This is the first block in my new 5 month long QAL that begins Feb 14th. It will be my first QAL ever, I have never created or participated in one. The reason, I like to see the quilt before I commit to making it because if the patterns aren’t appealing to me I will get bored with it and move on to something else. Or…and the main reason is I don’t like having more than one project going at a time. Many of the QAL’s that drew my attention were 1 block a month QAL’s, I don’t have the patience for that. Hopefully by have this QAL it will teach me the patience needed to participate in anothers quilt along.
The block above is a 17″ block, it took me 6-8 hours to make and that included taking photos and writing notes for 2 pictorials. If it were the start of the weekend I would have the other 3 completed by Sunday. But…since I have a whole month to complete them I may just get some past due things done around the house.
The fabric I am using in this quilt is New Aged Muslin by Marcus Fabrics. Several months ago I purchased a fat quarter bundle because I liked the dusty look the fabric has. After receiving the bundle I went back and ordered 3 more bundles. One I used on practice blocks for another project and I loved it. So the remaining 3 I have saved for “the right” project. Because I wanted a dark sashing I did have to order a couple of yards of the dark blue. It took some going back and forth over the sashing color. My other option was to use the natural muslin that matches my geese sky fabric for the sashing. The geese would have looked like they were floating having all the same color background but I opted for a dramatic effect and went for the dark blue. Off to work now. Oh, did I mention the QAL is free? Well it is, so if you would like to join in come back Feb 14th to pick up the first download. Happy sewing!
With the upcoming quilt along I thought it only fitting to add a pictorial. There are paper piecing tutorials all over the internet and I have read quite a few, even watched many videos on YouTube. Honestly, this is a combo of tips I have taken and combined that work for me. None are wrong, it all comes down to what works best for you. This is what works best for me. The paper pieced pattern is Mosaic Quilt, the QAL pattern that will start on Feb 14.
My precutting involves cutting fabric into workable sized strips. For the Mosaic Quilt a 2″ strip is prefect. I’d rather spend the times sewing then cutting.
The first fabric patch on any paper pieced template will be wrong side to the paper. Every additional patch you add will be right sides together.
This should have read:Line up your colored geese fabric with your seam allowance.
In the photos below I will try to explain a little on piecing with the strips and the angled edge.
When I slide that template up and over the geese fabric I want to be certain I have left at least 1/4″ seam allowance. If not I will have to rip stitches which usually means ripped paper template. Then you have to add a piece of tape to stabilize the template.
My template patch is covered and I still had a little fabric trimming to do so I would have a 1/4″ seam allowance. If I had cut my geese pieces in rectangles I would be cutting off and wasting that corner of fabric. 9 times out of 10, if I had cut the geese into triangles to cover the patch the bias would have distorted my fabric with all the handling. If that weren’t bad enough, for paper piecing flying geese it has been my experience that I had to cut the triangles a lot larger than necessary. If I didn’t, after stitching and turning my fabric I would always have the point a little off and not enough fabric on one side to leave my 1/4″ seam. So I would end up ripping stitches and my template. Tape isn’t the easiest thing to press over. It also makes it more difficult to remove the paper if your new seam goes through the tape. Instead of my waste can being heavy because it is filled with a lot of wasted fabric pieces, it’s light and filled with small strips of fabric and paper. Almost like going from a dry fluffy cotton ball to a soaked cotton ball.
If you are new to paper piecing I hope you can take something from this pictorial and apply it to your own work. Whether you are new or experienced, if you feel I have left something out or would like me to expand on a photo please leave a comment or click on the “Contact” tab at the top of the page and send me a private message.
On Feb 14th the first download for the QAL will be available along with another pictorial for joining the templates. So, if you have ever wanted to try paper piecing but wasn’t sure where to begin you have found a starting point. Hope to see you join in and if you do, please share your photos.
Previous post on paper piecing
A couple more things to keep in mind, I starch and press my fabric prior to cutting.
Before trimming and joining template pieces I ALWAYS press on both the fabric and paper side of each template. (Do not add more starch)
Sew along with me for the next 5 months. Feb 14th will be the beginning of my sew along. Each pdf will be available for download for 1 month for free, then taken down on the 14th of the next month when a new download is added.
There will be 4 blocks to make in February and 4 blocks to make in March. April will be just 1 block so that will be a good time to catch up if you fall behind on the previous months blocks. May and June will both be border block months. If you complete the top as pictured the pre-quilted/pre-laundered finished size is 69″ x 69″.
This quilt is fat quarter friendly, strip friendly and scrap friendly. A few months ago I purchased some Marcus Fabrics New Aged Muslin fat quarter bundles and have been saving them for the perfect project and for me, this is it.
