BAM BOM Chevron Block

DSC_0116_216So, I volunteered (on behalf of NELA MQG) to put together a tutorial for the August block of the BAM BOM.  It was a simple chevron block.  Easy, right?  Maybe not.  Putting it together wasn’t so bad, but putting it on paper so others understand it was much harder than I expected it to be.

This tutorial is about the third draft, so forgive me it it’s still not clear.  I actually made my original version work by using a modified paper piecing version.  I used the paper template to piece the bottom chevron strips and help me place the middle and top chevron points.  That version gave some a lot of trouble though, so I’ve added some more room on all edges and reworded the template for straight piecing.  If you give it a try, let me know how it goes and what I could do (or say) better to make it clear.

There are two points I want to reinforce.

  • The first is when cutting chevron strips from print fabrics, be sure that you cut them either right sides together or wrong sides together.  This ensures you will have two pieces that are mirror images of each other.
  • Second, the bottom chevron point does not show on this block and the bottom triangle should be pieced to the bottom chevron from the outside points, NOT the center.  You will see in the tutorial, I have you square that center chevron to avoid that problem.

I want to thank Cheryl and Kimetha for trying my tutorial and for the great feedback.  Thanks so much.

If you’ve have good tips or seen a great post on creating good effective tutorials, please let me know!  Hope you enjoy this block and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Edited 8/3/13:  I have played with this block again and I’m still coming in a little narrow on this block!  Frustrating!!  I’ve added length to a few of the chevron strips hoping to fix this. 

If you paper piece, I strongly, STRONGLY recommend you use the paper piece template.  Start your block with the bottom triangle and chevron and work your way up that template.  By the time you get to the middle chevron, you are really using the paper template as a rough guide and the final block will extend off the end of the paper.  With paper piecing, you have a much better chance of getting this block right the first time!

Good luck!!

Teri Lucas tutorial for Kaleidoscope

Another post from the 2012 FMQ Challenge hosted by SewCalGal.  Can you tell I’m trying to clean my slate for the new year?  😀

Teri Lucas presented a tutorial based on using software like Kaleidoscope to deconstruct images into kaleidoscopes and using the images in quilting.  Kaleidoscope looks reasonable and fun to use, but it is a Windows program and I’m on a Mac.  But Teri provided a pdf of the following block for us to practice quilting.  I do love this block.  The colors are some of my favorites.

Kaleidoscope Tutorial2


I used Dritz Inkjet Printable Fabric in a Canon printer to create the fabric.  The quilting was done on a Bernina 820 with YLI Silk thread in a pinkish taupe.  I started with a tension close to one.  Then I dropped the tension again.  I was still seeing threads pulling on curves and dropped the tension to .5 which seemed to work.  The thread broke on me once during the quilting, which is better luck with silk than I have had in the past.  I believe I lowered tension to .5 after the thread broke.

My echoing and stippling need work and this was a good piece to practice on.  This is a great piece to use for practicing feathers.  I’ve got to do a few more like this.

I’m trying to decide what to make out of this piece and may use it on a bag.

Thanks to Teri Lucas for sharing her expertise and her time with us during this challenge.  This was a really fun and useful exercise.  As always, kudos to SewCalGal for putting this together.

Anyone wanting to broaden their free motion quilting experience should really take a look at the tutorials still on line while they’re still there.  Incredible value.


Trapunto with Diane Loomis

As part of the 2012 FMQ Challenge hosted by SewCalGal, I attempted the Trapunto tutorial offered by Diane Loomis.  I probably should have used the pattern she offered.  Instead I used a Celtic design.  It was definitely a learning process and something I will use in the future.

Trapunto Detail
Trapunto Detail
Celtic Design in Trapunto
Celtic Design in Trapunto


1)  If I had it to do over, I would use a higher loft batting for the initial trapunto application.  The center circle design stood up some, but the interlocking ‘ropes’ on the corners and around the design ended up pretty flat.  It could be that the design didn’t offer enough space to fluff.

