Community Sampler Week #7

Community Sampler Week #7

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My co-host and sister Art Gallery Fabrics designer Maureen Cracknell and I are so happy to have you sewing with us on this block-of-the-week sew along.

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It's April already and we're over halfway done with our blocks! 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 Squaredance block. Download the free PDF on the Sew Along page.

Our block this week is a relatively easy one that uses squares and Flying Geese units. If you need to review how to make No-Waste Flying Geese, revisit my tutorial from week #3. Also, you may want to review the directional fabric tutorial if you want to control the way your prints lay in your Flying Geese units.

There'll be no new tutorials this week but instead I will give cutting information for making block variations because I ended up turning this easy block into a big production.

Since I'm sewing my sampler in only solids, that large center square intimidated me and just felt too expansive. I knew this may be an issue for me when I was designing this quilt but felt that those wanting to showcase a large print would love this opportunity and space. I ended up making seven different versions of this block and who knows, I may still may end up making more by the time I have to set them into a top. I'm still not in love with my block but thank goodness it's an easy one. 

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Squaredance Block Variations

You can treat this block as your wild card block and really have some fun making it your own. An 8” finished square center (8-1/2” square unfinished) is basically a nice size for a block by itself. You can utilize any of the techniques we've learned so far to make an 8-1/2” unfinished block center (maybe even look back at the Sewcial Bee Sampler blocks), work on something completely new, or stick to the pattern and make it as written with a 8-1/2” cut center square.

Now, I think all the versions I did are pretty nice so don't get me wrong, there's not an option that's right or wrong or better than the other, it simply comes down to personal choice and what works in the quilt. 

Variation 1

My first instinct to make that center square less intimidating (see block #1 in group photo) was to put a print in it. I used my Art Gallery Fabrics Tiny Dancer print from Sketchbook since it's a non-directional and organic print with colors went well with my solids in my quilt. But, with the rest of the quilt being all solids the print option just wasn't working for me and brought even more attention to that center square.

Blocks #2 and #3 are done like the pattern calls for as well but use solid fabrics for the center. I'm pretty sold on #3 and it's still in the running for making the final cut for the quilt. It was my original vision for this block and sometimes that turns out to be the best choice. That large solid center wasn't looking so bad after all and it was just a matter of the right balance of colors for me. 

Variation 2

Block #4 uses four 4" finished Half-Square Triangle (HST) units to make up the 8" finished block center. You can review how to make HSTs from the last weeks Fairground block and use those exact measurements for cutting in Variation 2. 

In my variation I cut:

  • two 5" squares of peach
  • one 5" square off-white
  • one 5" square gold

I paired a peach square with each of the other colors to make a total of four HST units. I trimmed my units to 4-1/2" square before sewing them together into a Four-Patch center square that measured 8-1/2" square. I then used that pieced center square to take the place of 8-1/2" square in the instructions.

Variation 3

The Triple-Square Triangle units we made for the Ribbon Star block were just the right size once sewn together (Four-Patch style) to make an even more elaborate center for this block. Use the sizes given in that pattern and make four TST units.

Blocks #5 and #6 in the group photo show how I ended up making two different pieced-center blocks version. One with five different solid colors and another with four different solid colors. Just by switching the color placements and number of colors it created two very different looking blocks. This could be a neat block to explore in a quilt just of these blocks. I really love the gold and pinks block but it just wasn't right for my sampler.

My Block...for Now

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I ended up selecting the HST Variation 2. I kept seeing a sunflower shape in this block with petals and a large seed head center. The golden solid for the petals and the darker center of this block makes this block shine. 

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Above are my Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements solids selections for this block served up on the perfect plate that Van Gogh would completely approve of this palette. 

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There's lots of ways to dress up this block if you wanted to. If you're thinking of adding embroidery be sure to oversize your square to at least 9-1/2” square to start. Center your design and leave a good 1'' around the edges for trimming to size and the necessary seam allowance. Do any handwork to the square before it's assembled into a block. Press it well and trim to 8-1/2” square then proceed as you would for making the block. 

The same would go if you're doing improv piecing, or creating a label on this center square. Start larger than needed and trim to the required size. Don't forget to put your design on-point as the block will be set on-point once sewn together in the quilt top.

Thank you for making this sew along so special I love seeing all the blocks being posted and can't wait to see what you do with this wild card block. 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 also on Instagram. Maureen will be hosting the giveaway this Friday and you'll be instructed how to enter at that time.

Flight Quilt

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On a side note, I've just published the PDF pattern for my Flight quilt first seen in Modern Patchwork magazine March/April 2017 issue. I had to wait a year for it to be out of contract before I could publish it as a stand alone pattern but it's now available on my Craftsy pattern page

Photo courtesy of All People Quilt

Photo courtesy of All People Quilt

This fun and easy quilt design was pieced with all Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements solid fabrics. The design for the quilt was inspired by a floating staircase and I used some color theory and artsy tricks for fabric placements.

First I wanted to create the illusion of depth so I placed the vibrate saturated colors in the foreground (bottom of the staircase, closest to the viewer) and used muted, dustier tones at the top of the stairs to make them appear further away. That's the same way you create depth in landscape paintings. 

By separating the diagonal sides of the quilt into light and shade it was not only another excuse to use another fabric color but again added weight and a light and shadow effect to the design. 

This quilt is a departure for me but I had a lot of fun with it and is one of the three all solids quilts I mentioned at the beginning of the Community Sampler sew along. I've not worked with solids exclusively very often but each time I have it's always turned out well. 

