Hold Tight Sew Along Week #3

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #3

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Welcome to Week #3 of the Hold Tight Sew Along where I'll be sharing tips and tutorials to bring your quilting skills to a new level. No longer will curved piecing hold you back from stitching a quilt with curves! 

If you don't have the pattern already, you'll want to purchase the Hold Tight PDF pattern from my Shop page or from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop who now carries this pattern along with the Hold Tight quilt kit. If you’ve just discovered this blog or only just heard about this sew along, there’s still plenty of time to join in on the fun and take part in the sponsored giveaway prizes for each week of the event. To get up to speed, take a look at the Week #1 posting dedicated to color selection and working with colors like a designer.

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The Hold Tight Sew Along tutorials are useful to anyone working with fabric and patchwork regardless what quilt is being made. In addition to my written posts, I’ve adding skill-building demonstration videos to further your learning experience. The videos support Weeks #1 through #3 and you’ll find these helpful videos on my Sew Along page. All the videos will be available on Week #1 of the sew along for those wanting to work ahead and will stay a permanent feature to resource in the future.

These blog posts serve to supplement the instructions but don't provide the detailed pattern information that you'll find in the PDF available for purchase. The Hold Tight pattern will have your material list, cutting requirements, full-size templates, and be fully illustrated. My supplementary blog posts are just that, supplementary and meant to guide you along as you sew and give general patchwork sewing information for anyone sewing curves.

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Even though I’ve labeled this pattern an intermediate skill level quilt pattern, I firmly believe that even a confident beginner can tackle curved patchwork with ease because you’ve completed the following:

  1. You’ve printed out the PDF instructions and templates to 100% scale (not borderless) onto US letter size paper and because you’ve cut your fabrics true to size (see Hold Tight Sew Along Week #2 post).

  2. You’re sewing with an accurate seam allowance. As with any patchwork sewing its imperative to stitch with an accurate 1/4” seam allowance. Take a moment to read the Seam Allowance section on my Perfect Patchwork tutorial.

I’ve prepared bonus videos for this week’s tutorial and you’ll find the Hold Tight Sew Along Week #3 parts 1 and 2 are extremely helpful for pinning, sewing, press, and squaring up your blocks. Find all the Hold Tight Sew Along videos on my Sew Along page.

Sewing Curves

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First image: To begin, find the center of an A and B shape and finger press a crease. With the largest A shape on the bottom (right side up), pin midpoints with the smaller B shape, right side down, on top.

Second image: Align a short, squared end of the B shape to the corner (straight) edge of the A shape and pin. Repeat on the other side.

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Place the pinned pieces over your knee or a pressing form to help the curved pieces align. Place additional pins at equal distances so the curved edges match.

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Using an accurate 1/4” seam allowance, stitch with a short (2.4-2.6) stitch length. Slowly sew the seam along the curve with the sewing machine needle in the down position. By having the needle lowered into the fabric when the machine is stopped this allows the presser foot to be raised and holds the fabric in place without loosing the needle position.

Remove pins as you sew. Avoid pulling or pushing the pieces to be sewn so as not to stretch the bias curved edges. Continue to check that the raw edges are matched and lift presser foot to reduce any bulk in fabric before lowering and continuing to stitch.

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Once two pieces have been sewn together, finger press the seam open. Press block in an up and down motion (not side to side) to avoid distorting the block.

Note: For this quilt I recommend pressing the seams open because it will be easier to assemble the quilt top and avoid bulky seams.

If you’re piecing a B/B/C block where three shapes are sewn to make a block, press the first seam open before proceeding to stitching the second seam. Once a block(s) are pieced, proceed to Squaring the Blocks.

Squaring the Blocks

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Use the Block Trimming Template found in the PDF and make a plastic template. Transfer all markings onto the plastic. See Week #2 blog post. I’ve added in some extra wiggle room into the Hold Tight blocks and they’ll need to be trimmed exactly to size for quilt assembly. Tip: Use rolled Washi tape to hold the plastic template in place while cutting. This also allows the template to easily be rotated when trimming a different side.

First image: For an A/B, align the square edge of the Block Trimming Template to the right angles of the A shape (lower left) as this piece will have the least amount of distortion from sewing.

Use the curve marking of the Block Trimming Template to match template with the curved seam on the block.

