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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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“You Can Quilt!” A Book Review and A Blog Flashback

You know how dogs age 7 years for every one of our human years? I think there should be a formula like that for quilting/blogging years. Because once upon a time—in 2011—I participated in a quilt-along called The Skill Builder Sampler, with blogger Leila Gardunia. That was four years ago. Also, a lifetime ago. : ) Show of hands—who was hanging around my blog back then and remembers that? C’mon, I hope you guys are still out there!

Anyway, a lot has happened in four years. A whole lot. For one thing, I built my skills. Thanks in part to Leila’s quilt-along, and in part to the exhausting litany of other things I’ve done. I wrote a book and launched a line of patterns and taught classes and won a prize at QuiltCon and hosted a gajillion WIP Wednesdays and sewed and sewed and sewed.

But here’s the thing about building skills. You’re never done with that. Your skills are never all built and finished—they’re more like an eternal work-in-progress. To that end, Leila, along with co-author Marlene Oddie, have turned the Skill Builder Sampler into a book, called You Can Quilt! Building Skills for Beginners.

I mean, I thought I was a decent quilter four years ago. And then I pulled out those blocks from Leila’s quilt-along. (Yes, I still had them! And no, I had no trouble finding them in my studio! Organizational skills: Totally built!)

Ummm, yeah. The piecing, the crazy prints all thrown together—there are some areas for improvement (understatement alert). And as I looked at those blocks, my mind fast-forwarded another four years. I wasn’t done building my skills back then, and I’m still not done now, I know that much.

You Can Quilt! covers basically every quilting technique you could ask for in one book and 36(!) beautiful blocks. Paper-piecing, improv, inset seams, curves, applique—they’re all here in this book. Along with lots of helpful tips, step-by-step photos, and diagrams. It’s like a months-long, intensive quilting class in one handy volume. What better way to build your skills than block-by-block, with an amazing sampler to show for it at the end?

I know quilting can be intimidating sometimes, but you guys, you can’t learn how to do something without doing it. There will always be projects you’ll look back at four years later and say, “Wow, what was I thinking?” But it’s all part of the process, right? All you can do is build those skills one finished quilt at a time. And enjoy the results of that process. This book is all about that.

To celebrate my own process, I decided to take those nine orphan blocks I made four years ago and sew them into a quilt top. And I think the end result is pretty cool—the solid orange framing and Essex Linen background has the effect of chilling out the printy-ness of the blocks.

Want to win a free copy of You Can Quilt!, plus a bundle of the Prairie fabric line by Corey Yoder? (International readers have a chance to win an ebook.) You can enter over at Leila’s blog. And don’t forget to keep following along with the “You Can Quilt!” blog hop all this week! Thank you, Leila, for including me on the hop!

Nov. 16 – Lee at Freshly Pieced (- you are here!)
Nov. 17 – AnneMarie at Gen X Quilters
Nov. 18 – Leanne at She Can Quilt
Nov. 19 – Julie at That’s Sew Julie
Nov. 20 – Lyn guest-blogging at Flourishing Palms

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Sampler Quilt from Vintage Quilt Revival

We’re winding down the “Meet the Vintage Quilt Revival” series—I hope you all have enjoyed the projects! Today I’m sharing my sampler quilt from Vintage Quilt Revival.

Photos from Vintage Quilt Revival

Along with one project for each of the 20 blocks in the book, the book features three sampler quilts that use all the blocks. Faith made her sampler blocks scrappy (you can see that quilt here), Katie did her blocks in solids (that’s the cover quilt, and I think she’ll be posting about it on Wednesday), and I made my sampler from a single fabric line—Madrona Road by Violet Craft. This was a nice call-back to our original Summer Sampler Series Quilt-Along, in which we also made samplers that were scrappy, solid, and from a single line.

But here’s what’s really interesting: Somewhere between the Summer Sampler Series and the release of this book, fabric choices like “scrappy” or “solids” or “single line” became far less important to all three of us authors. Clearly, what sets our three samplers apart from each other is not just the fabric, but the way we chose to set the blocks. I think it’s a great encapsulation of the quilting journeys all three of us authors have been on, and shows how our design priorities have shifted in the past two years.

Faith set her blocks on point, which gives them a whole different look and movement. Katie sashed hers. And I liked the controlled chaos of putting my blocks all together, without sashing. This layout essentially takes 20 different blocks and turns them into one design. I completed the design with a wide border that really acts more as a background than a border, and gives the design a little needed calmness. A colorful, scrappy binding finishes it all off.

And let’s not forget one final important element of this quilt—the spectacular quilting by Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful. I’m a huge fan of Jenny’s work (she’s the woman who brought you the Quick Curve ruler and all the gorgeous patterns that go with it), and she knocked it out of the park on this quilt. Each block is quilted in a unique and beautiful way, and it brings so much to the design.

If you would like to see this quilt in person, it will be on display at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, as part of their “Modern Perspectives” exhibit, which opens Friday and runs through April 6. I have two other quilts in that exhibit as well (Spin It Again from Vintage Quilt Revival and my Diamond Tread quilt), and there are many other beautiful modern works there too. Some of Denyse Schmidt‘s quilts will be joining the exhibit in February. It’s not to be missed if you’re in the area!

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Vintage Quilt Revival Block-Along, Coming Soon!

Vintage Quilt Revival Block Along

Happy new year! I have an exciting announcement this morning: My friend Sukie of Don’t You Know Who I Am is hosting a Vintage Quilt Revival Block-Along!

Sukie’s going to do all 20 blocks from Vintage Quilt Revival —she’ll be doing 2 blocks a week starting Jan. 21. You can make all the blocks for a sampler, make just one or two for a smaller project, or anything in between. There will be a linky party for each block, so you can link up your own version. There might even be some prizes in the offing. Knowing Sukie, probably several of them, in fact. : )

Sound like fun? Head over here to read more about it, grab a button, etc. Then buy your copy of the book, if you haven’t already!

Oh, and you really should know who Sukie is, if you don’t already, since she’s hosting what promises to be 2014’s most rockin’ sewing party/retreat. Sewtopia will be held Nov. 6-9, 2014, in Salt Lake City. My fingers are crossed that I’ll be able to make it! Click here for more details.

Have a wonderful 2014! Oh, and … Go Michigan State, 2014 Rose Bowl champions!! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)