If you modify my pattern by changing border blocks or adding to it to make a larger quilt I would love it if you shared a photo with me. If you don’t know me, I’ve been known to combine patterns from different quilts to suit my own likes and needs. Yes, I have purchased patterns just for 1 or 2 blocks.
The Mosaic Quilt was inspired by a Roman Mosaic Floor dated 150-200 AD. It caught my eye because of all the flying geese. I wonder, did the Romans who constructed this piece even consider its life beyond the 2nd century, did they give any thought to how long it would last? Did Roman slaves construct it or a skilled worker who traveled around Rome or a local craftsman? The answer would most likely be found online but what would be the fun in that? As with previous quilts, while I am piecing this the possible answers to these questions and many more will be played out in my imagination.
If you have ever pieced flying geese traditionally, the number of geese involved in this quilt would be enough to scare you away. Fortunately they are paper pieced. You will have to trust me when I say paper piecing flying geese will be like entering a new dimension. The great thing about this or any quilt I have been designing is, there is no precutting those tiny pieces unless you just want to, I do not want to. When I design a quilt I keep in mind that I want manageable strips of fabric for piecing so I don’t have to pre cut hundreds of pieces no matter how small or large they may be. You will still need to cut strips unless you use jelly rolls. You will stitch a strip to the paper, trim the excess strip off. Then the next time you use this strip, just rotate the strip for best fit, stitch and trim. There is less waste this way. Make sense? If not it will when I share the photos.
So I hope you’ll join in and share your progress and photos with me.
The Wind Rose is on my frame and I started the quilting today. I’ve settled on feathers, I will stitch feathers over the entire quilt. Please ignore the wonky lines in the center, they are coming out.
Next month I will be releasing a quilt pattern, instructions for a babysized quilt if all goes well with my testers, but could be adapted to a much larger quilt.
I’ll also be sharing the below quilt pattern as a sew along with my followers. A facebook group has been setup to share and communicate as we go, not required. Including this pattern I have 2 other irons in the fire and have to put out 2 of them prior to sharing this sew along. The pattern below will be a variation of what we will be working on. The outside design has been changed a couple times but the center will remain. If you are interested in joining in you will need to follow me. When we are ready to start I will give a heads up by email letting you all know as well as posting the final drawing here.
I hope you are all well and stitching away, if so I have a lot of catching up to do. Stay warm yall.
ALL TESTER SPOTS HAVE NOW BEEN FILLED. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO VOLUNTEERED.
In case you missed my post last week, I’m still looking for 1 more pattern tester. It will be a 52″ x 52″ quilt with 3 different but similar blocks. With a little math you could easily expand this into a larger quilt. Initially the quilt was a gift for one of my drivers whos 3rd grandbaby is due this summer. But because it went together so well I decided I would package it to sell on Craftsy. Its not there yet.
What I expect from the testers
1)You do not post photos of your progress or finished quilt online until I am ready to make the pattern public.
2)You can have the top, (quilted or not) completed by February 28th, 2018.
3)You make me aware of any errors. Suggestions are also welcome to improve the pattern, but not required.
For an experienced pp it will go together quickly. If you are new to pp you will need to know the basics since there are no step by step instructions at this time. I really want to see if my testers can piece this without a step by step which should not be a problem with the diagrams I have included. This is not a complex block like the North Star I have shared. If you have read my previous posts you know I love flying geese but if you are not a fan of them, don’t worry there are no flying geese in this quilt. Yardage and patch cutting recommendations are given and templates are numbered for piecing order. It would make a good 2 color quilt and it is fat quarter friendly.
If you are interested in testing, click on the “Contact ” tab above to send me a private message with your email address.
A couple pattern testers needed. If you are in between projects or need to take a breather from a current project, leave a comment below with your email address. You could also click on “Contact Me” above to send me a private message with your email. The blocks are beginner friendly so if you have been wanting to try paper piecing this may be for you.
One of the paper pieced patterns I have been working on the last of couple weeks is ready to be tested, finished size 52″ x 52″. It could easily be expanded to a full size or lap quilt. Keep in mind my pattern does not instruct you on paper piecing, you will need to know the basics. It is a pdf pattern that I will email to you.
What I expect: .
You do not post photos of your progress or finished quilt until I am ready to make the pattern public.
You can have the top, quilted or not completed by February 28th, 2018.
You make me aware of any errors. Suggestions are also welcome to improve the pattern, but not required.
Whoever coined the phrase “baby steps” when referring to recovery or learning a new task clearly understood how difficult either can be. For almost 2 months now I have been taking baby steps on my road to recovery. I’ve been a good girl by not lifting anything heavier than my Enzo and I’ve been faithful with my stretching exercises. The most important lesson learned is to set time limits on activities that when performed over an extended period of time increases pain. It’s hard to imagine that sitting at my sewing machine and piecing table for 2 hours would create such pain and regret when sitting in a wooden rocking chair with lumbar support for hours does not. Leaning in and looking down onto my piecing table is unavoidable, okay maybe the leaning in part is.