Second image: Before trimming the block to size, take a moment and make sure the seam allowance area of the Block Trimming Template is covering fabric on all sides and that the curve(s) of the template and block match and seam allowances are true. Trim sides as necessary to square the block.

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When trimming a B/B/C block, use both curve markings on the Block Trimming Template (see second image where the curved markings have been highlighted in black). Align template to block curves and double check that seam allowance is correct on all sides before trimming.

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A sew along’s a lot more fun with sponsors and giveaways, right!? Our friends at Dritz Sewing, the Fat Quarter Shop, Hobbs Batting, and Omnigrid have generously provided the Hold Tight Sew Along with products I know you’ll love! 

Every Friday I’ll be posting weekly a giveaway on Instagram. By using the hashtag #HoldTightSewAlong on Instagram every time you post sew along photos to a public account (private account posts don’t show up in hashtag pools) your IG account is automatically entered into the weekly sew along drawings! Ideas for what to share include your sew along progress, the “I’m a maker” sew along badge found HERE, your fabric pull, blocks, and finished quilt. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @sharonhollanddesigns so you never miss a thing!

THIS WEEK'S GIVEAWAY SPONSOR IS FROM Hobbs Batting

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I’m so excited for this week’s giveaway. Our friends at Hobbs Batting are offering batting prizes for two winners. We’re holding a giveaway here on the blog (see entry details below) and another winner drawn from the #holdtightsewalong Instagram hashtag pool.

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The lucky winners will be able to select three, throw-size batts of their choice from the following fine quality Hobb’s Tuscany brand battings. I personally love the Hobb’s Tuscany batting collection and found it to be the best batting for handling, drape, stitch definition, and quality.

Tuscany Poly

Tuscany Unbleached Cotton

Tuscany Bleached Cotton

Tuscany SUPREME Cotton

Tuscany Cotton/Wool

Tuscany Wool

Tuscany Silk


Giveaway now Closed. Congratulations to Margaret Swan!

Note: This giveaway is open to EVERYONE! If you're a "no reply" or anonymous commenter, please remember to include your email address in your comment--you can't win if I can't get a hold of you!

1. Simply leave a comment here under this post! (First comment entry).

2. Follow Hobbs batting on one of their social media platforms *  Blog  *  Instagram  *  Facebook  *  Just let me know that you did by making a separate comment here to record that entry. (Separate comment - second entry). 

3. My followers get a third entry! If you follow via subscribing to my posts, through Bloglovin (or other service), or on Instagram, just let me know by making a separate comment here to record that entry. (Separate comment - third entry). 

4. Help spread the word!! I know that many of you already do, so I thought it would be nice to add that as another way to enter! Spread the word about the Hold Tight Sew Along on YOUR instagram, facebook, tweet, pin, blog post, etc... (separate comment - fourth entry). 

That’s FOUR possible entries! Enter now through Monday, April 8th! The winner will be picked at random around 4 pm Eastern. I will post the name of the winner on this post once they've been notified and responded to my email.

Don't forget the giveaway for this week is also held on Instagram for an additional chance to win and will be randomly drawn on Monday. The winner is randomly drawn from the posts in the hashtag pool. By posting images of your Hold Tight color inspiration, fabric pull, blocks, or quilt. Use the official #holdtightsewalong hashtag every time you post your makes (to a public account) and you're automatically entered into the weekly IG drawings! See my Instagram Friday giveaway posts @sharonhollanddesigns for full details and don’t forget to tag me too! 

Table Scraps

Table Scraps

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Okay, that blog post title was funny, wasn't it!!?? What did you think I was going to blog about, composting? No, silly, this post is about using up those left over fabric strips to make something beautiful for your table!

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I definitely have a thing for quilted table runners--they're just fun and fast to make, plus quick for changing up the look of your table for the different seasons. 

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This is my second time making my Stacked Strips Table Runner. See the original tutorial with instructions, HERE. I stitched this one exactly the same as the first, with 2"-wide strips but the finished size of this second runner is larger and finishes out at 18" x 84". The beauty of this pattern is you can easily customize the size to fit your table. 

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The fabrics used in this runner are all Art Gallery Fabrics and include prints from all six of my fabric lines. Here's the list: Pure Elements solids, AGF linen, Gossamer, Sketchbook, Coastline, Tapestry, Bountiful, Signature, and Ink Outburst from Woodland Fusions.

