Tag Archives: annabelle

Annabelle BOM Month 9

We did it! We’ve finally made it to the finish line! Four our very last month we will be making a few more flying geese, then sewing our flying geese rows together and on to the quilt. After that, all we have left to do is attach those final navy borders and we are done!

Our last flying geese adventure for this quilt involves the same procedure as all the previous flying geese, with one notable exception. This time, we will iron our seams INWARD, rather than outward. I know that is counter-intuitive, but this will enable us to get all the seams to nest together when we make the border.

Press the navy seams UP toward the red gingham at this step.

Here is a photo of what the back of the flying geese will look like when ironed.

Now that we’ve finished all those geese, it’s time to make our border! We will alternate between the red gingham units we just made and the pale blue floral units we made last month. I began by sewing these as pairs, and then sewed the pairs together as needed to make the borders.

I separated out all the pairs to prep for sewing.
The pairs are all sewn together and ready for making those borders.

When I sewed these borders on I actually lucked out that they fit almost perfectly. Sometimes I’m not so lucky though. Back in my Month 5 Blogpost I discussed ways to fix pieced borders that don’t fit quite right, so feel free to refer back to that if you need some tips for easing things in.

When I laid out my flying geese rows to prep for pinning and sewing, I was happy to see they all fit perfectly.

On to our final borders – Hooray! I confess I got so excited to finish that I just went to work sewing and didn’t take any pictures of the final navy borders being sewn. But here is a photo of how I pressed all the borders when done. I pressed away from the flying geese borders on both sides.

I will also mention that whenever I’m sewing a pieced border to a strip of fabric, I always sew with the pieced side up. Does that make sense? I just like to see where all the seams are. This also allows me to make sure I’m not cutting off any points as I sew.

I realized that I had quite a bit of leftover navy fabric after I was done with my flying geese. This may be due to the fact that Connecting Threads sent me all the yardage in one unit total, rather than cutting each fabric in to the monthly installments that you all received. So I decided to take advantage of the extra by making my borders all just a bit wider that I recommend in the pattern. Don’t hate me, but I just couldn’t resist! I was able to cut my borders 6 in. wide, rather than the 2-1/2” in the pattern. Naturally I did this without considering whether or not I will have enough of the navy gingham for the binding, because clearly I wasn’t thinking ahead. Ugh. Fortunately for me, I chose the same navy gingham for my backing and ordered plenty extra, so I should be able to save myself from my lack of foresight.

Here is my finished quilt top (in the picture below). Please ignore the mysterious hands of my husband and son holding it from behind haha! Thanks in part to the wide borders, it was way too big for my backdrop stand, so my family had to assist me while standing on the benches on our deck to keep this quilt from dragging on the ground. And the wind would NOT stop, so getting a semi-decent picture was a bit of a challenge.

Now I just have to send this off for quilting and then I can put it on my bed. I can’t wait!

Thank you all for joining me these past months. I have thoroughly enjoyed taking this quilting journey with all of you! I hope you all are happy with your finished project, and that you will think about joining me again for another Block of the Month sometime in the future.

Take care, and Happy Quilting! – Kristin

Annabelle BOM Month 8

Hi Friends!

This month is easy peasy, especially after all the work we did on this quilt last month!

All we have to do is sew on a simple border, and then make ourselves some flying geese.

I may have mentioned this before, but whenever I’m sewing borders I always give myself some wiggle room and cut the borders longer than necessary. This way I can trim them to the perfect size after they are sewn on.

I also always pin my borders so that the solid border is on the bottom as I sew. This allows me to see all the the blocks to make sure I’m sewing on the points where they intersect. Also, you can see from the photo below that I’m a Lefty, so my pins are going the “wrong” way, haha!

I had enough fabric length to use two 2-1/2 x WOF strips for all four borders. The top and bottom borders didn’t have too much hanging over, as you can see below, but it was still enough to get the job done and have room to trim.

