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Tip of the Day

Butterfly Migration Mystery Quilt
2005


Migration Mystery using Thangles

This is a fun little 45" x 63" quilt that looks quite complicated but is actually quite easy to make.  We use Thangles for our half square triangles - if you don't have any, you can order them here, or use the Paypal button right.  You will need a package of 2" Thangles and a package of 4" Thangles.  You will have some left over for another project.

This pattern was designed for 30's prints, but one of our testers used batiks and the other used orientals.  It looked spectacular in both!  Use what you like best. 

Before beginning this or any other project, wash and press your fabric. Use a little spray sizing when you press your fabric to give it that "new fabric" feel.  Take the time to clean your machine, put in a new needle and fill a few bobbins. You'll thank yourself for it later:-))

Unless the pattern tells you otherwise, you should always assume that the seam in any quilting pattern is 1/4" wide. Many patterns depend on the accuracy of this seam, including this one.  

Requirements:


Cutting directions:

From each of your fat quarters, cut:

From your sashing fabric, cut:

From your black FQ, cut:

From your background fabric, cut:

From your border fabric, cut


Step One: Making HSTs

Let's start by making half square triangles (HSTs) using Thangles.  Thangles are a method of paper piecing perfect half square triangles. 

Here is how to make HSTs using Thangles. First, place your print fabric strip right sides together with the same size background strip.  Place a Thangles paper on top of the background and pin carefully. Tighten (shorten) your stitch length and sew on the dotted line. You can chain piece Clip those dog ears!these and do them all at once. When you are done, cut apart on the solid lines. One of the dog ears will already be clipped so you only need to clip one as you cut the Thangles apart.

Press with the paper attached. Because you put the paper on top of the light background, the seam automatically presses to the dark. While the paper is still warm, put your thumbnail down on the seam. Grab the paper firmly and pull. The paper should tear away easily starting at your thumbnail. 

To make the 4" HSTs we will need in this project, use the twelve 4 1/2" wide by 11" long strips you cut from the fat quarters and the twelve 4 1/2" wide by 11" long strips you cut from the background.  Sew them using the above directions. You should get 48 HSTs.  

To make the 2" HSTs we will need in this project, use the twelve 2 1/2" wide by 11" long strips you cut from the fat quarters and the twelve 2 1/2" wide by 11" long strips you cut from the background.  Sew them using the above directions. You should get 72 HSTs.  


Step Two: Flying Geese

Flying Geese from ThanglesRandomly choose 24 of the (72) 2 1/2" HSTs you made in the previous step. Sew four of them  together in a flying goose block as shown.  Make six blocks.  You can match the prints, or vary them, it doesn't matter.

Press the seam between the two flying blocks up toward the goose block. 


Step Three: Four Patches

Sew each of the 1 1/2" wide X 22" long strips from the fat quarters to a 1 1/2" wide x  22" long strips from the black. Press to the black.  Cross cut these every 1 1/2", making 48 two-patches, each 1 1/2" X 2 1/2".  Matching the prints, sew them again into four-patches. Each four patch will have two black squares and two matching print squares. 

The four patches will measure 2 1/2" unfinished.  Square these up if necessary.  You will have some four-patches left over for another project (or to use in the border) as you only need 24 four patches for this project. 

To twist the seams of a four patch so it lays flat, pull apart the last couple of stitches of your two patch seam (it won't ravel because the second seam putting the whole four patch together will hold it) and twirl those seams so each seam covers one patch. The pictures below are thumbnails.  Click on them to see them close up.

fourpatch1.jpg (108488 bytes)

A normal two patch

 

fourpatch2.jpg (97844 bytes)

finger press the seams open
 

fourpatch4.jpg (118219 bytes)

Pull the top and bottom seams apart slightly and press so the seams twirl. 


Step Four:  A Spot Block

Sew a black 3" x 22" strip between two background 3 1/2" X 22" strips.  Press to the dark.  Cross cut this strip into six 3" wide X 9" long units. 

         

Sew these three patches that you just made between two 3 1/2" X 9" background strips as shown to the right.  (Click on the picture thumbnail to the right to see the construction.) It will make a 9" unfinished block.  You will need to make six spot blocks for this project.  Press to the dark.

