Community Sampler Week #14

Community Sampler Week #14

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It's bitter-sweet that we're at the border assembly part of our sew along. This week we'll put on the optional borders and have a finished top! Looking ahead, next week Maureen and I will post about how to sandwich your top, batting, and back and I'll have some suggestions for quilting. The final week #16 is the full reveals and grand finale prize giveaway so stick with us just a few more weeks. 

If you've just found out about this sew along, don't worry, you can still join in on the fun but you may want to start from the very first post and work up to the present. There are eleven blocks in our quilt, block setting, and optional borders. 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.

My co-host and sister Art Gallery Fabrics designer Maureen Cracknell and I are so happy to have you sewing with us and can't wait to see your finished quilts.

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Accurate cutting and use of a true 1/4'' seam allowance is a must for successful patchwork piecing. All your set blocks will measure 17-1/2'' 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 add some borders! Download the free PDF on the Sew Along page.

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If you're using directional prints, you may want to check out my tutorial for controlling directional prints that was posted during the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along. I know you know how to stitch our No-Waste Flying Geese by now but if you'd like to look back on our past tutorial, revisit week #3 post, here.

Those of you that may have made your quilt bigger by adding more blocks will need to increase the length your borders and more materials will be needed for the added size. 

Adding the Borders

In a perfect world we all could sew perfectly square blocks that are true to size but let's face it, that rarely happens. The cutting and piecing sizes given in our PDF Borders instruction are written for that perfect case senecio which means you're probably going to make a few tweaks to your cutting and piecing to get this baby together.

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Cut and stitch your Flying Geese (FG) units to the size given in the instructions, making them 2-1/2'' x 4-1/2'' (unfinished). Please read the rest of this blog post and through all the instructions on the PDF before cutting the A and B rectangles for the pieced borders.

My original plan for my quilt was to make all the Flying Geese units and rectangles white on a peach/pink background to match the block setting background solid. But, the peach/pink is a very light shade and to do all that Flying Geese and rectangle piecing in white against light seemed like a waste of all that piecing! I decided to select a few mid-tone solids that were predominate in the blocks and do a mixed solids border treatment. To do this I needed to divide the number of different fabrics by the number of "pop beads" as I like to call the border shapes. Remember, that with every No-Waste Flying Geese method you'll get four units in the end and will need one 5-1/2" square and four 3-1/8" squares to get four matching FG units. The PDF instructions give the total number needed (if using the size of quilt given) to cut so use those numbers as a guide when dividing in your number of fabrics.

I'd run out of enough fabric to include a terra cotta colored pop bead so I substituted with the more muted PE-472 Cinnamon of Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements color seen on the far right of the above photo. 

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As you can see, the Flying Geese units will measure up nicely to the 4-1/2" square corner squares in the pieced border and the 2-1/2"-wide inner border (even though my points are less than perfect, you get the idea here :).

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You're quilt center (before adding any of the borders) should be measuring somewhere in the neighborhood of 51-1/1" x 60". If you're way off that mark or increased the size of your quilt by adding more blocks you'll need to make some adjustments... 

Obviously, if you've made a larger quilt than our sampler you will need to get out the calculator and cut more strips for those inner and outer boarders and make additional Pop Beads in the middle borders. Note that the rectangles in the Pop Beads are two different sizes and are labeled A and B on the PDF instructions. 

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Before you really get crazy and cut all the A and B rectangles, cut just a couple (and label) then sew some of the Flying Geese units to rectangles and check your sizing. 

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Since the B rectangle/Flying Geese units are stitched directly against the top and bottom of the quilt (no inner border between) that's a good place to start for checking sizes. If your seams match up on major points and seams of the quilt top center then you're in that perfect world senecio and are in good shape to proceed with piecing the borders as given in the instructions. 

If you're considerable off you have two options. 

One, do the math to figure what sort of adjustment is needed to the A and B rectangles to hit on those major seams in the quilt top center. Start by measuring the opposite sides of the top and average those number (subtract 1/2" for total seam allowances and work in finished sizes for now). Each FG pair will measure 4'' finished so add up the number of 4'' units needed. From the remaining amount, figure how many rectangles are needed. Divide that amount by the number of rectangles needed to get the total length per rectangle. Remember to add in the seam allowances after figuring the finished length needed for an A or B rectangles. Yeah, I know, no fun at all.

