Schnitzel & Boo Round 3 swap quilts

Another mini quilt swap has just wound up, and I have both sent off and received my minis. This time I was making for Tammy, who loves red and aqua and and one of whose favorite fabric designers is Bonnie and Camille. While this is not really the style of fabric I typically use, there’s a lot of red and aqua in their lines, so it was perfect. Coming up with something to do with this fabric was a challenge for me, but in the end I really felt like I expanded my quilting horizons in using it.

Mini Swap quilt by Sylvia Schaefer | Flying Parrot Quilts

It is, as usual, paper pieced, because that’s just how I seem to roll. I also tried spiral quilting on this quilt, which was new to me, and I really like how it complements the angular lines in the blocks.

detail of mini swap quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

For the backing, I used a fat quarter from the line that’s heavy on the red and light blue, and sized it up with some leftover charms from the pack I used for the front.

backing of mini swap quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Since people demanded the pattern for this block, it’s available for free in my Craftsy shop!

I also received my quilt from Susan, and I seriously love it, especially that background fabric!

mini quilt swap received, quilt by Susan

Can you believe she’s only been quilting for a year?!

My mini quilt wall is growing nicely. I’ll have to rethink hanging them on my sloped walls soon if I keep up swapping like this!

Mini Quilt Wall | Flying Parrot Quilts

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Binding inside corners and joining curved binding tutorial

Binding Inside Corners & Joining Curved Binding Tutorial

I’m working on a quilt with a scalloped binding, so I thought I’d share my technique for binding inside corners and joining the binding on a curve.

Start with a double-fold bias binding. (Here is some information on making bias binding.) Begin sewing your binding onto the quilt in a curved section.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

When you approach the inside corner, stop with your needle down and, using a water- or air-erasable fabric marker, mark the inside the point of the binding by measuring in 1/4″ from the edge of the binding and 1/4″ down from the next edge of the quilt:

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Sew to this point and stop with your needle down. If you want, you can lift your presser foot and peer underneath the binding to make sure the needle has stopped in the right place in relation to the piecing on your top.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Lift your presser foot and pivot the quilt so the edge of your 1/4″ foot lines up with the next edge of the quilt. Pull the binding around, too.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

If you start sewing now you’ll get weird tucks in your binding, so use a skewer or a toothpick to gently push the excess fabric out of the way right in front of the needle. Lower the presser foot again and make sure the folds are still out of the way. You can keep the skewer in place as you take your first few stitches.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Continue sewing around the quilt, stopping about 8 inches before where you started sewing the binding.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Joining the binding on a curve works just like joining the binding on a straight section. Since one end of your binding should already be cut at the proper angle for a miter, here’s the technique I use.

If necessary, trim your other end so you can lay it flat on the quilt, and pin to the quilt.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Lay your other binding end (the one with the nice 45-degree angle) on top, following the curve. You can pin it if you would like. Then, mark the end of the top binding.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Remove your pins again, and mark a second line on the bottom binding, 1/2″ away from the previous line and closer to the end of the binding.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

I use a skinny 1/2″ wide ruler for this.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Now, right sides together, line the end of your other binding up with the line you just marked,  shifting it 1/4″ to account for the seam allowance:

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Pin and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Before you trim, make sure the binding fits properly:

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

The seam will be in between the two lines that you drew. If the binding fits properly, trim the excess, finger press your seam open, and sew this last section of binding to the quilt.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Trim any excess batting and backing now. Next, you will press the binding outward with your iron. The binding should fold naturally in the corners, but you can adjust it to make sure the top fold is right in the center of the corner. The fold should start right at the corner.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Once you have pressed each corner, insert a pin just into the bottom part of the fold (the part that will be on the front of the quilt) to hold it in place until you can stitch it down.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

To hand-sew these inside corners, use clips or pins to temporarily secure the binding to the back of the quilt. I use Wonder Clips. I put two clips very close to the inside corner:

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Sew around the quilt, removing clips as you come to them. I usually use a ladder stitch, but you can use whatever stitch you prefer.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Come up through the backing right at the corner.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Then, take a stitch through the entire quilt at the corner, catching just a couple of threads of the binding on the back:

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Come up just below the binding on the front.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Take a few stitches to secure the miter on the front:

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

And down the back:

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

Pull tight, and you’re ready to continue around your quilt!

