Monday, August 12, 2013

Star Surround Quilt-A-Long - Star Centers

**  NOTE  - This post is part of a series of posts for the Star Surround Quilt-A-Long.  If you would like to join (and have a chance to win one of 4 of the $75.00 Gift Certificate grand prizes sponsored by The Intrepid Thread and Fat Quarter Shop ) you can find a list of the post links here :)  Here is the schedule

Aug 12 - Building Block Centers
Aug 19 - Building Block Surround
Aug 26 - Piecing Top and Grand Prize Linky
Sept 16 - Star Surround Parade and Grand Prize Winners

Now, first off for this week, we need to pick a winner for the Flying Geese Assignment.  I am so glad that so many of you really enjoyed this method of sewing Flying Geese.  That is what Quilt-A-Longs are all about, trying new things :)

The Flying Geese Assignment winner who gets two Aspen Frost Charm Packs from The Rustic Rooster Quilt Shop is #65 - Wendi @ Bethadee Zoo !!! - Congrats :)  


Alright, it's Another week and another new assignment.  This weeks assignment is the Star Centers.  Yippee!!  We get to start seeing the blocks come together this week.  I am so excited!!! 


So, let's get to it.  To make a star center, you will need to grab one pile of HST's and 4 background squares that are 4 1/2" x 4 1/2".  From the piles of HST's you will want to remove 2 Background/Fabric A and 2 Background/Fabric B HST's and set them aside for another day.  So you should have 16 HST's that look something like this :)

Lay the 16 HST's out as follows.  Now a note on sewing these together.  I only sew one center at a time rather than chain stitch 9 of them at a time.  The reason for this is because it is so easy to accidentally sew the layout wrong.  Every time I sew, you will see that I lay my pieces out in a star again.  This helps me from getting twisted up.  So, with that, I will let you make the decision.  Please feel free to chain stitch all your stars if you like, just pay really close attention :) 

And now, you have another decision.  How do you want to sew your stars together.  There are lots of ways to choose from, and obviously, I have only done a tutorial for one way, but if it isn't the way you like, please sew yours as you prefer.  You can sew the pieces into rows and then the rows into a block.

You can sew the pieces into columns and then the columns into a block.

You can sew the center into a square, add the 2 sides, and then finish by adding the top and bottom row.  

But the way I like to sew these together, and the way I will be sharing, is sewing the pieces into 4 quadrants and then sewing the 4 quadrants into a block. 

So, to start, place all of your pieces from the second and fourth column onto the first and third column with right sides together.  Align the raw edges and stitch a 1/4" seam along the edge.

I do like to chain stitch all 8 of my sets at this point.  Then I press them without trimming the threads so I ensure that they are all in the same order to lay back out into the star.  I found while working on this, that pressing open really helps everything to lay flat.  But feel free to press to your own preference.

Once you have pressed your pairs, lay them back out into a star.  It should look something like this.

Now, take the top pair in each quadrant and lay it onto the bottom pair with right sides together.  Match the center seams and pin them in place.  Now you will notice, my top 2 are pressed to the side but I later wished I would have pressed them open.  

Also, the great thing about open seams is you can see where the HST's meet in your seams and sew your 1/4" seam right along the bottom of your other fabric triangle snippet allowing you to have perfect points.  (This picture isn't from this stage in the sewing as it was an afterthought to take it, but it does illustrate the little triangle seam snippets quite well :)   Press the seams.

So now you should have the four quadrants.  I know, it seems silly to lay it back out again, but trust me, it is easy to sew points facing inward :)

Place the right hand quadrants onto the left hand quadrants with right sides together.  Match the center seams again and pin them in place.  Sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge and press, taking care to sew right along the bottom of that little snippet in the seam and your points will be so crisp :)

And now you have 2 halves.  Only one seam left.

Place to top half onto the bottom half with right sides together.  Take care to match all 3 seams and pin them in place.  Sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge, once again watching all of those little seam triangle snippets to guide your seam.  Press.

