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Summer Sampler 2016 Block 4: X Spot

Hey! Here’s another Summer Sampler block for ya! This one is called X Spot, and it’s by Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts.

After tackling curves for the first time last week, this week we’re taking on our first paper-pieced block. If you haven’t done any paper-piecing before, no worries—this is a type of string block, which is literally the easiest thing you can possibly paper-piece!

But if this is your first time paper-piecing, you may want to check out this beginning paper-piecing tutorial by Faith to get you started. And over on the Bernina website, here is my very favorite paper-piecing tip ever, which will smooth the way even more!

Until next week! And don’t forget to check the Instagram hashtag #summersampler2016 to see what everyone else is doing with this seriously fun block!

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Summer Sampler 2016 Block 3: Snow Cone

 

It’s week 3 of Summer Sampler 2016! This week we’re tackling curved piecing with the adorable Snow Cone block by Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft.

First, I just want to give a shout-out to everyone doing the SS16 quilt-along, especially all the beginners! We have many people in the Summer Sampler 2016 Facebook group (open to Summer Sampler 2016 subscribers only) who have never done curved piecing before, and you guys are killing it! It does my heart good to see all of these people bravely taking on new skills and learning as they go. If that sounds like something you would like to do, there’s still time to join! New subscribers get immediate access to all three of the blocks that have been released so far, and then will receive all the future blocks each Monday along with everyone else. : ) Click here to subscribe!

 

At any rate, here’s my snow cone (and the rest of the blocks we’ve made so far). I think it must be lime flavor. : ) When I finished sewing this, I wanted a Slurpee, for real.

My tips this week: 

 

Don’t forget to print your templates from the PDF at 100% size, no scaling! This is something I’m constantly warning people about, and wouldn’t you know it, I made that very mistake on this block. (Fortunately, it’s easy to compensate with this block by just cutting the border pieces a bit larger.)

And if you’re new to curved piecing, check out this video by Angela Pingel of Cut to Pieces. This is probably the best video I’ve seen showing how to sew a Drunkard’s Path block (which is essentially what the top of the snow cone is in this block).

I’m really enjoying seeing everyone’s progress! Don’t forget to check out #summersampler2016 on Instagram to see the twists other people have put on their blocks.

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Summer Sampler 2016 Block 2: Summer Slice

It’s our second week of blocks for Summer Sampler 2016! This week, we’re making “Summer Slice” by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew.

This was such a fun, deceptively simple block to make. Although it looks like a lot of seams, relatively few of them actually have to line up. LOL.

And you could do some really interesting things with color and value in this block. In fact, Allison is showing the block in several other color schemes today on her blog. Amazing how different this block can look with just a few small changes!

There’s still plenty of time to join the Summer Sampler 2016 quilt-along! Although we’re now on week 2, you can buy the full block-of-the-week subscription and get immediate access to all of the blocks that have already been released. And going forward you’ll receive emails to download a new block each and every Monday, along with the rest of us!

And as always, check out the #summersampler2016 to see how everyone else is doing with their blocks! I’ve been so impressed by what you all have done so far!

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Summer Sampler 2016 Block 1: Turkey Vulture

 

Today’s the day: We’re kicking off Summer Sampler 2016! Every Monday, all summer long, those of you who have signed up for the Summer Sampler 2016 subscription will receive a link to download full instructions for a new block. The blocks are by Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts, Katie of Swim Bike Quilt, myself, and seven of our bestest blogger friends, and we’ll be sewing right along with you as we go. After all of the block instructions have been delivered, you’ll get patterns for three different sampler quilt options using the blocks we’ve been making together. Faith, Katie, and I have been blown away by the response to this quilt-along and are really looking forward to a summer of sewing with all of you!

This week’s block is called Turkey Vulture, by AnneMarie Chany of Gen X Quilters. AnneMarie is the queen of samplers—she’s run a popular Block-of-the-Month program for the last several years, and she recently wrote the fab sampler book, Sister Sampler Quilts. So we knew she’d be a great designer to contribute to Summer Sampler 2016! And Turkey Vulture might be one of my favorite blocks in the series.

Selecting the fabric for my blocks ended up being a pretty easy choice: I decided to emulate the digital mock-up we made of all of the Summer Sampler 2016 blocks. I figured the mock-up was appealing enough that one of us should go ahead and make it a reality. LOL. And those are the colors that tend to call out to me anyway—I actually already had on hand most of the solids that coordinate to the digital colors we used. (I know, you’re shocked that I had aqua and teal in my solids collection, right? SHOCKED.)

