Summer Sampler 2017: A Finished Top

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My Summer Sampler 2017 top is complete! Yay!

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I really hope you all enjoyed this project as much as Katie, Faith and I did! It was a labor of love for us, as always. I love how these blocks came together in exactly the way that we had hoped.

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I’m not gonna lie: The blocks aren’t the end of the work involved here. LOL. The “filler” blocks (the flying geese, sawtooth stars, etc.) are simpler, but still time-consuming! Still, I love love love how dynamic the finished design is. Truly starry and dreamy. : )

And so our 2017 quilt-along officially comes to a close. But we love seeing the finished quilts, no matter when you might happen to finish yours! If you enjoyed this quilt-along, keep an eye open for future announcements from us, because we’ve got more up our sleeves! And even though the quilt-along is done, you can still buy the pattern to make this beauty on your own schedule. Click here to purchase—I’ve put all the weekly release files into one complete (and large!) PDF to make it a little easier on latecomers.

Thank you again to everyone who quilted along with us!

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 17 – Shimmer Star

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This is it—the last block of Summer Sampler 2017! Can you believe it?

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Shimmer Star is by Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts.  I like how the different-sized sections in this one give it a unique look. A great way to finish out the quilt-along!

For my final block tips of the quilt-along, let’s talk about lining up those points where the sections come together. Not the easiest task, but with 17 weeks of practice behind you, I know you all can do it!

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Once again, I recommend leaving the paper on your paper-pieced sections as you piece them—this is personal preference, but I find it helps with this type of block. As you’re pinning the sections together, fold back the seam allowance right where those points need to meet up.

As long as your seams intersect right at the point where the next seam will go through, you’re golden (like mine do in the photo above). Pin and sew, keeping those sections lined up where the seams meet. For now, don’t worry about whether the ends of the sections align. It should all turn out fine in the end!

I hope you guys have enjoyed the Summer Sampler 2017 quilt-along! Next Monday, we’ll be releasing the instructions for finishing the quilt, so stay tuned for that!

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 16 – Plaid Star

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We’re on Block 16 of Summer Sampler 2017! This week you get to make Plaid Star, designed by me!

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We’re back to “normal” piecing again this week with Plaid Star. I’m sure you’re all relieved. : ) I designed this block to be geometric, yet multi-dimensional and with a layered look.

I don’t know, you guys—after 16 weeks, I’m just about out of tips here. LOL. I think the key to this block is really all about pressing your seams. Just follow the arrows in the pattern, and you should be good to go! As always, I like to press seams open unless there’s a compelling reason to do otherwise. In this case, pressing seams open for the center and corner units gives a nice flat, crisp look, while pressing seams to the sides during the block’s final assembly will give you nesting seams and accurate seam alignment where it counts.

I’ll meet you back here next week, same time, same place, for our final block of Summer Sampler 2017! Can’t believe it’s here already!

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 15 – Skipping Star

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We’re in the homestretch on Summer Sampler 2017!! This week we’re doing a paper-pieced block called Skipping Star, designed by Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts.

Like Block 10, Spring Star, this block has a kaleidoscope-style construction, where it’s pieced in wedges. This can be challenging to get the hang of, but if you haven’t done many blocks like this, it’s a good chance to build on the skills you developed making Spring Star! I would recommend revisiting the Spring Star post for my tips on aligning the wedges accurately. All the same things I said about Spring Star apply here too!

IMG_1983One of the nice things about this block, Skipping Star, is that there’s only one seam that needs to line up as you piece the wedges together. (Right where the blue meets the darker purple in my block above.) So as you’re joining your paper-pieced units in Skipping Star, that is where your focus should be. Line up those seams and the rest of the block should come together too.

Should, of course, being the operative word here. : ) On my first attempt at piecing the center of Skipping Star, my points didn’t even come close to touching! So here is my tip if that happens to you: Take all of the paper off (if you haven’t already, then unstitch only in the center, about 1″ to 1.5″ inches in each direction. Leave the rest of the block stitched up, especially if that part looks good! Then realign the center as needed and restitch. My second attempt, when I was concentrating only on the center and had all the paper off, looked good to me, and hopefully yours will as well!

Want to make this block? Click here for all the details! See you next week!

 

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 14 – Saddle Star

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We’re on Block 14 of Summer Sampler 2017—when did that happen? : ) This week’s block is Saddle Star, designed by Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt.

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And check it out, it’s my last block in the 6″ size! I’ve decided I have a love-hate relationship with these little guys. They’re such a pain, but somehow so satisfying when they’re done!

Anyway, for this week’s tip, when you’re making the hourglass unit at the center of the block, I would suggest pressing seams toward the aqua fabric, rather than open as the pattern suggests. It’s all really just personal preference, but I find hourglass units just come together better when seams are pressed to sides, and you can nest them together when sewing the second hourglass seam. So if you’re having trouble getting that center point nice and neat, pressing seams toward the darker fabric might just do the trick.

That’s it! Want to make this block, but haven’t signed up for Summer Sampler yet? You still can—just click here! When you make the purchase, you’ll receive a link to download all of the blocks that have been released so far. It’s instant gratification! : ) See you next week for Block 15!

 

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 13 – Compass Star

Happy Monday—hope you all are ready for Summer Sampler block number 13! This one is called Compass Star and was designed by Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts.

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Yes, it’s another paper-pieced block. : ) But what I really appreciate about this one is that after you finish the paper-piecing part of the block, there really aren’t any seams to line up, so it comes together beautifully with minimal effort.

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My tip for this week is, when you sew together the two flying geese units, make sure you sew with the larger (darker) goose facing towards you—just like I’m showing above.

