Friday, March 27, 2020

Safe Travels!

So we've just started a twelve-week free machine embroidery stitch-a-long project. To keep our spirits up, we're now going on an extended "vacation" around the globe and we'd love you to join us! The link to the first destination's design is at the bottom of this post--
we're starting in New York!

I always love historical quilts-- and we are definitely experiencing a moment in time. So I've decided to make my designs into a bit of a token of how we all survived by making a quilt. You can do that, too, or just make single projects, or a smaller project by just stitching the embroidery blocks together. It's all up to you.

In this post, I'm going to quickly show you how I'm centering my embroidered postage stamps into a Sawtooth Star. We'll have at least twelve 8" (finished size) blocks by the end of three months-- 
and we're hoping this nightmare will be far behind us as well.

These are the pieces you will need:

(1) completed New York embroidery cut to 4-1/2" x 4-1/2"

(8) squares 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" for your star points
(we're using a Tim Holtz map fabric)

(4) squares 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" and (4) rectangles 2-1/2" x 4-1/2"
for the star background
(we're using the newspaper fabric)

It just hit me-- maps and newspapers are all too appropriate!

First, we're going to make four flying geese blocks. I'm going to assume you've never made one before-- and you can go ahead and assume I never have either, because the older I get, the more seems to escape me, heehee :-) Together, we'll figure it out.

On all 8 of the star points, draw a line from corner to corner.
I actually do this with my little square ruler and a mechanical pencil, as shown above, to make sure it's super accurate.

Now layer one of the star points on a rectangle as shown below, right sides together. Stitch across, right on the line, making sure you stitch right into the corner.

Trim off the excess...

then press the piece flat. 

Repeat on the other side. The trick is to get the point exactly 1/4" away from the edge of that piece-- that way your point will be right on the seam line when it is stitched to the neighboring piece.

Make four of those, in all, with your other rectangles and star pieces.

Now lay out your block. Stitch the top, middle, and bottom rows together with 1/4" seam. After each seam, press AWAY from the flying geese units in every case.

When stitching the pieces to the center, stitch right through the point of the flying geese unit and you'll get a perfect point!

Now stitch the rows together. The seams will be opposing, so you can just "feel" that they are nestled up to one another. We used five pins. This is an important seam-- make sure it is 1/4" all the way across, especially at the beginning and end, and there's also another star point to cross.

If you've followed along carefully, your should have nice points where the flying geese point inwards to the embroidery.... AND the outside star points should be 1/4" away from the outside of the block.  That's a huge help when we will sew these together.

   If something is not right-- try to figure out what went wrong and consider what you might do differently next time.

There's another word for that--


So that's the Sawtooth Star-- it's such a good one if you love to combine embroidery with your quilts. We're planning about one new city a week, but we may get more than that done. Be sure to subscribe to our email list so you won't miss anything-- after a number of days, we do charge for the designs!

Stay well, keep calm, and we will all stitch on!




  1. Love the "stamp" block...making quilt blocks sounds like a great idea. Looking forward to this virtual trip. THANKS!

  2. OK, got to know the fabric. Perfect.

    1. Thanks, Kathy-- it is a Tim Holtz print-- unfortunately from a couple of years ago, but he comes up with new collections all the time and most of theme have map and newsprint themes. I believe I got mine in JoAnn Fabric! xox

  3. This looks great!! I have this world design fabric and I may have to steal your design ideas, if you don't mind!! How do you think your designs will hold up to washing? I hate to make a quilt that can't be washed.

  4. What lovely designs! thank you so much! What fabric do you use as your embroidery base? Do you actually use Aida or another of the counted cross stitch fabrics or just a nice cotton? Thank you for the lovely embroidery designs and the sawtooth star pattern. I'm hoping to start mine after Easter - have to finish up some last minute orders.

  5. Always love to do these travel sew alongs with this site.

  6. That is an interesting fabric! Love it! Hmm, I am tempted to do the Saw Tooth block, just thinking of doing a smaller project this go 'round. Thank you for another fun design and project Carol!

  7. Thank you for the fantastic stitch along! It is greatly appreciated! I hope everyone stays safe.

  8. Thank you, Carol. I can't wait to get started on this project. I made the road trip quilt from a few years back, and I just love it.

  9. Since I am unable to do the sew-a-long right now but I am collecting the designs, do you have a PDF of the instructions so I can do it later? Love all these projects. I have a husband on dialysis and take care of my 10 mo. grand son that keep me rather busy. I appreciate all you do and sharing your designs. Thank you.

    1. Carol, I have the same question: is it possible to get your instructions in a pdf?

    2. If you use edge you can click on the three little dots in the upper right corner of the browser, choose print and then save as a pdf. Will will save the instructions as a pdf for you. I think most browsers will do this, but I know edge does. You can also search for 'save web page as pdf' and an online program will convert and save it as a pdf for you.

  10. I too would like to have a pdf of the block construction ........ will one be available?