show incorrect square measurements. YOU DO NOT NEED TO RECUT ANYTHING! To update the pattern, I've just eliminated the specific dimensions because the only thing that matters is whether to use the bigger or smaller squares in each unit.

TIP!!

If you've had a little trouble with your points (like the spines) not being as pointy as you'd like, try this:

  • Aim to sew on the far edge of the last sewing line (last in sequential order for the unit). You don’t want to deviate too much from the line, but you might be able to fudge it a bit.

  • Realllllllllly open that last fabric piece out and finger press it "aggressively" after it’s sewn. Get way down into the crease! It helps so much.

 

It has been an absolute joy to see these stars coming to life in your very capable hands! Here's one I'd like to show you, made by JessicaQuilter. 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. Did you know you can follow hashtags on Instagram now? They'll pop up in your feed whenever a new photo is posted with a specific hashtag!

I also have a Pinterest board called Feathered Star Obsessed you should check out.

Made by JessicaQuilter, click image to visit her on Instagram.

Made by JessicaQuilter, click image to visit her on Instagram.

JessicaQuilter sponsored our first week by giving away FOUR of her Selvage Bookshelf Quilt Patterns!  Congrats to Melanie for winning! Each of these patterns is available on JessicaQuilter's Etsy site and also as a bundle.  These patterns were inspired by a love of books, and a desire to integrate selvages into a pattern.  They can be made to fit any size quilt, and leave room for the quilter to add personal touches in the final design. 

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Thanks so much for sponsoring, Jessica, and for sharing your creativity with us!

For all the QAL'ers, check your email each week for the weekly photo prompts to be eligible for the prize drawings!

Week Two is sponsored by Amy Friend of During Quiet Time. She'll be sending the winner a copy of her pattern Flitter (foundation piecing!) and a charm pack of her Improv fabric!

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Amy is the author of two quilting books (Amazon affiliate links below) and tons of amazing patterns, you should definitely check out her PDF shop for some ADORABLE pp blocks!

Keep up with Amy on Instagram for more quilty inspiration. She's @duringquiettime.

Have a wonderful week! I look forward to seeing the magic you create!

Snowflake QAL: Week One

Jessie ZeiglerComment
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*** Minor, little baby pattern errors found! ***

Special thanks to Jan Kaye for spotting this error, it affects the 16" blocks for both the Snowflake Sampler and the Feathered Star Blizzard patterns:

Pages 22 & 23 referenced incorrect square measurements in the color guide, it's not material to the pattern, but it could be confusing, so my apologies! NOTHING NEEDS TO BE RECUT! To update the pattern, I removed the exact dimensions on the color guide, all you really need to know is whether to use the bigger or smaller square sizes where referenced.

 

We've FINALLY arrived! Week One is here!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make:

Snowflake Sampler: two 16" No Y Seam Feathered Star blocks

Star Flurries: two 20" No Y Seam Feathered Star blocks or Fierce Feathered Star blocks*

Feathered Star Blizzard: three 16" No Y Seam Feathered Star blocks

*Star Flurries people: any time I refer to the 20", please know that you have the choice of constructing the blocks with paper piecing (NYSFS) or conventional piecing (Fierce Feathered Star). Use whichever method makes you happy and since there are 9 blocks, maybe you'll get bored and want to try both ways!

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.

You may want to get all of your printing out of the way at once or you may just want to print one week's worth at a time. For me, I printed one star at a time so that I wasn't emotionally overwhelmed with ALL THE PAPER! :) You do you, as the kids say.

TIP! If all of your blocks will have the same coloring, you may want to print one set, note the colors on each section and then make your required number of 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: Make sure to cut around the templates outside of the dashed line. The space between the solid line and the dashed line is the seam allowance. I use a dull rotary blade to cut my templates apart.

Cutting fabrics:  I've written the cutting instructions by block so as to not overwhelm you with ALLLLLLL of the fabric cutting at once, but again, this is your preference.

There are a few square sizes that are very similar, it might help to label them. 

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 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 have in-progress pictures + captions from last summer's QAL.

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 center square positioned in the center of the template, covering the seam allowances on all sides. 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 .  It makes the alignment of the triangles a bit easier.

I used a dab of fabric glue to secure the center square positioned in the center of the template, covering the seam allowances on all sides. 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. 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.  Watch a quick video showing this.

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. Watch a quick video showing this.

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.

Once it's sewn in place and finger-pressed, you can see how it's in perfect position.

Most units will use the sewing sequences shown thus far. The exception would be Units J, K, L & M. I have a quick video here showing how to align those fabrics quickly and easily. For some reason, it's easy to get turned around in this unit.

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. Here's one short video tip showing how to avoid a common mistake when sewing the units 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 gif showing what I mean. 

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 after you complete each block, 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. 

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!