June 27, 2017

Week 16: Long Time Gone Sew Along | "Amnesty" Week

We're on hiatus for a week! Use this time to catch up or take a break. I'm working on quilting in sections this week.

In the last 4 months, you’ve seen my sections 1 and 4 completed and layered for quilting. I’m not sure I posted it when I combined sections 2 and 3 and layered them for quilting. Now all three of those sections are quilted and I’m taking advantage of the hiatus week to join them.

You may remember that I checked to make sure the measurements for the sections to be joined were accurate and matched before layering. Then if you do the same general density of quilting, they will still match when joined.

My quilting is quite simple. I love the patchwork. In my mind there is no need to overpower it with too much quilting. So, there is some in-the-ditch quilting, a little outline quilting, a string of free-motion stars in the sashing strips, etc.

When I layered, I did allow a little extra batting and backing on the edges to be joined so I would have something to hold on to when I was quilting near the edges. Here you can see the edges of sections 1 and 2 and 3 ready to be trimmed… (click images for larger views)

and trimmed!

On this quilt I am using the single finishing strip method for joining the sections. It is also sometimes called an 8-layer seam method. It can be used with sections that are quilted all the way to the edge. It does not show on the front of the quilt, but will show on the back and does require being sewn to the backing by hand OR with a blind-hem stitch by machine.

In my book, “Machine Quilting in Sections,” and even in my Craftsy class of the same name that was filmed in January this year, I say cut a finishing strip 1-1/2 inches wide and as long as the seam if you are finishing by hand and 2 inches wide if you are finishing by machine. (Click the purple links to learn more about the book and the class.)

I was planning to hand stitch because there are only 4 seams to do and because any time I would save doing it by machine would be spent setting up my machine and testing, etc. So anyway, I cut 1-1/2 inch strips for the first joining, but changed to 2-inch strips when I added Section 4. Why? Perhaps because a few weeks ago I sprained my left thumb very badly and it hasn’t, and may never, recover completely. Anyway, I liked the 2-inch strip better.

Short Version of Single Finishing Strip

1. Cut 2-inch wide strip on straight grain and as long as the sections to be joined.

2. Press in half lengthwise. Better yet, press just off-center. The result of that is one less layer of fabric at the actual edge of the seam.

3. Put right sides together of sections to be joined. Match any seams and pin. You have 6 layers of stuff…quilt backing, batting and front…twice! Some people like to stitch now, and then again with the finishing strip.

4. Align edge of folded finishing strip with edges of the quilt sections on either section. It doesn’t matter which section except, it will end up on the opposite back section.

5. Join all 8 layers with a regular 1/4-inch seam. This is what it looks like from the back. Please don’t be surprised that there is a bump! If it bothers you, there are lots of options for reducing the thickness. They all involve more pre-prep. There are lots more details in the book or class.

6. Press all of the layers and the finishing strip to one side so that the finishing strip covers all of the raw edges. Use steam! Check from the front.

At this point, I actually cut a narrow strip of Shades SoftFuse (link), a very lightweight paper-backed fusible web, and press it in place on the wrong side of the folded finishing strip. Let it cool and remove the paper. Then, I do the final press. All of the layers go to one side, the finishing strip covers all of the raw edges, the fusible hold the strip in place for the hand stitching. I don’t need to pin.

7. Stitch folded edge of finishing strip to backing of quilt. See the finishing strip?! I like to use different fabrics for every section so that when I teach, people can see where the quilt was divided into sections.

The big pay off! Here I am adding the first border “stitch and flip” to the long side of sections 1,2,3,4!!

There are many other methods. I hope you will give Quilting in Sections a try!

For a short introduction to sewing the finishing strip with the blind hem stitch, go to http://www.frommarti.com/vid_MQIS_blind_hem.shtml

Visit these other blogs in the Long Time Gone Sew Along, too, to see what else is happening this week!



Use the hash tag #LongTimeGoneSAL to share photos of your blocks on Instagram.

Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell. Copyright 2016 by Jen Kingwell Designs. Available on From Marti Michell website, www.frommarti.com

June 20, 2017

Week 15: Long Time Gone Sew Along | Pineapple Blocks

One of the best reasons to make this quilt is that it is such a good excuse to make 16 cute 5-inch pineapple blocks with half-inch finished strips! I have absolutely loved making them with the From Marti Michell 1/2-inch Pineapple template set! Every time I use one of our Pineapple template sets, I’m sorry that it took me so long to design a tool that would make it so easy to make such a fabulous block so accurately! We actually make 3 sets based on the 3 different finished strip widths — half-inch, 1-inch and 1-1/4 inch. Each set will make multiple sizes of blocks depending on how many rounds you add. (Click on images for larger views. The bold words in purple are links to other web pages.)

Anyway, all of the instructions are in the booklet that comes with the template set. If you have been following my Long Time Gone blog posts, you know I started my Pineapple blocks as soon as we did the square in a square week. I decided to make all of the centers from the same fabrics.

I cut 1-inch strips on lengthwise grain from all the fabrics I had used and added to the Pineapple strip pot as I went along to keep the fabrics mixed nicely. When I cut, I stacked light and dark strips separately in stacks of four. Then when I cut to length, I had a complete half round of strips for one block. I also worked four blocks at a time.  I loved watching them grow!

I might mention one tip specifically — I love to:

    (a) join the corner triangle with the last strip of the block

    (b) press them open and

    (c) then add the pair to the rest of the block.

Then, when it comes to joining the blocks together, I joined the second row to the first row, then the 3rd row to the pair and “chain-linked” – see my Flying Geese blog, week 11.

It was so neat when the last 9 all came together! I like the secondary pattern where the corners meet, too.

More About the Pineapple Blocks for Long Time Gone

Visit these other Long Time Gone Sew Along blogs, too, for tutorials, contests and other info:



Use the hash tag #LongTimeGoneSAL to share photos of your blocks on Instagram.

Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell. Copyright 2016 by Jen Kingwell Designs. Available on From Marti Michell website, www.frommarti.com

June 13, 2017

Week 14: Long Time Gone Sew Along | 60-Degree Triangles

Using Multiple Size Peaky and Spike Product #8289

The memory of my high school geometry teacher forces me to mention that these triangles are actually 53-1/2 degrees, not 60 degrees. However, "53-1/2 degree triangles" doesn't roll off the tongue does it? That may be why the late Doreen Speckmann started calling these two triangles Peaky and Spike -- more about that later.

Deja Vu

You may remember for Week 10 I made one row of Spike triangles (Jen's 60-degree triangles) to complete Section 1. I'm reposting that info here, so you don't have to go back for it.
The contrasting Spike triangles can be cut from the same 2-1/2 inch strips you just used for the HSTs. Don't forget to reposition the multi-size tool and trim off the corners for easy piecing. Instead of cutting 6 pairs of Peaky triangles, I chose to cut 7 neutral Spike triangles to alternate. It saves a lot of seams and I like the clean look better. Trim the neutral triangles to size on each end of the row.

Sew the traditional Peaky and Spike units as shown below. Press away from Spike, the large triangle.
On page 11 of the Peaky and Spike instruction booklet, we tell you how to join two Peaky triangles to make a rectangle, but until now we didn’t share joining 2 Spike triangles. We are sharing our future page 11 with you right now!

Excerpt, page 11:

The corners are engineered to fit perfectly when Peaky and Spike are sewn in the most common arrangement, as on page 2. The pieces fit together in other positions, shown below. but the corners do not align ideally. It just takes a little practice to create these units. For example, to make a rectangle out of two #97 triangles, cut both triangles in the same orientation and pay careful attention to matchpoints when sewing.

You can also sew Spike triangles together to make a wonderful Sawtooth border. End each strip with a Peaky triangle and use kite units for corner blocks.

Using Both Peaky and Spike

I didn't talk about using both templates in that article—that's fully described in your Peaky And Spike template booklet on pages 4 through 6. The instructions for cutting smaller sizes are illustrated for 1-inch triangles. This is what your Spike will look like for cutting 2-inch blocks (template booklet, page 4):

And here is what your Peaky will look like:

My Version of the Set of 24 Peaky and Spike Triangles

I chose to do the top and bottom rows entirely with the big Spike triangles, as I did for the row shown above in Section 1. They frame the center two rows.

Looking Ahead

Since I've been working ahead on my checkboard pieces -- I hope you saw my checkerboard shortcuts at the end of my Week 8, Courthouse Steps article -- I can now join all of Section 6.

