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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 2 – Tilted Star

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Block 2 of Summer Sampler 2017 is here! This one is called Tilted Star, by Karen Lewis of Karen Lewis Textiles.

This is such a unique block—it’s like a star that’s trying to be a pinwheel. LOL. I loved making mine in the 6″ size.

In case you aren’t familiar with Summer Sampler 2017, it’s the block-of-the-week quilt-along that I’m doing with Katie of Swim Bike Quilt and Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts. Seventeen star blocks, all in two sizes each (6″ and 12″), plus one delicious layout for all these fun blocks. And it’s not too late to join! You can make the blocks all summer long, alongside us and everybody in our subscriber-only Facebook group. Click here to purchase.

Plus, you get my weekly tips! This week, let’s talk paper-piecing. I’m sure there more than a few of you who have never paper-pieced before. If you’ve ever taken any of my classes or been to any of my trunk shows, you know that I love paper-piecing and it’s my mission in life to make everybody else love it too! And this block, my friends, is the perfect way to make you love paper-piecing.

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First, why paper-piece this block? Faith and Katie and I actually tried it both ways (traditional piecing and paper-piecing). But with the funky angle of the half-square rectangles that make up the center of the block, it was impossible for those points to come together in a pinwheel fashion without being paper-pieced. Only 45-degree angles will make for perfect center points—a half-square rectangle has a 30-degree angle, which is much trickier.

So, we went with paper-piecing instead of “normal” piecing, because paper-piecing will keep you from losing your points. And you guys—paper-piecing literally does not get any easier than this. It’s one seam! Which means all you really have to do is stack up the fabric pieces and the paper templates in the correct order, and sew on the line of the paper template. That’s it! That’s all you have to do for a perfect half-square rectangle.

Let’s try it, shall we?

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First, stack the following pieces, in order, as shown in my photo above: a white (background) rectangle, a colored rectangle, and the paper template. (Don’t forget to print your templates at EXACT SIZE—don’t check “Fit to page” in your print dialogue box!) Place the paper template printed side up on top of the stack, so that the angled line on the template is about 1/4″ inch – 1/2″ inch from the right-hand edge of the fabric pieces, as shown.

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Next, without allowing the fabric/template stack to shift, move it to your sewing machine. Reduce your stitch length to about 1.4-1.5 (a shorter stitch length perforates the paper better, allowing you to tear the paper off more easily when you’re done). Now, sew on the angled line, right through your entire stack—the paper template and both pieces of fabric—just like I did in the photo above.

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When you’re done, your stack will be all sewn together and it should look something like this. (Hopefully yours won’t be quite as thready and messy as mine in this photo, but if it is, no worries, I promise it will be fine in the end. LOL.)

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Press the two pieces of fabric open, pressing on the non-paper side. Now it should look like this (as shown on the paper side).

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With the paper side of the stack facing up, use your ruler to trim around the outside edge of the template, trimming through all the layers (paper and fabric). I always line up the 1/4″ mark on the ruler with the inside line, rather than trying to line up with the outside line.

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Finally, tear the paper template off the back, and that’s it! You now have a perfect half-square rectangle that’s ready to go into your block! Easy, right? Don’t you love it? Are you counting the days until the next paper-pieced Summer Sampler block? (Hint: You won’t have long to wait!)

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And just in case you can’t possibly wait, my Wavelength pattern uses a very similar stacked-paper-piecing method, and the pattern comes complete with visual step-by-step instructions just like these. Click here to check it out! And see you next week for Block 3 of Summer Sampler 2017!

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 1 – Millcreek Star

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It’s here! Summer Sampler 2017 starts today with Block 1—Millcreek Star by Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt.

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Hopefully you’ve heard by now, but just in case you haven’t: Summer Sampler 2017 is the block-of-the-week quilt-along that I’m doing with Katie and Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts. Seventeen gorgeous star blocks, in two sizes each (6″ and 12″), plus one fabulous layout for them at the end. And it’s not too late to join! You can make the blocks all summer long, alongside us and all the fun peeps in our subscriber-only Facebook group. Click here to purchase.

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Millcreek Star is a great block to start with—not too complicated, but interesting and fun. During the course of this 17-week quilt-along, I’m going to be blogging a tip for each week’s block, to help you get the most out of the series!

This week’s tip is actually TWO tips for making accurate Flying Geese units. I have a feeling we’ll be making our share of Flying Geese during the course of this quilt-along, so let’s make them correctly, right out of the gate!