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The other variation I made from my original pattern was to utilize Quilt As You Go (QAYG) when sewing the strips together. By doing this, not only was I assembling the runner top, but I was quilting the runner as I sewed the strips!

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Using QAYG for a table runner is a great way to try this method on a small project. I used my favorite Tuscany Silk Blend batting and AGF linen for the backing to give the runner a nice weight and feel. To learn how to sew the QAYG method for quilts and other projects check out my dear friend and sister AGF designer Maureen Cracknell's QAYG Craftsy class

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This was really fun to make and since I had some strips left at the end, I decided to make some matching coasters!

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My coasters finish at 4-1/2" round and I trimmed the strips to 1-1/2" wide to start with so the scale would be better proportioned. You could even start with 1" wide strips if you wanted even more fabrics in the coaster.

I used the same strip assembly method of sewing strips short ends together before trimming to the desired size and sewing together QAYG-style to a batting and backing foundation.

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After I had the strips sewn into a large enough piece to cut out 5" circles from, I placed another piece of linen, right sides together with the QAYG piece and marked out circles with the bottom of a tin that was the right size. 

I sewed a 1/4" inside the drawn line, back stitching at beginning and end, and leaving and opening for turning. 

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Cut out on the drawn line. Clip curves and turn right side out through the opening. Turn opening under 1/4" and press. Blind stitch opening closed by hand. 

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I did not do any additional quilting or stitching to my coasters once turned. This method has four layers: patchwork top, batting, and two layers of linen. 

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I think next time I try this I will make some placemats. It's really very addictive and I'm sure we all have a bunch of left over fabric scraps begging to be turned into something useful and beautiful!

Community Sampler Week #6

Community Sampler Week #6

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Welcome to week #6 of the Community Sampler sew along where we not only work on our patchwork piecing techniques but also share our makes on Instagram and have fun with a like-minded community of quilters. My co-host and sister Art Gallery Fabrics designer Maureen Cracknell and I are so happy to have you sewing with us and look forward to spending the next few months with you.

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There are eleven blocks in our quilt and each Wednesday will be a new PDF block release or finishing step for the quilt. If you are just joining us, pick up the Introduction PDF on the Sew Along page and you'll get a material list along with coloring pages so you can get started planning your quilt. Then, work your way through the first Community Sampler post to the present.

Many of the patchwork units (like Quick-Corner, Flying Geese, Half-Square Triangle, and Square-in-Square units) used in this year's sampler have already been oversized to allow for trimming and squaring of units before assembling your block. Please cut your pieces EXACTLY as given in each of the PDF instructions because bumping up the size of the pieces from the measurements give will not bring great results in some cases. Take advantage of my in-blog tutorials for each of the different quilting techniques used in our sampler.

Accurate cutting and use of a true 1/4'' seam allowance is a must for successful patchwork piecing. All your blocks will measure 12-1/2'' square (unfinished). Review how to cut strips, sew with a true 1/4'' seam allowance, and other helpful piecing tips on my "Are You Ready to Sew" post.

Let's start sewing the Fairground block. Download the free PDF on the Sew Along page.

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Square-in-Square Unit Tutorial

Use the following link for review how to make Half-Square Triangle (HST) units and No-Waste Flying Geese units that we've already used in earlier Community Sampler blocks. There's a lot of moving pieces in the Fairground block and accuracy is always our goal. The more seams in a block the more even minor discrepancies will start to multiply into a big mess. Make sure all pieces are true to size as you work and you maintain an accurate 1/4" seam allowance when sewing and the pieces will go together beautifully.

If you're wanting to use directional prints for either the HST units or the Flying Geese units you may want to check out my tutorial for controlling directional prints that was posted during the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along. 

To see how this Square-in-Square unit is created in a video, view the Bloc_Loc method for making this units in the Flying Geese rulers tutorial or follow along with my step out tutorial below.

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Cut the two 3-1/4” in half diagonally to make four HST pieces

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Fold the 3-3/8” fabric D square in half and press to crease.

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Stack two fabric A HST pieces with edges matched. Center and align the point of the stacked triangles with the vertical crease line and straight edge matching the edge of the square.

Trim dog ears of stacked triangles with edges of the square.

