Friday, April 6, 2018

True North - Chevron Border Tutorial

The outside border on this quilt is a Flying Geese block, but with paying attention to your fabric placement, you can create this chevron design.  I'm using a package of 5" squares aka Charm Pack

This first photo is to show that I have 4 squares layered up and they should all be lined up on all sides before you cut.

Slice the stack right down the center and you will now have two stacks that are 2 1/2" x 5"

Take ONE stack and trim down the short side so your rectangles measure 2 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Take the second pile of 2 1/2" x 5" sections and sub cut them into 2 1/2" squares.

Now you will have one (1) rectangle that is 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" and two (2) 2 1/2" squares of each of the four (4) fabrics that you started with.

You can see in the photo below that I have folded over and pinned the 2 1/2" square to resemble the corners of the Flying Geese block.  This is your visual of what you will end up with.   Note the top red has no corners and the bottom cream has no center.  This is because you will be adding other fabrics to create a longer border section.

Draw a line on the wrong sides of your 2 1/2" squares.  Using the placement of the above photo, stitch your corner square onto the rectangle by stitching right along the drawn line.

You will see two stitching lines on the blocks.  That is because I sew a second line a scant 1/2" from the first stitched line.  See the next photo.

Here you can see how I use the left side of my presser foot as a guide, and it's close to 1/2" away from the first sewn line. 

You can see here the ruler shows this as 3/8" of a space between the two stitched lines.  I usually shoot for a 1/16" bit wider, but I don't worry too much about this.

Now I cut the corner off the block, and I use a scant 1/4" measurement from the first seam that I stitched.  The seam that is corner to corner is the most important so don't cut it too close.

Here you can see I've cut off the corners.

I do this to create a second (or bonus) block from the trimmings that many quilters just throw away.  I'm too frugal for that when the "bonus" 1/2 square triangle can be trimmed down to a very usable size. Set those trimmed off pieces aside and we will get back to them.  Now you need to press open your corner and add the second side to create your Flying Geese block.

 Again, stitch on the drawn line, stitch a second seam and trim off the corner.

Press open, and you now have blocks, that when stitched together in the correct order, will create a chevron strip. 

You can also create a scrappy chevron border by using fabrics that are in the same colorway and of similar value.  A design wall is very helpful when working in this style.  I find it helps keep me organized.

OK Lets get back to these "bonus" blocks.  I learned this trick from Bonnie Hunter.  She's loaded with great tips and tricks and this is one of my favorites.  Using my ruler with the 45 degree line that goes to the corner of the ruler, I line it up along the center seam line and find the biggest size that I can trim this block down to.  I know, sounds a bit backwards.  Biggest, but trimming down.  Stick with me!  I can trim this to a 1 3/4" square

It seems like sometimes I'm taking a scant 1/8" trim off, but this makes all my blocks the same size and then they will all work together.

See this one, same thing.  I can trim it to 1 3/4" square and have a perfectly good block to work with.  Would I make these blocks from scratch. No way.  But they are too good to put in the garbage.

Trimmed up and looking good!

Here I've put them together into a pinwheel block that will finish out at 2 1/2"  We can all use pinwheel blocks in a baby quilt, in a border, as a center of a larger block, right?

Look at the heaps of "bonus" blocks you will create if you use this method of making a bunch of Flying Geese using this method.

I hope this post will help you make a chevron border, or even a few rows of chevron Flying Geese. It just takes a little extra attention to keep your colors all organized, but I think it was worth the effort. 

Do you create bonus blocks?  I think they're fantastic, and it's great to have a bag of extras every now and then. These ones haven't got a home yet, but I'm sure there will be another Americana quilt come out of my studio one of these days!

Keep stitching

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Quiltmaker - True North

It is such a kick to have one of my quilts published.  This month Quiltmaker May/June has my True North Medallion styled quilt on pages 12 - 18.  Gwen Marston got me hooked on medallion styled quilt making and I think if I could only make one style for the rest of my life, it would be this.  I used lots of Minick and Simpson fabrics for this piece, they do make some of the best Americana inspired fabrics.  The outer border was created using charms, so if you have a pack or two languishing in your studio, this is a great way to use them all!  Yes, even the ones you think you don't like.  They all play nicely together in this kind of border.

Used with permission Quiltmaker May/June '18 Published by F+W

The best part with Medallion styled piecing is you get to choose the designs for every round.  You can try out techniques but not be committed to an 80 x 80 pattern.  It can be a border that is only 6" wide and 24" long.  This pattern finishes at 52 x 52 but you can keep adding rounds to make it as big as you want.  Add your our design elements to create a one of a kind piece.  Easy, right? This pattern included English Paper Piecing, a template pattern for the center, bias vines that I stitched down by machine, hand applique for the EPP, and a fun design element in the outside border.  I went very scrappy, but this would also be fabulous in batiks.

Each round on this quilt seemed to take on its' own life.  The center star is 20" square so it was a perfect jumping off point. The magazine has instructions for appliqueing the center circle, but if you want to try your hand at insetting the circle, go HERE for a step by step photo tutorial.  Slow and steady wins with this center block.

tUsed with permission Quiltmaker May/June '18 Published by F+W

There are several great patterns in this issue. Carnival by Scott Flanagan looks like a fabulous skill builder pattern and Erin Russek created the beauty on the cover. I worked with Erin on this pattern and she was wonderful. What a thrill to have a pattern in this magazine, this is my first piece with F+W and it was a terrific to work with them.  Go grab your copy, it's on the store shelves right now.

Used with permission Quiltmaker May/June '18 Published by F+W

Check back for a few tutorials from me and start working on this. You'll have it finished in time for July 4th!

Keep stitching,