Sunflower Piecing Tips

I’ve had some comments from participants about piecing in the center A circle of the sunflower block on the mystery quilt.  I’ve taught piecing the sunflower hundreds of times so you just have to trust me that this will work.

First, sew all your pieces together to make a circle.  (See the blog about piecing the sunflower sequentially.)

Then position your center circle under one of the C triangles, matching the reference marks.  Pin the far left corner to one of the reference marks on the circle.  (Lefties would put their pin in the right hand corner.)  See how the C triangle wants to slip down where my pointer is pointing.  You need to push the triangle UP so it will match the circle underneath.  You can place a pin in the middle if it helps.  (For me, it just gets in the way.)

Pin is inserted from the top to the bottom reference mark.

Pin is inserted from the top to the bottom reference mark.

 

Placing a pin on the center of the line can help to keep the pieces lined up.

Placing a pin on the center of the line can help to keep the pieces lined up.

 

Sew this little section, then backstitch at the left pin, pop the seam allowance up and go through.  Continue sewing the entire center in this way.  I DO check the stamped line of the circle in the back to make sure I’m hitting it with my stitching.

 

When you are finished, lay the block face down on the ironing board and press the seams around in a circle.

Press the seams counterclockwise or clockwise if you are left handed.

Press the seams counterclockwise or clockwise if you are left handed.

Trim off the dog ears.

When you turn the block over, you will have a lovely sunflower, ready to baste in the edges and applique into the embroidered block.

I’ve had questions about whether it is easier to APPLIQUE the circle on top.  If you think about it, it would be harder, as you have no “ground” for it to hold onto.  And, getting that circle to line up EXACT over the C triangles is no trick I’m ready to master.  I had an expert appliquer friend that told me she was going to applique it in.  I asked her later what was the verdict and she told me it was easier to PIECE it in.  I agree.  So as I said in my last sunflower blog post, get a mocha, relax and piece the circle in!  :)

Pretty!

Pretty!

LOVE THIS BLOCK!

Happy Stitching!

 

Little House Stamp NOW available!

Many of you have asked when the “Little House” stamp would be available for purchase.  Well, here it is!

Little House stamp is PERFECT for little scraps!

Little House stamp is PERFECT for little scraps!

I made my sample with charm squares that I collected from my students in my seminars.  It is a lovely reminder of my teaching.  I also used a fabric I got in York, England in 2012.  Can you find it? :)

This is an EASY quilt to hand piece.  Mine went together in a couple evenings.  Wouldn’t it be fun in Christmas colors?  Or how about a Halloween version?  The entire quilt measures 19″ x 19″.

This new stamp can be found in my online store here: Little House Stamp

This stamp was given as a free gift for the 2014 Mystery Quilt Participants.  You can still join the mystery and get this stamp for free.  Sign up on my website under the “Mystery Quilt” tab.  I’ve sent out 2 clues, but it will be easy to catch up.

Happy Stitching!

A day with Bonnie Hunter

Many of you know the name Bonnie Hunter by her numerous quilts and books.  Today our guild, The Village Quilters, hosted her for a lecture and workshops.  Bonnie is a delight.  I’ve met her a few times on my teaching trips.  She is indeed one of my favorite designers.

Great to meet again!

Great to meet again!

Bonnie’s wit and knowledge warmed up the audience so we were laughing and giggling like little girls.

Bonnie doing what she does best...  Discussing fabric!

Bonnie doing what she does best… Discussing fabric!

She showed us numerous quilts.  Who could choose a favorite???

One of my particular favorites made by Bonnie Hunter.

One of my particular favorites made by Bonnie Hunter.

And, of course, loving handwork as I do, this last quilt she showed made my day!  A hexagon beauty made by hand as she traveled.  Only 14 years in the making!

Spectacular Handwork Beauty!

Spectacular Handwork Beauty!

Hopefully, Bonnie will be in your area and you can meet her in person.

Bonnie signing books.

Bonnie signing books.

 

Studio News

Hi Everyone!

Just an update on what is going on in the studio…

I was organizing my mystery quilt stamps the other day and ALMOST sent you a picture but figured my clever followers would figure out the next clue coming in May.  :)

I just got this wonderful picture from Roberta A with her finished “Poke Berry Baskets” quilt top!  Isn’t it fabulous?  I love how she made the basket border.  (And put the basket blocks on point.)  Very clever, Roberta!