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Rotate the square 90° so crease line is now parallel with top edge of square. Place a trimmed triangle right sides together and edges matched to top edge of square. Stitch with a 1/4” seam allowance.

Press corner out. Repeat for the opposite side.

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Rotate the pieced section 90° and use the vertical crease line to center an untrimmed triangle. Stitch to section, noting how the stitch line enters and exits at the “V” where the two fabrics intersect. Press corner out. Repeat on the remaining side to make a Square-in-Square unit.

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Trim unit to 4-1/2” square, leaving a 1/4” seam allowance on each side. If using the Bloc_Loc 2” x 4” Flying Geese ruler to trim your Square-in-Square unit, trim one side at a time, rotating your unit 90° between each trim. Watch the Bloc_Loc tutorial for piecing and trimming of a Square-in-Square unit.

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I pieced my Fairground block with a slight variation from the instructions. Instead of cutting four 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” rectangles from fabric A, I cut those four rectangles from my blue fabric D. This gave the block more visual weight on the edges and created an octagon shape within the block.

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For my sampler I'm sewing with Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Element solids. I've been getting a lot of questions as to the exact colors I'm sewing with so I will start including a swatch image each week showing the sku number of each solid. Clockwise from the peach is Grapefruit, Creme de la Creme, Night Sea, and Pistachio Creme. 

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My completed block! I like it's playfulness and all the second and maybe third designs these patchwork shapes make. Have fun with your block and don't be afraid to add more or even less different fabrics into it to make it your own.

If you notice I had to pull out the seam ripper to correct sewing that top row upside down--oops. This stuff happens and I don't care how seasoned a quilter you are--that's why seam rippers were invented!

Community Sampler Sponsors

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Lady Belle Fabric  Omnigrid   Aurifil Thread  Art Gallery Fabrics 

Hobbs Batting  Dritz  Fat Quarter Shop  Bloc-Loc

My co-host Maureen Cracknell and I are continually amazed by the joy and excitement each of you bring to our virtual community. Thank you for making this sew along so special. Please visit Maureen's blog and see the progress she's making on her sampler quilt, using her beautiful AGF fabrics Love Story collection. Be sure to use the #CommunitySampler hashtag when posting your blocks to Instagram and tag both my @sharonhollanddesigns and @maureencracknell so we don't miss any of your beautiful work!

Don't forget that this Friday's a Giveaway Friday on the Community Sampler sew along. Maureen and I will take turns hosting a giveaway each week where one of our generous sponsors will be featured and offering amazing prizes both here on our blogs and also on Instagram. I will be hosting the giveaway this Friday and you'll be instructed how to enter at that time.

Happy sewing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community Sampler Week #5

Community Sampler Week #5

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Welcome to week #5 of the Community Sampler sew along where we not only work on our patchwork piecing techniques but also share our makes on Instagram and have fun with a like-minded community of quilters. My co-host and sister Art Gallery Fabrics designer Maureen Cracknell and I are so happy to have you sewing with us and look forward to spending the next few months with you.

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There are eleven blocks in our quilt and each Wednesday will be a new PDF block release or finishing step for the quilt. If you are just joining us, pick up the Introduction PDF on the Sew Along page and you'll get a material list along with coloring pages so you can get started planning your quilt. Then, work your way through the first Community Sampler post to the present.

Many of the patchwork units (like Quick-Corner, Flying Geese, Half-Square Triangle, and Square-in-Square units) used in this year's sampler have already been oversized to allow for trimming and squaring of units before assembling your block. Please cut your pieces EXACTLY as given in each of the PDF instructions because bumping up the size of the pieces from the measurements give will not bring great results in some cases--especially in this week's block. Cut carefully and as stated in the instructions. Take advantage of my in-blog tutorials for each of the different quilting techniques used in our sampler.

Accurate cutting and use of a true 1/4'' seam allowance is a must for successful patchwork piecing. All your blocks will measure 12-1/2'' square (unfinished). Review how to cut strips, sew with a true 1/4'' seam allowance, and other helpful piecing tips on my "Are You Ready to Sew" post.

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Let's start sewing the Cactus block. Here we make two, half-blocks that fill positions 4 and 5 in our quilt. Download the free PDF on the Sew Along page.