So here’s my Turkey Vulture block, done up in yummy solids inspired by our mock-up. This block was not difficult, and I absolutely love the pixelated look of the center. My advice is to be sure to keep the color choices in that center unit random, yet balanced—don’t be afraid to play around with the layout of those little squares until they’re perfect.
It’s not too late to join in the Summer Sampler 2016 fun! Click here to purchase your subscription. No matter when you buy, all previously-released files will become available to download immediately, and you’ll automatically receive a link to download the new patterns each Monday going forward. We also have a fun and busy Facebook group which is available only to subscribers! (Customers in the European Union should click here to purchase.)For those of you who have already subscribed, you should have already received an email with a link to download this week’s block! If you did not receive it, please check your junk/spam folder. And don’t forget to hashtag your Instagram photos #summersampler2016 (or just click here to check out what everybody else is making!)

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Summer Sampler 2016 – Quilt Along With Us This Summer!

 

Five years ago (could it really have been so long?), Katie, Faith, and I hosted a quilt-along called The Summer Sampler Series. Hopefully a few of you have been around here long enough to remember it. : )

Our goal back then was pretty simple: Teach modern quilters how to make traditional blocks. Crazy though it seems now, at the time, there wasn’t a lot online with that specific focus. There were traditional block tutorials online, using traditional fabric—and then there was modern quilting. Only infrequently did the two mix and mingle.

To our delight, we found that people were very interested in combining those two quilt genres. The Summer Sampler Series was more popular than we ever expected! It eventually led to the three of us authoring our book, Vintage Quilt Revival, in which we tried to take modern-traditionalism to a new level. These days, I’m happy to say that modern traditionalism is everywhere—it even has its own category at QuiltCon. I like to think (hope) that the three of us played a role in that.

And what better time, on the 5-year anniversary of the original Summer Sampler Series, to bring it back? We are so excited to announce Summer Sampler 2016

One block a week, starting May 16, running through September 26. Ten designers (Katie, Faith, me, and seven of our blogger friends.) Twenty blocks total. Quilt along with us all summer long!

This time around, we’re offering the Summer Sampler as a block-of-the-week subscription program. Click here to pre-order Summer Sampler 2016 for $19.99. That’s just $1 per block—for a limited time, ending May 15. After 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 the Summer Sampler 2016—and now all my other patterns!—through my Etsy shop. Click here to purchase.)

Each Monday, starting May 16, you’ll get a link to download that week’s block pattern. The last block will be delivered on September 26, and instructions for three sampler layout options will be delivered on Oct. 2.


The Summer Sampler 2016 subscription includes:
• fully-tested instructions for each weekly block, with step-by-step diagrams
• three sampler layouts and full instructions for each, delivered at the end of the subscription
• digital mock-ups of ways to use each block in its own quilt layout, for future inspiration
• coloring pages for planning purposes
• access to a private, subscribers-only Facebook group, where you can interact with the designers and other quilters

More about the Summer Sampler 2016 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 20 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!
• Several are paper-pieced, while others use traditional piecing. There are four blocks with curved piecing, so it’s a great opportunity to learn more about that technique!

The Summer Sampler 2016 designers are:
Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt
Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced
Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts
AnneMarie Chany of Gen X Quilters
Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft
Holly DeGroot of Bijou Lovely
Lynne Goldsworthy of Lily’s Quilts
Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew
Karen Lewis of Karen Lewis Textiles
Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter

We can’t wait to quilt along with you this summer!

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May Is For Makers

You all know I don’t get up on any soapboxes very often—only when it’s something extremely important to me. Today is one of those days. So grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine or other beverage of your choice, and settle in. : )
I love blogging. I may get busy and disappear from time to time, but trust me, I’ll always be back, because my need to write is second only to my need to create visually. But no matter how many pins you see on Pinterest screaming about making $20,000 a month blogging, ain’t nobody making a living wage with a sewing blog, believe me. And yet, where would our modern quilting world be without the tutorials and free projects that are out there online? How many of us would never even have taken up sewing (or come back to it) if it weren’t for bloggers? I don’t think I would have.
But here’s the thing. At some point, in some way, the people creating this content need to be paid for their efforts. Anything less is not sustainable. Free patterns are great, and they may sometimes serve a purpose for both the designer and the customer. But not every pattern can or should be free. And very few designers can afford to put in the work to self-publish a pattern without getting something in return. No matter how much they may love what they are doing. In my opinion, free content should be a fun, unexpected bonus from time to time—it shouldn’t be automatically expected.
So that’s why my friend Lindsey from LR Stitched has created the May Is for Makers campaign. To support the independent designers and content-creators who add creativity, beauty, and knowledge to our world. Lindsey is pledging to buy a pattern from a different independent designer every week in May, and I’m going to join her. I hope you’ll consider joining in as well!
Here’s how it works:
– Each week in May, I’ll purchase a pattern from another pattern-maker. There are five Mondays in May, so that’s five independent designers that will get my support over the course of the month!
– Every Monday, starting May 2, I’ll share my pattern purchase on social media with the hashtag #mayisformakers.
– Hopefully, in the process, we’ll send support and appreciation to independent designers all over the world.
Just to be clear, this is not about guilting people into buying my patterns (though if you want to buy from me, I won’t argue! LOL.) This is about supporting all the innovators and creators of the quilting and sewing worlds. I am just one of thousands of independent designers trying to make a go of it in this business, and we all need your support. Consider buying a pattern as a way of saying thank you for a free tutorial you learned from, or a free pattern that you especially loved—after all, that free tutorial or pattern was probably only made possible by that designer’s paid patterns.
Let’s join together to support all the Makers this May! I can’t wait to see what (and who) you choose to support!
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I Heart Intentional Piecing