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

This is how your finished corners should look.

Binding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot QuiltsBinding Inside Corners Tutorial|Flying Parrot Quilts

 

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#igminiswap Quilts

Happy New Year, everyone! I meant to post this before Christmas, but it seems time got away from me. I was involved in the Instagram mini swap this fall, and here finally are pictures of my quilts!

My partner was @terireymann, who also loves cockatiels, so it was easy to decide to go with a feather theme for her mini. She prefers traditional quilts, which was a nice challenge for me. I decided to try my hand at a feathered star block.

Feathers, Feathers Everywhere by Sylvia Schaefer

I started with a lot of half square triangles, using teeny weeny Thangles. They worked pretty well, although if I made this block again, I would probably stick to paper piecing.

thangles

Then the wedges were assembled and sewn together.

Feathers Everywhere assembly by Sylvia Schaefer

For the quilting, I wanted to continue with the feathers, but I also decided to try some curved crosshatching, which I marked with my trusty blue water-soluble pen. I love these pens, but they are a pain to rinse out afterwards!

Feathers everywhere quilting by Sylvia Schaefer

It worked really nicely with the walking foot, but I wouldn’t want to do this on a large quilt–too much turning. Here is that section all finished and the blue rinsed out:

Feathers Everywhere detail by Sylvia Schaefer

More feather quilting in the stars themselves:

Feathers Everywhere center detail by Sylvia Schaefer

For the backing, I just happened to have just enough of a cute bird print that matched the colors on the front:

Feathers Everywhere backing by Sylvia Schaefer

I sent it off along with a few extras, and I was so pleased to hear that she loved it!

igminiswap_extras

The quilt I received was this beauty from Silvana, all the way from Brazil! She did an amazing job piecing some very tiny pieces accurately!

Flowering Snowball mini quilt by silort

As you can see, she sent some awesome extras too!

This is a terrible picture, but you can see that it now has a place of honor on my sewing room wall. I am involved in several more upcoming swaps, so I’m going to have to figure out where to display other minis I get—gravity is not my friend with my slanted sewing room walls!

IMG_1840

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WIP—Another Artichoke Quilt

After making my original artichoke quilt (pattern available here!), some friends of mine told me I should make a larger version for show, so that’s what I’ve been working on for some time now. I actually got the top done back in the spring, then it sat around for a while waiting for batting and backing. But with my local guild show coming up in the spring, I figured it was time to put it all together.

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes by Sylvia Schaefer

I’m calling it “The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes,” as a little homage to Salvador Dalí, one of my favorite artists. I didn’t quite manage to get it picture-ready in time for the QuiltCon deadline, but I did squeak in under the wire for the AQS Paducah show, so keep your fingers crossed for me! (The joy of show quilt entry photos: I did the world’s worst job of machine binding it; now I get to rip it out and redo it by hand. I might rip out and redo a small section of quilting, as well.)

Here are a couple of closeups (conveniently not featuring the binding…). I tried to continue the disintegration theme into the quilting.

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes by Sylvia Schaefer, detail

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes by Sylvia Schaefer, detail

And yes, all of this quilting was done on my domestic machine, a Bernina 430!

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes by Sylvia Schaefer, detail

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes by Sylvia Schaefer, detail

(I promise, that white’s all the same color. Color balance was killing me!)

Linking up with Freshly Pieced‘s WIP Wednesday today!

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Bloggers’ Quilt Festival—Main Sequence

I’ve posted about this one recently, but I love this quilt so much I thought I’d enter it into the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, too. Forgive me if you’ve already seen and read all about it! This quilt is called “Main Sequence” and is a really nerdy quilt because it illustrates an important concept in astronomy.

