My new toy

Man oh man, I’ve been so busy quilting that life got away from me and I neglected to blog! I hinted at a big purchase at QuiltCon, and it’s arrived and been set up for a little while now. That’s right, I finally bought a longarm!

I’m not sure what the UPS guy thought, but he certainly got his workout that day.

A few days after that, representatives from the local dealership came over to set up and train me on it. The assembly took several hours on its own—first, the table.

This is clean and neat by the standards of my sewing room, by the way.

Getting the box with the actual machine head up the stairs was the worst part of this experience. I definitely got my workout that day!

So now the view looks like this!

The first order of business was to load two yards of 90″ wide muslin on the machine and practice my way through those.

I’m super excited about the ruler work possibilities on this machine. My free motion quilting is not as good as on my domestic machine yet, but I’m feeling confident it won’t take me another 10 years to get to the same level on the longarm! I’ve moved on to some real quilts now, and I promise I won’t make you wait another month and a half to see them all!

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QuiltCon recap part 2: classes, swap, and more!

I also had several quilts hanging at QuiltCon. It’s always so fun to see them in a show setting!

I accosted some passers-by to take my picture.

Jeweled Bracelet | Flying Parrot Quilts

Jeweled Bracelet at QuiltCon

Meeting of the Geese at QuiltCon | Flying Parrot Quilts

Meeting of the Geese was in the Quilt of the Month Special Exhibit and is featured in QuiltCon Magazine!

One of the highlights was the mini quilt swap that the MQG organized. The partner I made for unfortunately decided not to come to QuiltCon after all, so I had to mail mine ahead of time. My partner, though, turned out to be my super-talented roommate Cassandra Beaver, and she made this stunning mini for me:

MQG mini swap | Flying Parrot Quilts

I also took several classes. Hands down my favorite was screen printing with Karen Lewis. We hand cut stencils out of newspaper in this class—I was shocked that this worked, as I thought the paint would soak right through, but it worked beautifully.

screen printing feathers | Flying Parrot Quilts

My first attempt at a stencil was too detailed, and my microscopic sea creatures didn’t print terribly well (they kept losing antennae), but my feather stencil worked out really well and I printed up as much fabric as I could in the remainder of class.

QuiltCon screenprints | Flying Parrot Quilts

True story: I was feeling really uninspired after the sea creatures, and was just sitting there trying to think of something to make, feeling like class time was a-wasting. Fortunately, Karen brought chocolates, and when I remembered that, I went for a walk to the bag of chocolates. As soon as I grabbed one, inspiration struck! So, in this class I also learned that when in doubt, eat chocolate.

I’ve loved Karen’s fabrics for quite a while now, and this was probably my biggest fangirl moment. She was kind enough to take pictures with us!

meeting Karen Lewis! | Flying Parrot Quilts

Another class was Natalia Bonner’s Straight Line quilting class. Not too bad for my first time trying rulers on a longarm (I only just got a ruler foot for my domestic)!

straight line quilting sampler | Flying Parrot Quilts

I also took a handwork class from Heidi Parkes. We tried several different techniques that allow your hand stitches to show, including a shadowing technique where you put dark fabrics or thread underneath thin white muslin. I think these will be fun to play with in small quilts, and I was therefore inspired to stock up on perle cotton at the show.

handwork | Flying Parrot Quilts

QuiltCon is particularly generous in all the swag the vendors offer up…

QuiltCon swag | Flying Parrot Quilts

And of course I couldn’t resist all the lovely modern fabrics in the vendor booths.

QuiltCon goodies | Flying Parrot Quilts

There’s one more purchase I made that isn’t in the picture because it hasn’t arrived yet, but I can’t wait to show you. Exciting changes are coming!

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QuiltCon recap part 1: Favorite quilts

I’m back from QuiltCon and here’s a post full of my favorite quilts! These are by and large not award winners, not because those weren’t beautiful, but because you’ve probably seen those all over the place already and I wanted to share some that perhaps you haven’t yet if you didn’t get an opportunity to go to the show.

