July 18, 2017

Week 19, Long Time Gone Sew Along | Reveal

How fun was that?! It was amazing to watch the quilt grow. I want to thank Angie for inviting me to be one of the bloggers for this sew along, and everyone who participated, too!  I will be watching to see all of your finished quilts.

Mine will stay in its partially completed “ready to finish” state until at least March of next year. Because I teach Machine Quilting in Sections (I’m sure I’ve mentioned both my book and my Craftsy class with that title) it is nice to have pieces in progress to show my students. Pictures of quilts in sections are nice, but quilters who take my classes or attend a lecture really love to see the real thing! (Speaking of pictures, click here to see 15 quilts discussed in the book!)

The left half is completely quilted and bound. Section 5 on the right half is layered with extra batting and backing for the borders and partially quilted. Section 6 is completed, but not layered.

The borders are all pieced and the top and bottom borders are actually joined to the the left half of the quilt, rolled up and pinned so they won’t get lost.  The other borders the remaining batting and backing are in a bag with all of the pertinent information for future finishing.

https://www.instagram.com/MartiMichell/Follow me on Instagram so you won't miss seeing the photos of my quilt after I've put it all together!

Thank You

I have really loved everyone’s nice words about using our tools. I'm sure many of you came to the LTG Sew Along after participating in the 1930s Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt along and brought your templates with you!  Or maybe this quilt was your first experience using templates -- in which case, I'm excited for you!  I hope you will discover how versatile our Perfect Patchwork Templates are and that they will become your go-to cutting tools!

(edited) vector by http://vecto2000.com

I'll be Talking “Quilting in Sections” at Quilt Festival

If you are going to Houston this fall for the International Quilt Festival (I recommend that every quilter should go at least once!), look in the class registration list for my lecture on Machine Quilting in Sections at 2:00 on Friday, November 3. Come and see my ready-to-finish Long Time Gone quilt in person!

I've got another machine quilting in sections event on the calendar next spring but I can’t announce it yet. Suspense!

July 11, 2017

Week 18: Long Time Gone Sew Along | Assembly

Partial Seams

Didn’t you love the way Jen worked magic with the use of partial seams in joining the units in sections 5 and 6? That is, didn’t you love it after you were done, and it worked — especially if this happened to be your first experience with a partial seam. My observation is that nearly everyone’s first experience with a partial seam is confusion and doubt, all the way to a perfect ending! Partial seams just don’t appear often enough to be part of our everyday piecing “vocabulary.”

New Meaning to Partial Seams

I've been finishing quilts on my home sewing machine for a long time! I've found that nearly every quilt that is machine quilted in sections provides an opportunity for new solutions (and have written a book about several ways to do it, depending on how the blocks are set and how the sections are quilted; a little more about that later).

For my Long Time Gone quilt, I decided to completely quilt the left half first and then put it and the right half on the design wall. Then I pieced all of the borders into long strips and put them on the design wall around those sections. When they passed inspection, I actually started adding them to the left half of the quilt using the "stitch and flip" method. You saw the photo with the first side border in a previous post, but here it is again:

Then I started the partial seams, adding just the top and bottom first borders to the left side. The remaining 36 or so inches of top and bottom borders were actually hanging off the left half of the quilt until I rolled them up and secured them to the edge.

And so it went, one partial seam after another, for the second and third top and bottom borders. Here you can see the result of the borders on the left half, but I edited out the excess border. It looks pretty great, doesn't it?!  (Click on images to see larger versions.)

As for the right half of the quilt, after it is quilted, joined to the left side and finished on the back, and with the extra batting and backing sections extended, I will add the first side border using the "stitch and flip" method described in my Week 16 blog post.

... Then the partial seams that are the first stitch-and-flip borders both on the top and the bottom of the quilt will be competed. The first border will be completely done.

... Then I will stitch-and-flip the second side border in place and repeat finishing the partial seams of the top and bottom second borders.

... And, finally, the third border will be added and my quilt will be ready to bind. Well, I couldn't wait, so the left half of my quilt is also bound! (When you are looking at this photo, remember that the partial seams on the top and bottom borders will not be completed on the right side of the quilt until after the 2 sections of the quilt are joined.)

We cut 10- or 12-inch strips of some of the neutral fabrics used in the quilt and joined them with diagonal seams to make the binding. Making binding this way is so easy if you have one of our corner trimmers. It’s the perfect width and perfect angle.

