Saturday, November 4, 2017

Maple Sugar Table Topper Tutorial

Suitable for a beginner! You can make this easy Table Topper. Change up the fabrics and it can serve for any holiday or occasion you wish. The topper measures 18.5" x 18.5" square

For the center of this table topper, I used a piece of Kona Cotton Black which I had fun experimenting with.  Dying fabric using Tsukineko Ink which I picked up at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, CA a few weeks ago. 

Below is a demo video I shot at the show which gives you an idea of the application process. You can use any focus fabric for your center, it does not have to be hand dyed. If you want to pick up these inks, you can get them at This demo was given by Thomas Teng. He and his lovely wife Joyce are the owners of TSC Designs which has been a family owned business since 1985. They are able to answer all your questions about Tsukineko Inks.

For the Maple Sugar Table Topper you will need:

1.)  A square of focus fabric for your center - cut (1) 6.5" x 6.5"

2.)  Two coordinating and contrasting fabrics cut as follows:

Gold Batik  cut (4) 3.5" x 6.5" rectangles
                    cut (1) 7.5" square
                    cut (1) 2" x 9" strip

Burnt Orange Batik cut (1) 9" square
                                 cut (4) 3.5" x 3.5" squares
                                 cut (4) 3.5" x 6.5" squares
                                 cut (1) 2 x 9" strip
                                 cut (1) 2 x 16" strip
Batting (1) measure 20 x 20 (you will trim to fit after quilting)
Backing fabric (1) measure 20 x 20 
Binding Fabric cut (2) 2" or 2.5" x WOF strips, depending on how thick a binding you wish.

I have used the 3 x 6" Quilt-In-A-Day Flying Geese Ruler to make four flying geese as illustrated below.

Place the 7.5" square on top of the 9" square, centering them with right sides facing each other. Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other. Pin the squares together.

Stitch 1/4" on both sides of the drawn line as shown. Remove your pins and then press to set your seams, cut apart on the drawn line as shown below.

Open each half and press flat, make sure there are no tucks and that you have pressed the seam toward the large triangle. You should have two pieces that look like the photo below.

Place your pieces right sides together so that opposite fabrics touch and your seams are parallel with each other...DO NOT TRY TO MATCH YOUR SEAMS. Your pieces should look like the photo below with a "swallow tail" on each side. 

Again you will draw a diagonal line from corner to corner, pin and stitch on both sides of your drawn line as shown in the photo below.

When you have stitched on both sides of your drawn line, then you will remove your pins, press to set your seam and cut apart on the drawn line as shown below.

Now before you press these two halves open, you will make a little clip in the middle of your seam as shown below. Fold your fabric in half to find your middle and then make a little clip to the seam. I have made a wedge to show you the clip.

From the right side, press INTO one triangle. turn and press INTO the second triangle. Turn over and press on the wrong side. At the clipped seam, fabric is pressed AWAY from triangles as shown below.

Now don't freak out! You didn't sew it wrong! You should have two squares that look exactly like the photo below. And now the magic begins...

Place your ruler on your square and line up the solid teal lines with the peak of your triangle as shown below and trim away the excess.

Repeat this process for the remaining half of your square and also the the second square.  You will have four perfect flying geese!

There are lots of methods for making your flying geese, if you like another method, use want your geese to measure 3.5" x 6.5" (they will finish in the quilt at 3" x 6")

Now take your flying geese unit and matching up a 3.5" x 6.5" rectangle of your gold batik stitch them together on the long side that does not have the point of the geese as shown below. Press to the rectangle. Create four of these and set them aside.

Take your  (2) 2" x 9" of the gold batik and one of the burnt orange batik and match them together. Stitch a 1/4" seam down one side to create a strip set as shown below. I have made this larger than needed to allow you some wiggle room when cutting.

From your strip set, cut (4) pieces that measure 2" x Width of your Strip set which should be 3.5". They should look like the photo below.

Now take your 2" x 16" strip of burnt orange and placing that under your needle...lay your strip set pieces that you just cut on top of that strip, right sides together and making sure that you have the golden batik piece at the bottom closest to you, stitch them as shown below...leave yourself a little room between each piece...about 1/2 an inch should be plenty.  Press open to the long strip and then trim apart. Each little block you just constructed should measure 3.5" Square. This is a good time to square them up.

To the squares above we will be adding a 3.5" square of the burnt orange and a 3.5" x 6.5" rectangle of the burnt orange.

You will be creating (4) of these units.  First we will attach the 3.5" square to the units shown above using a 1/4" seam. As you lay them out to stitch, make sure that your gold batik square is under your needle first and place the burnt orange 3.5" square on top as shown below. 

Construct (4) of these and press the seam to the 3.5" square. Now we will add the 3.5" x 6.5" rectangle to our unit. Lay them all out as shown below so you are stitching them all the same.  Use a 1/4" seam allowance and stitch the long strip to the pieced unit as shown.

Create (4) of the units shown below.

You are ready to lay out your table topper. There are many possibilities at this point depending on which way you turn your geese unit. Below are some possibilities.

Once you have decided on your layout. Stitch your topper together in rows as shown below. Then finish by stitching your rows together. Press your top and bottom rows to the outside, away from the geese unit.  Press your center row toward your center block away from your geese units. This will let you nest your seams when you stitch them for perfect matching.

Make your quilt sandwich with batting and backing and quilt as desired. When you are finished quilting, trim your batting and backing to your topper and then bind for a finished topper.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial. Experiment with different fabrics and be sure to share a photo with me when you have finished your Maple Sugar Table Topper! I always love to see what you create. Happy Quilting! Special Thanks to Brittany Kay for her sweet suggestion of Maple Sugar for the name!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

#Giveaway, More Farmer's Wife and 2017 PIQF's Best In Show!