C41 H64 O13 by Dia Sue-Wah-Sing

C41 H64 O13 by Dia Sue-Wah-Sing

Going Rogue by Julie Elliott

Going Rogue by Julie Elliott

This fun quilt was not in the show, but in the Aurifil thread booth. I love Aurifil thread, so this quilt spoke to me. 🙂

A Sprinkling of Stars by Josee Carrier

Caged Bird by Juli Smith

Rails by Michelle Wilkie

Pieces of Me by Sarah Maxwell

Pieces of Me by Sarah Maxwell

Leftovers #4 by Debra Jalbert

Leftovers #4 by Debra Jalbert

Measure by Melanie Tuazon

Measure by Melanie Tuazon

49 by Anne Sullivan

49 by Anne Sullivan

Square Count Game by Debra Jalbert

Square Count Game by Debra Jalbert

smoke by Katherine Jones

smoke by Katherine Jones

smoke by Katherine Jones

Detail of smoke by Katherine Jones (who also won Best of Show). I loved the way she used a variety of thread weights.

Westshire by Julia Williams

Westshire by Julia Williams

For the Watchers and Dreamers by Kristin Shields

For the Watchers and Dreamers by Kristin Shields

I Spy by Cassandra Beaver

I Spy by Cassandra Beaver

Quilt no.019: Of Discontent by Shelby Skumanich

Quilt no.019: Of Discontent by Shelby Skumanich (2nd place, Handwork)

Lime Light, Star Bright by Mel Beach

Lime Light, Star Bright by Mel Beach

Birds on a Wire by Wendy Richards

Birds on a Wire by Wendy Richards

Improv No. 2: Pho-nomenal by Kelly Spell

Improv No. 2: Pho-nomenal by Kelly Spell

Twelve Constellations by Amber Corcoran

Twelve Constellations by Amber Corcoran

Pearls on a Clamshell by Elaine Poplin

Pearls on a Clamshell by Elaine Poplin

Part 2 will be about the fun stuff I learned in my classes, etc.!

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Lleonard the Llama

I have a standing agreement with my good friend Joan (who incidentally is an amazing crochet artist with a new website!) that one of these days, we’re just going to run away to the llama farm (pending acquisition of a llama farm). For her recent birthday, I thought I’d jump-start the process by giving her her first llama.

Well, maybe just a quilted llama.

Lleonard the Llama | Flying Parrot Quilts

This is Lleonard (paper pieced from this pattern), and he’s purple to match his new owner’s favorite color. The background is a yarn-dyed Essex Linen blend, and I quilted it with a loopy yarn-like pattern.

Lleonard the Llama | Flying Parrot Quilts

Lleonard seems a little unsure about everything, but I think he’s settling in nicely after a dramatic first day in which he fell off the wall.

He’s backed in this amazing llama print I stumbled across at Gotham Quilts in New York city this summer:

Lleonard the Llama | Flying Parrot Quilts

Who else is headed to QuiltCon in less than two weeks? I’m hoping to meet lots of online friends there!

Posted in Finished Quilts, Mini Quilts | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Quilt Challenge: “I’m a Sewciopath” & pattern

My local traditional quilt guild put out a “Say it with Flowers” challenge: we had to make a quilt that incorporated text and at least three floral fabrics.

My husband and I recently read a whole lot about sociopathy and narcissistic personality disorder to better understand some people we know. As I digested the reading at my sewing machine, a little pun popped into my head.

I'm A Sewciopath | Flying Parrot Quilts

My definition of a sociopath is one who prefers sewing machines to people, and who is incapable of feeling guilt about purchasing more fabric!

I'm A Sewciopath | Flying Parrot Quilts

The design is 36″ x 16″ and the text is paper-pieced. As a result, some of these pieces are truly tiny!

I'm A Sewciopath | Flying Parrot Quilts

Text fabric was not considered to fulfill the requirements of the challenge, but I used it as background fabric. The fabric is “Newsprint” by Carrie Bloomston, and is full of lovely and affirming quotes, which makes an amusing contrast with the realities of sociopathy.

