Whistle Stop Tour: All Aboard!

Do you hear the whistle blowing! 

Welcome to the Whistle Stop Tour on behalf of Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design and Island Batik, I’m Karen Overton, The Quit Rambler, your conductor and tour guide, well, sorta! I’m more like the steam in the engine to get this train on track for a fun filled adventure with my fellow Studio 180 Design Certified Instructors as we share specially prepared Blockbuster designs using Deb’s Signature Fabric Collection, Steam Engine by Kathy Engle from Island Batik. Not only do we have multiple free PDF downloads throughout this blog hop available at each Whistle Stop, there’s also a sampler quilt, Union Station, designed by Studio 180 Design to showcase all the blocks we’ve created together on this tour!

Union Station – Steam Engine fabric – Whistle Stop Tour Blog Hop – 62” x 70”

There’s so much to share! I think that’s why the long-winded rambler is the one to hand you your train ticket and get you all settled in. 

First Stop – Get Your Ticket!

Just in case you missed it, Deb has prepared a PDF download on her blog with a brief introduction of our Whistle Stop Tour including fabric, tool and technique requirements as well as the schedule to follow and quilt along.

We will be making 12” and 6” finished blocks using designs from the Blockbuster series (in case you aren’t aware, these are free designs using Deb’s tools and techniques released on the average of once a month – the archives can be found here). 

Blockbusters block designs feature multiple sizes with several color layouts to inspire you. The ones for our Whistle Stop Tour are unique, even though they are a part of the archives, because they offer a block summary for the particular size needed for Union Station and include both a cutting chart and block layout for this series. Besides, they are so pretty! Each pattern features the fabrics of Steam Engine and I know you are just going to fall in love with the fabric if you haven’t already!

Waiting on The Train!

Just imagine being dressed up in a conductor uniform (don’t forget the iconic conductor hat), looking continually at that pocket watch, glancing up at the posted schedule above the station door, looking down the track and looking once again at that pocket watch. Yep.  That’s pretty much the current condition of our local quilt shops as they wait expectantly for that delivery truck with our Steam Engine fabrics. Sigh. Sometimes delays are out of our control. It’s coming down the tracks, I promise. In the meantime, there’s sew much to do!

Packing Our Bags!

Like any traveler, we’ve got all those travel brochures to look through, study and make plans for the journey. Sorta’ like packing our bags, only as quilters we are gathering our supplies to get organized. As your self-appointed travel agent, I’d like to suggest a few organizational thoughts.

(1) Make a designated file folder on your computer labeled Whistle Stop Tour. Each day, including today, you will be able to download a PDF from each “stop” along the train track. If you save it to this designated folder it won’t get lost among all your other quilt files! Trust me, you don’t want to spend quality quilting time searching for a file, ask me how I know!

(2) Paper never forgets! While you are at it, why not print off the daily patterns and place in a binder or folder.  As a non-recovering office supply junkie, I take it a bit further and place the pattern in page protectors. I may or may not confess to stocking up during back to school sales and purchasing said page protectors by the case…Just sayin.

You probably already have a method to your madness for cutting out parts and pieces for a quilt project – but as I tell my students, you are here to learn something new. Try it. You will learn one of two things – either you like it, or you don’t. Let me explain.

(3) Stock up on paper plates. Okay, I know this sounds strange but trains, like planes, probably don’t serve food anymore, so you have to bring your own snacks therefore paper plates will come in handy. Not! 

If you’ve been to any workshops with Deb’s CI’s (Certified Instructors) you may have already been introduced to this organizational tip. I wish I could claim the original thought, nope, wasn’t me ~ but I sure do pass the tip along to my students and quilting friends. 

For each unit you are making, for example flying geese, cut out the fabric required for however many units you are making then place them on a paper plate labeled “flying geese.” Say for example you are making another set of flying geese with different fabric ~ these would get their own plate so the fabrics wouldn’t get mixed up – make sense? Work your way down the cutting list ~ anything that you would have “labeled” and grouped together simply label a paper plate with the same information and place the parts and pieces on the plate. A plate for those 2” squares, a plate for the strips needed to make the four patches…you get the idea.

