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.


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!

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Bloggers’ Quilt Festival

It’s that time of year, when the spring quilt festival happens over at Amy’s Creative Side, and this year I’ve actually got my act together enough to enter a quilt.

I blogged about this quilt recently, but here it is again: The Insane Red Artichoke!

The Insane Red Artichoke

This quilt started life as a challenge for my local traditional guild to use two squares, superimposed on one another and one rotated 45 degrees, in a quilt.  I had to make it twice to figure out the best way of doing it–paper piecing came to the rescue!


I’ve been into feathers lately, and I got a lot of practice in on this one! I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with them now.

Here’s a shot of the back, which I kind of also love:


I finally managed to get this pattern written up and it’s over on Craftsy now. (Big thanks to my mom for being my brutally honest pattern tester!)

Now hop on over to the current Festival and check out all the other inspiring quilts!


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Mini Lone Star Hexie block tutorial

I’m in the online quilting bee Stash Bee, and May is my month to pick a block for everyone to make! I thought I’d repost my tutorial here. It’s based on the larger block by Alia of card table inc. People are already posting beautiful blocks!

Mini Lone Star Hexie tutorial from Flying Parrot Quilts

Click through for the full tutorial!

Continue reading

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Tula Pillow

I got some cute pillows for Christmas from my mom last year, but since they were Christmas-themed, I needed something for the rest of the year! So far I’ve only made a cover for the smaller of the two, but it was just the right size for this sweet Tula Pink embroidery design from Urban Threads!

Tula Pillow by Sylvia Schaefer

Naturally, I matched it with the coordinating Tula Pink fabric from The Birds and the Bees! I used some scraps from a different colorway of this print for the envelope closure on the back:

Tula Pillow back by Sylvia Schaefer

It looks pretty good in its new environment, I think, even if it does kind of blend in.

Tula Pillow by Sylvia Schaefer


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The Insane Red Artichoke

The traditional guild I’m a part of has issued a challenge to create a quilt using the shape formed by two squares superimposed on each other, one rotated 45 degrees. It’s a shape found often in Islamic art and mosaics.

I’m not always very good at completing challenges, but I was trying to draft a completely different block, and as I was drawing guidelines I realized I had drawn the shape in the challenge. So I drew it a few more times. And then made the quilt top once before figuring out a more precise way to piece it, so I made it again.

But eventually I ended up with this, which I’m very happy with!


This quilt is actually paper-pieced and didn’t involve any Y-seams! I’m working on writing up a pattern for this and am hoping to have it available soon.

insane_artichoke_detail copy

Here are a couple shots of the back.



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Morning’s Born With The Lights Of Love

I said I wasn’t likely to make another double wedding ring quilt, but a flash of inspiration and the motivation provided by the NYC Mod Quilt Guild’s Double Wedding Ring Challenge have me eating my words. So here is:

Morning’s Born With The Lights Of Love

Morning's Born With The Lights Of Love by Sylvia Schaefer

In case you’re wondering, the title is a line taken from this song performed by Emmylou Harris (probably my favorite singer ever) and Don Williams.

Morning's Born With The Lights Of Love by Sylvia Schaefer

The quilt is all pieced, and was constructed by drawing a full-size pattern on freezer paper to ensure that the lines of the rays stayed consistent, then cutting out and paper-piecing the individual background pieces.

I used a double layer of batting to keep some puffiness in the rings, and then quilted all the rays with matching thread and a different quilting pattern for each color. I really love the way the back turned out:

Morning's Born With The Lights Of Love by Sylvia Schaefer

Morning's Born With The Lights Of Love by Sylvia Schaefer

Morning's Born With The Lights Of Love by Sylvia Schaefer

This shot’s a bit washed out, but I had to include since the wind caught it just right!

Morning's Born With The Lights Of Love by Sylvia Schaefer

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Crabby baby quilt

A friend of mine is expecting her second child, and I made her this baby quilt (sorry about the picture quality; I ran out of daylight hours to take better pictures outside!):

Caroline's baby quilt by Sylvia SchaeferMy friend wrote her dissertation on salt marsh invertebrates, so this was a natural choice for her baby’s first quilt. (Gotta start ‘em young on marine science!) I pieced the backing with some crab fabric that didn’t quite match the front in color but was too cute not to use and the rest of the tan shell fabric.

Caroline's baby quilt by Sylvia Schaefer

This is a slightly modified version of the Crabby quilt pattern by Bonnie Johnson and Loretta Shriner. If I were to make this pattern again, I’d probably distribute the green squares a little better along the outside edges. But overall, I think this turned out pretty cute!

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The Ooze Primordial is going to AQS QuiltWeek!

I’ve never been to Iowa, but my quilt is headed there! I received notification today that The Ooze Primordial (Photosystem I) has been accepted as part of the American Quilter’s Society Modern Challenge, and will be on display at AQS QuiltWeek in Des Moines, Iowa.

If the judges like it, it might have the chance to travel around to the other AQS QuiltWeek shows in the next year, as well. This is my first time entering a national show and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

I’m working on quilting a bunch of quilts, but haven’t completed anything yet. Here’s a preview of another nerdy quilt coming down the pike, though:

in-progress quilt by Sylvia Schaefer

in-progress by Sylvia Schaefer

Edit: Just noticed my quilt is featured on the AQS Modern Challenge debut site!

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