Techniques and Tips Feed

Quiltalong Progress

Are you taking part in my Hemisphere Quiltalong? This is a free project that I am running for approximately six months, we're only a few weeks in but it's been amazing so far! I have enjoyed looking at all the different blocks that everyone has been making, and seeing the positive comments from you. I love the fact that people have been willing to give these blocks a go, and that once they try, they love making them!

This quiltalong is a great way to learn my Triangle Patchwork techniques, and it'll give you the confidence to try some of my other projects.

I'm using Carolyn Friedlander's Jetty fabric range together with Kona Solids for my blocks. Each week I prepare half of the block, which has two triangle units in, and then I do a tutorial on how to make the units. The tutorials are both in my Facebook live group, Triangle Block Party, and on my website.

All you need to do to take part is to register on my website, then you will receive the weekly emails with the block patterns. You can also log in to the website and get the patterns from there, plus watch the tutorial videos.


Block 1 image




Block 3 image


Block 4 image



Block 5 image





Free online classes

While we are all stuck at home I've been experimenting with doing some online classes.

It's been lots of fun and the classes are now up online (free of charge) and available to view. All you have to do is click on the images below and join the facebook group for each class. You will find the first videos in the groups already.

Back to Basics is a beginner course in making a simple quilt. So far I have covered information about choosing fabrics, selecting tools, cutting and getting a good 1/4" seam. Next Tuesday 7th April 2020 at 10am (New Zealand time) I am doing the second session on sewing on your sashings and borders.

Back to Basics ad 2 72

On Thursday 9th April at 10am NZ time I will be teaching the second class in my Triangle Block Party. Join me to learn my triangle patchwork techniques.

Triangle ad 2 72


To get the correct time for your location, here is a link to a world clock

As well as the classes, the patterns for each of the class projects are included and can be downloaded from the Units sections of the groups.

I hope you enjoy sewing along and look forward to welcoming you to class!



Fussy Cutting Hexagons with 2 cuts!

This week I have been fussy cutting hexagons for the new triangle blocks I designed. I wanted to share with you the really easy technique I came up with. I'm sure this must have been done before but I haven't seen it around.

For the new blocks I released last week I have decided to use Tula Pink fabrics. There are so many wonderful motifs just perfect for fussy cutting and I wanted to explore this for the triangle based pieces in my quilt.

Here's the hexagon I cut out with just two cuts:


Isn't it cute?

So here is how I did it:

Step 1:

My hexagon needs to have a finished height in the quilt of 4". I cut a 4 1/2" strip, fitting in the pattern I wanted:

Cut strip

Step 2:

Fold the strip of fabric in half - note, the fold is at the bottom of the photo.

Fold in half

Step 3:

Place your 60 degree ruler on top of the strip. Line up the centre line of the ruler with the centre of the pattern you want to fussy cut.

If you have a ruler with a tip like the C&T ruler here, put the 4 1/2" line on the fold.

Put on ct ruler

If you are using a Creative Grids ruler which has a cut-off tip, place the 4 1/4" line on the fold:

Put on cg ruler

Step 4:

Cut on both sides

Cut both sides

Open out, and voila!

I measure my hexagons from flat edge to flat edge, so this one is 4 1/2" from top to bottom.



I used my hexagons in this block I called 'Balance'. Its one of the new add-on blocks available for my Modern Triangle Sampler pattern.

Balance block

You can get the pattern for this and all the other blocks in the Modern Triangle Sampler in my Craftsy store. All the blocks are cut with a triangle ruler and the piecing is easy by machine (no y-seams!)



Binding 101 - Part Five - the final step

Hi and welcome to Binding 101, the final step.

Don't you love it when you get to the end of a project and know that all the hard work you have put in is finally done, and you can move guilt-free onto the next one?

Once I have my binding sewn down by machine I look forward to spending the evening quietly contemplating the enjoyment of the project, and anticipating the next, while sewing down my binding.

Love it or hate it, hand sewing does make for a lovely finish, and hopefully with these tips you will find it enjoyable.

To start off, I press my binding back.