Tutorial for Piecing the Cactus Block

The success of this block rest solely in your ability to cut and sew accurately. You'll be put to the test here and hopefully rewarded for your efforts.

If you're wanting to use directional prints for either the HST units or the rectangle units you may want to check out my tutorial for controlling directional prints that was posted during the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along. 

Rectangle Units

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Cut your A and B pieces exactly as stated in the instructions. Yes, that means a true 7/8" on the end of those cut size numbers. The reason we are using a 7/8'' measurement rather than rounding up to the nearest full number is we are cutting our pieces on the diagonal and creating our necessary 1/4" seam allowance on our pieces and not trimming down when done. 

Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each 2-1/2" fabric A square. Noting orientation of the drawn line, place a marked square right sides together on a corner of a 2-1/2" x 6-7/8" fabric B rectangle as shown in the instructions. 

Sew just outside the line (a needles worth) to keep the unit square. Trim 1/4" past the sewn line (like we've done in making other types of units). Press toward the darkest fabric. 

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Note that I've rotated my pieced rectangle so I can align the 45° mark on my ruler with the long edge of my rectangle. Rulers vary for where these additional markings are placed and you will have to flip your ruler around a bit to get the 45° angle aligned to a long edge according to your ruler and if you're right or left handed.

Noting orientation of the seam and using the straight edges and 45° marking on a ruler, cut the opposite end of the rectangle diagonally, creating an angled end parallel (running the same direction) to the stitch line. Cut diagonally from the corner point of the rectangle on a 45° angle. This makes one A/B rectangle unit that measures 2-1/2" x 6-7/8". Make a total of four in this orientation. 

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In the same manner as in the steps above, and noting the orientation of the drawn line and parallel diagonal edge cut, make a total of four A/C rectangle units. Press seams toward the dark fabric.

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Notice how I've rotated my rectangle and aligned the 45° marking on my ruler on the long edge of the unit. These are just two different rulers but the results are the same, rulers can vary for where they've included these extra markings. Just make sure the diagonal cut is parallel (running the same direction) to the stitch line and cut from the corner point of the rectangle on a 45° angle. 

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Sew a large fabric A triangle (a 4-7/8" squares that's previously been cut in half diagonally to make two HST shapes) to a A/B rectangle unit to make a quarter section. Use the shorter of the two long edges and square short end of the rectangle to align the large triangle, right sides together. Notice how the tip of the large triangle extends past the rectangle unit. The seam line will enter right in the "V" of these two pieces. Press toward the dark fabric. 

Repeat with the mirror image A/C rectangle unit and large fabric D triangle. Sew the two quarter sections together to make one half block. Make a total of two half blocks. 

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I believe the success of this block comes first from good piecing and second from upping the contrast a bit so each shape can stand out. In my block there's obvious light and dark fabrics and they stand out in the solids. By always press toward the dark fabric I was assured my seams would nest when it came time to piece and this locking in of the seams made the points nice and sharp. 

It's unavoidable that the longest edge of our half blocks are bias edges. Normally these two half blocks would be sewn together into one block but for our quilt layout we need three half blocks. You may want to starch this block if you think it will get a lot of handling between now and the time the block is sewn into a top. Just take care not to stretch or vigorously press this block to avoid distortion. 

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You can see how this would make a beautiful full block and I have already designed a baby quilt using this block from my new spring collection for Art Gallery Fabrics (coming in May, so be watching soon for spring Market reveals). For my sampler, I'm using Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Element solids  and when it came time to photograph this block I happened to have this vintage quilt nearby and realized how the green backing of this quilt almost matches the Pistachio Creme green (PE-462) of the AGF solids!

Thank you for making this sew along so special I love seeing all the blocks being posted. Please visit Maureen's blog and see the progress she's making on her sampler quilt, using her beautiful AGF fabrics Love Story collection. Be sure to use the #CommunitySampler hashtag when posting your blocks to Instagram and tag both my @sharonhollanddesigns and @maureencracknell so we don't miss any of your beautiful work!

Community Sampler Sponsors

Don't forget that this Friday's a Giveaway Friday on the Community Sampler sew along. Maureen and I will take turns hosting a giveaway each week where one of our generous sponsors will be featured and offering amazing prizes both here on our blogs and a second chance on Instagram. Maureen will be hosting the giveaway this Friday and you'll be instructed how to enter at that time.

Happy sewing!