My favorite tool to trim my corners is a giant 20-1/2” square ruler. Using such a large ruler helps me to make sure the quilt is squared up nicely.

Now on to more flying geese! I’m sure you are all pros at this by now, since there are SO MANY in this quilt. I feel like I should almost apologize for all the flying geese I put in to this design. I think I’ve actually worn out my Bloc-Loc tool doing so much trimming! But to me, the work is worth it, because I absolutely love how this quilt turned out.

SO MUCH trimming to be done…

Always remember you can cut all your pieces just a hair bigger than necessary so that you have wiggle room to trim your pieces to perfection.

I won’t bore you all with another tutorial for no-waste flying geese, since this has been well covered in previous blog posts for this quilt.

Here are all my flying geese, trimmed up and waiting for next month, when we can finally finish this quilt! Hooray!

Until next month-


Annabelle BOM Month 7

Hi friends!

I’m not gonna lie – this month is A LOT. At least, it felt that way to me. We are making an additional 18 blocks, and then sewing those blocks together with the ones from last month, and then attaching all of it to the center portion. Phew! But we CAN DO IT.

So let’s begin with those 18 blocks! They are basically the same block as last month, but with the flying geese units pointing away from the center square this time. I won’t bore you all with another tutorial on the no-waste flying geese method, but just remember you can always cut those pieces a tad bit bigger so you’ll have room to trim down. I always do.

Here is the layout for each block.

Once you have them all finished and trimmed up, you can begin sewing those rows together.

I started by sewing each Diamond block from this month to a Star block from last month. You can see my stack below.

I sewed all the blocks into pairs first.

Then, realizing that the side borders needed 4 of these pairs each, I sewed those together. Then I sewed 5 pairs together for the top and bottom rows. Is that clear as mud?

Here are stacks of 4 blocks. I just have to sew two of these together to make each of the side borders. I’ll add an extra pair to make the top and bottom borders.

Now these border rows are ready to sew to the quilt.

Please note that at this stage I DO NOT IRON THE SEAMS for the border rows. I pinned and sewed all the borders on first, and THEN ironed all the seams in their proper direction. By not pre-pressing the seams between each block I can pin the seams in their proper nesting direction and then go back and iron the joined seams accordingly.

Here is the back side of my blocks, joined together but NOT PRESSED YET.

Now here is where things can get tricky – If you didn’t notice already, we have A LOT of seams to match up between these rows and the checkerboard border on the quilt. While I try my best to have the pressing directions allow for seams to nest together, sometimes that isn’t always possible.

While designing and writing this pattern I made myself crazy trying to figure out if there was a way I could tell you to iron those checkers so that they would nest perfectly when the block borders are sewn on.  I won’t bore you with the details, but in a nutshell, after spending a few days trying to problem solve I realized there was no viable or easy pressing solution regardless of what I did.

But the good news is many of the seams should already nest together, especially if you re-pressed last month’s blocks like I recommended in the month 6 blog post. And for some of the blocks, you can simply re-press the seams going the other direction after you’ve pinned the rows on and determined the direction they need to go.

The top seam has yet to be ironed. Once I pin this, I will know which way to press the seam.

But some of the seams will be a bit persnickety when it comes to nesting. Pressing one or both adjoining seams open is always an option, or simply just lining the seams up as best you can with both seams going the same direction can also work.

However, I’m going to tell you my dirty little secret of what I do in this situation:  Please don’t send me hate mail or sentence me to quilter’s purgatory for what I’m about to tell you….

I flip the seams so they nest together, which creates a little fold in the seam, and then iron them as flat as I can where the fold is. You’ll see what I mean in the picture below.

I’ve pinned everything here and have my seams all nested together. Notice the flip in the bottom seam?

I know that you purists out there are probably yelling at your computer screens right now, but I know I’m not the only one who does this. Without naming names, I happen to know a couple other well known designers who do the same thing in this situation.  I even called my mother who is a decades long professional quilt designer and long-armer, and she had to confess she does this too. So either we aren’t alone, or perhaps my quilting rebellion is inherited and can’t be helped, haha!