We have been having a ball with the Farmer's Wife Quilt Blocks. Since Halloween is right around the corner I thought this little block was appropriate! If you want to join us and post your blocks our Facebook site is Sister of The Divide Group Sew Along. The goal of the group is to encourage, share tips and get 'er Done!

In that spirit, I would like to share a few tools that I absolutely love! The first one is the Fons & Porter Fussy Cutting Templates, they come in a set with several sizes and the edges are frosted so they don't slip on the fabric. You can find them here:

The second tool I love is the fluorescent 1/4" tape. You can use this on all your rulers and it is wonderful. Here you can see that I have used it on the Fussy Cut Template to block off a 1/4" on the edges, this way I am sure to get my motif into the desired area and out of my seam allowance. You can get it here: They also carry it at Staples and Joanns.

If you have ever had to mark a ruler with a 16th you will appreciate this tape, easy to see and removable when you are done.

The third tool I want to mention is the Quilt in A Day Flying Geese rulers. Yes, you can get them in just about any size you need. Cut two squares of fabric, stitch them as you are instructed, press and cut your four perfect flying just cannot get any easier! You can find them all here:  

And if you have the ruler but don't know what size to cut your can download a free tutorial at Quilt in A Day at this link:

One of the questions I get most often is "how do you get your pieces so perfect".  Here are my "tips" for you.  

1. Patience is key. We live in a MacDonald's society and everyone expects things in five minute flat. Take your time. Breath. Don't rush your creative process and you will have a better result.

2. If you have directions for your block, stop and read them all the way through...just like cooking...make sure you have everything you need and that you understand what you will be doing. Breath.

3. For these blocks, get yourself a square of flannel or felt that you can set your pieces on, it will let you make sure you have your pieces in the right order and you can transfer from your cutting board to your sewing machine to your ironing board with no effort. 

4. Look twice, make sure you have your block laid out the way it is suppose to be. 

5. Take your time when you press. Make sure the seam is opened all the way on the front of your fabric. I use my fingers to press them open and then press with the iron. Avoid "scrubbing" your fabric with your iron, lift and press, lift and press...we are pressing the fabric. This will help you avoid distortion of your block.

6. To make a perfect match of your seams...iron them in opposite directions and then nest them carefully together. You will be able to feel them butt up against each other. Place your pin in the seam allowance rather than the seam itself.  I like to use a very fine pins when I am piecing. I use the Clover fine quilting pins which you can get here:  Practice on some scraps until you master this will just take you a minute and you will be amazed how big a difference you will see in your ability to match your seams. Mine are not always perfect and that is why God made seam rippers...Breath.

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This past week, I have been attending the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California. To say it was amazing is an understatement. There were so many great quilts and just as many merchants there with everything you could ever want or need or dream of for your quilting or crafting needs. I have posted all of my photos of the quilts on our Facebook page,  so I am just going to post The Best In Show here. 

2017 BEST IN SHOW at Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California. Sherry Reynolds quilt dedicated to her mother titled Eternal Beauty. Click the following link for a brief video.

Award Winning Quilter, Sherry Reynolds with her 2017 BEST IN SHOW
Eternal Beauty, dedicated to her mother
Pacific International Quilt Festival, Santa Clara, California

Talking with Sherry Reynolds of Laramie, Wyoming, she tells how she created each of the round medallions in the outside circle first and then hand appliqued them to the quilt later. It took her four years to complete, she says she worked a little and then set it aside, worked a little and set it aside until it was finished...sounds familiar! On close inspection the details are astounding, for instance the 1/4 inch sashing on the border squares, that when pressed, gave the illusion of tile work with the 8 thicknesses of fabric pressed to the squares. The points that are created with two different pieces of fabric that must mirror each other. Each band and each ribbon of color was intricately pieced.  Most of the piecing was done without making a paper pieced pattern but there were areas where she did draft a paper piecing pattern. Half way through this piecing process, her Bernina 1001 gave out on her and a friend located a Bernina 1000 to replace it and continue her work. She used her domestic Bernina to quilt this entire quilt as well...she says she just scrunches it under her machine and works on a little area at a time. There are literally thousands of swarovski crystals attached as well. Photos do not do this quilt justice.  The most touching part of this quilt is the label, Read Below.

Eternal Beauty by Sherry Reynolds, Wyoming
2017 Best in Show at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, CA

Her label reads:

Dedicated to my mom, who's beauty in life, I carry forever in my heart....
Carolyn Arlene Craven
June 30, 1941 - November 10, 2011

During her 40 year struggle with Multiple Sclerosis, she taught me, always to have Hope and to Laugh in the face of adversity. To exhibit Courage, Kindness and Compassion and to possess Tenacity and Pride. Most of all, to understand that life is what we make it, regardless of the circumstances.

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Sherry Reynolds is an inspiration to quilters the world over and her sweet demeanor, joyful sense of humor and dedication to her craft, her willingness to share her process, exemplify everything that is good about quilters and quilting. Sherry, you are a testament to your mother and I'm sure she is incredibly proud of you!

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You remember I told you there were a ton of merchants at PIQF...well this Giveaway, the Winner will receive a Quick Points Ruler and Pusher by Janet Platt and 3 full yards of fabric for you to play with! Check out her little video, I sat and watched Janet at the the show as she whipped out all kinds of goodies with her specialty rulers, she is a hoot! 

Janet Platt demonstrating one of her Quick Points Rulers

To Enter: LIKE our Facebook page at

Leave a COMMENT on this blog telling me what you might like to create with her rulers.

SHARE this post with your friends!

That's all, nothing to purchase ever. Winner will be announced on our Facebook page on November 6, 2017. Good Luck Quilters!