Okay, option two. Cut and piece as stated in the instructions (unless of course you need to cut more because you made a bigger quilt). After piecing each border section as directed, the adjustments will be made to the end rectangles only. You're border may not hit on the major seams and points of the quilt top but will be easier to figure up and still look balanced in the end.

Remember, don't change the 4-1/2" measurement on any of the rectangles as this side will match the length of the Flying Geese units and corner squares.  

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I truly hope these pieced borders don't cause heartache and frustration but I do want to cover any possible problems that could occur do to the variables of sewing. Do a few samples like stated above and test the waters before jumping in.

If you're not up to this challenge then maybe consider a simple 4" -wide finished solid middle border (4-1/2" x length needed cut size) and follow the same steps as for making the inner and outer border. 

Remember to use your sew along community on Instagram (#CommunitySampler) if you have questions or need some moral support!

COMMUNITY SAMPLER SPONSORS

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! But, please be patient with both Maureen and I over the next few weeks if we don't comment back. Both Maureen and I are preparing sewing samples for our new spring collections and there's just not enough hours in the day (or energy) to get it all done!

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

Happy sewing!

 

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!

Community Sampler Week #2

Community Sampler Week #2

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Welcome to the Community Sampler sew along and the first block in our quilt! My co-host and sister Art Gallery Fabrics designer Maureen Cracknell and I are so happy to have you sewing with us!

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. 

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 in some blocks will not work well.

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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Time to get to our first block, Kitty-Corner. Download the free PDF on the Sew Along page.

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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 previous 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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Quick-Corner Units Lesson

For the Kitty-Corner block I've prepared a supplemental lesson for making Quick-Corner units. The cutting sizes for these units have already been enlarged and you will need to trim and square your unit once assembled. See PDF for full material list and block piecing instructions.

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Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each 2-3/4'' fabric B square. Noting orientation of the drawn line, place a marked square right sides together on a corner of a 4-3/4'' fabric A square. Sew on the line.

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Press fabric flat before proceeding to trimming the corner. Trim 1/4'' past the stitch line. Press corner open. 

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Noting orientation of the drawn line, repeat on the other corner with another marked square, stitching on the drawn line. Press to flatten. Trim 1/4'' past the stitch line and press corner open.

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One of the wonderful sponsors in this year's sew along is Bloc-Loc. In the first image, I'm using my 2'' x 4'' Flying Geese Bloc-Loc ruler to trim the point edge of my unit and leave the perfect amount of 1/4'' seam allowance. Watch more on the Bloc-Loc video for using the Flying Geese ruler on Square-in-Square units. 

Since this unit needs a little extra care in trimming I've trimmed the remaining sides of the unit with a regular square ruler. I trim one side at a time starting with point edge up. Align the left side of the block with the 4-5/8'' mark on the square ruler (see arrow) and trim 1/8'' off the right side.

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Rotate the unit 180° (point edge down) and align the square ruler on the left edge at 4-1/2''. Trim the right side 1/8''.  Finally rotate the block 90° (point edge to the left) and align the square ruler with the point edge at 4-1/2". Trim the right side 1/8". If you're left handed, mirror image these instructions, measuring from the right side and cutting from the left side. 

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Your trimmed Quick-Corner unit should measure 4-1/2" square. 

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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!

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You all know I'm passionate about photography. Taking photos is part of our everyday lives and with social media we want to be able to share our very best. I intend to utilize Instagram Stories to bring you some very informal photography tips and tricks and eventually start posting more blog posts dedicated to the subject. See the post titled Flat Lay Photography Tips post I wrote almost 2 years ago. It has some great information to get you started. Be watching both of those platforms for more photography lessons.

You don't need a fancy camera (although it makes life a lot easier) or super expensive gear to get great shots. A little extra time and creativity can result in share worthy images!

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

Happy sewing!

Sewcial Bee Sampler Block #8

Time flies when you're piecing fun! I can't believe this is our eighth week of the SBS!

My co-host Maureen Cracknell and I are so happy you've joined us for this 26-week sampler quilt event. It's still early in the sampler and not too late to start making blocks if you've just found us. For those just joining, you will want to start the sew along in chronological order because we build off past techniques and with each new block release I've added helpful, in-blog tips and tutorials. Start with the first SBS post and work your way to the present. 

Download the free PDF pattern from my Sew Along page and let's get sewing block #8. 

Block #8 is called Clay's Choice that uses the 8-at-a-time half-square triangle (HST) technique and the same cut sizes we've used in some of the earlier SBS sampler blocks. Block #1 has a step-by-step tutorial of this technique if you need a review.