I only had a few seams that needed to be ironed with a fold in them like you see below. And unless I’m going to do stitch-in-the-ditch quilting (which I’m not), then those little occasional seam folds won’t matter, and won’t be seen by anyone once it’s quilted.

One little fold here and there won’t ruin the quilt….

So you all have permission to attach these borders and line up these seams however you see fit. And like my mom always says “There is only ONE rule in quilting that matters – DON’T CUT YOURSELF.” So as long as you don’t get injured, the rest doesn’t matter!

This quilt is now officially too big for my design wall, so it’s happily adding to the ambiance of my living room floor, where it will most likely stay until it’s finished. Good thing I don’t have pets!

Happy Quilting!   – Kristin

Annabelle BOM Month 6

Hello again friends and Happy New Year!

I couldn’t be more excited for 2021. It goes without saying that we’ve all been through a lot this past year, so here’s hoping for a year of healing and happiness ahead!

And what better way to start the new year, than with quilting! This month we will be sewing up some sawtooth star blocks – 18 of them to be exact.  These are pretty simple blocks, so even making so many will still go pretty fast.

First we will make the flying geese units.

 For years I used the stitch-and-flip method, which is still a perfectly good way to make flying geese, but I was always bothered by the wasted fabric, so a couple of years ago I switched to doing the no-waste method in my patterns and have never looked back. Plus, I generally feel that I have less issues with my flying geese being wonky doing it this way.

As a reminder, way back in month 1, I mentioned that I will cut my pieces just a scant larger (like 1/16” or less), so that I have room to square things up. You may want to do the same. I also have a more detailed tutorial for making the flying geese in the month 1 blogpost, so feel free to refer to that as well. Here is a quick photo run-down as a reminder:

My B squares are marked and ready to be sewn to the C square.
I’ve stitched on both sides of my marked line and am ready to cut on the line.
Here the unit is cut apart and ready for the seams to be pressed downward.
The additional B squares are marked, pinned, and ready for the sewing machine.
The units are cut apart and ready for pressing.
Now all I have to do is trim all these and they are ready to be sewn into the block.

Once I have my flying geese made, I lay out all the pieces for the block and begin to sew things together.

While making these a 2nd time for this blog post, I realized I wanted to change the direction of some of the pressed seams. Next month we will be sewing some additional blocks, and then attaching them to the checkerboard border. We will have A LOT of seams to match up, and things can get tricky. I’ll discuss that more for next month. But for now, you may want to press your you last set of seams inward, rather than outward. Here is a new diagram to follow, as well as a photo of the back of a block.

The original pressing directions still work, but I like to nest things together as much as possible, and this will make that easier down the road.

And now the block is finished.

See you all next month!


Annabelle BOM Month 5

Well friends, we are now officially past the half-way mark with this quilt. Yay!

This month will be a lighter month as far as sewing goes, but since we are full swing into the holiday season, hopefully it will be a welcome reprieve for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, sewing is my happy place, but at this time of year I love me some cookie baking, Hallmark movie watching, gingerbread house decorating, carol singing filled days. I hope you all have time at this season to do what fills you with joy!

I know a few of you got ahead of yourselves and tried to sew the star blocks together before getting this month’s instructions, and couldn’t understand why they didn’t fit. Now that you all have your instructions and fabric, you can see that these little stars have some sashing strips sewn between them. See? It all works out in the end!

Here are my stars and sashing strips all ready for pinning and sewing:
Now they are sewn together, with the corner stars set aside.

All of my seams are pressed toward the A strips. Once I was finished with step 1, I added the final stars to two of the strips.

Now everything is pieced and ready for the Star Block borders to be sewn to the center.