Here’s a close-up that shows an angled joining seam:

And, because the quilt was made in sections, the binding can be easily joined after the two halves of the quilt are joined and completed. Just like quilting in sections is lighter and easier to handle, it was nice to add the binding to just half a quilt -- something I had never done before, but it was perfect for this quilt!

Some Designs Require a Partial Seam

I'm using partial seams to finish my Long Time Gone quilt because the method is a great solution for adding borders to the quilted sections. But partial seams are also used to make some quilt blocks, like Friendship Star. You could make this block entirely out of squares and HSTs, but fewer seams are more attractive and so much easier to quilt, it's worth a cutting trick (easy with our templates) and a few partial seams. I’ve covered template cutting tricks and loads more in my book More Bang for the Buck.


One of my most popular classes, The Interlocking Hexagon, features a block with a partial seam. The class pattern is “Ode to Asia” and the tool is the 4-1/2 inch hexagon, the outside edge of our large Multi Size Hexagon Ruler. Those of us who have just spent 16 weeks with 1-inch finished squares would not know how to handle a piece in a quilt that is almost as big as a standard sheet of paper! Everything looks so big now, doesn’t it?


Other LTG Assembly Options

Visit these Long Time Gone Sew Along blogs, too, for tutorials, contests and other info:



Use the hash tag #LongTimeGoneSAL to share photos on Instagram.

Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell. Copyright 2016 by Jen Kingwell Designs. Available on the From Marti Michell website, www.frommarti.com

July 4, 2017

Week 17: Long Time Gone Sew Along | Checkerboards

Now that we have had a week for everyone to catch up it is time for the final push!

The checkerboards along with the sashing strips provide both fabulous fill-in and, at the same time, separation of the units we have made. I, for one, am really happy Jen figured this all out for the rest of us! Applause please!

About the Sashing Strips

Loyal Grainline Geeks would be disappointed if I didn’t mention that you can reduce stretching and rippling of your sashing strips if you cut them on the lengthwise grain (parallel to the selvages) instead of crosswise.  :)

On to the Checkerboards

You may recall that I shared tips and my techniques for making scrappy checkerboards back in week 6. The # 1 tip then is still the #1 tip. 
Remember that the gray squares in the diagrams are gray or whatever you chose for sashing. The white squares are prints and for most of us the prints will be darker than the gray, not lighter.  
So, keep that reversal in mind!

Substituting strip techniques for making checkerboards instead of cutting individual squares is obvious. However strip techniques usually equate with a limited number of fabrics in the checkerboard.  Scrappy strip techniques require a little modification. Mainly shorter strip sets and more of them! So excuse me, but I’m going to repeat how I made my scrappy checkerboard units:

All but one of the Checkerboards are 2, 3 or 4 pieces wide, and most are 3.  So I start by joining short strips of contrasting fabrics to long strips of my neutral. Typically, I want around 5-inch contrasting strips. I can get three Checkerboard units from each, but I had a bunch of end cuts from my Churn Dash blocks in the piece photographed so I worked with them.

Press toward the darker fabrics. No matter how you arrange them later, that is the best direction. Now you have many options. You can, from left to right in the photo below:

1. Cut them into 1-1/2 inch segments and join for Checkerboard strips that are 2 squares wide. (Eventually you need around 150 pairs.) I like doing several smaller groups instead of all at once, so I get more variety as I add fabrics.

2. Or I add contrasting strips. Press toward the dark and cut into 1-1/2 inch segments 3 squares wide with contrast on the outside.

3. Or I join the segments to another neutral strip and cut into segments that are 1-1/2 inches by 3 squares with the light squares on the outside. Shown at the top of #2 and #3 is a Checkerboard made with units from both strip sets. The seams oppose each other for "automatic pinning" because the seams were already pressed toward the darker fabrics.

4. Or I join 2-square segments end to end to make rows for Checkerboards that are 4 squares wide. Why not practice on the Checkerboard for Section 2 on page 27? If you're loving it, go ahead and make the Checkerboards on page 28 for Section 3. Those will be the next 2 sections you can easily finish.

More About the Checkerboards

Visit these other Long Time Gone Sew Along blogs, too, for tutorials, contests and other info:



Use the hash tag #LongTimeGoneSAL to share photos on Instagram.

Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell. Copyright 2016 by Jen Kingwell Designs. Available on the From Marti Michell website, www.frommarti.com