Main Sequence by Sylvia Schaefer

 

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia SchaeferThe design is the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram and represents the main sequence of stars shown. It shows the relationship between the brightness, the temperature, and the color of stars. As the temperature of stars increases the color changes from magenta to blue. The hotter stars are also brighter. So in the image below, temperature increases as you move right and brightness increases as you move upwards.

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

Most of the blocks were made for me by members of my hive in Stash Bee. Everyone used a slightly different background color, so I ordered a bunch of different brands of solids described as “navy” and used those in the negative space. In the end, I’m really glad that happened because I think it’s more interesting than just one solid color, which was the original plan.

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

The backing includes a few reject blocks made while I was working out exactly what to ask for from my hive mates, and a fantastic astrophysics-themed print from from the Rocket Age collection by October Afternoon.

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

Honestly, this may be my favorite quilt that I’ve made to date. It just makes me really happy when I curl up with it!

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

Finished size ~56″ x 74″. Original post here.

AmysCreativeSide.com

 

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Paper Cranes

I realized that I haven’t shown a quilt I finished a while back, so the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival seemed like a good time to post some pictures of “Paper Cranes.”

Paper Cranes by Sylvia Schaefer

This quilt was inspired by the Japanese origami paper cranes that are thought to bring good luck if you fold a thousand of them. I was not going to paper piece quite that many, so there are only thirty on this quilt. But paper piecing is harder than folding, right?

Paper Cranes by Sylvia Schaefer

To quilt all the negative space, I decided to echo the cranes in the empty blocks:

cranes_perspective

I pebbled most of the quilt, but I did quilt a long feather in the big area of negative space on the left.

paper_cranes_quilting_detail

The backing is a great Japanese print I found with… cranes!

paper_cranes_backing

This quilt got to hang out at the American Quilter’s Society show in Chattanooga earlier this fall. It was fun to get a quilt in, and I am definitely going to enter more quilts in the future… just have to finish them!

Paper Cranes by Sylvia Schaefer

I’m working on writing a pattern for this one, so if anyone wants to test it for me, please get in touch. :)

Size: 40″ x 60″

Fabric: Mostly Kona Navy, with scraps of many different batik blenders.

AmysCreativeSide.com

 

Posted in Shows | Tagged | 5 Comments

Astronomy quilt finish

I’m so excited to show you my latest science quilt finish, “Main Sequence”!

Main Sequence, an astronomical quilt based on the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram | Flying Parrot Quilts

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

This is my quilty version of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram and represents the main sequence of stars shown. Basically, this diagram shows the relationship between the brightness, the temperature, and the color of stars. (You usually see this diagram backwards, for reasons of convention. The quilt looks like that if you flip it on its side:

main_sequence_sideways

…so I’m not really sure which way I should call up, but for purposes of explaining it I’m sticking with the way that makes more sense!)

Just like something white-hot is hotter than something red-hot, as the temperature of stars increases the color changes from magenta to blue. The hotter stars are also brighter. For example, Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, is a bluish star. So in the image below, temperature increases as you move right and brightness increases as you move upwards.

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

This quilt is made from the blocks I received as part of Stash Bee. I asked for blocks in all the potential colors of stars, and I got a really nice mix. Because everyone used a slightly different navy for the background of the stars, I decided to continue that in the negative space and used a whole bunch of different dark blue solids, with a few batiks and blenders thrown in, and then I quilted each hexagon with a different pattern.

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

I sewed a pieced backing using two of the reject blocks I made when trying to figure out exactly which sort of star to ask for in the bee, and I included a label showing who made which block.

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

Do you see that backing print?  Backings usually end up being an afterthought for me, but not this one. It’s from the Rocket Age collection by October Afternoon, and I have never loved a backing print for a quilt the way I love this one, because it is completely, utterly, sublimely perfect for the theme of this quilt:

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

You guys, it has equations. And diagrams of orbital mechanics. I am such a nerd.

