Samantha's September Block- Flying Geese!
My name is Samantha Linehan. I don't tell people my middle name because it is my mother's maiden name and I was teased as a child for not having a "normal" middle name. (It's Wilke) Before marriage I was Samantha Siegel. I used to fantasize about the middle names I might give myself when I got old enough, like Olivia. Then my initials would be SOS. Anyway, by the time I got married, I didn't care anymore. And I lost the "coolness" of the initials when my name changed anyway.
Where do you live?
I currently live in Atlanta, GA. I grew up in Lansing, MI. After college I moved to Scottsdale, AZ with my husband and we lived there for 12 years, until this past March. So far, I really like Georgia.
Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.)
I have been married for 12 years to my pilot husband, Nick. We met at the dorm our freshman year in college. After the first year living so close to each other (just down the hall). he transferred to an aeronautical university in Prescott, AZ. We had a long distance relationship for the rest of college (3 years). He proposed to me when I flew out for his college graduation. We got married one year later, after I graduated. Our first "child" was an American Eskimo dog named Thumper. He was the sweetest, best dog ever! Sadly we had to say goodbye to him this past November. We all still miss him terribly. Nick and I have two boys named Tommy and Ben. Tommy is almost 6 and just started Kindergarten two weeks ago. Ben is three and a half. They are best friends and worst enemies, sometimes at the same time. Ben misses Tommy terribly while he is at school.
Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.
The honest answer here is that I don't know how I got interested in quilting. I didn't know anyone who quilted when I was young. I did a little bit of sewing with my mom when I was in high school, but we sewed some dresses. She sewed two of my prom dresses. After I got married, my parents bought me a sewing machine. One day I decided to teach myself how to quilt. Then I started taking classes and really learning how and I've been hooked ever since. I didn't really get into it though, until after Tommy was born and I stayed home with him. I started sewing during his long three hour afternoon naps. The thing I like most about quilting is the idea that you can take tiny pieces of fabric and sew them together in different ways and end up with a blanket. If you think of people's most basic needs, one of them is warmth. A warm blanket can be an amazing thing to someone who is without. I am always in awe of what I created when I'm finished with a quilt. I love making them for new baby gifts. If I could sew faster and especially quilt faster, I would love to donate quilts to homeless shelters. Imagine the comfort you could give with just one quilt.
How do you organize your fabric stash? (Picture appreciated)
I have to laugh at this question. I have been nervous about answering it since January. I don't have a sewing room, I have a kitchen table. My sewing "tools" fit in one large book bag. My stash is in two flat bins under my bed. I tend to buy fabric for a particular project and not just on a whim because I have trouble choosing and I don't have a lot of storage. But I've managed to cram quite a bit of fabric into those bins. In the past few, I have started buying more fabric than I need so I have some left over when I finish a project.
Ben pulled fabric from my stash one morning and we whipped together this cuddly frog. He was thrilled to be able to push the pedal on the sewing machine for some of the piecing and quilting.
Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?
I really like Dear Stella and Me and My Sister Designs. There are so many others that I like, but I don't often pay attention to who the designers are. I just buy what strikes me at the time.
What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?
When I first started quilting, I thought I could just teach myself. You just take fabric and sew it together and make it into a quilt, right? But then I took a class where the teacher gave a quick rotary cutting tutorial and I realized how much I didn't know just about cutting. And that wasn't even the reason for the class. So I started taking more and more classes and learning something new in each one. So that is the thing that I recommend to any new quilter or even experienced quilter. Take a class sometime. Make a project with someone else instructing. I always learn a new tip or technique, even if it's just a new kind of pen to try.
I took a class to make these adorable blankets for my boys.
What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?
Recently I have started to appreciate different presser feet. I have a Bernina sewing machine and there are a million feet for it. Most of which I don't have and don't know how to use. But I love my quarter inch foot for piecing. It has a guide at the quarter inch that runs along the side of the fabric. LOVE IT! In the past year I have really gotten to love my quarter inch foot without the guide. It's perfect for sewing triangles, which I've been doing more often. Also I really have come to love my clear plastic foot with a center line marked. That has come in handy a lot recently.
