Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Sampler - Block Placement Guide

Hi Spring Sampler Sewists!  Just a quick note today about Block Placement.

For those of you making the wall-hanging sampler, just make one of each block, for a total of 9 blocks.

This is our block placement:

For those making the lap-size sampler, you'll need a total of 13 blocks, so remake four of your favorite blocks.

We chose to make a second Block 1 in a darker color palette, move Block 9 to the center, and make a total of four Block 5s (two with pink prints and two with orange).

There are already some AWESOME blocks popping up in our Flickr Group.  So much fun to see everyone's projects!  See you on Monday with Block 2!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spring Sampler Block 1 - Pyramids


Sponsored by:

Welcome to Block 1 of our Spring Sampler Quilt Along!  A big thank you goes out to Connecting Threads for sponsoring our quilt along!

Visit these pages for help choosing your prints and for fabric requirements for the project.

Share photos of this block below in our linky party or in our flickr group.  Each photo is an entry into our prize raffle - US & Canadian residents only, please.

Always be sure to read through the entire set of instructions before beginning, sew with a 1/4" seam, and press seams as directed by the arrows.

Block 1 - Cutting Instructions

From Background (#2) fabric, cut:
        1 - 5 ½” square
        2 - 2 ” squares; cut each in half, diagonally

From the Dark Print (#3), cut:
        1 - 5 ½” square
        2 - 3 ” squares; cut each in half, diagonally

Choose 3 Vibrant Prints (#1)
    From the first print, cut:
        1 - 3 ½” square
    From the second print, cut:
        4 - 3” squares
    From the third print, cut:
        2 - 4 ¼” squares; cut each in half, diagonally

Choose 1 Medium Print (#4) and cut:
        4 - 3” squares

Choose 1 Neutral Print (#5) and cut:
        4 - 2 ” squares

Set-up: Square-in-Square Block

Make the center Square-in-Square block using our tutorial, 1 - 3 ½ Vibrant Print square, and 4 - ” Background triangles.  Square and trim block down to 4 ¾", making sure to keep the ¼” seam allowances between the edge of the block and the edge of the inner square.

Set-up: Flying Geese Blocks

Make the first set of four Flying Geese blocks, using our tutorial, 1 - 5 ½” Dark print square, and 4 - 3" Vibrant Print squares.

Make the second set of four Flying Geese blocks using 1 - 5 ½ Background square, and 4 - 3" Medium Print squares.

Block Construction:

Before sewing, I like to lay all my pieces out to make sure that all my prints are playing nicely together, and to make sure that directional prints are all facing the same way.

Here we go!

1.  Attach a Dark Print Flying Geese block to the left and right sides of the center Square-in-Square block; press seams towards the Flying Geese block.

2.  Attach a 2 ” Neutral square to the left and right sides of the remaining two Dark Print Flying Geese blocks.

3.  Attach the blocks made in step #2 to the top and bottom of the center block.

4.  Attach a ¼ Vibrant Print triangle to the left and right sides of all four Background Flying Geese blocks.

5.  Attach a  Dark Print triangle to the top of each of the blocks made in step #4.

6.  Attach two of the blocks made in step #5 to the left and right sides of the center block.

7.  Attach the remaining two blocks made in step #5 to the top and bottom of the center block.

Congratulations - you're done with Block #1!  Sit back, enjoy your finished block ... and then share a picture with us below or in our flickr group.  See you next Monday for Block #2!

Click the link below to share photos of your finished block!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Sampler Quilt Along

Hi Spring Sampler Sewists!  I've noticed that we have several participants that are "No-Reply-Bloggers." If you're planning on sewing along, please drop me a line with your email address and blog address to CorasQuilts{at}gmail{dot}com, so that I can make sure you're in our mailing group for the project.

Please also include your flickr alias, if you'll be posting via flickr. :)

Happy sewing!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Sampler - Square in Square Block Tutorial

Sponsored by Connecting Threads

Welcome back!  Last week we chatted about fabric requirements and how to choose your fabric palette for our Spring Sampler Quilts.  More information on the project is available here.

Spring Sampler - Wall-hanging

Spring Sampler - Lap-Size
This week, while everyone is pulling their fabric choices together - don't forget to share your pictures in our linky party - we're posting tutorials for a few of the blocks we'll be using in our tutorial.  We've already shared how to put together Flying Geese Blocks, and today we're talking about the Square-in-Square block.

For those interested in just putting the block together, I'm going over the construction part first!  If you're interested in the mechanics of the block and the math behind it ... read on! :)

Assembling the Block

To make a Square-in-Square block, you'll need one center square, and four outer triangles.

1.  Finger-press the a crease to mark the center along the left and right edges of the square.  Finger-press a crease to mark the center on the longest side of two of the triangles.

2.  With fabric right-sides-together, pin a triangle to the left side of the center square, making sure to match up the crease marks.  Repeat to pin a second triangle to the right side.

