Gnomes and Trees quilt block

Have you started your Christmas sewing yet? Ha, ha. Funny. I generally start Christmas sewing on about December 15th, but I’m way ahead of the curve this year because I asked members of my Stash Bee hive to make Christmas blocks for my turn as Queen Bee last month. I realized I hadn’t shared the tutorial here and thought I would do so!

Gnomes & Trees quilt block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

This block was inspired by this quilt, but a wonkier version. It’s a great block for using up some of those scraps, and other than the open squares, doesn’t require any sort of precision. These instructions are for individual 3×3 blocks that finish at 15″ square, but if you’re making the whole quilt by yourself you could just as easily sew together the subunits in rows and columns.

Click below for the full tutorial!

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Celestial Orbs pattern is available!

I’m pleased to announce that the pattern for Celestial Orbs is up on Craftsy (for US customers) and PatternSpot (for international customers)!

Celestial Orbs Quilt Pattern

My lovely pattern testers improved this pattern greatly; you can see one version, by Tracy, here and here! Hers is Fourth of July themed, and it’s lovely to see it in different colors.

I think this pattern suits itself well to a variety of fabrics. I mocked up a couple of more traditional versions. Here is the mini quilt, also included in the pattern, in traditional florals:

Celestial Orbs quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Or how about Kaffe Fassett?

Celestial Orbs quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Paper piecing instructions aren’t included in this pattern, but I’ve drawn up a free 5-page guide that covers the basics so even a beginning paper piecer can make this quilt. Click here to get the PDF, it will also be accessible from the tutorials page.

And if you make this quilt, I’d love to see what fabrics you choose!

(Edit: update to add Tracy’s second post)

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MQG Riley Blake fabric challenge

A while back the Modern Quilt Guild sent out fabric bundles with the instructions to try something new using the fabrics. I realized they would be perfect for a design I’d been thinking about for a little while.

Geese in the Ferns | Flying Parrot Quilts

Several people told me it reminded them of ferns, so I’m calling this one “Geese in the Ferns.”

The new technique I tried with this quilt was reverse appliqué. I first paper pieced the curved geese sections, then I cut out the white background sections, carefully turned under the edges, and machine appliquéd them on top.

Geese in the Ferns in progress | Flying Parrot Quilts

Geese in the Ferns finished top | Flying Parrot Quilts

I marked registration lines on my templates to help me line them up again later, but foolishly did so using the first pen I grabbed from my cup, which turned out to be a pink felt tip pen. It made easily recognizable lines, but when I used starch to turn under the edges, it bled right onto on the white fabric and has left small pink spots in places. I haven’t washed the quilt, so it remains to be seen whether they will come out, but given that I’ve ironed over them I’m not holding my breath. I like to say that I learn from every quilt, and this one definitely taught me a valuable lesson.

At the suggestion of my friend Marybeth, I quilted large swirls in contrasting turquoise thread. I filled in the rest with all-over small swirls using white Invisafil thread. (Marybeth had some great additional suggestions about quilting ghost triangles, but I was really just ready to be done with this quilt, particularly given the pink spots.)

Geese in the Ferns detail | Flying Parrot Quilts Geese in the Ferns detail | Flying Parrot Quilts

I used some of the leftover fabric on the back and a spot in the binding. Even though it’s very simple, I think the back actually looks pretty interesting with the contrasting swirls.

Geese in the Ferns back | Flying Parrot Quilts

Geese in the Ferns back detail | Flying Parrot Quilts

I’m working on a whole bunch of quilts simultaneously, so there should be lots more to show soon!

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Baby girl quilt

A friend of mine just had a baby girl, so naturally… time for a quilt!

Baby Girl quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts I don’t typically work much with precuts, mostly because I’m religious about pre-washing my fabric, but this little jelly roll of Heather Bailey True Colors seemed perfect for a baby girl without being too heavy on the pink. Because I don’t use precuts much, I also never really know what to do with them, but fortunately I found this great tutorial from Missouri Star.

Baby Girl quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

I quilted the quilt with an all-over flower and swirl pattern using a light green thread, which blended really nicely.

Baby Girl quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Finished size is about 30″x40″, which I’m told is a good size for car trips. It’s summer in the south, so a quilt won’t be needed for car trips for a few months, but hopefully it will come in handy eventually!

Baby Girl quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

 

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Celestial Orbs

My second entry to the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival is called Celestial Orbs:

celestial_orbs_full

This quilt was inspired by the traditional “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul” block. The center stars are paper pieced:

Celestial Orbs assembly | Flying Parrot Quilts

This makes really nice sharp , perfect points when the melon units are added.