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That way, your seam will go right through the point and you can make sure it hits right where it should. Perfect points!

Want to make your own? Click here to purchase the Summer Sampler 2017 pattern! All 17 blocks, plus the pattern for finishing the quilt, for just $24.99 total. And be sure to share your progress with the #summersampler2017 tag. Have a great week!

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 12 – Ombré Star

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It’s Monday, so it’s Summer Sampler block day! And we’re on Block 12 already! This week we’re doing Ombré Star, designed by yours truly.

IMG_1882And it’s a cool little block if I do say so myself! I love what it looks like on point, too. (Want to make your own Ombré Star block? Click here to purchase the Summer Sampler 2017 pattern!)

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For this week’s tip, let’s talk about how to make the most of your limited sewing time. The flying geese units in this block are really easy to chain-piece—I like to line up all the pieces next to my sewing machine. Then I go through and sew one side of all the units in a row, chain-piecing them for maximum speed. When I’m done, I pressed all 8 units, trimmed the excess, and then chain pieced the other side of all 8 units. You’ll find that the block goes much faster this way!

Happy sewing, and see you next Monday! Don’t forget to tag your progress on Instagram with #summersampler2017!

 

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 11 – Pixie Dust

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It’s Monday, so that means it’s Summer Sampler day! Ready for Block #11?

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This week’s block is Pixie Dust by Kelly Bowser of Kelby Sews. This week we’re going old-school with half-square triangles, and a whole lot of them. My favorite thing about this block is how geometric it is, yet still so starry!

This week’s tip is a doozy you guys: It is pay attention to what you’re doing. I know that doesn’t sound like much of a tip, but it bears repeating with this block! If you want to make the color placement look like the mock-up, you really do have to pay close attention to the written instructions and the diagrams in the pattern. You’re basically making some units that are mirror images of other units, as you can see from mine in the photo.

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It’s not a difficult task—it just requires close attention to what you’re doing. Without that, this block is a prime candidate for one of those where you sew it together wrong and don’t realize it until the whole darn thing is done. LOL. And as always, remember that the key to this block is accurate trimming. These units are trimmed in the exact same way as hourglass units, so click here to revisit my tips for trimming.

Have fun with this week’s block! And thank you,Kelly, for designing such a pretty addition to the quilt! If you’d like to play along, click here for all the details, and don’t forget to hashtag your posts #summersampler2017.

 

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 10 – Spring Star

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It’s Monday, so are you all ready for Block 10 of Summer Sampler 2017? This week we’re working on Spring Star by Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts.

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This time, we’re turning from the usual 4-patch/9-patch set-up and branching out with a kaleidoscope-style block that’s pieced in wedges instead of triangles or squares. As a result, the look of this star is a departure from what we’ve been doing all summer—but thanks to paper-piecing, it’s shouldn’t feel a whole lot different in terms of the skills involved.

So here’s my tip for the week, and it involves what happens after the paper-piecing. Here’s what I do to line up the paper-pieced sections neatly:

1. First, I leave the paper on until I’m completely finished with the block. As I’ve mentioned before, I feel like the paper stabilizes the pesky, skinny little points on these units.

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2. I start by lining up the seams, not the edges of the units. (If you to choose to align only one or the other, go with the seams! Uneven edges can be fudged when you assemble the quilt top.) To align these seams, place your thumb right at the point where the seams dissect the outer-edge seam allowance, and fold the paper/fabric back against your thumb (as shown in the photo). This allows you to clearly see whether your seams line up exactly 1/4″ in from the edge, like they’re supposed to.

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3. If the seams are aligned correctly, you should have a dog ear at one edge of the unit, while the bottom points should be generally lined up (as shown in the photo). Once you’ve got everything aligned the way it should be, pin right next to that point, and sew.

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4. If all went as planned, the seam you just sewed should hit right at the point where the dog ear meets the edge of the unit, as you can see in this photo. If it does: Great job! If it doesn’t: Oh well, no worries. Uneven edges won’t show later!

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Here’s what it looks like when you’ve got the two units successfully aligned and sewn together.

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And keep going in the same way until the whole block is together.

Enjoy this week’s block! Don’t forget that you can always join us, any time—all previous blocks will be available with your first download! Click here for more info, and be sure to hashtag your progress with the #summersampler2017 tag.

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 9 – Midland Star

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Block 9 of Summer Sampler 2017! We’re moving right along!

This week’s block is Midland Star by Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt. After several paper-pieced blocks in a row, it was refreshing to go back to some “normal” piecing this week.

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The most challenging part of this block is the hourglass units. Hourglass units are a little more difficult than half-square triangles, but they’re a key piecing concept to be able to pull off!

IMG_1540Bringing me to this week’s tips!

Tip #1: Always press to the side when making hourglass units. I usually love to press my seams open, especially on half-square triangles, but you’ll get better, more accurate results when you press that first hourglass seam to the side, because then the seams can nest when you sew it the second time.

And Tip #2: Trim carefully! Make sure to use the center point and the diagonal seams to align your ruler as you trim, and expect that you’ll have to trim all four sides of the unit rather than just two. Another thing that’s helpful is having a square ruler in the size to which you’re trimming. I have a lot of square rulers, in practically every size available (3-1/2″ square, 4-1/2″ square, 6-1/2″ square, etc.) As you can see from the photo above, that 4-1/2″ square ruler makes this task so much easier, since the center is clearly marked, and I can see exactly where the edges of this unit will end up when trimmed.

Want to make your own Summer Sampler 2017? Click here for all the details! And don’t forget to hashtag #summersampler2017 so everyone can enjoy your progress!