When you have to gather up a project for a time being (as in clearing off the table for dinner) simply place your units that you’ve been working with on the properly labeled paper plate in whatever state they are in ~ sewn, ready to press, some trimmed, doesn’t matter ~ then stack those plates before placing  them inside a gallon zip-top clear plastic bag. AND, as a bonus, they fit nicely inside a project bag/box. You might consider placing the pattern (in its page protector of course) inside said bag…next time you pull out the project to sew you will not waste precious time trying to figure out where you left off and what’s next.

Yep, feels good to organized doesn’t it!

All Aboard! It’s Time to leave the train station!

Ready for today’s blocks! Yes, I said blocks – today I will be “conducting” you in the construction of a 12” Flying Dutchman block and a 6” Winged Four Patch.

The way this works on my website: (1) you can scroll over the PDF to view it, (2) enlarge it, or (3) use those little buttons at the bottom to download (which is what you will want to do). The following illustration should help you locate the download button.

But wait, there’s more!

A rambler likes to ramble…many of you are familiar with Deb Tucker’s tools, but it’s my job and pleasure to share construction details with you while offering a few helpful hints along the way. That said, once you download your patterns don’t miss out on the information following which includes links to all the Whistle Stop Tour blog posts. Remember, patience produces endurance – both good character traits (grin).

First Stop: Flying Dutchman

PDF: Flying Dutchman


3″ x 6″ Fly Geese Units

This block is relatively simple if you are familiar with Deb’s Wing Clipper® tool and technique of making four flying geese with one large square and four smaller squares.  By the way, this could have been a one paper plate project as the “sky” squares were the same fabric even though there were two “goose” fabrics. But it’s still good practice to the use of this organizational tip. Besides, I buy paper plates by bulk just like I do page protectors.

I have a friend who “quilts by picture” ~ I like pictures too.  I’ve shared a photo collage of the steps used in making flying geese the Deb Tucker way. In addition, if you would like a quick visual/audible overview, I have a YouTube on using the Wing Clipper®. As mentioned, paper never forgets, so don’t overlook the written instructions that came with your tool. Oh, and of course Deb has an ENTIRE YouTube channel with ALL the tools…just google her – it’s like having Deb on Demand (grin).

We all have different learning styles, or like me, I sometimes need multiple before I have the ah-ha moment so I’m trying to cover all tracks (pun intended).

Watch for the little details – such as “nudging” the small squares toward the center leaving 1/16″ showing on the raw edge. See tool instructions for details

As a note, I prefer to press my seams open to reduce the bulk and have the blocks lay flatter. This may seem unconventional to you, but try it, you might like it. The disclaimer here is if you are a stitch in the ditch quilter this method won’t work with your final stitching. All over or custom quilting is suggested. Watch for the “exception” to this method as you follow along with the photo instruction.

Add another small square, being careful to “nudge” as you position before marking
Hint: Use Glow Line tape to make a visual reference for the size unit you are trimming
As part of The Quilt Rambler’s Helpful Hints I recorded the sewing together of the flying geese units for the Flying Dutchman block after they were trimmed with the Wing Clipper®
Pressing open exception!

I hope you find the tutorial helpful in the final construction of your 12” Flying Dutchman. This is such a versatile design, years ago, before the turn of the century, I made multiple Flying Dutchman blocks with Christmas fabric scraps – and enjoy the quilt each season. Just an idea….

Next on the Whistle Stop Tour: Winged Four Patch

PDF: Winged Four Patch


1″ x 2″ Flying Geese Units

Now that you have successfully mastered those flying geese units let’s take it down a bit, as in down to a smaller size unit. Have no fear, Deb Tucker is here…. well, in spirit anyway. I just love how the Wing Clipper® can be used for multiple sizes, don’t you! Trust me, making a “baby goose” is just as much fun as making one of those “big honking geese.”

Interesting twist to this block, the “sky” (side triangles constructed from the small squares) are two different prints with the “goose” (large triangle constructed from the large square) being the same fabric. To achieve this look I would suggest this method of assembly line sewing. 

Separate the small squares by matching fabrics and choose one set to begin with. In other words, when you place two small squares on the large square and draw your stitching lines make sure these are the same prints for both large squares and stitch as normal.  You will use 4 small squares of the same print with the 2 large squares.