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First, when using this particular method of making Flying Geese (marking a diagonal line on the back of a square, then sewing along the line), I like to start sewing where the marked diagonal ends in the middle of the rectangle, as opposed to where the line meets the corner. You can see where I’m starting my stitches in the photo above—starting in the center instead of in the corner means less fabric bunching and distortion as you start your seam. Which gives you a flatter, more-square Flying Geese unit.

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Second, I always always always press Flying Geese seams OPEN. Even if you’re deeply committed to pressing seams to the side, I recommend giving open seams a shot on Flying Geese. Again, it’s all about the accuracy! Open seams are flatter, and therefore slightly more accurate, then seams pressed to the side. And when it comes to Flying Geese, the design means that you’re less likely to need to nest seams when sewing the finished unit into a block—and in my opinion, nesting seams is really the only compelling reason to press to the side. Open really is the way to go on geese!

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Finally, I thought I’d share with you my screw-up from this week, just to give you all a laugh. I’ve probably sewn thousands of Flying Geese in my lifetime—and yet somehow, I can still manage to sew them wrong on a regular basis! This time, I sewed two triangles onto the wrong side of the unit, and didn’t even notice until after I had trimmed off the excess and pressed one of them. Oops. LOL. Fortunately, since I’m working with solids, after ripping out the wrong stitches, I could just flip the triangle around and sew it on the correct way! There would have been more work involved had I been using a print!

Hope you all enjoy Millcreek Star! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #summersampler2017 when you share your blocks on social media, and see you next week for Block 2!

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2017 Summer Sampler: Summer Star Medallion

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That’s right! Last year’s Summer Sampler block-of-the-week program was such a hit, we knew we had to bring it back again this year! This time around, we’ve got something really special for you guys: Our Summer Star Medallion. Seventeen gorgeous star blocks in two sizes, and this fun medallion/sampler layout—and it’s available for pre-order starting today!

summersampler2017logoscreenresIf you didn’t participate in Summer Sampler 2016, here’s the lowdown: I’ve joined my book co-authors Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts and Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt, plus five of your other favorite designers, to create a block-of-the-week program. We’ll release a beautiful new block pattern each week, starting May 15 and running through Sept. 4—17 blocks total. Faith, Katie, myself, and all of YOU will make the blocks together all summer long! Then on Sept. 11, subscribers will receive complete instructions to finish the quilt as shown, including the Sawtooth Star and Flying Geese “filler blocks,” and the border.

You can pre-order Summer Sampler 2017 for a special pre-order price of just $19.99. That’s just $19.99 total, for all 17 blocks! Starting May 15, the price goes up to $24.99, so don’t miss out on the chance to save! (European Union customers: You can purchase Summer Sampler 2017 and all my other patterns through my Etsy shop. Click here to purchase.)

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As you can see, it’s a really fun, unusual design that looks great in all sorts of color combinations, from the ultra-modern to very traditional. Last year we had a wonderful (and large!) community of quilters making the quilt along with us, and the community aspect of it made it even more fun for everyone. I hope you all will join us again this year. Click here to order now, or scroll down for more details – can’t wait to sew with you all this summer!

Summer Sampler 2017 includes:
• A new block delivered to your email every Monday, starting May 15, 2017, through Sept. 4, 2017
• Fully tested PDF instructions for each block in both 12″ and 6″ finished sizes
• Quilt mock-up coloring sheet for planning
• Full instructions, fabric requirements, and suggested Kona Solids colors for our Star Medallion Sampler layout
• Access to a subscriber-only Facebook group to interact with other quilters and the designers

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More about Summer Sampler 2017 skill level and techniques:
• The different blocks vary in skill level, with some being simpler, while others are more advanced. I would say the overall skill level of all 17 blocks is intermediate—but if that’s not you, don’t be afraid to try it! We’ll include lots of links to tutorials for the techniques involved, so it’s a great skill-builder! And I’m planning to blog a tip for each week’s block the day of the pattern release.
• You will need to make 9 of the blocks at 12″ size, and 8 of them at 6″ size. We’ll include instructions for BOTH sizes every week, so it’s up to you which blocks you make in which sizes. Those 6″ blocks will help you hone your tiny-piecing skills!
• Several of the blocks are paper-pieced, while others use traditional piecing. The good news is, no curved piecing this year! : )

The Summer Sampler 2017 blocks were designed by:

Holly DeGroot – @bijoulovely
www.bijoulovely.com

Karen Lewis – @karenlewistextiles
www.karenlewistextiles.com

Lynne Goldsworthy – @lilysquilts
lilysquilts.blogspot.com

AnneMarie Chany – @genxquilters
www.genxquilters.com

Kelly Bowser – @kelbysews
www.kelbysews.com

Lee Heinrich – @freshlypieced
www.freshlypieced.com

Faith Jones – @freshlemonsquilts
www.freshlemonsquilts.com

Katie Blakesley – @swimbikequilt
www.swimbikequilt.com

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Love All Around

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About a week ago, my friend Lee from May Chapelle sent out a call to action—she wanted all of us to help her bring some love and positivity to the world on January 20. The idea is that she’s going to make this block—the Love All Around block—every time she sees an act of kindness in her community in 2017. She’s hoping to end the year with a gigantic, epic quilt.

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I can’t think of a better way to spend this particular day than talking about an idea like Lee’s. There’s so much negativity in the world right now. Anger, defensiveness, and self-absorption are rampant—and I’m not talking just about the political arena. It’s everywhere right now, in all walks of life. There are a lot of ways I’m hoping to help change the world in 2017, but this block is a pretty great place to start, don’t you think?

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Want to make your own? Head over to Lee’s blog for a complete tutorial for making this block. And check IG for lots of other versions of this block, made by many of your other favorite bloggers! Let’s bring the love today!

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Christmas Ornament Mini-Quilt

img_9579Happy December, you guys! If you’re looking for a quick, fun little holiday project, head over to the Bernina blog today for a complete tutorial to make my Christmas Ornament Mini-Quilt!

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It uses super-simple raw-edge appliqué, so no need to worry about curved piecing, and the half-square triangles in holiday brights give it a clean, modern look.

While you’re enjoying that, my goal for the day is to finish the Christmas decorations around my house. Have a lovely Monday!

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Scrappy Picnic Plaid Sew-Along Happening Now!

Scrappy Picnic Plaid Sew-Along begins this week!

Quilt-along alert: If you’ve been wanting to make my Scrappy Picnic Plaid pattern, now’s your chance! @thequiltersplanner is running a sew-along on Instagram over the next few months. Visit the #QP2016SewAlong hashtag on Instagram to see more!

Scrappy Picnic Plaid sew-along begins this week! This pattern originally appeared in the 2016 Quilter’s Planner, which is now sold out (although the 2017 Quilter’s Planner is available now!) So for those of you who have the 2016 Planner, bonus—you’ve already got the pattern! But even if you don’t have the Planner, you can still participate, because for the first time, I’m making the pattern available for everyone else! Click here to purchase it in my pattern shop.

Scrappy Picnic Plaid sew-along begins this week!

Best of all, this is a sew-along with PRIZES! For every photo you post on Instagram tagged @thequiltersplanner and #QP2016SewAlong, you will be entered into the running for giveaways along the way! They’ve got fantastic prizes lined up from HandiquilterAurifil ThreadThreadcutterzThe Quilter’s Planner, and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter!

I can’t wait to see what you all do with this pattern!

Here’s the complete Scrappy Picnic Plaid Sew-Along schedule:

Week 1: Oct. 24-30

Get the pattern! You have one week to get your hands on the Scrappy Picnic Plaid pattern so that you can sew along with us! Find it right in the Patterns section of your 2016 Quilter’s Planner, or buy the pattern HERE if you do not have a 2016 Planner (be sure to order your 2017 Planner now so you don’t miss out on next year’s fun!) Share the graphic on Instagram to show the world you’re in on the Sew-Along, using hashtag #QP2016SewAlong !! (Note that the more photos you share and tag on Instagram, the more entries you have to win prizes along the way!)

Week 2: Oct. 31-Nov. 6

Choose your fabrics. Dig through your scraps, visit your local quilt shop, or swap with a friend. No matter your methods, gather your fabrics and show us what you’ll be sewing with! Scrappy or solids? Holiday prints or rainbow fun? Post a photo of your fabric choices on Instagram tagging #QP2016SewAlong!

November 7th – GIVEAWAY #1

Week 3: Nov. 7-13

Cutting. Post photos on Instagram showing your cutting progress, tagged with #QP2016SewAlong.

November 14th – GIVEAWAY #1

Week 4 and 5: Nov. 14-27

Sewing together the blocks and quilt top. You’ll have 2 weeks to sew your blocks and piece your quilt top! We will be sharing progress and encouragement on @thequiltersplanner Instagram feed, and look forward to sewing along with you! Again, post photos on Instagram showing your piecing progress, tagged with #QP2016SewAlong to enter the giveaways.