A Little Quilt History: Why do we call these triangles Peaky and Spike?

Sometime in the 1980s, the late Doreen Speckmann affectionately named this pair of triangles, her favorite patchwork shapes, “Peaky and Spike” and introduced them to quilters around the world. In her honor, we continue the tradition of calling them by their famous nicknames. You will probably be surprised to know the big triangle is Spike and the little guy is Peaky. Her books that explain why are now out of print, but look for them in your guild library or shop for them on eBay®. Both books are loaded with designs featuring Peaky and Spike. 

Deja Vu Two

If you are making your blocks like I am, there will be some slight differences from what Jen did to make her quilt. It's okay, you're still eligible for prizes in the contest at the end of the Sew Along. Here's a quick copy/pasted explanation about that from Gnome Angel's post on her blog on May 24:
To be eligible for prizes you must follow the pattern. The only exception to this is if you follow Marti Michell’s tutorials because Marti is slightly modifying the pattern to work with her templates. We will be checking to make sure the winners have followed the pattern and/or Marti’s version. While we support and encourage people to express their individuality when it comes to making quilts, for the purpose of this event we need parameters to help us be able to give everyone an even playing field and the best way for us to do this is to have people stick to the pattern.
Also, we’re happy for you to jump ahead. This doesn’t disqualify you from prizes. The only requirements for being eligible for prizes is that you:
  1. Post a photo of each of the blocks in their relevant weeks in your timezone. You can find the block timetable by clicking here.
  2. Complete the quilt top and post it to Instagram within 12 July and Midnight 21 July 2017 in your timezone.
  3. All photos will need to have all the relevant hashtags on them.
  4. You will need to be following all the relevant Instagram accounts at the time of drawing.

More About "60-Degree Triangles" for Long Time Gone

Visit these other Long Time Gone Sew Along blogs, too, for tutorials, contests and other info:



Use the hash tag #LongTimeGoneSAL to share photos on Instagram.

Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell. Copyright 2016 by Jen Kingwell Designs. Available on From Marti Michell website, www.frommarti.com

June 6, 2017

Week 13: Long Time Gone Sew Along | Flying Geese with No Waste


Using Perfect Patchwork Template Set A, Triangles 4 and 6, to make Flying Geese



We cut exact-size pieces from 2-inch wide strips and sew them together… no drawing lines, no scrap, no throwing away almost half the fabric! (Click images for a larger view.)

As I suggested last week, I cut extra A6 pieces and A4 pieces when I had the fabric pressed and on the cutting table for Block 3 of Half-square triangles. Plus I had cut assorted light and dark 2-inch strips when I had other fabrics out other weeks. So, I just went to my stack of assorted strips and picked out pieces. I decided to make the 4 geese that promenade at the center of each 8 geese block more distinctive in order to add interest. Pulling them from the same color family was just enough to add interest without being overwhelming. I chose to emphasize my original green, purple and orange color scheme.

Making Geese for the 6-inch Blocks

I did the set of 16 Flying Geese first as I was very anxious to complete section 2 (page 27). If you've been reading my blog, you know that I am machine quilting in sections and that I have already layered and quilted sections 1 and 4.

Knowing I would ultimately need 48 Flying Geese, but that I only wanted 16 at the moment, I made enough extra to have choices, but didn't make all 48. I always like to have a chance to change my mind.

To make the basic unit, chain piece A-6 triangles to one side of A-4 triangles. Press toward the small triangle, regardless of color. Repeat on the second side of each A-4 triangle.

1. Once the basic units are made, arrange them as desired and then join into pairs of geese.

2.  Flip the unit that is at the bottom of the pair over onto the top unit so you can see the stitching at the point where the two small triangles touch.

3. Align units and stitch. To preserve the lovely point on the Flying Geese unit, make sure your stitching line just touches the stitching at the point.

4. Press toward the Flying Geese unit with the A-4 triangle in the seam.

5. Join the 8 pairs of Flying Geese into a 6-1/2  x 12-1/2 inch unit as shown. Swirl press the center of each set of 4 to reduce bulk.