Roberta's quilt top is a delight!

Roberta’s quilt top is a delight!

I’ll be teaching “Poke Berry Baskets” for the Northwestern Suburban Quilter’s Guild in Chicago next week.  The teaching will be bitter/sweet.  It is the last class I’ll be teaching.  I’m retiring from teaching and will concentrate on making up new designs and new stamps.(Yes, I’ll keep the website and blog!)

I’m also hoping to have more time to make quilts to be published.  American Patchwork just purchased another design. I’m also working on a project that has been on my “to do” list for 2 years.  I’ll be sharing it soon.  (I KNOW you’ll want to make it, too!)

The garden has been taking up a lot of my time this month, too.  I PROMISE I’ll get some pictures posted soon of my efforts!

Until next time…

Happy Stitching!

 

 

Spoolin’ Around!

Hi everyone!  I’m thrilled to announce that my quilt, “Spoolin’ Around” is featured in the June 2014 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting.  The magazine will be on the newsstands on April 1st.  Look for this cover at your local quilt shop or store.

Used with permission from American Patchwork and Quilting® magazine ©2014Meredith Corporation.  All rights reserved.

Used with permission from American Patchwork and Quilting® magazine ©2014Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

 

Here is the picture of the quilt used in the magazine with permission of American Patchwork & Quilting.  I used the spool set of stamps and my own collection valdani perle cotton for the embroidery.

Used with permission from American Patchwork and Quilting ®magazine. ©2014Meredith Corporation.  All rights reserved.

Used with permission from American Patchwork and Quilting ®magazine. ©2014Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

I loved making this little project.  I hope you will, too!

For other featured projects in the magazine, go to http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/magazines-more/american-patchwork-quilting-june-2014

 

Finished Mystery Blocks

Want just a peek at MY mystery blocks?  Well here are 3 of my completed blocks with the embroidery.

Love using stripes!

Love using stripes!

I’ve had some questions about using stripes and you can see I didn’t “fussy cut”, I just stamped along the lengthwise grain and see what I got!

Here is another one:

Love using large prints!

Love using large prints!

Yes, it is okay to use a large print in a small area!  See what happens on this charming block.

Love these fabrics!

Love these fabrics!

I hope you are loving the way your blocks are turning out.  The 3 rows of Valdani stem stitch are adding depth to my blogs.

Happy Stitching!

PS  A couple things are happening soon…  Check out the home page and you will see one of my quilts is going to be in print soon with American Patchwork and Quilting.  YEA! :)  Also, the new “little house” stamp will be available soon for general purchase.  (This is the stamp that mystery participants received as a thank you gift for signing up.)  And, sadly, my “Sampler by Hand” book is sold out.  My printer is out of business, so I’m not reprinting.  (Okay that was 3 things!)

Sunflower Piecing… Sequential Piecing

For those of you that are doing the mystery quilt, clue #2 includes stitching the sunflower block.  This is a great place to give you some tips.  For those of you new to hand piecing, you will enjoy this blog as well.  “Sequential Hand Piecing” is a term I coined in my book on hand piecing, “Sampler By Hand.”  (Which, BTW, is a great book on hand piecing techniques as well as a pattern book.)  It involves not breaking the thread when you piece and speeds up hand piecing.

The sunflower block is a great block to sequentially hand piece, but it takes practice and time.  Once you have this tool on your belt, you’ll be using it whenever you can.  (I’m using the sunflower block as my example, but there are other blocks that can be pieced this way.)

Layout your block.  It is important with the sunflower block that all the reference marks of the “B” pieces touch the reference marks of the “C” pieces.

Layout of this block shows you can sequentially piece it.

Layout of this block shows you can sequentially piece it.

The arrows show the direction you will be piecing if you are right handed.  Lefties would change the arrows to the other direction.

Next, pick up 2 adjacent pieces, right sides together.  Place a pin in the far left corner and hitting the left corner of the B piece underneath.

The needle is used as a pin to catch the right hand corner.

The needle is used as a pin to catch the right hand corner.

I do use quilting thread to piece my blocks.  See my website under notions for all the tools I love to use.

