Easy Quilted Coaster

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you are enjoying this lovely Sunday. Today we packed up most of our kitchen to move to the new house. This means I won’t be cooking any fancy Easter meals. Guess I’ll just enjoy an easy sandwich with coffee on my new quilted coaster. Look how cute!

quilted coaster 01

Recently I shared a tutorial for flying geese quilt blocks, so afterwards I had several of these blocks floating around just begging to be used for a project. I thought a teeny tiny quilt would make a great coaster for drinks, hot or cold.

I made a square with 2 of the flying geese blocks, then grabbed a scrap of batting and a piece of plain fabric for the backing. I used a couple of pins around the edge to hold the layers together, then took it over to my sewing machine for some simple straight line quilting (start with a line right down the middle to keep things in place!). This couldn’t be easier, the coaster is a great size to work with. Just take a second every now and then to check out the back of the coaster and make sure your quilting is looking ok. I quilted each line about a quarter of an inch apart, and didn’t mind if my lines were a little imperfect. It has some character that way!

quilted coaster 03

Instead of doing something more time consuming like a traditional binding, I used my serger to stitch and seal around the outside of the coaster to finish.

quilted coaster 02

Making a coaster is a great way to use up extra quilt blocks you might have. Bonus points if you have enough for a matching set! Of course you could also quickly sew up some blocks in order to make as many as needed. This is a project without strict guidelines – just use scraps you have on hand, make however many you like, and in whatever size you want!

quilted coaster 04

I’m looking forward to making a whole set of these for our coffee table at home, and I think this would also be a really great handmade gift to give!

Free-Motion Quilting Inspiration

Recently I was given the chance to work on a cute baby quilt project for one of my co-workers. A friend had already made the quilt top and binding, and provided me with all the materials I needed! I happily volunteered to quilt it all together.

pinwheel quilt block
Here is a close-up of the pinwheel blocks I’ll be working with.

pinwheel quilt top
More of the front of the quilt.

cute animal fabric
Cute animal fabric for the back.

butterfly quilt binding
She even made all the binding!

For this fun quilt, I want to do something besides quilting in a straight line. I’m going to try my hand at free-motion quilting for the first time! Now I just need some inspiration, and idea of how to get started.

Here are some photos I found around the web of some pretty designs on pinwheel quilts.

rounded quilt
Circle quilting. From here.

pinwheel for linda
See how the quilting adds movement on this one? From here.

sisters and quilters
Love this simple and large design. From here.

pinwheelquilt by honey bear lane
This pebbled texture also looks great. From here.

Next step for me? I need to purchase a darning foot, or free-motion foot for my machine since I don’t have one. Then I need to read up on free-motion quilting techniques and learn a little bit.

I will share some progress pictures once I get the hang of things and decide on a pattern to quilt on these fun pinwheel blocks. I hope this will be a quilt that my friend’s new baby girl enjoys for a long time!

Are there any quilters out there with free-motion tips for beginners?

No Waste Flying Geese Tutorial

No Waste Flying Geese Tutorial

I’ve been really excited about the new quilt I’m making, and I hope you guys aren’t tired of me talking about it. The top is finished, I’m just waiting for my red backing fabric to come in the mail, then I’ll be able to quilt it all together. This is my 3rd quilt, and it has been the fastest one yet. I’m learning!

flying geese quilt top

I love how easy and fun the flying geese were to make and piece together. Today I want to share the method I used to make 4 flying geese quilt blocks at a time. This technique doesn’t waste any fabric like some flying geese methods, and it’s so simple!

To make 4 flying geese blocks, start with one large square, and four small squares. My large square is 6 1/2 inches. The four small squares are 3 1/2 inches. I liked the finished size this made.  This website explains the math in more detail if you are looking for a different sized block. They say:

You need one square, the size of the finished width you desire the flying geese to be + 1 1/4 inch, and four squares that are the height of the finished unit you want plus 7/8 inch.

