Saturday, October 3, 2015

Back to School Blog Hop: Lining Strips Up

It's the last stop on the Back to School Blog Hop organized by Hunter's Design Studio. Thanks so much for popping in to see what I've got.

An essential tool in any quilter's box is the ability to line up blocks or squares across spaces that don't have any clear landmarks such as simple patchwork with a lattice or blocks with long, uninterrupted sashing strips. Before I learned how to do this, no matter how careful I tried to be in pinning, I couldn't get things to line up properly. It can be so frustrating. But I promise this is easy!

I'm going to work on a simple patchwork, but this can easily be adapted to as large an application as you like.

First, sew your squares (or blocks) into rows or columns, add your long sashing strips, and press.

Next, take a small ruler and lay it against the seam you want to match.

Using a water-soluble pen, mark on the far side of the sashing strip where you will attach the next row.

Repeat this step for all rows.

Now pin (or glue baste - hello, Cristy!) your next row to the marked row, being sure to set the seam just to the inside of the mark you made (since your mark is just to the outside of the seam below).

Sew along your pinned seam, careful to remove pins before sewing over them, of course!

Repeat for as many blocks or square you have and Bob's your uncle. Lovely, line-up squares that don't scoot along your seam.

Be sure to go back and brush up on other tips if you missed any of the stops on this blog hop. I re-learned some things I had forgotten and even learned a few I never knew how to do before!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Inked Blog Hop and Give Away

Welcome to I Plead Quilty, Inked hoppers! I'm so honored that Lynn asked me to join in and play with her gorgeous fabrics.

As you can see, the colors are intense! If saturation is your bag, these will not disappoint. Lynn's paint-flinging fiber art is in full effect on the beautiful prints in this line.

I have to admit, I stared at my fat quarter bundle for weeks before the muse finally spoke up, but speak she did! Loudly. We had a conversation about what she wanted me to do. I resisted, cajoled, tried to steer it in another direction, all to no avail. She knew what we needed to do: dragon scales!

Now, there are a few different methods to create these scales (English paper piecing, traditional piecing, raw-edge applique), but I will walk you through my own process.


  • Inked fabrics
  • Hugs 'n Kisses applique paper
  • Glue stick (I used a washable Elmer's school glue stick)
  • Carol Doak's paper
  • Rotary cutter
  • Self-healing mat
  • 12 1/2" square or larger ruler
First, let me say that if you don't have Hugs 'n Kisses paper, you can absolutely still make this block. I used it because it made things easier for me and I had some on-hand. The same can be said of the Carol Doak's paper. Easy substitutes for these supplies are light interfacing (though it may not wash out as nicely as the Hugs 'n Kisses, so make sure it's pretty light) and newsprint-style paper or standard copy/print paper.

Now for the instructions!
  1. Print 3 sheets of the clam shell shape linked here onto the Hugs 'n Kisses applique paper and cut out all 81 shells for your block. Yes, that's a lot! No, I didn't realize how many it would be when the muse gave me my block. No, it wouldn't have mattered because she wasn't going to let me do it any other way. She's quite particular.
  2. Cut 81 assorted 2 1/2" squares from your Inked fabrics.
  3. Attached the clam shell applique paper or interfacing shapes to the wrong side of your squares per manufacturer's instructions.
  4. Trim away the top part of the square, taking care to leave at least a 1/4" seam allowance (unless, that is, you would prefer to do this via raw-edge applique).
  5. Clip the rounded edge of each shell piece to make it easier to turn the curve.
  6. Place a thin layer of glue at the edge of the applique paper and on the seam allowance of the fabric.
    I like to place a bit of scrap paper under the piece I'm working on to avoid gluing my table top.
  7. Fold over your seam allowance. You can use tools, as pictured here, or just your fingers.
    Each shell should look like this when you're finished.
  8. Tape together two pieces of Carol Doak's paper and trim to 12 1/2" wide.

  9. Use the paper you just trimmed to tape at the bottom of the paper and trim that to create a 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" square.

  10. Fold the square along the diagonal, creating a triangle, and crease well.
  11. Open the triangle back up and use this line to center your first shell on the corner. Place a good smear of glue on the back of the shell and center on the folded line in the corner. Take care to overlap the edge of the paper square so you don't have any blank spaces once you trim it down in step 15.