November 28th – GIVEAWAY #3

Week 6 and 7: Nov. 28-Dec. 11

Quilting and finishing. You’ll have 2 weeks to quilt and finish your Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt, and we will be cheering you on!

December 12th – GIVEAWAY #4

Week 8: Dec. 12-16

Final Link Up. You will have one extra week to finish up any final touches needed to complete your quilt and get the perfect photo of your completely finished and quilted Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt on Instagram, tagging #QP2016SewAlongFINISH to be entered to win the Grand Prize!

December 17th – GRAND PRIZE

Winner chosen from finished projects tagged #QP2016SewAlongFINISH!

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Summer Sampler 2016 Quilt Finished

Summer Sampler 2016 quilt by Freshly Pieced

My Summer Sampler 2016 quilt is done!

Summer Sampler 2016 quilt by Freshly Pieced

I’m really happy with how it turned out … which more or less looks like the mock-up you all saw at the beginning of the quilt-along. : )

Summer Sampler 2016 quilt by Freshly Pieced

I finished it off with some straight-line quilting. I don’t know what I was thinking when I put those lines so close together, but it’s done now! And as usual, I bound it in the same color as the background. I just love that look, so nice and clean.

Summer Sampler 2016 quilt by Freshly Pieced

So with that, the Summer Sampler 2016 quilt-along is finished, but not to worry, you can still make the quilt! Click here to purchase the pattern—now that the quilt-along is complete, everyone who buys the pattern will get full, immediate access to all 20 block patterns. And within the next week or two, Katie and Faith and I are planning to put all of the blocks together into one PDF for your convenience. All previous buyers will get access to that combined PDF when it’s released.

I want to thank all of you who purchased a Summer Sampler subscription and quilted along with us! It was loads of fun. It’s hard to believe these 20 weeks have already come and gone—I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with myself now!

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Equilateral Triangles: Easier Than You Think!

Triangle Baby Quilt by Freshly Pieced

Equilateral triangles are easier than you think they are! No, seriously, they are. : )

If you’ve been wanting to make a quilt like this one using equilateral triangles, head over to the Bernina blog for the first post in my three-part series on equilateral triangles.

In today’s installment, I’m talking about the various methods and tools available for cutting equilateral triangles. In the coming weeks, we’ll tackle piecing —the fun part—design!

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Summer Sampler Block 19: Horsetail Falls

Block 19 from Summer Sampler 2016: Horsetail Falls

Is it really the second-to-last week of Summer Sampler 2016? I admit I’m okay with that: It’s been a lot of work. LOL. And I’ve fallen behind on blogging my blocks, but I promise you’ll see them eventually, since I’m aiming to finish up this quilt top by next week!

Anyway, I think you’ll like Horsetail Falls, a block by the lovely Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter. After all the flying geese and half-square triangles we’ve made over the course of the past 19 weeks, this one will be a breeze! And with a fab design too.

Come back next week for the very last block in the series! And Faith, Katie and I will be following that up with three very different and very fun layouts for our blocks. See you then!

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The Quilt Block Cookbook

Block by Freshly Pieced, from the Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson  I tend to love quilting books that not only provide gorgeous patterns, but also give readers the tools to get creative with those patterns and put their own spin on them. In fact, that was one of the goals Katie, Faith, and I had when we wrote our own book, Vintage Quilt Revival. So I knew Amy Gibson‘s newest book, The Quilt Block Cookbook, was going to be right up my alley.

The Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson

The Quilt Block Cookbook features 50(!) blocks, 7 sampler quilts made from those blocks, and a ton of design inspiration, all wrapped up in a beautiful package, so it’s a lot of bang for your buck. All of the block designs are mixed-and-matched from a variety of building-block units—a very cool concept that expands the possibilities far beyond even the 50 blocks that are in the book. And as usual with Amy’s books, the photography and styling is so gorgeous, that alone makes the book worth the price!

 

Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson

There are a lot of blocks in the book that I love, but for some reason I was especially drawn to this one, Windsong. But because I never like to do things exactly the way I’m supposed to, I decided to drop the corner units in favor of a more minimalist look. Thanks to Amy’s block-recipe concept, that was very easy to do! This really is a flexible book, and I love how my blocks turned out.

Block by Freshly Pieced, from the Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson

I ended up making six of these yesterday, so all of a sudden I’ve got pretty good start on a baby quilt! Now all I need is a girl baby to give it to. : ) Check out the Quilt Block Cookbook on Amazon!