Sometimes, no matter how well we try and sew, sometimes things don’t fit together as planned. It happens to EVERYONE, not matter how much experience you have. We are human and fabric has give to it. If you find that your Star Block borders are a bit off, you can adjust them by either taking in or letting out the sashing strips as needed. No one will ever know!

Now it’s time to make those checked borders. Here are all my strips cut and ready for sewing.

By sewing and cutting eight sets of the B/C strips you will have PLENTY for making the borders. I ended up with over half of the last set leftover.

I decided to sew all mine into pairs, and then double each time until I had the correct sized strip sets. However, if you do this method, be mindful that the shorter sets use 28 B/C units and the longer ones use 32 units, so you will need to be counting as you go.

Here I am getting ready to sew my 4-patch units into 8-patch units.

I kept sewing and doubling up until I ended up with what you see below. The top two strips get sewn together to make the top and bottom borders, and the bottom two strips are sewn together to make the shorter side borders.

Also, as I got busy sewing along I did this:

Oops! This is the WRONG way to sew the borders!

Yep, I wasn’t paying attention and ended up with like fabrics that would have been sewn together once I attached my top and bottom checked border rows. Once again, I’m not good at following directions, especially my own! Fortunately it’s an easy fix: I just took the last B/C unit off one end, and then sewed it to the other end.

Much better!

Whenever making any type of pieced border, it can be tricky to make sure things fit properly. Even a 1/32 difference in seam allowance can have a big effect when you are piecing together dozens of squares. I’ve made hundreds of quilts, and I still every once in a while end up with something being way off. Here are a couple of tips I use that may help.

For border strips that are too long: After I’ve ironed my border, if it’s off by around a ½ inch or less, one of my favorite tricks is to spray the pieced strip with MaryEllen’s Best Press, and let it rest. I don’t iron it again before sewing. I just let it dry and it shrinks up just enough to usually fit pretty well. After I sew it together then I press and it works like a charm!

If my pieced border is REALLY long, I will go back and increase the seams in multiple places by just a hair. There’s no need to rip anything out, just sew right next to the old seam. You need to be careful that you don’t increase each individual seam by too much, or it will throw off how things fit and nest together in the coming months. So it’s better to do a tiny bit on multiple seams, rather than just adjust a few seams by a large amount.

For border strips that are too short: If my borders are just a bit too short, then I can usually stretch them a bit and ease them in, but if they are way off, then I get friendly with my seam ripper. I generally will rip out multiple seams and then re-sew them just a scant under the ¼” seam allowance until it fits. It’s not fun or easy, but it works.

This quilt is really starting to get big!

Have a wonderful holiday season, and Happy Quilting!


Annabelle BOM Month 4

If this month feels like Déjà vu, you aren’t going crazy. The blocks we are sewing this month are exactly the same as last month, only with different fabrics. So I won’t bore you by giving you another tutorial about how I sewed the block together. You can’ refer to last month’s blog post for help on that if you need.

This month I thought I’d give you a tiny glimpse into how I sew blocks together when I have a lot to make at once. Whenever I’m sewing I always try to streamline things as much as possible. Perhaps many of you do this too. I like to get everything cut out and marked at once, and then I try to sew as many components as I can at the same time.

Here I’ve cut out everything I’ll need for all eight blocks.

To start, I’ll be sewing the flying geese units and the HST (Half Square Triangle) units for the pinwheel centers at the same time, so I’ve got everything pinned and ready to go.

I know some of you mentioned in the Facebook Group for this Block of the Month that you were saving your cut corners from the flying geese units, and I must confess I’ve been doing the same. When I cut off the corners, I just leave the pin in the portion that is cut so that I can go back and sew them together later. When I figure out what I’m going to do with the bonus HSTs I’ll let you all know. First I have to get this quilt finished. 🙂

Here is my table full of lots of lovely chain piecing. Clearly I need a bigger table! I keep telling my husband this but he doesn’t believe me. Also, I would need a bigger room for a bigger table, which means buying a new house. Seems reasonable to me! Somehow, he is not convinced…

Once I’ve finished off my flying geese and HSTs, I get ready for some quality trimming time. I always trim and true up my pieces with each step. So once my pinwheel centers are made, I will check them again just to make sure they are all the correct size.

