Week Four- Moda Sampler Shuffle!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I know the holidays mean we are all a bit busier, so I decided to post week four a little early.  It will give you a couple more days to sew if you get the chance.

week four picThis week was all about the fabric for me.  I decided to add in a few of my favorite fabrics, some of my own designs, to make it more personal.  Whenever I am sewing for myself or my family I try to add in at least one of the fabrics I’ve designed.  It doesn’t always work, especially if I am sewing with a certain theme like Christmas since most of my fabrics have been brights and baby colors.  The last project that I made was a quilt for my daughter Izzy.  She had helped pick out most of the fabrics and when it was completed she looked at me and said, “why is there baby fabric in my quilt?”  I had used a small strip of pink rattles fabric in her scrappy binding.  I couldn’t believe she picked it out so quickly.  When I told her it was one of my fabrics she was fine with it!

In Block 10 I used the orange words fabric from Giggle & Grow along with the Zen Chic fabrics I’ve been using all along.

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 10

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 10

I loved making this block, designed by Deb Strain.  It was quick and easy and showcased the fun fabrics.  I found that if I pressed all of my seams to the light fabric, it fit together perfectly.

Click on the link below to download Block 10


When I got to block eleven I was a little nervous.  I had never tried piecing a block together like this one before.  The instructions were good, and I just took it one step at a time.  In the end I had a blast making this block.  I definitely learned a new piecing trick with this one.  Who knew you could lay a pieced triangle unit on a square and end up with such a cool design.

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 11

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 11

So much fun to try new things! Click on the link below for the Block 11 pattern designed by Brenda Riddle Designs.


And finally, Block 12- this one was a bit harder for me to keep accurate.  There are a lot of seams in this block.  I definitely pressed a few of them open to reduce the bulk.  One thing I love about this block is the fun you can have with color placement and value.

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 12

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 12

I used another one of my fabrics, the blue words from Giggle & Grow, and a wild background fabric.  When you look at the pattern you’ll see that they also show you what it would look like if you reversed the values and used a dark fabric as the background and a light fabric as the print.  Play around with what you want to do.  I’m sticking with all lights for my backgrounds because I think it will work better in the finished quilt that I envision, but there’s no right or wrong way to make this quilt.  If you search for the hashtag #modasamplershuffle on Instagram you’ll see lots of variations that people are coming up with.

Click on the link below to download Block 12 instructions designed by Zen Chic.


Happy sewing everyone, we are almost halfway through our sew-along! – Katie

Moda Sampler Shuffle Week Three!

So I was cutting out a 2 1/2″ square and I caught myself thinking, “this is a pretty big square”. If you had asked me a month ago if I thought I would be sewing up blocks with squares smaller than 2 1/2″ I would have thought you were crazy.  I don’t do small… or I didn’t before.  Making the 6″ finished squares in the Moda Sampler Shuffle has already taught me a lot about sewing but also a lot about myself.  First of all, it’s always a good idea to give something a try before you swear it off completely. And second- don’t sweat the small stuff.

Here’s a look at the week three blocks (and yes that is snow behind them courtesy of today’s weather!)

Moda Sampler Shuffle week three

Moda Sampler Shuffle week three

I have to admit I was a little intimidated by Block 7 when I first looked at the pattern.  All I saw was a lot of little tiny pieces and the dreaded flying geese.  I thought maybe I’d pick a busy fabric so that you couldn’t see my errors.  It worked, but I also found that this block isn’t as bad as it looks.

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 7

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 7

My advice is to take your time and pay attention to the details: accurate cutting, accurate piecing, and definitely accurate pressing.  And remember it’s okay to press your seams open when you find you have a lot of them meeting up in the same place.  Just be careful not to pull on the seams as you press.

And finally, I hearby give you permission to make this block and then toss it to the side and make a different block that you like better if it doesn’t turn out the way you want.  No one will ever be the wiser!

Click on the link below for the pattern of Block 7 designed by Primitive Gatherings


Block 8 was my little ray of sunshine this week.  It caused me no headaches, was fun to make, and I loved picking out the fabrics I was going to use.  When I first looked at the Block 8 pattern I stared at it for about 5 minutes trying to figure out why in the world they had me cutting 4 squares 2″ of exactly the same fabric and then sewing them back together in a four patch for the center square.  In the end I think it’s because they recommended you use a jelly roll (which is only 2 1/2″) so you wouldn’t be able to get the 3 1/2″ square you need for the center.

Well, I’m not one to add work to my block so I did it my way and cut a 3 1/2″ square for the center of my block (instead of piecing the 4 patch).