Once these are cut apart, pressed, (resembling that funky heart shape) use the 4 small squares from the second print for your next step. I found it really interesting how this construction produced mirror images of the two sky fabrics – which is perfectly correct for the block’s design! 

Trim down the units using the Wing Clipper® and pat yourself on the back now that you’ve discovered, perhaps like me, that mini units are so dang cute! Like going through a train tunnel, once you get to the other side you find that it really wasn’t that scary after all.  With this confidence it’s now time to move on to those tiny four patches…

2″ Four Patch Units

Making mini four patches has never been easier, or larger four patches for that matter, using Deb’s Four Patch Square Up ® tool. By oversizing just a smidgen and using that bullseye in the cross lines it’s easy to get a perfect size block whose seams will be in the correct placement to align with other blocks. I like to say that any unit I trim with one of Deb’s tools “plays nicely with others” – wouldn’t you agree?

One hint, after you join the 1 ¾” strips together and press them (open) the next step is to sub-cut to make units that will be joined together to make the four patches. That sub-cut will also be 1 ¾” – you might want to make a notation of that on your paper plate. It’s in the tool instructions but easier to glance at notes on a paper plate in my humble opinion.

Follow along with the photos for the trim, and of course refer to your tool instructions. Again, I found that pressing my seams open during the unit and block construction not only made for a flatter block but because I use a stiletto, I found it easier to match my points when I could see them better due to my pressing choices.

I love looking at the back of a pressed open block, but not as much as I love the front finished block!

Switching Yard

It’s been a long day’s journey on this first leg of our Whistle Stop Tour. I hope you are looking forward to making your own Flying Dutchman and Winged Four Patch blocks. For those of you patiently waiting for fabric kits why not play around with the idea of making the blocks with favorite fabric scraps from your stash? Consider making a 12” pillow from the Flying Dutchman. The Winged Four Patch could easily be a mug rug! Lots of possibilities.

In the meantime, it’s time for this rambler to pass things over to the yardman, as it is time to switch cars and pass on the conductor’s hat to my fellow CI’s.

Here’s the scheduled stops on our Whistle Stop Tour.

Monday September 9th

Tuesday September 10th

Wednesday September 11th

Thursday, September 12th

Friday, September 13th

Saturday, September 14th

Sunday, September 15th

Monday, September 16th

Thanks for hoping on the Tucker Train with me! Perhaps we shall meet again somewhere further down the track with another quilting adventure!

If you are new to The Quilt Rambler, I’d like to invite you to take a look around my website, if you like what you see please subscribe to my blog and/or my newsletter. And if you are on Facebook consider joining the group Tucker Time with The Quilt Rambler, where worldwide fans of Studio 180 Design tools share their current projects. We’d love to see your progress in photos too! 

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler ~ Next on the Whistle Stop Tour 9/10/19 …


For a quicker reference I am repeating the PDF for Flying Dutchman and Winged Four Patch here at the bottom of the post. Please note, they are “embedded” which means the format may be different that just clicking on a link to download. Please follow the illustration to locate the download button. Also, please do not share the PDF but share the link to the blog post instead. Thank you!



6 thoughts on “Whistle Stop Tour: All Aboard!

  1. Joy Graham says:

    Karen, I NEVER found the download button – that you showed in your blog. I checked your home page, your blog button and all the other links I could find. Very sad and frustrated here. I wanted to participate in the Whistle Stop Blog hop. Please help.

    • Pat says:

      Joy Graham…it took me a little bit to find the download tab also…but…in the mean time I enjoyed the video!! Just like Deb Tucker’s site, the videos have been so valuable to go back to…to review…to confirm what I thought I remembered! Thanks, Karen! That stiletto might be on my bucket list… 🙂

    • TheQuiltRambler says:

      The fabric hasn’t arrived to most quilt shops yet. If you will refer to Deb Tucker’s original blog post she lists a few shops that will be carrying the fabric. In addition she posted on her Facebook page a shop that has it in stock already. Island Batik’s website will list shops that carry their fabrics, perhaps there will be one near you. As a blog hop we weren’t offering kits, just the joy of quilting along featuring the Steam Engine line of fabrics. Hope this helps

  2. Pingback: STEAM ENGINE WHISTLE STOP TOUR – Gail Renna

Comments are closed.

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.