Cut your spot block into four squares by cutting down the center, rotating the mat and cutting down the center again.  You will have (24) 4 1/2" blocks with a spot in the corner.

 

 


Step Five: making the block

You now have all the pieces you need to make this quilt.  Lets take inventory and double check.  You should have:

Sort your inventory into 3 piles, matching the prints.  From each pile, sew the four patches, the small HSTs and the 2 1/2" background squares into a four patch as shown in the picture thumbnail below.  Make eight from each print. Twirl the seams as described in Step Three. Press and square up to 4 1/2" if necessary.

 

Using the blocks you just made, the larger HSTs and the quartered spot block, make this four patch.  (Click on the picture thumbnail to see it up close.) Twirl the seams, press and square up to 8 1/2" if necessary. Make 24 blocks.  Optional:  If you are an embroiderer, you can embroider antennae, or use a pigma pen to draw them on. 

Put all your blocks in a shopping bag and put the bag in a safe place so it doesn't get thrown out accidentally!

 


Step Six: The Sashing

Randomly choose six of the butterfly blocks and sew a 2 1/2" X 
8 1/2" sashing strip to the right side.  Press to the sashing strip.

Randomly choose six of the butterfly blocks and sew a 2 1/2" X 
8 1/2" sashing strip to the left side. Press to the sashing strip.

Randomly choose six of the butterfly blocks and sew a 2 1/2" X 
8 1/2" sashing strip to the top. Press to the sashing strip.

Randomly choose six of the butterfly blocks and sew a 2 1/2" X 
8 1/2" sashing strip to the bottom.  (see below) Press to the sashing strip.

 


Step Seven:  Bigger Blocks

Did you try to put the blocks together in the last step?  I bet they didn't fit!  That's because you need that little 2 1/2" sashing square to make a block like this picture thumbnail below.  Click on the picture to see it up close. 

migrat2.jpg (17007 bytes)

Lay these blocks out on your sewing table in the configuration shown above.  The sewing order below is only a suggestion - sew this group together in the way that feels the most comfortable to you. Read through the steps first.  You may prefer only a partial seam in step 1 rather that a complete seam which will have to be partially unstitched later. 

1. Sew the left side of the 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" sashing square to the right side of the lower left block at the top of the block.
1. Sew the left side of the 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" sashing square to the right side of the lower left block at the top of the block.
2. Sew the top left and bottom left blocks together.

2. Sew the top left and bottom left blocks together.

 

3. Sew the left top and right top blocks together.

3. Sew the left top and right top blocks together.

 

4. Sew the right top and right bottom blocks together.4. Sew the right top and right bottom blocks together.

5. Sew the left bottom and right bottom block seam. (You will have to unpick a little of the setting square seam to give yourself enough sewing room.) 

Make six of these blocks.  Press from the back to make sure the seams aren't twisted.  Square up to 18 1/2" if necessary.

 


Step Eight: Setting and border

Sew your blocks in a 2 X 3 arrangement, taking care to create the pinwheel with the sashing. Click on the picture thumbnail below.

migrat9.jpg (113550 bytes)

Measure through the center horizontally in two places.  Average this number and cut two border strips to this length.  Sew one of the flying geese blocks you made in step two to either end of this border.  The picture shows the points all facing in the same direction, but they don't HAVE to.  Butterflies and geese fly in directions of their own.

 

Measure through the center vertically.  Cut two border strips to this length.  Since your quilt is probably longer than your strips, you will need to piece this border.  You might want to insert one of the leftover flying geese blocks or four patches at the seam.  It doesn't have to be right at the middle, and it doesn't have to be at the same height on both sides. It's YOUR quilt.

Marking the centers, pin this strip to the sides of your quilt and sew with the quilt on top so you can make sure your seams don't twist.  If it doesn't quite match, ease it in place.  Forcing your top to match borders cut to the same size will help ensure that it is square. Press to the border.

Again matching the centers, sew the top and bottom strips with the flying geese blocks in the corners.  Press to the border and... you are done! Hang your top on the wall so you can admire it and your family can praise you.  Your quilt will tell you how it wants to be quilted.  Don't forget to add a label and, please, send me a picture.

Butterfly MigrationClick on the picture thumbnail to the left see this quilt done in oriental fabrics up close. 

 

 

 

 

 

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