Next, backstitch at the corner and stitch down the line to the end, coming up where the pin is located.  Backstitch, but leave your needle “parked”.  Open up your piece and check for the correct orientation, then pick up the next new “C” piece.

Pin the left corner of the new piece onto the "B" piece.

Pin the left corner of the new piece onto the “B” piece.

Now bring your parked needle through the seam to the other side, avoiding the seam allowance.

This is a close up of where the needle comes through.

This is a close up of where the needle comes through.

Once you have dragged the needle to the working side, you need to go down with the needle onto the B piece, make a stitch and then backstitch.

 

Stitch up to the top of the C piece where the pin is placed and again, backstitch at the pin.

Close up of backstitch at the point.

Close up of backstitch at the point.

Continue to stitch up and down, going through each seam allowance and backstitching at the other side of the seam.  It looks complicated, but it is actually easy once you wrap your mind around what you are trying to accomplish.

Checking the orientation of the next piece.

Checking the orientation of the next piece.

Keep opening up the piece as you stitch and check the orientation before picking up the next piece.

Continue to stitch all the way around your block, working toward making it into a “ring”.

Continue stitching up and down.

Continue stitching up and down.

When you are finished, it should look like this.  Check to make sure all the reference marks are in the right place.  The pointer and scissors are showing where the reference marks should be.  If you place the reference marks outside or one touching a “C” and the other not touching the “C”, your block will NOT lie flat and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Pointers show where the reference marks should be placed.

Pointers show where the reference marks should be placed.

Next, it is time for a glass of wine!  (or in my case, a Mocha!)

Putting in the center can be daunting, but you can do it if you have lasted this far on my blog!  You will be sewing with the SEAM side up, going from seam allowance to seam allowance, matching reference marks of the circle on the bottom.  (Yes, they were on the template stamp for a reason.)

Pin is inserted from the top to the bottom reference mark.

Pin is inserted from the top to the bottom reference mark.

Notice my pointer.  It is showing you that the circle wants to slide up while the C piece wants to slide down.  I use my fingers to push them together, but you can also pin this with another pin.  NONE of the circle should be showing when you stitch.

Placing a pin on the center of the line can help to keep the pieces lined up.

Placing a pin on the center of the line can help to keep the pieces lined up.

I just sew from one seam allowance to the next.  When you come up where you have a pin placed, do a backstitch and gently TUG on the thread.  Pop up the seam allowance and bring your needle through to the other side.

Push your needle from one side to the other, not catching the seam allowance.

Push your needle from one side to the other, not catching the seam allowance.

YEA!  You are on the “home stretch”.  Continue all around the circle until you are done.

Your “reward” is to press your block.  Place it face down on an ironing board and press the seams in one direction.

NOW!  Isn't that the cutest block you have ever seen?

NOW! Isn’t that the cutest block you have ever seen?

Okay, only 11 more to go!  :)

Mystery Clue #2 is on its way!

Hi, everyone!

I’m sending out mystery clue #2 today. I know it is a few days early. (I planned on sending out all of the clues on the 15th of the month.) But wanted you to have it in your hands before the weekend. Hopefully, you will!

I’ll be sending out another blog tomorrow with lots of information for clue #2. It will help you to “sequentially” hand piece if you have never tried it.

Until then,

Happy Stitching!

Little quilts brighten our lives.

Little quilts brighten our lives.

Hummingbird is Here!

Hi everyone!  I know some of you have been waiting patiently for this stamp set.  It is finally here!  The “hummingbird” is a variation of the block contest we had last year with the “pointed tile” and “starry night.”

My hummingbird quilt.

My hummingbird quilt.

 

This stamp set includes a kite shape that forms the “birds” plus a large octagon shape for the alternate blocks.  This set will also connect with the carpenter’s star A diamond to make another variation.

Hummingbird variation

Hummingbird variation

 

The “birds” measure 3 1/2″ from point to point.  They are so much fun to piece.  Very easy for a beginner.

The instructions for my 27″ square quilt are included with the stamp set.  (I did applique the edge onto a border for more stability.  See instructions.)

I love coming up with new designs that you will love to piece!

You can find the new Hummingbird Stamp Set here in my shop!

Happy Stitching!