Sewcial Bee Sampler Block #6

Hello Sewcial Bee Sampler Makers, it's time to start our second row of blocks!

Since this week's block will be using techniques we've already used in the first five blocks I thought I'd have a little fun and give you some construction options. Go ahead and download block #6--The Seasons from the Sew Along page.

Of course the PDF pattern download has everything you'll need to make the block but I like to add extra tips and hints into my blog post to support beginning quilters. If you're just joining the SBS sew along then you may want to start at the very beginning with the introduction post and work your way up to the present. 

Now that we're on our sixth block, you're probably realizing there's more than one way to make patchwork units. I want to take everything we've learned so far and show you four options to make this week's block using those different techniques. Please excuse my photos this week, I made these at the end of a rainy day yesterday (Tuesday) and the lighting was terrible!

The Seasons

The Seasons block is made up of (4) 2-1/2" squares and (12) 2-1/2" half-square triangles (HST) units for an 8-1/2" block (unfinished and before frames). There's a lot of seams in this block. With that said, I will continue to sound like a broken record each week, and stress the importance of a true 1/4" seam allowance. If your seams are off, even a fraction, that will amount to a big discrepancy in the end because of all the seams involved. If you need to review my tips on how to check your seam allowance refer back to the Perfect Patchwork post. Also remember that if you're not comfortable cutting the pieces to the exact sizes needed per the instructions and would rather square up your units after sewing to size, refer to the SBS Extras post. Just note that if you are adding 1/8" to the squares on the Flying Geese units from block #5, be sure to add 1/8" (.125) to the large square as well to keep everything in porportion.

Option 1:

To make the block as written in the instructions with two different fabrics, follow along with the 2-at-a-time half-square triangle tutorial and make according to the instructions.

Option 2: 

To make the block look more like a compass I decided to add additional fabrics and visually divide up the center of the block in a checkerboard effect. To achieve this I used the 8-at-a-time HST technique from block #1 and the 2-at-a-time HST technique from Block #2.

Cut:

(1) 5-3/4" square fabric A

(1) 2-7/8" square fabric A

(1) 5-3/4" square fabric B

(4) 2-1/2" squares fabric B

(2) 2-7/8" squares fabric C

(1) 2-7/8" square fabric D

This will yield 8 matching HSTs (2-1/2" square unfinished), 2 matching HST units (2-1/2" unfinished) of one combo (mine are navy and weave print) and another 2 matching HST units (2-1/2" unfinished) of another combo (navy and peach) for the center of the block. Assemble the block in the same way as given for block #6 in the PDF.

The Seasons block made with my new Art Gallery Fabrics collection Bountiful and Pure Element solids. Here's what all six of my Bountiful fabrics sampler looks like so far with PE-433 Snow Pure Elements solid frames.

 

Option 3:

The third way I wanted to play with dividing the four points into four different fabrics. To achieve this look I used the 2-at-a-time HST technique as given in the PDF instructions for this block and from Block #2. 

Cut:

(2) 2-7/8" squares fabric A

(1) 2-1/2" square fabric A

(2) 2-7/8" squares fabric B

(1) 2-1/2" square fabric B

(2) 2-7/8" squares fabric C

(1) 2-1/2" square fabric C

(2) 2-7/8" squares fabric D

(1) 2-1/2" square fabric D

(8) 2-7/8" squares fabric E

Note: This options will leave 4 unused HST units. Sew units and pieces together as given in PDF.

 

The Seasons block made using fabrics from my Gossamer, Sketchbook, and Tapestry fabric collections for Art Gallery Fabrics. Here's what my Tiny Dancer sampler quilt looks like with all six blocks that also include fabrics from my Coastline collection and the two newly re-colored Gossamer prints in the new AGF Fusions fabrics. These blocks are framed with Speckled Lapis from my Sketchbook fabric collection. Again, sorry about the terrible photography!

 

Option 4:

This is for all those fussy cutting lovers out there that may want to have a solid center block for to showcase a special print. This option uses the Flying Geese technique from block #5 and a variation of the Quick Corner units from Block #2.

Cut:

(1) 5-1/4" square fabric A

(1) 4-1/2" square fabric A (for center square) Note: This fabric could be a third print (fabric C)

(4) 2-7/8" squares fabric B

(8) 2-1/2" squares fabric B

Make four matching Flying Geese units that measure 2-1/2" x 4-1/2". 

When adding the Quick Corners to the 4-1/2" square, work on diagonally opposite corners when adding fabric. Stitch the small square to the corner of the fussy cut square, trim, and press corner open before adding additional corners. 