When I made last month’s blocks I was in a hurry and didn’t pay attention to my own directions. So I ended up sewing ALL of my pinwheels incorrectly and they didn’t match up as they were supposed to. Ugh! I had to rip everything out and re-do them. So this time I was determined to do it right the first time, which meant laying out all my pinwheel blocks and checking them with the flying geese units before I began pinning and sewing them all together.

While I was sewing my pinwheels, I was also sewing the “B” squares to the ends of half of my flying geese so that the top and bottom units of the star blocks would be ready to go.

I always press open the centers of my pinwheel units so that they will lay flat. There are some great tutorials on YouTube that show how to do this much better than I can show you here with still shots, but in a nutshell, you want to open your seams so that you will get a pinwheel design on the back side too.

Once I’d finished up with the pinwheels and the top and bottom flying geese units, all I had left to do at this point was sew the remaining flying geese to the sides of the pinwheel units and then I could finish the blocks.

Here they are hanging on my fence, all finished and ready to go.

I can’t wait to get these sewn together and add the checkered border next month. I’m sure you all feel the same! It’s hard to sew these blocks and then wait to add them in the quilt. But don’t worry! We will be finished with this beauty before you know it. We are now almost halfway done. Hooray!

Until next month, Happy Quilting! – Kristin

Annabelle BOM Month 3

Hi there everyone!

As I’ve probably mentioned before, I LOVE LOVE LOVE  Star blocks! Which I guess is why this quilt has a lot of them in it. They are my design weakness!

For this month we will be making eight of these little cuties. They are each 10-1/2” square, and will give you lots of practice with flying geese.  (I know, it’s just what you all wanted!)

For these flying geese I use the traditional stitch and flip method. This is the method I used to use all the time when I first started quilting and writing patterns. Then I learned the no-waste method and I have been hooked on that ever since. However, because of the way this block is constructed, we will be using the old-fashioned way. It’s tried and true and does the job.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we get to those flying geese, we will need to make some pinwheel centers for our blocks, starting with some half-square triangles.

I have moved the top fabric down simply so you can see the red print fabric underneath. You want your squares matched up on all the corners before you begin sewing.

Make sure as you press your F/D squares that all the seams are pressed toward the red print fabric and then all your seams will nest together nicely.

Here are my half-square triangles ready to be trimmed. Not my favorite job but it has to be done!

Make sure all your pinwheel are sewn just like the diagram in the pattern. You want the red and blue prints to be placed in the same orientation so that things will all match up later.

The half-square triangles are ready to sew together to make the pinwheel centers.

After your pinwheel blocks are finished, it’s time to make those flying geese.

Place the Red C squares on the left side of each of the A rectangles, and follow the directions.

Then place the Blue E squares on the right side to finish them up. I like to sew just outside of my marked line so that I have some room to square up my flying geese when they are done.

Now we can sew all the components for the block together!

Here below I have laid out all the pieces to make sure everything is in its proper place.

Each print matches up with its counterpart.
This picture is a little crooked, but you get the idea.

If you’ve sewn your pinwheel blocks together correctly, all the red fabrics and blue fabrics should line up with each other, giving the illusion that they are one continuous piece.

Once you get going, these blocks come together pretty fast. I hope you have enjoyed making these sweet little stars!

SPOILER ALERT: If you look at the finished quilt on the front page of your pattern, you will notice that we have more of these star blocks to make, just in different fabrics. So be prepared to make a few more of these cuties later on!

Take care, and Happy Quilting! – Kristin

Annabelle BOM Month #2

Hi Everyone!

I’ts been so fun to see everyone’s photos from month 1 on the Facebook Group. It always makes me happy to see people enjoying my designs! This month we will be adding a couple of borders to our center medallion. It’ll be a breeze compared to all the piecing we did last month!

