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Sunday, December 9, 2018


It is hard to believe it is finally at an end. (Click on the above link for the final instructions.) I can't wait to see what the final quilts look like. This has been such a wonderful experience for me. Especially since it is my first mystery quilt. I hope if I do another one that there will be just as much excitement as there was with this one. For those who haven't started or say that they are behind, please share your progress. The pattern will be available for anyone who wants it. Maybe it will reach 100,000 worldwide! We are more than halfway there!

I didn't get a chance to write my blog last week. Since the block was similar to week's 6 I didn't feel the need to write instructions. I do want to show an experiment I did with the 4 Flying Geese method since there were two different fabrics in them. I knew what the result would be but I went ahead and tried it anyway.

To use two different fabrics in the smaller triangles of the Flying Geese units you would go ahead and cut the smaller squares as indicated in the instructions. Start by placing two of the same squares on opposite ends of the large square (after drawing the lines down the center) and sew 1/4" on both sides of the line. Cut apart and press triangles back.

Now place the second fabric small squares on the corners, sew 1/4" on each side of the line and cut apart. What you end up with is four Flying Geese units, two pairs with the fabrics on opposite sides.

Another option would be to start with the two different fabrics on the opposite sides in the first step. Then place the matching fabric on the resulting sections and you will end up with two pairs of Flying Geese units with the same fabrics. (I hope this makes sense.)


The one big problem I found with beginner quilters is how to measure and sew on borders so I thought I would address some of the problems today.


One thing that makes sewing borders on easier is to make sure that your top is square. I am not referring to whether it is a "square" but the term "square up" just means that the edges of the quilt are the same size. Many times when you have a lot of blocks to piece together, they are not always the same size across the quilt so when you go to put the borders on, one side of the quilt is longer or shorter than the other side. So, how do you check to see if all the sides are the same?

I have a very easy method that is used by quilt judges when they judge how well a quilt is constructed. First find a large space to lay the quilt down. You can use a floor or large bed. I use my quilting machine and lay the quilt along one of the bars. Now take each end (either the top and bottom or sides) and fold them to the center of the quilt. If your seams are consistent the edges of the quilt should be the same size as the center. I have to admit even as careful as I am to have consistent seams, I am not perfect and sometimes the measurements are not the same. They may be off just a small amount (1/4" to 1/2"). 

I have a couple option at this point. If the edges are slightly bigger than the center, I can trim a little off each end. If they are slightly smaller than the center I can take in some seams a little across a few of the seams on both side of the center. The other option is to take the three measurements (center and opposite ends) add them together and get the average (divide that number by 3). This last option is best if your measurements are off more than 1/2" and it is difficult to trim the sides to equal the center. I will then cut my borders to that measurement.


Now that you have squared up your top and you need to add pieced border sections to it, you need to measure your pieced section to make sure it is the same size as the quilt top. What if it isn't? Again, there are always to make adjustments. If it is too small, take some seams out and shorten them across the strip until you get close to the measurement. (If it is less than 1/2" you can always ease the section in.) If it is too big then take in some seams across the section. You don't have to use your ripper to make the seams bigger.


Here is where most beginner (and even some advanced quilters) make the biggest mistakes when sewing on the border strips. You can either measure each of the sides and cut your borders to that size or (this is what I do) lay the quilt on a flat surface (again, I lay it on my quilting machine bar) and take my sewn strips (the two at the same time) and lay them across the center of the quilt. I then make a couple clips on the border strips even with the quilt top on both edges and take them to my cutting table and trim them at the clips with a ruler.

Now here is the most important part. Pin, pin, pin, pin! I match and pin the centers of the quilt and the border strips and ends. Then I start pinning always dividing the sections in half, placing a pin, then halves, pin, halves pin until I have pinned the entire border. I usually have my pins about 3" to 4" apart when I am done. If you have to ease in either side, whether it is the quilt side or border side, place the larger of the two pieces on the bottom by the feed dogs. That side will ease in better than if it is on top. It is also easier to pin the two together if you lay it on a flat surface rather than hold it up. Now you are ready to sew.

No matter how many borders you have to piece, you need to repeat this process every time. You will find that your quilt will lay nice and flat and if you have to take it to a longarm quilter she will thank you for that.

One more tip and this has to do with the backing. Make sure that you make your backing 4" - 8" bigger all around the quilt depending on your longarm quilter. Some even request that you make it even bigger than that. If you have trouble squaring up your backing consider tearing the fabric along the grain. If you do that you will want to make it slightly bigger because tearing it does cause at least 1/2" or more to be stressed along the edges.

I know I didn't show a lot of photos in this blog. I hope my descriptions will be enough for you to understand.


The winner of one of my Cutting Corners template sets is Paula (Bergan?). Congrats Paula. I will be sending her an email so I can mail the template set to her. 


National Quilter's Circle is offering a great special on their membership. For only $25 you can get a Gold membership and get free classes and free downloads for a year! Use this link to get the special price and please use this code "TOBY25" when checking out. I want to say that I do get a bonus if you use my code.

Watch for my end of the year fabric inventory clearance sale. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter on my website so you can get notification as to when it starts.

As always, do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading and feel free to forward and share with your friends. Please leave a comment if you like this blog and learned something from it! Toby