To sew an Option 4 block, arrange the Flying Geese units, center square unit, and (4) 2-1/2" squares into 3 rows of 3 units/squares each. Join the rows.

The Seasons block made with my Tapestry and Bountiful fabrics for Art Gallery Fabrics. This is a bonus block and I don't have a third sampler quilt going so this orphan block with get put into something down the line.

I hope with wasn't too confusing?!? I just wanted to show you that the power of knowing different patchwork techniques can help you customize your sewing experience on this sew along. Each week you will have the chance to continue to perfect those skills and grow as a quilter. My co-host Maureen Cracknell and I are continually amazed by the beautiful blocks being posted every week and the joy and excitement each of you bring to our virtual community. Thank you for making this sew along so special. Please be sure to visit Maureen's blog and see the progress she's making on her sampler quilts, she's making two as well using her beautiful AGF fabric collections. 

Aurifil      Circa 15      The Intrepid Thread      Fat Quarter Shop      Omnigrid      Llama Fabrics      Color Girl     Lady Belle Fabric      Needle in a Fabric Stash      Dritz      Knotted Thread    NeedleandFoot      Stash Builder Box

Also, don't forget that Friday is Giveaway Friday and this week Maureen will be hosting the giveaway from her blog. We've got a great giveaway planned from Intrepid Thread I know you'll not want to miss! 

Sewcial Bee Sampler Block #5

Can you believe week #5 puts us a fifth of the way through the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along!?!? Time flies when you're having fun.

Don't worry if you're just joining us, it's never too late to start sewing along. You may want to start at the beginning SBS post and work your way to the present. That way you won't miss any of my tips and tutorials for piecing the block and perfecting your patchwork skills. 

My co-host Maureen Cracknell and I cannot get over how different the same block can look with all the variations of fabrics and placement. You guys are amazing! Keep on posting and using the hashtag #SewcialBeeSampler so we can see all the makes (on your public account) and of course using the hashtag will also keep your name in the hashtag pool for the weekly giveaway drawings. Don't forget to head over to Maureen's blog to see the blocks she's working on with her AGF fabric lines she's designed!

Download the free PDF pattern for the July Fourth block on my Sew Along page

July Fourth Block

Be sure to cut all pieces accurately and square. Use a true 1/4" seam allowance when piecing your patchwork. For a cutting and sewing review, see my Perfect Patchwork post

No-Waste Flying Geese Units

This week we introduce a new technique. There's several ways to make Flying Geese units and during the course of the SBS sew along we will work with two different piecing techniques. Block #5 uses the no-waste method to make 4 Flying Geese from the most economical cuts of fabric. 

1. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of (4) A squares (see block instructions for sizes). Noting placement and orientation, place 2 marked A squares on the diagonal corners of the B square as shown. Note that the small squares should overlap in the center. Pin pieces in place, if desired, however do not sew over the pins. Instead, sew up to the pin, stop with the needle in the down position, remove the pin, then continue sewing. 

Tip: If you're uncertain about your seam allowance being a true 1/4" then draw seam lines on either side of the center diagonal seam. Use a fine tip fabric marking tool as thick marked lines can cause you to sew too wide of a seam. Test marks on scrap material before using, some marking tools will become permanent once exposed to the heat of an iron. Read the manufacturer's instructions before using. 

2. Sew a 1/4" seam on each side of the center drawn line. Press. Cut apart on the line. Press seams open. Note: The pressing instructions in this post are the way I pressed my block and totally optional if you press your seams open or the the side. I like to use a mix of the two types of pressing in my patchwork. Trim dog ears. This makes 2 Flying Geese sections.

3. Noting orientation of the drawn line, place a marked A square right side together on the fabric B side of the Flying Geese section as shown. Sew a 1/4" seam on each side of the drawn line. Tip: When sewing on either side of the drawn line, the sewing machine needle should enter where the "V" or valley created by the square placed on top of the Flying Geese section. See tip of the awl in the close-up photos below.

4. Press flat then cut apart on the centerline to make 2 Flying Geese units. Press seams open and trim dog ears. Repeat Step 3 with the remaining Flying Geese section and remaining marked A square for a total of 4 Flying Geese units. The Flying Geese units should measure 2-1/2" x 4-1/2". 

5. Refer to the step-by-step Half-Square Triangles tutorial from the Block #2 post for making the HSTs for this block. Press HST seams open and trim dog ears. HST units should meause 2-1/2" square.

I've divided block #5 into quarters rather than sewing the pieces and unit into rows. Arrange one Flying Geese unit, one HST unit and one 2-1/2" square as shown to make a quarter section. 