Here are the five squares I started with.

flying geese squares

Place two of the smaller squares face down onto the large square, lined up with two opposite corners. Use a ruler, and mark a line diagonally across the squares.

flying geese tutorial

Head to your sewing machine. You can pin the squares down if you want, but I don’t really find it necessary. Just be gentle when you are running it through the machine! The fabric doesn’t typically move around at this point. IMPORTANT – sew 1/4 inch away from the line you drew onto the squares. DO NOT sew directly on the line you drew. You can see in the photo that my presser foot is even with the line. After sewing one line, turn it around, and sew down 1/4 inch away from the other side of the line you drew.

sew one fourth inch away from the line

Once you’ve sewn the two lines, cut down the line you drew. You’ll have two identical pieces.

cut it down the middle

Use your iron to press the small triangles outward.

two flying geese pieces

Draw a diagonal line across the back of the two small triangles that you have left. Place it on the corner of the large triangle, with the line running down the center of the two flaps.

flying geese tutorial part two

Take it to your sewing machine, and use the same method as the first part of the tutorial. Sew 1/4 inch from the line, down both sides.

sew next to the line

Repeat with the remaining squares, and cut down the line that’s drawn down the middle like you did in the earlier steps. Use your iron to press the small triangle flap outwards.

last step of flying geese tutorial

All done! You’ll have four identical flying geese blocks.

craft takeover flying geese tutorial


These can be used to make so many great projects!

Inspirations in Fiber Art

Yesterday I visited the Jewish Community Center here in Austin, to see an exhibit called “Inspirations in Fiber Art”.

Just Around the Corner, by Kathy York

Just Around the Corner, by Kathy York

The fiber art pieces on display were created by Kathy York and Barb Forrister. I’ve posted previous photos of some of Barb’s quilts (here) when I first saw her work at the Capital of Texas Quilt Show in 2012. According to the exhibit,

Following WWII, Fiber art was coined to describe artists’ more unconventional two and three-dimensional works with unique fibers and dyeing techniques. Now, the textured and structural qualities of fiber/quilted art reflect the aesthetic concerns of contemporary art.

I really enjoyed seeing this exhibit. There are SO many things you can do with fabric, it’s unbelievable. Here are some of my favorite pieces made by these talented ladies.

Elemental Dance by Barb Forrister, detail shot

Elemental Dance, by Barb Forrister (detail shot)

Primavera by Barb Forrister

Primavera, by Barb Forrister

Treasured Waters by Barb Forrister, detail shot

Treasured Waters, by Barb Forrister (detail shot)

Planned Obsolescence by Kathy York, detail shot

Planned Obsolescence, by Kathy York (detail shot)

Shadow Dancer by Barb Forrister

Shadow Dancer, by Barb Forrister

Fleur de Lis by Barb Forrister

Fleur de Lis, by Barb Forrister

Bridge by Kathy York, detail shot

Bridge, by Kathy York (detail shot)

Aren’t they amazing? Which one is your favorite?

Broken Dishes Quilt – Binding and the Finished Quilt

Let me just start this post with an excited squeal of joy. I finished the Broken Dishes quilt after a year of slow, slow, progress. But hey, I planned a wedding this year! So it’s a little less embarrassing that it took this long.

Here's the finished quilt!

Here’s the finished quilt!

In case you missed the earlier posts on my first hand quilted project, here they are in order:

Part One – Deciding on a design and buying fabric

Part Two – Cutting the triangles

Part Three – Piecing the Top

Part Four – Basting the Quilt Layers

Part Five – Hand-Quilting

Today I wanted to share some quick photos and instructions on adding the binding to finish the quilt. There are so many fantastic binding tutorials online – like here, here, and here – but I wanted to show the method I used for the first few steps.

I finished quilting. Now what?

After the entire top is quilted, trim the extra batting and backing fabric off the edges with a cutting mat, rotary cutter, and quilting ruler.

cut the excess off the outside of the quilt

Now it’s ready to add binding.

How much binding do I need?

  1. Measure the length and width of the quilt and do some math to determine how much fabric you’ll need for the binding.
    Here’s the formula to use:  length + length + width + width + 10 inches extra.
    For example, mine was 59 + 59 + 43 + 43 + 10 = 216.
  2. Then, divide this number by the width of the fabric you are using (standard fabric widths are 36, 45, and 60).
    My fabric was 45 inches wide, so I divided 216 (the number we just calculated) by 45 = 4.8
  3. Round this number up.
    4.8 is now 5.
  4. Now I know I need 5 strips of binding to make it all the way around the quilt.