And you have a beautiful star center!!  Now just rinse and repeat for how ever many blocks you are making.  

And here are my blocks all finished.  Sorry about the horrible lighting, it was super late when I took this picture :)

 And that's it!!  Make up your star centers and your is complete!!!  And now you can enter to win the weekly prize :)

The Weekly Prize is sponsored by The Scarlet Thread Quilt Co. and a huge thanks goes out to Julie for her support of the Star Surround Quilt-A-Long.

This weeks  prize is 8 Fat Quarters from Parson Gray's new line Curious Nature.  Oh my goodness, can I just say how much I love this line.  Oh my, what a stunning quilt these would make!!

So what do you have to do for a chance to win these fat quarters?  Simple . . . Just link up your Star Centers at the end of this post :)  You can link to a blog post or a flickr picture, or whatever.  Just make sure to link up by next Monday morning as I will be announcing a winner in next weeks post :)

If you don't get your Star Centers done by next week you can still link it up :) (just not in time for the prize :) The linky will remain open until the end of the Quilt-A-Long.  So if your out of town, or just had a busy week, no worries!!!  Just link up when you can :)

And don't forget to add your Stars to the Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Flickr group!!!  I am just so excited to see these blocks starting to come together!!  

So let's get sewing!!!  And if you have questions, don't hesitate to email me at  Have a Happy Quilting Day!!

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Friday, August 9, 2013

All Star Baby Boy Quilt - A Tutorial

Note #1 - If you are looking for the Slice Applique Machine Giveaway you can find it here :)
Note #2 - Today is the last day to get my new The Way The Crow Flies Pattern on Sale :)

Hello quilting friends.  I am so excited to share this fun little tutorial with you today.  My sweet SIL asked me to help her make up an "all boy" quilt for her sister but she wanted it to be something easy and simple.  I thought, everyone loves a good go to easy baby quilt so I took some pictures along the way to share :)  And here it is . . . the All Star Baby Boy Quilt, a quick, easy, and adorable quilt for a little wee one :)

So, here is what you will need to make one:
              56 Charm Squares or 5" x 5" squares.  We are using Emily Herrick's Hall of Fame line.
              1/2 Yard of coordinating print for applique strip and binding
              1 1/4 Yard for Backing

Start by selecting (3) 5" squares and cutting them in half as shown.

Lay out a row of charm squares 7 charms long and then place one of your half charms at the beginning and end of the row.  Sew the row together.  Just place the first half charm onto the first charm in the row and sew a 1/4" seam.

Continue repeating the process adding one charm at a time and sewing a 1/4" seam.  No need to pin, just align as you go.  When you are finished with the row press all the seams to one side.

Repeat the process to make a total of 3 rows.

To make the alternate rows, simply lay out 8 charm squares in a row.  Sew the row together using a 1/4" seam.  If you are not worried about the order of the row, just sew groups of 2 charms together and then turn them into 4, and then 8.  If you want a certain layout, sew the row together the same way you did the previous row adding one square at a time.

Repeat to make a total of 4 rows.

You now will have 7 rows.  Lay them out as follows alternating the 2 different rows.  Move the rows around until you have a layout hat is pleasing to the eye.

Sew the rows together.  I like to do this by sewing Row 1 and 2, Row 3 and 4, and Row 5 and 6.  Sew a 1/4" seam along all the groupings.  Press.  Then sew Row 1/2 to Row 3/4 and Row 5/6 to Row 7.  Lastly sew the 2 halves together.

Note - When you go to sew the rows together, they will not line up perfectly because of the half blocks.  Simply overlap the solid rows by 1/4" on each edge and then pin the row in place to sew.  This will be trimmed to even it up.

Now your rows are all sewn and be sure to press all the seams nice and flat before trimming.

Using your ruler, trim the sides of the quilt so they are even.  You should be trimming about a 1/4" from every other row, but if you had a few that weren't quite even, you can trim those even as well.