I’ve stayed away from the quilt frame since stretching and twisting on my toes is what created this mess I am in. The backing and batting for the Wind Rose quilt has been loaded since Nov 11th with the top thrown over the frame. So every day when entering or exiting my office I see the quilt, it demands my attention all day, I stare at it like a chocohaulic (which I am) would a bowl full of chocolate knowing they cant have it. However this morning my will power went out the window, the top is now pin basted…applause! Baby steps… It still needs some smoothing and re-pinned but I am a lot further along then I was when I made it my one monthly goal for November. Threads still need to be picked and trimmed from the top but I am so happy I had to share a photo.
My friend Cherie (< <link to her site) who is a beginner paper piecer has been piecing my pattern For the love of geese. She has done an amazing job, I have enjoyed following her progress and I love her gray border geese. I cant wait to see what she does with the quilting.
My next quilt project is up in the air. I find inspiration all over the internet and daily life. My latest infatuation is long out of print books for their artwork and mosaic floors in the Sistine Chapel and Westminster Abbey. My husband tells me I will look at anything as he shakes his head and glances towards the computer monitor which pretty much sums things up. He understands the mosaics but not the old books. There really is no limit for me when searching for inspiration. With the vast amount of public domain books and artwork available that can be turned into quilts you are only limited by your ability and imagination. Prior to looking at photos of the before mentioned mosaics I always assumed flying geese were just quilt patterns and circling geese had been created by quilters, however this is not the case. The triangle in a rectangle that we quilters call flying geese pre-date the Cosmati Pavement in Westminster Abbey.
After a few days with very little pain I decided to retreat to my sewing room. The first day I worked on the North Star block for 45 minute, it went well and there was no increased pain. Yesterday I went in to finish the block and lost track of time, an hour and half later I had the final seam stitched and papers removed. I opened it up and the throbbing shock hit me. Remember the music in the shower scene in Psycho? That’s the throbbing shock I felt. Over the last couple of years I have made every mistake there is when paper piecing and chalked them all up to lessons learned the hard way. These are the lessons that stay with you and you never make the same mistake twice, yea right.
The most important lesson is, DO NOT remove the papers until the end or before checking your work, I know this and never do it prior to checking my work. I cant say never again. Perhaps it was my comfort with pp, the excitement of completing the block so I could share it with you all or maybe it was the sheer excitement of actually being back and removing the cobwebs and dust from my machine. Whatever the reason I know better yet I removed all center papers before checking, leaving only the outside papers on each template. The huge mistake I made though, after the final seam was stitched I removed every paper left before opening the block to inspect my work. Some of my issues could have been avoided had I just checked. My block was lopsided, I had sewn one of my pie shaped pieces on the wrong side and ended up with 2 corner blocks sewn together. No big deal right? Actually it was. Seams had to be ripped and re-sewn. Most paper pieced quilt blocks involve piecing tiny pieces that without papers would be almost impossible to accurately sew with traditional piecing. This block isn’t like the free God’s eye block I offer that can be easily completed by traditional piecing.
Once seams were ripped and pieced back together I began pressing and my center star did not line up. So I ripped that last seam again, realigned and stitched again. It was better but not right. At this point I am afraid to rip again because I don’t feel I will have a strong seam line if I do. How many times can you rip and re-sew the same sections together without weakening your seam? I’m disgusted with myself and decided to go ahead and press the block and hang it on the wall as a stark reminder of what not to do. While pressing I noticed a few other places that my pieces did not line up properly. Again, the papers had already been removed but even if they hadn’t too much would have needed taken apart to fix the problem. A problem that could have been eliminated had I simply checked each template before moving on, this is where my comfort of pp played a role in my demise on this block. My scrap practice block did not present any of these issues and why? Because I check my work, if all is good I move on. Sometimes you have to remove the paper bulk to confirm it’s as it should be. Take the spikes coming off the star extending to the outside blocks as an example. The spikes are long and narrow, with the added seams and paper its hard to judge if you lined things up properly without removing some of the bulk (papers). I still cannot believe I did not check all of these. Shame on me.
I can say I haven’t had a disaster like this since I first started paper piecing. A few of the spikes that look off are not actually off but instead from the variation in the fabric color and not a smooth press. Its also hanging from one of my quilt frames by a piece of fabric I tied to the bar to hang it. I haven’t figured out how to keep my camera from digitally stamping the date on photos, sorry I’m not real techy.
The moral to this story is… Whether you are new at or wanting to learn pp or even an experienced pp, NEVER EVER EVER REMOVE THE PAPER TEMPLATES UNTIL YOU HAVE CONFIRMED YOUR WORK IS ACCURATE!!!