6. Sew the HST unit to the 2-1/2" square. Press seams toward the square. Sew the HST/square section to the Flying Geese unit. Press seams toward the Flying Geese unit. In the same manner, make a total of 4 identical quarter sections. Tip: By pressing the seams as I've done the seams will nest and lock when piecing the block in Step 7.

7. Referring to the Block Assembly Diagram on the instruction PDF and noting placement and orientation, sew the quarter block sections into 2 rows of 2 sections each. Tip: Nest and lock the seams of the sections and place a pin diagonally across the two seams when sewing. You can sew right up to the pin, stopping with the needle in the down position, remove the pin and continue sewing. Note: To achieve a sharp point on triangles, have seam lines intersect when crossing, landing exactly on the 1/4" marks.

Press seams on rows to one side for nesting. Join rows then press the row seam open.

8. Your patchwork block should measure 8-1/2" square. Add the frames. It's okay if you're still unsure about what material to use for the frame, after all, we are just five blocks in. Just remember that the blocks are different sizes and the frame sizes will also vary accordingly. The blocks should measure 12-1/2" square once framed (if applicable) and before being set into the sashing and quilt top. 

I've started two sampler quilts because it's just too much fun playing with all the possible fabric combos and placements. The materials used in this tutorial block are part of my newest fabric collection for Art Gallery Fabrics called Bountiful. I'd picked up this sweet pot of jonquils over the weekend and this July Fourth block made me think of looking at the petals of these happy yellow spring flowers. 

The second SBS sampler quilt is being made from a curated selection of fabrics from my first four Art Gallery Fabrics collections: Gossamer, Sketchbook, Coastline, and Tapestry with the addition of two newly recolored prints for the new AGF Fusions lines. You can see my fabric lines and find your favorite online shopping source for my prints on the new Shop Fabrics page on this blog. Here I've organized links to shops by collection. If you're a shop owner or have a favorite fabric shop that carries my prints, drop me a line if you don't see their name on my lists. 

Also, don't forget that Friday is Giveaway Friday and this week I will be hosting the giveaway on this blog. We've got a great giveaway planned from Dritz I know you'll not want to miss! In fact, you saw just a few of the goodies we'll be giving away already in the tools I was using in today's tutorials.  

Aurifil      Circa 15      The Intrepid Thread      Fat Quarter Shop      Omnigrid      Llama Fabrics      Color Girl     Lady Belle Fabric      Needle in a Fabric Stash      Dritz      Knotted Thread    NeedleandFoot      Stash Builder Box

Sewcial Bee Sampler Block #4

Hello, it's Wednes-yay and that means it's block release day! Are you starting to feel more confident about sewing half-square triangles? Block #4 is called Crow's Nest and has only 4 HSTs as well as introduces piecing of strips.

My partner in crime, co-host, and good friend Maureen Cracknell and I have been so impressed by all the blocks being made--you makers are amazing! Because of your enthusiasm and beautiful block postings, new Sewcial Bee Sampler makers are joining us everyday! We'd like to welcome our new friends. If you're new to the SBS sew along or haven't already read some of my helpful posts with tips and tutorials, please refer back to these posts: SBS ExtrasPerfect PatchworkSewcial Bee Sampler Block #1Sewcial Bee Sampler Block #2, and Sewcial Bee Sampler Block #3.

Download the free PDF pattern for the Crow's Nest block on my Sew Along page

Crow's Nest Block

Be sure to cut all pieces accurately and square. Use a true 1/4" seam allowance when piecing your patchwork. Refer to the step-by-step Half-Square Triangles tutorial from the Block #2 post for making the HSTs for this block.  

1. When sewing the strips together for the Crow's Nest block keep in mind there are two seams in the strip set unit. I say this because if your seam allowances are off, that's two times the problems. I like to press my seams open on strip set units so they lay nice and flat.

2. After the three strips have been sewn together, the unit should measure exactly 3-1/2" square. Likewise, the HST units will also measure 3-1/2" square. Press seams open on HST units and trim dog ears to reduce bulk. When joining the rows, I press the seams of the rows to one side, rather than pressing open. By pressing the seams to one side it allows me to lock the nested seams in place when pinning to sew. Once the Crow's Nest block is pieced, I press open the row seams. The block before adding frames should now measure 9-1/2" square. 

Be sure to visit Maureen's blog and see her beautiful block. She was much bolder than I and used several different prints from her Art Gallery Fabrics fabric lines. I decided to keep things simple and only use two prints from my new Bountiful fabrics line for Art Gallery Fabrics. The leaf print, called Arborescent is one of my favorite prints from the collection and I wanted to see more of it! 

