Monday, November 21, 2011


I'm finally sitting down to write a post about the quilt I've been working on since October 8th.  Not only do I want to write about it so I can look back years later, but also because there are several tips that might be helpful for anyone else deciding to make this same quilt.  The pattern is 45 and Life to Go by Lisa Bongean and can be found at Primitive Gatherings.  I bought a kit from them that also uses fabrics designed by Lisa Bongean.  (She's multitalented!)

Pattern and kit from Primitive Gatherings
There were things that I really liked about this pattern, but also a couple I didn't.  Let's start with the positive.  There are 5 steps to this quilt and she explains each of them very clearly and includes plenty of piecing diagrams.

It's a bit different from most of the patterns I've used, because she has you cut the fabric and sew it at each step instead of doing all your cutting up front.  I found it refreshing to do it that way.  For example, Step 1 had you cutting strips out of all your fabrics to make a total of 45 - 25 patches.  To be honest, this was the first time I've made anything bigger than a 16-patch, but it was easy...

Stack of 25-patches
Step 2 had you make a bunch of Flying Geese units.  Although normally I would make mine over-size and then cut them down, I was a little nervous about running out of fabric (more about that later), so I used her directions.  It's a neat way to make them and still fairly accurate, but nothing is as precise as cutting them down (IMO).  Here's a quick little slide show of how to do it. (I believe this is called the No Waste Method of making Flying Geese.)

Place 2 squares on top of a larger square and sew 1/4" on either side of the center line.
Cut apart down the center line.
Press the triangles up.
Add another square to the opposite corner and sew 1/4" on either side of the center line.
Again, cut down the center line.
Press the triangle open and ta da, you have your Flying Goose!
I like that this method results in 4 Flying Geese.  Between Step 2 and 3 in the pattern, I needed to make 180 of them and they went together pretty quickly.  Then by pairing the Flying Geese with the 25-patches and a few squares, I ended up with the star blocks that make up half the quilt.  There are 40 of the dark ones and 5 of the light...

The final 2 steps were to make HST's and QST's.  After all those star blocks, these just flew together lickety split!  And finally, here are all the blocks for the quilt, just waiting to be arranged...

On a side note, all of my star blocks ended up 1/8" smaller than they were supposed to be, so I had to cut down all of my HST's and QST's too.  Fortunately, it didn't take long, but that's why my quilt is 109" square rather then the 110" in the pattern.  (It's also why I always like to make my Flying Geese larger and then cut them down.)

By now you're probably tired of reading and would like to see the finished quilt top, huh?  OK, here it is lying on my bed...

45 and Life to Go Quilt Top
I really do need to think of a new name for this.  Any suggestions?

As I mentioned at the beginning of this incredibly long post, there were a couple of problems with this pattern too.  I loved that she broke the cutting and sewing into steps, but the ordering was a little problematic (and I even tried to plan ahead).  Step 1 has you cutting a bunch of strips (which was no problem).  However, steps 2 & 3 have you cut a bunch of small squares, and steps 4 & 5 have you cut a bunch of large squares.  But with no cutting diagram, by the time you get to the last couple of steps, you might not have enough fabric to get all of your large squares.  In fact, I ran short one 10 & 7/8" square, but fortunately I had a FQ bundle of the same fabric I could steal it from.  If I hadn't been concerned about this happening and readjusted my cutting order, I might have been short even more!  I just don't know.

So for anyone reading this who plans to make this quilt, I suggest you switch up the steps.  Do Step 1 first, followed by Step 5, Step 4, Step 2 and finally Step 3.  You might have enough fabric if you follow this order.

Another note, I had plenty of the light color fabric left, it was just the black ones that were the issue.  You could also make sure you have another quarter yard of each dark fabric and you'll probably be just fine too.  She does say on her pattern that she assumes your fabric has 44" of useable width, but really, how often do you see that?  I even used her fabrics and didn't have that available.

So ultimately, would I make this quilt again?  Absolutely!  I love the pattern and it went together beautifully.  And if I do make it again, I'll just make sure I change my cutting/sewing order and have a little bit of extra fabric on hand.  Also, I'll probably make my Flying Geese larger and cut them down.

And if you made it to the end of this incredibly long post, thank you for sticking around.  I'm very, very impressed with your stick-to-it-iveness!  Your reward is a picture of my cat Jack on top of a pile of fabric...

Until later...

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 
Philippians 4-6 (NLT)


  1. Jack was desert! The quilt and process was the reward for me. Congratulations on geting the top finished. How do you plan to quilt it? I have made flying geese that way and love it. THe firat time I tried, I was a little confused as to how yjrese steps would turn into a goose!

    It is beautiful. You did a marvelous job.

  2. It looks like "Stars in the Desert" to me. Very pretty!

  3. Gorgeous quilt!!! Looking forward to see it finished! This must get on my "want to do-list" :o)

  4. I am sure glad I read this post before I started making this quilt. I planned on buying the same kit soon.

    Thank you!

  5. Thanks for the above notes about the quilt. I will soon be finished with mine and my question is: How do you suggest it be quilted??