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 8

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 8

I like the way it turned out better than piecing the center because otherwise I would have had to worry about the direction of my fabric design.  A helpful tip in sewing this block is to press your fabric towards that center fabric design wherever it is in your block.  Thank you Little Miss Shabby designs for this delightful block to make!

Click on the link below to download the Block 8 pattern


And finally Block 9…. don’t get me wrong it started out fine.  And actually I was quite proud of myself when I was all done with the block.  Then I took it over to put it with the rest of my completed blocks and realized it was way bigger!!!!!

What had happened? I couldn’t believe I was 1/2″ bigger all the way around.  There had to be an explanation for it to be so accurate and yet so not accurate.

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 9

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 9

So I went back to my pattern and took a closer look.  And then I saw it- Trim to 2″ x 2″.  I was supposed to trim each of my pieced half square triangle blocks down to 2″ after I pieced them the first time.  So I looked at my finished block and measured one of the pieced half square triangles to see how far off they were.  1 5/8″ instead of 1 1/2″- only 1/8″ off, but when you multiple that by four blocks in each row there you have my 1/2″.  Bummer!

On the bright side- what a great example of how being just a little bit off can multiple until your whole quilt is off.  Let’s just say I did it on purpose to teach everyone a great lesson in accuracy. As for the future of my block, I’m undecided. I may make a new one or maybe not- I might just trim 1/2″ from the block and create my own unique design. I guess you’ll have to wait until you see my finished quilt to see what I end up doing.

Click on the link below for the Block 9 pattern designed by Jen Kingwell. PS- it’s helpful to press your seams towards the dark fabric as you go.


Happy sewing to you all, until next time- Katie

Week Two- Moda Sampler Shuffle

Hello week two! How’s your sewing going? Did you get started yet on on the blocks for week one? I had a couple people ask me about fabric requirements.  I don’t have a great answer for this yet, but I do have a couple suggestions.  Moda recommended purchasing a layer cake and jelly roll to get a lot of variety in your prints.  Then you’ll need to add to this for setting squares and the border strips.  I’ve found in piecing the first 6 blocks that I am using a very small amount of fabric in these blocks.  I also want to wait until my blocks are all done before I decide what I am going to use for the setting squares.  The quilt is set with alternate blocks next to the pieced blocks.  I think I might use one fabric or many fabrics… that will have to wait until I can lay them all out and see what looks best. So, I’m just using 1/4 yard cuts from fabrics I like in the line For You & Modern Backgrounds by Zen Chic. I think part of the fun of this sew-along is that I don’t know what my quilt will look like until it’s all done.  I hope you can handle the mystery of it all, but if you really can’t search for the hashtag #modasamplershuffle and see if you can find any posts that include a picture of the finished quilt.

Here is a link to the final setting instructions in case you want to get an idea of how the quilt will be laid out in the end.


modasamplershuffleHere are the three blocks that you get to make this week!

At first glance they all looked quite easy.  I thought maybe I was in for a quick sewing week and I was, but don’t let those simple shapes fool you.  There are a lot of ways to check your accurate piecing in these three blocks.

Block 4 was designed by V and Co and was pretty fun to make.  I enjoyed the simple design because it allowed me to see if my 1/4″ seam was correct.

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 4

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 4

This block will turn out better if you pay attention to which direction you press your seams.  Because of the layout of the pieces, if you press towards the dark fabric each time your seams will always alternate when it comes time to sew together your block.

Click on the link below for the Block 4 Instructions


Block 5 is one of my favorite blocks of all time! This one was designed by Kathy Schmitz Studios and is a great way to showcase a fun background print.

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 5

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 5

I must admit that those Easy Corner Triangles are one thing I have a hard time keeping accurate.  Especially when it comes to leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance around the outside of my block for when I sew the blocks together into my quilt.  I did okay on this block, but do have a suggestion if you also run into this problem.  In the pattern they have you sew two squares 2 1/2″ together using the Easy Corner Triangle method for the 4 corners.  You could sew together bigger squares to start with and then trim them down to a finished size of 2 1/2″.  This will help if your corners tend to want to pull when you press your triangles or if you have a hard time keeping it square when you sew.

Click on the link below for the Block 5 pattern


And finally Block 6- deceptively tricky thanks to the flying geese units for the star points. Here again, I always run into the problem of not having perfectly accurate points on my flying geese units.  I know many people also have this problem and that is why they prefer to make flying geese with one of the many rulers that are available on the market.  I’ve never been one to use specialty rulers so I don’t have a suggestion for which one you should use, but I’ve heard from many people who each have different ones they like.  Some examples include: Quilt In A Day Flying Geese Rulers, Flying Geese x 4 by Lazy Girl, and Flying Geese Ruler by Marti Michelle.  I may look into these, considering we need to make so many Flying Geese for the Inner Border on our quilt and get back to you!