The first part of this month’s directions is easy-peasy! Just sew on the border strips as directed. And just so you know, it’s perfectly okay to add at lease 1/4″ or so in length to all your border strips before cutting. I ALWAYS do this every single time I’m adding borders to any quilt. I like having the wiggle room to make sure it’s all going to fit, and then I trim things up as I go.

Some of these are a little more than 1/4″ longer, lol! But since it’s my own pattern I know I’m going to have plenty of fabric, so I’m not worried.

Remember last month when I showed you all how to make no-waste flying geese? Well, we are going to be doing a lot more of that for month 2. (And in later months too!) When I have a lot of identical units to make, I like to do what I call ‘assembly line’ sewing as much as possible. Probably most of you do the same thing already. I basically cut everything and prep my pieces and then I sew like crazy!

Here is my stack of units marked and ready for some quick sewing.

I always chain piece as I sew too, which means I don’t cut my threads in between pieces. I just keep feeding more units through my machine and then clip the connecting threads after I’m done. It goes SO much faster that way!

Lots of happy chain-pieced flying geese.

And as usual, I used my Bloc-Loc tool to do all the trimming. I love how the tool just locks in to place at the “V” so I can make quick work of using my rotary cutter to cut around the edges and true them up.

Here is the Bloc-Loc in its proper place before trimming.

Once I had my flying geese all trimmed it was time to lay them out to sew into the rows as outlined in the pattern instructions.

Getting the strip sets assembled.

I laid out all the units at once to make sure I had everything correct before sewing each of the 8 strip sets together.

Here are the finished flying geese strips.

Now it’s on to make the Square-In-A-Square blocks which are in centers and corners of the flying geese borders.

There are basically two different methods to make the Square-In-A-Square blocks: One method is to cut a smaller center square and then attach triangles around the edges. I have some patterns where I’ve done it this way, but I find that sometimes it’s harder to get things to measure correctly in the end. So for this pattern I decided to do the method that gives more accurate results (in my opinion), but the downside is there is a bit of wasted fabric. Since we are only making 8 of these blocks, I figured I wasn’t committing a huge crime with a small amount of waste. haha.

I made these square-in-a-square blocks by using the stitch and flip method, which is also commonly used to make flying geese units. This way we know we can end up with an accurate 4-1/2″ square when we are done, and that each unit has the required 1/4″ seam allowance. And yes, I made all mine at the same time to make quick work of it.

These are all prepped and ready to stitch on the marked lines.

Now it’s on to attach the 2nd square to each unit.

When doing any stitch and flip method, here is something I find helpful: Sometimes after we’ve stitched, trimmed, and pressed we end up with corners that come up short or wonky. I’ve found that after I’ve sewn on the marked line, if before trimming I first flip the square up at the seam and it doesn’t match up at the corner, then I know I need to rip it out and re-stitch. Not my favorite thing to do! To avoid this, I generally sew just BARELY – and I mean just a hair – outside if my marked line, on the side that is closest to the corner. This way I don’t end up with shortened corners and things squaring up much better.

Here is a photo below of me flipping up the square and it NOT matching up in the corner. See how it looks all wonky?

This is the WRONG way to sew on the corner square!

Below is what your corner SHOULD look like after you’ve flipped up the square on the seam you just sewed.

This one is sewn MUCH better!
Here is the 3rd corner ready for sewing.
And finally the last corner can be sewn!

Once you have all your Square-In-A-Square blocks finished up you can sew the green floral ones in between each of your flying geese strip sets.

Make sure your flying geese units are pointing AWAY from the center squares.

Below you can see I’ve sewn the red squares on to the ends of two of the strips sets I just made and am ready to sew everything on to the quilt.