My Section 2

The 12-1/2 inch Block

When I started arranging my four units of 8 Flying Geese for the 12-1/2 inch (12-inch finished) block, I saw an opportunity for another secondary pattern where the corners come together in the center of the square. I needed to do some special cutting for that, but otherwise, the construction is the same, except it is twice as many units.

Making the Long Skinny Row of Geese

The first time I looked at the book, I had decided to substitute large A-4 triangles for pairs of A6 triangles on the long strip. Then one day when I looked more closely at the quilt picture I saw that was actually how Jen made hers! We probably both liked it for the same reasons. It has the same visual appearance with 15 fewer pieces to cut, and 15 fewer seams to sew and press. However, the sewing is different.

1. Arrange the A-4 triangles as desired. One row starts and ends with a dark A-6 triangle and the other starts and ends with a light A-4 triangle. Then arrange with A-4 triangles alternating, as shown on page 22.

2. Join adjacent triangles into pairs. The engineered corners should align perfectly. Press toward the darker fabric.
3. Keeping the units in your desired order, join the first 2 pairs of pairs in each row. Then add the remaining units and A-6 triangles.

4. Finally, join the rows to make the zig-zag effect. Don't go crazy over which way it should zig first. I chose to match the order in the color picture of the entire quilt on the inside cover.

More About Making the Flying Geese Units

Visit these other Long Time Gone Sew Along blogs, too, for tutorials, contests and other info:



Use the hash tag #LongTimeGoneSAL to share photos on Instagram.

Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell. Copyright 2016 by Jen Kingwell Designs. Available on From Marti Michell website, www.frommarti.com

May 30, 2017

Week 12: Long Time Gone Sew Along | Half Square Triangles Block 3

Use Template A-6 to neatly make 64 Half-Square Triangle Squares

I started picking light and dark pairs of strips from my pre-cut 2-inch strips. At first I was cutting only one pair of triangles from each combination. Then I realized that Jen’s instructions would result in 2 of each combination. Selecting fabrics and cutting went much faster!

Look Ahead Tip!

Next week we are doing Flying Geese and will need both light and dark A-4 triangles  so while you have strips paired you might want to cut this combination:

Lay aside the A-4 triangles until next week.

Making the Block

Chain-piece the A6 pairs on the hypotenuse to make squares. Press toward the dark fabric. Naturally, cutting the triangles with the fabrics right sides together made the piecing both faster and more accurate.

Sewing 16 little 1-1/2 inch half square triangles (HSTs) together seemed less challenging than 64 so I arranged the pieced squares in 4 by 4 quarter-sections. Then I pieced each quarter using what I call “chain-linking”. It is chain-piecing, but it is more! It is linking the pieces in order and in proper orientation. The half square triangle units can only rotate one way and it is almost impossible to sew the wrong rows together.

 All squares should be right side up and in proper orientation.

1. Position the squares in column 4 right side down on the squares in column 3. Chain piece on the right edge. Make 4 or 5 stitches between each pair. Leave in machine.

2. Continue by placing all of the squares in column 2 right sides down on the squares in column 1. Continue chain-piecing from the top down.
3. At the ironing board press to one side and snip apart ONLY between the 4th and 5th pairs of squares.

4. Place the linked pairs back in position so that you can easily lift columns 3 & 4 and put them right sides together on top of columns 1 & 2. Chain-piece columns 2 and 3 together, from top to bottom. Don’t clip any threads.

5. Press seams in rows 1 & 3 in the same direction and rows 2 & 4 in the opposite direction.  This will create opposing seams and reduce bulk when you join the rows.

Rows 1 and 4 are easy to press, but the middle rows are awkward. If it is too awkward, leave a few more stitches between the rows on the next section. Working on the edge of the ironing board might help. My ironing board has a little “sleeve board” attachment that I don’t use for sleeves, but it worked great for this project.

Here all the rows are pressed with opposing seams, chain-linked and ready to be joined. It is so nice that they have no “dog-ears.”

It doesn’t matter which direction you press on the first quarter of the block, but on the adjoining quarters, you will want to refer to the direction of these seams on the edge of the unit and make sure that the edge that they will subsequently touch is opposing.

Here is one example of pressing directions that work great for these little pieces.

Of course, if you are an experienced “Chain-Linker” there is no reason not to do all 8 columns and all 8 rows in one giant Chain Link. Well, there is one reason. If you plan to do all 64 together, it will really help to have no interruptions. I don’t live that life!