I'm A Sewciopath | Flying Parrot Quilts

I know that many of you have realized that you are sewciopaths, too, so the pattern is up on Craftsy and Payhip for your amusement!

I'm A Sewciopath | Flying Parrot Quilts

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Finished Union Jack quilt

I’ve been part of Stash Bee for several years now, and this year I requested Union Jack blocks because I decided that my British husband needed a Stash Bee couch quilt that he loves as much as I love mine from several years ago. I finally decided I needed to get a move on and finish it because, with the possibility of Scotland seceding from the UK reopened after the Brexit vote, I wanted to at least finish the quilt before the flags become obsolete!

Rainbow Union Jack quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

I was initially inspired by this quilt which is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection. Fortunately, my husband is not too macho and so not anti-rainbow or purple/pink! I requested blocks following Molli Sparkles’ anatomically correct tutorial, because my husband would definitely notice if the flag were upside down or otherwise wrong. (I did not know that the British flag has an upside down a right side up until I got involved with him, but it does!)

Rainbow Union Jack quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Once I received the blocks, I had to make a bunch more, mostly in the orange/yellow/green range to bring the quilt up to a good size and fill out the rainbow. I debated for a long time whether to add sashing or not, but in the end I really liked the way the colors flowed without it.

Many of my bee-mates kindly used science- or marine-themed fabrics to make it really special:

Rainbow Union Jack quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

I quilted the quilt with straight lines about 1/2″ across, because that seemed to best compliment the geometric nature of the flag. I used a variegated Aurifil thread in the colors of the British flag—who would have thought that I could find such a thread here in the United States?! 😉

Rainbow Union Jack quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

For the backing, I used scraps of various London-themed fabrics I’ve collected over the years for bags and pillows I’ve made him, plus a bit of yardage.

Rainbow Union Jack quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Rainbow Union Jack quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

The binding is a map of the London Underground, and I just love the way little station names and bits of the subway lines randomly pop up on the front.

Rainbow Union Jack quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Rainbow Union Jack quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Finished size: 60″x60″
Thread: Aurifil 4647, 50wt cotton
Batting: Warm & Natural 100% cotton

Posted in Finished Quilts | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Dragonfly mini quilt (and new pattern!)

I seem to be in a bug phase at the moment, because on the heels of my Spooky Spider paper piecing pattern, next up is a paper pieced dragonfly!

Gossamer Wings mini quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Gossamer Wings paper piecing pattern | Flying Parrot Quilts

I designed this for a swap, and this little mini quilt is off to a new home—but since just about everyone loves dragonflies, I’ve turned it into a pattern that includes three sizes. Shown above is the large version (18″ finished); there is also a medium (12″) and small (9″) version, which primarily have less detail in the wings. You can pick it up now in my Payhip (EU crafters, VAT is included) and Craftsy shops!

medium Gossamer Wings | Flying Parrot Quilts

Medium (12″ finished) size

small Gossamer Wings | Flying Parrot Quilts

Small (9″ finished) size

Here are a few photos of dragonflies made by some of my lovely pattern testers.

Large:

 

 

Medium size:

 

Small size:

Just finished up testing a paper piecing pattern for @flyingparrotquilts called #gossamerwingspattern I made the smallest version which is approx 9" square. My dragonfly halves didn't line up whatsoever, no fault of the pattern…my PP 1/4" ruler has been shaved way too much in the cutting process over time and I didn't realize how off it is now…it needs to be thrown out, alas it's quite off and I wanted to post this one because I liked the wing fabric and don't have any more to make another. It's a beautiful pattern, very easy to follow if you have any PP experience at all, (and if you don't there's a link to learn how). Has three sizes as well so you could really do a lot with this pattern too! Nicely done @flyingparrotquilts ❤️ I hope you like the outcome… #paperpiecing #patterntesting

A post shared by Charlayne Davis Dunn (@travelingcharlie79) on

 

If you make this pattern and share it on social media, please tag it with #gossamerwingspattern—I love seeing your versions!