Celestial Orbs quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

I used many of my favorite fabrics—bits of Tula Pink, Alison Glass, Lizzy House, Violet Craft, Sarah Jane, and a few others.

Celestial Orbs quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

I had a hard time deciding how to quilt the quilt—I think it would suit itself well to intricate custom quilting, but in the end I decided to offset the solids with a simpler large spiral quilted using my walking foot. It took a lot of turning, turning, turning!

Celestial Orbs quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

Celestial Orbs quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

I’m working on the pattern for this quilt, and it should be ready soon. In the meantime, head back over to the Festival and check out all the other gorgeous quilts!

Celestial Orbs quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

 

AmysCreativeSide.com

 

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The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes

My first entry into this spring’s Bloggers’ Quilt Festival is “The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes.”

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes | Flying Parrot Quilts

Those of you that follow me have seen a lot of this quilt, but I thought I’d share some photos from the making of it. More closeups of the finished quilt are at the end. The quilt started with the “Insane Artichoke” quilt block that I designed:

The Insane Red Artichoke

The Insane Red Artichoke

A few of my friends told me I really should design a larger quilt using this block, but medallion quilts aren’t really my thing. At that point the idea of having two artichokes disintegrating was born. Piecing the centers was the easy part, but then I had to get into large-scale improv piecing. I cut the triangles to size, then pieced them into strips that I added to the center one by one:

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes assembly | Flying Parrot Quilts

I did the two blocks individually, then joining them was the real challenge.

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes assembly | Flying Parrot Quilts

There was a lot of laying stuff out on the floor. The final joins were super awkward and ended up being some sort of weird piecing-appliqué hybrid:

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes assembly | Flying Parrot Quilts

The finished top was an awkward shape, but allowed me room to trim it to size after quilting, which makes for a perfectly square quilt.

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes assembly | Flying Parrot QuiltsA lot of people have asked me about how much of the quilting was marked, so here a couple of pictures showing that. I went through at least an entire one of my blue water-soluble markers. All the circles and all the feathers/teardrops were marked ahead of time; only the background swirls and stippling was done without marking. This was mostly to keep the circles round, which I have a hard time with otherwise, and to keep the feather sizes consistent.

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes quilting | Flying Parrot Quilts

This was a picture taken while burying threads in the artichoke centers. There were a lot to bury.

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes quilting | Flying Parrot QuiltsThis quilt is featured in the current issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited!

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes | Flying Parrot QuiltsThanks for reading this far—as promised, here are detail photos. There are also more in my original post on the (then almost) finished quilt. Then head over to the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival and check out all the other amazing quilts!

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes quilting | Flying Parrot Quilts The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes quilting | Flying Parrot Quilts The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes quilting | Flying Parrot Quilts

AmysCreativeSide.com

 

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I’m on the Me Being Crafty podcast!

I’m super honored to be featured today on the Me Being Crafty podcast with Tsoniki Crazy Bull! If you aren’t familiar with the podcast, it’s well worth subscribing to. Tsoniki interviews a lot of different quilty people and talks to them about the process of being creative. We chatted about quilting for show and my evolution as a quilter, among other things. You can listen and subscribe via iTunes and via Stitcher.

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Rainbow mini swap quilts

I guess it’s official, I’m addicted to swaps! It’s so much fun to make and receive a special handmade quilt for/from a complete stranger. And I have to say that each time I participate, I end up making something that stretches me in some way, because the whole point is to make something to your partner’s taste, which of course isn’t always the same as yours.

In any case, this time around, the theme was rainbow, and my partner requested something with “bright colors” and “loud low volume.” This is what I came up with!

Rainbow mini swap | Flying Parrot Quilts

The blocks are 3″ finished, which was fiddly, but they came out so cute!

Rainbow Mini detail | Flying Parrot Quilts

I quilted it with straight lines using my walking foot, changing thread colors every few lines so that was rainbow too. The backing, to match the newsprint fabric on the front, is this fabulous color swatch print from Carrie Bloomston.

rainbow_mini_sent_back

The quilt I received was this beauty from Charlayne, using my favorite Tula Pink Saltwater line!

rainbow_mini_received_full

I love the little peeks of octopus and the sparkly background!

rainbow_mini_received_detail1rainbow_mini_received_detail2

Thanks again, Charlayne!