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 6

Moda Sampler Shuffle Block 6

What I do love about this block designed by American Jane is the fun play of color thanks to the 4 patch center on the star.  I made sure to toss the direction of my pink fabric since I knew I didn’t want to try and have them all going the same direction.  Remember not to pull while pressing your block and you’ll have better luck with your triangles being the size you want.

Click on the link below for the Block 6 pattern


Don’t forget to sew some of your Flying Geese units each week so that you’re ready to put together your quilt when we get to the end.  We’re going to need 44 of them!! Until next time, happy sewing~ Katie

Moda Sampler Block Shuffle Sew-Along begins today!

Thank you so much for joining me on my first ever “sew-along”. I’ve been wanting to try something like this for awhile now but never found the time to develop patterns that could be posted for you all to use.  I was delighted when Moda Fabrics announced their Sampler Block Shuffle because they had done the work for me of designing 30 six inch block patterns that I get to share with all of you!  Here are the basics: I will post a new set of 2-3 block patterns every Friday from now until January 8th, 2016. Be sure to stop back each week to download and print the patterns.  I would love to see your blocks that you create so I hope you will use the #modasamplershuffle when you upload your images on Facebook or Instagram.  You can find me on both of those just look for Bay Window Quilt Shop on Facebook or @katiehennagir on Instagram.

Let’s get started!

week one picLet me begin by saying I’m not usually too concerned with accurate piecing while I sew.  I’m not saying I don’t pay attention at all it’s just that I don’t worry if things turn out perfectly.  I’ve figured out my own tricks for making my blocks as perfect as possible. Things like where I need to mark my 1/4″ seam on my machine because my 1/4″ foot isn’t really exactly 1/4″. And, I’m aware of the thread that I sew with being either 50 weight or 60 weight so that it blends into my seam nicely and doesn’t add any bulk to it.  I also know that I need to pay attention when I press, making sure I don’t pull on my seams.  These tiny tips can make a big difference when it comes to whether or not your 6 1/2″ block is 6 3/8″ or even 6 5/8″.  I’m not going to try and solve every sewers problem through my computer, but I do hope you can pick up a few tips along the way that will help you with your accuracy while sewing.

Here is my ultimate accuracy kit:


The Perkins Perfect Piecing Seam Guide is a small ruler that has a hole in it for your needle and a 1/4″ seam allowance marked on the ruler.  Simply place it in your machine and mark where your scant 1/4″ seam is.  Aurifil thread is my favorite thread to piece with.  It is a perfect 50 weight thread that will disappear in your seam leaving you with a more accurately pieced block.  I use a neutral color in all of my piecing (although I even used red to piece my first blocks at home because I was out of a neutral and I didn’t want to use any other brand of thread in my piecing). Clover’s Patchwork Pins are so fine you won’t even know they are in your fabric.  You can sew right over them with no fear of hitting them with your needle.  I don’t pin much, but when I do these are my absolute favorite.  I’ve put together this little kit on our website too, so we can send one to you if you like! www.baywindowquiltshop.com

Block One

IMG_3901The first block in our shuffle was designed by Pat Sloan.  It features half square triangles and only two colors in her block.  The fabrics I’m using throughout my blocks are by Zen Chic for Moda- For You and Modern Backgrounds. The patterns will show you the blocks in gray-scale so that you can pick whatever fabrics you like.  They also give you a couple of options for color value placement.

With this block accurate pressing is important.  Have you ever noticed your triangles start to “rainbow” if you pull too much when pressing them?  It can happen really easily and it will throw off your block completely.  Be careful to only press down on the seam, don’t pull your iron across the fabric as that adds to the stretch.

In this pattern they have you trim your pieced blocks down to 2″. I am usually a bit too lazy to trim down my blocks.  I always figure I can eyeball it and get it pretty close.  With this block I decided to do what I was told and I trimmed a miniscule amount from each side to make it 2″.  I will admit this really helped when it was time to sew the 2″ blocks together into my finished block!  I think whenever you are sewing something small, every little bit makes a difference. It is easier to hide the flaws in larger quilts!

Click on the link below for the Block One Instructions!


Block Two

IMG_3902I loved making Block Two which was designed by Me & My Sister Designs.  Okay- maybe because it was a bit easier than the rest but I think it was also because you get to see more of the cool fabric I’m using.  My only tip for this block is to pay attention to which direction you press your seams so that you can alternate the direction when you sew the sections together.  Do this by bringing your block pieces over to your ironing board and figure out which way they need to go.

