Tiny Piecing

In yesterday’s blog about the Moda Blockhead 2 block having tiny pieces, I mentioned a class that I took while at the Vermont Quilt Festival last summer.  The class was Tiny Piecing and was taught by Lynn Harris.   The class description was – Learn tips and tricks that make working small easier, piecing tiny stars, and other small blocks as well as intuitive piecing.

IMG_1040I did enjoy the class, but decided that working small wasn’t what I really wanted to do. This is the piece that I made with the quarter square triangle finishing at 1/4″  It’s hardly visible. It is in the right block, bottom row.  A four patch finished at 1/4″ is in the left block.

I also made a 3″star.  IMG_1039

IMG_1020This is Lynn’s queen quilt made with 3″ stars. It is absolutely stunning.  IMG_1037




IMG_1031We were taught to improvise with tiny left over strips.  These are my blocks.

This is Lynn’s quilt.  I like the basic white with a little color.  I might make something like this in the future.  IMG_1030




IMG_1022Lynn’s blocks are amazing.  She uses every last scrap of fabric.  I think that if one started to make blocks with small pieces on a regular basis, they could be made up quickly. It might be interesting to make one or two after sewing a regular size quilt.  They would add up quicker than you might think.  IMG_1024    IMG_1026


Have a great day and happy quilting.



Moda Blockhead 2

When I was at the Vermont Quilt Festival last June, I took a class to learn small piecing.  The instructor’s quilts were beautiful.  Everything was pieced in 1″ pieces or other very small sizes of fabric.  I even learned to make a quarter square triangle that finished at 1/4″ It was perfectly square.  If it was placed in a block, you wouldn’t notice it.  I decided that this was not what I wanted to do, even though I could do it.

IMG_1579Block 22 in the Moda Blockhead block of the week project uses small pieces.  There are four 3″ blocks within a 6″ block.  It uses 1 1/2″ squares for the corners and centers of the 3″ blocks.  They finish at 1″.  The other four pieces consist of two 1 1/2″ x 1 ” rectangles sewn together.  All four of the little blocks have different colors.  In the original pattern, the center block was the same color as the rectangles that were closest to them. They looked like a cross in the middle of the block.  I chose to use a coordinating  print fabric in all of the center squares.  This block might change my mind about piecing with small pieces.  It is very pretty and easy to piece.  I can imagine a whole quilt with this block in different colors with the center piece all the same fabric.  Now, when I cut leftover fabric scraps into precuts, I will cut smaller than 2 1/2″ and go down to 1 1/2″. It would take a lot of squares to make a full size quilt.

The Moda Blockhead 2 blocks that I have made are out of order.  One not made yet is an applique.  The Splendid Sampler has and applique block and an embroidery block that are not made.  Handwork takes a little longer than piecework.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Dear Jane

It has been a rainy day all day today.  At least it isn’t cold.  It was warmer outside than inside.  I did open the porch windows for a while.  The rain doesn’t come in those windows.  Right now, it is pouring.  According to the weather report, the rain should stop around midnight after a brief thunder storm. Miss Molly will be hiding again.

I worked on a few projects  including Dear Jane.  The two blocks that I finished are the start of the fourth row.

IMG_1577   This was an easy one.  I cut the center to size.  Then I added oversized borders and corner squares, which I then cut down to size.  The four triangles were cut to size and bordered with white strips that were wider than they needed to be.  They were added to the four sides of the center square. When I trimmed the block to 5″. the white borders became the right size.  I fussy cut the basket weave fabric so that the weave would go in one direction.  It is quilted and ready to bind.

IMG_1578   This was a little more difficult.  I cut the center to size.  Then I paper pieced the borders with the triangle.  The red triangle was placed on the paper first and then the white was added to both sides.  The borders are mitered.  I pressed this seam open as the little corner pieces were appliqued over the mitered seam. The paper piecing made this unit perfect and I was able to add them with ease.  It also is quilted and ready to bind.

When the two blocks are bound, I’ll sew them onto the main quilt.

I checked the fabric that I have with me in Maine and there is only one that is the right color for the fourth row. I’ll work on that one and then I’ll have to wait until I get back to New Hampshire to work on more Dear Jane.

