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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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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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Summer Sampler 2016 Block 10: Parallel

IMG_8945Block 10, you guys! Can you believe we’re halfway through already? This week’s block is Parallel, by Holly of Bijou Lovely. This was a fun one, wasn’t it? I’m always down for some paper piecing, and I’m in love with this design.

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My 10 blocks all together! Love how this is shaping up.

 

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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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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 website 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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Never tear out stitches again! My favorite paper-piecing tip

So, about a year ago, as I was getting ready to teach Advanced Piecing at QuiltCon, I had kind of an amazing realization. It was the kind of realization that cues angels singing and brilliant rays of sunlight. I mean, it really was that good. I think I discovered a way to make paper-piecing kind of sort of foolproof. 

Sound too good to be true? Not to oversell this or anything, but I ran my little tip past my students in class, and they loved it—one person called it “mind-blowing” and another said this little tip alone was worth the price of the class.

Curious? LOL. I’m sharing this brilliant little secret with the world today over on Bernina’s We All Sew website today! Head over there to check it out, and enjoy your paper-piecing projects!

Disclaimer: I’m sure I’m not the first person to have discovered this, so I don’t claim to be the inventor of this technique. I just personally have not seen it described elsewhere.

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WIP Wednesday: Pre-Turkey

I’ve been on fire this week, you guys! In addition to getting ready to host a (small) Thanksgiving dinner, I made two quilt backs, basted two quilts, quilted and bound one, and prepped for a tips post that will be on Bernina’s blog. Woot!

Basically, this quilt needed to be done. Right now. No more messing around.

Also: I’ve already made the cranberry sauce and the sangria for Thursday. The stuffing is the next thing on my list. Because priorities.

Oh, one more thing! I’m having a Black Friday sale! Which goes until Sunday. : ) So come on back this weekend, because all my PDF patterns will be $4.99 in my pattern shop, Friday through Sunday, no coupon code needed.

What are you working on? Let’s see it! And happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. readers!

LINK-UP RULES:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the “Add Your Link” button below, then click on the Instagram icon at the bottom of the screen that pops up. You should then be able to select any of your recent Instagram photos. Where it says “Link,” use the URL of your Instagram feed (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/lee.a.heinrich). Please hashtag your IG post #wipwednesday.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!
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WIP Wednesday: Starry Skies

Happy Wednesday! Here’s what I’ve got going this week.

It’s actually a new variation on my Shooting Star pattern. But without the star. Well, kind of. Now I’ve probably confused you. I guess you’ll just have to see it when I’m done, so stay tuned. : )

What are you working on? Let’s see it!

LINK-UP RULES:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the “Add Your Link” button below, then click on the Instagram icon at the bottom of the screen that pops up. You should then be able to select any of your recent Instagram photos. Where it says “Link,” use the URL of your Instagram feed (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/lee.a.heinrich). Please hashtag your IG post #wipwednesday.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!
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Kaleidoscope Baby Quilt

 

Woot! I finally finished the top for the kaleidoscope baby quilt I’ve been working on for like the last year.

The blocks were done and just sitting, for months. Honestly, it didn’t even take that long to sew them all together once I put pedal to the metal and just did it. Funny how that happens.
Now for quilting it! I’m still pondering what to do with the quilting. It’s such a busy piecing design, and sometimes those are the hardest for me to quilt.

Okay, so what are you working on this week? Let’s see it!

LINK-UP RULES:

1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the “Add Your Link” button below, then click on the Instagram icon at the bottom of the screen that pops up. You should then be able to select any of your recent Instagram photos. Where it says “Link,” use the URL of your Instagram feed (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/lee.a.heinrich). Please hashtag your IG post #wipwednesday.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!
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WIP Wednesday: The Finisher

Happy Wednesday! I spent most of my week finishing things, for once! The scrap quilt I was working on last week is now done (though I can’t show it just yet), and I finished up my back-to-school quilt for yesterday’s post. The drawback of all this finishing? I don’t have any new in-progress pictures for today! But I’m picking back up where I left off on my kaleidoscope baby quilt, so we’ll see how far I get with that this week.

Okay, so what are you working on this week? Let’s see it!

LINK-UP RULES:

1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the “Add Your Link” button below, then click on the Instagram icon at the bottom of the screen that pops up. You should then be able to select any of your recent Instagram photos. Where it says “Link,” use the URL of your Instagram feed (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/lee.a.heinrich). Please hashtag your IG post #wipwednesday.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!