Click on the link below for the Block Two Instructions


Block Three

IMG_3903Can I just say when I first looked at Block Three I cringed a bit? Then I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I am doing this to learn how to piece better and also to try new things. It’s also a bit easier to swallow when you only have to make 1 block! So, here’s what happened when I sewed up Block Three designed by Sandy Gervais. The pattern shows you how to make something they call “Easy Corner Triangles”.  I’m usually a just look at the picture and don’t read the directions type of gal, but for the sake of doing what I’m told I decided to read (or kind of read) their directions.

Here is a link to their directions for making Easy Corner Triangles


You should download it and read it. BUT DON’T MAKE YOUR BLOCK THREE LOOK LIKE THE PICTURE IN THE EXAMPLE! I figured the instructions on the Easy Corner Triangles were showing me how I needed to make my Block Three unit.  WRONG! When I tried to sew my block together the pink diagonal piece was going the wrong way.  SOOOO, you should instead follow the diagram on the Block Three Instructions because that is showing you the correct direction for sewing your triangles onto the rectangle.  The Easy Corner Triangles instructions are just giving you an example in general. Aside from that it was actually pretty fun to construct and it really has a lot of different ways you can play with fabric placement for different looking blocks.

Click on the link below for the Block Three Instructions


Finally, I’m also going to include the instructions for making your Inner Border on the quilt.  It is made entirely of flying geese units, so you may as well sew a few as you go each week.  I found that I could use some of the scraps from cutting out my first three blocks for this.  I think I am going to use a variety of background colors and also not have them match.  You could do this, or use all one fabric if you prefer.

IMG_3904Click on the link below for the Instructions


So that’s it for this week.  Remember to stop back next week Friday for more blocks!  Happy sewing~ Katie

Sew Easy- Hooded Towel Tutorial!

Have you ever had a fabric or project haunt you for weeks? For me, it was the idea that I needed to make something out of the adorable new The Adventurers collection by Blend Fabrics for my son combined with the realization that my kids desperately needed new hooded towels.  Jack, age 7, and Izzy, 5, had both tried in vain to use the baby sized hooded towels we got as gifts for their little sister Lola. I knew I needed to make them something bigger and I didn’t want them to grow out of it quickly.  I decided to let Izzy pick out her own fabrics, which of course meant she chose the Frozen panel for her main fabric. I decided to roll with it and feature as much of the panel on her towel as I could- who can argue with a 5 year old and her love of Frozen?

hooded towel pic longFor Jack’s we used a 1/3 yard panel with a little extra fabric on the edges to make it as long as the towel.  I used a large bath towel and large hand towel for the hood.  This project was so quick and easy I will definitely make them more.  Izzy has already requested one out of the cute mermaid fabric at the shop and another out of the ballet dancer fabric, hmm I wonder if she likes fabric?

I’ve put all the instructions in an easy to print pdf that you can click on below.

hooded towel photo

hooded towel tutorial

Happy sewing! -Katie

Free Scrap Quilt Pattern- from my friend to you!

It’s good to have friends! Recently at our Schoolhouse Event I worked with Teresa on a class she was teaching called Mindless Sewing.  She was featuring a pattern she developed that used up all of those strips you have left in your stash.  After I got done typing up the pattern for her I asked if I could share it with all of you.  Of course, she said yes!

So here is Teresa’s Quilt~

teresas quiltAnd here is the pattern~

Teresa’s Quilt Pattern

Click on the link to download the pattern and then dig into your stash to find the perfect combination for your own scrap quilt.  Happy Sewing!

Let’s get excited! Schoolhouse 2015 is almost here!

Yesterday I was adding information to the calendar on my phone and it hit me- Schoolhouse is about 3 weeks away. Yikes! How did it sneak up so quickly? Every year I wonder if we’ll be able to come up with new ideas for classes to inspire you, and every year we do.  I am so lucky to have such awesome teachers on board who help me find the best of the best when it comes to ideas you’ll want to hear about.

So without further ado, here is the list of classes for Schoolhouse 2015.  If you are already registered for this fantastic day of learning, your official Class Booklet will be mailed to you later this week.  If you are not signed up, then what are you waiting for?  Read all about the classes and give us a call- you won’t be disappointed!

Schoolhouse Classes 2015

You can also register on our website: BayWindowQuiltShop.com

Schoolhouse is Saturday March 28th, 2015 at the Perham High School.  Cost is $55 for the day.