There are still more quilts in the UFO pile so I won’t lack something to do.

Have a great day and happy quilting.


Simple Sampler

IMG_1576   Two weeks ago the Simple Sampler block was designed by Carl Hentsch.  It is paper pieced.  The block is named Betty’s Bloom.  Betty is one of Carl’s older dogs.

Now, I am only one week behind in the Simple Sampler project.  Last week’s block is an appliqué block.  Then I will receive another one on Thursday.  It is interesting to try the different methods of quilting. I will be up to date sometime.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

UFO almost finished

A little while back, one of my daughters came to my house for a visit.  I brought out the “give away” bin and she chose a piece.  I mentioned that I was working on another piece and it was going into the “give away” bin.  When she saw it, she folded up the piece that she had chosen and put it back into the bin.  She said “I’ll wait for that one.” I had intended to work on it right away, but other projects kept getting in the way.

IMG_1575The wall hanging is made of hand and commercial dyed fabrics and a few other fabrics that went with it.  I machine quilted it with free motion quilting, even feed quilting and ruler quilting.   It is not quite finished because the binding is in N. H.  I have sewed the frame on the inside of the pink last border.  When the binding is sewn on, I will sew another frame and then quilt something between the frames.  It shouldn’t take too long to finish.IMG_1572

IMG_1573Miss Molly is examining the quilt.




What I have learned about ruler work.

It should be done on a flat bed machine with enough space in the front and back to hold the ruler tight.  My machine is slanted on the front and has very little space in the back to hold the ruler.

The table should be at an ergonomic height. Your arms and hands should be at a comfortable angle.  My dining room table is too tall and it is tiring to use the ruler.

The spot where the needle ends should be marked.  The needle sews 1/4″ away from the edge of the ruler.  It would be easier if you had a target to aim for.

The lighting should be good, so you can see where the ruler is behind the presser foot.

Ruler work is not enjoyable.  Maybe, when I get back to my sewing room in N. H. and all of the above items are corrected, I will enjoy the process better.  I haven’t sewn beyond a straight seam yet.  The books make it sound so easy.

I enjoy free motion quilting very much. Many of my quilts have been free motion quilted.

I have seen some tutorials from Leah Day about even feed foot quilting.  That sounds interesting.  She has a book with three quilts and all the instructions.  There are tutorials about all the processes including selecting fabric, processing the fabric before cutting and many more.

There is always something new to try when you quilt.

Have a great day and happy quilting.


The Moda designs have been 6 1/2″ blocks for a few weeks.  This week, we were given two very easy blocks.

Rocky Road to California was designed by Betsy Crutchian.  It has four patches, half square triangles and squares.IMG_1562





Go Fish was designed by Stacy Iesthsu. It has six flying geese and two rectangles. I’m enjoying finding the different combinations of Japanese fabrics to make the Moda blocks. IMG_1563





Today was a day when the sewing machine didn’t want to work.  I have some unsewing to do tomorrow.  The wind was blowing down the chimney and it was hard to keep a fire in the wood stove.  I decided to not sew or quilt, just sit and read a book.  Sometimes, we just need to take a day off.

Have a great day and happy quilting.


Dear Jane and a small quilt

IMG_1560I have finished 25 of the 169 center blocks of the Dear Jane quilt.  That is not counting the border triangles, but I will think about them when I finish all 13 X 13 rows of the center.  Each block is hand quilted and bound in the pot holder method.  Then they are sewn together.  I’m really addicted to making this quilt even though I once said that I would never make a Dear Jane.

I’m trying to stay as close to the original fabric as I can.  It’s a good thing that I have a big scrap stash.  I have chosen the fabric for two of the blocks in the fourth row. It will take 24 blocks to complete the fourth row.  I think that I will complete them one at a time and add the block to the quilt as I complete them.  If I do that, they will be where they belong.