 

 

Posted in Mini Quilts, Swaps | Tagged | 7 Comments

My Finished Epic Halloween Quilt

As many of you are finishing up your Epic Halloween quilts, I wanted to share my finished quilt and hopefully give you a few ideas on how you might quilt yours!

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

I decided to go elaborate on the quilting, and so I also splurged on 100% wool batting so my stitches would really pop. This is the first time I’ve used pure wool batting in a quilt, and oh my is it fabulous! The other special supply I broke into for this quilt was the cone of glow-in-the-dark thread that a friend gifted me a while back. It was hard to get a good picture of the glow, but it does look pretty neat in person.

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

The thread requires charging up with a pretty high-powered lamp to really glow, so I’m not sure how much of it I’ll see on a regular basis, but it’s fun to know it’s there. I tried to outline most of the piecing and added some highlights here and there. This is one of the pairs of eyes:

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Here are some of the quilting designs I used on the different blocks.

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Curved spiderwebs were echoed every 1/2 inch, and the outside is full of little bitty spiders.

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

In many cases, I used the printed fabric as guides, such as for this skeleton in a bottle, and the bubbles in the green potion. The background of all the potion bottles was quilted with a brick wall-type design.

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

For the spiders, I added some curved lines to the body and then a jagged swirl reminiscent of spiderwebs.

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Bats got a clamshell/mussel-type background design (because that reminds me of the sonar they use to find their prey. Come on, you knew I was going to bring science into this at some point. 🙂 ).

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

I added some extra lines to their wings, too. I used a silvery metallic thread for that part since I used metallic fabrics, but in retrospect probably should have used the glow-in-the-dark for these details as well.

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Some of the open blocks got a spiderweb, and for others I outlined some of the elements and then did a tight stipple in the rest of the block. I actually thought about quilting one giant spiderweb over the whole quilt, and I still think that would look really cool if you’re looking for something less intense for your quilt!

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

For the Barn Bats, I used some quilting inspired by Angela Walters’ “Shape to Shape” concept and swirls in the background. (And again on the newspaper, I used the fabric as a guide.)

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

The coffins in the ring of coffins were outlined, and then I used feathers for the background of that block.

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

You can see it better on the back:

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Eyeballs, after being filled with glow-in-the-dark thread, got a leaf fill in the background (since clearly monsters hide in bushes and forests), though it unfortunately doesn’t really show up very well on the black fabrics.

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

And the haunted house is obviously in an overgrown forest, so I used a branching fill for the background there.

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Again, you can see how I used the designs in the fabric to guide my quilting here.

For the backing, I tried to use up a bunch of my leftovers. It’s pretty busy, so you don’t see too much of the quilting, but there is some texture that pops out.

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Finally, here’s the binding, which I very carefully fussy-cut to take advantage of the tiny 1/4″ dots and skulls on the Cotton+Steel print. This is one of my favorite parts of the quilt!

Epic Halloween Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Final stats:
Finished size: 48″x60″
Fabrics: Primarily Cotton+Steel and Alexander Henry
Thread: Aurifil 50wt and Superior NiteLite
Batting: Quilters Dream 100% wool
Started: April 2016
Finished: August 2016
As always, quilted on my domestic machine.

Posted in Finished Quilts, Quilt Alongs | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Epic Halloween QAL, Week 12: Assembling your quilt top

Well, here we are—it’s time to put this bad boy together! Go ahead and lay out your blocks on your design wall (or floor) using the following image as a guide for which finished size goes where.

Epic Halloween QAL | Flying Parrot Quilts

If you have not yet cut your solid filler blocks, here are the sizes you will need:

  • 1 – 3½” x 3½” square
  • 6 – 6½” x 6½” squares
  • 1 – 12½” x 12½” square
  • 1 – 6½” x 9½” rectangle
  • 1 – 3½” x 9½” rectangle
  • 1 – 4½” x 6½” rectangle (or 3½” x 6½” if you resized your small spider to 9½”x9½” and made the 9½”x3½” broomstick)

Of course, you can substitute additional blocks (such as witch hats, candy corn, or variable potion blocks) for any of these as well.