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A longtime UFO, finally finished!

This quilt top has been sitting around for a few years, but when I had an opportunity to try out my friend Marybeth’s longarm a couple of months ago, I decided it was time to finish it.

Matcrab Quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

This quilt top was, in fact, made using science. The thing is, when you want fabrics randomly distributed across your quilt top, you don’t want them actually randomly distributed, because then you’ll end up with pieces of the same fabric next to each other. Coming up with an arrangement that looks random but isn’t is actually a challenge.

When I mentioned this to a crocheter friend of mine, she decided to put her computer programming skills to good use and write a program that comes up with a layout for you. You give the program the size of the quilt grid into which to put the blocks, and the program goes through the grid methodically, selecting a random block and then checking to see whether or not it meets the distance requirements. If not, it selects a different one; if it can’t find one that will fit, it starts backtracking.

Unfortunately, this can take quite a while since it’s not a particularly efficient way of handling the problem, but I did get a grid out of it eventually, which I then offset on every other row:

Semi-random quilt layout grid | Flying Parrot Quilts

This was my first time using a longarm and it was super fun! I used a pantograph to get the hang of moving the machine rather than the quilt. You can definitely see my improvement over the course of the quilt!

Longarm quilting! | Flying Parrot Quilts

At the time, I just grabbed fabric I had lying around that best matched the colors of the top and of which I had enough to make a backing. In retrospect, it was an incredibly fortuitous choice, because the programming language the randomization program was written is called Matlab. Because computer programming can get frustrating, though, I often call it Matcrab (that name originally ended with a “p” but a typo caused it to morph into a “b”). And this backing I put on it just happens to have crabs on it!

Matcrab quilt, backing and label | Flying Parrot Quilts

The quilt has gone to live in my husband’s office, since he uses Matcrab in his research a lot and his office is one of those places permanently kept at the temperature of a meat locker. Plus, I think it’s a manly-looking quilt!

Matcrab quilt | Flying Parrot Quilts

I am mailing off my Paducah quilt entry today, which is good because it will be out of the house and I can stop obsessing over all the teeny things that are wrong with it. Meanwhile, I have an idea for a new show quilt and have started sewing teeny tiny 3″ finished quilt blocks for it using all my favorite hoarded fabrics. It’s good to finally cut into them!

blocks1

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Cotton Patch Quilt Show Recap Part II

There were an awful lot of beautiful quilts at the Cotton Patch show this past weekend, and I thought I’d share some of my favorites. Although the modern category at the show was small, there were quite a few modern quilts in other categories also.

I really liked the blocks in this quilt:

amazeme_sheilashepherd

A-Maze Me by Sheila Shepherd

This quilt won second place in the modern category. It was cool to see traditional fabrics used in a modern way.

amsterdaze_terrijarrett

Amsterdaze by Terri Jarrett

Laurel made this one for a Modern Quilt Guild challenge. I think it’s the epitome of modern.

Cabin in the Clouds by Laurel Rudolph

Cabin in the Clouds by Laurel Rudolph

I love the colors on this quilt by Deb Henderson.

Cheerio! by Deb Henderson

Cheerio! by Deb Henderson

This all-silk quilt was improvisationally pieced. The silk made the colors so vibrant!

Color Magic by Gertrude Schilsky

Color Magic by Gertrude Schilsky

This one also used a great deal of improvisational piecing. It won a ribbon in the art quilt category.

Walk This Way by Cleo Ward

Walk This Way by Cleo Ward

This fabulous quilt is one of Nupur’s first! I love her colors.

Spice Box by Nupur Kittur

Spice Box by Nupur Kittur

Look, Tula Pink! I really wanted to steal this quilt of Deb’s, since the Salt Water line is my favorite.

Tula's Sea Debris by Deb Henderson

Tula’s Sea Debris by Deb Henderson

I thought this juxtaposition of black and white blocks with bright primary colors was amazing.

Stargazing by Julie Allen

Stargazing by Julie Allen

This quilt by Fay Rawls was one of my favorites in the show. I love her use of value.

Out Of Darkness by Fay Rawls

Out Of Darkness by Fay Rawls

I liked the use of colored bars in the frame of Hannah’s quilt.

Celtic Fusion by Hannah Jennings

Celtic Fusion by Hannah Jennings

And finally, a couple of small art quilts that I adored:

Nevermore by Madeline Hawley

Nevermore by Madeline Hawley

 

Hafgufa by Sue Trinrud

Hafgufa by Sue Trinrud

 

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