Get the binding strips ready to sew onto the quilt.

I cut my binding strips 2 ½ inches wide in order to make a ¼ inch border around the quilt when finished.

cut binding strips

Cut off the selvage edges.

cut off the selvage

Place two strips of binding, right sides together, at a 90 degree angle. (You can’t tell which side is which in these photos because my fabric was a solid, and thus looks the same on both sides.)

fold and pin binding strips

Take the piece on top and fold the corner down. Finger press, unfold, and pin the two pieces together.

sew and cut off extra

Sew right across the line you made, and cut off the extra flap.

quilt binding

Unfold, and voila!

Continue attaching all the strips you cut until you have one long piece of binding. Take it over to the ironing board, and iron in half, wrong sides together.

Now you’re ready to sew the binding onto your quilt!

Here is “The Ultimate Quilt Binding Tutorial” video from Missouri Star Quilt Company that shows the binding being sewn onto the front of the quilt,  how to get those perfect mitered corners, and how to hand stitch the binding down to the back. I think this video shows this process really well – I found it to be a little too difficult to try and take photos during this part! (Start at 5:10 to pick up where I left off after sewing the strips together.)

The last step of hand-sewing the back of the binding on was really relaxing, and I was almost disappointed when i was finished. But not TOO disappointed, because I’m done, I’m done, I’m done! And I’m so happy. I hope you enjoyed following along with me on my first hand-quilted adventure.

quilt front and back

Onward to the next project!

Broken Dishes Quilt: Update on Hand Quilting

Well, I started this quilt almost a year ago. I put things on hold for a while, because planning a wedding is time consuming! Lately though, I’ve gotten back in the groove and am nearly finished hand quilting this thing.

hand quilting front
I decided to hand quilt instead of machine quilt it, because I wanted to learn how. Basically I just read a lot of tutorials (and watched YouTube videos!) to teach myself the process.

My simple supplies. Thimble, thread, needles, and scissors.

My simple supplies. Thimble, thread, needles, and scissors.

The only thing holding me back is TIME. It takes me nearly an hour just to do the area in my 12″ quilting hoop. I’m trying to work on it every day to get it done. This American Life podcasts are keeping me company while I sew. It’s pretty relaxing.

hand quilting back

I love the way the back looks.

Despite how long it is taking, I am really love how it’s turned out so far. Once I finish quilting the whole thing, I’ll just need to put the binding on, and then it will finally be done!

Soon I’ll be able to do a post on binding, and show you the finished product. This quilt is my baby.

Making a Quilt Sandwich

I think you guys deserve an update on the quilt, don’t you think?

If you need to catch up, you can read more about my beginner quilting process here:

Part One – Deciding on a design and buying fabric
Part Two – Cutting the triangles
Part Three – Piecing the Top

So we left off last time with a finished quilt top. Next step: Make a quilt sandwich!

No, not a grilled cheese.  A quilt sandwich = the back of the quilt + the front of the quilt + the batting sandwiched in between. Delicious.

I kept the back pretty simple, using one of my favorite color fabrics from the front, along with some scraps of the other colors, sewn together to make 2 stripes across.  Since I didn’t have one continuous piece of fabric for the back, I cut 3 panels and threw some stripes in there to make it look neat.  The back and the batting are a both a few inches bigger than the quilt top.  After the back was ready, I cleaned the living room floor, and got started. I don’t know about you, but 2 cats and a dog make for pet hairs EVERYWHERE.

The back goes face down on the floor. Tape it down so it’s nice and smooth:
Then batting goes on top:
Then the front:
Then the beagle goes in the batting:
batting and a beagle
Wait…you can skip that step if you don’t have a beagle.

Then pin! Use curved basting pins, and make sure you’re grabbing all the layers.  Pin every 1/2 foot or so. Once you’ve got all the layers secured together, you can untape from the floor, and your sandwich is ready to eat! I mean, ready to quilt!


Next post will be about the quilting process itself.