Now with your square top, you are ready to add the applique row.  From your applique strip yardage, cut a 6" x WOF strip.  Align the strip along the bottom of your quilt top and trim it to the width of your quilt top.

Add your desired applique to the quilt top.   To see a detailed post on how to do this applique you can see yesterday's post on Applique with the Slice.  You can also see my Applique Basic's Video that will walk you through all the steps of machine applique ;)

Lay your applique strip along the bottom of your quilt with right sides together.  Pin and sew a 1/4" along the pinned edge.  Press towards the applique strip.

And your quilt top is done!!  Isn't it just so cute :)  Now you just have to finish it up.  Baste it, Quilt it, and Bind it.  I know, I make it sound so easy.  If you are new to quilting, you can see my Video Tutorial Series on the basics of finishing a quilt :)

Now just sit back and enjoy your adorable little All Star Baby Boy Blanket.  It came together quick, easy, and it so fun!!!   And at 36" square it is the perfect size to hand above the crib or throw in the car seat :)

Just a little quilting detail.  I started with a star in the center of the quilt and then continued out using my walking foot.

 And on the applique strip I used dense pebbling to really make the applique pop :)

And that's about it.  I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial  and if you make your own All Star Baby Boy Quilt I would love to see it!!  You can add it to my Happy Quilting Flickr Group :)

Have a Happy Quilting Weekend!!

Linking up to Amanda's and Sarah's

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Applique Made Easy with Slice and a Giveaway!!!

Okay, so it is no secret that I love applique.  I use it tons in my quilts, especially when it comes to adding names or words to cute baby and kiddo quilts!!  But I am not a huge fan of cutting applique out by hand. That is why I love my Slice!!!!  So, I am curious, have you heard of the Slice machine??  Well, today I will share a bit more about it, how it's used, and why I love it!!!  Then, thanks to the great folks at Slice, I will even give you a chance to win one of your own :)  So let's get to it :)

I have owned my Slice for about 4 years now and it just keeps getting better.  Slice allows you to cut applique in sizes of 2" up to 4" in 1/2" increments.  It takes out all of that horrible tracing and cutting and does the work for you.  You just select a design, size, and tell it to cut.  Simple!!   And there are so many design cards to choose from and all filled with wonderful designs.   I have over 20 design cards (I sort of collect them like stamps :) and each card always has a great alphabet (which I use the most) plus some super great images.  The card I will be using for this example is the Champion design card.

Oh, and I am so excited about this next part.  Slice has just recently come out with a super cool new type of design cards that allow you to cut little pieces of the applique and then bring it all together to create one big applique.  So fun!!  And the one I have is the Secret Garden design card from none other than our own Sandi Henderson.  Yup, it is made to go with her fabric line of the same name.  I can't wait to play with that one!!!  Watch for a project in the future :)

Here's a few projects with applique I have cut using my Slice :)  So ya, you can probably tell, I love this machine and use it a ton!!!

So, now let me show you how it works.

To start, you need to get your cutting surface tacky.  You can use the glue that comes with the slice machine but I find the Re-positionable Spray Adhesive to be much quicker and easier.  I just spray it on the surface, the same way I would if I were basting a quilt.  Now this cutting mat is the larger one used with the Hands-Free Kit, which I like because I can cut more applique without having to re-position fabric as much.  The starter kit comes with a 6" glass cutting mat.

Now while your mat is getting tacky, you can get the fabric ready.  Choose your fabric and cut it into a 12" square, (or a 5-6" if using the smaller mat)  Cut a sheet of Fusible Web to the same size as your fabric.

Press the fusible side of the web to the wrong side of the fabric.   Once it is cool, peel the paper side away from the fabric and discard.  You will see the fusible left on the wrong side of the fabric.