Back to sewing…Rows 1 & 2 joined and rows 3 & 4 joined.

The 2 quarters on the bottom joined…

And finally the entire 12-inch finished block with all 128 little triangles! It’s so cute!

Looking Ahead

By this time next week, I’ll have added the sashing strips and checkerboards to my HST Block 3 as shown in part C of Section 5 (page 31) and I’ll also have parts A and B on page 31 ready to go!

Comments Please

Do you chain-link your blocks and quilts? What do you call it? Make a comment and you might win a From Marti Michell half-inch Pineapple Template Set just in time! Or if you already own one, your choice of one of our products of equal value.

UPDATE June 6, 2017

Today's the day we promised to pick a random name from the comments below to win a set of our new Starry Path templates.

The random picker chose kate, commenter #5!  

Kate, please send your snail mail info in an email to Patti via our "Contact Us" page on our website,  http://www.frommarti.com/contact_us.shtml (We don't put our email address in public places to prevent spammers from picking them up.) Thanks for reading the blog!

P.S. The contest is now closed. If we don't hear from Kate by June 12, we'll do another random draw and announce the new pick here.

[We'll use a random picker and post an update on this page to announce the winner, so leave a comment and be sure to check back on June 6, 2017 (June 7 in Australia) to see if your name is selected! The winner will have two weeks to contact us via our 800 number or by email. Our contact info is at http://www.frommarti.com/contact_us.shtml  If we don't hear from the winner by June 12 (or 13 AU), we'll select a new name and update this post with that person's name -- so be sure to bookmark this page!  Good luck and thanks for making your blocks with our templates!]

Visit these other Long Time Gone Sew Along blogs, too, for tutorials, contests and other info:



Use the hash tag #LongTimeGoneSAL to share photos on Instagram.

Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell. Copyright 2016 by Jen Kingwell Designs. Available on the From Marti Michell website, www.frommarti.com

May 23, 2017

Week 11: Long Time Gone Sew Along | Half-Square Triangles Block 2

Use Template Set B, Pieces 8 and 12 for the squares and 13 for the Triangles (unless you cut them last week like I did).


Yes, if my Half Square Triangles, Block 2, looks familiar it is because the triangles were cut at the same time as HST Block 1, from the same 2-1/2 inch strips! If you haven’t already cut and chain pieced 28 HST pairs, do it now and press the seam allowances toward the dark.

Cut one B-8 square for the center and four B-12 squares

Arranging Pieces

As I followed the layout on page 18 something seemed amiss. I finally decided to rotate 2 HST units and I was much happier. Then I looked more carefully at the quilt picture and, sure enough, my new block arrangement matches the quilt. Take a look at the 1st square, 2nd row and last square 5th row on page 18 and in the quilt before you sew.


I was so fascinated with my thread supply, or lack thereof, that I failed to take a picture of the block before I started sewing.

Do you think I can join all of the pieces into pairs before I run out of thread? No? I don’t think so either, but let’s try. For the record, I managed to sew 7 pairs (approximately 18 inches).

I chain-pieced pairs vertically and pressed every other seam in opposite directions to create opposing seams.

Then I joined the pairs to make units of 4 HSTs or 2 HSTs and 2 squares. When I joined the pairs of pairs, I continued to make opposing seams by pressing the seams on one vertical row up and on the next row down. (I tried swirl pressing the four-patch units, but it conflicted with the opposing seams and just wasn’t worth it.)

Then I joined those units into three vertical rows 2 squares wide by 6 long. Finally I joined the vertical rows together. Here is my finished block with sashing strips and the single row of checkerboard attached.

I’m getting excited about putting more blocks together. I’ll go ahead and make a 3 x 10 checkerboard, combine it with a Bow Tie block and have Section 3 (page 28 in Jen's book) completed before next week.

If you need tips on strip piecing scrappy checkerboards, I included some quick techniques at the end of Week 8 on my blog (click here)

More About Half Square Triangles Block 1

Visit these other Long Time Gone Sew Along blogs, too, for tutorials, contests and other info:



Use the hash tag #LongTimeGoneSAL to share photos on Instagram.

Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell. Copyright 2016 by Jen Kingwell Designs. Available on From Marti Michell website, www.frommarti.com