When sewing the red square-in-a-square blocks to the ends of the flying geese units I changed my mind from the directions and decided to press the seams open to reduce the bulk where the triangle points all come together. You can still press them as directed, and it will work, but I thought I’d try it this way too. I talked about seam pressing a bit in the last month’s blog, but basically you do what you think works best for you.

I decided to press these seams open to reduce bulk.

Sometimes sewing pieced borders to your quilt can be tricky. Fabric tends to stretch so we can end up with borders that don’t seem to match up correctly. So here is one tip that has worked well for me.

If I notice my pieced borders have stretched and are a bit too big, I simply give the longer ones a good spray with Mary Ellen’s Best Press, which is my personal go-to starch. (I use it on EVERYTHING. But I’m sure any other starch product you are using would probably work fine too.) For some reason, my pieced borders almost magically shrink back up, usually just enough for me to gently re-press in their smaller size, and then they fit much better. This way I don’t have to do quite so much “easing” things together with my sewing.

Here is the gap I was going to have to contend with because my flying geese border had stretched a bit too much while I was sewing.
As you can see, I REALLY sprayed the bottom section of the border to allow it to shrink up.

If you were to look VERY closely at this picture below you will notice that there is a red square that doesn’t quite match up perfectly with the flying geese at the points. I re-did it twice and finally decided it was time to say UNCLE. I’m just as human as any other quilter, and sometimes good enough is good enough!

And now everything fits together. I love this center portion of the quilt so much just as it is. My son actually saw the quilt top in its current form and thought it was a table topper that is finished and ready for quilting. (Wouldn’t that be so cute?!) But this quilt is just going to keep getting bigger and bigger!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s installment of our Annabelle quilt. I can’t wait to show you Month #3, so stay tuned!

Happy Quilting! – Kristin

Welcome to the Annabelle Block of the Month!

Hello and welcome! My name is Kristin Gassaway, and I’m the designer of the Annabelle quilt sold here at Connecting Threads. I’ll be posting tips and updates as we make this quilt together over the next 9 months.

For this first month we will start with a *bang* by making the center medallion portion of the quilt. This will probably be the most technically challenging part of the quilt, so everything should be smooth sailing after this.

I like to make no-waste flying geese whenever possible, and since we will be making A LOT of them over the next 9 months I figured I’d give you a quick photo tutorial of the process.

Before we begin I have a quick tip: After years of frustration in getting my pieces to be the “perfect” size while quilting, I finally got smart! Now whenever I’m making flying geese or half-square triangles, I cut my pieces just a scant larger than what is being asked (as in less than 1/16″ bigger, like a couple of threads larger), and then sew everything just a scant under a 1/4″ seam allowance. This way I always have room to trim and size everything to perfection.

To make flying geese that will measure 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ (which becomes 2″ x 4″ when sewn in the finished quilt), start by placing two 2-7/8″ squares corner to corner on a 5-1/4″ square. If you haven’t already done so, mark a line down the center. I LOVE Chaco liners by Clover, but use whatever marker you prefer.

Stitch a 1/4″ away from EACH side of the center marked line. I used red thread so you can see my stitching. Cut ON the marked line and then press the triangles downward.

Next, place another 2-7/8″ square on each unit as shown, draw a line down the center from corner to corner, and stitch a 1/4″ away from the marked lines.

Cut on the marked line again, and press. Voila! You now how 4 flying geese and no wasted fabric!

I always trim my flying geese to make sure they are accurate, and my MOST FAVORITE tool for this is the Bloc Log flying geese ruler. I get PERFECT flying geese every time, because this tool makes trimming them to size a breeze! I’m not paid to promote them, I just love them and I feel they are worth the investment because they take the guess work out of true-ing things up. Plus it goes much faster! We will be making a lot of the 2″ x 4″ size in this quilt, so if you were to buy just one, that would be the size I would recommend.

Bloc-Locs are amazing!

Next, we will be making a few Half Square triangles to add to our center star. FYI, at the end of step 5, your block should measure 12-1/2″ square. somehow I left that off the pattern. Oops!