Tommy decided he would like a quilt for his bed. This summer we picked out a pattern and fabric. We are making a friendship star quilt. He has helped with a lot of the sewing on the blocks. We are putting my 1/4" foot to good use!
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)
This is a tough question. There are so many that I love. I will answer it not with a particular character, but with some of my favorite books instead. One of my all time favorite books is The Time Travelers Wife (I never saw the movie.) I love the Harry Potter series. Mr. Popper's Penguins is still one of my favorites after all these years. I read it for the first time when I was about 9 and I delayed reading the last chapter for weeks because I didn't want it to end!
Before I get on with the tutorial, let me show you my inspiration for this month's quilt. When we moved our family from Arizona to Georgia in March, my father-in-law also sold his house in Arizona. It was house that he had furnished, but hardly ever stayed in. So we were lucky to be able to take some of this extra furniture. One piece we chose to keep is an arm chair that my in-laws had re-upholstered some years back. The chair fits nicely in our bedroom now and it's great for sitting in to read.
The other part of my inspiration this month is a lamp that my in-laws also gave us, when we were furnishing our first apartment back in 2001. It is stained glass. We stopped using it for a long time because our dog (Thumper) chewed threw the cord when he was a puppy. We were lucky that the lamp was plugged into a socket connected to a light switch and the switch was off. Now we use it as a decoration. But the lamp still reminds us of our mischievous puppy.
The colors I would like to use in this quilt are the colors from the chair: dark olive green, dark red, gold, and chocolate brown. If a background neutral fits into the block, I'm looking for a cream or off white, and something that doesn't have a stand-out pattern. I would like the green to be in the olive family. I'm trying to avoid any really bright grassy greens. For the gold, I'm looking for fabric being more tan-gold rather than yellow-gold. I hope that leaves you with some choices without being too picky.
Unfortunately the colors don't come out exactly when I upload the photo. My red's are actually darker and my greens are more olive. Here is a close up of the chair for a better view of the colors.
This month, I challenge you to make a block that is 13- 15 inches and has flying geese. The block does not have to be square and it does not have to use all of the colors I chose. Please choose your favorite flying geese block and method. At the end I will arrange and sash the blocks to make a flying geese sampler. Bonus points to anyone brave enough to try the blocks with flying geese in a circle or spiral! If you need inspiration there are a ton of flying geese blocks and quilts on flickr and pinterest.
Here is the block I made. It is not particularly scrappy, but feel free to mix up the fabrics to add more scrappiness!
This block is made from 8 flying geese. Here is one method for making flying geese. If you would like a different method to make four of the same flying geese with no scraps, I refer you to Alison's tutorial in January. If you use the method and end up with triangles left over, would you consider sending them along with your block? I will use them in a scrappy, maybe wonky, border for this quilt.
You will finish with a 14 1/2 inch block. Begin by cutting 2 rectangles from each of 4 fabrics for a total of 8 rectangles at 4" x 7 1/2". Cut 16 squares from background fabric at 4".
With your favorite marking tool (I love my frixon pen), mark a straight diagonal line from corner to corner on the wrong side of each background square.
Align one marked square with one end of each rectangle, right sides together. Sew on each marked line. Trim excess, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
Press open toward triangle. Align one marked square with the other end of each rectangle. Note the direction of the marked line.
Sew on the line and trim excess leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
Press open toward triangle. Your flying geese are complete! To finish the block first sew two of the same flying geese together, pointed in the same direction. You will have four squares each with two flying geese. Next arrange squares so the flying geese point in different directions, making a pinwheel at the center.
Sew the top two squares together, and the bottom two squares together. Be sure to press center seams in opposite directions.
Finally sew the top to the bottom. Ta da!!!