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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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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 (here is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. 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!

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Greek Key Quilt-Along Starts Today

My Greek Key quilt-along that I’ve been teasing for weeks now is finally happening! Fabric requirements and cutting instructions are now posted on Bernina’s website, We All Sew. And additional instruction posts will follow each Monday for two more weeks.

So the full schedule will be:
Monday, Feb. 8Fabric requirements and cutting instructions
Monday, Feb. 15Making the blocks
Monday, Feb. 22Assembling the top and quilting

Head over to We All Sew to read all the details!

I hope you guys will make this quilt along with me, since that’s what quilt-alongs are for! And if you do, you can post your progress on Instagram with the hashtags #greekkeyquilt and #weallsew. Or, if you’re not on Instagram, just click here to check out everyone else’s progress! Enjoy!

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WIP Wednesday: In Line

Well, what can I say? I’ve just been quilting my Greek Key quilt. Yep, that’s about the sum of things this week: Gettin’ her done. : )

This one is pretty minimal for me, and it’s reminded me of the importance of simplifying. I have a tendency to get pretty complex with my designs (sometimes too complex), so going the minimal route was a welcome departure. Note to self: There’s beauty in simplicity too. And even when I’m designing/making something that is intentionally more complex, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t use my critical eye to try to pare things down where I can!

Want to make something minimal with me? This bad boy will be a quilt-along on the Bernina’s We All Sew very soon!

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: Keying In

Good morning from chilly Wisconsin! I know I have no right to complain—it’s not like it’s a polar vortex or anything—but dang, it’s cold here. Perfect weather to stay in and sew.

And sewing is what I’ve been doing, still working away on my Greek Key quilt. Now that the blocks are mostly sewn together, I have to say I’m getting a lot more excited about this one. I discarded the one yellow print block that you saw here in favor of a more muted (but still contrasting) solid (not shown here), and I’m happy I made that choice. The yellow print block was nice, but something about it just felt wrong. You’ll see the full quilt very soon on We All Sew!

 

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: Happy 2016!

Happy new year, everyone! As always at this time of year, I’m so happy to be back to my normal routines. I enjoy the holidays as much as the next girl, but I’m actually one of those who’s happy to get the Christmas tree taken down and say goodbye to the holiday chaos. The house has been nice and quiet and peaceful this week, I’ve been going to the gym, doing some cleaning and organizing … restoring order has been good for my soul. : )

And of course I’ve been sewing! My Greek Key quilt is just about done and I’m looking forward to getting it out there to you as a quilt-along on We All Sew. Unfortunately this is one of those projects that doesn’t look like much while it’s in progress. LOL. So I apologize for the lack of eye candy this week, but I promise the finished quilt will be more than the sum of its parts.

What are you working on this week? Got any big sewing plans for the new year? Let’s see them!

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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Fair Isle Sew-Along: The Big Finale!

Welcome to the final post in the Fair Isle Quilt Along! This week you should be ready to make the back, baste it, and quilt it! : )

So, this is where I admit: I haven’t started quilting mine just yet. Yes, you heard me correctly, I have not kept up with my own quilt-along. LOL. My excuse is that I already have one Fair Isle quilt to keep me warm this holiday season. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. : ) But my top is done and ready to go—I just need to come up with some time to make the quilting happen! I have to admit, I’m sorely tempted to send this one out for long-arming.

First, let’s talk about the back! For the back of my original Fair Isle quilt, I used the Riley Blake Christmas Chevrons, Medium Size. I can’t even tell you how much I love this print for a Fair Isle back. You’ve already got the zig-zag rows on the front, so the chevrons play up that element nicely. I’m strongly considering ordering this same print again for the back of my new red-and-white Fair Isle!

But of course there are so many other cute options when it comes to Christmas fabric. You can keep up the reindeer theme with this one:

This Mid-Century Christmas print is perfect for a back:

Or go full-on folk art with something like this:

 

As for the quilting, I just went with a classic stipple on my original Fair Isle. I’m thinking about a nice diagonal cross-hatch for my new Fair Isle, which somehow seems to play in with the knitting theme.

But this is the kind of design where you could really go crazy with the quilting (long-armers, I’m talking to you!) You could quilt each row differently if you wanted to, to highlight the differences in the rows. I could see that being really fun.

Or you could do some star/snowflake details like Cornelia did (silberregen1 on IG). This is beyond my quilting abilities, but I love it so much! It’s perfection for a Fair Isle quilt, don’t you think?

Okay, this is it—it’s finally time to link up your completed Fair Isle quilt! It’s so exciting, I can’t wait to see what you all did with the pattern! This link (along with all the Fair Isle Sew Along links) will stay open indefinitely, so you can link up your Fair Isle quilt whenever you finish it, to share with everyone who’s working on the pattern now or in the future!

Thank you all for sewing along with me, I hope you enjoyed it! This is the type of quilt that’s always more fun to do with others. Now go wrap up in your new Christmas quilt!

