Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Gaggle of Geese

I might have mentioned that I've been a bit obsessed with hexagons. Well add flying geese to the list. I'm working on a block quilt where each block is made up of a different design using flying geese - those cute triangles that veer in one direction and another.
I've also done quite a bit of experimenting with making the geese fly in a circle and paper piecing is my savior. I made three gifts with a similar theme for three friends who had birthdays in January and February.

Jim was gifted with a two bottle wine carrier and a pouch that holds a reusable ice pack in case the wine is white - or in case room temp is just too hot as is often the case of a Southern summer.

Alice, an inveterate knitter who seldom ventures out without a project, received a project bag along with an accessory pouch to hold all the etcetera that usually floats around in the bottom of a craft bag.

Here is another view that shows detachable shoulder strap.

And Joan received this table topper/hot pat/wall hanging. Yeah, I know, but it really could work as any of those. It has pockets for hanging, is insulated, and could be just decorative on the table.
Each of the circles is made up of four paper pieced sections, and though it looks a bit complex, it really is easy peasy. Paint by numbers for quilters!

Here you can see how the sections were assembled for each piece.

This is the template I drew up. I made my template at 6 1/2 inches so that the finished circle would be 12 1/2 inches, but you really could make it any size. Feel free to reproduce it either by copying the picture and inserting it into another document or application, or by using this as a guideline to draft your own.

And if you aren't an expert paper piecer, by all means take Amy Gibson's free class on In the 2012 Block of the Month class she gives and excellent explanation of how to paper piece. 

The only thing I would add to her instructions relates to perforating the paper. Amy recommends that you use your sewing machine without thread to quickly perforate the paper along the seam (and future tear) lines. While this works really well, it is hard on the sharpness of your needle. 
I recently learned a new trick and now I use my tracing tool to quickly perforate the seams. I like this one from Dritz. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

And goodnight to the Old Lady whispering "hush"

Don't you love Margaret Wise Brown's classic bedtime story? The illustrations by Clement Hurd
are brought to life in a new collection of licensed prints by Cloud 9 Fabrics. When I saw the fabric being offered by one of my favorite retailers, I thought immediately of a friend with a new baby and decided I needed to make something for her.

In the past, I've made quilts for baby showers, and then followed up with a gift when baby is born of some bookends and a starter collection of board books. Goodnight Moon is always among them. 

This time I decided to make something that would work as a baby quilt, but also hold up to rougher use as a playmat as baby grows through toddler stage.
And I love that Cloud 9 produces only organic cotton fabrics using low-impact dyes, so you know it is safe for baby.

How is that for bright primary colors?

There's little bunny....

and pesky mouse.

Clementine Glory. What a perfectly  Southern little girl name!

I used this dark teal solid for the back, which coordinates with the prints, but also won't show stains as much as a lighter backing. We are talking children playing on the floor in a house with dogs.
If you are looking for a quick and easy gift for a new baby or a toddler, this is it. This play mat is made up in the wonderful “Goodnight Moon” collection from Cloud 9 Fabrics. The design is a very simple large block patchwork that even the most novice quilter can easily master. Consisting of only three sizes of blocks, it’s also really quick. You can cut and pieced the top in an afternoon, and the quilting design (a simple diamond grid) is just as straightforward. No special skill required. Find the pattern here.