Lorraine Isaac from @quilting_nanny on Instagram left a tip in my comments that she uses small pants hangers to hang her blocks so they don't get messed up before getting into a quilt. What a great idea and fun way to photograph a block too!

My little tip and money saver is to use the flannel side of an inexpensive vinyl tablecloth as a design wall. Since I don't rent or have any plans of putting my house on the market, I have simply used flat thumb tacks pushed directly into the drywall on a bare wall in my sewing room. The tablecloth is not heavy and thumbtacks are all that's needed to hold the tablecloth flat against the wall. 

Do you like my sewing basket? I've had that every since I was a kid and red was my favorite color back then. Now, I'm more of a peachy-pink lover but I'll never get rid of that basket! Here's a look at all four of my SBS block in my Bountiful fabrics sampler quilt. I have two quilts going and the second sampler is being made from a curated group of 20 prints pulled from my first four Art Gallery Fabrics lines (Gossamer, Sketchbook, Coastline, and Tapestry) plus the two newly recolored designs (original to Gossamer) found in the new AGF Fusion collections. More about that second quilt on Friday--I didn't get block #4 made yet! 

Also, don't forget that Friday is Giveaway Friday and this week Maureen will be hosting the giveaway on her blog. We've got a great giveaway planned from the Fat Quarter Shop I know you'll not want to miss!

Aurifil      Circa 15      The Intrepid Thread      Fat Quarter Shop      Omnigrid      Llama Fabrics      Color Girl     Lady Belle Fabric      Needle in a Fabric Stash      Dritz      Knotted Thread    NeedleandFoot      Stash Builder Box

Happy sewing, I look forward to seeing your Sewcial Bee Sampler blocks!

SBS Extras

With so many new-to-quilting sewers joining the Sewcial Bee Samplers everyday, I'm constantly asking our followers how Maureen Cracknell and I can make this the best sewing experience for everyone. 

Many of you commented back to my weekend Instagram survey that you'd like to better understand half-square triangles (HSTs) as well as how to continue to improve your patchwork. 

If you're new to the SBS sew along or haven't already read some of my helpful posts with tips and tutorials, please refer back to these posts: Perfect Patchwork, Sewcial Bee Sampler Block #1, Sewcial Bee Sampler Block #2, and Sewcial Bee Sampler Block #3.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to start with accurately cut quilt pieces and to sew with a true 1/4" seam allowance. Everything after that is just perfecting and getting comfortable with the different techniques. 

Reading the Blocks

I've prepared a supplemental PDF print out to help you learn how to read an SBS block and helpful HST charts. This way you will be able to figure out exactly what size your units should be measuring at as you sew the patchwork part of your blocks together. Also, if you prefer to start with a larger HST unit and trim it down to size, you'll know exactly what to trim it down to. Head over to the Sew Along page and download the SBS Extras PDF.

THE BLOCKS

Each of the 25 blocks in the Sewcial Bee Sampler quilt will finish to 12” square (12-½” before setting into sashing). Many (but not all) of the blocks call for additional strips of fabric to frame out the patchwork block to bring all the blocks up to the same finished 12’’ square size. Knowing the finished size of the block will help you understand what size pieces and units are needed to make up the patchwork square.

Clues in the Cutting

1. If the block uses framing, look at the shortest frame length to know the unfinished size of that patchwork block. Example: Block #1 the short frame strip is 8-½” long. The block before framing should measure 8-½” square. 

2. Once you understand the size of the (unframed) patchwork, the size of the individual units can be figured out using a little math. Block #1 would require (16) 2” finished HST units to make an 8” finished square. But, since we need seam allowances in patchwork piecing, we would require (16) 2-½” square HST units. In the same manner, you can figure the pieces and units for Blocks #2 through #25.

Block #2

Block #2

 
Block #3

Block #3

 

2-in-1 HST Units

Use the handy math formula for figuring what size square to cut for 2-in-1 half-square triangle units. 

Know what size finished square you need then add .875 (⅞”) to the finished size. Tip: If you would rather square up your HST then round up the calculated cutting size to the nearest ½’’ or full inch increment. 

 

8-in-1 HST Units

Use the handy math formula for figuring what size square to cut for 8-in-1 half-square triangle units. 

Know what size finished square is needed and add .875 (⅞”) then times that number by 2 for cutting size. Tip: If you prefer to square up your HSTs then round up the calculated cutting size to the nearest 1” for trimming. 

Our goal with this sampler sew along is for you to become a confident quilter and to make patchwork piecing an enjoyable experience. Maureen and I love hearing your comments and seeing your posted blocks. We look forward to helping you in the weeks to come and we can all learn as we sew along. See you back here on Wednesday for the release of block #4!