View all my patterns for sale on my Pattern page. They are all available on Craftsy and selected patterns are available at Connecting Threads and UpCrafts Club.

Community Sampler Giveaway Week #4

Community Sampler Giveaway Week #4

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Each Friday that Maureen Cracknell and myself are co-hosting the Community Sampler will be a Giveaway Friday. We've coordinated special prizes with our amazing participating sponsors for a giveaway each and every week! If you've happened to miss the first Community Sampler posts, take a look back from the first post Community Sampler Week #1 to get caught up to the present. Feel free to start sewing with us at anytime--it's never too late to join in, and it's free! 

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Community Sampler Sponsors

TODAY'S FEATURED COMMUNITY SAMPLER SPONSOR IS Bloc_Loc!

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Bloc_Loc was created by husband and wife team, Paul and Janna. Paul, an Australian, was an aircraft maintenance engineer and Janna, and American, is a quilt designer and author of Courtship Quilts; Inspired by the Victorian Language of Flowers, published by Martingale & Co 2005. Now based in Loveland, Colorado, Bloc_Loc manufacturers, distributes, and sells their own patent pending products which are new and innovative. Their rulers are made of the highest quality materials by the old-fashioned standard of making products and are built tough enough to last from one generation to the next!

* Shop Rulers * Follow on Facebook * Follow on Instagram *

We hope you enjoy visiting Bloc_Loc Rulers

For this week's Community Sampler Giveaway, Bloc_Loc is offering the winner TWO sets of rulers that coordinate with the sizes of units used in the Community Sampler blocks. The sets included in this week's prize are the Flying Geese rulers Set #3 that consists of a 2" x 4" and a 3" x 6" Flying Geese ruler. The second set is the Half-Square Triangle rulers Set #2 that consists of a 2-1/2", a 4-1/4", and a 6-1/2" Half-Square Triangle ruler. That's five amazing Bloc_Loc Rulers you'll love! Be sure to visit Bloc_Loc for wonderful video tutorials on how to use all their products. 

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How to Enter

This giveaway is now closed

Congratulations to Beth L!

* 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 Bloc_Loc on Facebook and/or Instagram. 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). Note: I'm no longer on Facebook.

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 Community Sampler on YOUR instagram, facebook, tweet, pin, blog post, etc... (separate comment - fourth entry). 

That’s FOUR possible entries! Enter now through Monday, March 19th! The winner will be picked at random around 4pm Eastern. I will post the name of the winner on this post once they've been notified and responded to my email.

xxxx Sharon

Community Sampler Week #4

Community Sampler Week #4

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Welcome to week #4 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 our third block--Ribbon Star. Download the free PDF on the Sew Along page.

Triple-Square Triangle Units

I love how you can put squares together to come out with intricate patchwork units like this Triple-Square Triangle (TST). All the cut sizes have already been sized up for trimming and squaring. I'm using the 6'' HST Bloc-Loc ruler to help me keep my units square. You can see some great video from the Bloc-Loc site to better explain how to use their tools. 

If you're wanting to use directional prints for either of the following patchwork techniques you may want to check out my tutorial for controlling directional prints that was posted during the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along. 

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Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the lighter fabric of your 6" squares.

Place a marked square right sides together with a same-size square. Sew a 1/4" seam on each side of the drawn line. 

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Press to flatten. Cut apart on the line to make two Half-Square Triangle (HST) units. 

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Press open toward the dark print. I press my seams in one direction. Read more about pressing seams open on Maureen's blog post for the Ribbon Star block. Tip when pressing seams in one direction: Place the fabric you want to press toward face up on the ironing board. When you open to press the seam will automatically be pressed toward the desired fabric. 

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Trim units to 5" square. Since these HST units are oversized, the first trimming pass will cut off about an half an inch on the right side and top for a right hander. If you're left handed you will be trimming the left side and top. Notice the Bloc-Ruler is using the diagonal line to square the unit and the two sides not being trimmed on this first pass will still need squaring up as the 5'' marks of the ruler does not align with the outside edges.

Rotate the unit 180° and trim about 1/8" off the two remaining side to square to 5" square. Repeat on the remaining (untrimmed) HST unit. 

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Draw a diagonal line on each of the 5" squares. Pair a 5" square with a HST unit right sides together and the drawn line perpendicular to the seam line of the HST so the seams make an "X" (see first image below). 

Sew a 1/4" seam on each side of the marked line. 

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Press to flatten (you can see the seam line orientation of the HST unit creates an "X" in the pressing photo).

Cut apart on the line. Open and press toward the large triangle. Makes two, mirror image Triple-Square Triangle (TST) units. Make a total of four. Note: Be sure to pay attention to orientation of the TST units when assembling your block! 

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Trim the TST units in the same manner as you did with the HST units, using the diagonal seam line as a guide and taking care that all the points stays sharp. Trim only about 1/8" or less off the sides to trim to 4-1/2" square. Make a total of four TST units. 

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For my sampler quilt I'm using Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements solids. Using all solids is a personal challenge for this pattern designer and is not without it's own set of additional challenges. See my first week Community Sampler post for the inspiration behind my color palette. I've already made a few of the blocks for this sampler to work ahead and have found that I really need to bring my A-game for piecing because solids are very unforgiving and show every little missed point. Again, this is a good challenge even for a quilter that's been doing this awhile and I will need to take extra care in my stitching!

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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. I will be hosting the giveaway this Friday and you'll be instructed how to enter at that time.

Happy sewing!