  12. Move to the second row. Place two shells, feeling the edge of the applique paper on the shell above; use this as your guide for the top rounded edge of the shells in row 2.
  13. Continue down the paper until it is completely covered, one row at a time.
  14. Over to the sewing machine! Sew a top stitch on all the curved edges. I worked one row at a time with a smaller stitch than normal to help not overshoot the points.
  15. Trim the overlapping bits down to a 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" square.
  16. Tear away the paper from the back of your block.
  17. Crank a tune and start the impromptu dance party!
Now for the fun part! By commenting on this blog post, you are entered to win your very own bundle of Inked fat quarters - the same ones I have used here. In your comment, tell me, what's your jam? I'm always looking for great upbeat music to keep me moving in the studio. Entries will be taken through 11:59 EDT on Friday, March 13, the last day of the blog hop. Comments are closed and a winner will be announced, shortly!

Don't forget to check out all the other posts in this series, if you haven't already. There is some serious talent in this beautiful quilt.

(Mon) March 2, 2015: Susan Brubaker Knapp
(Tues) March 3, 2015: Teri Lucas
(Wed) March 4, 2015: Jessica Darling
(Thurs) March 5, 2015: Debbie Grifka
(Fri) March 6, 2015: Lynn Carson Harris
(Sat) March 7, 2015: Jen Osborn
(Sun) March 8, 2015: Lynn Krawczyk
(Mon) March 9, 2015: Flaun Cline
(Tues) March 10, 2015: Mickey Depre
(Wed) March 11, 2015: Cheryl Sleboda
(Thurs) March 12, 2015: Maddie Kertay
(Fri) March 13, 2015: Lynn Krawczyk 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

QUILT TALK Blog Hop Day 4 - Teal

"Something keeps telling me to ask you to make a project for my book." So started my QUILT TALK adventure and a beautiful friendship with Sam Hunter of Hunter's Design Studio.

I was excited to have been invited to play and immediately the design sprang into my head, fully-formed. My only problem was a distinct lack of the edgy fabrics I would need.

My call went out to a top-secret foul-mouthed group of quilters for grunge and punk rock prints - anything from flames to skulls to unconventional colors. I was NOT disappointed with all the scraps that came in.

 I set to work hacking apart the fabric, only to sew it back together in as haphazard a way as possible.  As bits came together, I placed them on the design wall. In contrast, all my letters were pieced in solids, incorporating the grungy prints in the background areas.

Please forgive the crappy cell phone picture in bad lighting. I was on retreat.
Before long, it all took shape, becoming the perfect quilt to welcome a Punk Rock Baby.

Like all her patterns, Sam's book is approachable for a novice and allows enough leeway to inspire even the most seasoned quilter.

Happily, I get to share a copy of the book with one of you lucky readers! Just leave a comment to tell me what sort of project you would like to create using her lovely alphabet. Comments will close at 11:59 p.m. on October 19, at which time Mr. Random will choose a winner. The giveaway has closed, but please go buy the book! I promise it is worth every penny.

While you're waiting for luck to strike, though, you should go download the pattern for a beautiful teal scrap bucket!

Sam has created a whole series of buckets to hold all your previous leftover bits of fabric.

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the tour to collect every pattern!

Post pictures of any projects you create to Instagram or Facebook and tag @huntersds and #quilttalk. She just loves seeing what people create with her designs.

And now, if you'll indulge me, a personal (and very public) note to my friend:
Sam, I am proud to know you. You are a wonderful human being, an excellent baker, and one of the easiest people I know to talk to when things get hard. Your work is, as always, impeccable. QUILT TALK is a fabulous book, and I just know quilters everywhere are going to love it. I'm absolutely chuffed that you invited me along on your crazy ride. Thank you for being my friend.

Jean MN, you are our winner! Congratulations!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Trust your design instincts

You know that moment when you reach a critical point in your project, whatever it is, look at it and think, "Meh."

Don't just let it continue! I know, I know. "But Flaun," you're saying, "I don't want to rip it all out and replace that block in the middle," or, "Ugh, do I HAVE to go back to the store and get another piece of fabric???"


I'm here to tell you to follow your instincts. Do you really want to have a project lying around that you don't love for the rest of your days, or worse yet, that you don't finish because you hate it?

I was making a class sample for SPOOL and got to the part where I tacked my EPP hexagons to the background fabric. Here's the thing, though, I hated it. It didn't make the piece sing.

Back to the shop I went and pulled several options to replace it. I narrowed to down to two colors: teal and mustard.

Neither one is a bad choice, however, in the end I went with mustard Quilters Linen because it set off the purple nicely (being on the other side of the color wheel) and because the teal is ever so slightly off.

I think it looks great!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A funny thing happened on the way to the airport...

You may expect this post to be coming from Australia, but a funny thing happened on the way to the airport.

You see, I received an offer I just couldn't refuse. The BadAss Quilters Society asked me to come be a partner and make my home in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (Wait, no snow for six months? However will I adjust to a life without a brutal Minnesota winter?) Quilting is my passion, and this offer is my dream come true, so I packed up what belongings I had not yet sold and pointed my car south (with a detour to visit my folks in Portland, first).