2)  To begin I was using a lighter bobbin thread during the trapunto stage.  It showed a bit.  Wish I hadn’t done that.

3)  Used green YLI Silk thread for some of the quilting.  It blended almost perfectly with the green batik.  At first I liked working with it, but it began to break on me.  Played with the tension some, but it kept breaking.  Not sure what was behind that. ….  If anyone has ideas, I would appreciate the feedback.

4)  Switched to Isacord thread in a slightly paler, lime green.  I always like working with Isacord, so didn’t have a lot of problems after that.

This was fun and I definitely want to try it again.  Thanks to SewCalGal for hosting the FMQ Challenge and a huge thanks to Diane Loomis for offering the tutorial on trapunto.  It was excellent with wonderful detail and photos.

SewCalGal’s 2012 FMQ Challenge in Review

Early in the year I was lucky enough to stumble across SewCalGal’s free motion quilting challenge.  The caliber of instructors to provide tutorials were just amazing.  I had only just gotten into quilting the summer of 2011 and had wanted to learn free motion quilting so this challenge was perfect for me.  The resources online are incredible, but this challenge provided insights from so many wonderful instructors and provided so many viewpoints.

I want to extend a HUGE “THANK YOU” to SewCalGal for hosting this challenge and to each of the instructors for sharing their time and experience with us.

1Jan, 2Feb, 3Mar, 4Apr, 5May, 6Jun, 7Jul, 8Aug, 9Sep, 10Oct,11Nov, 12October Bonus    Right: Some of my practice sandwiches for the year, and Trapunto detail
1Jan, 2Feb, 3Mar, 4Apr, 5May, 6Jun, 7Jul, 8Aug, 9Sep, 10Oct,11Nov, 12October Bonus
Right: Some of my practice sandwiches for the year, and Trapunto detail

[The photos were taken with my new Nikon D5100, but still appear too dark.  I’ll have to keep working on that.]

It was actually fun reviewing the year in order to write these posts.  I kept thinking, “Oh!  that was my favorite!”  Then I would get to another and think the same thing.  The instructors were just incredible!  Did I mention that?

Even though I still have a long way to go, I look at the first samples and can see the improvements I’ve made.  There were a couple sandwiches I couldn’t find and had to redo in order to get photos.  They were so much easier now.  Although, feathers are still such a challenge for me.  Diane Gaudynski makes them look so easy and so beautiful.  Mine are just pathetic.  I was looking at my initial attempts and HAD to recreate one to photo.  What you see in the collage above was just quilted today. As a matter of fact, I believe I will show you what I mean!  Below are some of my attempts to date.  Sad, just sad.

1.Dec 2012, 2.Feb 2012, 3.4.5. Feb-Nov 2012
1.Dec 2012, 2.Feb 2012, 3.4.5. Feb-Nov 2012

Unfortunately, I’m still working on December and wanted to get this post entered before the deadline.    December is borders and I’ve already started playing with designs.  Christmas totally sidetracked me from the FMQ fun.  I really enjoyed watching all the other submissions.  Some are just incredibly fabulous!

Many of the tutorials were still up last time I looked.  If you’re interested in FMQ you really should check out the SewCalGal site.   Again, thanks so very much to SewCalGal and to all the instructors.  I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge.





2012 Free Motion Quilting … May project

This month’s tutorial for SewCalGal’s 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge was led by Leah Day. I was really excited when I heard.  Leah Day’s blog was the main free motion quilting tutorial I found when I became interested in quilting.  She has an awesome blog that lists so many patterns and tutorials.  Her tutorial this month was for two patterns based on a foundational meandering.  I’m sewing this on a Bernina 820, with OpenToe Embroidery foot, Feed Dogs down, Tension 3, Universal 75 needle, and Mettler Metrosene thread.  You can’t tell by this photo, but tension was the best I’ve done so far.

Leah suggests buying layer cakes and keeping them to one side for practice ‘sandwiches’.  I really liked that idea, but decided to hit a sale at Hancock’s, buy inexpensive quilting cotton and cut them in 10″ squares.  I think it will work great.