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Fair Isle Sew Along, Part 7: Assembling the Top

Welcome back to the Fair Isle Sew Along! It’s an exciting moment, because this week we finally get to assemble the top. Home stretch, you guys!

Theoretically, when sewn together, all of your rows should measure 72-1/2″ wide. Theoretically. : ) But in reality, there are a lot of seams in these rows—and of course, being just a tiny bit off on your seam allowances can add up to major differences across all the seams in each row. My zig-zag rows, for instance, actually measured 73″, not 72-1/2″. (My reindeer row ended up surprisingly accurate. I’m sure nobody is more surprised about that than me!)

So my advice for this week is, don’t worry about the size of the blocks or the rows. Don’t even think about it (much). I’ve left some room to trim from the sides of each row if necessary.

So start by getting all of your rows sewn together. This should be quick work, since the zig zag and checkerboard rows should already be done. Next, measure all of the completed rows. For any rows that are too long, trim them down to 72-1/2″. If you find that one or more rows are too short, trim all the other rows to the length of the shortest row (you will need to trim your long sashing pieces as well).

Now you’re ready to assemble all of the rows into a completed quilt top! It’s like Christmas came early (literally)! I found that it worked well to sew the sashing pieces onto the top and bottom edges of the zig zag and checkerboard rows. Once you have that done, you should have only two more sashing pieces left, which go at the top and bottom of the quilt. Then it’s just a matter of piecing everything together and …. done.

Next week is our final post in the sew along, and we’ll be talking about the back and the quilting. Great job, everybody, I have just loved seeing all of your versions of Fair Isle! That really is like Christmas for me. : ) And remember, if you still want to play along, you can buy the pattern here.

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Choosing a Neutral, Part 2: My Kona Cheat Sheet

Yesterday we talked about questions you can ask yourself in order to identify a great neutral for your next quilt. So now that you’ve narrowed down the options as far as value and warm/cool, how do you choose from the eleventy thousand solid shades now on the market?

It’s daunting, isn’t it? I love love love the variety of solids we have now—there are now probably twice as many choices now as when I started quilting seven years ago. But sometimes that dazzling variety can also get overwhelming. Grays are particularly challenging, since grays can have any color cast in the spectrum, and different grays don’t always go together. So let’s break it down, shall we?

My go-to solids brand is Kona Cotton by Robert Kaufman, and I know that’s what many of you go for as well. It also happens to be the line with the most colors by far—303 shades, as of a few months ago! So to make the selections a little easier for you, I’ve put together a Kona Cotton Neutrals Cheat Sheet. You can download a FREE PDF of the Cheat Sheet by clicking here. Print it out and keep it with your color card, or just open the PDF on your phone or your tablet while you’re shopping.
My Kona Neutrals Cheat Sheet does the legwork on Kona Neutrals for you. For each color category—Grays, Browns, and Whites—I’ve determined whether particular shades qualify as “Warmer” or “Cooler.” From there, I’ve also selected a few shades in each color group that I believe to be your “Most Neutral Choices.” While the “Most Neutral Choices” shades are also categorized as either warmer or cooler, these are the ones I think fall closest to the middle of that spectrum.

A few things to note: First, my Warmer and Cooler designations are all relative. For example, brown skews warm most of the time. So even the “cooler” browns on my Cheat Sheet are still a bit on the warm side—but relative to all the other browns on the Kona color card, these are the coolest.

Second: Remember how I said in the last post that color is subjective? That goes double for this post! : ) My warm and cool designations are just the opinions of little old me. I think I’ve got a pretty good eye for these things, but still, you should take my categorizing with a grain of salt. Lighting and other nearby colors can change how a particular shade looks. So please use my Cheat Sheet simply as a starting point—there’s no substitute for seeing and comparing the colors in person, if possible!

Finally, let’s talk briefly about the “Color Neutrals” category. Under this category, I’ve listed some of the Kona colors that I think work really well as neutrals, along with the general color family of each. This is by no means a complete list—it’s just some of my past and present favorites. There are so many others you could try. Really, any color that isn’t bright or saturated could work as a “color neutral”—explore the possibilities!

My favorite quilt in which I used a color neutral is this one, made from the Sherbet Pips line by Aneela Hoey:

The prints I used here are very heavy on the warm colors, all red and pink. So Kona Ice Frappe for the background was a great choice, because it cooled off the temperature of the quilt significantly.

In fact, here’s a handy tip for using color neutrals that comes straight from my experience with my Sherbet Pips quilt: If you’re using one fabric line (as I was in this quilt), consider pulling your background color straight from that line’s color palette. In this case, I simply left out all the Sherbet Pips prints in blue, then chose a soft blue background that matched the blue prints I didn’t use. No muss, no fuss!

I hope this “Choosing a Neutral” series has been helpful to you, and that the Kona Neutrals Cheat Sheet comes in handy as well! Now go find the perfect neutral for that gorgeous pile of fabric you pulled the other day. Happy sewing!