Press the binding back from the face of the quilt

This is what the corners will look like


Fold the binding over to the back of the quilt.

Use a fine needle to sew down your binding, this makes it easier to achieve an invisible stitch.

I use a fine applique needle #12 (Clover or Bohin brands are what I have available). These are easy to thread with the Clover desktop needle threader.


I am using Aurifil #50 cotton in Dove grey. This is a beautiful fine thread and I used it for quilting on this quilt.

As you can see, I am left handed and I sew from left to right. Just turn this round for right handers!

Fasten your thread, then insert the needle in the quilt side right next to the binding, travel a short distance and come out through the binding, right next to where the needle exits the quilt.


Now put the needle in the quilt again, right next to where you went through the binding. You are doing all the 'travelling' inside the layers of the quilt, so the only part of the stitch you see is very small.

  Continue around the quilt, When you reach a corner, fold the fabric down following the direction the fabric is folded on the front.

IMG_4153 IMG_4154

Take a few stitches through the corner to anchor it down on the back and on the front.




Now your quilt is going to look great!


Join me for my next Mystery Adventure, starting in February . Look out for the fabric requirements in December here on my blog!


Binding 101 - Part Three - Mitred Corners

Welcome to my binding tutorial. If you haven't done so yet, make sure you read parts one and two before moving on to this step.

Ok, so now we have reached a corner.

Take your quilt over to the ironing board.

Take the binding strip and fold it out to the right, making a 45 degree angle like this and press:


Fold binding to the right


Keeping this fold in, fold over to the left and press.

Fold back over to the left


Continue sewing from the top edge of the quilt.

Start sewing again from the top

Carry on all the way around, repeating this method for each of the corners.

This is what the corners will look like from the front:


Once you reach the final side, stop sewing at least 12" from where you started. Don't cut off any of the binding strip yet, we will use it in the next step when we make the mitred join.

The orange pins show where I started and stopped sewing

Join me next for part four - my mitred join technique.


Binding 101 - Part Two - Attaching the binding to the quilt

Welcome to part two of my binding tutorial!

We are starting with the trimmed quilt and binding strip that we prepared in part one.

Now we are going to attach the binding to the front of the quilt by machine.

First you need to set up your needle position. I like to sew my binding on with just over 1/4" (about 5/16") allowance.

Use your ruler to work out where your needle needs to be. If you have a machine where you can adjust the needle position, this is easy.

If you can't adjust your needle, work out where you need the edge of the quilt to be as you are sewing. You can mark this with a bit of masking tape.

I use my walking foot when attaching the binding.

Set up your needle position between 1/4" and 3/8"


Now lay the binding on top of the quilt with the raw edges together.

Make sure you leave a really generous allowance of binding free - at least 10" for joining at the end.

Start sewing your binding about halfway down one side of the quilt. Stitch length about 2-2.5mm.



As you approach the corner, stop and make a mark 5/16" from the end:

Make a mark 5/16" up from the end of the quilt.

When you reach this mark, stop sewing and cut the thread. Take the quilt out from the machine.

Now go on to part three - corners.

Binding 101 - Part One: Trimming the quilt and preparing the binding strips

Here is part one of my step by step binding tutorial.

I always find this the hardest part of writing instructions and patterns, so I decided to take step by step photos as I did the binding on the Modern Triangle Sampler. There are many different approaches to binding but this is the method I have tweaked over the years to suit me.

Binding 101


Part One - Trimming your quilt

Once the quilting is complete, trim your quilt. If there is a handy seam close to the edge, I use a ruler and measure from this seam to the outside so that I can keep this distance the same. Cut with a rotary cutter. Here I can see that if I use the 4 1/8" line on this border, I can trim the outside edge close enough so I won't see any batting when I sew on my binding.

Line the ruler against the border seam and trim

When you get to a corner, use the ruler to keep everything square. Square corners will be your friend!


2. Preparing the binding strips

First you need to work out how many strips you will need. Measure the quilt. Say you have a 48" by 60" quilt.