As you may have noticed, in this layout there are not a whole lot of long straight seams that run along the entire quilt, so we need to use a technique called “partial seams.” It’s exactly what it sounds like, and it’s super easy!

Begin by sewing your blocks together into the following sections:

Epic Halloween QAL | Flying Parrot Quilts

Once you have sewn your blocks into sections, assemble sections A-E using partial seams. The following pictures use a small quilt block to demonstrate, but it’s exactly the same technique for larger sections—you’re just sewing longer seams!

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Begin by placing E on top of A, right sides together, and lining up the righthand edge. Sew these two pieces together, but not all the way. Stop your seam about 1-2″ before reaching the uneven edge and backstitch to secure:

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Open the pieces up and finger press the end of the seam upwards towards piece A.

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Now, you can attach B to the unit you have just made. Sew the entire seam:

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

And press the seam.

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Continue around, sewing on piece C:

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

And piece D, being careful to not catch piece A in your seam:

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Press the seam. Your unit should look a little like this:

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Now, all you need to do is finish the first seam that you only partially sewed. Line up the edges as normal.

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

And sew the remaining part of the seam a little past where you originally stopped, backstitching for security.

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Now you can press the final seam with your iron!

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Again, while this was a small block, it’s exactly the same for larger sections! We will need to use another partial seam to add sections F-I.

Epic Halloween QAL | Flying Parrot Quilts

  • Add section H to the bottom right of the large bat block (section C) with a partial seam (open to the left).
  • Sew section F to the right side of sections ABCDE/H.
  • Add section I to the bottom of  the F/H section, sewing the full seam.
  • Add section G to the left of the H/I section, sewing the full seam.
  • Finish the seam between H/G and the rest of the blocks.
  • Sew section J to the bottom of the quilt and you are done!

Congratulations, your quilt top is done! Because of all the paper piecing in this quilt, I strongly recommend stitching around the entire outside edge of your top (about 1/8″ in) with a relatively short stitch length (2mm or so) to secure all the seams and tame bias edges.

This concludes the main portion of our quilt-along, but since I haven’t revealed my finished quilt yet, come back next week for photo overload and, I hope, lots of ideas for you on how to quilt your finished quilt! Thank you all so much for quilting along!

Tag the photos of your finished tops with #epichalloweenqal and the hashtags for all the patterns included (#midnightbitepattern, #ringofcoffins, #eyeballquilt, and #spookyspiderpattern)!

Posted in Quilt Alongs, Tutorials | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Epic Halloween QAL, Week 11: Broomstick and Haunted House

At this point, I imagine you are all old pros at paper piecing! This is the last week before we assemble the quilt, so the end is in sight.

Today we have two last blocks: the broomstick and the haunted house.

First up is the broomstick.

Broomstick | Flying Parrot Quilts

You’ll notice in the pattern that there are two options, a 3″ x 9″ and a 3″ x 10″ finished block. The reason for this is that the broomstick is part of the odd section that doesn’t quite fit into the 3-inch grid.

odd section

If you made your spider 8 1/2 inches, use the 10-inch broomstick; if you enlarged your spider to 9 1/2 inches, use the 9-inch broomstick. This pattern should be pretty straightforward, if a bit fiddly on the actual broom end!

The haunted house is perfect for fussy cuts in the door and windows! What sort of horrors await visitors to your house?

Haunted House | Flying Parrot Quilts

The second story of the house (section B) has a special window section. You’ll piece this first, remove the papers, then use it in space 5. The house is full of wonky angles, so exact placement isn’t so important, and you could even just improv piece that section if your fussy cut requires a slightly different shape of window. The provided window section includes a slightly larger seam allowance to make piecing it into that slot easier.

As always, show us your progress using #epichalloweenqal on social media!

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