12-1/2″ square

Now we can make the rest of the components we need to put this all together. For steps 6 and 7 we will make some fun triangle units. I always like to “trim the tails” off when sewing pieces like this, but its optional.

Tails have been trimmed!

A word about pressing directions: Most of the time when we sew, the quilt “tells” us which way to press the seams to reduce bulk. For example, in step 10, the obvious choice is to press the seams toward the N squares. But sometimes there is NO easy way to press seams when there are so many points coming together, and this center medallion was one of those times. I agonized over which way to tell you to press seams, because regardless of what you do, there is either a lot of unwanted bulk, or you end up sewing seams that don’t nest together well, especially with these outer borders in step 11. I ended up going with less bulk, and having some of the seams pressed open.

Seams are pressed open to reduce bulk.

That being said, you can choose to press the seams differently to have everything nest together, however you will end up with some slightly bulkier seams. For example, In step 7, you can choose to press the 2nd M triangle towards the L/G square, rather than away from it. You can also press HALF of the A triangles toward the L/G-M unit. This will allow all the seams to nest together when sewing the pairs together in step 8. However, this creates some bulk later on when those units are sewn to the sides of the quilt, so that is the trade-off you live with.

Here is an example of how to press the seams to allow for the pieces to nest together.
One of the M triangles is pressed up in both units, and the unit on the left has the A triangle pressed up as well.

And for step 11, no matter which way you have sewn or how you press the seams you will have some unavoidable awkward bulkiness, so it is entirely up to you which bulky seams you want to live with. Or you can also press them open if you prefer. Fortunately won’t matter either way moving forward with the quilt, so press those seams which ever way makes you happy.

Getting ready to sew it all together.

Next month we will add some fun little flying geese borders, which will be a snap! Thanks for popping by! – Kristin

Connecting Threads Podcast Episode 14 – Block of the Month

On this episode of the Connecting Threads Podcast, Kate is taking a break from talking about her quilt to learn more about Block of the Month. Kate checks in with Kris and learns more about what even is a “Block of the Month” and learns more about quilting subscriptions. Later we hear from the designer of the Connecting Threads July Block of the Month, Kristin Gassaway, interviewed by Judy Reed.  

Annabelle is a 9-month Block of the Month that begins shipping in August 2020. Each month Connecting Threads will ship you everything you need to make a portion of the quilt. Subscribers will have access to a special Facebook Group where they can connect with other Block of the Month Quilters and share their progress along the way. Block of the Month is not only a subscription service but it is a club and it’s a community. There are many benefits of doing a Block of the Month and Kris and Kate discuss some of them.  

Next we on Meet the Connecting Threads Team, we meet Elise, Connecting Threads Buyer

Judy and Kristin Gassaway are old friends who connect to talk about Kristin’s work. She has been designing quilt patterns for 13 years and she now has over 200 patterns under her belt and hers are some of the most popular Connecting Threads have carried. Kristin discusses her somewhat reluctant journey into sewing and quilting as well as how she became a designer. Kristin wanted this quilt, the Annabelle quilt, to have a cheerful, vintage farmhouse vibe. It has all of the things she loves: star blocks, floral, and gingham prints, and checked border. 

Listen, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts!

Mentioned in this episode: 
Annabelle Block of the Month
Annie’s Apron Fabric Collection
Kristin Gassaway’s Connecting Threads designs
Other Quilting Kits

0:00 The introduction with Kate
0:49 Kate and Kris check in about what they’re up to this summer
1:39 Kate asks “What even is a Block of the Month?”
4:59 Kris talks about what’s fun about a Block of the Month
10:00 Meet the Connecting Threads Team! Meet Elise, Connecting Threads Buyer
12:08 Kate’s call – we’d love to hear from you! Send us your quilting questions
12:37 Judy interviews Kristin Gassaway about how she started sewing and quilting
19:10 Kristin talks about Annabelle Block of the Month
23:15 The credits