I really love the way this quilt turned out and I can’t wait to curl up with it on the couch. I’ll leave you with a few more astronomically inspired shots:

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

Finished size ~56″ x 74″.

Posted in Science | 10 Comments

Lone Star quilt finish!

I’ve finished up the lone star quilt I’ve been working on this summer!

Southwest Lone Star quilt by Sylvia Schaefer

I was going for southwest colors, and I really like what I ended up with. I used batiks for the star (except for the very center, which is a fabulous rust dye from my favorite LQS) and Robert Kaufman Essex linen/cotton blend in Natural for the background and binding.

Southwest Lone Star quilt by Sylvia Schaefer

For the quilting, I mostly just echoed the star. I was going for ½” spaced lines, but they ended up being closer to ⅜” apart, since I just assumed that the edge of my walking foot was ½” without actually measuring it!

Southwest Lone Star quilt by Sylvia Schaefer

For the actual star, I quilted curved lines between the points of each diamond. I didn’t manage to get the star to lie particularly flat, but unless you’re looking really closely I think it works anyway!

Southwest Lone Star quilt by Sylvia Schaefer

The backing is another batik–I always forget how very much I hate hand-sewing binding through batiks. The weave is so tight that it’s a bear to push a needle through.

Southwest Lone star quilt by Sylvia Schaefer

I took these photos in the botanical gardens near my home, and I did get one curious visitor stopping by to see what I was doing!

visitor while photographing

This quilt will now be heading off to a new home in, you guessed it, the Lone Star state!

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A tip for piecing bindings

I apologize for the long radio silence–I’ve been finishing up my dissertation, and the last-minute revisions have eaten up all the time I’d rather have spent quilting! But it’s over now, and I promise that new quilt pictures are coming soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a tip for piecing bindings that I came up with the other day. If you’re lazy like me, drawing the diagonal guidelines to sew on when piecing strips together is altogether too much work. You can save yourself that time with nothing other than a strip of washi tape or a few post-it notes!

Lift your presser foot, and line up a ruler with the lines on your stitch plate, with the edge centered right under the needle:

lining up ruler

Use a ruler that extends to the edge of the sewing table you’re using:

lining up ruler2

Now take a piece of washi tape and line it up with that edge. It will be most accurate if you put it on top of the sewing table, but since my extension table is clear I decided to put mine on the bottom–a little less accurate, but this doesn’t have to be perfect.

P1010403

Now when you go to piece your binding strips, line up the edges as you normally would:

binding aligning edges

Then align the top corner with your needle…

aligning top end

And the bottom corner with the edge of your strip of washi tape (just make sure you align it with the correct edge of the tape!). The corner is just sticking out here:

aligning bottom end

Start sewing, making sure to keep that corner on the edge of the tape.

piecing binding

This makes nice straight seams, no marking needed!

finished seam

I hope that helps you piece your bindings a little faster!

Edited to add: You can also use a few post-its, or masking/painter’s tape to do this. The washi tape is just prettier!

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Artichokes revisited…

After making my most recent mini quilt, I was just having too much fun with my artichoke block and decided to come up with a bigger quilt based on it. So, after using this as an excuse to order some of those luscious Kona solid fat quarter bundles, which then sat around and got petted for a while, I finally cut into them to come up with this quilt top:

Insane Artichoke quilt top by Sylvia Schaefer

The green artichoke is the same size as in my previous quilt, the red one is an extra-large one.

Insane Artichoke quilt top by Sylvia Schaefer Insane Artichoke quilt top by Sylvia Schaefer

This is definitely not going to be done by next week, which is the due date for the challenge that inspired the original quilt, but I may just bring it along anyway. I need to figure out how to square this thing up accurately, since the edges are extremely uneven from my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants improv piecing.

I’m thinking of calling it “The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes.” Just because.

Linking up at WIP Wednesday!

Posted in In Progress | Tagged , | 4 Comments