I’m sure I don’t need to proclaim my love for paper-piecing yet again, because you guys totally already know that about me. (But if you need a refresher, you can click here. Or here. Or here!) So it probably also goes without saying that when I saw Amy Friend’s book, “Intentional Piecing: From Fussy Cutting to Foundation Piecing,” I knew I had to have it!

Amy, who blogs at During Quiet Time, is one of my very favorite quilters out there, and paper-piecing is one of her specialties. Intentional Piecing is full of adorable projects that take advantage of my favorite technique! (Visit Amy’s blog to see more of her book projects.) To start with, I decided to give her “Tell Me a Story” block a go.
The Tell Me a Story quilt from Intentional Piecing actually uses both fussy-cutting and paper-piecing—but in spite of that, this is a super-easy, quick little block to make! Seriously. Mine took me less than 30 minutes from start to finish. 


And my favorite thing about the Tell Me a Story block is that Amy encourages quilters to use fabric selections to do just that: Tell a story within each individual block. There’s an interesting sidebar in the book in which Amy talks about how she makes connections between the prints used in each block—sometimes those connections are obvious, other times, less so.
I decided to fussy-cut from this adorable print by Heather Ross of underwear and clothing hanging on a line. To me, long underwear on a clothes line brings to mind images of an old-time farm and a harried farm wife trying to get all her chores done. 
So a gingham print and a chicken wire print? What could be more perfect than that? : ) Suddenly I had a detailed picture of the farm, the clothes line, and even the wife in my head. This is whole new dimension of fabric selection that I’d never really considered before. Pretty fun!
Whether you’re a hard-core paper-piecer like me or a relative beginner, I think Intentional Piecing will make you look at piecing—and the prints in your stash—in a whole new light! A great one to have in any sewing library.
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Make It Madness Quilt Pattern Tournament!

Hey! Have you guys seen this? Craftsy is doing a “Make It Madness” quilt pattern tournament—and my free Kissing Fish pattern is one of the 15 patterns Craftsy selected to compete! But you all have to vote to move it on to the next round and eventually make it the big winner! And just by voting, you’re also in the running to win a free Craftsy class, so it’s a win-win. : )

Click here to vote, and for more info (including all the other match-ups), here is Craftsy’s post on the tournament. Enjoy the madness!

P.S. They had to put me up against Heidi of Buttons and Butterflies?! I love Heidi, so I guess if there’s anybody I don’t mind losing to, it’s her! Now, go vote!

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A Scrappy Take On My Picnic Plaid Pattern

Color gradients. Remember when I said I wasn’t going to go there anymore?
Yeah, I went there. Again. I couldn’t help it, you guys! Gradients: So colorful. So orderly. So appealing to both the left and right sides of my brain. : )
So this is my latest addition to my always expanding collection of color-gradient quilts. : ) This is a scrappy version of my Picnic Plaid pattern (available here).
Here’s a shot of the original Picnic Plaid quilt. The original is strip-pieced in a narrower color palette, but I’ve had the urge to make it scrappier for some time now. So when Stephanie Palmer of Late Night Quilter asked me if I would want to contribute a pattern to her 2016 Quilter’s Planner, it was the perfect opportunity to create modified instructions for a scrappier version of that design. (Sadly, the 2016 Quilter’s Planner is now sold out! Sorry!)

 

Of course, Steph was nice enough to quilt this one for me, and worked her usual magic on it. I’ve always loved this loopy quilting pattern, and now I finally have a quilt that makes use of it!

This quilt has what might be my favorite print ever for a quilt back: Zen Chic’s “Notes” print in Charcoal on Fog. You can find it here at the Fat Quarter Shop and elsewhere. The binding is an older Zen Chic print called Barcelona. You can see a chunk of that print in the piecing above as well. I was really feeling the Zen Chic that day, I guess. : )

Regardless of which version of Picnic Plaid you prefer, it’s yet another great demonstration of how much print and color can change the look of any given design. Fun!
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Greek Key Quilt Complete

Just a reminder that my Greek Key Quilt-Along wraps up today on Bernina’s website, We All Sew! Of course, the final instructions post goes live today, but all of the Greek Key posts will be available indefinitely. So you can make this quilt any time you feel like it, whether you’re keeping up with the quilt-along or not. : )

I’ve also got a few simple hints in today’s post for doing the diagonal straight-line quilting that I used above, so go check it out. And don’t forget to hashtag #greekkeyquilt, so that we can all admire your hard work!