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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