As I see your blocks being posted to instagram each week by using the #SewcialBeeSampler hashtag, I've noticed many of you are wanting your prints to stay all one direction and thought this would be the time to show you how to control the direction of your prints in three of the patchwork quilting techniques we've been and will continue to use throughout this sew along. 

In the past, I've never been very concerned about keeping all my fabrics oriented the same direction. My thoughts were that unless a quilt is intended to be on a wall like a piece of art, it will never be viewed only from one direction, if in use. Instead, I've embraced the randomness. 

But, after seeing all the beautiful blocks being posted I can totally understand the desire (and struggle) to keep everything in order and directionally the same. It does make the block appear very neat and tidy and shows off the prints nicely. Of course if you're using solids it probably doesn't matter unless there's an obvious grain or nap to the material.

Fabric Direction in Half-Square Triangles

Understanding how directional prints work in HST units turns out to be pretty easy. Let's start with a 2-at-a-time HST unit and build off of that concept. Review how to sew a 2-at-a-time HST here.

Take two same-size squares and place side-by-side in the prefered direction. Note that the black arrows show the direction of the print on the fabric. Finger press a diagonal crease. Place the two squares right sides together and notice the direction of the top square arrow is now perpendicular or 90° to the arrow of the bottom square. 

Sew a 1/4'' seam allowance on each side of the crease (or drawn line for better accuracy). Cut apart on drawn line to make two HSTs. Note: I only folded my fabric over to show how this works for print orientation rather than actually sewing this example together. 

The concept is exactly the same for 8-at-a-time HST units. Review how to sew this technique here.

Audition how the prints will look by folding a square on the diagonal. I like to have the two squares already right sides together and once I have the prints in the direction I want, I simply let go the folded fabric and they're ready to sew.

Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the lightest fabric square. Draw another diagonal from the remaining corners. Sew a ¼” seam on each side of the drawn line. In the same manner, stitch on each side of the remaining diagonal line. Press. Using a tool like the Omnigrid Marking Ruler assures an accurate 1/4'' seam allowance on each side of the diagonal center. 

When cutting the stitched 5-3/4'' square into HST units, align the ruler edge at exactly 2-7/8''. Does this size sound familiar? If you're using the exact cutting sizes given in the block instructions (rather than sizing up to trim after sewing) this 2-7/8'' size is the same size we use for most of our 2-at-a-time HST units. This will result in a 2-1/2'' HST unit once cut apart diagonally. Tip: I like to use tape to hold my stitched squares in place for cutting apart. 

The 8-at-a-time HST unit technique makes 4 units going one direction and another 4 going the opposite. Be sure to lay out all the block pieces before assembly the quilt block to find the best orientation for the units. Having half the units change direction will allow you to keep the prints running all the same way around the block. 

Fabric Direction in Flying Geese Units

Believe it or not, you can control the direction of your prints in our No-Waste Flying Geese units too! Review how to sew No-Waste Flying Geese units here.

Start by laying out 2 small squares and 1 large square per the block instructions. With squares right sides together, fold a small square in half diagonally to orient the direction of the print with the large square.

Release the folded square and notice the arrows are now perpendicular. Place the second small square in the opposite corner with the print running the same way as the first small square. Draw stitch lines. Stitch and cut apart on the diagonal center. 

Press open and use a folded small square to orient the print direction on the square to the print direction of a Flying Geese section. Draw stitch lines, stitch, then cut apart on the diagonal center. 

Repeat with the remaining Flying Geese unit and small square to make a total of 4 Flying Geese units. You will notice this makes 2 units in each direction, just perfect for keeping the prints all going in the same direction.

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Here's my Clay's Choice blocks for the two sampler quilts I'm stitching. The first one is made using fabrics from my new Bountiful fabrics collection for Art Gallery Fabrics. If you'd like to use 3 fabrics in your block like I have with this one, cut: (8) 2-1/2'' fabrics A, (1) 5-3/4'' fabric B, and (1) 5-3/4'' fabric C and follow the instructions for borders and sewing. 

My second Clay's Choice block is pieced per the block instructions and used two fabrics. The blue print is from my Tapestry fabrics and the pink is from the new Art Gallery Fabrics Fusions Abloom line recoloring a print from my Gossamer collection. 

Since this is a relatively simple block to make, I hope you take the time to experiment with print orientation and continue to perfect your patchwork skills. 

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

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