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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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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 Block 12: Around the Corner

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It’s August already, and we’re on block 12? How did that happen? At any rate, it’s another great design this week—this one is called Around the Corner, and it’s by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew.

It’s a pretty straightforward block, which is nice after a few weeks of tougher ones! And I love the arrows and the movement they give this block.

Don’t forget, you can still join Summer Sampler 2016 – click here to subscribe! And if you want to see what everybody else is doing with Around the Corner, check out the #summersampler2016 hashtag on Instagram.

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Summer Sampler 2016 Block 8: Deck of Cards

Welcome to Week 8 of Summer Sampler 2016, and happy Independence Day to those of you in the U.S.! I’ll be spending my day hosting our usual Fourth of July bash, but before I commence partying, let’s check out this week’s block!

This one comes to us from Lynne Goldsworthy of Lily’s Quilts. As you can see, we’re making a few half-square triangles this week. LOL. But don’t worry, because Lynne has a quick and easy way to make super accurate half-square triangles—without trimming! We’re using templates this week instead. It’s all explained in this week’s block instructions (and of course, the templates are there as well). This is one of my favorite ways of making HSTs, so I hope you all enjoy it as well.

And the resulting block is just gorgeous! I could see about a million uses and variations on a block like this. I can’t wait to see what you all do with it, under the #summersampler2016 hashtag.

All together now—we’re really getting there!

Want to join in the Summer Sampler 2016 quilt-along? You still can! Just click here to subscribe. New subscribers will receive immediate access to all the blocks that have already been released, so you’ll be caught up in no time. (Or not. No pressure!)

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Summer Sampler 2016 Block 7: Trail Crossing

Welcome to week 7 of Summer Sampler 2016! This week, it’s my block we’re making!

This is Trail Crossing—I think it makes great use of curved piecing for a nice, geometric design. And I love the fact that this block gives all of you who are using prints a good chance to show some of those prints off!

While the curved piecing in this block really isn’t any more difficult than the first block we did with curves (Snow Cone), there is a lot of it this week. So settle in. LOL. Beyond the curved piecing though, this block is ridiculously simple, so it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. Just be sure to follow the seam-pressing directions for seams that nest neatly and line up more easily. Also, don’t forget to square up each of the four quarter-blocks!

Want to make your own Trail Crossing block? It’s never too late to join us! Click here to subscribe to Summer Sampler 2016. Those who subscribe now get immediate access to all 7 blocks that have already been released, and of course will be on the schedule for the rest of the blocks that are released going forward. For those who are already on board, so glad you’re enjoying it – see you back here next week for Block 8!

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Summer Sampler 2016 Block 6: Corner Canyon

This week’s Summer Sampler 2016 block: Corner Canyon by Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter! This is such a lovely, fun block and easier than it looks!

My tip on this block: Be sure to square up the units as stated in the directions, because all of them finish a bit large. Squaring them up perfectly is easy as long as you have a square ruler with a diagonal line through the middle!

And here are all six of my blocks together now. I’m really happy with how the full collection is looking! Still want to join in Summer Sampler 2016? You can subscribe right here—all subscribers will get immediate access to all the blocks that have already been released, plus the weekly block patterns from here on out.

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Summer Sampler 2016 Block 5: Sugarhouse

I can’t believe it’s week five already of Summer Sampler! We’re already one-quarter done! Crazy!

This week’s block is by Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt. It was a nice, fun, simple one after curves and paper-piecing the previous two weeks.

Now that it’s done, the deep colors are looking a little heavy compared to the rest of my blocks, but I think it will be balanced out in the end, when all 20 blocks are done.

My tip for this week: When you’re sewing your flying geese units into the rest of the block, don’t forget that you want that seam to hit right at the tip of the triangle, as shown below.

Want to join in Summer Sampler 2016? It’s not too late, there’s still 15 more blocks you can do in real time! (And of course, those who purchase now will get immediate access to all previously released blocks.) Click here to purchase, and happy sewing!

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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.