I am settling in nicely. My first event for BAQS was on July 8 when Alex Veronelli came to Spool, our brick and mortar shop, to talk about how Aurifil threads are made. He is really a very professional, charming man, in person. (Don't believe everything you read online.)

I'm so excited to be planning classes for Spool, unpacking my studio supplies, and designing quilts in my head (for now, since my studio isn't ready, yet).

If you get down to Chattanooga, say for the AQS show and special BadAss Quilters Society exhibit coming up in September, please stop by Spool and say hello. I would love to give you a big hug.

To keep up with all my goings on, like my new business page on Facebook!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The One Where We Hunt the Wild, Elusive Blogger

In the month since my last post, I've been frantically working on commission pieces and (semi-successfully) sorting my belongings.

Let me tell you, it is tough working full time and trying to move to the other side of the world. Keeping things running has been cutting into my move prep and sleep time, and I am really beginning to feel it. Not being one to ask for help much, I felt a little sheepish calling out to all my friends for assistance, but I'm so glad I did. One lovely friend drove up from the Madison area at the drop of  a hat to help me get things in order (I'll tell you more about that later); another will be coming on a Sunday in a couple of weeks; still another is currently vacationing in Switzerland but made a point to reach out to me and let me know he would be home next week and available to help; another friend is flying in from DC to visit and help in a couple of weeks; then my brother, his wife, and their two boys are coming the first week of June. I'm tearing up with gratitude and relief just typing this. There's even a contractor in the house as I type fixing things up so it will be ready for sale next month!

Back to this past weekend... My friend Trish is just the awesomest of awesome. She drove four hours to help me get through as much as possible in a weekend. She set me up on eBay, then took pictures and listed eight collectible dolls there for me. It took hours. While she was riding jockey on the computer, I sorted through boxes from my laundry/storage room.

We decided we could use a bit of lunch, so drove a big Rubbermaid bin full of books to the library for donation and went to lunch.

Arriving back home, we thought we would get to work on the studio, but I wanted to put the small amount of things to ship to Australia in the hall closet, which was full of crap. Where to put the closet things? To the garage!

It took all afternoon, but we sorted and cleaned the garage, all while inhaling an inordinate amount of dust and mouse poo, I'm sure. I can actually pull my car in far enough to walk around the tail end while the garage door is closed. You have no idea how huge an achievement that is!

Showers, dinner and a bit of frivolity ensued.

Then came the studio! We went in and I began to sort, handing things to her. Just having her sit there to assist me in working out what stays and what goes was immensely helpful. She didn't even tell me until we were half-way through the sort that the boxes and boxes of things I was getting rid of would be going home to Madison with her. She plans to sort it, bundle things together, take pictures, create a spreadsheet so I can assign values, list them for sale through another friend's blog (Megan is not only funny, she's one of the sweetest people I know), ship out said items, and send me the money when she's done. Shut. Up. I started crying right there.

Here is the back of her SUV full of my things.

You can't see them, but there are NINE (9!) UFOs in that load. Trish promised that she would find volunteers to finish them and donate to charity. Isn't that wonderful?! I'm so pleased to know either someone who needs them will have a quilt to wrap up in or it will be auctioned off to support a charity.

I'll give you a look at the quilts I've been working on next time. Are you doing anything exciting? Spring cleaning or moving? I would love to hear what you're up to.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I'm not dead, yet!

It's been nearly two months since I blogged, and much longer than that for a proper post, but I'm still here! I'm spending most of my time working on commission pieces and getting set for the big move to Australia in June.

Part of the move prep is touching every piece of fabric I own, sorting it by color or into the sell pile, then folding it properly. I'll be taking a suitcase full of fabric and other quilting supplies to Oz; I only get two suitcases and a carry-on to transport my whole life and these items will be essential to my well-being. (Shipping is prohibitively expensive for anything over four pounds.)

First, I had to be honest with myself and pull out all the fabric I've purchased in the last year and haven't bothered to put into my stash. I then sorted it into color family.

Then, I started folding it (as previously discussed in a guest post on the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild blog).

Looking better!

I'm quite pleased with the stack of blues I've set aside to sell or donate.

Of course, I'm still working on my commission piece, King of the Cuttlefish (the one with all sorts of lovely purples). I've made it through all the half-square triangles, creating a fade from dark to light. It's getting closer!

I'll be very busy getting things squared away, here, but hope to check in periodically. Upon arrival in Oz, I plan to regale you with all the goings on and adventures, quilty or otherwise! I'm looking forward to...

the farmers market...

interesting creatures...

the beach, and my guy!