2 side at 48" = 96"

2 sides at 60" = 120"

Total distance around the quilt = 216"

Divide this by the width of fabric (40") = 5.4

You need to round this up to the next whole number so this quilt would need 6 binding strips. If the number is higher, say 5.9, you might need 7 strips once you take account of corners and joining the ends.

I cut my binding strips 2 1/4" by the width of fabric. Once the strips are cut, join them on the diagonal:

Lay two strips right sides together at right angles and sew on the diagonal

Join all the strips together like this until you have one long strip. Trim each of the seams to 1/4", then press them open.

Trim seams to 1/4"


Press seams open

Now press the whole long strip of binding wrong sides together.

Press the binding strip wrong sides together

That's it, your binding is ready to attach to the quilt. Carry on to part two ....


Hand Quilting my Modern Triangle Sampler

I decided to hand quilt each of the blocks in my Modern Triangle Sampler with big stitch quilting. There are twenty five blocks in all and each one takes nearly an hour to do, so it has taken a lot of Olympics watching time to get it done!

Banner 1

I used a different Sue Spargo Eleganza perle 8 thread in each of the blocks. These threads are lovely to sew with and there is a great choice of colours. These are the ones I used, some of them are the solid colours and some are variegated:


My next step is to do some straight line stitching in all the white areas. I will use Aurifil 50 weight thread for this as it sits down so nicely in the fabric.

Free Tutorial - No Waste Flying Geese

Hi all!

Here in the Lower North Island of New Zealand, five quilt shops run a Shop Hop. It's a great way to visit other shops and see our beautiful countryside!

Rainbow    View from Fensham Reserve

I took these photos yesterday on my walk in Fensham Reserve, near Carterton.

On this year's Shop Hop we are giving the participants three fat eighths at each shop, plus a pattern to use them. Each of us has chosen a different fabric range, and you can pick which range you want to collect. My choice is Moda's Grunge Blenders in rainbow colours.  How great to have spotted the rainbow on my walk when I had already been planning a rainbow quilt!


I just love the textures in these fabrics!

So I have been giving some thought to writing my Shop Hop pattern. Here it is, Candy Drops in two different colourways. This pattern will be available soon on Craftsy, complete with Grunge fabric numbers.

Candy Drops Vanilla background             Candy Drops onyx background

There are quite a few flying geese units in this quilt, so a bit of maths later and  I figured out that the no waste method would get really good use out of the fabric. 

I decided to do a test block. I'm not using the Grunge for this block, I raided my stash and found a pretty fabric that I got in a swap during Gail Garber's class at the Taupo Symposium. Isn't it great when fabrics have so many memories?

Step 7

This method works really well if you need lots of flying geese in the same fabrics.

First, cut a square 1 1/4" larger than the finished width of your unit. So for example if you want your flying geese to be 6" by 3", cut your square to 7 1/4". (Note, if you are using this tutorial to make my Candy Drops pattern, the measurements will be different - please use the measurements in the pattern).

Now you need four squares of background fabric. These will be 7/8" bigger than the finished height of your units. For our 6" by 3" unit we will cut these squares to 3 7/8".

Draw diagonal lines on the backs of the background squares, and lines a scant 1/4" either side of these lines.

Place the background squares on top of the large square like this:


See how they overlap? This is important, and you will sew right through both squares.

Now when I make half square triangles like this, I sometimes 'cheat' and draw my lines quite a bit less than 1/4". That makes my squares come out bigger than I need, and I can trim them to size afterwards. Don't do that with this method! Believe me, I tried and it doesn't work. So you need to be a bit aware of the width of your pencil lines and ruler, and do this bit accurately.

Now stitch on the two outside lines.

Cut on the middle line and this is what you get

Step 2

Now you are going to press those little triangles out.

Step 3

Have faith, this weird looking thing will work!

Place another background square on the corner of each of these units.

Step 4

Stitch on the outside lines, and cut down the middle

Step 5

Press, and Hey Presto!

Step 6


Step 7 Step 7

You will get four flying geese units from each of these sets, a great way to make them quickly and accurately, just be careful with your drawing and cutting lines!