IMG_1559I have also finished a small embroidered wall hanging.  I embroidered a Donna Dewberry pattern.  Her embroideries look similar to her painting.  She uses many colored threads in the embroideries and sometimes repeats a color.  When I sew the embroidery, I do not have a backing in the hoop.  I heavily starch the fabric and add batting.  I first sew a tracing line around the hoop. It outlines the pattern. Then, after the embroidery is finished,  I add the backing and use the line to add the first border. It makes a straight line and automatically centers the embroidery.  I usually have two borders and stitch a feather stitch on the seam lines.  This attaches the top to the backing.  The binding is cut smaller than the binding for a large quilt.  I like to hand tack the binding down. On some small quilts, I add a flange binding.  It requires no hand work as it is sewn to the back of the quilt and turned to the front. These little quilts ( 12″ X  12″) are almost instant gratification.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

From the archives

Several years ago, I was fabric shopping at Marden’s.  I had finished and was waiting to have the fabric cut when I noticed my husband standing behind me with his cart full of bolts.  The fabric was bright purple, yellow, orange, blue, red and other colors that I don’t ordinarily use in my quilts.  I asked him what he wanted me to do with that fabric.  He said make a quilt.  I replied “All those colors in one quilt?”  He said “yes”.

IMG_0282I searched for a pattern to use all those colors and decided to make a king size quilt using squares sewn together, cut again at an angle using a template and then sewn back together again.


I had made two smaller versions and it is very easy as long as the pieces are kept in order.

IMG_1555The first one that I made has been hanging in the top of the living room in the Maine house for fifteen years.  The other is a small table mat.  IMG_0433

The king quilt looked very nice in the red bedroom.  Then I needed a wall hanging.  I found the twisted lone star in Jan Kranz’s book.  It was perfect.  The wall hanging is on the accent wall which is varnished ship lap wood.IMG_0178

It was interesting to work with colors that I don’t usually use. At the time, it was very hard.  I did learn to get out of my small box and experiment with other colors.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Flying Geese

Do you like the look of a flying geese quilt, but are sure that you will cut off the geese points.  There are several rulers on the market to help you cut out and sew the geese.  Kimberley Einmo has a flying geese ruler.  There is a Lazy Girl flying geese ruler, a Wing Clipper from Deb Tucker and many others.

Even with the rulers and correct cutting, the geese still don’t sew right.  Then you call in your friend, Mr. Seam ripper, or say it’s good enough.  There is a simple technique that will help with perfect flying geese.

Does your flying geese look like it’s head is cut off?

IMG_1548       IMG_1543It is because your joining line was sewn below the X on the head of the geese.  This is the X    .IMG_1542

If the flying geese head has clouds above it, it is because the joining line was sewn above the X on the head of the geese.

IMG_1544   IMG_1546

To make a perfect flying geese, sew the joining seam one thread above the X.  Then when the piece is pressed, the point will be just where it needs to be.  IMG_1552


It is sometimes hard to see the X when you are sewing a seam, but if you sew slowly through that intersection and really watch, you can do it.

These two little quilts were made before I figured out how to get a “perfect” point.  They are hand quilted and the quilting fixed a lot of mistakes.

IMG_0391     IMG_0390

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Splendid Sampler 2

I’m behind on the Splendid Sampler project.  Two weeks ago, the designer designed an applique piece.  I was working on two applique blocks for the Dear Jane quilt and didn’t want to do another applique until they were done. The Dear Jane appliques are very small and took longer than I intended.  The Dear Jane applique is finished.  One block is quilted and ready for binding,  The other is being quilted.  I finally had time to work on the Splendid Sampler applique.  It doesn’t have many pieces and worked up quickly.

When you applique birds, you can make a new species.  It all depends on the fabrics that you use.  BIRD




Last week’s Splendid Sampler block is paper pieced.  I didn’t want to do that one either until I finished Dear Jane.  There will be another block on Thursday so I have until then to catch up.

The weather was nice today.  I worked in the garden in the early morning before it got hot.  The garlic is planted.  I picked parsley and sage to dry.  The tomatoes in the round garden are mostly done so I took down the tomato cages and put them away.  The tomatoes in the barrels in front of the garage are still producing.  They are so tasty.  I’ll miss them when the season is over.

Have a great day and happy quilting.