3.  Stitch along the edge of both sides, using a scant 1/4" stitch.  Press seams towards the triangles.

4.  Finger-press a crease to mark the middle of the top and bottom edges of the center block, and the long edges of the two remaining triangles.

5.  Pin right sides together, matching the crease marks, and stitch. 

6.  Press seams towards the triangle.

7.  Because cutting measurements are always rounded up (see below), the block will most likely be a little larger than required.  Trim and square the block down to the needed size, making sure to maintain those 1/4" seams at the edge of the block.

8.  Tah-Dah!  You're finished!

The Mechanics ...

I design most of my quilts in Electric Quilt 6 (EQ), but one of the issues I have with the software is that for the Square-In-Square block, they always use a square cut diagonally in quarters for the outer triangles.

The problem with using this method is that it creates a triangle with two bias sides.

And once these triangles are attached to the center square, the entire block now has bias edges.

Bias edges stretch and distort very, very easily ... and that becomes a problem if you have to rip seams out, if you're not super careful while pressing, or even if you handle the block too much.  Since these blocks are at the center of our sampler blocks and we'll be handling them plenty, we don't want to have to worry about bias edges.

To fix this problem, the four outer triangles need to be cut from two squares cut diagonally in half.

This flip-flops the bias and grain edges ...

... and makes for a square-in-square block with grain edges.  Hooray!

The Math ...

Ok - the math for Square-in-Square blocks is slightly more complicated than the Flying Geese blocks, but here's how it works.  The block is made from one center square, plus four triangles (from two squares, cut in half diagonally).

Measure one side of your center square.  Let's say that it's 3.5".  

  1. Divide this number by 1.4142.
  2. Add 3/8" (.375) for a seam allowance.  
  3. Round the final number up to the nearest 1/8".  
  4. Cut two squares using this measurement, and then cut each square in half, diagonally, to get your four outer triangles.

Let's walk through this using the actual numbers:

3.5 / 1.4142 = 2.4749

2.4749 + .375 = 2.8499

2.8499 rounded up to the nearest eighth - 2.875 or 2 7/8"

Cut 2 - 2 7/8" squares and then cut each in half diagonally.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of math ... but I am a huge fan of Excel ... so I built a little spreadsheet to do all the calculating and rounding for you.  You can access it here.  Just enter the measurement of the center square and it'll tell you what size to cut your smaller squares.  Easy Peasy!

So, fairly easy {spreadsheet} math and very easy block!  Believe it or not, this will be the end of our tutorials.  Practice this square and the Flying Geese blocks, and you'll be ready to start your first block next week.  Hooray!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring Sampler - Flying Geese Tutorial

Sponsored by Connecting Threads!

Welcome to the first tutorial in our Spring Sampler quilt along!

All nine of the blocks in our sample pattern use the Flying Geese block - a block that's probably in the top five most common quilt blocks used.  There are probably about half a dozen ways to put these babies together, but in my experience, the following is the fastest way to make FOUR Flying Geese Blocks at once, with no waste and with no specialty rulers.

We're posting the tutorial ahead of the block patterns, just in case this is your first time using this method or you feel you could use a little bit of practice before putting your sampler block together.

Keys to putting together a successful set of Flying Geese Blocks are:
  • Careful Cutting
  • Sewing with a scant 1/4" stitch
  • Pressing {not ironing!!!} your block!
Here we go!  To make a set of four identical flying geese, you'll need:
  • 1 Large Block = Finished Width + 1 ¼
  • 4 Small Blocks = Finished Height + 

1.  Pin two Small Squares right-sides-together in opposite corners of the Large Squares, as pictured.  They should be slightly overlapping in the center.

2.  With a fabric pencil, draw a line from corner to corner of the Small Squares.

3.  Sew a SCANT 1/4" seam on both sides of the drawn line.  This means that your stitches should be just a hair under 1/4" away from the drawn line.  It's a good idea to do a test block and to measure.  You'd be surprised how much your machine might be off!

4.  Cut the unit in half along the diagonal line.

5.  Press along the block, as-is, to set the seam.  Then, press the fabric towards the smaller squares.
Note: It's really important to PRESS your block- lift your iron up and then put it down in a new spot.  Ironing your block - moving the iron around without lifting it up - can stretch and distort your block!

6.  Pin another Small Square to each of the blocks and draw a line from corner-to-corner.

7.  Sew a scan 1/4" seam on both sides of the drawn line.

8.  Cut the unit in half along the diagonal line.

9.  Press the block to, as-is, to set the seam, and then press the fabric towards the smaller square.

10.  Trim the dog ears.

11.  Tah-Dah!  Four identical Flying Geese Blocks!

If you'd like to get a head start on constructing Flying Geese blocks for the first few blocks in your Spring Sampler, you'll need 1 - 5 1/2" Large Square plus 4 - 3" Small Squares for each set of four flying geese.  Happy Sewing!