Cabin fever has set in early this year. The piriformis muscle pressing on my sciatic nerve that’s been causing all of my pain from my butt to the arch in my foot is finally giving me some relief, recovery is slow. Rest assured I have sketched several new quilt ideas and hope to finish assembling my North Star block . It looks so pitiful and neglected laying on my piecing table. Enzo, my quilting companion is thankful for my down time. He is the ultimate velcro dog and hasn’t missed any opportunity to cuddle.
During the virtual cookie exchange I had mentioned Peanut Brittle and told a few commenters I would post the recipe.
The countdown is on, only 17 shopping and/or sewing days left.
Christmas time for me is “CANDY time”, I say this with some melody in my voice. Home made peanut brittle (oh so good) and home made caramel, both will create a party in your mouth. Once you have had fresh home made of these popular candies the mass production versions just will not satisfy. In fact after you’ve had home made when you see them in the stores for sale you will turn up your nose. Most people have fond memories of Christmas morning opening presents or Christmas’s spent with loved ones no longer with us, but my fondest childhood Christmas memory is making candy with my step mother. Who knew you could make peanut brittle, caramel and taffy? You know, all the good stuff. I still love making candy and enjoy her cookbooks today. For many years I have made several batches of peanut brittle at Christmas, placed it in pretty tins and gave as gifts to a boss, family and friends. My son always picks around the peanuts in the brittle, my husband picks the heavy peanut pieces leaving me a pretty balanced selection. The caramel, well its a very versatile candy. You can chunk it up and eat it as is but you can’t eat just 1 piece. You can make turtles or dip it in chocolate. Paint a candy tray with chocolate, add an almond and caramel and finish filling with chocolate (my favorite). If it’s chocolate, caramel and almonds…well it just doesn’t get better than that in my opinion. I think this is my favorite candy but rarely make it because I am the only one who eats it at home. It doesn’t keep as long either. If you can’t consume it in a week or 2 you may want to share it while its at its best. Unfortunately I wont be making either this year, I’ve irritated my sciatica while loading backing on my frame and cant stand the length of time required for making candy. So, I hope you all download and make this and think of me while you enjoy it. The caramel recipe is below, click on the recipe card to download.
Blogging is new to me, so this is the first year I have participated in the Virtual Cookie Exchange hosted by Just let me quilt. Thank you Carol for all your help and for hosting this. You will find links at the bottom of this post to all the bloggers sharing in the cookie exchange.
The photo below is only one pattern option. Read on for variation and pdf download.
For a couple of weeks I have been working on this star block to add to For The Love of Geese and decided I would share it with you all today. I had hoped I would have the block completed before today and normally I would have. Sitting for any length of time is very painful and after sitting at my desk for 9 hours daily I cant do so in the evenings, so there are no photos of my completed block. My test block only consisted of half of the 18″ block and was made with mismatched scraps. There are samples below of my block, I have everything pieced but have not completed joining of the templates. For this I am sorry.
Like the ol’ versatile caramel the 18″ star block offers a few choices. Flying geese or no, 4 patch blocks to create an Irish chain or no. You will need paper piecing knowledge since I have not included instructions for paper piecing and you should have experience with Y seams. Not to say a beginner could not finish this block. With a border this would make a really cool wall hanging, a pillow sham, or create an entire quilt with the Irish chain linking multiple blocks. With proper color placement and values you could easily create a 3d block as well. Struggle with colors? Clever Chameleon has a great write up on color values and on Tuesday’s adds a new Colour Inspiration pallet, I love these by the way.
This is a great block for scraps or fat quarters. Yardage estimates are not given. For my block I used left over 2- 1/2″ strips and scraps of muslin.
For adding the chain blocks you will need to piece them separately and do the math using your preferred seam allowance. If you are using 1/4″ seam allowance you will need to cut 24pcs 1- 1/4″ squares from your background fabric and 24pcs 1- 1/4″ squares from your colored fabric to make twelve 4 patch blocks. I have marked the templates for chain placement, you can paper piece the completed 4 patch blocks to the templates which is what I did.
Now for your options. Below the block on the left is with flying geese (lt blue), the block on the right is with the Irish chain (lt blue). You can choose the download to suite your needs. If you do not want the examples shown below you will want to download the file “North Star without flying geese”.
If you would like a block without flying geese or 4 patch blocks you will want to download North_Star_without_flying_geese
If you would like a block with flying geese and/or chain you will want to download North_Star_with_flying_geese
Perhaps you want flying geese with no chain blocks, download the North Star with flying geese. In place of the chain patches just add a single patch of fabric.
If you want to add chain blocks but no flying geese you can download either file and refer to the color layout for placement. I’ll stop here before I make you more dizzy.
If you create something with the pattern and would like me to share it here please email a photo, include if you want your first/last name or web address shown. A link to my site is always appreciated as well.