Now with the wrong side of the fabric down, place the fabric onto the sticky cutting mat.  Press the fabric firmly in place.  I love my brayer for this.  It just rolls everything in place and takes care of all the little bumps, and my palm doesn't get sore :)

And now the fun part.  With the design cartridge in the machine, just simply place the machine onto the mat.  Hold onto to either side of your machine and press the cut button.  Now just wait about 30 seconds and enjoy the wonderful world of Slice.  Oh, and if you have a Hands-Free-Kit, you don't even have to hold the sides, magnets do that for you :)

Once the cutting is complete, simply lift your applique out of the fabric.  The spatula makes this a little easier as you don't have to try and dig in their with your nails, it just slides right under the applique and lifts it out.   And you have it, one perfect applique, which just so happens to be the letter K :)  Now just rinse and repeat until you have all your desired applique.

Once you have all your applique, you are ready to move to the ironing board.   (Seriously, is that not the cutest applique!)  Lay the applique onto your project surface until you have it just right.  I like to use my quilting rulers to help me line up everything during this part.    

Once it is perfect, just give it a press.  The fusible web on the wrong side of the fabric will adhere it to the project surface.  Easy!!

Now just finish it up by secure stitching around all the raw edges of your applique.  I am partial to the blanket stitch but you can use a zig-zag, satin stitch, or raw edge.  Whatever your preference.

And before you know it, you have one adorable appliqued project and it was so easy and fun!!!  And if you come back tomorrow, I will show you what this little appliqued banner will be used for :)

So, That is how you use the Slice.  Really, it is so incredibly easy, and so, so, much fun!!!  You can read all about Slice and the extra little Slice goodies I showed today on the Slice Website :)  

Okay, so do you love the Slice machine???  Do you want one of your own??  Well, this could be your lucky day!!!  One reader will win their own Slice Starter Kit as well as a design card of their choice!!!  Yippee :)

So what do you have to do to enter . . .Easy!!

You have two chances to win, and please, leave a separate comment for each.  

1 - Leave a comment here of of what  Fabric Design Card  you would choose to go with your Starter Kit.  So many to choose from, have fun!!

2 - For a bonus entry, Like Slice on Facebook and the leave a comment here that you did so.  

And that's it.  Like I said, easy :)  The giveaway will close on Wednesday the 14th and I will announce a winner shortly after.  Thanks for stopping by and have a Happy Quilting Day!!!

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Scrap Happy Summer with Em's Scrapbag :)

This morning I am guest posting over at Emily's as part of her Scrap Happy Summer series.  Emily is such a sweetheart and a wonderful friend.  I was so excited when she asked if I would share a bit about my scraps.  I mean, who doesn't love scraps!!  And, as part of my post, there just may be a new completed scrappy quilt top ;)  You remember this Star Value Quilt Block . . . Well pop on over to see the entire quilt top made with the blocks from my wonderful Beejeeber's friends :)

Thanks again Emily for having me!!!  It is almost as much fun talking about scraps as it is playing with them.  What is your favorite thing to do with your scraps??
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

So it's not July, but . . .

Here are my July Bee Blocks.  Yup, they are a week late. Le sigh, July was just one crazy, crazy month.  But I am pretty sure that my wonderful bee mates will forgive my tardiness ;)

Kris from the Beejeebers group asked for a Modern House block in grey's, lime, orange, and yellow.  I love designing so I was super excited for something that we could throw some creative flair into.  But I am no architect, and had no idea what qualifies for a "modern house".   So I googled it and quickly fell in love with this picture.  So cool!!

And I set off to design something based on this photo.  Here's what I came up with.  I think that little roof is my favorite part.  Those are 1" finished HST's.  So fun!!  I think it turned out pretty modern and I hope Kris likes it :)

And for the Bees Knees group, Trish asked us to make a Swoon block.  This is the fourth swoon block I have made and sent off.  It is such a fun block to put together.  Who knows, maybe some day I will actually make one for me :)

So now, I need to go work on my August blocks.  No more last of the month for me.  (hopefully :)
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